January 12, 2015
Today was P-Day. It was really good, but felt like we had so much time because we were not able to attend the temple this week. The day felt super long, but it was great. I did laundry, packed all my clothes, except for what I will wear for the rest of the week. I worked out and then emailed, showered and then took a nap. It was probably the least busy P-Day I have had ever.
Today we had to go to in-field orientation all day. It was long, but not as boring as I thought it would be. I finished up a little more packing. I can't wait to call home from the airport on Monday!!!
Today we had to say goodbye to our teachers. :( It was really sad. At least I know that I will be able to see them all at the mission reunions. They were really good teachers, and I learned so much rom them. We also had culture day, it was really fun! They told us more about recent Lithuanian history. The Lithuanians were under Soviet rule. They got all their freedoms taken away from them. They could not practice religions. The Soviets tried to wipe out their culture and their language, they made them all learn Russian. Now, the Lithuanian people, who a lot had lived through this, are very wary of people coming into their country. That is why it is important for us to know their history. We are going into their country, it is important for us to respect their culture and speak their language. I actually feel bad for those who go to the Baltic States speaking Russian, I am sure a lot of people do not even want to speak to them because they do not speak their language. Another part of culture day was when they showed us pictures from their missions. That was super fun and interesting, we got to see pictures of previous students that they had who we will be serving with.
Today was really good! We finished packing in the evening and finished a few things. I bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting. In the evening, instead of going to a movie, our zone just gathered for our last night together. We played a few games, it was really fun. I am going to miss some of these people.
Monday and Tuesday-
I did not sleep at all last night, I was much too excited and nervous. I got up at 2:00 AM to get ready and finish gathering my things. We got on the bus at 3:30 AM to go to the airport. We got to the airport and I was so excited to be out of the MTC, I was just smiling and saying good morning to everyone. It was fun. I probably seemed pretty weird, but most people said it back. I was surprised to see that gas prices were at like $2.05. Of course they would be that low when I am not driving. We got on our flight to Houston. I sat in between Sister Bestenlenher and a man from Texas who is LDS and served a mission in Bolivia. It was good to talk to him. Then we arrived in Houston and we got to call home, which was great. It was difficult because the call cards were confusing, and I feel like I lost a lot of time off of them, but it was good to talk to everyone. We were about to board the flight when one of the Latvian sisters realized she was missing her boarding passes and passport, she was in a panic, poor girl. We had to leave her behind. The Houston mission President was going to pick her up and keep her until they got everything figured out. We got on the flight and I sat next to a man who was from Norway. He spoke English, we talked a little at the beginning of the flight, and then he put his headphones on and watched the Godfather movies 1 and 2 all the way to Germany. It was a very long flight, about 9 hours. They fed us dinner, and breakfast the next morning. I didn't really sleep much, so by the time we got off the airplane I was super sleepy. By that time I had pretty much gone two nights without sleep. By the time the airplane landed I had gotten the courage to talk to this man from Poland, his name is Ralph. I told him about the Salt Lake City temple a little, and we talked about his family. I could really tell he loved his family, so I then talked about how families could be together forever. I gave him a pass along card with the SLC temple. I was super proud of myself because I almost didn't do it. I am glad I did, I proved to myself that I could talk to people about the Gospel. We got off the plane and almost missed our flight to Latvia because our flight landed a little late, but we made it. We got on the plane and I was sitting by a Latvian girl, she spoke English, so Sister Bestenlenher had brought extra pass along cards and so we gave her one. We had arrived, we went and got cleaned up a little to meet the Mission President. President and Sister Harding are so nice! They took us to the church in Riga where they went over some things and had interviews. It was really fun, we got to go out to eat for dinner. By this time I could barely keep my eyes open. After dinner we went back to the church and they went over some more things, and we all bore our testimonies. Then we finally got to go to sleep. We get to stay at a hotel. I can not wait to go to sleep.
