Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carissima Famiglia!



So good news as always. 
The work in Castrovillari has really been blessed. Last week we got that new family that we’re teaching. This week we did some work with a couple from Canada that is here visiting for the next…3 months!! They have served a mission in Argentina, they are both originally from around Castrovillari, and they asked us to give them a few copies of the Book of Mormon to give their friends and relatives. I believe they are really going to be a great help with the work in Castrovillari.

I hate to give you the highlight of my week this early in the e-mail…but this week (last night, actually) we had an awesome experience. We were visiting one of our two active members in Castrovillari. Her name is Gina, and her husband is named Mario but he’s usually just called “Fratello.” Anyway, we doesn’t usually participate much in our lessons, and the time before we had asked him to pray, but in the end we just asked him to pray the next time. Well, last night he asked me to say the closing prayer, and I was almost going to do it when I remembered that he was supposed to! He kept refusing to do it and saying that I should offer it, and finally we just asked him and then bowed our heads and waited. After about…I don’t know, 30 seconds, he said I should do it again. Then I told him that all he has to say is “Dear Heavenly Father” and then close in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 
Well, after about another 30 very long seconds he said a brief prayer of thanks to his Father in Heaven!! It was awesome! He has been married to Gina for 11 years, and that is the first time that she has ever heard him pray! In ELEVEN YEARS! While he was praying we all felt the Spirit very strongly. It was amazing. We’re going to continue working with him and maybe one day he’ll be the Branch President. Because we still need to find one. Hahaha.

Yesterday I made fried rice!! It actually turned out pretty good. I really regret not watching mom cook in the past. If I’m not a pro by the end of the mission I’ll have to have mom teach me how to make it better. It took forever though! All that chopping and chopping and chopping. I also made a lot, because we eat tons of food.

I guess that’s about all the news from here. Last week we had some crazy success. On Sunday we had four lessons in the presence of a member! It was really sweet. Our spiritual thoughts in English course have been directed to questions asked by the students, and now they are starting to ask if they can meet with us to learn more. Our members are starting to give us more referrals because we’ve been meeting with them and helping them prayerfully select their friends that are ready to receive the Gospel.

Ricordate che il valore delle anime è grande agli occhi di Dio
Haha. We memorized that scripture with Fratello when we taught him and Gina last night. It’s really true. Every soul is very important to God. God loves his children. And…we’re all his children!
One thing really cool about the mission is that I’m realizing the importance of experiences that I’ve had in my life. All my trials suddenly have meaning because I am able to use them to relate to people, and I tell them things that I’ve done as analogies to their problems.

I’ll give you a couple quick examples. 
We have been teaching a lady about the importance of scripture study. She’s really bad about remembering to, so we wanted to call her everyday to remind her. I told her that growing up mom always told me to brush my teeth, and so I always did it. I never had a cavity. Then once I went to college.. 
At this point she interrupted me and said I remembered to do it in college because mom had always reminded me. 
But I corrected her and said that sometimes I wouldn’t brush my teeth before going to be because I didn’t have the reminder and I got two cavities! Haha. It was pretty funny, and it’s nice to feel like there’s actually a purpose in me forgetting to brush my teeth and getting cavities. 
Don’t worry, I brush AND floss now.

Another experience I used the other day was about building the pergola in the backyard this last summer. We were teaching Carlo about the importance of having a baptismal date and I related to him how we had to finish the pergola before I came on my mission. And that if we hadn’t have had that plan, then I never would’ve finished it because it just seemed like too much to do. Of course, in my rough Italian I told him that we were building a wooden building in the backyard, but he got the idea I think. Haha. So I even found a purpose for all that work on the Pergola! Unfortunately, he still does not have a baptismal date, but he’s making great progress towards it.

It’s really hard for people to make a change in their lives. The secret is to read the Book of Mormon. We were teaching an Inactive family that has recently had a big struggle because the wife’s mother is ill. They have to do things for her on Sunday. I’m really worried about them because they were saying how they helped out with all kinds of thing for the church for 20 years. Never missed church for 20 years. And they can’t go to church now because her mother comes first. 
This is the trial of their faith. If you always put the Lord first you will be blessed. Not just when times are easy, but also when you are going through struggles. I’m sure that when they pray for help and read the scriptures they will figure out a way to get through this, while helping her mother and while helping the Lord.

Fortunately for me, right now isn’t actually a time of great struggle. It’s just a really really busy time! Haha. 
The thing that stinks about being busy is time goes by crazy fast! It’s already February! That’s crazy. 
I’ll keep you in my prayers. 
Con Affetto, 
Anziano Banks

p.s. I had heard about the Elders in Romania as well. In our mission we have Carbon Monoxide detectors and we just checked the battery on it last week. Don't worry about me. : )

p.p.s.This is our bookshelf that fell while we were at Catanzaro!! Anziano Sadler thinks maybe someone broke in, just because that was fallen down, and our door is a little bit messed up now. But my passport and money are all still there...so...I don't know. Maybe it just fell. haha

Broken Bookshelf