July 7, 2014
Laimīgu neatkarības dienu!! (Happy Independence Day!)
I had a great week. :) Lots of fun things were done. I enjoyed the fourth of July and I hope you all did too. :) It felt like Latvia was celebrating with us a little bit, because they had a flag day on the fourth of july. So, all the Latvian flags were out and it was really pretty. The weather could have been a little warmer, but it warmed up the very next day and now it is good hot 80's to 90's! Gorgeous! ;) We enjoyed hamburgers for lunch, sang all the American songs in our hymn book (there are 3), and wore red, white and blue all day! It really was a blast. Simple, but fun.
Update on the work....First off, this week we have been serving with the relief society president a lot. She asked for our help to get the visiting teaching program started here in Liepaja. Apparently lots of relief society presidents have tried to get it started and it goes for a little and then falls. Well, we are really looking forward to getting it started now. We helped her form the companionships by giving her information on who is active and where everyone lives. Then, she asked us to teach about visiting teaching and how to do it. They really don't know what this program is, but of a branch of about 50 where 45ish are women, it is a must to get this program started. They need to start depending upon each other more and strengthening each other. We're excited to have helped them and hope that this time it sticks.
This week as well, we found some new investigators and recieved a member referral. We've been doing a program here called member night out and I love it! Members express a desire to serve with us and we go and do the missionary work that they want to do. We visit less actives with them, do recent convert lessons with them, or visit their friends who are not members. We are excited to see how excited the branch got about it and we are hoping it will quickly pick up steam. We went this week with one member to our recent convert Skaidrīte and talked about missionary work with all of them. We expressed the desire to have them all share the gospel with their friends. We asked Skaidrīte if she could visit anyone and share the joy with them that she has found from the gospel, who would she want to visit. She said one of her friends, but immediately said, but she won't be interested, I don't even know where she lives. Well, we told her that the Lord would help her if we just invite, and if she prayed she would know what to do that was right and who else she could help. Well, she said the closing prayer and blessed that the Lord would bless her with opportunities to share the gospel. Right after she closed her prayer, she said, I have my friend's number. Can I use your phone and I can call her right now?? We did call her, and sadly she didn't answer, but the member said, please keep calling her and when she answers just tell her how happy I am and I want her to find this happiness too. It was so touching and she was so excited to share the gospel.
Also this week, we got 3 new investigators! This was such a blessing! One is Ivars. He doesn't believe in God. He is in his early 20's and agreed to meet with us with the potential to possibly find out if God is. We'll be meeting with him tonight. The other two new investigators is this great family. They were on a pontential investigator sheet and there really wasn't any information about them. Well, we stopped by and they were the sweetest things. Andris and Gita are their names. They have a 3 year old daughter, Sofija. Andris is Russian Orthodox and Gita is Lutheran. They are a great family and very open. They are the cutest things in the whole world. They live on the upstairs floor of his mom's house. They have a beautiful piano and she played Claire de Loon for us and it was the prettiest thing I have heard in a long time. I am in love with this family and really hope that we can help them. They told us up front that they won't come to our church, but that they like to learn more. We're excited to help them learn more and be touched by the spirit so they'll agree to be baptized and start on the path back to God.
I still haven't met the new mission president which is weird, but I'm looking forward to meeting him this Wednesday. I'll have an interview with him and I'm looking forward to getting to know him. I'm mostly curious to how he changes the mission, or if there will even be changes. We'll see this week and I'll let you know next Monday.
So, I have some questions! Makes writing so much easier :)
How many Latvian sisters are in your mission now? We have 7 Latvian speaking sisters right now. there are 3 companionships. How many are coming before you go home? We'll be having 3 come in in about 2 weeks and one goes home so we'll have 9 sisters! :) Then we'll have 4 more come in after that and 3 go home and so they'll round off to an even ten by the time I go home. Which MTC do missionaries from those countries go to? It depends on what mission they go to. Most of them go to the Provo MTC, but sometimes they go to the Spain or England. It is based on what mission going to. Are you still a Sister Training Leader? Yep, I am and I'm loving. I serve with Sister Branchflower (my first trainee) as sister training leader. She is serving in Riga and I am here in liepaja and we work together to support and build the sisters. I love it. I'm actually going on an exchange this week and I'm looking forward to that. How big is your branch there? Our branch is small we range from 30-55 at church in a week. The most we have ever had is 60, but we haven't hit that in a while, sadly. It is a great little branch with its own building here in Liepaja. Do you have a full branch presidency? not quite. There are really only 3 active Melchizedek priesthood holders. So, one is branch president, one is 1st counselor, and the other is secretary. They had a second counselor, but he is now less active and doesn't come very often. Are you in a mission or a stake? We are in a mission. We don't have a stake yet. Each country is a district and then there are branches. We are working and praying for a stake, but not sure when that will be. Tell us about your branch and about the size/organization of it. our branch is great. It is a mixed russian/latvian branch, but it is mostly latvian. Our branch president is Russian though, but he's married to a latvian and is learning latvian. He does everything in latvian and is learning the language fast. I really love the branch here. It is mostly older women and it is interesting. There are about 3-4 young families that are active and that is about it. There really aren't many youth, only 2 really. But yeah. I love the branch, but it does need some building.
So, for my spiritual thought, it is a quote about the commission of a missionary. I'm attaching it as a picture. I just know that I was called of God to be in this mission to represent Christ and I am so grateful and glad to be doing that. I am working hard and trying to do that which Christ would do if he was here as well. I love my time to serve and love you all. Have a great week!! :)