Write Landon a Letter


Elder Landon Aldana
741 Plummer Road (appt 1503)
Hunstville Al, 35806

Monday, August 31, 2015

lots of pictures!

I'm really glad that y'all liked the pictures I sent home, I’ll have to see if I can’t take a few videos every now and then. they took me a little bit to take but I’ve been trying to take a few more pictures over the next little bit, to answer moms question about how big our branch is and about how many people come to church. sooo... as far as Adults last week we had 9 but we had about 8 kids under the age of 8 so we had a few people, we average about 14 adults and like 5 kids every week, so were pretty small haha. I’m pretty sure were the smallest in the mission, so can’t get any smaller haha. But we do really good, I don't think anything is going to happen to this branch. Everyone has like 3 callings, haha.

Camden is doing really good, the other day we started heading to a place in our area called oak hill. As we were heading up there we were able to find a few roads that I haven't ever been down so we were able to go a talk to few people that we haven't met before. We had a good time going out to the boonies and talking with some good ol country folks. It’s always super fun talking with some good county folks. I just wish y'all could hear some people talk out here. When you talk with people it just gets better over time.

I don't really know what all is new in Camden, everything is about the same.. Nothing to crazy is happening. It’s still a little bit hot but the cold air is starting to come it so now it’s getting nice. If you’re in the shade the weather is not too bad but it’s still pretty hot if the sun is on you. but it’s nothing like it was a few months ago, now it’s just like 90s and such, nothing to even sweet about...... sort of.

I guess like just the culture of the mission down here has really stood out to me this last week. I don't think it’s a surprise to anyone that every mission is different and down here I think one of the biggest differences is just how we as missionary's have to teach and learn the scriptures. Alabama being I would dare say probably the biggest religious state in the US, has all sorts of church's and religions. Not just Christian, I’ve met Muslims, Buddhist, Humanistic, and Atheist. 

I’ll be the first to tell you, people down here will tell you straight up you're wrong to your face, and then start to try and prove they're right. I don't know but like I’ve really started to know the scriptures way more than I have before and a few times people will always say about the same things. A big thing down here is the trinity, people always bring that up in conversation and basic doctrine. When you talk with these people most of the time they just answer there question themselves if you just talk about the restoration or the atonement.

Now down here in the south we get a TON of people that know a lot about the church. I’ve met people I bet know way more about the church than I do and way more about the Bible than I do. These people tear into the church, I could give you more church anti about Joseph Smith, our beliefs and what past prophets have said. It’s very convincing; these people have spent their lives trying to drag people away from the church.

As I study the scriptures there's always something you find when you read them. The Book of Mormon brings the spirit, I’ve felt it, and know it does. And if the Book of Mormon brings the spirit, nothing else matters. It doesn't matter what all has happened in the past, or what people have found out about the church we don't have answers on. All that matters is that the church that Jesus Christ started is back and it’s true. 
Bible bashing gets you nowhere. Trust me, I’ve seen it, it doesn't ever work. Keep faith in the scriptures, something I love out here we use is. Question the church? Yes. Doubt the church? NO. Always be leaning into the church, but don't just follow blindly. I love this place, I’ve learn sooo much about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I’m just starting.

 I Love Y'all!!

Elder Landon Aldana

Monday, August 24, 2015

Football season is starting up!

Football season is starting up! It’s getting to be a really interesting time down here. I’ve heard so many stories about football in Alabama and I’m going to be here for it and I’m super excited. For y'all that don't understand, there’s 2 HUGE teams down here. Alabama, and Auburn and both are about as big as the Christian religion down here. Alabama and Auburn are also Super big rivals, you have to pick a side. I've heard many a story that down here when the football season starts tracting gets super fun, half the people will kill you for interrupting the game. I'm super excited to see what’s going to happen haha. But that's just part of Alabama!

Think week has been a good week. It’s been a wet week.... we have had thunderstorms for weeks it feels like. You just put all of your stuff in little bags and hope for the best, if it ever gets really bad you just camp out on someone's porch for a little bit, unless they let you in haha. We have been able to see a lot of different people because everyone asks us if we want a ride. I would bet 4/10 people ask us if we would like a ride even when it’s not raining. It’s even weirder when you know like half the people so they stop ask if you want a ride, most of the time we don't need a ride, so you just start talking with them in the middle of the road about who knows what.

