Monday, December 8, 2014

"See you on Friday!"

My companion thinks I’m weird for wanting to actually email, he says I should just say "I'm alive, see you Friday."
But some decent things happened last week that I guess I’ll tell you about, because when we talk on Friday I don't think the most recent events and status of investigators will be the top of conversation!
No baptisms yesterday. 
On Saturday I had the awful responsibility of telling a nice young Chinese man that he couldn't get baptised the next day (yesterday, Sunday) because he drank coffee on Wednesday. 
Apparently the rule of abstaining 100% from the five prohibited things got lost in translation when he was taught. Kinda sad. But he's on for next week.
Shaz decided she wanted to get baptised on Sunday, and we were making the preparations and stuff. 
She and Nicky got married on Friday night and it was great! 
Saturday was supposed to be her interview...but a bunch of things happened that prevented her from making it to that. 
I was on temporary exchange with one of the zone leaders, cause he was gonna give the interview and his companion and mine went to an appointment they had to go to. 
When she texted that she couldn't make it, we knelt and prayed, and both felt it would be best to just call her and give her the options. 
I explained to her that to get baptised the next day (this was Saturday still) we'd have to squeeze in the interview AND one more lesson either before or after Church, and it may be a bit stressful. 
She was a bit unsure...then SHE said she would pray to ask what to do! 
By the end of the night, she still didn't know. 
I told her that my experience has told me that if I'm unsure after praying, then the answer is sometimes "wait." or "not now." 
I had the feeling that it would be better for her long-term to wait a week or two. 
In the morning she still was unsure, so she said she'd leave it for another week so it wouldn't be a stressful experience. I honestly think that's for the best. 
Sure, I didn't get to actually baptise her which was a bit of a bummer, but I will be so happy when she posts her baptism pictures on facebook after I get home! :)
The Mormon Missionary Christmas Choir Concert was on Friday. It was great. 
They did it last year too--basically the musically talented of the mission travel around all of Scotland and perform in the stake centers. Mostly singing, but a few instrumental things like piano and violin. There was a great Christmas spirit there.
We also went to Sam's church again, a born-again type, for a Christmas carol service. It was quite nice as well. 
Welllll that's all I can think of now. See you on Friday!
Elder Spencer Ashcraft Burt

Photo: The Richards family

Monday, December 1, 2014

" just to receive a do something that would naturally be illogical and uncomfortable."

dec 1
Hello family!
Well, with having only 1.5 week left till I go to Edinburgh and fly home, and after reading all your emails about what goes on at home, I can hardly think of what has happened in mission life this week. But I will try and recall.
Sad news is that the seven baptisms that were meant to happen next Sunday have been postponed for the most part.
One of them is for sure happening, the Chinese guy named Xu.
However, Nicky (our guy) hasn't been to church enough times to be baptised yet. Kayleigh is a bit unsure.
Shaz wants to for sure, but now she has to decide if she wants to get it done this week or wait and get baptised the same day as Nicky, her future husband (the marriage is still on though, and they are excited! That's good news.)
The rest of the Chinese missionaries' investigators have postponed for various reasons. So now there will only be one or two. Oh well, I am still confident that they will get dunked when the time is right.
The past week was filled with zone interviews and training almost all day on Friday, visiting our three people (Nicky Shaz Kayleigh) every other day or so, District Leader Council, weekly planning, exchange with Elder Housley, where we did some "City Centre finding" (street contacting) and some tracting.
Oh yeah, there was an interesting thing that happened!...
We were tracting near an "AUF" (basically a "lost sheep" that the church HQ found and told us to try and contact, and then knock doors on their street.)
Everyone seemed old and uninterested. One guy was really nice, and talked to us for a while, but was a content Catholic.
He told us that his wife died fairly recently. We left his doorstep after a while, and after we knocked the second door I sort of felt urged to go back...when he was talking about his wife dying I had a thought to tell him that he can be sealed to his wife for time and all eternity.
I was with Elder Housley, and I turned to him after the next door and said, "Hey, you know those Ensign-type stories where the missionaries go back and testify to someone after being turned down?" He was like, "Not really...but do you want to?" So I told him I felt the need to go back.
The guy answered, seemed happy to see us, and I said basically "Sorry for disturbing you again, but I felt the need to come back and tell you that you and your wife can be sealed for time and all eternity..."
His response was basically that he believes he can be with her forever through his church, so I left it at that.
He was happy and thankful that we came back though, he appreciated it.
I don't think I really expected to have a miraculous conversion after telling him this, but I just felt the need to do it.
So it was kind of cool just to receive a prompting, maybe from the Spirit, to do something that would naturally be illogical and uncomfortable.
We also had a Thanksgiving dinner at the church--Elder and Sister Browning organized it. It was great!
All the Glasgow missionaries were there, along with a few American members, mostly students, and even some non-American students who just wanted to come. It was nice.
There were two baptisms in our ward on Sunday--one Chinese girl and one 20 year old guy that the sister missionaries found and taught.
Pretty great experience in itself--but then I remembered that the day before was CeCe's baptism, and I am pretty sure Traci's baptism was exactly one year ago yesterday.
It was a good week. Glad I’m going home soon, but glad I’m still here.
Love you all, see you sooner than I can believe!
Elder Spencer Burt

