Saturday, February 27, 2010

Un'altra settimana

Ciao Famiglia!!

This week was pretty sweet. Where to start?? How about yesterday? Yesterday me and my companions took our P-day and climbed a huge mountain in Castrovillari!!
We made it all the way up to the snow. It was an awesome view. It was a pretty intense hike considering we didn’t have a trail to follow. Haha. Climbing up the mountain in the snow wasn’t the best, but on the way back down we were able to experience the closest thing to skiing that you probably can on your mission. So that was awesome. It took us about 3 ½ hours to climb the mountain. I’m not planning on hiking anymore trail-less mountains anymore on my mission. It’s way intense. The only other time I’ve done something like it is in Hawaii when me and Austin Foster climbed Snickleberry Mountain. The first attempt we didn’t make it, but the second attempt we did. From that I learned the secret. You have to go in a gorge where water runs down, because that’s where the growth isn’t quite as thick. If you want to scale a mountain without a trail, now you know what to do. Haha. Here’s a picture of the view from the top:

View From the Top

The views I see all the time are awesome here. I wish my camera was a little better, as far as batteries, because I can't get a hold of those ones that are good for it here. Probably in bigger cities, idk.We started the hike at the Prison. This way funny dude named Pepino dropped us off there. We were actually going to hike a smaller mountain, but then we ran into him and he told us to get in!! So we asked him to take us to the prison to climb a mountain there. He's so funny.

I have to admit. I have a ridiculously fun mission. It's not the easiest, and it's really tiring. But it really is awesome. We know tons of hilarious people that all love us. And we're also seeing a few lives changing. Fratello prayed again this week, and he is finally seeing his self-worth. It's not easy to give someone confidence. But that's why it's nice that we don't have to do it ourselves.

The real highlight of this week is that I gained a testimony of fasting. Because there was two weeks ago where we prayed for a family with two kids, and we found them. We had prayed for that every day. But then on fast Sunday I had fasted to find a family with four kids, but then I had somewhat forgotten to keep praying for it throughout the week. Well, we found a family with four beautiful little girls! We’re currently teaching them and they’re way awesome. I now see the power of fasting, and I am really grateful for the opportunity we have to fast altogether each week.

My Italian’s still coming along just fine, but my dialect is going great. Haha. I’ve managed to learn a few things here and there and everyone loves it. I also heard that a lot of people in Rome speak the dialect they use here, so if I ever get transferred up there I could still say some things.
Dad sent me some advice for teaching Chinese people and that really helped. Thank you. I was able to teach a couple of lessons on Saturday just based off that question of what they think the purpose of life is. That’s really sweet. There’s a family in Castrovillari that’s really busy, but I think they are progressing really well. The wife is very interested but she is in China right now. She said she would bring her Book of Mormon on the flight and read it…and she really did!! I’m excited to see her in a couple weeks when she gets home. I think her husband is mostly letting me teach him because he wants to know about it because his wife does, but it’s going well with him as well. They’re that family I mentioned before that we can’t use any Italian because they hardly know any.

So there are a few stories that I’ve forgotten to tell you all about before. Or at least I think I did. Hopefully I’m not repeating myself. One is about Bari. Remember I went there for the Conference? Anyway, in all cities you go to in Italy there is tons of graffiti that says “Ti Amo” which means, “I love you.” I’ve seen it in Catania, Cosenza, Messina, Castrovillari, Catanzaro, Reggio Calabria, and everywhere else I’ve been. And there is graffiti that says that all over. Well, in Bari, for the first time since I’ve been in Italy I say “Ti Odio.” Hahaha. That means, “I hate you.” I thought that seemed pretty funny. But Bari is way sweet. They have two wards there. Daily conversation here can be pretty funny. One of the most common topics of discussion is what you had to eat for lunch. Everyone always asks what you ate for lunch, and it’s always pasta with sauce. Then you ask what they ate for lunch and they say pasta with sauce. Hahaha. Sometimes it goes slightly more in depth. For example “We ate pasta with red sauce.” Haha.

Everything is just still going great here. Next week will be my last P-day of the transfer. We’re thinking that I won’t be transferred, but it’s hard to say. Anyway, just so you know, there is a chance that next week will be my last time at this address. But we’ll see. I’d be down for going, or down for staying. At the very least next transfer I shouldn’t have two cities anymore. Which is actually a little bit sad because I really like the people up in Castrovillari.

The last thing that I thought was funny was last week at the end of internet my Umbrella had been stolen!! So they told me just to take any one. Hahaha. I decided that I can just get by without one. The rain has settled down a little. If it builds back up then I guess I’ll just buy a cheap one or something.
Thank you for all that you do for me! Have an awesome week.

Con Affetto,
Anziano Banks

They have a saying in Italian: Tutto il mondo รจ paese
Basically it means that everywhere is more or less the same as France.
hahaha. It means the whole world is a place. What that means is that everywhere is about the same.
I think it's a little bit true. But I'm pretty sure Sydney and Suzhou are a little different. haha.
I think one of the ideas of a mission is to make you appreciate your family more. I appreciate you guys. I also think it's to make you not be lazy. But I need to warn you, I plan on sleeping in like crazy when I come home. I've been tired ever since I got here. Me and Anziano Connell used to take naps for most of a few of our P-days. haha. I'm getting a lot better at napping than I ever was before!