Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The successes are great

In the last several letters that we have received from Alex, he is constantly telling us how things are really picking up for them.  Alex and his companion have been working really hard to build up their teaching pool and with the news that we got this week, they might have to work even harder at that.  The news was really good.  This past week two more people that they have been teaching for a while, were finally baptized.  Baptizing people that you are currently teaching is a good way to have to go back to rebuilding your teaching pool.  The people that Alex and his companion had been teaching weren't the only ones getting baptized that day.  In fact Alex said that there were so many people in the changing room after the baptismal service, that he had to wait out in the baptismal font for the changing room to clear out.  Here is how Alex was feeling at the time:
"It was a very neat experience to just sit there in the font by myself with all the doors closed. The spirit was really strong. It was a very good weekend for us."

Sometimes when you are in tune with the spirit, even some of the seemingly insignificant experiences can be powerful.

This seems like a never ending theme in Alex's mission.  Alex is constantly telling us stories about how someone he has met or some experience that he has had, ties him back to people or places he knows from Utah.  Well this week was no different and the experience that he recently had, following a Stake conference meeting, brought him even closer than just Utah.  Alex told us that following Stake conference a couple of weeks ago, the Stake Patriarch's wife walked up to him and asked if he was Elder Nicholes.  Of course Alex said yes.  The Patriarch's wife then proceeded to tell Alex that she had just received a call from western New York.  If you remember a couple of months ago, I wrote on this blog about how Alex's older brother had just been called and recently left to serve his mission in Rochester, New York.  As it turns out, the Patriarch and his wife have a son who lives in New York and had called to tell his parents that Alex's brother Christopher was at their house in New York eating dinner.  So here they are, hundreds of miles apart yet sharing some of the exact same missionary experiences.  How cool is that?!!

So here is an interesting story that came from Alex's Aunt and Uncle who had recently returned from Manhattan, Kansas.  I wrote about this whole experience in the last blog entry but this time we got the other side of the story directly from his Aunt and Uncle during a Sunday dinner at our house.  They told us that while they were on their way to visit some of their friends who live near Manhattan and before they had actually seen Alex, they decided to stop by the church building in Salina, Kansas.  As they pulled up to the church, they noticed that there were several cars in the parking lot which were all similar models with Kansas license plates. They pulled up the building, got out of there car and went inside the church to take a look around.  While they were walking around, they could hear some voices coming from one of the rooms in the building.  Once they finally tracked down the voiced to the Relief Society room, they cracked open the door and saw several well dressed young men in the middle of some kind of meeting.  Well of course these were the missionaries from the Salina district in the middle of their weekly district meeting.  Alex's Uncle quietly walked in the back of the room just to see if maybe Alex happened to be there.  As he looked around at the Elders, he didn't see anybody he recognized and decided to quietly step out before he caused any kind of disturbance.  Later on after his Aunt and Uncle finally met up with Alex, they told Alex the story about how they stopped at the church Salina and saw some several missionaries there conducting their weekly district meeting.  To everyone's surprise, Alex told them that as a zone leader he just happened to be visiting the Salina district that day and was at that district meeting.  Apparently Alex was sitting just out of sight on the other side of the room where his Uncle couldn't see him.   Since all of the missionaries were so focused on what was going on in the meeting, they really didn't notice the visitors that had momentarily poked their heads in to the room. 

In addition to that story, they also told us that once the members of the church in Manhattan found out about Alex's relation to their former Stake President, the members told his Aunt and Uncle all about the great job Elder Nicholes has been doing in their mission.  I can't tell you just how proud that makes us feel as Alex's parents to hear stories like that.

Well there are a lot more stories that Alex has told about some of the great people that he and his companion have been teaching.  Most of the details are a little too personal to share here but they are great experiences.  Every week Alex shares more about the teaching moments that they have had and the spirit that is present during these moments.  The response towards the gospel message that the missionaries share, has been very positive at times.  Of course there are ups and downs and not everybody is as receptive as others, but from the letters that Alex sends to us, he is having a great time and that time is rushing by too fast.

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