Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oct 28: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Exchanges, Baptisms, Haunted Woods, The End

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 5:10 AM
Subject: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Exchanges, Baptisms, Haunted Woods, The End

All: So, I'm quite short on time (due to a lot of stuff to do today), so I'll be quick here. 80,201 steps and 62.55 KM.

First, baptisms. I have attached a picture or two. It was beautiful.
The top one is the whole group. You've got: Sister Rebere (I have no idea how to spell it in English--Reeber, maybe), Brālis Lepešs, Zaiga Kalniņa, Davis Kalniņš, and the rest of Zaiga's kids. In the back: Helvijs Vīgners, Zane Pliha, Simone Miljone, hiding in the very back is Jurgens Plihs, the Brālis Ulasavičs and Sister Gomez. The ones getting baptized were Zaiga, Davis, and Jurgens. It happened. Both of these adults have been waiting years for things to work out so they could be baptized. It turns out that both of these baptisms are a HUGE miracle, and the result of many, many prayers and a lot of effort. I was touched deeply to see the hand of God so obviously this week.
The next picture is Zane, her father, Jurgens, and Sister Keeling. I loved this Saturday not only because there were a bunch of baptisms, but because Zane was thrilled out of her mind with euphoria all day. It was the greatest thing in the world to see. She's been waiting years for her father to accept the gospel and begin to live it. And Jurgens is way excited to be able to make his daughter so happy. It's amazing to see. Zane spent a lot of time hugging her dad these past few days :) I helped Zaiga fill out the form for baptism, and there's a little box by the "parents" section that says "Church member." She was filling out her son's form, and so when she wrote her name in there, and looked at the box, she got a huge smile on her face, and in a voice filled with an emotion I cannot even describe she said, "Ja," while tenderly checking the box. It was way cool to see her excitement, too! I love what the Atonement does for people!!!!
The last picture is my companion. He loves the talk, "Good, Better, Best" by Dallin H. Oaks (of the 12 apostles). We found this carved in a wall, and nabbed us a picture. Cool, eh?

Another cool thing about the baptism is that missionaries didn't do anything, really. Elder Long played the piano and gave a talk, but otherwise all was done by members. Way cool! Ah, and I was asked about where baptisms take place. There is a font in our church building in Imanta and in Liepāja, where we have baptisms. So, this last one was in Imanta, because it is too cold to do it in rivers and the like...
I also went on exchanges with people. As a zone leader, I go on exchanges with all district leaders in my zone, and with the assistants to the president. This means that I have 5 exchanges--five days when I spend the whole day with somebody not my companion and work like crazy in their area--or have them come back to mine and work like mad. I love exchanges, because working with other missionaries really raises my sights and encourages me to do even more! This week I went with Elder Barnes (assistant) who's just amazing. We talked to four people, and brought two of them back to the church and taught them. That's not normal odds--it's usually 1 in every hundred or so who's willing to talk. So, that was cool. I also went with Elder Reed, who is the Russian speaker in Jelgava. He's way cool, and it was fun to see my English class there again. Ah...the memories.

Also, this week my companion and I were headed out to Jugla to knock a few clusters of buildings that were near-by the shopping center Alfa. We took the wrong bus, bringing us to Mežciems, but after walking a block we found a 21 autobuss, and took it back to the area we wanted to be. Turns out, after we entered, we found that area to be an industrial park. Sigh. We walked through it to find houses, but no dice. We then hit Alfa to use the bathroom, and left, walking around it to get to the next little cluster. Well, we get to the road, and we see a trail that goes into the woods. Dark, creepy woods. Elder Long says, "I know exactly where this leads." And so, I pull out the flashlight that I keep on my belt, and out we go. I was thinking the whole time about how good those woods looked--as a place to be killed or robbed. But nothing happened (as also I thought), and we emerged from the woods into our next compound--a hospital compound. Woo. So, we left that, and wandered until we found Brivības iela (the main street that would have our buses back into center). Turns out that we walked from Jugla all the way to Teika (a good distance). Since we had already done that, we just decided to walk home. So we almost did. Anyway--a depressingly long, unproductive night. But, it was a fun adventure that added a lot to my steps this week :-S.

