Sunday, May 29, 2016

Irish and Scottish Fun

Famous Irish Sayings
You've got to do your own growin' no matter how tall yer father was

Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom.

The stars make no noise.

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

Who gossips with you will gossip of you.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.

Don’t give cherries to pigs, or advice to fools.

It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life.

Put silk on a goat and it is still a goat.

A cabin with plenty of food is better than a hungry castle.

Don’t be breaking your shin on a stool that’s not in your way.

Random Pictures

Eating Fried Haggis

Stirling Castle

Belfast Blitz

Fish and Chips

Elder Stoker

Elder Ward in Falkirk

Getting his Scriptures Back!

P-Day Service

21st Birthday Surprise Dinner

Christmas with the Jackson's

Belfast, No. Ireland City Center

Elder Mickelson

Baptism of Riley

Eating at Five Guys

Train Travel

Baptism of Finula

Elder Schippers

Baptism of Hillaire

One of the Senior Sister Missionary's

Traveling by Ferry

The Primary President

Baptism of Titch

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 23, 2016 The End

Hiya Fam!

Dang this is weird! I'll do my best to make it through this. I might not respond to all of your emails to me. I'm spending my time emailing friends and missionaries. If I have time, I will definitely respond. But we'll see.

We had a very interesting week. Monday was E's last day as a Recent Convert. She was baptized a year ago that day. So we celebrated with some homemade pizza! :9

Tuesday was District Meeting. The Sister Training Leaders as well as the Zone Leaders came. It was good, but it was also the worst one I've done so far. But oh well. After some lunch we high tailed it to Bo'ness to visit E. But he must've forgot because he was in the middle of his lunch and he had an appointment in an hour or so. So we rescheduled. We came back to Falkirk so I could do the Eye of Faith. Then we went to Callendar park to meet a young girl named J. Yup. But she never showed up. So we went to our next appointment a little early. We met with A McC, the brother of the Branch President. He recently had surgery. They amputated his pinkie toes! Don't know the full story why. Ha but he was cool. Nice guy.

Wednesday I finished my Eye of Faith, then we went by some formers in Linlithgow. The Sisters needed me to sign J J's baptismal record, so they came in their car and picked us up in Polmont. On the bus ride to Polmont we bumped into Brother and Sister Major, who offered to take us out for lunch! We gratefully accepted. In the Sisters car, we actually beat the bus!! Anyways after some fish and chips, we went to visit Ma S!!! Deaf Ma!! He broke his leg on Monday, but he was back home Wednesday. It was a fine appointment. He didn't really pay attention to our video, but oh well. We then had our weekly Coordination meeting in Bo'ness. You know, I've NEVER gotten home on time after a Coordination in Bo'ness! Which is crazy because we should have an hour and a half before 9, but somehow we always get home at 9:30!! Buses...

Thursday we met with S, talked a bit about prayer and the Book of Mormon. He's such a cool guy! He's reaaaaaaally into computers. Not just coding, but everything to do with software, computers, physical stuff, everything. I know so little!! It's cool though. After some lunch we then went to the St's. They were about to leave on a trip and wouldn't get back until June 4th. So they were my first goodbye. It was weird!!! Then I planned for my last District Meeting (should be great! Hopefully...) Then we went to teach BSL. We just reviewed everything we've gone over already.

Then we had J. We were running very late, and wouldn't have had any time to really teach him, so we called and asked if we could reschedule, but he said no, he wanted us to come over so he could "show us what he'd discovered." That lesson was a waste of time. I don't even want to talk about it. He made us miss our bus though. It was 9:20 and we had to walk home. But thankfully the Lord sent us a Tender Mercy. Brother Gibb showed up out of nowhere in a car and gave us a lift. We were inside at 9:29!!

