Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Week

Dear Family and Friends,

It's been another great week here in Guatemala. We had a ton of investigators at church this week, and fast and testimony meeting was really spiritual. One of our investigators even got up to bear his testimony!

The other big thing that happened this week was Zone Meeting and Interviews. It's great to be here, because even though I used to be in Zona Mariscal, and I'm in Zona Villa Hermosa now, there are some of the same people here. Elder Hansen, one of our zone leaders, was my zone leader in Mariscal, and came here the same time I did. The Zone Leaders are in a trio with Elder Gomez, who I did my first divisions with.

President Brough and I had a great interview. He answered some of my questions, and had a couple for me as well. He told me that I probably won't be with Elder Guandique for much more time, and to take advantage of what time I have left with him.

Also, they told us that next week we'll get to hear from Elder Carlos H. Amado of the 70, one of the counselors in the Area Presidency of Central America. Basically, he's one of the bigwigs of the Church here in Guatemala, and he's an amazing speaker. I heard him speak in the CCM, and again 3 weeks ago in Stake Conference. He really speaks with the Spirit, and you always learn something great when he speaks, so I'm really excited!

We're still fighting to get some families married so they can be baptized. If they're not married, they're not obeying the Law of Chastity, and we can't baptize them. Unfortunately, it's harder to marry someone here than in the States, but it's ok, because we have a lawyer who's a member of the Church, who doesn't charge very much for marriages, so we can still get them married. We've got some really great families who hopefully we'll be baptizing not this Sunday, but the following Sunday.

This Sunday, however, we will be baptizing some kids whose parents are members, but who have passed the age of baptism without being baptized. They're pretty great, and I'm really excited. Most of the chapels here in Guatemala have their own baptismal font, but ours doesn't. Fortunately, we're close to the stake center, which is beautiful and big, and has a beautiful baptismal font.

We had a great lesson last night with the Dubón Family. The husband is him who told me that I'm not from the USA. Up to this point, we have had a strong suspicion that they're looking for financial help from the Church, and it's probable that they're still looking for that, but yesterday they demonstrated a really sincere interest in the Gospel. They had read the chapter we left them, and the wife remembered what it talked about and everything. She even had a question about the reading! There was a different feeling in their home than before. It was more peaceful and happy. Even though they're passing through a hard time, the Gospel is already helping them. They felt the Spirit really strongly at Church (this week was their first time attending) and the husband even got up to bear his testimony. They, along with the Hernandez family are our next closest families to baptism, and I'm really excited.

On Monday, we went to the dentist. While there, we ran into Elder Udall, who just left Ciudad Real, and his companion, Elder Perez, who was in Jerusalén right before me! We caught up a little about the members and the baptisms in Jerusalén, and had a good time. Elder Udall also asked us about Ciudad Real and how we're doing here.

As I may have said before, the members here are amazing. Especially Bishop Alvarado. To be honest, he reminds me a bit of my Uncle Kevin. He knows probably half of the people in Ciudad Real, and he's always positive, smiling, and laughing. He feels sad and disappointed because he can't come out and visit with us all day, every day. Our mission leader, Hno. Gomez, is similarly enthusiastic, and there are plenty of members who ask us "When can I come out and visit with you?"

Speaking of Members, Gerson, from Jerusalén, whose girlfriend, Lesli, lives here in Ciudad Real are getting married, and are going to live here in Ciudad Real, so I've got a real connection with my first area. How cool is that?

One thing I've really learned this week is to follow the Spirit. I had feelings that I thought were just me, so I ignored them. It turned out that it was the Spirit guiding me as to something I should have done. This happened to me 3 times in one day. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, because they're not always just yours. Many times it's the Holy Ghost prompting us to do something that we should or shouldn't do. When we follow the Spirit, we will be protected in many ways, and be guided to good things in life, and to the joy of being able to help other people in many ways.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for me. They are really working. I love the Lord, I love our Heavenly Father, and I love each one of you. Thank you.

Yours in the Faith,
Elder Nicholas Banks

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