Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sep 17: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Transfers, Lido, Mega Homes, Locked In

All: 83.33 (106,839) this week, and 83.22 (106,738) last week. It would seem that I'm hitting a decent consistency, vai nē?
IMG_0577 is the scarecrow that Elder Raker (the fellow on the far left) constructed with his companion, E. Andrews. The other fellow on the far right is E. Wilkins. The scarecrow was erected because of the damage the birds were doing to the grass (seen in the background). It worked...a little. It proved ultimately to be ineffective. Latvian birds apparently do not honor the scarecrow.
IMG_0579 is Ausma Bedre (a member in Imanta) and her monstrous cat. This thing is one of the largest cats I have ever before beheld. I was actually quite terrified when I first beheld its mighty girth. But, it loves us, and so I grew to like the beast.
IMG_0603 is me at Botaniskais Dārzs. This is where we did a lot of service. This photo is during the festival mentioned last week. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's probably time you read things in chronological order, eh? heh heh

I would have had more photos, but I didn't bring my card reader, and this computer seems to be lacking in card-reading abilities. get stale, last week or further back shots. Sorry.

Alright. So, transfers. Jes, I'm transferred. To my greatest possible nightmare: Rīga Center. I'm very much NOT a big city person, and Rīga center is very much a big city. But, I will withhold judgement until after I have taught here, and come to love the people. Then, I will let you know. I'm expecting a good transfer. We are informed about transfers via phone call, through the district leaders. They then call everybody else and inform them. Here's the new lineup:

Gray and Payne Imanā (that means in Imanta), with Sisters Morley, Wilson (who took S. Knight's place not too long ago mid-transfer), and Kelly also Imanā. They will cover the whole area of Imanta (that huge area about which I wrote only last week).
The Russians-speaking Elders are Elder Raker (Scarecrow maker and Šašliki chef extraordinaire!) with Andrews (no change), and Sister Tanner is with a new trainee. Elder Palmer is headed to Beautiful Liepāja, and I to Riga Center. S. Tanner's comp is going to Tallinn (Estonia). There is also one other companionship of Russians in Imanta, but I don't remember what's happening to any of them, or who will be there, so....yeah.

I'm know I'm with Elder Black as my comp (he goes home at the end of this transfer), and Sisters Knight and Hagen are in my district. Also Elder Brown (who is the district leader). So...this will be kinda like a reunion! (Elder Brown, Sister Knight and Sister Hagen were all in the MTC with me). I have no idea who else is in my district. More next week (probably).

I do believe that is all the questions...hmm...yeah. I think. Now, I got a letter, but I'm not sure who it's from (we were rushed at the office, and E. Palmer grabbed all the mail, and I have yet to get that from him...he's gone to Beautiful Liepāja already, but I do think that Gray has it. So, whoever sent it, thanks!). And...yeah. On to the week.

Oh!! Before that, Lido! So, look at the picture from last week. Looks nice, eh? It's a buffet-style restaurant, that has about anything you can imagine. Absolutely everything was delectable. There's only one problem: they have things priced per item. And it's not very expensive. So, you'll pile things on, thinking, "Oh, it's only 45 santimi!" but, you get to the register on your way out, and suddenly it's almost six lats! Totally worth it, though. They had amazing pancakes (more like crepes, for you in America accustomed to fluffy pancakes), Šašliki of all kinds, chicken, beef, salads, casseroles, lasagna, soups, desserts, drinks of all kinds, shakes, ice cream, pastries, breads, naked fruit, clothed fruit (covered in amazing sauces), noodle thingies, and mounds more of delectable edibles filing nearly an entire floor of a decently large building, the rich scent of goodness wafting in the air, filling you with a nearly uncontrollable lust for food and a dire need to fill your tummy with the bliss creating that succulent scent! In summary, it was good. Very good.

Now, moving on. It's getting cold. Very cold. Turns out that humidity makes chilly freezing. And there's plenty of humidity. Then you add a decently strong breeze, and suddenly your hands are changing colors in mere minutes from the door. I am again sporting my suit-coat jacket, and occasionally sweaters under that and gloves. And earmuffs. And...probably my overcoat soon. It's getting very cold very quickly. Only last week, it was still hot enough to spend the day in shirt sleeves. need at least three layers to not die. Interestingly quick, eh? But, I will survive.

English class starts tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about that (because English class is probably my second favorite part of missionary work...the first is gospel teaching. I guess I like it because I'm still teaching, even though it's not all gospel stuff).

Now, for a pair of humorous knocking stories. We decided to go knock on some doors (or mash some doorbells) in a part of town we have not been. Actually, two different parts of town that we thought people have not been to in a while. The first area contained a pair of monstrous residential skyscrapers, called the Panorama Plaza. We waved to the guards on our way in, and then took the elevator to the top. Floor 25. And it took about 15 seconds. This was the nicest elevator I have ever been in. The lifts in the other domes are rickety, old, and some make me fear for my personal safety. This one...I barely even felt it moving, and was well lit, roomy...beautiful. Anyway, when people began to answer their doors (the top 6 floors or so were uninhabited...or, nobody was yet home), we saw that the inside of people's flats were just as beautiful, if not more, as the elevator. We got a few return appointments. Each floor had automatic lights, and every person there spoke perfect English in addition to Latvian, Russian, and probably a few other languages, too. I've never seen anything even close to the same in all my wanderings. Then again, only in Latvia have I attempted to hunt down folks who live in palaces like that. But, unfortunately, around floor 11, somebody called security, and we were ushered out of the building in three languages. Good thing we got those return appointments, so we can go back!

The second interesting knocking experience was in another nice, new dome. We knew it was yet to be fully inhabited. Anyway, we found one with an open front door. A Russian lady was letting a friend out. So, we walked past them into the building. We then went knocking, and found about half of the 15 or 20 flats even had a resident (evident from the electricity meters kept out in the halls in almost every dome in Latvia...they read 000000). The biggest we saw was something like 001200. Not an old place. So, after knocking, we found that the front door was locked not only from the outside, but the inside as well! So, we went into the basement, finding only storage rooms and pipes. We found the door to the parking garage--locked both ways as well. Very interesting...we tried the few doors that had opened earlier...nobody. We called the return appointment we had there (today, if I remember correctly), and she wasn't there. The Russian lady wasn't there. There was no way out. We waited for somebody to come for about 15 minutes, and then the following 20 minutes we tried to escape on our own and tried the residents again. After about 15 minutes, we finally decided to hop out the second story window! We climbed onto the overhang, and then leapt from there to the ground. We then went home. Very humorous. And such is life. Oh well. It was overall good. And, we had several lessons we taught this past week--YAY!!!!!!

As far as spiritual thoughts go, I just have to comment on how amazingly fantastic Alma, Ammon, Aaron, Amulek, and all the others are. If you are not familiar with their stories, read Alma 4-30 (starting Most particularly, the tales of Aaron and his brothers are amazing. Those are chapters 17-24 of Alma. (same link as above, but .../alma/17. ).From those, we see the power that God grants unto those engaged in His work. It's a lot.

Starting next week, I will be going over the basic doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I will begin with the story of how our church came to be, and how we differ from any other church on the face of the planet today. From there, I will go through some of the main doctrinal points. For those of you not LDS (a member of the above-named church), and are curious what we believe, stay tuned. For the rest of you, this may or may not be a good refresher. I will try to include a lot of scripture references. Anyway, that is what I'll be doing. So, until then!

Es jūs milu!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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