Boy, it’s been a busy week! But it’s always busy here. That’s a good thing! First things first: Latvian is coming along. It’s hard but I teach 6 lessons a week and 2 of them by myself so I’m trying my hardest to learn the language as fast as I can. I just need to remember it’s only been 2 weeks so I shouldn’t be upset with myself if I can’t say everything I want to say. It’ll come. I made a promise to the Lord that if I tried to look at my flash cards during every extra second (in line to get food, while eating, while getting ready) that He would help me and bless me to learn this language.
The MTC president came up to Elder Bergeson and me on our first day (I forgot to tell you this last week) and said that he wanted to talk to us two alone. So we went out of the fireside. He told us how the Lord has really put trust in us by sending us to Latvia because they send so few missionaries there. He said that he knows we have a great work to do and he trusts us. He gave us a little talk about the Lord and missionary work and it was wonderful to hear his confidence in us. Now whenever I see him (president Brown) he says, “How’s it being solo sister? How’s the Latvian?” He knows how to make us feel cared for since there are over 2,000 missionaries here and he knows who I am. He is so wonderful and gives such motivating speeches.
Guess who spoke to us this Tuesday for our devotional?? Elder Jeffrey R. Holland!! Nobody knew he was coming until he walked into the room while we were singing hymns and everyone quickly stood up. Everyone was so overjoyed and everyone sang twice as loud to welcome him! I of course could barely sing. It seems that during every song I sing I start to cry with love and gratitude. Just feeling the presence of an apostle made me feel the spirit even stronger and I was so choked up, as were most of the missionaries. His talk was amazing! You know how he is—he gets right to the point and doesn’t mess around. He was very serious, but still so kind and loving. He let us know that he EXPECTS us to keep living the gospel after our missions and there is no excuse for a missionary to fall away. He said they expect a lot out of us and that they do not apologize for it. It was so great. I learned so many great things from him. It was a joy to hear his words and have him tell us that we are apostolic while we do this work and we are working side by side with the 12 apostles in missionary work. What a great feeling!!
We also sang, “Come thou Fount” in the choir. It’s one of my favorite songs so once again I could barely sing. I have come to appreciate music here so much. Music bypasses the brain and enters the heart. Come thou fount has really inspired me to raise my own Ebenezer and prove to the Lord that I will serve Him and stay on the right path. What a great message to be learned in that song!
Cailey, Elder Bergeson and I whistle while we study and he does the harmony. He can do the vibrato (that you think is so funny) SO well and I think of you every time. I can hardly whistle the hymns with him because it makes me laugh so hard. But we have fun and it helps to keep things light when we are frustrated. Whistling lightens up every mood I’ve decided.
Oh and guess what! Belarus will be added to our mission in July! How exciting huh? I, of course, won’t get to go there because it’s Russian speaking but still. It’s a wonderful thing. However, my teacher said that I will learn some Russian on my mission because some of the towns are 70 % Russian speaking so I need to know enough to communicate, teach a little, get numbers, and names… he said I will pick it up when I’m there. We’ll see! (Erica then we can talk to each other! 🙂 )
So as I’m speaking Latvian my mind seems to switch over to German and I seem to start more than one sentence (each lesson) with a German word. haha. BUT my teacher said that German is the 4th most spoken language in Latvia other than Latvian, Russian, and English. He said a lot of people speak it especially the older people. So he said I might be able to use my German while I’m there. I hope so!
I go running during gym time with a girl who speaks German so we practice speaking while we run. It’s so fun. But maybe that’s why I’m confused with Latvian.
I only have a couple more minutes but I want to share a story I heard a while back that maybe you have heard before.
So it’s about these 2 friends in heaven and Heavenly Father comes up to them and explains to the first (let’s call her Kristine–that’s my investigators name) that she will be born into a family without the knowledge of the gospel or of Jesus Christ. To the Second (me) he says that she will be born into a family that has this knowledge. When He leaves, Kristine comes up to me and pleads with me to please find her on earth and teach her the gospel. I promised her I would.
That’s what I’m doing for these next 18 months. I am finding my friends that I promised I would find and teach them about their Savior and help them find their way back to our Heavenly Father. I can feel these people in my heart and I already love them so much! I know there are people that I am supposed to teach. It is them that keep me going when I am so frustrated that I can’t learn the language. I know that if I live faithfully and am obedient that I will find them, and bring them unto Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. I can’t wait to meet them and love them.
Well I love you all SO MUCH and I can’t wait to hear from all of you! Letters welcomed! 🙂 dearelder.com is the greatest! Also thank you so much for the packages! They are so great and make me popular among my district because of the cookies! The 3 Elders enjoy them. Elder Bergeson and I will say, “cookie break” and run out to snack on a delicious cookie for 1 minute. They help us stay awake and happy! 🙂 haha Thanks again so much for all the letters, support, and kindness! I LOVE YOU!!
Es Zinu ka Jezus Kristus un Dievs mus mil!
And for those who don’t know who Jeffrey R. Holland is, here is a clip of him speaking at the LDS General Conference.