Sunday, August 31, 2014

PS on 8/26/14

You know what'd be cool? Instead of greeting each other with "how are you doing?", church members greeted each other with "How's your testimony?"
The more I learn about the gospel, the more I realize the importance of having your own personal testimony. So I thought we could all email one another and share our testimonies with each other! Cuz if there's one thing that builds a testimony, it's sharing it!
I'll start!
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it's an ancient volume of scripture, from teachings of actual prophets from Ancient America. I know that it was translated by the power of God through a new prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that through him, God reestablished His church on the earth. I know that through him, Thomas S. Monson is God's Prophet on the earth. I know that the twelve Apostles are also prophets, seers and revelators. I know that we are extremely blesed to have fifteen prophets on the earth! I know that this church is true. And I know that I love my family. :)
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Your turn!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 26, 2014 What a week!

Hello, Fam!

What an interesting week! I'm not sure if Mom told you, but I lost my wallet on a train earlier this week. Luckily, someone turned it in, so all's well. But the story behind it is HILARIOUS.

First of all, on Tuesday I was on an exchange with Elder Glasgow, who's fresh from the MTC. Awesome guy. We all think it was destiny that sent him to the Glasgow Zone hahaha Anyways, it was his first exchange, so I'm now his "Godfather", like how Elder Massey is my "Father". So, we had to take the bus to get to this one area we were going to be chapping. I looked on a map, and found out which bus we needed to take. We got to the bus stop, and the schedule doesn't even mention that bus. I assumed that since the map was old, they might have changed the buses around. So we take another bus that I assumed would take us to the area.

I was wrong.

We didn't realize until we were already on the freeway that we were on the bus to Glasgow.

During the ride back, we talked with this Muslim guy (he had a sick beard btw) and were able to give him a Book of Mormon! So it was all worth it ha ha not really. 

We got back just in time for Ward Council.

I'm afraid I caught Elder Massey's cold, and we were quite miserable. I'm good now, so that's nice.

Thursday was very interesting. For one thing, it was the exact opposite of normal: It literally poured every time we came inside! We were very grateful for it, obviously! We also had two meal appointments! One was with Teresa, who says she's praying about a specific day now!

On Saturday, we met with Grace again! We met with her at the church, so when we taught her about the First Vision, we took a "field trip" to the big painting every church building has. It was really cool! She committed again to come to church. Apparently, she takes sleeping pills, but last week she took them too late and slept through Church. This week we're assuming the same thing happened because she didn't come again. But she kept saying she really wanted to go to church so I know she will come eventually!

After Church Sunday we had a ward Munch-n-Mingle, which was really good. Elder Massey and I brought cookies from Tesco, and they were gone like that! We met with Steve Reeson again. He actually came out and said that he knew the next step for him was to actually make an effort to come to church! He's scared to because every time he meets with us, his life gets worse! And he knows it's because of Satan, and if he goes to church, it's going to get REALLY worse!! But he made the commitment, so here's hoping for him! Please pray that he'll have a better week this week, because his life is really bad. I don't know how it can get worse unless he gets evicted (which his landlord already tried, but it was apparently illegal to evict him for some reason) and is homeless.

So you're probably wondering why I'm emailing you Tuesday instead of Monday. The reason is because we had Zone Development Day yesterday! Basically, what Zone Development Day is, it's a Zone-wide party. We all get together and spend the entire day playing games and just getting to know one another better. It was really fun! We started off playing Yoga Football, which is British Football played with one of those Yoga Balls. IT WAS AWESOME. Then we played Capture the Flag. We weren't keeping score, but if we were, my team won three times out of five. ;) Then we headed to the church building for dinner (PULLED PORK SANDWHICHES!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!) and some more games. Elder Massey and I had to leave just when they were picking teams for dodgeball, unfortunately, in order to be back before 9:00. We missed the train, so we didn't get back until 9:30 I'm afraid. But overall, it was an awesome day! I'm just super sore from all the running hahaha

So about my investigators! This awesome guy Ronnie, who I don't know if I've mentioned before, texted us the other day. The reason we hadn't been able to get in contact with him last week was because he'd been stabbed three times!!!!! So please pray for a speedy recovery, and I'll be sure to send you details (but not too much details!) when I get them! Robert won't be able to meet with us for the next two weeks, so that's too bad. Kieveer isn't exactly in the picture anymore. We don't know what happened, but yeah. Elaine, this really nice old lady we met, doesn't want to get involved in any religion just yet, she's still mourning the death of her husband and dog a few months ago. We haven't seen Claire either, we keep missing her. And this young couple, Scott and Linzi. So your prayers for them would be greatly appreciated. 

