Monday, December 29, 2014

A Christmas Miracle

Christmas Miracle for Elder Bates

 Written by Sister Reynolds

On Tuesday, December 23, 2014, we learned from our Zone Leaders, that one of the Elders in our Zone was not going to be receiving any Christmas presents from his family on Christmas Day because of a little snafu at the Mission Home.  

Because Elder Reynolds and I were so upset at the thought of this Elder being so disappointed at such a tender time of the year -- and also in a new Mission area for him -- we had considered driving to Edinburgh early today to pick up Elder Bates' presents and find a way to get them to him by Boxing Day at the very least, since the Zone Leaders thought it might even be the seventh of January before they could get them to him.  

However, that hope was dashed when the young family we were going to spend Christmas Eve with tonight called us late last night to tell us that they had to move our Christmas Eve dinner with them up from 7:00 p.m. in the evening to 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon because the Bishop of our Ward had asked them to help with a service project for the Ward at 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  Once we heard that, we knew that we wouldn't be able to get to Edinburgh and back in time to still make the dinner appointment with this family by 3:00 today. 

Even though I knew it was fruitless to even still try to figure out a way to get this Elder his Christmas presents, I still thought about this situation most of the night last night (so I didn't sleep very well)!  

When we got up this morning, I finally had another idea -- not an idea of how to get his "real" presents to him (I had finally given up on that) but an idea to just get at least ONE present to him so he'd have something to open on Christmas morning.  

With this new thought in mind, I asked Elder Reynolds if he had the phone number for the Bishop in Inverness (which is this Elder's new area).  My thought was that we could contact that Bishop and see if he and his Ward could put together something to give this Elder on Christmas morning.  

Elder Reynolds said that he didn't have the Bishop's phone number, and so I asked him to call one of our YSA's (Curtis Goldstraw) who was once the Ward Clerk for the Inverness Ward.  (Interestingly, had I remembered that I could access that number on the online Church Directory through, I would have totally short-circuited the eventual miracle that happened regarding the delivery of these presents, as we would never have called Curtis!)

Curtis -- thankfully -- answered his phone!  (Most YSA's just send you back a text, instead of actually speaking with you!)  Jim explained the problem; and Curtis said that he was in Edinburgh, but would call the Bishop and see what help he could get rolling for Elder Bates.   Elder Reynolds said that was great, hung up the phone.  To which I said, -- "Did you just say that Curtis is in Edinburgh???  Well, call him back and see if he IS going back to Inverness tonight and if there is a possibility that HE could take Elder Bates' presents to him if the Mission Home can connect with him today."  

So, Elder Reynolds got back on the phone and asked him if he would be willing to take the presents back to Inverness with him if he was going back home tonight, and if the Mission Home could get them to him while he was in Edinburgh.  Curtis answered, "Yes" to all of those questions, so Elder Reynolds said he would call the Mission Home and see if they could get the presents to Curtis, since Curtis wasn't familiar with Edinburgh and had no idea where the Mission Home was or how to get there.

Elder Reynolds then called the Mission Home and got hold of Sister Ferguson, who is the Mission Home Secretary.  She told Elder Reynolds that it had been her fault that the presents got misdirected in the first place (they were sent with the AP's to Belfast last weekend.   She said she had been sick about that mistake and had been praying for a solution to the problem ever since she found out that the mix-up had happened. She also said that the presents had just arrived back at the Mission Home from Belfast last night.  

Elder Reynolds gave her Curtis' phone number so she could find out exactly where to send the AP's with the presents.  Long story short, when he called both parties back a few minutes later, the hand-off had been arranged; and the presents were on their way to Curtis and his Mom.

When I found out that Elder Bates was actually going to receive his presents, I just bawled, because I knew that the Lord was aware of all of us.  He was aware of Sister Ferguson, who had made the mistake in the first place, and who had been praying for days to find a way to rectify it -- something that couldn't be done until the presents were actually back to the Mission Home.  He was aware of Elder Reynolds and me, as we had also been praying for a solution to the problem for a day and a half.  He was aware of the Zone Leaders who also felt bad that Elder Bates wasn't going to get his gifts, but who felt they could do nothing to fix the problem.  AND he was aware of Elder Bates, who thought he wasn't going to get any Christmas presents from his family on Christmas because of the snafu, since Sister Ferguson had called him yesterday to give him that news.  The other folks the Lord was aware of were Elder Bates' parents and family who would feel really bad to know that their son and brother didn't get the gifts that they had lovingly purchased for him and sent to him for Christmas.  

The other unique information that tells me just how much the Lord was into the details of this solution to Elder Bates'  "Present Problem" was that when we got to the Shellhouses this afternoon at 3:00 p.m., the Dad got a phone call within just a few minutes of our arrival saying that the service project which had necessitated pushing our get-together earlier in the day had just been called off.  Had we not thought we needed to be to the Shellhouse's early, we most certainly would have made a needless trip down to Edinburgh today to pick up the presents the Lord already had a plan in mind to deliver.  We would have gone down to get them, and -- because we didn't have time to actually get Elder Bates' presents as far as Inverness tonight (or even tomorrow) Elder Bates still would NOT have had his presents for Christmas.  

