Saturday, January 23, 2010

Amazing how things just work out...

We have received a couple of letters from Alex since the last time we updated this blog. He has been in his new area for a few weeks now and working harder than ever to find people who are searching for the gospel. His recent letters have included more details about the people that he and his companion have met both members of the LDS church and those who are just listening to what the missionaries have to say. I won't share many of the details here of the stories that are of a more personal nature, but if you would like to hear more about them, just contact us privately. But I will say that just like with his last area, Alex has met some very great people some of whom he and his companion are now teaching and others who are helping them teach. Drawing from my own experience as well as from what Alex has told us, there are always those people in every area who are placed there by our Heavenly Father to just watch over the missionaries in a similar way as the missionary's own parents would. To those people, we say Thank You!

As always there are the funny missionary stories and this week's letter is no different. Alex, for whatever reason, decided to buy a new suit... well maybe not so new. He described it as a "super ugly suit that looks like it's from the 60's". Hey, I lived through the 60's and my suits weren't super ugly... ah well, maybe they were. ;-) He seemed to be really proud of this suit especially since it only cost $5. Leave it up to the missionaries to find a bargain. I am guessing that in this case, he might have overpaid for the suit. Apparently his companion also found an equally impressive suit and they both decided that they would wear their recently acquired duds to church the following Sunday. But before Alex could put on his suit, he had to take care of one minor issue. Choosing a tie to go with it. You see Alex inherited a very unique trait. He is very challenged in the area of selecting which colors go with what. A trait that is probably shared by many men only in Alex's case it is a bit more pronounced through genetics. So at a dinner appointment the night before and following the customary missionary spiritual thought that follows, Alex asked the hostess (one of those people that I referred to in the previous paragraph) for a little help picking out a tie. They must have done a really good job picking out a tie because Alex said that everybody at church loved their new clothes. I just hope Alex doesn't decide to send the suit home at some point. I don't think that I could re-live the 60's!

Besides teaching the gospel and working with the members of the church in his area, Alex is also receiving some good experiences in exercising his priesthood. In his last letter, Alex told us a story about how a young priest in their ward was recently T-boned in a traffic accident in heavy fog. The injuries were serious but not as serious as they could have or maybe should have been. As part of their missionary services as well as just looking out for another human being that you care about, Alex and his companion visited this young man in the hospital several times. As things go in these kinds of cases, Alex had the opportunity to use his priesthood to give a blessing. I'm sure this young man has also received many blessings and prayers from other family and church members as well, but calling on the Lord to help those in need can never be overdone.

He ended his last letter by telling us another funny story about going out tracking one day, knocking on a door and being greeted by a bunch of giggling high school girls. Trying to think quickly on his feet he didn't really know what to say to them so he blurted out something stupid, gave the girls some pass along cards and just move on to the next door. Keep up the good work Alex.

We received some more pictures and videos from Alex this past week. Most of the pictures were from Christmas time and all of the things that Alex and his companion were doing in Wamego.

You might ask why Alex is writing on a framed picture on the wall. According to what he told us, this picture contains all of the signatures of all of the past Elders who have worked in Wamego. Now that Alex has been transferred to Platte City, he is adding his name to the Wamego legacy.

Again you might ask, what is he wearing? Have the missionaries traded in their white shirts and ties for a more traditional monk-like robe? No, it is actually kind of an inside joke. In one of the videos that Alex sent home while in Wamego, he joked with this companion about buying matching snuggies. So for Christmas we sent both he and his companion matching embroidered snuggies. Alex loves his. We aren't quite sure what his old companion thinks of the gift.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Life in a new town...

It's been a couple of weeks since we last wrote on this blog and a lot has happened. I mentioned last time that Alex had been asked to transfer to Platte City, Missouri. Well the transfer happened just before Christmas and Alex bearly had time to adjust before getting right back into things.

