Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas, Joseph's Baptism



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wow what an amazing and eventful week this week!! I guess I must start at the beginning:

Tuesday was our All-Scotland Christmas conference, which means preparations started on Monday evening. Missionaries that had to travel far had to come in on Monday night, which means we had 6 Elders staying with us at our flat, plenty of others in other flats in Edinburgh, so it was quite fun actually. The conference on Tuesday was so much fun! It was more a fun conference for Christmas as a reward for all of our hard work this year. We sang lots of Christmas songs, had a great meal, and even got to watch a film- we watched the Disney Film Brave (which is based in Scotland), so it was a lot of fun! I got to see so many great missionary friends.
All Scotland Christmas conference 



   











     Wednesday was Joseph's baptism! I had the amazing privilege of baptising him. It was such a great service and there was one other Chinese girl who also got baptised in the service from some other Elders in Edinburgh. It was cool to see how happy Joseph was! Wednesday night was also the night our mission hit our baptismal goal of 360 baptisms!! What an incredible achievement! Everyone is so excited to see the goal for 2017. 

    We had a couple of great days to do missionary work, then on Saturday we were quite busy. We had to deliver some last minute packages around the zone and even some to Glasgow (because we were driving close to there anyway) which was fun because it was my first time back in Glasgow since I came to Edinburgh.

Delivering Christmas parcels to the missionaries
in Edinburgh and Glasgow


Got our car into the Christmas spirit



Then on Christmas eve night we had a Christmas eve service at the church, which was quite fun actually. I was the pianist for a missionary musical number, which turned out really well!
    Christmas day was a whole lot of fun: We got breakfast at the mission home before church! And then we went to church (I was asked to be the pianist before hand, so I practised quite a bit before). 
Here I am practising the piano at the mission home.  

Mckell and Cannon families on Christmas day.







After church we stayed at the mission home for a few hours and played games with some other missionaries. Then I went to my ward mission leader's home with some other members for dinner and skyping home.




 It was a good time, and it is always such a good experience seeing the family.


It feels weird that I actually had a life before my mission. It feels like this is just my life now. In the evening we went to have another meal with some other Elders with a lot of the Chinese recent converts and our investigator Shirley was there, so it was a lot of fun!! 

   



Christmas dinner/party with Chinese investigators and converts


Yesterday was boxing day which was just another day off. In the morning it was snowing very heavily actually, and we had planned to climb Arthur's seat, so we still went anyway!

Climbing Arthur's seat on Boxing day




     It actually snowed the day after Christmas!






View of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle


We got some amazing pictures though even if it was cold. Then we spent a few hours at the church playing football with some other missionaries and some of the Donaldson's family who were visiting.
Playing football at the church 

We were exhausted at that point, so went home to shower and rest up before going to some member's homes in the evening for dinner. Edinburgh was a great place to be for Christmas!!

      The work is going really well also! Our Chinese friend Shirley wants to meet with us everyday so she can get baptised on January 4th. She loves the Book of Mormon also! And she is friends with the other Chinese recent converts also. We found another new man this week named Andrew who came to the baptisms on Wednesday and the Christmas eve service, and is loving what we have taught so far. He is preparing for baptism in January also.


      Well I better head off because we will need to work hard to make up for all the lost time this weekend! Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

My friend, John, came all the way to Glasgow to visit and bring me a Christmas gift! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Start of a New Transfer

A member in the ward made us missionary gingerbread men.

Monday, December 19, 2016
  Well it's time for a new transfer! Elder Peacock and I are excited to see what we can accomplish together, we have already experienced so much success.

John came from Glasgow to say goodbye
to Elder Cook 



    It was a bit of a slow week this week, having started with planning moves and then helping missionaries move around the mission, but it is always fun seeing missionary friends I haven't seen in a while.







Saying farewell to Elder Cook who was a great example to me.











     We also find sooo many people now that we just have to take phone numbers from and make a note to call after the new year because everyone is leaving (especially students), so we have to make adjustments with our finding and teaching plans. We are anticipating a lot of great success though as we have found some great people that can be baptised soon.

     This week, we are extremely excited for Joseph's baptism! He is so excited and he loves inviting as many people as he can to it. Just like last year, I am so happy to be celebrating a baptism the week of Christmas! It's the best kind of White Christmas I would say! Unfortunately Joseph will be leaving Edinburgh to be with family on Christmas day, so he will have to be confirmed New Year's day, but hey what a great way to start the new year! 