Later on in the week we were going over to see a lady that we have been trying to get in contact with for a little while now but she hasn't been up to it the last few times. This week as we were coming over we met for the second time a really nice fellow. They were having a big ol party and there was about 10 guys all drinking and smoking, having a good ol BBQ. So we went over and started talking with them just about whatever they wanted to talk about. Or even just let them talk to us. 

They gave us some of their BBQ, and we showed them a few magic tricks and parted ways. There are a few sayings down here that just make me really happy and you hear them all the time, one of them is when people are drinking and you come up to them. They always say "Not today, sorry guys, but I’m drinking. Come back tomorrow" it’s just a really nice way of saying, sorry boys we're not interested haha. They use that one a lot or "sorry were Baptist", or "don't worry I’m saved I've found Jesus" all of them really just mean, we're not interested. The people will still talk with you and are super nice, but they don't want to talk about Mormons and stuff.

This week were transfers so there are 2 new Elders in the District, one of them came out with me. He’s from South Africa and we're super good friends so I’m excited to get to work with him for the next little bit. The other one is from Delaware; we have a good ol time all together. We’re a good mix match of personalities and we have a good time together. we try and play street ball on Mondays with them and the Elder from South Africa is 6'5 and I’m 6'4 and Elder Whetton is 6'3 so we all look like freaks when we come out to play with them haha.

I've been doing good down here, the people are really good to us. Thanks for all of the support y'all give me. I'M SUPER PUMPED that Grant is going on a mission!! He’s going to have a blast out there in Japan. I’m super excited Andy leaves there in about a week also, thery're both going to rock it in their areas. I also sent my SIM card home today so y'all should have some pictures off that. I love you guys, keep praying for us,

Love Elder Landon Aldana

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Get in, y'all are having supper with me."

I’m staying in Camden for another 6 weeks!!!! Looks like I’ll be serving here for 6 months for now haha. Who knows maybe longer, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. My Companion and I are going to be staying together again also. everything’s super great down here other than the rain, I’m not a big fan of it and we have been soaked about 4 times this week and it’s only going to rain more from what I hear so, it’s not too bad. It’s about the same as when we're outside in the summer anyway, we just get soaking wet in sweat so it’s not much different than how we feel normally. I’m really glad to hear that everyone is doing well. 

Um one thing I want to let y'all know about is how much respect I have for President Hanks. I feel like almost like a we are not super buddy buddy, but I don’t think there’s a person in the world I want to be under then President Hanks. He’s Very successful, he’s a very spiritually strong person, and he just gives you a great feeling of love. He gives us a TON of trust, as long as you do what is right, he’s one of the greatest friends you could have. On the other hand, I’ve also grown to see that he’s not someone who will let to walk over him. As much trust and love as he gives us, there's also a ton a power and just a presence that he carries. If there’s one person I never want to get on their bad side its President Hanks. I love that man so much, and I’m more than grateful to be able to serve with him. 

Camden’s doing good, by the end of this transfer I’ll be the longest serving missionary in Camden. I guess it’s the place for me, these last few weeks have been amazing, it’s crazy to see how much this place has changed in the last few months. I remember coming here like it was yesterday, the small town vibe was stronger than ever. No one really wanted anything to do with us. No one really even talked with us. It was just a really hard place to be, but as the weeks have gone to months I’ve really started to love this place sooo much. 

Something really amazing that happened this week, we were walking around town going to try and see a new family that had moved into the town. As we started walking over to their house it started to DUMP.... and we were soaked, but we just kept walking in the rain. Our bags are mostly water proof anyway and we were soaked so there was no point in looking for a place to hide from it. So we get to the door and we knock on it, ... and no one answers. After a few moments we decided just to hang out on the porch for a second till the rain stopped coming down hard and thought about what to do next. 

As we're walking home someone that we had seen a few days before at subway stopped us about a third of the way home and says, "Get in, y'all are having supper with me." so we got in his truck and he drove us a little yonder down the road to his house, where him and some buddies were BBQing some good ol chicken. He told us to make ourselves at home so we set down our bags, pulled up and camp chair and talked with him and his friends for the next hour or 2. They showed us their bee farm and we opened a honey box and looked into the bees and such. 