Friday was particularly crazy. That morning we went by M A. He's still struggling so he asked for a blessing. We had lunch at the Rumbling Tum. Then we went to the library to do Family History with E. But she was really really late. We're talking almost 40 minutes late! We stuck around to work on the Missionary Fireside we're doing. Well, not we, but Elder Ward. It'll be on the 3rd. Dang it!! Anyways she came in and told us why she was late: she'd had a seizure in the ASDA bathroom. ASDA = Walmart, btw. She said she was fine, just needed to calm down. She looked shaken, but okay. For a few minutes we waited for her to sort herself out. Then she said she was going to the bathroom. Looking back, I have no idea how I didn't realize what she was doing. But after 20 minutes of her in the bathroom, we went to the librarian, told them the situation, some of her compadres opened the door to find her on the floor. An ambulance was called, but she was back up by the time it arrived. She was released later that night. So alls well that ends well! But man that was freaky!!

Not long after the ambulance drove off we went to teach C G again. We got him to set the temple as his goal. Then we had dinner with W and his Mum. They gave us a massive plate, where one half was lasagna and the other half was salad and a beetroot. I've never eaten that much salad in my life!! But I ate it. First time I've ever tried Caesar's dressing. 

We missed the bus home, so we had to walk. On the way we GQ'd two guys who turned out to be sailors from Lithuania, who were only in Falkirk for the day and asked where the bus station was. So we walked with them back to the bus station and helped them find a taxi! What a day!!! Nice guys. Only one of them could speak English though.

Saturday morning we helped the J's move. Brother J is the Branch Clerk. They have a few children. The youngest is a set of adopted twins that are 9. They have another son that's 14. After that we worked some more on the fireside, then had dinner, then began a Mission wide fast for baptisms. We included J in our fast because he said he was coming to church. Then Brother I picked us up and took us to M S's. She said she'd come to church!! We had a great lesson with her on the Sabbath day.

And finally Sunday. M came to church and so did J. M left after sacrament meeting. After Gospel Principles class was over, J started Bible Bashing. He didn't leave until over an hour after church was finished. The Branch Members were great though! They did their best to testify and answer his questions. I was really happy to see that. But I think we can safely assume that J has been dropped.

The rest of the day was finding, going by referrals, etc. M did not come to church again, which made us really scared until he texted us and apologized for sleeping in. Which is better than nothing. At least we finally got ahold of him!!

But that was my week! Got a lot of appointments this week. Thank goodness!! 

So here's the plan as far as I know: Sunday night I'll be staying overnight with the Zone Leaders. Monday morning I'll arrive at the Mission Home along with everyone going home with me. There will be a devotional, we'll climb Pratt's Hill, we'll be interviewed by President Donaldson. Then we'll sleep in the Mission Home. That'll be a party!! Then Tuesday morning I fly home! To my knowledge, we won't have time to email. So don't expect anything. But hey, you never know! 

Anyways, before I sign off, I first want to thank you all. You are the best family ever! My mission has grown my testimony of that, and my gratitude for all yalls. I've met so many families, both members and nonmembers, that struggle with so much that we are free of. Thanks so much for your support and your emails, your letters, your pictures, your prayers, everything. I couldn't have gone through these two years without you! Heck, I couldn't have gone through these 21 years without you!!!

I testify that God lives. He loves us. He has a great sense of humor!! Elder Ward and I look for His humor every day! He wants to bless us. He is literally our Father in Heaven. I testify that Jesus Christ is His Son. He is the Only Begotten. He suffered and died so that we can live with Him again. I testify that He lives. I testify that both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. That is a fact. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I love that book. It has provided me with such strength and encouragement and power. I testify that Thomas S Monson is a Prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - Day Saints is God's kingdom here on Earth. I conclude my ministry in the Scotland / Ireland Mission with that seared into my soul. I'll never, no never forsake.

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

PS  I plan to Sleep, write in my journal, study the scriptures on that long plane ride!

May 16, 2016 Only one more of these left to go!

Hiya Fam!

We had a good week this week!

Monday was a day of miracles! So many people we talked to and the whole time we felt guided by the Lord! It was incredible! 