Other than that, it was a normal week. I have now been handed two "friend books." In Latvian, "atmiņu grāmatas" or books of memory. That's where friends write before they leave somewhere. I have given mine to many people. And now, people are starting to hand me theirs. This time, it's because I'm going home, not because they are. It's way weird. But, tā ir dzīve. Ko lai darīt? I'll have some more stuff next week. Love you all! Keep reading!!!!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oct 21: Baltic Chronical: Interesting Things, Snow, Sigulda, and Baptisms

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 8:55 AM
Subject: Baltic Chronical: Interesting Things, Snow, Sigulda, and Baptisms
All: 82,353 steps and 64.23KM. I'm surprised I haven't had to change the batteries in that pedometer yet.
Note: whenever I hit the ' key, this computer mixes it with the next letter I hit. So 's becomes š, and so on. If you see that, imagine an ' before the funny letter.
So, we moseyed to Sigulda today. It was rather pretty (but not as colorful as I hoped). It was fun. Here's some pictures...
Top: A view from the tower past the rest of the castle towards the river. It's a way pretty place!
Next: Hereš my wonderful district! You will note that I am missing, as is Elder Clark (he was behind me). But these are the other four missionaries here!
Last: Hereš an interesting meditation shot of me in one of the windows of Turidas Pils. I thought it turned out fairly cool.
Quickly through the week (as I haven't much time):
It snowed this Saturday. A lot. And it was beautiful. But the other missionaries were a little unhappy about it (turns out talking to people in the snow is not a very effective way to find people). But, my comp and I had weekly planning that day, so all was well. By the time we finished, the blizzard had abated, and we could start work again.
Also, Jurs. (our investigator--the father of a young single adult lady here) is getting baptized this Saturday. Heš been taught before. A lot. And for several years. Finally, something clicked and he just started doing things--he dropped tea, coffee, alcohol, and now smoking. And heš working hard to learn all that he needs to know before his baptism. Itš a miracle come true. I love that--God is a God of miracles. Helvijs's mother some months back had a similar story--taught for a long time, nothing, something, nothing. Finally, it all just works out. And now with Zane's dad. It's really cool, and inspires me to expect more miracles.
On that note, time for a miracle. This is a testament to the importance of faith in my finding efforts. And since my faith had been strengthened with all these miracles, I was trying to use that faith to call down the powers of heaven. We were out knocking, as has been known to happen. We hadn't really seen much success recently, so I was focusing my prayers on increasing my faith to find people prepared to hear the message of the gospel. I kept telling the Lord that I know there are people who would accept our message, and that I just need His help knowing where they are, and what to say to help them realize who we are. Well, we were walking into a stairwell, and there was a man on the lower floor, smoking. I normally would have passed him by, but I knew that if I wanted to talk to the prepared for whom I was searching, I also had to talk to all who were put in my path. So, I talked to him. And he invited us in. We taught him a wonderful lesson about Joseph Smith, and prophets. The best parts were these: I didn't have to think about what I was saying at all. I listened intently to what he said, and then just opened my mouth and words came out. And they seemed to be words that he needed to hear. And then he told us this: He'd been meeting with another church for over a year, but hadn't felt the truth in their teachings. He doesn't want to just learn--he, and I quote, "want[s] to go past a passive learning and start actively interacting in religion." Perfect. Thatš the only way to know about the truth anyway--act in accordance with what you learn. So, I just told him that we'll be asking him to do things as we teach him, and he just accepted it and said he would. I know that God answers the prayer of faith--meaning both praying and acting to do all you can to fulfill that prayer. And this is not the first time--just the first time in a while that I've been able to do that heart-felt...edly.
Oh, about baptisms. Jurs. will be baptized this Saturday with a lady named Z., who has been investigating the church for many years, but has not been baptized for one reason or another. She will be joined by her son, D.. That means that we'll be having a triple baptism this week!!! I love those sooo much!!!
And interesting things: Sometimes, in missionary work, unexpected things happen. For example: Last week, I was on exchanges with Elder Clark. At 11-something p.m., we get a phone call. From Elder Brown. As an assistant to the mission president, he was just in Estonia with his comp for zone conference. And they left their keys there. So, they needed a place to stay. So they called us. Normal. Ish.
Also, not long before I moved into my current apartment, a pipe burst and shed a waterfall of dirty water all over the kitchen.
And every so often, we just get calls about people who need to be taught. Like yesterday. The Russian sister missionaries called and said, "A guy named Aivars is at the church, and wants to learn more about the gospel. He speaks English and Latvian. Are you near the church?" Another companionship beat us to the church, so we didn't wind up teaching him, but it was way cool anyway.
Thatš all the time I have. Sorry. I love you all! Keep your faith strong!!!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oct 14: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Conference, Cool Knocking, Cold, Lame Crazy Days, Projector Battles...

