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

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