Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring is here

Monday, March 27, 2017
So it was quite a normal week for us I suppose. We were able to work basically all week with no interruptions along with a few exchanges in our area as well.

On Tuesday, I was with Elder Kapolnasi who is from Hungary. He is still new out and learning English, so it was great being with him for the day and helping him experiment with approaching people and keeping conversations going. It must be sooo difficult coming on a mission learning English, especially in Scotland where it can hardly sound like English sometimes. I was also on exchanges with Elder Hinckley on Friday, who was in the MTC with me. So we both have about 2 months left so it was really great reflecting on what we have learned and what we have done in the past 2 years. 

We made some new discoveries in our area this week. There is a university that we can find at!!! So I knew there were 2 uni's in Aberdeen, but I thought that most of the students all lived in the other ward in Aberdeen, but we came to discover this week that Robert Gordon University is far into our area so most of the students live there as well, and it is a fantastic place to find people who are open-minded and willing to speak. Students are the best!! So we already have several great people to teach who we are excited about, especially Becka who is a Polish student and was willing to meet with us on the stop and really interested to keep learning. A lot of our other investigators have been doing really well, like Ivar who has a baptismal interview set up for a week and a half's time. We also came across this former investigator named Bob who has been on and off for a few years but has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot in the past few months and listening to a lot of talks from church leaders, especially Truman G. Madsen who he loves. He is very knowledgeable! He seems quite keen for baptism, but he, like a lot of others, has had a tough time getting to church. For some reason we can find so many great new people and schedule quite a lot of people for baptism, but it has been difficult to get people to come to church recently, which halts progression a lot! 

We are excited for General Conference this coming week though. My last conference of my mission!! Oh and my birthday tomorrow will be quite fun. We are going out to a nice lunch today to celebrate and are planning to play some sports on the beach with all the missionaries.
An incredible sister in the ward, Sister Milne,
had an amazing dinner and celebration for my
birthday on Friday!   
 It has been incredibly sunny hallelujah!! It feels like Spring finally. So we were outside a lot on Saturday and we were starting to get really warm, so we looked at the temperature and it said 15 degress Celsius... which is like 59 F. ... I will be in real trouble when I come home for summer in 2 months time!

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Transfer

My new companion, Elder Butler

Monday, March 20, 2017
Well, I guess this is the beginning of the end! I feel pretty confident that I am in my last area with my last companion. We will have one more moves call on April 15th because this is a 5 week transfer, but I think it is almost guaranteed that I will stay here til the end. I am excited though! A miracle is about to take place here. Elder Butler is young and full of energy and really excited to learn and work hard, so he is a great companion for me to finish with. Things are going so well for our area and zone, we are just anticipating so many great things.

Aberdeen City missionaries

Not too many exciting events this past week, just a lot of great opportunities to find and teach people. I am in a really natural mode right now of working hard and helping Elder Butler learn a lot of skills and qualities, so it is fun for me. 

We have several friends that are doing quite well. Our friend Ivar who has been investigating for months is finally making some crucial steps. He has been reading the Book of Mormon quite a lot and has received quite a lot of answers. He finally feels comfortable with all the baptismal interview questions, so we scheduled a baptismal interview for him and now it is just about integrating him into the ward so he feels comfortable there. We have a lot of faith that he will be baptised in April, so we are really excited. Simone is also doing well, but has gone home to Sheffield this week for a few days. She seems to be under a lot of pressure from some close family/friends who have had negative comments to say about the church, so it is a bit worrying as she has progressed so much and we have seen so much happiness in her as she has learned more. We have a few other people that are doing quite well also, but it has been a real struggle recently to get people to come to church, so that will be a big focus for us now.

We had this really cool ward variety/talent show on Saturday which was really fun. Our recent convert Lewis performed and it was incredible. I knew he studied music at his college and sometimes performed some gigs, but I had no idea how great of a singer he was. He was probably the best act at the show because he sang so powerfully, it was amazing! So that was a really cool experience.

Well we are excited for a fun week ahead.
Shore by Dunnotar Castle 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Staying in Aberdeen!

