All: 67.82KM (86054)
First the pictures:
1624 is a picture of Stockmann and the Stockmann Blob, the Crazy Days mascot. A little odd, but whatever. I hope that you enjoy.
1627 is a shot of an ad. Īsts means real. On Jackson's face it reads, "Not real." Under Reaton it reads "Real." Then, the text off to the side reads, "Because we all miss the real thing." I just thought it was funny.
1642 is a shot of Rīga from a church tower. It, I have come to realize, is quite a pretty city.
1648 is a shot from the tower above towards our church. Behind the big hotel (Hotel Latvia -- that skyscraper behind the Provaslov church building) you'll see a green tower. That's the spire to an old Lutheran church. Our church is in the building right by that Lutheran one (not visible, for it's behind Hotel Latvia). We have the whole second floor to ourselves. We are currently looking for a place to build a new building, like in Imanta, but the cost of land is absurd.
1673 Here is the explanation for this picture: About three weeks ago, Inara (our public relations person for Riga) got a call requesting an interview for the newspaper. She accepted, and she asked any missionaries who would like to to come to the interview. Well, only Elder Black and I showed up, so we answered all the questions. And...last Saturday, we were published in the paper. So, I took a shot and sent it to you all. There I am, in Latvijas Avise. Cool, huh? They only mention me in the caption under the picture (and they spelled my name wrong, besides). But, that's nothing, really. It is still cool for me that I am in the newspaper! And, the article had no negative spin or anything. He simply presented the facts. The author even sent the rough draft to Inara so that she could check it for errors. I was quite impressed with his integrity.
So, a few things. First, where I live. I live in a wooden building. The only apartment with a toilet is ours. So, everyone else has to use the public ones. Ew. So, there's often a faint poop smell wafting through the building. Speaking of poop, we cannot flush our toilet paper down the toilet (because the pipe is too small for anything like that). And, if we do get the toilet all clogged, we actually cannot plunge the toilet. So, our best bet is to flush the toilet, turn the sink on in the adjacent shower closet, and then plunge the shower. It's been quite entertaining, let me tell ya. Other than that (and the swarms of odi (mosquitoes)(ods=one of them) that seem to be able to survive here even in the chillier weather) it's a great place! The mosquitoes actually are all disappearing, so it's quite nice.
Transfers are this Wednesday (the 29th). As my comp "dies" (finishes his mission and goes home to the U.S.), I'll be attending a seminar where Franklin Covey will be (it's apparently also about government in Latvia and such...I'm a little confused, to be honest), but I'll let ya know how that went. And the "funeral" (the "farewell party") (today) I will inform you about next week.
General Conference: we watched it in English (as was our encouragement, because it's important that we fully understand what they say).
One more thing: the longer I'm here, the more beautiful Rīga looks. As you can see from my not-so-good pictures, it's a lovely city. And I find more and more charm in the place each day.
Investigators: Well, things in this field have been...odd recently. So...after the majority of our investigators at the beginning of this transfer have either vanished or are no longer keeping commitments (and therefore, we had to drop them), we only have one investigator really plugging along. We also have a few new people, but I don't know how they'll do. So, I'll just talk about the one we know for sure right now.
A.: This guy is 20. Amazing. He has been teaching his family for the past while (who are Seventh Day Adventists) who were all introduced to that faith by his brother. He has built on that, and now his family is quite interested. He's not sure about a baptismal date, because he wants his family to be present, and so he's thinking about postponing it. But, whenever investigators in the past have done that, it's proven not good, because then Satan really starts working hard on them, and they fall. So, we're all about him not letting Satan kick him down.
Anyway, I wanted this time to talk a little about the plan that our Father in Heaven has for us, including the major events leading to that. More specifically, I want to teach about what happened before this life, our purpose in this life, and the challenges in this life.
Starting from the beginning, then. Before this life, we lived with God. He was and is our Father in Heaven. We are His spirit children. We, before this life, only had bodies of spirit--we didn't have flesh and bone bodies. But, our Heavenly Father did (D&C 130: 22--recall that this was given in 1843. That's after Christ's resurrection). And, as we wanted to become like our Father, He provided a plan for us to become more like him. This plan included us coming to an earth, where we would have parents of our flesh and bone bodies. We would them have the opportunity to grow and develop outside the physical presence of our Father in Heaven. It is, therefore, necessary for us to live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5: 7). That way, we are able to grow the most, and to allow ourselves to become the most we can--with our Father's help.
Acts 17: 29, Hebrews 12: 9, Psalms 82: 6, Romans 8: 16, Ephesians 4: 6, D&C 93: 29, D&C 121: 7 (here, God is speaking to the prophet Joseph Smith, who is in prison at the time. Note the form of address). There are dozens of such scriptures throughout the Doctrine of Covenents, and in the Book of Mormon. I'll leave it at this for now.
Note that the Lord God states His purpose thusly: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1: 39). Thus we see that God will not leave us alone.
Then, as we all know, God created this earth. He did this through his Son, Jesus Christ (D&C 14: 9). He created Adam and Eve. They were given the freedom to choose. They were then given commandments (including a command not to eat from a certain tree in the garden). They were tempted by the devil and transgressed. They chose to eat of the fruit of that tree. Then they were cast out of the garden into the world. It is imperative to understand this event--called "the Fall of Adam and Eve," "the Fall of Man," or just "the Fall." All of God's plan rests on three evens. The first is the creation. The second is the Fall. The third is the atonement. None of these three events would mean anything without the other two. Because of the significance of the Fall, I want to spend all of next time just on that one subject. Some verses about the creation, first:
Genesis 1: 1-31, Gen. 2: 1-5 (a good account. We know enough about the creation from this account to suit our current purposes), D&C 14: 9 (please read the footnotes--there's cross refrences to the Bible that support this truth, also, including), John 1: 3, 1 Nephi 17: 36.
Then, we'll talk about the fall next time. If you'd like, you can read 2 Nephi 2 to prepare for that note. Until then, I love you all!
( >/°¥< )