Wednesday, September 11

September 9, 2013

Hello everyone,
Sorry this email might not be super long. We have had a slower week. We had a lot of contacting time which was nice. It was good because we found some new people to listen to our message. We currently have six people that we are working with! That is the most I have ever had! It is really awesome to know that i am helping people learn about there savior Jesus Christ and help them accept his restored gospel! What a special privilege!  I love it! I don't have anything really to say about them because we haven't had lessons with them all yet, but we do have them that we are looking after and helping. Here are some questions I answered.

Questions from Morgan: So how's training a greenie being a greenie :) Hard? Fun? Is your companion nice?
   answer: Training a greenie being a greenie. I haven't actually thought of it that way. For the most part I don't feel like I am training. She is awesome! Her language is great and she is a great teacher! Sometimes it is hard because we both don't always understand everything that is said. So that is rough, but we get a long and we have great members in our area who help us alot, but more importantly than that. This is the Lord's work and we see his help in every aspect of it!
 Do you like the language or does it still taste funny in your mouth?
    answer: sometimes I speak this language and I can't even believe I am actually doing it. It is crazy that I can actually learn this hard language. I wonder how it can be possible! But I know it iws a gift of the spirit combined with my own efforts to learn it. When I am not feeling the spirit though it for sure is harder to speak. That I can testify of.  But yes, the language, "still tastes funny in my mouth" sometimes. :)
Questions from Dad: Food? Unique customs?
Answer: there is a lot and I don't have time to write about them all! I wish I did! They love dill here! Also, there food in general is super fresh and healthy. unique custom: Latvians go to the grocery store everyday and buy the food they need for that day because that is the best way for it to be fresh the longest. :) I can't think of any others. Ask more specific quesitons. :)

Other than that, I want to testify that I know that this work is true! We truly have Heavenly Father who loves us! He is looking out for us and wants what is best for our welfare. If we ever feel alone or like we don't have any friends, I can tell you that there is always a place to feel loved and feel like you have a friend. That is through our Savior Jesus Christ. He loves us and through prayer we can feel His love as well as our Heavenly Father's love for us. You can access that love through prayer, scripture study, and also through going to church. Combine these three and if you really seek it. You can feel that love manifested through the Holy Ghost. Please try to find that love! You can feel it because I have felt it for me, as well as I have felt it for you. That love that you feel can help you get through any trial you are facing. It can help you become better. I love the scripture Ether 12:27 because I know we can really become better. Seek his help and his quidance and you will receive it. :) I love you all so much and I hope you know that. Thank you for the support and I hope you have a great week!
Sister Cloward

Sunday, September 8

Sept. 2, 2013

Hey everyone! 
This last week was great! Thank you grandma sharon and Melissa for the birthday packages that arrived this last week!! I loved them! You both are awesome! 
This last week was really fun! Sister B and I are best friends! We laugh a lot and really enjoy our time together! She is doing really well. I can tell she stills gets overwhelmed sometimes and the language frustrates her at some points, but she is doing so great!! Her Latvian is already so good and she understands quite a bit of what people say to her! I swear she came pretrained from the MTC. There is nothing I need to teach her and she teaches me WAY more than I teach her! I love it and I love working with her!
This last Saturday, there were two baptisms that we got to attend. One was a Russian baptism that we attended with our investigator Harijs. He seemed to really like it, and I hope he felt the spirit. We are still working with him and helping him build his testimony. He enjoys meeting with us and still reads the book of mormon everyday, so hopefully we can help him soon see the need for baptism.
The other baptism was a little 8 year old girl from the Latvian branch here. She was super cute! 8 year old baptisms don't happen a ton here, but it was super cute! The spirit was so strong and really testisfied of the truth of the ordinance she was partaking in! I loved it and it was really fun to see. :)
Also, we got a new investigator this week. Here is what I told President Boswell about him: "As for this week, last night we got a new investigator, from England. His name is Jamie. I met him on the street several weeks ago and we had a nice conversation, but at the time he made it very clear that he was not interested. He said that he had seen and talked to missionaries before and he wasn't really interested in finding anymore about our church. Well, then this last week Sister B and I ran into him again and had a really nice conversation about our church and he said at one point. "I have ran into you twice now Sister Cloward, I think that we need to meet and talk about your church." So, sure enough that is what we did. We had a lesson with him last night, in English!, and taught him a full first lesson and he loved it! He is really excited to start reading the book of Mormon and said several times. "I want to really find out about all of this. I'll write down all me questions as I read and you can answer them for me." He has a huge belief in God. He lives in Latvia and once a week travels back to England, but is hear every weekend mostly and then for a week at a time after that. He is married to a Latvian and speaks a little Latvian. He is awesome and very excited to find out about these things." That experience testifies to me that there are people prepared for me and he is one of those that Sister B and I needed to find and teach.
Questions from Shayla: So I'm wondering what people in Latvia look like generally? Dark hair or light hair? Light or dark skin? Any special traits like squinty eyes or big noses? 
ANSWER: Latvian people are really pretty. They have really high cheek bones in general. They are mostly tanner skinned people. But they are white people in general. It is weird for Latvians to see black people or even more olive skinned people because they are very white. As for hair color, i'm not sure because a lot of latvians, if not all, die their hair. :)
(Morgan and dad, i'll answer your questions next week)
So that is about it for today! I just wanted to end with my testimony. Yesterday we had a lesson with two members in our area who are both about to go on missions. They both leave in a month. One is going to Czech Republic and one is going to Temple Square in Salt Lake. We talked about how we need to receive a confirmation that our call came from a prophet who received revelation from God. So, we talked to them about finding out if their mission calls really came from God and challenged them to receive a confirmation of the divinity of their call. As we were teaching I recieved a confirmation again that my call came from God. I was supposed to come to Latvia and speak Latvian, because that is where God knew I would grow the most and I could help the best with this work. God loves us and he is our Heavenly Father. That much I know! I love you all! Thanks for everything!!
Sister Cloward

