Monday, August 26, 2013

Last Week

Well, this is it, my last full week in the mission.

Today I have my final interview scheduled with President Stay. I really love President Stay, but I hardly know him, at least not like I know President Brough. He apparently took a couple of the Central missionaries to President Brough to be interviewed, and he may, especially because the Central Mission Office is one floor down in the same building as the South Mission Office.
But whatever happens, it'll be good.

This week has gone a lot better than the past couple and we set a baptismal date with a man named Hector who is a little obsessed with learning English. We got him to be serious about the gospel and he'll be baptized..... on September 7th. 2 days after I get home.

Oh, well, that's what's happened to me a lot. I leave the area, and then the missionaries start to baptize like crazy. I'm kind of "The Sower," because I sow the seeds, then the others come in to reap.

I love you all.

Please take care and know that I love you!

Elder Banks

Monday, August 19, 2013

The time has come...

Well, it's come.
They sent it today.
My itinerary.
For my flight home,

I felt like I'm not ready, but it's really time.
As a tradition here, to be able to receive more inspiration when we come to an area, we ask the bishop or branch president for a blessing, to be able to work well with the members and the leadership. Yesterday, the new bishop, Bishop Mac, did this for us, since basically all the ward leadership changed. He mentioned something in the blessing about "remember what you have learned in the mission field, and apply it to your next and greatest mission, which is marriage." In that moment, I felt the Spirit tell me that it's time. I will keep working until the end, but it's time.
I would appreciate all your prayers in these last two weeks.

I know now more than ever of the love of the Lord in all things, and that he is aware of us, he knows us by name, and sends us tender mercies to help us along. This was again confirmed in our trip to the Temple on Friday.

I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Banks

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes(in the ward)

So, I'll start with the big news: NEW BISHOPRIC!!!

The old bishop was great, but the new bishop will be even better. What's better is that he and the 2nd counselor were already 2 of our biggest supporters in the ward, so things are headed upwards here. I'll probably never see most of the success, but since Bishop Mac loves us so much, he'll be a great help to the ward, to create a culture of missionary work in the ward. I have so many great ideas and things we can do to change the ward and make this one of the best baptizing places in all the mission.

My companion is also doing well. Not really much to report. I'm just trying to do my best to endure to the end and honor my calling. There's not really much to report aroud here, just the bishopric changes.

This week, I wish to share the words of a seldom-sung hymn that President Packer quoted in his talk in October. This hymn has helped me in some of my most difficult moments.

Does the journey seem long, the path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet as you struggle to rise
To the heights in the heat of the day?

Is your heart faint and sad, your soul weary within
As you toil 'neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem you are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?

Let your heart be not faint, now the journey's begun,
There is one who still beckons to you!
So look upward in joy and take hold of his hand,
He will lead you to heights that are new;

A land holy and pure, where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed, for no sorrows remain,
Take His hand and with Him enter in.

This is what the Lord Jesus Christ can do for us if we follow His gospel. If we choose to do so, we will be able to be with him in the Celestial Kingdom, with our families for all eternity. If we choose not to, we have no promise.

I personally testify of the love of the Lord and of our Heavenly Father for each one of His children. Don't delay in taking advantage of the love and the blessings.

Elder Banks

Monday, August 5, 2013

A hard week, but a good week

Dear loved ones,

This was an interesting week. My companion had surgery on his foot on Tuesday, because of a nasty ingrown toenail. He blames it on me for walking too fast, but I know better! We had to stay at home for a couple days, because it was difficult to get members to do divisions (one member stays with him, and another goes with me) do it wasn't the most productive week ever.

The good news is that they took really good care of us. Sister Jensen, our mission nurse, and Elder Jensen, her husband, are excellent. Sister Jensen is very loving and knowledgeable, and Elder Jensen is one of the funniest people I know. Every single time I've seen him, he's said something funny. For example, once he explained that in the South mission, they don't give elders microwave ovens because "Sisters know how to cook, Elders just poison themselves." They get home 2 weeks before me, and they're from Utah, so maybe I'll get to stop by and visit them a little later on!

Then, on Friday, our district had house inspections, but the zone leaders didn't know where all the houses in the district are. I knew all but one, and Elder Huayta, one of our zone leaders, knew all but one as well, so I went with him in the Jensens' car to do the house inspections. While Elder Jensen Inspected the houses, Elder Huayta and I repaired things in the houses that weren't alright, and got things out of the car to give to the elders and sisters, such as shower curtains, shower heaters, insecticide, hand sanitizer, and the candy bars we gave to those who had clean houses. It was a fun day, and it was great to get to know the Jensens a little better.

Also, on Saturday morning, I got a call from Hilton, the guy who makes suits. Mine was done, and he verified my address to come drop it off. It turned out really nice, but you'll all have to wait to see it, because I didn't bring my camera today. Anyway, it's perfect. It's a very handsome, refined suit that will serve me for years to come. (unless I get really fat, but he said he left some room to take the pants out, so no problem.)

Anyway, that's really the eventful part of this week, we just had a really spiritual testimony meeting yesterday that really edified me.

I love you all.
Keep the faith, and don't ever get down!

Elder Banks