Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life is busier than ever

Now that Alex is an assistant to the President, we haven't heard from him quite as much.  In fact just this week we finally got his first real letter since we talked to him on Mother's Day.  Alex told us that life as an AP is crazier than he ever imagined.  He said that when he was a zone leader he thought life was busy.  But now as an AP, he and his companion are constantly on the move.  Alex gave us a brief run down of what he and his companion have to do.  Every transfer period, which is basically six weeks, they are traveling the mission and going on splits with every one of the zone leader companionships.  They use this time to do training and to find out just how well the zone leaders and their zones are doing.  In addition to that, they are helping to conduct the zone leader conference every month and also taking care of every odd and end that the mission president needs done in between.  On Sunday evenings Alex and his companion are at the mission office making phone calls and collection the weekly numbers so that they can report them back to Salt Lake.  We know this firsthand because during our Mother's Day call last month which happened to be on a Sunday night, Alex was constantly interrupted by phone calls from zones leaders who were calling to report their weekly progress.  Then on top of all of that, they are also expected to continue their normal proselyting and teaching just like every other missionary.   

Alex told us a story that is typical Alex.  When Alex was called to be an assistant to the president, he had to leave Manhattan and report to the mission office about a week before regular transfers.  His companion in Manhattan was also preparing to finish his mission a week later.  This meant that two new missionaries would be taking over the Manhattan 2nd Ward area where Alex has been serving for the past 8 months.  When his Manhattan companion arrived at the mission office week later, just before going home, Alex was obvious there.  Apparently the mission president and his wife invite all of the departing missionaries to have dinner with them in the mission home.  Alex told us that he and his Manhattan companion skipped out of the dinner that night and went tracting instead.   Alex told us that his former companion had a really hard time leaving the mission and that Alex had a really hard time watching him go.  During that final night of tracting, Alex told us that he and his former companion found 10 potential investigators.  Alex hasn't mention what has become of any of those 10 contacts but I can just imagine that when the time comes for Alex to return home, this is probably how he will spend his last night in Independence Missouri mission as well.

Alex told us in his most recent letter that he was able to travel back to Manhattan to perform the baptism of one of the people that he and his previous companion had been teaching.  He said that the baptism went very well and that he really misses the Manhattan Ward.  He also said that since both he and his previous companion basically left Manhattan at the same time, fortunately they were replace by two very good missionaries.  Of course the work will always go on no matter what, but it is good to know that when a missionary leaves an area, that there are good missionaries who are capable of picking up where they had left off. 

Alex told us kind of a funny story about what he and several other "white" missionaries did for Memorial Day.  Apparently Alex and his companion are currently teaching several black people.  So for a Memorial Day celebration, these good people invited Alex, his companion and several other missionaries over to their house for a good southern fish fry.  Alex told us that as these gatherings go, there were quite a few people at this house, all enjoying each others company and having a good time.  So many people that when one of the missionaries was asked to say grace, the line of people all holding hands during the prayer extended through the garage and into the house.   Of course everyone there were singing and dancing and having a good time.  At one point during the celebration, Alex's companion decided to join in by "busting a little dance move" just to show what he's got.  Well, I'm not sure what kind of moves this missionary had, but it caused the whole crowd to burst out laughing.  Alex said that they all had a very good time and it was a unique experience for all of them.

In closing his letter this last week, this is what Alex told us about his last few weeks as an AP:
"I am very grateful for this opportunity that I have been given. I feel like I have grown so much in the past three weeks, its incredible. My testimony is growing by leaps and bounds, and I am loving my mission more than ever! I love serving the Lord, and seeing the miracles that happen when we work as hard as we can! The church is true!"

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