Wednesday, April 21, 2010


How was your conference??
I really enjoyed it. We were able to see a couple of the sessions live, a couple recorded, and unfortunately it doesn't work out that we get to see the Sunday evening session. Unfortunately I had to watch it all in Italian, and needless to say the jokes don't exactly translate well. For the most part I understood everything, and I know our investigators loved it.

We had two investigators that fasted for conference, and one of them has set a baptismal date, and hopefully another one will this week!! The only unfortunate thing is that transfer calls come in a couple days, so I might miss these baptisms. But it's really awesome to see things happening here. I think I mentioned this before, but it's been over a year and a half since they've had a baptism in Cosenza!!

I really loved conference. I don't know if you remember Dave Mizukawa from High School, but I he was singing in the choir! That was awesome. He was the Student Body President my sophomore year.
This last week we picked up a new investigator from the college. I think me and my companion have figured out what to do when we teach someone who's chinese. This kid is about 24 and has been in Italy for around three years, so I asked him if we could teach him in Italian, but he preferred Chinese. So I was going through about the apostasy and prophets and then I started getting into the restoration when my companion nudged me and told me to grab out the pamphlet on the Restoration. So I pulled that out and then asked Zhong Tian to read the quote from the prophet about the first vision. Well this made it so my companion knew where we were, and then after that he was able to bear his testimony in Italian, and then I continued teaching (in chinese). It worked out really well, and I think especially with testimony it's not so important that people understand everything, but that they can feel the spirit.
Later this week I think I'll give Zhong Tian a Book of Mormon. Speaking of Chinese with Book of Mormons: I went on splits in Castrovillari and visited Yang Fan and De Hua. Yang Fan is the wife, and she just got back from a 1 month trip to China for Chinese New Year. Right before she went I had given her a Book of Mormon and read with her Moroni's Promise (that if you read and pray you will know it's true). The bad news is that she hasn't really been praying about it. The good news is that she read half of the Book of Mormon!! She also shared it with some of her Christian friends and they read some! So I told the Anziani in Castrovillari that they need to go show her the Restoration film in Chinese, and then explain the importance of praying to know. De Hua (her husband) still hasn't read. He said he's been busy.

102_0952I also went to Catanzaro for a Zone Conference this week. The other one is with Anziano Bailey at the conference in Catanzaro. He finishes in about...a few days. haha. I love that city. The Zone Conference was great too. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and President Toronto also mentioned something about Job, and said if we should really read it sometime. Well, I decided to do it, and now I think it may be my favorite book in the Bible!! It's so good. Basically I think you just need to read the first chapter and the end of the last chapter in the book.
In the begining Job has an awesome life and he's the richest man in the East, he's also very righteous. He has something like 500 oxen, 500 sheep, and tons of other stuff. Then, a servant comes and tells Job that people came and stole his oxen, then while that servant is still talking, another comes and says that fire came and destroyed his sheep!! Then another servant comes to tell him something else was destroyed while the one before is still talking, and each servant was the only survivor. Then Job goes on to get boils all over his body for a week, and he suffers for about the rest of the book. Anyway, at the end, after tons of crazy trials, he gets 1000 oxen, 1000 sheep, and blessed with double everything he has in the beginning. hahaha. I thought it was a pretty crazy story. Anyway, I believe the moral is that we don't see immediate blessings for being righteous, but in the end we will be blessed. Hopefully our trials aren't as dramatic and difficult as those of Job, but I think you get the idea. He also had great friends, and I'm really grateful because I do too.
You should check out that book sometime.

Other than that... I included a picture of me cleaning. I love weekly cleaning. haha. Every P-day we clean for about an hour. It makes the house really nice. : )

Ray Cleans 
Easter is pretty crazy here. Italians love to have parties. haha. It's basically just eating all day the day after Easter. Easter is Pasqua. The next day is called Pasquetta. I guess that means little Easter. Anyway, the city was dead. Hardly any cars out, almost no people at all on the streets. It was crazy. Thank goodness I was in Cosenza, because I heard in Castrovillari they only talked to about 15 people in the whole day.

One thing I've realized is that it's really easy to put on weight on a mission. Some people say it's not because you walk around so much, but what I've realized is that the better missionary you are, the easier it is to put on weight. Because if you're a good missionary, then members and investigators like you so they always want to invite you over for lunch. If you are able to get lots of teaching appointments you do a lot more sitting than walking around. When you do do street, if you really talk to everyone than you can only walk a few feet before you're stopping again!! You have a half hour every morning to exercise, but that just doesn't cut it. So that's my theory on gaining weight on your mission. I tried to not eat pasta so much when we make our own food, but it's the cheapest thing to do!

I know that the church is true. I know that President Monson is a Prophet called by God. I know that the work here is making great progress. Especially thanks to the Conference, and the baptism of an 8-yr-old in our Branch this Sunday. There's no way our investigators won't feel the Spirit there. Even the one that struggles to have faith could feel the strength of the testimonies at conference. I know that God answers prayers, and that Joseph Smith was the first Prophet in these days. I love you, and I'm grateful for all your support. I'm very grateful that our family is sealed in the temple and that we aren't a part-member family because I've seen how hard that is. Thank you for staying worthy! And I know that every time we want to repent we will be forgiven.

Have a great week! I'm happy, healthy, and a little hungry because it's getting close to lunch time.
Con affetto,
vostro figlio e fratello,
Anziano Banks.