Tuesday was alright.

Kidding. It was my birthday on Tuesday, for those of you who didn't know. Really enjoyed it!! I went out of the room real quick to turn on the heating, and when I came back in, the Sisters were holding a cake with a candle on it and everyone was singing Happy Birthday!! It was a delicious carrot cake! So nice of them.

Then Elder Moore and I went out to Alloa to interview J J, the Sister's investigator. Elder Moore and I had lunch at their flat then we went out to meet them and J at a cafe before we went to a member's house to do the interview. We got there, the sisters arrived, and we then waited for J.

And waited. And waited. And waited. The sisters were devastated. Elder Moore and I had to get going for an appointment though, so we left for Falkirk again. We met with C G. Helped him with his garden again, discussed the Sabbath day, then we had to get to M and A's. 

So in the middle of our lesson with C, we got a text from Elder Ward, telling us that he and Elder Barton had GQ'd a guy, and had set up an appointment for that very night at McDonalds, but unfortunately they wouldn't be able to make it, so they asked if we could. The appointment was at 7:30, and it was now almost 7. We went to M's and explained the situation, and he said we could go to the appointment. I felt so bad! But he was fine with it. Gave me a bit of a hard time about it, but he was fine. As we were walking to the bus stop, E drives up! We explained the situation and asked if she could give us a lift. She said sure, but we needed M to be there in the car. M had to bring Ma along as well. He said they were going to get some dinner anyways, so it was alright.

So they dropped Elder Moore and I off at the McDonalds. We were waiting there for a little bit when I realized: we had no idea what this guy looks like! So I sent them a quick text, then we went outside to hopefully spot him easier. 

And there were the other Elders! Elder Barton and Elder Ward! They didn't quite explain themselves, just said they needed to use the restroom, but rather than go into the McDonalds, they went into the Nando's. Do you remember Nando's? It's a Peri Peri restaurant. It's really fancy! And there was E and M and Ma!! SURPRISE!!!! It was really fun! Delicious food (I tried the spiciest sauce they had: Xtra Xtra Spicy. It was fine), such nice friends, and they even got me a cake! :) Great way to end the birthday, I say!

Oh, and even better, the night before I had baked my own cake! So I had 3 birthday cakes! 

But wait, there's more! After we were back at the flat, the Sisters called and told us the good news: they'd found J!! He'd apparently been on the second floor of the cafe, and we'd missed him!! So Elder Moore and I went back to Stirling the next day. Interviewed J (he was such a prepared guy, I thought he was just reading the answers off a cheat-sheet!!), He's a really cool guy! He even got the priesthood on Sunday!!   We had a few more appointments. It was a good exchange. Longest one I've ever had! Almost 48 hours! Oh, and while I was away, the Relief Society President gave the other Elders ANOTHER cake!! So 4 cakes!! The District meeting cake was gone by the end of District Meeting, and the one I baked is gone now. But still got two cakes left!! Aggghhh!!!

Thursday we met with S again. He had a few questions from his Book of Mormon reading, which we answered. We also had lunch there, which was good. Tried coleslaw for the first time! It was okay. Then we went to G's and helped her out with her fence. W, a member here, helped us out. He then gave us a lift to a LA lady Elder Ward and Elder Barton had met. She asked if we could help move a patio table from her daughter's house to her own, which we did. Then we had BSL class, which was fine. Then we met with J.

Oh J. Essentially at the end of the lesson he challenged us to a bible bash to try and prove that the Trinity isn't true. We're going to go there and focus on the Book of Mormon instead, then see where we go from there. But PLEASE pray for him. We need a miracle.

