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

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