Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 14, 2015

Hi ya Fam!

I'm afraid there is a slight problem with the voice recorder. There have been times where, with the recorder in my pocket or in my bag, somehow it switches on and starts recording. This week, to my despair, I discovered that it had recorded a half hour of bus waiting/travel! This, as you can imagine, sapped up all the battery juice, and now it's dead. I will endeavor to purchase new batteries in the coming hours.

Anyways, this week has been difficult but good, if that makes any sense whatsoever!!

On Tuesday I was on exchanges with Elder Sheppard, Elder Harmon's trainee, who's actually English! Can't remember where from, but it was a good exchange. 

On Wednesday, we exchanged back and then Elder Schippers and I had to book it to the church for a funeral that Brother B, the only member of the Bishopric that's in Northern Ireland right now, begged us to come to. When we got there, we found out why: there really wasn't a lot of people there!! It was so sad!! :( But the services were good. 

That night, Brother W (the Ward Mission Leader) went with us to H's. We retaught him the Restoration lesson. The meeting was much better than last time. Although H didn't seem to understand some things, such as how this church is the only true church. But on the plus side, he bore his testimony to us of the Book of Mormon!! It was great! Someday things are going to change. I just hope it's soon!

Thursday we went to the L's for dinner again. Had a delicious pie! Yum! :9

Friday we had a special evening with F. First off, F's a vegetarian. Or, rather, WAS a vegetarian. She decided to start eating meat again! So, to celebrate, Elder Schippers cooked up some chicken!! We also had SB, who has just recently returned from his mission in Portugal! (It's so funny being with Returned Missionaries out here! They always have American accents!! ;)) He cooked us some rice, and I cooked up some sausages. I think we kind of overloaded F with meat, but it was good! Afterwards, we sat down to reteach the Plan of Salvation. 

And guess what?

Her roomate D decided to sit in with us!!

And guess what else?

During the lesson we turned to Alma 40:11-12. To help D we handed her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She never gave it back! We kind of "forgot" to ask for it back, but she didn't give it back! I dunno how interested she will be, but hopefully this will be the spark! :)

Saturday was really fun! Every missionary in Northern Ireland met in Belfast to participate in the Belfast Blitz! There were three stations: a musical station that sang songs and played instruments; a whiteboard station where we asked people "What makes you happy?"; and a chalking station, which was very lucky it didn't rain!! I was at the whiteboard station. There was supposed to be movements around the three stations, but for various reasons it didn't happen. It was a lot of fun, and it was a huge success!

How do I know that?

Well, we got a phone call from the Zone Leaders giving us EIGHT referrals!!! 


After the Blitz was over, we went over to Newtonabbey because the Elders over there were having a baptism and Elder Schippers had worked with her. Her name's C. Its a really interesting story. I don't know the details but basically she's a foster child. Her biological father made the family promise to never force her to do anything religious. They were true to their word. Then one day, apparently the Olympic torch was going to go past the church building, and Chariss wanted to see it, so she went to church! She's been coming ever since. She knew the church was true years and years ago, but her biological father refused to let her be baptized until she was 18. She turned 18 earlier this year. So what do you know!?

So on Sunday, we went by A, whom we hadn't heard from all week. He told us that he's moving to Bangor soon, and wouldn't be able to meet with us before then. We were pretty bummed about that. We're back to 0 investigators. But hey! 8 referrals! That's gotta get us somebody!!

Well that was my week! Hope yours was good! 

In Ireland we pretty much always get the Ensign a month late. We got our August Ensign just the other week. :)  No kidding! I never read the Ensign until my mission!! Such an awesome magazine!  I love it now!
Here's a question to ask yourselves, and the answer doesn't necessarily have to be "churchy": How can someone still be happy when everything around them is not, cheerful let's say? In other words, how does one choose to be happy?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I just about started crying when I read about Harvey. I'm serious this time! I could tell that this was really hard for you! I wanted with all my heart to be there to help you with this. I feel that every time something bad happens back home! Just know that I'm feeling for you.
This Saturday is 15 months for me! I'm in single digits now, can you believe it!?

Did you get my shoes from the Jacobs? Well the shoes I've got are now worse than the shoes that I sent! Ha! There's an Ecco shop in Belfast so I can just buy a new pair of shoes.
I'm glad it was a good birthday, Mom!
Love you guys so much!! Have a totally-awesome-killer-rad-blast week!!

Elder Bates

Thursday, September 17, 2015


 Hump Day - Burning his shirt at a member's home.

