I am sorry I forgot to tell you that we were having Zone conference on Monday so our preparation day is today (Tuesday).
So first off, yes I got the package!!! Thank you SO MUCH! It was so fun to open it and I shared the reeses candy with some of the missionaries who were still at the church and they all greatly appreciated it! I love the sweater and the CD’s are PERFECT!! I just loved everything about it. Packages brighten up the world! haha. So thanks for the time and effort you put into sending me something!
We had Zone Conference yesterday and Elder Per Malm (second counselor in the Eastern Europe area presidency) spoke to us. He is from Sweden and is really intense, SO inspiring, and amazing. I learned so much and feel very spiritually enlightened. He even talked about a ward in Austria that had no baptism for many years and then the missionaries started sharing success stories with the members and they got 25 baptism that year or something like that. I of course had to ask what ward it was so afterwards we were talking and I asked him if he knew the name of the ward. He didn’t but it was still fun to hear about my Austria!
Elder Malm talked a lot about how everyone out there is a “yes-sayer” meaning they already said yes because they kept their first estate and they are here on earth. That made me think about expectations: I have to hold the Latvian people to God’s expectations for them. If I approach someone with the thought that they probably won’t accept what I will say then that’s the expectation I am holding for them. But if I go in expecting them to say yes, because that’s God’s expectation for them, then maybe that Faith I have will be able to touch them. I have a lot of thoughts on that but I’ll save them for another time. For the time being I am just focusing on the fact that every single person in Latvia is a “yes-sayer”.
Another thing I loved that he said was that we promised people we would serve this mission in Latvia at this time. He said some people chose to come to Latvia because they knew we would serve here and that we would be the one that could help them make it back to their Heavenly Father. I loved that thought. I hope I can find them. I pray I can follow the spirit so I will know how to recognize them.
Elder Malm also talked about SOS signals and how everyone has them. We just have to figure them out. He told us to go out contacting with our ‘radars up’ and when we see someone to find out their SOS signal so we can contact or teach to their needs and interests. He did something interesting and every so often he would stop and say, “what is the spirit teaching you right now?” and then he would either choose someone random to come up and speak or someone would raise their hands and he would make them go up and bear testimony about what they had learned from the spirit. It was very interesting, intense, and amazing really.
They chose 3 missionaries to go up and tell a success story. I don’t know why but I always just KNOW when I will be chosen. We were told a few weeks in advance to have a little talk/testimony ready. Well I knew I would have to give it, so I thought a lot about it. I had a very interesting month actually leading up to this Zone conference. They said the success stories needed to be specific. I thought about how I saw little miracles everyday, but I didn’t have a huge SUCCESS story to tell in front of everyone.
I can’t remember if I already wrote about this, but about a month ago I was thinking about my missionary work and I wanted to give more. I was doing everything I could. I was working hard and acting in exact obedience, but I just felt like I wanted to give more and I didn’t know how. I struggled with that thought because I wanted so badly to be able to give more but I just didn’t know how.
Then I thought about prayer. So I started to try and improve my prayers. I started praying off the points on Preach my Gospel p. 94 and 95. It takes a long time but it helps me be very thorough and complete. I had done this the transfer before but I had stopped being quite as thorough. My prayers have been intense and have helped me grow so much closer to my Heavenly Father. They have also helped me be able to give more of myself. I finally found the way to fill that “I need to give more” empty feeling.
Because I was so focused on prayer I realized that all throughout the day I was praying. I would see a person on the street and immediately a prayer would enter my mind and I would plead with Heavenly Father to help me to know what to say to help this person. Then I started praying intensely to see miracles and for the Lord to bless me with enough faith to be able to help bring these miracles to pass. There was only a week before the conference and all of the sudden miracles happened!!
Peteris met with us 2 times last week! He hadn’t been answering our calls in a while. Evija our other investigator actually showed up to her lesson after many lessons where she didn’t show up. I had my very first lesson knocking! A guy in his mid20s actually let us teach him a lesson and was interested in meeting again! (We have another lesson tomorrow!) An old investigator from a couple months ago texted us and wanted to meet again! And even more –I can’t even write about them all. I know it’s important to see the little miracles everyday. Yes, I didn’t have someone accept baptism, although we invited Peteris and Evija, but they are back on the road and I know that Heavenly Father is helping us to be able to help them. It really was my prayers that let God instill in my heart an even greater fire for this work and for these people.
We had District conference on Sunday! All the members in Latvia gathered together and they heard from the District President, along with Elder Malm, and President Boswell. I got to see all the members from Liepāja and Imanta! It was the first time I had seen the Liepāja members since I left back in July! It was such a sweet reunion and I was SO happy! I got to see Kristine the woman I taught who got baptized in June, Sintaja Folova (the 18 year old girl) Santa Diķe, Anika (Mari Lindstrom don’t you worry I gave her a piece of chocolate I had brought just for her!), and the branch president and his family! Oh I had a smile from ear to ear! I love these member so much and I feel so blessed that I have been able to serve in 3 areas and get to know so many of these wonderful members!
Oh I have been experimenting with cooking lately. Last week I made Broccoli and cheese soup, teriyaki chicken, and quiche, and more fun things! I have really come to LOVE cooking. If anyone has any recipes they would like to send they would be more than welcome!
Well I think that’s it for now! I love you all so much and I hope you all had a fun Halloween!!! I am praying for you all!!!