Monday, September 7, 2015

All- Ireland: Mission Conference... and Hurling Finals

Decorating our flat to support Galway! 
September 7, 2015  
Well it's been quite another exciting week in Galway! It just so happens that the Galway Hurling team played in the All-Ireland finals yesterday, so all week long there's been so much hype about it. Hurling is an Irish sport played with wooden sticks and a hard ball. It's hard to explain and I don't know all the rules, but it's pretty much a mix between lacrosse and rugby it seems like. It's really cool though and a huge deal here in Ireland. So you can imagine that it has been madness since Galway was in the All-Ireland finals (pretty much the Super Bowl) for the first time in over 25 years as the underdog against Kilkenny. Almost every car had Galway flags attached and so many houses were decorated with flags and Galway colors (Maroon and white). There were banners all over the city and flags in every shop showing their support. So of course we bought a few flags to decorate our flat as well. So throughout the whole week, it was pretty crazy. I'll talk about the result of the game later...

But anyway, this week we started out on fire!!! On Tuesday we taught 5 lessons, and they were all so solid. And we committed 1 person to baptism as well! Well actually it was technically 2, but the first man doesn't speak the best English and we weren't able to get a Spanish-Speaking member there with us to help teach, so we aren't really sure that he understands the commitment and everything we taught, so we aren't really counting it for now. But the second man seems so dedicated. He has been taught by the missionaries for years in the past, but hasn't been taught in about a year. He has read the Book of Mormon 4 times and knows everything about the church is true! He really wants to get baptized, but we are just working with him to overcome some Word of Wisdom problems. And there is even a member who lives right across the street from him who is willing to walk to church with him. So I am ready to help him progress towards baptism. Oh and we also gave 2 priesthood blessings to a couple of investigators that really wanted and needed them, so that was also a really great experience! It was such an incredible day.

Then on Wednesday we had the All-Ireland conference in Dublin! We woke up early and drove with the senior couple to Dublin (I even got to drive part of the way). It was such a great conference being with so many missionaries from the 3 zones in Ireland. There were many missionaries that I hadn't seen since the MTC, so it was so great to see them! And there were a ton of new missionaries that had just come out that were there, so it felt pretty good not being the youngest or least experienced there. We received some great instruction from the mission President and his Wife, the assistants to the President, all the Zone leaders and the Belfast and Dublin Stake Presidents as well. It was a really great meeting and the Spirit was so powerful with all of us missionaries gathered together. I loved it! 

The rest of the week we had a few more good lessons, but it was a pretty lousy weekend. On Saturday we had 3 appointments with investigators that fell through, and a referral that we received just ended up being a crazy drunk guy, so it was a pretty rough day. And then on Sunday, none of our investigators ended up coming to church- even the 2 that we set with baptismal dates, so we are going to have to move their dates back. And it's a shame because it was such a great testimony meeting with wonderful testimonies. As well on Sunday, I played the piano for sacrament meeting and went into Primary for the first time to be the pianist there for singing time. I only had to come in for about 20 minutes to play though so it wasn't too bad- I really enjoyed it actually. The Primary president is really hoping I don't get moved next transfer so I can keep playing. 
Then on Sunday night we went into the city centre because the All-Ireland finals were on, so we wanted to see what it was like. Everyone had Galway jerseys on or at least Galway colors, and there were people with their faces painted and everything. They even set up a big screen in the city centre for everyone to watch. It was quite the event! We got there right after the game ended, and Galway ended up losing so it was a shame. But I don't think it really matters what the outcome of the game was because the Irish react in the same way for a victory or defeat: getting drunk. But it was cool to see the whole buildup all week long for the event. The whole community really came together to support Galway.

So it was a quite a roller coaster week, but I am grateful for the success we had and also the trials that I learned from. There was a great thought from the All-Ireland conference that I love. Our mission President really emphasized the role that the Holy Ghost has in conversion. Feeling the Holy Spirit is a "foretaste of eternal life" so it is important that people recognize it. The Holy Ghost draws people closer to Heavenly Father- it sanctifies us. And receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is such an important step in the gospel. We are baptized by water as symbolism, but also to put our sins into remission. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost is the baptism by fire where are sins are purged and burned away- we are completely sanctified by the companionship of the Holy Ghost and given much spiritual knowledge and power through the Holy Ghost (Alma 18: 35).

I love this work in Galway, and I hope I get to stay here for at least another transfer. This area is going to be so strong before too long.

Crazy for Galway!

 Found some wild blackberries on the way to our of course we had to eat some!

Reconnecting with some MTC friends (Elder Watson) at the All-Ireland Mission Conference  

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