Monday, December 17, 2012

December 11th, 2012

Hello and good morning!! Half-way......that is an interesting thought. Sorry this letter is late, yesterday morning around 4 I woke up and was very sick. For that reason we stayed home and I slept in until around 1:30 so we were not able to go emailing yesterday. Ya I know, I must have been really sick to miss p-day! ha ha

Anyways it was a good week. I will start with last Wednesday. Last Wednesday we had a zone meeting with the new zone. It was interesting to see this zone being so young. I'm not sure if I explained last email but this zone in incredibly young. 11 of the 19 are less than six months and 4 of them are being trained! It is crazy! I am the 5th oldest and I am only at a year! But anyway, with that in mind, I am so excited for this zone! That room had a different feel to it which was really exciting! (I guess it is all the greeny fire in the air mixed with the smell of fear ha-ha) But I think this zone will actually do some great things!  I guess this is kind of experiment that President is doing being that in a few months we will get so many young missionaries due to all that are leaving! It is interesting as I've noticed (and don't take this as bragging) that nothing in this zone happens without my knowledge, and in most cases, my approval. I guess that comes from being in the same area for as long as I have but it is a humbling experience. It has made me reflect on all that I am doing and all I could do for the zone. It was interesting to realize that (especially with a zone this young and more importantly with my greeny that I will be getting next week) I have a lot of power and influence to determine how these missionaries start their missions. I thought that if I just screw around, not respect/listen to the zone leaders or anything like that it could have a bad effect on those youngins. But if I were too support them and all the other missionaries and be the type of missionary I should, I could help them on their way and build them up. It was a really humbling thought and I decided to be better and to do my best.

The next thing I need to comment on is about Friday, my one year mark! That in and of itself is a crazy time! That is a weird thought to know that it is half-over! I can't believe it! But the interesting thing about Friday is that I didn't even realize that it was my year mark until right before I went to bed. For that reason I didn't do anything fun or crazy (maybe a good thing)! I had an Elder from my MTC district call me on VP Friday night to give us a referral, and the two of us talked (signed) for a long time about the first year. What's funny is a few times he mentioned that it was our year mark in a round-about way but I still did not even realize it until after I spoke with him. The year mark/half-way point of a mission is an interesting time. The last two weeks I have been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching. I have looked back on my mission thus far; over the good, the bad, and the in-between. I have looked at all I have accomplished and all that I have failed on. I have looked forward and thought about what I want my mission to be. It has been a real sobering experience and it is times like these that change you as a person. I didn't normally think of things like the zone thing that which was mentioned above. And yet, that has been my focus for the last few weeks. Those have been my thoughts pertaining to the year mark.

The next thing to mention is that Elder Nelsen and I were asked to give talks in the YSA 2nd ward on Sunday. That was something I was really excited about actually! That was my first experience to give a talk using my voice since my mission farewell over a year ago much as I love sign was very nice! Ha-ha Even though I am comfortable and now good at the language it is still so much easier to express myself using my language! It was a fantastic meeting! Our topic was "The Infinite Atonement" which added more to my excitement! The meeting started off pretty good and spiritual as it is every week during the administering of the sacrament in a singles ward. Then Elder Nelsen and I went up to the pulpit and I stood next to him and spoke into the mike as he gave his...."talk". His talk, in and of itself, was more spiritual uplifting then most sacraments I have been to thus far in my journey through mortality. If that was the entire meeting I would have gone home satisfied and happy. He really set the tone. After that it was my privilege to speak and, if I do say so myself, that might have been the best talk I have ever given! Ha-ha (let me take a little break and lay down as my neck is getting tired from holding up my big head!) Though all I brought up to the podium was a paper with the quotes I was to use, the Spirit brought to my mind all that I had prepared! It was defiantly Him that was giving the talk as I started to explain about a certain experience in the MTC that was really hard for me and explain how I was able to receive the strength to overcome that particular trial through the Enabling Power of the Atonement. I had not planned this part and was a little shocked at my sharing of it until after sacrament when two different people at two separate times came up to me and said that they were heading to the MTC soon and were worried about that very thing. Through me and my experience the Holy Ghost was able to comfort and teach them. It was really cool! After my talk we had Brother Warren get up and share his thoughts and testimony of the Atonement. It was a perfect ending to the meeting as he pulled everything together and shared a strong testimony of the Atonement. Him being one of the most Christ-like and charitable people I have ever met made it that much better as, at least for me, he is an example that we can become as such. It was probably the best sacrament I have been since Elder Bednar came to the MTC on Christmas. And that will probably never be topped in my lifetime! Ha-ha

The last thing I need to talk about is the East Stake Christmas Cantina that they had on Sunday night. It was a Christmas program with songs and everything. Most of the songs and everything was actually written by a member of the Stake a few years ago so that was really cool! It was actually really really good! I really enjoyed it! I was interpreting for it and it was interesting being that had people from the entire stake watching me. And watch they did....I think more of them were watching me then the people who were up there talking! It is good that I am not self conscious at all! Ha-ha But it was really good! I am actually really comfortable interpreting like that now! It was a great experience to have!

That was our week! It was a really good one! I hope yours was as well!

Elder Banner

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