 Riding the bus to church
 Homemade breakfast - Porridge mixed with orange Kool-Aid
 Belfast, Northern Ireland City Center
 Elder Bates at F's Baptism!
Elder Bates, F, and Elder Schippers

September 7, 2015

Typed from a recording -

Hello, it's Elder Bates.  How are you guys?  This week's been great.  I hope you got the picture of F's baptism.  This week's been good.  We were really excited about it.  At the moment I'm at the church building.  We're doing our emailing here today.  Elder Schippers is emailing and I'm making the recording.  This week's been good.  On Tuesday we had what's called a blitz.  Elder Harmon and Elder Shepherd who are serving up in Newtonabbey came down to our area, Cave hill, and we all worked here on a blitz; multiple missionary' s in one area.  And that was good; that went well.  The next day was All- Ireland Conference.  We had to travel all the way down to Dublin which was about 2 1/2 hours on a bus and we had to be there by 9:30 and several elders from all over Northern Ireland came and stayed in our flat.  We had 8 missionary's there including us .  We picked them up Tuesday night then Wednesday took the bus over.  I pretty much slept most of the way up there but it was hard to do because there was a couple from Spain and they had a cat with them that kept meowing.  It was a kitten.  A cute cat, it was just annoying.  So we got to Dublin and it was cool seeing all the missionary's there.  All the training was good too.  There's a member over there - she said her son is on a mission - so she always makes really nice food for all the elders when we have our All-Ireland Conferences and such .  And it was really good.  It was potatoes and chili.  It was so good.  That went well.  We took the bus back. 
The day before, H called us and he specifically asked us to come by which I thought was a good sign but unfortunately our bus was really late.   We were really late getting back to Cavehill.  I think we got back at 7:30 and so we weren't able to make it to H's.  So we set up an appointment for later this week so we'll meet with him again.  But he gave us a call - I think that's a good sign.  So that happened.  The rest of the week went by normally.
On Friday we got a referral from a media referral.  A guy named A had requested a Book of Mormon.  I've had lots  of media referrals and so far I can't think of any of them that have ever turned out.  Sometimes they were pranks that one person would play on another person.  Sometimes, well,  I just haven't had media referrals turn out so I wasn't really that excited about it I'm afraid.  But we went by A on Saturday before we went to the church to prepare for the baptism.  He was really cool. We knocked on the door. 
"Are you Adam?" 
"Yea I'm Adam." 
"Did you request a book of Mormon?" 
"Yea, do you have one? "
"Yea, we've got one right here."  Talked to him for a brief moment and asked him if we could come by. 
"Yea. Come by tomorrow." 
And we were just really excited.  Then we walked away from the door to the street and, "Ok, where are we going now?" and we were looking through our planner and a woman on the other side of the street was like,  "Hey, are you Mormons?"

"Yea, we are!"
"Do you have a Book of Mormon on you?"

 "Can I have it?"

I was freaking out a little bit, I was like "Sweet!  This is our day!" And we started talking with her and to this day I have no idea why she wanted the Book of Mormon because it seemed to me like she had already made up her mind about it.  Anyhow, we were talking with her for awhile; about a half hour.  And it was incredible while we were talking with her.  I had never realized just how important knowing that we are children of Heavenly father is. She did not believe that.  She didn't believe that we are literally god's children .  She believed that we are only God's children if we become born again.  But we believe that everyone is god's children and she couldn't grasp that and she kept asking us questions, just really pointed questions and each question was answered by the fact that we are God's children. Like she asked about, "Jesus and Satan are brothers huh?"  And all these other different questions and we were like, " We lived with our Heavenly Father as a family before and once you understand that so many things make sense." It was really cool actually and I'm actually glad that we talked with her because now I have a greater appreciation for just how important that piece of knowledge is.  So just thought I'd tell you about it.  So far haven't had anything to do with her since.

