Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mar 25: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Sis White Goes Home, Restoration Vid,

Date: Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 7:46 AM
Subject: Mar 25: Baltic Chŗonīcļe:

Hey, a happy b-day to Grandpa Argyle! And, I have a questions for my Aunt Julie: English, once upon a time, had diminutizations. How did we used to do that? Thanks!

All: 91564 steps (71.42km).

First of all, my friend who wanted to go to BYU actually is there. He got accepted!
A random little thing: Daylight savings time here starts this week. So all of you who already lost an hour feel a little sympathy for us here in Latvia who lose it ingthe night between the 28th and 29th of March. Bleh. As you can tell, I'm super unexcited for it.

Pictures: Top: Somewhat of a sapīga teima is that of Sister White. She is an amazing missionary, and one of my favorite people. I met her before the mission, so it was instant friendship here. She went home this morning, and was very sad to be leaving all those she loves here. This is a picture of us that evening (we had a lesson set up, but he never came, so while waiting I was able to talk to her and all the youth that were there with her).
Next: So, this is what I did for my birthday: Shepherd's pie (my second-favorite meal) and cake. It was tasty!
Next two: These are the view from the church window. First to the left, then the right. It was too beautiful for me to resist. Sunlight, despite how much I dislike being in it, sure makes for beautiful pictures!
Last: Just one more. In one of the stairwells we were knocking on Monday, we found this on the bottom floor. Odd, huh? Yup, that is barbed wire.

To find the Restoration video, you do this: Go to Then, you scroll down to "Free Media." Click on that. You'll see a lot of films and books appear (well, little pictures of them). The second one down on the right, below the Holy Bible, is the restoration (or, if some time has passed, then it may no longer be in that spot, but it will still be on the list). Under the description is a link that says "View Video." Click that. Or, just click the one to the left. I'm not sure exactly what it will do. I recommend the first way, because then you can see the other things offered there. I recommend you look into them.
We had a discussion on food storage. The goal we have in the Baltics right now is for people to have three months of food saved up. The problem is that people live in small apartments sometimes, and there's nowhere to store three months worth of food. People actually often throw their clothes away at the end of a season because there is not anywhere in their home to store them until next year! So, does anybody have any ideas how people with no extra space and very little extra money could save up three months of food? Remember also that they don't have land of their own, usually, so digging holes or cellars is not an option. A prophet of the Lord has asked that they do this here, and therefore there is a way (see 1 Nephi 3: 7). They are ready to try, but perhaps ideas from somebody would help...

So, we have two incredible people right now. One is A., who so readily accepts everything we have taught and is totally ready for baptism. He'll be baptised this Saturday or next (we're thinking it'll probably be April 4th, Sister Wilson's B-day). He has also continued to help us in lessons with other people.
L.: This kid just wants to be baptized, and is doing everything necessary to do that. We tell him a law of God, and he commits to live it. I'm not sure why the Lord has decided to bless us with incredible investigators now, but I will not complain, nor will I question. I will gratefully accept what He has given.

On the finding side: We went back to visit a guy who wasn't all that interested, but said we could return. He wasn't home when we dropped by, so we just finished knocking that stairwell and directly under his (one floor below him) we knocked into a lady. She was not all that interested at first, but I promised her that this message would bless her life. She let us in, and introduced us to her son and daughter. We talked a little, then we taught her (her children had to go to work--the son--or weren't interested--the daughter) about prophets and the restoration through a living prophet, just as God has always done. She got quite into it, and the spirit was there strongly. We then discussed how the Book of Mormon is strong evidence of that restoration, and told her we'd like to come back to give her one. She was thrilled, and invited us back. She's currently looking for work, too. Anyway, she wants to read passages from the Book of Mormon together with us, so that she can understand it better. I don't know if I can ever overstress it: if you will read that book, seeking to learn about God and His Son, Jesus Christ, then as the Lord God lives, you will find Him. God the Father has promised; and Jesus Christ has promised. Add to that countless hundreds of thousands who have promised, and more than a dozen million who have tested it and know, and the proof is clear. Read the following passages, please:

