Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Apr 16: Baltic Report: 16 April 2008

For All:
I have been asked for some translations, so, here they are:
sveiks, and sveiki are the exact same word. They mean "Hey! What's up!" They're basic, familiar greetings. Sveiki is just for more than one person. Sveiks is for one man, Sveika is one woman, and Sveikas is for a bunch of women (no men at all). Any other plurality of people is Sveiki. [This word literally means "health", and so is an adjective, which is why it declines to match the people you are addressing. However, you can always use it as an adverb (sveiki), which is also the same as the plural (with even one male present) of the adjective. Look at all the grammar I've learned :p]

Man žēl: this means, literally, "To me is pity." It's how you say "I'm sorry" in the sense that "I'm sorry your mom is sick" or "sorry your cat died" type thing.

Uzredzēšanos is a farewell. I'm not exactly sure what it means (you can look up "uzredzēties" in a Latvian/English dictionary if you'd like). (Jordan's mom says, yah, like we all have a Latvian/English dictionary lying around :)). heh heh [Redzēties means to see each other. This is the gerund form of the verb (meaning the noun describing the action in process, like the sport running. Running is the gerund form of the verb to run. Basically, the actual full phrase is "uz redzēsanos", as two words, not one (the confusion came in the fact that "uz" is one of Latvian's 16 prefixes), and literally translates to "until we see each other (again). So, it's English equivalent would be "see ya later".]

I hear that the weather is fairly odd back home. Here, Monday was really cold. Yesterday (Tuesday) was very...not cold. It was about 22 C and sunny, then a breeze came in and it poured rain. It was actually a thunderstorm!!!! I was so excited! Anyway, then it just cooled off. A lot. It was about 5 C when the day ended. Whatever...But, I kind of like that craziness in weather. There's nothing more boring that a day with nothing but sun! (I'm not a fan of sun right now...rumor has it that will change on my mission, as people are...interesting...without the sunlight. SAD big time!) [As it turns out, my favorite time weather-wise during my mission was during the winter, because I only had 6 cloud-covered hours of sun to put up with for the day. The sun and I never made friends, and I'm still unhappy to see the silly thing. But, I did learn to ignore the sun, so I didn't spend a lot of time or energy hating it or being angry at the sun or anything.]

Ah. Error in last publication. I said "White Sea." It's actually the "Baltic Sea." As it turns out, the word for white is "balta," and so I think I translated without even thinking about it...Also, I recently got a box of goodies from home. In it was a pedometer. I believe I will be sharing my Kilometerage with you all weekly. a means of adding some fun to my reports and keeping things random (as I like to be in more casual settings[, and as is often very needed in more formal settings.]).

Q+A: My week was all right. Best and hardest things: D. is the best. He's one of our investigators. He is applying the things that he's learned, and is seeing the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5). He is letting everyone know that he feels different. He has not been praying a lot, but we finally broke through all his barriers to praying, and he has begun to pray. Nothing can happen without sincere prayer to God. So, he is my greatest joy as of now! Our other investigators (as that was also a question I was asked) are: K. (who has been investigating for some months now), is afraid of just getting baptized. He knows he needs to be, but he thinks he can wait. And, every time we mention baptism he freaks a little and so, he doesn't like to talk about it. We also had an indifferent fellow that we dropped, as he won't keep any commitments. We also have an elderly lady I've never met, as her health has not permitted us to visit her in the last little while. And this leads me to the hardest thing this week: Jakage. When we are stood up at a meeting for whatever reason (they forgot about it, they lied about where they lived, they can't make it because of traffic or whatever) we call that "a Jake." (Don't take it personally, my cousin Jake!) Therefore, being Jaked is when nobody shows up. And, we had 18 meetings set up last week, and we only met with 7 of them. So, that's been less than fun. But, we have used the extra time to contact like mad, and we are getting a lot of interested people! Lots of sowing, but we are reaping some, too.

It is not overly green here (yet. Spring just started!) and there are trees everywhere. Latvians are very much about nature, so they have thrown trees and little gardens everywhere you can imagine.

Now, my notes from the week. I failed to mention my excitement when I rode a passenger train for the first time! That was last Monday, on the way to zone conference. I also happened to find "Howl's Moving Castle" (an animated film from studio Ghibli) IN LATVIAN! And, there is an abundance of cheap pastries here. You can buy the tastiest little things for some 9 to 26 sani (cents). Delectable, they are! Also, they have all the notes of a scale on the street. They have little metal notes in the stones all over here, and they have plaques for each of the notes (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, etc., but in Latvian!). So far, I have discovered 4 of the 7 and one that only has the treble clef. I'll let you know when I find the rest (and, I'll have pictures). The weather is gorgeous in the morning! We have the BALTIC SEA on one side, and a river on the other. Thus, we get a lot of mornings that look like this (see attached pics). Here, also, is our kitchen. But, that little tea pot thingie there...are those things available in America? They will boil about 1.2 litres in 5 minutes. I love them. Another amazing European thing that I never knew about, but now cannot fathom living without.

Then, conference. (The General Conference of the LDS Church). The Solemn Assembly was amazing. And (remember, I'm in Latvia) I could not understand all that was said, as it was being translated into Latvian. But, even with that, I still felt the Spirit a remarkably large amount! [Solemn Assembly is the official term for the time when the church sustains (shows approval and pledges to support or shows the opposite and pledges nothing) the new president of the church. While I was in the MTC, the president of the church (often called by LDS members "the prophet") passed away, and his successor was sustained.] I then thought that when we read the Scriptures, or when we study about Christ, we (even though we know the language) only understand a little. We need to be able to listen to the Holy Ghost. And we'll come to know more and more as time goes on. I just had that thought. Priesthood session of conference was rather odd: Since it was recorded in Rīga live, sometimes things didn't quite work out. They, for instance, recorded the first 5 minutes of the priesthood session going through a digital patch that made it sound like it was in a huge, echo-y cathedral. Then, they fixed that, but got the audio levels wrong, as the English was just as loud as the Latvian. They soon fixed that too, however. But, one more funny thing: our elders' quorum president speaks only Russian. He, therefore, had the audio Russian files for the conference in the back of the chapel and was listening to it while we watched and listened over the main sound system. So, we had his audio slightly ahead of ours one session. The English would start on his, then go to Russian, then our English would start, then go to Latvian. It was an interesting mix of languages. But, I still loved it! Especially when President Monson spoke (and Henry B. Eyring). I felt the spirit powerfully!! And that's with understanding only about 45% (due to the plurality of languages and the miniscule vocabulary I have in Latvian). But, it was good.

Anyway, I think that's all for now. I love you all, and keep you in my prayers every day! Stay strong!! Dievs mūs mīl, un Viņš grib svetīt mūs! Visi mūms ir jādarā ir sekot Viņam un darīt visu ko mēs varam. Vienkarši, vai nē? (sorry, he didn't provide any translation, so I guess your guess is as good as ours :) [I don't know why missionaries do that: say stuff in a foreign language with no translation. It reads: "God loves us, and He wants to bless us! All we have to do is follow Him and do all that we can. Simple, isn't it?" But with a good deal of grammar errors. I actually had to read it two or three times before I got the idea of what I probably wanted to say back then...I was still in the "translate word-for-word" phase.]
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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