Sunday, July 18, 2010

Benvenuti a Roma!!

So, we’ve now become part of the Rome mission! That means that even if I don't serve there, I should at least be able to see Rome a little bit the last day of my mission right before I go.

I personally am totally stoked about the mission change because it opens up the possibility of going to a number of exciting new places. We just had transfer calls, and for now I am staying in Foggia. It's pretty sweet because we now are starting to learn how to cook, and we also realized that just about every city near Foggia is Medieval.

Last week we went to Trani. One interesting thing about Italy is that just about every city has an old cathedral, and an old castle. Trani also had a nice park. We only had time to spend a couple hours there, but it was enough to check out the highlights of this little city. We had some Foccaccia for lunch, and we walked around and enjoyed the nice little bay they have.

 Eating Pizza TraniTrani Arch

That was my travel highlight for the week.

My cooking highlight was that we learned how to make gnocchi from one of our investigators! That was pretty awesome. I'll teach you how after the mission. I'll probably have to show mom and Lia all the things I will have learned how to cook, because I think I'm going to know a ton. On Saturday we're going over to learn something else. Gnocchi were really easy to make, and basically all you need is potatoes, egg, and flour!


My spiritual highlight this week was a pretty cool one. We were with Fratello Manzo going around visiting random less active people that he knows in the area. Fratello Manzo used to be the ward mission leader (years ago) and now he is about to be called as the Assistant ward mission leader. Anyway, we rang a less active sister's intercom, and she was happy to let us up. Fratello Manzo did some catching up with her, and we all chatted about different things (job, school, where you're from, etc) It turns out that she's the daughter of one of the first members in Foggia. Then she told us about how she had just been robbed! This was really interesting. The robbers must have had a key to the house, because they didn't have to break the lock or anything, and then they checked behind a couple picture frames and found her wall safe. They removed the entire safe from the wall, and left! All this was done while she was out of the house at work or something. It happened a few days before we passed by. Anyway, she was really shaken up. She had about 30-40K of jewelry, money, and other items in that wall safe, but the thing that really shook her up is the sense that someone invaded her privacy and personal space. Obviously now the locks have been changed, and when we came by it was the first time that she's returned to stay in the home (she lives by herself). We then decided to offer a prayer. After the prayer she was crying. She told us that yesterday she had prayed to Heavenly Father to comfort her, and today he sent his angels to her. It was really cool. Although she has been inactive, and she has strayed away, she is definitely making her way back. That was really cool.

Okay, so here are the opposites this week! haha.

Travel opposite: Today we went with Bishop to visit some members that live in the countryside (near the the direction of Calabria where Cosenza is). To get to their house we had to drive up a road that zig zags like crazy, and it was miserable. The members there are amazing though. An old couple that is unable to come to church (health problems), but they hold sacrament every week themselves. We go and visit them every few weeks. They're awesome.

Cooking opposite: I decided to try and make a pasta out of fresh tomatoes that I had. I thought it would be a good idea to have a pasta that wasn't so smooth, and so I didn't blend the tomatoes or the carrot I threw in very well, and the sauce ended up having a bad texture. The pasta still tasted okay though. I think there's a reason why Italians usually use peeled tomatoes and use a tool to take out the seeds. There were way too many seeds.

Spiritual opposite: We were doing house (which means we were ringing intercoms) and some guy started yelling at us not to bother people! He told us that no one wanted to hear from us. It was really rude because there was a lady I was already talking to that wanted to know who we were, so I said to him, can I just tell this lady who I am because she wants to know (she kept asking "Who are you?"). He yelled into the intercom and told her to hang up. She didn't! haha. And I ended up telling her who we were as he left (although she didn't end up having interest). He went around the corner and stared at us, but we felt like we should finish ringing the intercoms. Anyway, then we ended up talking to a guy who used to play soccer with missionaries in the past, and he listened to our message, and we're going to meet with him again! So it actually ended up being pretty cool.

Anyway, so there are all my highlights and the opposites for this week. I hope that you find joy in your lives as you experience the ups and downs. It's always about balancing your life.

I know that this church is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I know that without the Holy Ghost people can't really understand the Bible. This week I started studying the Bible a lot more than usual, and I found it very obvious how so many people get confused.


Anziano Banks

Pointing Trani Ocean

Thursday, July 8, 2010


This week I tried to make myself a Double-Double Animal style. ...
I decided not to take a photo. It didn't even come close. The next day I got a Whopper at Burger King, and I think that's about as close as I can get while I'm here in Italy.

This week we have done a lot of traveling. I've found that most weeks I do. haha. First we went to Panni with our Bishop. That was awesome. We visited a member and his new member wife that are in the hospital there. That city is totally awesome. I really wish I would've gotten a picture from their balcony, but I'm sure we'll go again sometime. Then we went to get water from a pipe coming out of a rock. Apparently that's where all the best water comes from, and we filled about 50 - 2L bottles with Bishop after the appointment. haha.Getting Water

The next trip was for Zone Conference in Bari. It was the last Zone Conference with President Toronto!! It went pretty well. We had to get a ride from the Assistants back to Foggia to make it in time for our baptism! Angela, the mother of Irene who was just baptized.
She's awesome. She is really...upbeat. After the baptism she gave us each huge Boches. (I'm not sure how to say it in English) After the baptism we also invited the girlfriend of one of the members of the church here to be baptized, and she accepted!! That was awesome.

