Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

Man, Weston I can’t believe your mission call!!! I got your letter like 2 hours ago in the mail and it blew my mind! I wasn’t expecting to hear about it for another week. I read it on my way to Wal Mart and my companion probably wanted to punch me cause I was freaking out haha. And you get to speak Fijian or some weird thing like that. Oh man that’s crazy. It makes me way homesick to hear about all you guys headed out to your crazy countries. I wish i was there to say bye but luckily I get to see you guys all come back as 21 year old return missionaries instead of head out as the the 19 year old weinies we all are now. Good luck out there man and let me know if you want to know anything.

Just so you know you should all look up Brandon Flowers and listen to his song. I think it’s called "On the floor" He is the lead singer for The Killers and he is a Mormon. He made a solo CD and about half of it is missionary approved so we pretty much live off of that thing. But anyway it’s crazy to think that my friends are headed out to Brazil, the Philippines, Australia, and now Fiji. It’s going to be amazing to see you all again in 2 and a half years and hear about all the crazy stories you have. Let’s hope you all come home without any weird worms or anything.

So from what I have heard it sounds like we are having about as opposite of weather as possible. I heard it’s about 30 and snowing over in Utah. This last week it has been over 85 degrees every single day. It has rained once or twice but even when it rains it doesn’t get below 70 which is awesome. It’s way too hot and humid during the day but early in the morning and late at night when the sun isn’t up it is so perfect it’s unreal. Something else that I think is weird about the weather here is that every morning it looks like it has rained. Everything is soaking wet. And it’s just cause the dew here and the humidity is insane. It is so green and the trees and crops grow so well because you don’t have to water anything. No one here has sprinkler systems and their lawns are green and perfect just because of all the moisture that comes in overnight. I thought that was way cool. It’s just not that fun to walk around in wearing a white shirt and tie.

The biggest change this week was in the ghetto though. It must be the summer heat or something but when we head over to the east side of town there are people everywhere. Most of them hate us and yell stuff at us but it’s alright cause we can’t understand them over the sound of their rap music coming from their car. It blows my mind how different people are here though. We will head over to the east side and people hate us and every single person is a thug. Then we can drive about 3 minutes to the middle of town and there are perfect little neighborhoods with green grass and nice families and they all love us and talk to us about our church. It is crazy. The people here couldn’t be more different.

So this week has been pretty normal. We didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary. We had some good meetings with people though so I’ll just tell you about those. We saw Kodie twice this week and we acted out some Book of Mormon stories with him and that was way fun. We let him be Nephi and cut of Laban’s head and we let him be Ammon and chop off some arms. Of course as a 10 year old boy he loves the gory stories haha. But we also helped his Grandma Georgia out a little bit by moving some stuff around their house and putting their AC in. The little houses they live in get’s so hot so fast they had to put the coolers in as quick as possible. While we were doing that we had to do our best to avoid stepping on cats. I told you about how there are a lot of cat people here. Well Georgia is one of them and right now she has about 4 or 5 cats walking around and 15 little tiny kittens. They are the cutest thing ever but there are a million of them. I’ll send some pictures home next week of them cause they are puny but way awesome.

We met with Shelly a few times this week as well and we committed her to be baptised the last week of April. She has been to church a few times but she doesn’t want to count those cause she really started over when me and elder Jensen found her. So in our mission you have to go to church 3 times before you can be baptised. So we need her to come every week. So keep her in your prayers and hopefully I will have a really happy email in a few days.

Going back to weather a little bit, the day after we met with Kodie and Georgia we were driving a few miles out of town to see a couple named Yana and James. We drive through corn fields to get there and it is literally flat for hundreds of miles in every direction. So it was way cool cause one of the rain storms i mentioned was happening and the thunder and lightning were insane. We could see every lightning strike for hundreds of miles around and it would light up the entire sky. The sky here seems huge. And all the rain almost seems like a fog because there is so much of it coming down so hard.

