Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jan 10: No pictures...

So, I tried to upload photos to this silly application, but no dice. The computers are pretty well locked down here. [That means that it's close to impossible to do anything but go to the church's web site or this email application. I have since added a couple pictures.
Top pic: Me, standing by a Christmas tree. Yup, it was Christmastime at the MTC.
Bottom pic: They decorate the open space between buildings on the MTC campus with a large amount of Christmas lights. They try to make the place as cheery as possible, because it's often very hard for missionaries--these 19-26(ish) year old young people who may not have every really been far from home on Christmas before--to be away from home for Christmas. These lights, I will admit, were calming in a way, and helped me stave off homesickness during Christmas.]

First, I need a single list of all names of Scottish origin that start with the letters "Wa." Typically, it seems to be a last name. The reason for this is I'm trying to find out Māsas Naitas (genitive case, shows possession) middle name. All she'll say is it's of Scottish origin, typically used as a last name, and she has a rather famous uncle (whatever that means). So, if I could get a list of some of the less usual ones, I'd much appreciate it.

Second, language has been coming a little slow this week. I don't know why. Interestingly enough, we now have two teachers. Brālis Šels returned from his honeymoon cruise, and Māsa Farnes also joined us. She was formally a teacher who recently left to pursue other things, but has returned because she is much needed. The came in speaking almost all Latvian, which was VERY different from what we normally experience. But, I can now understand what is being said without having to see it, so nothing but good has come from it. So, that was different. Anyway, I really like having teachers again. But, because of that I totally forgot what I was supposed to be studying language-wise for the TRC (Training Resource Center. You go there, teach, and speak your language with volunteers. You are then evaluated on how you did. Very helpful [the idea is that you are in simulated mission environment, so you teach lessons, talk about menus and order food, buy clothes, and so on in the language so that you can use that vocabulary. That section of the TRC usually lasts some 15 minutes, then you have 35 to teach a simple lesson]. So, about now I'm a little frantic on trying to learn the vocab I need to know. Oh dear...

In other news, despite our best efforts, Elder Dundee is still Sweedish. One of my roommates, Elder Dundee, is fairly unaccustomed to American things, and when he finds something he didn't like, he usually comments on how it's the fault of Americans for having such a thing. I find it very humorous, actually. We've been trying to inaugurate him in the American way, but no dice thus far. This week, however, we had a breakthrough: he likes Nerds! candies! Truly this discovery was a victory for good!
(In all honesty, we massively love Elder Dundee as he his. This is a running joke we have, since we also have a Danish elder, and he and Elder Dundee do tend to mock each other's nations a lot. We felt left out. So...this is how we include ourselves).

One last thing (probably): I spent some time in the RC recently. That's a place where missionaries take calls from people who order free stuff they find out about from pass-along cards, commercials from the Church, and other means [from you can request a Bible, a Book of Mormon, several DVDs about Christ, His life, about families, and many other things. You can also read a lot about things in the Church from an accurate source, if you are trying to learn about it. You can also find regular members of the church who talk about what the church means and does for them. It's a very good site]. We also call out to make sure that things ordered arrive to the person who ordered it. It's very interesting working there. The outbound calls are all randomized, so you get somebody who needs to be called, but you don't really know where the call will be going until you get the name on the screen. Most of my calls this last time were to Tennessee, and for a little while, it was fairly difficult for me to work out what was being said. But, once I figured out how to hear that very different kind of English, I realized I was bein' told a story. To summarize the four-or-so-minute-long story, the lady I called had been pushed into a wheelbarra' by a large dog she was trying to catch. As a result, she was now taking to bed rest for a little while, making sure not to hurt herself more. I was surprised--I don't often get stories when I call. Maybe I just need to call more people...I don't know.

That's really all I can think of talking about this week. Lots has happened, but not overly much to talk about. So, until next week, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS!! I have begun to feel the power of that from you all.

Es zinu ka Jezus Christus ir mūsu glabejs. Es zinu ka vinš dzivo! Es zinu ka Greku Izpirkšana ir spēks. Es zinu ka pēdējo Dienu Svēto Jēzus Kristus Baznīca ir dieva baznīca lodē! Es zinu ka Mormona Gratama ir patiesiba. Es milu misionāri dārbu!! [Note: the double vowels have been replaced with long signs, and the ^s is replaced with š, to make it look more foreign. No grammatical or vocabulary errors were corrected. There are some of each error, by the way.]

I love you all!
Elders Džordan Ārgails
(all latvian spelling, fyi)

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