Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Father’s Day!

What a week!

We had Anziano Texeira here from the 70 (as I mentioned last week), and it was crazy. We took him from his hotel to the church in Catania and then to the airport, so we had some good time to chat with him. It was nice.

After the conference in Catania we went over to Palermo to go on splits. Wow. Palermo is seriously awesome. I went with Anziano Larsen. He's only been out for about a month. We had a great time together. We met a lot of really cool people on the street, and we also did mostra that evening. If you don't remember, mostra is a big display that we use sometimes. I really love it because it's very effective. You can split up and talk to a lot of people around the mostra. We did it right by the sea, and so Anziano Larsen actually sat down and talked to a couple Italians that were looking out at the sea and talked to them himself for 20 minutes. That was really cool because it gave him the chance to use the language on his own, and he got their number and was really excited about that.

Did I tell you that we drove all the way to Catania? hahaha. That was a long trip. Thanks to traffic and construction it took over 10 hours! Then we went from Catania to Palermo, and then from Palermo to Cosenza, and the next day from Cosenza to Rome.


This week we're getting ready for transfers. Transfers are always fun. It's really cool because we get to help President when he does them. One thing that could be interesting this transfer is that we may be getting a couple of missionaries that have office responsibilities so that we can go out and do more work. I would feel bad for whoever has to do it, but one thing that Anziano Texeira said is that the Assistants are some of the best missionaries in the mission and that you basically can't have them in the office doing administrative work. I was really happy about that because that's the only downside to being an assistant. Everything else about being an assistant is totally awesome (serving all around the mission, helping train missionaries, being around President and Sister Kelly).

Anyway, we'll see what President decides.

We got a challenge from Sorella Texeira. I'd like to invite you to do it. It's to read the Book of Mormon in the time that it got translated, which was 60 days. If you read it, meditate it's message in your heart, and then pray to know of it's truth, you will know through the Holy Ghost that it is true. I'm going to read it and follow the promise so that I can receive a reconfirmation of it's truthfulness. Will you do it too? I'm reading it in Italian.

Have a great week!

Next week I'm not sure when I’ll email because we're going to be busy with transfers. I'm seriously going to have a blast. We get the new missionaries on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thursday the old missionaries go home, and transfers happen.

It's great.


Anziano Banks

Friday, June 17, 2011

Incredibile! (that's not a misspelling, it's Italian)

Today we had an amazing Zone Conference. Well, an amazing General Authority visit. Anziano Texeira. Wow. 

It was really sweet. Our mission is going to be on fire after he finishes his mission tour. He taught a lot of great principles of how we can improve, and him and Sister Texeira basically called us all to repentance. haha. Right after the visit everyone just went straight to talking to people on the street. We went to. It went okay. We met a pretty cool lady that is atheist.

I realized that atheist people usually tell me that they worked out things in their head and that's what makes sense, but then when we get to talking I usually find out that they haven't really thought it through that much, even if they claim that they have. For example, everything this lady said that means God doesn't exist ended up not working. She said, well I prayed and got didn't do what I asked for. Then I said, an earthly father wouldn't give his kid whatever he wanted whenever he wanted either. Then she said something like, a loving God wouldn't make war. Then we got talking about freedom of choice. Parents can tell their kids, don't touch the oven, don't touch the oven, don't touch the oven, but if they touch it in the end, they probably learn for themselves.

I can kind of understand where people are coming from, but I know that God exists because I've tried for myself. I've prayed and I've felt His love and the happiness in my heart that comes through the Spirit and I cannot deny that it comes from God. I feel like spirituality can almost always be related to physical things. For example, I don't believe that I can run five miles. If I never try that I certainly never will!

Or if you go intellectually it's like at first calculus problems seem like magic and don't make any sense. If you don't ask someone to explain it to you (be it a teacher or a book) you will never figure it out. In the case of God you must study the book, and ask Him for help.

One thing that I am still trying to do every day is go to a room by myself, kneel down, and pray out loud. It's great. I've had many recent spiritual experiences doing so lately. Ask God what you need to have the Spirit with you, and he'll let you know! He may let you know immediately, or he may respond during you scripture study, or while you're out and about.

Those last couple lines are something that President Kelly taught during the conference, and I've totally been seeing that working for me already. I ask how I can improve, and I generally receive responses quickly. If I don't correct what I'm doing, instead of receiving new revelation, I'm usually just reminded of what I still need to improve.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to going down to Sicily. We're going to be there through Monday. I'll be in Palermo on splits. It's going to a blast.

We're nearing transfers. This next week we'll be meeting with President a lot.

Love you tons,

Anziano Ray Banks

Sunday, June 12, 2011


These last few days, or week, or however long it’s been has been incredible. I could probably write you pages about it if I only had the time, so I’ll just give you a little overview.

Scambi (splits) in Napoli were awesome. I went with another Anziano Andersen and we basically did finding work the whole day (which I love). He’s in his fourth transfer, so he’s really young in the mission. Anyway, we had a blast and a lot of success. We actually got 13 people’s phone numbers!


