Today was my first preparation day!! First, we had our morning studies, then we went to a place called Akropolis where we email, it is like a huge mall with a skating rink, a movie theater, a ton of stores and restaurants, and bowling, there is even a McDonalds. :) After we got done emailing we went to the Maxima in the mall, which is a grocery store comparable to Wal Mart and we got our groceries. After we got our groceries we came back and we cleaned up our apartment. We then went back over to the Akropolis and ate some lunch with the Elders, that was fun and interesting. We ate at this place called Cili Pica, it is a sit down kind of pizza place with salads and pastas as well. I was looking at the menu and some of their pizza toppings were a little strange, like hot dogs, and on the menu in the English translation it said like canned pineapple. The would tell us when it was not rest. Anyway, I got a pizza with just ham on it, it was pretty good, but not like American pizza. After that I went shopping for some socks and tights at the H&M store. I wanted to buy so many things there, it was really difficult. We then ended our preparations day with some ice cream that we ate outside in the snow while we waited for the bus, it was delicious. Later that night, after some stop bys, I dyed Sister Hoskin's hair which was exciting, I thought I was going to ruin her hair. Then, this week it is my turn to have the phone, which is a challenge because you know how much I hate talking on the phone, let alone in not in English. The Elders called and I answered, but instead of saying, "hello, this is Sister Brown," I said, "hello, this is Brianna," it was so embarrassing. I was like, "oh, ah, I mean Sister Brown."
Today we had district meeting which went really well. We all taught a short thought about our favorite Christlike attribute. I chose charity and love, I talked about how Christ showed charity to everyone, even those who made him suffer and hurt. I talked about the sons of Mosiah, and how their reasons for serving a mission included charity because they wanted the best for the people they were serving, they wanted them to have the Gospel, they wanted to improve their lives, they were serving out of love. I shared a story from the December Ensign, it is the First Presidency Message. I would read it if you haven't, it is super good, and really cute. I mentioned how if our reasons to serve a mission did not include charity, than we need to pray "with all the energy of our hearts" to receive that attribute. I challenged them all to think of a gift that they have that they could share, and then to share that some way with the people of Lithuania. Elder Armstrong spoke about hope, I really enjoyed a poem that he shared called "The Race," look it up and read it, it is super good. Elder Norman spoke about knowledge, Elder Aeidikitis spoke about care and Sister Hoskin spoke about compassion. They were all really good and I super enjoyed the meeting. Then, in the evening, we had Group Gospel Discussion, everyone except one man from last week showed up. It was a little difficult to keep everyone on subject and keep moving on with our lesson, which was about God, but it was good. I feel like they may have learned something new about God. Last week, Jurgita, the one woman in our class, seemed super interested and receptive to our spiritual though. So, this week we thought we would talk to her some more about the Gospel if she still seemed interested. She did seem interested after class, and when everyone else left she kid of lingered and Sister Hoskin started talking to her more about God. It was so amazing, we taught her in English, she is really good at English. She has been prepared, I can just tell, she has this light about her that you just don't see in a lot of these people's faces. She just likes to have a positive outlook on life and she believes in God and attributes a lot of the good things in her life to Him. I can already tell she would be such an amazing member. After we were about done talking to her, she gave us both hugs and thanked us. We had invited her to meet with us again, but she was a little apprehensive about it, we asked if we could ask again on Thursday, at our next Group Gospel Discussion, and she said yes. I hope she agrees to it. She asked us why our church was different and Sister Hoskin gave her a restoration pamphlet, so hopefully she will read it and find out more, I am excited to see her again. It was so wonderful to teach her in English, I did not feel limited by my speech. I get frustrated because I can not say what I want in Lithuanian when we teach and I feel like I can not get the message across as well, but the language will come, I already feel like I have improved since being here in Lithuania. Today was Lithuania's Memorial Day. I also had my first drunk person experience. I was sitting on the bus, Sister Hoskin was sitting toward the front, and I was more in the middle. These men get on the bus. I don't have very much experience with drunk people, I could tell something was wrong with them and then one of the sits next to me. Now, we have had explicit instruction not to teach drunk people. He sits next to me and starts talking to me and flirting, his breath stuck so bad. He kept scooting closer, so then his leg was touching mine, I then said "atsiprasau," which means, "sorry," or "excuse me," when you need to get out for your bus stop, then I stood up and said it again because he was just sitting there and wanted me to scoot by. I said "atsiprasau," and then "excuse me" in English, and then he finally got up and then he just stood in the aisle, right in front of our bench so I could not get out, I just made a gesture for him to move and he did, then I went and sat by my companion. It was very interesting. Oh, I also forgot to tell you something else that happened when I was getting off the bus last week, it was pretty embarrassing. I was trying to follow my companion off the bus last so that I didn't lose her, and everyone just kind of stands in your way on the bus, so you have to squeeze past them, and you have to hurry because the bus driver is quite hasty to shut his doors and drive away. So, I was getting off and my bag and my arm got shut in the door. Luckily, the door isn't so heavy and he opened the door again before he tried driving away. Super embarrassing. I could see the concerned look on the faces of everyone waiting at the bus stop.
