Monday, March 11, 2013

            This week has gotten me more excited than ever to be companions with Elder Anderson. We are going to get to do so much random fun stuff. Last Monday after we emailed we drove to downtown and went to the Catholic Basilica for mass. It was just one of those random things we decided to do but it was so cool. The Basilica is an amazing building and it was really interesting. I learned a lot and it’s a lot easier for me to talk to people now about their religion now that I actually have an idea what the heck it is. After Monday, the middle of the week was super normal like always. Just lots of tracting and finding and stuff like that. It was a much slower week than last week but we found a lot of potentials so hopefully next week we can pick some of them up.
            Friday we had a DLZL meeting and it was so cool. We got the normal meeting stuff out of the way, and then we started talking about a new game that the zone is going to play. The momentum in our zone has been going down a lot over the last few transfers so we have been trying to think of something to get it going again. Elder Anderson coming into the zone along with a bunch of new missionaries has already started things off on a good note. Everyone is just getting excited for missionary work again and working super hard. One of the things President was focusing on was finding new investigators and we were struggling with that. We are supposed to get at least 20 a week and last transfer the most the zone found in a week was 18. But the first 2 weeks of this transfer we have found 28 and 27. It is so cool to see people getting so excited again.

Another thing we have been told to focus on a lot is working with members, so that’s the game that I was talking about earlier. We were trying to think of a way to get people excited about it working with members, and in honor of March Madness coming up we made a game called Member Madness. It’s just a super simple lame little game with a point system and prizes and stuff for working with members, but people are getting so excited about it. Only the district leaders know about it right now and it hasn’t even started yet, but already trash talk and a bunch of other fun stuff has started to go around the zone. Everyone wants to be the best missionaries at working with their ward. The regular season is coming up this and next week then that will determine your seed for the playoff bracket we made. The winner of the whole thing gets to choose a place and President Clark is going to take them to lunch. It’s such a simple game and it probably doesn’t even sound that cool but it’s like the closest thing we can get to sports so we are all super excited. And we have been trying to eat at all the cool places in St Louis and having President pay for one would be great so we better win.
            Saturday we got to go to a baptism that was really cool. It was for Brandy and Dakota in Arnold, which is the area right next to ours. It was great to see them finally get baptized because they have been trying for almost year. Brandy had a bunch of snags she had to get over and her daughter Dakota was just waiting for her. They were one of those families that you just know needed the gospel. They were found in one of the coolest ways I have ever heard. The missionaries a while ago in Arnold were trying to text someone in their ward. They punched in the wrong number so they ended up accidentally texting Brandy. She asked who they were and why they were texting her and they told her they were missionaries for our church. She responded with "Oh you’re missionaries? I have been looking for a new church." and the rest is history. It was exciting to finally see them be so happy and know that they made the right decision. Right after the baptism we had a giant ward party BBQ trivia night and that was great. Unlimited pulled pork always makes for a great night.

            Sunday was probably the best day of the week. It started with us accidentally missing all our meetings in the morning because our alarm went off an hour late. Yikes... But then after that things got a lot better. One random but cool thing happened while I was handing our programs before church. Some guy who I didn’t recognize but I think is from another ward came up and asked me if we had been giving out copies of the Book of Mormon outside the Fox Theater after the play. I told him we did and then he told me about a story about how he runs with a preacher every once in a while and his preacher friend told him about how someone the preacher knows very well went to the play and saw us standing outside afterwards. He teared up when he saw us and very humbly took a copy of the free book we were handing out. He has been reading the Book of Mormon ever since. He hasn’t contacted the missionaries yet as far as we know but hopefully someday soon he will. It’s so cool to hear all of these random stories. People in almost every area around St Louis have been talking about the Mormon missionaries outside the musical. Lindell has given out about 10 referrals of people wanting the missionaries to come over and who knows how many more have read the book or even just simply looked at the website. It’s fun to hear about some good results of hard work every once in a while.

            Church got even better later because we weren’t really planning on having any investigators at church this week. But we were happy to see that Sadika and Samira (the 2 Bosnian ladies) showed up. And we got even more excited because a lady in the ward brought her boyfriend and a young woman in the ward brought one of her best friends. All the visitors really liked it and the boyfriend (Steve) set up an appointment on Wednesday to meet with us. We love seeing the ward get into missionary work. President Clark has asked us to dedicate Sundays to visiting members and having them start doing missionary work. We visited with a few people yesterday and they are all in the process of making a list of non-members they know and choosing 3 of them to start working with. Missionaries have done it in the past and not been too serious, but we made sure to let everyone know we will be following up with them and this is the real deal now. We are excited to see what kind of results come out of this down the road. Possibly long after all 3 of us are in a new area or even home off our missions. But if it helps even one person get baptized, we would be thrilled. I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have to serve, and the super cool area and companions that I have right now. Being a missionary is amazing. I don’t really know what else I can say beyond that.

-Elder Banks

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