Saturday, January 29, 2011


Things are really going well here in Gela. I think that one thing I love about life is that if you are motivated and you want something, you can pretty much always get it. For example, we wanted to teach some awesome people, so we've been putting in a lot of effort, and we've really met some great people.

One person we're teaching is Antonio. I told you a little about him last week. Well, it turns out that he was only going to the convent for a few days to check it out, and then he would come back to Gela. He sent us a text yesterday that he would be back on Thursday, and that he missed praying with us and he wants to see us Thursday evening! He's awesome. He's just always happy. He completely understands everything we teach him. We asked him to pray about Joseph Smith. The next time we saw him we asked him how he felt. He told us that he felt happy and peaceful, but also something more that he can't describe.


We've been really blessed with him.
We also met another guy who's 26 and a total stud. The last time we met with him he told us that his heart is telling him to be baptized, but his mind is telling him to just stay how he is. I think he's going to be baptized within the next month.

I really love missionary work. Basically, it's like this, who doesn't want to feel happy all the time? Obviously missionary work isn't just being happy all the time, but when you're teaching great people, you get to feel the spirit all the time when you teach lessons and it's amazing! One thing I've been noticing lately is the difference between feeling the Spirit, and just feeling happy. I like them both. I feel both when we teach Nicola. We're good friends, so we're happy when we chat and stuff, but then we teach him about the gospel and we feel the spirit together it's a kind of joy that is a lot more peaceful (because the other one is just us joking and laughing about different things).

A funny thing happened the other day:  we asked someone how he feels when we meet with him, and he said that he feels good. He feels calm. He feels peaceful. And sometimes he feels like sleeping.
hahaha. I guess we're just too calming.

I remember when I was in the MTC when me and Anziano Garvin taught together we would actually almost get hyper because we would start getting so excited for the person we were teaching.

I also got to hear from Kevin this week which was great. I haven't gotten very many of the letters that he writes. I was really happy to hear how he was doing. Whenever I read letters from Kevin, Clark, or Spencer it makes me wish that we could serve together because I think all my friends would make the best companions. But I guess they couldn't put all the coolest missionaries in the same place! haha.

I'm so happy to hear that Josh and Nadia are engaged. That reminds me, I think that the mission is designed to get you ready for marriage. You invite people to be baptized, but then you have to set a date! The best baptismal invites are when you have already prayed about a date, and you say it right in the invite! hahaha

If you run into anyone I know in St. George, tell them hi for me!

Anziano Banks!

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Companion!

Things are going awesomely here in Gela! My new companion is Anziano Perez. He's from Oregon, and he's been in the mission for about the same time as I have. He's pretty cool. He's a good missionary and I think we're going to have an awesome transfer together. We've been doing a lot of finding work and we're having lots of success.

In order to fill out the potential investigators section in the missionary planner you have to get two new contacts every day...well, at the rate we're going we're going to fill up potentials, then fill in the investigators section, and then go into members! haha. Things have been going really well. One thing that I really like about him is that he bares testimony often. The thing is, pretty much all missionaries have a strong testimony, so they just need to tell everyone about it! I've started bearing testimony more as well, and I've really enjoyed that.

We found and started teaching a guy named Antonio that is going to become a Catholic monk on Monday. He's a really happy guy. I like him. One thing he asked me is why so many people choose not to follow commandments and God, when the blessings are so obvious. We were teaching him in a park, and there was a guy who was running around the park exercising. I told him that it's like the guy who was jogging. Everyone knows that if you exercise and eat well, you'll be more healthy, but lots of people are too lazy to make the sacrifice. You know that if you follow the commandments you will be blessed and be more happy, but it takes some sacrifice as well. You have to really want it.

I'm really happy with how things are going. Me and my companion work well together and we've been meeting tons of awesome people. I really think we're going to have a lot of success here this transfer. I feel like I've already improved a lot. I've started studying more studiously. haha. It's really helped me realize what I need to help people understand.
God loves every one of us. God has always called prophets to help his children on earth. Sometimes people who follow the prophet end up changing doctrine and going into apostasy. Jesus Christ is our Savior and came to the world to save us. After the death of the Apostles, the authority of God was no longer on the earth. God reached out to us in love 200 years ago when he called another prophet, Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is convincing evidence that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.

I love the Gospel. I love you. Thanks for your support and your prayers. I think these next 6 weeks are going to be totally awesome.

