Monday, August 30, 2010


So this week was pretty sweet. Well, in the sense that I enjoyed it and we met a lot of great people. As far as missionary's a little bit dead. haha. They have something here called ferragosto. Basically everyone goes on vacation for a couple weeks. haha. We've gotten a lot of great contacts, but everyone says that they are busy until September!! So I'm pretty sure that the work is going to go crazy in September!! It'll be like a birthday present. For now, we're just going to keep doing a lot of proselyting, and finding people. They'll probably all tell us that they're going to leave until September, but that's alright.

It's really interesting how true the things are that are written in Preach My Gospel. Lately we've been studying a lot about finding people, and we've been following everything that we learn. One thing that is says is that sometimes when you talk to people, they won't recognize at first that you are messengers of the Lord. So anyway, the other day I stopped a lady and I told her that we're in the area explaining to people how families can be eternal and we can live with our families after this life. She then told me that for her families aren't forever. hahaha. Anyway, I can't remember everything that we said, but by the end of it all we had talked for about 1/2 an hour about the church, and given her a Book of Mormon! It was pretty awesome.

I also decided that Venezuela is the place to serve a mission. We were doing houses the other day, and a lady from Venezuela was biking and stopped us. She said that her husband wants to learn from us. Then her husband came over with his two kids and told us that he wants us to teach him more about Jesus Christ!! haha, it was totally crazy. Unfortunately they don't speak Italian really well, so we put them in contact with a missionary in our city that speaks Spanish. Since then me and my companion have been joking with each other about what it would be like proselyting in Venezuela -- people stopping you on the street as soon as you walk outside your apartment, setting baptismal dates on the place ride over, churches with two baptismal fonts so they can do more baptisms at once, etc.

Anyway, so things are going really well. Our new members are all doing fantastic, the ward is doing well, and once September comes our investigators should be around. This city is great. Every week we get fed by members at least twice. Once on Saturday by Sorella Panza, and then on Sunday by other members. Sorella Panza is a pretty interesting lady. She loves the missionaries. No one really knows how long she's been feeding the missionaries for, but I know it's at least for a few years. She has four pet cats! They usually end up on the table a few times every time we eat there, haha. It's pretty crazy. Last time we went she showed me all the photos of her family from the last 100 years. It was pretty nuts. I had heard various weird things, but I actually enjoy going over to eat there. She's a pretty good cook.

Have a great week. I hope everything's going great for you.

Anziano Banks

P.S. Today we went to Alberobello. It was pretty sweet. They have some pretty funky houses there.
We went with me, my companion Anziano Gilbert, Anziano Fernandez-Ruiz and his companion(from Italy), Sorella Jenkins, Hirsh and Tonoko (Peruvian but lives in Genova, Italy).

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Friday, August 27, 2010

I love BARI!


This place it TOTALLY AWESOME! It's my first city that actually has the sea.

We also have a pretty good sized ward - and four new converts!! They're amazing.

First is Fabrizia. She's 39. She used to study a lot of languages including...CHINESE!! She took four years of Chinese (15 years ago). She doesn't remember that much, but I say a few phrases to her every time I see her. She also speaks English really well. She drives a FIAT punto that's way sweet.Next there's...Cecilia! She's 32. I think she's a babysitter. She's way funny and she loves to study the scriptures! We've already taught her a couple of lessons and she always asks us to leave her something to read from D&C, and from the Bible. She's way amazing.Then there's...Loredana! I still haven't met with her for a lesson, but she was just barely baptized a couple months ago, but she's really busy. She also speaks some English.Oh, and then there's Rita. We meet her at lungo mare (the walkway along the sea) to teach her. It's pretty sweet. She's not that good at remembering church doctrine, but we're working with her.

As far as investigators we pretty much just have one...but she has a baptismal date! Besides that we're going to have to find some more people. We'd have more good investigators, but all the good ones got baptized! hahaha.

The story on how Fabrizia, Cecilia, and Loredana joined the church is really cool. They're all friends with each other, and first Fabrizia got baptized. Then Cecilia noticed that she was way happier, and asked her what made her become so happy. The she joined the church too! Then Loredana did too.

The only problem is that now they all need to find husbands in the church!! They have a single adults activity in Rome in a couple months that I hope they will all go to. Cecilia doesn't want to go, Fabrizia might not be able to because of her dog, and Loredana can't because of work!By the way, all three have pet dogs. Actually, Rita has a dog too. Rita's like...45 years old. She's also not married!!So, I've taken it upon myself to help them find husbands by stopping every male I see that could be in the right age range.

I'm really just loving Bari. The people here are great, I get a lot of time to do proselyting, and we have a sea here. It's great to walk around the streets stopping random people. I really just like anything that we do that gives me the chance to meet lots of people, and so I really like it. I also like giving out pass-a-long cards. You should try it sometime.