John 10: 16: Here Christ tells us that His ministry is not only in the land of Jerusalem, but that He also has work in other places, with other people.
Note what he tells those other people during his personal ministry after his resurrection: 3 Nephi 15: 21-24.
Now, I will show you what is taught in the Old Testament. Many think that that is only there for an example of how God used to work, and for the old Commandments he gave to Moses. But in it is the doctrine of the covenant that God has made with His people. If you do not belong to this covenant, then you cannot enter heaven's gates. Christ told us that (see John 3: 5, cf. Mosiah 18; Mosiah 5; 2 Nephi 31). Christ again taught this in 3 Nephi 20-21 talking about other aspects of the covenant. Please note the signs of this covenant's fullfillment: 3 Nephi 21: 2, 4, 6-7, 9, 11, 26; 23: 4. The sign of the start of the fullfillment of the covenant is the going forth of the Book of Mormon. This is also prophesied in the Bible: Ezekiel 37: 15-17. "Stick" is an old word for a scroll, or book. Ephriam is the branch of the Jews that remained in Jerusalem (those who wrote the Bible). Joseph is the branch of the Jews that traveled to America (those who wrote the Book of Mormom). These two testimonies will run together (2 Nephi 29: 8).

Of that book, Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 29: 4, 11-18. The Book of Mormon contains the prophesy of it's emergence and the significance thereof:
Mormon 7: 8-9: "This" is the Book of Mormon. "That" is the Bible.
1 Nephi 13: 20-29, 40-41--The prophet Nephi in a vision. The Book of the Lamb is the Bible. None can say that the Bible is a perfect book, for looking at the history of the Bible it is clear that some things are changed. Thankfully, though the power of God, what we still have was preserved for our benefit. However, as is prophesied, some portions of Christ's gospel will be taken from the Bible (have been taken), leaving us with an incomplete knowledge of His will towards us. The other records are the Book of Mormon. That is why we have the Book or Mormon--so we can know the truths written in the Bible to their fullness. I rejoice every time I think of it! For The Lord ever gives us more evidence of His love (2 Nephi 28: 30; Acts 10: 43; John 20: 31)!!
2 Nephi 29: 3-14: Note the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God!

Of The Book of Mormon the Lord Jesus Christ said: "as your Lord and your God liveth [the Book of Mormon] is true." (see D&C 17: 6). I would again commend you all to read it, with a prayerful heart and with real intent, denying not the power of God (2 Nephi 28: 3-4--I would reccoment the whole chapter to you). Seek "with real intent," and ask God if it be true. He will testify of it's truth by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10: 4).

Can you really risk it if it is true and you search it not?

I know it is true. I love this book, as it testifies of my Savior, and helps me know what his will towards me is, that I may obtain from Him the promises He has made to me! I encourage you all to do the same!

I love you all!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mar 18: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Andris, Z.C., Members in Miš work

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 6:02 AM
Subject: Mar 18: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Andris, Z.C., Members in Miš work

All: 92,885steps (72.45KM). I'm still just resetting it at the Internet cafe.
Hey, thanks to all who sent birthday wishes!! That was much appreciated!!! And thanks to Spencer for the address!!!

We had a baptism last week. It was a mother and daughter. The mother's brothers are both members, and they baptised and confirmed them. The two have been coming to church and investigating for a long time, and her husband has only recently changed enough for her to be baptized. I love the smile that newly baptized people have. It's so amazing to see! I was asked by the branch president to conduct the baptismal service, so even though we didn't have any investigators, we were there.

