Well, this week was a rollercoaster! It was a crazy, stressful week, but overall, it has ended okay. Mostly what made it crazy and stressful was caring for investigators. We started off last week, as I wrote about, finding out about Viktorijas grandmother and that she had passed away. Well, we then went on with more stress with our investigator Skaidrite. We had our normal stresses that come from being leaders and helping people change their lives, but the Skaidrite stuff is really what made it very hard. Here is what I told President Boswell about her:
"As for the work, our big sadness this week was Skaidrite. She is no longer meeting with us. It is sad, but she has made that decision herself. We haven't completely given up on her yet, but we are going to have to be careful. It all started on Wednesday when we went to help her clean her knew apartment. When we got over there, she was acting very strangely. At first, Sister Scott and I weren't sure what was wrong. I thought I smelled alcohol, but I wasn't sure because she is not a drinker. She hasn't drunken alcohol in a long time, and she herself never buys alcohol. She only drank alcohol in the past when people bought it for parties. Well, she was drunk. Sister Scott asked her straight out if she had been drinking. I was so saddened by it. A member Indra had been there for several hours already cleaning her apartment even thought she was drunk. It was a wonderful example of fulfilling our baptismal covenant. Anyways, I could tell that Indra was tired of cleaning and was a little upset because of the fact that Skaidrite was drunk. It was so hard to see. We helped Indra finish up and then helped Skaidrite get on the way to her old apartment. Well, we had a great lesson the next day. She had called us right before that and said that she felt guilty and didn't want to meet anymore. We told her that of course she felt guilty, but we were going to come over and help her get rid of those feelings. Well, the lesson went well. We got a call from her the next day, Friday, and she was mad. She said that Indra's ex-husband (Skaidrite just moved into an apartment he owns) had told her the truth about Indra and our church and that she didn't want to meet anymore. She told us she can never be a saint and that she can't join a Christian church. She told us that she would call the police if we talked to her anymore. There was more, but that was the general gist. Well, we got a similar call from her the next day. The whole situation was hard to hear. She got hit by opposition really hard. We reminded her again of the story from the bible about the seeds, but she says that she can never be in good ground and doesn't want us "forcing" her to be there as well. So, for now we are not meeting with her. We did a heart attack on her door after praying to make sure it was right. We are going to just see what happens, but we really hope and pray that she will remember that which she felt and decide to meet with us."
Viktorija is still doing well. We went to the funeral. It was so interesting. I have been to a Latvian funeral before, but this one didn't have any of the restored truths in it. (Things like that we can live with our families forever, and that they will see her again) It was in Grobiņa. We had to travel by bus about 30 minutes outside of Liepāja. We traveled with Viktorija and her family. They have some other interesting traditions. You bring flowers to the funeral, but it has to be an even number. Even is always for funerals or other sad occasions and odd is for gifts or happy occasions. It is interesting. It is also very common in funeral bouquets for there to be pine boughs weaved in with the flowers. They also have paid pallbearers who carry it to the grave side and then after a service there, they bury the grave and pile up the dirt. They then cover it with pine boughs and then all the flowers are put on. They also leave candles around it. It is such an interesting tradition and I wish I understood the symbolism behind it. Well, we went to support her family, and also, because there were a ton of less active families there who are Viktorija's mother's relatives. All of these family members we can't get a hold of because the information on the branch record is wrong and at the funeral we were able to talk to many of them! It was wonderful! We will hopefully be able to start getting a hold of several of them soon.
I also received a blessing this last. I was just having some back pain and so I wanted a blessing to just help. Well, the blessing was so comforting. I loved the words that were said. I was told that each and every one of my family members was praying for me. That brought me so much joy to hear. I already knew that but it was a nice conformation. Also, I was reminded that I will be able to fully serve the Lord despite my pain, just like the pioneers did. I will say that it already is a lot better. Sister Boswell (she helps take care of the medical stuff, and is also the mission president's wife) told me I probably hurt my back and told me what to do to help it heal. I'll follor her advice and I know that I will feel better in time. I also was told that the Lord was proud that I had given him my heart. This was a confirmation to me that I have fully consecrated myself to the mission. I know that I have given him my will and completely accepted his will. I am just trying to do the work they way he would want me to do it.
Well, one more fun thing this week. We had a baptism in Liepaja this weekend. It was beautiful! her name is Ilze and she chose to be baptized in the ocean. It was so fun to go to the ocean and watch her follow her savior as she made this step in her life. she was so happy. I sent a picture of the beach, but because of rules I am not allowed to send the picture where she was baptized. I can't wait to show you all after my mission.
Well, I'll end with my spiritual thought. I know that Easter is such a great time! We get to celebrate the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. Here in Latvia they celebrate from Friday to Monday! Easter is a big holiday for them. But they saddly sometimes miss the point of it. The Catholics in town did a parade on Friday where they carry a cross through town. They also stop and bless other churches and in general they are like a funeral party mourning the death of Christ. Yes, I know that that is part of Christ's atonement, but it is not the part he wants us to focus on. I thought about the scripture this morning, "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." I realized that that is the same with Christ's atonement. He wants us to rejoice that this is all completed, that he lives! He was resurrected and we also can be resurrected and can overcome death and sin! What an incredible blessing! I love the sacrifice he made for me and I am grateful to him for it! I know that we are lucky to know about these truths. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.