Monday, May 21, 2012

Parker and Elder Jensen with Kodie and Shelly who was baptised on May 5th.

I have to start by saying how proud I am of Cole. My mom told me that her and my dad went out to see his farewell and that it was awesome. I wish that I could have been there way bad, but I know that I will get to see you again soon. And I know that you are going to go out and be the most amazing missionary Perth has ever seen. I always wanted to punch you because you're better than me at everything, but all of those skills will be really useful on your mission. You're going to do so awesome!! Oh by the way mom if I could get the address to his mission home that would be awesome.

And, happy birthday to my sister Amanda tomorrow! I would brag about remembering your birthday but to be honest I totally forgot. But you can thank mom for reminding me. Your birthday is my 3 months in Illinois mark. So sorry to over shadow your birth but 3 months is a pretty big deal. I only have like 21 left so I’m practically home.

But anyway, this has been an insane week. It is weird to think that me and Elder Jensen have only been apart for less than a week. It feels like it has been forever haha. But my new companion is awesome. His name is Elder Anderson and he is from Sacramento California. His real first name is Michael and it was funny cause the first thing that we found out about each other is that he is a 49ers fan. He was a little upset when he saw my Raiders blanket laying on my bed. My mom sent me a bunch of city names around Sacramento because that’s where she served her mission. He knew all of them and said he lives right by them. He actually lives in Sacramento right by where the Kings play (he is a Jimmer fan) but spends some time in the surrounding cities. He is a really cool guy so it has been easy to get along. He likes sports so that’s cool. He is the first missionary I have met who is younger than me so that is pretty cool. It has been really good having him as a companion.

The first few days I was super overwhelmed trying to be a trainer. I felt like I had no idea how to do anything. But after a few days of having to take the lead it has gotten a lot easier. It is pretty awesome because this week we had really good numbers and so did the other area in our district, Pittsfield. The zone leaders were blown away when we reported our numbers. Especially because we have such a young district. We had one of our best weeks ever in Jacksonville. I always heard that it was supposed to be the trainer who worked the trainee to death but in our companionship it is the other way around. It is awesome how hard Elder Anderson works. He is really new so he still has a few things to figure out but all I have to do is point him in the right direction and he takes off. He is probably going to work me to death by the end of this transfer. Maybe some of his greenie fire will rub off on me. Wednesday was the first day that we were together and it was a really easy day. We just unpacked and went to the church so he could meet the bishop and other people at young mens and young womens.

Then Thursday was pretty good cause we just went around and met all of our investigators. It is really strange because I love the people here so much and they make me so happy, but with a new missionary they are just random people. It has been a challenge to get him to really love the people that we are going to teach but I’m sure that it will come with time.

Friday was another normal day and we had some really good lessons that day. We actually had 3 member present lessons and 3 new investigators in one day which is above the mission weekly average, so that was a really awesome day.

Then Saturday came and it was really interesting. It was mission bike day which means that you can’t drive your car at all. Unfortunately Elder Anderson doesn’t have a bike yet so for us it was mission walk day. And of course it had to be the hottest day since I got here. It was about 95 degrees all day long and the humidity was unreal. 95 doesn’t sound like it’s too unbelievably hot but with the humidity it was easily the hottest weather I have ever been in. We didn’t have to go very far that day though so that was good. We walked about 6 miles total and actually helped a lady fix her roof. So that was a really long, hot, and sweaty, day. But it was pretty fun. With Elder Anderson working my face off the time has started to go really fast. It feels like every day we wake up and 10 minutes later we have to go to bed. I have a feeling the next 2 transfers are going to go really fast.

So after Saturday came Sunday just like normal. So we went to church and it was awesome. Sunday school is possibly my favorite hour of the week. It is so much fun. The class that we go to only has like 5 people in it. But it is a blast. It makes me feel like I am a normal kid again, but not in a bad worldly way. The people here are awesome. The boys in the class are all getting ready to get their mission calls. I am praying that I get to stick around in Jacksonville long enough to hear their farewells. These guys are going to be amazing missionaries. They come with us to a bunch of meetings and they are just like having a 3rd companion. They already know more about missionary work than I do. I am so excited for them. It is so cool to get to see all of my friends go out on their missions.

Matt Widmer wrote me a letter this week and it was really cool to hear from him. Especially cause it sounds like our mission areas are kinda similar. Lots of crazy people and thousands of miles of corn.

Hopefully this next week goes just as well as last week did. I am so thankful that I get the chance to be out here for a short 2 years. I always thought that 2 years sounded like forever, but when I realized I have already been out for 3 and a half months I freaked out a little. That probably sounds really really stupid haha. But I can’t believe how fast the time is going now. There are always long days and even long hours sometimes, but I am really learning to love every second of it. Once you realize that our lives are centered around the only thing in the world that really matters at all the time flies. Good luck to all of my friends who are preparing and I will be praying for you all. Be good and I will talk to you all again soon.

-Elder Parker Banks
John 14:27

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