Sunday, September 1

Just a few more pics

Chinese food in Latvia. Sarah says you pick out what you want to include and they stir fry it all together.

View from the study window in Imanta. Huge raindrops!

Last day as companions with Sister N

Capturing a rainbow!

Happy 20th Birthday, Sarah! They bought a cake to celebrate.

Sarah and her new companion, Sister B

Just a few pics

This is a gift of food from Harijs. Rye cheese, bread and honeycomb.

I had to send Sarah a new debit card. It took six weeks, but finally made it after going to Malaysia first!

This is a sister missionary tan line. Tracting in the sun all day with flats gives you a great tan line. (Funny thing is that 25 years ago in Brazil, I had the same tan line!)

Love the view from Sarah's bedroom window in Imanta. Oh yeah, just over look the ugly spider right in the middle!

Saturday, August 31

August 26, 2013

Čau visiem! (hey to all) :)
Well, I've had a crazy, but wonderful week. Transfers came and were so successful. I am enjoying my time with my new companion Sister B. She is from British Columbia, Canada. She is super sweet and already we are becoming great friends. She is awesome and while I am still overwhelmed with training I know that this is the Lord's work and that he guides it. I am learning to depend on him to do everything because I can't pretty much do anything without his help. I'll attach a picture of me and Sister B :)
Well, the work in my area moves along. There is a lot of finding to do as of right now we only have three investigators and only one of them is progressing. The progressing is Harijs who still wants to meet with us and still wants to work towards baptism. I hope that we can help him understand the importance of the Law of Chastity and maybe he will be able to be baptized this week. Pray for him that he will understand what God wants him to know.
I'll answer some questions now that people sent me a few weeks ago. :)