Pictures: Yeah, guess where we ate last week. This gives you a better idea what it looks like in there. It was really fun! We got 32 pieces of buffalo wings, chowed down on those, and it was funny. Anyway.
The bottom one is a very Latvian thing.'s very Soviet, but that happens a lot in a country where about a third of the inhabitants were killed to make way for Russians, and the rest were forced to become Russians on pain of death or beatings or...yeah. Nasty history. But, you often get these random doors just floating in nowhereland. Ah, Soviet stairwells. How I will miss them

Q+A: There is no elevator in our building. As for pots and pans--Rimi and Maxima do specials all the time. For every five lats you spend, they give you a little sticker. Collect fifty, and you can buy some stuff (silverware, pots, cups--it's different about each quarter), and both Rimi and Maxima are doing pots and pans. So, after a mere 10 weeks, we'll have enough stickers to get ourselves another pot (or sooner...depends on if other missionaries need them too).
All our contacts are hard to get ahold of, and with the economic crisis here right now, they are having to work very long hours, so finding time to meet with people is proving difficult. Yes, 40 good contacts is a lot for this area. But remember that that is my last five transfers all stacked together--so the good ones from each of those. They were a long time in coming. There's a good number of them who just aren't able to meet because they are out of country--so they remain on our list for later.

A good missionary story is below.
I was together with Elder Millett a few days ago. We had several lessons. It was interesting, because we taught A., who is an investigator that Brownillett (Brown+Millett) used to teach who left a while back, and last Sunday came to them and told them that they HAD to meet. He needs to and wants to change. I was way excited for them!

For life-changing knowledge: I had an interview with President Dance (the normal transferly one), and we talked about goals and such. He told me that the shorter the time frame, the better the goal. So, transfer goals he doesn't believe at all, monthly are not horrible, weekly are good, but daily are the best. We talked about my personal goals, and what to do to get them on a daily basis--how to break them down to that level. I have been trying it recently, and I think it'll be good.

We also had a big Zone Conference on working with members in our missionary efforts. Along those lines, I have a few thoughts, which I'll talk about below.

Random: Daylight savings time takes place on the 28th on March here (odd, eh? Daylight savings is absolutely silly anyway, I think. I understand why we do it, but it's just so random).

A. is doing very well. He introduced us to a friend of his yesterday after English class, and we wound up teaching them both. His friend (J.) has been searching for truth for a long time. He went to the 7th Day Adventists, but after a while felt like he was missing something. He visited the Baptists. He again felt starving after a month. So, on it went--Pentecostals (called the Vasaras Svētki--Summer Holiday--here), but he didn't like their Latvian congregation at all. The Russian one he loved, though! He then moved, and how he goes to Labā Vests (The Good News(?)), which is a generic Christian church (as far as I understand. I could be mistaken). He's reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and he loved the film about the restoration. I will tell you all, I have watched that film in Latvian twice in the last little while. It's absolutely AMAZING! If you ever have 20 minutes, you can watch it (it's at under free media. You can just watch it online if you want). It's incredible. It's in Latvian (for anybody interested) at this address: Very unfortunately, at present the Latvian one is only supporting Microsoft IE, so if you have a real browser, you can't see it. That's too bad. Anyway. J. really loved the movie, and we had an incredible lesson. He's full of the light of Christ, and understands patience, endurance, and that God doesn't always answer prayers immediately. Sometimes he answers at His own time, in His own way.

I'm listening to the Restoration film in English. The voicing is so odd-sounding. I much better prefer Latvian voicing--it's better emphasized. How odd that this language, so foreign and bizarre a year ago, is now preferred over my native language in some instances. That strikes me as interesting. I'm still more comfy speaking English, but some things I just like hearing better in Latvian. Hmm...

OK, so the spiritual thought (Sorry...this email has been all over. I hope it's made some sense): So, if you read Helaman 5 last week, did you notice what it says in verses 49-50? Also Helaman 6:1-5 and Helaman 9: 39. and: Helaman 15: 6 (3-7). Now, what I see in these scriptures is this: some people will not be converted by missionaries' efforts. They can only be converted by your efforts, as their friends. This is why part of the baptismal covenant is "to stand as witnesses of God at ALL times and in ALL things, and in ALL places that ye may be in, even until death" (see Mosiah 18: 9 (8-11))--that is how God helps all His children come unto Him. This means that, as Alma of old said, we "receive His image in [our] countenances" (Alma 5: 14). Others "see [our] good WORKS, and glorify [our] Father which is in Heaven" (Matt. 5: 16). This is enduring to the end.

