Sunday, May 15, 2016

March 14, 2016 Falkirk!

Hiya Fam!

I'm loving it up here!! It's fantastic! It's crazy, cuz I am so close to Cumbernauld, so I often see buses that will take me there. At the same time, I'm also close to Edinburgh, which is central to Scotland, so I also often see trains that will take me to Inverness, so I could visit any of my previous areas if I so wanted to!!! Ha!

This week went really well! I'll be sending you some pics from last P-Day, M, our Recent Convert, took us up to one of the Ochil hills, called Dumyat. Really interesting names, eh? But it was beautiful!! Loved it!

Tuesday was great! I was so scared for my first District Meeting, but it went really well! I gave training on how we could make our studies better by using the "TESCO Parable". I likened our studies to a shopping trip: we have to prepare, we need a list of what we want, etc. They liked it so much we took a District photo in front of it! :)

So my district is quite small: there's me and Elder Ward, and then there's the Alloa sisters. They're the Sister Training Leaders Trainers. Which basically means they look after all the Sister Training Leaders. So they're like the Zone Leaders of the Sisters. They're bosses, btw. But they travel a lot so they're not even in their area all the time. But I sure hope they come to all our District Meetings! Cuz that would be awkward otherwise...

Anyways, we also traveled out to California to knock some doors. Now before you freak out, just so you know, one of the villages in our area is called California. And when we saw that we just HAD to go visit. It's really quite small. We also visited a LA named D. He's pretty old but he sure doesn't act like it!! Really really nice old Scottish man. We went by again later in the week to do some service for him and his wife (I don't think his wife was ever baptized, but not too sure), and we're seeing them again this coming week.

We also met with Martin. It wasn't a very good lesson. But we resolved from that lesson to really make the effort to improve our BSL. Because that's what's really holding him and us back. So we decided to only talk to each other in BSL in the flat! We're still working on it, but I'm looking forward to it!

So Wednesday was pretty crazy. They were having a meeting in the Mission Home for all the leaders in Scotland: DL's, ZL's, STL's, AP's, etc. So we had to travel all the way to Edinburgh for it (which isn't too bad in comparison to Elder Perkins, who had to travel from Inverness! He said he had to wake up at 3!!!) But it was a really good meeting. They were just going over everything they've already been emphasizing, but it was so that everyone would be on the same page. So that was good. Then I went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Lindsay. He is intense!!! It doesn't help that he's 6' 4'', but he just works as hard as he can! It's really cool! Had a good exchange with him. 

But about 6:30 he and Elder Ensign, our other ZL, had to drive the AP's to the airport so they could give the same training to all the leaders in Ireland. So they dropped me and Elder Ward off at the Stake center, where some other missionaries were having a Baptism. We had what I call the "Exchange-ception"! An exchange within an exchange! Get it? Like Inception? Anyways, we went on an exchange with some Elders from Edinburgh. And guess who I was with?

My old pal Elder Stoker!

Yep! We even taught a lesson to one of their investigators! It was weird teaching with him again. He's doing well. Having a few companion problems, but he's a trooper. 

Also, at the baptism, you'll never guess who was there! The Bl's from Cumbernauld!! Do you remember that I accidentally left my name tag in their car my last night there? They still have it! Apparently, they've been using it as a refrigerator magnet! Clever! I'm tempted to just let them keep it, but it's the nametag that I got at the MTC. The MTC tags are different from the replacements you get. But since we're so close, they gave me their number and we're going to set up a time that we could meet up and I can get it back. What luck?

Anyways, after the lesson with Elder Stoker, we went to the ZL flat for the night. Or so we thought... Turns out that an Elder in the Zone got bit by a spider. He didn't think it was that bad, but he was told to go to the hospital, so the ZL's had to drive him there. They didn't get back until 3 in the morning!! Poor guys! The Elder was all right. I actually saw him the next day teaching a lesson, so he must've been just fine. 

Anyways, the next day we continued our exchange. Elder Lindsay and I taught a lesson to a college student about the Plan of Salvation. My favorite! After the lesson Elder Ward and I caught the train back to Falkirk. 