I've been able to use my Chinese here just about every day. There are tons of Chinese in Bari and I run into them on the street all the time.I also have been running into lots of crazy people. I think crazy people are attracted to me, because I seem to meet quite a few in every city. I like that though too, because it keeps things really interesting.

The apartment here is incredible!! We have a dishwasher! We also have quite a bit of space, and we have a BENCH and we have some decent weights. It's also very naturally well-lighted.

I think that if I had to move to any of the cities that I've served in, I would move to Bari because it's the best. I love the people, I love the city, and everything here is just really awesome. We even have Saint Nicholas here (santa claus), I'm going to go visit his church sometime. haha.


Anziano Banks.

p.s. Life is way good.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Walking I got transferred!!! Of course, it always seems to work that way -- right when you start to really like a city you get transferred. But, I'm still really happy because I'm going to an awesome ward of about 70 members. They also just had a few baptisms, and so I've heard that the members are excited about missionary work. It's only about an hour or so away by car - Bari!! There are actually two wards there. I'm in Bari - Libertà

This week has been pretty awesome. If I had to choose a highlight it would definitely be Sunday night. First, we gave the sacrament to Fratello Manzo at 5 pm (he can't come in the morning because of health problems). Then we went with him to talk to a couple of his friends about the Gospel. On the way over some man stopped to talk with us. He kept rambling on about what the Bible says, and then we asked him if he knew anyone who would be interested in hearing about the Plan of Salvation.

He reluctantly brought us to talk to a lady that he takes care of that was sitting on a park bench. He told us she probably wouldn't want to talk to us. We walked over, and she was thrilled to meet us!! She used to have a pen pal in Germany who had served a mission here. She told us to come over to her house to teach her next week, and she had another friend sitting next to her that wanted to know more as well. So we left them and headed to go talk with Fratello Manzo's friends (after giving each other high fives of course)!

When we met the first lady she was about 80 years old and told us that she didn't have interest. Then we decided to explain more about our message to her, and she decided that we could come back and tell her more! As we were leaving her sister pulled up, and we were on a roll, and shared the gospel with her too! It turns out that she used to feed the missionaries lasagna every week!!! (years ago)

After giving each other high fives, we went to talk to Fratello Manzo's next friend.

She was very sad because she has a 45 year old son that doesn't do anything but give her trouble. We told her about the gospel, and she started crying, and in the end she said we could come back! It was a night totally full of success! There are times of disappointment in missionary work as well, but not this week! It was awesome.

On Monday we did FHE at Sorella Corvino's house. She's totally awesome, and she has a great house. We had a pretty good turnout at that activity. It's great to get members and investigators together to have some fun.

FHE at Sorella Corvino's Last week we also went to Sorella Corvino's neighbor to help do some yard work. It went really well. I hate to admit this - but I miss doing yard work!! It's nice every once in awhile. (don't worry though dad, you can feel free to finish the yard up before I come home) It was really funny. All of us used dish-washing gloves!!! hahaha. It was a little bit crazy. We were basically just clearing weeds. We also ended up moving about 20 stepping stones!! I felt like I was just at home again.

Transfer calls were really crazy. We didn't know when president was going to do them, and he ended up calling Sunday morning at 7:30 am!! haha. Thankfully we do a good job getting up at 6:30 every day. But there's no way I'm going to maintain that after my mission! It's crazy!

Overall, I've had a great experience here in Foggia. I was really surprised to have the same companion the whole time, and then to get transferred before him, but I'm content. I feel like I was able to help a lot of people here, I love this ward, and it's close enough to Rome that if I visit there I could visit here easily.

I'm slowly moving to bigger and bigger cities. First I served in Cosenza and Castrovillari with 15 members and 1 or 2 members, respectively. Then here in Foggia with 40-50 every sunday. Next is Bari with around 70 (as far as I've heard). Maybe after that I'll be ready for a big ward like Rome!!  (who knows!)

Thank you for all the support that you give me.

I know that this church is true, I know that Jesus Christ lives, and I know that he is the leader of His church, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


Anziano Banks

p.s. Have a great week!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

I love the people!

This week was totally awesome. But where to start?

mission Pres Kelly We had Zone Conference last Thursday with our new mission president. He's great, and his wife is too. He seems to know a lot of quotes and stories by modern day prophets, and he's just a really nice guy. His wife doesn't speak any Italian, but she's learning.

I found out that all the Zone Conferences in the Rome mission are done in English! (Ours are done in Italian. It makes sense because we're in Italy)So Sorella Kelly said that she was impressed that we did it all in Italian.

Besides that, the conference was great because I had the chance to see a lot of my old friends. Anziano Garvin was there, Anziano Garcia (both were in my MTC district), and then there were tons of other missionaries that I've met here on the mission.

