Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: The End of an Era...filled with Adventure

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jordan Argyle <>
Date: Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 18:47
Subject: 22 Dec: Baltic Chŗonīcļe: The End of an Era...filled with Adventure

All: About 200,000 steps is about 256.41 KM. It was a long week...

So, here we are. The mission is over. It was a very interesting last week, and the trip back was rather...eventful as well. So, I'll start with the week, and move to the trip home. If you are a missionary reading this, you may want to print this out and read it tonight or something, because it will be long.
Last week: so, I had to play a rather unfun game to get permission to do our "informative tent" in Jelgavas main square. I needed proof that we had authority from our registered organization to be there. So, I called the man in charge, and he couldn't get everything together for a while, so the man from the city called me several times to get info, and I had to check in and get updates from our guy. That was fun. We did get it all together in the end, though.

Then, remember how we had that news crew at our place last week or something? So, Last-last-last(?) Thursday we had the police called on us because our English students were being abnormally loud and left the door below open (which really makes some of the people who live in that stairwell where our meeting place is really upset). When the police came, we were already gone and home, so nothing was done. Then, the next Monday, the news came and asked me a bunch of questions and stuff. Really annoying. Because after a few days, it showed up on LNT (Latvijas National TV) and was very...incorrect and demeaning, which caused some problems for missionaries. Particularly in Rīga. So, the best part: sometime last week (Monday, I think), we hear a knock at the door. Elder Reid gets it. Three very large men come in and flash cop badges. They then demand our documentation and ask us a lot of questions. Eventually, then have us take them to the meeting place the next stairwell over. Once they saw that everything was normal, then left us be and told us to be quieter.

A few days later, because of minor damage to walls we painted the main room of the church place there (same as the above mentioned place). That was fun. And it was really cold. It dropped below -20C.

I also cried a little bit (meaning a lot). Sunday, after church, the members gathered everyone up after church and gave me a bunch of presents to see me off, and told me how much they loved and appreciated me. It was really touching! And again on Tuesday, when we had our last English class of the transfer and my last class ever (in the new building!), I received very meaningful gifts again. And a lot of email addresses! It was marvelous!

Then, we had our trip home. We all gathered at the mission home bright and early (or whenever we got there), had an exit interview with president, and looked around Rīga for a while. We then ate dinner together, and talked. There were twelve of us (from the back row, left): Elder Fitzgerald (Lithuania), Me (Latvia), across the tree is Sisters Nelson (Russian), Beuhner (Russian), Free (Lithuania), Elder Pehrson (Russian), left side again--Elders Nielson (Lithuania), Guber (Office), across the tree--Brown (Latvia), Sister Romney (Russian), bottom row--Elders Newman (Lithuania), Davis (Lithuania), Sister Gubler (Office), Sister and President Dance, and Elder Hill (Estonia). All together, we were 12 travelers. We ate, talked, and watched Miracle together. It was very bonding. We assumed that we'd have this evening and the next day together, so we thought that we bonded as much as we would. Boy, were we wrong.

We all headed to the airport the next morning. I rode with the Gublers in a taxi. Sister Gubler almost immediately started talking about the restoration with our driver. We wound up teaching a full first lesson to the driver, and his eyes said that we was genuinely interested. It was way cool! We then got on the plane, and headed out. We knew that we'd be crunched for time at Frankfurt, because we had to get to another terminal with all our baggage, and check in (and go through security) again in an hour. Well, by the time we got our bags we had only 40 minutes left. We sent two ahead while the rest of us battled with 12x3+3=39 bags. We pushed baggage carts up and down escalators; we held up skytrains so we could all pile in; we sprinted with 60+KG carts. All to no avail. We arrived at check in as our plane was taking off. And, because of extreme weather, all other flights out were canceled.

After several hours of consulting (and consoling), we added our names to the stand-by list, and headed to a hotel. We ate dinner together at a near-by restaurant in good spirits. Then, Elder Gubler called travel again. After a little while, we gathered to hear the news. We would all be getting home Sunday (two days from the time we were told) with the exception of Elder Hill, the Gublers, and Sister Free. The latter three would be taking the stand-by option. Elder Hill's father had arranged something for him, so that's how he got back. The other eight of us decided that we would be going to Frankfurt and to the near-by temple. We decided that while playing cards in one of our rooms until almost midnight. And Sister Beuhner's dad owns a phone company, so he was helping us get in contact with our families.

We got up, and went to the airport to get tickets. We took several electric passenger trains out to Friedrichsdorf, where there is a temple. I'm very impressed with trains in Germany. They run very smoothly, and they are very well organized. I'm also very impressed with the temple there. Take a look: It was amazing to be able to go through the temple again! I felt energized after!

We then headed into Frankfurt itself to eat and look at the Christmas Tirgus/Turgus/Rinik/Market. That was amazing, and I must say that we spent a lot of time bonding, and I think that we (some of us, anyway) are pretty close now. But, if I could upload pictures I would. We had frankfurters in Frankfurt (they grilled them on a free-hanging grill over a fire. They were good!), and we got souvenirs and such.

The next morning, we were ready to go. We flew to Dublin, where we again had to run to get to our international on time (again late flight). During the rush, I left my watch in security and worked up a good sweat. We all made the plane though. The first thing that impressed me most was the fact that most of the people on the plane were smiling, happy, and truly liked their lives. That is not something you see too much in Latvia. They also were very willing to just chat with you. I really enjoyed that. So much, in fact, that I wound up talking quite a bit with the people in my row.

We then arrived in Chicago. I had a different flight than the others, and again we had to check our baggage back in and go through security. So, I went with the group until the train that goes between terminals. As we were all piling in, the door shut. And so it turned out that I was the only of our group left behind. I waved them all goodbye, and got on the next one I could. Check in went smoothly (I was pretty experienced by this point), and I made my plane without a problem.

Again, however, in Salt Lake City I had another one hour rush to the flight. My mother was worried enough that I wouldn't make it that she called the airport and had them send a little cart to pick me up (the kind you always see employees driving around the airport). The actual plane was lost somewhere on the runway (they couldn't find the thing), so I made it with time to spare.

There was a small group of amazing people to greet me at the airport. I then spent the whole night chatting with my little sister, and the rest of the next day shopping and whatnot. I don't want to go too detailed into any of that, but if you'd like any extra details, just ask.

I will write a few more entries. I need to give you my yearly totals, and then the mission-ly totals for some categories. And I wanted to write my general impressions and thoughts concerning my mission. So there are more coming. So, please ask me any questions that you have, because otherwise you won't be getting any more info really about my mission itself.

I still know that this church is true, and I'll be working on continuing to help people understand how to learn through the Holy Ghost what is true, and how to use restored priesthood authority of God to change their lives. I would encourage you all, regardless of how well you think you know how to do that, to pray to God for His guidance on how to do that better. I will be doing just that during this next week.
( >__< )
^^ ~~ ^^

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