Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The end of a good run and the start of another

It is time for transfers again.  It is strange how fast six weeks goes by.  The sad news about this transfer is that Alex's companion may be transferred out of Burlington which means that Alex will be getting a new companion.  Alex told us in his last letter that he is really sad to see the end of the "triumphant run" that he and his companion have had.  Alex also said that 4 1/2 months is a really long time for a missionary companionship to be together so they are really grateful that they were able to spend so much time together.  These two missionaries have done a lot of good work over the last few months and have had a really good time doing it.  This is the kind of thing that makes missionary work worth all of the effort that it takes.

From what Alex told us, it seems that two new assistants to the president where also called.  Apparently one of them is also a former high school wrestler as well.  Alex said that he got a call from a missionary friend of his who asked Alex what weight he wrestled in high school.  Alex told him that he wrestled at 152 but now weighs around 170.  It seems that maybe this new assistant to the president might have wanted to setup a little wrestling match on a future P-Day.  Unfortunately, Alex is much bigger than the other missionary which meant that it really wouldn't have been a fair match.  But who knows, there might be some other opportunities for Alex to coach a little more like he did in Wamego.  Being a volunteer coach is a good way to get to know a lot of people in the community.

Alex and his companion spent their last week together trying to teach and work as much as they possibly could.  Alex told us about several of the people that they are currently teaching along with several new people that they have recently met.  Some of them have been very interested in learning more about the LDS church and have been spending quite a bit of time reading the Book of Mormon.  In one of their visits, Alex mentioned that the person that they were teaching had a lot of questions about different things that they had read.  Missionaries love it when people have questions because that just means that the person is very interested in what they are learning and also wanting to learn more.  I mentioned that Alex and his companion had spent time this last week working as well, meaning that they spent time doing more than just tracting and teaching.  Alex told us about a couple that they have been teaching who had recently cut down a huge tree in their yard but had not yet stacked the wood and cleaned up.  So Alex and his companion decided to pitch in and do their part to help this couple clean up their yard.  Later on that day these missionaries also baked a big double layer chocolate cake for the couple since both of their birthdays were coming up soon.  A mission is really all about service in all different ways.

It seems that Alex and his companion have had a small problem that they have had to deal with lately.  Apparently Burlington doesn't see very many new faces in town, especially two young good looking Elders.  Alex said that almost everyday since they arrived in Burlington, there is some kind of incident that happens involving girls between the ages of 13 and 21.  Now before you jump to any conclusions here, what I am talking about are incidents such as a car full of girls driving down the street and then going around the block or flipping a U-turn just so that they can drive past these Elders again.  Alex said that it was really funny when a group of girls drove past them for a second time and had just turned around for a third.  At that point both Alex and his companion quickly shot down an alley just so that they could ditch the girls.  One of the funniest stories that Alex told what when they were in the super market one day and actually saw two girls run into each other at the end of an isle because they were so distracted checking out these two missionaries.  There is nothing to worry about here, Alex said that these incidents happen almost every day and they both think that it is really funny.

Well transfer day finally came and sure enough, Alex's companion did get transferred.  Alex now has a new companion for at least the next six weeks and they are both trying to figure each other out and trying to move forward with their missionary work.  It is sometimes a little hard to get a new companion especially when the last companionship worked so well.  But life as a missionary is always changing and there are always new things to learn from every new experience.

So here is a glimpse into the life of a missionary on a very busy day.  Alex told us that they finally had a baptism the other day, which is really great.  In addition to the family of the young man you was baptized, they also had a lot of people there who are currently interested in learning more about the LDS church.  During the baptism service, Alex had the opportunity to give the talk about the Holy Ghost and what that means.  Then in addition to all of that, Alex said that they had a really crazy Sunday too.  Alex spoke in Sacrament meeting, taught the gospel principles lesson during Sunday School, helped teach the young men during priesthood meeting and then right after church the branch members ask Alex to put together a program to be presented at the senior citizens center.   Alex said that part of the senior citizens program included Alex and a few other boys playing the guitar, singing a song and then teaching a small lesson about faith.  Alex mentioned that one of the young men that participated in the program, gave their little group the name of "Elder Nicholes and the three Nephites".  Then after doing all of that, they went home and help make dinner for the family that they live with and a couple that they have been teaching.  I am sure that when Sunday was over, Alex was very tired but also very satisfied with all that he was able to accomplish.

In addition to all of these events that have happened in the last week, Alex also told us about some really great experiences that they had with some of the other people that they are currently teaching.  Hopefully these kinds of experiences will continue and more good things will happen.

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