Thursday, November 17, 2011

La Fine

Well, this is it! The last e-mail you're going to be getting from me on the mission. There's not too much to say. I've really loved my mission, and I still have a lot of things to do. Tomorrow we have breakfast, lunch and dinner meal appointments, so I'm staying pretty busy.

In a couple of hours we're going to go play calcio!

Pretty much, things don't get much better than this.

The other day I was walking around talking to people on the street, and I was thinking about how I am a representative of Jesus Christ. It's fantastic! I just walk around, preaching the gospel, making people happy, while enjoying myself. It's really awesome. It's like, how do you get any better than that?

Last week we were going to do family home evening with a South American family from the ward, and on our way to their house there was a lady and a guy moving a washing machine. I offered to help. Usually, it's hard to get people to accept offers to help. Most of the time you see an old Italian woman carrying a fridge on her back, and you offer to help and she says "no no, I can do it". You keep insisting and she says, "no, no, it's okay, I have help", then you see her 80 yr old husband, hunched over coming over to help. Hahaha. Anyway, this lady actually accepted the help! So I take the other side of the washing machine and me and this guy started carrying it down the stairs. We went down three flights of stairs! Then we walked around to another palazzo, took a couple more flights of stairs and put her washing machine in her house.

Was it pretty tiring? Yes.

Was it pretty awesome? Yes.

She's from Peru. She asked us about who we were, and said she would want to meet with us to talk about religion. We told her about how we have a sister missionary from Peru and she was excited to meet her.

Okay, I need to go because I have a lot to do to get ready to go.

^That half of the email was written yesterday. The rest is from today:


So this morning we went and had breakfast with ex-Anziano Scotchi and Sorella Misseri. It was great. In a couple hours I have to go eat lunch with the Iaconianni family, and then tonight we have to eat dinner at six!!

Let's just say, I'm going to be coming home very full.

We also played calcio yesterday. It was a total blast. I got some pretty good photos. I'll just tell you more about it when I get home.

I'm really glad that we're going to be coming back here in May. We have to eat with quite a few people. I hope you like Italian food!

I should go finish up a bunch of things that I need to get taken care of.

I love you tons! I know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I'm really excited for the temple here in Rome!!

Lots to do. There are tons of people that are joining the church here and will be able to go to the temple all the time! (There are also soccer fields right below the temple!!)


Anziano Banks

Tuesday, November 15, 2011



It's crazy how much there is to do. I think I should probably extend another week or two. Haha. I wish.

There are seriously a ridiculous number of things that I need to get done in the next few days. Tomorrow I'm on splits with Roma 3, Monday morning we're booked, Monday evening we have three appointments, Tuesday is zone leader council, Wednesday we need to do some other things besides playing soccer that afternoon, and then Thursday we have breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal appointments. Hahaha. It's really nuts. haha. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I can't promise that I'll be e-mailing you again before I’m back, sorry.

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Sardegna was incredible. Besides our preparation day it was really incredible too. I love going on splits. Miracles always happen. We met some really awesome people in Oristano, Sassari, and Olbia. Especially in Olbia though.

I love it so much here! Walking around sharing the gospel with everyone is the best thing in the world. While I was in Olbia we talked with a lot of people, and really connected with them even though they chose not to accept our message. I thought it was kind of weird that things were going so well, yet so poorly, but I was still really enjoying it. Anziano Lacey is great. Then when the evening came we started meeting person after person who was interested in meeting with us and we saw a lot of success that night. I think that sometimes the Lord just likes to make us wait before he blesses us.



I’m able to send you a bunch of photos this time because I’m kind of multitasking. President and Sister Kelly asked us to help them put together a slideshow for Christmas. It's going to be pretty awesome. I'll bring a copy home to show you, but it probably won't be as cool for you because you don't know all the missionaries like I do.



Anyway, I'm happy that you're doing well. I'm doing really well myself. I should probably catch up on a little sleep, but besides that everything is going good. I've been going out of my way to not be "trunky" at all, so don't be surprised if I experience quite a bit of culture shock when I first get home. Haha. Anyway, the work here is going really well and we're really happy about that.

I love you all a bunch. See ya soon.


