Monday, October 28, 2013

           Soo the World Series is probably the coolest thing ever. I wish so bad that I could watch it! But hey if it goes game 7 it might be on Halloween and we have that night off so maybe president would let us watch it :)

            Today has already been a long day but something pretty cool happened this morning. So I woke up at like 4:00 in the morning and my whole body just ached like crazy and I felt awful for the rest of the morning. Then we all got up and went to the gym and I just laid on the ground cause I felt like I was going to die. Then Elder Johnson and Elder Anderson came over to do a few things and I asked them and the elders that I live with to give me a blessing cause I really didn’t want to spend the rest of the day throwing up and that was definitely the way I felt it was headed. The second that Elder Wunderli finished giving me a blessing I felt a thousand times better. I definitely don’t have any plans to do anything too crazy today, but it was amazing to me to see the power of the priesthood help me out so much so quickly.

            This has nothing to do with anything, but we just got a call from some awesome missionaries in our mission and they were freaking out cause one of their brothers bought them tickets to the World Series game that’s tonight. I didn’t think they would get to go but president said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and their good to go. I am so dang jealous!! How many people can say they got to go to a World Series game on their missions? Lucky dogs. We told them they better take some sweet pictures to send us. That’s going to be the coolest thing ever for them.

            We had a really busy week this week just like normal and it was a ton of fun. We finished interviews with the last couple zones and were glad to have those done with. Then we had MLC on Friday. It was a good and bad meeting at the same time. We gathered up all of our total numbers for October and they were awful. We got 20 baptisms this month. The worst month that we have had this year up until this point was 31. So we really fell behind. To reach our goal of 450 we need about 47 per month for the rest of the year. It’s going to be a stretch but since that meeting we have already seen miracles start to happen to get us towards our goal. We are fasting every Sunday in November so hopefully that gives us a head start as well.

            Saturday we went up to Springfield and had our exchange up there. Then Sunday we came back down for Stake conference. Stake conference was great and I have had the opportunity to go to a few this year and they have all had the same themes. Everyone talks about temple work and missionary work. The push for these two subjects is amazing. The temple president spoke on Sunday and it was so cool to get to see how much he loves the temple and how much it means to him.

I love this gospel and how much it blesses our lives. I am so thankful for all of the things that I know that make us happier and bring more peace into our lives. I love teaching other people about it! We’re transfer planning all week and hopefully we have some time at night to do some tracting in our area. We want to find someone to teach so bad!! But ya, it’s going to be another good, busy week. Happy Halloween and I’ll talk to you again soon.

-Elder Banks

Go Cards 


Monday, October 21, 2013

 This week was definitely different than past weeks and it was so much fun. We went on 5 different zone leader exchanges this week, so needless to say we have been driving around a ton and were super busy, but it has been so much fun! I love exchanges so much. We get to do a full day of missionary work and we get to go out with some of our best friends and be companions with them for a day. A bunch of cool things happened.

On Thursday I got to go with Elder Anderson who is one of the St Louis zone leaders who lives super close to us and we hang out all the time. I loved spending the day with him and the coolest thing that happened. Me and Elder Wunderli went to visit a less active family a few weeks ago and just stopped by to say hi. They set up a return appointment with the zone leaders and I was there when we went back. When we got there the member just said hey let me go grab my neighbor real fast. His neighbor came over and met us and shook our hand and then sat down and listened to the first lesson and we set up a return appointment. It was so easy!!! This guy just brought over his next door neighbor. I wish more people had that kind of faith. 

            The changes that are taking place in the mission are so cool. President Morgan told us about a meeting that he had yesterday. It was his coordination meeting with our local area seventy and the 8 stake presidents in our area. They told him that Elder Perry was going to be broadcast in and he assumed that a bunch of different coordination meetings would be watching Elder Perry give a training. That wasn’t what happened at all. Elder Perry, Elder Ballard, Elder Scott, and one of the presidents of the seventy were skyped into their meeting personally. I think it meant a lot to have a 15 person meeting with 3 apostles in it. The stake presidents are really getting hit hard to do missionary work. It all starts with them and its starting to trickle its way down. It’s really cool to see. I know I say this every week but I am so thankful to be a missionary right now and get to see all of these amazing changes.

             We have a mixture of stuff coming up this week. It will be nice to get some different things in. We have some interviews and a couple of exchanges and MLC. This will be somewhere around my 15th MLC and by far our most important one cause we are on a downhill slope right now that seriously needs to get fixed if we’re going to get our goal of 450 for the year. We need some miracles to start happening right away. But I know that if everyone will step up and work their hardest that we can reach our goal no problem. I love this work and know that what we are doing is blessing the lives of people all over the world. 


-Elder Banks


Monday, October 14, 2013

           Today has been nuts. We have been driving missionaries around to new areas and to have interviews with president and to the airport all morning and it has been nuts. We have had sooo many missionaries recently who have had to go home because of physical injury, it’s been so sad. A missionary tore his MCL and had to go home for surgery today. His companion had to find a new place to serve and it’s been a headache. 

