Sunday, May 4

Runcis the "pet" cat

Swift moving surprise blizzard

This is a souvenir ring that Sarah purchased. It is a tradition in that area.

March 24, 2014

Nu, čau visiem maniem draugiem! (well, hey to all my friends!)

This week was wonderful! This letter will be scattered and I need to apologize to everyone who wrote me and I wrote back a mediocre reply, but there is just so much I want to write about in this email and I have so little time! It will be a little scattered, but here are my thoughts for the week!

First off, to describe the title to my email. (Sunday with miracles) It all starts with last Sunday. We went out last week with only 15 minutes before church started (we wanted to use our time the best we could!) and ran into Skaidrite, our newest investigator. We talked about our church and the Book of Mormon. She was busy right then and didn't want to set up a meeting, but said she would come to church next week! Sure enough she did! She stayed all three hours and we found out that one of the members is her neighbor! She is going to meet with us this week! When we called her after church to say that we were happy to see her, the first thing she said was, "I really like your services! I'll come every single week to attend!" It was great to hear! If only the member neighbor had invited her to church, but at least the member is invested now!

Well, it was just a week of blessings and miracles! Including yesterday at church where no missionaries blessed or passed the sacrament!!! That was a goal of ours! There are very, very few active men in the branch here in Liepāja. There are 6 active men who hold the aaronic priesthood. One is Branch President, one is a counselor, and then there are four others. Well, it is hard to have them all at church at the same time, and two of the 6 are recent converts who just got the priesthood, so to have 1 on the stand and 4 bless and pass the sacrament was a big accomplishment! It was a wonderful moment yesterday!!! Also there were 17 Less Actives and Investigators at church! It really was a wonderful Sunday!

Also, I was in Rīga this last week for a visa appointment. We walked pass our mission president who was in his car and pretended not to see and walk past. It was really funny, and we laughted hard. We shook his had and said hi, and then we were off again to head back to Liepāja. This is what President Boswell said about it, "And, what about those 2 sisters who tried to walk right by my car without stopping at migration the other day? You two are fun to watch and have such a great skill of engaging people. I am very proud of the wonderful example that you set." It is fun to be able to have fun, while at the same time working hard!

So, now updates on the work here, which is going very well:

Viktorija is doing very well. Her mom sadly wasn't able to join our last meeting because they are apartment hunting. They are going to be kicked out of their place at the end of the month and they are having a hard time finding and affordable place with such short notice. We offered her our help, and she declined it, but was very touched. We found out later from Viktorija, that she told her dad about the help offer, and he was very surprised that a church would offer help. Viktorija's dad, Viktor, is very against churches in general and doesn't really believe in God, but that changed his oppinion a little bit. Another problem with viktor is that he is Russian and we will have a communication barrier. We found out that Viktorija lives in our area close to the B family. They have 4 boys and one of them is Viktorija's age! She has been spending time at their house and really seems to love it. We are doing everything we can to show the parents that we want them involved and just show them support. We have sent home lots of things to dad in Russian. So far, he won't read it, but the mom has as well as mom has read some of the Book of Mormon. Viktorija also this last week has a favorite verse in the scripture and got a spiritual confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true! She is doing really well and we hope that we can soon get her family involved in her progress.

With Inara, we did a drop by (we were still unable to get a hold of her on the phone) and it was perfect! She was at home as well as a lot of her family was there! It was her husband's birthday and they were celebrating together. We met a couple daughters and they were all very nice to us. We were unable to stay (although they invited us to stay and celebrate with them) because of another appointment, but she invited us to come by another day to meet again and talk some more. This was big because before that she was absolutely opposed to us coming over! We brought a great member who we prepped and she really helped us with the lesson! Inara's husband, Ojars, joined us and he is one of our new investigators for the week! We taught Word of Wisdom (even though Ojars was there) and they both so willingly accepted. They only have a social coffee problem, but they gave us their coffee (after Sister Scott asked for it) and we left them with some peppermint tea! It went very well. She isn't reading yet however and didn't come to church. We'll work with her. 

