Monday, May 30, 2016

Staying in Glasgow

Mission Leadership council meeting in Edinburgh

Monday, May 30, 2016
Exciting times!! I'm staying in Glasgow! And Elder V is staying here with me as well! So it looks like I will be hitting my year mark in my second area, so that's pretty crazy. The moves around the mission aren't too crazy, but there is still a lot to plan for so I don't have a whole lot of time to email today. Sadly, Elder Carmichael is leaving Glasgow after only being here in my ward for 1 transfer, but he got called to be Zone leader up in Dundee with my last companion Elder Cook, so I am excited for him! 

We had a pretty great week again! We have so many great people we are teaching at the moment. Nicole who I mentioned last week is doing so well and has such a sincere desire to find truth! She even came to church this week, and did a lot of comparison with Catholic Mass. We have a few other people doing really well also, like Jim C. So things are looking up for us in our area. Our zone is also doing incredibly right now also!! There were 2 baptisms this last week, in the Airdrie and Cumbernauld wards on the outskirts of Glasgow. We have some great missionaries who are working really hard right now, so we are expecting June to be a big month. 

John passed the sacrament for the first time this Sunday, so that was really cool! He was really happy to be back after his holiday in Gran Canaria. We are also getting back our car this week, so we won't have to share anymore, so things are going back to normal and we're able to just work hard and make great things happen! 

Celebrating at Five guys the night before transfer calls

Monday, May 23, 2016

Great Things are Happening

Monday, May 23, 2016
What a fantastic week it has been! So many miracles are happening around our zone and things are really picking up in our area also! 

On Tuesday this week, we went to Dumbarton (a bit northwest of Glasgow), for District meeting and then stayed there for the day to work with the Elders there. It was great! I was with Elder Jamieson, who is going home next week so it was great to be around him before he leaves. We spent most of the day in Helensburgh which is a nice little town right along the west coast, so it was beautiful and we did some great work there! 

We found this man in this town centre who was really kind and invited us right then and there in to his home. We taught him, it was a pretty great lesson and he accepted a baptismal date, so it was quite a good day despite some rain.

Wednesday, I was with Elder Carmichael on exchanges- so it was just like old times! We taught so well together with the few lessons that we had because we are already accustomed to each other of course! I loved it! He has grown so much since I served with him in Galway.

The rest of the week was pretty solid! We have been teaching so many cool, new people lately!! Jim is still doing great. We have this great new girl named Nicole from Slovakia, who is really Catholic but is really interested and pays very good attention to what we teach. There is a really great guy named Craig also, who we met on walking back to the church one day- he had a bit of free time, so we gave him a church tour right then, and he agreed for a return appointment later, where we had a fantastic lesson! There is also this student named Jay who came to church for the second time this Sunday. He loves coming to church and meeting with us, but he says he isn't a believer... So we are really trying to help him build some faith. But I just love the consistency we have had lately- more people we are meeting with more often. Also, Queency came to church this week now that she is back in Glasgow after being on holiday for a while. She seemed to really like it and we are teaching her today, so hopefully she can continue to progress well.

We are looking forward to 2 baptisms in our zone this week, out in Cumbernauld and Airdrie (outskirt towns of Airdrie), and our zone this past week did incredible with teaching, and helping many people accept baptismal dates, so we are thrilled for the success that lies ahead! Our mission as a whole is also doing really well also- there is a goal for 20 baptisms this week, which would be a huge achievement!  

This upcoming week we have Mission Leadership Council in Edinburgh on Tuesday which will be a good experience, and we also have moves call this upcoming Sunday... Soooo we'll see! Probably about a 50/50 shot of me staying or going. There are 2 zone leaders going home for sure, so they will have to mix things up a bit. I really would love to stay in Glasgow after having so many great things happen recently, so we'll see what happens.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Surprise Baptism!

