Monday, November 26, 2012


          This week was full of really fun stuff but a lot of work too. I don’t think me and Elder Williams had a normal full day working together except for Saturday. Last P-day we all got together as a zone and went to a really nice turf field in O’Fallon and played games. It was a blast, but then just like every other time we play sports on p-day we were all really tired after. Wednesday I got to go on an exchange with Elder Smith for a few hours. It adventure. We had a blast and I don’t know if I have ever laughed as hard as I did that day. Elder Williams and Loveless went to St Louis while me and Elder Smith stayed in O’Fallon. We had planned on going to a certain city in their area to see some people. It got interesting though because first of all Elder Smith is a new missionary so he doesn’t know the area that well yet and we were also on bikes so we didn’t have a GPS. Needless to say we got lost. We ended up riding our bikes for about an hour and a half straight which wouldn’t be too bad except for we weren’t really riding on the road. The roads in Illinois are awful to say the least. They are barely wide enough for two lanes of cars to fit on. So if we were lucky there was a gutter we could ride in but most of the time we were in gravel off the side of the road. Then we ended up in the middle of a corn field on our bikes. Ya that was a terrible idea. Then when we finally got to where we were supposed to go, we got a call about 5 seconds later that Elder Williams and Loveless were on their way back to come pick us up. It was a really fun day but my legs felt like they were going to fall off after that.

            The next day was Thanksgiving and it was great. We started by first thing going over to O’Fallon to have a turkey bowl with their ward and it was so much fun. The teams were split up 20 and under against 21 and older and i think even the 20 and younger team was dead tired by the end. It was weird to have a day where we didn’t have to tract or anything so a bunch of us all just went to the church and ate Jack in the Box for our Thanksgiving lunch and then played sports for a while. After a few hours of basketball and volleyball we went to the Matattalls for dinner and had a great thanksgiving dinner there. But probably the best part of Thanksgiving was we got about 8 missionaries and we went back to that turf field at night. The reason it was so fun though was because it was pitch black all around us but the field has lights on it. And about half way through our game of Gator ball it started to pour rain. After an hour of running around in the cold rain we were all very satisfied with our Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be around so many good friends out here in the mission field. I know most missions in the world don’t have the same opportunities that we have here in St Louis and I am so thankful that God sent me here when I needed to be here. I am thankful for the chance that I have to help people and also to make so many great new friends while I am here.

            Friday I got to go on exchanges with Elder Anderson and it was freezing. It was like 35 degrees or something so it wasn’t that cold at all but there was a wind that day that could split you in half. After a while of tracting in that, Satan has a pretty powerful tool in tempting you to go inside and warm up and rest. But once you can push through all the bad stuff that’s going on you realize after how good you feel for being obedient. And the first thing we did that day was walk in an hour and a half long parade and hand out pass along cards. We handed out a thousand cards so that was great but after all the walking and riding I had done, especially in the cold weather, I was ready for a nap. But of course no matter how ready you are for a nap as a missionary you don’t get one.

Then on Saturday we got the really cool chance to go to a baptism for Sister Fults. I got to interview her a couple days ago and she is an awesome lady. It was really good to meet her and it was awesome to get to see Elders Loveless and Smith finally get a baptism because they have been working so hard and so well together for a few months now. I haven’t been to a baptism for like 3 months so getting to go to one again was an amazing experience and got me excited for this weekend when Brenda is getting baptized.

             Sunday, for once, actually went pretty smoothly. Brenda made it to church without a hitch and is ready to get baptized this weekend on Saturday. We figured out the whole baptism schedule for her this week and we are getting really excited. Elder Williams gets to baptize her which is going to be interesting. She can’t walk very well and is a very big lady. She hasn’t been up or down stairs in a really long time so getting her in and out of the font is going to be interesting, but we know that as long as we do all that we can do God will provide a way. Then on Sunday I am going to have the opportunity to give her the gift of the Holy Ghost so I am really excited for that opportunity.

I am so thankful for this time that I have to serve a mission and to serve in this area. Even though a lot of the time being on a mission is really hard, it is always a really great experience. I am so thankful for all that I have learned and that God would trust me enough to give me all the blessings that I have received. I am so thankful for all of the great people I get to be around so often and I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences I have had on this mission for anything.

-Elder Banks

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