From dad:
Tell us how you spend your days.  Do you knock doors, talk with people on the street, teach, visit members, and/or what else?
We do a good amount of all of it. We do our studies in the mornings and we teach whatever lessons we have. We have less active lessons (members of the church who haven't been coming), one new member retention lesson (for the first year after baptism new members meet with missionaries and are taught more about the gospel), and some member lessons. We don't have a ton of lessons every day so we get at least 3 hours of contacting on most days. That is usually a mix of talking to people on the street and knocking on apartment doors, but Sister B and I are brainstorming to come up with some more creative and useful ideas for finding people.
From Mac:
What do you eat most days? 
We eat mostly whatever we cook for ourselves. Mayonnaise here is really good and I eat a lot of that. It can be used kind of like a dip so I put it on a lot of my food. Latvians really also like dill so I eat that occasionally on food. They also have really yummy apples so I eat them a lot too.
What mission meetings do you attend (district, zone, mission conference)?
We have district meeting every week. We get together for an hour and a half every week and talk about our investigators. We also receive training and practice teaching. Once a month we have what is called zone time and that is where Latvian speaking missionaries from Jelgava and Riga get together and receive training from the zone leaders. Also, every other transfer we have zone conference. That is when every missionary in Latvia, Latvian speaking and Russian speaking, get together and receive training from the mission president and his wife, the assistants to the mission president, and sometimes the zone leaders. 
How much teaching are you personally doing (do you speak enough to teach a lot or are you still learning)?
I am do a fair amount of teaching. Before I was training I equally shared the duties of teaching. Now I teach a little bit more, but I speak well enough to teach almost everything. My biggest challenge with the language is with understanding. I still don't understand everything and I miss a lot of what people tell me. 
What parts of the culture are really hard for you? I personally struggled to understand why some people just didn't care about anything, I also struggled seeing a lot of men drink alcohol so much (members and Non-Members). 
I'm not sure about this question. I'm not sure if there is anything that particularly bothers me. Word of wisdom is a huge problem here as well as Russia has a TV channel that often plays anti american stuff and occasionally they attack the church there as well. 
Is pornography prevalent? I've heard Europe is very liberal sometimes with their ads.
Pornography is a problem just because it is everywhere. Europeans in general don't see it as a problem so yeah. That is definitely a problem. 
From Lauren:
So my question is, is this something culturally unique to Latvia or do all missionaries experience this? I don’t know if you have answer to that but I was just wondering. (she wanted to know if it is culturally unique for Latvians who really just like to talk)
I'm not sure. I have had a lot of investigators that like to talk and input there opinion so maybe it is a latvian thing, but more I think it might just be the character of some people to talk more than others. 

Well, that is all for today! :D Send me more questions and I'll have more to write next week. I love you all a ton and I am grateful that I know you all! 
Much love,
Sister Cloward

Thursday, August 22

August 19, 2013

Hello everyone! 
This week has been a crazy emotional rollercoaster! There were a ton of ups and downs this week. The first down, and really the only down was that Harijs didn't get baptized. :( He didn't pass his baptismal interview because he won't commit to live the law of chastity. He doesn't agree with it, even though he agreed with it at the time that we taught it to him. We are still going to keep working with him of course, but I'm not sure when baptism will be because until he says he will live the law of chastity he can't get baptized. He still agrees with everything else and is doing well other than that. Hopefully he will soon be baptized. 
The other big half up and half down news that I got this week is that I will be training next transfer. That means that as of this Thursday I will be in charge of a brand new sister and help her learn to be a good missionary!! I'm freaking out! The down part of that is this means I will probably never be with a sister older than me ever again and I will either be the oldest (oldest as in transfers) or be with someone the same age. It is scary to realize! The up part is everything else. I am excited to be able to have the opportunity to train when I am only in my third transfer (it doesn't happen very often unless it has to happen). There are three sisters older than me who could have trained, and one of them is, but I am training the other of the two new sisters. I pick her upon Thursday and I am excited and nervous. We will be staying here in Imanta together and I am excited for that. Here is what I wrote to my mission president about how I feel about training, "I'm excited for the opportunity to train and I know that the Lord has put great trust in me and I am so grateful and humbled by that. I am a little nervous, but I'm not surprised about this. I had been getting little promptings and feelings like I should prepare to train this coming transfer. I didn't want them to be true, but I did prepare myself as if that were the case, so here I am. I think it will be a great opportunity for me and this new sister to be together. I am excited to see who it will be, and I hope that she is ready for the challenge of being with me (someone also young in the mission), because we are going to have to depend on each other so much, and we are going to grow and learn together."
Well, other than that, this week hasn't been super eventful. It has been a slower week, except for my emotional roller coaster. :) My birthday was really chill and just fun. We worked hard and did a lot of good missionary work. Harijs, that sweet investigator, gave me this awesome coin that is from 1931 and is an old 5 lat coin (they don't even have those anymore). It was really sweet and the coin is so cool. I'll try to remember to take a picture next week and send it. 
Also, on Tuesday of this last week, we were contacting in the evening on the streets and just talking to as many people as we could when it just started to pour rain!! It was raining so hard that in just minutes the sidewalks and streets were rivers! It was so crazy, but so much fun! I got soaked even with the umbrella and I was laughing so hard. Sister N didn't enjoy it as much, but she has been stuck in a lot of them before. :)
Well, that is it for this week. Enjoy your week and remember God loves us. This church is true. Find out for yourself. Pray and ask God if he is there and he will answer. You will feel his love for you. I know it because I have felt it.
Much love,
Sister Cloward

