Monday, February 1, 2010

Buona Notizia da Italia

As always it’s great to hear from you! This week I have quite a bit of news.

So, I don’t know how much I explained, but currently I have two companions. Anziano Sadler’s companion should be here in a couple weeks, but right now he is having visa problems, so there’s a chance we’ll be a threesome for the whole transfer. Another thing is that I am also serving in two cities!!! Haha, It’s actually really awesome, I love it. So right now I am serving also serving in Castrovillari. We take a bus (about an hour) up there and spend half of every week there. It’s pretty sweet. And actually, I get to go to Saracena too, which is nearby Castrovillari. You should look up pictures sometime because I think it looks really sweet.

Another really cool thing about Castrovillari: Yesterday, I went and talked to this Chinese family in their shop that I had spoken with last time I was on splits in Castrovillari, and also another time I had taught them how to pray. This is the Peng family. They’ve lived in Italy for sometime, but they don’t really speak much Italian besides what they need to use in their shop. Yesterday I gave out my first Chinese Book of Mormon to them! Well, I actually just gave it to yang fan, and she said she is going to read it on her plane ride over to China for Chinese New Years, and then when they get back I’m hopefully going to be able to teach them the gospel. I had to memorize some gospel terms before I spoke with them this last time, but I think she’s really going to read it, and then hopefully her brother who read the pamphlet I gave them will read it as well. And of course then they’ll pray, get a testimony, and be baptized!!
Right now the mission is ordering some Chinese pamphlets and Book of Mormons for me, so I’m pretty stoked for that.

Another story for you. So in the city of Castrovillari there are “Magic Fountains” where the missionaries go and fill up their water bottles. Those glass ones that I sent a picture of. The “Magic Fountains” are where you go to get clean water, and you always carry the glass bottles full of water back to the house. The previous Anziani (plural of Anziano), have apparently always done this. Well, me and Anziano Wood started asking more about it because it was something unique to Castrovillari. What we discovered is that Anziano Sadler hadn’t actually ever seen anyone else do it. But he and Anziano Rogers always did, and so did Anziano Pett before him, as far as we know. Well, we decided to ask one of our investigators the story on the fountains, and quickly learned that they are actually the same as the tap water!! Hahaha. So basically that morning when we went out in the rain filling them up at 7:30 in the morning to have something to drink for breakfast, that was totally ridiculous. Haha.

In other news, my companion Anziano Jeffrey Sadler, is in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL!!! Haha, he plays the trumpet in the movie. I knew you would all love that. He told me that he’s willing to sign autographs. Just let me know how many you’d like.

Lately me and my companions have been going out of our way to always be smiling, whether because we’re laughing about something, or just because we have the joy of the Gospel in our lives. Another thing we’ve been doing is trying to find a family to teach. Well, the other day we were walking and laughing and we all said “Buona Sera” to a man as we walked by, and he had a big smile as well. So I turned and asked him “Come Sta?” and then we all stopped and started talking to him. We asked him why he was so happy, and he asked us the same. Haha. Well, we ended up having a nice chat with him and he accepted all the things we told him because it all made sense. He had never heard of our church, but his wife was a practicing Catholic. Anyway, so we gave him a Restoration pamphlet, and we’ll hopefully get a chance to meet with him sometime. Unfortunately he works a lot, and he doesn’t actually live in Cosenza. But the point is we had an awesome opportunity to teach a man because we were smiling.

A few days earlier in Castrovillari we had a similar experience with a lady that we had offered to help with her bags. She didn’t need any help, but we laughed and chatted with her, and she’s asked us to come back by her house, so that was sweet. Last night while I was talking to the Chinese family in the shop, she actually walked by and my companions spoke with her, and she still wants us to come over to her house, so hopefully we’ll get the chance to teach her next time we’re in Castrovillari.

The mission is going well. Missionary work is going well. One thing we’re finding out with our investigators is that they have a problem of saying yeah, I believe this is true, and so they don’t want to ask God and receive a witness from the Holy Ghost. I think it’s important that we all ask on occasion, so that we have our testimony reconfirmed, so that we have that much more confidence. We’ve also been really pushing them to read scriptures daily, and I think that that is also just as important for members. Not only just to make sure we keep our faith, but also make sure we keep our action. The scriptures are really inspiring, and we can use the Powers of Heaven to help us not only with spiritual things, but also temporal things. It’s all about motivation and faith.

One other problem is that we have a couple investigators who don’t have enough self-confidence. They believe everything, but they just don’t think they can keep it up after they’re baptized. I guess they also don’t have enough faith that God will help them.

Well, I guess that’s enough for this week. Tomorrow I’m heading up to Bari. That should be pretty cool. We’re having a conference up there.

Thank you for your prayers and all that you do for me! It’s always good to hear that you’re going to church. : ) Don’t forget to read as well. The Lord always blesses us when we do what we should.

Have a great week!

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks

Filling up the water bottles at the "Magic Fountain"

P.S. I forgot to tell you one of the coolest things that happened last week!!

So we were on the bus from Castrovillari to Cosenza, and it was completely full. Anziano Wood was talking to someone sitting, and me and Anziano Sadler were talking to each other, and then we started talking about how we always heard of people teaching buses full of people. Well, then we were like...maybe we should do it! So then we thought about how to do it, and I explained to him I think it would go down if it were in English.

Well, then this is what went down. Anziano Sadler asked the bus driver if we could do a presentation about our church for the back half of the bus (keep in mind this a full sized bus). Then we started teaching the Gospel to about 15 people at once!!! It was awesome. It was a little to start, but then I realized to get them involved we would just have to ask people directly. So I asked one kid (because it was pretty much all college aged kids), "According to you, who is Jesus Christ?"

And then we went on explaining things and asking about different things and it was overall awesome. I actually did quite a bit of talking too. It was really cool. We gave pass-a-long cards to everyone, and I gave the Book of Mormon I had with me away to a girl that wanted to read it.

It was an awesome experience, and what's cool is that it was both me and Anziano Sadler's first time doing it. But since I'm at the beginning of my mission, now I can do it for the rest of my mission!!

Awesome, huh?