Thursday, October 29, 2009

Healthy, happy, and speaking Italian!


So I just got a package (like 2 minutes ago), and I'll tell you what, I am one happy Anziano. I love packages!

So good.

I think I'm starting to run out of things to say!! Because we have the same schedule every week, and we do the same things. (learn Italian, learn Preach my Gospel e giocamo calcio)'s pretty much AWESOME!! haha.

But one of my highlights was last tuesday night. In my e-mail I had mentioned a little bit about planning. WELL, the entire fireside was about planning!! I think you'll like this: The guy said planners are just like the Liahona. So read Alma 37:38-43 (I think), and check it out.

Also, look at the chapter headings for Abraham 4+5. I talks about how God plans before he does things. much more do we need to plan before we do things!! It reminds me of that scripture about how Jesus was even baptized, so how much more important is it that we are baptized!!! (2 Nefi 31:5)

So the Italiano is coming along nicely. We're going to try and SYL until noon tomorrow. That means only speaking Italian. Crazy. But I think we'll do alright.

Anyways, a highlight for the week was definitely the obstacle course. Blindfolded, led by the directions given by your companion in Italian. It was CRAZY. Cause it was also a race, and so of course we were running. I didn't hurt myself too bad. My companion ran into a wall, and that was pretty funny. The highlight was definitely when I was telling Sorella Miller where to go and I told her "Avanti! Salti!" Which means "Forward! Jump!" and she cleared a tipped over trash can. Que Ottimo!

Now that I think about it...there are tons of things to tell you about! But I really want to give you guys some character descriptions of my district. At least brief ones.

So here's everyone:

Anziano Garvin: My companion. He's from Elko, NV. He loves the Gospel, he loves obedience, he loves to talk a lot in response to questions in class.He's very motivated, and he's basically the ideal companion. I'm in the best shape of my life right now because we work out every morning and he pushes me so much when we play soccer.

Anziano Marzolla: He's from Germany. He's really funny. He's a pretty good soccer player, and he is really efficient when it comes to the Gospel. I like that. When he does work, he does work. He is also half Italian, and can understand it quite well. He speaks really good English.

Anziano Rowland aka Capo Distretto: He's our district leader. He's from Kissimmee Florida. He loves drumming, and he is usually laying down a beat while he studies. His mom makes awesome cookies and sends us a lot of them. He also has some really crazy cool stories, and he's taken two years of Italian.

Sorella Miller: She didn't show up until a couple days after we arrived. She is a "solo" sister. i.e. She doesn't have an official companion, and she's allowed to be alone as long as she's with our district. She speaks fluent Spanish and is from Denver Colorado. She's really good at focusing, and she also likes to respond a lot in class. Her Italian is coming along really well (cause it's a lot like spanish). She also loves to play soccer, but she can't play with us because sisters can't play with elders.

Anziano Garcia: (pronounced Garthia) haha. He's from Spain. He's really good at soccer, and he's an amazing artist. His English isn't that great, but his Italian he definitely has the advantage because our teachers said they're going to start teaching in only Italian soon. When I say he's an amazing artist, I mean it. He's way sweet. He has a very organized mind. Like statistics and graphs. He is also really funny.

(Battessimo! Adesso!) hahaha.

Anziano Kramer: He's from Tennessee, and he spent his last year studying music at BYU-Provo. Like opera style singing. He's taken a semester of Italian pronunciation, so that gives him some advantage. He loves to sing about EVERYTHING. (think: "Anziano Banks is writing in his jourNAAALL") haha. But he's cool. He knows a ton about scriptures, and quotes.

Then there are our two teachers:

Fratello Auna: From Kona, HI. He was a legend in the Rome mission (so I've heard from people who served with him). He didn't hold back, and rocked the mission. He's very passionate about the Gospel. I think he's also a pretty mean Basketball player, and he's good at beat boxing and a little gliding.

Sorella Birdsall: She's from Utah. She seems to be really good at connecting, and she's also really good at covering a lot of material and making sure everyone gets it. We usually have her in the evenings and it's always a joy to see her.
She pushes us quite a bit with our Italian. The other night we had to teach her about the Atonement in Italian. She would do one person at a time and it was pretty crazy. It went really well. Good practice.

