Monday, January 12, 2015

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

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