Monday, May 7, 2012

First Baptisms

So I have to get the not so important stuff out of the way first. I went to Darin Michaels house a few days ago and he told me all about the playoffs haha. That’s awful that Rose and Howard are out. And he told me about Rivera tearing his ACL. Oh poor Yankees, but that gave me something to talk to my ward mission leader about. I had to get him back cause he told me that Wainwright and Garcia were out for the Cardinals for the year. I believed him of course and he thought it was hilarious. The Saints thing is crazy! I can’t believe Vilma is out for the entire year. People are really dumb sometimes.

But anyway this was a really good week. The weather here is absolutely insane though. We have had the craziest rain storms I have ever seen. And they usually happen really early in the morning and then it clears up. But because of the bad weather it is so unbelievably humid. It is usually about 90 degrees but it is so humid it is the hottest I have ever been. The last 2 days have been painful. Especially Saturday cause we went up to Springfield for some meetings. But only Elder Jensen goes into the meetings cause he is the District Leader. So i just go out with some other random missionaries and tract someone else’s area. It was the hottest I have ever been. I can’t even explain.

Saturday was an insane day. Like I said we went up to Springfield. The meeting went over so we were late getting home and we were really stressed cause we had to go and fill up the font for the baptism we were having. So we flew home and made it in time to fill up the font. It’s hard to explain but pretty much everything that could have gone wrong that day went wrong. But the second the baptismal service started everything went perfect. We had a few non members there and it was an awesome experience. Both Shelly and Caitlin were baptised and it couldn't have been better. Then the next day in church they both got the Holy Ghost. Darin Michael gave the prayer for Shelly, and I really wish that you could all meet him. He is the coolest person ever. He is pretty short but like 300 pounds easy. He is the quietest person ever and he is so relaxed it’s insane. But he was so excited/nervous to give her the Holy Ghost he only slept for half an hour the night before. He stayed up almost all night working and researching and trying to get himself spiritually prepared to give the prayer. It payed off for sure. Both prayers were awesome but something about Brother Michaels was just extra special. I wish everyone in the world was willing to put that much effort into the church. Me and Elder Jensen got to stand in the circle for Caitlin and that was a really neat experience.

So my mom is probably going to kill me for this but I totally forgot to take any pictures at the baptism. We were so stressed and then so relieved that we didn’t even think about it. But hopefully you can all forgive me.

So on Sunday we had a pretty busy day until about 7 at night. Then we had 2 hours to just tract or do whatever and we weren’t to excited for that. But then a miracle happened that made us really happy. Shelly called us and asked if we could help her get a couch into her house before it rained. So we drove over real quick to help her. We can’t be alone in the house with Shelly so she got her friend Booker to come over. So we moved the couches and stuff and then Shelly just said "Hey Booker want to learn from the missionaries like I did?" And he said ya sure. Then Shelly said "Alright well why don’t we just have your first lesson right now?" So we gave him the first lesson. It was pretty amazing. This was the perfect example of God blessing us for working hard. Last week we didn’t really do out very best. If we had a free 20 minutes we would just go visit a member or something instead of contacting or tracting. We felt awful that week and we didn’t get a single new investigator. We are supposed to get 2 new investigators a week which probably sounds pretty easy to all of you who went to Brazil or something but out here getting 2 new people to teach in a week is really hard. So we didn’t really know if tracting that extra 20 or 30 minutes a day would do us any good but we decided at the beginning of the week we were going to work really hard and do that. So all week we didn’t find a single new investigator tracting or contacting. It honestly felt like a waste of time. But God saw that we were working hard and trying our best. So He decided to bless us in other ways. He gave us Booker to teach. And He also gave us Danielle. I mentioned her forever ago when we contacted her late at night. She was awesome but then we didn’t hear from her again for a couple months. We kept calling her and nothing happened. But then randomly one day this week she called us up and told us to come meet with her. She had been mad at God and stuff like that, but when we went over she felt a ton of peace. She wants us to keep coming back and teaching her. So even though the actual tracting didn’t do much, God rewarded us with 2 new investigators this week just for working hard.

I don’t have much time today cause we are going up to Zelphs mound which is a place where a bunch of Nephite and Lamanite bodies are buried. Then we are going as a district to the skate park, so that pretty much takes up our entire P-Day. But I wanted to share a little quote that an about to be missionary shared in church. It’s from some song that I don’t know, but he shared it in the lesson and I thought it was awesome. It goes something like this "There are those that do, and those that just do talking. We are all going through Hell, it’s either burn or keep on walking." And i just thought of that as walking over hot coals. If you keep walking it will be hot but you will be fine. If you just stand there you will burn your feet. It’s the same thing with life. We all go through hard times, but we determine how badly we get burned. If we sit around and feel bad for ourselves we are just standing on the hot coals. But if we get over it and get out and serve others then we can walk right over the coals and before we know it we will be through the trial. Life isn’t easy but it was never supposed to be. Reading in the Book of Mormon has really opened my eyes to that. The prophets had the worst lives ever, but because they were so close to God it wasn’t a big deal. They could see that this is only a tiny little part of the eternal plan. The rewards that are waiting for us are of far greater significance than the worldly things we have now.

To finish up I want to say how proud I am of all my friends for going on their missions soon. I heard that my mom saw a few of you in the temple and I couldn’t stop smiling. I can’t wait to go through with all of you in a few years. I can’t believe that Cole is headed out so soon! That’s awesome. I know that all of you guys are going to be the most amazing missionaries ever. I have been out on my mission for a few months now but I’m still trying to be more like all of my friends. You guys are all awesome examples to me and to everyone around you. Thanks for everything.

-Elder Banks

PS: I forgot to say this earlier, but this is the last week of the 2nd transfer which probably means me and Elder Jensen are going to get split up. So I might be getting a new area. That means any mail sent out this week needs to be sent to the mission home. I might be leaving Jacksonville and if the mail goes there I will probably never see it. So send mail to this address until I can let you know what happens:

Elder Parker Banks
1850 Craigshire Suite 205
Maryland Heights, MO 63146


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