The baptism.  So we got to the church a little earlier than we had planned and we started working on the program and then we decided,  "Let's check the water and make sure it's hot enough."  Turned it on and it was freezing cold!  We had left the boiler on - we set it to go to 41 degrees Celsius. So we gathered up all the pots, the biggest pots in the kitchen, which is connected to the room that has the font in it.  There's the kitchen and then there's a little opening with one of those - a window/door thingamabob's to the Relief Society room which has the font in it.  We opened the door, we started boiling as much water as we could.   Oh, before we did that we decided to turn up the water in the boiler to 81 degrees Celsius. Now I don't have a converter with me so I don't' know what that translates into Fahrenheit but it's pretty darn high!  We started boiling as much water as we could and just dumping it into the font as quickly as we could.   We tried turning on the faucet again and it was extremely hot for 2 seconds and then it was back to freezing cold again and so we were just getting really frustrated but honestly it was a god send that we were there so early because we wouldn't have been able to get it high enough and warm enough if we hadn't started on it when we did.  Finally we actually had to ask F who lives near by the church if she could pop by a little early and bring her own kettle so that we could use that for her.  They've got these really cool things, they're called kettles where you just pour water in it, click a button, and it just heats it up in a minute. It gets it boiling in a minute and it's so useful especially for a missionary when you have  to make your meals quickly.  Anyhow, so basically we had 2 of those going, we had 3 pots on the stove filling up with water, and we had a couple of jugs that we would fill up with water, stick them in the microwave, nuke it for a minute or two, and then pour it in.  By the time we had finally finished and the baptism was about to start, the water, it was to about just above my knee.  It was really interesting.
We got it high enough that eventually the boiler actually got over heated.  But on the plus side the water was no longer cold it was just lukewarm so that helped alot.  We got it high enough, we got it warm enough.  Then people came.  F was able to bring her sister and her mother to the baptism and I think she had 4 of her friends also come so like 1/3 of the people that were at the baptism were non members which was really cool.  The baptism itself went great.  I was the one that baptized her.  It wasn't an issue.  She'd told us beforehand that she's been afraid of water for a long time.  We kept promising her, "You're going to be under the water for 2 seconds, tops." Everything went good; we didn't have to rebaptize her or anything which was cool.  The services went great.  Everything was really good.
Then on Sunday I think I had told you guys last week a bit about how the YSA have their own sacrament meeting time.  So they did that.  F decided to get confirmed here in Cavehill and then after the sacrament she got a lift from one of the YSA to the YSA building - it's called Rosetta - so that they could be at that, which was really kind of that guy.  Really kind of him.  Church was good. 

 We went to go by A and we brought along Brother M.  It was a really interesting lesson.  His flat - he shares his flat with 2 of his friends.  A is 21 and I assume his friends are also about the same age and they're just extremely messy.  Mom, you would have passed out!  There wasn't a place for us to sit.  We came into his room where there were guinea pigs,  there was his bed which was actually a sofa that converted into a bed.  There was a TV with a couple of play stations and a video game going on - I think it was Destiny or something like that.  There wasn't really anywhere to sit.  He sat on his bed. Me and Elder Schippers sat on the other edge of his bed. Bro. M was able to find a seat somewhere and he sat down.  It was really strange but the lesson itself went  good.  I'm hopeful for A.  He told us that he's a bit of an atheist but he's always been really interested in religion.  He seemed to understand everything that we were teaching him so I'm sure he'll progress.  He said he's moving over to Banger which is outside of our area but he doesn't have to be out until the end of the month.  Hopefully we'll be able to qualify him a little more.  We'll see what happens. 
That was pretty much our week.  It's been good.  Really exciting - F being baptized and all that.  She's now a member!!!  Ah, that's so cool!  We're meeting with her today and we're celebrating her baptism with Froyo.  There's a new frozen yogurt place that just opened up called Yogi Berry's.  We're getting some FroYo and then we're coming to the church with some of the YSA in our ward; come to think of it I think almost the entire YSA in our ward are from the same family!  It's kind of funny.  Anyhow, we're playing ping pong.  So today should be fun.  I can't wait to email you guys.  Hear about all you're doing.  Love you all so much and also I know that this week is a very special week seeing how it's the birthday of two lovely lady's both of whom have the same initials -  Kate Bates - just want to wish both of you Happy Birthday!  Hope you guys get a chance to celebrate it and have a good time.   I'm in a process of writing a letter.  I started it on Friday, and I haven't finished it yet but I'm hopefully going to mail it to you guys.  So have a good day.  Enjoy yourselves.  Love you guys alot.  BYE!
PS  I bore my testimony Sunday.  I really loved the testimony you sent, Mom.  It really strengthens me.  You have taught me so much.
Answers to questions:  I remember those days!  Claire will do fine with Mr. Taylor. 
F's family is basically apathetic towards the church, but they're not against it. 
On your missionary efforts, remember you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it.
Oh man, I forgot about Labor Day!
Yea, I can't wait to go to the temple the day I get home.  I've forgotten a lot of it.
I pray for you guys and I thank you for your prayers.

Monday, September 14, 2015

8/31/15 Interesting Week!

