Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 13, 2016

I had thought to make this email a long final goodbye, but now that the time has come, my mind is completely overwhelmed. My heart is heavy, and I am incredibly excited while at the same time incredibly nervous. Things are so weird, life is so weird. I love my mission so much. I love this work, I have never felt so fulfilled in my life. It has also given me a desire to make my whole life more fulfilling. I want to do things and be an example of good. Peace, civility, friendship, and happiness are the greatest causes to search after. Anger, hatred, incivility, judgment, and an inability to compromise are results of people who have unfulfilling lives and are unwilling to do the things that will bring them true happiness. People look for evil when they are uncentered, unbalanced, and unhappy. Well, I'm happy, and I've spent two years helping others to be happy, and I want to be able to continue to do that throughout my entire life.

Please have a great day a great week, and I will give you hugs in under 11ish days!

Elder Ahlstrom
June 8, 2016

It's great to hear from you. I'm going to keep this email a little short, not because I don't love all of you, but I have a lot planned for these last p-days, so that means email time suffers a little bit. Today I placed an order for the suit that I'm going to wear home. And next week I'm going to have a soiree. It's all very fun but a little bit sad. Actually it's really sad. It's hard to think that I'm almost done. I don't really like it. I never thought I'd come this far. Not that I ever thought I wouldn't finish, but just that I'd just serve until the end of time. I am excited to report on my mission to the high council and especially excited that dad will be there. I get letters from the high council every month and I was hoping it would be dad's turn before I came home - ha ha.It's hard to think about what to write, but I'll tell you all about it in three weeks. Please be happy and safe.

Elder Ahlstrom
May 23, 2016

Well, it's not to say I've run out of things to say, but I definitely don't have anymore catchy titles to put on my emails. I hope that you are all doing very well and that you are all happy and healthy. I'm sorry that some of my emails recently have been weirdly short lately. You know that one thing that's always hard for me is to talk about my investigators, because conversion is a very sacred personal thing. It's hard to say someone is "doing really well" and then "not so well". Coming closer to Christ is between us and Christ, so I usually wait until afterwards to talk about people. That aside, Elder Brown and I have had a really good week. I enjoy working with him a lot. I think we work very well together which is nice. We are seeing a lot of success which is even better. I love being able to work as hard as I can to the end. I must be honest, the thought of coming home is very melancholy. I want to see you all, but I will be sad not to be a missionary any more. I actually love being a missionary - a lot. It's hard, but I would do it again. If they announced that missionaries have to serve another year, I think I could manage - haha. The scariest thing is coming home. It's hard to think about coming home. Missions are easy, life is hard. I don't really want a whole lot of down time when I get back. 

(Note from mom: The bulk of Alex's letter focused on specific things that he would like to do when he returns home and personal notes to family members. He mentioned a desire to continue studying languages. I'm including his thoughts below, but I wanted to explain the reason it seems like a weird transition from the note above)

I would like to learn some new languages as I've said in the past, but i don't know exactly what yet. I feel that i should learn French better. I just love speaking languages. The only way to really talk to someone is in their own language. I even look at myself, although i speak Malagasy, the deepest expressions of self I can only truly express in English. When you hear someone speak their native tongue, you are hearing an inheritance of knowledge passed down for millennia. It's really beautiful to think about, you are hearing the words they learned as their mother whispered to them putting them to sleep. I love language, it tells you so much about people and it enlarges your borders immensely. That being said languages are really, really hard! I hope you are all doing well. Please have a great week.

Elder Ahlstrom