Monday, September 17, 2012

New companion

Most emails homes I can start by saying that it has been a roller coaster of a week with lots of ups and lots of downs. Unfortunately some weeks have a lot more downs than ups. It has been interesting because nothing really that bad has happened this week but it has just been so hard to do everything we need to do. It’s just one of those weeks where you know Satan is trying to smack you around and all you can do is hope that he is trying so hard to get us down because next week is going to be so amazing.

Something that has been hard recently is trying to work with our investigators. They are all great when it comes to having lessons. But lessons don’t do much good if the people aren’t progressing or wanting to put in the effort. Something else that has made this week a little tough is knowing that Elder Waldron goes home on Wednesday. It’s always hard to lose a companion. As I have learned recently it’s extra hard when that companion is going home. The normal feelings of having to get a new companion mixed with all the thoughts of holy cow I still have a year and a half left before I am at the point he is. It’s been a long weekend haha.

With Elder Waldron going home I am in need of a new companion. We got transfer calls on Saturday night and they came with a lot of excitement but also a ton of stress. My new companion is Elder Williams. All I really know about him is that he is really tall and blonde. One interesting thing I learned about him is that he has been out for about 10 months and he spent his first 6 or so in Fairview Heights. I am so thankful that he is already going to know the area and the ward so well. There is going to be a lot of learning going on between the 2 of us. He has never been a zone leader before so I will be training him on how to do that. And he has 4x the experience in the area that I do so hopefully he will be able to bring all kinds of new secrets with him.

Transfer calls were interesting because we found out we are opening 2 new areas in the zone. It’s really exciting because we get a few new missionaries, but it brings a lot of chores onto the zone leaders. We have so many random things to do. We have to figure out how to get people to and from transfer meeting and get them apartments and pretty much help them start an area from nothing. Also I get the fun job of telling some areas that we are taking their cars away and giving them to the new areas that are opening up. I have noticed that I keep getting comfortable on my mission so God decided to give me a nice hard shove out of my comfort zone. Thankfully the only way I can expand my comfort zone and learn is to rely on God’s help. He won’t ever leave us on our own and even when a bunch of trials come by we have to rely on him to help us make it through.

 This email has probably sounded super negative and made me sound way stressed out. Which pretty much sums up the way I feel. But Sunday was a really good learning experience for me this week. In Fairview they have a very clear theme to their sacrament meetings. This week’s theme was adversity. There was a talk by a lady in sacrament meeting and she had 2 quotes that I really loved in it. The first one was "We have to decide if we are going to be a Tigger or an Eyore." I loved that idea because our attitude means pretty much everything. Our happiness in no way relies on the circumstances that we are put in. We are as happy as we decide to be. God didn’t put us down here on earth to be miserable and to have us suffer our way back to Him. We are here to learn and grow and have fun. God will always be there giving us the opportunity to be happy we just have to be the ones who accept it.

The second quote she had was one that everyone should apply to their lives. "Don’t complain. Just work harder." That was a real punch in the chest the first time I heard it. It is so true though. I could sit in my apartment all day and feel bad for myself and wake up the next morning and be just as miserable. Or we can get up and stop worrying about ourselves and get to work. God didn’t give missionaries 2 years to come out and do whatever they want with. This is His 2 years that he is allowing us to have and we will answer for every minute that we waste. I am so thankful that God knows me and that He is willing to help me every time I need it. No matter what it is or why I am not feeling the best there is always something that comes into my life to make me happier. I am so thankful for all the people that I have had the chance to meet on my mission. A lot of people are getting transferred out of the zone this week and that is really hard to lose so many friends so quickly. But I am so thankful for the missionaries and the ward members who have changed my life so much so far. Being on a mission is great. We are constantly surrounded by people who hate us, but we also have the greatest support system anyone could ever ask for. There are hundreds of people we have the opportunity to talk to who know this church is true and want to help us as much as they can. I am so thankful for all the people that have blessed my life so much.

I’ll end with a cool analogy that I heard in church this week. The straight and narrow path that we all try to live our lives on is like the lane of a highway. When we stay in the lines we will be safe. However, no one is perfect and sometimes we cross the line a little. Sometimes we can get back over no harm done. Other times we get into a head on collision. The only way to truly stay safe is to stay inside the lines at all times. Thankfully just like a rumble strip on a highway we have a warning. When we start to cross that line in our car we get a nice loud noise and a shaky car to tell us to head back over. In life whenever we start to drift of our path the Holy Ghost gives us a nice reminder that we should get back in the lines. Just like a rumble strip, the Holy Ghost can’t stop us from going outside the lines. It is ultimately our own decision what we want to do. But we are always safer and better off inside the lines. I am so thankful for all the blessings that I have seen in my life and all the people who have helped me stay on the straight and narrow. I hope that someday I will be able to give back even a fraction of what you have all done for me. I love all of you and will talk to you again soon.

-Elder Banks

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