Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The secret is out

Well, it has been a few weeks since I have written anything on this blog.  It wasn't because I am lazy or procrastinating or anything, it is because over the last several weeks Alex has been so busy that he hasn't had much time to keep us up to date.  He has written to us every week although with the library being closed on President's day and the various snow storms that passed through the area, Alex has had to write to us on a day other than his P-day.  Because of that, he doesn't like to spent a lot of time writing because they have so much work to do.  But it is always good to hear from him no matter how brief his letters might be. 

Not many people knew this but I guess the cat is out of the bag now.  Alex has an Uncle or rather his mother has an Uncle, who used to be the Stake President in the Manhattan Stake several years ago.  They now live in Salt Lake but just recently travel back to Manhattan to attend the dedication of a new church building in the Manhattan area.  This presented a rare opportunity for Alex since he is now serving in the Manhattan area as well.  Alex hadn't told many people about his Manhattan, KS relatives mainly because the conversations would usually turn to reminiscing about old times rather than focusing on missionary work.  Not that reminiscing is a bad thing but for a missionary, focusing on your mission is the number one priority. 

So now that you have a little background, here is the funny part of the story.  A few weeks ago when Alex's Uncle and Aunt were visiting the Manhattan area for the building dedication, the local Ward members held a potluck open house for them.  A little later in the evening after Alex and his companion were finished with their teaching appointments, they dropped by the open house to say "Hi".  As Alex described the scene, there were quite a few people talking and mingling with his Uncle and Aunt.  As Alex entered the cultural hall his Aunt spotted him and immediately came over to give him a big hug.  Normally missionaries aren't allowed to hug someone of the opposite sex while they are serving as a missionary.  But in this case, since this was his Aunt and it had been almost a year and a half since they had seen each other, a big hug was the appropriate thing to do.  Of course since Alex hadn't said much about is Manhattan relatives, most of the people there had no idea why this former Stake President's wife was hugging this random missionary.  This drew a lot of funny looks and dropped jaws from the people in attendance.  So like I said, the cat is now out of the bag and now everybody knows that Alex has some roots in Manhattan, KS.  Ever since then, all kinds of Ward members have been giving Alex a hard time about not telling them about his Uncle and Aunt.  Once again, it is a very small world.  Alex didn't have a lot of time to chat that evening, but with the next day being P-Day, they were all able to meet up again and catch up on everything that has been happening at home and in the mission field. 

Another transfer day has come and gone and Alex is still in Manhattan.  He was lucky enough to be able to stay with his current companion, but he told us that almost every other companionship in their zone experienced a change.  I'm not sure what kind of challenges or opportunities this presents for Alex, being a zone leader, but from the tone of his last letter, there are new experiences to be had by everybody.  Alex has been serving in the Manhattan area for six months now and really loves it.  He and his companion have been working really hard to build up their teaching pool since many of the people that they had been teaching were actually baptized around Christmas time.  Alex told us that they are currently teaching some really great people and has shared with us many of his most recent experiences.  He also shared with us some really funny stories but they are all a little too personal to recount here.  Needless to say, Alex is very excited that he is able to spend at least one more transfer in Manhattan and wishes that he could stay forever.  Of course, forever is a long time and we would like to see him come home once his mission is done so that we can give him a big hug too, just like his Aunt did.

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