     We have also started teaching this amazing Chinese student named Shirley is so prepared. She was already a Christian when she was in China, but hadn't gone to church since being in Edinburgh. When I spoke to her on the street at the university she said "I have been waiting for someone to talk with me about Jesus." So we met with her and she accepted baptism for January 4th and came to church this week and loved it! So Shirley is quite the miracle.

     Unfortunately Sonia returned back to Spain this week, but the night she left we texted her to say goodbye and she told us how
she wants to be baptised, so we are trying to get her in touch with missionaries in Spain.

     This week will be a wild one! We have an All Scotland Christmas conference on Tuesday, Joseph's baptism on Wednesday, and then of course Christmas eve and Christmas! We have been pretty close with the members, so I am pretty sure we have dinner appointments lined up for every day this week and have many plans to be with families over the holiday days as well. We are so excited!!


Merry Christmas!

This week we went to a meal with some of our Chinese friends in the ward. We went to hot pot which is a traditional Chinese meal where hey have these huge simmering pots of soup and loads of raw meat and vegetables and other foods that you cook in the soup and
pull out and eat when it is done. 
Ox stomach (not a fan of this)

Chicken hearts (actually pretty good)
Our friends Linda (our recent convert) and Zoe (a member of a year)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Staying in Edinburgh for Christmas!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

     Happy Days! Elder Peacock and I are staying together again for another transfer in Edinburgh!! Our zone is on fire, so I guess they wanted to keep the momentum rolling. There aren't too many missionaries moving around the mission, so we are grateful it is a smaller moves and won't be quite as busy this week. But we still have a good amount of planning to do today, so I don't have a lot of time! I am so excited for Christmas here in Edinburgh with a lot of people I know. None of the other missionaries in Edinburgh ward are moving either, so we will have a lot of fun together.

     This week was a bit of a wild one, but it was great! We have a few people we are teaching now that we are excited about. So our friend Joseph is just ecstatic about his baptism! He is hilarious! We taught him the commandments this week and he just goes on each time we see him about how loves keeping the commandments. I can't see anything keeping him from his baptismal date of December 21st. We are teaching this really cool girl named Sonia from Spain as well. She came to church this week and connected with a few Spanish speaking members... the only trouble is that she will be returning to Spain next weekend, so we are sad about that. We have found so many great people who are willing to meet... but will busy until after Christmas, so it's a bit of a challenging time, but everyone is just so excited about achieving the mission goal! We are currently at 342 baptisms for the year... so close to the goal of 360. We should be hitting it within 2 weeks! Exciting times.

      We had the privilege of witnessing 2 baptisms this week in the zone. There was one in Edinburgh ward on Wednesday, and then we got to help with getting a baptism ready on Saturday in an outskirt town called Dalkeith. The font was a bit broken, so freezing cold water was coming out, so we collected as many kettles as we could and tried boiling water and running hot water from a nearby tap to try and warm up the font water. I think it helped a little bit... it went from freezing cold to just cold.  But it was probably helpful as the lady getting baptised was a bit afraid of water as well. But everything worked out great!

     Things are going so well in Edinburgh and I am excited to spend Christmas here with Elder Peacock. It will be a busy week, and then Christmas will be here before no time... craziness!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Rebuilding






 Monday, December 5, 2016
    So it was a bit of a wild week this week... From the start it was a bit sad because some of our best investigators dropped us out of nowhere like Kai and Sylvia, so that was disheartening. It has been difficult as well with so many tourists and students preparing for exams to find all the prepared people, but our spirits have remained high and we are faithfully striving to baptise to help the mission reach 360 baptisms. We are now at 329 baptisms... so close! 

     Here are some highlights from the week.
     So on Monday we went to the Christmas market here in Edinburgh and had a look around... It was amazing to see the whole city centre decked out for Christmas, I loved it!

Edinburgh Christmas market
















               We rode on the Ferris Wheel












Tuesday we were up in Alloa for a district meeting and drove back with the Falkirk Elders
for an exchange in Edinburgh... I was with Elder Davainis, the only Elder in the world serving a mission from Lithuania. He is a champ! I love being around him! We experienced a lot of miracles! We worked hard the rest of the week and as it turns out, our best investigators now are the ones we found when I was with Elder Davainis. We found this guy named Joseph, who lives pretty close to the church, who is really keen to be baptised and loved coming to church yesterday! On Sunday, Keith was also ordained to the Priesthood!! So exciting. There was also a December mission home fireside yesterday. I got to see some of my favorite pals from Glasgow, John and Lisa, so I loved seeing them. 

