Sunday, March 16

Christmas tree that snows on itself. See video below. (Sorry it is sideways, but it is cool!)
Old church in Riga

January 6, 2014

Čau visiem!!
Happy 2014! I hope you all rang it in memorably. I know I did! I'll tell about that soon. I'll just say it was a little too memorable and I am looking forward to a more quiet one next year. :)

First off, here is my weekly report to President Boswell. This will give you a good idea as to what I was up to this last week. :)

"I am really learning that when I apply exactly what the Lord says, only then does the work progress. Whether that is what you say, personal revelation or through other leaders. He guides the work. When I say "the work progress", I also am learning that that is not how I want it to progress, but how the Lord wants it to progress. Our goal is to figure out how he wants it none, and align ourselves to that. Thank you for all you advice that is helping me align myself to the work of the Lord. I am glad that I am able to be here in this mission learning the concepts I am learning and helping these people. 

"This last week, we sadly already dropped our new investigator An. I am apply Elder Bennett's "Love them enough to drop them". He just is not at all interested in meeting to learn more about God or developing faith in Him. He is interested in learning about our history and what kind of people we are, more for interest's sake. Almost like he is a scientist observing a weird specimen. We are going to call him again in a few weeks to see if he has read any of the Book of Mormon, but as of yet, he was just absolutely not interested. I know though, that we planted a seed that will grow. He is intrigued by why we are so happy and why we are the way we are, and hope that intrigue will grow enough for him to really want to find out. 

"We did get a new investigator this week. I, who is D's friend, met with us once this last week. He has a lot of true desire to find out the truth of these things. We are really excited to work with him, and we are working on getting his family involved as well. It is going to be a challenge because he lives in Jurmala half of the time and riga the other half, but we are hoping to make something work out. Sadly he can't do skype lessons, but we are hopeful that at least we can make it work half the time. He truly wants to learn and find out more about these things, so that will be huge.
When we met with I, D's sister Ag was also there. She was interested. She does live about 3 hours away from Riga though, so that makes it hard. We are going to work on setting up a skype lesson with her this week and talk more about the Book of Mormon. 

"Sadly, with our less active, An, it didn't work out this week. When people want to change, the opposition comes. He is receiving it, but I know he will get through it. He already set up another meeting with him. I know he'll come back this year. It is just going take some efforts and prayers and time."

So, that is what is going on with us. We are working with I, our less active An, and really just trying to build the branch up in our area. We are working on strengthening our members and helping them back. Our branch is getting a lot stronger that it has ever been, and a week ago we set a mission record for the most people ever at church! The church right now is the biggest it has ever been in the Baltic Mission! And it is only going to keep growing! The Branch we are working in has hit 100 every week for the last couple of weeks, and it is wonderful to see the growth! We are becoming more consecrated, obedient, and really learning to work hard to do the Lord's work. I am grateful I get the privilege to do it. 

So, my new year was a little too eventful! It was LOUD! We have to be in by 6 because Latvians like to ring in the new year with fireworks! These are not just the little ones we buy in America. These are big in the air fireworks that anyone can buy, and everyone is doing them. Where we live it is just a lot of tall apartment buildings, and a lot of people were doing fireworks. It was very interesting, and fun to listen too. We went to bed at 10:30 as we are supposed to and, lucky, with a little effort I was able to fall asleep, but I did get to ring in the new year this year. :) I was wide awake at 12 when everyone lit of fireworks! Right outside our apartment and all over Rīga. I have never heard anything like it and I honestly don't know how to describe it! It was so interesting. So, I didn't get a lot of sleep that night (as the celebrations really just get started at 12), but it was okay. It was some fun memories. Sister Mitton had ear plugs and slept through the whole thing! I thought that was pretty funny, but ha ha. Oh well. It is a fun/interesting memory. :)

Other than that there wasn't anything really big this last week. Russian Orthodox will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow, so the holidays and craziness isn't over yet, but after that I am looking forward for it to calm down just a little bit. :)

Oh, and mom, I met the Latvian version of the scarlet pimpernel! He was just like him, just in Latvian!! It was the best! He kept calling us missionaries madams and misters, and it was just so great! He even had the stuffy rich British accent, but just in Latvian! I laughed really hard with Sister Mitton that night as I described him. It was great! We had a short, but interesting lesson with him. We sadly will not be meeting with him again (he has a lot of really crazy ideas about what a church is supposed to be and ours didn't fit it), but the memory is fun. It was also a great opportunity to just simply practice teaching. :)

So, I think that is all for now. I just want to end with my testimony. I know that Christ lives. He is our savior and Redeemer. He loves us. We need to find faith in Him. I have been studying faith a lot lately and I have learned a lot. I would recommend you all read it. I read President Packer's talk from two conferences ago, and I liked this quote. It goes something like this, "I am becoming to know that faith is a word of power, not just belief." Do we have faith that is a faith of power? If we don't, we should pray, study, and work to get it. I know I don't have it, but I am sure working to develop it.

