Hello everyone! Thank you to everyone who has been writing me! I love hearing from you all and I will respond to as many as I can! My time here at the MTC is flying by and the Preperation days come WAY too quickly! It blows my mind how quickly the weeks fly by, but at the same time, days are so long here! Time is definitely different in the MTC and I'm able to use my time much more effectively. The language is coming along and I am learning it so quickly! But at the same time, I still have so much to learn. I can write the language pretty well with all the grammar rules but I still have a TON of vocabulary to learn and I need a lot of work on my speaking in Latvian. One thing that I really love about learning this language is the meaning it adds to English. While learning Latvian, I have also begun to understand English grammar rules better which is cool, but also, there are some Latvian words that add so much meaning to the words in English. For example, atonement in Latvian is greku izpirsana (not exactly right because my computer won't switch languages, but it is close). Greku izpirksana litterally means "the complete buying of sins". To me this is really cool because that is literally what Christ did for us! He completely "bought" our sins so that we wouldn't have to pay the price for them. Also, another one that I like is nozelot grekus (again, not completely right...) which means to repent, or the direct translation is to regret sins. That is one thing about Latvian that I like is that everything they say is very literal, but at the same time it is super frustrating because there are some things that we say in English that there won't translate into Latvian. So, you have to figure out another way to say it. :) But overall, I love Latvian way more than I like English!!!
So, this week there isn't a lot to talk about it compared to the last few weeks. I've realized that I write really LONG letters and I don't know if from here on out they will be that long anymore, but I will still tell you as much as I can about what is going on here. My favorite days of the week here are number 1, Sundays, and number 2, Tuesdays! Those days are spiritual waterfalls!! So incredible! Love it though!! So, this Sunday was awesome! I loved music and the spoken word. If you guys get a chance to watch it on Sundays, please do! This sunday was awesome. My two favorite songs were "Consider Lilies" and "Redeemer of Israel". Listening to music is an incredible time to feel the spirit and to receive revelation. One lesson that I want to share with you that I had while listening to "Consider the lilies" is that God truly knows everything and is aware of everything on earth. We just need to put our trust in Him and he will take care of us. He loves us and only wants what is best for us. So, right after music and the spoken word , we have relief society. This week Sister Cherly Esplin. She is the second counselor in the primary presidency and it was a really good talk. she talked about how we can be strong in the times coming ahead. She did this awesome things at the beginning of her talk where she hummed the beginning of a primary song and when we recognized it we stood up and sang it with her. She only hummed two notes when the entire gym stood up and sang "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Lattter-day saints"! It was so powerful! I loved it! I really do belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! This church is true! How amazing it is! She also shared a great analogy about how we need to be like a full water bottle and fill ourselves with the light and knowlegde of Christ, and how if you try to crush a full water bottle nothing will happen. In contrast she had an empty water bottle and a sister came up and easily crushed it. I'm beginning to work on becoming that full water bottle and I've been looking at what the living water it and how I can have it in my life and share it with others.
So, also on Sunday is choir practice. You practice Sunday and Tuesday and then sing at the Tuesday devotional. This is really nice becuase you always have a guartanteed seat in the devotional and you don't have to sit in the overflow. We sang "Where can I turn for peace?" this week and I loved it. The choir director talked to us a lot that how well we sing isn't important and that what is important is if we are teaching as we sing. That was really great. So, I did my best to share the message that Jesus Christ who is our brother and truly loves and understands us. He felt everything we will feel, but not as a whole. He didn't feel a broken bone. He felt my broken bone and my broken heart. He felt my fears and triumphs and everything that I will go through. As well as he then went through and one at a time felt everything for all of us! That is incredible to me! We are loved and thought about my a Father in Heaven as well as a perfect brother who did everything for us, Jesus Christ.
Tuesday was also wonderful. Elder David F. Evans came and shared an incredible message on Repentance. It was long and contained so much, but was incredible! He is very wise. I worked on listening to the spirit more during this talk and writing what I needed to hear in that moment. The biggest message I got out of this was that My Heavenly Father loves me and if I yield to Him and align myselkf with his will, then I will be able to do all things that He needs me to do. I know this is true for all of us. He only wants what is best for us and we are able to do all that is given us to do. He will not give us anything that we can't accomplish. Also, I loved something that I wrote down, that I don't think he said, but I got out of his message. "I have promised the Lord 18 months of my life and I will do whatever He asks me to do, whenever He asks me to do it." This is my goal and motto for my mission. To learn to follow the promptings of the spirit and truly do everything that the Lord wants me to do. It will be hard, but I know I can do it and that I will be blessed as I follow is will!
Well, I think that is it for this week. I hope you all know that I know this church is true and that I love being a missionary. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and is looking out for us. I love this work and I couldn't even begin to imagine what my life would be if I weren't here right now! This is where I need to be and there is a work for me to do! I can't wait to get to Latvia and begin to help the people there. I love you all and thank you for the support you have all given me! It means a lot to me to know my family and friends have got my back at home!
Es tevi mīlu!