Sveiki no Imantas (hello from Imanta!):
So, this week was wonderful! It was busy, and full of good activities. Sister B and I worked hard and we did our best to work hard. It was a great week! We had district conference here this week (that is like stake conference). It was great. All of Latvia (russians and latvians) came together in Imanta for the conference. It was really cool, and it was a lot of people! All of the missionaries in Latvia also came together for it. It was fun, and a wonderful spiritual uplifting experience. Sister W and Sister S sang a latvian musical number that was gorgeous. They are both really talented. Overall, it was a very spiritual uplifting Sunday. The conference itself was a pre recorded broadcast from Salt Lake with Elder Nelson, someone from the general relief society board, and two seventies. They do it in English, and before they get it to us, they translate it into Russian and Latvian. It is interesting though because in the room where we are meeting there are people who only understand English, some who only understand Latvian, and some who only understand Russian. So, they play the Latvian translation for everyone (because luckily the majority speak Latvian) and then they had translation headphones for those who only speak Russian or English. It was interesting how that all works out.
Speaking of translation, I forgot to tell you, but in sacrament meeting each week we have english translation because there are a few people who come each week (some of them senior couples) who only speak English so we translate into a little mic that goes to head phones they wear and can listen to. :) It is cool. Well, six weeks ago, I did the translation!! It was so much fun! I did it with Elder W from my MTC group and the two of us together translated back and forth. It was really fun and quite the brain work out, but it was good. It was also awesome because we had a lot of people using translation that week because President and Sister Boswell were there as well as almost of the senior couples.
So, to describe the title of the email. This week starting today and ending on the 18th is a holiday week. They still have school, but throughout the week they will be doing different things to celebrate the holidays. Because today is Veteran's day ( i can't remember what they call it here). and then the 18th is Latvia's independence day!! It is a great holiday for them. This is a big week, so, that is why my title is Holidays, because all of Latvia is decked out in the holiday spirit. There are a lot of Latvian flags hanging everywhere! I will try to get some pictures and send them to you!
So here is my weekly update to President Boswell this week, enjoy!:"Well, this week was a great week! Sister B again set some high goals with people in mind for them. We really wanted mostly to get 8 lessons this week. We knew that the weeks where we stretch ourselves with the other lessons goal we get way more success than when we don't. Why? In my opinion, because we know it will take every moment and opportunity and the Lord's help to get that goal so we work harder on it throughout the week. We almost didn't get our 8 lesson goal though, but the Lord knew we wanted it, and that we had work hard for it. Sunday night, in a short 2 hour contacting session, we got it! There were lots of miracles and tender mercies involved. First off, we decided to change out contacting time to right after lunch and do our studies at the end of the day instead of right then. We felt it was right so we did it. Just five minutes after leaving the apartment we ran into Ag (a different Ag). I had been telling Sister B that there was someone near the Rimi next to our house for several days now, but we hadn't found them yet. Well, Ag is that person!!! We ran into her just after leaving our apartment and she told us that she had been wanting to speak to someone from our church for a while and that she had questions for us. She said she had run into Elders before, but didn't really want to talk to them because they were so unapproachable she said. :) She walked with us for an hour and we talk her a lot! We taught the whole restoration, a little law of chastity (she had a question and we gave our view), obedience to commandments, and faith (especially that we can only understand if a principle is true if we live it). It was a great lesson and she had great questions! She took a Book of Mormon, commited to read, and also said that she most definitely will pray about it! She is awesome and so excited to find out if this is true! She is really busy right now, but she said that we could meet on Sundays. :)
"Well, our other Ag is doing very well. Her parents told her last week that they don't want her to meet with us and if she kept meeting with us they would kick her out. She started our lesson on Thursday by saying that this would be our last lesson. Sister B and I didn't address that right away and just kept talking to her about the situation and then started to teach. As the lesson continued on, we asked her thoughts about the Book of Mormon, whether she thought that was the Word of God, and she said yes. :) We asked her general thoughts about the church. She said she didn't see this as a cult and that she just feels drawn to this church. It was so good to hear. After she said that, she said that no, she didn't want to stop meeting with us and that instead we will meet once a week for now. She came to district conference on Sunday as well. I, a new convert, has become her best friend and as a branch missionary has also been doing really well to reach out and make sure that Ag feels welcome and is invited to things. She will be meeting tonight with us before family night and also will be going to family night! :)
"With I and M, I was sick this past week and we haven't been able to visit her again yet. We hope to meet with her again this week.
"Also, an inactive member, I., came to branch conference. This is the first time she has been to church in a long time! It was wonderful to see her there. She really loved it and said that she missed these spiritual meetings and the spirit that can be felt there. I hope she'll gain a desire to feel that more and want to start coming to church again.
"Well, we are focusing this week on getting with them members and really helping them start working with the people they told us they want to share the gospel with. We hope to help them see that if they act, they will be able to share the gospel."
Questions this week:
What is your favorite topic to teach? -I really love teaching the restoration because it holds so much power! The spirit is always so strong when you tell someone about Joseph Smith and the fact that God still calls prophets in our days and talks to us! It is an incredible message!
Do you enjoy teaching english? -I love teaching English! You never learn as much about your own language until you have to learn another one and then teach English in that other language! It is really cool to be able to share these things with people!
Have you eaten anything very strange yet? (Honeycomb seems pretty strange, how do eat that?) -So, I can't think of anything super strange I have eaten. Honeycomb was interesting, but mostly I just ate the honey that drained off of it. That was really good!
Is there anything american you miss having? -I miss Hot and Sour soup from Fong's!!! That isn't american, but I miss it. :) i also miss ranch. They don't have it here, and I am a HUGE ranch fan. ;) I also really miss American holidays in general. They just don't really celebrate them the same here. But it is cool to celebrate their holidays with them. :)
Well, I think that is it for this week. I love you tons and I am so glad that you are all my family and friends and that I know all of you. I hope you know I know with all my heart that Christ is our savior. He loves us. He truly "has borne our sorrow and carried our griefs." (Mosiah 14:4 i think?) He knows how to help us and through him we can receive relief from our pains and hardships. He can give us strength to endure and help us with whatever we need. We just need to turn to him and try to do that which he has asked us to do. I love you all, and invite you to turn to him and take advantage of the atoning sacrifice he gave.
Love from Latvija!