We had a plan put together by a couple of mortals, BUT -- the Lord had a plan put together by a God, who knew that Curtis and his Mother would be in Edinburgh today; that the presents would be back at the Mission Home today; and that He could plant a thought in my head to try to get Elder Bates "A" present for Christmas, after which I would ask Elder Reynolds to call Curtis!!  (Thus, with God, even the impossible -- getting those presents to Elder Bates tonight, so he would have them for Christmas Day -- wasn't impossible.)  

So, there you have it -- a genuine, real live, Christmas Miracle!!

Love, Sister and Elder Reynolds

YSA Senior Missionaries

Aberdeen Stake

Aberdeen, Scotland


Christmas Eve 2014

December 22, 2014 Skype!

Sounds like a good old fashioned Bates Family Christmas!!

I'm glad you got my package! I'm very glad you enjoyed it so much! I'd love to answer any questions you have during the Skype. I can totally picture Marie dancing around the lawn with my package hahaha

I'm glad Makayla's papers are in. That's so cool! She's gonna love it!

Okay, so this is the information I know about SKYPE. On Christmas Day we're hanging out with one family from 9:30 till 12. Then we're going  with the Clark family from 3 to 9. They're the ones I'm going to be doing Skype with. I'll try to Skype with you starting between 4 and 6 our time. I'll email you before I get on Skype so you can be ready. Our phones can't call or text outside of the UK. I'll just email you when I want to Skype, so keep your phone handy and the wifi ready!  If you guys have any questions, I'm happy to answer them! But I also want to hear from YOU!!! ALL of you! I won't be satisfied if all I do is talk the entire 40 minutes! Hahaha  Sound good?

Well, I would tell you about Inverness, but I'll save it for Skype, fair enough? Just know that it is beautiful!! AND FREEZING!!! 

Anyways, can't wait to talk with you!!!! AAAHHH!  Love you!!! I'll be seeing you soon!! Give M a big birthday hug for me!! LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!
Elder Bates

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15, 2014 Guess where I'm going?

Hello! How are things?

I am being transferred. And yes, I'm very sad to be leaving Cumbernauld literally a week before Christmas. Wednesday is actually the Ward Christmas party! I'm missing it! James Cowie is going to be Santa. I'd have loved to see that. I'm going to miss those guys, but especially the kids. I loved those little kids! You want to know something? We got the call right after this Stake Christmas Truce show. I told Sister Black, the wife of the Bishop, and a bunch of other members. Anyhow, so little Ben Black comes running up to me and is like "You're leaving! No!" Oh, I just melted. We're having dinner with them tonight, so I'll have a proper goodbye with him then. It's so sad! Don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to Inverness, but I'm going to miss Cumbernauld Ward.

Last week you asked for a play-by-play on my week. So I took extra care to write in my journal as much as I could about the week!


So today was a really great day. A Five Guys opened up in downtown Glasgow!! Us and the Airdrie Elders met up there and bought our burgers. We weren't the only ones with this idea in mind! By the time our food arrived, there were at least 12 missionaries at the restaurant! Oh it was so good!! It was an American burger! They must've shipped the meat from America, because it was NOT a British burger! Elder Hanson had to pay nearly fifteen pounds to get a bacon cheeseburger and some fries and a drink!! We realized that he'd spent over $20!!!! It was definitely worth it, but we won't be able to go there often. We just walked around Glasgow after that. I told you about studying my patriarchal blessing, right? That night, we were going to go to James Cowie's, but he had to cancel, he had to get a tooth pulled. We moved it to Thursday.


Today was District Meeting! We had an awesome district meeting! We were talking about some really deep stuff! Basically the meat of it was that the whole purpose of life is to gain intelligence. And apparently, that and the Fall are the only things that are keeping us from becoming Gods! And we found a scripture that says that following Satan actually decreases your intelligence! How crazy is that! So on our way home after that, Brother McDonald invited us over for dinner! Our train was running late, so we arrived just in time! Then we went to Ward Council, and finally went home! So a good day! Oh, and I've been keeping track and today was day number 160 on my mission!


We went by an AUF, and then had to high-tail it back to the Church building for Ward Choir Practice! After practice, this one member gave Elder Hanson and I some microwave meals! We were very glad to get those, because our oven wasn't in good shape. Anyhow, these "meals" were really in British proportion, not American. It was soooooooo small! But it was filling. So throughout the day we thought it was snowing! But then we realized it was hail. But then I felt it and I realized it wasn't really hail, it was just really really compact snow!! Like a cross between snow and hail. So was it snowing or hailing? Hmmmmm...


Thursdays are Weekly Planning days, so the entire first half of the day is spent in the flat. And thank goodness for that!! It was snowing like crazy!!! I haven't seen snowfall like that since Chicago!!! It was a complete blizzard!! We usually have Bridy, but she'd cancelled. So that night was dinner at the Foots. They had to end early, so we had an extra half hour before James. We spent it finishing up weekly planning with a Point thirteen. Ask Marie about what that is. James was great! He made us soup! I Love James. We're meeting with him tonight! I'll hopefully be able to say goodbye to him then. 


We worked at the Salvation Army for a while. They had us working on their books. We would take any tattered or worn books and put them in a box for shipping. It was kinda fun. Then we worked a little bit on our talks for Sunday. We both gave talks. After that we went by a couple of AUF's. Neither of them were in. 


