Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dec 3: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Movie, Snow, Turkeys, Deafness, and Last Bit of Plan of Salvation (for Now)

All: Well, 57.64KM (73,902) is nothing to sneeze at. A few exciting announcements, then I'll commence as usual:

I am now learning LZV: Latviešu Zimju Valodu--Latvian Sign Language. It's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be.

They just shot a movie here, not 2 minutes from my house. It's a WWII-time period film, and it will be in English. It's called Miss Irina's Children. If one of my many readers could look it up for me, and give me a brief summary of plot and such...and if you'd like to see's on the street I live on, just one block over. I think it'll be good. They had the street blocked off for a while and everything.

The snow is all gone. This is a slightly less exciting announcement. It rained the next few days, causing large ice/slush chunks to fall from roofs all over the city. I'm pretty sure somebody, somewhere, got hit. We ourselves had a few narrow sure is interesting. It's been rainy and windy, and fairly cold since then. Woo. Turns out (for those who knew me before), that I like colder weather. Well, cold is a lot colder here with humidity. Āk vai!

OK, about Turkey Day. There are lots of pictures here that explain how that went. (insert from Jordan's mom--no pictures were sent with this e-mail. Aaugh!! I think he forgot to send them. But I'll leave what he wrote about the pictures in here and you can imagine the pictures in your mind ")
Starting with the first one: 2004. This one is my comp and Elder Milton choppin' up our bird. Turns out turkey (tītars) is really expensive here, so we had chicken of some kind. But, in the words of E. Brown, "I can't remember the difference!" So...there ya go.

2009: I was running all over, just snapping shots, so I caught people off-guard a lot. These are my "sisters" (they came out with me) making gravy. You can see on the left their pan of candied yams that they made. Turns out, this is the first year I remember eating those; they aren't bad! And the gravy was incredible!

2011 is a classic E. Brown. These are the potatoes that E. Weideman and I furbished. There's a lot of them. 6 KG to be exact. Pretty much everybody who was there said, at least once, "That's a lot of potatoes."

Yeah. In the defense of a few people, this was very quick, impromptu, and without warning. But, this is all of us, chowing down. We also had amazing, home-made rolls done by E. Brown and comp (McKleren....not sure about English spelling...). It, overall, was quite a good meal, and very fun.

We cooked it (well...the bird was cooked at Rimi...but in essence, we cooked it). We had no stuffing (nowhere to find it, and I don't know how to make that from scratch), but we had home-made cranberry sauce (thanks to the sister missionaries), and bird, rolls, potatoes, and amazing NUTELLA PIE!!!! That was good. was all gone. We were going to take Christmas card photos, but we ran out of time. So...anyway. It was a good day.

2026: I was asked to highlight a few members. So, here they are, from left to right: Zane, Aivārs, Maija, Helvijs. Zane is a member on the other side of the river. I know little about her conversion story. I do know, however, that she is a lot like me: a little hyper, random, fun, and flirty. Aivārs was baptized in February of this year. He wasn't sure if he should be baptized, but a prayer asking about it changed his mind. He's very humble, loves the spirit he feels at church and with members, and works as a security guard. I love him to death. He helped us a lot with Ainārs, and what he said helped Ainārs pray concerning baptism as well. He (well, both of them) have rock-solid testimonies. Maija is very fun. I know less about her, but I know that she joined the church because she began to hang out with the other youth of the church. She is now a very strong member, and she's all smiles. She, also, is an Inanta (other side of the river)member. Aivārs is the only one from this side of the river in that photo, I just realized. Helvijs is incredible. I've had the most dealings with him, so I know just how awesome he is. Love him to death!! His testimony is solid, he's a return missionary (to Lietuva...uh...Lithuania), and he was the keystone of the youth. His parents really didn't want him to be baptized, but his parents could see how much it meant to him, so they (crying) signed the permission slip (he was 17). Now, they like him being a member, and they love the people he associates with from the church. I love these four youth! All of them are so incredibly strong is the gospel (as are all members who still come to church. It would be kinda lonely, I think, to be a member here), and they are tightly knit together (especially the youth). That's something I envy here, that I didn't have back home: a tightly-knit group of friends in the youth of the church.
I was asked for a funny me-speaking-Latvian moment. Well...there's lots. But, we did service helping teach a class (yes, in school. We knocked on the door of a teacher) on English accents. The students were really shy, and we kept it mostly in English. But, at the very end, we were asked to say a little something in Latvian. So, we did, and the entire class's eyes got real big, and they all were quite impressed! I thought it was just hilarious!

