No karstas liepājas, (from hot liepaja)
It was REALLY hot this last week. From Wednesday to Saturday we were upper 80's! That is really hot. It didn't help that our appartment has no circualation! We came home one night and our apartment was hotter than it was outside! Inside our study it was 89 degrees!! We figured out why it gets so hot, because it is almost impossible to get a draft going through! It makes sense though, because Latvians believe that a draft (or as they call it caurvejš) can give you cancer and other sickness, so they built our apartment in a way that we can't get a draft! However, it has calmed down today and is in the 70's. It is a beautiful day today.
Well, to describe the title of my email, this week was wonderful! I loved it! Viktorija was baptized on Saturday and it was beautiful! Here is what I told President Boswell:
"Viktorija's baptism was beautiful. She was baptized in the sea and loved every moment of it! Her mother and father were there to support her as well as her cousin who is a less active member from Grobiņa (a little city about 20 minutes from Liepāja). She was glowing the whole time and just had a wonderful experience. I am so grateful that I got to be part of this and enjoy these moments with her. She is truly my little sister. We still have some barriers to overcome in helping her get fully situated in the branch, but we have the support of the branch. We are going to get Ilze and Vikotrija together this week hopefully and get the process started of Ilze becoming her older sister. The only problem is that Ilze herself is unable to come to church every Sunday. I hope that she will at least help day to day with Viktorija."
Here is what the assistants wrote to express her conversion story:
"Viktorija from Liepaja started to attend English conversation groups a couple months ago, when she first became interested in the church, then Viktorija started to help clean the church, and also attend church. The sisters met with Viktorija's mom to get permission to meet with missionaries when they found out that all of Viktorija's cousins are members but they are just less active. Small world. Viktorija decided to get baptized on her birthday and from then on it was smooth sailing, she also learned to love to read the Book of Mormon and has many favorite verses. At her baptism, Viktorija was so happy and after she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, she said that she felt like she was walking on air."
She was just glowing. My favorite thing about the weekend was at her baptismal service. We all got on a tram together and rode down a ways from the church. We walked to the beach together. Before we got to the beach, we went into the forest where we stood and had the first half of our baptismal service. It was so fun. We sang "I am a Child of God" together and there was a talk. I am a child of God is Viktorijas favorite song! She loves it! After the first part of the service, Viktorija changed and we all went down to the beach. The Elders and a member (Edgars) went into the water. The Elders have to go in to because they have to go pretty far out for it to be deep enough and the elders wouldn't be able to hear from the beach. She was baptized and came out glowing! I wish I could email the picture home that I took, but it turned out really well! You can just see how much Viktorija is just glowing. After that we went back for the rest of the baptismal service. There was one more testimony. I then sang a solo for Viktorija. I sang "I am a Child of God" by request from Viktorija, but I changed the words to "You are a child of God". I changed all three verses and sang it to her! It was so much fun and such a special moment. That moment singing to her was my favorite moment of the weekend. She really loved it and gave me a HUGE hug afterwards. :) She was confirmed the next day. She walked away after being confirmed and she looked like she was flying along. She was so happy!
So, an update on the are here in Liepāja:
Skaidrīte is doing well. (She was just baptized last weekend) She got a job last week and because of that was unable to come to church yesterday. It was sad that her first Sunday after confirmation she missed. She was definitely missed by the members and her incredible member friend, Lilita, asked her if she felt guilty for not being at church yesterday. Skaidrīte said, that yeah, she had felt bad, but didn't know what to do. We helped her see that she was going to have to act in faith to get that time off. We committed her to talk to her boss about getting all Sundays off so that she can come to church. I love her so much. She has true desires and will keep doing all that she can so that she can be at conference this weekend.
Also, with two baptisms one after another, we really didn't have a ton of investigators, but we did find a new one this week and she accepted a baptismal date! Here is what I wrote to President Boswell about her:
"We also have Irene who accepted a baptismal date this week. We talked to her on the street a week ago and in our second lesson she said that yes she would like to be baptized on the 12 of July. Elder Wilson told me about your concern about Irene not being accountable. He told us to find out from her is she can travel for free (meaning she is classified as invalid). From what we know about her already, we are pretty sure she has to pay to travel, but we will confirm with her this week. WE are also going to talk to her this week about getting her kids involved in the lessons. It is hard because she is not from Liepāja and is from a city about half way between here and Rīga (or about 1 1/2 hours away). So, we'll see what we can do, but we'll definitely talk to her about it. She is wonderful and learns quickly. She has studied a bunch of religions, but is very in tune to the spirit. She loves the Book of Mormon already so far and read 130 pages her very first two days. She read until Jacob 4. It was incredible!"
We are working this week intensely on getting a hold of the less actives and we have already gotten a hold of a few! It has been great to see that they are open to the idea of us coming by and sharing a spiritual thought with them. We have one potential part member family that we will be meeting with this week! SIster Ormsby did great on the phone talking to this one guy (who's wife and 2 kids are not members). She acted like his best friend and was super down to earth. She made it sound like the best thing in the world to meet with us (and it is!!!) and he agreed to let us come by this week! We're looking forward to it!
So to finish descibring the title to my email, this week will also be great!!! We are going to have the opportunity to hear from an apostle this week!! This Saturday we will have district conference with all the missionaries in Latvia and Elder Bednar will be presiding at it! It will be probably about three hours long. We are really pleased and looking forward to this opportunity. I am bringing questions and studying the material that he gave to study. I know that I am blessed to be in this mission at this time working where I am working. I love working with Sister Ormsby. I know that the Lord leads his work. This is his church and he leads and guides it. He calls a prophet and apostles to help us know how to live and apply the gospel in our lives. If we follow every thing that they say, we will be blessed and guided in our lives. I know this to be true!
Love you all and have a great week!!!