(Typed from a recording....)
Hello Everyone, 
This is Elder Bates. Today is August the 30th, Sunday.  The day is over.  Hope you guys have been having a good week.  Our week‘s been pretty difficult but we’re through with it so that’s good.  So to start off with, there’s F.  She is doing great.  She’s really excited for her baptism next week. She came to church today.  She doesn’t really enjoy church in all honesty.  But she still comes which is still good.  Pretty much the reason she doesn’t, from my perspective, is just there is no one there who really fellowships with her.  Mostly because pretty much everybody is at least double her age.  But she still came and she’s doing good.  We taught her about tithing this week and about family history as well which was really good.  So on Sunday, once a quarter all the YSA in the stake meet and have their own church services.  There used to be a YSA branch in the stake but it’s no longer; it got dissolved.  The building is still there called the Rosetta building and it’s still used by the YSA for activities & such.  So now every quarter they have church there just for themselves and so next Sunday it’s happening again and she’s going to be going to that and that’s where she’ll be confirmed.  It’s really exciting.  I hope she has a really good time and gets to know the other YSA’s in the stake. We’re also having a stake sports day on Saturday the day of her baptism so hopefully she’ll get to meet a bunch of people there.  And big news, she’s asked me to baptize her and I’m really honored to have that and looking forward to it.  I’ve been able to be around from the beginning with her, really from when we found her with Elder McPherson to now. That’s the first time that’s happened, except for Riley, so it’s been great.  I’m really looking forward to this.

 The next part I want to talk about is H. We got a text from him earlier this week telling us he’s moving to an area called  ??  which is in our area and we offered to help and he seemed very grateful for that.  He has to be completely  moved out of his flat by Sept 20 so hopefully if we can get some of the priesthood brethren to help with that we can mend the relation s there.  Beyond that we haven’t had any contact with H.  Keep praying for him. I know I am.
This week hasn’t had anything really spectacular happen.  We did hear about the shooting on live television. That’s pretty crazy.  F called and told us about it. She saw it in the newspapers.  Pretty crazy. 

I tried Bon Bons for the first time.  They were good.  I liked them!  I hope I can try them again.  I hope they have those in the US. They are like those chewy Sweet Tarts, you know those?  They are really good!

Pretty much all week long we had no appointments except for F. It was really tough.  No missionary likes to have an empty week.  Which means that the rest of the time was spent doing finding which we did.  I think on Saturday we counted that we did about 9 hours of knocking doors and talking to people in the streets.  And then all the finding we did, we haven’t found a single person who really wanted us back.  So it’s been hard.  It’s been pretty hard.  But you know, life goes on.  We’re not the ones that choose who’s ready and we’re not the one who chooses when they’re ready either.  So gotta keep moving forward.  It’s just really scary because at the end of this week we’re not going to have an investigator any more.  We really need someone to teach now.  In the lord’s time.  So that’s pretty much what we did all week long.  Interesting story about today though.  This morning we woke up to find that none of our power outlets were working .  For the past while now we’ve been getting these letters from the power company addressed to the previous occupant of the flat.  Elder M and I talked to the Mission home about it so we just assumed they were taking care of all that so we basically whenever we got those letters chucked them in the bin. Finally this week we got notice from the power company telling us that they are getting a court order so they can install a pay as you go meter which basically is just a meter where you get a special card. You fill up the card at like gas stations basically.  Then you take it back to your flat, swipe it through the meter and it fills up your gas meter for you.  I don’t see any issue with it but a lot of missionary’s hate it.  So that was a bit of a jump.  And we also got a note from our landlord saying, “Hi my name is Tim. I am your land lord. Please give me call;  it is quite urgent. Thanks.”  But every time we call him he doesn’t pick up! Then finally this morning, with the electricity,  so we’ve been kind of freaking out all day.  We weren’t able to eat anything because the oven doesn’t work, the microwave doesn’t work, nothing works, and not even the stove because in order to light the stove you press the button for the spark but that requires electricity and we don’t have any matches or lighters or anything.  It’s the end of the week so we don’t have any food and not only is it the end of the week, it’s also the end of the month so we definitely don’t have any food.  So today was pretty meager.  We didn’t eat anything except for a loaf of bread and we finally get back to the flat, we literally, just over an hour ago just before 9 o clock. Elder Schippers gets the idea,  “Hey, maybe I should check the circuit breakers.  He got the idea from F who we’d told the situation; we thought it was kind of funny, and she said, “Hey, have you checked the circuit breakers?”  He checked and flicked them on and everything works so it was just kind of funny but it was a wake up call so we’re definitely giving the mission home a call and trying to figure out this mess and hopefully we can finally get a hold of our landlord too.

