Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sep 10: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: English's End, Knocking, Rich Neighborhoods, Killer Conference, Beaver, LHC(!!)

All: No distance this record is at the church right now, and I couldn't add it all up last night! But, next week, you'll get it.

Pictures: IMG_0609 is me PETTING A BEAVER! Yup! My comp, who took the picture, thought that I was fairly immature. But, I enjoyed it. A lot. Unfortunately, you cannot really see that it's a beaver....anyway. This was at the Rietums Festivals (Autumn Festival) at the Botaniskais Darzs (botanical(?) garden).
IMG_612 is from the roof of a 12 story dome, about sunset time. It's rather pretty, I thought (and you can see a hint of Rīga off to the right). It was a beautiful panorama (but I didn't take the panoramic shot from my comp this time, so you'll just have to believe me).
IMG_0569 is a shot of Lido. It's...quite a fancy place to eat. More on that later, also.

Letters received: Ashley, Lacey, Grandparents (both sets). Thank you much! I love reading all the news and updates!

Next item of business: I have found a pretty good Latvian-->English and English-->Latvian dictionary! The link is . To change the language, just click on the flags at the top, or on any of the words when you're searching. Remember, that all words (almost) decline or conjugate in Latvian, so often you won't find the exact word. But, it's good enough.

Answers to questions:
English class is stopped until the 18th. We are running ads in the 5 Minute (a little free paper in Rīga) and we're hoping to see lots of new people! Amy said she'd come back, and she's bringing friends with her. And Tims was there Thursday (the last day of this session), which was kinda weird, but nekas.

Weather here has been odd. Rain almost every day, still. Monday was an actual thunder storm, and enough rain that several...uh...dzivokļi (apartments? I don't know what this is in's where people live. A little apartment-type thing) flooded. Crazy...and on that day was a zone conference with President Gibbons (one of the presidency for East Europe...more on that in a moment). Thus, things have been hot, cold, normal, cold...and still humid, yes. I love it, now! Still not cold enough for a jacket, but chilly enough for sleeves (sometimes).

My typical day is this: wake up. Study. Leave. Talk to people. Sit for an hour or two on transport (and waiting for transport), knock somewhere, and teach a lesson when possible. It's been...rough for investigators the last little while.

Now, to other news:
I've already talked about English class. So, moving on from there. Since all of our investigators (save A., who is the interesting guy) have disappeared or no longer wish to meet with us, we have spent a great deal of time knocking on doors. We have been finding a little more than half of those we knock into are Russian. And areas we've been picking have not had great numbers of interested folk. But, on that note, we went out, almost as if going to Piņķi, but got off the bus before there and knocked an area of homes for three+ hours. This is the area with the Spilva factory, if any would care to find it via googleEarth or Maps. Zvaigžņu Iela and Spilva Iela is the street intersection I recall. Anyway, these homes were very, very nice. I do think that any of them could have fit in very comfortably in California (where I worked last summer). One even had a robotic lawn mower! It felt very much like a cross between outdoorzy Idaho and California's homes--the best and most beautiful of both! It was very enjoyable (pictures next week, maybe...). We've also gone on lots of splits with the Russian group of three missionaries, and found several good Russians to teach that way for them. Not a lot of interested Latvians...and the ones that are cannot ever meet (because they work 80+ hours a week or something similar...).

Then, we had a conference with President Gibbons. He's in the presidency for the East Europe area. President Dance went to a mission presidents' conference in Moscow, and both came back with the exact same message: Working with members is the only way to do the work. It was one of the most powerful meetings I have attended, because every single thing was on how we can be more effective in bringing souls unto Christ. Our primary focus should be with the members. As members, their focus should be on helping their friends accept the gospel. And it was stressed how easy it is. True, not all will be interested, but if done in love, and simply (as the gospel is a part of your life--you don't need to force conversation about it. Just simply state the reasons you do what you do, and people respect that and want to learn more), then none will be offended. Just do it. It was cool. We were then told how the priesthood organization works, and that with leadership positions come prieshood keys (authority), to preside over specific people and ordinances. The only thing the mission president has keys for is for convert baptisms. Everything else falls in the branch or ward. That means the branch/ward leaders are the only people authorized to receive revelation for the members of their branch/ward. That means we need to get working with our branch presidents throughout the Baltics! We were told we, as missionaries, can receive the revelation for our area and our investigators, for they are under our direct stewardship. But we cannot receive revelation for the branch, or for members, because they are NOT under our jurisdiction. But we can receive revelation for how to implement the shift to mostly branch-centered work in our areas. And so we have begun to do that. Obviously, we're still looking for people on our own, but the majority of investigators should come through the members. If anybody has any ideas on how to talk to friends, or how to build the faith of the members and such, send them this way, because I'm tired of not having investigators!

Already talked about the beaver. But, at Botaniskais Darzs, we have been offering to do service there. Because of that, we got free admission to this festival. There were vendors, activities, and we could tour the gardens. So, we did. It was very good. I enjoyed it a lot. And the garden is gorgeous..I have a mess of photos I'll send later.

Then, for any who foolishly thought the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and CERN would cause a black hole, stand reproved. According to the 5 Minute, they tested the thing at 9:30 their time (10:30 here), and nothing terrible seems to have happened. And I, personally, am super excited that that thing is up and running!!! (Google LHC-CERN for more info)

Random side-note: my area is now anything across the river. This means any little sub-city of Rīga or anything over there is my area. I have from the Daugava (the river), and down and across. All of it. Technically, this means I have until Liepāja (300 KM away), but we rarely venture farther than Jurmala (13KM from here). area's big. Transfers are next Wednesday, so if I'm sent elsewhere, I likely won't have time for a big email. I'll let you know at least where I was sent, though.

I love you all!! Good luck this week!!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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