Anziano Banks

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Sunday, November 13, 2011


Sorry. Things have been really hectic. We had the biggest craziest transfer last week that we've had since I've been here. I don't think it was the most people moved around, but it was definitely the most interesting moves going on. For example we had three companionships that got blown into cities. We also had a couple of hiccups because of delays and things that made it really interesting. I didn't take any photos when the missionaries finished because I figure they'll be on facebook before me, so they can just take the photos with their cameras, which we took quite a few.

So I need to tell you about the new missionaries that came in! There were six sisters and only one anziano!! It was pretty crazy. They are AWESOME. The mission is so lucky. We had a really great time welcoming them into the mission. Me and Anziano Garvin took them all in the furgone (van) and drove them back to the office from the airport. We drove them right by the colosseum.


I think one thing that makes someone a great missionary is how happy and outgoing they are. Which, this was a pretty happy and outgoing group. You could really tell that they loved each other and they were excited to be serving here in Italy. Of course, who wouldn't be excited? It's the best mission in the world!

They also all really loved the pizza that we brought them at the airport. A couple of them were like .. this is the best pizza I have ever eaten! And I was thinking to myself...yikes. Rome pizza is some of the worst pizza I've had in the mission! hahahaha. Wait until they get down south...especially if they make it to Napoli. I guess the only one that really could is Anziano Jones since there aren't any sisters in the Napoli Zone. I know that Sorella Ivory really wants to get down there though. When we were at the train station there were a couple of ladies from Napoli that came over and talked to us.

It was pretty funny because I would look over at Sorella Ivory to see if she was understanding, and it was hilarious because half the time they were speaking Napoletano. hahaha. I could hardly even understand it. It seems kind of similar to Siciliano though. Let's see. One of the sisters in that group that seemed really cool was also Sorella Miles. She played soccer in High School and I think she's going to come play with us not this wednesday, but the next.

Anyway, this is where we have our furgoni parked right now.


On top of all that, I got sick. : ( I think that might actually be a good thing though because if I would've come home two days ago I would've come and gotten all of you sick! Instead, by staying here, I'm already almost totally recovered, and when I come home I'll be doing fine! Isn't that great!?

Anyway, what are some great things that happened this last week? Well, I think that one great thing is that we met another great family! There's Angelica who just lost her husband a few weeks ago, her four daughters (17, 19, 21, 23), and the grandma. They're really great. We had a really incredible lesson with them in the park. We had to do it there because there weren't any men in the house. We couldn't find more than one bench near each other, so we just sat down on the ground with a couple of them on the bench and on the ground. I wish I had taken a photo. One thing that was really cool is how well they understood everything. We talked to them about the plan of salvation, and they totally got it. One of us asked them (when talking about Paradise and the Spirit World), what would it be like to have a life full of peace and happiness where you can relax. One of the daughters responded that if life were like that, we wouldn't really learn anything. Yes!! So true. What a great response.

Hey, I should probably tell you who the new assistant is: Anziano Gatchell. He's actually from St. George! Cool, huh? So for now there are four of us. I have a bad feeling these last couple weeks are going to fly by though.

Listen, I just want you to know that I love you, I'm grateful for all you do for me, and I hope that you still have the futon because I'm going to be beat when I come home because I'm going to work so hard these last couple of weeks (not to imply that I'm not totally beat right at this very moment. hahaha).


Anziano Banks




P.S. I've always loved cannoli siciliani. I’ve also always been told they were the best in Sicily. My problem is that I realized that I had never had them outside of Sicily!!!  So I decided I should eat one here in Rome just to check it out... They're way better in Sicily.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alright? Inhob Malta


I had the most amazing weekend.

Yeah. At this point I'm sure Lia is going crazy because she must have figured out where I went: MALTA.

It was incredible. I flew over on Saturday. As soon as we were flying in you could tell it was a whole other world. On our way up to the house I felt like I had arrived in Jerusalem, or somewhere in the middle east.


I spent Saturday afternoon and evening with Anziano McMullen (he's from England). We had a great time. We taught a lesson to Raffaele (new convert) and his girlfriend about the restoration and the law of chastity (they had just moved in together). You could tell that Raffaele wasn't anxious to talk about it because the missionaries had brought it up already the time before.

