Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 26, 2015 Moves Call!

Dear Family,

Transfers!  Guess who's going back to Cumbernauld!!

I don't know either, but it isn't me! I'm staying with Elder Wells in Inverness! I'm really excited about it too! Really glad!

I love it when Mom and Dad send such long emails! It was great this week!

As for church yesterday, Barry doesn't have a car, and he lives pretty darn far from the church building. So we have no idea how to get him there! We'll figure it out somehow. And Rieley was staying with his Dad this weekend, so he couldn't come either. The only non-member that came was the boyfriend of this one young woman. And he honestly didn't seem that interested. But hey! I've been proven wrong before! And I love it!!

As for your question, I'll take a leaf from Brian Reagan: "Well let me answer you that by asking you this:" Do you realize just how amazing it is that you can read? Because, let me tell ya, not everyone can. Barry can read, but he has ADHD so he can't focus long enough to read the entire Book of Mormon. The entire time we've been teaching him, he's only read the captions underneath the chapter headings because he can't focus enough to read. And he's not the only one. Before my mission, I just assumed everyone could read. But nope! Many have a disability that forces them from reading, but there are also many that simply can't read! It is so sad! But we also start with the introduction because it's simpler. We tell people what the Book of Mormon is, and ask them to read that intro. It's a lot less stressful asking them to read a page than the entire book! As for the lesson, we simply ran out of time. We had to get going, so we had to cut it short. It happens quite often, actually. This is a LOT of material to cover!! I mean, we're explaining to them the story of their entire existence!!!! It takes a while!

When it comes to snow, I've always thought that it's warmer with snow than without. However, as a missionary, snow is still freezing cold ha ha

Oh cool! Maybe you'll be watching the game while I'm emailing you!! Go Seahawks!!! We're gonna get another Superbowl win!! You have to tell me how it turns out!

I'm glad everyone's doing well. Life is going on, so that's good. I pray for you every night.

Thanks for your testimony, it was really nice. And thanks for the scriptures too, they were nice! 

What a cool trip, Laura! You lucky dog! I love the story of Brielle with the swimsuit too haha she looks awesome! And I like how you're rocking the fedora! Looking good!! Ha I miss my fedora now... I almost bought one the other day, but when would I wear it? But I'm glad you're using one! And yeah, I have been missing those letters! Course, it's not fair when your companion's got a girlfriend that's constantly writing him haha

Anyways, I have no time so here's my week: Barry isn't ready for Baptism yet, he's got a problem with some stuff he's read off the internet. Met with Rieley this week and taught him the plan of salvation! He was quiet but his mom said he liked it and they talked about it all night. So that was good. Anyways don't have anymore time to talk! Got to go! LOOOOOOVE YOUUUU!!!
Keep being awesome!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pictures of Loch Ness on P-day

A very nice member took Elder Bates and Elder Wells
on a tour of Loch Ness on P-Day.  Elder Bates said it was beautiful!

Pictures - Inverness

 Elder Bates and Elder Livingston - "Frozen"

January 19, 2015 Awesome Week!

Dear Fam,

This week was awesome!! We've got a new investigator! His name is Barry. He's got a lot of questions about the Bible and all that. He's also a schizophrenic who hears voices and talks with them! That's because he was a drug addict but he's gone 5 years drugs free!! And he also quit smoking a year ago! So I met him on an exchange with one of the Zone Leaders on Tuesday. We were doing an AUF and we chapped into him! He let us in and we talked a bit and he invited us back! So the next evening, Wednesday, me and Elder Wells went by and taught him the first lesson. Because of his schizophrenia, whenever he feels a strong emotion (usually nervous) he just bursts out laughing. He did that multiple times when we told him about the Sacred Grove and the First Vision. He kept apologizing though! He honestly didn't mean it, and personally I believe that he was feeling the Spirit, and he didn't know how to react to it. Anyways, we left him with a Book of Mormon, committed him to read the Introduction, and said we'd meet him again on Friday, two days later. However, I was on ANOTHER exchange with Elder Livingston (awesome guy, he's in my MTC group!), so he's yet to have a lesson with the same elders twice! Anyways, we taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. This time he only laughed once, so that was good. I drew him this diagram of the plan, and Elder Livingston was explaining the Spirit World, and somehow we got talking more about Baptism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ Lesson. So Elder Livingston, out of the blue and without having planned on it at all, asked him THE question: "Will you follow the example of your Savior, Jesus Christ, and be baptized by one holding His proper Priesthood Authority?" And his reply was immediate: "Yeah, definitely! When do you want me to be baptized?" He started asking about when and where the church was and what he has to do and he was so enthusiastic! Oh, and he'd actually read from the Introduction Page to 1 Nephi 2! Including the Testimonies!! So yeah, he's a boss! So yeah, that was my week! So awesome!!! :D

Elder Livingston and I were out waiting for the bus to arrive, and we started belting out Let it Go at the top of our lungs! Btw, is Frozen as big in America as it is here in Britain? It's been over a year, and I'm still seeing Frozen stuff everywhere!! Crazy! 

