Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week 2! - July 14, 2014

My legs ache, my arms are limp, my feet are killing me, and I'm loving every minute of it!!!

(Okay, maybe not every minute of it)

Some awesome things (and yes, some hilarious things) have happened over the week! To start with, I want to explain that last week I didn't get my full two hours of computer time. The librarian kicked us off after a little over an hour! Elder Massey said that that's never happened to him before, and this week we're at a different library so hopefully that doesn't happen again. 

Before I tell you more, here's a story:

Last Thursday, I think, Elder Massey and I were knocking doors in this neighborhood. This one door, this old man opens the door. We start talking about the gospel when he cuts us off and just started talking. He wasn't bashing the church (that's the funny thing out here. Nobody bashes us; everyone says they admire what we do! They don't bash the church either, I really don't know how to describe what they do) he just started talking and talking. We brought up Joseph Smith, but once we said that he was from America that's when he really got going. "I might have believed you if you'd said he was born on an island somewhere. But America?" According to him, America is evil, and is responsible for all the bad things of the world. He says we're responsible for the Civil war in Ukraine. HOW!?!?!? He also said that nothing good has come from America (Television, airplanes, United Nations, GPS, Internet) and when we talked about the Revolution and the similarities between that and what they're going through now, he said that all the men that wrote the Declaration and the Constitution were Scots. What!? He was very clear that he wasn't bashing us, though. Just America. And that it was pure evil. We said that the Book of Mormon tells us how to have peace. He asked if it tells us to bomb the White House. We said no. Suffice to say that he talked to us (not with us, but to us) for nearly an hour. Next door a woman left her house with a baby trolly (that's what they call it here) and when she came back from her walk, we were still there!! We laughed about it afterwards, but it was so hard to not argue with him! We could do nothing, because we're not supposed to discuss politics and that's all he talked about. Anyhow, funny story! We thought it was hilarious.

Anyhow, this area is pretty interesting! Like I said, there's only houses here. It's very dirty and "ghetto" as Massey puts it. It's patrolled by "hood rats", gangs of three young men that seem to spend all their time walking, smoking, and joking. And every single one of them loves us! They're constantly talking to us, asking us questions, and asking us to play football with them. None of them are interested in the church, and even if they were, we couldn't teach them because they're too young. So we don't hang out with them long, but they're all so nice. Ish. 

This week hasn't been too good. For one thing, there's the World Cup (It killed us to miss Germany vs. Brazil! 7-1!!) For another, there's this music festival down in Glasgow called "T in the Park". The T stands for some alcohol company. So everyone's down in Glasgow for that, listening to their favorite bands. We've had ten cancelled appointments this week! It's been killing us! We've been doing all we can, but it's still awful.

Our apartment is nice. I'd show you, but I obviously can't right now haha. We have this long table where we do our studying, and where we eat.  We listen to talks and devotionals during many of our Companionship study times. "An Unlikely Mormon" By Glenn Beck. Look it up. Same with "His Grace is Sufficient". They're epic. Elder Massey's chair is a plushy armchair, while mine is this awkward foldup chair, that makes my rear end fall asleep when I sit in it. On the other hand, Massey has to climb out of the Armchair whenever he has to get up! Ha ha ha!

We really don't have much food, the way you might think of it. We have mostly cereal and microwave/oven meals and canned things. So if you ever send me a carepackage, send food! But only food that doesn't need anything except what's in the box. Does that make sense? Like the Macaroni and Cheese boxes? Most require milk and butter and such, but we honestly don't have any to spare. Wheras the Velveeta shells and cheese, you boil the noodles, pour in the sauce, and you're good. But if there's one thing that I'm dying for it's junk food! Candy bars and soda, in particular, though chips (crisps) are good too. Just letting you know now for future use.

Now, I thought that it'd be very difficult to adjust to Mission life. But it really hasn't. At least, not as difficult as I thought it would be. The walking has really been the only problem, and it's not a problem as much as a nuisance. That and the waking up so early and going to bed so late. I'm able to do it, but I'm tired pretty much all the time. Massey says that never goes away. When I get home, I'm sleeping for three days. You think I'm joking?