We had a surprise Flat inspection! We were just getting some lunch when we got the call that they were on their way. We rushed back to the flat, cleaned up.  We passed! We weren't too organized looking, but yeah. We were good. And the Brownings (they're the senior couple that does flat checks) brought me your package!! The one that says don't open before December 1st! It was the thirteenth, but oh well! I loved it! Thanks for bringing us cheer! We loved it! 


So today was Moves Call. We both gave talks in Sacrament meeting. I spoke on Sharing the Gospel. I quoted from this talk by Elder Oaks of the same name. Then I talked about Ammon and Amulek and their examples of sharing the gospel. I picked up on something I haven't before! So after the servants of King Lamoni brought the arms to him, it says he was astonished at Ammon's power. But then when the servants told him that he was feeding the King's horses, it says that he was even MORE astonished!! More astonished than all the arms!! And I know a bit about warfare and swords, and I can tell you that it takes great strength and skill to slice off arms, but this King was more astonished that Ammon was so faithful than his fighting skills. So cool! So after church we had a dinner/lunch appointment with the McGregors. I love their kids! Ollie is the youngest, he's three. He's so energetic! It's awesome! And no one can understand him haha. So after that we had to get a bus to go to Glasgow. The Christmas Devotional was showing that night at the Glasgow Stake Center, and they were also doing a presentation on the Christmas Truce. So we got off the bus in downtown Glasgow and we were heading for the Train station when we were stopped by this woman passing out flyers to this Church Christmas Choir that was going on at the same time as the stuff we were going to. She was trying really hard to make us go to her thing instead. She wanted to show us the building it was in, but when we arrived, she tried to get us to go in. Oh all the side comments that were coming from her! It just makes my blood boil! As I was thinking about it, I made a promise to myself to never be that kind of missionary. I'm going to be respectful of others' time and religion for one. And if I leave someone with something to think about, it'll be something positive, like "Think about all the great things God has done" or whatever. Not "Think about your leadership." Yeah that's what she said. "Okay, I'll think about it. Hmmm... Twelve Apostles... And Prophets... Why does that sound so familiar!?" Anyways, we arrived at the Stake Center just in time for Elder Eyring's talk. But we couldn't go into the chapel because the place was absolutely filled!!! I've never seen that place with so many people!!! It was awesome! The Truce program was pretty good too. We stood outside while we got our calls. Elder Hanson was told he was staying in Cumbernauld with an Elder Rogers. Then he gave the phone to me and went inside. President told me that I'm going tooooooooo.......


Know where that is? NEITHER DO I!!! First thing President told me about the area is that it is absolutely beautiful! I'm serving with Elder Wells. Elder Fassold loves that guy, so I think it should be great! Elder Wells is the District Leader. I'll be the Assistant to the District Leader! The "Power behind the Throne", if you will. Mwahahaha!! Apparently that zone covers Loch Ness, and it's tradition for every elder to take a drink from Loch Ness! So if I see Nessie I'll be sure to shoot a pic for ya!

So that was my week! Hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks for the videos! I can't wait to watch them!

So I did find out a bit about what's going to happen next week. So next Monday I'm only going to get 1 hour for emailing, so I'm not going to respond to any family emails. I'll read them! So still send them to me! But I won't respond unless there's something important or whatever. Now as for Christmas day! You'll have to send me your Skype account username so I can Skype you from a Members place. I don't know anything about Inverness yet, so I don't know how it'll all work. I'll send you more details when I get there. They say we're limited to 40 minutes.  Can't wait!!!  So about Christmas... I sent a package for the fam to Mom and Dad last Wednesday. Hopefully it'll arrive on time! Now, I want you guys to open it BEFORE Christmas! Or at least before I skype you guys. That way, if you have any questions about what's in it, you can just ask.

I love you sooooooo much!! Can't wait to hear from you!  And see you!!  Do you realize that this week my mission is already 1/4 done!?!?!?!?!?!? AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I'm heading off to become buds with Nessie! 
Elder Bates

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 17 more days but who's counting?

Hi ya fam!

Not that I'm counting, or anything, but 17 more days until we talk!!!  This is going to be a very exciting couple of weeks!!!! 

I had a great week this week! I'm feeling 98% normal now! No more sickness for me! I'm excited to hear from you and to see you! We met with Bridy, James, Margaret, and Billy this week! That was really fun! On Monday we met with James for the first time in months! That was very exciting! On Tuesday, after District Meeting, I went on an Exchange with Elder Fassold. What an awesome guy! We had a great time, and we both said we'd love to serve together some day. He thinks it's going to happen! I hope so! He's a great missionary. He's really short haha he got a package from the YW of his home ward! The ironic thing is his parents moved to a new ward so he doesn't know any of them! We had dinner with the Foots for the first time in forever. (Oh great, now that song's in my head...) They were on holiday (or on vacation in American) in Turkey! Also, Saturday was that big Missionary Christmas choir! They performed at the Glasgow Stake Center, and they were really good! I got to meet up with Elder Livingstone (he was in my MTC group), and I also finally met my "brother", Elder Johnson. It was a good concert. I'll have to sign up next year. So funny story! At church on Sunday, I made a mistake and accidentally wore my blue trousers with my black suit coat!!!! It looked awful!! Luckily nobody said anything (except for Bishop, but that's only because Elder Hanson told him). Because of that, I was determined not to go up to the stand to bear my testimony, but I kept thinking of "I am not ashamed of the gospel", so I did. Oh! And I got four letters this week!! Two were from you! One was a card, the other was a Dear Elder.  The others were from the Bullard's and Bro. Cratch!  That was AWESOME!

