Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"...we told him what we can do to help him, and what he can do to help himself."

Hey everybody!
So as you may have heard, Monday was a "bank holiday." They have a lot of those here. Not sure if it's a whole UK thing, or just N.Ireland. But anyway, you guys should try to find a list of all bank holidays in the future, so you'll know which weeks the emails will be delayed. Usually we email on Wednesday, because Tuesday is our day for district or zone meetings, so we use the less-productive morning time on Wednesdays to email. So yeah.
So now I have a week and a half to catch you up on! 
Last Monday we went to Derry! This was an interesting day. Very fun! 
We went bowling with our district. (Elders Mills and Eastham from Derry, Elders Dustin and Kinnard from Letterkenny.) 
Elder Holm thought it would be better to wear our white shirts and ties to bowl instead of casual clothes. I disagreed, but he insisted. When we get there, the other four elders have jeans and t-shirts on! Oh well...It seems Elder Holmes has changed a lot since becoming district leader...more strict, which is sometimes good, but sometimes unnecessarily so. 
Anyway, we had a real good time. Elder Mills (probably my favorite one to hang out with) and I played some skee-ball and some wack-a-shark at the arcade at the bowling alley. We got some tickets for doing so and got some wee prizes -- a rubber duck and bouncy ball! 
Elder Holm was very disappointed in us. He told me that night that it was very inappropriate, and even at district meeting the next day he subtly called us out by talking about how we are called as representatives of Jesus Christ's church at all times. He's kinda right in a way, but at the same time he made a huge deal out of it when it really wasn't that big of a deal in my opinion. Oh well. 
I also bought some cool Ireland stuff at the Derry/Londonderry visitors' centre! I'll send some home. Probably in like two or three weeks.
Tuesday I went on exchange with Elder Dustin to L'kenny. We taught this guy named Peter. He's had a rough past, but he seems like he really wants to learn about the church. He has a five year old son who is a cute chubby lil ball of energy. He's crazy! 
Then we taught Janis, a Latvian guy. I actually met him a while back, on my first exchange to Letterkenny with Elder Neilson (first district leader). 
He hadn't really been reading or anything, but at the end of our visit he seemed spiritually uplifted. We promised him that if he sets aside the time to read, putting it at the TOP of the priority list, everything will work out. 
I've actually promised that a lot to people lately, when they say they don't have time to read. I can promise that, because I know it's true. I definitely saw that in my pre-mish time.
Wednesday we saw Emma, and this time her mom was also there (Joan). Joan was raised Catholic, but hated it and didn't raise her kids with any religion really. 
Emma seems really prepared to accept the gospel. Joan seems like she'll take more work. Emma said she'd come to church, but she didn't...however they invited us over for dinner tomorrow! Pretty rare for us to get dinner appointments with investigators.
Thursday: Alan and Nigel. We had some extra time, so we decided to tract around their wee town, Lack. 
We met a few older ladies who said they were happy with their church, but they both accepted Book of Mormons and said they'd read. 
We're trying to do that lately--when we go to appointments outside of Omagh, we tract at least a little bit, because these people probably haven't seen missionaries very much, if ever. So far they are a bit more receptive, so it's nice.
Thursday we went to Pramod's house with the primary (four kids) the primary president (a girl about our age) and President Nelson. 
We had the idea a few weeks ago to give Pramod's girls, Simran and Priya (nine and five years old) a Book of Mormon Stories book. (The big one with simple words and pictures.) 
We finally got everyone together to do it, and it was a success! Hopefully the girls will be a good influence on Pramod, because they LOVE primary and singing, and he is just kinda on the fence. Good step hopefully.
Friday: We went to Vera Duncan's. Our plan was to watch the Book of Mormon DVD with her (Not the Book of Mormon movie, but a DVD they give us to give to people). 
It has Jefferey R. Holland talking about what the Book of Mormon is, then a Jamaican Bishop in London talking about his conversion, and then a snippet from Elder Holland's talk "Safety for the Soul." 
