Write Landon a Letter


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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy late fathers Day!!!! 

before anything heres our new address: 300 Holly Hills Rd, (apt 256) Columbus, MS 39705

It's been a great time here, Its very reminiscent of Selma. Lots of black people, In the hood, very poor. I don't want to talk about it too much in detail but there and a lot of things good and bad about it, But I love it!! My new Companions name is Elder Messerly from Ogden Ut, hes been out about 3 months now. He's a great guy! we have really been enjoying each other the last few days. 

Some of my thoughts these last few days have really been turned to how we can best help the people here. Most everyone knows who we are, but they only know us for how we come around to peoples doors. My thoughts are in talking with many people down here about what they know, and what they want to know is.... That they want to be close to God, But they don't really know how (Pray, Scriptures) or know how to learn these things. One idea We had is that we wanted to make some posters, Simple posters and put them up all over Columbus. To see if that would spark some interest with people, but also would really help them learn how to pray, and how to repent other things that really are important that they don't know. 

With all of these new ideas... This week was a Blast!!! recently I have been studying/trying to be BOLD!! or as I like to call it, "Being a champion for the Lord!,    'Pres Hanks' " as we were wondering around the other day, a lot of people kept telling us about this festival or something going on. As we asked around more we started to figure out where it was at, (downtown) and made our way on over to it. Its at a BIG ol base-ball field and on the field I would guess these is about 800 people. Elder Messerly and I are super pumped about it and after a short time of talking with different people at the vendors, we get this great idea. 

Our plan is that we want to go up on the stage they have set up, use the mic to make an announcement and invite everyone in the part to hear from us....  so after talking with a few different people we make our way unto the stage, and I find myself holding the mic with about 800 people looking at us semi irritated/confused. I kept the best confident look I could and started talking to um for about 2 minuets. We talked about what we do and Invited everyone their if they wanted to learn more about our purpose here on earth and about God to come find us. 

It was soooo! scary, but at the same time it was just a blast to not be tracking and meeting soooo many people.

other then those few things its been pretty normal, we go to the temple tomorrow and were super excited about that. Hope everything is going great back home as well!!! 

I love you!!

Elder Landon Aldana!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Life's too short not to show our love for one another.

Dear family, 

I'll start of and say Its been a really fun day today, and also I have about 0 time. So ill keep it short

-Transfers were this week, I'm moving to Columbus Mississippi! I'll send the address later! 
-Today we went to the space and rocket center. (see pictures below)
-I still love Alabama
-going to the temple this week!
-new mission president is coming soon!
- I love all of you, Its been a very eventful week will Elder Whetten heading home and on Monday a Huge tragedy happened here that's made me really hope I tell you just how much I love you and I hope you feel the same way. Life's too short not to show our love for one another.

I love you Mom and Dad, I wish I could call you and tell you that for today!! and I hope everyone else in the family that reads this knows also!

Elder Landon Aldana

P.S. I'll send my SD card home from Mississippi!!!
Family!!!.... and others....

Well its been a great little birthday over here!, We had a good ol time and were able to have just a great overall day yesterday with everything going well. But, this week has also been a really really hard week. 

Not to go into any details, but this week Elder Whetten went home on Friday... so as of right now my new companion is Elder Wilson, and a diffrent Wilson from the one that I served with in Clanton. He's a really great guy from Ogden??? or somewhere close to there... haha but these last few days we have really been having a good ol time! Elder Whetten has been doing really good, I just wrote him back an email about how much hes really enjoying life right now. but that's been the biggest thing that has happend this week. 

It's been quite the rollercoster of emotions these last few days, but we seem to have gotten our feet back on the ground and I think were getting to the good part now. 

We don't have much of any time today becuase were playing a big run trip later today but I wanted to let y'all know i'm still doing very good. Ive really been enjoying all of alabama. \

I love y'all lots!!!

Elder Landon Aldana

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Each week missionaries write letters to their mission presidents.  Landon's mission president has posted some of the more interesting comments from three years of missionary letters from the Alabama Birmingham Mission.

My Dear Fellow Missionaries,

Since Sister Hanks and I arrived in Alabama three years ago, missionaries have sent me approximately 38,000 emailed letters!  (And yes, I have read every word.)

