FINALLY IN TUCSON!!!
I am sorry I was unable to call home. In my travel group I had an Elder with some special needs so he took awhile to help through the process. Sweet kid but we didn't have any time actually waiting in the airport because of him but, I am finally here and I like it! The weather is perfect (right now) and my mission president and his wife are awesome! I love Pres. and Sister Killpack! They are so nice and outgoing and they are perfect for me! I love them already! They are going to be such cool leaders! The churches here are so much cooler looking then the ones in Utah, everything has a Mexican feel to it! The mission home is a mansion with an incredible view of the whole valley.
There are two main types of vegetation here, cactus and palm tree! It is crazy! There is a saying here, 'everything in Tucson is either dead, or wants you dead.' And it is true! There is a type of cactus here that if you bump into it, it will shoot needles at you! We call it the Satan cactus! This is definitely a desert but it is ok because we are coming up on Monsoon season according to my companion. Exciting! Apparently the lightning storms during monsoon season are quite something to behold! We also get great sunsets here!
Today I met my companion Elder Bradley! He is really cool; he is hard of hearing and a very nice guy. The two of us are the only two ASL missionaries here, so we have the entire mission! We get the best of everything! We have a 4x4 truck with 5 seats as our mission car. We also have a very nice phone, and we have the nicest and biggest apartment in the mission! Our apartment is in a very nice complex; we have a full kitchen, full bathroom, bedroom with a huge walk in closet and a huge living room! In our living room are two full sized office desks and a 52-inch TV! The TV is used for us to communicate with the deaf members through the use of a VP (video phone), which is the same as skype without sound. We have unlimited miles that we can travel because we will need to drive all over the mission. We also get more money then all of the other Elders because it is not part of the deaf culture to feed people dinner.
I found out yesterday that Elder Bradley and I are the 1st and 2nd counselors in the ASL branch Presidency, which is going to be very weird. Our deaf branch has about 30 members right now (that will definitely change) but we will also teach in English as well. I am super excited to start meeting people tonight!
I had a great experience coming here on the airplane. I had prayed that I would be able to speak with someone that I could help for a week before leaving the MTC. On the flight from SLC to PHX I sat next to a really nice LDS couple that talked with me the whole time about their son who is serving in Brazil and the experiences I am going to have. It was cool, but on the flight from PHX to Tucson for no apparent reason my ticket was changed to first class. I was able to move to first class, (which was so much better), next to a gentlemen who owns a retirement home here. He believes in God and the Bible but doesn't have religion, he told me he is familiar with us and is not interested in reading the Book of Mormon or anything. That was fine and he and I spoke the whole flight. We had a very good conversation and discussion and at the end he gave me his address so hopefully something will come out of this!
I love it here already! I am so excited to serve here! This mission is perfect for me!
My address is:
Elder Josh Banner
Arizona Tucson Mission
939 W. Chapala Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85704-4516
I do not have very much to write as of now but I am so excited for the opportunity I have to be here and I am so excited to do this work. I will really like my companion and this mission. All of the other Elders seem pretty cool and the Mission Pres. and his wife are some of the coolest people in the world. I will send pictures soon.
I love you all,
"The field is white, already to harvest" D&C 4