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,