Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Developing your talents and other missionary preparations

So to start out with, Elder Scott of the council of the twelve apostles visited with the missionaries a  couple of weeks ago.  Apparently he was assigned to speak at a Stake or regional conference in the Topeka area.  One of the things that the general authorities will do while on assignment is hold special meetings with the missionaries while they are in the area and this conference was no different.  Alex spent most of his letter talking about the meeting with Elder Scott and about the things that were said.  During the meeting Elder Scott allowed the missionaries to ask him any question that they liked.  This was one of Alex's favorite parts of the meeting.  Alex told us that there is a missionary from South America in their mission who primarily works with the spanish speaking people and really doesn't speak much english himself.  During the meeting this spanish missionary got up and asked Elder Scott some questions about his relationship with Jesus Christ.  Of course the questions that the spanish missionary asked were in spanish and Elder Scott was able to translate for the rest of the english speaking missionaries.  But there was one point when the spanish missionary asked Elder Scott a very personal question about Christ and at that point Elder Scott stopped translating and continued listening very intently to the question.  His answer to this missionary's question was very short but yet very powerful.  Of course since Elder Scott was no longer translating, the rest of the english speaking missionaries had no idea what was said or what his answer was.  Finally another missionary stood up and asked Elder Scott if he could finish translating the question and his answer.  Elder Scott proceeded to do so and as Alex described it, everybody's jaw just dropped at the spiritual insight that Elder Scott shared with just his very simple answer.  Not long after that, Elder Scott again bore his testimony about his relationship with the Savior.  Alex told us that it was spirit talking to spirit rather than just words.

Alex told us about a scary experience that they had during Sacrament meeting.  Alex and his companion have been teaching several people lately and some of them have been attending church rather regularly.  Well on Sunday during Sacrament meeting, one of the people that they have been teaching suffered from a seizure during the closing hymn.  Of course things stopped right there and they had to call an ambulance to take this man directly to the hospital.  Alex told us that they were able to go over to the hospital a little later to give him a blessing and that this man is doing Ok now although he is still having some health issues.  That is the type of experience that you don't see everyday unless maybe if you actually work in a hospital emergency room.  But for a missionary, this is the kind of thing that is totally unexpected yet also something that they need to be prepared for spiritually.

Once again Alex started off his latest letter by saying "Well, good things continue to happen here in Manhattan".  Alex and his companion had a really good Thanksgiving which usually means that they ended up enjoying more than just one Thanksgiving dinner.  This is the time of year where if Alex doesn't watch it, he might really get fat.  During the holiday season people really like to have the missionaries over for dinner and sometimes that might mean more than one dinner per night.  Thanksgiving and Christmas always seem to be some of the multiple dinner occasions.  Well, by the time Alex and his companion got done visiting everybody on Thanksgiving, I think they had visited at least three different families, held a church history DVD "movie night" with one of the families and just had a good time all around.

Alex also shared a story about a girl he met at one of the families that they visited during Thanksgiving, who has down syndrome.  For any of you who attended high school with Alex, you will probably remember how Alex spent several months helping out in the seminary class for many of the down syndrome kids.  As a result, there was one special girl that decided that Alex was her boy friend and from then on, that was the way it was going to be.  Alex was always very kind to her and tried his best to make her feel special.  Because of this seminary experience and other similar experiences with these special kids, Alex has always had a soft spot in his heart for them.  This girl who Alex met during Thanksgiving was no different.  Alex told us that she reminded him of his old seminary "girl friend" back in high school.

Alex shared another little tidbit with us as well. I'm sure you all know how much Alex likes sports and also how much he really enjoys wrestling in particular.  Well in Alex's words, here is a realization that he has come to:
"Isn’t it crazy how wrestling has allowed me to share the gospel with people? Legit!  Yesterday in Sunday school we taught a lesson on developing our talents, and it really made me think about how wrestling has been a lot more for me than just a sport. It has helped me to reach out to people and help them. J.R. sent me a really nice letter, and I was only able to meet him because of wrestling. It made me feel really good!"
As has been mentioned several time on this blog, wrestling and his love of other sports has really had an impact on Alex's missionary work.  From coaching at Wamego high school a year ago and developing a very good friendship with one of their wrestlers to using wresting stories in Sacrament meeting talks and even starting up conversations with people just through sports, it has made a difference.

Oh by the way, Alex also told us that he has received some really great letters recently from his friends back home.  He is really sorry that he hasn't been able to write back but please don't let that stop you from sending the occational letter in the future.  Alex has been busier than ever at this time in his mission and if he is able to find a spare moment or two, he will try to write.  So he just wants you all  to know that he is greatful for good friends.

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