Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 30: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Slow week, Baltic Party, and...viss

All: 101,52 KM (126,958 steps). Tragic news: I just discovered that I have been 2CM off with the length of my stride this whole time!! But, that's now corrected, and I will be more accurate from now on. (Jordan's parents say we hope he's kidding--I mean, 2 centimeters??? Come ON)

Pioneer Day: we had sašliki (sash-leekee, for you English speakers), which is the same thing as shishkabobs. We danced in the chapel (without the chairs in it), and talked. That was it. No hand carts, no real out-door activity, but those who came loved it! I don't know who all was involved (if it was celebrated by more than just Liepāja), but it was fun! I spent most of my time outside with J. (our investigator), and the other Elders (my companions). I snuck in to grab some pictures, then was back outside. The Baltic Beach Party sold 102,000+ tickets this year, meaning that 40-50 thousand people came. I grossly underestimated! And the Liepājans grossly overreacted to the effects caused by the Party. But, it was way fun, and several members attended. That was the 24-25 of July (meaning it was going on at the same time as our party for Pioneer Day).

For sports (thanks to the crazy situation on the beach, which is right by Jurmalas Park), we simply played cards and hand games at the church. One of the favorites involved random noises, and A. F. (name translated), made about the funniest cow noise I've ever heard. Several players were unable to play because they were laughing so hard!

Since my English class has dwindled away to nothing (maybe a student every now and again), I have been teaching Sister Kelley's class, which is first level. I do this because she has had to translate or go on errands during English class. That has proved very difficult for me. It turns out my brain fries when I teach English from Latvian, speaking only Latvian for 45 minutes to an hour. And I'm not exactly sure how to say some things, so it comes out being very awkward. But, it's been good for building my abilities in Latvian, though...

We...don't have any progressing investigators. All of the people we've been teaching have vanished, no longer want to meet with us and so make excuses, or are moving away. So....nothing really to report there.

For my spiritual thought: the prophet Joseph Smith, in addition to translating the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, also received other revelations from God. He recorded these revelations just like Moses and other prophets of old did. These revelations are recorded in a volume of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants. There are 138 sections in this volume. God is speaking with Joseph Smith, and he says some of the following about the Book of Mormon:

D&C (Doctrine and Covenants) 10:52, 57-64 - God states very simply that the reason for the Book of Mormon is to prove the truths recorded in the Bible, especially about the nature of Jesus Christ and our relationship to Him, to reduce contention on doctrinal points (clarify truths and provide additional revelation to help us understand what is going on in matters of religion--especially about Christ's gospel for us), and to glorify God.

Again, in D&C 11:22 it is written that we must study the Bible and the Book of Mormon. In 11:24-5, it commands all to build on Christ's gospel, and to deny not revelation nor prophecy. God has always worked that way, and always will, as God never changes. He does not confer all power to man and let them do whatever--he guides them in the use of the power he has given them, and if they use it contrary to what was given them through revelation, then they no longer have that power. Any person who goes against he will of God cannot and will not have any power or authority to act in God's name.
Interestingly enough, D&C 17:6 is where Christ Himself testifies to the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon.

Anyway, the point is this: no matter how much more I learn, I have affirmed to me again and again that God speaks today, and that He waits with open arms for all of His children to come to Him. We do this through covenants (two-way promises) with God. Our first one is baptism. It is necessary that we are baptized by one having the authority to act in the name of God, for anything done without His authorization is void after this life ends, and will be profitless by the receiver. I firmly attest that that authority was lost after the death of the Apostles of the Lamb in New Testament times. And that authority has again been restored through apostles and prophets, just like Christ Himself did when He was on the earth. I testify that the place truth's fullness can be found is in this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I testify that only in this church can the fullness of truth be found. And only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds the authority to act in God's name, binding on earth and in heaven, and loosing on earth an in heaven (see Matthew 16:17-19, D&C 124:91-96). But don't just take my word for it. Pray about it. I'm pretty sure that God knows. I'm confident He will answer you as He has me.
Elder Argyle

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