This week is our all Ireland conference so we are going all the way down to Dublin to meet up.  Every missionary in all of Ireland meeting up in Dublin.   It should be pretty fun.  My only concern is that the very beginning of the month so we have to fill up our bus passes and we’ll also have to buy a train ticket down to Dublin and I’m crossing my fingers we’ll be able to get both done then all we have to do is send in reimbursements but we’re probably not going to be able to buy much food this week.  Ah, Missionary life, right?  We’ll be fine, we’ve got food storage!  As long as they don’t actually turn off our electricity we should be fine and stuff.  But yea, that’s what our week’s been like.  Love you guys a lot.  Hope you guys had a good week.  I’ve been praying for you and I can’t wait to hear from you.  Enjoy the rest of your Sabbath.  See ya, Bye!

Random Thoughts 8/24/15

Answers/comments to some things from Mom:
I’ve been sending many prayers for Becky. 
That does sound like you guys have been busy!! Why did you have a BBQ? Just for fun? I miss BBQ's. People have them out here, but there's nothing like a good ol' American BBQ...
Sis. Carruth is having a baby?  COOL!
I can’t believe those kids in your seminary class are in High School now!
I've got several letters waiting for me, but the family that picked them up from the church building forgot to bring them to church yesterday!! Curses! Inconceivable!

The main reason Moves Week is less productive is that there are two P-Days instead of one. If I ever use a term in a way that doesn't make any sense, please ask for a definition! Mormons in and of themselves have their own language, and Mormon Missionaries have their own dialect of that language!! As for whitewashing, sometimes there isn't much of a choice. There was a team of sisters in one area of Belfast. One of them got really sick and had to go home. Her companion had to go over to Scotland. So the next missionaries there (it became an Elder area) were whitewashing. Other reasons are literally only known by God.
Mom asked how we do finding.  Chapping. Lots of that, yeah.  We talk to people pretty much everywhere unless we're on our way to an appointment or something. Mom asked what people usually say to us. Often-times it'd be rated R for language.  We're actually working on making a Plan of Salvation board. We've got everything but the board.  We’ll set up a table near the City Center.  Try that out for finding.  In all honesty, my only real concern is investigators.
Mom asked about me cooking for you.  Already planning on it. There's a dish called a Samoan which I'm excited to make for you.  Yea, the oatmeal with the Kool-Aid mixed in just didn’t taste very good!  I decided to have some fajitas last night.  I got all my preparations ready, made it up, got the rice boiling and I grabbed the seasoning out and just as I grabbed it out, it came to my mind, and looking back on it, it was probably the spirit.  It came to my mind, "This has been open for a very long time.  I wonder if it's bad.  I'm sure it's fine."  I dumped it in.  I finished cooking and I started eating.   Before I finished my first burrito I could tell something was wrong; there was something that was just not tasting right so I threw it out. I was terrified I would suddenly wake up and realize I got food poisoning and have a repeat - that was just 2 years ago when me and mom got food poisoning.  I didn't want a repeat of that because that wasn't too fun.  Thankfully nothing happened.  I haven't had any ill effects from it which is honestly a god send literally.  But I think Heavenly Father took pity on me.  I learned my lesson.  The spirit can prompt us even for food.
School started this past week for the kids out here.
Yesterday I opened the last bag of Cheetos! Within a few days, it'll be gone!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Talk given in August 2015 Sacrament Meeting

(Taken from a recording)
Good morning Brothers and Sisters,
When I was back home, my parents always taught me that no matter what I do, if I ever wonder what I should do, I should follow the prophet.  It was something they always inspired into the minds of their children and I've always been able to remember that counsel.  So today, you've probably assumed I'm talking about following the prophet.  One of my favorite songs that my mother taught me when she was in the Primary; she was the Primary chorister; she taught us all about the song Follow the Prophet.  I always loved that song.  It is one of my favorites. It always talked about the many great stories from the scriptures like Adam, Noah, Moses, every single one of them and it really helped me to  get a love for the Prophets in the scriptures.  And also for the story's in the scriptures.  I've always loved the scriptures and telling stories from them.  I'm going to be telling several story's today from the scriptures.  To start off, there is a Scripture in D&C 1:38 "What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken and I excuse not myself and though the heaves and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away but shall all be fulfilled whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."

