Freedom comes because of the Atonement and the effort on our part to accept that sacrifice.


Well, what a week it has been! Don’t worry I got photos but I forgot about the suit photo so just have to wait another week. I’ll get it eventually.

The start of the week we were off on exchanges. I was with Elder Sazaki and we were also running around everywhere, but it was a good finding day in the heavy rain. Whenever I seem to plan any exchange with the other Elders, it’s always raining really bad and then it’s just not the best exchange.

So the rest of week was just a blur of meeting with people. We were all over the place, again running from appointment to appointment. We’ve been meeting with a lot of less-actives. Most have been coming back to church, so that’s been great! We just have a few more to get back and we’ll be going places.

A funny story, we went around to a member’s home for dinner Fiona Soden and it turns out she grew up with the Cummings from Airdrie. So we had a good chat about that, it was just interesting how everyone here pretty much knows each other. Following the dinner appointment as it was on Wednesday we had Nathan Baptismal interview and he passed so that was great.

The following day we went with Nathan to institute to help him get there and see what it is like and he loved it! So he’ll be going back each week now. It was a small class but it was good. Not the same as Utah where the classes for institute are just full all the time.

Then Saturday we had Nathans baptism! We were at the church early to get the font full. No worries we cleaned it that morning so it was all nice and clean for him. We had his baptism at 6 and quite a few members from the ward came to support him which was really cool. The service started with a talk from Brother Watson about Baptism and then Ruth Peden and she spoke about the Holy Ghost. Then we had Nathans baptism. It was really good. Elder Palmer performed the ordinance. So while they were changing we watched some Mormon messages. They came back and Bishop Yates gave him the welcome to the ward. The following day during sacrament I confirmed him a member of the church and that was a great experience.

So I was able to think a bit about the baptism and really what it does for each and every one of us. I found it interesting just now how Alex wanted to talk about Freedom (February family topic). Whereas baptism is the opening gate to Freedom from a sinful life to a life filled with the spirit and a straight and narrow path back to God. Repentance is the life freeing ability to walk with a clean life. Countless Prophets have always expressed the message of repentance. One such scripture found in the 6th chapter of Jacob which reminds us this message of repentance and joy. Verse 6 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts”. We come to the throne of God to lay our sins at the feet of the Savior. He has already paid the price with his prefect Atonement which came about through an eternal love for all of us. He cleaves to us because he wants us to trust him. He extends his nailed scared hands towards us every day as a reminder that we are never alone. The Atonement allows us to change and become a new even when we sin again and again. Baptism is just the step into the kingdom of God, However Enduring to the End is the pathway to Eternal life with our heavenly king. Freedom comes because of the Atonement and the effort on our part to accept that sacrifice. A bit all over the place but the simple truth is how repentance is real and it available to all. Nathan has been able to experience that freedom from sin now. He is now on the path way to return to his Heavenly Father and enjoy the blessings that come from the Gospel. In my studies I have found it interesting how the Doctrine of the Atonement is most accepted truth by all Christians but the least understood by them. Where others teach that he simply paid the price of sin so we may be saved. But it’s more than that. We understand that the Atonement was prepared from the foundation of the world. He overcame Physical and Spiritual Death. Through his atonement we are all saved from physical death that is a free gift to all and does not depend on what we have done in life. All of us will be resurrected. However the effects of spiritual death depend on us. Jesus Christ has already paid the price but it is up to us to accept that or not. Just as Jacob encourages us to not harden our hearts, we take a step with a broken heart and give it to that Great Carpenter. Through ordinances by correct priesthood authority we can find safety in the arms of the Savior. No matter who we are or where we are he will always be right there waiting for us.

So we will be having moves call on Saturday and I’m not sure what will happen, but I think I might stay.

Also where you bought my bagpipes the McCallum place. It’s in my area! We are going to get a bus out to it today and go give it a look.

So to end, this week will be another crazy week, but we are seeing miracles!