I love you all, and I am so grateful for you help!

Ar mīlestību,
Māsa Klauvarda
Big playing cards!

Christmas stocking from Sister Mitton's family

New couch in Imanta

Another Idahoan in Latvia?

December 30, 2013

Čau visiem!! (Hey everyone!)
I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I know I did! I really enjoyed talking to my family on skype. I got to meet my nieces for the first time, and they are so cute!! I love those little girls so much already. As much as I love my family, talking to them was not the best christmas present I got this week. My best Christmas present it written about below. :) I loved the present. 

Also, I myself haven't gotten any packages yet... :( (if you sent one I hope it didn't get lost) hopefully soon, but I had a blast watching Sister Mitton open her presents and talking pictures as she tried on all the hats, gloves, and scarves her family sent her. Also, her mom is awesome and sent me a stocking! It was very sweet and thoughtful! 

Sister Mitton gave me a harmonica for Christmas as well as some other small little things. I love serving with her and celebrating Christmas together was great!

"Well, everything worked out with An (our potential new investigator)! We got a new investigator this week! He has very little faith, and it mostly intrigued right now, but he is questioning, and seems to want to know.  He has started to read a little bit. It is early to tell, but we hope that something will work out there. We met with him twice, first lesson with G and the second time with Sim. The lessons went okay. He has tons of questions and interrupts sometimes to ask them. It makes it hard, and I am really going to need to learn to be more assertive, but loving. We are going to be meeting with him again this week with G and her husband, Ga. We have been meeting at his home and keeping up daily contact. We are really trying to apply everything from Elder Bennett as we help An grow his faith in God and Christ. 

"We had three investigators at church! We did everything we could to invite people! And we had three come (that was our goal!!). interestingly enough, the 3 we thought would come didn't come. We had three unexpected people come, but we were so excited anyways. Di (recent convert) brought her sister who is visiting from the country, and her sister's friend, I, who Di has been helping a lot lately. He is in a wheelchair, and Di visits him and encourages him. So, they were both there, and they are going to attend family night tonight! We are looking forward to that. We hope to set up a meeting with Ivo for this week. Also, In's daughter Lin attended the branch in center this week. WE are still working hard to set up a meeting with them. We haven't had a lot of success, because In won't let us still, but we will just keep working on that.

"Also, I talked to you about this on the phone, but we had a miracle this week with a less active (also named An)!! This was the best Christmas present I have ever had, even better than talking to my family! I called this less active on Christmas to wish him a merry christmas and find out how we was doing. We had been trying to keep up contact with him if not everyday, then several times a week. Well, I was talking to him, and he's stops and says, "you know, you are a very good girl. I really appreciate the support you have given me." I just simply told him that of course I was supporting him. I came here to help him and to be here to strengthen him. Well, he said, I think I finally want to come back into the church. I was so happy! We talked a little longer and I assured him, that we are here to help him out, and that together with the Branch President we can help him come back. Well, I called him up again last night to see how he was doing. I asked about his job, and when he is finally going to get time off (he has been working long hours every day). He said that actually he would have time off this week for a few days, and he thinks that it is time to meet with the Branch President and get this all figured out! I was so excited! We have also now talked to the Branch President and we are going to make this all work out for him. Another miracle part of this, is the branch picked names of Melchizedek Priesthood holders they want to help come back. They set a goal of 3 people by name they want to help come back. I hadn't heard these names, but when I told the Branch President that An was finally ready and willing to meet with him, he told me that he is one of the people they felt was ready to help come back this year! I am so excited for this whole thing! I have worked with An for a while and I am really looking forward to helping him come back into full activity and get him back to the temple again. I would also like to help him bring his nonmember mom with him. :) She is one of Sister Mitton's and mine transfer goals this transfer!"

Sister Mitton and I are getting another transfer together in Imanta! I am really looking forward to it! She and I get along really well, and laugh a lot! I love her and am so grateful to serve with her. He is what I wrote President Boswell about my thoughts on transfers!