It started out a little rough. Raffaele had the attitude “if we're in love then it doesn't really matter”.

“Raffaele, I see that you have a lot of faith. Do you love Jesus Christ?”

“Yes, of course!”

“He taught, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’”.

It pretty much went something like that. Raffaele knew the right thing to do, and it turns out that he was just holding back because he thought he didn't have enough money to pay for the wedding. We told him, it doesn't cost anything to get married in the church! In the end they were excited to set a date, and there was a strong spirit there.

Then we went over to Brother Borg's house and had some rabbit ... yum!

DSCN3247[1]That was pretty much it for that night. On Sunday I was with Anziano Wester. Church in Malta was really great. It was cool because Anziano McMullen and Anziano Garvin actually both gave talks. Anziano McMullen spoke of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He quoted the book "Jesus the Christ" quite a bit, and it was really graphic for me. It's painful to imagine what he went through. Not just the physical pain, or even psychological pain, but even pain that goes to the soul. It's strong motivation to live a better life.  Anziano Garvin gave a great talk. He shared some of the experiences that we've had together here in Rome, and he also expressed his love for the maltese people. He really loves that branch. 
Heck, I really love that branch, they're great!

I went to the Maltese Sunday School class. I don't speak much Maltese, hahaha. But I was able to follow a couple things in the lesson because there are quite a few words that are similar to either Italian or English. In fact, when they asked who gave the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith I proudly responded, John the Baptist! : )

I'll admit, I didn't learn a lot of Maltese in the few days I was there, but I did get a chance to use the stuff I did learn.

K finti?


Ina ta membru tal kinisia ta gesu cristu


hahaha. That was the extent of a conversation I had with a Maltese guy who didn't speak any English.


How are you?


I'm a member of the church of Jesus Christ


hahaha. I gave him a pamphlet in Maltese with the address of the church, and then I tried to get his phone number, but I didn't have any luck.

With Anziano Wester we passed by a Chinese family that they had found. It was really cool because the dad actually only spoke Mandarin, so it was great that I was able to teach him. One cool thing is that as soon as they answered the door and I started talking they asked me if I was from Taiwan!!! He said he could tell because of the accent.  : )

We also talked to a lot of people on buses, and on the streets there in Malta. They really are great people. They are very open and friendly. After spending just a few days there, I didn't want to leave. The branch isn't huge. I would say an average week probably has over 30 members, but I know that they've had over 50 on church attendance.

One weird thing about serving out there for a few days was speaking so much English. 95% of the people there speak English. I've pretty much forgotten how to pray efficiently in English, and I also had to get used to teaching in English. One thing that still came naturally was talking to people on the bus and on the street. I remember in the MTC I always said that it would be so much easier if I went out English speaking. It's totally true. Haha. Although I think I'm at the point with Italian that it comes just about as naturally (not to say that I'm not always looking to improve).

On Monday we had correlation, District Meeting, and Family Home Evening. They were all three really great. They have an amazing Branch Mission Leader - Brother Foster. He's a stud. He really knows what he's doing and he's got a lot of fire. I heard that he's like 70, but he's full of energy. The four missionaries out there are outstanding. They are all very obedient and they are doing great things. There was a good spirit in their home.

Tuesday I came back home to Italy. I wish I could've spent more time on Malta, but there are many things that we need to take care of here, so it's good to be back. Transfer calls are this Saturday. I have a feeling I'm staying. Hahaha

Well, I love you a lot. I'm really grateful for everything that you're doing for me. I hope that some good missionary work is going on in our ward at home.

I look forward to seeing you...but it's going to be really really hard to leave Italy. I mean really hard. I'm just loving everything that is going on. We are finding and teaching a lot of people lately, and the work is just going to continue to grow. I really wish I could stay here for it. I just figure that if that right now I'm blessed to be able to do so much good that it just makes sense to do as much as possible. But, I know that my life will continue to be blessed like this after the mission too, so I'm thankful for that.


Anziano Banks!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Well, it's pretty hard for me to remember what happened this last week. hahaha. So I'm going to start with yesterday.



