Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Changes, Changes and More Changes!

Dear All,

We got some BIG news this week. As many of you may have read in the Church News, there will be a new mission formed in Guatemala: Guatemala Cobán Mission! This will be a division of existing missions in Guatemala, and will affect every mission except the Quetzaltenango mission. The Guatemala City North Mission will lose the part that is Cobán and other nearby areas, and be renamed the Guatemala City East Mission, because Cobán is the northern part. The rest of the changes involve the Central Mission: the Retalhuleu Mission will lose the Pueblo Nuevo Tiquisate zone, and it will be added to the Central Mission, along with the missionaries in the zone at the time of the change. The Central Mission will lose the Mariscal and Nimajuyu zones to the Guatemala City South Mission, along with the missionaries serving in those zones at the time of the change. The division will take place on June 29th, after the transfers here on June 26th. It'll be interesting to see who ends up where, and what ends up happening to all the missions! It brings a new meaning to "I'll go where you want me to go!"

Other than that, things are pretty normal. The only exception is that I spoke in church this Sunday, and we found out that this ward is chomping at the bit to do missionary work. We now have a list of 25 different members who are willing and available to go out and visit with us during the week, which is most excellent. I passed the list around in Relief Society and Priesthood meetings, and people just started writing their names down. It was awesome!

We also confirmed all 7 of the Yumán family this Sunday. It happens in Sacrament Meeting before the Sacrament is passed. The sacrement was passed at about 10:30 (church starts at 10) because there were so many confirmations! It was really cool, since they're not only a big family, but also an amazing, faithful, endure-to-the-end kind of family. They even went to Seminary yesterday at 5am of their own free will! We were going to tell them about it and go drop them off, but they went on their own! It was awesome! They've also been assigned to help with the church cleaning, and really want to serve. They're some of the most amazing people I've ever had the privilege of meeting, and I'm excited to help them keep progressing in the Gospel.

Also, I found out that the Samayoa family (the other awesome family I've been able to baptize) is doing great. Elder Gabriel, my companion, was there in Sonora 1 when I arrived, and I replaced him there in that moment. But the chapel that Sonora uses is being renovated because it wasn't big enough, so the Sonora Ward attends at the Amatitlan Stake Center, where the El Lago Ward also meets, which was the area of Elder Gabriel right before he came here, so he saw the Samayoas every Sunday! I talked to one of the missionaries in the area, and he said that they've been called as a fellowshipping family for missionary work, so they're basically super awesome!

In these days of accelerating missionary work, the words of a hymn come to mind:

"The time is far spent, there is little remaining
to publish glad tidings by sea and by land.
Then hasten, ye heralds, go forward proclaiming:
'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven's at hand!
Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven's at hand!'

Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you,
the weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Press forward, my brothers, for Jesus is nigh you
His arm is sufficient, though demons oppose,
His arm is sufficient, though demons oppose."

I bear my solemn testimony that this is the Lord's work. We are all enlisted 'til the conflict is o'er, and Happy are we!
Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, because the Lord will always remember you, and the covenants you have made with him. And as long as you are faithful to him, he will bless you if you put your trust in him.

I love you all.
Your continued prayers and thoughts are and will be greatly appreciated.

Elder Banks

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