Friday morning we met with M and A. We taught them about keeping the Sabbath day holy. They got the hint. They committed to come to church, and to make the day as holy as possible. It was a great lesson!! :)

Then we went to A M's. Before we even began his friend R told us "There are two roads, one leads to heaven the other leads to hell. Both look great, so how do you know which one to go down? Rely on the word of God." Then he asked us to study the Bible alone and to think about our path. Thank goodness some of A's students (he teaches piano lessons) showed up right then, because Elder Ward was this close to standing up and rebuking him!! Same here. Neither R nor J realize something: I'VE ALREADY STUDIED!! I'VE ALREADY DONE ALL THAT! I got my answer! Do you think I'd be out here if I hadn't???

Oh well. After that we went home so I could plan for District Meeting. The STL's and the Zone Leaders will be coming, so the size of our meeting has nearly doubled! Then we went by referrals and Gq'd until we had our dinner appointment with W and his Mum.

Saturday we meant to go to the baptism in Alloa, but there was a bus mixup, so it didn't happen. :( Apparently President and Sister Donaldson came!!! Dang it! Oh well. We were able to make it to A's this way. Those trees we planted for her have come along nicely! We ripped up all the grass in her garden. She didn't want it anymore. Then we had a dinner appointment with the I's, so we went to their neighborhood and chapped around. It was a nice neighborhood!

The dinner was great. Brother I took us up to his "mancave" where he makes and paints tin soldiers. He has a whole army of them, and he's pretty good too! It looked really fun, wouldn't mind giving it a try someday.

They took us to M's after that and we had a great lesson with her! She said she couldn't make it this Sunday, but she knew she needed to go to church, so she said she'd come next Sunday!!! She gave the closing prayer for the first time as well!! Things are looking up for her!

Sunday was Branch Conference. The Stake Presidency came, along with several other Stake people. In fact, there were just as many Stake people as there were Branch members!! But M didn't come. Still don't know why. We need to see him and meet with him!!! 

After church we went by a ton of referrals, gave a book of Mormon to Scott Major (I thought he'd asked for one to give to somebody, but it turns out that his Ipad wasn't working so he needed a regular book version of the BoM. But still good! Maybe he can give it to somebody in the future. 

That was our week! We tried having Pulled Chicken yesterday using Root Beer a member had given us! It was good!! :9

I'm thinking of just leaving behind most of my white shirts and trousers. Not all of course, I need them! Just leave behind the ones that are the most worn. Is that okay? 

Talent is like a mix between fudge and caramel. It's the texture of fudge, but the flavor of caramel.  Great!

Thank you so much for the birthday money!!! :)   I'm getting a Sporran. It's a thing the Scottish would use to hold their hip flasks while wearing a kilt. But don't worry, I can find other uses for it!! :)

Just keep following the royal line, every person that has "Sir" or "Lady" at the beginning of their name and it will lead you to the King!  We're royalty!

Okay, so here's something that's been on my mind lately. Just how gradual being Born Again is. Looking back on my mission (and I've been doing that a lot lately), I can see just how much I've changed, little by little, step by step. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to change us into a perfect person, but all too often I get frustrated and impatient with myself for taking so long! But we all are on that path, and that path stretches on into the eternities! We've got plenty of time to become perfect, all we have to do today is to be better than we were yesterday, to take each and every step along that road. Lehi never described exactly how long the path was to the tree of life, but if you read his dream, you'll notice that it took him several hours!!! That's quite the dream! It will take us a long time too! But we just have to keep doing what's right. 

Anyways, love yas!! I've only got one more left!! How weird is that??? Talk to yas then!! :)

Elder Bates

May 9, 2016 Happy (late) Mothers Day!

Hiya Fam!

I remembered to say "Happy Mothers Day" to Mom before I ended the Skype, but I forgot to say it to Laura, Kate, and Marie. So Happy Mothers Day! 