When we just simply follow the commandments and do our best we can feel such a greater peace in our life.

Irn Bru has changed the recipe because something with tax and sugar but it’s still pretty much the same thing. No different.
Well we kind of did a Burns Supper at the Minchin’s but that was about it, the ward here didn’t do one. Other wards did but not here. This week has been a crazy wee! So Monday we were going to go to another beach and check some other places out with the sisters but it started raining a lot so we just hung around the mall around. We went in this PC Curry place with all the smart phones and stuff and I never knew what the phones can do now! It’s crazy. The hardest part was I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the phone. So P day was alright.
We then had our Scotland South Conference. We woke up pretty early then got a train to Edinburgh. I honestly like taking the train, I don’t really want a mission car. So we got to the conference and it was a pretty simple conference. We had some good instructions about the Atonement and a few other things about the New Year, and what the mission is hoping to do. We were told about our new mission President. I’ll have him as my mission President for about a week or 5 days. So not really two mission presidents. Then we had the fun time travelling back to Irvine. We were going to get a ride to the train station from the mission home because our zone leader said that the van would come back for my District. So we waited and waited, and they never came. The other AP came back and he called the missionaries that were driving the van and those missionaries thought they were done with giving rides, so they went and started street finding. Well we just gave up and walked. Got back pretty late but that’s okay.
So the rest of the week has been pretty crazy, we’ve been running from appointment to appointment. I mean we have been literally running. I need to do morning exercises more often. So we went and taught our investigator Nathan. The first lesson was terrible. We were all over the place, but we went back the next day and it was great! He wants to get baptized so badly. He is doing great. So Sunday morning we were going to walk with him to church and we were out on the street waiting for him, but he didn’t show up. So we ran over to his flat and buzzed his flat over and over and woke him up. Then he got dressed and off we were to church. So we got to Church and it was a pretty good service. Nathan just went around to everyone telling everyone about his baptism and how he loves reading the Book of Mormon. It’s been great! Then after church we sat down with him and went through the Baptismal questions. This guy had some really amazing answers. We’ve only been teaching him for a week. Then one of the questions was “what does it mean to you to repent?” And he answers with “To apply the Atonement of Christ” I have never heard any investigator give such a profound answer. Just completely blew me away. So I can say that this week I had a joyful heart!
Because of the miracles that have been happening in this area, Elder Palmer and I have been working really hard and we are starting to see the effects of working hard. When we just simply follow the commandments and do our best we can feel such a greater peace in our life. This is how this past week has been. So it’s going to be a great week this week as well! The Beith Elders came down for P day today and we’ll be on exchanges tomorrow. Then we should be having a baptism on Saturday. What a great week. I’ll get the t shirt pictures today don’t have any photos of the birthday so oh well. Maybe next year ha-ha. Then I did get the card so Thank you to everyone I loved it a lot!

What an undeniable witness one receives when he or she reads the Book of Mormon with real intent.

Sounds like a lot has been happening back home and will be very different when I come home.

Well what a week aye! Our last P-day we went with the Sisters over to a beach and just had some fun and took some fun photos. Elder Palmer and I were wearing the shirts, but it was so cold that we didn’t want to take off the coats to take a photo, but we got some other photos. Then we were out and about again for the evening knocking doors. We went around to someone who had invited us around a couple of weeks ago. They were in and we were able to teach a lesson and they are reading through the Book of Mormon! We were going to see them yesterday but they sent us a text that they had a massive hang over. We laughed and said we’ll come back later on in the week.

So the hours went on. We had our first District meeting of the transfer! What a great meeting! We learned about praying with faith and having expectations for miracles! We talked about some teaching skills, we read Alma 29 and compared it to missionary work, followed with talking about the Atonement and how it applies to us as missionaries and those we are teaching.

