Thursday, May 30, 2013

You can tuna piano...

So for this week, not a lot happened.  My companion and I along with the other 2 in our zone were in charge of an activity for the ward.  We were told it was a great success.  My Spanish is still coming in so I can't really understand everything,  But I've only been out for about 2 weeks, so I can't expect to speak the language yet.  During the week we did a trade off so that Elder Correa and I went tracking, just the 2 of us. We met an old investigator that we were able to teach.  He was really receptive, and we have an appointment to go back this week.  I also had the opportunity to meet one of Elder Swarts' old investigators (his first one actually).  He's from Honduras.  Anyway, we were able to teach him as well.  He's moving to another city but we've already set up a lesson with the missionaries in his area to continue the lessons.  

We had our Zone meeting for the new elders in this area which was nice,  Sister Jensen (my Mission mom) gave all of us a Hershey bar, which mine subsequently melted within 2 minutes of leaving the chapel.  Our Mission's motto is "Be a Celestial Missionary."  President Jensen has given this motto for us so that we can learn that the principles that we take from our missions are merely preparing us to be Celestial Individuals. We learn here how to Love the Lord,  how to Pray and Ask for his guidance in all parts of our lives.  We learn charity for our companions and for our investigators. We strengthen our knowledge of the Gospel and come to respect our leaders, the operations of the church, and most importantly, missionaries learn to respect themselves and to remember that we are only here in the field for a short time.

Sister Jensen said during this "You have been waiting for your two years for your entire lives, decide now how you will spend those two years and from that how are you going to let others influence your ability to serve."
This weeks question for everyone that reads my blog and who wants to email me or write me their response (hint, hint),  In Acts 15 and Ephesians 2:8  it says that "By the Grace of God we are saved."  How would you explain this to someone so that they understand that they must do more than say they accept the Grace of God?

Elder Bandy

MTC Instructors
The Boys in the Zone

President and Sister Jensen
All Hermana's and Elders in District
Me :)

First Meat Outside the MTC

Monday, May 20, 2013

Squirrelly Squirrel

They have some of the weirdest Squirrels here.  

This week has been one of many new experiences, I have days where we talk with potential investigators or other people we meet and I can understand maybe 1 out of every 5-10 words they say, which is great, but then I have the days where I only understand 1 out of every 30 or so, which isn't that great but I'll be speaking the language as fluently as necessary within a few months.  The first week has been pretty good we gave about 7-9 lessons, which for the area is pretty good I'm told.  We finally taught 2 new families yesterday, Angelica y Claudia.  They live next door to each other which is a great perk, and to top it off they came from the same area in Mexico, so they speak the same dialect, to me this means that when we get done with a lesson, they can talk about our lesson with one another.  Kind of like a heads up, but that way they can progress with each other.  They both have a few small children that get along with each other really well, and we have about 8-10 children in the branch about their age, so this should help them both to feel comfortable with their kids being there.  All we really need is another week or so of them progressing and getting a member to come help us every now and then with the lessons, and they would both make great additions to the ward.  Our other lesson was with an investigator's son who hasn't really participated with us before.  Ronny is 19 almost 20, so Jamie's age, and he was very open about his beliefs.  He even thought that we were Jehovah's Witnesses, because he said that we didn't believe in the Holy Spirit, which was funny. We corrected him on that and then continued the lesson.  He even promised to say the closing prayer at our next lesson with him.  Otherwise this week has been a lot of tracting and trying to find people to teach.  I'm not very good yet with the door approaches and I can only do the most basic of greetings, so I usually leave those to my companions, but I'm going to have to start getting better at that.

A lot of our members are from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala etc...  So it gives us some great diversity. Our Ward mission leader is from Argentina (so make sure you let Hermanas Rohm, Rindlishbacher, and Miller knows so they can be jealous that I get to speak Argentinian Spanish.)  He's really nice, and he wants to work on his English while I work on my Spanish so it’s great to talk to him.  He's from Buenos Aires originally, but he says he lived in Neuquén (I think I spelled that right.)

My first Sunday was something to observe, they do their service backwards, meaning that they do Sacrament last.  We also have church at 2 so if we want investigators there for sacrament they have to stay the whole 3 hour block, which is good for them, but for investigators first coming to church, those 3 hours can be a lot.  The weather is getting really humid now, but from what I've seen of Elder Browning's shirts, I can't complain too much since we are only in the high 80's or low 90's.  Please Jolietians and family and friends, keep me posted of everything in the home front.  You can write me for free at

I will call this an abstract drawing.  Thank you Mallory!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My new temporary area is.....

So my new area is....Tallahassee, Florida

I am so sad to leave the MTC because my instructors and leaders are wonderful.  They fulfill their callings and I know that Heavenly Father is pleased with them. I wish I could bring them with me.  The district that I am in is shrinking.  Most of the Elders and Hermana's are going to either Chile, Peru, or Argentina.  But because of the difficulty of the Visa's going through we are serving mini missions in other areas.  Please pray that our Visa's will go through.  I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me before I go to Colombia.  I need to be more fluent in the language and perhaps there is someone that I need to teach in Florida.  Before leaving, we received 2 new Elders  from the Hawaiin and French Polynesian Islands.  Both of them exemplify the cultures of these islands.  It was great that I was able to brush up on my French.  Elder Lauto doesn't speak much English and his Spanish is improving but I'm the only one that can understand his French, which is such a great thing because it helps him to come out of his shell. 