For more fun things, we are moving this week. We are getting a senior couple in Liepāja (they get here on Wednesday) and they are moving into our apartment. We have the nicest apartment of all the missionaries. We will be moving into our new apartment (used to be elder's apartment) tomorrow. It will be weird, but good change I guess. It isn't too far from where we used to live. It will be fun and great to have a senior couple in Liepāja. They are going to help with reactivation. It will be a BIG blessing for our little branch of 50 (that has like 100 less active's at least! a big chunk being youth). We are going to miss our little cat. His name is Runcis (it means Tom Cat in Latvian). No, we don't have a pet! That is not allowed. He is a stray that gets fed by all the people in our apartment and he lives in the stairwell. I'll admit, we've also fed him. ;) He is just so cute! I'm sending a picture home of him. :)

Also, my singing voice will be used again this week. I'm going to be singing with a member named Madara in a talent show we are having this week. I'm really looking forward to it. We are singing a Irish folk song called, "Will ye go Lassie go?" It will have guitar and violin. It is SO PRETTY!! I got permission to sing it from President Boswell and I'm really looking forward to it. It is different from anything that I've ever sung before, but Madara has been so patiently coaching me. Madara is an awesome member. She served a mission at temple square. She just got back in September last year.

I'll just end with a spiritual thought. I know that the this church is true. I have felt it so much more this last week. I've been trying for the first time in my life to reread all of conference talks before the next session of conference. I really like doing it. I've read one-two a day ever day for the past week. I know that the prophets are called of God. They lead and guide the church according to revelation from God. Really this is Christ's church. The doctrine in this church is necessary to survive the things that will come into the world in the last days. If you aren't in this church as a member or if you aren't as active as you have been in the past, please come and see what is here. Your lives will be better with the truth that is in the church! Remember that! I know it, for I've seen it!

Ar mīlestību un lūgšanām jums visiem, (With love and prayers to you all)
Māsa Klauvarda
Cute little dress she bought to wear after her mission. Looking good!

They had to spend the night with another set of sister missionaries and the other sisters made this little set up to make them feel welcome! So thoughtful!

March 17, 2014

Labdien visiem,

I am so glad for email and that I can write and share with you all for this week. It isn't quite as exciting so the letter won't be as long, but I do love you all. Please know that my email length does not reflect my love. ;)

So, by the title of my email, you can tell it snowed! Not much, but it was pretty. It is already all gone, but it did snow. I was exicted for that, especially because this winter was so pathetic that I am still craving snow! It has been feeling like spring the last week, so the snow was a surprise. Pleasant surprise for me, but maybe not for others!

Also, there was a baptism this week and I had a hand in it! I was on an exchange in January here in Liepāja with Sister Peterson. We had a lesson with a member and she brought her friend. We taught the friend about restoration and commited her to be baptized. Well, that friend just got baptized yesterday! It was wonderful! While I wasn't teaching her, it was cool to see how our work can effect others (and vice versa). Our lack of work also affects others. This is an important concept to remember. Everything we do has consequences, whether good or bad.

Quick update on investigators. Viktorija: We lost contact with Viktorija this week. Her and her mom's phone were off all week. That was hard. We didn't have her address so we weren't sure what to do. Well, she showed up to church on Saturday and that was good. We got her address as well as her dad's number, which works for now. So, because of the loss of contact, we were unable to have a lesson with her, as well as her mom has been sick. We are working on getting a lesson set up for this week. She is so excited for baptism though! She helped clean the church on Saturday and she told everyone that she is getting baptized on her birthday. She also stayed and watched the baptism and she is very excited for that. We are working on getting a lesson set up with her this next week for her and her mom. We will have a potential problem with her as her dad is against the church. She told him she was getting baptized into this church and he told her he would prefer if she picked a different church. Viktorija's mother is still happy for her to get baptized where she wants to be baptized. 

Our other investigator Inara has dropped off the map a little. She decided she didn't want to commit to be baptized in April. She is older and I think she is scared to change. We are going to reach out with love this week and hopefully get her back. She does really want to learn, but maybe it was just too much at the beginning for her.

So, a big question that everyone has been asking if whether they celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Latvia. No, it is not celebrated here, but I am wearing green! I never loved St. Patrick's Day, but it does make me think of home, so I thought I would celebrate! I think Latvians would like St. Patrick's Day if they knew about it, but I don't think they even know what that is! We'll probably teach our english class about it tomorrow.

