Friday, May 27, 2016

May 3, 2016 Tuesday Email due to a Bank Holiday

Hiya Fam!

Well another week's come and gone, and now I'm in a new month! A scary month... But a great month!! :)

Tuesday was a little crazy! We had quite a few problems that resulted in me and Elder Ward being an HOUR late to District Meeting!! That bus driver just drove right on by, no reason whatsoever! So we had to shrink District Meeting a bit, but it turned out okay. Then we went home with the Stirling Elders to do our Exchange. I was with Elder Barton. What a champion. He was my Zone Leader in Dublin! My how the tables have turned mwa ha ha! Oh, and on the way home we bumped into a member who bought our lunch for us! Totally random but awesome! I always feel bad when members do that, but at the same time I love it. :)

We had a really good exchange. We talked with people on the street for a few hours, then went over to C G's house. He was having us over for dinner: homemade chicken curry. It was pretty good! Not as good as Dad's, though. :) Now, that day was Elder Moore's birthday, so Elder Barton asked if we could stop real quick into ASDA, which is the UK's Walmart (literally. It's even owned by Walmart), to get some cake for his companion. On the way to that (it wasn't too far) we talked to a guy named J. He was really cool! When we told him we were missionaries, he asked if we were Christians, which we of course said yes. Then he asked if we read the Bible, which we said yes, and added that we also read the Book of Mormon. He'd never heard of that so he asked about it, and we gave him a copy. We tried to set up an appointment with him, but we didn't. But I gave him our number so that if he had any questions he could call us. 

Fast forward just about an hour or so later, and we were in Grangemouth trying to find one of the referrals we'd received from our Area Books, when he called us! Said he wanted to meet with us! We got his address and what do you know? It's the exact same street we were already on! It was one of those moments when you just can't help but take a moment and offer a quick gratitude prayer. So we go over. And we had a great lesson! At one point he was out of the room, and Elder Barton and I look at one another and we both whisper "He is great! So prepared!"

Well, the lesson turned a wee bit sour once we started talking about the Great Apostasy. He seems to believe that Jesus Christ is the Priesthood, and that we don't need an actual church and so on. It started going real south when he started looking up Anti to throw at us right in front of us as we were sitting there! And I was just thinking "Where did all this come from?? Everything was going so well!!" But Elder Barton saved the day. He bore a powerful testimony of how the Book of Mormon has strengthened his testimony of Jesus Christ, and how it's brought him closer to Him. That's when it went back. It never got back to the way it was before, but it was better. We left on a good note, at least. I prayed about it later, about what went wrong, and the answer I received was that he'd let his pride put up defensive barriers. We saw him again on Sunday while we were walking through Grangemouth, chatted briefly and then he was on his way to help his grandmother. We're still good, but please pray for him.

Anyways, the next day we did Family History with E. She is a Family History Addict!!! LOVES IT!!! So we decided, to help her focus on good things instead of bad things, to do Family History with her a few times a week. We started last Wednesday. She didn't have her computer at that time (looooong story there) so we went to the Library. The only problem was that there was two of us, but one of her. So while she was helping Elder Ward, I couldn't really do a thing... I would look up my ancestors and then look up what was happening at the times they were living in. But at the end I gave her the name, birth date, death date, and marriage date, of one of my Scottish Ancestors: David Neilson. She was going to go to Edinburgh to look up their records for us. More on that later, but she found out my clans!! This is what she texted us:

"Bates originally comes from England but its tartan is the MacFarland. Neilson has five tartans: the Macneil tartan, Stuart of Bute tartan, Mackay tartan, Gunn tartan or MacGregor tartan."

So here's the thing: the first thing I thought of when she told me my clans was this: "sweet, I can get all the guys in my family our clan ties!" So look up all those different tartans and be sure to let me know which one you want. I'll give E the money, and she will go to Edinburgh to get them for you. So be sure to let me know! Personally, I'm a fan of the Macneil, Mackay, and Gunn tartans, so I'll probably get one of them. But you guys can choose!

Okay so later that day we had dinner at a member's house: W. He lives with his Mum who's got health issues but comes to church as often as she can. Deeeeeeeeeelicious steak pie!! Wow! Then he took us to Branch Council, which he's a part of.

Thursday morning, after some Weekly Planning, we went to the library to do some more Family History with E. She had apparently printed off several copies of birth and marriage certificates for my ancestors going back to the 1100's. I told you she's an addict! She goes crazy about this stuff!! BUT WHOOO!!! However she didn't show. We later found out she was talking with her lawyer. Or solicitor, as they call them out here. Don't ask why. So we rescheduled for Friday. 

We had an appointment with C G again, which went well. He's been reading the Book of Mormon every day so we committed him to start praying every day. We went to try by some referrals, then came to the church to finish our weekly planning then set up for BSL class. We taught everyone how to teach the Restoration lesson in BSL. That was fun!