I would invite you to seriously reflect on your commitment to your covenant. If you feel you could do better, as I do, then tonight pray for and this week look for opportunities to share. You'll note that the wicked Lamanites were "convinced...because of the greatness of the evidences which they received" (Helaman 49-50). They had many good examples. Here's just one example of how this is applied in real life:
In Elder Patterson's (a Russian speaking missionary here in Riga Center)'s English class, people were less than excited for the spiritual thoughts. A good number, however, stayed out of courtesy. One lady was interested, and asked for a Book of Mormon. She read it completely through, the whole book, in five days. She loved it! She wanted more! When she told their class that she loved the book so much, hands flew up from every person in the room, requesting a book. A few were even interested in talking to the missionaries. And all that happened because one lady said she loved reading the Book of Mormon. How simple is that to do?
Missionary work doesn't have to be huge. It doesn't have to be out on the streets, calling folks to repentance. It's just being an example, and searching out ways to share our faith in appropriate ways that others understand. That is my challenge to all who have faith in God, most particularly those of you who are of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days.
There are amazing blessings for doing this: joy (Helaman 6: 3; Helaman 5: 44); great personal blessings (Mosiah 5: 2); and help (D&C 33: 8-13).

I know that this is the true church of God. I know that He personally leads it through a living prophet. I know He loves us, and has given us a prophet for our benefit. I know that God answers our prayers. I know that we can be instruments in God's hands to bring about much righteousness (D&C 58: 27). I love you, and you are in my prayers. Sorry I've been so bad at writing--I guess I can't really hold any of you responsible for not writing if I don't write either, huh? Have a great week--
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )
Elder Jordan Argyle
Baltic Mission
Melnsila 3-1
LV 1046

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mar 11: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: New pad, Helaman 5, Random Stuff

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: 2009/3/11
Subject: Mar 11: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: New pad, Helaman 5, Random Stuff

All: 107,812 steps is 84,09KM

Pictures: Top: This is Sister Largey and Sister Wilson. They decided to start our first district meeting off a little differently. They actually look really good in suit coats and ties. Anyway, these are the two sisters in my district.

Next: This is my district. Right to left: Brown, Thompson (my comp), Largey, Me, Wilson, Millet.

Third: I usually hate pics of me, but whatever. After district meeting, the sisters ran to grab a cake and we had a little birthday party for me. I'm really excited for this transfer, because if we throw parties this hard, we'll have tons of fun (Elder Thompson's and Sister Wilson's birthdays are coming up.'ll be fun!)

Last one: So, after a beautiful, sunny day, we had this. What? Ladna, that's life here. It's a lot like Idaho--freezing cold and snowy one day, rainy then snow the next, then sunny and warm. So...yeah.

Q and A:
About Thompson: He's from a tiny, tiny town in Wyoming (Cokeville). He's been out for 21 months, I think. He's very serious about doing this work, teaches like a champ, wants to be a teacher (grade school). He's not a fan of the freaky weather we've been having.

Higher exchange rates means that the economy is doing worse. The economic situation here in Latvia is supercritical, and is very close to collapsing altogether. Only heaven knows what will happen. On the other hand, God's hand was in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and what have they done with that freedom? They haven't used it all that well. As people are righteous, they are prospered by God. When they aren't, they are left to fend for themselves. That's very evident here.

A lady named Diana was baptized last week. I don't know anything about her other than that she is an investigator of the Russian sisters in Center. Well...was. She's now a member here.
Teaching with members is sometimes really interesting. Helvijs is quite good for that, as he was a missionary once. He pulls out scriptures that have helped him, and he knows what investigators are saying. Turns out that for me, the gift of tongues operates when needed. If he's there or another member, sometimes I don't quite understand what the other person says, so I love having a member to help teach--they always know what they're saying. And they say things so much better than we do.