Thursday, August 15

August 12, 2013

Hello everyone,
This will be shorter because I had so many emails to reply to! Thanks for all the birthday wishes and I'm sorry I can't say thanks personally to everyone, but I don't have enough time! Thank you for the wishes that you have sent! I'm looking forward to by birthday this Wednesday, because this week is looking like a good week!
I'm going to start out right now by saying what I'm so excited about. I talked a little bit about Harijs in my email last week and how he kind of tentatively accepted a baptism date, well, he is getting baptized! This Saturday! When he gets baptized we would have only known him for two and a half weeks! He already knows that this is all true and lives so many of the commandments in this church. It is so incredible to see and to work with him. He was found ready to be baptized! People constantly say congratulations for all that we did to find him, but we were just guided by the spirit to be in the right place, at the right time. And besides that, nothing we have done with him or none of his readiness to be baptized came from us. He was prepared by the Lord to be baptized and to accept the covenant to serve the Lord. He loves to serve and has already been serving people every day in his life. He is going to baptized this Saturday and I am so excited for him. I can't even believe the miracles that have come about with this. What a prepared person he is! The reason I rave about him, is because this is rare. This mission doesn't baptize a lot, we do baptize and we work hard to baptize, but we don't baptized every weekend and there are some missionaries that go home with none of their investigators being baptized.  And those that get baptized take a lot longer to work with to get ready. Latvians can be stubborn, and they don't like to change. When they do change, they want to be FULLY committed to the change that they make, and so a lot of the time they shy away from baptism. A lot of the members here had miracles in their conversions stories, and a lot of them were taught and contacted by missionaries more than once before they were baptized. 
Well, that is all that I can write today. I will do my best to answer the questions that were sent to me next week. 
Just know, that i know that this is the Lord's work. He guides this church and he guides this work. I have also really gained a testimony in the last week of the Plan of Salvation. God has a plan for each one of us. He wants nothing, but for us to be happy in this life, and that is why we have been given that plan. Strive to learn about the plan and pray to Heavenly Father to feel His love because he does love each and everyone of us. I know this church is true and I know that Christ is our savior. He bought each and everyone of our sins so that we can be clean, but more than that he felt everything we have gone through and everything that we will go through. Read Alma 7:11-13. 
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities. 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. 
 They are my favorite! :D
Much love and gratitude!
Sister Cloward

Tuesday, August 6

New pics

Sarah went to Bolderaja and the train runs right through town. She loves walking everywhere they go or taking public transportation. She gets to see a lot of cool things!

View from a window while they were knocking at doors.

Latvians have a tradition of locking a lock on a bridge when someone is married. Sarah took this pick of this old lock.

August 5, 2013

Čau visiem! (hey to all)

I hope you all doing well and this letter find you happily enjoying your summer. :) I am glad that I get this email today. I love preparation days and I'm excited for a relaxing one today. We are just going to enjoy some time off and maybe do a little shopping. 

This last week hasn't been super eventful. We didn't teach as much this last week and instead did a lot of finding. Our teaching pool is pretty slim and that means lots of street contacting and door knocking. I really don't mind street contacting though, and in fact I think it can be fun. We laugh a lot and do our best to be happy even though it can be hot and we talk to a lot of Russians who don't understand any Latvian. Imanta is a pretty Russian area. Knocking so far has been pretty much the same. We knock on the door and just try to see how they are doing and immediately jump into the reason we are here and how we have a message that will help them in their lives. Knocking isn't too bad either, but you never know what people will be wearing or not wearing when they answer the door. So far, I haven't seen anyone naked but it has been close. Yesterday a Russian man opened the door in just a speedo. Yeah, this is interesting work, but it all brings results and we are finding people who are ready to hear this gospel and we are helping their lives to be better. 

