Sunday, February 28, 2016

Interesting week full of ups and downs!
Starting with the funny moments of the week: we saw someone get arrested, we bussed down a street that the bomb squad was on as they were actively searching for something, and we got caught in the middle of a funeral procession down a random street.
On Tuesday, we had a district meeting (our district is 2 other elders), and they made us cookies! It was really nice of them.

Thursday was my fortnight, meaning I've been in my area for 2 weeks! So we celebrated with French Toast!! It was so dang good. 

I gave a talk on Sunday about honesty. It was a really hard topic, because what do you say other than "don't lie"... but I managed to make it long enough! People seemed to like it. 

There's a new investigator named Emma! We're team teaching her with the neighboring elders. She's 15, and is probably going to be baptized soon! She's  really cool, the gospel is totally changing her lifestyle for the better!
I've become pretty good friends with the Young Women in the ward here! There's 2 sisters, one is 15 the other 13, who are half Brazilian. They are sooooooo fun, and they love us, so it works great! The other girl is the investigator, but her grandma is a member.  Her name is Clara, and she's so cool!
New favorite ice cream flavor!

Oh ya, there's a ton of conflict here between Catholics and Protestants. I thought everything had calmed down since the initial riots, but there's still a ton of contention. No wonder no one wants to hear from us, religion has caused so much violence in this city. Look up Shankill and the Falls, those are the main areas here in Belfast that we're working in. One is very catholic, the other very protestant.  There's even a gate in between them that closes at night. It's weird though, because none of the troublemakers actually practices their religion.

I went on splits with Sister Norin.  She's the sister from Sweden that knows the Grayson family.  Small world!!

The rain is relentless, but it makes people pity us and then they're more willing to talk to us, so whatever works! It rains just as much as Seattle, so it feels like home!
Hope everyone has a good week! 

-Sister Stapley

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What Do You Love?

Editor's note-Megan asked me to clarify a few of the abbreviations in last week's post. YW and YM stand for Young Women and Young Men- the youth program for 12-18 year olds.  RS stands for Relief Society- the women's organization. And YSA stands for Young Single Adult- usually college age individuals. 

Goodnight Belfast (view from my flat)
Hey everyone!
This week got progressively better, so that's good! My favorite part of the week was on Saturday, we went into the city center with 6 elders from the surrounding areas. We set up a whiteboard that said "What Do You Love?" for Valentines Day. Over a hundred people stopped and wrote something! Some good conversations came out of it, my companion and I got 2 potential investigators who wanted to learn more! We met 3 college kids from America. It was really nice to talk to them about life and stuff. 

We taught 2 lessons this week! Problem has severe schizophrenia and the other is the mental age of a 13 year old...It's rough. We taught them all we could, but you know...

We're also teaching this 15 year old girl who knows the church is true, but her family life is complicated.

So ya, that's pretty much my week. A lot of knocking doors, but here it's called "chapping" because you lift their letter box up and down instead of knocking. 

I've decided that the Cavehill Ward is legitimately the "Sister Act" entourage. We've got a young single girl that looks just like the young nun in the movie and a middle aged polish lady that looks like the nun that sings loud and high.  It's so funny.  Most of the women in the ward are widows and are the funniest people I've ever met. They go to Bingo every Saturday. The lesson in Relief Society (the women's organization) yesterday was about how Jesus Christ helps us through our trials. We went around the room and everyone shared one of their their biggest trials. All of their trials consisted of their husbands, children, or siblings dying. It was hard for me to know what to say to them, they have all been through so much here. I'm glad to know and share with others that our Savior will heal our hearts and that we will see our loved ones again.  Oh, and the ladies pass around an oxygen tank during the lesson. I'm not kidding, they all take oxygen shots before they answer a question.  I wonder why we don't do this back home?

Yesterday's Sunday school lesson was about how pride ruins people. It's a common thought here that people who get a bachelors degree think they know more than God. And if you get a PhD in anything science related, you don't believe in God at all. Interesting.

Funny moment of the week: There's a church near our flat with a sign out front that reads, "Our church protects us! 8 months without a member being knifed!" I kid you not. 

So ya, that's my week. Hope you all are doing well! 

-Sister Stapley

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hiya from Belfast!

Description View of Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle.JPG "In 1840 Elder Orson Pratt, an LDS Apostle, climbed to the top of Arthur's Seat.  There he dedicated the country of Scotland for the preaching of the gospel.  Today your missionary climbed the hill and dedicated themselves to the preaching of the gospel in this great land." - President Donaldson  Feb. 5, 2016. Edinburgh, Scotland

It's been a crazy week! In the past 5 days, I've gone from Preston, England to Edinburgh, to Belfast (via ferry!), to Dublin, and finally back to Belfast. I'm so exhausted, traveling really takes it out of you!
MTC District
So we left the MTC in England on Wednesday morning. We got to the mission home base in Edinburgh a couple hours later, and holy cow, the house is huge! It's literally a mansion! As soon as we showed up, all these missionaries ran downstairs to meet us. It felt like I was entering a sorority haha! Then we went on a hike with everyone to the top of Arthurs' Seat.  At the top, our mission president, President Donaldson, talked to us about the history of Mormons in Scotland and Ireland. It's the site where Orson Pratt dedicated the land for missionary work in 1840.  It was really cool!!
 With Sister Esplin on our hike up Arthur's Seat.

We headed back to the mission home and sat down in this big room. Donaldson took us newbies out one by one to interview us and figure out which more experienced missionary would be our trainers. Then we all went back and he read out who was with who. I'm companions with Sister Wagner from Boise, Idaho, and we were told we're going to Belfast the following morning! We're whitewashing in, which means neither of us were ever in Belfast before, so we're kind of starting fresh. Sister Wagner is super nice and fun, and she goes home right after she trains me, so she's got 10 weeks left!

That night, all the missionaries serving in Scotland shipped out. It was sad to say bye to my friends, especially Esplin, but we'll see each other throughout the next couple months.
So Thursday morning, Sister Wagner and I, along with 10 other elders and sisters, got on a bus for 3.5 hours, then a ferry for another 2.5 hours. The ferry was more like a cruise ship, it was so fancy! After that, we were in Belfast! We got to our flat, and elders lived there before us, so it was kind of a mess. 

The next day, we took a 2.5 hour bus to Dublin for a mission conference. Elder Halstrom was there from the 70, he did a great job! It was really nice to see my friends who were elsewhere in Ireland as well.

 So Ireland. It's green, it's beautiful, it's rich in most areas. I'm in the middle of the city of Belfast. It's not quite so beautiful right here.

We went to church yesterday, and it was quite the experience. We are in the Cavehill Ward. There are 35 members in the ward; 2 primary, 3 yw, 1 ym, 3 ysa, 2 young couples, and 22 adults over the age of 60, most of them closer to 80. They're all really nice, but think that missionary work is pointless. We came into the area with 0 investigators, so right now we're just trying to find people to teach. 

The accent isn't too hard to understand, unless the person is really old. Then it's rough! This week has been an adventure for sure! Hope everyone at home is doing well, love you all!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Megan shipped out! Guess where?!!

With President and Sister Donaldson

With Sister Wagner

We received this from Megan's mission home this morning.  She and Sister Wagner are serving in Belfast, Ireland.  We'll probably hear from her next Monday.   These two look like they will get along very well.