"So for goals for this upcoming transfer. Our ultimate goal is that we are leaving this area better than we found it. To do that we are going to continue weekly appreciation calls to members and giving small gifts for name days and birthdays of people in our area. We are going to work for 2 baptisms (we have 4 potentials with names already). We are going to bring An back to the church. WE are going to do this by more fully applying the advice of Elder Bennett. We are going to be more urgent and proactive in everything we do. We are going to make our 1st priority always being a missionary! We are looking forward to this transfer together and helping this area to grow!"

I hope you all know that I love this time of year, and even more than that I am so glad and grateful to be a missionary. I know that this is The Lord's work. He leads and guides it. His hand is in it. He is our savior and redeemer and he loves us. I love him and I am grateful for that which he has done for me. He truly is the reason I am out here. I am here in Latvia to help other people come unto him. Without him in our lives, we will not make it back to live with God again. I know that if we follow him, we will get eternal life with God, but also with our families forever. I am so glad that I am part of an eternal family. What a great blessing. I am also glad that I am out here to help bring other families together for eternity!

With lots of love,
Sister Cloward
Snowflakes in their apartment

Sister missionary Christmas lights

Christmas tree - Notice the cutout animal silhouettes

MTC group reunion in December

Unique snowflake Christmas tree
Sarah's Christmas tree

December 23, 2013

So, my week was full and wonderful! I'm going to go through it day by day. Before I due that, here is President Bowell's email which covers a little bit of this week. :)
President Boswell's email for this week :)
"We really have loved this last week. We were able to meet with one member, El. I wasn't on the lesson because I was on an exchange (I'll tell about that below), but I heard it went well. We wrote a nativity for her and her family to act out together. I am excited for that, and we wrote in parts from the Book of Mormon too, and asked El to take the chance and bear her testimony to them. She is excited to act the nativity out this week, and we are going to talk to her about inviting them to learn more. She also just got engaged to be married next summer to her nonmember boyfriend. We met him at the branch Christmas party, and he is really nice, but seems pretty uninterested in religion in general. We are going to work with her, and help her continue to invite him to things.

"Also, this last week, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Ag and P (Ag's daughter who isn't baptized). We talked about what we can gift Christ for Christmas. P isn't really feeling like getting baptized at all. :( We think that their dad is still very opposed, and Ag won't let us push it. We want to meet with the whole family next month and have H and Ag share their testimonies about their baptisms. We think that that will be a great opportunity for P and Em to hear their mom's testimony of why she joined the church.

"Well, the branch Christmas party on Saturday was also a huge success! There were a lot of investigators and potential investigators there, as well as less active and active members! It was a huge turn out as well as very well done. It was very spiritual. Ag, and the branch council went above and beyond! It was wonderful, as well as Sister Mitton and I got to participate and sing with 6 other missionaries. It is great to be able to use our talents to invite the spirit."
I'll expound on the Branch Christmas party! It was so fun. We have been preparing to sing for it for two weeks now. Sister Mitton, me, and 6 other missionaries (2 other sisters, and 4 elders) sang between speaking parts about the signs of Christmas. We sang in Latvian of course, which is a blast! I also sang in a quartet of Silent Night with Sister Mitton and two elders! It was beautiful and so much fun! I loved it! We had so many people there! It was a great opportunity to really get to know the members better. 

...continuing with president boswell's email: "We also have a huge potential for a new investigator next week. We had a guy stop us on the street and just pouring out questions about the plan of salvation. He said he'd been thinking of them for a while. We had a great teaching moment with him and left him with the plan of salvation pamphlet to read. He already has a Book of Mormon at home. He just doesn't know when he would have time to meet. We called him up since then, and he still does want to meet, but with the holidays he doesn't want to promise a time that he isn't sure that he can keep. As soon as we can set up that next meeting with him (that will be with a member) he will be a new investigator! His name is And."