This last week, we were in Rīga again. We go almost every week (3 and 1/2 hour bus ride one way). It isn't my favorite think, but it isn't awful. I usually sit by someone and talk to them. It is great Latvian practice! We were in Rīga this last week because Sister Scott couldn't hear out of one of her ears so we were at the Doctor's office. They cleaned her ears out and she can hear great!!!

Little story from a woman's talk at church this week. I really like it and it will be my spiritual thought for today! 
A man went to a Barber shop to have his hair cut and his heard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, The barber said, "I don't believe that God exists." "Why do you say that? asked the customer. "Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me if God exists would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God would would allow all of these things." The customer thought for a moment but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The Barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed heard. He looked dirty and unkept. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist!" "How can you say that?" asked the suprized barber? "I am here, and I am a barber, and I just worked on you!" "No!" The customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist," because if they did there would be no people with dirty long hair and unrtimmed beards, like that man outside." "Ah, but Barber do exist! Thats what happens when people do not come to me." "Exactly!" affirmed the customer, Thats the point! God too does exist! That's what happens when people do not go to him and don't look to him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

So that is all I have time for! I love you all! I know that this church is God's church! He loves us and He is very involved in our lifes. Don't forget it!
Māsa Klauvarda

March 10, 2014

Labdien visiem,

I'll start out with my week and the work here in Liepāja which is keeping me very busy. We are finding a lot of new people and helping a lot of people progress in the gospel. I am helping my fellow brothers and sisters follow their savior Jesus Christ. We have two people with baptismal dates and two who are very close to accepting one! :D You can read about the below!

From my letter to President Boswell:
"We had another great week here in Liepāja. Sister Scott and I are really learning how to teach in unity. We teach very unified and it is so fun! It is great to try new things and see our teaching methods and Latvian improve together. I love working hard with her and serving other with her at my side. I love this companionship, this area, and this branch, and  I am so grateful for my time here.

"Investigators. We have Viktorija (she is our 10 year old investigator). She is still looking good for baptism on May 24th, her birthday. We are doing all we can to get her mom Līga more involved. It is hard, because Līga isn't very interested for herself, but she is interested in what her daughter is doing and comes for her. We were only able to have one lesson with her this last week, but she is still enjoying that which we teach her. She is very cute and energetic and loves learning. We also got her blessing certificate (a copy from her mom) so the branch will have a record of that soon.
We also found out that Līga is a former investigator so she knows quite a bit about the church.

"Inara also has a baptismal date for April 12. She so far is progressing well. She was found by Sister Stout and Sister Mitton when they did a drop by in our area. Sister Stout and I taught her a lesson together where she said maybe to baptism, and then with Sister Scott and I, she said that yes, she would like to prepare to be baptized. She has really seen the Lord's hand in her live and knows that all the blessings she has come from him. She had a brain tumor a few years ago and survived and I know that she thanks the Lord profusely for that daily. She was befriended very well by the branch yesterday for her first Sunday at church. She is reading and praying and has a real desire to know. We have plans to do a lesson at her house to help her husband (and hopefully grown children) to accept the gospel as well.

"Juris #1. He is our Lutheran. He is doing well. We found out in our last lesson with him that he didn't see a need to read the Book of Mormon. Madara (returned missionary from temple square. She is awesome!) helped us with that a lot by committing him to read Moroni 10, pray, and fast about the Book of Mormon. She told him he would never understand if he didn't try. She shared her own conversion story and it was very powerful. We talked with him last night on the phone and he had done it! It was so great to here!! We don't know yet what his answer is. He wants to talk about it in person, but we'll find out tonight. We are praying that it is good, but we've prepared to help him if it is not. I feel though, that he will have a good response to that which we asked him to do. We'll be meeting with him and Madara tonight.

"We also have Juris #2 who is progressing as well. He is the other investigator that was found when the sisters were here. Sister Stout and I talked to him on the street. He is 35 and very open. HE wants to learn more and is very curios as to what is here. He said that he would like to be baptized, but doesn't want to promise to a date yet. We gave him a Book of Mormom and commited him to start to read and pray about it. HE committed to read it daily. He also has a ton of potential."

