I don’t really know what to say today because I got to talk to my family yesterday. But for the rest of you I will quickly go over what happened this week.
So this email might be a little short cause we are really short on time today. Elder Jensen has to pack which takes a bunch of our P-Day. And from that last line you can probably tell that Elder Jensen is getting transferred. He is going off to be a zone leader in the Cape Girardo zone. He will be in Jackson Missouri. We found out about that on Saturday, but let me back up just a little bit. Tuesday night we got a phone call from the zone leaders. We found out in the next couple minutes that I am going to be training over the next 2 transfers. So that was pretty over whelming. I finish the 12 week program on Tuesday this week and the very next day I have to go pick up a new missionary straight from the MTC and teach him the same thing I just learned. I probably should have paid a little bit better attention. So we found out I was training on Tuesday but we didn’t know anything else about transfers until Saturday night. Then we found out about Elder Jensen leaving and that I will be staying in Jacksonville for 12 more weeks. I have a feeling it’s going to be really hard to leave this area after 6 months here. I’m definitely not looking forward to that day, but I have a few more months before I have to worry about that.
A really cool thing that happened was on Wednesday I was still feeling pretty nervous and inadequate about training, so I was having a pretty hard and long day. But we came home for lunch and checked the mail and I had letters from Jaymie and McKay. It was an awesome surprise to hear from both of you and I can’t even explain how much those letters helped me out. They made the day so much easier.
Then on Friday I drove for about 3 and a half hours to pick up other missionaries and head up to St Louis. We had a 2 hour meeting there for trainers and it was really good and I learned a lot. One other person from my MTC district was there and I hadn’t seen him in a few months so it was really good to see him again. Then we drove for another 3 hours or so and dropped everyone back off. After a long day behind the wheel I was definitely ready to get my feet back on the ground again in Jacksonville.
Those were really the only things that happened this week until Sunday. On Sunday we went to church to start off the day and it was really good. It was the seminary sacrament meeting so all of the seminary students gave talks. It was cool to see all of them finishing up the year because we have been teaching them about every other week. A few weeks ago I told the seminary class a story about me not paying attention in seminary in high school and how impressed I was with all of them for being good and staying awake. One of the girls in the class who gave a talk on Sunday decided to tell the whole ward that I didn’t pay attention in seminary when I was in high school. The ward got quite a kick out of her calling me out from the pulpit. But thankfully the ward is more worried about the missionary I am now instead of the seminary student I was years ago.
Then later that night on Sunday I got to Skype my family and that was awesome. It was super good to get to see everyone again. My ward mission leader was making fun of me cause he thought my family’s laugh sounded like the fake laugh they use on TV shows. I thought it was really funny cause there were like 5 or 6 other people there that said hi to my family real quick and after I hung up every single one of them said "Elder Banks I just love your mom." I thought it was funny that after like 5 seconds they could already tell that my mom is awesome.
So just real quick to close up, i forgot to tell you about last P-Day. It had been a week ago now so I almost forgot. But as a district we all went to Zelphs mound. I had never heard of it before, but it is a really cool place. It is just a random hill out in the forest, but we had a story to read about it and it is a place where Joseph Smith and the rest of Zion’s Camp were coming through. While they were stopped they found a skeleton in the forest. Joseph Smith had a revelation about it and they found out it was the skeleton of a guy named Zelph who was a Lamanite. There is more to the story but to make it brief I will just say that we were pretty much walking around on a Nephite and Lamanite cemetery. They put up fake RESTRICTED AREA signs to keep people from coming in and digging up the bodies. But it was a really neat place to be with a cool spirit about it.
Sorry this is so short but we have to head out and pack. I’m sure I will have plenty more to talk about next week with my new companion. I am thankful that I have the chance to pray to my Heavenly Father every night and ask for strength to make it through the next day of being a missionary. And sometimes I even have to simply pray for strength to make it through the next hour. I know that training a new missionary is going to be hard, but I know that with God’s help anything is possible. So I will be depending a lot on him over the next few days. I am so thankful for all of the support you all give me and the prayers. You are all the best. I love you and will talk to you again soon.