Wow, what a crazy week!
So first off let’s address the fact that they changed the age for missionaries!!!! OH my goodness I can hardly believe this!!! So we actually haven’t had the chance to watch conference yet. But this week we get to gather with all the missionaries in Riga and watch it together over a couple of days! I am SO excited!! We had a lesson with Peteris our investigator last night and we told him about conference so he got right on the computer and started watching it.
We all had to go home, but boy did my heart sore just at the thought that I get to watch conference this week! We were planning Saturday night when Elder Schmidt (our district leader/zone leader) called us with the news of missionary’s ages being changed! Needless to say that was the subject of our conversation for the rest of the night!!
The thought of all of Cami’s friends on missions in the next 6 months is so crazy to me!!! I am so excited to hear about where they all go and what happens! It seems so young, but they will all do so great! I think that SO many more girls will go on missions now. And it will definitely put people getting married later. (Except for boys. haha they will probably get married younger!!) Man, BRIGGY!!!!! You can go so soon!!! You can put your papers in soon!! Oh my GOODNESS!!!!! I almost died! I can’t wait for you!! But I am happy that you can’t go until I get home so I can see you! 🙂 I love you! Start reading your Preach my Gospel and get familiar with the lessons and the teaching skills!! You’re gonna be awesome!
So for any of you that are now planning on going on missions that may read this, here is some advice:
1. READ and STUDY preach my gospel.
2. Study and LEARN the lessons in chapter 3!
3. Start practicing the teaching skills in chapter 10–especially thinking of good questions and introducing scriptures
4. Make sure you bring lots of CDs. Music is so needed and it lifts spirits. (More than Motab although they are amazing!)
5. Bring cooking recipes
6. Start memorizing scripture references now!
7. Start making goals
8. Read the book of Mormon everyday!
9.write down ward activities you could do in case you go somewhere that is not as well established. It’s sometimes hard to come up with ideas so do it while you have the resources
10. Gather pictures of Christ/stickers and what not in case you go somewhere less established as well
11. Make master lesson plans from the lessons in Preach my Gospel Manuel before you even come out. It helps a ton!
12. Gather kids lessons and FHE lessons once again so you can have ideas while you have the time and resources to look those things up.
13. Girls: you can dress CUTE!!!!! Do it! haha
14. The Lord calls YOU to serve in the area you are called. Don’t try to be anyone else. It’s hard to find the balance between being yourself and being a missionary. It’s so important to be YOU but of course while trying to better yourself everyday and perfect imperfections.
If I think of anything else I will let you know!! But really if I could tell you the most important one it would be to STUDY Preach my Gospel!! ESPECIALLY chapters 3 and 10!!!
Ok on to my letter!
Guess who is still in Rīga center? Me!…and…. sister Kerr… And…..Sister Nelson!!!
yep, they messed something up in the system and one of the other “Latvian speaking sisters” was actually Russian speaking so we only got 1 new māsa which we were all sad about because they were opening Jelgava up to Sisters for sure until they found out just a couple days before the new missionaries came in. So sister Clark the oldest of us is training her in Liepāja and we are in a tri-companionship, which we LOVE!!!! Māsa’s haven’t had a tri-comp for a really long time.
It’s awesome though because now we can teach men!! It’s hard sometimes because the third woman doesn’t show up sometimes and then we can’t teach. Now when we go knocking we can go in right away to teach (doesn’t happen often–only a very few times my whole mission) but now if it ever does we can teach right away instead of having to set up a time and getting a third female.
Sister Nelson is my hero. She is the most hilarious person ever, and she brings so much more fun to the companionship. I will say that she is a mischievous one and she likes to scare us. The first night I heard some noise and realized she was creeping on the floor to come scare me so I went around the other bed without her realizing and got her with my pillow! hahah we laughed so hard. Goodness. She is a crazy one and I just adore her so much!!
Speaking of loving companions, my dear Sister Hanks went home this week! She is just the best! Love her so much. Sad to see her go, but I am happy for her and she got to be home for conference!