I just want each of you to ponder that while I go through some of the great story's we have in the scriptures.  The first one is a story from the Old Testament about two kings that were trying to decide what they were to do.  One of them was named King Ahab and the other was named King Jehoshaphat.  King Ahab was a really wicked king.  King Jehoshaphat , although not a righteous king, he did recognize his dependence on the Lord.  They were deciding to go to war against this nation.  King Jehoshaphat asked for some prophets to come and to prophecy about what they should do to receive the will of the Lord. A bunch of Ahab's personal prophets came to them and they all said the same thing - "Oh Yes, go and fight Syria and the Lord will deliver them into your hands.  Everything is going to go great."  King Jehoshaphat said, "All of these prophets are saying the same thing.  There isn't any that will say anything else! Is there any other prophets?"  King Ahab says, "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord but I hate him for he never prophesied good unto me only evil."  Jehoshaphat said, "Well let's bring him in and ask him."  Micaiah came in and told them, "Don't go to war. Go back to your homes.  Everything is going to be fine. The Lord will take care of you."   King Ahab, being a wicked king and hating Micaiah, ignored it and went to battle and was later killed in the battle.  And so when the Lord speaks through his servants it is very important that we listen to what they say because as the scripture said whether by my own voice or by the voice of my servant, it is the same.  Each must remember that if Jesus Christ himself came to us and asked us to say, abstain from coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco, then I would think that everyone in here would do it very easily.
Another story from the scriptures is the story of another king named Hezekiah.  He was a good king.  At  this point in time they were at war with Assyria.  The Assyrians were very violent and cruel.  And the Assyrians had seized Jerusalem and surrounded it.  Hezekiah went to the prophet.  The prophet at the time was Isaiah.  And he asked Isaiah to pray and ask God what they should do.  In spite of the fact that all these armies were surrounding the city, even at their gates.  And in spite of the fact that the king was making threatening notes to the king, Isaiah told Hezekiah to not worry -  that the Lord would fight their battles for them.  The next morning when the King of Assyria woke up, every single one of the soldiers in the Assyrian army was dead.  The Lord has promised us that as we follow the prophet we will be  protected, that we will be guided; we will be safe in our journeys.

 This leads me to the next story of Paul in the Book of Acts.  He was at the time heading to Rome.  The ship was being set sail at a time of the year that was very dangerous  for sailors.  Paul warned the captain of the ship that they shouldn't be sailing at this time.  If they did there was a very high likelihood that they would all perish  The captain ignored him and they went sailing.  A very bad storm came and after many days of this  fierce storm Paul was visited by an angel and the angel told him to tell the people on the ship that they were going to be safe if they followed Paul's counsel.  Now I don't know much about Paul, but I don't think he was much of a sailor, so it must have taken great faith for these sailors to follow the words of Paul, especially since he was a prisoner on the ship, but they obeyed his commands this time and while they did get shipwrecked, not one of them lost their lives. 
Now we're going to turn to the story of the Book of Mormon.  The story of Captain Moroni.  He's one of my favorites characters in the Book of Mormon.  I've always admired him. At this time there is again another war going on.  The Lamanites were attacking the Nephites.  But when they came to fight the Nephites, they saw them really armed very strongly; they had really thick clothing, they had shields and breast plates and it goes on to say that the Lamanites were just wearing loin cloths which was quite foolish preparation on their part.  And so the Lamanites  fled from the Nephites.  Captain Moroni needed to know where they went.  I'm sure alot of people were rejoicing saying, "Yes, we're not going to have to fight them!  They are practically surrendering!"   But Moroni, as the scripture says, but it came to pass as soon as they departed into the wilderness, Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp  and Moroni also knowing the prophecies of Alma sent certain men unto him desiring that he should inquire of the lord whether the army should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites.  In this story, Moroni, he did all that he can do to protect himself and protect the people.  He also  goes to the Lord, specifically goes to the prophet, to Inquire of the lord where they should go.  Many of you know the story.  Alma tells him where the Lamanites went.  Moroni takes the army's over and they fight and they have a great victory.

