Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aug 26: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: The Most Interesting Baptism Ever, Amazing Investigators, Elder Perry, Hard Lessons

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 6:57 AM
Subject: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: The Most Interesting Baptism Ever, Amazing Investigators, Elder Perry, Hard Lessons

All: I'm not sure exactly what happened this week, but I have a 62,843 (49.01KM) logged for the week. Whatever...

Q+A: The goat tasted a lot like beef, just a little different--like beef and pork combined, and a little better. Rabbit tasted much like pork or chicken, but was more tender. And duck was way good!! Basically the best bird meat I've ever chomped on in my life!

Pictures:Top: This is one of the sand sculptures that I talked about a while back. They're way cool. We spent 10 minutes looking at them way fast last week, so here's one of my favorites.
Next: Here is where Anita was baptized. This is the Svētupe (translates to "the Holy River." Pretty appropriate, huh?). It's always been one of my dreams to see a baptism in the ocean and in a river. Now, I've performed one (Jana, in the sea in Liepāja), and seen two in rivers (these last two weeks).
Last: here is the actual baptism (well, after it, since you don't take pictures during things like that ")). It was a good day.

So, about the baptism. It was the most interesting baptism I have ever attended. Anita is 70 years old. Sometimes things don't quite register correctly in her head. So, we got the investigators together and all else, and we head over in a taxi to pick Anita up. She opens her door and says, "No, no no. I'm not going today. I have to categoristically decline!" She then explains to us some things that aren't even close to true that she had "realized." We explained that's not the way it is, but she couldn't accept it right then. So, off we go. We cancel everything, and send everyone home. But then Māsa Šulca comes into Jelgava, and decides to go with the other Elders (who were waiting for her at the church) to see Anita and give her the flowers we bought and just talk. I explained to them what happened, and Māsa Šulca was able to explain everything in a way that Anita understood. She then wanted to be baptized again. And she couldn't wait--it had to be today! So, right before Brālis Pravains left the church, we get a call telling us to go there, and they'll meet us soon. Off we go. It's a little wait (because Anita doesn't move very well and they got lost on the way to the river), but as soon as she arrived, she went straight to the water.

So, we're standing on the bank of this river, she's in the water, and we start the baptism without prayer, song, or any intro at all. That was something I've never seen before. But, the actual baptism took a long time, too, because she couldn't bend to go under the water, so Elder Grey jumped in to help, and it wound up taking a few tries before it was all done. But when it was, Anita was beaming like everyone does after their baptism, and she said simply, "There. I'm baptized!" It was beautiful. And then the Latvians just changed right there on the banks from their wet clothes to their dry (Brālis Pravains, who did the baptism, and Anita who was baptized). Ah, Europe.

As far as investigators go, here we are:
G. is still with us. We told him that he needs to get more involved, and we clearly explained why we're meeting with him. He's the DJ.
A. is from English class. He's also not really with it. So, we gave him about the same lesson as G., to help him understand why he needs to act. I think I'll include that as my spiritual thought at the end...
I. and E. (mom and son) are still going well. Nothing really new since last letter. We need to start giving them more commitments, so they can really start to progress...
An. This guy is amazing. He's been in contact with us for a long time. He's never really been overly interested until now, and we gave him a Book of Mormon, and within a week he read through Second Nephi (that's over 100 pages). He's been paying close attention to the Holy Ghost, who has been teaching him a lot. Basically, he picked up everything that we planned to teach him. We taught him the Word of Wisdom yesterday(that's a law of health that God revealed to Joseph Smith the prophet that states that alcohol, smoking, coffee, and some kinds of tea are not healthy for our bodies). Anyway, he immediately accepted it, and said he'd need to gift to others about a kilo of tea and coffee he's got at home. He immediately said he's stop drinking, and started thinking of how he can keep that commitment. He's very spiritually sensitive. It's amazing to see him each time. So full of light--I love it!!
Gu.'s phone is off, and we can't find him. I think he probably got robbed in Rīga. But, I don't know for sure.
L.'s husband is doing a lot better, and we should be able to go out to them in a little while. It's just way hard to meet with them.
And a few others, but these are the ones that make me the happiest right now!

