Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The work goes on even if you have to do it alone

Alex has had a exciting last couple of weeks.  On top of it all, he has had one of the more unique experiences a missionary could have.  One of the basic rules of being a missionary from the day they are set apart until the day they are released is to never be without your companion.  Well, Alex has been without a companion for almost a week and a half.  Of course he wasn't really physically alone, but as it turned out, his current companion was called into the office as the new assistant to the President.  This new calling as an assistant required that Alex's companion needed to leave immediantely for the mission office in Independence which left Alex without a companion until the next transfers.  That also left Alex as the only zone leader in Manhattan, juggling two zones and trying to schedule Ward members or other missionary companionships who could be temporary companions so that he wasn't left entirely alone.  Alex told us that it was one of the most stressful weeks of his mission but his Ward members really stepped up to help him out and he even had some help from a Wamego friend. 

When he wrote to us on his P-Day during this time, he told us that he had gone jogging in the morning as part of his daily exercise program.  Being a little confused since he didn't have a companion to go jogging with, we wondered who accompanied him on his run.  He told us that he had talked a couple of other Elders into going with him that morning but not exactly in the way that you would think.  Of course Alex laced up his running shoes for a nice long jog while the other two Elders started up the car engine.  It turned out that both of these other Elders ended up following Alex in the car rather than actually jogging along with him.  In fact it was even worse than that.  As one of the Elders drove the car, the other Elder brought along his pillow and blanket and slept in the back seat the whole time.  Well these two Elders may not have enjoyed the same run along some new dirt roads that Alex found near their appartment, but at least they were good sports to get up early and go with him so that Alex could enjoy a good run on a P-Day.

Alex has really had a good time serving in Manhattan, Kansas.  There are several reasons why he has been enjoying this assignment so much.  One reason is that Manhattan is not too far away from Wamego where he first served almost a year ago.  During that time in Wamego, Alex met a lot of really good people and it has been fun for him to go back there and spend some time as a zone leader.  Alex told us that he recently got to spend the whole day in Wamego with one of the youth in the Branch, as his companion.  This is the same kid that Alex used to wrestle with back when he was a voluteer coach at Wamego High School and also the same kid that spent spring break last year with Alex and his companion in Lawrence.  Anyway, one thing that they were able to do while in Wamego was go back and revisit some of the people that Alex and his former Wamego companion had started to teach.  Alex didn't really go into detail about how any of the visits went, but his said that they visited a lot of people, worked hard and had a really good day.  He also said that the Elders that are currently serving in Wamego are doing well and are close to having a baptism there as well.

Alex wrote us this week and told us that he finally got a new companion after spending almost a week and a half without one.  Alex only got to spend just a few weeks with his first companion in Manhattan and he said that he really learned a lot about missionary work and how to be a good leader.  Alex was really sad to have to lose his companion when he was called to be an assistant because Alex said that they both really got along great together.  But from what Alex said in his last letter, his new companion is going to be just as good and Alex is really excited about it.  In fact Alex told us that a lot of really good missionaries were transferred into his zone including his old MTC companion who is one of the new district leaders. Alex is really looking forward to working with these new Elders for however long he is allowed to serve in Manhattan.  Of course when it comes to new companions, one of Alex's first criteria for determining how well they will get along is how much does the new companion like to exercise.  Of course that isn't the only criteria, but whenever Alex has gotten a new companion, right along with telling us just how good of a missionary and hard working they are, is something like "plus he loves sports and we get along really, really well".  That's Alex, he isn't satisfied working hard doing missionary work during the week, he also needs a companion that is willing to workout hard on P-Day as well.

Despite all of the work that is involved with being a zone leader, the proselyting work is moving forward for Alex and his companion in Manhattan as well.  Alex told us this week that they are planning on a baptism this weekend and that they have also found some new people to teach.  He also went on to tell us a little bit about some of the people that they have recently met and how tough some of their lives have been.  Alex is hoping that as they are able to teach these people some more, that they will be able to feel the spirit, recognize how the gospel could make a difference and really change their lives for the better. 

Here is a bit of a funny story that Alex included in his last letter.  Apparently during the week and a half while Alex was without a companion, the Relief Society President called and ask him if he would come and teach the sisters about faith for a few minutes.  Of course Alex said yes and started to prepare the short lesson while trying to handle everything else that was going on.  Well Sunday came along and Alex attended Relief Society meeting rather than his usual Priesthood meeting.  Alex said that he was a bit nervous because the Ward that he is serving in now is huge which means that the Relief Society room is usually packed.  So he started off the lesson by explaining to the sisters that since he has been on his mission, he has taught every auxiliary organization in a Ward except for the Relief Society.  He got a good laugh out of the sisters when he told them that not only was this the first time that he has taught Relief Society, it was also the first time that he has ever attended a Relief Society meeting in his entire life.  Alex said that the lesson went very well but the funny part of the story was that the following week Alex was invited back to the Relief Society meeting again to talk about the new missionary program and the pass along cards that they use.  So after never having attended or taught a Relief Society meeting ever before in his life, Alex has now taught back to back weeks in the Manhattan Ward.  Of course he joked with the sisters that now he would have to find a new excuse to come back to Relief Society next week.

Oh one last note, to the Hinds family, Alex says that you are one of his favorite families.  But then I am sure Alex says that to everybody.  ;-)

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