When we first showed up there we had pizzas for dinner. That was great. They were delicious. After we did our scambi, we stayed over and took our preparation day the next  day. We went to piazza garibaldi in Napoli. That’s where I went to eat pizza from “Da Michele” which is rumored to be where pizza was invented, and is definitely the best place to get pizza in the world. You know how sometimes things get talked up so much that you get disappointed when you actually try it yourself? Well, this is definitely not the case. The pizza was amazing!! They only make Margheritas there and they are awesome. Secret ingredient? Well, it’s not that secret, they list it right on the list “aqua di Napoli” (Napoli water).










I love Napoli.

Today we just got back from a scambi that we did in Brindisi and Cosenza. That’s right, I already got to go back home again. I love that little city. Brindisi was great too.DSCN4532

Before dropping down to Brindisi we swung by Bari and I was really lucky that we showed up right at the end of Family Home Evening in church. We got to eat the refreshments and I saw some members that I knew. Here we are eating some panzerotti in Bari.  ----------------------------------->

After that we went down to Brindisi. We had a good time there. I was with Anziano Luke. He’s moved around a ton in his life and now he’s in Virginia. We met a lot of great people there.






I wish I would have had more time in Cosenza, but the cool thing is that we got to teach Anna Filipelli. She is the mom of member that lives up north (but they’re from Cosenza), and we started teaching her when I was there. She is getting baptized in a couple weeks.




Speaking of which, I can’t remember if I told you about the last couple of baptisms in Foggia, but they were both people that I found and taught! I’m not sure if you remember Favour, but him and his sister both just got baptized!

Things are going great. I’m very very busy and tired, and extremely happy and satisfied. There’s really nothing more fun than being a missionary!

Traveling around was great, but being back in Rome is great too.


Anziano Banks

P.S. We had to buy some blow-up mattresses for the mission, and I talked one of the managers at the store into giving us a deal and he gave us 2 mattresses free! That was pretty sweet.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bellissima famiglia mia!!!

Vi voglio un mondo di bene!! I'm just loving my life so much. I'm going to tell you a little about what I've been up to lately.





Well, my life has gotten pretty crazy. We definitely don't get a normal sleep schedule, but we have permission to find nap time or to sleep in whenever we can (which isn't too often!!) haha.




Check this out: I went to Sardegna!!! It was totally awesome and beautiful. We took the 10:30pm - 6:00am ferry that runs from Civitavecchia (near Rome) to Olbia. Unfortunately on the ride over we got stuck riding these big chairs. It got pretty cold around 4am so I had to put on my jacket.

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We arrived in Olbia on Sunday morning and we went to church there. After church we went to eat with......Anziano Branca!!! Well, ex-Anziano Branca, now he's just Alessio Branca. That was awesome. I felt like I was meeting up with him after the mission or something because we talked about the mission as a thing in the past, haha. We both served in Bari and in Gela, so we had a lot to talk about. I don't know if you remember this, but he was my Zone Leader while I was in Foggia, and then I took his spot in Bari.

So anyway, then I went on splits with Anziano Andersen. He’s a total stud. He’s in his first transfer, so he’s been in Italy about 2 weeks and he speaks Italian really well for how long he’s been here, and he has no fear at all. No fear in the sense that I was really impressed with how he talks to everyone because usually new people, and actually just a lot of missionaries in general don’t put themselves out there a lot, but he was totally talking to tons of people. We had a great time together, and we had a lot of success finding like 8 people in a just a couple hours that told us they want to meet with us again.

The next day we had District Meeting and they asked us to talk to them a little about finding people and power approaches. I just love talking to people and finding people to teach. It was the perfect topic. Anyway, then I was on splits with Anziano Canuzzen. He has it written like that on his nametag because that way Italians can read it! Ha! It’s actually Knuteson (I think).


Then after our great trip to Sardegna, on the train ride back I had a cool experience. I was sitting there (around 7 morning, or 6-something) and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a lady that sat down next to me. So I start talking with her, bore her my testimony, and gave her a pass-a-long card (I wanted to start teaching her or get her number, but it didn't work out). So then I see this guy that keeps looking over, and I go ahead and hand him a pass-a-long card too, and then he gets off.  Next, I glance behind me and there's this African lady from Congo named Jenny sitting behind me, so I decided to strike up a conversation with her. She turned out to be interested, and I passed her phone number onto the Sister missionaries in Ladispoli! How awesome is that?? I love travelling because it’s a great opportunity to meet new people. I also love pass-a-long cards. They're great.

Today in Rome was great too. I love the Kelly family. We went by there today to grab some mattresses that we're bringing down to Napoli with us, and then we'll be on splits there. Yeah, you read that right, I have to go soon because unfortunately I have to go to NAPOLI!!! (hahaha, unfortunately, yeah right ... I'm going to be eating the best pizza in the world tonight).

Sorry I don’t have time to tell you more, but I have to train people on how to drive right now. HA! Then we’re off to Napoli!

I love you a ton. I love Rome!!


Anziano Banks

: )