This week was fantastic. It had its ups and downs, of course, but overall it was just great.
So to start off, on Monday we had dinner with A.A. He made us some pasta. We had a pretty good lesson. He's always been a fun guy.
On Tuesday was Zone Interview Training. That was fantastic. Lots of good messages. At it, the AP's wanted to clarify some rules. One in particular affects you guys. We're not allowed to do live chatting anymore. I was pretty bummed about that. I've enjoyed those few times when we've been able to chat. :( But oh well. If you are awake when I'm emailing, feel free to say a little hello or something, but I won't be talking back. Just letting you know. It makes sense, and they don't want any of the guys live chatting with their gf's, especially.
But the rest of conference went well. I don't have my notes with me, but they talked about a lot of different things. One of the sister companionships gave a training on helping our investigators to feel the spirit. One of them looked like a blond Marie! It was really weird haha Unfortunately we ran overtime, and President Donaldson still hadn't finished interviewing people, including me! I was the second to last, as it so happened. Elder Schippers was after me. We had a good interview. He taught me something that I've come to love!
So I've been struggling with studying. As in I'm trying to figure out how I should study, if you take my meaning. In the past I've just read through the scriptures or PMG, but I can tell that there's more I can get from my study. I've been struggling with it my whole mission. I mentioned it to President Donaldson, and he said I should try "Studying to Teach." So I've been doing that. I've been studying as if I was going to teach an entire lesson on that one chapter/section/paragraph or whatever it is. And it's been fantastic!! I was barely able to make it through Ether 14, which is crazy when you realize that it is all story, and has no immediate doctrine contained in it. But there was so much! I'm in Moroni now. And while the chapters are only two or three verses long, they take up my whole study time. What a difference!
Oh, and also another thing President Donaldson mentioned in our interview. He said that Elder Schippers would be leaving at the end of this transfer, and he didn't want to whitewash us out (have both of us leave the area) so he was thinking of having me stay ANOTHER transfer after this one!! But then he asked me how long I've been in Cavehill, and when I told him that another transfer would be my sixth transfer here, he said "Oh... well, we'll just have to see where the wind blows..."
But personally, I'd be fine if I stayed. In fact, if I left Ireland next transfer, I'd be furious.
BECAUSE ELDER BALLARD IS COMING TO IRELAND
Yep, another Apostle is visiting the mission!! And knowing my luck... But hey, all Ireland missionaries are meeting him, so as long as I stay in Ireland I'll be fine.
Anyways, we had to rush to Ward Council after that. It went well. Our plans for a Halloween party were shot down. :(
Wednesday was fantastic. We spent nearly the whole day in the Shankill, and all total we got 4 potential investigators that day! One woman, T, asked us to come by that very night! In fact, all four of them set up return appointments! That doesn't happen often! Unfortunately, I only wrote down "Woodvale" for her street. We spent the next few days going through all 7 Woodvales to try and find her. We've narrowed it down to two: Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Street. We'll find her!
Another person we found was a man named J. Nice guy. He's got some issues, and he's had a really rough life. His brother was murdered, for instance. We met with him on Saturday. It didn't go too well. He's a great guy, he just isn't ready yet. But he liked us! He gave us a ton of ties! He was cleaning out his wardrobe and he asked if we'd like some ties. So he went upstairs (in the middle of our lesson, unfortunately) to grab them. He came down and plopped a big pile of them on my lap! There were so many!! Unfortunately, most of them were skinny ties, which we're not allowed to wear. But hey!
So on Thursday we had an appointment with a man named O, another person we found on Wednesday. O is an old man that lives on his own. He is really into Native American stuff. He's met with Missionaries before, but it was back in the 80's. He still has his Book of Mormon! And, perhaps the best part, he doesn't believe in the Trinity! He's a staunch Protestant, but doesn't believe in the Trinity! That's one hurdle we don't have to go over. He came to this conclusion on his own, too, from reading the Bible. Our lesson went well. He doesn't understand the purpose of the Prophet. He seems to think that we look to him as our Pope, which he is firmly against. But he'll come around.
We also met with F that day and listened to a few Conference Talks. She enjoyed them. She's been watching Conference on her own time, which is a good sign, in my opinion. We're going to start setting plans with her to get her to the temple.
So on Friday we finally met with S and L. L kept asking us questions about what we believed. So it wasn't bad. The trick will be to get them to feel the spirit. Once they start to feel it, and recognize it, I think they'll become solid. But it might take a while. So please pray for them. S told us that he's a Buddhist now. We'll see what we can do about that.
So we were really excited for Sunday! We had gotten three appointments, practically in a row, right after church! The first was with J and S as well. We'd talked with J earlier in the week, and she told us that they wouldn't be able to make it to our church this Sunday, but she promised to come next week. Still, we were all set.
Just before Priesthood hour, S called us and informed us that he had the flu, and it was really bad. Not only that but they were in the hospital for J. I think I told you that she has crones disease? We went to the other two appointments and none of them were there. We were firmly disappointed. But we had done all that we could do.
And that was our week! Didn't end on a high note as we had wished, but it was good overall.
On Saturday night we were called by Elder Harman, our District Leader. He told us that the Zone had a new goal: for every area to have a baptism within two transfers. This transfer and next transfer. Basically a baptism in each area before Christmas. That's 13 baptisms. It's never been done in our mission, but that's what we fasted for yesterday. It can happen!!
Anyhow, hope alls well. We're hiking Cave Hill today. I'll be sure to send pictures. And Claire is going to Homecoming? That's great! (And scary!)
Thanks for all the encouragement, I really needed it. Being on a mission is difficult. I know it's not going to be less difficult when I get home, but at least it won't have eternal consequences ha! Next Monday is my 16 month mark, come to think of it. How crazy is that!? I love the gospel. I love it so much. I want to learn as much as I can about it. One of the Senior couples taught us on Tuesday about the Hosanna Shout. I'd never even heard of that before! It was fascinating! I have no idea why he was asked to share it, but I loved it!