It was great seeing you guys!! Elder Ward says he's feeling very trunky, but I'm actually surprised at how normal I feel! It doesn't even feel like I saw you yesterday! Poor Elder Ward... It's probably because his girlfriend, without telling him beforehand, had come to the Skype. Girls... Claire, don't date a PM (Pre-Missionary)

Anyways I've already told you about our investigators, for the most part. So I'll just tell you how our week went:

Tuesday was crazy full!! We had appointment after appointment after appointment!! After emailing, we went to Sister E H, a wonderful older lady in the ward who seemed to think she was catering for an all-you-can-eat buffet rather than feeding two missionaries and their Joint Teach!! First time in a long time that I had corn on the cob again. I missed it. After that we went over to S's, but the bus we needed to catch never came! We were almost an hour late for our appointment!! Only had time for me to meet him and get to know him a bit before we had to rush to our next appointment! C G was having us over for dinner again. Chicken curry. It was a miracle we had room in our stomachs for that after Sister H's!! We then had to go over to a new investigator's place, who wasn't in. So we went by G, who lived nearby, to see how she was doing. We helped her put new windows in her car, then she gave us a lift back to our flat.

Wednesday was the All Scotland Conference! It was incredible, really fun, and scary all at the same time! It was particularly weird seeing missionaries from my own group go up and give their outgoing testimonies!! Freaky. On the way home from that, we were walking down the street to the train station when we heard a loud BANG! We turned around and saw a guy intertwined with his bike, lying prostrate on the middle of the road!! We rushed to help him, along with a few other people (one woman actually got out of her car while she was in the middle of traffic to help him!) An ambulance was called, and we stuck around until he was taken care of by the emergency people. I've never seen that much blood before! It was a head injury, so it looked more serious than it really was. His main worry would have been concussion, probably. I'm sure he's fine now. After we got back to Falkirk, we arrived just in time for our Coordination meeting with the Branch Mission Leader, which went well.

Thursday, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Elder Ward and I went out for Mexican burritos after Weekly Planning. Delicious! Then we had a real appointment with S. He's so cool! He's German and is really into computers and creates software for people. After that we met with E to do more Family History, then went to BSL class. That went well! After that we went by several referrals, GQ'd for a bit, then came home.

Friday morning we met with M A again and we watched a General Conference talk. After that we went out to Bo'ness to contact several referrals of ours out there. That's where we met E! I told you about him, I think. We came home, went by a few more people in Falkirk, then had dinner with W and his Mother. Had another delicious dinner with them. 

Saturday we did some service for the Majors, which, like I told you, went far longer than we'd planned. But we were still able to have time to go teach M S again. That went really well! The Plan of Salvation is so reassuring, isn't it? We also met J on the bus over to the Majors in the morning. He was talking about a friend of his, who only recently has started coming to a church, and how his mom died about a year ago. But J said it was so sad because he couldn't tell his friend that everything would be alright with his mom! I gained a much greater appreciation for the knowledge that we have from that experience.

After church yesterday I planned for our District Meeting, then we met up with M and E to Skype you guys, then after the Skype they took us to another referral of ours. Wonderful family! SO nice!!!

That was our week! Loved loved loved talking to you all yesterday!! Wish I could have gone on longer! 40 minutes isn't enough!!

We're going to be discussing the Book of Mormon in our District Meeting. So I was studying Chapter 5 of PMG to prepare for it, and that chapter is full of the many different ways the Book of Mormon can and ought to be used for missionary work! It's there to establish our church's divinity, to testify of Christ, to answer the "deep questions of the soul", to resolve concerns, to bring us closer to God, and probably a plethora more!! What an inspired book!! I am going to make a greater emphasis on it these next few weeks, and I hope you are too!!

Oh, and I'm also sending you a recording of my farewell testimony. You can't hear President's comment, and it takes a bit to get to my testimony, but I hope you enjoy it!

Have a great week! Love yas!! :)

Elder Bates

Friday, May 27, 2016

January 12, 2015 Sorry!

I'm so glad to hear that everything is going well!

As for the questions, here are your answers:

·         We do alot of walking and taking buses.  No bikes.

·         I wear the sweaters, jacket, and the thermals you sent me!  Everything is perfect!  I love the watch in particular.  It's nice!

·         I don't need to buy boots, but probably a coat.  I'll wait until the one I have wears out before I purchase a new one though.

