Monday, July 9, 2012

I haven’t started my email with a sports update in a while so I figured I would talk a little about that. I heard the Jazz went crazy with trading people. Hopefully it turns out well. I saw about a half inning of the Yankees-Redsox game last night at Brother Michaels house so that was my baseball fix for the week. And I heard the Cardinals are not doing so hot. So hopefully then can step it up for the game we get to go to at the end of the month.

But probably the funniest thing I saw this week was at a restaurant called Los Rancheros. We went there with the Whiting’s for dinner and they have ESPN playing everywhere. So when I was walking to the bathroom I had to stop and watch it for just a second. I ended up watching for like 10 seconds and I saw the number 1 not top play of the week. It was Nastia Liukin on the uneven bars and she ate it so hard face first into the mat. I was laughing so hard. That was definitely a good 10 seconds of TV to see.

I heard Weston did an awesome job on his farewell talk and Taylors is coming up pretty soon. You guys are going to do awesome in the field.

I remember last week I complained about the weather a little bit. I wish I could go back to that weather so badly. It has gotten so much hotter here. Probably the hottest day of the week was Friday. We had to get an oil change in our car so we had to drop it off for a few hours. We biked around Jacksonville and it was super tough. It was about 105 degrees but the heat index was at 120. Riding your bike around in 120 gets old pretty quick. But one thing that is really cool about it is that I could look at my watch and it would be like noon and I was so tired I had no idea how I was even going to keep my eyes open. But then the next thing I knew I was sitting on my bed a 9:30 at night not knowing how I made it through the day. It is very obvious that God has been helping us every step of the way this week.

The 4th of July was the weirdest day ever. We pretty much didn’t do anything. We went and ate lunch with a bunch of people from the ward and that was really fun. Then we went and spent like 4 or 5 hours at Brother Michaels house. It was really nice to get a break but even nicer to get back to doing missionary work the next day. We watched fireworks that night and it made me miss Utah. The fireworks here are awful compared to the ones back home. But it was still fun to get to see them.

We had an awesome week finding new people to teach. We were running pretty low on people about a week ago but we were blessed a ton this week. I don’t have much time but I want to just give a quick rundown of each person we are teaching now.

Carlos is still awesome. It has blown my mind how he has been able to change his life completely. It’s obvious that he knows this is true. Anyone who can make it through hardcore drugs, drinking, chastity problems, having an anti Mormon mom, and losing his dad is going to be a pretty awesome member of the church and this Saturday he is going to finally get to make that step. I can’t say enough good about Carlos and I am so excited to see him get baptised.

Betty is Williams’s grandma and she has made a ton of progress. She hasn’t made the insane changes that Carlos has made but sometimes the little changes are even harder. So we are really proud of her for making so much progress. She has a baptism date set for the 29th of July.

Mary is a new investigator that I think I mentioned last week. We found her through a member and she has been to church quite a few times and loves it. I have never seen the kind of friendship that her and the member of our ward have. They care about each other more than I have ever seen before. She now has a date for the 29th as well.

Danielle is a new investigator that Elder Anderson and Elder Schriver found on Tuesday. Brother Michael has a 20 year old daughter that spends some time at his house every once in a while. They went over to drop something off and Heather (his daughter) was there with her friend Danielle. Apparently Danielle wasn’t looking too good. She is just getting out of an abusive relationship and she lives at the woman’s crisis center. They gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a time to go and see her. So on Thursday I got to meet her for the first time and it was a really strange meeting but a really good one. We aren’t allowed to meet alone with girls unless it’s in a public place. So we met with Danielle in a public room at the crisis center. But we didn’t really put together that at a woman’s crisis center there wouldn’t be any guys. So we were the only guys in the entire building so that was pretty strange for a couple of missionaries. But thankfully the Spirit was really strong and now we know that we definitely need to bring a man from the ward with us haha.

TJ is Terry Anderson’s son and we have been teaching him for a while. He has a date set for August 4th and we are excited for that. His dad finally quit smoking and even with all of the crazy family problems they have been having he is still a strong member of the church and will hopefully be able to baptize his son.

Brian is TJs friend that we met this week and he is awesome. He came to church and said it was the greatest thing he has ever done and he doesn’t ever want to miss a week again. We set a date with him for the 4th with TJ and all he could say at church was how excited he was to get baptised and how he wished he could do it sooner. We wish we could do it sooner too but he has to come to church at least 3 times so we figured the 4th would be good.

We have been so blessed this week and if everything goes right me and Elder Anderson should have 5 more baptisms before the end of the transfer. That would be an awesome way to finish out the transfer and our time together. It has blown my mind how God can bless us in the greatest ways that we would never expect. Every time Satan tries to put a negative thought in my mind about the church not being true all I have to do is think about all of the miracles that happened to us that day and I know for a fact that they aren’t just random. God is watching over us and cares about each and every one of us. He knows what’s best for us and even if it seems unfair or impossible to handle at the time. If we can just look at the eternal perspective of what is happening to us we will be able to handle and challenges that are thrown into our path.

-Elder Banks

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