Elder L. Tom Perry, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will be here this Saturday! He'll be with President Rasband (the first president of the 70s) and President Paul (who is in the presidency of Eastern Europe somehow. I'm not exactly sure how...). I'm really excited for that.

Anyway, here's that lesson that we taught those two investigators:
Basically, we point out that they aren't using their time with us very well. We then read 2 Nephi 2: 27 and we ask, "What does the word 'captivity' mean? What does 'freedom' mean? When we sin, we literally put ourselves in the power of the devil. And he will indeed have power over us. We, being born in a fallen world, and because we're imperfect, are fallen. We are "carnal" people. We then read Mosiah 3: 19, and discuss how we overcome that natural man (through the Atonement of Christ the Lord). Because Helaman 5: 10-12. We need to repent in order for the power of the atonement to work in our lives. That changes us from that natural man. Note that when we do this, the devil will have NO POWER over us, to drag us down, and Christ's stronger power pulls us away from the devil. We must follow Christ.

We then jump over to Mosiah 16: 5, and point out that if we don't change, the devil will have ALL power over us. That's the opposite. What does Satan's power lead to? Captivity. What is that? Having others decide what we do, and not being able to make choices for ourselves. So, Alma 34: 32-35 this life really is the time to do all this. After this life, we will not have time to do this stuff. I then try to make sure they understood that we are teaching them so that they can do what is needed to access the power of the Savior and be freed from captivity. We also pointed out that it's very important that they use this time wisely. For when we do, then we will be given more opportunity in the future (meaning both in this life and after).

That's the fast, basic version. We both times would draw out the plan of salvation as well, and show them that we prepared for this life a VERY LONG TIME before this life, and that we have this time now to prepare for the VERY LONG TIME after that. And then tell them that they need to start acting now! It worked out pretty well both times.

I hate time so much. We've been here way too long (we've also been sharing pictures, so...anyway). I gotta go. I love you all! Have an amazing week, and keep reading!!

--Elder Argyle

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aug 20: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Food, Helping, and Being Sick

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 6:30 AM
Subject: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Food, Helping, and Being Sick

I think the title pretty much says it all. But, I'll (for your sakes")), go a little more in depth on each of those things.

Ah, yeah, 115,587 steps this week (90.15KM). Cool. Moving on.

I'll explain the pictures while I go along telling the story of the week anyway, so here we go:

So, we wound up helping a lot of people this week. There was a baptism here in Jelgava. Two long-time investigators had finally prepared themselves for the sacred ordinance. It was quite beautiful. The only thing is that they live a little ways away from Jelgava, so we had to drive out there, and buses don't come all that often. So, we had to go by the means of member's cars, and only two members in Jelgava have a car. And one of them had a lot of house-work to do, and couldn't fix his tire and all the rest, too. And Verners (the son who was baptized) went to youth conference in Saint Petersburg (how do you even say this in English? I hope I spelled it Latvian it's Sanktpēterburga. That's so much easier to remember), and so he had a lot of catch-up work on his farm. So...we went out to help him! And I got to...uh...pļauj...with a sirpi. Sigh. I got to whack a bunch of weeds with that sickle-looking thing. In Latvian, that's es pļauju ar sirpi. But whatever. I've always wanted to use one of those things, so it was kinda like the fulfilling of a dream for me. That's the first picture.

Then life kept going. We went over to Paša's house to help him with yard work and fix his tire. He's an amazing young man, who is so full of the light of the gospel and with love for those around him. His heart is so good! It was a pleasure working with him! Anyway, I just loved how this picture of Elder Gray turned out, so I sent it along (second picture).