Then we had an appointment with A M. He invited his friend R over. The one from the Pentecostal church? We watched a Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon, and we bore our testimonies on it. Elder Ward in particular bore a powerful testimony, I felt the spirit so strong! It was incredible! But R disagreed. He started talking and kept on talking for a while telling us all sorts of stuff. I don't even remember half of it. He never said it outright, but I got the vibe that he was trying to tell us, after we'd borne our testimonies to them both, that we still needed to be saved and stuff. 

Elder Ward and I went home frustrated. There is nothing like bearing your testimony and having someone treat that lightly, or with contempt. I'm sure most if not all of you have felt that way at some point. It stinks, huh?

Anyways, moving on, Friday was our day with the Zone Leaders. We had Zone Leadership Council in the morning, which went well. Then we had our exchange. We spent the whole day at the university. I was with Elder Tullis. Good missionary. We had two appointments set up at the beginning of the day, but we ended up having five! We literally would talk to someone, then ask them if they had time right then, and we would teach them in the library! It was great!! One thing I do have to complain about: it was sleeting at times. Snowing at other times. Literally. SNOW. IN APRIL. It would only snow or sleet or rain for five minutes before it'd be sunny again. But still!  It was snowing!!

Saturday we came back from Edinburgh in the morning. Before dropping us off at the train station the ZL's took us to the Mission Home so we could grab some supplies. But we accidentally left them there!! Awkward... But when we arrived we did Family History with E. We only finished two families in the two hours we did (which was more than we should have done, but I got into it too! Ha) She said I've got a lot of work to do!! Then we had Lunch then we went out to try by some referrals over in Polmont. While we were there we got a text from E, who had AGAIN gone back to Edinburgh and started digging even deeper into our Scottish line, and actually went back to about 900 AD!!!! And you know what she found? I (and by I, I really should say WE) am related to King James V of Scotland!! So that was exciting. I've got royal blood! Hey, stop looking so surprised!!

Anyways, after that we went to teach M S again.  Our Joint Teach was getting really fidgety by the end because he was late for meeting with his friends but we couldn't stop it! How do you politely ask someone to stop talking so much?? But beyond that it went well. 

Then we had church on Sunday. Which went well. M came, yippee!! We invited him to a meal appointment on Tuesday (today!) but yesterday he said he couldn't make it. Dang it. Still, little contact is better than no contact. 

After church we went with Brother Scott Major, the American, and his daughter Keri, to Lunch. They made us Sloppy Joes! Oh, and we forgot to fast on Sunday. :I Awkward... SO we fasted yesterday!

Anyways, we spent the whole day trying to contact as many referrals as possible! And we got 3 out of 6! Not bad! But M S. dropped us. He wasn't progressing and isn't nearly as ready for baptism as we had thought. It's a really long story. M we're still trying to set up another appointment. Same with M. He said we won't be able to meet up until next Sunday. Frustrating. 

 Monday was another bipolar weather day. Intense rain for five minutes followed by sun. Oh Well!! We had FHE with E, M, and A again. Which went well.  It was a bank holiday which is why I didn't write yesterday.

But yeah! That was the week! It was really fun! Tomorrow is All - Scotland Conference! We have to be in the chapel by 7:30. No later. Presidents orders. That'll be fun. 

Mom sent me a copy of her blog post about following the prophet.  I really like all of that! I tried to pay more attention to those kinds of things the Prophets and Apostles have been saying. They've been saying the same things over and over so much, everyone's waiting for something new or drastic, but that's not how it works.

So I was studying today from True to the Faith. I was studying the Atonement, and I was looking up every scripture reference. It's been a good study so far, it's my second day doing it! Anyways, today I read Helaman 5:10-11. Everyone always goes straight to 12, which is a great verse too, but 10-11 are gems as well. Fascinating. Jesus Christ gets His power to redeem us from the Father. But He gets the opportunity, or the ability (not sure yet which one it is) to exercise it only on the condition that we repent. So His Redeeming power is only held back by our willingness to repent! Incredible huh? 

I also found this one interesting. In verse 10 Nephi and Lehi are reminded of Amulek who spoke of how Christ won't redeem us in our sins, but that He will redeem us from our sins. What an interesting way of putting it! Why did he say that? Well, for one thing, I looked up in and from in the dictionary (sounds pretty silly, I know, but bear with me), and the word in denotes being surrounded by, or to be involved with something. While from denotes a separation. With that in context, listen to that again: Christ won't redeem us in our sins, but He will redeem us from our sins. Another way of looking at it is this: the main thing holding us back from being with our Father in Heaven (you know, aside from mortality and all the rest of that) is our sins. We are constantly fighting against "those sins that doth so easily beset us", but we are constantly failing to some degree or another. The Savior, through His Atonement, can save us from our sins. He can free us. If we let Him. 

I don't love my Savior as much as I should. But my love for Him should be growing stronger every day. The more I study, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I understand. The more I understand, the more I grow. What a glorious plan God has for us!! I love it! I love basking in the glory of His plan!! Studying it strikes me with wonder and awe. How perfect, and how incredible! I wish more people understood this. But that's where we come in! We have to show it to these people that are surrounding us!! How lucky we are! :)

I love you guys so much!! Talk to you on Sunday!! :)

Elder Bates

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