So overall, life's been good. No complaints, at least. I love this work! I love sharing this gospel which has blessed me so much in my life! I love you all so much too and I really enjoy reading your emails! Thanks for your love and support! :)


Elder Bates

August 18, 2014 Two Months Tomorrow!

Dear Family,

Wow. Two months already! Time just flies, doesn't it!

I've been trying to do a fuller study of the Book of Mormon, because in the past, I've mostly focused on the more temporal parts of the Book of Mormon, like the stories or the War Chapters. I haven't really focused much on the doctrine of the Book of Mormon. So I've been trying to do that.  I always love hearing about the wonderful things God does for His Children.

 So last Tuesday was an amazing day! Had several great experiences! First off, we had planned to meet with Kieveer (pronounced Keeva). I don't remember if I mentioned her. Suffice to say for now that she was awesome, she actually said she thought Baptism would be great! On the doorstep, mind you! Unfortunately, we haven't even seen her since we first met her. So we're worried that she won't become a real investigator. Anyways, we'd planned to meet with her and she stood us up. She was asleep. At three in the afternoon. Anyhow, instead we tried by this guy Graham who lives just down the street from Kieveer. The first time we met Graham, he was wearing this blue shirt with the Superman symbol on it haha. He's super cool! We taught him the entire first lesson on his doorstep! I was able to recite the First Vision from memory for the first time! He said he'd read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and everything! We were actually going to meet with him again on Saturday, but apparently he had to go out, so we're meeting with him this coming Saturday.

We also met two awesome people, Stuart and Claire. Stuart we met on the street, and he was talking about how he actually felt like he was missing something. It was all I could do to keep myself from just shaking him and saying "This is it! This is what you're missing!" Unfortunately, he texted us on Friday and said he couldn't meet with us, he was too busy. That's honestly a horrible excuse, so we try by him every time we're in the neighborhood to try and talk with him further, but so far no go. Some prayers on his behalf would be appreciated! Claire is this older lady we met chapping doors. She had met with missionaries years ago. She'd read the Book of Mormon and prayed and asked if it was true, and apparently God said Yes!! We still don't know why she didn't keep going after that, but she stayed Catholic. We actually invited her to read again and to come to church on Sunday! Both were accepted, though she was sick yesterday and wasn't able to come to church. :(

That night we went with the Bishop to visit a couple of families.
Wednesday was officially P-Day because of the arrival of new missionaries! Since we emailed and shopped on Monday, this P-Day was very open! We traveled to Glasgow so Elder Massey could buy new shoes. His old pair has lasted all year, and they're completely wrecked!! I also got a haircut! Lookin good! :) While we were in Glasgow, we saw this huge band of Bagpipers and a whole drum line! It was epic! I really wish I'd had my camera, but maybe I can get the video from Elder Massey. The other two companionships in our District are training, so every companionship will have a greenie! Elder Dewsberry is training Elder Glasgow (yes, that's his name. Isn't that ironic?) and Elder McCallister is training Elder Blosil. Haven't met them yet, but apparently they're doing well so far. 

Thursday it rained buckets! I don't know if you heard, but apparently Britain got the tail end of this hurricane this last week and a few days before that. We got a ton of rain and extremely strong wind! We met with this guy, Robert, who says he doesn't intend to convert but is willing to talk with us. That's how it begins, Robert. That's how it always begins. Mwahahahahaha!!!

Friday was awesome! Met even more awesome people and set up appointments with many of them, including Grace!! We met this guy, Steven, who wasn't interested but we had an interesting conversation about the Bible. Just before he closed the door and we left, his wife came around the corner and asked for a Book of Mormon! She said she'd read it and pray about it! Steven seemed fine with it too! We're giving them a week to read, so we'll meet with them again on Friday hopefully. 

On Saturday we met with "Amazing Grace"!!!! And it ROCKED!!!! We read from 3 Nephi 11 together and discussed Jesus Christ and Baptism and such. She committed to reading and prayer, coming to church, and also BAPTISM ON SEPTEMBER 20TH!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D

She didn't come to church yesterday :( But we'll meet with her tomorrow to "rebuke" her lol

Sunday we actually had dinner with the McDonalds! I've told you about Brother McDonald, right? He's awesome, always willing to go out and teach with us. Unfortunately, Sister McDonald hasn't been doing too well, so we weren't able to eat with her, but she came down after dinner to chat. Brother McDonald has a huge library of books about the Gospel! This one that I read a bit of was full of humor from General Conference! Quotes and stories told from the pulpit that are hilarious and teach messages. It was great. Another was called "The Fates of the Persecutors of Joseph Smith" Now THAT was scary! Several members of the mob that attacked Carthage Jail were literally eaten alive by parasites. But the coolest book was called "Life Everlasting" Brother McDonald read to us a passage about a vision this man had of the Premortal life! It was so cool! The author was Duayne something. It started with a C. Look it up! 