I occasionally find myself laughing out loud as I read some things you write!  It has been a full year since I provided back to you selected clips from your letters to me that contain a giggle or two or a scratch of the head.  The following quotes came straight out of your weekly letters to me. (Disguised)

Remember, “Men are that they might have joy!”  (And, while you’re at it, be sure and… “Inform Your Face!”)




President, I feel like a major lesson I'm supposed to learn on my mission is to let go of other people's stupidity.

We tracted into a Baptist preacher who told us to watch out for his sprinklers or we’d melt.  We both went… you mean like witches?  He saw our confusion and then clarified, "Because y'all are sweet like sugar… and sugar melts in the water.”

What culture shock!  What a small town.  I feel like I’ve been taken to planet Hicksville.  I'm still trying to find my groove with the people here.  I probably just need to go buy a pair of overalls and go coon-huntin’ with them to soften their hearts.  Wanna give us permission?  (Nice try!)

I think it was really good for Elder XYZ to go to Altadena and away from me.  You can't help but love him as soon as you get to know him.  His dimples are building trust all over the zone.

We had an interesting experience with our investigator.  At the end of the lesson we shook her hand, and she was like, “Sorry, I have weed in my hand, and your hand might smell funny now.”   That was kind of different, but she wants to change, so we are there for her.

It was dang hot so we went home and tried to cook an egg on the ground, but it didn’t work.

This flying bird POOPED on me! So naturally, we knocked on the neighbor’s door. "Hello, this is a little odd... but a bird just pooped on me and we're wondering if you'd be kind enough to lend us a tissue?  We talked with the man as I cleaned up and he was really nice.  He asked us to come back and teach him. WOW!  Just think -- no bird… no investigator!

President, what you always say is true, “Service Softens Stony Souls!”   Also, U-Hauls are missionary magnets.

We are probably not going back to her house, especially since her little girl is already feasting on the word of God. We gave her a pamphlet to keep her entertained, and she had already eaten the page about families and prophets before we left.

At one point, we were sharing the Book of Mormon with a woman who got all excited and went back into her house to get some “reading material that will blow us away.” She came out and started to bash us...... with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet she had gotten over 2 years ago and knew by heart.  Priceless!

We also ate crawfish off a table. That was an interesting experience.  After they cook and boil everything, they dump it out on a table and you dig in.  I have never seen so much crawfish in my life.  I think they cooked about 50 pounds of the stuff.  Sister XYZ wouldn't open any because she felt like they were looking at her.

We've been reading the Book of Mormon with her, and she really has this big beef with Laman and Lemuel.  A direct quote -- "DO YOU EVER READ THIS AND WANT TO PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE?"

About an hour into tracting I look at my companion and say "I just realized, we haven't met anybody with a full set of teeth yet."

The collection of large exotic bugs we've caught and killed in our apartment is getting out of hand and we're considering pinning them to a board and selling it to a local museum

President, My companion and I really, really, really need to stay together in Cullman. There is a very important reason that would make you believe this needs to happen and I will gladly tell you when I have figured it out.

The man said, " I think it's about time you Mormons stand up for your rights because there ain't nothing wrong with havin’ more than one wife."   We denied.  He said, "Yes you do!!  Don't try to hide it!  Stand up for your rights!  (But don't let them marry more than two.  I think it gets out of hand with more than two.)"

This wild lady told us she didn't agree with the Book of Mormon, explaining how she thought the gospel could be taught to people through MICHAEL JACKSON SONGS.  Yeaaah you read that right.

A member said to us, "If mosquitos sucked fat instead of blood, I would be set. I would be totally fine with them." haha so true with the southern squish!

We walked up to a door to knock, and instead of a guard dog, they had a guard PIG!

Hispanics just love to feed us, and it was AMAZING!  I tried to tell her in Spanish that I want to bring my family here after my mission and pay her to cook for all of us.   But the word for “pay” and “beat” are really similar (pegar and pagar) so I accidentally said I was gonna bring my family and beat her!   haha My companion was dying of laughter and then the family was...it was hilarious

No matter how many times you chat with a closed minded Baptist in Wal-Mart about their traditional spaghetti sauce it always ends with, "Baby, I'll be praying for your eyes to be opened. Stay sweet sughar.