            It’s been a really good week over all. Lots of cool things have happened and we have been super busy. We had 3 days worth of interviews. That filled up a lot of time. We changed it up a lot though. We had a couple other trainings from sister training leaders and stuff like that. We played a lot of games that made it fun. Then we stayed in Champaign and spent a day with them on exchanges. We got to drive up to Danville which is about 10 minutes away from the Indiana border and went to a baptism, then I got to go on exchange with Elder Brooks for a few hours. He has been out for just over 3 months and his companion is brand new. They have had a ton of success in their area recently and it’s been amazing. They have no idea what they’re doing haha. But they are soooo happy and they have the Spirit with them so strong. We went tracting and we had so much success because everyone wanted to talk to him. He is just so happy and he knows that this is going to bless other people so he just wants to share it. 

            One other cool thing that happened in Champaign was Thursday night we went to Wal-Mart to buy some food because the zone leaders didn’t have any food for us and we needed to pick up a few things. We went to the checkout with like 10 bucks worth of food and after we scanned it all at the self-checkout, a lady came up to us and said "mind if I butt in real quick?" Mostly confused but trying to be nice we said ya ok and she swiped her card and said have a nice day and walked off. At first it was just a really nice gesture that made us feel good but after I thought about it a little bit I realized what she had done for us. Definitely more than once on my mission I have had to make an emergency run to a

Wal-Mart or something like that and had members call me out about it not being pday and anything else you can imagine that we were "doing wrong” and this lady came up and bought our food for us at 9:20 at night on a Thursday. Not a judgmental thought went through her head, she just knew that we looked exhausted and we needed some food. I’ll never see her again but I really appreciate what she did for us.

            On Saturday we started out the day by going to Barack Obama elementary school and helping them build a playground. We all got free shirts and got to work with a couple hundred other people to put this thing together and it was a super cool experience.

Sunday we went to church in Maryland Heights for sacrament meeting then went to one of Elder Wunderli's former wards in St Peters Missouri and stayed there for the full 3 hours. We got to see a new elder quorum presidency called and talk to the stake president for a while and it was a really good day.

I’m so thankful for all of the blessings that I have seen this transfer. I love being with Elder Wunderli and we have so many friends that live right around us. Even when things go terrible all day, we just have so much fun and love the work that we get to do. I have met so many amazing people recently and I have been really blessed to be in this mission right now. I love this work and will talk to you all again soon. 

-Elder Banks

Go Cards



Monday, October 7, 2013

Well this week like many other weeks was full of lots of ups and downs but thankfully just like normal the ups were much better than the downs were. We did 3 zones worth of interviews so that was fun. People are always really excited to get to sit down and meet with President Morgan and we love getting to train all of them and have so much fun with that. So that’s what we did Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday.


Friday we were planning on having a full day to work in our area but, of course that could never happen, so we ended up having to drive up to Springfield IL and back. On the way back we took a road that took us over a ferry across the Mississippi river so that was a cool experience. That night we got to visit a few members and work with them so we were thankful to still get some work in. It’s been cool recently because we don’t have too much time to teach lessons so we can really focus on putting every ounce of spiritual strength into each lesson that we do have. We even got to have a lesson with the Morgan’s this weekend but I’ll talk about that in a second. 


            Definitely the highlight of this week was this weekend with conference. I love getting to listen to the prophet and apostles speak. There are always so many good topics. The range of topics this time was huge and I felt like so many of them applied to me. There are so many missionaries that struggle with depression so Elder Holland’s talk was amazing for that. The day before he gave that talk we took a missionary to the airport because he was struggling with mental health and it killed him that he had to go home because he wanted to stay out and try to fix it so badly but I hope that he heard Elder Holland’s talk and is able to move on with his life and stay strong in the gospel. 


             Another topic that really hit home for us was all the talks about the priesthood and the role of it in a woman’s life. One of our really close friends out here has some family back in Utah that is really heavily involved in the women and the priesthood thing that’s going on and so he was looking for some answers there and there were some very blunt talks that talked about how women don’t need the priesthood to enjoy the full blessings of the power of God. It’s far more important to live worthily of a temple recommend.


Of course we also loved the topic of missionary work. Elder Ballard made a promise that we could touch millions of people’s lives if we will simply reach out to someone between now and Christmas. We have been working with the zone leaders and the ward council since Sunday to try to get it as a goal in our ward to have every person invite someone (nonmember, less active, or part member) to take the missionary discussions. If everyone will do that our planners will be full of teaching appointments for the rest of the year. And we all need to remember that promise applies to all of us. Living in Utah or "not having any nonmember friends" doesn’t make us an exception to the commandment to hasten the work. 


            We got to watch all the sessions of conference at the mission home with the Morgan’s and some other missionaries and it was so much fun! We got good home cooked meals, got to go in the backyard and play games in between, and then the best part for me was to get to teach the Morgan’s a lesson after. We had never done that before and we figured that we are teaching member lessons and they’re members so we might as well teach them. The spirit was super strong as we taught the lesson and my favorite part was when we were asking them what they have already done with missionary work and what they were going to do now. Anna said that she had given out a couple pass along cards at school and without any hesitation she said that she was going to invite someone to take the missionary discussions. It was incredible to see the faith of an 18 year old girl. Most members pick very small and simple goals which for some people is great. But for Anna she was ready to share the gospel and she is determined to do it. I am so thankful for her faith and the faith of the Morgan family. They are an incredible example to me and all the other missionaries. 


            I am so thankful for conference and for great friends that I have out here. There are so many examples in my life of how to be a good person and get closer to God and I just pray that I can keep these examples in my life. I love this work and am humbled to be a part of the amazing missionary work movement that is happening right now. Thank you all for your prayers and help with hastening the work. I love you all and will talk to you again soon!


-Elder Banks