Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012

Hey everybody so this is my 2nd and last p day in the MTC. This week went by so fast it was crazy. The first week here was so slow and so boring and i thought i was going to be stuck here forever. But now that i am getting more into things it is going way faster and it seems like just yesterday I was getting dropped off by my family.

So the first thing that happened since my last letter was we got our travel plans. I found out that i am the travel leader for the group going to St Louis and i have to take care of 14 missionaries while we travel. This could be interesting saying that i can barely take care of myself. But our flight leaves at either 8 or 10 in the morning i can’t really remember and i don’t have the paper with me, but it will be great to get going out there.

So i want to apologize for how jumpy this letter is going to be cause i wrote down everything i wanted to say but it is all just in a random order and i don’t have time to organize it, so the ideas will probably be all over the place. A group of new missionaries came on Wednesday and they are staying in the room next to mine. One of them is named Tanner Wilson and he said that he knew Taylor and Chad so if either of you guys see this i met your friend Tanner.

So a lot of what i have done in the MTC this week has been sitting in class. One of our teachers names is Brother Sikahema. He is a little Tongan and he plays on the BYU rugby team. This week we found out that his dad is Via Sickahema and he played pro football for the Eagles for a long time and everyone in that town loves him. Then the same day that we found that out i got a package from the Chamberlains. They wrapped some stuff in newspaper and one of the pages was the sports page. But what was even funnier was that on the page attached to the sports page there was an article by Via Sickahema. So he is a legend in Philadelphia and he writes an article for a Utah newspaper. It was really funny to find all that out in one day.

But speaking of my teacher Brother Sickahema, he gave us a cool quote that will help on our missions. He said "be able to dine with kings, but have the peasants touch." This was really cool to me because he was telling us that we are going to meet all different kinds of people on our missions and some may be rich and successful and some will be poor and humbled and we have to have the ability to talk and teach all of them.

Probably the best part about this week is that i have gotten a lot more comfortable teaching the investigators that we have at the MTC. Me and my companion Elder Brower have been teaching a lot and it is getting a lot easier to feel the spirit. One of the coolest experiences that i had this week involved teaching my district. Me and Elder Brower had to teach our district about patience diligence and obedience. I was really praying and hoping that i could do a good job and teach with the spirit. We gave our lesson and it went pretty well but when i looked around after no one really seems to care that much about what we had said. It was a little frustrating because we had worked so hard and prayed so much for the spirit. However, later that night me and Elder Brower were in our room getting ready for bed and one of the missionaries came in and closed the door behind him. And with tears in his eyes he thanked us for the lesson we had given. He told us that there was something he had really been struggling with and that our lesson had helped him so much. Having that moment of knowing that what i had done to prepare had really helped someone was amazing. It made all of the frustration and hard times worth it. I hope that when i get to St Louis i can have more opportunities just like that one.

This week i have also been focusing a lot more on getting revelation for the people that i am teaching. It had been going pretty well and i want to share one experience this week that was really cool. So me and Elder Brower went to teach a TRC investigator. They are just actors but it feels real to teach them most of the time. But this one time as i went in i just couldn’t get the spirit or concentrate cause i knew that the person wasn’t real. So when we kneeled down to say the opening prayer i prayed in my mind to help me feel the spirit and to know what to say. Almost instantly 2 ideas popped into my head. The first idea was perfect and went along with what we were talking about and i brought it up right after the prayer and it was perfect. But the 2nd idea seemed very random and like it had nothing to do with the lesson so i kinda just pushed it out. But then to my surprise the investigator responded to my first comment with a question. And the 2nd thought that had popped into my head during the prayer was the perfect answer to their question. It really helped me to know that God knows what is best for us as missionaries and also for the people we are teaching.

So this week i have had the opportunity to go to a bunch of different firesides. A couple of them were video recordings of Elder Bednar and those talks were amazing. But it is always a little more special when the person is actually there speaking to us in person. Every Sunday we have a fireside. And we always look forward to those because most of the time on Sunday we are just sitting around studying by ourselves and after like 6 hours that can get pretty boring. So sacrament meeting and firesides are always a super nice break. But before the fireside starts we always sing 3 or so songs and that is always amazing. All 2000 missionaries are gathered in one room singing as loud as we can and it is super powerful. One of the songs that we sang this week was the Army of Helaman. Having so many people singing that song so loudly was amazing. And of course i got teary eyed from singing it cause I’m a huge baby now that I’m a missionary. But it was amazing to hear all of these elders and sisters singing together. Also on Sunday like i mentioned earlier we have sacrament meeting. And it’s interesting cause in our branch we have like 5 different languages. So a lot of the talks and testimonies are in different languages. It’s interesting and it’s cool that we can feel the spirit even though we can’t understand what they are saying.

I have so much more stuff that i want to say but i only have 3 minutes left to type so i am just going to get down as many ideas as i can. So something that i thought was funny this week is that Elders Wickham and Hacking had to go to the doctor or hospital or something for Elder Hackings knee, and when they got back they told me they had met someone who knew me and that he had long hair and a big beard. And it turns out they had seen Boyd Tippets (from our ward) while they were at the doctor and i thought that was just a really funny coincidence.

Also one of the most important things that i learned this week is that it isn’t good enough to just have a testimony. We always work to have a testimony. But what we should really be working towards is becoming converted to the gospel. We can always increase our love towards Heavenly Father and His son. I know that i need to continue to work on that. I wish that everyone could come to the MTC for a couple weeks. Cause in these 2 short weeks my knowledge of the gospel has grown more than in the rest of my life put together. I am truly on my way to becoming converted to the gospel.

Well i really have to go now but i am sending my SD card home right now so you will be getting pictures soon. I love you all and I’ll talk to you again soon. I don’t know when my next opportunity to write will be cause i fly out the day before my next p day but I’ll write as soon as possible.

-Elder Parker Banks

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