We meet some real interesting people. This one Catholic lady answers the door and we ask if we could read her an uplifting scripture and say a prayer with her!  She says "OMG Y'ALL ARE SO PRETTY, IT IS SUCH A SHAME Y'ALL ARE GOING TO HELL.

I was telling the Jones family all about one of my favorite desserts called a 'Pizookie' (a chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven with vanilla ice cream on it) and so we wanted to make it together! One of the kids asked them a couple days later, "When are the sister missionaries coming over with bikinis?"

Have you ever wondered why there are so many dead armadillos on the roads of Alabama? My companion and I found the answer last night. We were driving and we found a live armadillo crossing the road. We had the car at a complete stop and the first thing it does is head straight for the car tire.  Smart hiding place...

I've decided that old redneck men are my favorite! So stubborn, but they have the funniest humor ever! PEC on Sundaywas the best, I've never been in a meeting where everybody was offering their tractor for service... haha   Love it.

We went to the nursing home to visit a member that can't attend church. She was talking to us and said that she got a new roommate.  My companion goes on to say, "Oh yeah? That's cool. How often do y'all switch out?" I turned to her and whispered, "Sister, they die."

Yesterday at English class I asked the people to correct my Spanish if I said anything incorrectly, but instead of saying Espanol I said Espany’all.  I can officially speak Spanish in Southern!  Mission accomplished!

James kept telling us his wife was "on the other side." So I just assumed she was dead. I kept testifying to him that he'd see his wife again. Well turns out he meant the other side of town.  He says, "Yeh, she moved a few years ago." It was seriously so funny.  But after the lesson we invited him to be baptized and he accepted!

I’ve decided missionary work is one big knock knock joke. We knock. They say: Who's there? We say: The missionaries! They say: Missionaries who? And it goes back and forth like that until they just open the door.

Well, I know you’re pondering on transfer stuff ;) if you decide to release me I would love to go to a Spanish branch, or it would be so awesomerrrr to stay with Sister XYZ -- just so you know so when you pray about names you can tell Heavenly Father about the options!  haha

Our investigator Tina told us that she got baptized in a Pentecostal church in between our last visit. Not exactly what we wanted her to do but at least she's trying to follow Christ.

At the baptism right after the closing song and before the closing prayer Lakeisha breaks the spirit of things and says super loud "OH LOOK AT THAT ROACH!"  We all look and lo and behold there was a cockroach the size of a rat just sitting on the wall. Her reaction was sooo out of place and dramatic. Love to shake things up a bit!

Saturday we went tracting... we knocked on a lady's door during the football game and we offered service.  She glared at us, waved her remote and said, "Not during the game you’re not!  BYE,” very sarcastically.

We knocked on this woman’s door and we asked her what makes her happy and she answered by saying, "People who don't knock on my door."  As we were walking away, the door opened back up and her daughter yelled, "Goodbye" and slammed the door again.

Y’all have impacted me in so many ways and I am so grateful to have you be my Mission President. I am so thankful for that! I will see you “on the other side” in “the land of endless P-days.”

While tracting we saw a huge pillar of black smoke!  These three ladies were running around frantically while their neighbors sat on their porches, doing nothing, and yelling, "You'd better call the fire department!" When we finally reached the house, we saw a huge pile of furniture on fire in their back yard. Not only that, but the fire had spread to a telephone pole and set it blazing as well!  With the help of a water spout and five gallon buckets we were able to get the fire under control.  It turns out that these three ladies had found four snakes in their living room that day. They killed three of them but couldn't find the last one. I don't know how they came to this conclusion, but they thought the only option was to empty their living room into their back yard and set it all on fire! There were couches, bed frames, TV's, and all sorts of stuff -- they just burned it all to a crisp. They may have done something ridiculously stupid, but they were super sweet and very appreciative of our help. We sat there and talked to them for about an hour while what was left of the fire burned out. We learned that they had recently lost a son/brother in an accident at the lake, where he drowned. We were able to teach them about how they will see him again, and that he was probably learning about the gospel right now. We asked them if they wanted to hear about the gospel that he was currently learning. They seemed super excited to have that kind of a connection with him, and even more excited that they could learn how to be with him again.  [Footnote:]  Months later in a letter from this missionary…President, remember that crazy story about the fire? Yeah.... one of those ladies is getting BAPTIZED! And don't worry, she is very sane. It's her sister that starts fires and stuff. Anyway, she now has a soft baptismal date!