May 16, 2016
So this was quite an interesting week... It feels like Satan is working sooo hard against us at the moment, but we are doing all that we can to prevail. So the huge news is about Rhianna! I have written about her a lot before, and unfortunately she moved just out of our area. But the Elders in the Pollock ward (southside of Glasgow) did great work with her and out of the blue on Monday I get a call from Rhianna telling us that she is getting baptised on Sunday and inviting us to her baptism! Not only that... But she also asked me to baptise her!! I was incredibly honored, and so happy that I got to a part of her baptism. Especially after working with her so much to help her progress. So I got permission from President and went to her baptism in the Pollock ward when our church was ending on Sunday. It was an amazing service and I was privileged to be able to baptise her. 
Elder V, Elder Oxspring, Rhianna, Elder Oldham, Elder Tulip

 So the baptismal service was definitely the highlight of the week because we had sooo many things go wrong this week that hindered our work... it was ridiculous. So a couple weeks ago while I was driving, I was maneuvering around this delivery truck that was stopped in part of my lane, and I just cut it too close and clipped my rearview mirror and damaged a part of the side of the car. It wasn't a huge deal because it didn't affect the ability to drive the car, but this week we just had to take it in to get repaired, and it sounds like it might take a little while. So for a little while we are sharing a car with the Elders in Motherwell just south of Glasgow, so it just makes things a bit trickier, and we have to take a lot of buses when we do not have the car. Sorting out all the logistics to take care of the car took a while, so it was just a bit annoying. Then on Saturday, while we taking a bus, we are pretty sure that Elder V's phone was left on the bus. So now we also only have one phone to use, which makes it a bit difficult to take care of all our responsibilities and organize our plans... and we still haven't found it after talking a lot with the bus service. In addition, we had a lot of appointments fall through and just a lot of unfortunate events. 

It was a pretty eventful week though. It was a beautiful sunny all-week long which helped a lot as well. On Tuesday after district meeting we stayed with the Elders in Airdrie (east of Glasgow) and worked with them for the day. 
District meeting in Airdrie:
Elder McPherson, Elder V (sitting down), Elder Baker, Elder Stanley, me, and Elder Carlisle

I was with Elder Carlisle for that day, and then on Wednesday we took them back to Glasgow to work with them in our area. I was with Elder Stanley, who is my mission brother because he was also trained by Elder Daysen Christensen. We had another exchange on Friday as well, where I was with Elder Shiels in Glasgow, who is just brand new to the mission a few weeks ago. So we had a pretty fun week with lots of exchanges and sunshine, but just a lot of extra things made it tough. Many of our good investigators are out of town as well, so that made it tough. But there is this incredible man that we just started teaching that we had such a good lesson with! His name is Jim and he had a pretty strong Catholic background and whose wife just passed away a couple years ago. We took our recent convert John because he also comes from a Catholic background and is of a similar age in late 50s. Such a powerful Spirit-filled lesson!! We taught him the Restoration and he understood and loved all of it. He said it completely made sense that God would call a prophet again, just like he did before and he said he couldn't believe that Joseph Smith would ever make up a story about the First Vision and stick to it. John helped a lot as well by testifying and telling Jim about his conversion story. John loooves Joseph Smith and his testimony was powerful. Since we saw Jim he has been reading the Book of Mormon as well and has really been enjoying it, so we are excited to go by and teach him tonight. 

Even though we had a lot of tough events hinder us, we are also seeing a lot of blessings and are teaching sooo many solid people. I really hope I get to stay in Glasgow through June, because then I will get to see so much of my efforts pay off. We are looking forward to another great week. I am grateful the Lord is humbling us, because he is making us stronger. Great things are ahead!

                 Me and Elder Villaneuva with our new kilts.

Jeremiah- My contact I taught once who is out of my area.
Jeremiah attended Rhianna's baptism. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

All-Scotland Conference in Edinburgh

Monday, May 9,2016
 To be honest, this week wasn't too exciting, but I don't mind that at all, I love being able to do missionary work. However, Wednesday this week we had our All-Scotland conference in Edinburgh, which was so much fun and so spiritually uplifting! 
All Scotland Conference
Reunited with Elder Bradshaw and Elder Cluster from the MTC
I got to see sooo many missionaries that I hadn't seen in ages, so I really loved being able to see so many people. And of course skyping home on Sunday was so great as well. We drove out to the Stake President's house to skype way north of Glasgow and it was a beautiful drive out there.