You mentioned this book you were reading that is set in Edinburgh. All I can say is that you'd be absolutely amazed just how different people are here. Most people literally are born, live, and die in the exact same town/city. Because of that, two towns can be completely different, but only 30 minutes apart! So the people in Glasgow don't do almost any of the things you asked about, but that doesn't mean what you read isn't true.

Literally every investigator and Less Active we were working with just dropped off the radar! Some of them are trickling back, but that's why I haven't really been talking about lessons with investigators: because we haven't had any!! It's been really hard on us, we've been pretty discouraged. But things are going better, so that's good.  My Comp's Dad has cancer and has been going through some serious treatment lately. Last I heard he's pulled out all right, but you can tell it's really weighing on him.

We've been sharing the He is the Gift video with everyone. If you haven't seen that video, watch it! It's really good!  President Brown is ecstatic about it!  We love the cards! We're handing them out as much as we can and we're supposed to report how many people contact us because of them and such. We've been sharing the video with every member we go by! They like it! Love it, actually.


But don't be too excited. It was the kind of snow where it snows and rains at the same time. It just went right through you. Not fun. But it looked great from our window! I've never felt this cold in my life! Even when I almost got frostbite on Mount Rainier on a camping trip, it wasn't like this. This is bitter cold. Biting cold. But you know what? Beautiful Wife Points! They're adding up!! 

That reminds me of your question about Christmas in Scotland. Most people I talk to love Christmas just as much as we do. But you NEVER see any Christmas lights. There'll maybe be that one house on the block, but usually there isn't a single light. So I really don't know! There are decorations all over the Town Center (I'll have to take a picture. It's pretty sweet), but maybe five total homes with lights for the entire town of Cumbernauld. But everyone has a tree.

Keep reading the Book of Mormon! It's great! And read your Patriarchal Blessing too! I did on Sunday and it was a great experience! Write down your thoughts and questions that come into your mind while you read it. Any thought and question! It was really great doing that. That's my spiritual homework for you guys. Due next week. I want an essay. Don't worry, you'll be graded on a curve. ;)

Love you guys so much! I can't wait to skype with you guys!! Luv ya! I love you so much! I've been very trunky lately, but that's Christmas for a missionary! Thanks for your love and emails! I am soooooooo grateful that I had such a great childhood! Thank you!
Elder Bates

Monday, December 1, 2014

Elder Hanson with our Tree


December 1, 2014 It's December!

Hello Fam!

It's December! 24 days until I speak with all of ya! So exciting!!!  I also thought it'd be cool if you guys could have me on your laptop and you hold me while you run down the stairs on Christmas morning hahahaha I dunno if that's possible, but I thought that'd be cool :)

Well this week has been unfortunate sprinkled with a few moments of awesomeness. The entire time I've been sick with a horrible throat. Coughing all over the place. I was feeling particularly crummy on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm feeling much better now, but I'm still coughing a lot. I hear Claire isn't doing so hot either! Poor girl.  I'll pray for ya, Claire!

We also didn't get to pass out any Book of Mormons this week. No "biters", as I put it, so all week we just went by AUF's and did "ten-a-side", or chap ten doors each side of the door. But yeah, no biters yet. A nibble here and there maaaaaaybe but no bites.  

What a great talk Dad sent! I hope we all can stay grateful! A missionary has to remain grateful to stand through all the rejections, and being grateful in your prayers reminds you what you have to be thankful for! Thanks for sharing that Dad! :)

We had a Dinner Appointment with the Greers on Thursday, but we weren't sure if they knew about Thanksgiving. So on Wednesday we quickly bought a full chicken and cooked that up for dinner with some potatoes and veggies. Also whipped up a little gravy. It wasn't bad, though the chicken was a little dry. Then on Thanksgiving proper, we went over to the Greers, and turns out, they did know about Thanksgiving! They served us almost the EXACT SAME meal!! Of course, it was much more tasty, particularly the potatoes. Man, those potatoes were really good! But yeah, good family. They're the ones that have two sons age 16 and 18. They're both in college, so can't come out with us anymore, but they're good kids. So that was our thanksgiving! If there's anything I missed, it was Mom's rolls!!!! Ohhhhhhhh I miss those rolls.... Oh, and you guys too. I miss you guys.  I'm glad Thanksgiving was so fun! I loved the pictures, they looked like you guys had a great time! I wish you could send me rolls in your packages, but obviously that's impossible haha. When I come home, I hope there's a whole mountain of rolls waiting for me!!! Lol

We put up our tiny tree last night, I'll send you guys a pic when I can.

Anyhow, none of our appointments kept. Both Bridy and James could only meet with us on Friday, but Friday was Zone Interview Training, or ZIT. So they cancelled on us. Shame. James came to church though! Gave us two huge grocery bags full of treats!! Good ol James, keeping us fed.

So, ZIT! ZIT is where we're personally interviewed by the President and have a lot of talks from the AP's and ZL's. It was a really good meeting! Afterwards I went on an exchange with Elder Yates, my new District Leader. We had a good time. Gordon took us out for lunch at McDonalds! We tried this new burger, the winter burger. Then we helped Gordon with his talk. 

