Theft is not common in my mission. The secretary I talked to had been there for a little over a year and a half, and there had only been one theft in the entire mission during that time, so I'm not worried about that happening. [This was statistics for muggings. I don't think anybody was mugged during my mission successfully, though two different guys, at two different times, tried to mug me. If you leave something lying around though, it will be taken. Everything valuable must be locked in somewhere when you aren't physically by it, even if you plan to just leave it for 15 minutes.]
He also informed me that Latvian, contrary to prior reports, is completely unconnected to any other language. It has minor similarities to a few (like Russian and a little bit to Middle Eastern languages (as it has roots in Sanskrit)), but no similarities worth noting. So there's nothing I can learn to help me there, although he did suggest that I read the Book of Mormon (BoM) in that language about 15 minutes a day, just to familiarize me with the words and such. He then suggested that the best way to prepare is simply to study Preach My Gospel (PMG ) to a point where I know everything it contains and can teach it comfortably. Preach My Gospel is the missionary study guide, that goes over the various topics of the gospel, as well as instruction missionaries (and members of the church in general) how to teach those things most effectively, as well as reminding missionaries of their purpose while they're gone. The book is one of the most amazing pieces of literature ever, and is a read I highly recommend for anybody interested in the Church, or who already are members.
This fellow in the office at Latvia also informed me that my stay in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) will last between 8-10 weeks. [It's pretty much set at 9 weeks.] Also, I discovered that the name on the nametags worn by missionaries changes. Usually, the spelling is changed so that it is properly pronounced in the country where you serve. It Latvia and Lithuania, it is also changed to match the gender (an 's' is placed at the end of the name to signify male, either an 'a' or 'e' for female), meaning my name will have to change at least to "Argyles," though I suspect it will change more than that due to the awkward pronunciation using this spelling in Latvian. This I found mildly amusing. And that is all I forgot to mention.
Next week, I will explain a few things about the church as well as cover some things:
- The purpose of this blog
- Some information about how I will work my blog (terms and such)
- State some facts about the Church in an attempt to clear up some misconceptions about it
- State some doctrine, so the those researching the church can find out what we, as a church, teach.
( >/°¥< )