 We taught a decent amount and found lots of great people this week! I feel like we haven't got quite as many new investigators lately, but the ones we have gotten are much more solid! Here is one example:
So I met this girl and her family this week on the street- her name is Queency, and she is Nigerian. She seemed pretty interested and was willing to exchange details. I called her that night and she said we could meet at her home the next day. So we went over to her house the next day, and it was incredible! So the beginning of the lesson started out a bit rough because her 11-year old cousin was in the same room playing his xbox, so it was a bit a distracting, but as we began start teaching the Restoration a little bit, things started to change. I pulled out a gospel art book full of pictures that I use to help teach, and soon Queency's nephew dropped his controller and came over and began looking at the pictures we were showing and reading scriptures and participating. The environment all of a sudden changed and the Spirit was really strong! After we shared about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, Queency seemed really moved by the Spirit, and before we even invited her to be baptised, she said "Wow, can I join your church?" and then she agreed to be baptised at the end of this month! Her nephew also seemed really interested so he agreed to baptised as well (however it doesn’t mean a whole lot until we can speak to his parents about it). So it was a pretty incredible lesson! Queency however, was up near Dundee for the weekend and wasn't able to make it to church, but she is meeting with the missionaries there today and is excited to come to church in Glasgow. 

So there are lots of miracles happening here and I love the work! John also received the Priesthood on Sunday which was so good to see. He is doing so well and even went out with missionaries for a few teaching opportunities this week. Our zone is also doing really great as well!! We have many people scheduled for baptism at the end of the month, so we are excited! Many of the missionaries outside the city in the outskirts/suburb areas are actually doing really well at the moment, which is really good because the work there is generally a bit slower. 

So many great things are happening and I am so so grateful to be here in Glasgow. There's no place I would rather be!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Lots of travel, but lots of success!

Monday, May 2, 2016
     Well it was quite a crazy busy this week with all the travel we had to do! We were in Edinburgh 3 times this week, so it was pretty fun! Although, it was a bit unfortunate that we didn't get to do as much missionary work this week. This week we had exchanges with the Assistants on Tuesday in Edinburgh, which was great. I was with Elder Haller, who was been an AP for almost a year now, so he has lots of experience and we had a lot of fun together! On Thursday, we had our Mission Leadership Conference in Edinburgh with all the Zone leaders and Sister training Leaders in the mission, so I saw a lot of familiar faces I hadn't seen in a while. It was an incredibly uplifting, spiritual experience and we got a lot of great ideas to take back to our zone. We also had our monthly stake missionary coordination meeting after MLC with the stake presidency, counselor to the Mission President, and other stake leaders, so that was great as well!  We conveyed much of the information from MLC to our district leaders at Zone Leadership Council on Friday in Glasgow. We all seemed pretty unified in our purpose and vision and have some great plans to improve the zone. 

     After ZLC, I went on exchanges with an Elder by the name of Elder Davainis. He just got into the mission in March, and he is such a stud! He is from Lithuania, and is a convert of about 3 years. He has an incredible conversion story. He turns 26 this month, none of his family are members, and he gave up a great full-time job because he wanted to serve a mission. He has an incredible testimony and just testifies so simply to people because he knows the Book of Mormon is true. He is always like "It is just so simple: just read and pray about it and you will get an answer" to everyone. He has a really bright future as a missionary! 

     Sunday was a pretty eventful day! We walk into sacrament meeting, and the whole stake presidency is there sitting on the stand. There was a big surprise! Our Bishop just got changed. His first counselor, Brother Campbell is now the Bishop, which we are really excited about!! He is such a loving and social guy, and we have a great relationship with him. His 2 counselors we have a really good relationship with also! So we are really excited because we think the changes will really help the missionary work in the ward. Because of all the changes, John wasn't able to be ordained to the Priesthood this Sunday, but he will be before church next Sunday so he can pass the sacrament. In the evening on Sunday, we went to Edinburgh again with John for a recent convert/ investigator fireside at the mission home. It was such a great experience and John loved it! He even was asked to share his conversion story and testimony which he did great with!! He is so incredible!

     Our zone is on fire right now!! A Chinese girl got baptised this week in Glasgow, and we attended her baptism. Right now, we have the most scheduled with a baptismal date out of the whole mission! We are all working together really well to make great things happen. Elder V and I also had a pretty good week despite all the travel and meetings. Unfortunately, Rhianna is currently moved out of our area but she might move back again sometime soon. But we found so many great people this week. We met with this Scottish girl named Natalie this week, and she is really good and has a desire to make changes to be baptised. We also taught his Nigerian student named Mark, who is also really keen on being baptised and has a baptismal date for the end of the month. So there are lots of good things happening! We will be going to Edinburgh this week again for an All-Scotland Conference, so that should be fun! And then we get to just focus the rest of the time on missionary work, so I am really excited!