I'm sure I've mentioned helping Gordon with his talk before? He's been working on it for months, with a lot of help from us missionaries. He was VERY nervous about it! Well, he finally gave his talk yesterday!! It was really good! We were so proud of him! He was soooooooo nervous! I was sitting up on the stand because we were blessing sacrament yesterday, and I could just see how nervous he was! Then after Sacrament he goes up and begins to speak. Only, he wasn't speaking from the pulpit. He was speaking from the Music stand!!! It was so hilarious!!! The Bishop tapped his shoulder and directed him to the pulpit and he gave his talk. I was worried after that, but it really was a good talk! Honestly!

When you have the missionaries over this week remember, Missionaries love Dinner Appointments! Feed them lots of food! 

Well, that's me, I'm afraid. Good week! Some annoyances, but overall good. I'm glad you guys had a great Thanksgiving! I really missed you this week! Not that I don't other weeks, but I missed Thanksgiving with the fam! Good ol' Bingo and the Indian Names. Did you guys refer to me as Callused Knuckles? Either way, I love you so much! Thanks for the love and the packages! I'm told they're withholding all packages for Christmas, so I won't be getting anything for the next three weeks. Oh, and does Claire ever talk about any boys??? ;)

Also, I love the pictures you send, but Mom's NEVER IN THEM!! Please take a selfie or something for your son.

Keep up the good work! Can't wait for 24 days from now! Sleep tight! 
Elder Bates

Cumbernauld Elders in Kilts

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014 Happy Thanksgiving! I know I'm right this time!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! Enjoy your turkey! We've got a Dinner Appointment with the Greers on Thursday. I'm not sure if they know about Thanksgiving though. Oh well.  So we might get Turkey, we might get Haggis. Who knows!
My Grateful List:
2. Having perfect parents that actually care about their children (never realized just how rare that is until I came here)
3. Brother and Sisters that are awesome
4. Smartphones that allow you to answer random questions you just have
5. Bible Videos and Mormon Messages
6. 15 Prophets, Seers, and Revelators on the Earth
7. I'm thankful that Mormon was able to stay righteous while literally everyone around him was "more wicked than any other people in the History of Israel"
8. I'm thankful for a government that's at least less corrupt than other governments
 9. The Internet
10. Toothbrushes and Dentist

Anyhow, this week was pretty fun! Elder Massey came back for an exchange on Friday. It was really fun going talking about old investigators, and even visiting some of them. We were chapping some doors, and we met this guy, Dave, who is actually the Organist for the Anglican church nearby. His mother is also a priest. And you know what? HE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE. Nor does he believe that Jesus Christ did all the miracles that are written in there! He was pretty interested in the Book of Mormon, and we're going by him on Wednesday. 
It's been absolutely freezing lately! The sun is down by 5, so the rest of the evening is reeeeeeallly cold! I need to get some gloves: earlier this week I had to write down people's addresses but my fingers were so numb that my handwriting was atrocious!! I could laugh about it afterwards, so all's well. I haven't gotten frostbite, but I will if I don't get any gloves soon!
Beyond that, not much to talk about. We've been going by a ton of AUF's, and so far no biters. Shame. But we'll keep up the good work!  This week is Zone Interview Training, where we all meet one on one with President Brown. That's when I'll get your packages. After that, the next time I'll probably receive any packages is right before Christmas. Tomorrow, btw, marks ONE MONTH UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!  .

Love you guys! Keep up the good work!

 Elder Bates

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 17, 2014 Happy Thanksgiving! I think...

I'm glad you got the letter! I tried sending your letter months ago, but they sent it back for some reason. So I sent it again. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I got three letters this week, one from Mom, one from Dad, and one from Laura! It was great! I feel bad for Elder Hanson though. He doesn't get much mail.

 I'm glad Ward Conference was good! I wish I could've been there for Bishop's! Anything about history is a talk for me! Haha btw could you send me Bishop's email address? Thank you!

 The other day I had such a powerful prayer at my bed before I went to sleep! I am so grateful for prayer! I still can't believe what happened the other week!! That God would be so mindful of me is unfathomable! What a blessing! If I came home right now, I'd still be so much better spiritually than I was before. I am so grateful!!!! :) :) :)
So we finally met with Bridy this week. She told us about how she finally reached the decision to put her dog, Gypsie, down. She was just bawling, but not as much as her granddaughter Ann Marie. She was sobbing and had her head in Bridy's lap. Ann Marie also showed us her new tattoo of Gypsie's paw print. But we really did have a good lesson. It was really great!
Also, we found out that Steve, who was in jail last week, probably wont be back for months. So that's really sad. Keep him in your prayers. He's been going through a really rough time. 
Saturday, there was the Stake Movie Night. Each ward had to submit 15 minutes of video. Our ward just did a modge podge of different clips, and we got to be in one of them! I sent it to Mom, hopefully you can see it.
Elder Hanson is actually quite sick right now, so we won't be able to do much the next day or two until he's up for working. Having a sick companion is difficult. But, you've gotta help them. So pray for him too. I know I am!
I love you guys so much!! I love prayer too, it's been awesome!!! Keep being great and don't be ashamed of the gospel! Love it, live it.  Keep staying strong and be an example.
Love ya!

Elder Bates

November 10, 2014 Happy Half-Birthday to me!