We ate supper a little bit later and talked till about 9 and they asked if we needed a ride & said we had a great time meeting you, you're welcome back anytime and took us home to our house. It was REALLY really nice to be with these people. I know because about 4 months ago I knocked on their doors and not a single one would even say no to us, they would look out the window make eye contact with us lock the door and walk away. And here I was 4 months later eating supper with them on Sunday. It’s just amazing to see how much our influence is here. 

Is anyone going to get baptized of them, no. have I met anyone that's even thought about baptism, no. From what I’ve seen these people will most likely never change, but they are my very close friends. I’ve survived the Heat with them. I’ve been soaked with them. I’ve been at the graduations, T-ball, football games. We know each other’s names. We might not baptize anyone here, but I’ll tell you what. I’ve never been closer to any people then these people down here. 

I love y'all keep us all in your prayers 

Elder Landon Aldana

my new favorite desert, it’s called Banana pudding

It sounds like y'all are having a blast over there. I'll have to teach you guys how to make my new favorite desert, it’s called Banana pudding. It’s My Favorite for sure, I don't know if it’s just a southern thing or not but its super popular down here and super good. It’s super good to hear about chance. I’m happy for him, but I knew about chance a little bit ago. The missionary that left here from Camden is going to Brazil on his mission, so his family was showing us the pictures from our friend J.P. and I was looking at the picture and saw Elder Young sneaking in the picture. The world just gets smaller and smaller the more people that I've become friends with.

  We has been doing really good down here. It’s crazy to think that I've been here for as long as I have. To think I've spent over half my mission in this good ol town. Transfer calls are this week and it will be interesting to see what's going to happen. Time has gone by so fast down here. It’s crazy to think that it’s almost fall already, it doesn't feel like it but were leaving summer pretty fast.

  This week has been a really busy week. We have spent most of the week out of town because we had zone conference. Our mission President is the best mission President in the world.. Just saying, I love that big ol teddy bear. We were able to have some good training on being "human" it was a lot of fun. we have talked a lot about just being normal, I don't know if I talked about last time, but there’s been a huge push these last few months on just being yourself.

  We talk a lot about not being boring, we do a lot of roll plays, this week he had some missionary's do a door approach, the 2 Elders started with nothing too crazy just, "Hey we're Christian Missionaries could we come in and talk for a little bit." something like that. Our mission president then yells and puts his arms up in a X and is like BORING!!, we then went on and talked about nothing about that is wrong, but no one in the south is going to let you in that way, and for the most part its 100% true.

We then went on and talked a lot about door approaches and what door approaches everyone uses and such to try and be more creative. Me and Elder Whetton have been having a fun time just trying things. A fun one to always try down here is as they answer the door, your just kind of "Hey its super hot out here, could we sit down and talk for a little bit," or just whatever way works to get into someone's house or just anyway you can talk with people.

It’s been really good down here. I’ve been learning so much, one of the big things that we have also been working really hard on is being great teachers. We talk a ton about listening, observing, and being clear. It’s been really good trying to teaching different ways, using different ideas and points of view. Just both of us trying our hardest to send a clear message, Elder Bednar gave a good quote something along the lines of,

"If you try and teach to someone, and are not listening and discerning their needs, you’re just talking to yourself."

It’s going to be a great week, I hope y'all are staying safe. I love y'all, I’m so happy to hear from everyone and to hear that everyone is doing really good. I’m still in love with the fantastic place of Alabama.

Elder Landon Aldana

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

there’s always lessons to be learned

The brownies made it!!!! They made it here. And the heat didn't even get them.... I think. They were super good. They had got like frozen/cooked so they were almost like a brownies flavored candy bar. But they were super good. Thanks so much for them!

Well I guess a little bit about Elder Whetton, I like him a lot. He’s from a place called snowflake, in Arizona. He’s 6'4 and has been out like 20.. months. He’s a super hard worker. This week was a really good week to be with him. On Sunday we had a farewell for a boy named J.P. he’s going to Brazil on his mission and he leaves tomorrow, were super excited for him and I know he’s doing to do really good. He’s way more prepared then I was leaving, so I’m super excited to see how his mission goes.

Its super weird being here with him, I was here when he put in his papers, got his call, and now him leaving. its super weird, it’s really made me think about how I was when I was leaving for my mission, not really knowing what I was getting into, trying my best to get ready for something that I wasn't really sure how to prepare for. Scared but excited for the future and what was to come. I’ve really noticed a change for the first time this last week from how I was when I left till now.

