Sounds like a good week for everyone back home. Elder Herr and I after Monday, well let’s say it wasn’t the most exciting of weeks… So Monday after the field incident we got the ferry down to Thurso and we continued to drive to Aberdeen, we arrived pretty late. So we got there and just went straight to sleep, we didn’t have much sleep because within about 4 hours we were up again getting ready to drive down to Edinburgh. We picked up a few other missionaries and got started on the journey. We got to the mission home early and then had the All-Scotland Conference. The Conference was filled with departing testimonies and incoming testimonies. It’s always fun to see the difference between the missionaries that are going home and the ones coming in. The ones coming in have no idea what is going to happen in the next couple of months. We continued the conference with a short instruction on teaching using power statements and really being simple and clear. We want to achieve our purpose of inviting others to baptism and explaining the joy that comes from being baptized, it was well put together. The rest of the conference was filled with singing, games, and Moana the new Disney movie. It was a fun conference, I got to see Elder Foster and Elder Chapple. They are both doing well. Elder Firstbrook who I lived with for a while in Montrose is now in my greenie area Airdrie! At the end of the conference, Sister Donaldson read a story about a missionary and his first Christmas. This missionary had accidentally booked two families to be with on Christmas. One a big family and the other an old widowed woman and her daughter. He didn’t want to cancel on the families so they made up their minds to go to the old widows home for a short time and then run to the other family to spend the night there. Well like any good story the missionary was touched by how much the old widow had put into the dinner and the night to make their first Christmas away from home something special. They spent the night with the old widow and never made it to the other family. So Sister Donaldson invited us to find the one that needs the Christmas spirit and share something special with them.
So following the conference we gathered some missionaries together and got driving back to Aberdeen. It was a long night, but it was a good day. I was so tired by the time we got back to the flat in Aberdeen which I was able to sleep well. We got up in the morning said a few goodbyes to other missionaries then we had our exchange with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Butler. So in the morning we went down to the church to do studies and plan for the day, then we get a call from the Mission Home that we needed to leave today to get a ferry back to Orkney or wait until this storm passes and we get the ferry either Saturday or Sunday. Well, it was Wednesday and we did not want to be out of the area that long. So after lunch, we got in the car and started our way back to Orkney. We got held up in traffic before Inverness and there was no way we would make the ferry in time. So we called the ferry services and they told us that there will be a ferry early in the morning that would take us. They were hoping to do it early enough to miss the massive storm that was coming down north. The Sisters over on Stornaway had to wait till Saturday night to get back, the ferries over there all canceled.
So back to us, we got to Thurso and spent the night there and early Thursday morning we headed off to the ferry dock. The problem that we faced was that the storm had now arrived, however, the ferry was late but they let us board anyways and we, of course, got on. Once on board, they waited a bit to see if the wind would calm down, which it didn’t, before heading off to Orkney. The wind was fierce and strong and the waves were massive. So we set sail! Oh my goodness, I hated that boat. I thought we would tip over for sure but luckily we never did, it took 2 hours, but we made it to Stromness.
They had this tug boat come along to help, but we were unable to dock. The wind was too strong and the waves kept us from getting close to the dock. About an hour of trying and then we started to head back away from the dock. We were a bit confused on what is happening when the Captain came on the loudspeaker and told us that the weather is keeping us from docking and that we will need to wait until morning to try again. It was one in the afternoon, we had to spend the night on this boat. Well lucky for us they took the boat to a place where the Islands broke the waves up, so it wasn’t that bad. We got a free cabin and free food for lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. That was a long time to be on a boat! And in the morning we were able to dock safely which was good.
On the way back to the flat I was able to pick up my Christmas package that you sent, so all is well. We were both so tired from the trip and neither of us wants to make it again. But oh well we will be repeating this next week.
So we had a great Sunday service as well. We got to watch the Christmas Devotional from the First Presidency which was super good! If you haven’t watched it… Watch it! I loved it. We then spent the night with the Thomson’s, what an amazing family. Everyone is looking forward to Christmas. Donna Thomson’s husband James actually has the same birthday as me, so we were talking about what we would do if I’m still here.
I’m not sure if I’ll leave or stay. It’s really iffy but I’ll go where ever I get called to go (over mountain or plain or sea).
Also this week I finished reading the Book of Mormon again. How grateful I am to have this sacred writing. As I finished it again like many times before, I love Moroni’s promise and without fail every time it is a peaceful feeling. With the peace that Christ offers us, it always amazes me how we have the chance to do the same for others. I’ve been able to reflect on how not only I want a Christ-centered mission but a Christ-centered life. These past few months on the Orkney Islands has been something different, the people here are close together and rooted deep in their traditions. It’s taught me a lot of what it means to rely on the Savior and to look to him in every thought. The atoning sacrifice of the Son has the power to change even the hardest of hearts and heal the deepest of scars. I may leave the Orkney Islands with no converts, but I can say I left the Islands with a lot of friends. I know half the people on this Island, it’s always nice to walk down the street and the people say hello to us first or they stop us and talk. So I look forward to this next week and what it has in store.