Friday, April 29, 2016

February 1, 2016

Hiya Fam!

Yep, at least one of us is leaving! I wonder who....

But until then, I am happy to announce that this week was our best week for January! January has been a tough month! :/ But I'm sure we're out of that now!

We got two new Investigators this week! One is named Ch. He's from Maritsa. Or that's what it sounds like. Not entirely sure where that is. I just looked it up, and it doesn't exist... But Elder Stoker's heard of it before. He's got some friends back home from there. He looks Indian to me. Sounds like it too, so it's probably from around there. Actually I just found it. It's actually spelled Mauritius. Looks cool!

Anyways, he is Christian. He's been around lots of different churches before, including ours about ten years ago! His roommates at the time weren't particularly friendly so he didn't deeply explore the church, but we've picked him back up now! We were thirty minutes late to his appointment (trains, ugh...), and he had to leave for work, so it was a quick visit, but he seems cool!

The other guy is Fr. He's a devout Catholic. That lesson didn't go well at all. We just argued over whether an Apostasy was possible. We're going to do better next time! But he was cool! He's a renowned scholar on Horse Racing, and has authored several books on the subject. But he's a very nice man anyways. 

We also met another LA woman: T. She's in her 50's. She was baptized in the 80's, but almost immediately went LA. She requested a blessing for her MS, which we were happy to oblige. She's a very talkative woman, and she gives us hot chocolate every time we come by! :9

We had some good lessons with C, Y, and the C's. We also did some service again for A. Nothing particularly special to report for any of them, but it was good. None of them came to church. :/



Yah! We were told by A R that St had come to Institute earlier in the week. He's apparently been in contact with St off and on throughout the month, which is crazy because we haven't heard a peep. But lo and behold, he walks right into church! First thing Elder Stoker does, after giving him a hug, was ask him where he went. He told us that he's been in Dublin the past few weeks so couldn't make it to church, and that he lost his phone so he couldn't contact us (which we know isn't completely true because he's been in contact with A, but whatever). He enjoyed church and we'll be meeting with him later today! He's back, man! Yeah!!! :D

So as for the Moves Call.

On Saturday night, while we were at the J's for dinner (A had told us she wouldn't be there because she had to babysit somewhere, but when we got there she told us that the job was cancelled! She also came to church!! Whoop whoop!), we got a text from the Zone Leaders telling us that Moves Call would start at 4 instead of at 6. That's the time when the AP's will start calling people, and from that time until 10:30, Missionaries across the mission will jump the moment their phone buzzes. Now that is huge! We'd been told this coming move would be the biggest of President Donaldson's career! And that was no exaggeration, let me tell you!

So changing the moves call made it seem like it was going to be a much bigger move than we'd thought! And I was so scared I'd be moved! I didn't want to move!! I still don't! So I said a quick prayer, telling Heavenly Father that I'd "Go where You want me to Go", but that I'd still love to stay in Bray.

The Bl's had us over for Lunch after Church. They live so far away! It's incredible! The chili was great though. Anyways, the entire time, the phone was out on the table. Nothing. They drop us off at the B's for dinner (we were supposed to have a Pigs head, a Philipino delicacy, but there wasn't one at the shop. Sad face). Again, had the phone out and on the table. Nothing.

We were only at the flat for five minutes when the Mission Home rang! Elder Stoker spoke with Elder Haller first. He's heading off to Edinburgh! He's pretty nervous about it because he knows his companion! But he's also excited to be in Scotland again. So then he hands the phone over to me. And I'm told that my new companion is Elder Mickelson! I know that guy! He was in the neighboring district up in Belfast! I saw him all the time! Cool guy. I'm excited for it! :)

And I'm staying in BRAY!!! Woooooo!!! So excited! Things are looking up! St's back, A's coming along, and the weather is warming up. It'll be sunny most of this week! :D

Sorry there aren't really any new developments beyond St and A coming to church. Most of our lessons were cut short for one reason or another. It'll be good to have a new companion to mix things up a bit!

Congratulations on the new family member! Can't wait to meet her!!

This week we were asked by our District leader, Elder McCappin, to find a missionary from the Book of Mormon and to notice what mountains he had to climb and how he overcame them and came to the next one. I decided to study Mormon. Wow. I'd say his whole life was a mountain!!! When was the last time you've read Moroni 9? It's hard to read. It's very hard. Having said that, It is quite obvious that the best moments in Mormon's life had to do with Moroni: his calling to the ministry, delivering the plates to him, etc. So typical. Whenever life is hard, we can look to the moments in the past for comfort. And most, if not all of them were spent around family. Love you guys! :)

EVERYONE is asking me questions about the election! Everyone seems to hate Trump because of his style and his money. I keep telling people, "I'm not in America, I know nothing!"

