Monday, September 13, 2010

No Photos!

Sorry! This week I haven't had the chance to take any photos.

Anyway, it was a pretty enjoyable week that passed by very quickly. We've mostly been doing a lot of proselyting, and trying to keep track of all the new contacts that we have.

Yesterday I had a pretty cool experience. Our Zone Leaders challenged us to pray about a goal to have three new contacts every day, so me and my companion decided to do it. Yesterday I was dead tired and it was pretty crazy trying to do proselyting. Recently we taught one of our new investigators about diligence, and so I remembered what we taught her. haha. That's when I decided that even though I was crazy tired (about as tired as when Clark and I stayed up for 26 hours so we could avoid jetlag going into China), I would still do all I can to talk to people on the street.

The first new contact I got was really crazy. I stopped a guy and told him we were missionaries and we were in the area explaining how God has called a prophet in these days. He told me he had to go to work, and then I asked him if I could have his number so we could talk about it some other time, and then he actually gave it to me! hahaha.

The next one was pretty normal. I just stopped a couple guys, explained the restoration, and then we exchanged contact information so they can learn more.

Then the third one was a Chinese couple that I taught about the restoration. I've been going out of my way to teach Chinese lately because I asked the church to send me 10 restoration pamphlets, and instead they sent me 25! So I figure I should start giving them out. They also accidentally gave us a Japanese Joseph Smith pamphlet, so I've been looking for someone Japanese as well.

I felt like the church decided to give me a birthday present this week. When we went to district meeting on Monday there were new pass-a-long cards!!! I love pass-a-long cards.

The work is growing now. I think I told you already that we got Stanley back. Well, we ended up losing contact with him, but then this week he called us and told us he was in Venice!! He was visiting his brother up there (a member), and then on Sunday they went to church together! We're going to meet with him tonight. Maria Pia (another old investigator), came back to church and wanted to meet with us. We have an appointment with her tomorrow. Andy Connell (my first companion) is still in town, and the other day he gave us a couple referrals. haha. That guy's a stud.

I tried cooking a pasta with SPAM today! haha. I had leftovers from when I made fried rice. It turns out that spam isn't the best meat to use in pasta, but it still turned out pretty good. I used about 150 grams of SPAM, a little onion, a can of peeled tomatoes, basil, and panna (i think it's cream). And I threw in some pepper. Pretty good.

As a mission we're reading the Book of Mormon. I had already been reading it through. . .I was in Ether. . It's going pretty well though. If you aren't reading the Book of Mormon through right now, maybe you could do it too. We're focusing on our missionary purpose, but you could read it through and just focus on Jesus Christ because it's pretty amazing to see how much He is mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

Well, I hope that you all have a good week. I'm doing splits this week with Bitonto. We should get transfer calls before next Wednesday. I'll be staying here for sure. My companion has already been here four he's probably gone. Too bad. Things are going really well.

Anziano Banks

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Beautiful Week

Buon giorno!

3 guys This week was pretty incredible, hahaha. For one, yesterday we had Zone Conference (which was sweet) and I received some crazy packages!! hahaha. Grazie Mille! Now, I've got a pretty good story for you.

While I was in Foggia we had an investigator named "Michela" or "Michele" we actually weren't really sure. Anyway, I wanted to call her to set up an appointment, but I wasn't sure which one she was in the phone, and my companion was being too lazy to look it up in his planner (I didn't have her number in mine). We also had three or four Michela/Micheles, but I decided to just go ahead and try calling them. I called all of them. I set up an appointment with one, and I was told to call the other after about a month to set up an appointment with him.

Then I was transferred.

Now, one of the Michela's that I called (the one that I set an appointment with) is now meeting multiple times a week to be taught by the missionaries with help from the members and is going to be baptized in a couple weeks!!! How amazing is that?! I had just randomly called her.

This week we had an appointment with the Diciolla family. They're awesome. They're also pretty funny too, because they LOVE America. They're actually hoping to move there. Talking with them makes me realize how much we're really blessed. They went on a trip to northern Utah and they were totally amazed. They said there were churches and temples everywhere, people just leave their doors unlocked at night, they have yards, and they have more than one bathroom!! They're planning on moving there. I have to admit, I'm not really too into the whole living in an apartment and sharing a bathroom between four people (like we had in Foggia).

Zone Conference was totally sweet. We hosted it. We had all the missionaries from Puglia (Apulia) and half the ones from Calabria. I got to see Anziano Rowland, Garvin, and Garcia!! Then Anziano Garcia stayed over last night and stayed here for P-day. I seriously love my MTC district. I

Today we went to Santa Clause's church (Saint Nicholas). It was pretty cool. What was more cool is that we had some Burger King afterwards. I know, I know, I'm in Italy, but after three transfers with Anziano Halverson I can hardly handle any more pizza (he has a reputation for eating pizza on an average of four to five times a week).

