Sunday, January 24, 2010



Well this was a ridiculously eventful week. hahaha. So, we got a surprise call on Thursday night, and found out that Anziano Connell was being transferred to Bari!!! We really thought he would stay here because he has relatives and he only has two more transfers in the mission.

My new companion is....Anziano Wood! and....Anziano Sadler!! haha. I'm now in a threesome. It's a little different. Anziano Sadler is the one I've been on splits with. He'll only be our companion for three weeks until his companion comes in, because he is getting an Anziano from Italy. Anziano Wood is from Birmingham, England. I think he has a very strong accent, or at least it's a lot stronger than Anziano Connell's Australian accent was. The Australian couple is still in our city and they have a pretty strong accent as well. haha.

Good news: Missionary work in Consenza is moving forward! We found out what is holding back Carlo from baptism, all we need to do for Gina is set a baptismal date, and we have some other investigators that we just need to teach a lot more and they have been making progress. The other day a man on a bicycle actually stopped us and said he wanted to meet with us because he wants to find the truth and so he wants to learn about our church.

That was sweet.

Also, for the next three weeks I'm serving in Castrovillari half of the time because they have work up there that we need to do. haha. It's really crazy. This next transfer is going to fly by.

And then...I'm probably going to be moved to another city after this next transfer!! Vediamo.

Weather hasn't been too horrible. It was quite sunny today, but it gets really cold at night. I think we'll return to the strategy that me and Anziano Connell had. We would just try and have lots of lessons in the evenings so we wouldn't have to be out on the streets.

Everything in Italy is going great. I'm enjoying myself, I'm developing, and at least the next 3 months are going to fly by. Although I get the feeling the rest of the mission might be like that.

Anziano Connell will be greatly missed here in Cosenza. We had meal appointments just at least every lunch and dinner before we left, and we even got a breakfast appointment!! It was really crazy.

Being here really makes you appreciate America.

For example, showers. I have to rinse, turn it off, shampoo, turn it on, rinse, off, soap, on, rinse...It's a hassle. We have limited hot water.

We also have to carry six packs of big bottles of water for drinking. So that's pretty crazy.

Water in America is awesome! I also don't have any McDonalds around here! All we eat is noodles all the time!! haha. Okay, so that really isn't so bad.

But I also miss cheap stuff. It's hard to find cheap stuff here. Unless you go to the chinese stores.

Speaking of which, I have some Chinese pamphlets on order and on the way! So that's exciting.

Have a great week!

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks

P.S. We've been doing a lot of SYL. It's going really well I think. I don't always speak perfectly, but I feel like I can express myself pretty well. I really miss Anziano Connell's Italian accent now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another week in paradise . . .

Our waves of beautiful weather seem to have ceased. I walked to church in the hail this week. It was very very cold. Right now it's raining outside. crazy.

Not too much new this last week. I went on splits in Castrovillari a couple days ago and that was pretty fun. This time I was with Anziano Sadler. He's a nice kid from the town of Fruit Heights. Or something like that. It's somewhere in northern Utah.

The big highlights of this last week were that English course started up again, I hit my three month mark, and also that this last week I bought myself a CD alarm clock.That thing is really sweet. My problems of getting up in the morning are basically solved! It's still very difficult, but the CD alarm helps a lot. As far as English course, we have many new students and that's really cool.

I'm now at the end of my first transfer!!! I'd be very very surprised if me or my companion were to be transfered, but still, it's pretty exciting. I'm not sure what I'll do to celebrate, but I do know what I won't do. I won't be eating a pandoro. ew, sick.

Today I also made my first progress to being legal in this country! I went and did a bunch of stuff for my permesso. That's what allows me to stay here and preach the gospel. While I was at the Questura there were many Chinese people. I met a chinese college student, but I only had the chance to talk to him briefly, and I've run out of Chinese pamphlets, so I'll have to order more.

Speaking of which, I met some really cool Chinese people while I was in Castrovillari. I really wish they lived here. One thing I've noticed is that most of them here are from China, and have heavy accents.

As far as Italians go, we taught a really sweet investigator named Fabio the first lesson, and he even brought two friends!! So that was sweet. I had the chance to recite the first vision for the second time in the mission, and after the lesson he told us that he feels a bit like Joseph Smith. Which is perfect...because Joseph Smith found the truth!

I've been buying lots of bananas and other fruits, and I've also started exercising quite a bit, so hopefully I can keep at a solid weight. haha. My companion is going home soon so he needs to exercise.

Okay, I guess I'll tell you about a spiritual experience this last week. Castrovillari is a very small town. So I'm pretty sure finding work is harder there. Anyway, so while I was going on splits I prayed that that night we would find a new investigator for Castrovillari so they would have another person to teach, and so they would have the excitement of having a new investigator. Well, although I thought me and Anziano Sadler would be able to find someone, we were unable to. But Anziano Rogers and Anziano Connell taught someone who did become a new investigator! So that was a sweet answer to a prayer.

Until next week I guess. If you all have any questions or anything let me know.

I would really appreciate more pictures. Real ones in letters as well. Everyone loves pictures!


Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks.

So for some reason in Old Cosenza there are a ton of random escalators. hahaha. So far I think I've seen four. haha. It's wild.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Years!

We've had a busy week here of course. New Years!!

The pictures I sent are of New Years Eve. Of course we could only stay out until nine, and at that point the streets were completely dead, so we decided it was the only opportunity we would have to take photos on that street.