 In more modern times we also have evidence of why we should follow the prophet.  When Joseph Smith was the prophet back in the 1830's, the saints who were in Missouri had been driven from their homes.  They had been mobbed and persecuted and many had been killed.  Joseph gathered the Saints who had been with him when he was over in Kirtland Ohio and they traveled many miles, many weeks, to the saints in Missouri to assist them and aid them and protect them.  On their way there was an army of  mobbers who outnumbered Joseph and his brethren.  And they blocked their path and they threatened that they would  slaughter every single one of them by the next morning.  While some of the men of Zion's camp, as it was called, wanted to fight and  defend themselves, Joseph told them that the Lord would fight their battles and he commanded them to "Be still and see the salvation of God."  It wasn't long after he said those words that a mighty storm came, and it was a storm that many of the brethren there said they'd never seen the likes of it.  The storm chased the mob away  and Zion's camp was able to reach the Saints in Missouri and was able to assist them.
Throughout the scriptures we are told that the Prophets were instrumental in teaching the people.  Through the prophets the people are able to learn the will of the Lord.  And if they obeyed the prophets,  all is well or at least the people were able to grow closer to the lord; that they were promised that everything would work out for their benefit.  In modern times we have been blessed to also have prophets.  President Russell M Nelson said, "My dear brothers and sisters, if the restoration did anything, it shattered the age old myth that god has stopped talking to his children.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   A prophet has stood at the head of God's church in all dispensations from Adam to the present day."

Brothers and Sisters,  I testify that gods' church has been led by prophets in the past and it is now being led by a prophet today.  And just as obedience to the old prophets is important, obedience to the living prophets is just as important.  As we follow the voice of the prophets then we will be able to be comforted and strengthened in our trials.  In just over a month we have General Conference. What a wonderful opportunity we have to listen to the prophet and 12 apostles again.  I know that as we  commit to writing questions that we have that those questions will be answered by the prophets in general conference.  We will be able to receive our own revelation from what they say.  I'm very grateful for the opportunity to share this message with everyone.  And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

August 24, 2015

Elder Bates sent us a recording.  This is the transcript:

Hello!  How are you guys doing?  Elder Schippers is making a recording to send to  his family.  So I'm going to go into a different room.  Hang on.  So, hopefully you are going to be able to listen to this one this time. 

Yea, this week's been good.  Moves Week.  Moves weeks are always interesting.  There's something about them that just makes them not as productive as every other week which is too bad.  So it wasn't our best week but we did get alot of good things done.  We celebrated with F that she's completely off smoking this week which was a great, great boost.  We are really excited about her baptism date Sept 5th.   I hope we mentioned that last week but I'm not sure if I did. 

Our week was a little difficult because at the moment we're kind of in  a sticky spot because we've only got F.  She's the only person that we're working with .  Period.  We're not working with any less actives, we're not working with any recent converts unless you count H and I'll get into that in a bit.  Or any other investigators, we're just working with F.  So there isn't much to do beyond finding.  Doing finding day in and day out is very hard sometimes.  It's really grinding.  But hey we need somebody to teach otherwise we'll be doing more of it when Sept. 5 th comes around!   

We've got a new district leader cause with moves week they whitewashed the area where our district leaders were in which was called Newtonabbey.  So they whitewashed those elders out.  When I say whitewashed, that is just missionary speak for they took both elders out of the area and are replacing them with two brand new elders, not like brand new as in new training, just brand new to the area.  We got our new District Leader which is Elder Harmon  who was actually in my group.  He knows Inverness well.  I haven't seen him since the MTC but he started out in Thursow, so he knows Inverness.  After he left Thursow he went to Airdrie near Cumbernauld.  So both places he served, he's quite familiar with where I served.  It's just funny and interesting.  I got to talk to him quite a bit this week. Elder Schippers, because he  served in Newtonabbey before, we got to see him and show him the ropes. He's also training so  I really feel bad for him.   He's white washing, training and he's a district leader -  his first time as district leader.  He's probably got alot on his hands!  

So it's been a good week.  H.  So on Thursday we gave him a call asking him if we could meet with him later this week and he said "Yes,  I'll give you a text tomorrow before 12."  He's told us similar things in the past and he never does.  Well he hasn't since he got baptized.  It's been really frustrating and he didn't do it again and he didn't come to church today either,  so I'm really concerned about him.  So keep him in your prayers please and I'll be doing the same.

 Interesting story, so today I gave a talk in church.  I'm going to try to see if I can include it and send it to you guys.  I had to put the recorder in my jacket pocket so it's a little muffled. I'm also trying everything with the new low quality recording so hopefully you can still  understand what I'm saying.  I'll be able to send more to you.  So let's see, yea, everything's been fine; I can't complain.  Nothing to brag about.  But yea, so hope all you guys had a good week.  Hope you guys got to do some fun things and hope you guys are staying happy.  Cause it's great when you're happy.  It's really great!  So I'm looking forward to talking to you more tomorrow.   We'll see you then.  Bye!

