Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Letter to Banks Grandkids Feb. 27, 2017

Dear Grandkids,

Thank-you for your family letter. We enjoyed it very much. I wanted to answer your questions.

I can't believe we have grandchildren going to high school. It's much more of a shock for parents though, who have a lot to worry about. Grandparents just see this beautiful granddaughter growing up. My only advice, Sydnie, is to minimize the drama if you have a lot, and you will get a lot more of what you want ;).  In answer to your question, we work in the office, so mostly we help the mission president and wife get things done, so they can concentrate on the missionaries and help all the good looking missionaries when they come in.  We do a lot of office work, Grandpa with finances, such as bill for utilities, housing costs, car repairs, and a lot more I know nothing about. I should ask, right?  I add baptisms to the church records, which is very important. It gives the convert his membership number and starts him/her on their way to the temple.  I also make and send packets to missionaries who have just received their call. There is a bunch of paperwork they have to fill out, go to the doctor, get driving records, passports for those coming from another country (we have a few), and then do packets for those departing their mission. I order missionary nametags, talk to parents who have bad news about a family death or are coming to the area.

Elder and Sister Banks
We wear our missionary tags everyday, all day. Actually it is easy here to start up a conversation because you can ask people if they have been to visit the Washington DC temple during Christmas to see the Christmas lights. They put a light on every living thing that surrounds the temple at Christmastime. Then you can tell them about the visitor's center, which has a lot of sister missionaries serving there who give little tours and such.  I have to wear a dress all day, everyday. We have a nice two bedroom, two bath apartment, so visitors (that's you!) can come to visit. Saturday we visited a town, Frederick, MD, and Grandpa went into a knife shop and the employee looked at him for a minute and said, "Usually the guys I see wearing that tag are a lot younger!" So that was a door opening for Grandpa to tell him what he was doing and inviting him to the temple visitor's center.  Our nametags are a constant reminder to us to put our best selves out there and we are extra kind to everyone we come in contact with. We pause, we step aside, and we always have a smile for everyone.  so, if you pretend you are wearing a nametag for the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS everyday it will be easier to be kind to others and even to your own family.

Wes, we have no sense of what people in Washington DC think of President Trump. I think that two of the most liberal minded states in the country are your Washington and this Washington, so I am think most folks are fairly critical of him. There are people from all over the world here who work in research centers and for the government. John Hopkins University has a huge research facility in the town we live in and there are other universities that do too. The man considered to be the top dog of DNA research in the country is in the Stake presidency of the ward we are assigned to. A lot of members do or have family that work in the foreign service. You would have to look up what that means. There are two places in the United States that charge you if you want a plastic grocery bag. One is Seattle and the other, Montgomery County, Maryland, where we live. Go figure.

Landon,  we have not yet found any good food here, but we haven't looked yet. There are so many big buildings, big apartment buildings, and we are still trying to find our way around. So, we are going to start trying to find a good Mexican, Asian, and whatever else we can find.

Colton, we have seen one great historical place. The first full day we were here, our mission president, Pres. Johnson and his wife took the office staff to the Smithsonian's new African American Museum. We drove the metro train into the city and saw the capital building down the street, and the Washington Monument down the other way. It was thrilling. The museum was more than fascinating. It was amazing.  This Saturday, the senior couples are going to the Ford Theatre, where President Lincoln, was shot, by a crazy guy. It is going to be great.

Tomorrow we are training the new missionaries who came in last week, how to do stuff. So it will be fun to meet the new ones.

Love you all, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SYDNIE!!!!!

Grandma Banks