Anyhow, I've got to go. Thank you all for all your emails and love and prayers! Things have been going so well, though Elder Massey has a cold right now, so pray for my health as well as his! I hope everything continues to go well for you!

Quick thought: I've been trying this week to make my prayers more meaningful and reverent and respectful. As you can see, there has been a difference!! This week I've had several spiritual experiences through Prayer. I know prayer works, and that it brings you closer to Heavenly Father. Never neglect Him!

Keep being awesome! I love you all so much!!!

Elder Bates

August 11, 2014 Last week of my first transfer!

Last night, we had moves call! No worries, Elder Massey and I are still together for the next six weeks but the other two companionships in our district are changing. Both Elder Allens are leaving, and both Elders McCallister and Dewsberry are training! All three companionships in our District will be training! It's going to be awesome!

Per tradition, the night before Moves Call, Elder Massey and I ate Kebabs. I had actually been "Kebab-tized" last Monday during P-Day! I got the largest Kebab we could find, which was larger than a Pizza box! And I had to eat the whole thing! I couldn't, but I did my best! It was delicious, too! Basically, a Kebab is this roll with meat in the middle. Special red sauce is put on, and you often get salad inside as well. The meat is referred to as "Mystery Meat" because nobody knows what's in it! I found a piece of bone in mine on Saturday hahaha. Such fun.

Anyhow, this week has been great! Every one of our Investigator Lessons were Joint Teaches, so that's great! We met with Stuart & Teresa again on Tuesday, and Stuart served us Lasagna, which, quite honestly, was the BEST LASAGNA I'VE EVER HAD!!!!! Sorry, Mom, but this Lasagna was just too cheesy to compare!

On Wednesdays, we try to do Family History. This Wednesday, while doing Family History, I decided to find out which Scottish Clan we come from! I looked it up, and apparently we're from Clan Mackay! They're way up north, and their tartan is very cool! It's blue and green, to signify... I don't remember, but I think it has something to do with the sea and the highlands. 

On Thursday, we were really excited to meet with this one woman, Paula, who seems pretty solid, but she cancelled on us. :( However, because she cancelled on us, we met this other girl who is awesome! We were talking with her about God and how to find out if He's there, and she thought she wasn't worthy to know God. We talked with her about the contrary, and talked about how Baptism can wash us of our sins and make us clean. She said that would be amazing!!!! We're meeting with her tomorrow!! So the Lord truly does work in mysterious ways!

On a more spiritual side, I've been studying the "How to Recognize the Spirit" section of PMG, and I found it extremely enlightening! It really impressed me to make my prayers more meaningful and respectful, and already I can tell a huge difference! Prayer is an amazing resource, and it can not be taken for granted!

Also, I finished reading the Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ at about the same time. I love the Book of Mormon, and I really enjoyed reading Jesus the Christ too, which I've never read before. I love my Savior and all he does for me! The Book of Mormon is amazing, and it truly is the word of God! Keep reading it, all of you!

From what I hear, I won't be getting the package with the camera charger for another two weeks, so you won't be able to get any pictures for another three weeks. Sorry! I assure you that you'll be getting plenty of pictures once I get it!

I love you all so much, and think about you often! Thank you for your love and support! I love your emails as well! Keep being awesome, and stay true to the faith!

Elder Bates

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 4, 2014 July's Gone!

I'm told that every drop of rain that falls on you on your mission makes up BWP's, or Beautiful Wife Points. If so, these last two days alone ought to make her a supermodel!Our beautiful sunny weather is gone now. I'll miss it greatly. Instead it's been rain rain rain. What's more, every single appointment we've made this week with an investigator or potential has fallen through. That in and of itself is sad, but what's more, that means we have to spend all day outside chapping doors in the rain. Yay!
It had rained off and on throughout the week, but it only truly rained Saturday. It was HORRIBLE!!! Like I said, we were stuck outside all day long. I had to throw my rain jacket into the dryer when we got home for lunch! And yesterday was even worse. We came inside for dinner and I hung up my jacket on the corner of our door. Water started dripping off the sides and made a puddle on the carpet!  Anyhow, you're not here to listen to me talk about the weather.
This week has been interesting. Our numbers were horrible, but everything not numbered has been great! This week I had my first experiences of being "reviled by men". The first instance was honestly more comical, though the other was much less so. The first instance I was on an exchange with an Elder McCallister. We were chapping houses in this area, when we get to this one house. The first person to come to the door is this little boy, probably Claire's age or younger. He just starts laughing and closes the door before we say much. This guy then opens the door and comes outside wearing nothing but a towel. He says he wants to know "the good word" and such. This kid was standing outside and was being the cheekiest, rudest, most annoying kid you can possibly imagine. He kept saying just stuff, and laughing at us. Finally he goes inside, and I'm thinking "phew, finally!" But then he comes back out and slaps my name tag. I look down, and there's something white on it. I seriously thought it was mayonaise, but instead it was soft cheese. He starts laughing his head off as I just stare at it. I couldn't take my eyes off it, it was the strangest thing. A small piece of the cheese fell off onto the ground, and the kid picked it up and put it on my nose! The guy in the towel was yelling at the kid to go away and such, and we just left after that. However! We were chapping more doors along the same street and the kid comes by holding a glass of water. He apologizes. And then throws the water at Elder McCallister. We saw the kid later in the week, when I was with Elder Massey again. Elder Massey tried to talk with the woman that was with him, but the kid took our pass along card and ripped it right in front of us. But the guy in the towel was very solid! He was talking about how he wanted to repent for the sins he'd committed in his life and such. On our way back, we passed the house and he stuck his head out and confirmed our appointment, telling us to make sure to call him!! We're supposed to be seing him today, but we can't, and we haven't been able to get a hold of him yet. But the kid said that both his parents are dead, so I don't know what his relationship is with the guy (Scott) or the woman he was with later. But honestly, I feel bad for the kid cuz he's going to go nowhere in life and end up sad and alone.
The second instance was much less funny. Elder Massey and I were chapping doors Friday in this one court neighborhood. We were on our third door when we heard someone speaking. We turned around and there was this guy standing outside his door with his dog. We just ignored him and went on around the street. The entire time he's watching us. We'd already decided not to chap his door if he went inside. But he hadn't! He was still outside when we came by his house. His dog was the same breed as Lucky, so I said "Nice dog", intending to talk about Lucky and calm him down a bit. But he said "She is. Don't touch her." He then started ranting at us! How we were annoying everybody and forcing our religion down people's throats. Elder Massey started to say something, but the man told him to shut up. Massey said he had the right to speak, and such. But he would have none of it. He told us to not go to the next house, which was the last house in the neighborhood. We asked if he owned the house and he said no so we went to the next door and knocked it. He kept telling us to go away, but honestly he knew he could do nothing to us. The guy was just a bully, and we simply ignored him after we left his yard. Honestly, I realized that what I should have said was "Respect is given where respect is earned", but he wouldn't have listened anyways. I'm glad we didn't talk too long with him, because he was certainly just one of those people that you simply can't talk to. 
So yeah, those are some of my experiences this week! Honestly, they sound bad, but nearly everybody here is at least polite to us. We never get any doors slammed in our faces (though Elder Massey thinks that might be because they care too much about their doors haha) and I only get sworn at maybe once a week. (Though this week we got two) But yeah, most everyone's very nice and polite.
Also, I thought I should mention what kind of food we eat in a normal week.  Every Monday we usually buy a jug of milk (the sizes are different: liters not gallons) two jugs of juice each, and two or three jars of curry. Indian food is HUGE here in Britain!! The Missionaries always keep saying that I have to eat this one food called a Kebab, and thus be "Kebab-tized"! The curry is either very good or just fine. We cook beef and rice to eat with it. We also buy two pizzas and anything good in the "reduced to clear" section. The other week, for example, we got like six venison burger patties which were DELICIOUS!!! Last week wasn't so great, but we did get some turkey breasts. And every other week we buy a box of cereal and a loaf of bread.
 Grace asked us to not come by, because she didn't think she was worth it. We told her we thought otherwise, but she persisted. We're going to wait a week or two and try by again. Didn't get to meet or even hear from any of the others, though we're planning to meet with Teresa tomorrow.
I am doing great! I'm tired, but I'm honestly peppy! Thats the only word I can use to describe it: peppy! I honestly think it's been a godsend, because I thought all the rejections would really get me down, but no!! I've been happy and peppy!
Anyhow, everything's going well out here! I really enjoy reading the Book of Mormon every day (I started Ether today!) and I love being able to share the gospel to people, and meeting so many interesting children of God! I love you all and look forward to next week's email! Have a good week!
Elder Bates