Monday, April 8, 2013

Goodbye Oakville, Hello Mission Office

             This week was possibly the best week I have ever had. I’ll start with the coolest thing that happened all week. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned a Pam before but here is her story. Elder Anderson and the other Elder Banks tracted into her a little while ago on exchanges and she let them in. She was kinda just old and crazy but said we could come back. Me and Elder Anderson went back a few days later and it was awful. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink except iced tea and she had smoked like 3 packs a day for the last 3 days. She obviously felt awful and just cried and moped about how bad she was doing for like an hour and a half. We got her some water and went and bought her an awful 3 dollar gas station sandwich and then left. We pretty much never planned on going back to see her. But on Monday we were playing basketball and we got a call from her. She was so happy and told us that the sandwich we bought her was the best thing she had ever eaten and she had been eating and drinking water for a couple days now and she had read the Book of Mormon for a few hours each day and she loved it. She wanted us to come back and talk with her. We went back and had a few lessons this week and then she came to the Saturday morning session of conference and loved it. She now has a baptism date for May 18th. She is so excited and invited all of her friends already and one of them really wants to sit down and meet with us so we are planning on doing that this week. It’s just one of those situations where you sit back and smile because you know that God had to do all of that. It helps you realize that we are truly nothing. My new planner for the transfer is a picture of stars and has a quote from President Uchtdorf that says something like "We are nothing compared to God, but to God we are everything." I am so thankful that He loves each one of us enough to put miracles into our lives and bring us those awesome experiences that we won’t ever forget.

             Brother Michaelis took us to go and get Pam for conference and while we were on our way up to get her he said something that he had read in a book that I thought was awesome. He said that love the feeling comes after love the verb. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. We have to show our love for someone and truly care for them before we can feel love for them. It doesn’t really come with eye contact from across the room or anything else that movies show us. Love really is an action word and we have to act on it.

Some other reasons this week has been going so well is because Steve is doing great. He has a couple weird situations that are holding him back right now from being baptized but hopefully they will work themselves out. Also another cool thing that happened is that we met a guy named Mike. We knocked on his door a few days ago and he said he would talk but he was kinda busy and he showed us inside his house and it was completely destroyed. He is renovating it by himself and is super busy. We made a joke about bringing him doughnuts and then he told us how much he loves them. So a few days later we brought him some doughnuts and he thought that was the coolest thing ever. He wanted to sit down right then but he was eating dinner with his wife and kids so he said to come back. We went back yesterday and we talked for like 2 hours while he worked on his house. He is so ready to be a member of our church! He wants everything that we have for him. He is reading “7 habits of highly effective people” by Steven Covey and he thinks it’s great and that book has so many gospel principles in it. We are going back tonight to talk with him again and hopefully things go well. He has had a pretty interesting life and has been a marine for a while. He is covered in skull tattoos and doesn’t look like a nice person at all haha. But he is the nicest guy ever. We are so excited to go back and see him.

            Transfer calls were this week and as always they come with mixed emotions. I really wanted to stay in Oakville with Elder Anderson because this last transfer has been possibly the best 6 weeks of my life, but on Friday night we got a call that I had an appointment to meet with President Clark Saturday between the afternoon session and priesthood session. So we drove down to the office and President Clark sat me down and asked me if I would be his new assistant. I said yes and I am really excited but really nervous. My new companion will be Elder Bean and I know him pretty well already so I’m really excited for that. President Clark and Elder Bean both go home within the next 2 transfers so they told me that I am going to have to be a big part of the new mission president coming in. I’ll spend the majority of the rest of my mission working with President Morgan and doing everything that I can to help him be comfortable in his new calling. I really, really hope that I can make it back to Oakville for the baptisms that are coming up.

Elder Anderson is getting Elder Duke as his new companion and neither of us really know anything about him. I have heard he is a good missionary though so hopefully that all works out and things keep going well here. The next few days are going to be crazy ones. I have to pack up all my stuff today and then Tuesday morning I am going with Elder Bean to pick up the 24 new missionaries that are coming into the mission. We will spend the day with them and then Wednesday is transfer day. After that meeting we will get to hang out with the departing missionaries for the rest of that day. I am pretty excited for that because 3 of my best friends from the mission are going home so I am really excited to get to see them one last time before they go home. Elder Anderson (who I served with in Fairview), Elder Hunter, and the other Elder Banks are all going home and I am going to miss them a lot.

I don’t really know what to think about this next transfer but I’m excited. I have no idea what it’s going to be like but I know I will learn a lot. We have interviews this transfer so I am going to get to meet every missionary in the mission and see most of the areas. I get to go back to Jacksonville for a day! I am so excited to be back in Jacksonville with Elder Anderson because he is still serving there. It’s going to be great.
             I was slightly distracted during conference because of all the stuff that was going through my head but I still got a lot out of it. One thing that I thought was really interesting was all of the repeated stories that were told. I heard about 4 or 5 stories that I had heard almost word for word in previous conference talks. At first I thought that was kinda weird that they couldn’t come up with new stories, but then I realized that if they were important enough to be repeated then we could all probably learn something from them. Another major theme that I noticed was how everything starts in the home. All good values and Christ like attributes need to be practiced in the home and in marriage then they will be applied in other places as well. And of course I noticed the million times they told every member to do missionary work! Especially in priesthood session it was talked about a lot.

Well this week was great and hopefully the next ones are just as good. Big changes are coming for me and hopefully everything continues to go well. I love you all and will talk to you again soon.

-Elder Banks

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