Zone Conference2   102_1350

The weather has been crazy hot here. It got up to 109 degrees one day! Needless to say our motivation for getting appointments with people has really gone up. I've also started carrying a water bottle around with me.

On Sunday we had an awesome lesson. We taught one of our investigators named Silvia. She's been an investigator for more than two years! Her boyfriend is a member, and he teaches gospel principles. Anyway, when we visited her we wanted to set a date for her to be baptized. So after we talked about the restoration and her testimony, we asked her when she would like to be baptized. She didn't feel comfortable setting an actual date, so then bishop chimed in. hahaha. I can't remember everything he said, but I know he said this, "I want to see you two get married in the temple." Instead of baptism he kept talking about marriage. haha. It was way funny. Anyway, she's going to pray this week about getting baptized in a month, because it's already been way too long (she comes to church every Sunday, reads the book of mormon daily, knows the doctrine, etc).

We've started meeting with the members more, and I love it. We have some awesome members here. Last Friday we did splits and Anziano Gilbert and I visited the Grieco family. We taught them about family councils. I'm not sure if you've heard of them, but I realized we've actually done them for a long time. It's just where you discuss decisions or problems as a family. I think we would would do it usually before family prayer. We also did it when we planned for trips. Anyway, we taught them about it, but then we found out that Fratello Grieco is already way into it!! We're teaching all the members in the ward this message because we want them to do a family council to figure out how we can have more reverence in Sacrament meeting. They have a cute little girl, but she crys too much. haha. Grieco Family

Anyway, then we did FHE with the Corvino family on Monday and taught them the same message. Sorella Corvino is totally awesome. We're going to go help their neighbor with some yard work tomorrow.

Corvino Family

Oh! I almost forgot another really cool thing. On Monday we went and visited a less active member from Florence and she gave us 3 referrals!! Two of them turned out to be difficult because they're too stubborn, but one is going to be a new investigator. One of them (a stubborn guy who lived 30 years in Canada) had some crazy views on the Bible. He told us that he believes in the Bible, but I'm not sure if he's ever read any of it at all!! He told us that Jesus was never resurrected!!

Last P-day we went to Barletta. It's right next to Trani. It was a pretty sweet trip. Italy's starting to all look the same to me, but it all looks pretty sweet compared to America. hahaha.

 Berletta Berletta 2

Speaking of the Bible, I've really gotten into it lately. I have about 50 scriptures tabbed for lessons, and now I'm going through and listing my own cross-references for them. It's pretty awesome. I've also still been studying the Book of Mormon. I'm in 3rd Nephi, and I'm about to hit a really good part. (When Jesus appeared in America)

So everything's great here. Transfers are next week! Odds are that my companion goes, but you never know!


Anziano Banks

P.S. I forgot to tell you all a crazy story.  We have a member here that is named Constance. She's from Nigeria. We had been trying to get her membership records for a couple weeks, and then she told me that when she was baptized she had a different name! She's really interesting because she has a lot of views that go in line with church doctrine, and she told us that she had heard of Joseph Smith, but not the Book of Mormon! She also told me that when she was baptized she was immersed in water, but that it was done three times! Anyway, so we had all been really interested in what the story was on her, and now we finally got her records! It turns out that she was baptized, but she was never confirmed! So now the Bishop is going to have to do an interview with her and get everything worked out, but I just thought it was all pretty funny and interesting.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Me in PanniHey, So it's always great to hear that you're doing well. Things are going well here as well.It's very hot. It's a little humid. Basically I only eat sandwiches for lunch now because it's too hot to use the oven or the stove. I'm getting pretty good at making tuna fish sandwiches.

Our work here is going great. Yesterday we had a lesson with a new investigator about the restoration and she was very interested to read the Book of Mormon and pray after hearing me and my companions experiences with reading the Book of Mormon. Her husband is the type that thinks everyone is just good as long as they do good things, so we'll have to help him understand the importance of following Jesus Christ and being baptized just like he was. It's really great because we're teaching quite a few families right now. The only problem is that they're a lot harder to teach than individuals. We have one family where the husband was almost baptized five years ago, but the wife has a problem; we have another family that the wife loves the church, but the husband isn't willing to read the Book of Mormon; then we have that other family where the wife is really interested, but the husband thinks everyone's good. Not to mention these people's kids who are very hard to keep focused. haha. But it's really cool that we're having so much success.

This week we have lots of appointments with members. We haven't been meeting with them very much, and so this Sunday right after church I decided to talk to as many members as I could and try to set up appointments. I was able to get five appointments for this week!! It was totally awesome.
I guess it just goes with the principle of being proactive.

This week flew by so I don't have a ton to say. sorry.

One cool thing is that we made a new bar. haha. We already had one bar made out of water bottles, and then we have been collecting bottles so we could make a heavier one. It's made for some great workouts in the morning. Here we are working out in the shirts Sister Wilkey sent us.