Tell us a little about your p-days.
Preparation days are good, but also busy. We get up and do the regular schedule, which is 30 min to exercise, 1 hour to get ready (which includes cleaning on preparation day), 1 hour to personal study, 1 hour of companion study, and 1 hour of language study. After that we need to buy groceries and email. By the time you get all of the done there is about 2-3 hours to do stuff. We take some time to write letters most days and we like to go out to eat. Sister Scott and I like to go browsing through the shops around us. We live in the center of liepaja and it the shopping district of Liepaja. It is where a lot of the good stores are. We ourselves live in an apartment over a used clothes store. There are four apartments about it and we are in one. It is actually a REALLY nice apartment. :)

Tell us about your new area (city, customs, and culture).  How is it different than your last area?
It is a lot smaller than my last area. It is also a lot more cobblestone roads and dirt roads! I love the cobblestone roads. It really helps me remember that I am in Europe! The city cute and very coastal. It used to be a big port for Russia because of the way the currents are the main port doesn't freeze in the winter. So, when this country was owned by russia, they used the coast a lot. Also, there a ton of STRAY CATS here. They are very well taken care of though. The little old ladies build houses for them out of boxes and feed them daily. We have one that lives outside our door. He is orange and super cute! He is also well fed (we don't know who feeds him though. We've named him Runcis (which means tomcat in latvian). I'm not sure about customs. I haven't been here long enough yet, but I do love this city.

Also, one more little thing. I sang in church yesterday! It was so fun! I sang "Come Thou Fount" but in Latvian. It was beautiful! I loved it a lot! I sang with Madara (a returned sister missionary), Elder Christenson, and Elder Webb! It was a lot of fun!!! I didn't know how much I enjoyed singing or that I could sing good enough to do musical numbers. I love that The Lord blessed me with that talent.

My spiritual thought today I shared with President Boswell, and here it is to you as well:
"One last thing. I had a thought from my studies this last week that I wanted to share. I was reading in Helaman and came across Hel. 15:6. It says, "they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily." I really liked this. I feel that I am learning to work with "unwearied diligence" here with Sister Scott. I have found that that is only possible when one develops charity for "their brethren".  I have been praying for charity daily (this transfer) and have found that I can really work with "unwearied diligence" to help bring my brothers and sisters her in Liepaja to the knowledge of the truth. Also, we as a mission as learning this concept as we work with members and their family and friends and we are seeing the "many who [are added] to our numbers daily." We have had almost daily baptism dates. We are developing charity and must continue to do so so we can help our brothers and sisters come to the truth."

Much love,
Sister Cloward
Lots of cats in Lativa. The older people feed them.

March 3, 2014


Šī nedēļa bija brīnišķīga nedēļa!!!! (This week was a wonderful week!)
We had a week full of miracles. It was so wonderful to see the Lord's blessings in our lives. We have a baptismal date and 7 new investigators in one week!! Another miraculous part, is all those investigators are still investigators (sometimes they get scared or don't really feel committed and stop talking to us or show up for anything, but that isn't happening this time!). It is wonderful. I'll write about a few of them below.

But first, my mom and a few others wanted to know more about my responsibilities as Sister Training Leader. The biggest thing I do is help with training and care of the sisters. I make sure that they are physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. I don't fix their problems, but I support and train to help them overcome them. We go on exchange with them to help them with training, make sure all is well with them, and to help them learn. An exchanges is when I go with one sister from a different companionship for 24 hours and Sister Scott goes with the other companion. We had an exchange this week with the sister from Jelgava. I was with Sister Green. She came out with my last trainee Sister Mitton. She is from Preston, Idaho. I love her a lot and it was fun to work with her. Here are my thoughts to President Boswell:

"I'll admit I was a little scared to bring them both to our area (it used to be one companionship in each area, but we were counseled by the mission president to have them both in our area), because it was new, but Sister Scott and I felt that we needed to do that, and now we are so grateful that we followed the Lord's and your counsel. We had a week full of miracles! As you can see by our numbers (which we 7 new investigators and 9 member present lessons, the norm is 1-2 new investigators and 3 member present lessons), we were able to work hard and really help this area grow. There is still a lot to do, but we are looking forward to this next week of bringing the sisters from Imanta (sisters Stout and Mitton) both into the area."

