Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I love ROME!!

So I still think that Cosenza is my favorite city in the mission, but I think that Rome is my second favorite. This place is SWEET. The members are all spiritual giants, our investigator Floriana is going to be baptized next weekend, and everything about this place is just great!

I had a pretty good experience last Sunday. Well, it actually started on Friday or something. I get on the bus and walk by a lady that sort of smiles at us. I sit down, and try to share the gospel with a lady sitting across from me and she totally shuts me down. While she was totally shutting me down, I noticed that the lady that smiled earlier looked back at me, so I got up and started talking to her. She told me that she had actually heard of the church before, and that she has a 19-yr-old son that she is really concerned about and wants to be around people like us. So anyway, we talk a little bit about the life of Jesus Christ, and she agreed that we could go teach her more at her house. She's from Ecuador, so she spoke to me quite a bit in Spanish mixed with Italian.

So on Sunday afternoon we went over with a Spanish-speaking member to teach her. We start to teach her what is called lesson "Zero." We asked her what she expects from us, we told her that we want to teach her and meet with her three times a week, etc. Then I invited her to baptism.  Her response was that she has already been baptized (pretty common answer) .....in the Mormon church!!! I was like, "come?" (pronounced: KO-MAY? translation: what?) So then she repeats herself (speaking in Spanish, of course) and I turn to the member for verification, and he goes, yeah, she says she's already been baptized. Hahaha. So it turns out that she's a member and was baptized when she was 14 or something. haha. I think she'll come to church this Sunday.

I've got everyone in the house wearing those mormon.org shirts now. haha. We decided we all want to wear them when we play soccer as a Zone. We already call ourselves Team Rome 2. We also got team Rome 2 ties. They were only a euro because the sales have started!




       I love Italy!!!

   I love the mission!


In my life I have been blessed a ridiculous amount. There's this missionary in our mission that baptizes all the time, and one of my companion's told me that he has a theory on it. This missionary had a really crazy life before the mission as far as the crowd he hung out with and things, and he thinks that it's like God decided to make a deal with him that if he goes on a mission he would baptize a ton of people. Hahaha.

I feel like in my life I could've done a lot more spiritually and that I still can, but what the Lord has blessed me with has been crazy great. Today when we were teaching Floriana I told her how no matter how much we try to do to help the Lord, or things we do for him, the return is always greater!

I feel like the gospel is such a 'no-brainer'. It's so obvious that it's the way to go. I'm so happy! : )

Quick story. So today I wanted to get a pair of shoes, but I didn't want to pay much and I saw a Chinese shoe store so I decided to peek in. There were a bunch of Chinese ladies and this Chinese girl in the store. So then I hear these Chinese ladies start talking and they say (in Chinese, of course) "I think there's finally someone who speaks English!" "Go talk to him!" "Yeah, go talk to him" So this Chinese girl comes up to me and says "English".

So I say "Yeah, I speak English too." (I had originally said hi in Italian)

So then all of the ladies are like "Whoa! It's really someone who speaks English"

"He speaks English, and he's cute too! Go talk to him"

So then I say (in Chinese) "I can speak Chinese too."

hahahha. They all busted up laughing. It was pretty good.

Anyway, I've gtg. 

Anziano Banks


Sunday, July 10, 2011


So this week it probably seems like I'm e-mailing really early, even though it's just on time. : )

Tomorrow is Zone Leader Council. That's always really awesome. We're probably not going to be having one next transfer due to the holidays (people traveling) so this one has got to be good.

Guess what I ate for lunch today! A kebab! Do you remember how many times I've told you I was called to the perfect mission? Well, here in Rome they actually have really good kebabs, because I've been to some other places in Italy that have them and they aren't as good, but here they're great!

We also have a great district here. I really liked an e-mail that I sent in the MTC describing everyone in my district, so I decided I should do that again. In my district here we all serve in the Rome 2 ward.

Anziano Mercado: He was in the MTC with me. He's from Michigan, but he also lived in Washington and Oregon (I think) and was born in Florida. He used to be a vegetarian and he still doesn't eat a ton of meat. I've been on splits with him in Catania and he's a great finder because he talks with everyone. One thing I love about him is that he is always looking to improve and use time wisely.

Anziano Shipton: He is in his second transfer. He's from Utah. He used to play football and basketball. He really loves Italy and realizes how awesome it is that he is serving in Rome.

Anziano Garvin: He's my companion now and was my companion in the MTC. He's great. He hasn't really changed: He's still extremely self-motivated, he still loves the scriptures, and I still love being his companion. He just came off Malta so he's working on getting all his Italian back, but he still speaks fine.

Sorella Jones: She went to BYU before the mission. She was a linguistics major so she speaks Arabic, French, and some Spanish. She also did the BYU-Jerusalem study for a semester so she knows the Bible really well. She's actually in her last transfer right now, but she's doing really great and is actually training...

Sorella Perez: She's really awesome. She is from Peru, but she's lived most of her life in Milan. I don't know her very well because she just got here, but I know that she has a really strong testimony and that she is really friendly. She doesn't speak much English, but she's working on it. I think she plays soccer which will be cool if we play soccer as a zone this transfer.

