I am SO happy to finally get to e-mail you! Well here I am. I made it through my first week. It wasn’t easy. I am a solo sister, which means I do not have a companion. I am the only Latvian speaking sister which is kind of hard as well, but very motivating at the same time. I want to try my very hardest so I will not let the Latvian people down. There is only one Latvian speaking elder so it is just me and him all day in class. We are allowed to be alone if the door to our classroom is open. I wasn’t expecting to be one on one with an elder all day. haha. But he is seriously the sweetest elder. His name is Elder Bergeson and he is brilliant. He is already so good at the language. It’s hard to keep up, but I am doing my best.
I taught a lesson in Latvian after just one language lesson! It is amazing how fast and furious everything is here. Elder Bergeson and I hardly knew anything, yet somehow we managed to get through the first lesson with a couple of sentences and our simple testimonies. We learn so fast here, it’s so wonderful!
My district is me and elder Bergeson and 2 Lithuanian-speaking elders. So that’s it. Just us 4. Me and 3 elders. We have a good time together and they are all nice young men. (I am still trying to get used to always saying elders and not “guys” I’m getting better but it’s funny because you hear all day long, “hi guys! I… er.. uh.. I mean elders/sister!) haha.
My branch is Latvian, Lithuanian, Armenian, and some English missionaries. I am assigned 2 Armenian sisters to go with to lunch/dinner/ and their classroom is next to mine so we walk together. We also live together so that makes it easy. They are both sweet and have been here 2 weeks more than me. They were already pretty close so it took me a while to break in and ask to join their companion prayer and what not. But it’s all going well. I am forcing myself to learn some Armenian as well because they try to speak it some of the time. I know a couple words in Armenian. That’s fun! The 2 English sisters in my room are awesome! We have had some good times and I like making them laugh. I make funny faces at them while we’re in the room to make them laugh and they always insist on taking pictures. We’ve had some great laughs at night. Also I taught them our Gallacher song…” G-A- double L A CHER spells gallacher…” ( I can’t remember why it had to do with our conversation at the time haha) And now all the sisters in my room sing it all day and it gets stuck in their heads. It’s hilarious to always hear them singing our family song. They think it’s so funny.
The first couple of days were somewhat hard to adjust to the busy schedule and no free time. But I am not alone. Every new sister and elder that came in had a small break down at some point during the weekend so we are all helping each other. Everyone told us to just get to Sunday and then everything will be better. It’s SO true! Once Sunday came and we had a break from STUDY STUDY STUDY we all calmed down and heard wonderful talks and had a wonderful fireside! Also mom I joined the choir! It is so much fun! The first song we sang was, “Be still, my soul” which is ironic because that has been my theme song this week. I tell that to myself when I start to feel down and sad.
Teaching in Latvian has been hard, but rewarding. Our investigator’s name is Valdis and he committed to baptism 2 days ago elder Bergeson and I are so happy! (me and elder Bergeson teach together, which usually doesn’t happen… elders and sisters teaching together… but since it’s just us 2 we get to do it) It’s fun teaching with an elder. We feed off each other and help each other find words. I can pray in Latvian as well! I try to say as much as I can and then switch to English. The gift of tongues is real! 🙂
I have seen SO many people I know here! I thought I wouldn’t know anyone but the first couple of days I ran into so many people. It cheered me up! For you freshman I will say real fast, Elder Griffith is amazing! He found me first day during lunch and made me SO happy! I was so scared and alone and he ran up and started doing Cami’s famous dance! I was SO happy! He has really helped me and given me amazing scriptures and given me lots of advice. He is seriously a different person. He was always great but now he just exudes the Savior’s light and he loves this gospel so much! I have also seen Elder Clearwater. He is sweet as well. You girls have great friends!
I am learning so much every day and I am learning to really love it here. It is not easy. But is worth it. It is lonely not having a companion of my own to always be with, but I know that through this I will learn that Christ is my companion and he is walking by my side every step of the way. I know he is and I can feel his presence. I love the scripture in John 14:18 I believe where it says, “I will not leave you comfortless for I will come with you” (not exactly word for word…) I know that Christ is with me.
I heard a wonderful quote that says that Christ says to us “Come to the edge” and we say, ” no we’ll fall.” He asks us multiple times and when we finally come he pushes us off the cliff, and we fly. It took me a while to finally come to the edge. I was scared. But I finally had no choice but to move forward and REALLY be here so I jumped and right now I know I am only flying because Heavenly Father is my wings. I could not do this without him. I am so thankful for Him and for all I have been taught by Him this week. It’s incredible how much you learn so quickly here.
Happy Birthday Cailey! I wish I could have been there to share it with you! I hope you had a wonderful day! Also your new hair looks SO FAB in the picture you sent! Thanks so much for the packages and the letters everyone! They mean SO much and make me SO happy!! I just smile so big when I get a letter. (thanks for the costco rolls and goodies! :))
I am having a fun time. After a week things start feeling normal and I already feel like I have been here my whole life. 🙂 Time has always gone slow for me and I think that is a blessing. I did get to go to the temple this morning Mom! It was wonderful and reminded me of being with you. I miss going to the temple with you and Dad! I thought and prayed about you all a lot while in the celestial room.
I love you all SO much and I am SO thankful for you all! I pray for you every night that you will be safe and feel my love and know that I love and miss you!
I have so much I want to say but my mind is going crazy and my time is running out. I am thankful to be here and I KNOW my redeemer lives. He calms my worried heart.
I LOVE YOU ALL!!
And a little Latvian for you all…
VEL VIENA LIECIBA PAR JEZU KRISTU