Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Arp 30: Read All About It

For All:
Distance: Without last Wednesday (my pedometer randomly reset and I lost the day's count), I have 70.12KM (83,931) and a new record of steps today (almost 17000)!

I was asked questions. Answers. Investigator update: D. is doing great with coffee right now! The big problem will be to get him married. His g/f is cool with getting married, but it has to be in a church. And here in Latvia, the LDS church is not recognized by the state, so they cannot be married right now. Unless he is baptized into the Lutheran church, then they can. But then his then wife (she told him) would not allow him to change faiths. So...things are tough...V. couldn't meet this week (any of them, for various reasons...), and S. (probably, that's the Russian spelling of his name...I don't really know what the proper spelling is for that) and L. headed out to the country, so we couldn't really meet with them. But, we still had 6 meetings on Tuesday alone, and things are going well there. But, this week is crazy, and we had another insane Friday. More on that later.

Interesting Latvian fact: it is Latvijas Neatkartības Proklamēšanas Gadadiena (Latvia's Independence Day[, misspelled (in Latvian)]) of a few. This one is the most recent liberation from Russia in the 90s. And to celebrate, our Latvian language teacher, Māsa Karkļiņa, invited us over for dinner at her place. The language is going very, very well, and my health is about the same as it's been my whole mission: mostly good (recently, with spring and all, my nose has decided to run more than I do...).

OK, so life. Yeah. Craziness. All was well and normal for one day after I wrote. Then, a Friday came...the Boehms (the president of the branch here and his wife) had to emergency fly to Germany for medical care (they're all right was stones of some organ, but were small enough to pass on their own), so we had our meeting [our district meeting, as all the missionaries in divisions called districts meet together each week to discuss the work, practice teaching skills, and set plans, goals, etc. with each other for the next week] at the church. After, we got a call from the mission president. Due to some unfortunate events in Rīga, Elder Vance had to leave, and was replaced with Elder McIlrath (Makilrats, in Latvian, to aid in pronunciation). So...that's our newest change in the district.

Church without the Boehms was very interesting. And a little crazy. I taught my first lesson in church (in Latvian, and everyone understood me!!), to a class of about 9, and only one of them was a member (well, and four missionaries). But, good on it. One of the investigators (our best Russian one, but since all the Elders--the one [left] that speak Russian and the ones that speak Latvian--are together, we teach the Russians too) was getting baptized this Saturday. Her name is O. She's not anymore because of her living arrangement--she's living with an ex-husband. *Sigh* But, she accepted all the doctrine readily and loves it! We also have a girl in 11th grade (also a Russian, but she speaks enough Latvian that we can talk with her and she speaks a lot of English) is doing amazing! Her name in J.! And, we met with a lot of good people. I won't mention names until they start to go somewhere, but things are going amazing[ly well, need to use adverbs] in that area!

Today is Culture Day. Once every three months we get to pick a spot in Latvia to go visit, and we spend the whole day. It was very good (more in a moment). But, my camera, on Saturday, was dropped on the beach, and now has sand stuck in the lens. It's...toast. So, I'm into the market of finding a new one. Unfortunately, the prices are numerically the same as in America, but the currency is worth over twice as much. [Meaning an $80 camera in the states costs 80 ls here.] I'm not exactly sure what I can do. I'm going to see if I can get mine fixed, but we'll see. I was very unhappy, because we were on the beach around sunset time. And...we have gorgeous sunsets every night (not to make anybody jealous). Also, we've been having weather in the 20s (that's in the mid to upper 60s for you Americans) with a cheerful breeze all week until today (that's been in the 50s with rain).

Now, today! I traveled to Venspils! After a two-and-a-half hour bus ride, we got there. It was windy and a little chilly. Apparently, there was a traveling giant cow show from 2000 until '05 or so, and six of those cows stayed in Venspils. We checked those out first, then visited a pils (castle) by the river. It was really cool! I got to wear some chain mail (20KG), with a helmet and sword. Anyway, I loved the castle! I also was in stocks for the first time (not the financial kind). After the castle-museum we hit a store, then went to the beach to eat. This giant blue cow was on the pier, so we moseyed up to the thing, then realized we were to travel back home in about half an hour, and the bus station was about 45 minutes away. Thus followed the super power-walk/mad dash to make it to the bus just before it left! Whew! I didn't have a camera (I haven't yet found a good one to buy), so Agnese (a member from Center Riga who'll be leaving on her mission next month (that's May), and who will return when I have one month left in the field) took a ton of pictures for me. I'll have those after zone conference, which is this Friday.
Anyway, I love you all. Thank you for your prayers! Because I just got back from Venspils, I don't have my notes with me from studying about Christ this week, so I don't remember what was learned this week (I did learn some things, though). More on that next letter!
Have a great week! --
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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