Geez louise, you just can't stop sending me stuff, can you?? I'm not complaining, it just keeps astounding me! I don't think you realize just how rare that is! It's great! I've gotten comments from some of the people that handle the packages and letters, each one saying "Wow, your family must really love/miss you!" And I just smile and happily say "Yes, they really do." :) Love you soo much! I've got a package waiting for me at the mission home, apparently. If it's not from you, it's probably the extra name tags I ordered.

Hope you guys have a great week! Can you believe it's February already??? Aaaaaah!! January just flew. Love yas!

Elder Bates

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

January 25, 2016 Gotta love those ZIT's!

Hiya Fam!

Zone Interview Training (or ZIT) was great this week! I got to ask President Donaldson a doctrinal question during our interview, and he gave me a fantastic answer that I never expected:

"I don't know."

So that was surprising, but hey, some things simply haven't been revealed yet. And I love that about this church! We meet so many people who tell us about how they would ask their priest a doctrinal question, and they either don't give an answer, or they say "It's a mystery. We can't understand it." Whereas the leaders in our church, if they don't know the answer, they admit it! Isn't it great!?

Yesterday, we started chapping, and literally the first door we knocked was this awesome mother who loves to read, believes in God but doesn't go to church, prays a lot, and has three children 8+! We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she and her daughter were fighting over who got to read it first! We'll be meeting with them on Saturday. So fingers and, more importantly, arms crossed! :)

We were able to meet with A for the first time in over a month! The J's are on holiday (or vacation, as we Yanks call it) over in America, so they have this young couple that recently moved into the ward house sitting for them. E and E H. E was baptized just over a year ago! They're both from California. They're in a difficult financial situation. E is studying here in Dublin, and for various reasons, neither of them can work. So they have to use whatever money they'd saved up for their necessities! They have to WALK to church!!! And everywhere, for that matter!! So living in the J's house has been a welcome respite. It's a lot closer to the Church, see. And yet it still takes an hour to walk from the Jacksons to the church! 

Anyways, so E was getting the Melchizedek Priesthood, and we were asked by President Bunda, the Branch President, to go by and teach him a bit about the duties of an Elder. A sat in and we were able to answer some of her questions as well. She even asked if we could give her a Priesthood blessing! Elder Stoker did that. He gives really good blessings, I'm impressed.

Anyways, after that we were able to set up another appointment for Saturday. We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She wasn't as open as usual, probably because she wasn't with the J's. But she finally opened up near the end, and spoke of how much she loves her family, and her Godfather. She's been going to a Born Again church since she's been in Ireland, and apparently they really want to baptize her, and she's seriously considering it, but she's so worried about how her family will react. She told us about her Godfather, and he sounds like an amazing person! She idolizes him! Ha! We did our best to comfort her, but in the end, she said she didn't think she would be baptized, not by the Born Agains, nor by us. So that was a bit of a bummer, and it is a definite concern, but we're pretty certain that once the J's get back (they return tonight), things will be better.

So P F!! A definite success story here! We met with him twice this week: Tuesday, as usual, and Friday, which was his birthday. Both times we discussed his talk. And on Sunday, he spoke first, and it was GREAT!! I was so worried that the entire talk would be filled with his terrible terrible jokes and puns (they're worse than Mom's!! ;) ) but aside from saying the Missionaries tried to drown (I mean Baptize) him, it was pretty good! AND on top of that, he was sustained on Sunday to receive the Aaronic Priesthood! Yay! 

We also met with another Less Active named C. She hasn't been to church in 30 years or so, then showed up out of the blue last Sunday! We met with her and we brought along a guy named K.  I think I mentioned him once when he swore in the middle of testifying of the Gospel? Yeah, that one... This time after C opened up and told us everything about her life, from when she first heard of the church till now (and it was pretty tough for her! She's had a terribly rough life! Her husband turned out to be a murderer, for one thing!), and K said "Can I be honest with you? I just want to slap you across the table." He said it with a little more, shall we say emphasis? But, he then went on to give her some fantastic advice. We called her later that night and apologized for K's brusqueness, and she said it was perfectly all right, that she needed to hear that anyways. She came to church again on Sunday, so all's well that ends well. 