Then, there was the baptism (third picture). Verners and his mother were baptised. His mother has been involved with the church for over 7 years now. She's never been able to make that important first step to become a member of the church. Baptism is the first of many ordinances that are necessary for us, and so we cannot really go anywhere until we start the path, right? She was thrilled to walk through the gates onto the path that leads to eternal life (read 2 Nephi 31 to more fully understand this analogy and the importance of baptism)!! Another exciting thing is that they raise ducks, rabbits, and goats for foodstuffs, and they made us dinner. So, I get to add duck, rabbit, and goat rump to my list of not-super-common foods I've tried (right up there with guinea pig, fried ants, and the like). It was quite an adventure!

Then, the last picture is Paša again, and his FIANCEE!! Yes, they are engaged! They will be married on the 12th of December! I love both of them to death, and they are such a good pair for each other! Every time I see them, I just can't stop smiling!

But, it turns out that some of the meat wasn't cooked all the way (and I ate a lot of it), so I got fairly sick. From Monday afternoon until this morming (Thursday), I've been effectively taken out. We didn't stay home, but I wasn't too much help to my comp. Surprisingly, we still taught a lot of people, and the work continued on! I'm just worried that we don't have people ready to teach to replace those who will leave our teaching pool this or next week, if they don't start really getting serious. And, we will have another baptism this Saturday. An older lady who has completely read through the triple (that's the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price--which has excerpts from Joseph Smith's history (how the Book of Mormon came about, his vision of the Father and the Son, etc.) twice. And so, she knows that they're true. She's quite great! But she can't really make it to church very often because of health, so we'll be working with her on that.

That's the broad overview. It was exchanges. Nothing in Jelgava changes this transfer. And almost nothing changed anywhere else. Elder Gray will be with us until the end of August (long story), and when September starts, he'll be heading home. They still haven't told us who they will send after he leaves...sigh.
Now, for the Q+A portion:
V. and his mum are both Latvian. About the rest of our investigators:
G.: He's doing all right. He meets and will do what we ask. But we feel that his heart's not in it. He does it because he likes us. I don't know exactly what to think or do. I keep trying, but if nothing changes, we'll have to drop him for now.
Gu.: He's recently been a hit and miss. But I think that he'll do the things we've challenged him to do to increase his faith in Christ, and will start (or, hopefully continue) moving closer to Him.
A.: She's the one who gets baptized this week. Cool, huh?
L.: Her husband has been having a really busy month with doctor visits and all, so she hasn't been able to meet with us recently.
I. and E.: attended church! I. said she LOVED it, and will definitely be back. It was really neat, because she and E. participated a lot, and I think at least I.'s heart was in it. K. (the other son) is younger, and would rather watch TV than listen to a pair of people talk--TV is more interesting. So, that's where he went.

It appears most of our pool of people we're teaching has taken all they can right now of the truth, and for now won't or can't accept more, so we really need to find some more people this week! But they are still great--just busy or things happen, and they don't seem to be progressing. I'm way excited that I could teach them, though, because a good number of them were progressing, and a miraculous number still is! We'll keep working, though.
My idea to focus the members on the temple is just what I'm doing, because I feel that will help them. They are all newer members, and they need to go to the temple to continue on their path, so I want them to understand temples. Plus, that really shows the truthfulness of the gospel, and since Satan is trying REALLY hard to destroy this sweet little branch, and has already succeeded in temporarily separating a few, I thought that would strengthen the members in the true and living gospel. And no, they don't really understand it. I think we may do that this month in Sunday school, and talk about it during sacrament meetings.

Yes, I'm still with my comp--Thompson. He's basically a powerhouse, and just goes out to do the work. It's really inspiring!

Anyway, I've been in this internet place WAY too long, and I'm starting to dyslexisize the letters (the spell check is in Russian, so it's not really any help), so...Have a great week!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Aug 12: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: More Miracles, Funny Stories, Sister Wilson

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Aug 12, 2009
Subject: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: More Miracles, Funny Stories, Sister Wilson

All: A meager 94,086 steps (73.38KM) was a direct result of the most amazing week of my mission to date.

