Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sister Kremer's Baptism

Thanks to my mom I am going to be a good son for once and remember someone’s birthday before it’s too late. It’s my dad’s birthday today and I just wanted to say happy birthday and I hope that everything goes great. I know mom will put raisins in the desert for once so that will hopefully make today a good day.

Just like always this week was insanely busy. I can’t believe that I have been with Elder Waldron in Fairview Heights for like 3 weeks now. The time is going by so fast because we always have a ton of stuff to do. One of the things we got to do this week was have a zone leader council. We all drove down to St Louis and the zone leaders, assistants, and president Clark all met up to have a meeting. I always laugh because I used to almost die having to sit in sacrament meeting for an hour. But on Friday we sat in a big room around a table for 6 hours and it flew by. We did get a break half way through to go eat some huge hamburgers so that helped too. It was a new experience getting to sit in a meeting where decisions for the entire mission are made. Even though it really only matters what president decides it’s fun to get to feel important. I got super lucky this week with meetings as well. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was in a church building and all 3 times in the middle of the meeting it sounded like the building was going to get ripped in half. We had pretty much nonstop rain for the last few days but all 3 times it really started to pour I was lucky enough to be inside.

The day after that meeting was Saturday and that was a great day because we got to go to Sis. Kremer’s baptism. Baptisms may only be an hour or 2 long but those few hours are amazing. It is so nice to get to just sit down and think about the changes that this person has made in their life. Knowing that I get to play even the smallest of roles in helping these people completely change their lives is an amazing blessing. But my favorite part of baptisms is always the day after when they get the Holy Ghost. Seeing a person freshly baptized and perfectly clean is an amazing experience. When they get that brand new gift to lead and guide them through their lives they always seem to just glow. They are a completely changed person and they get to feel Gods love in a whole new way.

Something that I have found about being a missionary is that it’s impossible to really share any of the experiences that we have, especially over email. But I am just so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to see another person’s life change through finding the gospel. A lot of the time people will thank us for helping them but honestly we are the ones who should be thanking those people. They allow us to do the one thing that missionaries love more than anything and that is to help people come closer to their Savior Jesus Christ.

This upcoming week is going to be a really interesting one. I think we are spending 2 nights this week in our own apartment. It is always really fun to get to go to other areas and work with other missionaries. But just like a vacation it’s always really nice to get to go back home. We start out trips this week in Mt Vernon. We are actually there right now and it is a really good place. They have a pretty small branch and a lot of struggles with missionary work but we love getting to come in and try to help out.

Outside from the baptism this last week was super normal. We were a little worried because after Sis. Kremer got baptized we weren’t going to have anyone else to teach. Thankfully God had mercy on us and we found a couple new people to meet with. Everything is just in the beginning stages right now but hopefully soon you will be hearing about more people making the decision to be baptized.

I want to end this week with another quote from Bryan Ready, the Baptist minister. When we had our meeting with him the other day he said "Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is meaningless." I know i have talked about this a lot recently and I might have even used this quote before, but the idea behind it is so important. I have heard a ton of stories this week of missionaries that I knew who went home and have already reverted right back to making the same mistakes they made before their missions. Serving a mission is an amazing thing but it also amazes me that completely dedicating your life to this gospel for 2 years isn’t enough to keep you active for 2 months, much less the rest of your life. To really be converted and stay active in the gospel and in the church we have to make these things important. Church can’t just be a 3 hour chunk of time we take out of our week because our mom taught us it was a good idea growing up. It has to become the most important thing in our lives that lasts forever. It’s not good enough to just hold onto the iron rod, we have to grab on and start walking toward the tree. We have to do our part. Satan is smart. He knows exactly when we are most vulnerable and he is going to do everything he can to get us off the straight and narrow path. I hope and pray that I can continue to stay on that path and trust in God far more than I trust in anything else. I hope that we can all see the importance of this and work together to reach the end goal.

-Elder Banks

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