I have a new apartment! We moved in last week. We moved because the contract was ending, and President Dance wants us all in good apartments. Now that the economy is failing, it's a great time to find apartments. They're all over the place, and cheap! Naturally, to this new pad there are a few pros and cons. Pros include:
* Public bathrooms that don't reek
* I can flush toilet paper. (That means no more poop bag!)
* An oven
* Much lower rent (about $175 (USD) less)
* Beautiful wood floors, cabinets and such. Just redone before we moved in
* Heated bathroom floor tiles
* One of those fun, top-loader washing machines (like I had in Imanta)
* Not in an ancient, wood structure.
* The heating is terrible (it's way cold)
* There's only two burners, and they're both electric (I've grown fond of gas stoves)
* It's on the third floor (more stairs to walk)
* The selection of pots makes cooking take a little longer
* Not as much furniture, so storage of stuff is hard.

Today, we were buying groceries, and we saw that they had a self-check out line. Yes! So, we decided to try it out! But, it turns out that you have to do somethings exactly a certain way...for example, you have to hook the bag's handles around the little metal poles they have poking out above the scale. Then you have to scan, put it in the bag, and go again. It's quite a slow process, and a very frustrating one as well. Our first five minutes had the red light flashing all the time, and the helper lady had to come over about eight times to show us how to do it all. Then, we had an annoying Latvian voice telling us to "pieskariet" products. So, we switched it to English. Even worse—now it was an annoying, heavily accented voice. ") After another few minutes of frustration, we got it all figured out. The whole adventure wound up taking an hour and a half (that's with a few minutes—23 or so—traveling, and about the same time trying to check out). And they didn't even have cumen or cilantro. Honestly. We then went to our beautiful ice box and put everything where it belongs.

A. will not be baptized this weekend. He hasn't had his interview with the branch president yet. And I'm not sure he's ready.
We have a huge host of other investigators. We have 40 or so decent to excellent contacts that we've been calling. Many of them are even responsible and want to meet (a rarity for the men here in Latvia). But I would rather not report on any of them until we have some who are taking the lessons and moving forward. A. is really our only one who's moving forward at this time.

I would invite you to read and follow the teachings of the scriptures. Today, for this, I invite you to read and apply Mosiah 24: 6. I promise that people you write to will be happier for it. ")

Helaman 5 in the Book of Mormon: Well...I don't have time to share my thoughts about this. Basically, it's an amazing chapter. I hope you'll read it. Members might also want to look at Helaman 6:1-6 and ponder on its meaning to you. See also Helaman 9:39.

I love you all! Thanks for your support and prayers! Have an amazing week!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mar 4: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Transfers, Moving stinks, Investigators, and Weirdness

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: 2009/3/4
Subject: Mar 4: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Transfers, Moving stinks, Investigators, and Weirdness

All: 94,150 steps. 73.44 KM.

Pictures: So, the top one is what I call the "Creepy Babies." These are the mannequins at a children's clothing store, and they are probably the most terrifying thing I have seen...since some of the domes I've been in, anyway.
Next: This is Alise, one of the members here. Well...almost member. She is old enough to have been baptized, but her father is very inactive, and she has decided not to be baptized yet. I think she's waiting for her father, but he really doesn't want to do anything. So...anyway. She promised E. McLaren that she would read about the 2000 stripling warriors. She stole my triple to read it after church, while I was waiting for my meeting with the branch president. So, I nabbed a picture of her studying so čaklīgi.

Last: These are all the missionaries on the last day of last transfer. From left to right: Hagen Largey, Santa (one of the twins recently baptized), Romney, Beuhner (pronounced Beaner), White, McLaren, Patterson, Hansen, and me on the floor. Long story. Kinda...But, some of those aren't here anymore, because of transfers. More on that later

I was asked to describe what I see right now. It's a row of computers in a sweltering hot room filled with some random people and some missionaries. The screens are glowing with various games and a few people actually looking on the internet for stuff. I can't see out the window, but out there is a little courtyard. For Evil McDonald's. It's cool. Anyway, that's all. Really boring this week.

Songs for the Concert/Fireside(?) were in English, Latvian, Russian, and without words at all. Quite a successful concert, really. We even had a few pieces that were a cappella.
We announce our English classes in newspapers here. Also, we have our students sharing with people when it will be, and we tell people when we contact them. If they aren't interested in the gospel at all, or God, then we see if we can get them interested in learning English pie mums (with us? English is really hard).

