Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hey there!

Whew, things have been pretty crazy. Do you remember how I'm always telling you that I'm really busy? Well, I'm a whole lot more busy now! That's for sure.

This week we had Zone Leader Council. That was a lot of fun. As far as people that you know I saw Anziano Rowland, Anziano Scotchi, Anziano Shaw (who met dad last time he was in Rome), and I think that's about it as far as people that you know.

It's pretty crazy being an assistant because we're pretty well-informed on everything that goes on in the mission. It's a lot of fun. We're in the office a fair bit, but it's not too bad. We're supposed to do about 50% our own work and then 50% responsibilities as assistants (including taking people to and from the airport, organizing travel things, going on exchanges, etc…). Unfortunately in the past it hasn't been this way, so we have no investigators right now. But that's okay, we're going to be doing a lot of finding, which should be pretty fun.

As of now I haven't seen any sites in Rome yet, but I figure if I don’t see them now it just gives me one more reason to come back after the mission.

One pretty cool thing is that President Kelly's son is here right now and he served a mission in Taipei a few years ago. He was there when they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the church in Taiwan (so were we). He speaks Chinese really well. That's actually what his major in college was.

Well, I don't have too much more to tell you. I'm doing well. I'm healthy. I'm tired, but I'm really happy about it. haha.

I think that the best way we can show our love for one another and for the Lord is through our service, and so I'm really happy that I'm able to show him some love right now (and of course for the rest of my life!)

I'm just so tired that I totally wasn't able to think of more things that we've done, but we've done a lot. 

One is that we went and tried to find an inactive Chinese member that lives near the train station. That was pretty fun. We went there and found out that she's nowhere to be found. So I thought to myself, usually all Chinese people in a neighborhood know each other (for example, mom knows pretty much every Chinese in St. George). So we went to the nearest Chinese store and asked the lady there if she knew this member of our church. She told us that she had a friend that may know her, so she called her. Well, here's what happened: She passed the phone over to me, and I found out that her friend was a Jehovah's Witness! She thought that we were from that church. haha.

I can't really blame her though because I had forgotten my nametag, so I can see why she couldn't tell.

Anyway, lots of different cool things have been going on, and I definitely need to catch up on my journal writing.

That's about it. Rome is awesome.


Anziano Banks


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The most beautiful city in the world . . .

If you ask me, it's Rende. You remember how Greeley and Evans were right next to each other? Or St. George and Washington? That's how Cosenza and Rende are, but it turns out that Rende is better. The university is actually there in Rende, and so is the mall. I have to admit, the university is actually really ugly looking as far as buildings, but it has tons of students and they're all very open. We've been trying to go there every week, and we've met tons of awesome people.
Oh, but the most beautiful city in the world is actually supposed to be Rome. At least, that's what everyone has been telling me. I'll be going there tomorrow, because I GOT TRANSFERRED!


Pretty crazy, right? I'm totally stoked. I was really shocked, and I definitely am going to miss Cosenza a lot because in total I've lived 6 months here (only six weeks this time, but all together six months now).

Rome. wow.

I'm also going to be one of the assistants to the President, which means I'm going to keep pretty busy. I'm really looking forward to that, but more than that I'm just looking forward to serving in Rome. Thank goodness that I came back here to Cosenza because I was able to brush up on my Chinese, because I'm sure there are tons of Chinese there in Rome. This last week we really put forth a great effort and we were able to meet a lot of great people. I'm really happy. I guess next week I'll have a lot more to tell you. For now I'm just really busy getting packed, making sure transfers go smoothly for everyone in the zone, and trying to get pictures and say goodbye to everyone here. Man I love Cosenza. I love the Calabria. But I'm sure I'll love Rome because I love big cities.

How often do you pray for charity? I think that I'm going to start focusing on that more in my prayers. We need to love everyone and know how to express that love. One thing I love about Italy is that they have the Ti Voglio Bene form, which you can use for everyone (or Le Voglio bene).

Anziano Banks

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cosenza 2011

So this last week was pretty exciting. I can't remember who said it, but there was someone that said you need to be very emotionally involved in you missionary work. Well, I sure felt that this last week. We had some pretty awesome, powerful experiences. It's a shame that I already called, because it all happened after the phone call! haha.

Anyway, I'll just tell you a little, and the rest you'll have to ask me about after the mission. One thing that was awesome is that on Saturday night we decided that we need to pray specifically for three people who are ready to baptized. We prayed for them each specifically every prayer after we decided that (we're still doing so).

Prayer with faith is powerful.

