Monday, June 24, 2013

This week was a blast. I am so tired I just want to fall over and die but it has been so worth it. Monday was awesome because we got to go to the Cardinals Cubs game. It was raining forever so it started late but it’s ok because we still got to stay for the whole game and it was a great game. It was really funny/sad because we were sitting on like the 4th row next to the foul pole in left field and for the 9th inning we got up and started to walk over to where president was sitting right behind home plate. As we were walking over to meet up with president a cub’s player hit a home run and it hit our empty seats... We were so mad. But the Cardinals won so it was great. We got home at about midnight so we were really tired the next day when we went to pick up all the new missionaries. We got 7 visa waiters who are going to Australia and 11 that are staying in our mission. We had a really fun time hanging out with them at the mission home that day and taking them around to see some things. And I got to have a great humbling experience when one of the new sisters, Sister Anderson beat me in speed about 100 times before I finally gave up and went inside. 


            The next day started great because we had transfer meeting .Transfers is always fun and we had the biggest transfer ever this time with about 200 people. It was a sad experience to hear President and Sister Clarks departing testimonies and Elder Beans as well. But it was a great meeting and I got to bear my testimony a couple times to the whole mission so that was a cool experience too. The rest of that day was really fun but really sad. Elders Barney, Bean, and Bullock all went home and they were some of my best friends out here. There were about 4 other missionaries who went home who I was really close to so it was a really hard sending home transfer. And we got about 5 hours of sleep that night as well so we were ready to die at that point. 


            The rest of the week we just did normal work and went around and worked with new missionary companionships. Elder Rhymer moved in with us this week because he has been going to the doctor and the hospital. He got shot in the eye with a paintball and is in really rough shape. His dad is flying out today and they are going to the hospital. Thankfully one of the best eye doctors in the Midwest is a member and is helping them out a lot. Keep Elder Rhymer in your prayers for the next couple days. 


            Yesterday (Sunday) was a pretty cool day. Kimmy Shutt came back to the mission with her mom and we got to see her last night and that was really cool. We also got to watch the broadcast about missionary work and we were really excited to hear the prophet and apostles make these announcements that President Clark has been trying to make forever. Hopefully it works! President Clark goes home this weekend so that will be a sad day. But we are excited for the Morgan’s to come in and it shouldn’t really change our job that much. We still just go out and work our brains out with every missionary we possibly can. We will just be reporting to a different face now. I am so thankful for the Clark’s and the Morgan’s and the sacrifice that they are making. Thanks for all of your support and prayers. I hope you all have an awesome week.


-Elder Banks



Monday, June 17, 2013

             I want to start by saying happy Father’s Day to the best dad I have ever had! I am so thankful for the example and all the things that my dad has taught me over the years and I am the person I am today because of him. Love ya dad. 


             This week was insane and stressful but really good at the same time. We did transfer planning this week which always makes my brain explode. But the best part of this week was the times after transfer planning. We would have a few hours each day to go out and work with some elders in their area. We tried to stick around in some of the closer areas and I got to go on exchanges with some of the coolest missionaries I have ever met. I was already good friends with Elder Sims and Elder Jones and I got to go tracting with each of them for a few hours this week and it was a really fun thing to get to do. I hated tracting for over the first year of my mission but I have learned to love talking to people and love getting to be with new missionaries. I have made some of my best friends out here and it has been a great experience. 


            Wednesday this week is transfers and that always makes for an insane week. My companion Elder Bean goes home in just a few days and that has been really hard for him, but I know that he is going to do great when he gets home. My new companion is Elder Facer. I have already been living with him and seeing him every day for the past 3 months so it will be a pretty easy switch for him to come from the office into being an assistant. I am really excited for that. I have learned a ton from Elder Bean and I will miss him a lot but he will do great back home. 


            There really isn’t anything super special for me to say about this coming week because it’s going to be the same as always. Thursday sending the missionaries home is going to be a really sad day. Elder Bean, Elder Bullock, and Elder Barney all go home and they are some of my best friends out here. But we have almost 30 missionaries coming in to replace them so hopefully that change can go well. 


            President and Sister Clark go home in about 2 weeks so that’s going to be a crazy change. Tonight as a going away celebration President is taking the 5 of us in the office to the Cardinals Cubs game tonight. I have been dreaming of going to a Cards/Cubs game for a long time so I am really, really excited. 


            There have been a lot of missionaries struggling recently with wanting to go home and not enjoying their missions. Every time I see them it makes me so thankful for the atonement and my companions. I remember the beginning of my mission and wanting to go home. I can’t imagine where I would be at if I wasn’t out here still. It has changed my life forever and I just want all of the other missionaries to be able to figure out why they are here so they can have that change in them as well. I am so thankful for the miracles and blessings that I have seen in my life and especially the blessings I have seen on my mission. I love this gospel and I love this work. Even though it’s a million degrees, and all we do is tract and deal with problems, the blessings that come from dealing with it are amazing. I love this work and am so thankful that I get to continue doing it.