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 4:01 AM
Subject: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: Conference, Cool Knocking, Cold, Lame Crazy Days, Projector Battles...

So, this week was rather...eventful. First: 90,993 steps = 70.97 KM.

We'll start with the Q+A...erm...after the pictures.
The first one is me and my comp eating a spoonful of Krievu Sinepes--Russian mustard. That's basically 40% mustard, 60% horseraddish. It's fairly intense. It actually didn't taste that hot--the thing that got me was the texture. Condiments by themselves usually are not the best in texture. Especially grainy, thick mustard. Anyway...
Next picture is just a sample of how beautiful things are here now. Random trees, like half of them, have changed colors, and there are some really gorgeous ones here and there. I love it!
Last is me and Elder Johnson as we helped Sister Šulca with her wood (we stacked it inside). The Carsons were also there, and they helped much. Māsa Šulca is now in England, for work, and may never return. Deep, deep, heavy sigh. Andris (who was just baptized) moved to Scotland (or Sweden, I can never seperate those in my head. Add two languages in my brains, and Skotijas, Svece, and a few others just get way jumbled up...) to look for work. But, she let us use these two sweaters so that our white clothes wouldn't get too gooked up. I thought they looked awesome. So, there it is.

Now, Q+A:
Things are going very well for us. We have several new investigators, and a few that I taught last time I was here, so things should be going well.
As a zone leader I have my own area, where I am most of the time. I also, however, work with all district leaders in their areas once a transfer. I do help plan the zone conferences (we plan those with a zone-leaders' counsel with all ZLs from all over the mission plus the assistants to the president plus the president and his wife), and the ZLs have a segment in zone conference to teach. We also are responsible for the food (lunch), and that. So, we have our part down right now, and I think all will be well.
As DL (district leader), I worked with the elders in my area (here, that usually means in your city or half of city for Rīga). Sometimes they are harder to work with than other times, but it's always a challenge to inspire and uplift all the time. Now, I work mostly with the district leaders, and they inspire their missionaries in their areas. So..there ya go.
Most of the people I know are still here. Erna Rotberga is not--she got a horrible infection in her leg, which they then amputated, and now she lives in a care facility in Skrunda. Brālis Dumpis lives in Liepāja, last I heard, and there are a lot of new people. Most of the members though are still here (which is really exciting!).
Oh, and Aivārs Bite just sent in his mission papers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's been fighting to be able to go (as he's 27, and usually at that age the church recommends that people get married or move on with other aspects of life rather than serve a mission), but local leadership thought that he could go, so we're waiting for what the missionary department in Salt Lake says. I way hope they accept him!
I do not live in the same place. Actually, in all of Latvia, there are only a few places that, by the end of this month, will be the same. What I mean by that is this: All four apartments in Liepāja that I knew when I was there are closed--they are all different. And even the church is in a new place. Jelgava--all apartments have changed, and now the church will move to a new location as well, so again--0% as it was. Imanta--all the apartments except Āgenskalns (where I lived for the first half of my transfer in Imanta) have changed, and they are going to close that one soon, too. Also here in Center, only the apartment that Elder Brown lived in for a year is still there. Every other one has changed. The mission office is in a new location as well. So all that remains the same is the church telpa in center, the church building in Imanta, and the mission home. And maybe the apartment that Elder Brown lived in in Rīga. But that may be changing, too. It's way weird to be so "old" here. (so many months on my mission). And what's funnier is that I'm with Elder Long, who arrived in the field almost a year before I did. He left part way through, and then returned. So, he even remembers when the mission home was in a different place. We make a funny pair, with all our ancient memories of this place. But the work of the Lord continues forward, and will continue so to do.
The only other area I've been in so far is in Rīga center. I got to work with Elder Clark, who arrived this transfer. He's way cool. And he was talking about how excited he is to be a missionary and talk to people about God. I don't know if I've felt that kind of excitement or wonder for a while, and his attitude changed the whole day--we taught many amazing people, and talked with many more really good souls. Attitude really does make all the difference.