Okay, some more stories! The other day we taught this one guy, Brother McGuiness. He's a less active. His story is amazing. He used to be a part of the mob. He would give people "Glasgow Smiles". What's that? You remember the Joker in the Dark Knight? Glasgow Smile. And he gave people those. Finally, he became Mormon. I don't know the story of how, but he was an awesome Mormon! He was the Ward Mission Leader at one point, and he would go on splits with the Missionaries all the time. He was legendary, apparently. But eventually he left the church. We visited him the other day and we found out why. He saw people in the church not being Christ-like, like inviting some people to parties but leaving others out. He said there were feuds between two families over who would bless the sacrament. It made him mad, which drove the spirit away. Finally he left the church. So we had to tell him to find love for his fellow men. 
Of all the things I thought I'd have to help people with on my Mission, love was the last thing on my list!! It's just not hard for me!! I never thought it would be hard for others! But yeah, he's an interesting character. He broke a boy's back, arms and legs for hitting his daughter. 

We're teaching this guy, Fanell. He's from Romania. There's a ton of Romanians in this one part of town. And few of them know English. We have to have Fanell's kid be an interpreter for us. But we never know if he's interpreting us correctly. For instance, Fanell thought we were telling him to pray to the Book of Mormon! We tried to explain that we wanted him to pray about the Book of Mormon, but we don't know if he understood or not. He also has a concern I've never heard before: He didn't like the name of the Book of Mormon!! We're still trying to fix that. Any ideas would be great. 

This man named Gordan we bumped into on the street one day. He was initially fairly antagonistic towards us. Not too bad, of course, but he let us know clearly that he didn't believe in organized religion. He said that we don't even need scriptures. "You look at, say the American Indians! They didn't have written records and they were very spiritual!" He literally opened the door for us. We talked with him about how the Ancient Americans did have written records and how the Book of Mormon is one of them. His interest was piqued, and we gave him a Book fo Mormon and set up an appointment. When we got there, he said he'd read the entire "prologue" as well as a few chapters. Not only that, but he had watched a documentary on it! Elder Massey and I were a little worried when he said that, because there's this telly show called "Meet the Mormons" that portrays us in a very negative light. More on that later. We asked which show it was, and it was the same one I watched in my Book fo Mormon class back at BYU!!! We discussed it a bit, shared the first lesson, and we're meeting him again later this week. I'm really excited about him!

This one member, Brother MacDonald, is often going with us to appointments. He was baptized into the church about ten years ago, so never served a mission. And, honestly, it shows. He's awesome and has a strong testimony, but he sometimes says just the wrong thing haha. He also can talk forever (a trait I've noticed in almost every old Scot here). So we sometimes have to cut him off before he says too much! He never says anything contrary to the gospel, but it's not necessary, you know? For instance, he apparently went on a tangent for a minute or two explaining to an investigator exactly how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the Urim and Thummim etc. Don't get me wrong, he's awesome. And when he gets it right, he gets it right!! 

Last week was actually very sunny and hot! We loved it, even if we were a little sweaty. Some people we talked to said they wanted the rain to come back. So they were basically insane. But they got their wish Saturday. It's been overcast ever since, with brief showers every once in a while. 

I gave a talk yesterday! They have a different system of giving talks out here. You have to check this calendar, which says who's speaking and what they're speaking on. Nobody calls you or anything, so you have to check. Luckily, we did after a coordination meeting with the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Cattell. My talk was on Preparing for a Mission. It was a difficult topic, as there isn't anybody who's leaving on a mission anytime soon. Every kid is in primary, not one in YM/YW. Though the Bishop's daughter is becoming a Beehive in a month. So I had to explain that the way you prepare for a mission is also how you should prepare for your Earthly Mission. It wasn't my best talk, but I think I did fine considering I only had Personal Study time to prepare for it. 

But yeah, everything is going well, overall. I appreciate all the emails I've gotten from you guys! Keep them coming! I love you guys so much and I love the gospel just as much! The Book of Mormon is awesome! The more I study it, the more I come to love it! Read it as much as you can, because it's awesome!! 
Elder Bates
PS Today, Elder Massey and I are going off to some Roman ruins north of town!! So cool!

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