Monday, March 18, 2013

            We had another awesome week this week. I never want this transfer to end because everything is just going so amazing, so I will jump right into talking about all the awesome things that happened. Monday was just a normal fun P-day. There are a bunch of really cool missionaries right around us so pretty much every Monday we just go down to the city and hang out with the Lindell1 and Lindell 2 missionaries and then the assistants and office elders come down. It’s so fun to just get to be in the heart of the city doing everything that there is to do. We went to a famous place called Fitzs and got some food. It was the best hamburger I have ever had and they have super famous root beer so we got tons of that too. It was a good way to start off the week.

            Tuesday was a normal day full of work. We went and followed up with a guy named Ben who we had tracted into the week before and he was outside waiting for us. He had read a lot of the Book of Mormon that we left him and he was pretty open about it. It was a good meeting and hopefully we can head back to go see him again soon. Later that night we got to go up and have dinner with the temple president so that was really cool. HIs wife is way into quilting so I took some cool pictures for my mom and he is huge into bow hunting so he had dear heads all over the walls haha. It was a really fun dinner.

Wednesday we had our first appointment with Steve who is Amber McCombes boyfriend who she brought to church. He is way solid. He had some real questions and concerns which is great. We don’t ever want people to just jump into the church because someone they like tells them too. He missed church this weekend but we are seeing him tomorrow and we are super excited. He is probably our most progressing investigator right now.

            Wednesday was also a really good day that we finished off with a baptismal interview up in Lindell 2. It has been interesting recently because we have had to do a ton of baptismal interviews. Every person who has been interviewed this transfer has had some serious problems that they had to overcome so President Clark asked us to do the interviews instead of the district leaders and it has been a really cool experience. We have gotten to talk to so many people who have made amazing changes in their lives. Robert Franklin (the guy I interviewed) got baptized on Saturday and changed his life forever. It is so amazing to get to see so many cool changes in people’s lives. It’s different than anything I have ever gotten to do in my life and I am so thankful for it.

            Thursday I got to go to Arnold to go on exchanges with Elder Smith. He told me a really cool story that ties in with something my mom wrote me about today so I thought I would share it briefly. Before my mission I thought that in order to be a good member of the church you had to be this Mormon robot that fit in perfectly with everything the church taught. I have realized out here that’s not true at all. Very, very few of the people that we teach out here are living a church lifestyle before we meet them. Elder Smith told me a great example of a person that was baptized in his first area. He served in the ghetto of north St Louis and they found a guy who contacted them and wanted to get baptized. He was a skinhead and covered in tattoos from head to toe including a giant swastika across his chest. He had been sent to jail for a bunch of random stuff so he served some time there. While he was in jail they gave him a black cell mate and he tried to kill him. So they sent him into solitary to be by himself. He got super bored there so he asked them to give him a book. They gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He read the entire thing and thought it was the dumbest book he had ever read. But because he had nothing else to do he kept reading it. One day he had some kind of dream and found out it was true. For the next few years he read pretty much all the Ensigns and watched a ton of conference on old VHS tapes. They moved him back in with a roommate after a while and his roommate was an apostate Mormon who led an anti-Mormon group. But one good thing was he had an old quad. So he gave it to him and he read the entire thing. He was ready to get baptized as soon as he got out of jail. After all of these things he had been through he is now a primary teacher in the Pagedale ward. My mom told me a quote she heard was "My favorite smell in church is cigarette smoke." Also on my mission I think it was a stake president said that he wished he could put a sign up in the front of the church that said "Smokes Welcome" I have learned so much about accepting other people even with their flaws and past mistakes. Anyone can change from anything they have gone through in the past. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to learn this and meet these people on my mission.

            Saturday I got the chance to go to Ryan Kremers baptism. It was so good to see the Kremers, Sandy, and everyone else again. I got the opportunity to give the talk on the Holy Ghost and stand in on the circle. It was really cool. I went down to Fairview with Elder Williams so it was super fun to get to be his companion again for a day in our old area. I am so thankful that I have had so many awesome companions. Being with them all has been so much fun. After the baptism we went to our old favorite place to eat and got 1 pound chili hamburgers. I would like to note that for the first time in my life I ate more than Elder Williams. No one tell him I said that haha.

Sunday we had a normal day at church after about 2 hours of meetings. Then Sunday night we got to go to the mission president house and meet with President Clark and James O’Neil Miner. He is the famous pianist that is doing a concert for us tomorrow night and for our stake on Friday this week. Hopefully we will have some nonmembers there that we can talk to.

            We found 6 new investigators this week which was awesome and we had about 8 lessons. Overall everything is just going awesome. Elder Redmond is still here and we haven’t heard anything about his visa yet but it has been great to have him around for a little while. I am so thankful for both of my current companions and everything that has happened this transfer. Hopefully it keeps going as well as it has been. I am so blessed and thankful for these amazing opportunities that I have been given.

-Elder Banks

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