Week 71: Zone Conference, Skyler and Janelle are here!!

First off I just have to say how exciting it was on Sunday to see Hamish walk into church.  He cut his hair and was receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood that day.  He is doing so well and totally embedded into the gospel.  He is going to be missed here when he leaves in two weeks for a teaching job in Malaysia.  But Bishop Haws has already contacted the bishop there and they are waiting for him with open arms.

Elder DeMille, Elder Calley
Elder Arenas, Elder Winn, Elder James
Elder Baklan, Elder Scheils
Elder Dunn, Elder Grabe
Sister Oren, Sister Fahina

Tuesday was zone conference.  It’s always such a moral booster to have a day with these missionaries and to listen to council and doctrine.  We also get to listen to departing and incoming testimonies which brings the spirit with a vengeance.  There is no denying the presence of the Holy Ghost during these sweet testimonies of how missions have changed lives and also how nervous the new missionaries are and yet are filled with the Spirit as they speak the truthful words of the gospel.

After zone conference the missionaries come looking for supplies to take back with them.  I love this interaction with them.  They are always so upbeat and excited.  Nothing seems to deter them from what they need to do.  These two, Elder Allison from Germany and Elder Chuah from Malaysia were looking for Dutch and Arabic supplies.  

Tuesday night was also our night to enjoy dinner with Elder O’Connor and Elder Gowans.  This was Elder Gowans last zone conference and his sweet, strong testimony was so wonderful to hear.  I tell you these missionaries become such a part of your daily life and then they go home.  I am excited for them to move on but I will miss them also.  Elder Gowans and Elder O’Connor come into the office a lot and I enjoy visiting with them so much.

Wednesday we had another baptism.  Always a great evening when we can go to a baptism.  This was Linh Nguyen from Vietnam.  She is so ready to be baptised.  She thanked everyone for coming and had so much poise when she bore her testimony.  So happy for her.

Thursday was a day I had been waiting for.  Skyler and Janelle came to Edinburgh.  They flew into London and took a train up to Edinburgh.  The train was an hour late which threw my plans off a bit but we rushed to Zizzi’s for dinner once they got here and then took them to their hotel so they could get some sleep.

Friday morning I picked Skyler and Janelle up and after picking up a rental car we drove up to St Andrews to see the golf course, the cathedral and the castle.  Then because it is that good we had a quick lunch at Zizzi’s. 

Then we headed on up to Dunnottar Castle.  We hiked over to the castle and found a wedding going on so there was a bagpipe player which added to the feel of Scotland.  I enjoyed this castle just as much the second time and I’m glad we decided to come over to it again.  After the castle we went to Auntie Betty’s in Stonehaven for a well-deserved ice cream and then headed out to the place we were staying for the night.  I was very excited about this place, hoping Janelle would enjoy the fact that we were staying in a castle.  It was a neat place and we enjoyed walking around the grounds and watching the sun start to set for the night.

Saturday we went to two castles I hadn’t been to before.  They were both great choices.  The first was Castle Fraser which we toured the inside of.  It was a lot of climbing stairs (104 stairs up and 107 stairs back down).  There were several stories that we climbed and we enjoyed it very much.  It was very authentic feeling on the inside.  We also wandered through the gardens there.

Then we drove to Craigievar Castle.  We didn’t go into this one but walked around the grounds and took pictures.  It is a very unique looking castle on the outside.  I’ve always wanted to see this one so I’m glad we stopped.  I love the salmon color.

 As we were driving towards Stirling we saw another castle right off the road and so we also pulled over to see Braemer Castle and take a picture.  It looked very similar to Castle Fraser so I’m not including a picture here.

Well, we drove all the way to Stirling, stopping at Pitlochry for a break.  We wandered the streets of Pitlochry for a bit and Skyler bought a shirt and some pants that look really nice on him.  Janelle also found a purse so they both got their souvenir.

By the time we got to Stirling the castle was closed but we drove up anyway and then walked down into the Church of the Holy Rude cemetery.  It’s a great cemetery to walk through.    I have to say that the day turned into a great day and we had a lot of fun.  We found our hotel and I went up and probably fell asleep rather quickly.  Skyler and Janelle went for a walk and found a place to get ice cream cones and enjoy the evening air.

Sunday we attended church in Alloa and then walked up to Stirling Castle for a quick visit.  We didn’t stay very long but I wanted to be sure Skyler and Janelle saw it.  Turns out, even though I love Stirling Castle, it wasn’t their favorite.  That’s okay.  We then headed over to Loch Lomond.

I had not ever officially been to Loch Lomond.  I have driven by the signs many times and have driven along other Loch’s very close to it but I don’t think I had ever actually seen it.  We got on a boat and took a 90 minute trip around the loch to see the many islands.  We saw an island that has Wallabys on it and another with some Osprey nests.  We could actually see the birds sitting up on the giant next in the trees.  We saw another teeny little island named Isle of Inveruglas with a small fortress that took up most of the space.  It was surrounded by trees so we could only see bits and pieces of it.  The Loch was beautiful and we enjoyed the ride.

On the way to Edinburgh we stopped off at the Kelpies which is another of my favorite places.  These horse heads are enormous and fun to visit.

I’m going to end here since this is Sunday.  I will add our Monday adventures to next weeks blog.  Unfortunately I didn’t even take any pictures for Monday but maybe Skyler will have his for me to share.

It’s been a great week.  Love you.

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