Monday, January 20, 2014

"...they say the closing prayer and their words are amazing..."

Dear Family,
Well first things first, Elder Smiler and I will be staying in Greenock for another six weeks. (That transfer flew by! they all do...)
Pretty excited. Some things we need to work out...we both need to work on being more obedient and diligent...I feel like I have slacked a bit when I got to Greenock for some reason. Cant' let that happen, YOSAFTMO! (You only serve a full-time mission once)
Can't leave thinking I could have done more. But sometimes it is really hard.
Anyway, this week has been pretty good and great. 
So you know how we have to take ferries like once or twice a week to visit members/less active members/etc? Well there's one more. The Isle of Bute. 
We have a couple of members who live out there, and we've been planning to go out there for a while now but just never got around to it. 
So we finally did on Saturday and we met a lovely couple who have been members for 20 years or so, they were sealed in the Temple two years ago, and because it's kind of expensive to buy a ferry ticket each week they haven't been out to church for a looong time. 
But we are going to talk with the branch president and hopefully find a way to get them out, they are so solid! Still reading their scriptures, still have pictures of Jesus and temples all over their walls. Really felt good to find "lost sheep."
Tuesday we had a pretty good district meeting. Afterward I went on exchange with Elder Howie in Beith. It's a bit smaller than Greenock, a bit less rainy but still flippin wet all the time. 
We met some great people; one investigator who loves martial arts and fighting, who told us loads of stories about him getting in fights as a bouncer. Which was pretty cool because he's pretty small; shorter than me, and looks quite skinny. 
But apparently that gives him a big advantage because the big guys just underestimate him and then *BANG!* Kind of scary at the same time, because if he wanted to he could knock us out cold.
It was fun seeing a new area.
We had a district leader council on Wednesday. The instruction was brilliant; we talked about how it is our duty as leaders to "correct" missionaries' conduct when necessary. 
We watched one of the Bible Videos on Mormon Channel, where Jesus basically calls Peter Satan after something he said that was insignificant. 
At first I was taken aback, didn't expect Jesus to do something so rash, but then we discussed and our zone leaders explained that sometimes correction is very harsh and sharp and clear, but it is necessary. 
For example, when Christ corrected Peter harshly, it was because it would mold him into the person he wanted him to become. Jesus knew that Peter would be the head apostle/President of His church after he was crucified, so when he saw Peter do something that would perhaps lead him away from that path, he needed to be put back into place. 
They informed us that as missionary leaders we have the duty to help others reach their full potential; If we believe someone has potential to become a district leader or to train a new missionary, we must make sure they stay on that path, and give correction if necessary. 
Kind of a scary thing for me...Sorry for my soapbox about that, it's probably boring and inapplicable to you all, but it finally clicked with me that day WHY we are expected to correct other missionaries. I've been sort of reluctant about it my whole time being a district leader. 
But also, I need to try and "get the beam out of my own eye" if necessary, before I "pull the mote out" of another [missionary's] eye." I read that parable today...I definitely am not perfect, so if I am going to be correcting others I need to make sure I am doing my best as to not be as the Scribes and Pharisees; Hypocrites.
Wow, sorry about that whole paragraph... 
Let's see...what else happened this week...we visited a TON of less-active members. We seem to have a lot of them here, and we work with a lot of them. 
But I feel like we need to focus on one or two rather than spreading our efforts thinly to lots of a few regain a solid testimony and become active, and then work on them one at a time. 
This branch would definitely be a ward if all of the less-active members were active, but I suppose that's the same for anywhere.
Oh yeah! On Thursday, Brother and Sister Cain took us out for dinner in Dunoon. It was to "The 51st State", an American-themed restaurant. Pretty cool! 
Had a classic American burger and a chocolate milk shake...I have been trying to eat better for a few weeks now but the members make it hard haha! Photos will be attached of me showing my American Pride.
I already mentioned the success we saw on Saturday...however after that we seemed to be quite unsuccessful. We had three lessons cancelled on us between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, and none of the people (investigators and less-active members) we were hoping to come to church were there.
I almost forgot; here's a pretty awesome and spiritual story. While teaching one of our drunk friends, he said an AMAZING prayer. 
When we first started teaching him, he would just kind of start praying when we invited him to..."Ok...I just want to thank you for sending the elders here...hope they have a good day..." etc. 
We never told him to pray our way or anything, but after a few visits he started following our example, and our last visit with him he said a really great prayer, if we hadn't known otherwise we would have thought he was a member! Crazy. 
I've actually seen that quite a bit here in Greenock. Sometimes in a lesson that's all jumbled and it feels like we didn't teach them anything and they didn't come away with anything, I've seen it twice with multiple people where they say the closing prayer and their words are amazing, and they sound like they really want to change their lives and often they talk about joining the church! It's crazy. 
They always say, "I don't know where those words came from!" And we say "well duh, it's the spirit!" (not really)
So that's the week. I feel like I typed a lot but didn't have that many cool stories. But I got a lot of cool pictures! Enjoy!
Love you all!
Loads of photos: 
Me with American stuff!


Trying to teach about the Book of Mormon to a stone wall/door thing.

Me on a ferry coming back from Rothesay (that's the name of the main town on the Island of Bute)

Me standing in front of the ferry in Rothesay

Me standing in front of the water

The Rothesay coast/esplanade

ALMA TERRACE! In a town that has two or three members in it.