Monday, February 25, 2013

Book of Mormon Musical

           Soooo much happened this week. It was super busy and super fun. The first few days of the week were pretty normal. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened. Thursday is when things started to get a little interesting. A blizzard and ice storm came through that was built up on the news to make it sound like St Louis was going to turn inside out and explode. To prepare for it all the schools got canceled and we had to park all the mission cars for the day. It was a pretty big snow storm and there was some weird ice/rain/snow combinations, but really it wasn’t too bad at all. The one thing that made it tough was we live about an hours walk away from anything in our area. We planned to do some tracting and got to walk for about an hour through the freezing rain just to get there. It made me really appreciate having a car. Luckily I got a Raiders scarf from the Kremers for Christmas so that kept me nice and warm. Elder Bullocks scarf wasn’t long enough to cover his face so he wasn’t as lucky haha. Poor guy.

            Friday we went to ZLC in St Louis and that was good like it always is. President Clark told us that the church is going to announce 50 new missions because there are 107,000 missionaries headed to the field right now. Also our new mission president’s name is President Morgan. He is from somewhere around Layton. He is moving out here with his wife and his daughter is finishing her senior year in high school out here with them. That’s about all we know from them right now. ZLC was awesome because we thought we were going to be fairly far behind our goal. Everyone set their goal close to 5 this month for baptisms and we were one of the only zones who reached that and we got 10. But the real help came from the Champaign zone where they had 9 baptisms the day after ZLC and that pushed us up to be 3 ahead of our goal for February. We are staying on track right now and we are really happy about that.

            Saturday was transfer calls and I don’t know how much I said last week so I might be repeating some things, but we got a call sometime recently to tell us who the trainers are. We found out that President Clark got an email from the church recently that they have 88 missionaries who are waiting for visas and they need somewhere to send them. They wanted to know how many we could take. President Clark told them we could take 8 and so all the zone leader companionships are now going to be training a missionary waiting to go to Brazil. I assumed I was staying so I was pretty excited to hear I would be in a tri and get to train someone at least for a little while until he heads out to his mission. I thought me and Elder Bullock would stay together but I was wrong. Turns our Elder Bullock is going to go open a new area, Washington 2, and I am going to be staying and getting Elder Anderson. President Clark just loves putting me with all the Elder Andersons. This one’s nickname is DJ Anderson because he was a DJ before his mission. All I know about him is that he is super good at singing and playing the guitar. Everyone says he is hilarious and super chill so I am excited about that. It’s a little stressful knowing I have to take over an area and bring 2 new missionaries into it, but I am excited.

            Sunday was awesome. We started out in church and had ward conference. We got a lot of really good talks and ward council was huge but it was fun to get to go to that. Church overall was just super solid and a great spiritual experience.

Sunday night was definitely a night I’ll never forget. A little bit of background. The Book of Mormon musical is playing in the Fox Theater about 10 feet from the Lindell elder’s apartment building. We knew this was a good chance to be seen so at the Lindell district meeting we all met with the assistants and figured out what we were going to do. All our plans were smashed when President heard from the church PR rep that we weren’t to go anywhere near the theater until he figured some things out. Sunday morning the assistants went to church in Lindell and told them they were good to do whatever they wanted. So us, Lindell 1, and Lindell 2 all met up that night to prepare. We dressed just like the missionaries in the play (even with no coats even though it was freezing) and got ready to hand out some copies of the Book of Mormon. We also hung a giant 15ish foot Mormon.Org banner covered in Christmas lights from the Lindell apartment window so everyone who drives by will see it. We got a table and 2 boxes of the Book of Mormon and some cards and thought that would cover it. There are 40 copies in each box. We thought that a couple people here or there would take one and out of the 4 thousand who see the play each night we would hand out a box or 2. Well people started flooding out of the theater and we gave away those 2 boxes in about 5 minutes. People just thought it was the best thing ever that we were standing out there. There were a lot of different reactions. Of course there were some people who were just jerks like always. But tons of people were so proud of us and thought we were geniuses. They were so nice and friendly. Then there were the people who treated us like animals in a zoo. That sounds like a bad thing but it was actually pretty cool haha. They thought it was great to see a real Mormon Missionary. People just wanted to talk and take pictures with us. So Facebook in St Louis is going to be blown up with pictures of people with Mormon Missionaries haha. The best thing was there were a ton of people who really wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon. Real sincere people wanted to know why we were out standing in the freezing cold giving away this book. On our way back to the apartment after everyone had left we walked past a restaurant and saw a lady reading the Book of Mormon we had just given her. Seeing that one thing made the whole night worth it. In all, even though we ran out and had to go back to the apartment for more, we gave away 200 copies of The Book of Mormon in about 20 minutes. It’s impossible to do it justice by typing it in an email. But being in downtown St Louis completely surrounded by skyscrapers and people who want to learn more about your religion was amazing. There are about 2 more weeks’ worth of shows so hopefully we can get a bunch of other missionaries to get to do the same thing we got to do because it was an amazing experience.

            The work here in Oakville has slowed down a ton. Trying to retain these recent converts has become close to impossible and we can’t seem to find any new investigators. We found one guy named Norman who is great and super sincere so we pray he reads his scriptures and comes to know it’s true. Hopefully with a change in missionaries coming up we can really get the work going. I am so thankful to Elder Bullock and all the good times we had and the things we learned from each other. I am so thankful to be a missionary and hopefully I have some awesome new investigators to tell you about soon! I love you all and will talk to you again soon.

-Elder Banks

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