Yesterday a new senior couple arrived: The Kruegers. They're going to be here to help with GANS (Giovani Adulti Non Sposati), and I think they're going to do a great job. Anziano Krueger served here in Italy when he was younger, and he somehow managed to keep up with the language. We also gave the Kruegers our car, so now we're only driving the furgone (van). It's pretty sweet. It's a lot more powerful than the meriva (our old car), and people just move out of your way more. haha. it's great.

Let's see... if we continue going back through the week. .  .On Sunday we had Ward Conference...and then on Saturday we had...Calcetto!! That was awesome. As a ward we went and played calcetto (it's like soccer but on a smaller field that has a big net that surrounds it all, and you play 5 on 5. There were about...60 people there! haha. We played on the fields that are just below the temple site.

We played on a couple different fields. It worked out perfectly for our team because right now there are five of us Anziani serving here in Roma 2 so we made a perfect team! I was pretty concerned seeing as we're five Americans, but we played against the High Priests, and we worked ‘em. Haha. We may not have that great of calcio skills (except Anziano Garvin), but I think just being young made it so we could come out ahead. Bishop Celestini actually played semi-professionally when he was younger, and he was on the opposing team. He didn't stay in too long though because I think he got injured (not very bad though).

Let's see, on Friday we ... had just gotten back from the big trip we went on, so we were pretty tired and had to catch up on a lot of things around here.

Another thing we did is we had to go pick up the Ostia sisters, so we took a quick photo with them.


That's about it. Things are going well. We're super busy. Tomorrow we have Zone Conference here in Rome.

I think that a couple of the biggest things that make a difference on the mission are your thoughts, and planning. I feel like I have to think things through and think about what I want to do, and then I have to plan out how to do them. After that it's like: Just do it. It becomes so simple. I'm a big fan of planning now.

Anyway, I better go play some ping pong or something before the day's over.



Anziano Banks


Monday, October 17, 2011



So the obvious thing that I would write you about is the baptism that was last Thursday. It was incredible. It was spectacular! It was AMAZING! It is definitely one of the most beautiful baptisms I’ve ever seen.


One of the big highlights was Anziano Packer played "O Divine Redeemer" on his cello. We had that right before the baptisms. Then Anziano Garvin baptized Fiammetta, and I had the privilege of baptizing Fabio. Both went very smoothly. It was a beautiful night. Those two are amazing. They can't wait to go get sealed in the temple a year from now, and I totally think they'll end up being temple workers one day because they live pretty close to where the temple is being built. They truly are an amazing couple. There kids are really lucky too, because now it's going to be almost as if they grew up in the church. They've been able to make lots of friends in Primary, and they have really opened up a lot. I remember when Demetra wouldn't even give me a high five!! Haha. (She's really shy at first, but now she and Wolfgang are both crazy around us).

One really cool thing about the baptism is that we got matching ties for us and Fabio, and then we signed it and gave it to him. We chose the color based on his and Fiammetta's favorites. Another great thing about the baptism is that Fabio's mom came. She's pretty stuck in her ways, but she is willing to listen to us. She's pretty curious.


Since the baptism we've been all over the place. We had Zone Conference in Napoli on Tuesday, and then we had Zone Conference in Bari on Thursday.

Which means we spent our Wednesday…in Napoli!!

I think we should definitely go there after the mission. It’s worth it just for the pizza. It’s about a 2 hr train ride, and I think it costs something like 13 euro.  Obviously, we went to Da Michele's and ate pizza. I loved it.

We also got suits. We got really lucky because instead of going to this place called "Chewing Gum" where lots of missionaries like to go, we went to another place. We actually went by Chewing Gum first to check it out, and they were actually kind of rude it seemed like. They kind of rushed us, and it's almost like they were pressuring us to buy a suit. Then we didn't feel too good about them, and told them we would think about it during lunch. After lunch we decided we wouldn't get suits after all (the ones we found there cost 85, 75, and 60).



So then we were walking through this market, and at the end of the market we found this other suit shop. There was an old friendly Italian man who let us look at his suits. He didn't bother us, and let us take our time. He was really friendly, and his suits only cost 35 euro!!! The exact same suit that cost 60 at Chewing Gum!!! He was really awesome. So I decided to get a suit, and Anziano Packer and Garvin each got two! Haha. He was great, and before we left he bought us some cold water, and we gave him a pamphlet about the restoration. He really admires that we go around talking to people about Jesus Christ. It was a great experience.