"Any funny or unusual or memorable missionary moments this week?" Well...we got chased by a drunk Russian for almost half a block while knocking on doors the other day. We also had a very frustrating thing happen: there was a baptism this Saturday. We invited our whole English class (12 or so people), and we called all our contacts and invited them as well. And, when all was said and done, we had 23 people that we had invited. So, there we are, sitting in the church. You know how many came? I'll tell ya: 0. Yeah. People are so interesing. We also had a lot of good lessons that members helped with! It was really neat! Now, you are probably wondering about transfers or something, huh? Well, here goes.

Sister Hagen and Sister Wilson traded places (Wilson to Riga Center with Largey, and Hagen to Imanta with Norris). I was both saddened and excited for the change. Saddened because I love having Hagen in my district, and she and Largey were amazing together! They were basically tearing it up here, and their unity was amazing! So, I hate to see that go. The exciting part is that Wilson is basically me, but female. She thinks almost the same as I do in almost all things. So, now somebody will understand what I'm trying to say in district meetings, and she's basically hilarious. But she was doing amazing things with Norris as well, and so it's a big, hard change for all of them.

We also lost Elders Wineger (sp?) and Pratt, who both went to Imanta. And so did McLaren. I am now with Thompson (the other ZL--Zone Leader--for Latvian Latvia district; Brown is the other. Odd? Yeah, but whatever), and nobody is replacing Wineger and Pratt. They are thinning the ranks here...But we will get new troops (and quite a few of them) this next transfer! YAY!

I've decided that moving stinks. We've been moving from a stinky, weathered, old, rickety apartment to another one just down the street all day today. I think that I would almost be fine with just staying at the other one because I wouldn't have to pack up everything. We're closing that apartment, so it's not just our stuff we're packing. It's also silverware, irons, area books, and everything else. It's a mess. Oh, and now we need to clean and pay for two apartments this week. Whee...but, nekas. It's actually not something that matters all that much.

But, I did get a yellow-enveloped birthday card from somebody, and a juicer (I didn't even know that they had those plastic cones that you could juice stuff with) from the Carsons (a senior couple here), and a package from the folks. Thanks, all!

So, it turns out that next Sunday, the 8th of March, is Womens Day...again. My mission started with one of those. It's a seriously bizarre feeling thinking that I've been here in Latvia a year already. My brain basically melted not too long ago because of that...Anway, to all you women out there, we'll be celebrating you this Sunday. Also, Sister Whitehead goes home in three weeks. Yeah, mid-transfer. She's basically one of my favorite people ever. I knew her before the mission through a mutual friend, and we hit it off quite well here. So, it's weird to have someone else who has been a rock for me leave the mission. I'm tellin' ya, it turns your head in all kinds of odd circles. And in only another two transfers, my MTC sisters will be gone! That's when I'll know: I'm old. It's truly a bizarre feeling.

A. is still with us, and progressing strong. He has a baptismal date for the 14th of March. We'll have some things to talk about first (we have talked about all the commandments from a pamphlet for youth that states the standards expected for youth and basically explains things), so we'll hit them more deeply this week, and get him ready.
He's actually the only good one left. G. is in England (that's OK, though). When I first arrived in Liepāja, we were teaching a guy named Valdis. I taught him only once (maybe twice), then he went to Germany. We helped him find the missionaries and the church there, and he was baptized there. My last week in Liepāja, he came to church, and we got to talk. I know that it happens, and I am expecting it to happen this time to G. also. He was so ready for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

With Elder Encs (no clue how to spell than in English...ladna) leaving to Imanta as well (he was an assistant to the president), he left us a lot of good contacts, and we also have a lot from Elder McLaren and myself. We'll have some by next week. Elder Thompson is a champ. He just came from Jelgava, so we'll be ready to teach everything, and do it very powerfully. I'm stoked!

That's it! Have a beutiful day, y'all.

Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )