Friday, May 13, 2016

March 7, 2015 Falkirk!

Hiya Fam!

Well, Ireland is behind me. I think literally. I'm pretty sure I'm facing East. But that's not important right now. I got to say a few goodbyes to some of the members, got all my suitcases packed (they're getting pretty busted up! Let's hope they can make one last trip!), and gave myself a haircut! (found a pair of clippers in the flat, thought 'yeah, free haircut!' but then I found out why they were left behind: they were terrible! Got clogged really easily. Took forever to cut it all off! But it doesn't look too bad... One or two hairs that are still long, but oh well...)

Moves Day was filled, and I mean FILLED, with Tender Mercies!! The greatest, and most personal, was that just before I boarded the bus, the ZL's handed me my SCRIPTURES!!!!!! :D :D :D I never did receive an explanation, as a matter of fact, but I didn't need one. So thank you so much for your prayers!! They were answered!! :)

Over the course of the moves, I met two missionaries that had served in Falkirk, and they were able to tell me about the Branch. Everything they told me was positive! So I was getting pretty excited to go!

I made it in Falkirk with just enough time to drop my stuff off (we live on the top floor. Typical Missionary flat...) and to book it to Branch Council. I got to meet several of the member over here. Oh, man, I've missed the Scottish Accent! I've missed Scotland!! Our Branch Mission Leader has such a strong accent, it's fantastic! :)

So Thursday Morning, the AP's picked us up and drove us to some missionary flat in the middle of nowhere so that I and this other new DL could receive our New Leadership Training. It was really good! Pretty helpful! 

We had an appointment with someone, but they weren't there at their house. Shame. So we went to A's house to teach M. So there is a whole family that are Recent Converts. El is the Mum. She has a son named M. M's girlfriend is A, who has a son named Ma. They used to live together but don't anymore, but they aren't married yet. Not sure what's holding them back but that's their problem ha. We sometimes pop over to teach one of them. Ma is 7 and will be baptized soon. We talked about the story of Nephi building the boat. For whatever reason Ma kept changing it to Nephi building a rocket. Slightly different but okay...

Then we went to the church to teach BSL. British Sign Language. We're teaching a guy who's deaf, named Mar. So to help the Branch fellowship him better, we're teaching BSL. Elder Ward is pretty darn good at it! He has several books in our flat on the subject. He says I'm catching on really quickly! I know how to sign the first few stanzas of "A Whole New World" and also the alphabet. If that's quick, then okay!

There was a bit of a fiasco after that. Elder Ward's Mom had ordered us some ASDA groceries to be delivered online, but she hadn't told Elder Ward that. So the delivery truck came when we weren't there! So we tried to reschedule, but we needed his Mom's debit card number and security code, which we didn't have, so we asked one of the members to skype his Mom and ask for it, but in the end it still didn't work, so it was just cancelled. Shame. We didn't have any food at our flat haha but we will now!! It's P-Day now!!

Anyways, Friday we did our Weekly Planning, then went to visit a LA whose name escapes me. Sorry. He's an American who served his mission here, came back, married a Scottish Lass, later moved to Bulgaria where he bought and ran a farm, but then he and his wife split, and now he's come back to Scotland! Oh, and he's an ex-Green Beret. And while he was in Bulgaria he got the nickname "The Gypsie Beater." Sooooo yeah! Interesting life story, I'd say!! Nice guy though. Made us some Root Beer. That was wonderful!

After that we spent a few hours doing some finding. In front of a music shop we talked to a guy named Mi. Very nice guy who'd met with Missionaries before. We set up an appointment with him on Saturday. More on that later.

