Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Marzo pazzorello, anzi c'è sole, prendi l'ombrello

Tutti A Cosenza

More or less: March, it's crazy, actually there's sun, bring your umbrella.haha.

The weather has been insane here. We thought that Spring was here because it became warm enough that we could go outside without a jacket and it was really sunny. But then next thing you know it became colder than it's been all year! I went on splits this week with Anziano Mangifesta (he's from near Pisa), and one morning it even snowed a little!

It was really funny because I can't remember if I told you, but someone stole my umbrella last week while we were in the Internet Cafè. And so with Anziano Wood gone we didn't have an umbrella to use and so we ran from apartment to apartment in the rain doing house. It was crazy cold, but we definitely saw tender mercies because every apartment complex the door was already unlocked, whereas we usually have to ring the outdoor phone because the door is locked. But I've really had a great week. I did more house than I've done my whole mission, and it actually went really well. People always say it's more of a trial of faith than anything because it's not very effective, but we actually found some good success because a lot of people were home. Last transfer I hardly got to do any proselyting, and it's refreshing to do some again.

Missionary work is actually really cool because you talk to random people, go to stranger's houses, meet tons of people. Basically it's really social, which works out well because I love talking to people. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to listen. Like the other day we went to an old man's house who asked us if we knew the name of God was. Then he told us that it's Yahweh, and that our Bibles are no good because they say "Eternal" instead of "Yahweh." Anyway, the next morning during personal study I looked it up, and the Hebrew word "Yahweh" translates into "Eternal." hahaha. Another man we talked to this week told us that he met missionaries about 10 years ago and he read the Book of Mormon twice. I asked him if he prayed about it, and he didn't. He also said: "Honestly, I don't see how it's that different from the Bible." hahaha. I tried to explain to him that it is also the word of God, but he didn't want to listen.

Anyway, let me tell you a sweet success from this last week. I was on splits with Anziano Sadler, and we were walking down Via XXIV Maggio. There was a chinese man outside of his shop smoking and I started chatting with him about work, and found out that he's from Hang Zhou! So right away we had something to talk about because I told him about when I went to Shanghai and Souzhou last summer. We kept talking about I found out that he's Christian, and that he's wondered why there are so many churches, and why his church here is different than the one he had back home. I taught him about authority and the restoration, and then I got his phone number and I should be teaching him next week!

I also met a nice Romanian lady while I was on splits with Anziano Mangifesta. When we knock doors we typically switch off every door. She pretty much rejected Anziano Mangifesta, and then I said something (probably asking for a referral or something), and then all of a sudden she smiles and asks where I'm from. She loved my accent. haha. So then after we got past that I explained the Book of Mormon to her, and she said she wants one in Romanian for herself, and one for the Signora in Italian. Unfortunately we don't currently have a Romanian Book of Mormon with us, but we'll be getting one. : )

Our investigators are making good progress. Or at least a couple of them. We really tried to get a baptismal date. haha. Giuseppe wasn't ready to set a date, but I think he'll be baptized in the next few months. One investigator that we had to drop was really funny. He's been taught everything more than once, and he still says he's not ready to baptized, and so we asked him when he thinks he will be. He told us that he couldn't say because it's too far. Then we said, really, when do you think you'll be ready? And then he mumbled "I can't say the date....it's too far, I'll be forty" hahaha. Anyway, hopefully he'll change, but for now we're trying to do work with other investigators.

So everything is still just going great here. This next week we're really going to work hard to find the elect because it seems like a lot of people we get to teach aren't exactly to make changes in their lives right now. But I guess it is nice that we have so many friends here. We just don't have time to spend with them!! There's a saying in Italian that more or less says: Friendship doubles the joy, and cuts your worries in half. It's really true. But there's a poster in our church that says: Eternity is a long time... Spend it with a friend. (more or less, it's in Italian). Anyway, it has a picture of two friends together that are at the start of a trail. I know, you'd think it's about marriage, but it also says something about sharing the Gospel because it's more or less about referrals to the missionaries if you ask me. haha.

Oh! And I found out the name of the place we go run at (when it's not raining like crazy), it's the Municipal Public Gardens. It's pretty beautiful.
Have a great week! Thanks for your prayers.
Anziano Banks

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tutti a Cosenza

So as usual, I've had a fantastic week. The news is that I did not get transferred, but Anziano Sadler did get a companion so now I'm in a normal companionship with Anziano Wood. It's pretty nice. We have great investigators that are making great progress.

A cool thing that happened was with Mario. He's the one from Argentina who's been painting our house. Well, remember how we taught him to pray? Well we also gave him a pamphlet in Spanish. At the end of last week the conversation went something like this:

So you're going to be finished tomorrow morning?


Well, then I guess we won't see each other again because we're going to Castrovillari.

    -But I'll be here in the morning.

We're leaving tonight, so I guess this is the last time we'll see each other.

    -We'll see each other sometime in church.

You're coming to curch?!

    -Sometime.. piano piano.

haha. That was so awesome. He really is a cool guy. That night we actually didn't end up going to Castrovillari because:

We got on the bus to Castrovillari and right after two drunks got onto the bus. They kept on talking to us about Joseph Smith and they we had open beer bottles and one spoke English. I think he was French though. Anyway, they kept on talking to us and we kept saying that they should probably sit down, and then we moved to the front of the bus. And while we were in the front one of them fell flat on the floor! It was crazy. Anyway, we decided that we should just go in the morning because they were a little out of control, and Anziano Wood gets motion sickness and the smoke wasn't really helping him.

