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
( >/°¥< )

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