Monday, January 14, 2013

            We had a really good week this week and it started with something that was really different but it was a really cool experience. One of our friends Elder Hunter is in Belleville right now and he needed to go to St Louis so he could go to court. A few months ago he got mugged in the city and they caught the two guys who did it to him so he had to go to the trial. After we finally found a place to park and figured out what building it was in we walked into the court room and sat in the back. It was interesting to see Elder Hunters reaction because the person who just a few months ago was pointing a gun at his head was sitting right in front of him now. The kid had already said he was guilty so there was no jury or anything but they simply just asked Elder Hunter to go up and talk about how the crime had affected him. It was really cool because he walked up there and bore his testimony to the whole court. He talked about his testimony of Christ and how through Christ we can always be forgiven. He told the kid he had forgiven him and how he knew that God loved him and wanted to help him still. The kid is 18 and won’t be out of jail until he is at least 29, so we were really happy to at least see a small amount of guilt be taken off of his shoulders.

             I have heard the weather in Utah has been insane. We are so thankful we haven’t gotten what you all have back home. On Tuesday it was like 65 degrees and wonderful and right now it’s about 20 and really cold. Sunday I saw freezing rain for the first time and that was weird. It kinda feels like hail while you’re in it but it just instantly freezes as soon as it hits the ground. It pretty much turns the whole city into a giant ice skating rink. A few people’s church got canceled but thankfully ours didn’t get shortened or anything.

             The rest of this week was full of exchanges. Wednesday we went up to Mt Vernon. Elder Lainhart is up there finishing out his mission and he got lucky enough to smash his toe earlier this week. Elder Anderson said that the x-ray of his toe looked like someone had smashed a cookie because there were just pieces of bone everywhere. So we are trying to help him out and get his companion out of the apartment for once. But they are an hour and a half drive away so it’s tough sometimes. After the MT Vernon exchange, I went to Belleville the next day with Elder Taylor. Then the next day I was in Fairview Heights with Elder Smith while Elder Anderson was in O’Fallon. Then the next 2 days were spent with the assistants in our area. So needless to say I was pretty happy to be back with Elder Anderson finally.

We have one week left before transfers (we get calls this Saturday) and I can barely believe it. This transfer has flown by. It’s been fun and frustrating at the same time. From the time that Elder Anderson got here until now we have a teaching pool that is pretty much exactly the same, it’s just different names. No one has really made much progress and some recent converts have even gotten worse. But I am super thankful for two things especially right now. First is Elder Anderson. No matter how terrible a day has been or how many hours we spend walking around in the rain we can never stop laughing. We are always having fun and that makes it so much easier to teach and to have the Spirit with us all the time no matter what. The second thing I am thankful for is the miracles that have happened this week. We found 2 young couples who are really interested in learning and have crazy potential. There are a lot of young couples in our ward so we are hoping that they will come to church soon and meet some people they like and feel that Spirit. We also found a guy named Ali. Like the prince Ali song from Aladdin. He is an AT&T salesman and he knocked on the O’Fallon elder’s door. They taught him and he loves The Book of Mormon and knows everything we teach is true. It’s just impossible to meet with him. So once we can start meeting with him and get him to church he should be ready to get baptized. It’s been a pretty stale transfer but we are really happy to be ending it with some good news.

            This Saturday we had president interviews. Like always, mine was about 60 seconds long and fairly uneventful, but something else really cool happened that day. The Shiloh elders had 3 people get baptized that day. Earlier that week I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer and her son. Jennifer was for sure getting baptized but the kids were a little bit of a risky situation. They were with their dad on Saturday and he wasn’t too supportive of the situation. He doesn’t have any custody so he couldn’t stop them but if he decided to not bring them to the building then they couldn’t really get baptized. But with lots of prayer and the Spirit softening his heart he brought them. It was really good to see all of their hard work paying off. They went through a lot of weeks of nothing but tracting and disappointment but it finally all paid off so that was an amazing experience.

            This upcoming week brings a lot of uncertainty with transfer calls and a lot of excitement with some new investigators that are coming out of nowhere. We know that it’s going to be a good end of the transfer and we are so thankful for all of the many blessings that we have seen together. We pray that we can finish out strong and see some results and see people’s lives change in the near future. Thank you all for your love and support and I’ll talk to you again soon.

-Elder Banks   

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