Monday, November 19, 2012

         It feels like I just wrote an email home yesterday but I will try to think of some stuff to say today. Wednesday was pretty normal after we got to email. We pretty much just tracted all day. Nothing really happened but it was alright. The next day was a lot better though. The APs came and we got to go on our exchange with them. It is always way fun to have them come over. They are really fun missionaries to be around. Going on the exchange with them was crazy because for like the first time in the history of missionaries every single thing that we planned out for that day went perfectly as planned. With the 4 of us all in Fairview that day I think we had like 8 lessons and 5 new investigators. We had a total of 7 new investigators this week which is crazy. Normally if we get 2 in a week we are thrilled. It was a huge blessing though because we had to cut a bunch of people out of our teaching pool recently so it was really nice to get to build it back up a little bit.

            The next day we got to go on exchanges with the East Saint Louis elders and that was fun too. I got to be with Elder Vaka for the day who is a giant Tongan who is from Oakland California so of course we got along because he is a Raiders fan. He got to tell me about how cool it is to sit in the Black Hole and pretty much just made me want to go to a football game. And as I was typing some kid walked past me in the college wearing a Raiders hat. Must be some kind of sign. But anyway it was a really good exchange. One of the cool things that happened was we got a call from the Belleville elders needing our help. They have a girl who is like 13 years old who wants to be baptized. They have been working forever trying to get to meet her parents to get approval but she lives with her grandparents and her parents live kinda far away so they couldn’t ever get up there or get a hold of the parents. But God obviously wants this girl to get baptized because they called us and we found out her dad had told them they could come by that day. So we drove up there and he was totally cool with her getting baptized and then we called her mom and got her approval too. Then right after that she got her interview and passed. It was cool to see all of the hard work from those elders pay off and everything got set up perfectly. She is planning on getting baptized this Saturday.
            Later that day after all of that stuff happened, me and Elder Vaka got to go and teach Brenda Wilson who is our investigator with a baptismal date for the 1st of December. It was pretty crazy when we went over there. There were like 8 grandkids all having a giant WWE match in the living room and of course they all wanted us to join in. It was just chaos. But we love all those little kids so it was really fun at the same time. After a while we got everyone to calm down a little bit and had a lesson. At the end of the lesson we had one of the grandkids give the closing prayer. After the closing prayer, Kahmon, who is a little boy probably around 4 years old walked up and whispered in my ear that he wanted to pray too. So he sat down and everyone got quiet again for him. Then he simply just repeated what I whispered into his ear and said a prayer. It was a really cool experience for all of us and when i opened my eyes Brenda was just crying her eyes out because she was so happy to see her little grandbaby saying a prayer.

            Just like always Sunday morning was insane. We had like 6 people who were planning on coming to church that day and right after we finished studying we had about 6 phone calls from people with excuses why they weren’t going to make it to church that day. It was really frustrating because I feel like my stay in Fairview can for the most part be summed up with investigators who seem solid and get so close then Satan snatches them away. I was getting ready for another investigatorless day at church when Brenda texted us why she wasn’t going to make it. Her reason was by far the most legit out of all of them and she very easily could have just decided to not come that day. But once we told her that it was just Satan trying to hold her back and keep her from going to church she went into super determined black lady mode and once people get like that there isn’t anything that is going to stop them. She had a bunch of crazy stuff going on but she fought through it and ended up making it to church. We were so thankful that she knew how important it was and that she put the effort into making it to church. Once we got to church it was a great experience just like always.

            A quick update on Archie who is our other most progressing investigator, we are still meeting with her and things are going really well but she doesn’t want to come back to church until she can get some nicer clothes. We explained to her that it doesn’t matter what you wear but she wasn’t having any of that. Hopefully we can get that worked out and we can get her coming back to church again soon.

            This coming week is going to be a really good one. We are hopefully having 3 baptisms in the zone this Saturday and saying we haven’t had one in over a month now it is great to see some people willing to make that step. The Fairview area got a couple referrals this week that we are super excited to go and contact. They are solid families who want to learn more about the church so we hope and pray that things work out with them. Thanksgiving is this Thursday and we are way excited for that. We get to go play in the Turkey Bowl in O’Fallon and then we have like 5 member families that want to feed us so we are probably going to eat a ton and then feel sick for the rest of the week. That is what Thanksgiving is all about. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary and focus all of my efforts on teaching and helping people. It’s a once in a lifetime chance and I am so thankful that I got to take advantage of the chance I was given. – Elder Banks

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