Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One down, one to go

Alex started out his letter a couple of weeks ago by saying that the previous week had been the best week ever.  It seems like we hear that every week.  Can you imagine having your best week ever, every week?  Most people can't even imagine a life like that.  Alex is apparently living it now on his mission. 

Alex told us all about a baptism that they just performed a couple of weeks ago.  Fortunately for these missionaries, they have some really good people in their Ward who really love to help out with the missionary work.  A brother in their Ward who together with his wife, played a big part in fellowshipping the person who was being baptized, was asked to perform the baptism.  From what Alex told us, the name of the person who was baptized was kind of hard to pronounce.   So in order to make sure that the name was pronunced correctly during the baptismal prayer, Alex wrote down her name with all of accents and pronunciations on the back of a pass along card and taped it to the front of the baptismal font.  Alex told us that the baptismal service went off without a hitch and said that everybody felt the spirit.  The next day (Sunday), Alex was asked to perform the confirmation during Sacrament meeting.  You would think that since Alex has been out for a year now, performing a confirmation wouldn't be a big deal.  But Alex told us that he was really nervous mainly because now it was his turn to make sure that he pronounced her name correctly.  This time there was no pass along card with the proper pronunciation taped to the front of anything, so he spent most of the morning before Sacrament meeting practicing the pronunciation to make sure that everything would go as smoothly as possible.  He told us that at one point before the meeting, he was so nervous that it felt like the same nervousness he used to feel right before a big wrestling match.  Well being nervous must really suit him because he wrestled very well in high school and he told us that the confirmation went very well in church. 

I mentioned that Alex has been out on his mission for a year now.  He just past his year mark about a week and a half ago, if you can believe that.  Just as a personal note: when you send your son out on a mission and you go through the experience of dropping him off at the MTC, that goodbye moment on the curb can be really rough.  Knowing that there are two long years ahead before you will see him again, seems like forever.  This last year seemed to fly by.  Now instead of two long years ahead, there is only one more to go.  Right now even one year still seems like a long time, but given that the last one went by so quickly, I'm sure that the next one will as well. 

During this last year, Alex has had a lot of great experiences.  Some much better than others and some that were really tough to get through.  I won't go into any of them again here because you can just read back through the previous blog posts to review many of those experiences.  There are many experiences that Alex has told us about in his letters that we haven't talked about on this blog.  The reason why is because the experiences just seemed to personal to be published in a public forum.  But like I have mentioned before, if you want to hear more about these experiences, just come on over to the house and we will be glad to fill you in on more of the details.

For the last couple of weeks and probably even longer than that, Alex has been telling us all about a new missionary program that they have been using.  It probably really isn't that new, but it is something that they have been doing lately and has proven to be a turning point for many people that the missionaries are teaching.  The program that they have been using is really kind of like going on a church tour at Temple Square or any other church visitor's center.  Except, rather than going through an actual visitor's center, the missionaries introduce people to the church by showing them around the church building itself.  From what Alex has said, it allows some of the people that they are teaching to really see what the church building itself is like without having to feel nervous around all of the other church members who might be there during a regular Sunday meeting.  It also allows them to feel the spirit that is always present in a church building.  Alex has shared several great stories about the experiences that he and his companion have had while introducing new investigators to the church through one of these tours.  During one of these tours, Alex told us that the person that they were teaching asked them if the building had an extra room that they could rent because it felt so peaceful just being there.  Of course they were just kidding about wanting to rent a room, but they very serious about the peaceful feeling.  According to Alex, these "Intoduction to the Church" tours are probably one of the best teaching tools that they have.  Introducing somebody to the church in this way, really makes a big difference in the way that people feel about the church, its teachings and especially about attending a regular Sunday meeting and being baptized.

Alex told us a interesting yet funny story that happened this last week.  While he and his companion were out tracting, they tracted into a girl who claimed to be a "Campus Crusader for Christ".  If you remember, Manhattan KS is the home of Kansas State University.  Anyway they were invited in and taught the first lesson to her and a friend.  Alex said that she seemed interested in what they had to say but seemed to just want to ask a lot of questions more than listen to what was being taught.  Later, Alex and his companion were invited back to teach them again.  But in the back of their minds they kind of knew where this next teaching appointment was heading.  During the next appointment this girl told them that she wanted to share some of the things that she had been studying lately.  Alex and his companion knew at that point that this would probably lead to a bible bashing session so instead of engaging in that, they just sat quietly and listened.  At one point she wanted to read some scriptures from the New Testament and asked Alex if she could borrow his bible.  Of course Alex said yes and she went on flipping through the pages of the New Testament and reading scriptures.  Then when she had finally gotten through everything that she wanted to say, she turned to Alex and his companion and asked them if they would read the bible, pray about it in order to find out if it was true.  Like these missionaries have never heard a request like before.  The funny part about this story is that while she was flipping through the bible that she had borrowed from Alex, she apparently didn't notice all of the underlined scriptures in various rainbow colors that were a result of all of the reading and studying that Alex had already done.  I guess it didn't really dawn on her that if the missionaries really had a problem with the truthfulness of the bible, why did they carry one around, study it constantly and teach from it regularly.  Interesting in sort of a funny way.

Alex told us that he has a pretty crazy week coming up.  He said that they have a lot of zone meetings, a leadership conference and some traveling to do over the next few days.  In fact things were so busy that he told us that they even had teaching appointments set up on their P-day just because that was the only time they had. Things seem to be busier than ever but he feels like that are being blessed a ton in everything that they do. 

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