Monday, January 27, 2014

"The branch organized a fantastic dinner and party...Piping in the Haggis..."

Dear Family,
Here's the cool stuff that happened this week:
We taught some of our drunk friends this week (we sometimes refer to them as "The Fantastic 4"; three investigators and one less-active member who is our source for meeting them all) a new one was added to the picture. A really nice guy who hangs out with that whole crowd, but he says he doesn't drink! 
Pretty awesome. He asked a lot of good questions. He seemed to enjoy our visit, although it was regularly interrupted by loud outbursts from one of their friends--He's not included in the Fantastic 4, he's not quite worthy. He was just loud and obnoxious and super drunk. I asked him to be quiet once while we tried to watch "The Lamb of God," but he got pretty mad. Dropping F-bombs the whole time, but it was great because the two present members of the F4 would always say "Hey man, don't swear!" 
It is always a fun experience with them...sometimes it can be really spiritual but sometimes it's very un-spiritual and I just have to appreciate the funny side of it. 
We are thinking of trying a method where we set up specific times with them twice a week, and have them promise to be sober for that short period of time, because most of them say that they can stop drinking and they've done it before, but it's just hard. 
So if we can get them in a super receptive state of mind without the alcohol interfering, then chain reaction hopefully will make them desire to feel that spiritual high all the time. 
Also I took some advice from an elder and a member in Beith who said that it's not bad to ask them to not smoke while we're there, because it does kind of distract from the spirit, and again, that one hour of resisting the urge to smoke will prepare them for hopefully someday living the word of wisdom 24/7. 
But that of course is in the distant future, but you know, step by step. 
A scripture somewhere says "By small and simple things, great things come to pass." Or maybe it's just the beginning of the Restoration DVD, which I have seen who knows how many times in the past year or so.
We had a brief visit with the flag-loving guy and his friend (also less-active, who practically lives with him but they are not a couple). Good fun. 
In the middle of a conversation about something totally different with the lady, the man randomly said "I have a flag of Azerbaijan." And did that several times throughout our visit, naming off random flags that he has. I think I've mentioned him in emails previous, right?
Another funny story: we were going around with the High Priest Group Leader, visiting people on the ward list that he and we have never met, trying to see if they would like to have home teachers come around in the future. 
One lady we went to lived in sort of an old folks' home by herself. (Side note: In almost every apartment building there is an intercom thingy where you have to press the button of the person you want to see, and they answer on this wee telephone-like thing and ask who it is, and if they choose to, they press a button that unlocks the outside door.) 
We buzzed her apartment, she answered and asked who it was, he said he was with the church, and she said something that we couldn't understand, but then we heard the door unlock so we went in. 
But as we approached her apartment she came out quite angrily, saying "Who are you?! I didn't let you in, who are you?!?!" 
The member told her who we were and she asked angrily for proof, so I took off my name badge and held it up, I felt like a cop. Then she said, "Well, I haven't been a part of your church in years and I don't want to be." 
But luckily, the spirit must have prompted our HPGL to be a little persistent, and he explained that we like to reach out to all the members of the church, and he noticed on her records that she had been a temple recommend holder in the years past, so he brought that up. 
She still was a bit defensive and said it was a long story and she didn't want to talk about it...but then two seconds later she just said, "Oh, why don't you just come in and I'll tell you." So we went in, ended up having a lovely visit. 
Turns out we mostly just scared her by buzzing her apartment intercom sort of late at night (it was around 8:30) and that's why she was kind of defensive. 
Turns out she had been sealed in the temple, her kids are active members in other wards around Scotland and England, and she just hasn't been out in years for some reason. 
So what started out as a bit of a scary and contentious encounter ended up being a nice visit, and she said we're welcome back any time. People are interesting.
We went out to Dunoon again for our weekly correlation meeting. This time they drove us around to try and contact some of the inactive members who lived out there. 
One of them, who didn't even live IN Dunoon, but several miles outside of it in a wee village, let us in and had a good discussion. 
Not really interested at first when we knocked on his door, but then, again, he let us in and opened up a lot more about his past with the church and what not. Pretty cool.
Saturday night was the Greenock Branch Burns' Supper! January 25th is Burns' Night here in Scotland. 
Robert Burns, aka "Rabbie Burns" was a famous Scottish poet. So every year Scots take a night to commemorate his life by being as Scottish as possible basically. 
The branch organized a fantastic dinner and party in the building; loads of non-members and less-active members came out, and everyone loved it. 
Brother Gibson let me borrow one of his son's old kilts that didn't fit him anymore, as well as a kilt jacket and a sporran (that's the awesome black purse looking thing around my waist). 
He lent Elder Smiler one as well, but he decided not to wear it, but instead he just wore the kilt jacket, which was kind of cool because it made him look like a mariachi guy. 
But anyway the party was super fun; we ate haggis, neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and mashed potatoes), some members recited some famous Burns poetry, lots of good music by the branch president and his family, and a few other members. 
There's this tradition where one member carried a haggis on a plate into the hall, and marched around with it while President Wilde played the bagpipes. 
Apparently this is known as "Piping in the Haggis." And then it is set down, and someone else "Addresses the Haggis," where they basically talk to the haggis in a crazy thick Scottish accent and some words that I have never heard before...and then he cuts it open. 
Really different but fun. Almost like an animal sacrifice, except it's a haggis. Anyway it was a fun night. 
The best part was wearing the whole kilt get-up. Best part: Brother Gibson said that the kilt looks so good on me that he might let me keep it! But not the accessories. 
Still, that's pretty awesome! I might have me own kilt soon! 
Traci, Kenny, and their kids Marc and Ollie came as well. Kenny and Ollie wore kilts, as did the Gibsons' son who "Addressed the Haggis". Nobody else though! 
Most others did wear something tartan, like tartan trousers, ties, etc... Really fun night.
Sunday was good as well, as usual. Our branch president made a change so that our meetings now last between 2.5-3 hours, which is nice but kind of seems long because I'm used to just two hours! 
But it's for the best, because everywhere else is three hours, no reason why we can't do it as well.
So yeah, overall, it was a real fun week! Hope you all had a good one too.
Oh yeah, and a fun quote that Kenny told me to say if someone calls your kilt a skirt: "You know why it's called a kilt? Because the last person who called it a skirt got kilt." 
Ooh, intense. Can't wait to use that when I get home and wear my kilt everywhere I go.
Love yous all!!!
Elder Spencer Ashcraft Burt


Ollie in his cute wee kilt

Me, Elder Smiler, Ollie, Kenny (Elder Smiler ruined it with his un-kilted-ness, but Kenny told him to get in the picture with us so I had no choice...)

Me and the Gibson family


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