Monday, August 19, 2013

This week was probably the most exhausting week I have had so far on my mission. It was partly my fault but it was just insane all the way around. Tuesday is when the craziness started. We picked up 35 new missionaries from the airport and started hauling them around everywhere. We showed them the temple and then spent most of the rest of the day at the mission home. The Morgan’s had a big BBQ ready for all of us and we just had a fun rest of the night. After they all went to bed at 10:30 we had our meeting to put them with their trainers and ended up getting home around midnight. Then we had to wake up bright and early the next morning to get ready and to show up at the hotel and mission home to gather all the new missionaries up to get them to the church on time for transfer meeting. 


             Wednesday was a blast! We had transfer meeting which is always super fun and there was a huge group there for us to see. The meeting is always a really fun experience and President Morgan did great his first time.


After that we went to the temple with the new missionaries which is always fun. I sat in the Celestial room with Elder Christensen and Sister Crandall and we just talked for a few minutes about the temple and how great of a blessing it is and it was a really cool experience to have.


Then we headed to the mission home and spent the rest of the night there having another BBQ and just having fun. The rule the last night is that the departing missionaries can stay up as late as they want. We sat in the living room while Elder Anderson played the guitar until about 1:30 and then President Morgan headed off to bed. At that point about half the group had gone to bed but most of my best friends from the mission were all sitting in that room with us and we knew it was our last night together so we were going to make it count. 5 hours and a lot of random activities later we had spent the whole night being stupid high school kids again. Real life set in a little bit when we realized that we had to get in the van and head to the airport. Saying goodbye to that group was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I felt like trash after the airport but I held myself together pretty well. One of my really good friends, Sister Crandall, stayed with us for a few hours and then her parents came to the mission home to pick her up. That was a cool experience to see but it was so dang hard to say goodbye again and by time that was over I was physically exhausted from staying up all night and mentally exhausted from losing so many of my friends all at once.


Seeing that I was in absolutely no shape to function the Morgan’s let me go in their basement and sleep for a couple hours. Laying alone in a bed with nothing to do but think was probably the worst idea ever after sending all those missionaries home. It finally just hit me and for the first time in a really long time on my mission I just layed there and cried. It was pretty awful at the time but I have learned a lot from it and it has really helped me to relearn why I’m out here. I’m not out here for me at all but I’m out here to serve other people and to help them as much as I can. I am so thankful for those friends and companions that I had and how much they each helped me learn. My body and mind are finally starting to recover from those few days and now I’m excited to get out and have a good full weeks work this week. 


            A few other things happened this week that were both good and not so good. We spent a day working up in Linn which is a little tiny area that just barely opened up and that was fun. It’s up in the Columbia zone and there was a wedding reception that night in Columbia for Cameron Marshall. It’s probably been about a year since I talked about him but me and Elder Marshall used to hang out almost every p-day when he was an assistant and I was in Fairview Heights. We became really good friends and he was companions with Elder Facer. He met the stake president daughter from one of his old areas when he got back to Utah and next thing ya know they’re married! It was really cool to get to see him again after 9 months and see him taking the next step in his life. That was a super cool experience.


One thing I learned this week that was some interesting news was that Booker who I taught in Jacksonville died this week. He struggled with some health issues so it was his time to go but it’s always tough to hear about all these people that I knew so well at the beginning of my mission dying. 


            One really cool thing that has happened over the last few weeks has been the switch to member missionary work. We currently have 2 zones in the mission that are no tracting zones. Instead of tracting they just go visit members and ask for referrals. We haven’t had enough time to see how it’s going to work yet, but hopefully this is a glimpse of the future of our mission! I am so thankful to get to be right in the thick of missionary work as it is making all of these amazing changes. I am so thankful for the blessings that it brings me and the people around me and wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything! 


-Elder Banks



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