Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Delayed letters home

With the holiday falling on a Monday, the library was closed which meant that Alex wasn't able to write home on his P-day like he normally does.  Then apparently he and his companion had a zone leader conference that they had to attend so we didn't end up hearing from Alex for a few days later than we normally would.  But it is always good to hear from your missionary and when we finally got his letter, he told us about many of the things that have been happening lately.

As I mentioned in the last blog entry, Alex and his companion have been working really hard to find additional people to teach.  Sometimes that can be a little frustrating because some of the appointments that they set with people that they are just starting to teach, tend to fall through.  But this is kind of expected when serving a mission even though knowing that, doesn't really make it any less frustrating.  Through all of that however, Alex did tell us about some good things that have been happening with the people that they are currently teaching.  His letter was short since they weren't able to write during their regular P-day time and they were a little short on time since they had another teaching appointment coming up. 

In his next letter, he started it out with a lot of exclamation marks.  If his punctuation alone could paint the whole picture, Alex was probably dancing around the library in excitement while writing home.  You can probably imagine the librarian having to walk over and with a big "shuuuush", telling Alex to quiet down.  The reason for all of this excitement was due to some news that he had received about a friend from back home.  It all had to do with a decision to go on a mission.  Alex told us that this was the biggest highlight of his whole week and it felt just as good as watching someone being baptized.

Alex did write us a little longer letter this last week but much if it was about experiences that can't really be shared through a blog.  As I mentioned before, while serving a mission, there are times when things are going well, and other times when things get to be a little frustrating.  The ups and downs are all just a part of the whole experience.  He did tell us all about a priesthood meeting that he attended in the Salina branch and how wonderful and powerful the teacher was.  Alex said that he felt a little "rebuked" after the lesson but it was a good kind of rebuking, if that is possible.  Well it must be, because Alex said that the lesson was fantastic and probably the best priesthood meeting that he had ever attended.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cowboy up and git 'ur done

Alex's letter home was kind of a short one a couple of weeks ago.  From what he told us, he and his companion spent the last week working really hard and actually taught more lessons during that week than they have ever taught before.  But other than that, the week was fairly uneventful.  With all of the baptisms that they had during November and December, most of their teaching pool are now members of the Church.  So as a result, they are now having to work at rebuilding their teaching pool back up again.  But all of that is normal for a missionary.  You have to take the up's with the downs and the famine after the feast. 

Alex described a little bit about the crazy weather that they have been having in Kansas.  First of all he told us about how the city of Manhattan was testing out the tornado sirens that day just as the do almost every week.  I guess that is probably a good thing since Alex is sitting right in the middle of tornado alley.  Anyway, Alex told us that a couple of weeks ago they were in the middle of short sleeve weather with the temperature getting up into the 70's.  That is pretty far out of the ordinary for this time of year.  But just as quickly as the good weather came, it all turned back to winter again.  Alex said that within just a few hours the temperatures were back down in the 20's.   He even started out his last letter by telling us that they were in the middle of a snow storm which didn't really make him happy.  The storm really only dropped about 3-5 inches of snow on the ground but that was enough to shut down all of the schools and keep a lot of people from going outside.  Oh well, there you go with having to take the good with the bad and the up's with the downs, whether it is with a teaching pool or the weather.

Oh, I mentioned in the last blog entry under a picture of Alex all dressed up in a cowboy outfit, that we had no idea where he came up with those clothes.  Well Alex must have read his own blog because he answered that question for us in last week's letter.  As it turned out, there is an Elder in his mission that is just a few months behind Alex.  Both this Elder and Alex have been serving near each other for most of the last year.  Alex didn't give us a lot of detail about this Elder but apparently the Elder must have a cowboy background because all of the clothes belonged to him.  We still don't know what possessed Alex to want to dress up in cowboy clothes, but you have to admit that he does look good, right? :-)

There is another amusing story that Alex told us that must somehow be related to this whole cowboy craze.  So one of the things that Alex and many of the other missionaries in the Manhattan area have been doing, is volunteering to help maintain the grounds at the zoo.  One day about a week ago while they were working at the zoo, Alex somehow tore his AmericanEagle jeans.  When P-Day finally rolled around, Alex and his companion decided that it would be a good idea to go to Walmart to buy a new pair of jeans.  However this time he wasn't looking for a name brand like he had before.  He decided that any old pair of jeans would work and Walmart just happen to stock some really nice Rustler cowboy cut jeans for $8.50 a pair.  Since that sounded like a really good price and the animals at the zoo don't really care how well the missionaries are dressed, Alex decided that he should try them on.  So he went into the dressing room, tried them on and then came out to see how they looked.  While he was in the dressing room, his companion started up a conversion with a 50ish year old Walmart worker who's job it was to watch over the dressing room area.  Once Alex emerged from the dressing room, his companion started asking the woman what she thought about the jeans and if she thought Alex looked good in them.  Well, after being prodded a few times by Alex's companion for an honest opinion, she finally said, "well don't think that I am a pervert grandma or anything, but DANG those look fine!!!".  They all got a pretty good laugh out of it and Alex is now the proud owner of a pair of $8.50 Rustler cowboy cut jeans.  Wow, the monkeys at the zoo are going to go "Ape" over Alex's new look. ;-)

It's transfer time again and as it turned out, Alex didn't get transferred but he does have a new companion.  This is the third companion that he has had since he arrived in Manhattan last September.  He just keeps burning through companions like they are a pile of kindling or something.  Actually this is his previous companion's final transfer and he decided that he wanted to spend it training a new missionary for his last six weeks.  Well Alex's new companion is somebody that Alex actually new before his mission.  Apparently, they were both part of a group date that happened during high school but neither one of them remembered until a friend of Alex's new companion wrote and reminded him of the event.  The funny thing is that this whole acquaintance ties back to someone that I know is reading this blog and goes by the initials of H. Mac.  Anyway, its a small world and true to form, Alex always seems to find ties back to his home whether it is with the people he meets or the companions he is currently serving with.

Alex also tells us that their teaching pool rebuilding is going really well.  Several of the people that they are teaching have come to church and they are really excited about that.  In fact one of the people who they are currently teaching told Alex and his companion that it had been over 14 years since he had been to church so by the fact that he is at church today, just means that the missionaries must be doing something right.  Be grateful for all of the little things that go right and for some, even the little things mean a lot.