Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elder Amado, Transfers, and Elder Martinez

Dear All,

Some pretty big things have happened this week, so I'll start in chronological order.

Thursday: We went to a zone conference where Elder Carlos H. Amado spoke to us. He is a Seventy, one of the counselors in the Central America Area Presidency of the Church. He gave us some amazing inspiring instruction, and at the same time, he was really funny. He told us some jokes, but the greatest thing was that what he taught me, he didn't say. The Spirit indicated it to me.

I also had the opportunity to direct a basically impromptu choir number in the same conference. We sang the EFY medley of "As Sisters in Zion" and "We'll bring the world his truth" in Spanish, with part in English. It went over really well and really invited the Spirit.

The other big news was that President Brough called us Thursday night. First, he asked me "Elder Banks, I heard you know how to play the Piano. Is that true?" I told him yes, and he asked me to play an intermediate hymn in a conference we're going to have in June. I'm excited, but also pretty nervous, since it'll be in front of a lot of people. But it'll be good. I know I'll be able to do it.

After the deal with the piano, President Brough said "This next part I don't think you're going to like so much." The next part was news of a transfer. My transfer. As of yesterday, I am no longer in La Corona, Zona Villa Hermosa. I am in Sonora 1, Zona Amatitlan. This transfer is out of the ordinary because there were some changes in the mission, and the President shuffled around some of the Elders, sending me here. He told me I may go back for the weekend to La Corona, but I don't think it'll happen. Nor do I want it to. I'm here now, I want to focus on here. Here, by the way, is counted as the Coast, but it's basically still the Capital. My comp said we can see Peronia (Jerusalén) from the roof of the house, and I could see Lake Amatitlan from Jerusalén. Therefore, as I consider it, I'm still in the Capital. Lake Amatitlan is NOT Lake Atitlan, which is commonly considered to be the Waters of Mormon from the Book of Mormon. Lake Atitlan is in the mountains, in a zone called Sololá, also part of the Central Mission.

My companion here in Amatitlan is Elder Martinez from Honduras. He and I have already really hit it off, and we have something in common, because he was in Jerusalén about a year before I was. He baptized some of our favorite families there, and it was really great. He and I work well together, but the bad news is that the official transfers are next Wednesday, and he goes home. His time is finished. He's still giving it all he's got which is amazing.

Since he goes home, I have this week to learn the area, meet the members and investigators, and be able to teach it to a new companion. The President hinted that I may be receiving a junior companion. This will be a big challenge, but I also think it will be a great blessing. After all, if things are easy, we should be worried, because God always teaches us in our challenges. Like President Eyring mentioned in General Conference, I think it was President Kimball that said "Give me another mountain." This will be my mountain for the time being, and it will be a good one. We've got tons of support here, and it's a beautiful place. The chapel is basically a stake center, even though it's not actually the stake center, and there are 2 wards and 8 missionaries just here in this chapel. The Sonora ward, where I am serving, has an average attendance of around 250, which is HUGE. The Bishopric and Mission Leader are apparently also amazing (I haven't met them yet) so it looks like we've got plenty of support. And the investigators I've met are really amazing. There's a great family whose daughters are going to be baptized this weekend, and the parents probably as well, but they have to make a firm decision.

Overall, I'm happy, and a bit nervous, but I know it's not President Brough that put me here, it's the Lord. He has a purpose, and he has a plan. In addition, I am doing my best to take the attitude of Nephi from the Book of Mormon when he said "...I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded. For I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare the way that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commanded them." (1 Nephi 3:7) I know that the Lord will help me, and that through him, all things are possible.

Thank you for your prayers.

I love you all!
Yours in the Faith,
Elder Nicholas Banks

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