Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sep 3: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Packages, last week's things...Lido?

From: Jordan Argyle Date: Sep 3, 2008 4:59 AM

All: 83.5KM (107,102 steps).
The pics: IMG_0535 is a shot through the rain at night (I super wanted a shot like this...too bad my camera picks up a lot of noise at ISO 400...).
0552 and 0553 - We had a Sošliki (grill meat and eat it with stuff...good. Kinda like a kabob...). The people in the pics are (left to right):
0552: Benches - Hagen, Kelly (here from Liepāja for only a few days), Knight, Morley (really doesn't like having her picture taken), Wilson and Freeman. Standing up is sister Wilson (sister Hagen's trainee).
0553: Raker. Sitting is Palmer (my comp), Udee, Lindhart, Hansen, Weiderman, Edington, Brown (in the back there), and Gray (my other comp).

From last week: I have been wanting to say for a while: Argyle pattern sweaters are THE thing to wear here. Hundreds of folks are flocking around in Argyle sweaters all over the city. It's way cool!

I wanted to tell some stories about the members here (I didn't do so well telling you all why the people in Liapāja are so amazing...sorry about that), so I have a little there to say. And also, my English class (which just got...quite interesting again). Then, about what I did this week. Now you know. Let's go!

We met with the Šostaki family last Monday for Ģ.M.V. (Ģimenes Mājvakars--family home evening). They fed us pancakes, we chatted for a while, got to know each other, and then we shared a thought on charity. The family is so funny! They discovered I like to write all words I don't know down, so they began to use odd phrases and different words, so that I had more to write. When they saw me write, they'd know which word it was, and then go back and explain what it meant. It was great!
There's also a couple is this branch that is quite interesting. I do not remember their names (I've always been terrible with those things...names...), but he is from Liepāja, and she is from Salaus (in Lithuania). They now live here. They communicate much through English (great middle language that it is), and she is learning Latvian. She is quite hilarious to talk with.
I also had a great time with the youngest Senkans boy. We talked quite a bit last Sunday also.
Speaking of speaking on Sunday, I got to do that last Sunday as well. I was assigned the topic of baptism. I spoke, and almost everyone said that they understood me (I sure hope that they weren't just being nice...I did get mixed up a lot declining the word for "baptism" (kristīšanās...reflexive nouns decline weirdly), but otherwise did decently). For those who know me, I stopped before I had been going TOO long (15 or so minutes). It was fun, actually, because I do a lot better with just lecturing than I do teaching with questions and such.

On to English (kinda abrupt, I know, but try to keep up with my frantically running mind here, eh?)! At the beginning of this transfter, I joined Sister Morley in 3rd level English. We had two students: Amy and Tims. They are dating, and are a really cute couple. They were also a great deal of fun to talk with. But, me teaching with a sister wasn't to last (as that's not really a missionary-ish thing to do), so teachers were shuffled so that it was me and Elder Black. But then, he was transferred, so I taught them alone one week (we had a third member also join us...apparently he has come frequently, but hasn't been able to make it recently), which is also not kosher. So, we moved into the Russian third level class, which my students did not particularly like (as they talked a lot about sports there). Anyway, last Thursday was Tims final day with us. He is gone to Vencpils for school. So, I impulsively told them we'd have a farewell party. I wound up buying a bottle of "TexMex Salsa" (which barely tastes like salsa...if anyone has a good salsa recepie that doesn't require a blender, send it along! Or, if it's really good, send it anyway) and some chips, and we had that with juice. It was "The best farewell party I've ever had," according to Tims. "And your only," according to Amy, but the point is that it was his best. This week, Amy brought a classmate from school (she's in the 12th grade), and we met separately with a borrowed Russian-speaking missionary from the Russian tripanionship. It was one of the most fun English classes I've ever had! Too bad we're taking a break after this Thursday class..we'll start again on September 18th (for any Latvians who have found this...we're on Dumbrāja Iela, right behind the Imantas Kulturas Centers).

The best moment of my week was that English class. The conversation went from racism to explosives to sulfuric acid to not knowing any Latvian history to candy bars to schooling, to chemistry, to...etc. It was so random; I felt absolutely wonderful afterwards. And then we knocked into a cool family who said we may be able to come back. It wasn't very solid (meaning it wasn't solid at all), but it felt good to finally talk to a Latvian at a door for more than 10 seconds.

Both of my comps got packages this week (or, within the last two). So, that was quite exciting. We had American sweets and all kinds of goodness going on. I have been very careful with my salsa, and only just barely finished it off (yesterday). This would be the salsa from my package. Anyway, it was a good week that way, too.

Today we're going to eat at Lido -- a super fancy restaurant that every Baltic missionary has told me I must go to before I leave, for the food is beyond delectable and it is the best place to eat, and the atmosphere is great, and blah blah blah. We'll see what it's really like. I belive it'll be good. I'll let you know next week.

Last week, we had a feast of new investigators. This week, we didn't really get too much action in that respect, but here are the people (and why they're awesome!...or not):

K.: Way, way busy. He's way cool, though. We gave him a large reading assignment (3 Nephi 11-30), and he told me that he read chapter 11 three times, to make sure he understood it, and fell asleep mid-reading. He can't just put it down! That's exciting. But, he travels a lot for work, so meeting with him has proved to be tricky.
E.: Very interested. At first. Now, not so much. But we had a good hour long gospel discussion including a fairly in depth discussion on the great apostasy, this new dispensation, and those things. Please pray for his interest to be rekindled.
A.: We're probably going to have to drop him. He's pretty slow mentally, and we're going to keep with him on the phone. If he quits smoking, we'll see what happens, but right now he just reads and reads, but doesn't really understand or remember what he reads, so...good guy, through. It's always hard to drop people.

A.: cool young guy in Marupe. He's actually from a city far away, but works here. Again, hard to meet. In our first meeting, he told us that he was interested in seeing what we talk about, but he's not that religious.
G. and M.: Haven't had a change to meet with her, but he is still super analyzing the Book of Mormon. So, we gave him 3rd Nephi to read. If he doesn't feel the spirit reading that, then there's nothing we can do for him right now. We'll see where he goes.
D.: Cynical one. We got him to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. We'll see how he felt to know if we keep teaching him.

Oh, and we have dropped S.--he is not really learning, reading, or praying, and we think he's there because we're good friends to have.

So, no real solid people that we can meet with often. We need to find some.

Spiritual thought: God lives. Christ is our Savior. "...there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives" (Mosiah 5:8). We enter God's kingdom through proper baptism. When we are baptized, we covenant with God to keep his commandments, and after a baptism of water (by immersion, as Christ was baptized), we then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. In the Book of Mormon, 2nd Nephi, chapters 31-33, these three chapters are all about baptism, both of water and of the spirit, and why they are so important. The chapters also clearly explain what the Holy Ghost does for us (there are at least 15 points...hunt for those). I testify that the authority to baptize in the manner that continues after this life is in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and this baptism, through the proper priesthood authority, is the first covenant--two-way promise with God--that we make in this life. It starts us on our path back to God and blesses us with the gift and guidance and comfort and direction of the Holy Ghost.
Anyway, it's true. I love you all! Know I pray for you all the time!!

Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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