Monday, September 29, 2014

September 22, 2014 Moves Week!

Dear Fam,

This week is Moves Week! We got a call last night from the AP's, and received our assignments!! Elder Massey is heading off back to Ireland!  I'll be staying in Cumbernauld and my new companion is named Elder Hanson! I know nothing about him.  On Tuesday night we'll be staying the night in Glasgow so Elder Massey can catch the early bus to the coast to ride the ferry to Ireland. I'll be staying in Glasgow until Elder Hanson arrives. Wednesday is going to be pretty crazy!

As to the Vote... What a disappointment. The day before everyone was going around wearing Yes or No Thanks stickers on their shirts. Scottish flags were flying everywhere or emblazoned across windows or cars. It was really cool! They didn't close the polling stations until 10:30, and they didn't expect to finish counting before 6 in the morning. We didn't hear about it until about 7:30, when the two Elders in Airdrie (we're good friends with them) texted us.  But I was disappointed because I knew just how devastated everyone would be. Nearly EVERYONE in Cumbernauld was voting Yes. And everyone is absolutely devastated. I wish I could tell you what has been happening out here, but the White Handbook says I can't. Suffice to say that I am more proud to be an American than ever before.

But anyhow, let's get onto a more happy subject! Namely, the Gospel!! 

First of all, on Monday we hung out with the Airdrie Elders. Elder Glasgow has a picture that's really cool. It's of all the Presidents of the church in white suits inside the Temple. It's sick! In a good way. Elder Massey's been begging for it. Finally on Monday, while both Elders were busy changing, he slipped the picture in his backpack and left 20 pence. It was the greatest heist in SIM History!! Hahaha

On Tuesday we had a Zone Meeting in Glasgow. It was really good! Later that day we met with Grace and set up an appointment the next day.

On Wednesday, we met with Brother McGuiness. He looks almost exactly like Abraham Lincoln!! We met with Grace and taught her the Law of Chastity. She had no problems with that, and is progressing with the Word of Wisdom! Oh, and that night we talked with these two women for a while. On Thursday (Election Day), we met this woman! We were walking down the path where she was, and she was carrying two grocery bags. We asked her if she wanted help, and she said "Yes, please!" We talked with her about the gospel on the way, and when she had to head off to a doctor's appointment, she asked us when she could meet with us again!! We haven't yet, but we will!!

We had a dinner appointment with the Foots. Unbeknownst to us, an Elder South was coming too. With his parents!! Apparently, he was touring his mission with his parents before he headed home. It was cool hearing about how his mission was and how excited his parents were to be with him. The reason he was heading home so early was because his VISA expired before the end of the transfer. But yeah, that was cool. He and his parents were also very helpful with Margaret too! Brother South (the dad) asked her about her conversion story, and I think bearing her testimony was very helpful for her. We taught her after they left, and she promised to come to church on Sunday!!! Sister Foot was practically jumping for joy in her seat haha

All of our appointments Friday cancelled/rescheduled. It was the craziest thing for one of them! We'd met this lady, Joyce, the day before. She gave us her address, but both of us wrote down a different address! And in the end, we were both wrong!! The only way we found her was that we were chapping her neighborhood, and she came to one of the doors. This was long after her appointment, though, so we had to reschedule. But we're still scratching our heads on that one!

We also got some bad news. We hadn't seen Grace since Wednesday. Finally we saw Robert walking down the path and he told us why: SHE'S IN PRISON!!!!! Now, don't start judging her, the reason isn't bad at all. She had a court date for this minor thing from a while ago, but she missed it. Apparently, if you miss your court date here, you stay in Prison until the next date!! Which, for her, will be two to three weeks!!! We'd given her a new Baptism Date for October 19th, which she can still make, so she's technically with a date, we just can't meet with her!! Robert said he'd get her a Book of Mormon for prison, but it's still hilarious :)

Yesterday I gave a talk in Church! I spoke on Never Giving Up. I mentioned NGUNNGU, which is Tumwater High's Football Team's cheer: Never Give Up, Never Never Give Up. I also mentioned Nephi getting the Brass plates after two failures and Moses pleading for the Israelites when the Lord wanted to destroy them. 

 So yeah, it was overall a pretty good week!

I wanted to also talk to you all about Prayer. I have been loving prayer lately! It is such an amazing resource!!! There was an article in the April 2011 Ensign (we have dozens of old Ensigns in our flat) called "I Need Thee Every Hour", which I encourage all of you to read. A really cool part was where it says that Jesus Christ Himself provided a great example for prayer. It cited how in His visit with the Nephites, He prayed A LOT!! Him!! If He felt the need to pray so often, we should too!! I've been really striving to make my prayers more meaningful and saying them more often. Another article I read spoke of how we should make our "Thank you" portion of our prayers longer than the other parts. I've been trying that, and I have seen such a great difference!! My mind has been opened, I've been able to understand gospel principles in a way I'd never thought of before! And when I express gratitude for such things, he blesses me with more! It's been a really exciting week! I know that prayer is an amazing thing, a way that we communicate with the Being that created all the trillions of worlds and stars and creatures and plants and people. That Being is anxious to hear from you. Doesn't that make you feel special? We must never neglect Him! We need to talk with Him and ask Him questions. We always focus on Moroni's promise and apply it to the Book of Mormon, but that wasn't his intent. "By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Not just the Book of Mormon! ALL things! If we just ask! 