Photo: This guy, Elder Gomez Castillo, has been following me around my whole mission, and every time I see him he makes me so happy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

"...I cannae wait to go to the temple again."

So good news, our friends are all on their way to baptism, December 7th. They have stopped smoking--they have only had two or three cigarettes each since last Monday.
Nicky and Shaz (that's what she goes by) are getting married on the 5th, just a quick official one and they will have a big celebration wedding later on when they have the money and get all prepared. Although the more they talk about it, they might have a little party anyway cause their family all seems really excited!
They are just so great, all three of them.
In addition to them, can you pray for all of the people that the missionaries in the ward and district are preparing for baptism:
November 30:
Lizzy (Chinatown 1)
Michael (Knightswood Sisters)
Nicky and Shaz/Sharon
Xu (pronounced "shu") aka "Will" (Chinatown 1)
Iris (Chinatown 1)
Amir and Sally (Chinatown 2)
Seven baptisms on the 7th! And our ward mission leader was baptised on 07/07/07 at he has a good feeling that they will all happen as planned!
Other than focusing on those three people, not much else has happened that seems significant.
I went on exchange in Chinatown, which is always fun. They do a lot of street contacting at the university which I enjoy.
We helped Nicky and Shaz get the papers filled out and turned in for their wedding.
They are getting married by the bishop at the church, but they needed to get a marriage license or something. But it's all done, we just have to wait till the 5th. And keep teaching them as well!
Nicky asked us if we had to wear special underwear, cause his mom told him that. So we showed him the new video on the Church website about Garments. It was perfect.
Led to us talking a bit about temples, and we showed them the pictures of the Preston and London temples. Cool.
BTW, I cannae wait to go to the temple again.
We visited a few members, helped some clean the church, played football, taught our group of Christians (Sam, Jennie, Ali) and tried to resolve some of Sam's concerns about the Book of why it is written in King James Language when that's not how they spoke in the 1800's...why some phrases are identical to the New Testament, even thought the New Testament hadn't been written yet...etc.
We just need to bring Jim, the ex-Catholic school teacher who has an awesome conversion story. But we just can't seem to align all three of our schedules yet! But we will.
As usual, the members, investigators, converts, missionaries, etc. are all pretty great here in the Glasgow Ward. I am enjoying my time with them. It feels good when they are sad that I am leaving.
Well I love you all...excited to see you...hopefully I don't miss being on a mission too much when I get home.
But it will be great to see you all and share stories and catch up on life and go places...and it will be great to just be alone sometimes! haha.
Elder Zander and I are getting along pretty well though, don't worry. Lots of laughs, but it can be exhausting.
Have a great week!
Elder Spencer Burt

Photos: Nicky, Shaz, and the nice cake they made us! :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

"I love the missionaries...the members...and even the often grumpy and uninterested Scots..."