We eventually had a dinner appointment with a member family. But it turned out to not be a dinner appointment, we instead taught their two recently baptized children. Great family though. One of the children is deaf, so another reason to teach BSL! Anyways, the original plan had been for me to do my District Meeting preparation after the appointment, but we were starving, so we did a McDonalds run! Unfortunately we missed our bus back home so we had to walk and eat. We were a little late back to the flat. :/ I told the Zone Leaders, but when they heard my story, they said "You made the right decision" ha ha

So Saturday Morning we met with another LA. His name is M. He's really really quiet. Had a really cool experience in there. We committed him to read from the Book of Mormon every day in March, and he said that he felt the spirit as we said it, so he would do it! How awesome is that??

We then met with Mi. He is so awesome! He goes by M, though, which is good because we already have a Mi haha! Anyways, he is so prepared! He grew up Roman Catholic, but for the past decade or so he hasn't been going to church at all. But just the day before we met him, he got a letter in the mail. It was something religious, I didn't study it too hard. But it got him thinking about church again. And now we're meeting with him! We met with him at a cafe, which wasn't the best environment. I've taught in cafe's before. They can be hit or miss. I personally prefer almost anywhere else but a cafe, but it was his decision. Anyways, this one was just too busy, we could barely hear him talk. But we walked with him to the church to show him where it is. Then we showed him around the building, and explained a bit about it. We finally left him with a Restoration pamphlet and an invite to church. 

We had lunch, tried by a few potentials, did a bit of finding, and then went off to another family, the McM's! The mother is LA, the father is active. She cooked for us her famous lasagna, and, not gonna lie, it was really good! Again, really nice family. I'm looking forward to working with them. Brother McM is a huge fan of Kolob. 

Sunday was Mothering Sunday in the UK. Basically Mothers Day for British people. Elder Stoker got to Skype his Mum. Us Americans have to wait for May. So there was a lot about Mothers in church today. Made me just a little homesick, not gonna lie... ;) But it was all good! Mi came to church!! He enjoyed it! After church we were able to properly teach him. He came to us and asked to purchase a copy of the Book of Mormon!! We explained a bit more about the Book, and gave him a copy. We won't be able to meet with him all week; he's starting a new job today. But he is just awesome!! :D

Mi and A had us over for dinner later that day. I had haggis again!!! I've missed haggis!! :9 After dinner, they drove us down to Edinburgh, where there was a fireside for New and Returning Members held in the Mission Home. I didn't get to watch. There were so many Missionaries and so many Members there wasn't enough room for us! So we just stood out in the hall. I got to talk to Elder Stoker for a little while. He's doing well. Mi and co. enjoyed the fireside, and that's what matters!

And that was our week! My first weekend in Falkirk! Looking forward to some more! 

Elder Ward is a boss. He's probably the most hardest working companion I've had since Elder Wells!! He is very enthusiastic and has a fantastic attitude about the work and everything. He's from Pocatello Idaho. He's got three older sisters, none of which served a mission so he's the first in his family! Aside from his dad, of course.

I have another story. It's about food, I'm afraid, but this is what's been happening to me. So at the LA American's house, he was chopping up some vegetables to put in his supper, and he was crushing some garlic. He mentioned that he would sometimes just eat garlic raw! I've never eaten just plain garlic, so I decided to give it a try! I found a clove of garlic in our pantry, unwrapped it, took a tiny piece and popped it in my mouth!

BAD IDEA. Oh, it burned sooo bad!!! Literally! My tongue felt like it had touched some really hot food straight from the oven! But the aftertaste was the worst! I ate it last night, about 9:30. It is now 11:45, and I STILL have it!!! I woke up in the morning and my mouth just tasted gross and I'm thinking "This is not a good sign..." Yeah, I'm NEVER eating raw garlic again!! I now understand what that LA meant when he said that his wife would never kiss him after eating some garlic. I sure hope this hasn't ruined garlic for me! I love garlic on pizza... 

I started the Isaiah chapters this week! Something I found helpful was reading in the chapters before Isaiah about WHY Nephi or whomever was quoting from Isaiah. It helps to think about why they chose this passage, to help understand it. I'm still lost on some parts, but it's helped!

Love you guys!! Tomorrow is my first District Meeting! PLEASE pray for me!! Ha

Elder Bates

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