Monday, December 10, 2012

    So this week was the end of a roller coaster of feelings and the beginning of a new one. When I first got to Fairview it wasn’t my favorite place in the world for sure. It took me a really long time to start to like it here.  After a while I started to get some really good relationships with some people in the ward and it has become one of my favorite places. But over the last week or so I have been preparing myself to leave because I figured that it was my time to go. So of course we got transfer calls on Saturday and because I was so ready to leave, God decided to leave me here. Elder Williams is headed out to serve on the University of Illinois campus and I will be staying in Fairview with my new companion Elder Anderson. Even though I know like 6 Elder Andersons in this mission my new companion is one I haven’t ever really had the chance to talk to much before. It’s interesting because he has also been in Fairview before and is getting sent back just like Elder Williams. He has 2 transfers left in his mission so he is getting ready to head home pretty soon. I am super curious how he is going to react to getting sent back. He has never been a zone leader before so hopefully it will be a cool change for him. He was here over a year ago so only a few people remember him but they seemed to like him. One thing I am hoping goes well is the ward losing Elder Williams again. They love him so much here and he is everyone’s favorite missionary because he has spent so much time here and loves the ward so much. Last time he left things didn’t go so well but hopefully it goes good this time. I felt really good at church this week cause the relief society president and a few other sisters in the ward found out he was leaving and said of course they would miss him but they were glad he was leaving the ward in good hands. So that made me feel really good. Losing a companion always makes me really appreciate having really great members in the ward and having such good friends like the Jacksons and the Kremers. I know that if we ever need anything they will be there to help out in any way possible.

     Besides transfers this has been a really normal week. It flew by, and I can’t think of anything to even say right now because I don’t remember any of it. Last night was fun. Elder Marshall is going to Dexter for his last transfer so he is done being an assistant so they came down to our area to have dinner one last time last night and we are playing basketball with them for one last time today. Elder Williams and Elder Marshall went to the Kremers and Me and Elder Christensen went to the Holidays in the O’Fallon ward. It was really fun and there ended up being a million people there. Six missionaries and a bunch of kids from the YSA ward so it was quite the party. The missionaries sang “Nearer my God to Thee” for the closing spiritual thought and it was really cool. Then as we walked out the door we asked them for a scale and got to weigh ourselves. Recently, depending on the day, I have put on 25-30 pounds since I left. The blessings of having a ward that feeds you huge amounts of food every night are amazing.

     Something really cool that has been happening this week is a lot of missionaries hard work is paying off, specifically in the Shiloh area. They had a really rough start of the transfer and were tracting for about 3 weeks straight all day every day and nothing was happening at all. They were getting pretty down but they kept working their brains out every single day. Then this week, all of their hard work paid off and investigators started coming out of nowhere. It’s interesting because they aren’t tracting into their new investigators, but because they are tracting and working hard God is blessing them. They now have 6 people who they are hoping to set baptism dates with very soon. Things like that have been happening all over the mission and especially this zone. God is really blessing us for working hard and allowing us to get to our goal of 365.

     I wanted to end this week by talking about a lesson I have learned over and over again on my mission, most recently in the last couple weeks. Sometimes missionary work becomes hard to do. It’s hard to motivate yourself to go knock on the door of someone who 99% of the time doesn’t want to talk to you. In an effort to try to bring myself more happiness I would look for fun stuff, looking to worldly things to try to entertain myself. Not bad things, but just always looking forward to getting to hang out with other missionaries or counting down the minutes to dinner or until personal study is over. The same lesson I have learned a thousand times from that is that those things don’t bring real happiness. Reading the scriptures and using every second of every day to knock on every door you can brings real happiness. Working as hard as you possibly can in order to talk to that 1% of people who will listen to what you have to say, because most of the time that 1% is the last 1% that you talk to that day. I am so thankful for God and His willingness to help me to learn and grow from all of my experiences on my mission. I hope I can keep this lesson for once and not have to relearn it again. I know submitting 100% to Gods will is the only thing that can bring us real happiness.

-Elder Banks

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