Hello my beloved family.
This week I have thought about you all a lot. (as much as can be when I’m focusing on the work though 🙂 ) I am really grateful for you all and for how wonderful you are. I pray for you all every night and thank my Heavenly Father over and over for giving me each of you. You all help me and give me so much courage. Sometimes when things are hard I think about all of you and all of your prayers and your confidence in me, and it helps me to be stronger. So thank you for your love and prayers! You’re the best family in the whole world!
This week was sure a long week. I still can’t believe mission conference was only a week ago! Crazy! Sometimes it’s so true when people say weeks fly by on your mission.
First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAMI! I heard you had a grand old time with your friends and a wonderful dinner! Glad you had so much fun! Love you and know that I sang Happy Birthday all the way over here in Latvia (many times….. haha I broke into HB song all throughout the day for you).
Last Monday we went to the Karosta prison and had a funny tour half in English half in Latvian. It was really interesting. It is where they would send “bad soldiers” for a couple days. They really lived in awful stone rooms and had an awful schedule to follow everyday, including 4 hours straight of marching and only 2- 2 min bathroom breaks a day. Way intense. Glad I don’t ever have to experience something like that. Karosta was mainly Russian during that time because it was built for the Russian soldiers and their families. So nowdays it’s still pretty much Russian. It’s the Elders area though so I don’t have to worry about that. Although I am having to keep myself from studying Russian during language study. haha I still have so much to learn in Latvian so I know I can’t afford to study a new language, but I just hate when I try to talk to people and they only speak Russian. Plus PEC is half in Russian because all the members speak both Latvian and Russian so it just switches back and forth and I want to understand what’s going on! Maybe when Latvian gets easier I’ll try to start with the Russian alphabet.
Oh it’s strawberry season here! There are strawberries EVERYWHERE in the markets. Pretty much the whole market smells like delicious strawberries. It makes me want to eat the air! 🙂 It reminds me of making strawberry jam every summer. I hope someone has taken over that job this summer! I really love that they have fresh markets here. It’s so fun to see all the colors of the different fruit and veggies and it just smells good!
Also I found out that Latvia is a 3rd world country! I had no idea. But it makes sense…
We had a wonderful lesson with O. this week. He is one of the few Priesthood holders that hasn’t been to church since I have been here. He said the closing prayer and asked for forgiveness for not coming to church and promised to come. I saw him before church started as I was playing prelude and I was so happy he was there. But he was gone before the meeting started. I guess he needs a little more help to make it to church and to stay for the meeting.
E. F. was baptized this week by his father! It is so great that his father and new mother were able to be here for his baptism. His new mom M. gave a talk in sacrament meeting (In English and my comp translated) and it was so cute to hear how happy she is to be here and how her testimony of prayer was so strengthened during the 6 months of trials they faced while trying to get back into Latvia. They were stuck in the country Georgia for a year!) She is also a descendant of the royal family in Malaysia. She has a huge mansion there. But I guess it’s more of a government system now so she doesn’t have any “power” per se, but it’s an interesting fact.
A. our 16 year old investigator is starting to pray more! It was so cute because we asked her if she had asked God if he was there and she said yes. We asked how she felt and she just said, “well…. He didn’t say no!” ha ha! We’re still working on helping her gain a testimony and she has so many great questions like, “what happens to the earth after we all die” and “what about all the people who came before Christ and so on”. It’s fun to teach her because she really wants these answers even though she doesn’t even know if she believes in God yet. I think she just needs time.
Our Branch President invited us over for dinner for his little 4-year-old girl S. birthday party. It was so hilarious because S. and her 7 year old sister I. did Sister Lindstrom’s and my hair. They put TONS of clips and random ponytails and necklaces all over us. It was so cute to see their pure delight in dressing us up. They just kept saying how “theirs” was going to be cuter! haha they really are the cutest little angels. Also Presidents wife, K. just had a little baby named E. She is so tiny and has black hair just like Layna. I love to look at her because it makes me feel like I get to see a little of what Layna must look like. 🙂 I just wish I could hold her. 😦 That’s one hard thing about being a missionary…not being able to hold babies or let the kids sit on our laps.
Sports night was once again a hoot and a half. We played floorball again! So much fun!! K. and Z. came and also J. a guy about 23ish who was born in Russian, moved to California, then back to Russia, and then to Canada. So he speaks perfect Russian and English and is super nice. He is here taking care of his grandparents. He has been inactive for a while but he really wants to come back and told us that he wants to help us with missionary work so he will be helping us with some lessons with some of the less-active Russian church members. Anyway, I played some Volleyball with K. and her 2 year old adorable daughter, E. for a while. That was so fun. It’s like you said, Dad, seeing the pure joy in a child’s face makes my whole world happy. It’s so cute.
K. and Z. are on FIRE I tell you. They brought 4 people to come have the church tour! Woohoo! 4 referrals! They just want to share the gospel with EVERYONE!! And I mean everyone! They asked for some pamphlets to give out and we walked part way home with them after the tour to go teach a lesson to V. and they were literally pushing a pamphlet in every single mailbox they saw, along with every person they walked past. Z. even ran across the street to give it to someone walking on the other side! It’s so awesome to see the fire they have for sharing the gospel because they know how happy it has made them!
A couple weeks ago this 15 year old girl came running up to us on the street and was so crazy. She was jumping all over the place and ran and got a picture book and showed us all her pictures and told us basically everything about her whole life in 2 mins and was laughing hysterically at everyone who walked by and starred at us. We were so confused at what was going on. She was so hyper I didn’t even know what to do!! Anyways she brought us over to her twin sister and said, “LOOK they’re from “JESUS CHRIST’S CHURCH!!” We went back later to meet her mom and her mom is quite the talker. Can’t quite get a word in too often. But it was awesome because Sister Lindstrom taught L. the mom a little lesson, while I stood next to them and taught S. a lesson. They are just so crazy that it wasn’t possible to teach them together. So standing side by side while teaching two separate lessons seemed to work. S. just holds my hand so tightly and hangs on me pretty much every time we see her. And we went to the park contacting after and she just rode her bike yelling “HI” at us every 2 minutes. haha Strange experience. We’re still kind of in shock and don’t know how to take it. And once a drunk guy tried really hard to buy me ice cream while contacting in the park. It was pretty funny. That’s just when we have to walk away…. There are quite a lot of drunken people out these days…
Well that’s about it for this week. Oh one thing I forgot last week… I met a new Sister missionary at mission conference (Russian speaking) who had just come from the MTC. I asked if she knew a Russian speaking Sister Hawkins and she DID!!!!! She said Erica was so hilarious in the MTC and made everyone laugh. We had such a fun time talking about you Erica and I was SO happy to hear about how much fun you’re having in the MTC!! I love you!
Well, I love you all a million times over beautiful family! I hope you have a fabulous week and enjoy your warm summer air!! 🙂 LOVE YOU ALL FOREVER AND EVER!!!
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD! I love you and you’re the best dad in the whole world! Wish I could have called you!
Also HI to Grandma and Grandpa Gallacher and Grandma and Grandpa Woolf. –I love you all so much and I hope you are happy and safe. I pray for you often! Thank you for being wonderful grandparents and setting such a wonderful example for me. You all mean the world to me and I am who I am today because of YOU!! I love and miss you!
Es zinu, ka caur Jēsu Kristu mēs varam atrast mieru un spēku. Neaizmirsti lacīt un lugt katru dienu lai viņš var jums palīdzēt ar jūsu pardbaudijumiem!
Es Jūs mīlu!!! Lai jums jauka diena!
Enjoy this video on Fatherhood!