Tuesday, December 1, 2015

October 19, 2015 Birthday Weekend

Hiya Fam!

          Congratulations to Dad, who has survived another trip around the sun! Hope it was a good weekend for you.

          The reason I'm sending this so late is because the internet just stopped at the library. Frustrating. :P

          This week went well. I don't have that much time to tell you all the details I'd like, so I'll just tell you some of the better parts.

          First off, this week was the last week of the Lorimer's. They are a Senior Couple that have been serving in Northern Ireland with the YSA. They are AMAZING. Elder Lorimer has personally entertained two Prophets and I think it was 7 Apostles at his home in Wyoming!! He's a very spiritual man who gave lots of great advice. On Tuesday he gave us a half-hour talk on his advice on life. It was incredible! I definitely want to follow his advice. On Sunday, the Stake threw a Farewell Fireside for them. That's how big of an impact they've made here. Elder Lorimer told us about a time when he went over to have dinner with President and Sister Hinkley! And he told us all a joke that President Hinkley told him! It was so good! I'll have to send it to you by voice recording. 

          Okay, so Tuesday was also an exchange with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Penman. We found several people, but I want to focus on just one of them right now. His name was P. We talked with him in the street. He invited us to come back sometime. Later that night, he texted us telling us how excited he was to learn more about Jesus Christ! 

          We showed up Saturday Night with S. B., the RM. We taught him the Restoration. He is very very quiet. The most quiet person I've taught. Hopefully we'll be able to help him get over that. We gave him a Book of Mormon, invited him to read it, and invited him to church the next day.

          He came! He had to take a taxi, and the driver accidentally took him to the wrong church, so we had to leave Sacrament Meeting to pick him up and take him to church. We missed the Sacrament, but oh well. He said it was strange, but a good strange. His family isn't religious, so he hasn't gone to church in a long time, if at all. So I'd say that's natural. He also knows very very little about Jesus Christ. It's different teaching the lessons to someone who doesn't even know about Christ!

          We're meeting with him again on Tuesday.

          We're also working with J and S who are South African. S and L are a part member couple. S was a member for a year, then left to join the French Army. He later married L, who isn't a member. 

          On Friday, we met with F. We taught her about weaknesses because she was having some difficulties and had questions about why she was having them. It reminded me about how amazing this gospel is! Do you understand that other people have no idea why we have weaknesses?? They may guess, and they may guess correctly, but they don't KNOW!!! How blessed we are!! 

          Speaking of which, I wanted to share a spiritual thought from my studies.

          So we all know (or at least, we all should know) Ether 12:27. It's a fantastic scripture. But as I studied this chapter, that verse took on new meaning for me. What was the context for what the Lord said? Why did He tell Moroni this? Read verses 23-25. Right now, preferably. I'll wait.

          Okay, so, when I read those verses, I made a realization. As you look through the Book of Mormon, how much did Moroni write in his own words? Very little. Almost all of what he wrote was him quoting or abridging something else that someone else had said. At this point, he's actually reading the prophecies of Ether, and of the brother of Jared. Their writings were so powerful, they overpowered those who read them! 

          (as a quick comical sidenote, I've often wondered how that worked. "I'm going to read this book. Oh this is good! This is really good! This is really really good! Oh no!" *plop*)

          Clearly Moroni was comparing his ability to write with those of his predecessors. It was probably pretty difficult for him as he abridged Mahonri's writings. Now he was at Ether, and his nerves were probably at a breaking point. I don't know why he considered himself lesser than these other men (granted, I've never read anything so good it made me plop to the ground), but he clearly needs a pick-me-up. And God did so. I don't know, it just made that verse seem more personal than before. 

          The A's did get a package, Mom, but they said it was from Elder McPherson's family. I can't help but wonder if that was the one you sent them and they simply mixed up the missionaries. They do that sometimes.

          I finally got a letter with an orange envelope. It says don't open until after the package. I haven't gotten the package, so I haven't opened it yet.

          The area I'm serving in is Shankill.  Shank and Kill in the name. Apparently it means Old Church. It's the most Protestant area in Belfast. I should've taken some pictures around July 12th, there were so many Union Jacks.  We never did go to Cave Hill.  Darn.

          So Dad went to 9 hours of church on his birthday?  Man what a birthday! Dad just never stops working hard. It's great.  And Claire, you went to Homecoming?  Scary!  I can't wait to see Claire again. I miss her.

          Mom, on your update, it's amazing to me just how many people have completely changed their lives around while I've been gone. It's amazing!

          You went to the Falls?  :) Aw, I miss the Falls. They're nice.

          Anyways, have a great day! Love you all!! Again, happy birthday Dad!

Elder Bates

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