One of the nice things about the Christmas holiday is that missionaries are allowed to call home. Alex spent his last P-day before Christmas in Wamego, Kansas and we had set up a time with him when he would call on Christmas day. We had originally made arrangements that he would call home at about 10:00 am Christmas morning. This would give us enough time to take care of all of our Christmas morning traditions, eat breakfast and then be ready to talk to Alex. Well just before Christmas we recieved word that he would be calling a little later around 2:00 pm rather than at the originally scheduled time. That was OK, we would just have to wait a little longer to talk is all. So Christmas morning went as expected, and we waited around for Alex's phone call. Well just like Alex, instead of calling at the time that we expected, he decided to surprise us and call about an hour earlier. The phone rang, Susan answered and there was Alex on the other end. What a surprise!

It was really nice talking with Alex on Christmas. He had asked us if it would be OK for a couple of his friends to come over as well, so that he could talked to them also. We set up the speaker phone in the middle of the room and talked and talked until we all ran out of things to talked about. It was great. Alex told us all about his transfer from Wamego to Platte City. He told us about his new companion and how hard it was to leave his previous companion. He talked about his new apartment but didn't know much about the Ward yet because he had only been in Platte City for about two days. We filled Alex in on the current status of the PG wrestling team and caught him up on everything that the family was doing. Finally it came time for him to go and get back to life as a missionary. I can tell now why Christmas and Mother's day will be our new favorite days of the year. BTW, if you didn't know. Missionaries get to call home on Mother's day too. :)

We have heard from Alex a couple of times since Christmas through his weekly letters. In his first letter home after Christmas he told us that he still didn't get a chance to meet all of the Ward members. Apparently it snowed in Platte City, just enough to shut everything down. Being from Utah, I imaged a dumping of at least a couple of feet in order for church to be cancelled on Sunday. But Alex told us that the snow storm was more like 6 to 8 inches. 6 to 8 inches, what??? My Grandma drives to church in 6 to 8 inches. OK, well she would if she were still here with us, but 6 to 8 inches doesn't seem like enough to cancel church. Of course the members of the church in Alaska probably laugh at us Utahns for cancelling church in a 2 foot snow storm. The Alaskans probably don't cancel church unless there is at least 4 feet of snow and several polar bears wandering around the church parking lot. ;)

Alex told us a funny story of what happened to him and his companion on Christmas night. Apparently Alex's companion, who hasn't driven in the snow much, was driving back to their apartment after a dinner appointment or something. The next thing they knew, they were stuck in a ditch on the side of the rode. It took a few good samaritans and a couple of trucks to pull them out of the ditch. I'm not sure if that is the best plan for contacting new investigators, but hey, whatever works right! Anyway, I guess Alex is now the new designated snow driver from now on. We'll see if Alex can do any better.

Any of you who know Alex also know how much he loves wrestling and how many friends he has made through wrestling. In fact one of Alex's best friends who joined us on Christmas day when Alex called home, is also somebody Alex wrestled with and against over the years. Anyway, you would also know that Alex was chosen last year to represent his weight among the 5A high schools in the annual wrestling All-Star matches. Well the match ups for this year's All-Star matches were finally posted last weekend and as it turns out, another one of Alex's best wrestling friends was invited to represent his weight for the 3A high schools. And to top it off, Alex's friend will be wrestling against the same kid that Alex beat in the 5A state finals last year. Ok this may not mean all that much to you, but when we told Alex about the All-Star match up, it just made his whole day. In Alex's words "Ok I am so stoked about [the All-Star match]. I am giddy! This is so legit!!!". That was the first sentence in his letter home this week. We told Alex that we would be there to watch the All-Star matches so that we could fill him in on how they went. What does this have to do with Alex and his mission? Not a whole lot, but it does show how much Alex cares about all of the relationships that he has made over the years and how much he will also care about all of the relationships that he is going to make over the next two years.

Alex is really enjoying his current assignment and his new companion. Even though he was transferred from a place he loved and given a new companion, it doesn't seem like that has slowed him down at all. In his latest letter Alex told us about all of the good things that are happening. He filled us in on many of the new people that he has met in the last couple of weeks and how the work is progressing. At the end of his letter, he said that things are going well, they are working hard and good things are happening. You really can't ask for much more than that!