At the Zone Conferences we've been teaching about finding families, and how to find families. In the end, that's what we're all about. Heavenly Father's plan is centered on the family. We told them about what we did, what worked for us, and we had a some good discussion and a practice. It was great.

Anyway, I've got a lot of things to do. I just want you to know that I love you, that things are going great here, and I hope that things keep going well for you too.


P1020870  Anziano Banks!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Things are going incredibly well. I feel like I'm serving in South America or something! Hahaha. We have six people who are preparing to be baptized, and two are going to get baptized tomorrow!! So we're super busy making sure everything is going to be ready and will go well. 

Baptism is a really big event in people's lives. I think that it's up there with marriage. We're going to have a great baptismal service; I'm really excited. Do you remember how for Floriana's baptism we decided to get yellow ties because that's her favorite color? Well, we're going to get ties for Fabio and Fiammetta, but we're actually going to buy one for Fabio too, that way he can wear it to church on Sunday! It's going to be great.

Yesterday was Zone Leader Council. It went really well. The mission is going to just keep on breaking its own records. I think we're going to have the most baptisms in a month since President and Sorella Kelly got here.

I think that's what life is all about, doing more good, becoming better, and progressing. It reminds me of that saying that it's better to be a foot from hell and going towards heaven than a inch from heaven and going towards hell (or something like that). Haha. I like that because it shows that no matter where we are, the most important thing is where we're headed. I know that we can all resolve to do better, and that ce la possiamo fare!

I remember not a long time ago (maybe a few weeks ago) I was feeling off my groove. It's like, when I was a Zone Leader it was easy to do great work and feel on top of my game, but then as an Assistant it has been a lot harder (we have a schedule that varies a lot more, and lots of different responsibilities). So what I figured out is, I need to make sure that I'm doing all the things that make me feel on top of my game. Including waking up at 6:30 and getting good exercise, having a language study plan, and also having spiritually uplifting personal study.

I immediately started planning how I could do it. I started with things that aren't too difficult, but planned out everything I would do to make myself feel on top of my game. It worked! Just by following the plans and goals that I set in detail for myself, I was able to bring myself to the level I wanted to be at. I think it's important that we all do that quite often. Just the other day (actually, I think it was yesterday), I thought to myself that I need to look back over my language study plan because it has become less effective. I think it's great that we have new year's resolutions, but I think we should more frequently make resolutions so we can always make great improvements in our quality of life.

Anyway, this last week I went on a series of exchanges. It was great. I really believe that miracles happen on exchanges. I believe that at least part of that is because when we are with missionaries other than our normal companion, we tend to push ourselves more. It's great.

One thing I noticed while doing exchanges is the huge difference between native speakers, and non-native speakers, as far as missionaries go. Native speakers have a huge advantage. I think that they become more effective much more quickly than non-native speakers. I think that's why it's so important that missionaries study the language and really master it (myself included).

Well, I've got a lot of things to do, and if I don't do them I don't think anyone's going to do them for me!

Oh! I just remembered, what did you think of General Conference?? Pretty awesome, right? I really enjoyed it. There were some great speakers. I can't wait to get the Liahona and study the talks.

I love you!!!



Friday, October 7, 2011

Expect a Miracle

Missionary work is incredible. Check this out: I'm on splits with Anziano Shipton and Anziano Decker. We get on the bus, and of course I don't sit by them, because I sat by someone else so I could talk to him. Just by the way he was sitting I could tell he didn't want to talk to me, and I looked over to my left and I saw a couple guys that looked over. So, I got up and talked to them. 

It turns out that one of them had been living in England, he was about to get baptized there and then he moved to Italy and couldn't find the church!! His son actually got baptized a month ago or something. To make a long story short, he and his brother are both getting baptized at the end of this month, and there are four of them that we haven't met yet that will also be coming to General Conference this weekend!


We've been doing a lot of splits lately and that's been a real blast. I just barely did them in Rome 3. That's a pretty interesting part of Rome. It's pretty much considered the ghetto, and there are tons of foreigners that live in that area. I met a lot of Chinese people. One in particular was pretty funny. To start a conversation I asked her (also because I was really really curious) if there were any Chinese food stores nearby. She looked at me like I was a little crazy, and said, yes, there are lots of them. Then she started pointing them out (we were on the train) as we went by, and within 30 seconds she had already pointed out 4 of them. Hahaha.

I love splits because miracles always happen on splits. We met a lot of really great people in Rome 3, and I think that they're going to have success with them. When I was on splits with Anziano Shipton and Anziano Decker we also met some really awesome people.

Picture this: It's 8:30 at night, there's hardly anyone on the street, and we're walking near our house. A man with a blue/white striped dress shirt, slacks, a briefcase, and an earpiece briskly walks towards us. Anziano Decker stopped him and it seemed that he was about to say "Ho fretta" (I'm in a hurry), and instead he stopped and started talking to us. He said, “You know what I like about you guys? When you walk by you say hi to everybody. Some people don't give you the time of day, but when you say hi to me, that makes me happy.” We talked to him a little more, and then he goes, “Hey, do you want my number? Do you want my number? Should I give you my number?” Hahaha. It was awesome. He also gave us his address, and told us that he's free on Thursday and Monday afternoons.

At that point we were feeling pretty good, and we continued walking. After a couple minutes we saw a lady walking towards us and I asked Anziano Shipton, “What do you think we should talk to her about?” he replied, “Baptism”. So he asked her, what does baptism mean? She explained what she believed we talked a little more, and then we got her number so we could go teach her. It was great.

Okay, that's about all I have for you this week. Sorry I'm getting to you so late, but if it makes you feel better, you're going to have a couple more weeks to get e-mails from me now!! Hahaha.


Anziano Banks

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Transfer week is crazy. We got all of the new missionaries to the station, and the we had to wait for all the departing missionaries.  It's pretty intense. This morning we were up at 5:30 because we had to get missionaries that were coming in on a bus from Sicily, and ever since we've pretty much been driving people around and stuff. It's pretty great, but it will be nice to get back to normal.

The good news is that we actually ran into a member that was on a date with a non-member that knows the church really well. haha. It was pretty cool. I think he's going to start meeting with the missionaries now.

To make sure you understood what happened with transfers: Me and Anziano Garvin were already Assistants together, and we both stayed here, and then Anziano Packer came here, so there are three of us now.  I don't know Anziano Packer really well yet, but I know that he's from Layton, Utah. He went to Weber State before coming on the mission, and he's a cello player. He had just come up from being a Zone Leader in...COSENZA! Pretty awesome, huh?

The new missionaries showed up! They're really great. I actually kind of wish I was training this transfer. haha. We tried something that the old Rome mission used to do, which is taking them by St. Paul's basilica, and also passing by the colosseo. Sorry that we're a little bit blurry, but the background looks great, doesn't it? We're going to talk with President and see if we can take them out and do some proselyting when they first come in. Next transfer might be a little weird because there is only one Anziano and 5 Sorelle, but maybe it could work. I think that would be really cool.


So this Sunday we got a really really great call from our Bishop. He goes, Anziani, I talked to Fiammetta and Fabio after church today, I invited them to come to Family Home Evening and they're really excited to come. Would you like to come as well?

Yeah, pretty amazing. 



So we went over there on Monday and had an awesome Family Home Evening! Fabio and Fiammetta brought their two kids, and then Bishop had his 6 kids and we all had a great time. I think we can really learn a lot from Italians and how they have a family home evening: Instead of just a refreshment, we had a full meal at the end!



Che buono!

Tomorrow morning we have a lesson with Fiammetta and Fabio. They're doing great. They're going to be awesome members. Fiammetta and Fabio should be getting baptized on October 6th, which coincides with Fabio's birthday. I think they're both really prepared and I'm really excited for them. Fabio was talking to us about how his mom sort of sees him as being an anti-religious person, and he wants to bring her to church and tell her, this is who I am now, I am a part of this. But he said that he will do it after he really is a part of this, and is baptized and confirmed a member. Haha. They really love coming to church and they get along really well with all of the members. It's pretty awesome.

