Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fools Day: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Investigators, Some good verses, Conference, people here

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 4:53 AM
Subject: April Fools Day: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Investigators, Some good verses, Conference, people here

All: APRIL FOOLS!! So, I know it's lame, but what do you do? There's not much that you can do for April Fools when you are a full-time representative of the Lord Jesus Christ all the time..anyway. Sorry. Moving on for the week:

83,890 steps (65.43KM)

These are old and stale, as I cannot get this silly card reader to read my camera card:
Top: So, this was a delicious cake. But, after only two days it was...slightly less than delectable.
Middle: I'm pretty sure I haven't sent this one. Yet another creepy thing used for advertising here.
Bottom: So...Elder Brown was learning how to knit, and was teaching Elder Thompson (my comp now). E. Thompson was VERY interested in learning how.

Daylight Savings: wonderful. Kinda. It's great, because the mornings are more like they're supposed to be--not all sunny and bright. But, the nights...It's way weird to be knocking a stairwell when the sun is still out. It totally weirds me out! But, it's nice, because then the creepy places aren't as creepy, since there's still a little light. And it's finally starting to warm up! That's totally unrelated to the change in clocks, but I thought I'd let you know that it's 5° out right now! That's basically a balmy summer's day! I can't wait for the week where the temperature is perfect! Then it just gets too hot. Then another week of perfection, then too cold. Silly weather. Oh well--It feels great!!!!

As far as food storage here--they also have a goodly number of bugs and pests (as you have some 18 or more doors in your stairwell, all with people behind them, and some are less than clean), so I'm not sure if under beds or tables would be the best. But they probably could. If they had beds. They usually sleep on couches here--very few people have a bed. And there's no way to get under that couch, really. But they probably could hide some cans under it--with a little effort. I'll suggest it. Any other ideas? Feel free to send them--this is kinda a serious problem.

Shepherd's pie is my second favorite meal. I don't have a first. That spot's still open, so that when I try something better, then it will have a spot. But, I will say that my mom makes an amazing sausage, rice, and apple casserole smothered in cheese, and that pretty much is tied with Shepherd's pie. That stuff is SOOOOO good, and so simple. But, I've adopted saying things are my second favorite, because I want for there to be a spot available for the first when I find it. I'm always learning and searching, so it's a good thought.

Other Q and A:
Q. Are most of the people there already pretty religious?
A. Absolutely not. Most people think religion is a checklist. They were baptized. They attend church sometimes. Check. No longer need to think about it. The other majority group is atheist, because during the Soviet rule, God was expressly forbidden. They had people posted by the doors of churches, and would take notes on who was going to church. They tended to be the first to vanish when the leaders decided that there were too many people, or that there were spies or something along those lines. I actually very often hear this:
Me: "Are you a believing person?"
Them: "No."
Me: "Could I ask why not?"
Them: "I'm a product of the Soviets. I just don't believe. Viss."
That's a common response and conversation. And people in general just don't care to learn more or anything. They don't particularly care about God. And every night, after a day of finding, I am almost in tears at the extent to which Satan has hold on these wonderful people! The Soviets were most definitely guided by the devil, for it is "by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7: 20 (16-20)). And the fruits are most definitely evil (Moroni 7: 16-17). Enough of that distasteful theme.
People here, if they actually even listen to what we say (most just see "Religion" and they don't even listen to what we actually say), then they are attracted to the thought that Heavenly Father loves them, and that we can know surely of God. Usually, however, they have their "Religion" check box marked, and don't care to spend their time listening to something that would only check that box again.
The only trends I have been able to see is that people who have an open mind are attracted to a sincere testimony. That is it. It matters almost none what is said. It has always (that I have seen) been in the "how" it was said. I told one lady that "I know this will be very valuable for you and your family" and she said, "Write my number." This came after a discussion on what we teach and such, for about two minutes, and she was just sitting on the fence, because she actually did want to know more, but she didn't know about how much time she had or anything. But, when I sincerely told her that, she gave me her number, and now the Russian sisters have a lesson with her this week. I don't know how it will go. If I hear any more, I'll let you know.
The rest of the questions were about our investigators, so:
A. is sick. He pushed back his baptism because he didn't want to finish getting sick. It happened anyway. So, I'm not sure if he'll be too excited about getting immersed this weekend. I will be calling him today to offer a blessing for health, and we'll let him know the blessings of baptism again, and see what he decides. We met him through English classes--he's one of our students. He's in his 40s, if I'm not mistaken.
L. we got him from the old assistants when Elder Encs went to Imanta. He's wonderful! He's pushing hard to learn and to understand. He's willing to do everything that's needed for baptism. He's willing to live every law about which we tell him. He's amazing!
N. is another from English class. He's a Baptist, but likes church and such. He's very open and sincere in his searching.
And for miracles: We introduced A. to a bunch of people last Sunday, and he had an amazing talk with the branch president, so that was good. Also, L. and Ainars Lignarskis (yes, the one that Elder Black and I taught who was baptized last September) befriended each other. And N. came to the baptism last Saturday, and actually talked to a lot of good people at church. I saw him very carefully watching Māsa Zariņa draw out the plan of salvation. He was even asking her questions. It was very exciting to see all of our investigators mingling and enjoying church. Oh, and church was spiritually very powerful!
We have not been able to go back to I. this week--she left town. And I misheard the phone number, so I thought it ended 999, not 222. "Divnieki" sounds a lot like "Deviņnieki" I guess. But we now have her number, so we'll call her tomorrow to see.
J. is A's friend. He's very sincere about searching, and he is praying about the Book of Mormon and showed his seven-year-old son the Restoration film in Latvian. His son loved it. He's basically rock awesome!