Hey everybody!
So, this week has been flipping remember our investigators? Well they are set to be baptised on December 7th!
There are some hurdles to clear for them, such as word of wisdom and gaining a stronger testimony, but they really want to.
And in our lesson they invited their friend to join us, and she loved it. She committed to get baptised the same day!
And they all came to church on Sunday. It was the primary they just loved it of course!
And you know what's even crazier? The week before that (Nov. 30) there are two other baptisms from other missionaries in our from the Chinese elders, and one from the sisters. Then on Dec. 7th, there are FOUR other people! Three Chinese and one Iranian! Amazing.
We didn't plan it out that way, but it just so happened. If it all goes through, it will be great...SEVEN people being baptised on the same day!
Please, please, please pray for them, ESPECIALLY our people (Nicky and Sharon, and their friend Kayleigh)
I want to be confident and sure that they will get baptised on that day, but I worry a lot and I sometimes assume that something will go wrong.
But I so badly want it to all go right!!! It would be an amazing way to finish the mish.
In other news, I went on exchange with Elder Yip, the lovely wee elder from Hong Kong. He's so funny and nice and sincere.
Our Christian investigators are kinda dropping off...not really, but we feel we're a bit at the end of what we can do to help them.
We taught Sam and his wife and his friend about how the Book of Mormon and the Bible go hand in hand and support each other.
He was the end I testified: "I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I know that you can know it too."
His response, "Well, I don't want to sound contentious, but...I know it's not true, and I know that you can know it too."
Flip! Preach My Gospel tells us all the time to testify often...but it never told me that they would just testify right back! Oh well.
This week he said he'll share his concerns as to why he thinks it's not, cause we ran out of time last time. We'll bring a super solid convert who used to teach in a Catholic school when he joined the church 30 years ago, Jim Loftus. He's our only hope I feel.
Other than that, just good ol missionary work.
I love the missionaries in my district, the members in the ward, and even the often grumpy and uninterested Scots we see everyday.
Gonna be weird to leave it all. But I am eager to return. Glad I'm still here though.
Love you all!
Elder Spencer Burt

FOOTBALL (a few weeks old)

Monday, November 10, 2014

"We told him the address and time, and he came! He loved it and wants to come back every week."

Hello family and friends and associates,
Last week was kind of a bummer as far as missionary work for the most part. 
Appointments kept falling through, I had to take some time to look at USU classes, I had to meet with the zone leaders to discuss some challenges and issues in our district, and etc. Just a weird week. But a few cool things:
On Wednesday night, a new member (about six  months) named Pierre invited us all over for a surprise farewell party for one of the sister missionaries that is moving to a new area. 
She had been here since just after his baptism, and had helped him out a lot during his process so he threw her a little surprise party to thank her. It also happened to be Guy Fawkes Night (5th of November), and here there are lots of fireworks lit off to celebrate. 
His flat, in one of those high-rise towers that are so abundant here, overlooked a big firework display that the city put on. It was a fun night, with a few other members and a few other missionaries. 
Next--____ and ____! 
We have been teaching them about two weeks, and they want to be baptized! They accepted a date of December 7th--just before I go home. The only problem is that they need to get married and stop smoking by then. But perhaps they will! 
I am kinda on the fence but I may even tell them straight up that I want to be there when they are baptized, so they should TRY to get ready by then. If not, oh well. I think they'll still be baptised even if it's not in my time. 
They are great though, non-Christian background but they love everything we teach. Lots of deep questions, like where did God come from, and stuff like that. 
They are very solid. Almost came to church, but she always has to look after her ill grandma and she wasn't able to get someone to care for her while she went to church. 
But they really want to, and I think they'll be pleasantly surprised...when we told them that they'd meet the Bishop they were amazed! "You want us to meet the BISHOP? Oh I'm kind of nervous..." But then we explained that our bishops aren't typical bishops. 
They're gonna love the way our church services are, I just know it. 
I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday and for once felt good about it. I made some good jokes that worked well with the crowd, had some good stuff to talk about, and delivered it well. I was asked to talk on "Why I served a mission". It was fun, but it's weird that it's coming to an end soon.
Miracle story: 
We were tracting, and as we knocked this one door, the man who lived there walked up, asked who we were a bit suspiciously, but then when we told him he told us he was baptised in the Mormon church in Dundee about 15 years ago as a teenager. 
He let us in and we got to know him, gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon to start reading again, and he asked us where the church is in Glasgow. 
We told him the address and time, and he came! 
He loved it and wants to come back every week. 
Elder Zander was prompted to lead us to that area to tract. It was a cool experience and a miracle!
Another Chinese lady was baptized yesterday. It was a good experience. 
However, I would love to get a Scot baptised before I go--the ward here hasn't seen much success with native Glaswegians in the past few years. We'll see!
Until next week,
Elder Spencer Ashcraft Burt

