Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Fantastic week in the Lord's Vineyard

Dear All,

First of all, the big news is BAPTISM!!! We had three baptisms this Sunday. They were all baptized before church, and confirmed in sacrament meeting. They are the Samayoa family (in the picture the gentleman with the dark hair, and his wife with the baby). We baptized their daughters when I first arrived here in the area, but we've been working with them for a couple months, and they are now members of the Church! The other young man is Robinsson, whose girlfriend is a member of the church. That's how Elder Martinez found him. He's excited to receive the priesthood and serve a mission, and convert his family, who are all Evangelicals. The older gentleman standing off to the right is Leopoldo, who everyone calls "Hermano Polo." He's the grandfather of Robinsson's girlfriend, and Robinsson asked that "Polo" would baptize him. I baptized Sis. Samayoa, and my companion baptized Bro. Samayoa.
It was really cool, because as soon as brother Samayoa passed his baptismal interview, I saw such a change in his countenance, and it was even more evident after his baptism and confirmation. It's amazing to see the power of God in people's lives, and the changes it can make. I'm really excited for Robinsson as well. I know now more than ever that this church is true.

Other than that, the big event of this week was divisions with the zone leaders. We had divisions for two days, which usually doesn't happen. Elder Durfey from Arizona came here with me, and my companion went with Elder Lagos from Honduras to the zone leaders' area. I learned a ton, including a new way to start teaching someone, and the fact that we can do so much more in a day than I thought we could before seeing their example. I know now what I need to do to keep progressing, and find the Lord's elect that are awaiting the gospel, and the people to whom I promised I would bring it.

Yesterday we had a district activity, and we watched the church film "17 Miracles." It has to do with the Willie Handcart Company, of the Pioneers. It really shows the sacrifice that many people have given for this Gospel. On Saturday, I also watched the film of Joseph Smith, and his life. None of the people represented in any of these two films would have sacrificed all they did, for some including their lives, for this Gospel if it wasn't true. I know it's true, and I know that I'm very blessed that I live in an era when the Gospel is more widespread and freely available. It's great. I encourage all of you to see these films, to be able to better appreciate how precious this Gospel really is.

I just want to say that I am so happy to be here in the Lord's work. No, it's not easy, but Yes, it is worth it. More than worth it. But really, I play a very small role in all of this. Conversion comes through prayer, study, and attending church, but mostly through the Holy Ghost. My role is just to point people in the right direction so they can do what they need to do to return to God's presence. Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy, and of the area presidency of Central America once said when talking to the missionaries here that "If the Book of Mormon had a mouth to talk and feet to walk, we wouldn't need any of you!" And it's true. The Book of Mormon is the evidence, and it's how we can know of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as administered through the priesthood authority of God, found only in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Read it, pray about it, and you will know. God will answer you. He answered me. He answered the Samayoa family, and Robinsson, and many, many other people whom I have met, or whom I have yet to meet. Do it. You won't regret it. And if you've already done it, do it again!

Thank you for all you do. I really hope that everything is going well for you all in the USA, but I'll stay here. At least for another 13 months!

Yours in the Faith,
Elder Banks

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