Monday, October 1, 2012

            The only thing I can think of to describe this week is just constantly being tired... I went to bed so tired I could barely walk and woke up so tired I could barely roll out of bed. We were insanely busy this week. On Monday right after we emailed we bussed down to the St Louis Zoo. That was really fun. The coolest part was getting to go into this special exhibit thing they have and petting/feeding stingrays and little sharks. Besides the fact that we left the zoo smelling like dead fish and super worn out from walking around all day it was a really fun way to start out the week.
After that I spent a couple days in different cities around the stake on exchanges. In O’Fallon we were walking around tracting for a few hours and it started to get really cloudy and stormy so we thought it would probably be a good idea to start biking home. Thankfully we made it home for dinner and about 5 minutes later I looked outside and the rain was coming in sideways. It was the craziest storm I have ever seen. It was really cool to get to watch it from inside a house, but at the same time it was really nerve racking knowing that there was a bunch of missionaries out in it. Thankfully everyone made it through safe. Later that night we went up to Alton and stayed there for the night.   

The next day I got to go out and teach with Elder Anderson. We went to a guy named Carme's house and it was an awesome lesson. We taught him the plan of salvation and he loved it. Everything we said just made sense to him. He accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 20th. Even though it wasn’t my area or investigator it was still such an awesome experience to see someone who is that excited to hear about the message we have to share.

            Another cool experience we had this week was on, I think, Wednesday night. We had a dinner with the Mattatalls. They have a very unique house and it is set up differently. There is a front door and you walk through that and then there is a giant outdoor patio like room then you get to the real front door. They keep the doors locked so we normally get there and call and they just come let us in. When we got to their house on Wednesday we realized that we had left the phone back at the apartment and we didn’t have enough miles left on the car to go back and get it. So after pounding on the door and honking the car horn we realized that we didn’t have any way to make it past that first front door to get to the house. We were out of ideas so the only thing we could think to do was to just say a prayer. We prayed that we could get their attention or get into the house without having to use all out miles to go home. We prayed then just kinda sat there and looked at the door and the deadbolt locking it. After a couple seconds Elder Williams says Well there is no way this is going to work but it’s worth a shot. Then he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his knife. Stuck it in between the door and the frame and somehow shoved the deadbolt back into the door and the front door opened right up. It’s another simple little example of the power of prayer. We know that there is no way that knife should have been able to open that lock but for some reason it worked. We needed help and God helped us out.

             Thursday we went to zone conference. It was really fun to get a different view of zone conference this time. It was great to get to hear from the assistants and President and Sister Clark and we learned so much there. But it was really fun to get to do a training and be the one doing the teaching. We trained on how to use time wisely which was a pretty tricky thing to train on. Elder Williams came up with a really good idea that I wanted to share. We used the story of Christ with the woman at the well. He gave her the water so she would never thirst again. As missionaries we are messengers of Christ and we are responsible to give that same water to people. We had a cup with us that had a bunch of holes in it. Of course because we aren’t perfect like Christ our cup has holes in it. But as we do the things that we need to do like planning, studying, and all the other basic things missionaries and good members of the church should do, Christ will help us to plug up the holes so the water stops leaking out. It’s our responsibility to plug up all those holes so that if we run into someone who needs that "water" we can give them a full glass and not just the drops out of the bottom.

            When Thursday ended,  I was pretty much ready to drop. 2 days of exchanges and one 6 hour meeting down but we still had another 6 hour meeting and 2 days left in the week. On Friday we woke up and headed straight over to St Louis for ZLC. It was a good meeting. Long. But it was good. Saturday we bussed down to Cahokia and spent the day walking around down there. We kept having to get on the bus to get to different places in Cahokia and even if the bus ride was only 5 minutes long no matter how hard I tried Elder Williams had to wake me up when it was time to get off. I could not keep my eyes open. Church was good on Sunday and it was nice to get a break from our crazy schedule and get to just sit and listen in a meeting for once. For some reason on Sunday I just felt like something was off. I had no idea what it was. I knew I was tired but there was something more than that. Brother Kremer asked me a couple times if there was something wrong and I didn’t know what it was so I just said I was tired. I went throughout the whole day just wanting to figure it out. Around 10 that night I finally realized what it was. In all of the chaos that happened this whole week we didn’t have our studies any day after Tuesday. That meant I had gone almost 6 days without studying from the Book of Mormon. I opened it up here and there but I hadn’t really sat down and read. It hit me how big of a deal that was and how that book is such an important part of my life now. I woke up this morning determined to read and then of course we ended up having to drive an hour to Edwardsville. We have our whole day planned out after we email and shop to sit and do nothing. We are really looking forward to it. But I will have to sacrifice some nap time to get some reading done. I know that The Book of Mormon changes lives and people more than anything else. Opening the pages and reading is the best cure to anything that could possibly come against us in this life. I didn’t appreciate quite how important it was before my mission. But now knowing what it is and how important it really is I never want to stop reading it, and the only reason that I can stop reading it is to go out and to try to get other people to read it. I love that book and I love getting to share it with other people. As I sadly found out this week we can’t let Satan tell us that we don’t have time. We always have time to read and if we don’t, then make time. Nothing is more important than making sure we can have the Spirit with us and there to guide us throughout everything we do each and every day. I am so thankful for all the amazing blessings I get to see as a missionary and I hope that you can all see the blessings of this gospel in your lives too.

Elder Banks
Elder Banks and Elder Anderson at the St. Louis Cardinals game in September.

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