Investigators, we don't have any right now--well, any with definite things happening. I'll keep you posted. We have a good number of people we're teaching though, finally.

Now for some more of the Gospel plan:

So we are now on this earth. We are fallen. Though obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ, or to Christ's commandments, we can access his grace and be made pure through Him. That is our goal here in this life. But, what happens after this life?

Though Christ conquered death, we all still must die, as death is part of the process of becoming immortal. When we physically die, our bodies and spirits separate. Our body remains here on this earth. Our spirits go to a place called the spirit world. Our personality and desires do not change with death (Alma 34: 34). Those who followed Christ live in a state of joy, peace, and rest from worry; those who did not follow Christ's gospel live in worry and unhappiness (Alma 40: 11-14). The state of the righteous is called paradise; the state of the wicked is called prison. In the spirit world, the gospel is preached to all who did not obey or were not able to hear the gospel when they lived on the earth. This is only briefly mentioned in the Bible. Part of Christ's ministry was in the world of spirits, including organizing missionary work there (1 Peter 3: 19-20, 1 Peter 4: 6). In a revelation received by Joseph F. Smith (6th president of the Church in our days), we learn much more, including how Christ was received in the spirit world after His death, and how the gospel is taught there (D&C 138: 11-12, 15-19, 28-37). Other verses: Ecclesiastes 12: 7, Isaiah 24: 22 CR Isaiah 61: 1, D&C 76: 73-74.

We remain in the spirit world until we are resurrected. Resurrection is the reuniting of the body and the spirit, never to again be separated. The body will be perfect. All will be resurrected, regardless of their righteousness (Alma 11: 42-45). However, there are both different times (D&C 43: 18) and different glories to which we can be resurrected (D&C 76: 17, John 5: 29). There is a difference between being raised from the dead, as in Mark 5: 22-24, 35-43, Luke 7: 12-16, John 11, and 3 Nephi 7: 17 (17-20). These people all died again. Christ was the first to resurrect (Acts 26: 23, Colossians 1: 18, Revelation 1: 5). After His resurrection, others resurrected (3 Nephi 23: 9, Matthew 27: 52-53). In the final resurrection, the righteous will have precedence over the wicked (D&C 43: 18). Once resurrected, the body and spirit never separate again. Our knowledge raises with us (D&C 130: 18), and we are brought to be judged according to our desires and our works (1 Nephi 15: 32, D&C 137: 9). If we follow the gospel of Christ, we will have access to His mercy, and He will plead on our behalf (Romans 8: 27, D&C 45: 2-5). But, if we do not qualify for His mercy, then we are left unsheltered to justice (Mosiah 16: 12).
Other verses: 2 Nephi 9: 11-15, Revelation 20: 12-15, Romans 3: 27 CR James 2: 17 (14-24), Titus 1: 16, Alma 5: 15-21.

There are three kingdoms of glory to which we can go after this life. For time's sake, I'll summarize: the highest is the Celestial. There, we live with God and can live with our families forever. We qualify to live here by repenting, accepting Christ (meaning we follow His gospel--commandments), and we keep the covenants (two-way promises) we make with God. There we achieve our goal, are perfected, and receive a fullness of joy.
Those who live good lives, but do not follow Christ's gospel, obtain the terrestial kingdom. Those who died in sins and did not repent or try to live after the light they received live in the third kingdom - the telestial. The glory of these are compared to the glory of the sun, moon, and stars.

I invite you to read all of Doctrine & Covenants 76, including the introduction. This is incredibly informative.

That's it for now. Thank you for your love and support. I send my love and prayers your way. Have a great week!

Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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