Monday, July 26, 2010

Fun and exciting times in Burlington

Time just seems to be fly by.  We are already starting to hit different anniversary marks with Alex's mission.  In about another week, it will be one year since Alex received his mission call.  The way Alex put it was like this:
"So this week has flown by! The longer I am out on my mission the faster it seems to go by! I am so close to my year mark I can taste it! Only three more months to go, and if they keep getting faster I am going to be home before I blink! It just blows my mind how fast the time goes by out here, but then at the same time it seems like it has been forever since I have been home."
In his letter home a couple of weeks ago, Alex went on to talk about how he is now so into missionary work, that it is hard for him to remember what life was like before being a missionary. 
"I don’t really remember what it was like to wake up and do normal things ha ha. It is actually a really neat feeling, I finally feel like a real missionary. But I still feel like a greenie at the same time! Its crazy to see how much you learn out here too, I mean it feels like I don’t know anymore than when I left but when I think about the difference in Wamego [(first area)] and then here it is HUGE!!"
Getting into the missionary work and working hard is what makes the time go by so fast.  Burlington has been a great place for Alex to do missionary work as well.  Alex told us that he was finally able to perform a baptism in this area.  He was so excited to tell us all about it in his letter.  I won't go into all of the details here, but Alex told us that the baptismal service went very well and the person that was baptized was very excited to become a member of the LDS church.  Alex told us that they are currently teaching several more people that have also been touched by the gospel and are close to being baptized.  What a great blessing for the Burlington branch.  It is always great to see the church grow whether it is in a small branch or a large ward.

One of the nice things about baptisms is that it provides an opportunity for a missionary who might have been transferred out of the area, to return to the area to attend the baptismal service.  In this case, Alex's previous companion who had been transferred to a different city, was able to return briefly for this baptismal service.  If you hadn't noticed already from several of the previous posts, Alex and his previous companion had become very good friends and loved working together in both Lawrence and Burlington.  Being back in Burlington for the baptismal service also gave them a chance to relive some of the old days, OK maybe not that old, and do a little tracting together again.   Alex told us that while they were out tracting once again, they ran across a bunch of guys that might have had a little too much to drink.  When Alex and his companion met them, these guys were about to climb onto a riding lawn mower just to spin a few donuts.  Alex and his former companion stopped to talk to these guys just to see what they were doing and ended up striking up a conversation about the church (as if that wasn't the plan all along ;-).  They actually set up an appointment to teach one of them the next day but Alex told us that the appointment didn't turn out so well.  However that isn't the end of the story.  The next Sunday at church, Alex and his companion where sitting in Sacrament meeting when one of the members of the branch tapped them on the shoulder and told them that somebody was out in the hallway wanting to see them.  It turned out to be this guy from the riding lawn mower contact.  It turns out that this guy had walked all the way across town just to find the missionaries at the Mormon church and to ask them to come back and teach him more.  The whole thing really surprised both of these Elders, that somebody would actually go to all of that effort just to find out more about the gospel.  As Alex put it, usually the missionaries are having to work hard to find people to teach.  How often does somebody just show up at the church and ask to be taught more.  I guess we will see if there is anymore to this story later on.

I mentioned at the beginning of this entry that one of the people that Alex had been teaching was baptized a couple of weeks ago.  Well this last weekend Alex was able to baptize two more people.  Alex told us that all of these people are really great and that they all have wonderful testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel.  In every one of his letters this last month when he talked about the people that he has been teaching and how close they were to being baptized, he has been so excited.  Not just because these people were going to be baptized, but because they were happy to be joining the church and that it would be making a big difference in their lives.

We received Alex's memory card from his camera this week.  That means that we have new pictures of where Alex has been and what he has been doing.  I picked out a few of them that relate to some of the previous blog entries.  A while back Alex told us all about the new (old) Schwinn bike that he picked up from one of the other missionaries.  Well Alex sent us a picture of this sweet ride.

The internet picture that I posted of the bike was close, but the color was a little bit different.  We haven't heard much more about this bike for a while.  Although, Alex also sent us some video of he and his companion jumping their bikes off a ledge on the side of the road.  From the looks of the video, it didn't seem like one of their more brilliant ideas.  But it was funny ;-). 

We aren't really sure what Alex and his companion were trying to do in this picture, but they sure seem to be excited about whatever it was.  These two missionaries just loved doing missionary work and from the sound of all of Alex's letters, they always seemed to be excited to get going every day.

For some reason riding lawn mowers seems to be one of Alex's fascinations out there in Kansas.  The last time that Alex sent home pictures from his camera, it also included a picture of him on a brand new riding mower just excited to take a ride.  His other fascination seems to be NASCAR.  We have heard several stories about discussions with people that they met that started off talking about NASCAR.  Alex even gave us a run down on all of the top NASCAR drivers.  All of these conversations eventually lead to missionary work and teaching the gospel, but hey, if NASCAR gets you a foot in the door, why not take it.  In this case, if climbing on a riding lawn mower and doing a little community service gets you an opportunity to teach, the mission better start teaching missionaries how to work one of these things.

I have never actually been to Kansas or any of the other mid-western states.  But I have heard that it is very flat.  In this picture Alex is walking down one of the streets that heads out of town.  If you click on the picture and take a closer look at this road, it doesn't seem to end until it hits the horizon where the earth finally curves enough that you can no longer see the road.  The only place in Utah were you can see this same kind of thing is out near the Great Salt Lake on the Bonneville Salt Flats. This is where many car enthusiasts meet once a year to try to set new land speed records due to the fact that the salt flats are so flat and long.  Everywhere else in Utah is mountains.  I can just imagine that there have probably been a few car races along this road as well.  Hopefully none of them involved any mission vehicles. ;-)

A couple of months ago Alex and his companion had the opportunity to tour a nuclear power plant.  Here you see a couple of missionaries ready to teach the gospel no matter where they are.  Give them a couple of hard hats, safety glasses and some gloves and they are ready for anything.  In the letter that Alex sent home when he told us all about this tour, he was very impressed by all of the pipes, tubes and electronics that goes into running a nuclear power plant.  He just couldn't get over just how complex a place like that is.  Of course they couldn't actually get in to see the nuclear reactor itself, but they did get to see a lot of cool stuff.

It has been a long time since Alex was able to sit in a chair without touching his feet on the ground.  I guess he still has some growing to do. 

Alex sent us this video of a typical Kansas rain storm.  Well maybe it isn't really a typical rain storm.  More like a typical tornado.  Luckily they were both safely inside of the church building rather than outside in the middle of the storm.  Alex told us in his last letter that they had another tornado watch this last week.  The way that he describes it is "fun and unusual".  I think that I would describe it more as being a bit scary.  He told us all about the chain lightning during the storms and how sometimes the lightning seems to go from the ground up to the clouds rather than the other way around.  Just another day in the life of a couple of missionaries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment