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

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