Thursday, November 26, 2009

Finally we are back in Kansas (Toto)...

In Alex's last email, he filled us in on life as a new missionary in Wamego Kansas. We also received the memory card from his camera and it was full of pictures and videos. We thought it would take him at least a few months to fill up a 4 gig memory card, but leave it to Alex to make sure that we get the full scoop on what he is doing. Included on the memory card were two videos that he made with his companions. In the first video Alex takes us on a tour of his MTC dorm room and the dorm rooms of the other Elders in his district. He showed us things like the unmade beds, white shirts hung up in the closet, care packages sent to some of the missionaries by their families and treat drawers filled with candy and other snacks. For those of you who are familiar with MTV Cribs (which I'm not), Alex's version was called MTC Cribs and the spotlight crib was Club 207 (his dorm room number in the MTC). All pretty exciting stuff especially the part where he pins his own picture up next to the pictures of the other Elders' girlfriends as if he was the heart breaker that left all of these girls behind.

The next video followed the same format except this time Alex is in Kansas and the "Crib" is the house where he and his companion live. This time the tour starts out in the "General Authorities" guest room, which is basically the main room in this tiny house, proceeds into the dining room and then into the kitchen (all of which are about 4-5 foot steps apart). The tour of the refrigerator was most exciting followed by the pantry and upstairs bathroom. The cinematography made the whole thing just riveting. The video then continued into the basement, past the laundry room and into the bedrooms. Again, just very exciting stuff. You would really have to see it to believe it. But now we have a very good idea of where he lives, what he is doing and who his companions were and are.

I think I mentioned in the last post that Alex got permission to volunteer at the local high school to work with the wrestling team. Well, that is exactly what he did and he didn't waste any time doing it. Alex announced to us, both in his email and on the video, that he and his companion are now volunteer assistant coaches at Wamego High School, home of the fighting ... (hmm, I'll have to find that out later). Anyway, Alex said that the team needs some work and hopefully he can help fill in some of the gaps. The funny store about his first day as an assistant coach is that while Alex was out working with the team, his companion (still dressed in his suit as a good missionary should) was standing by talking with one of the team managers (a student at the high school). As they were watching how the practice was progressing, the team manager turned to Alex's companion and asked if he was Alex's Dad. We never heard what the response was, but on the video he just acknowledged that "yes" he is a very mature looking individual. As Alex's real Dad, I wish I looked that young. ;)

Alex also had a first taste of what it is like to be a missionary who is always prepared. Alex said that last Saturday night the 1st councilor in the Branch called and asked if Alex would give a talk the next day at Sacrament meeting. Of course as a good missionary would, he said yes and prepared to speak the next day. According to his email, the talk went very well. Alex was assigned to speak on 1 Nephi 19:23. He started out speaking on the assigned topic but then, again as a good missionary should, quickly switched the topic to "Every member a missionary". One of their goals is to work with the members and get them more involved in the missionary work. All I can say is, nice bait-and-switch and I mean that in the best possible way. ;)

Besides volunteering at the high school, Alex and his companion have been trying out some new ways to meet and serve people in the community. Since it is fall and Kansas is filled with big leafy trees, they thought it might be a good idea to rake leaves. Apparently the "serve first and teach later" idea has really been catching on. Who knew?? Oh yeah, the Prophet and General Authorities have been teaching that system, like, forever. Anyway, Alex and his companion went out one day to try their new idea and started raking the yard of one of their neighbors. It took them 5 1/2 hours and over 50 trash bags full of leaves before they finished. But after they got done with the leaf raking job, the owner of the house came out and started hugging them and telling them how much he loved the Elders. I guess the Prophet was right, serve first and teach later really seems to work. What are they going to do once all of the leaves in Wamego are gone? Maybe they will have to switch to shoveling snow. Do they get a lot of snow in Kansas??

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