I was writing my mom a little note earlier today. She told me a dear friend of mine is thinking about a mission. My response was the following: And tell her (my friend) that if she has the opportunity to serve a mission, take it. There is absolutely nothing in the world that comes even close to comparing with a mission. I am so thankful that I chose to go, and I will do everything that I can to encourage others to do it. You learn so much about the gospel, about others, about yourself, and about life in general. I must say that I had fought, struggled, and raged to try to learn some of the things that just come as part of doing the work out here. And those things have just come to me, in the tender mercies of the Lord. And now I actually understand the gospel. Before I left, I didn't really understand what it was all about. Even a year ago, I didn't quite understand it. And the people that I have met here do for me what stories of the pioneers did for President Gordon B. Hinkley--inspire me. I am amazed by the faith and courage of these saints in Latvia, and they have completely changed my life. I don't think that I would trade anything in the world for this experience. So I would say...Serve a mission!

All right, on to the the rest of everything. It's way cold. Winter is definitely here. We walked in a frigid gale to the Stockmann center for crazy days today. And I was totally disappointed. It was by far the worst crazy days that I have ever seen. The "sales prices" were not that low, and the featured items were still pretty expensive. They had nothing interesting in the technology section, and everywhere else was pretty lame. The only thing that saved it was a section that sold books (not usually a part of Stockmann). I found a book called "The Secret," by Rhonda Byrne translated into Latvian. Elder Bodily read that book, and loved it, and I've always wanted to read it, but it's never been less than 10 lats (20 US$). But it was selling for 6 lats, which is almost how much it costs in America anyway! That was cool. And I found a cookbook for traditional Latvian foods (finally) for a lat (it's a little sampler book). So, I wound up not hating crazy days TOO much.

General Conference was way good. We watched a session a day as missionaries in English. I super loved the fifth session (the last one). Once again, Elder Holland gave an excellent talk. I encourage you to watch it, or read it, but it's how he spoke that really did it. He spoke of the Book of Mormon, and how he knows it is true. He testifies, in his office as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, of its truth. And there was one by Brent H. Neilson that basically invited the spirit to overpower me. Please watch or read this one. He talks of how he served in Somija (Finland. Sorry, only Latvian comes when I think of that country's name now). Part of Finland was under the Soviet Union, and they prayed while he served his mission there that that part would be open for missionary work some day. Many years later, his son was called to serve a mission in Russia, and guess where he went. Yup--that city about which the Finish missionaries had prayed. That is where I am serving--a former Soviet land. How many prayers have been offered for this land? What prayers of faithful saints am I now answering, bringing the gospel to a land that was miraculously freed from an oppressive, anti-religious regime? I will admit that I rarely cry tears when feeling the spirit strongly, but I did lose a little water during that talk. The talk after Elder Neilson's was also amazing. That whole session was incredible! And the very first African member of the quorum of the seventy spoke during that session, speaking of how the spirit of the Lord is moving powerfully upon his people in Africa. I can just imagine God's spirit powerfully flowing over this people in Latvia as well. Amazing!
All of the the conference was really good, but those are the ones that stuck out the most.
I actually never did see the first session in English. On Saturday, the branch watched it. I got to fight with the projector and the speakers to make sure they worked right, and it was quite a battle. The old projector shut off randomly, lost signal because it wanted to, refused to find the signal, and other problems. So, after a quick prayer for help, I dove in with my battle axe--so to speak. And it worked! We had a great many investigators come to conference, and I learned a lot listening in Latvian to the first session. I didn't stay for the second (we had things to do, and we'd already seen that one), so the next one I saw was the fourth session (the Sunday morning) with the branch again. It was way good. I love conference. A lot.