·         Today I am writing Ben (my roommate from BYU) and a few sisters.  I hear from people now and then.  It all depends.

·         My companion has been out a little over a year.  He is from Southern Utah, a tiny town called Hanksville. He's a very good guy! He really wants to change his life around (even though, in my opinion, he's got nothing to worry about!) He's always trying to be the best he can, and I really admire him for that.  We're closer in age than my other companions.

I'm glad you got those pictures!

I'm glad you were able to do some missionary work, Mom!! I hope something great comes from it! And if not, remember that a person, on average, has to have some form of contact with the church about 7 times before they're converted. So whether they actually go through with it or not, you still helped them get that much closer!!

I absolutely LOVED that quote Mom sent!! I am definitely using that! 

We had a big East Scotland Conference, with all the missionaries serving in the Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh zones. It was big! Anyways, there was a couple that got up and talked with us about Family History. Have you seen the My Family booklet? Well that's what they're pushing. It's going to be great!  I have to get mine filled out so send stories about my grandparents!

This week at our conference with President, he told us we needed to clean out our memory sticks (every missionary has a memory stick with music and talks on them that's how we listen to such stuff), because many missionaries had inappropriate music on them.  I have been obedient.

I have no time to talk this week! Again!

Sorry! Better stories next time!

Thanks for the advice and the packages! I'm almost through it all! Probably by next week haha but I won't be getting any packages until February so I wouldn't send any yet.
Oh, and Dad has an interview with an Apostle!!! Wow! Any guy's dream! I will definitely pray for him. 

Love you so much!! Thanks for everything! If you have any other questions, let me know!

Elder Bates

May 3, 2016 Tuesday Email due to a Bank Holiday

Hiya Fam!

Well another week's come and gone, and now I'm in a new month! A scary month... But a great month!! :)

Tuesday was a little crazy! We had quite a few problems that resulted in me and Elder Ward being an HOUR late to District Meeting!! That bus driver just drove right on by, no reason whatsoever! So we had to shrink District Meeting a bit, but it turned out okay. Then we went home with the Stirling Elders to do our Exchange. I was with Elder Barton. What a champion. He was my Zone Leader in Dublin! My how the tables have turned mwa ha ha! Oh, and on the way home we bumped into a member who bought our lunch for us! Totally random but awesome! I always feel bad when members do that, but at the same time I love it. :)

We had a really good exchange. We talked with people on the street for a few hours, then went over to C G's house. He was having us over for dinner: homemade chicken curry. It was pretty good! Not as good as Dad's, though. :) Now, that day was Elder Moore's birthday, so Elder Barton asked if we could stop real quick into ASDA, which is the UK's Walmart (literally. It's even owned by Walmart), to get some cake for his companion. On the way to that (it wasn't too far) we talked to a guy named J. He was really cool! When we told him we were missionaries, he asked if we were Christians, which we of course said yes. Then he asked if we read the Bible, which we said yes, and added that we also read the Book of Mormon. He'd never heard of that so he asked about it, and we gave him a copy. We tried to set up an appointment with him, but we didn't. But I gave him our number so that if he had any questions he could call us. 

Fast forward just about an hour or so later, and we were in Grangemouth trying to find one of the referrals we'd received from our Area Books, when he called us! Said he wanted to meet with us! We got his address and what do you know? It's the exact same street we were already on! It was one of those moments when you just can't help but take a moment and offer a quick gratitude prayer. So we go over. And we had a great lesson! At one point he was out of the room, and Elder Barton and I look at one another and we both whisper "He is great! So prepared!"