Me wearing Pierre's Scotland onesie and Guy Fawkes mask.

5th of November fireworks.

The group of us at Pierre's. Great people.

My strange companion.

A high-flat being demolished.

Monday, November 3, 2014

"I like finding lost sheep...Almost as good as finding someone that gets baptized."

Hey everybody.
Email time is a bit short cause the library computers have been freezing up on me and stuff. So here's a quick rundown of last week!
Monday we played BUBBLE FOOTBALL. It was the funnest thing in the world. Seriously. I'll attach some photos or videos if I can.
Basically you play soccer while inside these bubble things, and everyone just forgets about the ball and hits each other. And you can get rocked super hard and feel no pain! It's so cool.
The guys that run it said they have a facebook page, so google it or something and  maybe you'll see how it works. Awesome.
We started teaching a guy named Ben. He's the brother of Jennie, who is the wife of Sam, who is the friend of Ali, whom we originally started teaching a couple months ago. Cool how young people bring their friends along and you end up meeting lots.
We taught him in a member named Darren's house. They're both from N. Ireland, I think that's why Darren was excited and offered up his home for us to teach him.
It went ok, he's a bit skeptical on the Book of Mormon because he was raised with the Bible. But anyone can change!
Sam and Jennie actually came to church yesterday, and it was really good! Lots of good testimonies, a confirmation done in Chinese, and yeah I felt the spirit quite strong, which I don't always at sacrament meeting. So I hope they felt it too.
It was hard to tell if they are just curious as to how we worship, or sincerely wanting to find out if it's the path for them, or if they are just returning the favour of us going to their church a few weeks ago. We'll talk more with them at our lesson this week.
We helped a member's friend move, and the sisters were in the car with her (non-member) and they asked if she'd like missionaries to come over, and she said yes!
Once she is all moved in. Score! She lives in the other ward, so we won't teach her, but the other sisters in Glasgow's other ward (Springboig Ward) will teach her.
Thursday, in fact every Thursday recently if I haven't mentioned, is "Reach-out night" in the ward. A great idea the bishop had, where we and whatever members want to meet up at the church and go visit less-active or others who are struggling in some way or another.
It's a really good thing.
Sometimes the numbers are off and there are more missionary companionships that turn up than members, but it's a good program.
We found a less-active lady while tracting, which was fun. I love when that happens.
It goes like: "Hello, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ--" "Oh, I already know...I'm a Mormon." "Really? That's great!" "Yeah...I haven't been to church in a while. But I probably should."
And then she said we could come back later, and we agreed to have the sisters go by instead just cause she lives alone and that makes it easier.
I like finding lost sheep. It's especially cool when they actually come to church because of it. Almost as good as finding someone that gets baptized.
Friday we had to stay inside from 6 pm onwards.
But we saw some kids and adults going around in costumes throughout the day, and even on Saturday. They celebrate it here, but not as big as in America.
Saturday we played football with the stake.
Then after a quick lunch and shower we went to the City Centre and did a little family history activity, where we asked people to take a short survey on their opinions on family and religion.
It's something the family history missionary couple asked us to to; and apparently it's an actual survey that some BYU group is doing, so I guess we're helping with a research project with an ulterior motive to make the people we meet feel the spirit of Elijah and get baptized.
It didn't work...yet. Met some nice people though.
We might do Saturday City Centre finding regularly, with a table and literature and such. It's fun.
We received a referral from some missionaries in Massachusetts...they called us and apparently had been teaching a Pakistani in Glasgow over facebook. And he almost came to church, but something came up and he'll come next week. We've talked to him on the phone but haven't met him yet. Kind of a cool thing though.
Oh and also we visited a Freemason temple just for fun. We noticed it a couple weeks ago, and thought, "Hey why not!"
So we went in, asked the friendly guy who was there a few questions, and yeah. It was interesting.
Funnily enough, I didn't feel the spirit leave as soon as we entered, which I don't know why but I kind of expected it to from what I heard from that anti-Freemason guy named Colin.
However I do feel it leave when we walk past his door--in fact I felt that way when we first went there but I ignored it and knocked on his door anyway. Quite interesting. Still learning how to recognize and follow the promptings, even though it's been almost 14 years.
And last but not least Elder Zander and I are staying together for my last transfer. Enduring to the end at this point.
Love you all!