Other than that. .. This week was pretty chill here. I also gave a talk in church on charity that went really well. I think I've finally started to get this charity thing figured out. It's like, before I liked doing service, but when I pray for charity then I love to do service. Not only service as in helping people come unto Christ, but also little things like doing the dishes and things like that. Just little things that make other people happier. And of course we are blessed when we do things like this. I've found that when I go ahead and serve others, like by doing the dishes, I have more than enough time to do all the other things that I want to do, like study the language.

Speaking of which, language study is the secret to having an easy foreign mission. Because on the days that I do all my language study the language comes a lot easier while I'm teaching and proselyting than on the days when I don't.

I almost forgot to tell you! Something really cool lately:

Me and Anziano Wood go running every morning. I'll admit, I'm a little jealous of Jake Henrichsen because he got to run through the Botanical Gardens and to the Sydney Opera house for his run, but I think we've got a pretty good one here now too. We run to Old City Cosenza, then up to a botanical garden-type area and run on the cobblestone trails there that are slightly overgrown. It's a beautiful run and we get a nice view of the river that runs through Cosenza, and of all the old trees lining the trail. It's awesome.

Have a great week.

I love you.

Anziano Banks

Have a great week!

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks.

p.s. I realized that I've been eating meditteranean food! haha. It's...growing on me. We eat a little more egg plant and such that I'm not used to. I also ate a bunch of fish at someones house the other day, but it was a lot different than Taiwan because it was more or less processed. I can handle that alright.

Crazy Eyes

This is an older picture, but I thought it looked sweet!

Friday, March 5, 2010

La mia bellissima famiglia

asdf Wow. I have such a crazy mission. hahaha.
So we have an investigator up in Castro that would be really awesome, except she's been really sick for the last three weeks. So she hasn't been able to come to church and we haven't been able to teach her any proper lessons. Anyway, it seems that Anziano Wood picked it up and he got really sick last week. So that stopped us from doing any work for about 3 or 4 days. The good news is that even though we couldn't really do much missionary "work," we were able to do a lot of missionary "things."

This was really good because there are a lot of things going on in the Cosenza house. We are currently having the entire house repainted, so we were able to get it ready for that. We also are replacing just about everything in the kitchen. haha. The really cool thing is that we have members here that are giving us a new kitchen table, and we may even be getting free new cabinets. Anyway, things have been really crazy with all of that, so it was good because me and Anziano Sadler were able to move things around in the house while Anziano Wood tried to recover. Now Anziano Wood is doing fine and it looks like me and Anziano Sadler managed to not get sick.

The Cosenza house is going to be way sweet now. The Cosenza house has always been a great place as far as mission homes. Do you remember that guy at the temple in St. George that told us about how when Presidente Taranto came all the apartments got A/C? Well, the story goes that it all started with the Cosenza house. When he was coming to visit Cosenza, the missionaries left the oven on all day! So when he came it was so hot that he decided all the houses needed to get air conditioning. hahaha.

This last week I also got to go to Crotone. That was pretty cool. Between the two cities I haven't had much time to do proselyting this transfer, but that's pretty much all we did while we were in Crotone. It was actually a lot of fun. We found out that they had a bunch of pass-a-long cards that are ten years old, and we decided that we should start just giving them to everyone because after the Catania mission gets shut they'll have the wrong phone number and won't be very useful. So we just walked around giving them to everyone. About the third person we handed one to said "For you" and handed us a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet that said "Should you fear hell?" Then we just kept on walking around handing them out and of course talking to people about the Book of Mormon because they're the pass-a-long cards with the number if you want a free Book of Mormon. Well, we were talked to one guy who we ended up giving a copy of the Book of Mormon, set up an appointment with, and committed him to read a chapter before the visit. He's definitely elect. I love finding great people when doing street. That was the highlight of the trip to Crotone.

The real highlight of this last week though would be last Wednesday night. We were teaching a member's husband. We were talking about Jesus Christ and what he's done for us and faith in him, and I decided to talk when I had nothing to say. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure I experienced the gift of tongues, or at least the Spirit telling me what to say in the very moment that I need it, because all of a sudden I just started testifying and saying a ton of stuff out of nowhere. It was a really cool experience. I just hope that he felt the Spirit. We're going to try and work with him some more. We have a lot of part-member families to work with here.

Okay, so remember how we have someone painting our house right now? Well, of course we've been trying to teach him the Gospel a little bit when we're at home, and it's going really well. I just wish that he worked slower! Whenever we're leaving the house we invite him to join us as we pray, and yesterday we totally taught him how to pray and he offered the prayer! haha. We tried to commit him to pray that night, but he just says "piano, piano" which means like...slowly slowly. Anyway, he's really awesome, and I think that he'll come around,  piano piano.

As far as my monthly money goes, I'm getting a lot better at it. I was almost broke my first month!! haha. But now I've figured out where we can get really cheap food, and I've also realized what I should be eating. Basically, I found out that I need hardly any meat, which is great because that stuff is way too expensive anyway. Thank you for the food pyramid. I really wish I could get on that website because it seems like it would be awesome.

Have a great week! Choose the right! Make sure you go to church because even if you don't get something out of it, it will help others.
Con Affetto,
Anziano Banks

Family Home Evening

This is an older picture at FHE around when I first got to Italy.