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
( >/°¥< )

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