Sunday, February 9

November 4, 2013

Happy Halloween!
I know it is a few days past, but I wanted to say it, because I didn't really get to say it here. Halloween is not celebrated in Latvia really. The younger generation is kind of starting it, but not really. I feel like maybe in 10 years, it will be a bigger thing, but it is definitely a holiday that they are trying to pick up because we celebrate it in America. Maybe eventually it will be big. But I for sure missed Halloween, which really surprised me. Mostly I just missed all the fun traditions our family has and the great things we get to do to celebrate the holiday together. We had English class that night so we taught them about American holidays. They really liked it and it was fun to talk about the traditions that I love so much! We then shared a spiritual thought about families and how they are so important. I am so grateful I have my family and can testify to people how important families are.
So here is the gist of my week as i wrote it to President Boswell. It is so much easier than writing it twice. :)
"This week we have really been working on getting with members and starting them thinking about people in their lives. The one who really has jumped on board is D (a recent convert Latvian who found the church and was baptized in Utah). She was baptized this summer in Utah, and is in our area. We did a lesson about missionary work and followed your lesson plan. She gave us three names to think and pray about. We are going to keep using the 30 day program (a program that P. Boswell created to help members and missionaries have things to do together every day to work on sharing the gospel) with her to help her know how to talk to these people about the church. We are really looking forward to her being able to share the gospel with those around her. We have quickly became good friends with here and we are glad that she trusts us and knows that we are here to serve her, and to bring as many people to the gospel as possible. 
"With A, we weren't able to have a lesson with him this week, but we are working to get a lesson with him this week and find out how commited to this he really is. 
"So, with I, we had a great first lesson with her, and we are working on setting up a time this week to meet with her and her husband. She is our highest potential right now for baptism. We are going to work and pray specifically for the miracle we want. We believe a miracle of her and her husband being baptized before the end of the year is very possible and necessary. We know it can happen, and we also know it will only happen with the members. We already have some really good possibilities of people who would make good friends for the little family. 
"This week, other than that, has just been busy as we try to figure out the other half of the river and figure out who we are going to need to be meeting with, and how we can get member work really going in both areas. It is hard, but Sister B and I are really loving the challenge. It is such a great experience and we are grateful that we have each other to do this together. 
"A miracle this week, we were planning our week and talking about members that we should meet with to talk about missionary work, when we both realized that we had forgotten a member who is a recent convert and just got her endowments. We called her up and asked her if we could meet with her and talk about missionary work this week. She said, of course, but also said that she was going to be hanging out with one of her nonmember friends on Saturday and could we meet with him and start teaching him about the gospel!! Of course we can!! We set up a meeting with them! Sadly, the meeting fell through because the friend canceled hanging out, but we are planning to meet with them this week. Our member is ready to give up yet! It was so awesome! The members, especially the recent converts, have tons of people around them who are ready to hear the gospel. We can't forget it!
"One more things, this last week we have had two days in a row where people came up to us and told us we don't have testimonies, that we are just here spreading lies. It was hard to hear, and Sister B and I just did our best not to argue, but to bear our testimony. We told both of these people that we were glad that they had testimonies, and that we aren't here to take anyone's testimony or faith from them, but that we are here to help people. We told them that we are here as volunteers to make peoples lives better and to serve and asked them if we could serve them. They were both really hard situations, and Sister B and I were talking about it afterward, and we know that Satan is working just as hard as we are. He doesn't want us to succeed. We both made a decision together that we were only going to let this experience strengthen our testimonies. We are stronger because of those experiences and we are ready to go and work even harder against Satan this week."
So the above paragraph explains my subject for this email. Sister B came out of it stronger and are ready to go this week and tell everyone about the gospel as we run from appointment to appointment. (We are so busy with two areas!! There are a ton of Less Actives, Members, and Recent Converts we have to meet with from both areas!!!) 
So a good question this week, "So are there missionaries called to your mission to speak Russian?" ANSWER: Yes, we have four languages in my mission, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Russian. Latvian, Lithuanian  and Estonian speakers each serve in the respective country, and then Russian speakers serve in any of these countries, but also they can serve in Belarus. The most Russian missionaries are in Latvia which has one of the highest Russian populations in our mission except Belarus. Latvia is 50% Russian and  50% Latvian, with the most of the Russians in Rīga, and even more than that, in Pārdaugava (our side of the river.) Belarus is a rough country to serve in. Only Elders serve there, and they can't wear name tags and can't carry copies of the Book of Mormon. They also can't talk to people first. They can only teach people if they people come up to them first, or if they get a referral from a member. It would be such a different mission. They have to be very careful there, but they actually have a lot of success and the biggest branch in our mission is in Belarus.
So, I'm not sure what else to write about this week. If there is anything in particular you want to hear about please let me know. :) I hope you know that I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the most true book on Earth. It was written for us in this time and it truly is for every single person. I learn so much for me at this time in my life that I need. For example, I was reading 1 Nephi 18 this week, and usually that is just a good story chapter, and it never meant much to me, but this time, it was a missionary chapter. Every verse had some new things that I needed to start applying to my work as a missionary! It was so cool!!! This church is true. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us. Turn to him, and he will bless you in return. 
I love you all!
Sister Cloward

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