On our way to FHE yesterday we accidentally hit a squirrel on the road. We went back to pick it up and used it as an object lesson during FHE.  I’m not sure how proper it is to use a dead squirrel in a FHE, but everyone loved it and if anything, they can look back on "that one day the missionaries pulled a dead squirrel out of their backpack to teach us a memorable lesson."

President, here’s a funny from home!  I'm taking a communications exam in the BYU testing center right? When suddenly I start laughing to myself like a crazy person. The exam question was: "Imagine you're visiting a family in Alabama and a tornado touches down nearby...?”  Seriously?   Okay, I'll try to “imagine!”

My companion and I were lying in bed one night and I had a couple books on my bed.  We were talking and then we hear a huge thump!  I get scared out of my wits and throw my blanket over my head. My companion throws her blanket over her head and screams!  Turns out that one of my books had fallen off the bed.  It scared us both so bad.  Also… why did we throw the blanket over our heads? It doesn't make sense. If a robber had come in, would it make the robber disappear if we threw something over our heads?  Nope!

On Halloween we walked up to people and simply said "Trick or treat." They gave us candy and we gave themmormon.org card in return.  At the last house we started chatting with these four dads.  A few minutes goes by and the owner says, "Wait, y'all are the real deal?  Those aren't costumes?!"  It turned into an amazing discussion where we were able to testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Oh we ate that up like candy. Literally. We walked away uplifted and with a bag full of candy.

I started the week off good with some good southern food!  Have you ever heard of chocolate gravy for biscuits and gravy?  It's incredible and it's changed my life and my pants size... haha

My companion and I were talking about the eventful night we had and then, all of a sudden we see a mouse scurry across the floor.  ahh!!  NOT OK!!  We finally caught it this morning on one of those sticky pads and my companion comes in and says, "Sister, I need to kill this thing."  The next thing I hear is metal bouncing off of our tile floor. She slammed her bike lock on its head.  I think I am going to be scarred from that.

At our Book of Mormon study class I asked who would like to offer the opening prayer.  After about 45 seconds of silence a voice from the congregation said, "Well....I would, but......I'm under the influence....." Everyone was kind of shocked and confused!  Something like that happens every week here.....it's hilarious!!!

Here in the “Buckle of the Bible Belt” I sometimes feel like I’m Moses parting the "Redneck Sea" every time I pull out the Book of Mormon... but if you want to be happy, that's the source, I promise.

We tracted Elm Street the other day... Let's be honest, there were a few nightmares on Elm Street that day. This one lady saw us walking down the street and she ran inside and shut her door.  So what did we do?  We knocked anyways. She didn't answer. Then another lady yelled from her yard, "Keep walking! We ain't interested!" Bless their hearts.

My companion and I were tracting when this old-man car driven by thugs drove past us reeeeeally slowly. The thug driver yelled to us, "[Dang] girl! Why you walkin' around?  Won't yo' man take you anywhere?"  Not quite sure how to respond, haha. I held up the copy of the Book of Mormon I was carrying and declared with a smile, "We're Jesus people!"   PAUSE.  "Oh.  SORRY!" he said.  Then the thugs drove away.  Best turn off ever!

I was a little homesick over Thanksgiving. It was okay though, I was grateful to be fed (even if lady bugs were dropping from the ceiling onto my plate as I was eating.  Country problems)

Us: "How are you doing Sir?"

The Man: "Wish I had been born RICH instead of pretty!"- He then continues to walk on by.

We thought were going to die because the mom was smoking with an oxygen tank right next to her!  Our investigator said, don’t worry she’s always done that.  Surprisingly, that didn't give us any comfort!

As we are walking toward a house we are discussing if the man is naked or if he is wearing nude colored tight shorts. hahaha we were so far away we couldn’t tell.   We get up to the door and knock and he says "come on in!" and my companion can see him through the screen on the couch with his hands behind his head waiting for us... NAKED.  FULL ON.   We chuck a mormon.org card at his door (withOUT our number on it) and run away from naked man’s house.

My companion ran over a squirrel while we were out together.  Do you wanna hear the worst part?  She could have dodged it.  We weren't even going fast, and it was just sitting there in the road, but she assumed it would move... it never did.  On an unrelated note, I now drive when we are together.