Right now I'm actually back in Cosenza!! I love this place. Within my first few minutes here I already ran into a member and had a brief conversation. It looks like I'll actually be here a couple days because the Questura may not give out Permessos tomorrow. Basically, I'm here to pick up the card that makes it legal for me to stay in the country!

Summer is here. People are starting to all go to the sea. We're going to end English Course at the end of this month, but I only had two students come to my class yesterday! It still went well though. People like to have more personal help sometimes. Plus it makes for a killer spiritual thought at the end because you can connect with the people more.

The other day we decided to do a little bit of Chinese Hunting. haha. First we passed by a guy that I had talked to before that seemed really friendly and interested. His wife was the only one there. I asked her if she had a chance to read the pamphlet that I left her husband, and she told me that she's buddhist and that they're not interested. That was kind of a bummer. So then we decided to go to another chinese shop where I had met a couple ladies before. I talked to one about how her day was, and then a little bit about religion, and I ended up explaining to her about prophets and Joseph Smith. She told me she would read the pamphlet, call me if she didn't understand anything, and that we were always welcome in her shop!After that I was feeling pretty good. I love it when people actually accept what we say!

With all the trips I've had a chance to talk with a lot of people traveling (which I love). I spoke with one man on the train to Bari. He was very interesting. He told me, "What's better: Being baptized and killing people, or not being baptized, but being a good person"
I said, "Why can't you be baptized and be a good person?!"
He was stuck on his idea. The fact is, a lot of times there is good and bad, black and white, but I think in this case he was definitely choosing between two mistakes. We can either choose Jesus Christ, or we can choose Satan. Jesus Christ was baptized!! He also did good things! I say we should try and do all the things that he did. Anyway, unfortunately I couldn't get through to him at all. You do what you can. He also told me I should be serving a mission in Africa where they need the Gospel. It's funny because a lot of people tell me that I should be in Africa. Speaking of which, we found out that our African member isn't actually a member of our church. She's never heard of the Book of Mormon, and we couldn't find her baptismal records. We don't really want to tell her that she's not actually a member, but hopefully she'll want to be baptized afterwards!

We had stake conference and we had a satellite transmission from Salt Lake. Elder David A. Bednar said some great things to us about revelation. I wish I had my notes with me so I could tell you some quotes. Anyway, basically he told us that usually revelation is like the sun rising. Slowly you see more and more light, and then it breaks over the ridge and you realize the truth! Sometimes it's an overcast sky and it takes a long time for the time to show. He told us an experience that happened on his mission, and he didn't find out until 20 years later that what he did was really what the spirit prompted him to do!! It was really cool. My thought on revelation follows also what he said. We just need to choose the right, do good things, and have confidence that the Lord is blessing us and giving us revelation. I've also found that I usually don't realize it until after the fact.

Have a great week.
Anziano Banks

P.S. I’ve found that all this travelling I do makes it so I see a lot of great views!!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Unfortunately this week I don't have any pictures! sorry. 

Not too much has happened. Oh well, I also have a bad keyboard.

Lately I've started getting really into the world cup (seeing as everyone else in Italy is so passionate about it), and so I'm really excited for the game Italy is playing tomorrow.

Our mission president has given us permission to watch the Italy games as long as we make it an excellent activity by having an investigator there, or at least a less active member. Tomorrow we're going to watch the game with one of our investigators that we haven't seen in awhile (that wanted to get baptized but wouldn't give up smoking, not Salvatore, but another one) and a bunch of his friends are going to be there as well. It should be pretty awesome.

Today the U.S. is playing, but I don't think we're going to be able to see it. We're going to a place called Tranni for P-day today.

Things have been going really well. We get transfer calls in two days! Next week we're already starting the transition to the Rome mission, and then it becomes official on July 1st. I'm really hoping to see something happen with these transfers.

On Sunday evening we gave the sacrament to Fratello Manzo because he has health problems and can't come in the morning. He loves to help us with missionary work, so it's always great to talk with him. This time he told us about two investigators from about 5 years ago. He ran into them the other day and invited them to FHE which we've been having in the church every monday.

This week we decided to change it to Wednesday, so he said maybe we should go visit them and tell them that the time changed. We walked to their home, and they were very excited to see us. We sat down, ate some cookies, drank some carbonated water (ew), and taught them about the Plan of Salvation. They're an awesome family. We'll see them tonight at FHE.

It sounds like your lives are pretty crazy right now. I'm glad to hear that. It's always fun to receive exciting e-mails from you.

We just did splits. I went with Anziano Gilbert from San Diego (he's serving in Bari). It was pretty chill. We went in search of a park that Anziano Shaw (from Sandy, finished his mission last transfer) told me about, but we couldn't find it. Park is one of my favorite styles of proselyting, although we usually just end up talking to punk kids. They're pretty funny. We went to another park and some girls started asking Anziano Gilbert if he knew Tom Cruise, or the Jonas Brothers (once they heard that he was from california they named about every famous person they knew).

Well, I think that's about everything. I'm staying healthy, and not drinking water that's too cold!

Remember, if you drink water that's too cold, you'll get a stomach ache!



Anziano Banks