Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First week in Sonora, and Responsibilities

Dear All,

This has been a pretty good week here in Sonora. I've met all of the investigators, and some of the inactives we visit. We've got some appointments today with new people, and we'll be doing divisions with two men from the ward, because today is my companion's last day of proselyting. Tomorrow are the changes, and he will leave for his home.

Speaking of the ward, it's huge. The attendance Sunday was 204, and the mission leader is worried because that was pretty low. It gets as high as 300 sometimes. In my other two areas, 200 would have been a miracle. It reminded me of Utah, honestly. They even have a digital piano that can sound like an organ, so I can play the "organ" in sacrament meeting, which is a first for me in Guatemala. The leaders are great, and I love the members. We have some really great people here, including brother Peña, who will be driving us in his car to the change meeting tomorrow, where I will receive my new companion, and Elder Martinez will be going home.

Also, this ward has a ward choir. The first ward choir I've seen in Guatemala. It's small, but they have some strong singers, and they're full of enthusiasm. The other elders had a baptism on Sunday, and I had the chance to be able to accompany them, which was fun. Sis. Soto, the choir director, asked me to practice with the choir, but it's at the same time as our missionary correlation with the ward, so I can't. That's okay, though.

Speaking of my new companion, President Brough called me Wednesday night. He cut right to the chase. "Elder Banks, your Heavenly Father has called you to train." I will be helping a new missionary to do what I did just 7 1/2 short months ago. It's a big responsibility, and I'm pretty nervous, but I'm also kind of excited in a way. It will be hard, but if the Lord has called me to do it, he will make it so I will be able to do it. My previous companion, Elder Guandique, will also be training, which is probably why President separated us. He will be training in La Corona, and I will be training here in Sonora 1.

Saturday, we had some baptisms. We went to the chapel about 10am to get the font filling. It fills fast enough, but we needed to set up chairs, and get everything ready. If they want hot water, we have to take a few hours to let the heaters run so the people don't freeze. We baptized two girls, Helen and Diana. Their older sister and her husband are going to be baptized this Sunday, and their parents will hopefully be baptized soon. I really love their family, and I am going to work to get every one of them into the waters of baptism. Baptism is the only entrance into the path that leads to eternal life, and after entering the Temple, to an eternal family as well.

But when we went to fill the font, my companion found a bird inside the chapel. Someone had left a window open, and it had gotten into the baptismal room. We opened the window and got it out of the building, but not before it left me a present all over my tie. It washed right off, and it was pretty funny.

We just came from a really great district meeting, where we shared testimonies, and the Spirit was definitely in attendance. It was a really great experience.

Overall, this is a great area. My great copmanion will be leaving, but I'll receive another. I'm humbled because the Lord, as well as President Brough, have a lot of confidence in me to have called me to train another missionary. I don't feel ready, but the Lord knows better than I do.

I am reminded of a poem:
"Come to the edge," he said.
They said, "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge," he said.
They came.
He pushed them, and they flew.
Those who love us may well push us when we are ready to fly.
-Guillaume Apollinaire

Also, it doesn't seem like I'll be completing 9 months as a missionary this week, but that's what happens. Time flies in the work of the Lord.

I know our Heavenly Father lives, as does his son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, atoning for all of our sins, errors, mistakes, and pains. They love us immensely, and are active in our lives. I know I'm where the Lord wants me to be at this time, in this place. Even though it's hard sometimes, there's no place I would rather be, because the Lord wants me here.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Also, thank you for your letters. I have about 4 or 5 letters sitting on my desk that I need to respond to, and I will do so as soon as I have time.

Yours in the Faith,
Elder Nicholas Banks

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