Elder Banks




Monday, June 10, 2013


Alright so I am going to have to make this quick. That’s cool about Hannah’s farewell. I’m sure she will do great. And that’s super cool that you met the Morgan’s. I am way excited to meet them!! I am so pumped. I was so dang mad when you told me that people are going to fall in love with their daughter! We already have enough problems with that kind of stuff haha. Love ya mom


            Alright so this is going to be really quick because there are sister missionaries showing up for us to take them to the airport so they can fly to Denmark. But this week was crazy! We started by having sisters conference on Tuesday and I didn’t even know what to do with myself haha. There were 4 elders there and 50 sisters. It was super weird to be out numbered like that but it was an amazing meeting. The best part was when we watched Stephanie Nielson’s Mormon message. She is the Clarks daughter and then Sister Clark stood up to talk about her and it was a really cool experience. 


            The next 5 days were all spent on exchanges. It was the most insane week I have had on my mission. Thankfully the Kremers bought us some blow up beds so we didn’t just have to sleep on the ground everywhere. Some of the highlights from the week were going to Fairview Heights again. It was fun to go back and get to see the Kremers and Sandy again. It was super cool to see some of the work I did there paying off as well. They aren’t baptizing any of my investigators or anything, but they have found a ton of their investigators from looking for the people that I taught. We got to teach a lesson to a girl who is the daughter of one of my former investigators and she is getting baptized in a few weeks. It’s crazy how God works sometimes. 


            The other exchange that I really enjoyed was going back to Oakville and serving a day with Elder Anderson again. That guy is so cool and I could serve the rest of my mission with him. We just got to go around and work hard and have fun all day and it was great. We even got to paint the outside of a house. That took forever!! But it was super fun. I am so thankful for all of the many great missionaries that I get to see and how much they each bless my life. I love each of them so much.


Transfers are coming up in just a few days and we have a lot of planning to do over the next few days. I am preparing to get a new companion and get a new mission president and there are all kinds of different emotions going around in my head, but overall I can feel that peace of knowing that everything is going to be alright. I love this gospel and I am so thankful for it. I will talk to you all again soon.


-Elder Banks

Monday, June 3, 2013


            We had a really normal week this week but it was a fun one. Tuesday when our week really started we drove up to Springfield to do our exchange with them. That was really fun because Elder Christensen is one of the zone leaders there and he was the assistant for 7 1/2 months while I was a zone leader and we went on a ton of exchanges. It was really fun to get to be with him again.


The day after that we went up to Champaign and had our exchange with them. It was the first time I have been on an exchange with Elder Bellnap and we have known each other for like 9 months now. One of the coolest things that I have been able to do over the last month or 2 is really build friendships with so many missionaries. Right now I am looking at a board with 230 missionary faces on it and when I first got here I had no idea what was going on with all of those missionaries. But now I can look at the board and have personal experiences with every single person up there. I have learned that every person in the world has something that they can teach us. 


            Thursday we just planned out MLC all day which is always a party... Then Friday we had MLC. It’s always fun to get 20 of the best missionaries I have ever met together and see what kind of ideas they can come up with to help the mission. We have fallen into a slump recently and we are starting to fall behind our month goal for baptisms as a mission. We have a bunch of different ideas that we are going to try over the next few weeks and hopefully that can get things picked up again. 


            Saturday was a really fun day. We drove down to Cape Girardeau and went on exchanges with the zone leaders down there. Elder Bassett is there and he is probably our favorite person to go on exchanges with because he is insane and super fun to be around. The other zone leader is Elder Williams who I served with in Fairview Heights and he was the person that I got to go on exchanges with. It was so much fun to get to serve with him again for a day. We talked about how it’s crazy to think how long we have been out now. When we were together I was at 7.5 months and he was at about 9. We talked about the first ZLC that we went to together and how there are only like 2 other missionaries that were there who are still on their missions. It’s always fun to get to see missionaries after you haven’t seen them for a while and see how much they have changed.


            That night was a pretty crazy one. Down in Cape there wasn’t anything more than some clouds and maybe a little bit of rain but right when we were about to go to bed we started getting calls from zone leaders all around the mission about missionaries having to go to members houses so they could be in their basements and areas all over the mission were getting smashed by tornadoes. Thankfully everyone ended up being ok. There were definitely some close calls but no one was hurt. We can thank God for watching over all of us on that one. 


            This coming week is going to be a super busy one. Today we are going to the City Museum with South zone so that will be fun. Then Tuesday we have sister’s conference. That’s going to be weird. I don’t really know what to expect on that one. Then Wednesday through Sunday we have exchanges with zone leaders every day. I have a feeling that next week when I get to email again I am going to be very thankful that I get to sleep in my own bed that night.


With all the craziness and problems that come up in the mission I am still so thankful that I get to be here and serve here. Especially in the office, I have learned a ton. I was talking to a few missionaries yesterday and we were talking about when I get to go back into the field. I am so excited to get to go back into a normal area and apply all of the different things that I have learned here. But for now and for the next few transfers I am excited to serve the mission and the new mission president when he gets there. I am so thankful for all of the lessons I have learned and the blessings that I have seen in my life and in the lives of others. I love you all and will talk to you again in a week.


-Elder Banks