So, Monday: After emailing on Monday Sister Mitton and I went around Riga. We wanted to get as pictures of as many of the Christmas trees as we could. Latvia is known for having the first Christmas tree ever, so they have lots and lots of Christmas trees and every single one is different and unique. I'm only sending home a sampling of those pictures. I couldn't even begin to get pictures of them all! They are so fun, and very creative, and very few of them are actually made with a real christmas tree. I'm going to try and get more this week! We also bought Christmas decorations for our apartment and decorated that! That was a blast. We turned Christmas music on, drank hot cocoa, and decorated our home. It was very Christmassy that night. :)

Tuesday: We had a very good day Tuesday. We served at the same place that we served last week, wrapping Christmas presents. We also sang some carols to the volunteers there. That was fun. :) That night we also went with the Elders to help with a lesson with a member family that is just a mom and her three girls (they need more woman since they can't meet with just one adult woman and her kids). So, we went with them. It ended up being more of an adventure than we planned! The family doesn't live in Riga, they live just out of the borders. So, we had to take a little van out there. We sadly went too far though.... :) so we ended up tracking around in the pouring rain and dark trying to find it. The mom ended up just driving out and picking us up. It was a lot of fun. We made gingerbread cookies (which I can eat, because in Latvia they don't actually meake their gingerbread cookies with ginger!...I'm allergic to ginger....but they everyone says they taste the exact same!) with the family and then had a short Christmas lesson. We also sang a Christmas carol around their piano which was fun. This is the L family (there youngest girl Stefani, and I are best friends now! She is the cutest things in the world!), and we (just Sister Mitton and I) are actually going to be spending Christmas eve with them! We have rules here, for safety, that we have to be in at 6 on Christmas eve, Christmas, and new year's eve. We either have to be at home or at a member's house. So, the relief society knowing this, worked it out so that every missionary companionship has a member home to be at for christmas eve! It was really sweet! 
Then, Wednesday, was zone christmas conference! That was wonderful! We watched the baltic mission dvd which is a compilation of picture from the year! That was so fun! I'll probably send it home as soon as I get it and you can all watch it. We also had a simple gift exchange. I got a candle shaped like a beehive.  After that we had some spiritual thoughts from the assistants and from President Boswell. It was a spiritual feast. We also watched the newest bible video which is the nativity and it was very good (Go watch it!). I loved zone conference.
Wednesday night and Thursday were spent on an exchange in Liepaja! I was with Sister Scott (Sister Training Leader), and it was a blast. I learned so much from her. The people in Liepaja in general are much more open then people in Riga, and it was so fun talking with them all. I love the Latvian language and I am so privileged to be able to speak it!
Then Saturday was the Christmas branch party, which I already wrote about, but it was also a baptism that morning! A member from Riga center shared the gospel with his family, and baptized his mom, sister, and nephew on Saturday. It was beautiful. His brother-in-law and brother-in-law's mom will soon be baptized as well. It was a beautiful service. We attended because we sang at it as well. :) I have never sung more in my life, but I LOVE it! 
Anyways, I'm out of time. I love you all so very much! Remember why we celebrate this time of the year. We are celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. He loves us and came to Earth as a child to grow, learn, and eventual give his life for us! Remember him in all that you do. I love you all and I am truly so grateful that I get to be in Latvia sharing the news and message of Jesus Christ with all the people here. What an opportunity!
Ar mīlestību un lūgšanām,
Māsa Klauvarda
Cool Christmas card made for the branch by a member.

Hand-me down coat from a previous sister missionary. Save those dollars!

December 16, 2013

Hey everyone!
It is almost Christmas, but you wouldn't know it by the weather in Latvia. This is one of the warmest winters of my life. The snow is gone, and it hasn't gotten below freezing in a while. I shouldn't complain, because I've heard it can get REALLY cold here, and i am happy right where it is at. I would like a white Christmas, but I am okay if the snow waits a little bit. :) 

Well, here is the update to President Boswell about this week:

"This week we are going to really work on talking to EVERYONE this week as well. We haven't been doing as good a job as we need to do. I really want to be a Preach My Gospel missionary, but I do have a long way to go. I think it will be important for me to really focus this week on talking to everyone, but more than just talking to everyone, I'm changing it to teaching everyone. :) I want to go above just saying, hello, how are you? to saying, Hello. We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, and we are here to tell you that you can live with your family forever..... (or something like that). I've been creating quite a few "one liners" to use with people so that I can quickly help them see the purpose I am stopping them to talk. I have given some in Latvian to Si, so that I know that I am also saying these in good Latvian, and I'm going to work on just perfecting those, just like I would with gems.

"I also had another realization this week as I was teaching Sister Mitton during second companion study. We were talking about what makes a successful missionary. I had a thought that I shared with her about what makes us successful at all, whether in missionary work or in life. True success, in my opinion, is measured by how well we align ourselves to the will of God. That is true success. It is the only way to find true happiness in this life, and we can secure any blessings we need as we achieve true success. This is something I really want to focus more on daily, aligning myself to the will of God. This is his work and he guides it. We just need to do that which he already has laid out for us to do.