I'm on that street about every day. haha.

We woke up that night at midnight because it sounded like someone was bombing the city! I guess they don't have very many restrictions here as far as fireworks so pretty big ones were being shot up throughout the whole city for about half an hour. It was pretty.

The next day, New Years, was one of three big cleaning days we have every year here in the mission. So we spent the entire day cleaning the apartment!! I'm gaining a lot more of an appreciation for mom. We always get tons of little dust balls everywhere that are horrible to clean up.

We have been eating some awesome pasta lately. Pretty soon I'll start learning how to make some things. I could probably make a basic pasta now if I had to.

This week I went to Castrovillari on splits with Anziano Rogers. He's from Lindon, Utah. That was the second time we've been on splits together, and we're doing them again today!! haha. So, obviously I had the chance to go up to Castrovillari. It's a pretty small town, but it's pretty nice. We did a lot of advertising for their English course. Ours starts tonight!! I'm stoked.

Anyway, we had a sweet lunch appointment with a lady that has been investigating the church for almost a year. haha. She was really nice and we read about the Liahona with her. Hey, that reminds me!! Guess what! I totally met a girl named Lia the other day, and she spells it the same! That was sweet. She didn't have any interest in the church though. haha.

While I was in Castro we also met an awesome potential investigator named Maria. And get this: She's from Cosenza!! So I might get to teach her tonight, and she also wants to come to English course.

I had a sweet Kebab here the other day. It's the second one I've had here. The first one was horrible. Couldn't even compare to Australia's, but the one I had the other day was really good. I love Kebabs. We really need to get those in St George!

Anyway, things are all going great here in Italy. I've been trying something with my prayers that has been really cool. Whenever you ask for a blessing, give the reason why you want that blessing. For example, please bless me with health so that I can be as effective as possible in my missionary work. It helps you think about why you really desire something to happen, and then you can know if it's really a righteous desire.

So far my biggest struggle has been exercising in the morning. But I've been able to kind of make up for it by exercising in the afternoon.

I don't think I ever told you about our schedule! So we have study from 8-10 in the morning. Personal one hour, and companion one hour.

Then we come home from 1:30-4pm. We eat lunch an hour, study an hour, and have half an hour to take a nap.

Then we go out again until 9, come home and plan, eat, and go to sleep at 10:30.

When we're home in the afternoon all the shops are closed and no one is out anyway. At first it may seem that we get an extra half hour than other missions, for that nap time. As it turns out though, we actually work for half an hour MORE!! haha. Because they get an hour for dinner that we don't. haha. So that was an interesting realization.

Now me and my companion are replacing that half hour of napping with working out though, because he goes home in April so he has to get buff. haha.

Thank you for your support, your prayers, and for your e-mails and letters. It takes mail forever to get here!


Anziano Banks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Buon Natale!!!

I'm so happy that you guys have been doing genealogy!! That's awesome. I've been thinking about that a lot lately because we have a Senior Couple here that is doing work at the Family History Center. While I was in the MTC I had the opportunity to do a few sessions and Initiatories for Anziano Patullo's relatives. So when I get home I can make my friends go with me to the St. George Temple and do them all! haha.

Christmas in Italia. Well, we had a pretty sweet Christmas Conference last week. We went down to Catania and I was with my MTC district!! It was sweet. The highlight of course would be when we played calcio. hahaha. I scored the winning goal!!

For Christmas we have meal appts and that's about it. We don't proselyte on Christmas so hopefully I'll get a chance to catch up on some sleep.

Highlight from this last week? I met my neighbor. I don't know her name but it's this crazy 60-yr-old lady. Check this out: She trades us weird soup for nutella. haha.

It's crazy. She gives us this pumpkin rice stuff, and then in return she gets a spoonful of our nutella!! And then we don't eat it cause it's weird and gross. We basically have no option whether or not to give it to her. So we give her this off-brand nutella that we have in our house. There's a jar set aside just for her. haha.

By the way, thank you so much for the package!! I think we're going to make the rice krispie treats for our friends in the caffè. One of them doesn't like Christmas!! It's crazy. Of course I'll eat some too.

Today was a pretty sweet P-day. Finally got some nice weather!! It's been raining constantly. So we went up to that castle. It was pretty cool. Pretty funny. The information stand was a print-off from wikipedia.

I'm really hoping President will send me to Sicily next (probably after a few transfers here), and then I really just want to stay on Sicily cause that place is awesome.

So this last week when my companion went to the Christmas conference I was on splits with Anziano Rogers from Lindon, Utah. Unfortunately we just did constant proselyting except one appointment. Thank goodness we have work in Cosenza, cause now I know what it would be like if we didn't. House and Street. And we also did some Mostra (where we have a thing we put up and then talk to people about it..there's information about our church and stuff on it).

And we also tried caroling!! haha. For about an hour we went to different spots and sang. It was pretty sweet. Yesterday I was talking to someone and he said he heard us singing the day before. So that was pretty cool.

Guess what! The street vendors here sell the same crap they sell in China!! The exact same crap. haha. It's from China! I thought that was pretty funny. Speaking of which, the number of Chinese here is ridiculous. So if you have any advice on how to convert Buddhists tell me, cause I've talked to a few and I don't really know what to do with that.

Anyway, I guess that's about it for this week. It's been good. I'm pretty tired. haha. It's fun. We have really cool people here. I've learned a little bit of dialect!!

Buon Natale!!!

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks