Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Saules Muzejs, Old Rīga, Nice People, More Parades

From: Jordan Argyle
Subject: May 20: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Saules Muzejs, Old Rīga, Nice People, More Parades

104,026 (81.14). Far.

So, Sister Jēgina (the church member who teaches us Latvian every week) took us on a trip through Rīga Old Town (Vēcrīga). She owns her own travel agency, so she knows a good deal about history and such. A few things that struck me:
3320: this is the oldest thing in Rīga. This wall was built in the 1200s. Yes, that thing is almost 800 years old. That is one of the most amazing things I have ever heard. Nothing like that is in the Americas, really.
3328: Old town is full of old, amazing treasures. This church is over 500 years old, and has the oldest open-air statues in Europe (dating back to the 1400s, if I'm not mistaken). This is the other side of that church.
There was a lot of other stuff, too, but I'll hold off. So that you know, Vēcrīga is amazing! Just don't buy too many suvenieres there--it's the most expensive place in Latvia to buy stuff.
S. Jēgina also took us to the Saules Muzejs (Sun Musium). It just opened this month, and S. Jēgina knows the founder. So, we looked around. You get to draw on the wall. Here's what it looked like when we drew on it. I picked the half of the wall that has my sun on it. If you know me, you'll recognize my sun. If you want to send something, I'll also include their address. The other picture is just a glimpse of what it looks like inside. The best part: after you draw on the wall, you also get to paint your own sun in the basement with paints and stuff! It was fun! I felt like a kid's fun to just step back and live life for a while. Then live it though work again (more fulfilling the later way).
Saules muzejs
Kungu iela 1, Rīga
Latvija, LV-1050

Feel free to send them stuff. You can just mail it to this address. If you have any suns.

Q+A: By hockey, I mean ICE hockey. Turns out, though, that "hoki" is also the word for "camo," like the color pattern. By protest I mean two ways--marches through the streets of people with signs, and thousands of people standing out in front of various government buildings to show their feelings in a unified way. None of these more recent protests have gotten violent, as far as I know. With the possible exception of the one last week...I'll get to that later.

Grave cleaning? So, my fam is going to take care of ancestors' graves this memorial day. That's such a Latvian thing. They're so into keeping their graves tidy. For example: 86 year old Helena has a bad leg (it's a recent thing) that's been giving her a lot of grief. She has to leave hours early so she can hobble to church on Sunday. I asked Saturday if we could come visit (maybe give her a blessing), and she said, "No, I'm planning on going to the graveyard today, to take care of our graves. Maybe after Sunday." She went on to tell me it's been too long since she was there last (about a month ago), and so she REALLY needs to get it done. Wow.

Other randomness: There was a gay rights parade last Saturday. In direct opposition, Latvia has established this month as "Family Month." We participated a little in the Ģimenes Svētki (family holiday) at the park. And many people were quite adamently opposed to the gays' blatent displays. This nation, more than less, still is completely repelled by such iniquity.

We also ate lunch together as a district last week. It was sooooo good, and way fun. I love my district. I made an amazing fruit salad (Sister Wilson helped decide how much sugar to put in it...). We had a delicious barbeque (the other elders have a grill on a porch--not many places have porches). The sisters made a noodle salad, and Sister Hermann (who worked at the restaurant Tucanos) made us glazed pineapple. It was basically the most delectable lunch so far of my mission. And that's saying a lot, because we went to this Korean place last week (for 3.60!), and I had some way yummy sushi. We'll be going to a Japanese place this week (same price!!), so I'll keep you posted. And that all-you-can-eat place was really good.

We'll be having another music concert this Friday. I love those.

This week we were told several times how great it is that people as young as we have such great faith and that we're acting on it. One was a very old lady we knocked into a long time ago (several weeks). She wanted us to come back, and she had her neighbor there. I was powerfully affected by her testimony. Here it is, in brief. This is my spiritual thought.

Ilona: My mother taught me a little about God, but not too much. She was a German, and when she died, I only had the Bible in German, which I could not understand. But, I always have gone to church each Sunday. You're so young, you wouldn't know; back in the Soviet times, church was forbidden. They liquidated the churches, and sent the preachers to Siberia. They would have military police outside of the churches that were left open, and record the names of people who attended. So, I would tie a handkerchief around my head each week and go. I worked in the Ministry (that's a government organization--used like the British use that word), and each time I went I would go back wondering, "Are they going to catch me today?" But God protected me, and they never did take me.
Since, I have been a very active missionary. I have given away more than 1,000 Bibles in both Latvian and Russian. I have given away more than 10,000 brochures and pamphlets about God and Christ, and I have talked to all my neighbors about it. Unfortunately, in my old age [she's in her 70s or so] I cannot do too much more, but I do what I can. I know that I have accepted Christ into my heart, and I know that He has protected me and has done miracles in my life."

She went on to tell about some of the miracles. She was protected in a great many instances. The Spirit manifested to me that God's hand was involved, and that His power protected her. My testimony was strengthened about God. Māsa Helena (that 86 year old lady in our branch) has several similar stories of divine protection when her family was slaughtered, when she was robbed, when she was farming, and others. Quite impressive to see. God really does care for His children. That doesn't mean He'll protect us from all bad things, but He will make sure that we can carry on in life.

Es Jūs gauži mīlu! ( I love you all!)
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

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