Thanks so much for all your constant prayers and your love and your emails!! I love you all soooooo much and miss you!

Elder Bates

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Mike gets to meet all sorts of wonderful people on his mission. Including this guy above. This is what Mike had to say about him:

"For his 40th birthday he bought an expensive (but high quality) stormtrooper suit and goes walking around town wearing it with a kilt. He's awesome haha!"

You never know when a stormtrooper might want a Book of Mormon. 

September 15, 2014 This is going to be an interesting week!

This is going to be a VERY interesting week!

First off, the Referendum. That's the official name for the Vote over Independence! They promised that the results will be up by midnight Thursday, but we don't know when exactly. If it's late, Elder Massey and I will probably be awoken by fireworks if it's a yes! Or explosions if it's a no! Some people are very serious about this. But no worries! We're servants of the Lord! We'll be protected if anything serious was to happen!  Thursday and Friday are going to be complete busts. No one will want to talk to us, no matter what the result is! I'm hoping to get my hands on a newspaper if it's a Yes vote. I have to have something to prove that I was in Scotland when they went independent!

Secondly, next Wednesday, it's very likely that I'll have a new companion!! I'll definitely know by next Monday, so that's crazy! Either way, I'll be done being trained! I'll be a full fledged Missionary!!! I'm excited, but also sad to be saying goodbye to Elder Massey. He's been really great, and well loved by the people of Cumbernauld. I hope I can ease his "passing" for the Ward, but we'll see.

My testimony has been great! This morning for personal study, I read the May 2013 Conference Ensign, and Elder Holland's talk was very great! I know he's always great, but this one was very helpful for me! I wish I could remember what it was called, I think it's "Help thou my unbelief" or something. That's how he starts, with that story about the man with the sick child. It was very good! There was another talk by a Seventy that was about receiving Heavenly Father's acceptance. It was really inspiring, and I hope you can find time to read them as well. 

I don't have very much time, so I'll have to just tell you about the people! Yes, William's story was great. I'm really glad I could have that experience. We haven't been able to contact him this week. We weren't able to contact Billy all week until last night. He's still interested! Oh, and his last name's Walker, not Williams. Grace is awesome! So awesome! I'm so excited about her!

Teresa's pretty complicated. We weren't able to meet with her this week! We're really excited about this woman Fiona. She was contacted and given a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet a few weeks ago. Last week, we unknowingly talked with her partner as well and gave him another pamphlet! They both read the pamphlets and discussed them with each other and asked each other questions about them, and they both realized they didn't know the answers!! So we're going to be helping hopefully both of them later this week! 

We were able to meet with Grace twice this week! The first time was good, but last night was amazing! She came to the door and said "I'm very proud of myself! I've been able to go five days without marijuana, cigarettes, and only a little alcohol! And I've just been so happy lately! I know it's because of you guys and because of Him!" she was pointing up at that last part. It was a great experience! 

I wish I could tell you guys more, particularly about the King Julien Area Authority at Stake Conference Saturday and Sunday! You know, from Madagascar? He was awesome. But I've really got to go! 

So I'll leave you with this: This church is true, the Book of Mormon is God's word, the Doctrine and Covenants also. I love this gospel, and I love the Twelve Apostles and Thomas S. Monson! I'm really excited for General Conference!! I love you all and miss you! Keep going forward with faith!  I love you so much and I miss the whole family! I know you guys are constantly being blessed, and I know the Savior is behind you, gently pushing you, and encouraging you to keep moving forward. After all, it's His work we're doing!

Elder Bates

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 8, 2014 Awesome Week!

Dear Family,
What an awesome week! Seriously, really great week this week! As I'm sure Dad has sent you, I was able to send some pictures finally! More are coming! I hope you enjoyed them.

 My package is officially cleaned out! I've eaten everything except a few kisses and chocolate coins! So thanks to all that was a part of that, it was all delicious. :9

 This week was amazing, even though many a person missed their appointment. But we pulled through! Elder Blossil and I met several cool people on an exchange on Tuesday. The next evening we talked with this JW lady for a while, discussing the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Sorry to say she couldn't really give us a straight answer to our questions. She'd repeat the same answer to several questions too. It was sad. Plus she said she'd give me a Watchtower, but she never did! I got jipped.

 Anyhow, on Friday we taught Grace and  Robert about the Word of Wisdom, something we knew would be a bit of a struggle for them, seeing how they smoked, drank, and Grace does Marijuana. But she had actually decided to quit drinking not long after we met her, so that was a step in the right direction! Unfortunately, she's been finding it difficult, particularly when Robert's around. He's a bad influence on her in that area. We actually taught them in Robert's flat, in the presence of Robert's flatmate, Bill. Bill was cool! He asked us so many questions. We left behind a Restoration pamphlet for him. 

