Monday, March 3, 2014

"...I've loved my time here in Greenock; the members, the area, the people we teach, the sights..."

I'll cut to the chase: I'm moving to Lisburn, N. Ireland on Wednesday. It's just outside Belfast. 
Excited to return to Northern Ireland!!! But sad to leave Greenock, as I always seem to be with transfers. Oh well, I may be able to see Tom Henry at stake conference or something. That would be so great!
So the next couple days will be full of goodbyes, packing, cleaning our flat to make the new guy feel welcome and whatnot.
This past week was pretty good. Kind of weird thinking, "Hey, Grandpa's funeral is today..." but then just carrying on with my everyday doings. 
It honestly is kind of easy to forget about until something reminds me of it, just because as I said last week, it doesn't directly affect me. I have taken some time to print out and re-read your emails and look at photos of Grandpa.
I'm gonna talk a bit about the cool things that happened the last two weeks, since last week I didn't really tell you much about the work here.
Best part: The Beith elders had a baptism last-last Friday! 
A super great lady named Jeanie, who they just started teaching a couple weeks ago. 
I had the privilege of doing her baptism interview. It was a great experience; apparently she was really nervous at the idea of an "interview", so I made sure to be friendly and casual. She said she really enjoyed it. 
Her baptism was great. We got to attend it, and go to the branch social afterward. It was sort of like being a member of another branch for a day! 
Then we slept over at the Beith elders' flat. So between the baptism, the interview, and exchanges, we've been traveling between here and Beith quite a lot the past few weeks. It's a beautiful bus trip.
I really enjoyed going on exchanges with Elder Howie. He is going home tomorrow, and he is the most solid missionary I know. 
It's been great being HIS district leader; I feel like I go away from our exchanges with a renewed conviction to be the best I can be. And he says he learns a lot from me too. 
We had loads of success on our exchange in Greenock; we just talked to everybody, shared the Book of Mormon, and had good laughs all the while. Elder Smiler is great too. But I absolutely love my exchanges with Elder Howie.
I also went on exchange to Beith. We stripped wallpaper from a lady's walls. It was actually quite fun. 
We don't seem to get much service opportunities here in Greenock. Maybe we don't offer enough, or maybe people just want to be independent. 
We went and visited a less-active guy on our ward list. He let us right in and was super friendly. 
He knows the doctrine, knows it's true, and knows it's a good thing. He even said that he wishes more people would read the Book of Mormon, because then they'd know what we're all about rather than just read rumors online. 
When I asked if he still reads his Book of Mormon, he said he didn't have one anymore. So of course I offered him one, and he turned it down, and wouldn't tell us why. 
He made it quite clear that he knows he needs to go back to church but he just won't. But he wouldn't give a clear answer on WHY. 
I found it pretty frustrating, just like, come on, you know it's true! Just come back! There always seems to be one of those in every area. 
We've also been teaching a really nice couple who are in the process of changing their life. 
They have three kids, who they just regained custody of. They have a history of drugs, crime, violence, etc. but they are on their way back. 
It must be really hard; the father brought up a few concerns that must be a real struggle. 
One was that he couldn't find any work, and the only way he could provide for his family was to deal drugs, so he asked us if God would understand if he's doing it for that reason. 
Really hard to answer that question. Of course we had to tell him that that was not ok, but I could totally understand where he is coming from. 
It's a difficult life to be in I'm sure. Hard to get out once you're in. 
Hopefully the gospel will help a lot, you never know what the Spirit and the feeling of belonging to something can do for someone.
Sad news: The day after Jim Craig passed away, Joe, one of our [usually drunk] investigators was found dead. Elder Smiler and Elder Jackson were trying to call him, and his sister answered and said he had died. 
Real sad, most likely alcohol related. Really weird week of death, but I suppose Joe might be hanging out with Jim and Grandpa as well. Why not?
We had stake conference this weekend. It was pretty good. Not much else to report.
Overall, I've loved my time here in Greenock; the members, the area, the people we teach, the sights, the scenery along the coast, etc. But hopefully N. Ireland is a bit less rainy! 
Excited for a new adventure. 
Did I mention that I'm no longer a district leader when I move? I get to rest and be a normal missionary again! It will be kind of nice, but I'll miss some aspects of it.
Welp, I love you all and hope you have a great week. 
Elder Spencer Burt

Some abandoned building in Paisley

A submarine!

The McMillan family (members)

I got some awesome use out of the panoramic feature this week.
(Views from Gourock, the ferry, and atop a hill in Dunoon.)

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