Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

Hey everyone,

So my 2nd week in the mission field has been great! I am really feeling like I am getting used to it now. And just because I said that I’m sure something crazy is going to happen this week and mess everything up haha. But I will start today by just telling you a little bit more about the area and how things are going.

First of all my companions name is Jorden Lee Jensen and he goes by Joe. He is from Price Utah. He is way cool and it is interesting to talk to him about his decision to come on a mission. So far both of my companions have had good normal lives that they left behind to come on missions even though they had never really planned on it. Both of my companions are 21 and came into the field late. But it has been so cool to hear about their "conversion" to the gospel even though they have always technically been members. Elder Jensen is a huge joker. We have so much fun it’s insane. I think that people plan on missionaries getting more mature on their missions. We get a lot more mature spiritually. But when you are stuck without anything we used to have to entertain ourselves we have to find stupid things that will entertain us haha. But don’t worry we always work really hard. We just find ways to have fun in the car or between getting door slammed in our faces tracting.

The ward here is still amazing, especially the relief society president. She definitely knows how to get the missionaries to work hard for her. With food. She makes us cookies and cakes and stuff all the time and it’s pretty great. But all the other church leaders have been great too and everyone is really supporting us in our effort to make the ward grow. And just so i don’t forget anything that happened this week i figured the best thing would be to go through it day by day and mention the big things that happened.

Tuesday 28th: So on Tuesday we helped out at a hospital for 3 hours and that was pretty awful. It was super boring and we didn’t get to talk to anyone really so we just sat there and waited to leave. But then we met with an 18 year old kid Zach Orr and his 15 year old friend Sierra and that was way cool. They are super curious and we taught them the first 2 lessons in our first sit down which was awesome. Sierra is really excited to learn more but Zach is having a hard time cause he is catholic and it bugs him that we think you have to be Mormon to receive all the possible blessings. We had a few more appointments that night but nothing to exciting.

Wednesday 29th: So Wednesday we had our first district meeting and that was super fun. We have an awesome district and it is super fun to get to hang out with all of them in one place. A lot of them were already friends and so when I came in they accepted me instantly and we all get along really well. It has been really cool to see how the Spirit can help people who have nothing in common get along like best friends. Later that night we met with our investigator Shelly. She is a very interesting lady. She lives in a little shack and has terrible health. She has 0 teeth and like 5 cats. Her and her mom and her dad all live next to each other in little tiny houses and they are pretty much over run by cats. I hope Ashlyn reads this cause she would fit it just great with all of the cat ladies around here. But Shelly is an awesome lady and she is super faithful but it is hard to get her to commit to anything for a long time so we are trying to work with her to increase her desire about the church.

Thursday March 1st: Thursday was super long and we did a lot of tracting and a lot of hoping something would come up so we would have something to do. We got into a few members homes which was nice cause we have been trying to go around and get to know everyone in the ward. But our one appointment for the day fell through so we didn’t really get anything that great done.

Friday 2nd: Friday was pretty cool cause we got to meet with our investigators Betty and Kodie. Betty is like 60 years old and her family is insane but they are so funny. None of them are really all the way there we don’t think. But they are all capable of supporting themselves and important things like that. Betty lives with her 2 grandkids Jonavan and Deana. I will talk more about them and Kodie in a little bit. But the best part about today was that it was my companions 1 year mark. So we made jell-o and stuck a toothpick in it for a candle and celebrated that. And apparently you are supposed to burn stuff on hump day but we could find anywhere to start a fire. So we just dumped a bunch of hand sanitizer on the kitchen table and lit it on fire. It was pretty great haha. I got some way cool pictures that i will send home today so they should be up on facebook in just a few days.