"So, this week was hard, again. It seems like we are working hard, but we aren't yielding any results yet. We are doing some great things though!! I loved this last week. We got to sing a ton. The singing at the Christmas market yesterday, went really well! I hope we will be invited back, but I know that we touched some hearts, and I know that we left a good reputation with people about the church." So, to tell you more about this. A Latvian Christmas tradition are the tirdziņi (little markets). They set them up just for Christmas time and they are a blast! Well, in some they like to have live music. A member in the branch (G) set it up so that we could go sing at one this Sunday after church. It went really well. We sang all of the Christmas hymns, but in Latvian! They were beautiful and it was really fun! Also, for singing this week, we are having the branch Christmas party this Saturday and there will also be a musical part, and the same eight missionaries are singing for that again. I also am doing a special number with a few other missionaries. We are doing a quartet and singing Klusa Nakts (Silent Night). I am really looking forward to it! :) Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it went next week!

"Also, this last week, we (our district) was able to find another way to serve. On Friday we went to a less actives place of business. She actually owns and operates a charity. She helps families that have a lot of children and don't have money to provide for them, as well as she supports different children homes. She has a lot going on with it being Christmas time and we went and helped her out for two hours on Friday. We wrapped Christmas gifts that will be given to children in the coming weeks. It was a blast, and we will be going back next week! Another great thing is that there might be a new investigator out of this. One guy who works with her has been to church before and has a Book of Mormon. His name is Mart. He is in his 20's and Sister C kept pushing for him to talk to us more. She kept saying that we need to become friends and that Mart should listen to our message. :) It was pretty funny, but he would like to start attending family night and he wants to come to the branch Christmas activity!! We'll talk to him more this Tuesday. He will probably be the elder's investigator though, but we are glad to help with the process." 

Also, something fun I learned is that Sister Mitton and I are related!!! :-) We are like fourth or fifth cousins once removed or something like that. Her mom's maiden name is Brown, and sister mittons 3rd great grandfather is Homer Brown. (which is my fourth great grandfather). Someone figure out exactly what that relationship is for me. :) But it was a fun discovery and I was glad I had my fan chart with me so we could figure it out. 

One more fun thing this week was the primary program in church! If you think they are cute in America, come see one in Latvia! This was my favorite! :) They were so cute, and they sang so cute! My favorite part, was the lady said, "We have... and then paused." And this little boy had a picture and was standing next to her. He sadly had the picture the wrong way and the picture was a picture of a horse when it was backwards. So she says, "We have..." and the little boy says, "ZIRGS! (horse)" It was so cute!!! It was a great experience. 

Well, that is all I have time for this week. I'll let you know more next week. I love this work. Don't ever doubt it! This is the best work in the world! This church is true. Never doubt it!

Ar mīlestību,
Māsa Klauvarda :)

Sunday, March 9

Old town Riga alleyway

Beautiful snowy view

Homemade snowflake to decorate the apartment

December 9, 2014

Hey everyone,
Can is just say, that this week was much better. While the numbers weren't necessarily better, I definitely felt better this last week. We really worked a lot heard, and work harder on keeping up our faith. That made a big difference. Also, another boost from this last week was SNOW! Yup, Latvia finally got snow. We have about a 1/2 foot and I LOVE IT!!! It snowed all day friday (nonstop) and on and off Saturday. It was wonderful and made for some great street teaching! I love teaching people in the snow. But as far as I hear, Idaho is getting a colder more miserable winter than we have here. It actually hasn't really been that cold, and we only just got snow that has stayed. Another thing I love about the snow here, is it is very wet! It is perfect snowman snow and snowball snow!! I have made a few snowballs. ;) I love all the little snowmen all over the place.