So, yesterday was a good day. We had an investigator who is brand new come to church! It was awesome. Here is what I wrote President Boswell about him. :) This week we had a great experience with a new investigator. His name is Haris. We met him on Wednesday on the street and had a great lesson with him. He came and saw the church with us and really liked it. He likes to talk and was happy to have someone who would talk to him. We had a lesson with him on church. We didn't get very far into it because he had a lot of little experiences to share with each question we asked, but he agreed with what we said and agreed to come to church on sunday. he also took a restoration DVD to watch at home. Well, he came to church on Sunday and he loved it!! He was there for all three hours. Lots of people introduced themselves to him and he met President Š (the branch president). He got taught Word of Wisdom in Sunday school, which he seemed fine with. He loved priesthood and several members came and told us that he really paid attention and really enjoyed the lesson. We talked to him afterwards and decided to give him a book of Mormon. Sister N ended up teaching a small lesson on the Book of Mormon and what it is by going through the pictures at the front. When she got to the baptism picture she challenged him to baptism and he said yes!! He hasn't been baptized before and he says he really likes what he has learned so far and would like to continue to learn. He wouldn't commit to a date because he wants to learn more first, but he said when he finds out that this is true he will be baptized!!" So yeah, I have an investigator who wants to be baptized and it is awesome! He is so cool and is so excited to learn about this gospel and he really truly loves to learn and enjoys learning about these things. I'm sad though because he doesn't live in our area and we will be doing a pass off lesson with him this week with the elder's whose area he lives in. It will be good though because we'll still see him every week at church hopefully.
So, that was the most exciting thing that happened this week. Email me questions about things you want to know and I'll start replying to them. I'm not sure what you all want to hear so let me know. 

Anyways, know that I know that this church is true. God loves us and is truly our father in heaven. Pray to him and try to find out if he is there. Ask him if he is and he will answer. You will fill his love and know that he is there and loves you. I hope you all know that I know he is there and I know that I am his daughter. This work is important and I hope you are all doing your best to be a part of it. Strengthen your testimony first and simply try to be an example of someone who is striving to be like Christ. Others will notice your example and missionary opportunities will arise because of it. I love this work and I'm so glad to be in Latvia being entrusted to help god's children learn of this amazing truth.

Much love,
Sister Cloward

Monday, July 29

July 29, 2013

Čau, mani draugi,
I hope this email finds everyone happy and well. It won't be super long, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to write. Thanks for the letters I've gotten from everyone. I love getting them and keep the coming. :)
Well, the work here is still slow. We work hard and we are doing our best to focus on our personal, companion, and mission goals in all we do. We learn a lot on a consistent basis. This week we had an exchange that was awesome. I stayed in Imanta with Sister W while Sister N went to Liapaja. I did travel to Liapaja to drop off Sister N and pick up Sister W, but I didn't really get to see much. I had a great day long exchange with Sister W. I learned that I can do more than I think I can do. I was really nervous to be with a missionary who was old as me (transfer wise) and to have to be on our own, but we did fine. :) We taught a lesson to a less active together and it went really well. (he even came to church the next Sunday!) and we talked to people on the bus. I was surprised by how much I can really speak and understand Latvian. I doubt myself sometimes and I really need to stop doing that. :) But the language is coming. I love it! It is beautiful and while it can be a challenge at times I love the challenge! I have learned some great studying habits while I've been out here and I'm so grateful for that.
Here is some information about the few lessons I had this week that I wrote to President Boswell. :) 
"Alise is YSA age. She is 20, and we've been working on getting her to come to Family Night but so far she keeps saying no. The lessons with the Balstaedts was good. She talked for a while right at the beginning before we could get her to stop, and still would interrupt us while teaching to try to teach us something. I don't mind hearing what she has to say, but she says a lot of the same things over and over and she could talk for hours without stopping. We had planned to watch the restoration video and keep the meeting really short, but she went on and on. At one point I stopped her and what she was telling us about Christ. I thanked her for her testimony, and told her as much as we would love to hear all of her testimony we couldn't keep using the Balstaedt's time. I then testified of my own relationship with Christ and how our church teaches that each of us are to have a relationship with Christ and it is personal and that our goal in this life is to help people return to God by coming unto Christ and using His atonement. I testified that we have God who is our father and that Christ is his son and our redeemer. She hadn't really ever separated Christ and God before and that fact that Christ was our brother really through her off and caught her off guard, but she said that she thinks that that could be that Christ is probably her brother. I told her that I would like her to read the Book of Mormon to understand how I have gotten my relationship with Christ and I asked her to start with 3 Nephi 11 and read as much as she could of Christ's ministry on Earth. She said she would. I interested to see where our lessons with her go as she still won't meet with us at the church for lessons and we don't want to keep doing them outside. I also don't feel quite right about doing them at her home. I'm not sure why, but it doesn't feel right. So, I'm not sure where our lesson will be with her this week. We have a meeting set up for Wednesday, but haven't figured out where we will be meeting as she still says that she doesn't want to use the classrooms of our church to meet." (Alise is the person I met with in the picture from Elder Balstaedt)
"We also got one other new investigator this week. She lives in the same building where the other families lived in Bolderaja. (a boony area about 30 minutes by bus from Imanta) Her name is Jana. She has a daughter, and a husband. The husband and their daughters godfather were there for some of the lesson, but they left halfway through. Their latvian wasn't as good and they weren't really participating. We'll try to get the husband involved more next time. But with Jana, she really like the discussion. She has had a lot of questions about what of all these churches could be true and she has been to a lot of them, but doesn't claim any church now. She prayed at the end of the lesson and has a lot of potential. We'll be doing a pass off lesson for the next lesson and passing her off to the Russian sisters in Imanta, because they are all really Russian and it is their first language."
Well, that is all I have time for this week. Sorry that they aren't longer. Send me some questions and I'll tell you more about the work and what you want to know. I can't remember what I have already told you and what you don't know that I assume you know. :) Anyways, much love. Remember the gospel is true. There is a Heavenly Father who loves you and he sent his son Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sins so we could return to live with God again. Always remember that!
Much love,
Sister Cloward

