Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feb 11: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Meat Jelly, JELGAVA!!, Miracle

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: 2009/2/11
Subject: Feb 11: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Meat Jelly, JELGAVA!!, Miracle

All: 68.99KM.

Pictures:The top one is us in front of the Sausage Monster. The guy who tags this works mostly in Imanta, but there's a little of that in center. We saw this and had to pictograph it. The bummer: my ISO had to be 400, because I couldn't hold that camera still enough to take a worthwhile shot. So I flashed across the street at ISO400. Whatever. So, sorry for the extra noise.

Next: This is the Autoosta (uh...station! Yes, the bus station), and all rivers now look like this. There's actually a lot of people who are out ice fishing and such. Cool.

Last: This is a view out the Jelgava church window. I WAS IN JELGAVA YESTERDAY!!! YAY!! It was cool. More on that in a moment. Just so that you can see the view I stared at while Elder Doane was in the bathroom (for 45 minutes, at least three times a week). (He was sick a lot). The city hasn't changed too much in a year...well, the church there has. Like I said, I'll get to that in a minute.

The last attachment can't be enjoyed by you blog-readers. It's a little voice clip. I'm going to ask Shell (MTC teacher) to transcibe and translate this (if he has time), and if he can, then that can be posted. (If you can't, I understand! You've got a lot to do already!) For you other people, you can listen to this clip. It is my Latvian. I want here to testify of the gift of tongues. All the missionaries here have been blessed with that gift as they are learning these languages. I point to the sisters as the most powerful evidence (they pick up languages faster than anyone I've ever seen). And I know that, no matter how much I love languages, I can't learn one to save my life. But, I have learned Latvian. So, just know that gifts of the Spirit are literal, real, and powerful.

Now, about the meat jelly. I promised you, Lynn, that I would tell you when I had meat jelly. Well, in Jelgava, we had family home evening. That's where the family all gathers around and you learn about the gospel together, and then you have a snack, and play games (usually). It's a thing we focus on each week in the church. It's on Monday evenings (usually). Seeing as the church is very new in Jelgava, the missionaries host it (as one of the main purposes of FHE--Family Home Evening--is to build unity and love in the family and strengthen faith in Christ. That's exactly what new members of the church need. So...we do it to help them strengthen each other). Anyway, one of the members took care of everything this time--the lesson, food, and she brought a game similar to chutes and ladders. But, she couldn't find the dice, so we played Durak (a card game...the name there is Russian. Cuka is what they call it in Latvian). Anyway, she made little sandwiches on rye bread. And one of the things she had on there was a liver paste. I didn't know that until the little sandwich was in my mouth entire. So, there you go, Lynn. I had me meat paste. That's similar. People who feed us know that we don't like meat jelly, so they don't offer it. However, there is something called halaģets (in Russian) or augstgaļa in Latvian. It's basically a fat jelly with little bits of meat in it. I have also had that. Way back in Liepāja. Anyway...

I just realized that next week, I hit my one-year-in-the-field (meaning in Latvia) mark! Freak! What's happened with time! It's unnerving to see time rush past so quickly! I wish to quote Elder Brown: "Time terrifies me." It seems to be going a lot faster than normal. Somebody change that, OK?

Answers to questions asked: Flu killers. The juice here beats the pulp out of anything that you can find in the states. So, with vitamin C and stuff, I have been more than set. I love juice here. It also lasts a year on the shelf (just like the milk). But, unlike the milk, the juice is tasty. Even the 100% juice lasts a year. I don't understand it. But I will definitely keep buying it. So, yeah. I've just been buying more juice and I've been cured.

I was asked what all I was thankful for. I'm thankful for the restaurant selection (it's quite large), for the other missionaries, and for all the amazing people. I wish to tell you about one. This is that miracle I had. The guy's name is Tom. He's in our English class. We invited our entire class to church. And we called a lot of people. 8 people said that they'd be able to go, and were planning on it. Tom was the only one who showed up. Sigh. But, Māsa Antra Zariņa gave one of the most amazing talks. Very simply, she explained priesthood, and the rise of God's authority on the earth. She explained that the reason that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church is this authority of God. That authority is living. It is vibrant. It came directly from heaven to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. They received that heavenly power from angels of God, just like it's always been done. And, just as Peter was the head apostle in Christ's time (Matthew 16: 17-19) and had the keys of the priesthood, so did Joseph Smith. And our prophet Thomas S. Monson has those keys today. Anyway, Tom was so interested that after church he pulled us aside and told us that we had to tell him about Joseph Smith, and how he became a prophet, and where his authority came from. How did God give it to him. And so, we did. It was really neat. We gave him some stuff to read, and during English class yesterday he told us that he "very carefully read through them" and is still thinking about them. He wanted a Book of Mormon so that he could start to search that, and pray about it. He will have questions next Thursday for us, but he's sincere, and is a very good person. I'm very excited.

I must admit that I didn't recognize any random acts of kindness this week. I did see a few people who were just nice by nature. That was cool to see.

Ah, about apartments. We actually have an investigator (who doesn't want to listen to what we have to say because he's quite set in his religion...he's amazing) who has been looking for an apartment for us. Cool. We'll look at what he's found soon.

So, Jelgava. I went on exchanges (where missionaries exchange cities and/or companions for a day to teach) to Jelgava just recently. Jelgava was the first city I was in as a new missionary here. And it was amazing. The city looks about the same, but the people are a lot different. The branch has gone from an average of 1 or 2 people to 12 as the average. We did family home evening last week, and the people were great! Only one was there when I was a year ago. She looked different. She was shining. It was absolutely beautiful. And that's probably what got me all excited to go out and work. This work is so true.
There were some other things I wanted to tell you all...ah, yes. Elder Brown and Millett's refrigerator started leaking this week, so they had to use their eggs, milk, and other perishables (that would be open milk, of course). They basically made a hundred or so cookies. So, today, for Valentines Day, we'll be frosting those cookies. And Sister Willson, Norris (her comp) and I will carve valentines day punkins (those are little pumpkins...they're too small for the full name). But they actually didn't have good carvable punkins, so we'll be carving gourds. But, we'll still call 'em punkins. Anyway, that's probably it for today. I love you all!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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