Our district went from having only 5 missionaries (2 sisters, zone leaders, and the Latvian Assistant) to now having 9! It’s super fun to have what we call a Super District because there’s just lots going on!
We had the baptism of Renārs (center branch-age 27 and super awesome!) and Diana in Imanta branch–also younger but I am not sure what age. It was beautiful and I was SO happy to go back to Imanta to see everyone! I got to see my Līga and we were so happy to see each other!! She said her faith has grown so much! She doesn’t know if she will be ready for baptism on the 20th of October, but she is loving it and is moving forward. I don’t know what it is about Imanta, but part of my SOUL is there! My soul is everywhere–in Rīga and Liepāja– but Imanta has a big part of it. Love that place, and those people so much!
I am overjoyed to continue to serve in Rīga center. I am loving the branch more and more and we are pretty busy! Peteris is still moving forward. Ināra the young one is moving slowly. It’s more of a budding friendship right now. She comes to activities and church more than meetings with us, but things are moving forward. The older Inara is awesome. She has a testimony of everything, except that it is important for her to attend church and to be baptized. It will come in the future.
Something that is so interesting is that people here have meaningful dreams. People get their answers about the church through prophets in dreams that come to them. It is amazing and really interesting to me. I feel like I didn’t hear a lot about people getting answers in their dreams until I got to Latvia. Maybe the Lord communicates a little different with each tribe. I’m not sure but I am fascinated by the dreams I have heard thus far on my mission. They are incredible!!
We have started the mission/Latvia Book of Mormon reading!!! Everyone is really excited about it. I chose to study charity along with the patterns of Humility and Pride in the Book of Mormon. It is such a HUGE theme. I was reading in Luke this past week when I read chapter 22. I wrote down all my thoughts, which turned into a novel, but I want to share a little.
So first, I was thinking about the character of Christ and how he ALWAYS turns outwards. When things happen that make us as the natural man turn inward, Christ set the example of always turning outward. I heard a talk by President Bednar on this in the MTC. Reading this chapter reminded me of that talk. When the people come to take Christ away after he suffered in the garden, one of the apostles cuts off one of the persons ear. In the moment when Christ could have turned inward for all the pain he has experience, and all the pain he knew he would experience in the next couple hours, he still turned outward and healed the man’s ear. I was thinking about how amazing that act was when I realized that Christ has just suffered for that man’s sins. He knew him perfectly. He knew what it felt like to have his ear cut off and in that moment he could sympathize with him because he knew everything about him, he knew how to “succor” him, and to heal him. I am trying to learn how to always turn outwards even when it’s pouring rain and it’s freezing. It is hard, but it is getting easier as I am learning to love more, and think less of myself. Learning selflessness is a lifetime process.
I then read about how the people were so wicked and how pilot wanted to set Christ free, but the people insisted that they crucify him. I was wondering WHY these people were so set on doing such a terrible thing. Why were they so evil? Christ had done nothing but good among men. He healed people, performed miracles, and taught the gospel. I then realized that PRIDE is why they did it. Christ had taught the gospel and people were jealous of his fame, or they had been chastised and they were too prideful to take the teachings and to change. Their pride took over. (So much that they took His life).
The only perfect person that has ever been on earth.
Pride is truly the universal sin and it makes me so sad, because since I have been studying it, and I see it everywhere—in myself as well. It is the reason that Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi and tied him up. They had been told that what they were doing was wrong and as an effect they turned inward, and because of the guilt or the realization that they were in the wrong, they got defensive and so their pride led them to evil works. If we could rid the world of pride sin would disappear. My heart hurts when I think about the prideful moments I have had. It breaks when I think of the horrible things that have happened through history just because someone let their pride take over. But there is an antidote. Humility and the atonement. I have learned lots of wonderful things while studying humility and I am excited to keep learning.
Well that’s about it. I can’t wait to watch conference and discuss the wonderful talks and the inspiring words! I hope you all had a wonderful week and I love you so much!!!