We also had that Zone Leaders' counsel last Wednesday, and it was amazing as well! Basically, it was zone conference, but in planning stages for leaders. Way cool!

Oh, and about knocking--we knocked into the Bahaī center. This is what I understand about the Bahai--that it is a religion that takes every major religious leader--Mohamed, Krishna, Moses, Christ, and a few others, and calls them all prophets of God. Then, they had a prophet about the same time Joseph Smith was called by God to be His living witness and to be His authorized prophet on the earth. The Bahaī prophet ties all the others together, eliminates the need for saving ordinances like baptism, and jumps over any need to have authority from God to act in His name. They also seem to claim that all of their prophets bring salvation to people. There seems to be no need in their minds for Christ or His atonement. But they believe many very good things, and are spot on in a lot of other stuff. It was very interesting to talk to them. They were probably the nicest people I have met in the past long while--and they are family focused, which I greatly admire.

Then, with Elder Clark, we ran into a guy who was a criminal during Soviet times, and so was in prison. Another man refused to join the army, and so was imprisoned with him. The second man taught the first about Christ, and Christianity. But, of course, you were not allowed to worship Christ during Soviet times. Religion was considered an enemy of the state, and shut down whenever possible (Russia actually gutted a lot of churches and used them to store junk and waste during their rule). Anyway, this man we knocked into became an underground Christian. He would look for secret, secluded places to read the Bible and pray. He was very happy to see us. He was on the phone when he opened the door, and said, in Russian, "No, I'll call you back, there are some very important people here that I must talk to. No, I'll call you back. Be quiet, I'll call back when I leave!!!" Or something like that. He then told us that his wife is Jewish, and showed me all his Hebrew books of scripture (way cool, by the way)--his Torah, the five books of Moses, and so forth. We then taught him how the Book of Mormon was designed by the authors way back in 400 AD when it was compiled "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations." So, it may help his wife understand the need for Christ. And it will teach all others the need for Jesus Christ. If you already know He is needed, then it will teach you how to better apply His atonement in your life. It is amazing.

This is probably long enough. It was a good week, we'll say that. I love you all. Keep reading! You should actually be done with the Book of Mormon by now, right? Have you prayed about it, with the attitude to act on the answer God gives you? I promise you that God will answer you, "by the power of the Holy Ghost." Have a great week!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oct 7: Baltic Canonical: New area, and Conference!

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 4:01 AM
Subject: Oct 7: Baltic Canonical: New area, and Conference!

All: Hey. So, here we go. 67,939 steps (52.99 km).

Q+A: My responsibilities as ZL have not been made fully clear to me yet. I'll get the paper that explains it tonight at ZL counsel. I will be going on exchanges with all the District leaders this transfer (each transfer) just after zone conference. I also am responsible for all that happens in the zone--so if stuff's amiss, I'm the first one that gets talked to. President Dance is very big on leaders working as missionaries, so that is our primary focus. We occasionally have some monkey business (a companionship needs a bed and we need to bring it to their new place, problems with transport and such, etc.), but we mostly focus on teaching and the like. Actually, my companion and I are co-ZLs.
We are responsible for four districts--all Latvian speaking (plus two Russian missionaries in those zones). Those districts are:
  • Rīga Center (where I am)--two elderships and a sistership.
  • Rīga Imanta (across the river)--two elderships and a sistership.
  • Jelgava (where I was)--two elderships.
  • Liepāja (where I was long ago)--one eldership and a sistership.
Liepāja is a good distance from Rīga--it takes about three hours by bus. Jelgava is rather close to Rīga--it takes only 45 minutes to an hour to drive there (about 45 KM away). Sigulda is that city where there was that red castle and all the changing leaves. It's very pretty, at about 45 KM from Rīga. I'll send pictures if we actually go. Elder Long (my new companion) is way rad. He's very funny, and a very good missionary. He had to go home from his mission a while ago, and now is back, so he knows all the missionaries I do (he actually started his mission quite a while before I got out here--he was Zone Leader while I was in Liepāja!!), and I think we'll work quite well together. We are both fairly confident with Latvian, and we both know the doctrine decently well, so we can just hack out good teaching skills and make the magic happen!

Pictures: The top one is a shot out my new window in Rīga. It was beautiful a few days ago--it had just rained, and when you add in the sun--wow! So, here you go.
Middle: There was a youth conference here just yesterday, and since I was at the church I nabbed a shot. This will be in church news (or in the local pages of the Liahona, the church magazine, for Latvia). I love all these youth so much!!!
Third: Random culture thing: They love their cobble-stone roads here. Here is a look straight down from my pad.

I will be watching general conference this week, starting today with the missionaries in English, then again with members (for a few sessions, if we have investigators) in Latvian. I would invite all of you to watch or read conference. Here it is in English. If you need another language, then go here. These men are called of God, and given His holy priesthood. They are living apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are prophets, seers, and revelators. They know what will happen in the future, and they teach us how to live so that we can be sure to have a safer, happier future for us and our children. God literally speaks through them today. They say what God would have them to say. I'm excited out of my mind to be able to watch it. I'm looking forward to a fountain of revelation from the Spirit, and the Lord teaches me what my investigators and I need to know though His servants.

Quickly: We've had a lot to do recently, so haven't really gotten much teaching done. But that will change. I called a lot of people that I worked with before, and a lot of them were like, "No, I don't have time. I won't have time to meet with you." I told them basically the paragraph above, and every one of them was interested. So, hopefully we'll be teaching them this weekend, and watching them be taught by the Holy Ghost! I've been way excited to see those who I knew before and love. I spent a lot of time Sunday between classes talking with people and just finding out how they are. The branch is so much the same, and so different. There are a good number of new people. It's so wonderful!

I honestly don't know what else to say. I'll have a lot to say by the means of a spiritual thought next week (since I'll be hearing conference), so until then!
Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oct 2: Well, my letter

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 2:55 AM
Subject: Well, my letter

Once again, I have a new apartment. Itš way nice, except for the leaky pipe in the roof that occasionally causes water to go all over our kitchen.

Fam: I love you, but cannot really write to you in two minutes! Have a great week!!!

All: I haven't very long again. And I don't know how writing next week will work out, because I have zone leaders training that day, and it takes all day, so I doubt you'ŗe going to really get many details from that...

Quickly, this last week was filled with miracles! I was absolutely amazed by what happened in Jelgava this last week!!! And several things and realizations happened. Here they are:

It got really cold, really fast. Two weeks ago, we were walking home at 20:something (8 p.m.-ish) in shirtsleeves with no problems. Then, basically overnight, it got to long sleeve and the next day was suit jacket weather. And now it's definitely coat weather. Interesting how fast that all changed...

And I feel really weird. Packing, I did what I call a "full pack." That's where you unpack everything, look it all over, and then repack it. I wound up tossing a lot of stuff. It's amazing to me how many things that used to be important to me aren't really anymore. When I talked about changing so much, thatš one of the things that has really changed. I also am a lot more capable of talking with people, and much more outgoing. I also value things that are of worth more than I used to (like family, church, and the like). I'm skinnier, and life's goals have been refined. And other stuff, but not the point of today's letter.

So, now I'm back home. In Riga. Well, my other home. I spent some time talking with members yesterday, and I'm euphoric to be able to work with these amazing people again!! And I basically can't wait for next week--that's general conference!! For all of you out there, you'll get to watch that this week, but we won't get it until late in the night and early in the morning, so we just wait until next week and watch the recorded version at a regular time.

Q+A: Cops here have crazy hours, and the government just sliced their pay itš not the best of situations.

I'm no fan of time at all. It just never stops running. Itš already October, and itš already time for me to stop writing. Have a good week, j'all!

I love you all! Hopefully one of these days, I'll be able to write something more! Next week is Zone Conference, and after that, I'm planning on going to Sigulda again (now that it's way prettier than last year when I went). I'm at the library--that's why there's no pictures. Have a great week!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oct 1: Baltic Chronicle: Transfers

From: Jordan Argyle
Date: Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 8:04 AM
Subject: Oct 1: Baltic Chronicle: Transfers

All: 122,722 steps (95.72KM) this week.

First: OCTOBER!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! When did that happen?!

Second: Here's the news. I got transferred. I had to leave my beautiful Jelgava. It's not my favorite thing in the world—I have been spending a lot of time planning for the new church, getting visiting teaching together, and there has been a lot of progress with our investigators. I'd like to tell you about that:

I.: This is that cop who lives in Satiksmes. We have been praying very hard (because it's been a while since we have been able to teach her) that she'll be open and receptive to the Spirit. We prayed that we could talk to her about baptism, and we had planned to discuss the plan of salvation to lead into it. She told us that she read from the Book of Mormon, even though it's physically hard for her. She works at a computer for 12 hours or so a day, and the eyestrain makes it hard for her to read anything after work. But she read. And she told us she has some questions. She asked, "What is a prophet, and what is this gospel that they keep talking about?" The Holy Ghost whispered to me that this is the answer to our prayer. We then taught her about prophets, the priesthood authority that prophets hold, and that they are called of God. They are taught the gospel, and given the authority to invoke the powers of heaven itself to officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel. The Gospel, or way of life, of Jesus Christ starts with faith. That leads to repentance, or changing self. And the first fruits of repentance is baptism—a covenant with the Lord God, formed though an ordinance officiated by one who is authorized by God Himself to follow Him. And done in this way, God promises the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and a rebirth in Him. Which led to an invitation for her to enter this covenant by restored priesthood authority, being baptized on 31. October. It was the most amazing lesson for a long time, and I felt like I was flying.

V.: The body-builder cop. He was not enshrouded by evil this time when we visited. And, even though he hasn't the means to even provide for the essentials of life, he felt the spirit and received peace and comfort. We taught the plan of salvation. I mentioned that there was a large council in heaven, and that all the noble and great were there. He said, "I doubt I was there." After a little discussion that I will not relate here with so public an audience, I will say that he now is seriously considering whether or not he was there. (He was. We all were.) It was our best lesson with him, and the most spiritually charged.

We also had many new people, including several families and new people in English class. It was, overall, the most satisfying week of Elder Johnson and my service together.

Church has also been amazing. We have made great headway with various members, and with visiting teaching and unity activities and such, the overall attitude is vastly improved. Also, some members who have had a very rotten attitude recently have improved their views, both on life and on their relationship with God. We also had several amazing lessons, many miracles throughout the week.

I now return to my first statement. I was transferred from Jelgava. I'm returning back to Rīga center. So, on the one hand, I'm returning home. Almost all of my most dearly beloved friends are here in Rīga. On the other hand, I'm leaving home to go there—I have grown to love my Jelgaviņa. But, we'll see how things go. Oh, and I'm now the zone leader companionship. Me and E. Long are Latvia's zone leaders. That's weird.

I would even say more, but I haven't much time. I'll give you a week's update I'm sitting at E. Carson's place using his laptop. He's the group leader now in Jelgava. And he does an amazing job of it.

I'll write more later. Hopefully tomorrow. Bye!

Elder Argyle
( >/°¥< )