Monday, July 22

Bad missionary!

One of the castles that we went and saw. It has been rebuilt so people can go tour it, but it looks just like the castle looks that stood there before. They haven't rebuilt the whole thing though. it has been there since the 1400's
One of the castles that she saw that was buried and has since been rediscovered and unburied. There is now a museum in it and you can climb up into the top of the big guard tower. She thinks the castle has been around since the 1300's. A plague came through and killed about 98 percent of the occupents and then it was just forgotten about.

View from the tower

Sarah calls this the Willy Wonka park.

Sister N, Sister P, Sister S, and Sarah at a random park with some keys.

Sister N and Sarah. She really is enjoying her as a companion!

Sarah and Sister N (comp 2)

Sarah wearing the armor. She said the helmet is really heavy.

July 22, 2013

This will have to be shorter. I only have 10 minutes left. :) But this week there will be ton of pictures!°
We went to Sigulda. It is this place about an hour away from Riga. It has ruins of old castles and is a pretty big tourist place, but we loved it! I took so many pictures. It was so great to learn more about the history of latvia. They have such an interesting history. :) So, i hope you like all the pictures. :)
It has been super rainy here this last week. It cooled off and rained almost every day! i love it though! When it rains here is rains!! It is beautiful! It makes for interesting and very wet contacting, but it also means we tend to go knocking more. That is always interesting, but so far I haven't had any crazy experiences yet, except we get yelled at by russian ladies a lot. that is always weird because I know they aren't happy with us, but we have no idea what they are saying so it doesn't do any good. :) Oh well, I don't mind knocking. It just isn't the most effect work.
Here is what I wrote President Boswell about some lessons that we had this week. :)
"One of our potentials in Alise. I met her on the bus, but really she contacted me on the bus. She saw Jesus Christ on my name tag on wanted to tell me all about Christ and her relationship with him. We've had one lesson with her and she talked the whole time, telling us all about her relationship with Jesus Christ. I was amazed by some of the things she said and her great faith, but now she needs some direction to go with that. She didn't want to listen in that lesson and contradicted anything we said, but we have a lesson that we just barely set up with her tonight. She doesn't want to meet at the church or her house and our last lesson was outside, but we knew we couldn't do that again with her because we need a controlled enviroment where she can more easily feel the spirit. So, the Balstaedts (one of the senior couples in our mission) have so graciously allowed us the use of their home tonight and they will be helping us with that lesson. We really just want her to feel the spirit as we watch the restoration video, and then we want her to know that she can use that revelation she already has in her life and find out the truth about what we are teaching her. She believes the Holy Ghost guides her life, but in a very extreme way. She believes that if the Holy Ghost doesn't tell her very clearly to do it and she does something than that is a sin. So, she thinks that if she goes to church and the Holy Ghost didn't tell her directly to do that it is a sin. We hope to help her understand the Holy Ghost's role more fully and help her begin to feel that about the truthfulness of our message. 
We also this week met with a former investigator Girts. It was an interesting lesson. He has changed completely from his description before. He was kind of excited to meet with us because he likes that missionaries like to help people find joy in their lives, but he doesn't believe in Christ as our savior. He says he more believes in Alla, but he respects Christ, but puts him on the same level as Budha and other religious figures. We watched the restoration film and he liked that, and said it is possible that it could have happened, but he is happy with his lifestyle where it is at and doesn't want to change. He also wouldn't make another appointment. He says he respects what we do and thinks that we are great people and maybe he could meet occasionally to talk about what we do, but he doesn't want to meet weekly or monthly really because he isn't interested in changing. We are trying to get him for now coming to Family night and church. We'll see what happens with him.
That is what we have for potential new investigators right now, but we aren't giving up. We have a lot of finding time."
I'm looking foward to our meeting with Alise tonight. It will be interesting!
Also, update about an investigator from Center, Inese. I talk about her a lot because I set such a strong connection to her I want her to accept the gospel so bad. I'm emailing her everyweek in Latvian, which is fun and very interesting! She is so good to help me learn the language! But the update, she finally told the sisters she would read the Book of Mormon!! This is a big step because she loves the Book of Mormon, but she won't ever commit to do anything. She tells us she won't be able to do what we are asking her! I was so excited to hear that she said she would read!!! :D She is so great!! i love Inese!
Well, that is all I have time for. The work moves along. I know this church is true. The work can be hard sometimes and sometimes I get frustrated, mostly with investigators and members, but I love what I'm doing. I know it is the Lord's work and I am happy to be apart of it! ;D I'll try to leave more time to write more next week. Also, to those who have written me letters recently, I've replied, I jsut need to send them. :) They will be send soon.
Much love,
Sister Cloward

