Monday, April 25, 2016

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

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