Monday, June 25, 2012

William baptism

Well I have to start off I have to say congrats to Taylor for his Heat winning the championship. I guess I’m happy for you. Pretty sweet way to end basketball before your mission. Stinkin LeBron. But on a happier note good luck to Austin and Ryan this Wednesday!! It will be an insane day but you guys are going to love it. The perfect way to describe the MTC is that they days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. If your anything like me the days will feel more like years, but once it’s all over you will realize that it was a pretty good time.

This week was a really good one ending off with Williams’s baptism. His baptism was awesome. It is always an awesome experience to get to watch someone make that covenant as a missionary. That hour really makes up for all of the long hard and hot weeks that you put into helping get that person there. Elder Anderson got to baptize William which is really something special in our mission. We very rarely have missionaries do the baptism because we like to have members do it. But William picked him so he had a really amazing experience getting to do that for his first baptism as a missionary. The coolest part of the baptism for me was when Brother Michael got up and gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. He started off by bearing his testimony about how much he had seen William grow. I would try to type out what he said but there is no way it would do it justice so I will just say that it was an amazing testimony and it was one of those experiences where the Spirit is so strong that no one there could deny it. Then the next day he got the Holy Ghost and the bishop gave that to him. Me and Elder Anderson both got to stand in on the circle so that was awesome. The coolest part about that though was that Williams grandma Betty came into the chapel to watch him get it. She has been to church probably a dozen times and she has heard all the lessons and knows it’s all true. But for some reason she just doesn't really care. She has never sat in the chapel for sacrament meeting before though, she had always sat on the couches outside no matter how hard we tried to get her to come in. So to see her in there sitting next to her daughter and grandson was a really awesome experience and one that we hope will turn into something that gets her a little more interested.

William is doing really and the rest of our investigators are doing really good too. Carlos is still awesome and has been to church all 3 weeks and still loves meeting with us. He still has a date for July 14th and we hope that works out. We still can’t believe we tracted into him. It was pretty cool because the zone leaders came down to our district meeting and after we all walked over to Carlos' house so that he could meet all of them. They gave us a call later that night and both of them have been out longer than me and Elder Anderson put together. They told us that they had never seen anything like Carlos before. They said good job for being able to find him and also to make sure we appreciate how huge of a blessing he is. He is an awesome guy and it blows my mind how much he is willing to change. Every single lesson we teach him about the commandments he has a huge problem with it in his life right now. But every single time we have committed him to keep the commandment he has dropped it that day and never had a problem with it again. It almost seems too good to be true so we are of course still praying for him to continue to grow and progress and stay strong.

Booker came to church for the first time on Sunday and that was awesome. He is friends with Shelly and probably the nicest guy I have ever met. He has a super hard life. He is about 60 years old and spent all of that time in abusive relationships and living in some pretty rough areas. Having friends at the church who actually like him for who he is and don't just want to use his house to sell drugs is a pretty big change for him. He likes it a lot and wants to keep coming.

Unfortunately we don't have any awesome miracles about Kodie this week. We still haven't heard anything from him and just hope that he is doing alright.

We met an awesome couple named Dan and Stacy the other day tracting. It was really cool cause it was the first time that I have ever gotten into someone’s house tracting. It was just Dan the first time we went but then we went over to teach him again and Stacy was there. They had both read The Book of Mormon together and prayed about it. They haven't really gotten a for sure answer yet but they are willing to work at it which is the most important thing. We meet with them again tomorrow so hopefully that works out.

I am so thankful for the awesome district that I get to be a part of right now. We are headed up to Pittsfield today to have district P-day and we are pretty excited for that. We are going to play some basketball and then we actually got special permission for the AP's to watch “17 Miracles” because our district has had such good numbers over the last transfer. I have never seen it so I’m pretty excited to go watch that today.

Something funny that happened this week was with Elder Schriver from Pittsfield. We have a district of only 4 people so we are pretty close. They called us on Friday night to talk a little bit and Elder Schriver was so excited to tell me that he found an awesome soccer jersey at a place they volunteer at and he knew I liked jerseys so he picked it up for me. He saw that it was a large and figured it would fit me. The only thing that he knew about it was that it was a USA jersey and the last name was Hamm. We were both laughing pretty hard when I told him that it was a Mia Hamm jersey and that its a woman’s jersey. It’s a woman’s large and fits me about skin tight. It was a really funny little experience but just one of the many simple stories that I will remember from my mission. And it really meant a lot to me that he would think of me when he saw it and buy it for me.

I love that our district is so close and that we get to have so much fun with each other. We got transfer calls this weekend and no big surprises we are all staying in our areas. We are all really excited to have another 6 weeks together. I have been really blessed to have such hard working fun companions and people around me. These first 4ish months have really helped me to realize how fun missionary work can be and that it’s not just out walking around sweating our brains out all day. We definitely do that, but there are so many fun and positive things that come from all the hard work that we do.

One of the coolest things that happened to me this week was in my personal study. I have had a feeling that I should be studying the Doctrine and Covenants for a long time. But every time I got that feeling I decided that I didn’t want to and at the most I would just read section 121 over and over again. But finally this week I decided that I should try to read the whole thing from front to back. I am about 10 sections in right now and I have loved every second of it. I have no idea why I felt so prompted to read it over these last few weeks, but I am starting to understand why God wanted me to crack it open. The revelations and promises that I have read and learned about over this last week have been amazing. It has just really helped me to appreciate more than just the Book of Mormon. I do love the Book of Mormon and I want to read it every second that I can. But learning from modern day revelation and prophets is an amazing experience that we all need to take advantage of. I love the scriptures and I am so thankful for the 2-3 hours a day that we get to study them. I am so thankful for all of the prophets and people who have worked so hard to put all of these things together for all of us. Preach My Gospel is another book of scripture that we love to read. Chapter 6 about Christ like Attributes is an amazing section that has rebuked me just about every time I have opened it up, but I have learned and grown a lot from it. I am thankful that I get to spend these 2 years out serving the Lord and I am so excited for all of my friends to get the same chance. It is an amazing blessing.

-Elder Banks

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