As for St, we got interesting news from A R yesterday. He invited St to Institute, and St replied and told him that he couldn't make it! Which is crazy because he doesn't even respond to us! But he still hasn't contacted us. We're quite disappointed. Saturday was supposed to be his baptism date. :/

Well, unfortunately, T hasn't started to quit smoking yet. She's waiting for Sister J to give her one of those Stop Smoking pills or whatever it is. 

ZIT itself was really good. President Thompson shared some fantastic scriptures about Repentance. I can't remember all of them, but I think i remember one: Helaman 5:10-12. He particularly spent time on 11. And he asked us a question that I would level at yous: Where does Christ get his ability to forgive our sins? Think about that for a moment.

I'll tell you: initially it seems like it comes from the Father, and in large measure it does. BUT there is a condition on that: our own Repentance. When we Repent, we allow Jesus Christ to forgive us! When we refuse to repent and to change, we limit His power to forgive us. Kinda scary, eh? But I just loved the scripture he shared with us next: Mosiah 26:22

The Broadcast was really good as well. There wasn't anything new or special they were sharing, just emphasizing some parts of PMG. The title of the broadcast was "Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts." It was pretty cool!

Our talk on Sunday went well, btw. It was weird sharing the mic with another speaker. But it was good. 

Sorry to hear about the rough week! Looks like it's been rough all around for the Bates Family, no matter where they are. :/ But it's times like these that makes D&C 121:7-8 sound so much better! :)

I have seen that gift of tongues on my mission! You remember during my setting apart, I was told that I would be able to understand the language? I was confused at first, but now that I'm out here, I definitely have that blessing! There have been so many times when my companion and I are talking to someone and they don't understand what the person said, but I DO! And that's happened with missionaries with much more experience than I! So what a blessing! :)

I wrote down those scriptures you told me, I'll be sure to look them up! :)  Love you so much! I'd write more, but I'm trying to stick to my 2 hours.

Anyways, love you guys! Have a great week! :)

Elder Bates

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

January 18, 2016 Prayer Truly Can Make A Difference!

Hiya Fam!

I'll be honest, this week's been pretty frustrating. I've got some bad news.

Ever since Christmas Break, it's been difficult meeting up with St. It's been three weeks since Christmas, and we've only met with him twice. He came to church, but he just wouldn't meet up. Finally this week, we tried calling him sooooo many times, and he never picked up, and wouldn't respond to our texts either, and didn't come to church. We are really disappointed and devastated about this. We have no idea what's happened. And this coming Saturday was supposed to be the day of his baptism. My only assumption is that he got scared. Please please please pray for him. 

We do have some good news however! First of all, there's PF, the Less Active. I told you last week that Brother J  asked him to give a talk on the 25th. Well we went by him on Tuesday as usual, and not only has he been reading the Book of Mormon every single day (he actually said every day except for one, and when we asked about it, it turned out that he HAD read, just not as much!!), but he's also already started preparing!! We'll be speaking this Sunday as well. As in together. We'll be teaching the Restoration from the Pulpit! It'll be interesting, but cool!! So we're really excited about P. He's been making such amazing progress! He'll also be interviewed on Sunday on his worthiness to receive the Aaronic Priesthood! Elder Stoker is hoping to see him pass the sacrament before he leaves.

Another good news is that T is with a date!!! :D

So T has been very stagnant spiritually for years. She loves the Gospel, but she doesn't think she can quit her cigarettes. And, unfortunately, her friends, both inside and outside the church, haven't been very helpful. So we decided to get her out of her comfort zone a little bit, met up with her and the J's, and taught a great lesson on the Holy Ghost. We committed her to be baptized and to quit smoking. And she agreed! Her tentative baptism date is February 27th. 

Wednesday was an interesting day altogether. 

You remember N? He's the Born Again guy who believes that everyone is going to Hell except for him. And proclaims that loudly while we're in a cafe. Anyways, we bumped into him in the morning and we both entered the nearby Starbucks to talk. We started teaching him the Restoration lesson, which went well until we mentioned Joseph Smith. N believes that he is a prophet, and not Thomas S Monson. We tried asking him where he got his authority but he kept dodging the question. Anyways, disaster of a lesson. So we went up to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dun Leary). We were planning on doing some Finding up there as well as grab a bite to eat for lunch. So we started talking to people in the street, me on one side and Elder Stoker on the other. Everything was alright. And then I started talking to C.