Friday, September 4, 2015


Elder Bates and Elder Schippers after dinner at a member's home on 9/3/15
A kind member sent this to me!


August 17, 2015 Greetings!

Hiya Fam!

So there's a wee problem with the voice recorder.... I can only send 15MB via email. Now I was able to record a message for each one of you last night as well as a group message for all of you. However, due to the restrictions imposed upon me, I am unable to send them all. Sort of. In reality, the only ones I can't send is the group recording and the recording to Mom and Dad. So, sorry Mom and Dad! Maybe next week! Everyone else gets a recording!! Yay! I'm going to try to make the recording in a lower quality so I can send more to yas, cuz right now I can't send 5 minutes ha! Hopefully it works!

So anyhow, I now have to do the EXHAUSTING work of typing out what I said in the recording! Shame.

Well, basically, you remember that new rule we got from President the other week? Well I mentioned it in my email to President. On Tuesday, on our way to District Meeting, we got a phone call from him!!! He had never heard of it!!! So until further notice, we're going to forbear dropping our Less Actives. 

Okay, so Monday was a great day! That evening was, in the words of Elder Schippers, the Best evening on my mission!! We found a LA from Portugal (luckily we have several Ward Members who speak Portugese), we GQ'd a lady who invited us back the next day, and a guy actually came up to us and asked for our number because he'd read the Book of Mormon twice already!! Unfortunately, the guy never called us back and the lady wasn't at the appointment. But still! We're meeting with the LA, M, tomorrow. 

Now I have to give you some really sad news. It's been quite the blow for me. 

H got back from his holiday in Paris this week. We called him on Friday and he told us that he didn't want to go back to church. He said "a church should be like a family, full of love and friendship. It's not the case." We asked if we could meet with him the next day and he was fine with that. We brought Brother H along, who's always been good friends with H, as well as N, a member from Newtonabbey who's come to some of H's lessons. H told us that he didn't feel welcome at church, that nobody from the Bishopric has even approached him, and that the people are unsociable. But, in all honesty, he's only been to church a handful of times since he's been baptized! He's been gone visiting family in Paris most of the time, so the ward hasn't had a lot of time to give him Home Teachers, for example. Regardless, he was feeling hurt by all this. It turns out that bringing N along was literally a God-send, because she is a convert herself, and she had the exact same experience when she first joined the church! She told H that she actually left the church for several years, but she deeply regrets it now. Anyhow, to make a long story short, we got H to commit to fasting and praying about church. He still believes in the Book of Mormon, and has been faithfully reading it. But I think some of his previous Protestant beliefs are intermixing with what we've taught him, because he kept saying that "I have the Book, so I don't need anything else." Anyways, please send some prayers his way. I know I am!! He didn't come to church yesterday, but I didn't really expect him to. He's still fine with having us over, and like I said, he still reads. So he hasn't turned anti or anything. He just feels uncomfortable in the ward.

Okay, so on a more positive note: F!!

Circle September 5th on your calendars, because she's agreed to be baptized on that day!!! :D

We've had an awesome week with her! We started the Stop Smoking Program with her on Thursday. Do you know what that is? If you don't, I refer you to Elder Nelson (sorry, it's President Nelson now) "Ask the Missionaries, they can help you!" Literally, the next day when we called her to check up on how it's going, she told us "I don't have any desire for a cigarette! It's so weird!" I was on an exchange on Tuesday, but Elder Schippers was able to teach her how to use her new Quad and also how to study the scriptures. She hasn't been using a Study Journal, but she's been doing everything else from what I've heard. Yeah, everything's going great. I'm really looking forward to her baptism.

Which reminds me! I haven't told you what's happening yet!


We're staying together!! Yep, I'm getting another transfer in Belfast!! We are literally the only ones staying the same in our entire Zone! The entire face of the mission is changing! President Donaldson is actually adding a new zone! It's over in Scotland, and it's just the Chinatown Missionaries, but still!! Add to that the fact that half the mission is training/being trained!! Things are never going to be the same! 

So happy that D has been going to church!  Just be careful not to pressure her. She should investigate because SHE wants to investigate. Not because her boss wants her to.  Still, great news!

I will be fasting for Becky on the 24th.  I have written it in my planner.

As for the Titanic Exhibit, yeah they gave us tickets. Unfortunately it's out of our area, and we're not allowed to leave our areas, so no we haven't gone. I was really bummed. You know me, big history guy. :(
Anyhow, love you all! Hope everybody (except Mom and Dad) enjoys the recordings! :)

Luv ya!

Elder Bates