The next day, after church, we got a call from Fernando. He's one of the three we had been praying for. He told us that he wanted to change his life, and he was hoping we could help him somehow. We set goals, and one of them is that he will be baptized on the fourth of June. That's about as little detail as I could possibly give you, but I'll tell you about it in more detail after the mission. Another great experience was with lesson "0". I can't remember if I ever told you what that is, but it's the first lesson we do (I know, you would think we would do the first lesson, but we do that the second time, haha). I think it's very appropriate seeing as here in Italy you start with "piano terra" before the first floor that is really on the second floor.Anyway, last night we did one and it went horribly. This morning we did taught one to Enzo and it was almost perfect. He's awesome. He actually called us on Monday to set the appointment. When we talked to him this morning he told us that when he had talked to him we had opened his eyes. A little bit before meeting us (we met him on the street last week) he had thrown away everything he had of Jesus Christ in his house, and he didn't really believe in God anymore. So when we met with him we told him that we want to teach him about the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we need to meet with each other often so that we can teach him everything. We also told him that he needs to pray, he needs to read the scriptures, and he needs to come to church so he can receive a testimony. Then we told him, once you have a testimony, will you be baptized by someone who has the correct authority? He was nodding his head before the question was even finished. He's awesome. He is around 45 yrs old, and he is a soccer coach. He's a stud.

Sorella Ziccarelli taught with us. She's totally awesome too. During the lesson she bore her testimony and I thought that Enzo was going to cry because the Spirit was so strong. She has a really powerful testimony. After the lesson she apologized for interrupting but said that she felt she should bear her testimony. We were like, are you kidding! You did awesome! It was perfect! haha. We were so stoked. She wants there to be a temple in Calabria and she's willing to act to make it happen. She's like...60 years old. I don't know if there's any other news. Well, I'm sure there is, but I just can't think of it! I'm doing well. I like what mom says that as long as I'm on a mission she doesn't have to worry about me. haha. That's totally true. There's really nothing better that I could be doing right now.

I think what makes the mission so great is that it requires a lot of self-control and discipline. In the sense that while I was in Gela we taught and baptized Nicola who used to be a Catholic monk, and we also taught Antonio who was about to become a Catholic monk. They go into the convent and they don't have anything to worry about. They just chill, study the scriptures, and they're protected from the world. It's not like that at all in the mission field! Sometimes when people here things like we can't have a girlfriend here, or that we have to go home at a certain time, they're shocked. I always say, it's not like somebody comes to check on us and if we follow these rules, but we follow them because we want to. I'm obedient because I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and I know that the restoration really happened.

It's like all the commandments. If people want to know why we follow them, they just have to try it and receive a testimony and they'll understand.


Anziano Banks

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yesterday was pretty intense. We went up to Zone Conference in Bari. It went pretty well. It also went a little long (they normally end at 4 but this ended after 5).

Me and Anziano Marzolla talked about how we can use our time wisely and be more effective. We talked about a lot of things specific to missionaries, but at the same time I think it applies to everyone. For example, we talked about being focused, what to focus on, and how we should be constantly thinking about our purpose. I think that in life it's important that we have goals and we are constantly trying to reach them. We also taught that you should break down your goals into smaller fractions of time. You have mission goals, transfer goals, weekly goals, daily goals, and you can even set mini-goals throughout the day. For example, me and my companion generally set goals before taking a half hour bus ride to talk to meet two new people and teach them about the gospel. Things like that.

In life our purpose is to have joy and return to our Heavenly Father. It's pretty simple: We need to focus on being obedient to the commandments and always improving to become more like Jesus Christ. There are a few other things that I would like to share from the conference.

President Kelly told us about the mists of darkness, and I really like how he pointed out that temptation gets described in that way. He told us a story about a guy that was in jail that he was sitting there staring at his a stuffed animal of Clifford. He had been sentenced to three years in jail because he had done shifty accounting things. What had happened is first the guy above him started having him do little dishonest things, and then he just got used to doing a poor job in his accounting. He couldn't believe that it had happened.

We all need to be careful. Even this guy who had never had trouble with the law, had a family and everything started doing little things and next thing he knew he didn't even realize what he was doing. Basically the mists of darkness slowly come to us, and then we fall into sin.

He also told us another example that I really liked which was how following the spirit is like a guided missile. For example, I took from it that when we plan and stuff we set the missile in the right direction, but then to hit the target we have to follow the spirit throughout the day so that it can guide us.

Anziano Banks

p.s. I'm happy, healthy, and so is my companion.