Monday, February 27, 2017

Miracles All Around!

Invergordon Chapel

Monday, February 27, 2017
So it's been a great week full of amazing missionary work without too many distractions... my favorite kind of week! On Tuesday we did have a little bit of travel driving to Invergordon for district meeting. Invergordon is in the highlands, North of Inverness. It was quite a beautiful drive heading up there, and it was such a cool chapel! Invergordon is  tiny little town, and the church was right in the middle of the high street, so it was quite a good location. We had a good meeting as well led by the district leader there to inspire the Elders up there in the highlands. 

Invergordon chapel was converted from 
an old bank-still has the original vault

I guess the best way to summarise my week is to discuss some of the great people we are working with and some of the great miracles we saw.

Our Brazilian friend Lahna we get to meet with almost every day. She doesn't speak very much English, so our lessons rely a lot on google translate and Portuguese pamphlets, but she is learning a lot and is skeptical about the Restoration, but is really open to learning. Her 6 year old cousin she takes care of is always with her as well, so she makes it fun.

There is a man named Ivar who we have been teaching for quite a while, he has hold backs because he goes to another church and his wife is not interested in learning about our church. But he finally committed to come to church this week, and he DID! And he seemed to really enjoy it. He has had some great spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon already, but feels that he needs more answers before being baptised. He is on the right path though.

This Nigerian family consisting of the mother, Patience and her son Sam, have been taught by the Elders for ages. I have only met her a couple times, but we finally got into her home to teach her again this week! They both really want to be baptised, but there are some barriers to overcome first, but we are excited we have a goal with them to work towards.

Aberdeen "The Granite City" or city of grey

Saturday night we were finding in the city centre, which can be a bit dodgy at times because there are a lot of drunk people and party people out (which makes for interesting stories sometimes), but we know there can always still be prepared people, and the faith paid off! We met a woman named Simone who was taught by missionaries 6 years ago. She had been thinking about the church again recently and then we met her! We invited her to church the next morning and she came and loved it as well! We met with her after church and she expressed some of the changes she wants to make in her life, and agreed to be baptised next month! There are some barriers with her to overcome also, but she is really prepared!

On Sunday after church, we had this amazing spiritual lesson with someone named Luke. We met at a coffee shop, but despite the noisy environment, we taught about the Holy Ghost and then the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it began making so much sense to Luke, so much so that Luke began tearing up and recognised the Holy Ghost and agreed to baptised as well. It was amazing!! Such a spiritual moment.

Later that day after a dinner appointment in a tiny town of out Aberdeen, I remembered a man named Mike I met on the street who gave me his address which was in that town. We knocked on Mike's door, and he welcomed us. We began getting to know him and he seemed a bit down as he expressed his lack of purpose in life and that he wanted to make changes. He loves reading books and has a huge collection. We asked if we could take his Bible off his shelf to read some scriptures and he said that was okay, and what do you know in his Bible he had a little pass along Easter card from missionaries years and years ago (it must have been old because there was no church website on it), and he explained how he had several interactions with missionaries in the past. He agreed to continue to meet with us and build his faith up again, begin making changes, and prepare for baptism in the future.
Marischal College in Aberdeen
Rumor has it that this edifice was part of the
inspiration for the Salt Lake Temple 

Marischal College is headquarters for the
Aberdeen City council 

So many miracles!!!! President Donaldson has had to travel the mission this transfer to do interviews with all the missionaries around, since we no longer have zone interview trainings. I had a great interview with President on Friday. He and Sister Donaldson stayed the weekend in Aberdeen after interviews, and on Sunday morning we were invited to breakfast with them at their hotel to discuss our zone. It was such a posh breakfast... such a nice opportunity. And then we had a fantastic time at church following breakfast. So it was testimony meeting for us because next week there is a regional broadcast for Northern Europe, and our recent convert Lewis went up and bore his testimony... he was really energetic! Lewis has been a great member missionary as well... he LOVES coming teaching with us and referring his friends, so it has been amazing!

We are excited for another week of miracles ahead!

                   Inside of our flat
                   in Aberdeen - the nicest
                   flat I've had in the mission.

    Views on the      drive back
     from the Highlands

Monday, February 20, 2017

Visiting the Orkney Islands!

Monday, February 20, 2017
     What a unique and exciting week! I better start with the highlight... Visiting Orkney!! What a beautiful part of the world, I loved every bit of it.

     So Elder Parsons and I left from Aberdeen airport Thursday evening and arrived into Kirkwall airport with a little bit of time to do some missionary work that evening. It was a tiny plane we flew on with less than 40 seats, and it was under an hour of flight time.

Unfortunately it was dark flying up there so it wasn’t too exciting of a flight because we were pretty cramped in the small plane.