Oh, then there is also our office couple:

Anziano and Sorella Valentine: They are from Denver!!! They've only been here one transfer. They are really happy all the time even though they have to do a ton of work in the office. Sorella Valentine is an AMAZING cook. I really admire them. They totally love their mission and are learning a lot.

I better go because we have a lot of things to do. I know, we always do.


Anziano Banks

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


The new AP is Anziano Garvin!!!!!! I'm so stoked.

So things are going really great. Sorry that I've been so busy but with transfers and everything I just haven't had any time at all. We have been also doing a lot to find new investigators because right now we don't really have anyone. I love to find! 
Yesterday we were decided to go to this area of Rome that is known for having lots of Chinese, although it's not technically a Chinatown. Me and Anziano Garvin had prayed that we could find a young Chinese guy around 26 yrs old that could come to church the next day because Elder Perkins was supposed to be here. Anyway, we went around there looking for this Chinese guy, and we were just talking to everyone we could. So then I'm down to my last Chinese pamphlet and a Chinese guy walks by us and I knew that I needed to stop him. It turns out that he was Christian, he was 27, and he wanted to come to church!!! It was awesome! Unfortunately he didn't make it today because a bunch of his friends were going to the beach, but Elder Perkins didn't make it either, so whatever.

While we went to find this Chinese guy we also met a lot of other really cool people. I love talking to people. Just in the afternoon yesterday we got 11 people's phone numbers and a lot of addresses. Then today in church two random ladies showed up and we're actually going to teach one of them today!

Anyway, I know I haven't e-mailed you too much lately. So, Anziano Garvin was my MTC companion. Being companions here in Rome sure was unexpected, especially considering that we were both called to the Italy Catania Mission. haha. It's a total blast.

Let me tell you a little about what my schedule was this last week. So we had missionaries that were coming to the mission from the MTC. 3 from the Madrid MTC, and 12 from the Provo MTC. Well, out of the Provo MTC 3 made the flight they were supposed to, and NINE missed their connection in Chicago.

I guess that they were supposed to go to gate L8 but they were actually in the wrong terminal. So they missed their flight, but then got a later one that put them in London. To come to Italy they had to take three different flights, which means we had to pick them up at three different times. Remember that we already had the first two times with the group of three from Madrid and the other group of three from Provo.

It was a fun and exciting day. The last group didn't get in until after 10pm. President Kelly asked me to be his companion to go out to the airport with him, and so Anziano Rappleye actually stayed at the Villa and went to sleep with the other missionaries. So President and I went out together to get the last three missionaries that were coming in, and on the way home we hit a ton of traffic. We actually didn't get back to the Villa (mission home) until 1 AM!!! hahaha. Then they were really hungry so I got to bed around 2am.

The next morning I got up at 5am because it was transfer day and we had to go pick some people up from the bus station. Needless to say, President and Sister Kelly often tell us to take naps. But I'm not the napping type.

CHECK THIS OUT::: So I stopped typing this e-mail that I was getting around to because we had to teach a lesson to this lady that we met in church today. I'm pretty sure Anziano Acerson (who just finished his mission) invited her to come to church, and so I sat next to her today and then set up an appt for this afternoon. Anyway, her name is Floriana. When she was in church one of the sister's investigators got confirmed and she leaned over and asked me if she had to be baptized and confirmed to become a member of our church. I told her yes and that we would talk about it more later if we could meet with each other.

So this afternoon we started off with a prayer, and then right after the prayer she said, I just want to know how you have so much peace and serenity in your lives. When I came to church I really felt that. We explained to her a little and then invited her to get baptized and she's going to on the 30th of July!! We also have three appointments set up with her for next week. It's going to be awesome. You can really tell that she's had a hard life and I told her that I'm really excited for her because she is going to be really happy and have the peace she's looking for.


: )

This transfer is going to be really great. Lately I've been thinking about how selfish and prideful it is to not talk with and share the gospel with everyone. I was on the bus the other day and I wasn't sure about talking to some people because it seemed kind of awkward. Usually I have no problems, but for some reason that's just how it was that time. So I was sitting there, and I thought to myself, what is holding me back? I realized that the only thing holding me back was that I didn't want to make myself look bad or I thought maybe I'd be embarrassed or something. Anyway, I talked to them because I realized that I don't really care about being embarrassed, and it turns out that one of them had met the missionaries before, she gave me her number, and on top of that she gave me her sons number!

How awesome is that!

That's why we're having so much success: Because we talk to everyone. We have one car and two vans, but instead of driving we got bus passes and we take that as often as possible and the Lord is really blessing us.

I love my life. I love the gospel. I'm grateful for the testimony I have. I know that what President Monson said one time is true, that who selfishly keeps there testimony to themselves, loses it.

Thank you for all your support. Sorry I'm so busy, but I'm seriously crazy happy.


Anziano Banks

p.s. I love missionary work!

Also, I think my new getting home date is on the 4th of November or something. 

I just wanted to let you know that things are going really well here in Rome. We're keeping really busy and we're doing great work. : )