Saturday 3rd: So Saturday was pretty good and really busy which is always nice. Saturday was also the moment of my greatest temptation to break a mission rule so far. We went to the church for a scouting activity that was a bunch of non member families. A bunch of kids were working on getting merit badges and belt loops and stuff like that. The thing that tempted me so much was that there was a room of kids all playing xbox and of course they had to be playing Madden. All the leaders and people kept trying to get us to play but we know we aren’t supposed to play video or board games except on Christmas or Thanksgiving so we just had to leave. It was pretty awful haha.

But that night was really cool because we went to see Betty again. Like i had said before her family is a little bit crazy. It is super hard to keep it on subject and we haven’t really had the spirit there for more than like 2 minutes at a time before a weird, off topic comment has been yelled out. But this family has been having a super hard time and one of their cousins is in like a special hospital and he is pretty much going crazy. He always talks about demons talking to him and won’t let nurses touch him. We never hope for bad things to happen to investigators but sometimes it’s an opportunity that we need. We brought a member with us to teach her and his name was Brother Thompson. About half way through the lesson we had him bear his testimony on prayer. It was one of the most powerful testimonies i have ever heard. And the even more amazing thing was that after that not a single weird comment was made. The spirit was so thick in the room no one could have avoided feeling it. So that was a really good way to end that night.

Sunday 4th: So yesterday we had church which was cool and I got asked to speak next week in sacrament on the 3rd article of faith so I’m pretty excited about that. But the real high light of the day for me was that we got to go over and see Kodie again last night. Kodie is a 10 year old kid who lives with his recent convert Grandma. His dad is a pretty messed up guy who left him and his mom and then came back a few weeks later and stole everything they own. So Kodie has a serious problem with boys. He was crushed when we replaced the sisters. But he has really adjusted well to meeting with us. We had the chance to go on a bike ride with him last P-day and that was really what won him over. He really likes us now and loves listening to us when we come over. So like I said before he is 10. But when i talk to him i feel like I am talking to a 16 year old. He is a genius. He is a seriously special kid. He has a lot of big hard tests coming up this week in school and he is really worried about them. So last night we went over and gave him a blessing. I had the chance to give it and that was really special for me especially cause i have never given one before. It was a really cool moment for me and hopefully for Kodie too. Something that i have realized about Kodie is that he is the first investigator that I have really loved. All our other investigators are great and i care about them a lot. But I care about Kodie so much and i want to help him get baptized more than anything. I really hope that we can continue to work with him.

Monday 5th: and of course I have to talk about today. Today has been really awesome. We went shopping for groceries and I bought myself a 1 month of being on my mission present (I can see my mom rolling her eyes right now). I bought myself a scooter to ride around the school on and it is pretty awesome haha. Me and my companion look like 10 year olds riding around on a scooter and a ripstick with our backpacks on. But then we got back and i found a bunch of packages outside our door and that was pretty much like Christmas for me and Elder Jensen. We have a bunch of candy now and turns our gummy sharks are one of his favorite candies too (Thanks Liz) so we sat there and ate candy for a while.

So this last week has been pretty good and i hope this coming week goes well too. We have exchanges and zone conference and we are going to a baptism on the 10th (not for us, it’s for my companions old area) so we are way excited for all of those things.

I am out of time but i want to finish with something real quick. This week i got a letter from Hannah and she asked me what one thing really makes me believe in this gospel and helps me the most. I hope it’s ok that i want to answer that question for everyone to read. I would say that if i had to pick one favorite thing about the gospel it would be knowing that we have a Father in Heaven who really knows and loves us and that He is willing to give us the gift of the Holy Ghost so that we never have to be alone. That’s kinda cheating and picking 2 things but they both mean a ton to me. Many times in my life and especially on my mission I have felt alone. But then I am reminded that I always have someone watching over me and someone who loves me. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have of our loving God. He knows and cares about each one of us.

I know i have given a bunch of challenges but i have one more for this week. If you have something that you love the most about the gospel, i want to hear about it. I love hearing why other people love this gospel as much as I do. Thank you for all the support and prayers and i will talk to all of you again in a week!

Elder Parker Banks

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