We met with M, the son of A, and taught him the Restoration using the cups. Have you seen that? Missionaries get these plastic cups and write on them the various things that make up the church that Christ established, like Prophets and Revelation, and so on. Then they stack it all up into a tower on top of a piece of paper that's labeled The Priesthood. Then we explain that after all the Apostles were killed, the priesthood was taken away, and we pull out the paper, which makes the whole tower fall. But when the Priesthood was restored, we got everything that came with it, and we rebuild the tower. It's cute, and pretty good for kids too. We only had one problem for M's lesson: we forgot to bring cups! We had to use toilet paper rolls! Which still worked well, actually.

Then we had BSL class that night. Again, we still need to work on our BSL. No one in that class knows how to do it except for Elder Ward and Martin, but even they have to sometimes turn to a smart phone to look up a sign they don't know!

Friday morning we helped a sister in our ward, Sister M, move some furniture around that she couldn't move on her own. She's got a nice family. Then we went by M again. It's just so difficult to communicate with him! We're trying, but it is difficult. We can tell he gets frustrated sometimes. It must be so difficult being deaf! :/

We later went by a members house. I think their last name is the Simpsons, but I'm not sure. I know the recently married couple's first names: TJ and Sue-Anne. TJ got back from serving a mission in the London South Mission about a year ago. Nice guy. Before we did some finding around their neighborhood. And we just "happened" into a LA named Scott! Love it when that happens! :) Not sure how interested he really is, due to how inebriated he was when we found him, but he was still nice!

So Saturday we went by M the LA, the one we committed to reading the Book of Mormon every day? Unfortunately, he hasn't done it every day, but he did come to church the next day! So that's good! Our lesson with him wasn't too great because we'd planned to show him the new Hallelujah video, but when we got there, he'd lost all his power, so that didn't happen... But we made do.

After a bit of Lunch, we went out to Bo'ness. It's a town that's a little ways away from Falkirk. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and we were expecting plenty of people to talk to in the streets! But when we got there, we saw maybe 5 people total? I was so surprised! We chapped instead, and got a return appointment, so it all turned out alright, but wow! We later found out that there was a Rangers game on, so that's probably why no one was out. Man, Football is crazy.

Anyways that night we met with the J's again. They had us over for Fish and Chips! It was the best fish and chips I've ever had! Loved it! We then taught their children the Plan of Salvation lesson again. Such a good family. It's always so weird teaching our lessons to children. I mean, how does one teach about that without going over their heads? It's tough.

Sunday went really well, our best day by far. Mike was at church! He is so great, he actually participated in church! Not every investigator does that, most are just content to simply sit back and watch. But he asked questions, made comments, etc. He gave the opening prayer after church in our lesson, and in it he thanked God for leading him to this church "in an incredible way, going down a road I don't normally go down, stopping where I don't normally stop, to meet Elder Ward and Elder Bates." Not gonna lie, I nearly teared up in that prayer. It was so cool! He loved the Plan of Salvation. He was so humble about it, he said "I don't think I'll ever be good enough to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, but it sounds like the Terestrial kingdom is still good!" It was the perfect segway to introduce our next lesson: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to teach him how, yeah, you aren't ever going to be good enough. But that's why Jesus Christ died for you! Never thought about the Gospel in that way before. Thanks Mike!

Anyways, we also met with the McM's again. They're doing well. We also had a lesson with Mi and A too. This time we were able to show the Hallelujah video! Ha they really enjoyed it. It touched them. If you haven't seen that video yet, I would suggest that you look it up.

So that was our week! Really busy!! So will this week! This week is ZIT! I'll have to get my Temple Recommend Interview there, because my recommend expires this month. 

Thank you so much for your prayers! The District meeting went really well! I feel much more confident now that I've gotten through a week of it all. I also really appreciate your comments too. I'll take them to heart. I know I can always count on you to give me some encouragement!! :) Love you all sooooooooo much!!

We'll eat some pie on pi day.  They sure make more pies out here than back home.  Oh I'm so glad, Mom, you've got a recipe for Shepherd's pie, because I LOVE Shepherd's pie!! Can't wait to try it back home!  They do sell soda bread out here, and I'm certain people do eat it, but it's not as common as, say, just regular white bread.

People are always talking about the election. Most seem to see Trump as a clown, and simply judging by what little they report about him over here, I cannae blame them! But I'm sure we're getting a really slanted view of the election. I'm just not worrying about it until I actually get back over there ha ha

Lots of incredible news back home! Sad to say goodbye to the Klumkers and the Runolfsons. 

Anyways, Love you guys so much!! This is going to be a great week!!! :D

Elder Bates

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