Thanks for the news! Marie had told me about moving back to Provo! Sounds exciting to me! I'm glad you told me about Grandma Bates, I've been worried about them! I'll keep them in my prayers this week. And I will definitely ask Claire about the play! So cool!

 So for the questions:

1. It wasn't called Burns night, it was Guy Fawkes day. I'll have you look it up for the details on what that is, but basically they're supposed to do HUGE bonfires where they burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the Parliament building a long time ago. Nowadays, they do both bonfires and fireworks, and I mean a TON of fireworks!! I took a video, but I can't send videos so you'll just have to wait for that one. But it was sick!!! Super cool! And they still do bonfires, some are bigger than houses!!!! Seriously!!! It's actually illegal now to start a bonfire that big, but once it's lit what can you do? You gotta wait for it to go.

2. I didn't get a single letter this week! :( I don't know when I'll get your package. I'm excited to get it though!! Thanks a lot! We have a mail slot right in our door, so mail comes right into our flat.  Mail comes between 10 and 11 so we might have your letter right now!

3. This winter is supposed to be the worst in decades! Already it's been absolutely freezing, and it's just the beginning of November! It's not even winter yet!

4. Mosiah 8:8. It's talking about these men that King Limhi sent to find the land of Zarahemla. "And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, YET THEY WERE DILIGENT" I read that, and it was really powerful. I felt like I was 'lost in the wilderness', but if I was diligent like these men were, the Lord will guide me. It's also interesting to note, that it says "they found not the land of Zarahemla", and instead found the land of the Jaredites, and the plates of Ether. So God needed them to find something else, not Zarahemla. As long as we're diligent and hang on to what we know, we'll accomplish what God needs us to accomplish.

 Honestly, things really are looking up! It's been really good this past week!  This transfer will be different, I know it! But honestly, I can already see the blessings from your fast last week! This week was so much better!! Anyhow, this week was pretty good! It was Moves week, and it was pretty sad saying goodbye to some of the Elders who've been here since I arrived. Elder Hanson and I spent the day in Airdrie with Elders Glasgow and Fassold, and we went to this awesome Chinese buffet place and played Uno and some game called scum. We got two new Elders in our District: Elder Smith is Elder Glasgow's companion, and another Elder who's name escapes me is our District Leader. 

 We had lunch with Teresa and Stewart for the first time in forever!  Also, Bridy said she'd be able to meet with us this week! Can't wait to report on how that goes. 

I'll try to take a picture of myself with my kilt. You'll have it tomorrow. Hopefully. Unless I forget. ;)

So it's my half - birthday today!  I've been wondering about how things are over there! Everyone getting geared up for Thanksgiving? Are there Christmas decorations up? They're EVERYWHERE here! There's no thanksgiving for people to wait for!  

Thanks for the emails and the pics! I love you and the whole family!! :)  I learn something new every day! It's awesome! Keep working hard and keep learning the gospel! There is so much to learn! Never be content!
Your Son, Elder Bates

Halloween 2014

Elder Bates and Elder Hanson

November 3, 2014 Guess who's staying in Cumbernauld?

Thanks to everyone who prayed and fasted for me! I'm really looking forward to this next month! I'm sure it's going to be great because of you!! :)
I still can't thank you enough for what Mom and Dad did! What a powerful experience!! I later printed out our entire conversation, as well as Dad's, and that article you sent me, and I read a couple of talks from the April 2011 conference, including Bednar's!! So I really basked in what you guys gave me!! It was so powerful! So wonderful! It brought tears to my eyes each time. Thank you thank you thank you!! When did you read that article, and that talk? It was absolutely perfect! The Lord was preparing you to teach me, I know it!

Guess who's staying in Cumbernauld! Seriously, guess. Not kidding. Guess. JUST GUESS!

 So! Is it:

 A) Elder Bates

 B) Elder Hanson

 C) Elder Bates + Elder Hanson

If you guessed A.... You're wrong.
If you guessed B..... You're also wrong.
If you guessed C.... Congrats! You win a hug! You may cash in in 20 months. 

Yep, we're staying in Cumbernauld and we're staying together! Pretty cool! I'm glad we're staying, because we've got a lunch appointment with Stuart and Teresa on Wednesday! Also! Elder Massey is coming back! To be our new Zone Leader! How crazy is that?? 

 I'm going to give my all and really try to make this transfer great!! :)

 Mom asked about my nutrition. I have been eating apples and bananas whenever I can. Same with vegetables. I've really come to love Subway!! Love it love it love it!! We get both fruit and veggies a lot at DA's. I'm getting plenty of milk each morning with cereal. I've been healthy, overall.

We were told we'd get ipads by the end of the year, but apparently they said that last year. And the year before that. So I really don't know when. But when we do get them, you'll have to send $400. I think. I'll keep you updated when I know more. 

This week I got a letter from Laura with a paper that all of you signed! Thanks for sending that! It was really cool! I especially liked what Mom wrote! ;)

Anyhow, Halloween was fun! Elder Hanson and I dressed up as Mario and Luigi for the Ward Halloween party. There was only about 15 kids. But we had fun anyways! On Halloween itself, we're not allowed out past 6 (unless we're at a member's house). We had dinner with the Bishop's family just before that, and it was delicious! Then we went back to the flat and listened to talks, watched this cool documentary Elder Hanson had about these two Mormon Brothers from his ward. The next morning I realized why we weren't allowed out past 6. There were beer cans EVERYWHERE!!!!   Anyhow, this Wednesday is another holiday, called Burns Night, I think. To celebrate they set off a TON of fireworks and firecrackers!!! People have been setting them off since Halloween! We wake up in the middle of the night to the loud bang of firecrackers! It's cool. Look it up!
Also, Mom, I certainly agree that God sends the weak and simple hahaha In fact, my testimony of that has grown most of all!! ;)

I  have a spiritual thought!