Well after the meeting we got back to work. Then really the next 3 days just kind of blurred together really. Because of all the visits we have been doing for the Bishop and all the people we are running into, I’ve never been so busy before which has been great! We are working with a ton of people and just trying to get them to Church. We did have a less active come which was really good! So out of all the appointments I don’t know how, but we were still able to set up appointments to teach new people. What a miracle!
Saturday we went out on exchanges with the zone leaders in Paisley. The first man I tried to speak to wasn’t very nice. He kept going off how evil I was and what we believe and that we don’t believe in the real Jesus. So being me, I held out my arms and offered this man a hug. He wasn’t very keen on receiving a hug, but the invitation was there. It’s sad that a lot of people in the world won’t stop and listen to something that is kind and meaningful from another person. So we kept going and we spoke to some nice people, it was an all finding day so not always the most fun, but it was interesting.
I also spoke to another woman who was going to Mass but she doesn’t know if Jesus is really the Son of God or not. In fact she didn’t really know if anything was true about the gospel, but she was fine with just how she was not knowing. I could not understand this woman at all, to continue to go to church because that is what her family did but never wanting to know. I think that is the biggest difference between those that read the Book of Mormon and those who don’t. Why not receive the most powerful witness that Jesus is the very Christ that he professed to be? Why not such a strong belief that you can say that he have was the great Jehovah of the Old Testament, The Messiah of the New, and that he lives! He is eternal and everlasting and brings us peace. What an undeniable witness one receives when he or she reads the Book of Mormon with real intent and humbly asks the Father in the name of Christ if it is true. I think was the biggest thing that I learned that we can know God. We can know because that is one of the purposes of life to know the Father. When we know him and we know that he knows us we can receive so much more out of life.
So after the exchanges we came back to Irvine, it was late as the children were making a mess in the street. Then we received a text from a young man asking if he could come to Church tomorrow. So we sent a time and a place to meet then we would walk to church. The following morning there he was and we walked to church. Probably the nicest kid I’ve ever met, but also terrible with social skills. However, he came and just started talking to everyone and we went through the whole day which he really enjoyed it. The best part was at the very end, he turned to us and asked if we do baptisms. We responded of course with a yes! Then looking very intently he asked if he could get baptized today. Took us both back, was not expecting that, but he will be getting baptized very soon. So we had a really good week! Working hard and loving it.

With the guidance that we get from the Prophet today, we can navigate the most difficult trials in life.

What a week! So the start of the week was New Years. We had a bunch of movies and we sat in our flat all day doing nothing. Which was really nice to just sit back and relax. We had the whole Avatar series the cartoon and we watched that all day. So it was actually pretty fun. Tuesday we got back to work. We did a bit of P-day stuff in the morning but then the rest of the day we were out and about. We had a meeting with the Bishop and talked about people that we could start to visit and others we could have the chance to find a baptism. We are looking for a soul to bring to Christ this Transfer.

Well then you guessed it, the following day was another day like any other. We went on exchanges with the Beith Elders. So I was off with Elder Gregory and Elder Palmer went off with Elder Sazaki. It was a bit weird because they are all 18 and still really new in the mission field. I felt so old around them all, but it was good. We had a big lunch together, the Sisters came and joined us also. Sorry, I forget to get photos. But it was good. They all gave me card telling me how old I was. We then went to the Minchin’s and had a great dinner with them for my birthday.

The rest of the week has just flown on by, we’ve been so busy with visiting people and finding that we are getting really busy, which is really good! We almost had to cancel some dinner appointments because how busy we were this week, we did have a pretty funny experience with finding. We were out on the high street and here comes walking a woman and I start to talk to her and as I start she puts in her headphones and I’m like oh she probably just going to listen to some music but she answers the phone! Then just walks away. Elder Palmer noticed so we were just kind of laughing at the awkward moment. But then she turns around and walks back and apologized that it was her mother and asked us what we were doing. So that started the conversation, and she said she would be interested in coming to church. We then asked if we could come by to visit her and her family which she responded with “Why not”. Probably our most solid appointment. It was just a nice small miracle for us. So during the rest of the week we were just out and about. Then there was one day we received a text from our zone leader asking if I could give an instruction the next day, however there were no meetings to my knowledge. So I answered back and well it turns out we had our leadership meeting in the morning and they never informed me and now I have just a few hours left of the day to come up with a half hour instruction, but we got the instruction all planned out. Usually the companions to the District leader don’t stay for the meetings but I had Elder Palmer stay he didn’t want to but it was fun. So not too much to talk about this week, just that we are becoming more and busier which is good. I’m excited for the next month.