Anyway, I'm about out of time. But I think those references will help you get an idea of who I'm talking about. Be sure to keep in touch, and keep me in your prayers.

I'm healthy, happy, and speaking Italian, so I guess you can't really ask for more!! : ) haha.

So que la chiesa e vero. E so que Dio ci Ama.

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Hola Familia!!

oh sorry.

Ciao Famiglia!!

I get so confused with all these languages running through my head!! We have two Spanish speakers in our district. (One being from spain- haa)

Anyway, let me tell you about my week!!

I went to this place called the referral center. It's totally awesome!! We get to chat with people who are, and just answer whatever questions they might have. You should seriously use it--it's bomb. We love chatting with you, and some of these missionaries will do a really good job helping you! And who knows? Maybe you'll get to chat with me!

My highlight for the week:
We were doing some practice scenarios in Italian. The situation was someone was at a bus stop holding a photo of their family. You talk to them about their family and then bring up the Gospel. (That's right, we're learning a ton of Italian!) So anyway, I found out my collega is hilarious. He says "You have a beautiful family--how would you feel if they died?" hahahaha. So funny.

The other funny highlight I had this week was with Anziano Garcia (the one from spain). We were teaching someone and as soon as we walked up he starts saying "Tu Battessimo! Tu Battessimo adesso!!" hahaha. It was so funny. That means You-baptism-now! It was great.

But seriously, these activities really help us practice and I promise we take them seriously most of the time and they're very helpful. Especially when we go in the Training Resource Center. And we had another great time in there this last week, and the Italian portion went about 100 times better than last week.

What's my favorite activity every day? Well..probably calcio. But after that, I really love to plan!! It's so great. We have these little planners and we plan out our entire days and set goals. You've got to try it. We accomplish so much more than there's any way we could otherwise.

I have the whole first vision memorized in Italian!! We used it in our lesson at the TRC. It was powerful.

So one thing I've noticed here is that I haven't been having any problems. I mean, I've been pretty tired the last couple days, but besides that I just love everything about the place!! (Oh my goodness, the trees are gorgeous. Bellissimo! I love fall).

What I have also noticed is that there are a couple missionaries that really struggle and that they miss their family and stuff like that. Do you know why? I'll tell you why! It's all about obedience. I've just been really obedient. Why try and fight it? Obviously all the rules were given through inspiration, and it's not like they're really that strict. Although I will admit that it's tough to have no music at all because it's been banned from the MTC. But these Elders just don't go to bed or class on time, and they don't stay focused and studying, and they'll spend study time looking at pictures or something, and it's like: HELLO!!! I would miss people too if I spent all day looking at photos of them! But I've only pulled out my photos three times just to show people. And Elder Hollland said "Obedience is the first law of missionary work" but then he said that actually "Obedience is the first law of everything" And if you check out D+C 130:20, 21 you'll see that through obedience you get blessings. And I know I've been getting blessings and that through obedience and prayer things have just been going really well for me.

I need to tell you some more about Calcio. It's awesome. We have some killer players in my district, and I've also been playing really well because I've been throwing a lot of energy into it. Might as well, we only have about an hour to excercise every day.

As far as scripture study goes, I got a copy of True to the Faith from my collega, and I've been using that quite a bit. It's still my favorite gospel reference!! So good.

One crazy thing is today we got a bad rating on our room! Last time we had a "celestial" and this time all we got was acceptable. It was the worst it's ever looked---because it's P-day! But anyway, mio capo distretto (District Leader) said something really funny the other morning after we had to do linen exchange. He and I both have top bunks which are pretty hard to make. He said "It's gonna take me like 30 minutes to make my bed" hahaha. Anziano Rowland...funny guy.

I really have a pretty hilarious district. It's sweet. When mio collega said that thing about families I laughed harder than I've laughed in over a year I bet! It was crazy.

I guess my times coming to a close.

Basically, I'm just having a good time here. The last week FLEW by, and as I'm sure the rest of the mission will. I'm very busy, which is very good.

I love you.

Scegli il ben.

Read your scriptures.