Well, the lesson turned a wee bit sour once we started talking about the Great Apostasy. He seems to believe that Jesus Christ is the Priesthood, and that we don't need an actual church and so on. It started going real south when he started looking up Anti to throw at us right in front of us as we were sitting there! And I was just thinking "Where did all this come from?? Everything was going so well!!" But Elder Barton saved the day. He bore a powerful testimony of how the Book of Mormon has strengthened his testimony of Jesus Christ, and how it's brought him closer to Him. That's when it went back. It never got back to the way it was before, but it was better. We left on a good note, at least. I prayed about it later, about what went wrong, and the answer I received was that he'd let his pride put up defensive barriers. We saw him again on Sunday while we were walking through Grangemouth, chatted briefly and then he was on his way to help his grandmother. We're still good, but please pray for him.

Anyways, the next day we did Family History with E. She is a Family History Addict!!! LOVES IT!!! So we decided, to help her focus on good things instead of bad things, to do Family History with her a few times a week. We started last Wednesday. She didn't have her computer at that time (looooong story there) so we went to the Library. The only problem was that there was two of us, but one of her. So while she was helping Elder Ward, I couldn't really do a thing... I would look up my ancestors and then look up what was happening at the times they were living in. But at the end I gave her the name, birth date, death date, and marriage date, of one of my Scottish Ancestors: David Neilson. She was going to go to Edinburgh to look up their records for us. More on that later, but she found out my clans!! This is what she texted us:

"Bates originally comes from England but its tartan is the MacFarland. Neilson has five tartans: the Macneil tartan, Stuart of Bute tartan, Mackay tartan, Gunn tartan or MacGregor tartan."

So here's the thing: the first thing I thought of when she told me my clans was this: "sweet, I can get all the guys in my family our clan ties!" So look up all those different tartans and be sure to let me know which one you want. I'll give E the money, and she will go to Edinburgh to get them for you. So be sure to let me know! Personally, I'm a fan of the Macneil, Mackay, and Gunn tartans, so I'll probably get one of them. But you guys can choose!

Okay so later that day we had dinner at a member's house: W. He lives with his Mum who's got health issues but comes to church as often as she can. Deeeeeeeeeelicious steak pie!! Wow! Then he took us to Branch Council, which he's a part of.

Thursday morning, after some Weekly Planning, we went to the library to do some more Family History with E. She had apparently printed off several copies of birth and marriage certificates for my ancestors going back to the 1100's. I told you she's an addict! She goes crazy about this stuff!! BUT WHOOO!!! However she didn't show. We later found out she was talking with her lawyer. Or solicitor, as they call them out here. Don't ask why. So we rescheduled for Friday. 

We had an appointment with C G again, which went well. He's been reading the Book of Mormon every day so we committed him to start praying every day. We went to try by some referrals, then came to the church to finish our weekly planning then set up for BSL class. We taught everyone how to teach the Restoration lesson in BSL. That was fun!

Then we had an appointment with A M. He invited his friend R over. The one from the Pentecostal church? We watched a Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon, and we bore our testimonies on it. Elder Ward in particular bore a powerful testimony, I felt the spirit so strong! It was incredible! But R disagreed. He started talking and kept on talking for a while telling us all sorts of stuff. I don't even remember half of it. He never said it outright, but I got the vibe that he was trying to tell us, after we'd borne our testimonies to them both, that we still needed to be saved and stuff. 

Elder Ward and I went home frustrated. There is nothing like bearing your testimony and having someone treat that lightly, or with contempt. I'm sure most if not all of you have felt that way at some point. It stinks, huh?

Anyways, moving on, Friday was our day with the Zone Leaders. We had Zone Leadership Council in the morning, which went well. Then we had our exchange. We spent the whole day at the university. I was with Elder Tullis. Good missionary. We had two appointments set up at the beginning of the day, but we ended up having five! We literally would talk to someone, then ask them if they had time right then, and we would teach them in the library! It was great!! One thing I do have to complain about: it was sleeting at times. Snowing at other times. Literally. SNOW. IN APRIL. It would only snow or sleet or rain for five minutes before it'd be sunny again. But still!  It was snowing!!

