Written by Jennifer Banks
Elder Matthew Banks is serving in the Stockholm Sweden Mission. He entered the MTC on 28 Oct 2015 and arrived in Stockholm on 8 Dec 2015.
Just nine short months ago Matthew was a Woodbridge SHS Viking rowing at Nationals. Now he is in the ancient land of the Vikings working to bring their descendants to a greater knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. On the surface, these seem to be very different occupations, but dig a little deeper and there are some striking similarities. Both crew and a mission require self-discipline, sacrifice, and the willingness to work very hard. Neither of them tend to provide rewards until after a great deal of effort has been invested. A recent quote from one of Matthew’s emails helps to illustrate this:
“Sunday was a pretty crazy day. We were supposed to have an investigator named Mohammed come to church, but he never showed. Then after church an old investigator named Reza, whom we had lost contact with quite some time ago, showed up right before Vendelsö’s ward started. It was totally unexpected, and we sat in the first half of Sacrament meeting with him before we had to go, and then the Vendelsö Elders took care of him for the rest of church. But then as we were making lunch, we got a call from the Vendelsö Elders saying a woman named Monica was at the church and wanted to talk to us. Monica is another old investigator who seemed pretty golden, and her face just lit up when we gave her a Book of Mormon. But then one day she told us that she was no longer interested in taking the lessons and didn’t want contact anymore. That was pretty disappointing, but here she was, several weeks later, wanting to start meeting again. It was a pretty crazy day, with people from our past popping up all over the place. We had been talking about how we didn’t know what else to do here in Västerhaninge, and how nothing was working, and how we weren’t getting any new investigators. It just goes to show if you just keep working hard every day, stuff will start to happen.”
As parents, we want our children to grow and develop attributes that will help them to have a successful and fulfilling life. Matthew’s mission will be a life-changing experience for him. He is having the opportunity to stretch himself and learn what he is truly capable of doing. He is also having the opportunity to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ as he learns to rely ever more upon Him and to follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Our family is also blessed as he shares his mission through his emails providing an example of righteous living and the blessings of the gospel.
Sister Sarah Beaman said recently, “I love my mission; it has been the best thing that I have ever decided to do in my life, except for being baptized. Many things have happened on my mission that have tested my faith and has helped me grow. I know that this gospel is true and that it can change lives. I have seen it change many lives and I know it can help families come closer together. I know that as I help others come unto Christ that I come closer to Christ, understand what He felt as He was here on Earth and how He truly loved those that were around him. I am thankful to be a missionary of the church and to help many people to be more happy in their life and to be able to be sealed to their families in the temple. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.”
Her father, Brother Tim Beaman, says, “For me, seeing Sarah on her mission is the fulfillment of our teachings to our children about the importance of serving the Lord. The joy of reading her letters, about her successes teachings and her struggles, has affected me a lot.”
Her mother, Sister Jenny Beaman, says, “It has made me work harder to keep the commandments. Before she left, I kept telling her, if you will keep the commandments you will be very successful and safe; I won’t worry about you. So, it has made me want to be a good example as well and keep the commandments better. For me, seeing how she has changed is really exciting. Sarah is really committed to what she is doing. Sarah’s work makes me really proud and happy. When people ask me what my daughter is doing, it gives me a good opportunity to talk about her mission! It gives me the opportunity to talk about the gospel; 90 percent of the time people are excited about what Sarah is doing regardless of if they are members or not!”
Celebrate Easter by attending the Easter Musical Drama at the Washington, D.C. Temple Visitors Center. Many members of our stake and the Centreville Stake are participating in this production.
Saludos de Santiago, Chile!
Thank you for your interest in our mission. We have been serving 20 months as Temple missionaries in the beautiful Santiago, Chile Temple. We serve each day the Temple is open, helping our Chilean brothers and sisters who come to the Temple. We have come to love these wonderful, devoted people who often make great sacrifices to come to the House of the Lord. Chile is about as long as the US is wide. The Santiago Temple being the only Temple in Chile is approximately equivalent to having a Temple in Kansas that people from California or New York travel to for their Temple ordinances. Many Saturdays there are 10-15 busloads of people, some of whom have traveled over 20 hours to come to the Temple. They are a beautiful people and it is a joy to see their faces as they do this sacred work for themselves and their family members.
In addition to our work in the Temple, we are assigned to one of the local wards in Santiago. There are 31 stakes in the city. Ours is a struggling ward and we have enjoyed working with the members with special emphasis on encouraging them to prepare to go to the Temple. We have also loved working with the young missionary sisters assigned to our ward. Their dedication and hard work is inspiring. Being able to be in the homes of members with them, as well as those investigating the Church and having the opportunity to bear testimony of the Gospel has been a rewarding part of our mission which we didn’t expect as Temple missionaries. We also appreciate serving in the ward, accompanying the singing in Sacrament Meeting and Primary as well as teaching a variety of classes in Sunday School and Priesthood. The love and acceptance we have felt from these members has been heart warming.
An additional blessing for us has been the fact that we share our apartment building by the Temple with 60-70 young Elders and Sisters in the Santiago Mission Training Center where they come to learn the Spanish language and how to teach the Gospel. We get to know them a little during their 3-6 weeks here and then get to see some of them later as they are serving in their assigned areas. It is amazing to watch the transformation from inexperienced young people, knowing little or nothing of the language, into confident, accomplished, fluent ambassadors of the Lord.
All in all, it has been a wonderful, growing experience being on our mission here in this beautiful part of the world.
Elder Wayne and Sister Susan Rasmussen,
members of the Lakeridge 2nd Ward.