So why do we have all these rules? Why are we not allowed to watch R movies? They don't do anything physical to us. Well, have you ever wondered why the Prophets sometimes call the commandments the Celestial Law? It's because the commandments are the law in the Celestial kingdom!! We won't be able to do those things up there, so why do them down here? We obey the commandments, not to earn our trip to heaven, but to learn how to live in Heaven! Also, in the Millennium, the scriptures say that everything telestial will be burned up, including R rated movies, and honestly most PG-13 movies! So why become attached to those things we won't have if the Millennium came tomorrow? We should all take a moment and think about which things we do we'd still do in the Millennium?

Just think about that for a week. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that too! Love you all so much!! Thanks for the emails and the prayers and the fast! I'm going to have a great month!! :)

Elder Bates

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October 27, 2014 Happy Halloween!

Dear Fam,
Happy holidays!! The Christmas decorations are up and the Santa clauses are everywhere!! It's too early!!!! To be fair, they don't have Thanksgiving, but still...

Anyways, it's been very windy out here!! Seriously, the strongest wind I've ever felt! And it's been constant!! 

So good news! GRACE IS OUT!! We haven't seen her yet, but she got out of Prison on Friday or Saturday. So thanks for all your prayers on her behalf!

I'm afraid I don't have time to say anything else. Just that Prayer WORKS!!! There is nothing more powerful as prayer!!!!!! Please use it!
Love you all SOOOOOOO much!  Thank you for all of your support!!!
Elder Bates

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 20, 2014 Four Months!

Dear Fam,

As a matter of fact, my district leader has the package right now!! So I should be getting it either today or tomorrow! :)

Unfortunately, none of our appointments went through. But this next week should be good!! :D

I should be getting a hair cut today. Hopefully. Probably. Possibly.

If I get a kilt, I am not going to mail it home!! I am going to wear it!!! Not all the time, but to District Meetings, possibly.

So how was opening night? How was Claire?? I'd love a pic or two! :) Or three! Or ten!
Yesterday was my Four Month Mark!!! Man, it's gone by SO FAST!!!! 

So this week was a bit slow, I'm afraid, but it ended on a good mark. We weren't able to meet with anyone, (btw Bridy had to put her beloved dog down, so please keep her in your prayers ), but we're still optimistic! This next week we're planning to meet with a ton of members!! I think every day except Saturday we're meeting with somebody! So that should be fun!! 

We also had a Ward Missionary Fireside on Sunday! It went really well, considering we had a tiny audience! 

So, I've been really thinking about how one "feasts" on the scriptures. I really want to feast, but I'm not sure how I can re-energize my studying. Any ideas?

Love you all!! Thanks for all you do!!  Thanks for the advice, and the love and support!! :) I love you sooooooo much!! Miss you!
Elder Bates

Monday, October 13, 2014

 "Yes, Mom, there are wild Zebras in Scotland. ;)
Actually, they call cross-walks "Zebra Crossings" because of the stripes."
Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 13, 2014 Hello Fall!

Dear Fam,
Man, it's getting chilly out here!! If it's this cold in the Fall, I hate to find out what Winter's going to be like!!
So we had another Zone Development day this week! On Tuesday we actually combined with the adjacent Zone, Paisley Zone, for a good game of Yoga Soccer, or Yoccer! It was a fun game! Afterwards we played Capture the Flag, Zone vs Zone!! It was really fun! We won the first game, but they won the second. Then we played a bunch of short games, like Duck Duck Goose (I wanted to change it to Potential Potential Convert haha) and Sharks and Minnows. If you don't know that game, ask Claire. After that, our Zone went to the Stake Center for dinner (potatoes and chili) and chair football. Basically, you have to protect your chair from getting touched by the ball. And if it does, you have to sit in your chair, and you can grab the ball and chuck it at those chairs that are still in!! It was a really fun game!!! You should try it!  It was a really good Conference!! I learned a lot and had a great time with Presiden Brown.
I have to mention this cool thing I learned!! So President Brown was reading to us this passage in the Book of Mormon, I think it's 3 Nephi 9. Basically, it says that Nephi was so strong in the faith, he was converting people left and right and was "ministered unto by Angels"!! And President Brown said "Wouldn't it be great if every missionary in Scotland and Ireland was like Nephi?" That started a discussion, when this other Elder spoke up "Remember the scripture, Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost? Well, that means when the Holy Ghost speaks to you, you're being ministered unto by Angels!" Well, that got me thinking. That must mean that we're being ministered unto by Angels all the time!!! Wow!! Isn't that a great thought?? Angels are ministering unto us daily!! Even hourly, if we're listening! How awesome is that!?
I'm afraid I have little more to tell you. We weren't able to meet with anybody this week, due to companion's sickness and other various problems. We set up plenty of appointments though! Hopefully they'll be able to make it for those!
I did go on an exchange on Saturday with an Elder from Southern Utah. He's the most cowboyish cowboy that I've ever seen!! He even has a lariat at his flat! But he's an awesome guy, really great missionary and quite the jokester. We played Uno during Lunch, and he kept pulling draw fours out of his shirt sleeves and trousers and underneath cushions hahaha that prankster :)
But yeah, this next week I'm excited for!! Elder Hanson is feeling perfectly normal now, he had a Doctor's appointment this morning in fact, so we're going to hit the ground running and make up for lost time!! So hopefully you'll get more news then! :)
Sounds like quite the Claire week! Sounds fun! Claire told me all about the tin man thing. Sounds so cool! I wish I'd had such an opportunity! I have heard about the Meet the Mormon's movie! President will probably let us watch it eventually. It sounds interesting! I'd love to find out the public response to it. 