I love how everything is going. We've been meeting some incredibly interesting people and the work should be taking a huge boost as we hit September. We've been having quite a few flaky investigators, but we also have lots of very promising potentials. The really cool thing about sacrifice and exercising your faith is that you know you will be blessed for your righteous desires. The more energy and enthusiasm I can put into the work, even when we're not having a lot of success, the more I know the Lord will bless us. Just look at Foggia for example. I worked hard in Cosenza, and as soon as I left, they had a baptism, and Foggia had a couple right away when I showed up. Cosenza is now up to four missionaries and I hear the work there is going awesome. Foggia has that baptism coming up with Michela, and I'm looking forward to finding all kinds of sweet investigators here in Bari.

I think as I've been working hard and spending time with other missionaries, I've been growing my testimony and my Unity. I'm really happy that we've been able to pass off so many referrals to other missionaries to help lighten their load, and it's just really sweet. The mission is sweet. I love the Book of Mormon because if someone is actually willing to follow Moroni's promise, God will answer.
I've been thinking about that lately. Some people have hesitations about things like baptism, or changing because they don't think they're ready. That's just a lack of faith. If you call upon the powers of heaven and ask God, you can be ready for anything. I think it doesn't take more than one prayer to gain a testimony. The same goes for reinforcing one. We had a member in Cosenza that told us that it took her two months before she accepted to be baptized because it took two months before she specifically asked God to reveal to her the true. What is there to fear? Will God not respond? The fact is that sincere prayer brings results. Sincere prayer is powerful. God is powerful.

I know that the church is true. Thank you for your support and all the supplies that you sent to keep me going! haha. If I had to pick a favorite thing it probably wouldn't be possible because there were too many things in there that I love. I guess though that I really appreciate the letters and words of encouragement you send, and also the seaweed. hahaha. I love seaweed. There's something about it that I crave.

Have a great week. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Anziano Banks

Sunday, September 5, 2010



This week went really well. We've continued to do a lot of finding work, and have had tons of success in finding investigators that are totally awesome!!! The only problem is that we've been finding them for other missionaries!!! haha. Check this out:

We were on our way to an appointment when we ran into an African man that stopped us and told us that he's a member! He said that he was visiting from up north. We told him that we didn't have much time, but I still asked him if he knew anyone in Bari that would be interested in learning about the church. He told me that his brother would. We met his brother, got his number, and went to our appointment. The next day I called his brother (Stanley) and we met with him. We taught him all about the restoration, he agreed to read and pray, and he said that usually he doesn't go to the churches here, but he feels good about our church because his brother is a part of it. He also accepted the invitation to meet with us three times a week so we could help him understand our message, and said he would be willing to be baptized if he feels it's true!!! Then I found out where he lives, that it's out of our area, and we passed him off to the missionaries in Bitonto. He waited an hour for the buses to go there for church, but they weren't running on Sunday because of Ferragosto. He's now meeting with the missionaries there. I was a little sad at first when we lost such an amazing investigator, but I got over it.

Yesterday we had an appointment with that guy who stopped us from Venezuela. He actually called us to meet with us! (His name is Massimo) Of course, it turns out he lives in the other missionaries zone, plus his wife doesn't speak much Italian, so we passed him off to the missionaries of his area. He has another appointment with them in two days, and he's going to go to church with them on Sunday.
We have been going through our potential investigators and we had a lady that wanted to meet with us. She was a single lady that we passed off to the sisters.

We had an appointment with another man that when we found out his address, it is in the other missionaries area, so we're going to pass him off to the other missionaries.

Basically, lately we have been doing great missionary work that I feel really good about, but it's all going to the other missionaries!!! hahaha. Don't worry though, we've also been finding some totally awesome potential investigators, and a couple of new investigators. The only problem is that one of them has an EXTREMELY bad smoking problem, and the other one doesn't really believe in God. In fact, when we first started teaching her she just told us that she didn't believe in anything, but by the end she was willing to pray!! It's amazing to see how people's hearts soften.

We also met a man the other day that played at the church TWENTY FIVE years ago! He didn't really remember much about the church, but we explained to him the restoration, and he told us that he wants to learn more. It's really pretty cool how the Lord prepares people and puts them in your path. He also blesses you for your efforts. We have been studying the chapter of Preach My Gospel about finding people a lot this last week, and we've pretty much figured out that when we follow everything that it says, it really works! I'm not sure if it works because we're changing some things, or if it just works because the Lord blesses us for our efforts. I have also gotten really into the Bible lately. It's pretty awesome. It's getting pretty colorful, haha. It's good though because Italians are way worse than me when it comes to marking the scriptures. They always just mark about everything. It's like when I was little, and me and Lia started reading the Book of Mormon together for the first time. I had a scripture marking pencil, and I would just color in everything! I think Lia told me that it was pretty ridiculous, but it seems like everyone here likes to mark their scriptures like that!!

Anyway, things are going great here in Bari. I love this city. It's definitely my favorite city that I've served in. What's not to love!?!

Remember how we have those new converts that I've been trying to find husbands for? well, every week I've started giving Cecilia a different article from random Liahonas about marriage. It's way funny. I always right a little note too. Usually it says something like this °Go to the Single Adults activity! ++The missionaries
or... get married!

I'd type more, but this keyboard is driving me crazy! I think that someone from a random country used it because I'm able to type symbols like this ç L é*ç:_Lç°L

Have a great week.
Se trovate un po' di tempo, imparate Italiano.
Va bene?
ciao ciao
-Anziano Banks!