I'll start with that. For the first time ever, my companionship broke 20 lessons. That has never happened in one of my companionships. In fact, we have rarely broken 15. But we had 20 OTHER LESSONS, meaning that they were to investigators, and a few of those had a member present. I don't think that I've ever had such a busy week. We would plan 7-9 lessons a day, and then have to plan that a few of those fell through so that we could even eat lunch! It's been amazing...I'm not sure I can even tell you. We now have six people who have dates--one of those isn't specific yet--she's still thinking of when she wants to be baptized. The rest are decently solid. I'll tell you about the miraculous things that've happened with them:

G.: This is the way cool DJ. He has already: quit smoking and drinking. He is striving to: live the law of chastity, live all the 10 commandments, and is working his way through the Book of Mormon. I've not seen very many so willing to do what we ask! It's absolutely astounding! Hopefully he'll be baptized near the end of this month.
Gu.: This is a young kid, who will soon enter 9th grade. He has had a history of hard times, emotionally. He's very interested in what we have been telling him, agreed to completely stop drinking, and is working towards kicking smoking. His mother is very interested also (vectante, so it could be mother or grandmother or great-aunt. I haven't figured it out yet), but doesn't really want us over at her place. Yet. Hopefully he'll be baptized early next month.
I. and E.: This is that family. She sent us a text Monday when we had a lesson with her, wherein she said, kodolā, "Better not come. My husband doesn't want you at our place. E. will keep coming to English class, and we'll keep reading, though." So, I called. He (the husband) answered. I talked to him a bit, and turns out he wanted to meet us. So, we went over and talked with him and the rest of the fam. He just returned from Germany, and was preoccupied with thoughts of how to provide for his family and the like, so it was a rough conversation. But, the end results were these: he trusts us, and doesn't think we're doing weird things to his family; the mother received a VERY strong answer to prayer; and we can still teach them! She said probably the coolest thing ever: "You told me that I had to pray fervently to get an answer. So, that's what I did. And I got an answer." I won't clarify the answer, due to its sacredness to her, but I was amazed! She received an answer that I have always wanted. And her husband and son teased her a little about it, so we had to play peace-keepers and build her up. And the son was explaining what he read, but couldn't remember too much, so we also defended him from skeptical comments from the folks. They could definitely use the strengthening power that comes through the gospel for their family! They are a beautiful family, though. PLEASE use your faith and pray for them. We need all the faith we can get to call down the blessings of our loving Father in Heaven!!! Right now, the mother and son have a baptismal date for 12 September.
A.: She's an older lady who had completely read through the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price twice! She's a little eccentric, but really wants to attend church and keep growing. Only, she is way old and cannot really move too much, so it's been a bit of a problem for her to do that. But she's good. She's the one who's thinking about her date for baptism.
L.: She's an amazing older lady who is very humble. She's reading, and praying, and willing to do anything that is asked. I can see the light coming into her eyes. She hopefully will be getting baptized with the little family.
Most of the rest of our investigators are plugging along well. Our lessons with them now are focused on really getting them to apply the things that are taught, so that they can feel the power that comes from the gospel.

We also have a baptism this weekend. V. and A. have been investigating for a long time, and just now have finally gotten everything in place to be baptized. We'll do it at their place, since they live on a farm. That's been a long time in the waiting.

So, with all these miracles, comes some bad as well. We had several investigators not come to meetings when we were pretty sure they'd be there. We've also seen a lot of badness going on because of the slumping economy. Several branch members are jobless, and have no idea what will happen (as also is with our little family). And just talking with people--we'll have long bouts of really prideful people, who scoff at God and His infinite love for them, and then we'll talk with a guy who immediately says he wants to hear more. It's seems like I am literally in a war, and some people choose to ignore the battle and walk into the lines of merciless fire. And I've seen some very serious wounds. I have also seen casualties. And I have seen people stand up and defend themselves and their loved ones with a heroism to rival any soldier. It's so literal.

And another really sad thing for me. Sister Wilson will be headed out of her mission next week. Sister Wilson has had more influence on me than any other missionary in the Baltic Mission. She thinks much like me, and I am able to really have an honest discussion with her. Her testimony is so powerful, and her love for the people is so palpable. She knows when to work, and she knows when to have fun. She has always provided me with inspiration and a drive to work harder, give more, and be better. And now she is leaving. I think in a good measure the incredible blessings I have seen have been to help me really focus better in the work, and start becoming what she already is. I've heard so many people tell me what an impact she has had on their lives. One man told me during English class that she's one of the five most influential people in his life! I don't usually do tributes, but for this amazing Sister I will make an exception. She is truly a model of what a missionary should be. And I have had the honor and great blessing of working with her.

OK, enough of that. On to some funny stories and assorted things:
It's already creeping into blessed darkness more and more each day. The sun is out six less minutes a day (so they say), and we're already having to turn on lights as soon as we get home in the evening. Well...I say already, but it turns out that it's the 12th of August. What's the deal with that? I swear that July just started....time is a terrifying thing, and one that makes NO sense. I think July just began, meaning time is running WAY too fast! But, I think back on an activity or something that happened, and I think it was months ago. Turns out what I was thinking of was less than three weeks ago. I'm not sure what's going on with me. But time has lost all of its meaning, and become much more of a crazy inconstant that I cannot control. So, I guess the sun has probably been gradually sinking in the sky, but I just haven't noticed it.
Ah. Pictures. Yes. How could I forget?
First: There are SOOOO many weddings in Jelgava. Seriously. This is a 100% daily sight (well...most don't do a horse-drawn carriage, but I mean a floral-decorated mobile all over the place).
Second: So, I'm taking a lot less photos now.....I think it's because I'm too busy to really take any...or because I've already seen just about everything at least once before, so things aren't so interesting as to require a photograph of them...anyway, this is right above our home (actually, it IS our home, just on the roof. Which winds up being above....never mind). These horrid little buggers infest the area behind our house (in the courtyard of our building) and at night apparently line up on the roof. I just thought it was a cool, artsy photo. If only I had a real camera...
And that's it, photo-wise.

Speakers in church were Māsa Zērvena, and then missionaries. Church was amazing! We had a goal to have 6 investigators come to church. My companionship was waiting for about 10 people--and none showed,except for one girl from English class. She's very young (still in high school), but she came with her parents. And then we had four from the other companionship, so we actually EXCEEDED our goal!! And then there were five church members there, and us, so it was kinda a funny, lopsided sacrament meeting. But, they all enjoyed church, and felt the spirit. It's way stressful being a group leader, because I'm trying to focus everyone on the temple, which is kinda hard because most people don't understand its significance. And I'm not exactly sure I know how to explain I've been working hard to figure out how to teach that. And, as group leader, I know about many of the problems in people's lives, and it's very draining to be praying for them and doing all I can to help them out. And that's with a dozen or so members. I don't know what I'd do with a full branch...

I love you all. Basically, my spiritual thought for you is in the form of an invitation. Hopefully you have all been reading the Book of Mormon. Now, I would invite you to really think about what you have been reading. You should be in Third Nephi right now, if I'm not mistaken, and there are amazing things to be read in that chapter. My invitation to you is really to think about what Christ teaches, how He teaches, how He appears, what is taught. And then pray about it. Fervently. With a real intent to know. And it doesn't matter if you've done this already or not. I invite you to do it again. If you truly do this from the very depth of your soul, I can promise you in the name of the Savior of the World, even Jesus Christ, that you will receive an answer that you can recognize. It will come through the power of the Holy Ghost. This is truth. And whatsover is truth is light. And that means it is discernable. In Latvian, the word they use is izprotams, which means fully and completely understandably comparable. It's a great word. You can read that truth yourselves, from Alma 32: 34-36.

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Aug 5: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Lessons!!!! Teaching!!!! Good things!!!!! It was a good week.

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 4:34 AM
Subject: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Lessons!!!! Teaching!!!! Good things!!!!! It was a good week.

All: Not a lot of walking, but with a good reason. 89,811 steps and 70.05 KM.

So. We broke 15 lessons for the first time in a long time. That's why we weren't walking very much. We had 28 lessons planned last week. And 16 of them fell through. Normal. But we found an extra four people this week that we were able to teach. I don't know that I've ever seen so many miracles in the work before. When we sat down last Friday for weekly planning (we had too much planned on Thursday to do it then. That's the usual day), we found ourselves planning upper lessons (meaning second or third or more visits) for 12 investigators! That's more than I think I've ever had! And up to this day, there are 5 of them who are seriously considering baptism dates. Never have I even thought of having that many serious investigators at the same time! I want to tell you a little about them:
A.: He's in our English class. He really is thinking about these things. He's praying, and reading, and seriously trying to know if it is true. He's not really ready to give up social drinking, and he really likes to joke around, but he's got a solid gold heart and is amazing! He needs some faithful prayers, though, to help him on his path. And I need your prayers, so that I know what he needs to be taught to really help him the most.
V.: This is the cop that can lift 285KG (627 pounds). He actually lifted 310KG (682 pounds, for you Americans who don't know the world's measuring system-heh heh) dead weight at a competition last year. Anyway, he feels that he cannot overcome the effects of his job. He's a cop, so he sees all kinds of bad things. And he feels that bad influence has come into him and made him worse. But, we set up a program for him to fill up with good: read a little each day (examples were 10 minutes or a chapter or two a day), and pray twice a day. He told us he had started. His work schedule has been unusually hectic recently, so we haven't been able to see him. Brālis Pravains (a member here) actually knows him from school, so that has been pretty good.
D.: A nice older lady. Don't know what exactly will happen with her.
A.: She's the younger lady who used to be Christian. Again, we haven't been able to go back yet, but she keeps coming to mind while I study, so I think that we'll still be teaching her.
A.: She's an older lady who has completely read through the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price (all the additional canonized scripture that has been revealed so far in these, the latter days--see Acts 3: 19-21). She knows that they are true, and she knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. She knows that God has restored His church to us. She also cannot move very well, so she can't make it to church too often. But, she'll be getting baptized this month (hopefully--she's picking the date this week).
A.: This is that father who had that amazing experience praying last time. His son was blessed at church. Now, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we bless children under the age of accountability. Then, when they are baptized at age 8, they receive the Holy Ghost, to lead them further. Anyway, he came to church to see that. He's all supportive of it--change is just really hard for him, so he doesn't want to go through all the needed changes right now. I know he will, though. It will just take some time. We have been having way good lessons with him!
L.: She's an older lady out in Aizupes (it's north of Jelgava, past the little town of Ozolnieki and over the river. The name actually means, "Behind the River"). She's way ready. Her husband is having some serious heath problems, so she asked us not to come last week. We'll see her this week, though. She's ready for a baptismal date, I think.
This kid was one of our unplanned lessons last week. He is the one who told us he likes that we believe in God, not in Church. I am thrilled that we'll be meeting with him tomorrow! I think that he's ready for all kinds of good.
I., E., and K.: OK. This is basically an answer to my prayers. Ever since I've arrived, I have pleaded to be able to teach a family. To my memory, that has never happened. And, technically, I. has no husband, but I am thrilled because both of her sons are old enough to be baptized! She's very interested in what we teach, very open, and is doing what we ask her to do--reading and praying. She really wanted to come to church, but wasn't able to last Sunday because of work. She and her older son (the first one listed after her name) accepted a baptismal date for the 12th of September. It was really exciting, because they accepted readily. And the interesting thing is, according to her son, she was not interested in church at all before we came. He felt a need to attend church and to be baptized, and she told him that she believes inside, and she doesn't need any church. But now, he said, she really wants to come to church and is all faithful all the time. It's amazing to me what the Holy Ghost does to people when they are open to him and are taught true doctrine.
G.: This guy's amazing! He's a professional chef, and right now he's working as a DJ. He also accepted a baptismal date (but he smokes and will need to change some thoughts he has about women to conform to the law of chastity), and he even comes early to lessons! He understands things quickly, and remembers almost anything that is said. I'm very excited to see him progress!
G.: He is the last one I'll mention this time. He is quite young, but has come to every lesson early and has read all we've asked. His vectante (mother or aunt, I can't tell which--the words can be the same) is also quite interested. But we haven't been able to meet with her, because of health. Anyway, he also accepted a date for the 29th of August, and is excited to be baptized. He also smokes and has things to work on, but he may be able to make that date! And he's really excited to come to church. He actually told us, "I'm coming to church. When do you have it?" Wow!!
So, all--*clears throat* sorry. Didn't mean to do that in bold. So all these people have things to work on, but almost all of them are willing and ready to keep moving towards God. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for them, and for us (my comp and I), so that we can know what to teach them to help them out. They all are making big changes in their lives to move closer to God. It's absolutely amazing!
One thing I noticed. That little family we're teaching that accepted a date responds differently than some of our other investigators. Some of our other people see us as friends or as preachers, and so what we talk about is interesting or they like to spend time with us. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but this little family really sees that we are God's servants, and they respond differently. I don't know what we did differently, or even if we did anything differently, but the Spirit at our lessons is something different. And that has filled me with such enthusiasm and hope that everything seems to be brighter and better! I love it!

