Manai brīnišķīgajai ģimenei un skaistajiem draugiem, (to my wonderful family and beautiful friends),
This was a good week. I really enjoyed it. We saw miracles and worked hard. At the same time, Satan attacks, but we are pushing through it all. The Lord blesses those who work hard. °
This week we really put all of our efforts on finding new investigators. We really are working on building the teaching pool. That is so needed if we are going to help the work in this area. Every area I serve in, I want to leave it better than I found it. I'm working on that with Sister Berchtold as we build a strong teaching pool. Mostly how we do that is by contacting former investigators (right now we are contacting any who had baptismal dates or desire to be baptized), asking for referrals, and teaching/talking to everyone we come into contact with. We saw the results, but not in the way we were expecting.
The first new investigator of 2 that we have this week is a miracle. Her name is Kristīne and she is from English class. She is about 20 and is an orphan. She bares the scars of that, one of them being depression. She is such a sweetie. We were just in the right place at the right time for her. We went to the church earlier than planned because of some confusion with a different lesson. We went there and after finding out that the lesson wasn't going to work out, we were about to leave when I saw Kristīne walk past the church. I already knew her because she had attended my English class in the summer, but hadn't been coming the last little bit. We went out and told her she could wait for English to start inside. We showed her around the church and ended up talking to her all about the restoration. It was a great moment. We'll be meeting with her again this week for the second meeting. She has a lot of potential and interest, especially since she told us she has been looking for a new branch because she says that the Pentecostal branch that she attends doesn't fit her needs anymore.
Also the other new investigator is a former investigator. I actually taught her twin daughters this summer (Sintija and Gija if you remember them. They were 18, but have the minds of an !1 year-old) and they were progressing towards baptism. The twins aren't interested right now, but mom is. So, we are going to meet with her again this week. It will be a pass off lesson with the other sisters though, because she lives in their area.
Work with the members continues to go well. The relief society president here is really working on getting some activities going and she convinced the Branch President to let a member organize one (usually he does it with the missionaries and relief society president's help). Well the branch president put a member in charge of it! I'm excited to see the good that this member will be able to do.
This last week we also have mission leadership council. It was really enjoyable to spend time with great, experienced missionaries from all over the mission. They are incredible. (and yes mom, Elder Simpkins was there. ;) He is serving as a zone leader in Estonia). I love the amazing teaching that the Holy Ghost was able to give each of us individually. The day before council we had a council with the district leaders. There were a ton of concerns brought up, and some we weren't sure how to address. Well, at the council, we as leaders of our zone, received the council that we needed to bring back to our zone. We'll be have zone training this week in Riga to help the missionaries with the concerns that we brought up. (if you haven't noticed yet, I have traveled to Riga every week this transfer and will travel all the rest of the weeks of my mission here. yay....) I also will be doing exchanges with the sisters in Jelgava. I will be going to Jelgava with Sister Green most likely. I am looking forward to that.
So, I got questions this week!! Woowhoo!!! Thanks to Lauren, Mac, and Haley for those! You three are great!
"What is your favorite food that you'll crave back in the U.S.?" -I will miss in general how healthy the food is hear. It is just so much healthier and just tastes so much better! I will also miss chocolate. In Riga they make Laima chocolate that is some of the best stuff ever! Luckily I have learned to make a few of my favorite things, so I'll bring them back with me. :)
"Tell me more about your companion right now." -Sister Berchtold is great! She is from Brigham City, Utah. She played a lot of sports before her mission and is very competitive. I am training her right now and so she is in her 9th week in Latvia. She is picking up on the language fast. She is a lot of fun and is just a naturally happy person, all the time. :)
"Tell me about Latvia. What does it even look like? Is it humid? Is the ocean just beautiful?" -Latvia is very flat over all. They don't have any mountains here! It is just beautiful! They have only a few larger cities and most of Latvia is countryside with small towns dotting it. The seasons here are very clear and striking. They each stand out and are calendar worthy. When the seasons switch it always rains (or snows in the winter). It is humid, very humid. The sea is gorgeous! I don't see it a lot, but I love to see it when I do!.
"What lesson is your favorite to teach?" -I love to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is so simple and clear to me. It is what we all need to do and live in order to live with God again. I love using the words of Christ and scriptures when teaching it so that people see that this is essential and has always been taught and lived by.
"Favorite scripture to quote to investigators?" -I like to quote 2 Nephi and or the introduction to the book of Mormon (2nd to last paragraph)
"How often have you come across argumentative or disruptive investigators?" -I have come across argumentative people, but they don't usually want to spend their time investigating, but yes, I have talked to argumentative people on the street occasionally. Not as much as I thought I would though.
"Any who were impossible to teach because they talked too much?" -Most definitely. Latvians like to talk when they are in environment where they feel safe. :) we have one investigator like that right now. :) They are always fun.
"Have you kept a daily journal?" -sadly, not as well as I should have. I'm glad I have my emails which give a good account of my mission, but the journal has lacked. I'm doing better now with Sister Berchtold because she is an avid journal writer. She has been great for me with that. :)
Well, I love you all. I hope this email peeks your interest. I love this work. I just finished the Book of Mormon today, and I want to testify that I know that it is true. I studied it looking for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon truly does contain the fullness of the gospel. I know that this is Christ's true church. He loves us and if we live by His gospel we will find a fullness of joy. I know that we are God's children and he loves us as well.
Ar mīlestību no Latvijas, (with love from Latvia)