Thursday, July 18

Sarah's 1st apartment building. Her companion is by her luggage as they wait for a taxi.

Sarah and her 2nd companion, Sister N

July 15, 2013

Čau mani draugi! (hey my friends)

I hope everyone has enjoyed the last week in their lives and they are enjoying summer. I am definitely enjoying myself in the work and while it can be hard I wouldn't have it be any other way. I love being a missionary and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here and to be entrusted with the Lord's work. :) This is truly His work and he will help us in every way he can. :)

So, crazy news! Remember how I said last week that it was transfer calls, but I wouldn't be changing because I am training. Well, guess again! They mixed some of us sisters up and left the Latvian Elders completely the same!! It was crazy, but cool at the same time. :) So, Sister W and Sister G in Liapaja stayed the same, but the other three companion ships got shuffled. :) Super crazy, but awesome! I am now in Imanta, which is still Riga, but is the other side of the River. :) It is cool and I like the opportunity. I'm serving with Sister N, and she is awesome. She is in the 10th transfer and has two left after this one. She goes home in November. She is from California. She went to school at Southern Virginia University and graduated in history two week before entering the MTC. We get along really well, and I can already tell we are going to have fun this transfer. It will be hard work as they work is challenging right now. We might start out with a lot of contacting to try and find new investigators who are ready, but all will be okay. We have a vision in mind of what we think this area can be after this transfer, and it will take a lot of work to get there, but we are excited to work hard together and make it happen.

Inese, an investigator from Riga, was very sad to see me go, but she told me that the work will continue in Imanta as well. She told me to look forward to the changes and to go and teach those in Imanta as well. She is so cute and wishes us luck on the work we are doing all the time. She told me she would pray for me and the work over here in Imanta. What a sweet lady! I'm going to write her every Monday in Latvian just to see how she is doing and just to support as the friend that I really feel like we are. We are going to be helping each other learn English and Latvian. It will be fun. :)
Today we are going to Sigulda. I'm excited for that. I don't know much about it yet, except that there are castles and it is a cute little town. I guess I'll have more to tell you about it next week along with pictures.
Really quickly before I go. I just want to let you all know that I am so glad to be a missionary and I am grateful for all of your support as I've been over here. I love Latvia, the people, and the language. You are lucky I love all of you too or I would probably never come home. :) But I also hope you know that I know this church is true and that this is Christ's church again on the Earth. The Book of Mormon is a true book and we can get closed to God through that book than through any other book on the planet. I invite everyone reading this to read that book. Truly read and gain/strengthen your testimony of that book. It truly can change your life and bring so much joy and peace into it. Jesus Christ lives. He is our savior, brother, and redeemer. Come unto him. Pray to our Heavenly Father in His name! It is so important! Strive to become like Him. It is the best way to find joy in this life. This is my message to people over here and it is my message to you. Continue to support us missionaries, because we love it and we need it.