As for my exchange with Sister Green. It went really well. I really enjoyed getting to know her. I love her so much. She is so solid and helpful. She is also very willing to work hard. We worked on asking questions, especially in teaching moments on the street, and it was a lot of fun." She taught me a lot and I enjoyed seeing a different view on missionary work and learning from her as well.

We work with 3 companionships of sisters (all the Latvian speaking sisters). There are 8 total Latvian speaking sisters, 2 being me and Sister Scott. :) The companionships are Sister Scott and I in Liepaja. There is Sister Mitton, my last trainee, and Sister Stout, from my MTC group, in Imanta (my last area). Also, Sister Woodland (also from my MTC group) and Sister Green (who I just did the exchange with) in Jelgava. And Sister Ormsby (from my MTC group) and Sister Branchflower (my 1st trainee) in Center (my very first area). They are all so wonderful and now I know them all very well! :)

I'll explain a little more about missionary organization right now. We are divided first in zones and then districts. My zone pretty much always will stay the same. It will only change when we get new missionaries or when missionaries go home. My zone is all the Latvian speakers. We have 22 in our zone right now. My district (there are 4 districts in our zone) is 7 missionaries. Sister Scott and I, our district leader Elder Webb (from my MTC group) and his Russian speaking companion, Elder Cook, and a threesome of Elder Christensen, Elder Fallett, and Elder Wilson. It is fun to work with them all. They all are great leaders and hard workers!

So we got 7 new investigators this week! Several being referrals! Practicing really is paying off!! (we practice asking for referrals daily) It is wonderful to be able to see that when we are obedient, the Lord blesses us.

So first Investigator: Viktoria -She is super cute. She came to church again (her second time), and really seems to be liking it. She is a cute girl who is really interested in the gospel. The mom is fully supporting her and her decisions, but isn't showing interest herself yet, but said that she would meet with us and Viktorija, so that she knows what Viktorija is learning. We have plans to go over at some point this week and I will sing for the family. I am really looking forward to it. Viktorija has a baptismal date for May 24th (her birthday) and I am so excited to help her prepare!

We also have Juris and Lauris with big potential. Juris is a walk in who wanted a church tour and Lauris is his friend who he brought to his lesson. Juris is very religious lutheran, but wants to learn more and expound his knowledge. He sees our church as a very good thing. Lauris is not as religious. He said that he is looking for truth and thought that he could find some here with Juris. He suffers from depression, so it will be harder working with him, but we have Juris's help and support.
There are several other investigators, but for times sake I can't write about them, but I will write the highlights from them next week.

Also, since coming to Liepaja, I am very involved in things here! I love it! I bore my testimony yesterday in church! It was my first time (sadly, I should have done it sooner), and I loved it! It was fun to share my beliefs in Latvian! I really liked it! I hope you all are sharing your testimonies. If you didn't share you testimony yesterday, I challenge you to share it the next chance you get! :D It is only a blessing to you to share the beliefs that you have. 

Also, I have been singing a lot since coming to Liepaja. I'm surprised by how much, but I love singing! I sang for English class last week, and then I'm going to be singing in a quartet in church this Sunday. We are singing "Come thou fount" in Latvian! I am so excited! It is a beautiful song and just one more way I can share my testimony!

I love you all and just want to end with my testimony! I know that God loves us! I want to share my testimony, that Jesus Christ is our savior! I know that he is truly "The Good Shepherd" as it says in the scriptures about him. Look up John 10 in the bible and Psalms 23. They are my testimony and perfectly express my relationship with Jesus Christ. I love you all!
Have a great week.

Māsa Klauvarda
MTC group meeting at the Leadership conference. (What a difference a year makes!)

February 24, 2014

Low on time! Sister Training leader responsibilities take up more time. I'll try to write clear and say all I want to say. I need to apologize up front for not sending good replies to everyone. I will try to do better, but the time really just go so fast for email! It just isn't long enough. 