Today was quite busy, we had quite as few lessons planned, but our last one ended up falling through. We met her on my first night here, when we were out knocking doors. She gave us her number, and then we saw her again on Monday. We spoke with her, she seemed super interested, and then later that day we set up an appointment for today. We went to her apartment and some man, probably her boyfriend or husband, and he wasn't the most friendly, sent us away. Unfortunately, we didn't get to teach her. The other lessons went well, one was on Skype with Jurga, and the other one was with a less active member. We were sort of visiting teaching with the Relief Society president. We went over there and it was kind of like off of a movie. She had us remove our shoes and take off our coats, then she had tea all set out for us, as well as little oranges and some kind of pastry that I found out later was made of potatoes and apples, an interesting combo but surprisingly tasted very good. As the evening went on, I kept eating her dog's hair that somehow ended up in my food. We ended up being there a very long time and my brain had given up on trying to figure out what in the world they were saying when we finally left.
Today was interesting, we were about to start language study when all of a sudden we receive a call from Elder Armstrong, our district leader. He said that Elder Aidukitas was able to participate in a wedding today. An inactive sister, Ingrida, was living with her boyfriend, Saulus, she has three kids and they finally got married! We were surprised to hear it, as far we know, it did not seem planned out too far in advance, but they invited us all over to celebrate. They had the cutest little boy, he was very curious and was trying to see what was in our bags and our pockets, he was super cute. They fed us some really delicious food and we visited for awhile, it was really fun. We also had our Group Gospel Discussion class where we had a really good discussion about families and baptism. At one point, one of our students, when we were talking about baptism, asked why then do people baptize babies, it was so amazing to me that she brought that up. I turned the question back around to the class, which I am pretty sure at least one, if not all, were or are Catholic. They weren't really sure, so I brought up Adam's transgressions and how we don't believe that we are responsible for his transgressions, that babies are innocent. It was a really good class, I love teaching in English, I feel so free. I hope that as I become better at the language I will feel that way when I teach in Lithuanian.
Today was good, we did a lot of stop bys, and while we were walking around we talked to a few of the cutest old ladies. They are definitely the easiest to talk to. I really love just being out doing stop bys and just really bonding with Sister Hoskin, we are able to talk about so much and really get to know each other. One problem we consistently run in to when talking to people is that they think we are Jehovah's Witnesses. We tell them we aren't, but then when we tell them where our church is located they think we are Jehovah's Witnesses again because our street goes like this: on the corner is the Jehovah's Witnesses church, then next to that is the prison, and then our church is next to the prison. It is really quite interesting.
Today we got to do a lot of service, but before that we had a lesson with a member named Jovita, she is a little handicapped, but I like visiting her because she speaks slowly and she can understand me, she is really sweet. We talked about family history. At the beginning of the lesson we had a piece of her favorite candy and I talked about how good it is and asked her if she wanted it, then I just set it down in her sight and we moved on with the lesson. At the end of our lesson we talked about how she felt when she had to wait for the candy and how badly she wanted it and how that is how our ancestors feel in heaven who have not had their temple work done yet, they are just waiting and they want it so badly, then we gave her the candy. I felt super cruel, but I think we got the point across. We then got to serve and participate in helping with a birthday party for a young investigator name Beata, she is a teenager and loves Harry Potter. The YW President and the two other young women helped plan this huge Harry Potter themed birthday. They traveled from place to place like they were places from Harry Potter, then at our stop, which was at the church, we had the bookstore all set up where she found the biting book thing, it was super cute. After that we had to clean up our mess, then we cleaned the church.
Today was really good, I got to help teach Primary for the first time in this branch. The only primary children we have are two little boys who are brothers, they are adorable, their names are Matias and Magnus, they are so fun and they have so much energy. Matias is 6 and Magnus is 4 and their mom, Skaiste, just had another baby, so now they have a baby sister. After church, during our studies, we received a call from one of the ward members, Brute, who wanted us to come over and visit with her. I had made blondies earlier that day (that were so delicious), so I packed some of those up and Sister Hoskin found a scripture we could share with her. She shared 3 Nephi 12:44-45. She didn't know why, but she felt like she needed to share it, so she followed the prompting and good thing she did because it turned out that is exactly what Brute needed to hear. She had us come over so she could just vent and get some things off of her chest, she has some problems with a few of the members and she just wanted somebody to listen. She served us tea and this super yummy cheese and raisins. We were stuffed full of cheese by the time we left.
Here are some pictures. :)
The view from my window.