Working Out
We've been having tons of meal appointments (pretty scary). I found out that I can actually eat more than my companion. At the last two I've managed to eat a lot more than him. We were at an investigators house two days ago and the lady was pretty concerned. She asked me if my companion always eats that little. haha. The really funny thing is that to me he had eaten a lot! But I just kept going because if you don't eat a lot then they think you don't like their food.
I guess that's about it. Nothing too exciting this last week.

Anziano Banks

image My Italian “greencard”.

Monday, August 2, 2010


And when I say that I mean hello!


The other day we were doing house and we ran into some teenage girls. They asked where we were from and as soon as they heard my companion was from Las Vegas they got way excited and started asking all kinds of questions. haha. Anyway, we ended up teaching them about the restoration, and then as we were leaving they all said , "Hello! HELLO!" In the Italian language ciao means hello or goodbye. But whenever Italians are taught hello, they are told it means ciao. haha. So people here always say "hello" when they mean to say "goodbye!"

This week went pretty well. We did a lot of great things. For example, we ate pizza last night. haha. Our new assistant to the ward mission leader loves to buy us pizza! Me and my companion decided that we were going to get healthy and in good shape, but it seems that Foggia is totally against us.

We went to the beautiful city of Manfredonia this week to eat lunch with some new members. Manfredonia was started years ago by King Manfredi. haha. I didn't really get the chance to see much of the city, but it seemed pretty cool. Here is the view from their house:

Panorama of Manfredonia, view from new convert's house

I've found that my mission fits me perfectly (it's not really a surprise because I called by inspiration to be here), but it's still really interesting. For example, I love to travel. This last week I went to Bari, Manfredonia, Panni, and then on other weeks I go to San Severo, Aquilia, and other random cities. I've found that I travel tons. It's way sweet. We go to all these places because Bishop takes us there to find Less Active members, or visit members that can't come to church.Unfortunately we take rides in Bishop's car that isn't always the most consistent, and also doesn't have a working AC!!

Bishop riding lawnmower Our Bishop and his riding lawn mower!

Going to Bari is my favorite trip. We go there for our district meetings, and it means a two-hour train ride!! (It also means a chance to pass by the Bari tie market). Anyway, this week I met some pretty cool people on the train. I met one guy named Joe. He's from Gambia (West Africa), and he's Muslim. He was a really nice guy, and he told me I should visit Gambia because everyone there is smiling. If they're anything like him then it's definitely true!

On the ride back from Bari I met a girl (24-yr-old) that studies languages. She actually spoke quite a bit of English, but I taught her the gospel in Italian because she couldn't understand well enough. She stopped going to church because they changed Priests and the new priest is old and boring. I told her, come to our church! Our members are the ones that give talks! haha. She was pretty cool. She also had a friend in Taiwan that she speaks Italian with on the internet. I always meet my favorite people on the train.

We moved to a new housing area this week. It was really weird. I don't have any photos, but basically the houses kind of have front yards and there are four families in each unit. It's a really quiet area, and we didn't have any luck our first time going. The people were friendly, but just not interested. The cool part about this area is that there are tons of families there, so we're hoping to find someone that wants to listen to our message.

I guess that's about it for this week. We're part of the Rome mission, but nothing has really changed yet. I still haven't even heard from the new mission president. I guess he's really busy trying to get a hold on things, especially since he has two missions combined into one. haha.

One other thing we've been doing is going to Less Active members. I can't remember if I told you, but we met one guy that has been Less Active for years. He came back from his mission after only going out for a couple months. It's pretty sad because he's caught up on little things about doctrine. Basically, he wasn't ready to hear some different things, and he just didn't ever have enough of a testimony. He talks to us like he thinks that he's going to say something that is going to damage our testimonies or something, but the nice thing is that I realized that anything he could say wouldn't effect me! I know that the church is true and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet that restored the church with the priesthood of God. I know that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ.He also told us a bunch of different things, but it's not anything I haven't heard before. He's too stubborn to listen when we explain things to him. It's a real shame.

A great thing that happened this week is we talked to one of our less active members that always meets with the Jehovah's Witnesses, and he finally came around. haha. I've learned way more about their doctrine than I ever wanted to know. I guess the cool thing is that I've done a lot more studying of the Bible.My Italian Bible has gotten very marked up. I also have been reading the old testament in English, and it's pretty sweet. Well, Genesis is pretty sweet. I think last time I started reading the old testament I made it to Leviticus and then it just started getting too boring. haha. But it's going pretty well.

Alright, I better go. I love you. Have a good week. Mom,


Anziano Banks!

P.S. My cooking is getting great! Making homemade pasta is easy and fun!

Making Pasta Making Pasta 2