This last week was Mission Leadership Conference and I loved it! We got together for one day as Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders and talked about mission goals and learned how to better work with members. The next day we added District leaders to the mix (it only happens with district leaders twice a year) and we learned how to be better leaders! I learned so much, but I can't even begin to share it all!! I just know so strongly that the Lord guides the work and we have success when we do it with him in his way. Here are my thoughts to President Boswell about Mission Leadership Counsel:

"Thanks for the wonderful leadership conference that you and the assistants put together. I learned a ton, and left feeling so uplifted and inspired. I loved my first opportunity to meet together with the leadership and get to know many more amazing missionaries. I am truly blessed to be in this mission where obedience is a priority and we are focused and work together. I love the unity that we feel in this mission. It is truly a blessing to be here. I know I have learned a lot and will continue to learn."

Updates on our investigators and the work in the branch as well as some miracles!! :D

"As far as with Aija. We were unable to visit with her this last week, unfortunately, but we are looking forward to meeting with her this week. She has some questions about the Book of Mormon. Sister Scott and I applied the advice and counsel learned at leadership meeting, and picked a member that we thought would be good. We called her and explained why we thought she would be good to help us and asked her what time she had available to help. We wrote those down, and know we are just waiting to hear from Aija about what time will work. The ideas and counsel given of how to work better with members is really working!

"This week was full of miracles for us! It is always hard when you have to be out of the area, but we made a goal to really put our efforts into our area wholeheartedly and work for Saturday and Sunday. Our work, however, did not lead to the numbers, but the Lord provided. We had 5 investigators at church and we got one new investigator. They were not directly connected to our work at all. It was interesting to see how the Lord provides. The investigators at church were Dzintars and Iveta and their three kids (two who are baptismal age). This is Sister Smith's family. It had been decided to give them a break, so we didn't invited them to church. Instead, a member, went out of her way to be a great missionary and invited them to church. They came and stayed all three hours and were well befriended by the members. We asked them if we could meet this week, and they said they would think about it. We don't want to push too hard, but they still have a lot of hope.

"The fifth investigator at church was also a new investigator. She is a girl about 10 years old who walked into English on Saturday. She saw the sign that we put outside the church to advertise and said that she wanted to come. We wanted to go about this different then with Kitija, so we asked Sister Š (branch president's wife and president of primary) to call up the mom and explain what Vikotrija (the little girl) has been learning and explain that we would like to meet with her so she could learn more. The mom had her about our church and actually had very good open feelings about us! Apparently some of her relatives are inactive members! We are going to work on figuring out who those relatives are and get in contact with them. Well, this member set up a lesson for us this Wednesday and gave us some ideas for members who could help (the member is unable to help). We are very excited for this! The Lord provides when we work hard.

"Other than that, that was about it for this week. I am enjoying working here in Liepaja. The branch is growing, and branch counsel was really good yesterday. I am grateful and excited for your counsel and I'm getting ready to take it and do it! Thanks again for your help, love, and counsel."

Something else I did this week was sang a SOLO!! My first solo ever with an audience, but it was so fun! I loved it. We teach free English once a week and Sister Scott had an idea that I could sing a solo as a spiritual thought. It was a good idea and really invited the spirit. Both the members and nonmembers who attended liked it and really felt the spirit. Sister Scott and I are now planning our finding and teaching tools around this. I am also in about two weeks singing in a quartet with two elders and a member. It will be fun and I am looking forward to it. I have never considered myself a good singer, but I am glad that I can use my talents to bless others. It is a wonderful gift!

I am so grateful that the Lord trusts us (all members!!! Everyone!) to do his work. He leads it and it is truly HIS work. We just must decide if we are going to help him with it or not. I love being a missionary and I am so grateful that I am in this mission. There is not other mission or place I would rather be right now. I know that I am doing the work of the Lord in the place that he needs me to be. I know that as I keep working hard, that I will be able to help many to follow Christ by helping them to enter the waters of baptism. I hope that you are all sharing the gospel the best you can. Please remember that I love you. You are all wonderful and I am glad that I know you all! Have a great week and go and make someone's day!! :D I love you more than words can express.

Ar mīlestību, lūgšanām un visu, ko jums vajag!!!
Māsa Klauvarda!!
Sarah and a little sheep at church. (Not sure why there was a lamb at church.)

February 17, 2014

So, this week was good.  Long, but good. It was a stressful week, but mostly just because it is a new area, new problems, and new responsibilities. To top it all off, I had a 24 hour cold that struck Saturday night and ended yesterday. I feel much better now, and I'm looking forward to this week.

