Monday, September 29, 2014

"I have never taught so simply in my life...I love the gospel basics."

Dear Family,
So it's been an interesting week.
As usual moves week was a bit different; A fair bit of time spent with Elder Schmidt packing, a bit of saying goodbye to members, and ya know all sorts of new experiences.
Wednesday was fun; Elder Schmidt had to leave at 8:30 to head off to Ireland, and Elder Zander came from Ireland, so I was with a few other missionaries in the same situation for several hours, just kickin it around Glasgow! It was fun.
We visited the Glasgow Cathedral which was HUGE, we went to "the lighthouse" where there is a tower in the middle of the City Centre where we could see all around, and we walked around shops and such.
As far as our current investigators, or as some missionaries like to refer to them as "friends," we had a few good lessons with them but no huge changes.
We have a few new people we're teaching: two 30-something year old friends named Adel and Bobby, both from Africa. They have separate houses but they hang out together all the time.
Adel speaks VERY VERY limited English. I have never taught so simply in my life, and it actually felt really good. I love the gospel basics. Elder Zander didn't talk much during the lesson...he says he gets frustrated.
So I basically just taught Adel about who God is, who Jesus Christ is, what a prophet is, and that the Book of Mormon was translated by a prophet and how it helps us to understand and know Christ. It was fun.
Honestly that's the only memorable thing that happened. Can't really think of anything significant to tell you! It's been a stressful past few days. But I'm doing ok.
Welllll I love you all and I will write to you again next week!
Elder Burt

Big spiral stair case we had to climb to get to the top of the tower.

Me and Elder Dewsbery on top of the tower. Fun having him in the same zone!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

" would have been so cool to have been here when it happened; when Scotland became an independent country."

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014
Hi everybody!
So the news is in, and I am staying here and Elder Schmidt is moving to Dublin. My new companion will be Elder Zander, also from Germany! I have heard they are very different from each other. So it will be a good balance I think. I'm excited.
Oh and I'm district leader. Not too psyched about that, I was happy to stay as senior companion or even junior, but hey I guess I'm needed in that position!
Ok so we had an interesting and highly varied week.
The first interesting thing was we got a call from the mission office saying we had a referral, and we already had an appointment with him. Whatever elders met him scheduled an appointment with him for us, which was probably not very smart in case we had something else to do, but luckily we were free.
So we went. And he wasn't there. But we decided, maybe there's another reason why we received this referral. Like someone else who was ready for us.
So we knocked the rest of his street, and the street next to it. We were about finished for the night, and right before we went home Elder Schmidt reminded me that we needed to follow up at a house where a teenage girl said that her mom was on the phone but that we could try later. So we did, and the mom was very receptive!
We didn't go in, seeing that it was a bit late and there was no man. But we set up a return appointment for two days later, and she seemed excited to meet with us. But then she called us the morning of the appointment, and said she had read our pamphlet we left and she felt happy with  her own beliefs.
It was frustrating; I honestly felt like she was ready, and felt the spirit!
Yeah, I've had many many appointments fall through or cancel or completely dropped by investigators, but for some reason I was really gutted (disappointed) when she cancelled.
Maybe we'll follow up in a few weeks or somethin.
We taught Ali and Sam, the Christian young adult guys, and when we met up at the university to teach, Sam's newly wedded wife Jennie was there as well. She was going to go somewhere else so we could have our lesson, but we invited her to stay and listen, and she was very happy to!
We taught the Plan of Salvation, and I was honestly surprised at how legitimately interested they seem.
They asked questions about it that sound like they really do want to know, not questions that will catch us saying something wrong, as I often have had and expect to have when I teach some active born-again Christians.
Sam has read up to 1 Nephi 8 already, and says he wants to keep reading. If they simply receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, they would be SUCH great members.
We taught a lady who is a lesbian. It was a bit awkward at first, because she started asking about the church's stance on homosexuality right at the start.
We told her, in a very kind way I felt, and it was a bit uncomfortable. I think we all felt uncomfortable at least for a good portion of it, but by the end she was very happy and thankful that we came, and said she felt uplifted and looked forward to our next appointment.
She called the next day to say that she has never felt so drawn to a specific church like she does to ours; that she admires and loves the way we do everything, how we just tell people what we believe and don't ask anything of them, and just praised how great we and the Church were for about 30 minutes.
She was set to come to church, and then something happened and she didn't come. We've been in contact with her for quite a while now, and she's been sorta up and down like this before.
So yeah it was a good week with I suppose a lot of high expectations and excitement, but sometimes the enthusiasm crashed and burned a wee bit when it came down to the wire.
Oh well, next time. Things are still going very well and I'm excited to stay and to have a new companion to work with.
Oh and the referendum.
As you probably know, it was a "No" vote. (The ballot was simply: "Should Scotland be an independent country?")
It was exciting to be a part of it leading up to the vote, and everyone talked about it and there were big and small "Yes" and "No thanks" signs and stickers everywhere, but I was honestly quite sad when we found out that 55% voted to stay in the UK.
Yeah, it's probably safer this way, and there is less risk of people losing their money or the government or economy crashing on its own or things like that...but it would have been so cool to have been here when it happened; when Scotland became an independent country. But now it's just like, well, I was here when nothing changed. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
Well, that's all folks. Looking forward to this week.
Thanks for all the support everybody. Only three more months, but I've been telling myself that I'm "always in the middle" (Uchtdorf) And I even wrote it on the front of my planner, where I usually write what number of transfer I'm on. And it's helped; I honestly don't feel too trunky most of the time! Till the work is done.
Love yous!
Elder Burt

Scottish sunset

George Square in Glasgow, on Thursday night as the votes were being counted. Tons of "Yes" supporters flying the Scotland flag and having a fun time.

A "Yes" sticker on a bus window. These were everywhere the past month or so.