If you haven't' seen it, watch it. He basically yells at the viewer that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, in a way that you cannot possibly deny. We watched it with Vera, and she enjoyed it. Wasn't instantly converted as we hoped, but it had a bit of an impact we think.
Also Friday we met with Brian Johnston, the dairy farmer. We gave him an Ensign, because he tells us every time that he won't read the Book of Mormon because he doesn't like books; he prefers newspapers. 
So we thought this would be a good way for him to read about the church and feel the spirit...and he loved it! He said he'll read it, and then pass it on to someone else...non-member Missionary haha!
Saturday we saw Tommy Reilly and Sister Deery, as usual. Tommy is deteriorating. He says he can't enjoy anything anymore. But every Sunday he is just fine and bright and cheerful. He's just lonely really. 
We met a deep catholic guy who we had a little lesson with...after teaching/semi-debating with him, we decided to just tell him to read and pray. He said he wouldn't; that would be against his religion. But he was very interesting. He said some weird stuff, such as "Jesus was a cool dude". We were very surprised at this, because this guy was like in his 50s and dressed in slacks and a plain white collared shirt. And when he said it he didn't even crack a smile. Weird. But funny. 
Then we met a girl named Lisa, who seems very prepared. She said she IS looking for something in life, and she seemed very interested in the message. She lives outta town in Castlederg, so we're going out there today to follow up and teach her all about Joe Smith and whatnot.
Sunday was nice. We went to the McKennas' house for dinner, tracted a bunch. Then we went to see Ian McConnel (the Ian who hangs out with Vera.) 
He was clearly drunk, and when we sat down and talked with him he started crying and said he needs to repent. It was a very spiritual experience; we told him what we can do to help him, and what he can do to help himself. He seemed very sincere. We were afraid that it was just the wine making him emotional, but we saw him last night and he was just as sincere, but sober. He really does want to change, and become active in the church again. We're so excited that he's taking the first step now!
Monday: P-day. We went to the Ulster-American Folk Park! It's a big deal here in Omagh; it has an indoor museum with exhibits on immigrants to America from N.Ireland. Very interesting. Took some good pictures. 
Also they had a bunch of replica cabins and stuff outside, and a ton of "rare breed" farm animals. 
Best part...we got to hold a lamb!!! (Pics attached). Unfortunately we weren't brave enough to ask if we could hold it on our shoulders, but we got some good pictures and we felt very Christ-like. That made it all worth it.
Yesterday we went to Belfast for a zone meeting. We had lunch at Boojum, basically the  Costa Vida of the UK/Ireland. Then a bunch of tractin', then dinner with the Cathcarts. Good day. Good week!
Other news: We've received several prank calls/texts from people these last few weeks. Twice we've woken up in the morning to voice-mails of drunk people saying "please call me back, I want to be a Mormon" or something like that. We always call them back, but they either don't answer or they hang up as soon as we tell them who we are. Also a few texts. 
We haven't' received a phone call from anyone who sincerely wants to learn more...not YET. Someday we will, and then all the hours we spent handing out pass along cards with our number on it will be worth it!
Also: You guys should watch the "I'm a Mormon" video for Jason Smyth on He's from Londonderry! He's a paralympic gold medalist. 
Watch it! Then you'll know what the N.Irish people sound like! He seems really cool. He is part of the push for the "UK Media initiative..." 
Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but the South Park creators' Book of Mormon musical is in London now, and so the church has done a big campaign with the site. They actually made a new one --, which places emphasis on the profiles of UK people. I think they're all English except for Jason. Very good video. Inspirational and stuff.
Also also: SKYPE! I think it would work best if we do it at 4pm here/9am there! That will work perfectly for us. We'll be at Tom Henry's house. Will one of you email me what username I called from last time? Just to make sure it works.
Love yous, and see yous in four days!

Photos: our white shirts
Gooo Grizzlies! (this is actually a black bear but close enough) at Folk Park
America!!! at Folk Park
AWWWWWWW at Folk Park
Full rainbow! No pot o' gold though
Rainbow with the Omagh Spires (Left: Catholic, right: Church of Ireland)