I think I'd rather have talked to N again. C HATES Mormons with a passion. We later found out that his parents met the church, and were baptized about ten years ago. And we're pretty sure that that's why he hates the church. But anyways, he particularly detests our belief in God and our belief regarding Exaltation. And he sure loved to swear a lot! But, he (as well as N) was very quick to mention that he hated our church, not us. We spoke with him for an hour. We needed to leave for T, but he kept saying "Just one more thing!" And then he'd say twenty more things. Finally I just bore my testimony to him (and, not bragging or anything, but Elder Stoker said it was the best one he's heard on his mission. ;] ), and we left for the train station. And he decided to go with us! He just wouldn't leave! In fact, because of him, we missed our train by only 15 seconds! Luckily the next one was really soon, but it made us late to T's. So we go down to the platform. The Dun Laoghaire station is interesting. It's shaped like this:


street  I

           I                                          I

           I                                          I

           I                                          I

           I____                      __S_B I

                   I__________I platform

                      train tracks

C was standing on the street and saw us down on the platform. AND STARTED TALKING TO US AGAIN!! Saying how we were zombies, and how we were spreading lies (though he said it a little stronger than that). We just turned and went underneath the stairs that we came down from.

And what happened? C actually bought a ticket so he could go through the barriers, came down the stairs, AND STARTED TALKING TO US AGAIN!!!! By this point, Elder Stoker had had enough and told him that he wasn't interested in arguing any more. But C started taking off his jacket and was saying "Oh, you want to fight now??" Oh my goodness, he finally left, and we took the train and made it to T's lesson.

What really struck me on the whole thing was the massive difference between our meetings with N, C, and T. N and C both professed that they loved us but not the church. But you can honestly feel when someone loves you. As we felt when we were with T. The love that was felt all around was incredible. And the spirit that I felt as I recounted Joseph Smith's story and his first vision stood in stark contrast to N and C's hatred. 

Elder Stoker and I discussed it afterwards, and we both mentioned how incredible it is to us as Mormons to meet people who profess to love God, but don't know who He is. The best example was C. He's converting to Islam, and this was his description of God: "When you look at a light, you can't look at it for too long before it's too bright and you have to look away. God is the same. We cannot even comprehend what He is like!" Granted, God is like a bright light, and no we can't comprehend it completely, but He is so much more than that!! It reminded me of Jesus with the Samaritan woman. "You worship you know not what. We know whom we worship." 

Anyways, there is just one more thing to mention. On Friday we went on an exchange with the Terenure Elders. I was with Elder McCappin. He is an absolute tank. He works so hard! For two weeks, he's been sick, but he doesn't want to stop working. He only went to the doctor on Friday during our exchange because his companion called the Mission Home. A member also called the Mission President and told him to book an appointment with the doctor. And what was the diagnosis? Bronchitis. And he STILL wanted to keep working!!! Even though a DOCTOR had told him to stay indoors for a week, he still wanted to keep working. It was admirable (though, admittedly, also foolish). The only way to keep him from going out was for the member to take him to their home. The Mission President actually rebuked him for not resting ha

Anyways, beyond those things, not much happened this week. This week is Zone Interview Training. There's also a worldwide broadcast for every single missionary this week! We still have to figure out how we're going to watch it, come to think of it... Oh well, we'll figure it out!

I studied prayer today. I read from a talk from 2008 by Elder Bednar. It's really good, you should check it out! It's called Ask in Faith. The reason the title of this email is what it is, is because I felt like my prayers over the past few weeks haven't been very good. They've just been going through the motions, if you will. And the past few weeks haven't been all that great, so I'm going to up my prayers! Who's with me!?

Can I just say, I can't stand Apple computers. I cannot understand how they have become so big when you just can't use them correctly. For example, I was trying several times to do the usual copy and paste of your email, but it just won't work. No idea why, no idea what to do to fix this, but you know what? Oh well. iPhones and iPads are great, but not the computers. 

Anyways, moving beyond that, thanks for the email, and I just love them! :) Thanks for all the details on everybody. I'll keep praying for everybody, don't worry about that. 

So about the Tender Mercies journal..... I've been doing terrible with it.... :/ I feel really bad about it too. I need to get back on it. Plus, I'm waaaay behind on my journal writing! I still haven't finished my entry on last Wednesday!! (the day of N, C, and T). Maybe I'm putting too much detail into it. But I don't know how else to do it! I have to devote all my spare time to journal writing. 