So we had a bunch of dinner appointments with members this week which is way cool cause it gets them all to like us. People have been telling us that the attitude for missionary work since me and Elder Jensen got here has been insane. At first no one really liked us that much but now people are giving us every friend they have who might be interested in the church and they always want to have us over for dinner. It’s one of the many blessing of actually working and not giving up when we are having a hard day. At one of the dinner appointments with Bro. and Sis. Greene i learned that there are 51 different churches in the community. So that would explain why every single person we tract into "has their own church" and at the other dinner appointment i learned that Missouri and Duke lost in the first round, and BYU lost too. Oh and that the Jazz suck again. Awesome. So that was a productive member visit for sure. Mom you should keep me updated on the tournament. I know its lame to cheer for the 1 seed but go Kentucky. (I hope they aren’t out already or I will feel like an idiot).

So we did have a pretty boring week but yesterday was actually pretty entertaining. So we got to go to church which is always cool. But we also set up a ride to go to the temple tomorrow so that will be way fun. Me, Elder Jensen, Elder Ward, and Elder Barney all get to go over together and we are way excited. Then after church we did a bunch of studying then we tracted until dinner. Tracting was actually way cool. We didn’t really meet any super solid investigators but we gave out a few pamphlets and a Book of Mormon. It was way cool cause pretty much everyone we met with was super, super nice and they had almost all had Mormon neighbors. So they all had a really good view of Mormons already. So all of you out there who think no one is watching just remember that by being a good Mormon and a good neighbor you could be helping some poor little missionary not get yelled at some day.

Oh and also while we were tracting some Baptist guy wanted us to come to church with him. We couldn’t cause we had an appointment but we are going with him next week. So that will probably be super weird but fun hopefully.

Yesterday night was way cool. We went on a faith walk or pretty much just walking around and contacting everyone you see. It was like 8 at night and it was dark but it felt so good so we just decided to walk around for a while. We aren’t supposed to walk up and down the same street more than once cause then we are more likely to get jumped. But the street we were on was the only street with lights so we walked up it and didn’t find anyone. Then we had to walk back down it to get home. We saw one lone black girl walking towards us and she stopped and talked to us which was surprising cause most people you randomly walk up to in an alley lined with bars on both sides don’t want to talk to you. But she was way interested and we walked with her down to the main city square and talked to her for like half an hour and gave her a Book of Mormon and other stuff. We got to set up a time to go see her again and teach her and her husband so we are hoping that goes well. That just shows that sometimes staying out for that last hour instead of going inside really helps. God will lead the missionaries to where they need to be even if we are just walking around.

So real quick i want to talk about today and next week. So today we were just doing our shopping and getting our hair cut and stuff when we got a call from Sister Myers. She told us that her daughter works at a nursing home for kinda crazy old people and that someone there needed a blessing. So we headed down and we got into the room with the woman who wanted a blessing. She had had a stroke and something in her brain wasn’t working right. So she thought that she was talking to us but really it just came out as the same strange noise over and over again. So we asked someone for her name and gave her a blessing. When Elder Jensen finished talking the Spirit was insane. She was bawling and all of us in the room felt really good. The worker then went on to tell us some of the things that had been really hard for this woman to handle about being stuck in a nursing home. The cool thing was that Elder Jensen had addressed every single trial she had had in the blessing he gave. And that was without knowing anything about her beforehand. The Spirit works in crazy ways and being a missionary is sweet. We get the chance to be a tool in God’s hands 24/7 and you can feel it. Sometimes I get way homesick and I want to go home and chill with my friends again. But then i just think about what i would have to give up to do that. I would have to give up the chance i have to feel this unique spirit all the time. And that’s not something I would ever willingly give up.

This coming week is going to be really interesting. Tomorrow we are going to the temple like I said but we are also having a district sleep over at our apartment because all the Senior Companions have to drive up to St Louis the next day. So that should be way fun. Then on Wednesday and Thursday Elder Jensen will be in St Louis for leadership training and i will have 2 other Elders as my companions. Together the 3 of us will have a total of 8 months in the mission field so that will be way fun. It should be an interesting week. I have to go now but I want all of you to know that I love this gospel more than anything and I’m so happy to be out here helping Gods kingdom grow. I’m so excited for my friends to all get their chance to come out here as well. And all of my friends in high school right now. Listen in seminary! I have been in class with you and I know that you don’t listen haha. Sometimes it sucks but the stuff you learn in there will help you so much on your missions. We have the chance to teach seminary out here about every other week and it’s so cool. The stuff you learn is important. I love all of you and I will talk to you again in a week. Read your scriptures and pray! It always works.

-Elder Banks

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