Last night Sisters Madison and Bestenlenher asked us to wake them up in the morning because they did not have an alarm clock, and luckily, I packed mine. This morning I realized I didn't know what room they were staying in, all I knew was that we were on the same floor. We tried calling the front desk, but couldn't figure out how to use the phone. I showered and we went down to the front desk, by this time, it was 7:00 AM and that is when breakfast started, and the assistants to the President were coming to get us at 7:40 AM, so we went down and no one was there. We went to breakfast to see if they had woken up on their own, but they were not there either. We went back to our floor and I thought I might know which room they were in, so we knocked on it. Then the Latvian sisters thought no one but us were on that floor so we knocked on another door that we thought could be theirs. From this door we got a response, they said in English "who is it?" and I responded with "Sisters Brown and Hubert," then the first door we knocked on opened and it was not Sister Bestenlenher or Madison so we received a tired glare, then she shut the door. Then a different door we didn't knock on opened, it was Sister Bestenlenher, she heard us knocking and me saying our names. Then the second door we knocked on opened and it was another sleepy glare. We disturbed quite a few people that morning. We then went to breakfast where there were quite a few different foods, and then there were some good foods as well. We then went back to the church to meet our trainers. They first spoke with the trainers for a little bit, then had us come in to assign us who our trainer was and where we would be serving. I am in Sauliai serving with Sister Hoskin. She is super sweet and nice, she is a good trainer. We then got to go to the mall where I was able to buy a coat and a bag, they are super cute. We then went and got something to eat. We then went and got our luggage and made our way to the bus station where we would catch a bus to Sauliai, the bus ride was not too long, about an hour and a half. We got to ride with Sister Hubert and her new companion, Sister White, they are going to Klaipeda. We arrived in our apartment at about 7:00 PM, and we ate some dinner, then we went and did some stop by's. I was super nervous, but my trainer is nice, we would take turns and when it was my turn she would just let me say a few sentences and then she would take over. On one of my doors, we even received a telephone number and we are going to call her on Monday.
Today was good, we did our morning studies and then we went and had English class, it was super fun. We have about 6 students that showed up for the advanced English class. We separated into two groups, in my group I just talked with them in English and got to know them, in Sister Hoskin's group she read them a story out of the Liana and then they talked about it. It was fun, they are changing the English class to something called Group Gospel Discussion, so from now on, instead of just a spiritual thought at the end, the whole class will be focused on the Gospel. We told them this, and that it will be starting next week. Some of them seemed to be interested. We will see how many of them actually show up next week. I got to meet the Elders, we have three of them, Elders Armstrong, Norman, and Avikidas. Elder Avikidas is our Branch President, and Sister Hoskin is the Primary Presidency. We then tried to stop by one of the member's house, Irena, but her daughter answered the door and she was drunk and speaking in Russian, so we just left because we could not understand her, we figured Irena was probably sleeping. We then did a few more stop by's.
Today we Skyped an investigator from the church, she does not live in Sialiai, but she want to be baptized so bad, her name is Jurga. We then went back over to visit Irena again, this time we were able to. I got to try my first kabob and Duona soda, which is just like a bread drink. It literally tastes like bread, it is very interesting, I did not really like it that much. The kabobs are just meat and vegetables and french fries with sauce all over it. The kabob was good, but I think I would have liked it better without so much sauce. We then visited with Jovita, who is a member, she is a little handicapped so she speaks a little slower and has the mind of a child. It was fun, she is really funny.
Today was good, we got to clean the church and we met with the Relief Society President, Gitana, and the Young Women's Laurel President, Juste. We had some ideas for activities for the branch. One idea was to do a Personal Progress night for the Young Women and the Relief Society one night a month. My idea for the first month to complete one of the projects in Faith was to make a prayer rock to remind them to pray morning and night. They seemed to like my idea, so we will see if they can get it going. We are trying to get them to organize it so that even after we leave they can keep it going. Another idea Sister Hoskin had was to have a knitting group once a week, they liked it but they don't think people will come once a week, so we talked about doing it every other week. I would love to learn to knit, that would be really fun. Then we thought it would be good to have somewhere to serve, so we asked them for ideas of places we could serve at. I really hope these activities can succeed, the branch really needs something to get people involved. We can also use these activities to invite our investigators to. Both Gitana and Juste are really strong members, it would be hard to be a strong member when everyone else comes and goes all the time. Juste has been a member for 5 years, she is 16, and Gitana has been a member for 6.
Today went well, I gave my first talk in Lithuanian, I basically just read it. I met all of the members, they were super nice and friendly. It is like they are a different people than the people on the streets, they are so happy and almost all of them gave me a hug. The people on the street seem so unfriendly and sad. I have found that they look unfriendly, but if you actually talk to them almost all of them will be friendly back to you. It is just starting the conversation that is the hard part.