Then President Donaldson sent out a very interesting email this week. As with the passing of President Monson, he will be missed but I’m grateful for the leadership in the church that we will never be without a prophet in the church today. Just an interesting thought from President Donaldson but he shared with us what happens when the Prophet passes away.
When the president of the Church passes away, the following events take place:
1. The First Presidency is automatically dissolved.
2. The two counselors in the First Presidency revert to their places of seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Seniority is determined by the date on which a person was ordained to the Twelve, not by age.
3. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, now numbering 14 and headed by the senior apostle, assumes Church leadership.
4. The senior apostle presides at a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve to consider two alternative propositions:
i. Should the First Presidency be reorganized at this time?
ii. Should the Church continue to function with the Quorum of the Twelve presiding?
5. After discussion, a formal motion is made and accepted by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
6. If a motion to reorganize the First Presidency is passed, the Quorum of the Twelve unanimously selects the new president of the Church. The new president chooses two counselors and the three of them become the new First Presidency. Throughout the history of the Church, the longest-serving apostle has always become the president of the Church when the First Presidency has been re-organized.
7. Following the reorganization of the First Presidency, the apostle who has served the second longest is sustained as the president of the Quorum of the Twelve. When the second-longest-serving apostle has also been called into the First Presidency as a counselor, the third-longest-serving apostle becomes acting president of the Twelve.
8. The president of the Quorum of the Twelve, along with the rest of the apostles, sets apart the new president of the Church through a formal laying on of hands.

Our Heavenly Father is a God of order and direction. He wants us to have as many blessings as we can receive and even more. The Presidents of the Church are the successors to the Prophet Joseph Smith and they by Direct Revelation lead and guide the Kingdom of God on Earth. Every 6 months we have the chance to hear council from these inspired men. After that conference we should have those talks next to our scriptures for the next 6 months. That is our modern scripture for this day and age. With the guidance that we get from the Prophet today, we can navigate the most difficult trials in life. How grateful we should be for our Prophet. I will never have to rely on wisdom of men to interpret scripture into what they want. I will never attend Church anywhere in the world and have it be different. We are a part of the living Church that is the same everywhere which is the only Church that holds the authority of God and holds the answers to eternal life. Make sure we spend time pondering on the messages that we receive from our Prophet.

Happy Birthday Elder Augustine!

Well it’s going to be a short email this week because I’ve been rushing around and not really up to much!
I was able to skype home for a bit on Christmas and it was great to speak to everyone! It’s weird to say that I’ll be coming home this year now. The last year was up and down, but full of great experiences. I’m really excited for these coming weeks and what will happen in the mission. We’ve been working pretty hard, so this next year will be something. I forgot my camera so no photos this week, sorry.

So it’s been really great here in Irvine, I’ve been so excited each day as we work. We’ve been meeting a lot of great people and setting up a lot of appointments, so it’s all really great. To be honest though I don’t know what to say in this email, it’s been just a lazy day with New Year’s so we’ve been sleeping and watching movies and just doing nothing. It’s nice to just sit down and do nothing for a bit, but it’s also really boring. So we’ll be getting back into work and just going to keep going when it’s all over. So I’m glad everything back home is well and everyone enjoyed the New Year! Thank you for the Birthday song and thank the Stronachs for the Birthday card! It’ll be a fun day. We’ll be on exchanges with the Beith Elders so we’ll have a great day of work and just enjoying being missionaries! So hope all is well speak to you next week!