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

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