Lately I've been thinking about how every day I have a lot of cool experiences, but I then I forget most of them. haha. I try to write the best ones in my journal, or remember to tell you about them, and I think I do pretty good that way.

So this thing is pretty cool: It's a model of what the temple grounds will look like!


We just had a big press conference at the mission home, and so they brought out this model. I think the Rome, Italy Temple is going to awesome. I know that we're planning on coming back next summer, but I sure hope you like it here because I think that we're going to have to come back again not too long after when the temple gets done (if you want to come with me). The temple is supposed to be finished at the end of 2013. In other words, it will definitely be finished by 2014. Haha.


Anziano Banks

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ciao Famiglia!


So this week was pretty awesome. Just today there was a press conference for the Temple, and it went really well. We're all really excited about the progress that is being made there. I think that the Lord is preparing a lot of people in our area so that there will be tons of people to go to the temple once it's built.

I'm really grateful that we have a beautiful temple so close to our house in St. George. Almost everyone in the Rome 2nd ward is going to have a temple that's just as close as ours is for us!

What a blessing!

Last week the Sorelle decided to make a birthday meal for the district to celebrate for me and Anziano Garvin (mine's the 11th, his is the 15th).

sep 2011 053sep 2011 057

This weekend are transfer calls! That means that we get to meet with President to help him with transfers. I love being there because it's really amazing to see what transpires. You can really feel how inspired the transfers are. My favorites are the ones that seem really out of the ordinary, and then work out really well.

sep 2011 040

Here we are with the Kelly’s eating some ice cream bars. Check this out: Sorella Kelly is not only really into tennis, but she's also really into ping pong! That means that when we come and visit next year, mom can totally take her on! Mom, I hope that you've been practicing because I think that she's probably pretty good. I haven't actually played with her yet, but I get that kind of impression.

As a mission we've all been reading the Book of Mormon. What I've realized is: A) I'm a slow reader B) I don't have a lot of time to read (we have an hour of personal study, but I have to study for lessons and stuff!) and C) I don't always feel like reading. So...check this out: I decided to make a cover for my Book of Mormon!! Now that I have a sweet cover, it makes me feel like reading way more. Instead of just looking like a boring blue book that everyone has, it has now become a custom, personalized book that makes you want to read it!

I think that I would like a Book of Mormon that was printed in the style of a novel. Then it would just be more appealing.Don't get me wrong: I love the Book of Mormon, I love reading it. I just don't always love reading it straight through because it can get hard to follow the story and some parts are AMAZING, but other parts are not as interesting. I usually just like to flip it open and read something instead of going straight through, but I'm going to make it all the way (because I'm trying to finish it all the way through for the first time in Italian).

Anyway, I hope that you are all doing well. Know that I'm great, I'm happy, healthy, and excited to be on a mission.


Anziano Banks

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We went and played beach volleyball (a total blast).

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Ciao famiglia mia, 

La settimana scorsa è andata molto bene!

Well, I've been on vacation a little bit. Hahaha. 


These photos are up at the Waterfalls of Marmore (near Terni).

Also, I finally saw the Vatican! Wow. It is seriously huge. It's crazy. It's pretty nice. I think that Lia would probably like it a lot more than I do, but I still was happy to finally see it.



I know, I know, I've been really spoiled with my whole mission. Coolest call possible, and then I got to see almost the entire mission.  I actually figured out that out of the 39 cities in the mission, I've been to 29 of them.

So check this out: On Monday morning we had to come to the office so that we could get numbers for the mission. Around 9am this lady rings the bell, and wants to talk with us. She is AWESOME! She told us that she had a dream where she saw Jesus Christ, and then she saw a book that said Mormon on it, and then woke up and felt a peace and serenity that she had never felt before. So then she found where we were at on the internet, and wanted to join the church!!

She has a husband, and a 6-yr-old boy, and a 3-yr-old girl. They all met with us yesterday, and it turns out that the husband is totally prepared too!! When we read Moroni’s Promise together he said that he didn’t necessarily listen to all the words, but he felt that he is starting to find the answer to a question that he had never asked himself.

Yeah, I know. What a blessing! We’ve been praying and looking for a family for weeks, and then they just came to us! How awesome is that!

