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

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