Oh, and thanks for keeping my room normal. Means a lot. ;)

Oh, Mum, you're nervous about EVERYBODY driving alone!! I'm sure she'll be fine! School isn't that far away. If she was driving to Seattle and back, maybe that'd be worrisome, but honestly relax! ;)

So the deal with the license is this: while you're in the UK, you don't have to get a UK license to drive for a year. After that, you cannot drive without one. When I said I couldn't drive, that was the reason why. But now that I'm in the Republic of Ireland, which isn't part of the UK, the clock has reset, if you will. So now I can drive. 

So not this Sunday but NEXT Sunday is moves call. Elder Stoker is probably leaving, which I'm quite sad about. He's a great companion. Very friendly and kind. Quick to compliment.

So how things normally work with the emailing is this: our local library only allows you on the computers for 50 minutes. Usually we can get an extension, but it's only about 30 minutes more. Sometimes less. And once that's up, you're done. You cannot use their computers again. So after that, we usually go to the church building, which is nearby, and use the church computer for the rest of our emailing time. But the only issue is that there's only one church computer. So we have to take turns.

Yes I have heard from Anna, but I haven't written her back yet. I heard from a few members. Love it!  I'll send you the Thank You notes, and if you would be so kind as to deliver them for me, that would be fantastic.

Mum, I LOVE YOU MORE!!!! I love you to Kolob and back! HA!!

Love you guys so much!!! Hope you have a great week! :)

Elder Bates

Monday, April 25, 2016


His coat broke :(

Eating fried chicken in Bray

January 11, 2016 Door opens, "It's snowing!" SLAM!

Hiya Fam!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the snow didn't reach where we live, only the top of the hills surrounding Bray. We're pretty much in the middle of a valley, surrounded by these really tall hills (the locals call them mountains. They obviously haven't seen the Rockies! ;) ) It's gotten really cold this week!! The forecast says that it'll be -5 tonight! Celsius mind you, but still!

It's been a pretty tough week this week. Lots of appointments that fell through. :/

Tuesday we met with PF again, and he's been reading the Book of Mormon every day! He even came to church yesterday, AND was given an assignment to speak in Sacrament Meeting in a few weeks!!! So things are going well with P!

We had an appointment set up with St but he cancelled last minute. :(

That night we had Branch Council as well, my first one in Bray! And it was really effective! I've sat in many Ward Councils where there was a lot of talk but little to no action, but this one was different! It was really cool.

On Wednesday we met with D, a Nigerian lady we'd found before Christmas. We weren't sure how much time she'd have because she said she could only meet with us during her lunch break. So we met with her at a restaurant. It's tough teaching at food places, because we're supposed to remove distractions (ex: television, radio, internet, etc) but we can't remove people's food! But it went really well!! She is so cool! Really strong faith in Christ, has a family, and really wants to raise her children right. There's just one catch: SHE'S NOT IN OUR AREA!!! She'll have to meet with the Clonsilla Elders instead!! That was a bummer. We'll give her a call later today about it.

We also taught English class. Funny story about that. Our English Teacher is Polish, and her English isn't too great herself! Anyways, she asked us a few weeks ago to put up a sign that says: Free English Clasess Every Wednesday at 6:30. If you can't see the problem, then you need to take the English Class!! We were worried about it, so we didn't put it up for a few weeks, but then we finally just gathered up our courage and put it up. And you know what? We had a new couple from Poland show up to English Class because of that sign! What do you know?

T had us over for dinner again on Wednesday. Here's the problem with T. She's just too comfortable with us. On the surface, it doesn't seem like a problem at all! But she doesn't see us as Missionaries trying to help her become closer to Jesus Christ. On top of that, she always sets up who comes as the Joint Teachers, and she often chooses R and F, who just talk WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much, and are also too comfortable with us. So we've decided to try and take control of the situation, and meet with T without a meal and with the J's. Hopefully we'll be able to actually make progress. But the dinner she made on Wednesday was so good I asked for the recipe. Hopefully I'll make some for ya! :)

Thursday had four lessons planned, and really none of them occurred. But I do have a funny story!

We decided to do our Weekly Planning at the Church, because we wanted to download some Mormon Messages for a lesson we were going to have on Saturday (which also didn't happen). But we neglected to lock the front gate to the church. We were almost finished with our planning when I looked out the window and saw a man I'd never seen before walking up the pathway to the church! He just walked in! Before you get too shocked, you must remember that this is a Catholic country, where most churches are open all day long for people to pray in. We talked with the guy and got to know him a bit. His name is W. He, like St, is a Health nut. He only eats fruits and vegetables and a little bit of meat. Doesn't drink alcohol, tea or coffee, and doesn't smoke. Sounds familiar? 