She said her full name is Amabala....which is Alabama spelled backwards because her father is a huge Alabama fan. Welcome to Alabama folks, where even the children are named after the football team!

Dear President Hanks, Here's a poem I heard this week:   “Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, The AC was blowing, 'cause we're in the South.”  Accurate.

We tracted into this lady who let us in to talk. But her stinkin’ wiener dog would bark and bark and bark!  We had a hard time hearing one another because of it. There was one point where the lady had to get up to answer the phone and we were alone with the dog.  My companion leaned over at the dog, and said, "I'm going to bite your nose off!" I couldn't stop laughing for the rest of the time.

President, the Sisters bake us cookies all the time and sew our clothes.  Honestly, if there weren’t sister missionaries in the world I would probably be proselyting in my garments by now (that was a joke!)

A family from the church of Christ lured us into a bash. They were just asking loaded questions and basically telling us that we were going to hell.  Hell did not sound very bad compared to the house they were living in.(No AC and hotter inside than out.) We just told them we came to minister and not be ministered to.

Driving along one day we saw an old man bent over in the road. We pulled up and asked what he was doing. He said, "I'm cleaning the street, trying to make America great again." Oh, how I love the South.

Something funny about opening this area for sisters. Living where the Elders lived is.... interesting.  I'm sure they did their best to clean up.  HAHA.  Out of all the notes they could have left about investigators and the area, they simply left a note that said, "When it rains, slugs come up the sink.  Just FYI."  *Facepalm*

Yesterday, Bruce was baptized! It went very well, and the spirit was thicker than gravy on a biscuit!

Some things have become easier because of my companion, who has messed with the wires in an alarm clock in such a way that in order for it to stop ringing, we both have to get out of bed and push 2 different buttons at the same time from across the room.  So 6:30 rising is easier

My companion and I have been great this past week.  Our investigator came back to church and he didn't smoke in the restroom again so that was good.

As an old country song says, "Raising Alabama only takes three: the Good Lord, You, and Me.”

The other day, while studying, I read Alma 14. I learned that sometimes it is just better to shut your mouth and walk away when others want to have contention.  Of course when Alma and Amulek walk away in that chapter they leave a big pile of rubble and a bunch of dead people.  But the point is still the same.  Cool connection.

My companion and I are planning a 40-day fast from all negativity, gossip, and worldliness. Every time we slip up we have to eat something gross like a raisin. I think it's going to be BIG for us.

Another lady we talked to at a yard sale was such a hoot, we told her who we were after talking for a few minutes and she just yelped and got so excited!!  She said "They should call all y’all “Joy Spreaders” instead of missionaries! You just filled my soul with Joy this morning!!!

One goal I have is read the Old Testament cover to cover. A gem I found this morning is Genesis 36:2, which mentions a daughter named, "Aholibamah." Sister Moline and I laughed, because this describes our mission!

Be sure and laugh a bit.  Enjoy your mission!

With much love,

President Hanks

Steadfast in the Savior!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Well hello there!!

Hmmm.... where to even start. It's been an interesting week, nothing really too crazy has happen'd these last few days. It's been a lot of hard work these last few days, lots of new service projects. Were all super pumped for the new (JUSTSERVE.ORG) website the church has helped put up. (If you have not gone on there, DO IT!!) We're all very excited about it thou, It will be good to start breaking down all of the stereo types for the Mormons, and better yet for all of the missionary's.

One of the things thats really stuck out to me the last few days is a video that we were shown as part of one of President Hanks training's go watch that also, its called (He's still Risen! by..... igniter?) but as I was watching it and as I have come out here I really have started to be so grateful for that day in history. The day Christ came back from the dead and by doing so granted all of us our lives again. To know that NO one is going to be gone forever. That we are all going to be able to come back again, ITS SO EXCITING!!

Elder Whetten and I have been getting along super well! we have really started to enjoy each others company and over the last few weeks I have been learning a ton from him and about myself. He's a very kind hearted person, Quiet, but he things about things. He's smart! and I've really been enjoying the time that we have been able to serve together over these last few months. Thats so much for all of the Birthday wishes!! I'm excited and hope that we have a goodSunday that day! Im'a be a little sad its fast sunday so no cake for breakfast haha.!! but well get to that on monday!! 

Well i love ya!!

Thanks for everything
Elder Landon Aldana