So, to describe the title of my email, I'll start with answering questions. :)

What differences do you see in the area there. Is it a smaller city? more rural?
-So, differences with Liepaja. It is a smaller city. I would still call it city, but it doesn't have sky scrapers and stuff. It is pretty good size. The branch is much smaller here. In center 100 people attended regularly, and here it is only 50. The number of priesthood holders is small here. There are only 4 active priesthood holders. It is hard, but it is something that we are working on.

I would also like to hear more about your responsibilities as a sister training leader. You said that you will be traveling but you really didn't explain why.
-Well, we are responsible to help the sisters with the work. We are examples to them and help them learn. We do exchanges with them once a transfer (we serve with them for 24 hours). We are just supposed to be a support system for them to turn to and we look out for the physical and spiritual well being. I'll travel a lot for leadership meetings which are in Rīga, as well as traveling for exchanges with the different sisters. We try to keep the travel to a minimum, but we do travel several times a transfer. This week for example. We have a three day long meeting in Rīga. It will be fun. I'm running low on time, but here is what I wrote to President Boswell about our week.

"So, this week we got two new investigators! One of them is progressing. Her name is Ai. The story of finding her is a good example of the Lord leading his work, as well as it was a miracle. Sister Scott and I were dropping by a less active and after we left there unsuccessfully, we just felt a pull to the area and we couldn't leave yet. There was this really long apartment next to the one we were just in that just pulled us like a magnet. At the same time, Sister Scott and I said that we needed to go in the second door. We went in and started going up. We usually go to the top and starting teaching from door to door to the bottom, but as we were walking up, we just felt a pull to two doors. We knocked on one, and we had a really weird "talk" with a Russian old lady, and ended up leaving because she got frustrated. We knew though that we NEEDED to come back and teach someone in that second door. Well, a few days later, we go back and knock on the other door. This older lady opens up and welcomes us right in. We didn't even get to say who we were or why we were here to talk to her. Well, this lady, Ai, is our progressing investigators. We've taught two lessons and she has started to read the Book of Mormon. She is going to be harder to teach, because she REALLY LIKES to talk! :) But we already found a great member who has helped us teach her and who has been and will be an incredible friend. And the great thing is, this is a less active, so we are hoping that through this we can help her feel the desire to have the church more in her life again as she sees the changes it can make in Ai's life. Ai also will be harder as she is having intense hip surgery in a few weeks and will be laid up for quite a while from that, but I know that we were led to her for a reason! The Lord needed us to find her at this time and it needed to be us."

"Our other new investigator is Jā. He is an older man we taught on the street. He is also going to be harder to meet with as he is having surgery today, but he is happy to have the elders come teach him and give him a blessing on Wednesday. We will be on our way to Riga, and won't be able to join them, but the elders will do a good job teaching him."

Well, my time is lower now with emailing with all my responsibilities, but I love you tons! I hope you know that I know this church is true. Joseph Smith restored Christ's earth here on earth and we once again have its fullness. Come and see what we have and come more fully enjoy it.

Ar mīlestību,
Māsa Klauvarda
Heart attack at a member's home

February 10, 2014

Čau visiem!!
Es ceru, ka jums bija laba nedēļa!! (I hope you had a good week!)
So, by title of the email, you can tell that I had some bg changes in my missionary work here. I am in Liepaja (which is the farthest a latvian speaker can serve). I love it! It is a cute little costal town, that reminds me of Rexburg, because it is so windy!! 
I am also Sister Training Leader which is looking to be fun, but a little crazy!!! We will travel a lot, but we are going to stay in our area as much as possible. My companion is Sister Scott. She is from Ohio. She is wonderful! She is two transfers ahead of me and the older Lativan sister in the mission. She is a great example and is a very successful, hardworking missionary. I am priveldged to be able to work with her and I know I will learn a ton!! I love this work so much! Here are my thoughts to President Boswell about the week:

"I am excited to be Sister Training Leader, but even more so, to work in Liepāja, and help this area and branch out. I really think some great things can happen here soon. Sister Scott is amazing, and I am grateful to the Lord for the opportunity he has given me to work with her. 