OK. So that's the most exciting thing. A few other things:
Pics: Top: These are the nachos that we made a while back. They were way good.
Next: This is more of the beautiful scenery on the way to that family's place (remember the bridge and storm shots? This is just a little further). I couldn't help feeling that I was in a tropical rain forest or something at this part of the trail. It was cool.
Last: This girl is Z. She's in our English class. We read the story of Alma the younger from the Book of Mormon, who was the son of the prophet at the time. He wasn't the best guy in the world (you'll read why), and an angel came to stop him and his friends from doing any more damage to people's hearts. This is how Z. drew it. She showed us her artwork a little while ago, and we liked it, so we thought we could engage her more in this lesson and have her draw it, instead of read it. It was more interesting for her, and for everyone. The story is told by Alma the younger to his younger son, and is found in Alma 36: 6-22. We used it to illustrate what repentance means.

Uh...we visited a guy's place today (he invited us a while back), and he told us his life's story (basically) and filled a large bag with apples, and sent us on our way. So, we made a HUGE pot of applesauce. It was pretty good, even though crabapples are not the best applesauce apples. But we've got enough applesauce for the whole week!

We also took G. to Rīga. G. is the son in the family that lives across the bridge with the father who had such an amazing experience (I figure that descibing them will be more memorable for you than me telling you their names). He was attending Youth Conference, with happened in Jelgavkrasti, which is a little bit away from Jelgava (it's actually in the Limbažas Rajons, so it's farther north even than Rīga). So, we took him to Rīga to meet all the other youth from Latvia so they could go to the conference together. He was the only one who went from Jelgava. But, I was thrilled out of my mind to see all the youth (many of the youth), and to see several other people who I have missed talking with for a long time. And during this conference on the 29th with Elder Perry, I'll be able to see all the other church members I've not seen forever! I'm pretty excited about that, actually.

That's probably enough. Turns out that I also have an amazing district. And Ve. and Ag. (his mother), who have been investigators for a really long time, have both decided to get baptized at their farm on the 15th of August, which is right after YSA (Young Single Adult) Conference. And we had a lot of people at church last Sunday. And one of our members (Paša (Pāvels)) will most likely be getting married to Natalija (who is as amazing as Paša) before I leave in December. Basically, everything is on an up, and I'm really excited to go out and keep finding more good people! I need your prayers, though, so that we can have the Spirit.

I love you all!!!! There is nothing truer that what I teach every day! Keys of the priesthood and priesthood power ARE indeed restored to the earth! May you all find this truth for yourselves from God Himself: read the words of the prophets (The Book of Mormon especially), and pray to know from God, with faith and with "real intent" (Moroni 10: 3-5). Just try it and see how you feel!--

With love,
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )