Monday, January 20, 2014

This week was a really busy one but it was a ton of fun. Lots of miracles. We had 4 exchanges this week so I pretty much wasn’t with Elder Wunderli at all. We started off in O’Fallon and I got to spend one last day in Fairview Heights. It was really cool to get to cruise around that area one last time. I was with Elder Sims and it was a good way to start off the week. We didn’t have much set for the day but we got to go around and talk to as many people as possible. We got to tract and bus and freeze in the cold and it ended up being a really good day. My favorite part of the day was when we got on the bus I saw a guy wearing a sweet Raiders coat and I got to sit by him and talk to him for a little bit on the bus ride home. He was way cool and interested so I got all of his info and hopefully they can start teaching him soon. I knew God wanted me to be a Raiders fan for a reason.
After O’Fallon we did our District Leader exchange with Webster Groves. I was in St Louis Hills with Elder Jones and we had another long day with no appointments but we worked as hard as we could and it ended up being great! We knocked on about 5 doors. One was a referral and the other 4 were tracting. The referral let us right in and we taught the first lesson and got a new investigator. The 4th door tracting was another guy who let us right in and we picked up a new investigator. We were really thankful that we didn’t get discouraged and were able to do what God wanted us to do that day.

We did our St Louis exchange the next day and I was with Elder Christensen in St Louis Hills again. We had 5 appointments set up for that day and only 1 of them ended up working out. But we got to do the same thing we had been doing all week and just go around and talk to people and met a lot of cool people again so it was a really good day.
We finished our exchanges with Oakville and I got to go to Oakville for the last time too. It was funny cause we had another day without any appointments (kinda the theme for the week) but we went around and saw a bunch of people from the area book. It was fun to get to go and drive around another one of my old areas. We tracted one apartment building and on about the 3rd door we met another guy who let us in right away and let us teach the first lesson. I loved this week. We had so many opportunities to give up, but being with awesome companions all week we worked really hard and saw so many miracles because of it.

We have transfer planning every day this week until about 4 but we should be able to have really good evenings hopefully full of lessons this week. I’m so thankful for the chance I have to get to do transfers one last time and get to do some good work for my last few days in the mission field. I’m thankful for a companion and people all around me who support and help me to be the best person I can be. I know I’m exactly where God wants me to be right now.

 -Elder Banks


Monday, January 13, 2014

We had a week full of surprises this week so that made things interesting. On Tuesday we had our exchange with Columbia. I was with Elder Perkins and brought him back into our area and it was such a fun day. We had all of our appointments cancel except for dinner. Dinner was pretty funny. We had fried catfish so that was a new one for me. And with the dads help we convinced one of their kids to drink salty Kool-Aid. So that was funny. Then we had a lesson after dinner that bailed on us as well. We punched in an address to go see one of our potential investigators which was about 10 minutes away. About 45 minutes later we gave up on trying to get there. We would drive for about 30 seconds and then we would see someone stuck in the snow and go and shove them out. We pretty much spent our whole night pushing people out. It was really fun and people appreciated it so much. Being stuck in the middle of the road is never anyone’s favorite thing.

We got back into our normal companionships on Wednesday and we were supposed to have our exchange with the North zone leaders but Elder Wunderli had gotten sick on exchanges and was throwing up all night so we didn’t do that. We rested for a little bit and then it was my turn to throw up all day so we spent that whole day inside. The next day our district leader was sick too so he came and joined us and we traveled around a little bit so we could at least get out of the apartment but didn’t really accomplish anything. We were super bummed cause we didn’t have any lessons all week except for the night we were too sick to get out we have 4. We had to cancel all of those and try to make up for that lost night the rest of the week.

Friday we had our exchange with the Cape Girardeau zone leaders. I wasn’t really looking forward to it cause we didn’t feel super good and I just had no desire to do work that day. But we drove down to Cape in the pouring rain and I met up with Elder Duke and went to work in Cape with him. I know that if I didn’t change something it was going to be an awful day, so I prayed really hard to have a good day and to have my attitude changed so I could enjoy my exchange. We went and tracted in the rain for the first 3 hours or so of our exchange and it was amazing! We had so much fun and we found so many people who were excited to talk to us. We set up a bunch of return appointments and it was just an awesome couple hours. After we ate dinner and attempted to get some of our clothes dry we had a lesson with a funny old guy to finish out the night. It ended up being a really good day and I was really thankful that I was blessed to have a good day.

Saturday was good because it was like the only day we taught all week. We had 3 lessons so we were glad we could finish out the week strong. None of our investigators came to church though, so that was a bummer. We have about 8 people that we are trying to get to church this coming week so that’s going to be our big focus this week. We have 4 exchanges this week and our interviews with President Morgan so it’s going to be a nice, full week. I’m excited to get to go out and work this week and hopefully we can see some more miracles happen!

-Elder Banks


Monday, January 6, 2014

I’m going to go a little backwards this week and start with yesterday and today. Nothing cool has happened with missionary work but the weather has been insane!! It snowed all day yesterday. It came to about a foot of snow which really isn’t that much but out here that’s a ton! They don’t really plow the roads so pretty much everyone just slides around and almost dies all day. The whole mission parked their cars and only 3 wards had church. They were the very southern wards in the mission so it was more just rain down there.

This morning we got outside to try to dig out our car and it was under about 3 feet of snow because the wind decided to wreck our car with snow. It took us about 30 minutes to dig our car out. Oh ya and its -8 degrees. Elder Wunderli had a water bottle in his coat pocket and by time we finished digging out car out the water bottle had frozen in his pocket. In Champaign, the more northern part of our mission, the high today is -12. It’s going to be a pretty cold day. We finally got out and headed over to the sisters apartment to dig their car out and the roads were frozen. We have just been running and sliding around on the roads all day cause it’s so frozen. It’s been fun.

The rest of this week has been pretty fun too. We went on a couple exchanges. I was up in Springfield with Elder Boren and in Champaign with Elder Francis. It was a good couple days. We had a lot of success and I always love exchanges cause miracles always happen. It was kinda hard to say goodbye to those elders cause I knew it was the last time I was going to see them. All 4 of them, especially Elder Norton who I lived with for 4 1/2 months, are some of my closest friends. But it was great to get to spend a little bit of time with them for the last time.

Once I got back to St Louis Hills, me and Elder Wunderli had some good success. Saturday we found 3 new investigators and 2 of them planned on coming to sacrament meetings (before it got canceled).  We found a 21 year old girl with the cutest 5 month year old baby I have ever seen. She has had a super rough past but has pulled it together and has a job and is going to school now. I can’t believe that she is the same age as me and has gone through so much in her life. I don’t even know how she is holding herself together. She is great though and has been to church in different places in the past. She seems ready to get baptized. Hopefully we will be setting a date with her this week on Wednesday and she will probably get baptized the week after I leave. That would be great to see her make that change.

It has been so amazing to see the changes that have been taking place in the people that we are teaching. I love talking to them and seeing how much the gospel changes them. It makes them so much happier! I am so thankful for the knowledge of this gospel and the blessing it is to have it in my life and to get to share it with other. I’m looking forward to these next couple weeks and getting to share this message.
-Elder Banks