Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012

This email might be a little rushed. We had zone P-day today up in Springfield and it took a really long time. We are having to really rush through everything today cause we have to be on time to a dinner at the bishops house tonight. But there were a few awesome things this week that I want to talk about.

But first congrats to all my friends who graduated high school! That is awesome. College is a blast. And Joel and McKay I heard you guys are staying at my house for Alma Academy. So even though it might be really boring sometimes Alma Academy is like the closest thing you will get to the MTC. And of course Cole is the district leader in his MTC district haha. I have a feeling that kid is going to be doing a lot of leading for the rest of his life.

So this past week there was a leadership training in St Louis that I was pretty excited for cause Elders Barney, Cooper, and Jensen were going to be there. So I was way excited to be together will all of them again. Then I got the great news that for the first time ever trainers don’t get to go to leadership. Yay. So that was awful.

But then today I got a letter from Elder Jensen and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. He is wondering how everything is going and especially how Shelly is doing. That leads into the coolest experience of the week for me. So Shelly has been having a little bit of a hard time over the last few weeks and she missed 2 church weeks so we were getting a little worried about her. We went over to visit her with brother Mathusek and she told us that she had started to get a little bit relaxed about her reading and wasn’t doing it as much. That led her to kinda fall downhill pretty quickly. Then just a few days later we went to see her again and she had that bright happy spirit about her again. And she told us that she had listened to all of Alma on the computer in less than a week. So we were really excited to hear that. But the really cool thing for me this week was in sacrament meeting. Getting Shelly to church was really hard cause she is terrified of big rooms of people. So when she got up to bear her testimony on fast Sunday I was shocked. She bore such an amazing testimony and it wiped any doubts that I had about her right out of my mind. It was great to see that light back in her and to know that she knows that this is true. She is awesome.

Earlier this week on Tuesday we went to the temple with the Paradees. It was awesome just like always. The coolest part was that we got to do sealings with them for some of their family members after the session. It was really cool to get to do that and it was Elder Andersons first time doing sealings. Then we found out we aren’t supposed to. Whoops. We won’t be doing it again but it was pretty great to get to break that rule once on my mission. The temple is such a special place and I am so glad that I get the chance to go once a transfer. We went to the distribution center afterwards and I ended up spending 30 bucks on random church stuff. I never in a million years would have guessed I would think the distribution center was so awesome. I always told myself that I wasn’t going to turn into one of those weird missionaries who was such a nerd but then we got on our bikes and saw myself in the mirror with church clothes and a bike helmet on and gave up all hope of trying to be cool still. The best part though is that it really doesn’t matter. Yes, we don’t fit in and most of the people here hate us. But most of the time not fitting in with the rest of the world is a good thing.

So quick baptism update. William came to church with his mom this Sunday and it seemed like he really enjoyed it. So he is still on track. Kodie missed church again this week because he was out with his mom so late. It is super frustrating cause he wants to come to church with his grandma so bad but his mom is slowing him down. So we are going to have to move his date back a little bit. We are going on a bike ride with him tomorrow to make sure that everything is still going well though.

Earlier this week I met the craziest human on earth. I will do my best but there is no possible way that I will be able to do justice to this man. So me and Elder Cooper were on exchanges and had just gotten out of an amazing lesson with Terry and TJ. We were walking home and this crazy little red headed guy rides up to us on his bike and just screams Hey are you Jehovah’s Witnesses!! And we said nope we are with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And he just goes well Mormon or not Mormon I know your Christian so let’s do this! And he stuck his hands out and I thought for sure we were going to have to fight this guy. I though he was going to try to kill us. But he just grabs out hands and starts screaming out a prayer in the middle of the road. It was a really weird prayer but it was really nice at the same time. He was asking God to bless us to find people to teach. Then after the prayer he started telling us a bunch of stories about how he had to cast demons out of his friends a couple days ago and now his apartment had evil spirits in it. So that was weird. And the best part is that we set up an appointment with him. We have no idea how that is going to go but we are excited to go and teach him. Like I said earlier there is no way that short story did it justice but just take my word for it that this guy was insane. Super nice and really funny. But insane.

So I will wrap up with a more spiritual note. On Sunday me and Elder Anderson had an appointment to go see Terry and TJ. Brother Farmer went with us too. So we got there and it ended up just being Terry. Real quick just in case you don’t remember, Terry is a less active who was praying for someone to help him get his life back together and a few days later we knocked on his door. He works every other Sunday but he is coming to church again which is awesome. So the lesson we had with him was really fun. We destroyed some stuff that he shouldn’t have in his house and overall it was just a really good lesson. But the best part for me was when I got to bear my testimony to him at the end. I just told him how proud of him I was. That i had loved seeing the change in him so much. He is like 45 and plays Facebook games all day but i can honestly say he is one of my best friends. I will never lose contact with him.

That got me thinking about all of the changes that I have seen in so many people recently. The biggest changes have been in the people that we have recently started teaching. But also I have seen so many changes in my friends from back home. As they all prepare to go on their missions it blows my mind how awesome they all are. Even just getting a simple letter from Weston or Austin shows me that they are changing so much even though they haven’t even left on their missions yet. I’m sure I will grow up a little bit on my mission eventually but the real change that I am hoping for is spiritual. With a physical heart when we get a transplant we have to take pills and stuff to not reject it. And it is the exact same thing with a spiritual heart. My heart has gone through an incredible change over these last 4 months and it is still changing. But the most important thing is that I keep "taking my medicine" so that I don’t reject my new heart. And that is a lifelong process. The last principal of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we teach is endure to the end, and President Eyring always says "endure well." So I hope that all of us can continue to endure well the trials and challenges of life and never reject our new spiritual heart.

Sorry if this email was jumpy at all but we are running low on time. Thank you so much for all of your support, letters, and prayers. They mean more than you will ever know. I pray for all my friends and family every night especially Austin, Taylor, Weston, and Cole as they are all now starting or about to start their missions. Enjoy the NBA finals guys cause I don’t think that you're going to get much of that in the insane places you're about to head out to haha. I love all of you and will talk to you again soon.

-Elder Banks

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