Thursday, May 28, 2015

More Pictures

This is Elder Bates with Georgiana, whom he baptized. 
The following pictures are all from Ireland:

Random Pictures

Saying Good Bye - Inverness

Traveling by Ferry to Ireland
 (They are all wearing the Scotland/Ireland Mission Tie!)

At a Member's home in Belfast, Ireland




May 11, 2015 Long Time No See

Hi ya Fam!

It was great getting to talk to you all yesterday! Except for Kate, unfortunately. Missed ya Kate!  I was sad you guys had to go. I mentioned to Elder McPherson afterwards that I could have talked with you guys for hours!! Which I intend to someday!  One thing I did miss yesterday was when I got to talk with just Mom and Dad, you remember? I liked that. Shame you guys had to catch that plane. How did you score a small plane like that? When I show that picture to others, it'll look like we've got a private plane!
Anyhow, yesterday, you'll never guess, but I got a cake from the Hamilton's, a family in our ward! So kind of them!! I've barely met them!! What an awesome family. Their daughter is the one that had served in Batavia. I'll send a picture when I can. Haven't eaten it yet! Gotta do that. :)

Well, I don't really know what to tell ya that I didn't mention during the Skype. 

I've been reading this textbook we have in our flat of the history of the church. And in it there's this story I want to tell yous: So Parley P. Pratt was leading an expedition to explore the Salt Lake Valley. One day he woke up to find that they had been completely buried in the snow! He said he "shouted for all to arise with the sound of a trump. The mounds stirred, the graves were opened, and we all arised again. We called it Resurrection Camp." 

I was reading that and just laughed right out loud at that one. Did you know Brigham Young got chased by a grizzly bear during the trek?

Joseph Smith did so much. I can't help but think that he didn't do all he was supposed to, but he must have. God Himself said that he wouldn't be taken until he had done all he was supposed to. Which is interesting. Why didn't we get all the Bible? Why just a small portion? Interesting...

Missions are hard. Very hard. Both Elder McPherson and I are pretty quiet, so it's hard for both of us to talk to people sometimes. It's just hard to get a gospel conversation going after small talk.  I'm doing my best and hopefully representing the church well.  We are kind to everybody.
Well, this has been a boring email. Just know that I love you guys, and I was so grateful to talk with you. Love ya! :)

Elder Bates

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 5, 2015 Awesome Week!

I've had a great week!

I followed the prompting I received to study the Atonement this week, and it has been FANTASTIC!!!! My testimony of the Savior has multiplied and grown so much! I've been using True to the Faith, Preach my Gospel and the Bible Dictionary, but just from those my understanding and love for Jesus Christ has grown incredibly!! I love my Savior so much!!! 

Thanks for sending the obituary.  What a perfect summary of a great life! I wish I could be there for the ceremony. Be sure to send my love to Grandpa and everybody. I was really sad to hear, but Dad sounded really optimistic about the whole thing! I was really glad to have received that email from him. Marie told me a bit about the miscarriage too. I've been praying for her and Dad every night this week. What a trial they're going through!! I'm sure the trip to Mexico will be a welcome respite for them. Sad that they have to miss the funeral, but I'm sure they'll have a great time. 

They have so many holidays out here!! They have at least one Bank Holiday each month, and they always end up on Mondays so the Libraries are closed!! Yesterday there was a Marathon as well, which meant the buses were closed down, so we weren't able to go to the church to email. Shame. But hey, better late than never, eh?

How adorable to hear Brielle saying my name!  Oh I wish I could be there to hear that!! Take a video some time and send it to me. I've got some headphones I could use. 

We had to buy some things that our new flat doesn't have. Like shower curtains (I had no idea how important those curtains are until I stepped out of the shower and almost slipped on one of the many large puddles!) and a toaster (do you realize how many things we eat using a toaster? Crazy!) and a kettle (they've got these kettles that rapidly boil water for ya. EXTREMELY useful for a missionary that only has an hour to cook stuff!)

My birthday is on Stake Conference.  I actually got called by the Mission Home yesterday! Tomorrow is Zone Interview Training, so they'll be bringing those packages. They said they had 3!! I did get a package from the Tolsmas, but I've been obedient to their instructions and haven't opened it until my Birthday.   Elder McPherson and I get Ice Cream for Weekly Planning sessions so I'll have some ice cream for my cake.  As for skyping, we have a member who has been very kind to have us over right after Stake Conference. I don't know what time exactly, but Stake Conference ends at 1 pm our time, which is 5 am your time. I go to bed at 2:30pm your time, and wake up at 10:30pm your time, but I don't leave the flat until 2am your time. So, by the sound of it, our only option is to skype in your morning.

Elder McPherson is from Utah, and he is a very spiritual guy. He's really good at trying to use every minute of personal study for studying. He's also been fantastic at leading out the area while I'm getting my bearings. He's particularly impressed me in that department. 

Our new flat is in the heart of Belfast (which is technically out of our area, but we need to be here to catch our buses so it's okay) so I get to experience a bit of city life, which is different from my last two areas. It's loud and bright at night, which has been a change for me. Strangely, the noise isn't really from cars so much as from seagulls and pigeons, both of which I now consider the spawn of the devil. There's nothing worse than waking up ten minutes early because a seagull, perched on your window sill, has screeched as loud as it possibly can. Luckily, that hasn't happened often. Today is the rainiest I've seen it so far. Luckily I'm going on exchanges with the District Leader, Elder Preece, so hopefully his area is a little drier. There's a common saying that in Ireland (I've also heard this about Scotland, so I think it's interchangeable), you can get all four seasons in one day. I found that to be true last Sunday. We were walking along (we walked 8 miles that day to get to an AUF and back!) and I experienced snow, rain, sun, and bitter wind within an hour or two.

In the past, Elders have usually had about 2 or 3 DA's a week, but due to random events we haven't had as much. One family that usually has us out basically dropped us due to their health. The Armstrongs. I can promise you that you'll hear more about them as time goes on! They are great!

Anyhow, I'll keep praying for everyone! Stay strong! Good luck with Seminary! Love you!! Miss you so much!!! See you next week!!! :D  Remember, Satan tries hard. We just gotta try harder! 

Elder Bates

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April 27, 2015 Moves week in more ways than one!

Hi ya Fam!

What a week. Moves day is normally on Wednesday, but since I was traveling so far, I left on Tuesday instead. Elder Livingston and Elder Jamieson and I are all going to Ireland, so we all traveled together. Elder Jamieson drove us to Aberdeen to catch a train to Edinburgh. We got there just a few minutes before the train left! We were flying through the terminal!! And when we got there, there weren't any seats open so we just stood there, occasionally sitting on our luggage, the whole train ride. We made it to Edinburgh, where the Mission Home Van, which is massive, picked us up and brought us to the Mission Home with all the other Elders going to Ireland. We stayed there that night, and the next morning we were off to the bus station! We got a bus to Glasgow, where we picked up a few more missionaries going to Ireland, and then down to the coast, where we boarded a ferry! It was MASSIVE and it was POSH! More like a cruise ship! It had a few restaurants, a spa, a bar, a few arcades, a casino, and a movie theater! We were all hungry, not having had any breakfast or dinner the night before, so we all bought whatever on the ship. I was totally ripped off though. I paid £6 for what turned out to be five hot wings. The hot wings were fantastic because I haven't had a hot wing in forever. So we got off the ferry only to jump on another bus to the Belfast train station, where we met our companions.  I met Elder McPherson there. He rushed us back to our NICE flat in the middle of Downtown Belfast. 

 It was a lot of traveling, and I am STILL tired from it! On top of that, I've arrived in the middle of moving flats! Their old flat was way far from the City Center which is where they n take the bus from. So now I'm at the top of this really posh apartment building in the middle of downtown Belfast! So I've been spending the past several days cleaning out the old flat and moving all the stuff to our new flat! It's been a crazy couple of days. Also, because of the chaos caused by moving flats, I probably won't receive any of your letters for a while. 

The missionaries had to leave the last flat for reasons that Mom is not allowed to know (someone threw a molotov cocktail into the shop below their flat).

So I've been thrust right in the middle of moving! We don't even have silverware! For breakfast, I had to fashion a spoon out of tin foil (which I thought was pretty sweet) in order to eat my cereal.

We've really only gone by our investigators, and haven't done much proselyting. We're just about done now. A really nice family in the ward gave us a bunch of board games! Including Monopoly, Risk, and chess!! I've played chess with Elder McPherson a few times now. 

So the ward seems great! Almost all of the members are older.  The Bishop is an American, who served his mission here, then later came back, got married, and has lived here ever since! One family, the Hamiltons, their daughter recently served her mission in Chicago, and her last area was Geneva Ward!!! She posted a picture on Facebook, and a lot of people said stuff about it, remember? It was fun talking with her about some old friends. 

I don't know much about all our investigators right now, but we do have several. One in particular is Vincent. He's an American as well! We're trying to get him to stop praying to Mary, and to get over his fear of the Book of Mormon. 

As for Northern Ireland, the Protestants want to remain part of the UK, but the Catholics want to join with the Republic of Ireland. This causes a lot of contention, particularly in the name of religion.

You remember how I was telling you all about how I'm not supposed to wear green or blue? Well that is MUCH more intense here! It's not as bad anymore, but I still shouldn't wear a green tie in the Shankill district (which is very Protestant) or a Red tie in the Falls district (which is very Catholic). But, if I do the opposite, I might get more investigators! :) I'd actually love for you to look it up and send me some of the information. I'm DYING to know a bit of the history out here! And if you look it up, I suggest you look up July 12th. Missionaries are not allowed to leave their flats that day!! They have to stay inside all day!! But when you do, don't get too worried. Last year was their calmest year in a long time, so things aren't that bad now.

Thanks for the advice Mom! It's kind of funny, when they're slamming the church, I'll ask them "Have you read the Book of Mormon cover to cover? Have you ever been to one of our Sacrament Meetings? Have you ever listened to a full and complete talk by one of our Prophets?   The answer is always no.

I'll be sure to direct my prayers to the family. Looks like this is a difficult time for all of us! You can count on me.

I miss you so much! Can't wait to speak with you! Less than two weeks now! :)

Anyhow, that's been my week! I've been absolutely exhausted since moves, so please pray for me to come back to myself. Sorry to hear that things are getting difficult over there! Stay happy! And read the Book of Mormon!

Elder Bates