 Friday we spent all day in Orkney and it was BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely sunny and almost warm the entire day... pretty unexpected. The Islands are such a great place to be... much different than anywhere else I have been on my mission. First of all, the work was soooo great! I spent most of the day in the biggest town on the main island, Kirkwall. It isn't that big but there were plenty of people out and everyone was so nice, it was so easy to strike up conversations! I was with the district leader up there, Elder Smith, and he has a lot of energy and because the community is quite small he knew quite a few people around in the town centre.
Kirkwall, capital of the Orkneys 

We saw so many miracles though. We probably set up about 7 return appointments with people who were interested and found one man named David who we taught right on the spot and he accepted a date for baptism! It was just a spectacular day. In the evening we even had a chance to have dinner with one of the only families in the branch there- they were so kind. It must be pretty tough there as the branch has usually less than 10 people who come to church until more recently. We got lots of beautiful photos while there as well. The only negative thing was the cell phone reception was absolutely horrible... it was hard to text or call anyone. But overall I really enjoyed it. It was actually quite refreshing being in a small place pretty isolated from most people. I think I would actually love serving in a place like that to finish my mission as I have always been in busy cities surrounded with lots of missionaries, which I love, but a change also sounds kind of nice.

Want to learn more about the Orkney Islands?

Mainland Scotland

The rest of our week was pretty average I would say. We have found quite a few really good people we are excited about, especially this Brazilian girl we started teaching yesterday. But it is difficult to tell how well they will progress as of now. 

This week we should have lots of time in our area and so many great opportunities to teach and find, so I am excited for some unhindered work!! 

The Beautiful Orkney Islands

St Magnus Cathedral  (Kirkwall)                                                             

Circle of Stones:  Stones of Stenness

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lewis' Baptism!

Monday, February 13, 2017
Me, Lewis and Elder Parsons
     What a great week of work it was!! It has been sooo cold and rainy and snowy and windy this week, but we have done a pretty decent job of working through with it. We often have strong motivation to try and teach people on the spot, if they have some time, by going into a cafe nearby or a library so we can escape the cold haha... and it often works pretty well! There are a few people we have been able to teach that way and they have become new investigators. So we have been able to find and teach quite a few new people recently, but after just meeting once or so we don't know howsolid they are. The highlight of course was Lewis getting baptised!!! He was so happy at his baptism and confirmation. His mother and girlfriend, Kiera, who we have already been teaching a little bit came to the baptismal service. I had the opportunity of baptising Lewis on Saturday and Elder Parsons confirmed him on Sunday. What was also really cool is how quick the Bishop wants him to progress as a recent convert, so he was also interviewed so he could be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday. So in the space of 2 days Lewis was baptised, confirmed, and ordained to the Priesthood.... he's on a spiritual high at the moment.

     On Wednesday this past week, we went to Edinburgh on Wednesday to go on exchanges with the Assistants. It was a really cool experience for me because I was working with Elder Tullis, which was great because we have already served as companions in Edinburgh together. We were able to to see a few of the recent converts who we taught and baptised while we were there, so that was way fun. I love Edinburgh so much, such a great city. But whilst there on Wednesday, I was kinda happy I moved on because there are so many missionaries there at the moment, so it seems like most of the students and people around have spoken to so many missionaries recently.
Exchanges in Edinburgh with Elder Tullis and our convert Laura
Aberdeen is a much fresher environment for me so things are going great! We had one man who we have been teaching recently named Dougie who came to church this week, and Dougie is such a funny guy, we love teaching him. He struggles with his confidence sometimes and can be negative so we are just trying to help him become positive and see the good in things first. There's a few others we are teaching as well that have baptismal dates, but again it is difficult to tell how solid they are at the moment.
     There is a lot to look forward to this week also! We will be taking a flight to the Orkney Islands this coming Thursday evening to exchange with the Elders there and we will then be back on Saturday morning. We have heard it is beautiful up there, but I am sure it will be quite frigid weather also- it will definitely be a unique experience.

A member in Aberdeen took these photos of
me proselyting and sent them to my mom.  
     The Aberdeen zone is doing quite decent as well! There's a variety of success being spread throughout the zone instead of just the cities, so we are pumped about that. Good things are coming soon.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Moves Week, All-Scotland MLC

Monday, February 06, 2017
    Well it has probably been one of the busiest weeks of my mission! We hardly had any time for missionary work, but we are back to a pretty normal schedule now, so I am real excited. We have had loads of travel and just so much time spent doing logistical things and waking up early to get tasks done, it was just wild. We spent almost all of Monday just moving missionaries around leaving and coming into the zone. We were able to plan things out to save us a little bit of time though by sending most of the missionaries going to the highlands straight through Inverness rather than going through here in Aberdeen, so that was nice, although some trains got into Inverness really late so we felt bad for some of the Elders there who were up late, but it all worked out in the end. Tuesday and Wednesday we were able to do a lot of missionary work, and it was fun because we exchanged with the Elders going to the Shetland islands because their ferry wasn't until Friday. But amongst all that time, we also had to arrange the travel for all the missionaries to get down for the All-Scotland conference in Edinburgh on Thursday, which is difficult for us because we are so far from Edinburgh. But it all worked out fine between sending some missionaries on Wednesday night and some coming down early Thursday morning.

