Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Apr 29: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Wha--what..? And other things.

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 4:40 AM
Subject: Apr 29: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Wha--what..? And other things.

All: It's scalding hot. It's creeping above the 20s (celcius, 70's in your degrees")), and the mission president wants elders to keep their suit coats on for a while. It's very, very hard to not die with temperatures creeping above the billions. But, when you actually get talking to people, you forgot all about yourself and focus on them. Only after is it hot for you. Well, and before. But whatever.

So, about the title of this message: It's p-day again. It was just p-day two days ago. WHERE IS TIME GOING?!?!?? It's absolutely ridiculous how fast it's disappearing! I've been working on not blinking, because each time I do, it seems time jumps forward a little bit. AAAA!!! Ok. Enough of that.

Now, for something not so pleasant (the other what?). Or, rather, even less pleasant. We are periodically given less actives from the branch list to go visit. We visited one this last week, and he was interested in having his records removed from the church. He is an ordained elder, and has been to the temple. He has received all the necessary ordinances of exaltation, and had the faith to live God's laws at one point in his life at least. Now, he wants away from it. That was very hard for me. Satan is working with all his might to destroy the membership foundation (especially the priesthood holders) of the restored church of God. This is also not the first person I have had to tell how to remove themselves from the blessings of the church. Because of my love for the people here, I have barely been able to keep in the tears at night, seeing how all these people would rather die with heavy hearts than live in freedom. The downright foolishness leaves me dumbfounded, and the pride in their false concept of reality is baffling. That was really hard for me last week.

However, even though it was a difficult week, my companion and I taught 15 lessons--9 of which were to new people. It takes a lot of work to teach that many lessons in this mission here. We were told that our goal was 15 lessons a week--missionaries balked at the do-ability. But with concerted effort, you really can teach 15 good, solid lessons in a home or at the church.

Pictures: Top - so...pigeons are EVERYWHERE. I hate those foul fowls. But, they are very friendly.
Next - too friendly. Here they are in the restaurant Lido. Very nice place. Why are they here?
Next - So, at the MTC, everybody takes a picture with their district pointing to where they are going. So, here is my district, for the last zone conference we'll have together, taking a similar picture to relive the moment. (WAAA!!!! SISTER KNIGHT GOES HOME THIS TRANSFER. SISTER HAGEN IS NEXT, WITH ELDER THOMPSON! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!)

Also something random: our buddy Helvijs is in the hospital. He's got himself diabetes, so they're cleaning him out. We went to visit him, and he's doing fine. His hospital is odd--we passed a large greek statue, a library, an art exhibit, a few drug stores, a cafenīca, and a few other shops (oh, and a tirgus (market) outside the building...a little one) on our way to visit him. He is doing alright. He's just a little emotionally down. Go figure.

What was your most interesting experience this week? Uh...I'm not sure that I can think of any that were MOST interesting. There was a lot of finding...that's always interesting.
Any scary moments? Not really. Just a slightly abusive drunk. Normal.
The most interesting door you knocked? Well, we knocked into this place last...erday, and a lady came out and began talking to us. She was super nice, but spoke mostly Russian. While we were talking to her, her neighbor came out. Now, every so often you have doors with more doors behind them. This had numbers 7 and 8 behind it. We rang 7, and this lady came out. But it turns out that she lives in 8. So, we told 7 what we do, and she said, "Oh. Not interested." She left. We kept talking to this lady, and a guy came out for a smoke. So, I talked to smoker guy while E. Thompson talked to nice lady. The whole thing lasted only six minutes or so, but it was rather fun, having people all over the place. Oh, and a suit of armor just outside the building next to the one we were in. And across the fence was a kid playing piano and oboe in the building there. And he was GOOD. Really good. So, all in all--it was an awesome few minutes.
Any funny companion moments? Well...he says words kinda funny. Like anything with an "ill" in it (hill, mill, pill, skill) he says like "eel." So, that was fun and random. Basically, he's just an amazing dude who busts out in random dancing and singing and such. Awesome, vai ne?
Any random foods you ate? Not that I can remember...we did find an all-you-can-eat buffet here (I had no idea anything of the sort even existed), so I'll let you know after that.
Your most unusual form of getting from one place to another? Well, we left Ķengarags, and then called the branch president to ask him when he could sign Lauris's baptismal record so we can send that to church records. He lives in Ķengarags, as it turns out, so we took the exact same trolly bus back into Ķengarags, and then grabbed another one back out. Made me laugh, because now all transport uses E Talons, so that they can trace your movements. And so they'll see that I went into Rīga, then into Rīga again...odd...because you cannot scan an E Talon twice on the same bus in the same hour, so I couldn't scan it again. It just will leave a funny record for them to trace later.
Any random Latvian trivia? Uh...Labor day is May 1st, because it's The Red Day. Good old soviets. It's actually a little annoying, because that'd be the best day to go pay bills for us, but our landlord will not be working (because it's labor day!). Random.
Your most spiritual moment of the week?? Lots of really good lessons...I don't know. It's really hard for me to give the most spiritual moment of the week. But I had a lot of good studies, many good lessons (again), and my testimony of the truth of restored prophets and priesthood authority was strengthened a lot.
One thing you learned this week? I guess I kinda already answered that one...but I also learned that I have an amazing district, full of powerful teachers. The sisters are absolutely amazing when they teach (as an aside). Ah! We also had a zone conference. I'll tell you a little more about that down below.
One answered prayer? Each time we went out to find new people, I had a prayer in my heart that we would teach. Each time this week (except Monday, and that's because we didn't listen to the spirit when He told us not to knock the top floor), we did.

And so..I am a little finding it hard to think. Ok. Zone conference. So, we were working on teaching skills. It was amazing to me to see how they all fit together: introducing a scripture, reading, and then explaining a scripture works so well with asking good questions. And those work well with answering to people's concerns. And all of that is tied together by a love for the one you teach. That was amzing to me.

We also discussed the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because His atonement was not only for our sins, but for our weaknesses and hurts, we have access to grace. Grace is a power of enablment that allows us to do more than what would ordinarily be possible for us alone. Next time you are reading through the scriptures, and you see the word "grace," try replacing it with "enabling power," and see what the verse looks like. It's amazing that, as I applied that and prayed for strength to endure, I was able to handle anything that came my way. That, my friends, is how we receive the help of God.

That's all. I love you!!!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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