Much love and gratitude,
Māsa Klauvarda
aka Sāra

Monday, July 8

July 8, 2013

Hello everyone!
I hope everyone enjoyed the fourth of July. It wasn't really celebrated here except we had zone training and we sung a patriotic hymn which was fun. :)ツ
As far as the work in Latvia. It is slowing down. We only have two investigators who are in Latvia right now and that is hard, but oh well. What do you do? We contacted a lot more this last week and I'm quite tan because of it. We also have had some rough days of being yelled at and rejected but we keep pressing forward knowing we are doing the Lord's work and he is directing it. I'm willing to be persecuted for something that I know is true. And yeah, I've been persecuted since being here. Mostly just yelled at in Russian which doesn't mean much because I have no idea what they are saying. :) We just say "Visu labu" and keep pressing forward. (visu labu means all the best) it is a very polite farewell and it always throws them of guard.
This week is transfer calls and the odds of me being transferred are slim since I am in training, but you never know. I could be transferred next week. i guess we will see.ツ
So, this week in Latvia was the song and dance festival! It is a huge celebration that they have had for forever that they have every four years. I regret that i didn't really get any pictures. We also didn't get to see much of it since we live outside of the main Riga center where all of the festivities were happening. We did get to see a little bit after church yesterday. We were trying to catch a bus but it was crazy! They changed all the bus routes because the parade went down the main street. (the parade was just different dance groups walking and singing down the biggest street in Latvia) We had to walk for about 20 minutes until we were able to get a bus. It wasn't bad walking, and we got to see a lot of dance groups dressed in the traditional clothing. I really want some of these dance groups to come to Idaho for the International Dance Festival. They are talented and there costumes are so fun!! I love it! We'll see what I can do after the mission.ツ
Also this week, on Friday, we got stuck in an awesome rain storm! I have never seen it rain so hard in my life! It only rained for about 20 minutes, but there was about a foot of water on the street in some places! It was crazy and so cool. We had to walk in it for a little bit and then we caught a bus! I also love thunder here! it is so loud and sounds different because there aren't mountains for it to echo off of. It sounds different and honestly I like it better! It is so cool!!
On Saturday, another fun/interesting story. We were contacting. We stopped and talked to this really argumentative man for about 30 minutes. He didn't want to listen and kept talking about how awful America was. We just testified that bad things happen everywhere, but there is a God who loves us and that looks out for us. We left that situation. He didn't want to meet so we didn't give him our number and didn't get his. We didn't think anything would happen there. Well, 15 minutes later we here this guy behind us running and he yells, "Apgadiet!" which means wait. We stopped and it was this man. It was interesting. He wanted to know if there was a way we could learn more. He didn't want to set up an appointment, but we told about when we have church, that we could meet with him and talk abotu these things, and gave him our pamphlet and number. We haven't heard anything yet, but who knows what will happen there.
Also, this past week I have gotten to help two recent converts with family history! I love doing it. All we can do with them for now though is insert the information they already know. There isn't anything online available for them yet, but I loved just doing family history again. I miss it and I definitely will do it the rest of my life.
Here is a quick update from my letter to President Boswell about Inese. I love her a lot. :D "Inese is doing well. She took a Book of Mormon in that lesson with your wife. I'm glad Sister Boswell was able to helped. Inese really liked her testimony. Sadly, she wouldn't commit to read at all this week. She says she is really just too busy and that she can't, but she said she does want to read every time that we meet together. I am glad that she likes to read and enjoys the Book of Mormon, I just wish she could find the desire to read outside of our lessons with her. Our second lesson with her also went really well. We talked about Sabbath day attendance and what it means to keep the sabbath day holy. She liked the discussion, and agreed with what we said about it. We had Gunita  (a member) with us on the lesson and she was great. We invited Inese to come to church this weekend and she said she would really love to and would try to come if she wasn't n the country. Gunita also told her about some upcoming relief society activities they had and swapped numbers with Inese so she could tell her more about the activities. We're hoping to have Gunita on a lesson with us this week as well. Sadly though, the next day after that lesson we texted Inese (we've been sending her english spiritual thoughts in text messages to help her with her English) and she told us that she would be in the country. I prayed that she will be able to come, but as of yet she hasn't. I'm not giving up on her and while she isn't progressing she has a lot of potential and i think she'll start progressing soon."
So, that is all for today. I love you all and miss you greatly. The church is true and the Book of Mormon is true. Cherish, read and truly study that book! I love you a ton! Know that I pray from you!
Mト《a Klauvarda