Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oct 8: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Trip to Tallinn, and a Wonderful Investigator

All: 65.29 (83706). So, pics are these: A glimpse of the gorgeous countryside on the way to Tallinn! It turns out it's hard to take pictures out of dirty bus windows, especially when said bus is cruising down the highway! So, the country is actually a lot better looking than that picture, but that's one of few that actually turned out. So...yeah.
Then, a shot just outside the Prism (basically the same idea as Rimi--it's a huge supermarket with everything you could ever want in it) looking towards Tallinn. It's a gorgeous city! And, it has free wireless internet that you can use anywhere in the city. G3, too. Good on them!
Then, if any of you start to think gas is expensive where you live, this is a glimpse at the price per liter here. I saw this sign and thought you all would like to know that it could always be worse.
The final image is just one that I shot for fun. It was way gorgeous, and I couldn't help myself. It's very pretty here in the fall. I would recommend to all who wish to travel here to do it about this time of year. It's chillier, but much, much prettier. But, if you wait two more weeks, all the leaves will be gone (autumn is very short here), so you'll have to plan for the first week or so in October.

Quick note on zone conference: zone confereces are held in each country of the mission. Each country is divided into two zones: the language of that country, and Russian. So, all people cluster together in the country's mission's center. So, Estonia: Tallinn. Latvia: Rīga. Lithuania: uh...don't know. Terrible, huh? So, the missionaries who speak the two languages gather together in the city and we chat. So, for me, it's in Rīga. And, of course, they happen in English (as it'd be impossible to do Latvian and Russian at the same time!). We do practices and roleplays and such in our language, but the rest is in English. And that is zone conferences.

Now, I'll quickly tell my Tallinn tale, and then go through investigators and be done. I'm kinda short on time (we just finished zone conference and I need to go quickly to get to a meeting soon), so you'll have to wait until next week for the rest of my discussion on the foundation for our church.

Tallinn. So, once upon a time, I went to Tallinn. I got a stamp in my passport, paid a lot of Euros, and returned to Rīga. That was quite a long time ago. I then came from Beautiful Liepāja to Rīga to actually get the living permit. I was rushed leaving, so my suit coat jacket was left home. It wasn't until I was in Rīga that I realized my passport was in my suit coat. So...back to Beautiful Liepāja I went. I returned only a few days afterwords and got all my stuff alone. So, I had a valid living permit, good until May. Well, part-way through last transfer (so, probably 4-5 weeks ago) I get a call saying that my x-ray papers were lost (those are required to get a visa idea why). So, I got those again. Then, about two weeks ago I get a call saying, "Hey, some of your papers for your visa are lost, so you need to go apply for it again." So, I signed everything and headed up to Tallinn yesterday (it's a 4+ hour bus ride there...5+ back (because of traffic, it took us 45 minutes just to leave the Tallinn...uh...rajons). (station?) I was with three other Elders: Widamin (who is Elder Brown's comp), Barnes, and Northrupe. We ate at a pizza place, then went to the agency. Anyway, Barnes had the responsibility for everything there. We got to the embassy, and he tosses all four of our packets down on the thing, and the lady takes them into the back to look them over. There's a line of other people getting their living permits who are serviced while she's looking through our stuff. It's down to two people and us. The lady comes back, calls over E. Widaman (no idea how to spell his name...sorry), and has him sign in the right place. He pays. He's good. Next up: E. Northrupe. Same thing. E. Barnes. No problem. Then me. "I have a question for you," says the lady working there.

"Why exactly do you want to extend?" I tell her I was told my papers were lost and I had to redo them so that all was well. Her: "Who told you that?" Our mission office told me. I could give them a call. I do. Actually, I call Valaris, who is our middle-man with the government. He tells me to call S. Harper (who works in the office), because she knows all of that stuff. I then call her. She tells me Valaris called and told her I had to do it again. She wasn't told more than that. So, I return to Valaris. He asks me to call tomorrow, when he can figure out exactly what's going on. By this time, the lady has checked all the records and comes back. "You have a valid permit in your passport. It's good through May. I don't see that it was rejected or canceled. What did you hear?" Well, I know no more than before. She tells me I'm probably good then, and I have no reason to be there. I get all my stuff back, and we'll see what happens and, as they say in Latvian, "Tieši kas par lietu." So, yeah. I returned with 10 (which magically became 9 on the bus ride home) boxes of the famed Alma Jogurt, baked apple flavor (which pretty much tastes like a liquid, creamy apple pie...way scrumptious!). These I sold today. And I didn't even break even! Curses! Oh well. So, basically, I spent 9 hours on a hot bus yesterday to read some 7 chapters of the Book of Mormon (in Latvian), a chapter in Lauva, Ragana, un Drebju Skapis (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in Latvian), and write a lengthy letter to some good friends. Oh, and carry back a lot of liters of jogurt. Whatever. I'm not overly concerned about it. The only bummer is that I missed our meeting with an amazing investigator.

Which brings us to: investigators!
A.: He's the amazing one. He's understood everything we've taught him. He reads. He prays. He fasts. He already has done all those things. He understands how to get answers to prayers. He's amazing! He went to visit his family last week. They are 7th Day Adventists. 7th Days are known for knowing their Bibles very well. The majority of them actually know what they believe, study the scriptures avidly, and strive to live the teachings of Christ. I have great respect for them. The only concern: will his family be ok with him joining another church? Well, from what I heard, he left several pamphlets with his family and they want some Books of Mormon, as they want to read from them. A. also wants to arrange a time when we can meet with his whole family to teach them. They live a good distance from Rīga, so it will be interesting to see when they can meet. But, I must say, I had re-affirmed to me that people who truly seek for the truth exist here, and are waiting for us to find them.
J.: This family is doing well. The daughter understands pretty much everything. The father understands things very clearly as well. The mother knows what she must do, but doesn't quite understand the doctrine as clearly. But, they are keeping commitments and doing quite well. I love them to death.
H.: Doing well. Haven't been able to get a hold of him this week. We're thinking it's work related. Or, maybe a letdown. We'll see.
J.: This is the older gentleman. He's doing well. He's reading, praying, and growing in faith. Good guy.
M.: This guy likes to sin, hates his life, and refuses to change. So, our meetings are basically teaching him how to use the atonement to lose the sin so that he can find happiness. Because "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10). He's a good guy, though!

So, lots of good people!!! I'm way excited to see what lies on the horizon this week! Until then.
Es jūs mīlu!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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