Monday, July 13, 2015

First Area: Galway, Ireland

July 13, 2015  Wow!! it's been such a crazy week and a half! From Tuesday to Friday I stayed the night in four different countries in a row. But I guess I better start back from my last week in the MTC. On Thursday in the MTC we took a train to Piccadilly square in Manchester to go street contacting. It was pretty fun, but I learned that I need to get better at talking to strangers. We had fast and testimony meeting the last Sunday in the MTC, which was really great! I shared my testimony and it was wonderful hearing from so many missionaries with such strong testimonies. I felt the Spirit so strongly in the MTC and I was grateful for my time there. The Tuesday night before we left, we got to attend the temple again. Such a great spiritual experience!

We had to get up at 4:45am the next day. We left at 6:00am from the MTC on a bus to head up to the mission field in Edinburgh.There were 23 of us total that went to Scotland/Ireland. Some of the workers at the mission home said it was the most new missionaries they had seen in a long time! It was really fun driving up for a few hours through northern England and Scotland. I was exactly how you would imagine it: lots of hill, sheep, goats, rivers, cloudy weather, and lots of GREEN. No surprises there! We got to the mission home, dropped off our bags, and went with the mission President, his wife, and all the senior companions to Pratt's Hill. Pratt's Hill (or Arthur's seat as the locals call it) is where Orson Pratt prayed as he began as one of the first missionaries in Scotland. It was an amazing view of Edinburgh! We sang hymns, prayed, and had a little devotional at the top of the hill. We ate lunch and then went to the chapel next door for some instructions, interviews with the mission President, and of course getting assigned our companions! My companion is Elder Christensen and I found out I was going to Galway, Ireland. He is from Wyoming, and is a real nice guy. He is the district leader for Galway and has already been there for 3 months so he has done a great job of helping me and showing me what to do. I'm really grateful for him!

Everyone who was assigned to go to Ireland stayed the night in the mission home, so I stayed there with about 10 or so other Elders. Since we had a few hours til it was time to go to sleep, I helped one of the APs take the Elders going to Scotland to the train station and then I went out with Elder Christensen around Edinburgh for some street contacting. Staying the night in Edinburgh was crazy! Most of us were packed into this pretty small room, so it was interesting, but it was all fine! The next morning our bus didn't leave til about 1:30 so me and Elder Christensen went out knocking on doors in a little neighborhood called Oxgangs Farm. We found a few nice people who were willing to let missionaries come back again to teach them so it was a good experience. We left on the bus from Edinburgh at like 1:30 and traveled to the west coast of Scotland through Glasgow and a few other cities. We left on a ferry from a port called Cairnryan I think? The ferry was so cool!! It was like a mini cruise ship! We stayed in this lounge most of the time and it was fun getting to know the other missionaries going to Ireland. The ferry ride was a few hours and when we landed in Northern Ireland it was pretty late. We took a quick bus to Belfast and had to walk like 25 minutes through the pouring rain from the bus station to a flat that some of the Elders there were staying in. It was a really nice flat that overlooked Belfast. There were a quite a few Elders cramped in there again and we got to sleep really late so I didn't get a whole lot of sleep.The next day, Friday, we took a bus from Belfast to Dublin and Elder Christensen's car was there so we drove that all the way across Ireland to Galway. It took quite a while though because we got a little lost in Dublin and started going the wrong way, so we took a more scenic route to Galway. It was beautiful driving through the green Irish countryside!

So Galway is a pretty interesting place- it is really Irish! All the signs are written in Irish Gaelic first and then English so it is quite interesting. Irish is really weird! I think Galway in Irish is like Gaillimh or something like that. But everyone still knows English so it's fine. However, it's kind of a University town and there are a lot of tourists so we've talked to a lot of people from a lot of different countries. I think it's rained every day so far, but it isn't too cold so I think it feels pretty good. The branch here is really tiny! On church on Sunday there were just over 20 people I think. For church we meet in the top of this building in a business park. Oh and the Branch President called me the night we got in and asked me to give a talk on Sunday, so that was fun! I mainly introduced myself and told why I'wanted to go on a mission and everything. I also blessed the sacrament and played the piano for priesthood. When there's such a small branch, the missionaries have a lot of responsibilities! My companion is actually the Young Men's President even though there are only 1 or 2 YM that regularly attend. I love all the members though; they are great people! Oh and as I said earlier, we have a car to use right now too! I already got to drive a little bit! It was a little interesting driving on the left side and going around all the roundabouts they have, but it was fun! The problem is that a senior couple is coming into our area tomorrow, so we have to give them our car. So then we have to ride bikes.  
 Our flat where we're staying is pretty nice. A little dirty right now, but we'll clean it up. Oh and it's a 4-man flat so. I'm staying with two other missionaries, Elder Salinas from Mexico and Elder Williams from Idaho who was actually in the MTC with me so this is his first area too! The flat even has a keyboard, so I can practice the piano and has weights for me to workout a little bit. Our flat is just a little house in this neighborhood, so it's not really an apartment. Here is the address for my flat that you can send mail too:

12B Hy-Brasil Court
Love, Elder Oxspring

Pratt's Hill (Arthur's seat) and a view of Edinburgh
Scotland/Ireland Mission home

West coast of Scotland

The lounge in the ferry from Scotland to Ireland 

Cathedral in Edinburgh

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