      So our moves call is this next week... I really hope I am staying here in Edinburgh, but I don't know what will happen. Some have said it is likely that I will go to Belfast, so we will see what happens. It would be tough to leave right before Christmas. So I guess we'll see next week! 
             


Falkirk Kelpies-
 I saw these famous metal horse heads on the way to Alloa

Winter in Scotland

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving


Monday, November 28, 2016
     It was a quite a fun and eventful week- I absolutely love being here in Edinburgh... so many perks!! 

     So we had a great opportunity to do a lot of work this week, especially because we had a few exchanges in our area with some Elders from just outside of Edinburgh. And then we also had some great meetings/events. On Thursday we had a our zone conference with all the missionaries in Edinburgh which was quite good! Our zone is doing so well at the moment... we have 3 more baptisms scheduled for this coming week. We will be ending November with the most baptisms Edinburgh zone has had all year, so it's pretty exciting stuff! We have to be ready for December though, as the mission is coming so close to reaching our 2016 goal of 360 baptisms... we are currently 320, so we have one month left! 
The Edinburgh Zone (minus the Sister Training leaders and AP's)


     Because of our conference, we celebrated Thanksgiving a day late with a big Thanksgiving dinner at the mission home with all the missionaries in Edinburgh! It was sooo good! It was like I was back home with so much amazing food!! we ate way too much haha... but it was great. We even got to take home some leftovers. The Donaldson's invited a couple of recent converts in Edinburgh ward as well, so that was quite fun!
A Thanksgiving I'll never forget! 






     We still have a few really great people we are working with also! Our Elderly friend Sylvia is progressing well and still so funny!! She came to church this week, and managed sit right next to President and Sister Donaldson (can you ask for even better fellowshippers?) and it was an amazing sacrament meeting as well! Sylvia tells everyone she is getting baptised soon, so that is pretty cool! We just need to teach her the commandments this week though... hopefully there are no hangups! Our Chinese friend Kai is doing quite well still also, and there's a few new we are also quite excited about! We are looking for a big December so we need to be preparing now!
 
A castle at the Edinburgh Christmas mart



     So in Edinburgh, things have been getting quite cold, but also quite festive! There are so many lights up and decorations, it's amazing!! We are going to the Christmas markets today so we are so excited- should be some good pictures next week! 

It's starting to get a bit frosty in Edinburgh




Monday, November 21, 2016

MLC

Previous companion, Elder Cook, returns home in 3 weeks.
Monday, November 21, 2016
 So to be honest, it wasn't that exciting of a week. But, we were able to get a lot of great things in our area going again and found a lot of great people to work with, so I am just happy to have some amazing people to help prepare for baptism in December!

We have this really great woman named Sylvia who is actually quite Elderly, but she just loves meeting with us and gets really excited when we talk about the Holy Spirit and Joseph Smith. We aren't able to meet her too frequently, but she is just hilarious and it is fun to speak with her. It might be difficult for her to turn away from the Church of Scotland that she attends (like most older people here), but we'll see!
We found this amazing Chinese girl that we taught after church yesterday named Kai. She is so enthusiastic and just so willing to learn about God. She is so prepared...she even started studying the Bible a little bit while she was in China, which is phenomenal for someone from China. She recognised the Spirit so quickly and is excited to start working towards baptism in December!  

One really cool highlight as well, was teaching this Italian girl who was kind of agnostic or atheist and just very adamant about religion being very negative. But after speaking for like 45 minutes about the true nature of God being a loving Heavenly Father, her heart softened tremendously and she remembered times when she prayed and how she felt peace. We are so excited to see her again. I can so why there are so many atheists though... many just have a wrong understanding of who God is and think of him as some authoritative stranger. 


In other news... we had our mission leadership council in Edinburgh. It was cool for me because I got to see all my companions still on their mission. So we were all together! 
Companions still in the mission:
Elder Tullis, Elder Cluster (MTC comp), Elder Peacock, me, Elder Carmichael,
 Elder Cook, Elder Stevens
We have a huge push as a mission to achieve 360 baptisms as a mission as we are currently at 316! So close, so we need to finish strong. There are several teams in Edinburgh zone struggling at the moment, so we have a lot of work to get things moving for December. But I am excited for the great opportunities ahead!