Saturday we came back from Edinburgh in the morning. Before dropping us off at the train station the ZL's took us to the Mission Home so we could grab some supplies. But we accidentally left them there!! Awkward... But when we arrived we did Family History with E. We only finished two families in the two hours we did (which was more than we should have done, but I got into it too! Ha) She said I've got a lot of work to do!! Then we had Lunch then we went out to try by some referrals over in Polmont. While we were there we got a text from E, who had AGAIN gone back to Edinburgh and started digging even deeper into our Scottish line, and actually went back to about 900 AD!!!! And you know what she found? I (and by I, I really should say WE) am related to King James V of Scotland!! So that was exciting. I've got royal blood! Hey, stop looking so surprised!!

Anyways, after that we went to teach M S again.  Our Joint Teach was getting really fidgety by the end because he was late for meeting with his friends but we couldn't stop it! How do you politely ask someone to stop talking so much?? But beyond that it went well. 

Then we had church on Sunday. Which went well. M came, yippee!! We invited him to a meal appointment on Tuesday (today!) but yesterday he said he couldn't make it. Dang it. Still, little contact is better than no contact. 

After church we went with Brother Scott Major, the American, and his daughter Keri, to Lunch. They made us Sloppy Joes! Oh, and we forgot to fast on Sunday. :I Awkward... SO we fasted yesterday!

Anyways, we spent the whole day trying to contact as many referrals as possible! And we got 3 out of 6! Not bad! But M S. dropped us. He wasn't progressing and isn't nearly as ready for baptism as we had thought. It's a really long story. M we're still trying to set up another appointment. Same with M. He said we won't be able to meet up until next Sunday. Frustrating. 

 Monday was another bipolar weather day. Intense rain for five minutes followed by sun. Oh Well!! We had FHE with E, M, and A again. Which went well.  It was a bank holiday which is why I didn't write yesterday.

But yeah! That was the week! It was really fun! Tomorrow is All - Scotland Conference! We have to be in the chapel by 7:30. No later. Presidents orders. That'll be fun. 

Mom sent me a copy of her blog post about following the prophet.  I really like all of that! I tried to pay more attention to those kinds of things the Prophets and Apostles have been saying. They've been saying the same things over and over so much, everyone's waiting for something new or drastic, but that's not how it works.

So I was studying today from True to the Faith. I was studying the Atonement, and I was looking up every scripture reference. It's been a good study so far, it's my second day doing it! Anyways, today I read Helaman 5:10-11. Everyone always goes straight to 12, which is a great verse too, but 10-11 are gems as well. Fascinating. Jesus Christ gets His power to redeem us from the Father. But He gets the opportunity, or the ability (not sure yet which one it is) to exercise it only on the condition that we repent. So His Redeeming power is only held back by our willingness to repent! Incredible huh? 

I also found this one interesting. In verse 10 Nephi and Lehi are reminded of Amulek who spoke of how Christ won't redeem us in our sins, but that He will redeem us from our sins. What an interesting way of putting it! Why did he say that? Well, for one thing, I looked up in and from in the dictionary (sounds pretty silly, I know, but bear with me), and the word in denotes being surrounded by, or to be involved with something. While from denotes a separation. With that in context, listen to that again: Christ won't redeem us in our sins, but He will redeem us from our sins. Another way of looking at it is this: the main thing holding us back from being with our Father in Heaven (you know, aside from mortality and all the rest of that) is our sins. We are constantly fighting against "those sins that doth so easily beset us", but we are constantly failing to some degree or another. The Savior, through His Atonement, can save us from our sins. He can free us. If we let Him. 

I don't love my Savior as much as I should. But my love for Him should be growing stronger every day. The more I study, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I understand. The more I understand, the more I grow. What a glorious plan God has for us!! I love it! I love basking in the glory of His plan!! Studying it strikes me with wonder and awe. How perfect, and how incredible! I wish more people understood this. But that's where we come in! We have to show it to these people that are surrounding us!! How lucky we are! :)

I love you guys so much!! Talk to you on Sunday!! :)

Elder Bates