Mason temple

...don't ask.

Me and Elder Dewsbery at Saturday morning football.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"...we could dress up, as long as we were still tell me if this fits..."

So I was practically a "Chinatown" elder this week.
I went on two exchanges with the Mandarin speaking elders in the district this week. It was fun. They still do a lot of teaching and talking to people in English, but sometimes it's just pure Chinese.
One time we were teaching an investigator (well, I wasn't teaching, I was just observing because I don't speak Chinese.) at a member's house.
They both had their wives and kids there too, four kids under the age of five. And it was just crazy! Little kids running around, yelling in Chinese, while the other elder tried to teach the investigator in Chinese, and they fed us some...interesting food, and it was just fun.
It's like being in a totally different mission, except for one Scottish investigator that one companionship teaches.
I got to be there for a lesson with him, and it was great. The spirit was very strong. And I usually don't say that about lessons.
This lesson the spirit was very very strong, I could feel it almost the whole time we taught him. Probably because we really just asked him questions, and helped him to find an answer.
He's atheist, but sooo open to our teachings, and he loves the Church and said he would LOVE to get an answer telling him it's true!
And he prayed out loud and you would've thought he was an active member. So I think he'll come around. His name is Thomas btw.
There was a Halloween party on Saturday, combined with the other ward who meets in our building. It was a lot of fun.
At first we were told to not dress up, then the day of the party we were informed that we could dress up, as long as we were still dignified and recognized as missionaries. So you tell me if this fits (photos attached). I'm a monkey missionary.
Our Christian investigators Sam and Jennie came along, and they seemed to have a good time.
It was their first time in the church building...I wish we'd been able to show them around the church to see the paintings and chapel and classrooms and baptismal font and such...but it was a bit hectic and exciting. It was a good time.
On Halloween night we have to stay inside from 6-9pm, and do weekly planning. Fun!
Maybe we'll knock on doors on Thursday or maybe Friday during the day, and say "Trick or Treat!...just kidding." and then teach people and baptize them. Maybe call it "Trick or Tracting"
So that's all the exciting things that happened last week...doesn't seem all that eventful. But it was a fun week, nice to see a new area, new people, and have a change of companions.
I love you all and have a fantastic week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Burt

Wizard duel with Sister Cannon last p-day, at Glasgow/Hogwarts University

Halloween. Me and Elder Zander