"I am still learning about this area, but from what I can see, there is a lot to do. I am looking forward to doing it all, and being a good worker. Sister Scott adn I are making the area our first priority. She has so many great ideas, and I am truly pleased that I have the opportunity to work with her and learn from her. 

"We have set some great transfer goals to give us some focus. We are really going to working on finding some solid baptismal dates for this transfer. We just had a baptism, and handed off a lot of progressing investigators to the Elders, so we are starting on ground zero, but by the end of the transfer we have a goal to have 3 solid baptismal dates in our area. We understand that this means there are going to be a lot of different baptismal dates in between, and that we are going to have to work hard every minute that we are in our area. 

"Lelde, our recent convert (she was baptized 2 weeks ago, she has had a rough past, but has come through a lot. SHe has a 4 year old daughter and she herself is 18. She lives on her own and is really actually incredible!!!!), has been going through some rough stuff. She is full of drama and makes life exciting, but sadly, I feel like she attracts drama. Her little sister Ksenija is the biggest worry and stress for her a lot of the time. She is 15. She has also had a very rough background like Lelde. It is hard. When I was on an exchange with Sister Peterson we had a lesson with Lelde and Ksenija came. She didn't believe in God, and was very stubborn. She has jsut been trhough a lot of hard stuff, and she is in the phase of her life where she likes to say no, because she wants to be independent and have a mind of her own. She has been reading everything that Lelde will give her to read (including the Book of Mormon) and came to sacrament meeting yesterday. She also though, has big word of wisdom problems, as well as she is has a 31 year old boyfriend. The boyfriend was over at Ledle's house, and caused some problems. We don't know everything that happened, but we do know that now Lelde has been diagnosed with a concussion and is stuck in bed for 8 days. She's stressed, and we hope we can help her out.

"We got 5 new investigators this week as well, which was wonderful! Sister Scott is teaching me how to talk to everyone! She's amazing at that. She also is super great at finding something that they would be interested in so that we can help them see more of who we are and what we believe. Of the new investigators, the one with the most potential is Jānis. Sister Scott talked to him for about two hours on the way from Rīga to Liepāja this last week. They talked for two hours and would like to hear more. He has a Book of Mormon and we are happy to help him out. He used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, but has gotten him self to only seven cigarettes, and we are excited to help him quit overall, which he wants to do. 

"Also, we talked to an athiest named Edijs this last week. It was a great teaching moment for me and Sister Scott. Mostly I am jsut excited by how well and smooth we taught together, and by the end of the teaching moment, he was curios to know if God could really be there. :) It was wonderful. We'll see what happens."

Another thought about Edijs. (like Eddy) It was truly a miracle teaching moment. I loved it! The night before while planning, I told Sister Scott that I thought we needed to find a upper 20's (28-30) year old man who has no girlfriend, kids, and is lost in life and doesn't know what to do. Well, I thought about that all day, but it didn't happen. We didn't talk to anyone who fit that, until Edijs (who was the last person we talked to that day!) He fit the profile perfectly! We talked about why it is important to have faith in God and how he can find that. It was a great conversation. I really liked it! It was fun to teach so smoothly with Sister Scott and help Edijs. We really focused on him. It was great!

Well, I'm almost out of time! I love you all so much! Just know that I love you. I am so greatful to be a missionary! I know this is the Lord's work and I know that he is hastening it. Dad told me about the news with several big family history comanies combining with the church and that just gave me chills! This will be really big for family history work! The Lord truly is hastening the work! It is incredible! I invite you all to join in in some way. Look into our church, strenghten you faith in Christ, and share that which you have!

I love you all! (Es jūs visus mīlu!)
Māsa Klauvarda

Sister Training Leader

February 7, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Cloward ,

Your missionary, Sister Sarah Leigh Cloward, has been given a new assignment in the Baltic Mission.  As of this recent transfer, she will be serving as a Sister Training Leader in the Latvia "LATVIAN" Zone and will be responsible to train and lead the sister missionaries serving with her.

Sister Cloward is a great missionary and we are very pleased to have her in the Baltic Mission.  This new assignment will bring additional growth and will give her wonderful opportunities as she prepares for a lifetime of service.

With warm regards,

Jeffrey G. Boswell, President
Baltic Mission