Really fast, I want to say a word against pornography, since everyone around me is looking at it (why would you go to a public place to do something so foul?). It is disgusting, morally degrading, addictive, and fights off the Spirit of the Lord faster than anything else I have heard of. If you get addicted to it, it will slowly degrade your morals and weaken your resistance to other temptations, until Satan has an unhealthy level of control over you. I would like to reference you to a talk given by the prophet of God a few years back. This was given in a meeting of those who hold the priesthood of God. This talk describes very well the dangers and consequences of pornography. If you feel that it is not dangerous to your spiritual well being or to your family's, then please read that talk.

Then. I was reading in the Book of Mormon, and I had some thoughts. I want to copy my thoughts as I had them a few days ago. I was reading the book of 3rd Nephi (that's when Christ comes to the people in person as a resurrected being). Then follows the book of 4th Nephi, when everyone lives after Christ's laws, and angels and Christ Himself serve them often. Also in that small book, we read how the people fell into sin, and how eventually almost all people forsake the gospel and Christ. Then follows the book of Mormon, the same Mormon for whom the book is named. That is when Moroni explains what he has seen, and his son finishes the last two chapters therein. There are many good warnings from the people who sited and abridged the entire Book of Mormon. Here were my thoughts:
"In my finishing the Book of Mormon late (should have been done two weeks ago...), I was reading this week Mormon 7-9. This is the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon, and he does something I have never seen in any other book of scripture--he speaks directly to the reader--to you, to me. He talks to the reader about the truth of the Book of Mormon. It is remarkably powerful! It comes after his entire people had been destroyed by their enemies, having openly rebelled against their God and denied the Christ. I invite you to read the evidences he gives us. Then, read again Mormon 9: 22-25. I challenge you to search the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Is not the power of God manifested through the pioneers? Through the early prophets? Through modern prophets? Behold, I testify unto you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that the power of the Almighty God has been and is shed forth in plentiful abundance among His saints of His restored church, even from Joseph Smith's first vision of the Father and the Son to now.

'26 And now, behold, who can stand aagainst the works of the Lord? bWho can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are cdespisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.
27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. aDoubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and bcome unto the Lord with all your cheart, and dwork out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him. (Mormon 9: 26-27)'

Is not God's power even in the translation of the Book of Mormon itself (Mormon 9: 32-34)? I have seen a multitudious host of blessings and miracles in my short 21 years. I know, by God's almighty power, that He is 'a God of miracles' (Mormon 9: 10-19; 2 Nephi 27: 23; 2 Nephi 28: 6). I call on all who profess faith in the mighty God and Jesus Christ to learn of their restored truth, come unto His kingdom, and enjoy the blessings He has restored. To all who believe not, I 'speak by way of invitation,' saying: come, test these things, and learn of your Father in Heaven, your Lord and your God, and of the plan He has laid for your happiness, both now and for eternity, 'that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life' (Alma 5: 62). For I know, and millions before me, that 'this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end' (2 Nephi 31: 21)."

And such were my thoughts. We will be having General Conference this weekend. I will not be attending this weekend all sessions, but next week as a district we will be watching it, so I will likely not have anything to comment about that next week. But, I would encourage all of you to get onto, and watch it. These men who speak are living apostles, who are the only people in the world who hold the "keys of the kingdom," as was given to the ancient apostles during Christ's time (Matthew 16: 17-19). It is worth your time to listen to them, because you are listening to God Himself (D&C 1: 38).

Know that I love you all! You are in my prayers! God bless, especially those of you who have reason to sorrow now, either from a death, or misfortune, or because of your own decisions. Remember the Lord's plea: "...will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" (you can read it in context, if you like: 3 Nephi 9: 13). He does heal.
Please send my regards to the Jackman family, and let them know my love and prayers are with them. Janin sent me some of the most fun letters to read. I will dearly miss her.
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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