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks

p.s. I forgot to mention that I did see Craig Tippets in passing and he looks good. I also have seen a ton more people and that's been great. I'm molto felice! Ciao!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So we are amassatto! Which means tight.

It's why I have my fingers crossed in one picture. Me and my companion are in a photo. His name is Elder Garvin. Anyway, hope you guys get the pictures and you like them!

Love you guys!
I love the church!

The church is true!!


First Letter!


So i seriously only have 25 minutes to e-mail you and the timer goes down fast, and this keyboard sticks!!!

So I'll try to get to everything. The MTC is AMAZING!! I can't believe how much i love it! As soon as i got here I kept seeing people I know, and now i have seen a total of 26 people that I knew by name before I came into the MTC!! i love it. the spirit here is incredible.

My district is pretty awesome. There are six of us anziani, and one sorella. We have some diverse talents, and we all seem to get along really well. i love my companion! He is so solid in the gospel, and he's a straight up scriptorian. He knows a ton about the church. And knows all the scriptures you could ever need to know!

My companion was pretty funny. When I got the letter from mom he glanced over and said "who's that? She's a cutie" hahaha.

My Italiano is starting to come along. I can bear my testimony. Io so che il libro di mormon e vero! Io so che la chiesa e vera. I can also kind of pray, and of course do introductions and stuff. I also have the missionary purpose memorized in italian.

So far i haven't had any problems missing home or anything. i pray often, and that's all you really need. The gospel is SO SIMPLE! All you have to do to convert someone is get them to feel the spirit, then read the book of mormon and pray about it with a sincere desire to know. Like it says in Moroni 10:3-5. Our teacher, Sorella Birdsall said that all they even need is a desire to have a desire, and then if we can create an environment where they can feel the spirit, then it'll work!

Which reminds me of something I really want to tell you about! We did our first day in the Training resource center yesterday! First we had to talk with someone in Italian for 15 minutes, and that was really rough, but then we got to give a 40-minute lesson on the restoration. It was AMAZING! I feel like if I was speaking english, I'm already ready to do this! I love it! We started with a prayer, taught the guy a lesson, bore testimony often and prayed for each other during the lesson, and then at the end he was actually willing to offer the prayer for us, and accepted our challenge to read the last couple paragraphs in the intro to the book of mormon and pray about it. And I know it was fake and the guy was already a member, but the spirit wasn't fake, and he acted like a real investigator, like we had to work to get him to open up more and stuff. I will admit he was pretty receptive. It helps that he already had a testimony of Jesus Christ.

Okay, so i'm sure you're all wondering about the food. I am very happily surprised to say that it is AWESOME! Bennissimo! I've been trying to eat more healthy. My companion and I both help each other by eating salad and stuff like that.

And I'm not going to get fat in the MTC. i've been working out every morning and getting excercise during gym. We've played some awesome calcio (soccer). It's a really good time.

If you're wondering if I need guys fulfilled my needs really well. I was needing a backpack, that suit jacket, and a little note pad!! So thank you so much for that! Grazie Mille!

Anyway, keep me posted on how everything is going for you guys! Everyone thinks I'm the most popular elder because of all the mail you've been sending! haha.

Something else that was pretty cool was my row got called up at the MTC fireside the other night. We all had to say things that we gave up to come on a mission, but it couldn't be the same as someone else. I was going to say music, but the guy in front of me did!! So I said snowboarding.

I think if I would've been called to a chinese-speaking mission my life would just be too easy. So it's good that I'm getting challenged by going to Italy.

I've gotten some sweet photos but I can't send them to you! Cause I forgot my stupid attahment to the computer but I promise I'll send some next week. Or maybe later!

So I'm going to sign out and try and get one to you.


Io Amo all of you!

Con Affeto,

Anziano Ray Banks!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Write to Ray!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that as long as Ray is in the MTC (which will be until the beginning of December), you can write him for free if you use:

And, he gets the letters the same day you send them, which is also a plus! Of course, I'm sure he wouldn't mind handwritten letters either!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And he's off!

Getting ready to head out to a last lunch before the MTC.

Lunch the the Mcfaddens!

Unloading the van.

Another Elder heading to the same mission!

Once the emails/letters start coming in we'll post them!