Before everyone left we had a testimony meeting.  It was so powerful.  We touched each others hearts and I feel so positive that they will have successful missions and feel happy that I was able to spend time learning with them.  It is a great experience.  I have really treasured my time here with them,  It is just the most awesome thing to be surrounded by people who share the same core beliefs as yourself 24/7 and to know that whatever you do is OK, because in here we are the complete majority.  We can share our testimonies, our beliefs, our feelings and impressions and they are heeded as they should be, not ridiculed or put to the side simply because those we share it with don't appreciate it.  I have to say that it has been such a strong testimony builder for me to see so many other LDS youth here to serve and to know that I'm not as alone as I thought in being a member de la Iglesia de Jesucrist de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias.

Thank you so much for all the goodies that you sent me for my birthday.  My companions and I appreciated all of it and especially thank you for the birthday wishes,  they meant a lot to me.  I'm sending a few pictures of the district during our weekly temple walk, which is especially nice, since we get to go to the temple to perform ordinances every week and then we get to go on our walk just to be on the temple grounds.

Love you all,

Elder Bandy

Elder Couch from Mesa Arizona going to Chile, Antofagasta mission
Elder Critchlow from Utah, going to Chile, Antofagasta
Elder Adams from St. George, Utah going to the Antofagasta, Chile mission
Elder James from Sugar Grove, Utah going to Chile, Antofagasta mission
Elder Adamson from Utah, going to Chile
Elder Laulu-Pututau from Hyrum, Utah going to Chile, Antofagasta mission
Elder Bandy from Chicago, Illinois (the best looking in the bunch in my opinion) going to the Bogota, Columbia North mission
Elder Jones from Utah going to the Chile Antofagasta mission (he also has a twin who is in the MTC right now with him)

For the Hermanas it goes from left to right,
Hermana Ashby from Boise, Idaho.  She is going to Tempe, Arizona, and her original mission is to the Buenos Aires West Mission in Argentina.
Hermana Miller from St. George, Utah.  She is going to the Portland, Oregon mission (not Washington St.). Her original mission is also to Buenos Aires West in Argentina.
Hermana Brown from Mesa, Arizona.  She is going to a mission in Peru.
Hermana Rindlisbacher  from northern Utah.  She is going to the Chile, Antofagasta mission.
Hermana Bills from Utah, going to a mission in Peru
Hermana Rohm from Carlsbad, California.  Staying an extra week here with me and going to the Buenos Aires West mission in Argentina
Hermana Agle and Hermana Winters going to a mission in Peru

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My first Blog!

This past week has seen a lot of changes in the zone (stake).  We lost our 2 older districts on Monday, which makes my district the oldest one in our zone.   With the release of the other elders, we called new zone leaders which was Elder Adams and myself.  With Elder James being called as our new district leader.  I'm finding that I wish I could leave the MTC and get into the field,  While I am nowhere near ready to begin teaching in the Spanish language,    Not to say I'm not learning in the MTC, but that the day to day happening here are not a very good representation of how we will live once we are in the mission field.  Last week I also received a letter by accident saying that I was being sent to the Fresno  California Mission after being here for only a week.  I was freaking out, but I found that they had "tapped" me out in error, which I was super happy for at the time, but now I kinda wish it had been real.

On Tuesday we had the best devotional surprise with Elder Richard G. Scott coming to speak with us.  We were in the middle of an opening hymn when he walked in.  We of course stood up for his entrance, but it completely ruined the song, because we were all so happy to have an actual apostle come to speak with us.  He was a very direct but quiet speaker.  We could all easily hear him, but it had such power to it.  I can honestly say that never in all of our going to church, any of our current devotionals, have I ever felt the spirit so strongly as soon as he walked up to the podium.  He had not even begun to speak when the spirit hit all of us like a wall.  I just can't iterate enough how we could all just feel that we were in the presence of an apostle, a true apostle of Christ.  The spirit did not let us down either, the talk was inspired, he discussed our mission and the many promises that come from being worthy and set apart for our missions.  He was also one of the most humble men I have every seen.  His mannerisms and words also spoke very highly of his respect for the sisters serving in the mission field. He strongly emphasized the point "The Elders are somewhat expected and are helped to serve a mission, but for you Sisters. IT is A CHOICE!!"  He made sure that we all knew that it wasn't a responsibility of the sisters to serve missions but unlike us Elders, it was a far weightier choice than ours to serve.  There are many small things that he spoke of the highlight of the talk was when he finished discussing following promptings of the spirit.  As he finished he stated to us "I feel inspired at this moment to bestow upon each of you, especially those of you who will be serving in an area that requires you to learn a new language, an Apostolic Blessing."  As soon as he said this we all felt the power of this statement,  we have all had blessing from our fathers, grandfathers, home teachers, bishops and stake presidents.  But never have any of us been given a blessing from an apostle, and never an inspired blessing of the spirit.  This statement brought the spirit so powerfully that we all felt that this was a truly inspired moment, that he had felt the spirit tell him to bless us.  There are a few great things that he blessed us with, and I'll mail a copy of it once I finish writing it all down.  But no matter how well I write it, it won't have the same power, for as Moroni has said when compiling the book of Ether, "We are not made to be mighty in writing but mighty in deed and in word as we are prompted and supported by the spirit."

I love letters!!!!  Write me at  Thank you so much for all the letters and cards and emails!  You are the greatest. 

Love you all and will talk to you next week,

Elder Justin Bandy

Manti Temple

Mi compañero Elder Adams

Ancianos y Hermanos en el M T C