Monday, March 13, 2017
Well here it is!! I will be staying here in Aberdeen as the zone leader... But I have a new companion, named Elder Butler from Sandy, Utah. He is a brand new zone leader is really young, only been out 5 transfers. He is really great though!! I was his zone leader when he came into the mission whilst I was in Edinburgh and I was really impressed with him. He reminds me a lot of myself when I was a young missionary. This was probably my last opportunity to train a brand new missionary and be released as a zone leader, so I was a little bit sad at first, but I am reaaalllly excited to be staying here in Aberdeen because of all the great people we are working with. The best transfers of my mission have also been while I have been training new zone leaders as well, so I am looking forward to the last months of my mission. I think it will be most likely that I will stay with Elder Butler in Aberdeen until the end of my mission.

So it was a fantastic week for us and our area is doing really well! Simone is amazing and after teaching her the Law of Chastity, she has asked her fiancee if they can get married soon so she can be baptised. She is honestly incredible and so committed. She wants to make arrangements for her marriage and then baptised right after! So we are thrilled with Simone, and most of our other investigators are still doing quite good. Our friend Ivar who we have been teaching for a couple months, finally committed to a baptismal date in April which is a huge step for him. He asked specifically about the importance of baptism this week and felt the Spirit strong at different points, and agreed to be baptised. However he is used to his other church, and his wife in not interested in our church, so it is really difficult for him. There are some great members who have reached out to him though. 

This past Monday we climbed this really cool hill outside of Aberdeen call Bennachie. At the top we got stuck in a cloud and it started raining and hailing on us so we didn't get the best views from the very top, but it was still pretty fun! We climbed with a member from the other ward here in Aberdeen and all the other missionaries serving in Aberdeen city.

On Tuesday we drove to Inverness for district meeting, which was really great! And then the rest of the week we just put in some great work and got to teach so many of our friends and found a few new good people to teach. We got our moves call on Saturday night, and we went out to dinner with the other missionaries in Aberdeen city to celebrate.
Dinner at Nando's  

 The moves was quite small for our zone! Literally every companionship stayed the same except for Elder Parsons leaving me and one Elder in Fraserburgh leaving.

Saying goodbye to Elder Parsons at the train station.

On Sunday we had this really cool fireside in the evening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Aberdeen stake centre being built. It was really cool actually. 

Well I am excited for this upcoming transfer. A lot of good things ahead!

                   Climbing up Bennachie
                       in Aberdeen

Monday, March 6, 2017

Normal Week

Monday, March 06, 2017
So this was a pretty normal week for us I'd say.

So on Monday all the missionaries here in Aberdeen and couple of members we are good friends with went bowling at an alley here. It was quite fun! I haven't been bowling for 2 years, so I was pretty rusty to say the least.

Throughout the rest of the week, we just had some good days of finding and teaching. We had a couple of exchanges in the middle of the week. So on Wednesday, I was with a district leader Elder Carlisle, and I was able to go to his area which is still in Aberdeen city, but he is in the other ward. What I loved about it was that it includes Aberdeen university! My current area doesn't have the university, which is disappointing because students are always so open-minded and fun to speak to. So I got to spend several hours at the uni when I was with Elder Carlisle, and we got 20 return appointments and taught 2 people in just the few hours we were together! It reminded me of Edinburgh where I was always at Edinburgh Uni. So I really enjoyed it to say the least. We had another exchange on Thursday with the Elders from the highlands (Invergordan), where they came here to Aberdeen, so that was also a lot of fun, I went finding just about all day, but it was sunny the whole day so it was incredible!!

Sunday was a pretty unique church experience. There was a Northern Europe Multi-Stake Broadcast for all of the UK & Ireland, and all the Scandinavian countries. We heard from L. Whitney Clayton, Linda S. Reeves, Timothy J. Dyches, and Elder M. Russell Ballard. There were a lot of great talks about, finding joy, being resilient, and developing our personal testimonies. Elder Ballard's talk was especially very bold and powerful. He addressed specifically those who begin to lose their faith and testimony. We never know who around us could be struggling spiritually, so he talked about maintaining healthy spiritual practices, and warned against many people these days who pervert the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the Church. He spoke of the transparency of the Church these days and how there are so many resources to answer questions as well as many loved ones who can help us. 

A lot of our friends are progressing well. We are most excited about Simone, who has developed such a strong testimony already, and has such a great desire to be baptised. She knows many of the members already and fits in great! So there is one concern at the moment that will prevent her from being baptised, which is that she is currently living with her fiancee, so are discussing what her options are, as she will need to either get married or live in different accommodations. So we will see what happens. We are really excited for her though, she has so much faith!!

This week is moves call on Saturday. I have two transfers left. I think it is very possible that I could move and finish my mission in a different area, but I have no idea. We will see!!