Anziano Banks

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sono qui

Transfers came. Anziano Destefanis is going to Catanzaro (luckyyy), and I'm staying here in Gela. Anziano Perez is coming here from the Napoli Zone.  I'll meet him...tomorrow!

Tomorrow is going to be an awesome day. You know how I love doing missionary work in other cities? Well, tomorrow I'm going to be in Catania with Anziano Acerson and Anziano Mercado (he was in the MTC with me in the group that left before us). It should be a blast.

I know I tell you this all the time, but you should go on

I was thinking about it the other day because Nicola showed us a short clip that talked about the second coming. It wasn't something from our church, but it was awesome, and it got me thinking about the mormonmessages and how much I enjoy those. They're very uplifting.

Speaking of uplifting and all things good: Dried tomatoes. They're delicious, and I know that I'm going to be craving them when I come home from Italy in October. Here's what you have to do: Around June or so you have to put tomatoes out in the sun to dry, then you cut them, they dry out, and you put them in a jar full of olive oil, basil, oregano (i think), and you can eat them all year!!! Maybe you can find on the internet how to do it. You can do it with normal tomatoes, or with cherry tomatoes (delicious). Just thinking about it makes me crazy hungry!

BY THE WAY, You guys are driving me crazy with all the things from IN N OUT! haha. The only thing we have here is McDonalds. Although I recently ate a sandwich from a butcher that had the dried tomatoes, and sausage and it was crazy good.

When I talked to President he told me some interesting things. He said that he'd like me to train, but he didn't feel like Gela was the right city, so he's probably going to transfer me into another city in 6 weeks (after this transfer), and then my second transfer in the next city I should be training. He's totally right, Gela isn't the right city to train because it's not totally normal. The city itself is weird, and then there are very few members.

I like it though. It's nice to be in a big city where you can almost relax, but in the end you grow and learn more in a city that is totally dependent on you (like Gela).

Have a great week!

Anziano Banks!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Buon anno!

So everything's going pretty well here. There's not too much news since last week. We've been praying for a family and we found huge one! They are from Croatia, and they have EIGHT KIDS! We're meeting with them tomorrow. We figure if we baptize them, we can pretty much open up a ward here. haha

I'm really excited for the holidays to end because then we should be able to do better missionary work. We've met some amazing people, but they're all from up north!! Now I see why the church is so big up there --because we give them all kinds of referrals! I really enjoy sharing the gospel with people from different places, but right now we really want to find people who are here because the Branch needs it.

New Years was crazy here! We had to be in the house by six because once it turned dark it turned into a war zone outside. Besides the fact that it sounded like bombs were going off everywhere, I saw one of our neighbors who was literally shooting a rifle into the air from his balcony!!! haha. What a nut. I went to bed on time, but I ended up getting up again around midnight because it was impossible to stay asleep.

New Years Day is a missionary cleaning day. It's always nice to have a clean house. We cleaned all day long. In the end, it was pretty enjoyable, but I prefer missionary work. I cleaned the bathroom tile walls with bleach and accidentally messed up one of my t-shirts a little bit. Bleach is pretty awesome. Hopefully you can learn from my example and keep the house in St. George really clean. haha

Have a great week!
Anziano Banks!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Video call snapshot 1It was nice talking with you on Skype a few minutes ago! haha. However there is always a lot more to tell you about. I have to admit, I don't like to think about how short a mission really is. I only have one phone call home left!!! yikes! I've still been telling people that I have a year until I go home. magari!

On Monday we did exchanges and I was with Anziano Reyes again. That was pretty sweet. The great thing about him is that he always shares personal experiences. I think that for anything we do in the church it's a good idea to reflect on the subject and think of personal experiences that you've had because that way people will be more interested in what you have to say.

New Year's shouldn't be very exciting. haha. We have to be at home by 6pm because it'll be more or less a war zone outside (fireworks), and then New Year's Day we get to clean all day long.

I can honestly say that I push myself and I've been learning a lot. I've learned a lot about the language, the culture, how to drive here, but above all I've learned about my Savior Jesus Christ and how essential He is in all of our lives.We need to always have our Heavenly Father involved in our life. I think that a lot of times it seems difficult with all the commandments, and then trying to have charity for everything, but the thing that is really important is that we are constantly trying to be better people even if we always have lots of weaknesses and room for improvement.

Happy New Year!!!

For this next year I hope that we can all make a commitment to magnify our callings. As a missionary that pretty much means that I have to improve everything I am doing. haha.

Video call snapshot 10