2 weeks ago it was a really hard week on me. Camden has been a really hard place to work at and for a long time we were working hard and trying to stay motivated but I was super down on the area, then this week they our Assistants to the President called everyone and asked if we would be down to do a 70 hour week. (or just to proselyte for 70 hours in a week.), we decided that it would not be the best thing to do down here so we didn't do it but we still had to go on some conference calls about the 70 hour week.

At the start of the week I was kind of just like whatever, who cares, this is stupid we have to listen to this crap late right before bed late at night. I was also just kind of mad about not understanding the gospel and such and just like was not in a good attitude for the week to come, but the week went on. We went out, worked hard and had our weekly meetings as always. I and Elder Whetton talked as usual but never about how we could best work here.

Last night, Elder Whetton and I were walking to try and visit someone. When we started talking about how we could improve our time here in the area. And he was saying we should start filling out this paper called a progress report because we haven't filled one out in.... a year down here. There just hasn't been anything new to report on. I was Angry, like thinking to myself "what a stupid idea... he’s got no idea what he’s doing and stuff" and the night went on and we switched subject and had a good rest of the night.

When we got home we listened to the last half of the 70 week conference call that we did not participate in. Lying in bed just letting my emotions build up and just getting madder and madder why we had to listen to a bunch of stuff we were not even involved in. After we finished listening to how good the week went and we were going to have a Alabama Birmingham Mission Family prayer to end the night I started to think.

Why am I mad? Why am I angry about a great thing? Why did I ask for help from Elder Whetton then reject any ideas and think bad of him?
Why was I so selfish? My mission had turned in the last 2 weeks from the people, to ME. And I knew it.

I couldn't help but think about Peter denying knowing Jesus 3 times. I had recognized my mistake and begged my father in heaven to forgive my mistake. I felt like totally trash, I couldn't do anything, I just prayed that Elder Whetton could forgive my stubbornness. We might not be baptizing down here in Camden, or even teaching others, but there’s always lessons to be learned

I love y'all so much,

Elder Landon Aldana

Down here family is SUPER important

  Well..... I don't know where to start off haha. It’s been a weird week, it’s just been a really hard month, I think this week is one of the first weeks that I've really just like almost been depressed, but more angry and we can’t work super hard then sad. I guess I just need to get out of the small town for a little bit haha. Our district is really taking off but here in Camden were still having a really hard time getting to see anyone more than once.
   I think that the thing that's been on my mind the most is that there’s just not a whole lot of work to do down here. It’s super small I’ve met everyone in every house of the street in our main city and we don't really have anyway to get out of town. But I tell you what, I can hold a conversation on anything for as long as I want now. haha I can talk about anything from A to Z and really just get to have fun with random people and you just have to have fun anywhere you are or I would be going crazy.
   Some of the things that I’ve really tried to learn here is just like mind over body, or like self-mastery. Camden is a very mental place, you really have to force yourself to remember who you are and what you’re doing. You have to keep yourself motivated and can’t get in a slump. if you get super depressed down here there's nothing to really go do to just be outside... you can’t tracked all day, or go try and see a bunch of new people. You have to wake yourself up and re motivate yourself.
   I’ve really grown to love Christianity in general, there are a TON of churches in Alabama, (Just FYI) and there’s a TON of Bibles and Stories and Interpretations but we all share one common thing. Being a good person. Everyone down here strives to be the best people that they can and just help out anyone that they can. I’ve really had a good time working down here and getting to see the different people and the different religions.
   This week we are going to be heading up to Montgomery and that should be fun. My guess is that we’re going to spend the night up there so well have to see how that goes. We’re going to have a zone training up there so it should be a good learning and such.
   It’s still hot.... ooooo its soo hot haha. It’s just nasty hot at this point. You wake up, go outside and your soaked.... and all day your wet, so I come home shower change and its all good. But it’s getting really hot. These people are crazy, I don't know why anyone would want to live our here. Everyone likes there family.
   I guess that's the biggest thing I’ve learned here. Down here family is SUPER important, like if you don't have family down here there's no reason to be down here. I think a lot about how my family is doing down here. people ask us all the time about people back home so it’s weird thinking that everyone has been moving on in life the last 2 years haha. It’s going to be super weird coming home and seeing the changes.
Love you all it’s been a crazy ride so far haha

Elder Aldana