So, cool story: Friday night, after we finished our Daily Planning for the next day, I gave the closing prayer. I prayed for something I hadn't thought of before: that those people we were going to meet the next day be prepared that night to meet us. The next day, Saturday, we met this guy William. He's super cool, and had a lot of questions! But the best part is that the night before he had been on the phone with a Catholic friend, and they had talked about God, and how he (William) could find out that God is there! He said that that conversation was the reason he was even giving us "the time of day"!! God is awesome. He's such a boss.

 Teresa, btw, has a date in mind! She's been thinking constantly of the date September 19th!!!  Obviously, God does not want her to "procrastinate the day of her repentance". But that is only two weeks for her to get married and baptized! Honestly, it can only happen with God's help. So please pray for her!

 Grace and Robert weren't at church. They had forgotten to set the alarm. So that was disappointing. But we were able to meet with Billy Williams, a guy who's the cousin of this sister in the ward! That went very well! We also met with William, and that was great too! Both are on their way!

 I love you all so much! I love this work and I can't wait to learn more! I love the Book of Mormon!!!!

Elder Bates

Saturday, September 20, 2014

pictures of Elder Bates

Goofy District:

First day in Edinburgh at the top of the hill overlooking the city where Orson Pratt dedicated Scotland for the preaching of the gospel:

This is George Square in Glasgow! I'm on the left, Elder Massey's on the right: 

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 1, 2014 Interesting Week!

Hello everyone! :)

How's your testimony?

 This week was interesting. P-Day was on a Tuesday, as you might have noticed, so this week was also a little shorter than usual. We had a couple of meetings on Wednesday. It was called Zone Interview Training, or ZIT for short ;) Most of the day we were taught by the Assistants, these two Sisters, the Zone Leaders, and Sister Brown. The Assistants were awesome, they taught us about being bold with our testimonies, and how we shouldn't be afraid of the gospel. Missionaries often dance around the bush about our beliefs about, say the apostasy or prophets, but they reminded us that Christ said that the wicked will be offended by His gospel. To the wicked, the Gospel is offensive, but that doesn't change the fact that it is true!! We can NOT be afraid of the gospel! It was a great meeting. During the meetings, President Brown would take people one by one and interview them, including me. All went well, no worries. :)

Got my package btw, so I can send pictures! It's very difficult, so it'll be slow going, but pics are coming! :)

We met with Grace that night, and who was there but her friend (possibly boyfriend) Robert, who is a less active! So that was technically a Member Present, ha ha! 

The next day we met with Bridy, the most perfect Catholic ever. Except she doesn't believe many of the doctrines of the Catholic church! Later, we went on an exchange with the Zone leaders. Elder Massey stayed in Cumbernauld while I went to Glasgow with Elder Lesuma! 

The next day was interesting. Elder Lesuma and I had to get to this one lady's house, but we didn't have the address so we got it from a member. We plugged it into the GPS (they're a car area) and were off! Unfortunately, we put an "n" where there was supposed to be an "m" so we ended up in CUMBERNAULD!!! Something's wrong with me! Every time I've been on an exchange this transfer, we've ended up somewhere we weren't supposed to be!!!

Anyhow, later that night, we went by Lynn, this woman we've been trying to meet with for a week. She met us outside her house and told us about how every time we've set up an appointment, something has happened that's kept her from meeting with us. The day before, a door had fallen on her daughter, and other such things. Whether she was telling the truth or whatever is going on, it reminded me of a quote by some general authority: any doctrine that satan doesn't try to distort or destroy is not worth sharing.

Saturday we met with Grace and Robert again at the Church building and taught Grace the Plan of Salvation. She was a little confused about the Fall, but mostly because she'd been told the story in a completely different light. 

 Luckily we were able to explain it better later. 


 She, Robert, and another Less active, Henry, whom we've seen a couple of times before, all came to church yesterday!!! Henry left after Sacrament Meeting, but Grace and Robert stayed for all three hours!!! Grace said she enjoyed it, though she had a few questions. We promised we'd answer them when we meet with her later this week. In Gospel Principles we taught her more about the Fall and were able to dispel the myths she'd believed before about it. It's amazing how much the world has distorted the story of the Fall. We should be so grateful to have modern scriptures that explain that event much more clearly. 

 I'm so honored to be called to serve here in Cumbernauld and Scotland! Just so you know, the vote for independence will be in seventeen days! We've been wondering if it'll be safe to go out if they vote no. Some people are getting very serious about the vote, which is understandable to a certain extent. But hey, we'll see! 

I'm so happy to be out here, despite all the bad things, from angry people, to annoying kids, to evil spirits. Despite all that, I love being out here. There is so much good in the world. Nearly everyone we meet is at least polite to us, even if they're not interested and would rather remain ignorant. I love the Book of Mormon and am excited to hear from President Monson in a month. :)

I also love you all so much! I flip through a photo album Laura gave me at least once a week, it's been awesome! I'm glad to hear from you all! Love you!

Elder Bates