     So we had a fantastic conference on Thursday with General Authority Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy with us. He spoke to us a lot about repentance and striving to keep our own covenants and commitments if we expect those that we teach to do the same thing. We are all at a different point in our progression on our path back to Heavenly Father, but according to the light and knowledge that we have we must be true to that. As we progress further and make more covenants we have stronger commitments, but also so many blessings to receive. It was a great meeting and there were so many great missionaries that I got to see there. Elder Johnson also had the opportunity to stay for our Mission Leadership Council on Friday, which was such an incredible meeting. We spoke a lot about the new key indicators and how we can still be accountable even though we report such few numbers. Elder Johnson and President Donaldson explained very well that the Lord reveals certain commandments or principles for a given season because it is necessary for a time, but in order for us to progress and grow the most at a given time, there is new revelation to help us. It was also fun to spend Thursday evening staying in Edinburgh being back where I had served and staying in my old flat with Elder Peacock and just reminiscing. Oh and there is some really exciting news!! There was just a temple trip with the Edinburgh YSA on Saturday, so a lot of the recent converts in Edinburgh that I know were able to go to the temple for the first time like Keith and Laura, so that was so fun to hear that!!

      So things have changed a lot for the Aberdeen zone. Some new areas are opened that were shut down previously and there is a huge change in missionaries in our zone. Like I said last week, we got new sisters in our ward this last week who replaced the Elders in our ward, and they are fantastic! The ward is so excited to have sisters, and I think it will be a really good change. Sister Brodien is from Tahiti and Sister Metcalf is from Utah and they have already been working so hard and are accomplishing a lot, so it is definitely a positive change.

Sisters Brodien (in Aberdeen ward now), Weber, Palmer, Me and Elder Parsons,
 Sisters Metcalf (in Aberdeen now), McComber

      So our area is a bit weak after most of the week out of our area and so much travel, but Lewis is still doing okay. He is set to be baptised this coming Saturday, but there is a lot to organise and he has been quite sick recently so we are praying that it goes through!! I am really excited for this coming transfer in Aberdeen. There is a whole lot to accomplish.

Staying in Aberdeen

The Haggis!!

Monday, January 30, 2017
    Well it's been a busy weekend and Monday so far for us! We got our moves call on Saturday night... and I will be staying here in Aberdeen with Elder Parsons!! I am really excited to be staying to be honest, there are a lot of great things going on at the moment. However, besides Elder Parsons and I, there is only one other companionship staying the same in the zone. It is a HUGE moves so we have been quite busy already trying to take care of everyone moving around. We had our moves planning all day yesterday with moves day today. We were up at 4am this morning to send missionaries from here in Aberdeen zone to Ireland and we have a pretty constant flow of missionaries moving in and out! There are some good things happening though that will help the zone. The other Elders that were in Aberdeen ward with me have been moved out and are getting replaced with sisters so we are way stoked for that!

    Most of the rest of the week wasn't too busy before this weekend. I am sure you have heard about the world-wide missionary broadcast on Wednesday (Thursday for us) which changed the missionary schedule and the key indicators that we report. I am looking forward to it- seems like a real positive thing and helps us stay focused on our missionary purpose to invite others to come unto Christ instead of just teaching lessons to have something to report. It should help some missionaries have a different, positive mind set as well.

    Another cool event this past week was Robbie Burns night (Scottish celebration for the famous poet) which is just an excuse to celebrate, but it was quite fun. We went to Laura and James house for a traditional burns night supper with Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties.

Click to learn more about Robert Burns

      Celebrating Robbin Burns night
      with Laura and James
. Traditional Scottish meal:
Haggis, Neeps and Tatties 

And the ward also had a celebration on Friday night as well which had some traditional Scottish music and dancing and other things. We were able to have a few investigators there as well.

Robbie Burns night in the cultural hall. 

Kiera and Lewis both came and had a great time, they also both came to church this week! So they are doing really well! Lewis was scheduled to be baptised this coming Saturday, but just because of a few strange things going on this week and some things happening with the ward, it may not happen till the following week. He is all ready to go and has been interviewed for baptism and everything! We found a few really good new people this week as well, but after just one or two meetings it is difficult to tell how committed people are so hopefully we will have news next week.

    Well it will be such an incredibly crazy week this week as we have moves day and then on Thursday is All-Scotland Conference with a visiting General Authority Elder Paul V. Johnson. Then we have Mission Leadership Council on Friday with Elder Johnson staying for that as well. So a good portion of the week will be spent in Edinburgh for me. But hopefully we will have plenty of time to find and teach and progress some of our friends.