Well, here is what I wrote President Boswell about my week:
"I felt really down on myself after last week, because I had heard at zone time the miracles that everyone else was seeing because of their applying the new obedience, and I knew we were receiving the same things, and I thought that meant we still weren't doing everything right. Well, I now know, that we are, we are just receiving the blessings in a different way. Our first blessing that I have really noticed this week, is the change in Sister M's and mines relationship. We are really gaining a great unity in the work that I love. It is helping us a lot. We are both committed to the changes and are working together to accomplish them. I think that is the greatest blessing of all those I could possibly have. 
"Also, we have noticed that the members in this area really trust us, and that as we ask for referrals they really honestly think of them and give them to us. While we haven't received any actual referrals this week, we have had several members tell us about people in their lives that they would like to share the gospel with. One is Sister S (Elder Ss' wife, he is an area seventy). She came up to us on Sunday and said that she had a friend that she was going to schedule a time to meet with and she would like us to come over and teach her with their family. We are still working on setting that up, but she really is interested in that. 
"Also, another member, D, who is a recent convert, has really been working with her friend I, to help get him to church. He is wheelchair bound, and also very busy, but has already come to church once and loved it. We are going to challenge D this week to pick a time when we could go over to visit I with her and share the message of the restoration. We really think that she will jump on board with that, because she loves this work and the blessings that she has received with the gospel. 
"A few other things that have really taken off in our area, is singing!! Sister M and I have found that we really love to sing and we are going to really use that to our advantage. We also have found that our whole district can really sing well together, and we have already had one lesson with a less active in the Elder's area who invited friends over to hear a christmas message combined with music! It was so wonderful! The friends have a lot of potential, as well as this less active works at a place she started where all she does is simply helps those who are in need of help. She has asked us to go with her this week to deliver groceries to an inbound woman. We hope that we can find several service opportunities through this as well as opportunities to share the gospel.
"We also did have an investigator at church. In (a less acitve member) attends the russian branch in imanta occasionally and this Sunday she brought her nonmember daughter with us, who we have met with a few times. We are trying to get some more meetings with In and her daughter, but we are glad that her daughter still wants to come to church. Her daughter also just started dating a Christian guy, and so we really hope that will help her take religion more seriously. 
"This week we have plans to contact all the less actives to invite them to the Christmas party and to set up meetings with the branch activity we have going on this Saturday. We hope to really get a hold of them all. As we work to find them, Sister Mitton and I have set a goal to ask for a referral from every person we talk to as we try to get a hold of the less actives. We are going to treat it like it talks about in Preach My Gospel under the contacting Media referrals section in ch. 9. It talks about how as you try to contact the referral you talk to all the neighbors and everyone in the household and invite them all to hear the message, and then you work in the area after that. THat is our plan for contacting the less actives. We are really hoping and praying that with all our efforts, the Lord will lead us to the prepared people."

So, this week was full of lots of tender mercies. I'll talk more about that at the end.

For other fun things these last two weeks, for those of you who know me well, you know that I talk in my sleep. Well, these last two weeks, I have been doing it again. As far as I know, most of my mission I haven't talked in my sleep, but these last two weeks, I definitely was. The first night Sister M said I was practicing asking for referrals in Latvian in my sleep! Yep, I sleep talk in Latvian!!! Also, she said I burst out laughing the next night. I do remember this a little bit. I remember thinking something was so funny and that I needed to share it with Sister M, but I still have no idea what that was. I also had a good five minutes one night talking in nothing but Latvian. I still don't know what I said, but in my dreams I was just talking to members. So, yeah, I still sleep talk....and laugh, but know I also do it in Latvian!!! That has made for some fun laughs and jokes between me and Sister M. :)

Also, for fun traditions that are here in Latvia for the Holidays are winter markets! They are awesome and there are at least two really good ones where Sister M and I want to spend some time. They have lots of little venders selling all sorts of homemade items, as well as there are so many fun things to look at. They play music and it is just fun!!! It is a great tradition that I love!!

Question (from Grandma Sharon): What are the church buildings like there? Do you have your own buildings? -Well everything here in the mission are branches. We don't have any wards yet. We do have a few church owned buildings. We have one that we use a lot that is very close to our apartment. Sadly, they don't have a Latvian branch there right now, just a Russian one. We attend the only Latvian branch in Riga which is in center. The branch there meets in a second floor of a building that we rent. It is actually really nice, but definitely different. :) 

Also, some other fun things (as you can read above), is that Sister M and I have discovered a love for singing! We love singing together and have found several opportunities to make someone happier by singing to them. We love that we get to do that.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us. How is know is all the little things in my life that show he cares. They are called tender mercies and we all have them in our lives. We much just simply look for them and see that Heavenly Father really is there and he loves us. I love this time of the year because of what we celebrate. We celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He truly is our savior and he is the best example of God's love for us. I hope you know that Heavenly Father loves you, and I hope that you each can feel that love at this time of the year. I invite you all to do what you can to invite that love into your home. Pray that you will be able to feel his love around you, and I know he will give it to you.

I love you all and I am grateful for you and your support!
Sister Cloward