Monday, April 25, 2011

Beyblade, not just a sport for kids

Finally, after several months of talking about a temple trip, it happened.  The Missouri, Independence mission does not have a temple within the mission boundaries so the missionaries, on special occasions, are given permission to go to the Omaha, Nebraska Winter Quarters temple.  The Winter Quarters temple is one of the smaller temples.  Alex described it as being about the size of a large house.  Alex accompanied several members of his Ward along with about 20 youth on this temple trip.  He also had the pleasure of going with a few of the people that have recently joined the church in the Manhattan area.  This was their first time attending an LDS temple. 

This temple trip was all about baptisms for the dead.  Since the Winter Quarters temple is one of the smaller ones, Alex as well as the others who traveled from Manhattan, were responsible for staffing the entire baptismal font area.  Along with the 20 or so youth that went with them, they didn't have any trouble filling the whole area.  Alex told us that when he got there, he recognized many of the temple workers from the time that he spent in the Lawrence 2nd Ward in Lawrence, Kansas last year.  He said that it was really nice to see them and know that they were all there in the temple together.  Alex spent most of the time on this temple trip as a witness during the baptisms.  However, at one point he was able to perform a confirmation along side of the baptism font for one of the recent converts that some of the sister missionaries from his mission, had brought with them.  Overall, Alex said that the temple trip was a really good experience and that he was really glad to have had the opportunity to go.

Church tours still seems to be the way to go when doing missionary work in the Missouri, Independence mission.  Almost every week Alex is telling us about the people that they have taken on a tour of the Church building itself.  Once they reach the baptismal font in the Church, the spirit is usually pretty strong and the common response from the people on the tour is that the feel a feeling that they have never felt before.  Something that just makes them want to stay in that spot and never leave.  The past few weeks have been no different.  Alex has told us about several people who have taken a tour of the Church building.  Without fail, the same spirit is there and the people respond in much the same way.  I'm not sure if Church tours are a common thing in other missions, but is sure seems to work for Alex and the other missionaries in his area.

OK, so here are a couple of stories that Alex included in his last letter that were really good blogging material.  Everybody who knows Alex, knows that he is just hungry for any kind of sport, especially if it has something to do with wrestling or running.  So while Alex and his companion were out tracting the other day, they ran across a house where the garage door was open.  When they looked in the garage, they noticed that there was a picture on the wall of the Olympic rings.  At that point Alex made the comment to his companion that maybe the person who lived their was some kind of Olympic athlete.  As it turned out, he was right.  This just happened to be the house of one of the more famous decathletes of all time.  Also living in the house were several other Olympic hopefuls who are very likely to be part of the 2012 Olympics.  On top of that, when Alex and his companion approached them and asked if they would like to hear the missionary lessons, they agreed and were taught the first lesson right there.  Of course they also left them with a few Books of Mormon and an appointment to come back and teach them more.  Alex doesn't really know where all of this will end up, but for him, it was like a dream come true.  Not only did he get to meet some Olympic athletes, he also got to teach them the gospel.  If nothing else comes of this meeting, at least while Alex is watching the Olympics next year on TV, he can say that he taught the gospel to the athletes who are on the track right then running in the Olympics. 

The second story that Alex told us was pretty funny and in the end, is just all Alex.  Alex has always really liked little kids.  In fact when in comes down to it, in many ways Alex is just a bigger little kid.  This story just shows how big of a little kid Alex really is.  Quite often when Alex and his companion go to a teaching appointment, they will take along with them, one of the members of the Ward.  After one of their teaching appointments where they were accompanied by a Ward member, they decided to drop in on the Ward members family afterwards.  As Alex walked in the house, he asked the Mom if they could drop off a bag of candy for their daughter since it was her birthday.  While they were there, they noticed that the two boys in the family were playing "beyblade".  OK, for any of you like us who don't have little kids any more, beyblade is probably not what it first sounds like.  When I first heard this, I had visions of two little kids fighting it out in their living room with some kind of Japanese swords or something.  Well, after looking up beyblade on the Internet, I found out that it is all about spinning up a couple of over-sized tops in a small arena and allowing these tops to bump each other until one of them topples over.  Well, you wouldn't really expect a twenty year old missionary to know much about a beyblade either, but when Alex found out that the boys were playing, he told them to hold on for a second while he ran back out to the car.  A few minutes later, in walks Alex with his brand new beyblade that he had just recently purchased.  Everybody thought that Alex was just joking so when they saw him come back with this toy, they all busted up laughing.  Alex didn't tell us how the actual beyblade competition went, but I'm guessing that there is a little lesson to be learned here.  If you make friends with the kids, the parents are going to love you.  That can open a lot of doors for missionary work.

Well as always, there are plenty of stories about all the people that Alex and his companion are currently teaching.  Great stories about people coming to Church for the first time.  Stories about baptismal commitments and stories about how the missionaries are helping to change people lives.  If you would like to hear more about all of the great things that are going on in the Independence Missouri mission, just ask and we will be glad to share them with you.

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