Anyway, I also played some volleyball today! BEACH VOLLEY!! It was a blast. I just really wish I could’ve taken my shirt off. You want to know what I love about America? We have free places to play tennis, soccer, volleyball, and it’s just awesome. Basketball too! (the church). That’s so great.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that things are going great. We have been really blessed. I really love my savior Jesus Christ because He has brought a lot of joy into my life. I know that He restored His church, and that has really blessed us a lot.


Anziano Banks

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roma 2

Ciao famiglia mia!! Okay, so I know you probably get tired of hearing this...but we’re really busy. Hahaha. And ...we’re having a blast. Haha.P1020159


Every time we pass through Napoli we stop and get a pizza!

Tomorrow we are going to SARDEGNA! We have a Specialized Training meeting there. We are going to be in Sassari.





Here’s a picture of us visiting the ward in Gela.




This last week was a lot of fun. We didn’t go to the Specialized Training meeting in Bari this time, that way we could do some work here, and that was really great. We met a lot of cool people. There was one apartment that I had felt we needed to go to, and we went there to look for a family. We met a really cool kid named Giovanni that said we can come back and talk to him and his family, so hopefully that works out well. I'll let you know.

One thing that we had to do this last week was take a Baptismal Font from Terni to L'Aquila because they had a baptism there. We took the font back to Terni yesterday, and we spent some time with them. We saw the Marmore waterfalls, which are the tallest in Europe!

They were really beautiful. I have to say though, the waterfalls at Havasu are even more beautiful. They are both beautiful though.  I think that nature is a lot more beautiful than man-made things. For example, I think that the waterfalls are more beautiful than the Colosseum. Another example, I've seen the great wall, but I still haven't seen Huang Shan. I really need to get over there.




So this is at an awesome place in Sicily called Mazzarò (it's right below Taormina, which we also visited)






Floriana Misseri (new convert), told us that when she retires she wants to move to America. (She's been telling us that since before she was baptized). I think she'd be happy wherever, but I'm guessing that Utah is going to end up high on her list. That doesn't necessarily mean St. George, but what I'm getting at is that you should work on your Italian.

This Monday we went to visit a couple families here in the ward. We did a multi-family, family home evening. It was great. We all talked about what touches us the most about the restoration. For me it was personal prayer. God knows each of us personally, and listens to all of our prayers. We then left an invite to watch the 20-minute film of the Restoration with someone who hasn't seen it before.

I really love the mission. I'm glad that things are going so well. Last week we hit an all-time high for new investigators (as a mission). There was once in 2009 that they had just one less.


Anziano Banks!P1020200

Last picture with my MTC group. The only ones left will be me and Anziano Garvin.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I made it!

Wow, what a crazy crazy trip. We went down to Catania, over to Gela, down to Siracusa, and stopped by all kinds of other places. What a trip! We had a great Specialized Training Meeting. It was a huge success. Tomorrow we have one here in Rome. I'm pretty excited.

A Specialized Training Meeting is kind of like a Zone Conference. The one in Catania had the Catania and Palermo Zones. In the morning President and Sister Kelly talked to us, and then in the afternoon everyone was split into 3 groups and there were three different classrooms: The Palermo Zone Leaders, The Catania Zone Leaders, and then us. We did our training on Lesson Zero. My favorite thing about lesson zero is that right in the beginning we ask the person what they expect from us. Then we basically explain what we expect, and it's great because then everyone's on the same page.

One of the highlights of the trip was that I got to go on exchanges in Gela. That was really great. I totally know that place like I had lived there for years. It was really great to be back in that little branch and bear my testimony to them. Basically I just told them how much the Gospel brings happiness, and that's why I like it so much, and that's what makes it so awesome. It was cool to bless the sacrament with Cristian because he had just received the Priesthood the week before and so it was his first time blessing it.

We got Anziano Garvin's permesso (green card type thing) from Catania!! That was exciting.

Anyway, I'm sorry that I can't stay and talk (type), but just know that I love you, I find time for you in my prayers, and I've taken hundreds of photos so don't think that you're missing anything, you just will have to see it when I'm home.


Anziano Banks