This has been a great week, in my opinion. It went by so quick, too! Funny how that happens, huh?
So basically we went on two exchanges this week, and went to a BAPTISM!!! It wasn't ours. It was a girl that had turned 8 named Thina. The "h" is silent. Still!!
Anyhow, on Wednesday our District did a Blitz of Belfast. Elder Harman and I went to Fort William, Elder Schippers and Elder Sheppherd went to Ballysillan. It was an interesting day! Unfortunately we didn't find anybody willing to learn more about the gospel. But it was greatly appreciated!
That same day, I had my first Mass!! Yep. I went to Mass in the Falls. F thought it'd be funny if we went, and I've always wondered what Mass was like, so we went for it!
In all honesty, it was kind of creepy. The priest in these elaborate robes read passages from the bible, reciting prayers, and at certain times the congregation would repeat them and/or stand up/kneel down. The head priest also had basically an assistant priest with him who would occasionally ring a bell. I dunno, it was just different. The church was nice! Oh, and don't worry, I didn't drink the wine. ;)
So Thursday, we just did some finding. We were actually at this street called "Mount Carmel" strangely enough! Do you guys know what Mount Carmel is? I'll give you a hint, it's in the Bible. It's the mountain that Elijah chose for the big "showdown" between him and the 300 priests of Baal! You remember, they both pray for fire to come down and consume their sacrifices, the pagans pray all day long and nothing happens, and Elijah dumps 3 buckets of water on the sacrifice, then prays and fire consumes the whole thing, stones and all!!
Anyhow, Friday I went on an Exchange with the Zone Leaders. I went with Elder Beckstrand, while Elder Schippers was with Elder Penman. We were in Hollywood area while they were in Cavehill. It was a great exchange! Elder Beckstrand was trained in Cumbernauld just before I got there! I replaced him, in fact! So we had some good memories to share. First we painted their Ward Mission Leader's bathroom. Let me tell ya, their WML, E, he writes songs. But not normal songs. He had us listen to one while we ate lunch (ham, cheese, and jalapeno sandwich :9). It's called "Poop Street." Perfect for Lunch Time. Nice guy.
Then we met with their investigator, J, who had a date a few weeks ago, but he smoked the day before the baptism, so he couldn't get baptized. He's a great guy, he knows its true and really wants to be baptized! His family and friends are just completely un-supportive.
Then we stopped by a LA's house. He let us in for a moment. I am sorry, but I am very guilty of Covetousness, because I want his house!! It's so cool! I don't even know how to describe it. He's a coding guy (listen up JC!) and he would work up in the attic in a little Man-Cave. He had three computer screens and was hoping for a fourth. I don't know what you would need four screens for, but okay! It looked so cool with all the lights and the decorations. Like a secret lair haha He's also a professional airsofter (listen up JB!), and he has SUPER high-tech stuff! He had everything a real soldier would wear/use, only Airsoft. Oh, it was sweet... But I digress! We do see a lot of really nice houses. So many different styles of decorating. It's given me a lot of good ideas haha
So then we did some finding at a park nearby a university. And oh my goodness, Elder Beckstrand is a FANTASTIC finder!! I want to be like him! Within an hour and a half, we had I think 6 potentials. SIX! Oh, it was great. Then the Rosetta Elders came by and we blitzed the park for a while, and got another two potentials.
One guy was very interesting. This is going to sound bad, and I don't intend it to be, but he was a Law of Chastity Pharisee. I think Spencer W Kimball talked about how some people get too focused on one commandment, say the Word of Wisdom, and it just consumes them. That kind of thing happened here. He believed that kissing a girl before you marry her was "lasciviousness." And when Elder Beckstrand told him that it's okay to kiss before marriage, he completely flipped out and rebuked us. The sad thing is that he probably would have listened to us if he hadn't brought that up. He had a really good grasp of the Bible and the Gospel. He was 21 too.
Anyhow, then we had dinner with this awesome family. Then we all (including the Rosetta Elders) slept at the Rosetta flat. It was a fun sleepover. In the morning we exercised together by going to the Rosetta building and playing volleyball. I lost, sorry.
However, Elder Schippers and Elder Penman were able to get 8 potentials!!! Two of which were Return Appointments!! I don't know much about them, seeing how I wasn't there, but one of them is a South African family! We also got back in contact with S and L. Do you remember them? We went by them a few weeks ago, then they somehow slipped off the radar? Well, it was great. This coming week is going to be fantastic. Oh, and I forgot to mention: F went to Womens Conference! So excited for her!!
Oh, and I also forgot to mention the Moves! First off, for MANOK, I got a Boojums Burrito and Elder Schippers got Burger King. Delicioso!
Okay, so for the news!
We're staying together!!
Bet you didn't expect that!! I know I didn't!! Well I did, but I didn't. I had an inkling that that was going to happen. But I didn't believe it. Who knew!? I'm going to be "killing off" Elder Schippers haha because it's his last transfer? He's dying this transfer? You get me.
I'm glad! This area is starting to pick up again, and I want to be here for it! Ha ha!
So on Wednesday, we were heading to the church, when I got a phone call from the AP's. They were in the middle of planning the moves. Elder Haller, the AP I talked to, said this:
"Elder Bates, we're working on your moves, and we notice that you've been in Cavehill for a long time now. We're going to be seeking the Lord's will on this, but we just wanted to ask for your thoughts. Would you rather stay or would you rather move on?"
I was stunned, to say the least. I asked him if I could think about it for a moment, and he said sure. So we got to the church, and I went to the chapel to pray and think about it. Initially I was certain that I'd tell him to move me out of here, and as I thought it all over, it clearly seemed like the best choice for me. Then I prayed about it. I can't really explain it, all I can say is that I felt prompted to tell them that I'd rather stay. I was very confused, as you can imagine! I had just thought it over and I couldn't think of any good reason for me to stay! I've already been here for six months. Yet I couldn't deny what I was feeling. So I called them back. And told them I'd rather stay. They told me that they would still seek the Lord's will on the matter, so I shouldn't assume that that's what would happen. And then it was done. I initially thought that it was just a test, to make sure that I'd be willing to do what the Lord would ask. Like Abraham, though that's a little more extreme. It was really more of a hope than anything else.
Well, here I am! I don't know why, but I'm here.
Mom asked about the Brazilian food I like so much here. Well, for the most part, it is rice and chicken. But both are cooked in a really good way!! I'll definitely get some recipes for you. It's either that, or I'll have to marry a Brazillian. One of the two! This is kind of a funny story! One of the referrals contacted us last Monday and said he only talked to us because he thought we were very attractive!!
I'm staying warm enough. My jacket will do. This week is going to be sunny sunny sunny! Every day in the 60's! Farenheit I mean.
I have gotten better about goals. Elder Schippers has been great at getting me to understand the importance of goals. I made up my list and a quota.
Last week I heard from Brother Duvall and Brother Runolfson! Last week was fantastic, I had over 30 emails!! It felt so good! :) I've also been hearing from Dayton and Ben.
Love you guys so much! Hope you all have a great week!!!