Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaching the gospel in all places and at all times

Ever since Alex became a zone leader, "busy" seems to be one of the main topics each week.  Not that all missionaries aren't very busy all the time, but on top of an already busy missionary life, Alex and his companion have even had to resort to scheduling appointments on their P-day just to keep up.  A couple of weeks ago Alex wrote us and said that they had traveled more in one week than ever before.  Here is how he described just one day in a whole week of meetings, exchanges and conferences:
"But Thursday was an absolute nightmare! We had to drive to Wamego to switch back from exchanges early in the morning. Then we made a quick stop in Junction city on our way down to Salina for their district meeting. We got to Salina and had a great meeting down there. We had to drive all the way home from Salina, and then that night we had to turn around and drive clear down to Wichita for our leadership conference that was on Friday! Just on Thursday alone we drove over 400 miles!!!"
All of their hard work seems to be paying off and from what Alex has told us, many of the people that they are teaching have already decided that being baptised and becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the right thing to do.  Over the next several weeks, Alex told us that he and his companion have about six baptisms scheduled.  Of course a lot can happen in just a few weeks for a missionary but they have been working hard and doing everything that they can to bless the lives of those that they are serving.  Alex just keeps telling us just how great all of the people are that they are teaching.  He loves going to their homes, talking with them, teaching them the gospel and getting to know each one them better.

So here is a rather interesting story that Alex told us.  This story actually spans over the last couple of letters that he wrote.  Alex starts out by telling us that he and his companion actually attended mass at the local Catholic church.  How this all came about was that one of the favorite activities for the missionaries around Manhattan is to play ultimate Frisbee for a couple hours on their P-day.  Well it so happened that while playing ultimate Frisbee, the missionaries came in contact with someone who is a very good member of the Catholic church.  While talking with this person, he invited Alex and his companion to come on over and take a look around his church building.  Alex and his companion thought that since they regularly invite people to take a tour of the LDS church buildings, this would be a good opportunity for them to do the same at a Catholic church.   Of course in return this good man also agreed to accompany the missionaries on a tour of an LDS church building as well.  As it turned out, Alex and his companion also ended up attending mass at the Catholic church and agreed to come back the next week and teach a class to some of the church members there.

So the next week Alex and his companion went back to the Catholic church just as mass was ending so that they could teach the class that they had agreed to.  Except this week there was a different Priest in charge whom they hadn't meet before.  As they walked into the lobby of the church, they immediately ran into the Catholic Priest who was obviously dressed in his normal Sunday robes.  The Priest walked up to Alex and his companion, looked down at their name tags and told them “looks like you boys are at the wrong church!”.  Alex said that the Priest had a pretty good sense of humor and that they all got a good laugh out of it.  Then just to top it off, as the Priest was walking away he commented to one of the other parishioners "I'll bet they are going to convert".  Alex told us that it was obvious that he was being sarcastic and that the whole experience was pretty funny. 

Alex went on to tell us about the class that they taught while they were visiting the Catholic church.  He said that there weren't very many people who stuck around for their Sunday school class but there were a few.  Alex told us that it was kind of hard to teach the class for obvious reasons.  Walking into another denomination and basically telling them that what they believed isn't the whole truth, kind of puts you in a confrontational position.  But Alex and his companion were very sensitive to that fact and really tried to be as non-confrontational as possible.  During the class Alex told us that the people who attended,were very courteous except for one man who wanted to bible bash a little.  Of course the missionaries tried the best that they could be resolve his issues with a few scriptures and after that Alex said that the rest of the class went very well.  Who knows what will come from this experience but Alex said that at the very least, it taught him a lot about what their investigators must be feeling when they attend the LDS church meetings for the first time.  Through this experience, Alex can now be much more sensitive to their investigator's feeling and help them to feel more comfortable.

Of course, later on that same Sunday Alex and his companion also attended their own church meetings at their Ward building.  Alex told us that it felt wonderful to be back at church that day and it was even more exciting because not only were they at church, they also had many of the people that they are currently teaching, attending church with them.  Things seem to be going very well for Alex right now.  Of course there are always ups and downs and Alex has also included a few of the downs in his letters as well.  But he is very excited about everything that is happening right now and every day and every week just seems to bring more stories and new experiences.

Oh one last funny story.  Through Alex's studies he seemed to have run across an interesting verse.  In Alma 56:27 Alex claims that the scriptures are telling us that we should be sending him more packages more often.  Looking up the scripture it says:
"And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons. " Alma 56:27
Of course this scripture is talking about the 2000 stripling warriors and the provisions that their families sent to them while they marched with the armies of Helaman.  Alex being a missionary is like being one of the stripling warriors and I guess that since we are his parents, we need to make sure that provisions are sent to him regularly to help sustain him in the Lord's work.  Funny thing is, his Mother just sent him a package the week before.  So if any of you who are reading this feel that you would like to help re-provision a missionary, the address to the mission home where you too can send provisions is at the top of this blog.  Thanks in advance. :-)

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