Oh, did I tell you that I'm studying the Doctrine and Covenants too? I am! I'm going through it and marking it up! Blue for prophecies, brown for covenants, purple for commandments, etc. It's been fun! I've got this study guide too that I've been using. Some kind of student manual I think. Really interesting!
We're doing what we're supposed to be doing. We actually just got back from a Doctor's appointment my companion had this morning. That's why I'm writing later than normal. He's also been feeling much better the past few days, so we've been working hard! Things are looking up! No worries :)

I love you all!! Keep being awesome, and please send me pictures!! I love seeing you guys and what you are up to! It doesn't have to be of anything, just of your smiling faces. :)
Love you!!
Elder Bates

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Elder Bates

October 6, 2014 Conference Week!

Hello Fam!

How's your testimony?


I'll get to that in a second. First of all, this week's been okay. 

Elder Hanson's been sick, so we haven't gone out much. Grace is still in Prison, Ronnie moved last Sunday, but things are overall still going well. We met with Bridy this week, and we brought a member with us. That was a mistake. He really railed into her, going on about how the Catholics don't have the priesthood and such. We barely got a word in. She knows him, so hopefully she knows what he's like. We were going to meet with Billy, but unfortunately he was dealing with something that sounded serious. Here's hoping it wasn't too bad!

So about Conference! 

I was on an exchange with our District Leader in Cumbernauld on Friday, so the next day we headed to Airdrie to exchange back and then our whole district headed over to the Glasgow Stake Center to watch Conference. The Saturday Morning Session was broadcasted live from 5-7. We then all had a sleepover at the Airdrie flat. That was really fun! We played games, ate Kebabs, talked about a lot of stuff, and just had a good time. The next morning we headed back to the Stake Center to watch the Priesthood session live at 10 and then the Saturday Afternoon Session at 1. We pretty much just stayed there all day long, and this lovely family served all the missionaries lunch! That was very nice. Then the Sunday Morning Session was live at 5. I still haven't seen the Sunday Evening session, that would have been from 9-11 PM our time! I'm hoping to watch it later this week for Companionship study.  I don't know why, but Conference seems to go quicker each year!! But it was awesome!!  I loved it!! I particularly loved President Uchtdorf's talk in Priesthood session about pride and the whole "Lord, is it I?" . I thought it was very applicable to everyone, not just the Priesthood. Ask Dad about it. They seemed to talk a lot about following the prophet at the Sunday Morning Session! Some of us missionaries thought President Monson was going to be announcing something or rebuking us! Hahahaha I do think they were giving us a warning to build our faith in the prophets and such. So let's all remember what we learned in Primary: "Follow the Prophet! Follow the Prophet! Follow the Prophet! He knows the way!" Remember, the Lord promised us that He would never let us be led astray by false leadership! As long as we're on the side of the Prophet, we're on the Lord's side!

Elder Hanson told me the other day about an insight he had gotten once. He was reading about Korihor and the other Anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon. He found it interesting that Korihor was absolutely certain that what he was doing was right! He'd seen an Angel, who'd told him what to say! Unfortunately, that "angel" was actually Satan. So how did he not realize the problem? He hadn't prayed and asked God if what had happened was right. He didn't pray and ask God if what he had just been told was true. If he had, it would have ended very differently for him.

I love you all so much! I've had some amazing experiences this week! Conference was perfect! Such a powerful experience! I can't wait to get the next Ensign! I'm sure I'll pick up on even more things! I mean, this is new scripture!! I was talking with this one guy the other day, who asked about how we were talking about new scripture. I realized later that what I should have told him was this: "Not just new scripture, but continuous scripture! When the Prophet speaks, he is giving us scripture, just as much as when Moses or Elijah or Isaiah spoke! The old scriptures are fine, but we're talking about modern, current scripture! Straight from God!" We seem to forget that, but that's exactly what Conference is! Those Ensigns we're going to get with the Conference talks in them are just as much scripture as the New Testament!! Wow! And once we get Ipads, we'll be able to access all of it! I'm excited for that day! It'll be a great help!

Anyhow, Keep working hard and doing good things! Hold fast to the Iron Rod, no matter how easy it seems to let go! Because the alternative is completely different! I love you! And hey, in a few weeks it'll only be two months until I can skype you guys! So we got that to look forward to! :)  Thanks for sharing that about Elder Massey. I'm glad to hear that we did a good job. I hope Elder Hanson and I can continue and build on that success!

Also, how's the rabbit? Or bunny? You have a name yet?  Good luck with Seminary, Mom!
Love, Elder Bates