And, as you probably noticed from the pictures I sent on Saturday, it's been snowing like crazy! I just checked the forecast for this coming week. No snow, but every day will be at or below freezing!! So pray for us to stay warm! It snowed three days this past week. It was really beautiful! Until you go out chapping, that is... Luckily, Elder Christianson and I had the car when it was snowing the hardest. Elder Christianson is one of the Zone Leaders. He was the one that was with me when we found Barry. But yeah, what a great week!! 

We painted Gale's house on Thursday. We were able to get to know Rieley better. He showed us his new game. It's the new Call of Duty, Advanced Warfare. Doubt you've heard much about it ha ha but yeah, that was a good visit. 

Unfortunately, there was a black mark on the end of the week. Last night Maureen dropped us. She said she was going to stay with her church. Didn't really give us a reason, but yeah. Elder Wells is particularly bummed. I'm bummed too, but it's very different for a missionary who's been working on an investigator compared with a missionary who's only known her for a few weeks. So keep praying for her! Hopefully one day she'll remember how she felt when she was at church. 

But beyond that, this week has been amazing for the Bates Family!! What an awesome experience for Dad! I keep saying it, and I'll say it again: I wish so much that I was there!! To meet an Apostle! Amazing. Anyways, I wish you all the best!! Good Luck out there!! Love you lots!!! :)

Elder Bates

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pictures from the Aberdeen Conference

Elder Bates
Curtis with Elder Reynolds

Sister Reynolds with Elder Bates

January 5, 2015 Ok, NOW I can tell you about Inverness!

Hello Fam! 

Well, I've got a half hour, so let's see how much I can tell you about Inverness in that time! 

I sent Dad a picture of a map of Northern Scotland with our area boundaries on it. Basically, our area covers "from sea to shining sea"! It's like a funnel with Inverness itself at the shorter end. It's a huge area! It also includes this massive island off the West Coast of Scotland, called the Isle of Skye. Sounds awesome huh! 

Well, here's the hitch: we don't have a car.

Yep, that's right. We did, but our car was taken away about two months ago, just after Elder Wells got here. We're the only area in our district without a car, which is ironic because we cover the greatest land area in the whole mission!! But we're not bitter or anything...Until the rain and the snow comes...

Anyways, we live right next to a canal which takes boats from Loch Ness to the sea. Last week the canal was frozen! It was so cool throwing rocks and seeing if we could crack the ice! We couldn't until we found rocks the size of bowling balls. Just tells ya how cold it is and how grateful I am that I got a couple of sweaters for Christmas! Because we dont' have a car, we typically spend all our time in Inverness unless we get a bus out, or we go on an exchange and one of us takes the car to Nairn or one of those other places we can't reach. We had 36 AUF's when I arrived, and we've contacted everyone that is in Inverness, so all that's left is for those exchanges! 

The library is pretty cool, it's got a lot of books and computers. It's right next to the bus station and the train station. Near the city center is, drumroll please, A CASTLE! It's not a real castle, but it's still A CASTLE!! I haven't been close enough to take any pictures but yeah. So cool! 

We typically do all our shopping at Lidles, which is right by our flat. Every once in a while we stop at the bakery there and get us some breakfast! One thing that Britain's got us beat: their pastries. We've got better doughnuts, but they've got better everything else! Oh it's so good!! Anyways, we can't go anywhere else because we don't have a car. Yeah, it's really a problem. But President Brown says that they can't get us a car unless they close down an area that has one. And we don't want to do that. 

Okay, so that's Inverness, now for the church here!

It's a very strange looking building, not like any other church I've seen. It's very small too! But it's right next to the River Ness, and it's a gorgeous view! And the ward members are so nice! So wonderful! We were chapping last week and we accidentally chapped into the Bishop's door and he had us in and gave us some juice and gave us a break from the cold. The bishop is a wonderful man that needs a wheelchair often. He walks around his house and similar distances, but otherwise he's in a wheelchair. 

Because of the holidays I haven't met many of our usual investigators, but I have met our most solid one: Maureen. She's a really old lady that's had some really strong spiritual experiences in her life. She's very old, and can't read the Book of Mormon, so we got it for her on cassette tapes (you remember those? We dug them up from the depths of our flat! Answer to our prayers!) She said this past week when we met with her that she would get baptized once she knows it's true. So pray for her to know it already! Ha ha We've also got Jonathan. He's a bouncer for a pub, but he wants to change his ways. He doesn't like beating people up anymore. But he's not much of an investigator yet, because he talks A LOT!!! The one time I've met with him, the conversation jumped to almost every subject that can come to mind! But he's a great guy, and I hope he can understand just how important this all is. There's also Gale. I've only met her once, which was yesterday at church! She's a less active who, according to Elder Wells, has turned around 180 degrees!! She was so happy and vibrant! She wasn't always that way apparently. She told us she wants her son baptized, so hopefully we'll be getting a new investigator soon! 

Right, well, I'm almost out of time, but I think that's a pretty good summary of Inverness! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! New Years is no different here. Fireworks at midnight, and everyone gets wasted drunk. We're supposed to be in our flat by 6 New Years Eve, and we get the whole day off New Years Day. 

Hope you guys got my pictures of Loch Ness! Isn't it beautiful? This place is so beautiful! The view from our flat is great! We can see the bridge that goes across the river to the Black Isle! It's great!

You know what, I didn't realize just what today was! So cool!! Thanks for pointing that out to me! Although, the people here put the day first, then the month and then the year so it's actually 5/1/15, but I like ours better.

I went on an exchange with Elder Livingston on Friday!! It was awesome!! Had a great time with him! Elder Wells is a great district leader. This district was having problems before he arrived, but President Brown made him the district leader and charged him to unify the district. And he has!! He's done a masterful job! It's so weird that he's the youngest one here!! Haha He is a FANTASTIC artist!! He likes drawing Fantasy stuff, like elves and orcs and knights and such. One of the things he did was he made a drawing of the whole district as fantasy creatures! I'm a werewolf!!!  I think I sent you a picture of his drawing. It probably makes much more sense now!  As the Companion to the District Leader you get a lot of free time as he's doing District Leader stuff. Normally I spend it doing productive things like eating or studying, but I also jot down notes in a little notebook I've got.

Anywyas, I love you all! Stay awesome!! Have a great week! Good luck getting back into the swing of things!

Elder Bates

December 29, 2014 Sorry!

I had a wonderful time talking with you guys! I was disappointed that I couldn't see you too well, but I didn't want to waste any of our precious time trying to fix it.  So yeah, that was too bad but really cool! Sorry about all the interruptions by all those kids and such haha

I loved all those packages!! You'll never believe it, but we got sooooooooooo much food!!! Each family here got us something, like cookies or chocolate boxes. But one family gave us SEVEN huge grocery bags full to the brim with food!!!! We won't have to go shopping today!!! Nearly two weeks of food! Crazy! I'm looking forward to diving into all those goodies! Unfortunately, the box of lemon heads was solid as a brick!  But I can still chip away at it! Delicious! The only thing I wish I'd gotten was some Warheads! But I honestly got everything I wanted anyways, so no reason to complain! I'm so glad I got two sweaters! It's been freezing up here! So cold! I don't know what the weather forecast is saying, but it feels even colder, I promise you!

I'm glad you guys had a great holidays!  The NYE Dance is going to be fun for Claire!

Good for Makayla!! Korea, wow! Seoul right? I know a guy going there too! Spencer's coming home!? Man I thought he'd just left! Missions are just too fast, ya know!? Slow down! Jeez!!

On Christmas I felt I was intruding the whole time I was at people's houses. We did play games with the families, which was fun, but it was just so awkward because I didn't know any of them... But, you just gotta keep moving forward. And that's what I'm gonna do.

Oh I wish I had time to email you guys! I was prepared to tell you all about Inverness, but I didn't quite foresee the voluminous agglomeration of Christmas emails I'd receive from people back home!!  Awesome!!!
But I will tell you that today I finally achieved one of my dreams: I got to visit LOCH NESS!!!!!!!! Yeah!! A member picked us up and drove us around the Loch!! I got plenty of pictures which I'm going to send Dad soon. It was the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen!! I haven't seen a more beautiful spot!! Not just the lake, but around it too!! So beautiful!! It was bitter cold but it was so great!! It's actually really tiny! 22 miles long! Only a mile and a half wide at the widest! Really small! But it's over 1000 feet deep! And the member has "seen" Nessie too!! He's a marine expert, doing dives and such for commercial and private jobs. Apparently he was doing some kind of sonar scan of the Loch, and he and his friend detected something huge right beneath them! But before they could record it, it disappeared. Cool huh!?
I really did love the packages you sent and the time we took talking with each other!! Thank you for that!! I love you so much!! Merry Christmas!! Have a great New Years Eve!! Talk to ya in 2015!!!

Elder Bates

Friday, January 9, 2015

To his Dad

I couldn't possibly express the thankfulness that I feel for you.  Your counsel last week was completely perfect, and I want you to know that I followed your counsel in regard to the studying. I read through Alma 32, and it was a great study session! I actually printed off both your advice and Mom's advice, as well as some talks that you guys sent me. I read them throughout the week, and let me tell you, your prayers were answered! I was completely at ease, and when I bore my testimony yesterday, I could say "I know the Book of Mormon is true" without any ounce of doubt! Thank you for your continuous prayers and counsel! I will be looking forward to that letter! It will be very helpful for me!

I've started several journals, actually! My Missionary Journal, my Wife Journal, my Testimony Journal (basically, I get the Elders in my District to write a few words before I leave them; like a yearbook, but for a mission!), my Spiritual Journal (I've been writing down the spiritual experiences I've been having; it's been really cool!) and a Study Journal! Lot's of great books, it's just a bit hard to keep them straight haha but it's been really good doing those things :)

Thank you for sharing your testimony with me and your great experiences! I love you so much, more than anything else! Thank you!