Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Walmart and Zone Conference in Escuintla

Dear All,

This has been a pretty good week so far!
First of all, last week was changes, and my companion and I are the only ones in the district who didn't have a change. Elder Pearson, our awesome district leader, finished his mission and went home, being replaced by Elder Hartmann from Illinois. The other two companionships had changes as well. Things are looking pretty good for this change, it should be a good time.

Monday, we got permission from the zone leaders to go to Walmart. At Walmart, they sell a lot of American food, including peanut butter, American candy bars, and even Ritter Sport (which is acutally German, but it's delicious). The bad news is, it's all really expensive. In the USA, Walmart is one of the cheapest supermarkets. Here, it's one of the most expensive, along with Paiz, which is also owned by Walmart. Both sell American food, and both are expensive. We had fun, and I bought some Quaker oatmeal for breakfast, and some peanut butter, and Welch's grape jam! Sadly, the jam was mismarked on the price, and cost double what it said, so I spent a little extra money this week. In dollars, it's still cheap, but in Quetzales, with what else you could buy with the money, it's pretty expensive. So, Walmart will be a sort of once-in-a-while thing, not every week.

But the Biggest event happened yesteray, and this is why I'm writing today: ZONE CONFERENCE!
Even though my area is in Villa Nueva, which is part of the Capital, my zone is considered part of the coast, so the zones Amatitlan (my zone), Santa Lucia, and Escuintla meet together in Escuintla for zone conferences. It's about an hour by bus, if the bus is in good condition. In Escuintla, it's HOT. Right down to the wind and the tap water. I could get used to it if I had to, but it's still hot. And there are parts where it's even hotter! Thankfully, the chapels down there have air conditioning, so we basically only sweat on the bus ride. I was asked to play the Piano (of course) which was great. President Brough spoke to us very strongly. He taught us a lot, and corrected us on some things that we need to improve. It was the best zone conference I've been to, despite the fact that they didn't feed us lunch. Apparently, there was a problem with the caterer, and there was no food. When Elder Trejo, one of the Assistants to the President (and my former zone leader) told us this, he jokingly said "But you can all fast, it will give you strength!" Then they let us out of the church for a few minutes to go buy something to eat.

Overall, we learned a lot about faith and integrity, and we had the chance to talk with President and ask him some questions. I even got to talk to him a little one-on-one, which was fantastic. I absolutely love President Brough. He knows how to make us understand the importance of something, while still being funny about it, and keeping the Spirit there with us. He made us laugh a lot yesterday. That's the best way to teach, because everybody remembers what was taught, but the most important thing when teaching is the Spirit. The Lord teaches us in Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 "And if ye have not the Spirit, ye shall not teach." If that's not clear, I don't know what is. Therefore, if we don't have the Spirit, we can't teach the Gospel. If we can't teach the Gospel, we can't fulfill our purpose as missionaries. And if that happens, I can't imagine the Lord is too happy with us. That's why we have so many rules as missionaries, because we need the Spirit. If we're disobedient even a little bit, it doesn't work. The Spirit leaves us.

Also, on Saturday, my 4th umbrella in the mission met its end. It had already broken a little, and the wind in Linda Vista just finished the job. We were on our way to the chapel, so I left it there in the garbage. My companion thought it was hilarious. I may just go with the raincoat from now on. We'll see what happens.

I hope that all is well with all of you. I hope it's going as well for you as it is for me!

Also, we're probably going to have 3 baptisms by the end of the month. One is a young guy named Robinson, and the others are a family that Elder Martinez left us. The family weren't too sure, but then we had a lesson with them and one of our recent converts here in the ward, and it was really great. The Spirit was very strong, and the investigator was able to see how important the Law of Tithing is. It's really great to see how the testimony of a member can help the investigators progress.

Thank you for all you do, for your thoughts and prayers.

Yours in the Faith,
Elder Banks

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