Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mar 26: Elder Argyle Weekly Report

For all:
Well, it appears that it is (already) again time for the weekly report! Don't weeks still have 7 days? It feels like three since I last wrote...ah, well. I was asked how the general experience is. Not bad. Although, I will say that I found something very interesting this week. Each time I report on something, the following week things seem to go the opposite way. I reported on warm weather: now it's below freezing with snow almost every day and wind cold enough to kill. I reported on the hot water being off: now it's back on and our cold water was out for a while. I must admit, the bathroom is much more foreboding when it's not all warm from the hot water in my towel warmer :P Culture shock never really set in on me. For a little while I was fairly unhappy because I couldn't understand what people were saying well enough to teach and do anything useful, but now I think the main thing that I notice that's different is the food. I really miss those salty treats (crackers and chips and things) that either don't exist here or are way too expensive!

This upcoming weekend ends this transfer. So, I'm fairly confident that I will still be in Jelgava, but the office did call and asked what my computer experience is. I'm afraid that they'll call me to work in the office! That's not what I want at all!! But, I'm still fairly sure that I'll be here still. I'll let you know next week.

My update: yes, we are still meeting with E.. He does, however, have some...interesting ideas that are making it difficult to teach him. But, he quit smoking and drinking coffee because he felt he should about two weeks ago. He has a strong desire to serve God, and is very sensitive to knowing what is right and what is wrong. He knows God leads him, and he already believes that we are here on earth to become like God! Wow! I think he will teach us the Plan of Salvation!! The big problem we have right now is his interesting ideas, and he lives with his girlfriend. So, pray for him. L. dissapeared. We don't have a number for him, and he didn't make it to one of our meeting, so I have no idea how he's doing. The mother and son are busy, and I haven't seen them recently. V. just started work like crazy (or something), and he's also fallen off radar. So, E. is our only investigator from before; otherwise, we're back to a clean slate. But, we met with a man named A. yesterday, and he looks like he'll go through. Everyone, just pray that the people we talk to will remember and desire to meet with us. We set up plenty of meetings--just most of them don't come.

Other questions: the gypsies here are like gypsies anywhere else. I think they came in traveling from somewhere, and now they have people in every social class. They are, however, the nicest human beings on the entire planet of earth. Once you are friends with them, there is nothing they won't do for you. I haven't known any since I have been here, but R. [a church member] is half, and he has taken a lot from that half. His heart is so good, and he wants nothing more than to help other people. He actually told us last Sunday that he wants to serve a mission! I love him! Electricity is very reliable: I have never once been without it.

Yes...my "stove." It's basically a tiny oven with two electric burners on the top. It's a little bigger than a microwave. So, it's not what I would consider a true stove. But, it looks a lot like what other people have in their homes. Only, most other people use gas. Come to think of it...ours is the only electric one I've seen so far...(that's one of the pictures I included) . They do have microwaves, but we don't. I have been asked about some other food...they have pancakes here, but they are very little like what's in America. They are basically a thin lining of dough filled with delectables (cheese with meat, apples and bananas--please, nobody start singing--and anything else that's tasty in fried dough). I love those things! I have also been getting some ice cream from Estonia each week (they sell those at Iki and Rimi), and I must admit, it is amazingly tasty! The rye bread here far surpassed anything I had in America (in fact, Latvia is famous for it's black breads), and they have something called "Biezpien [something starting with s]" [biezpien sieri┼ći]. Basically, they're little cheesecake squares covered in chocolate with fruit mixed in, only they taste way, way, way, way better than any cheesecake I've ever eaten (and I've had some tasty cheesecake).

'Marts' is 'March' in Latvian. It was also Easter here last week. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Well, we had two people at church (less than usual, odd, considering it was Easter) and a lot of trackting. Oh, and a random blizzard with a frigid wind. But as for how it's celebrated...I know not. I did want to share my favorite Easter scripture: John 20:11-17. This is Mary at the tomb. This story, I believe, truly shows the love the Lord has for each of us. This also reminds me of a song, called Turning, that I deeply love. It can by found on the CD "Reverence" by InsideOut, for any who want to hear it. It's basically this story from Mary's viewpoint. Anyway, I love the story, because she sees two angels, but they provide her no comfort. She seeks only the Lord, and when he appears to her, all her grief (which must have been very great) was changed so quickly into euphoric joy! I love it! one person we talked to Saturday asked us if we celebrate Easter in America, or if it was just an European thing. I couldn't help but smile at the question, "Do they celebrate Easter there?"

Typical day: get up at 6:30. Very tired. I then exercise a little or shave (depending on how awake I am), then I eat. Following is an hour of personal study in the scriptures. Then an hour of companion study (language, Preach My Gospel--they missionary manual--and scriptures), and sometimes another hour just for language. Depending on meetings, though, those can move elsewhere. Also, we contact for two hours in the mornings on Tuesday and Thursday. But, after study, we head out, contacting until we have meetings. We eat usually around 14:30, and then we study for another hour (usually). By 16:00, we're back out in meetings, contacting, and finding people to teach. That's about it. Well...that's the shortened version. But that's the gyst.

One more random story really quick: I got a pile of letters last Friday. Apparently, all my mail I have gotten since I arrived has been put in my mailbox at the Riga center church. But, I had no idea where it was until last Friday. So, thank you for the updates G+G A, and thank you also for the note, Kirstie! And I'll let all of you know when I get stuff from now on!
Anyway, this is the true gospel of Christ. I know that. And I feel that. Please, pray for those Elder Doane and I find here! I love you all!!
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Elder Argyle
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( >/°¥< )
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