But wait, there's more. He doesn't drink anything except for water. And when I say he only eats fruits and vegetables, I mean he ONLY eats fruits and vegetables. As in he doesn't eat them with anything else, not even salt. He eats them raw, even potatoes. And he pretty much only eats fish, and still sticks with the Mosaic law in regards to pigs and so on. He doesn't eat at any Fast Food place (especially McDonalds) and doesn't eat anything with sugar in it (i.e. pastries, biscuits [or cookies, as us Yanks call them], candy, etc.). He also is a Karate teacher. And he's 68. He's quite proud of how far he's come, saying he looks half his age. No offense, but he looks like he's in his 60's to me...

As I've been meeting with St and now W, I've been able to think a lot about these Health stuff. It sounds really good doesn't it? And it is! But to a point. The Lord has already told us His law of Health. He said that it was adapted to the capacity of "the weakest of saints", so if you can do better than the basics contained in the Word of Wisdom, then great! But remember that the downfall of the Pharisees and the Jews was that they continually looked "beyond the mark". And I think that's the main problem with such people. W basically said that you can't be a Christian if you eat at McDonalds. (he said eating such food is equivalent to suicide, and "thou shalt not kill") Elder Stoker and I both agree: you need to take care of your body. After all, it's a gift from God! At the same time, however, I personally feel that God cares more about how you live, than about how long you live. For sure, good health is a commandment from God, and the longer you live the more good you can do. But there comes a point where the pursuit of long life outstrips the pursuit of eternal life. And as an example, after talking with W about the church and our beliefs, we knew that something made sense to him, that something stood out. But he said at the end "I'm too busy maintaining my Health Code to learn more about your church." He left the church building without leaving any contact details, but did say he'd try to make it to church someday. 

But then again, those are just some of my ideas. I could be totally wrong! Ha!

Anyways, St cancelled again, and, even sadder, the C's had to cancel as well! We were devastated about that!!! They didn't come to church either. But we'll be back on them this week.

We did meet with M, but we didn't get to actually teach our lesson before he threw us out. The past two times, we tried going to M's alone, and it's been better. He's still M, but he's been more courteous. C was going with us to the C's, but when they cancelled, we invited him to M's. He was nervous. He'd been to M's once before and had heard all about him from our weekly Committee meetings. But in the end he came. We hadn't even begun to teach when C got offended of how M was speaking about our Heavenly Father, and said "You need to watch how you speak about your Father in Heaven." M took it as a threat, and when we tried to help C, Martin asked all of us to leave.

Anyways, Friday we had two potential appointments, each one fell through. We had been given a list of LA's to go by from Branch Council, so we did that during our Finding time.

On Saturday we had an exchange with the Terenure Elders. I was with Elder Perkes. Never met him before. He's been called of God to serve a Mission here in Terenure. There's a reason why.  We taught a lesson to these two teenage girls. It went well. They had a LOT of questions about the Fall of Adam and Eve. We did our best to explain. We eventually got back to Bray and it was raining so hard!! So hard that St decided to cancel (again!). It was really frustrating, not gonna lie.

But he did come to Church on Sunday! Church went well. I taught the lesson in Gospel Principles on the Creation. DJ was ordained a Deacon, which we brought St to. We set up an appointment with St later that night, which he finally kept!!! The problem has been simply that he's still stuck in Vacation mode. He doesn't yet have a job to keep himself busy. But we were able to meet with him and discuss Tithing. We'd brought along the Branch President too, which was really good. He was able to explain some things about it. Then we had dinner with the Branch President's family! The B's are Philipino so they make some excellent food. And then we came home! So the week ended on a good note.

Next week is gonna be better!! :)

I noticed the other day that the story of Ammon never mentions sheep! Only "the kings flocks!" I wonder what kind of animals it was? Maybe Llamas!! :) What do you think?

Laura told me all about Rosalyn's surgery. So good! Course, we all knew it'd probably go well, but still welcome news!  I've been praying for her!

Mom, I bet it was so cute having Brielle!  Cute! I'm sure she just loved it. I'd have enjoyed that kind of stuff.  And Frozen?! She and every other little girl in the Western Hemisphere!!

And Jeff and Kate are having a GIRL?  Another girl?  Not again!!!  Yippee for them!!  Yes, lots of pink!

Mom, I carry around a tiny notebook to record Tender Mercies!  It's awesome!

Love you guys!

Elder Bates

The Lord's Prayer - Scottish Style

Elder Bates, I think we're going to have to hear you do this......