February 9, 2015
Today we went and ate at an asian food restaurant because I really wanted some orange chicken. The orange chicken was delicious. Then we shopped around a little bit at a different mall called Saules Miestas, which means "sun city." After that we went on our first adventure in Siauliai, we went to a chocolate factory. There is a museum you can walk through and it was very interesting, it talked about the origin of chocolate and how they make it from the cacao bean. Then as you went on it talked about the history of chocolate through time and then on to talk about the factory and the history of it. Apparently, it is the oldest chocolate factory in Lithuania. It is really neat, then we went into the store and got a chocolate, because of course, we were at a chocolate factory, we had to get chocolate. That was really fun. We then went and talked to a less active member named Egle, her daughter is adorable. She let us in, which was surprising because last year she said she didn't want any contact with the church. We asked her if we could come back and talk about Gospel things, she said we could. We were thinking we could have a family night with her family. Her and her husband are members and they have a teenage son who is not a member, and a five year old daughter. Hopefully we can get them coming to church.
Today was amazing, first we got to go over and see Birute, on our walk over the sun was out and it was beautiful. Birute lives on a farm, so she showed us her sheep and then she taught us how to knit. It was really fun. She then packed up this bag full of food to take to the Elders since we told her we were going to District Meeting. I felt like she packed up her whole kitchen, there were loaves of bread, she made eggs, she put a jar of pickles in there and candy, and some other things including a jar of ketchup for the eggs. We went to District Meeting and it was really good. After District Meeting we had our first missionary coordination meeting. We had to really try hard to get this meeting since Elder Armstrong, the District Leader, didn't want it. It was really good though, I feel like we are more unified as a District and now Sister Hoskin and I can express our thoughts and ideas about the branch. We had quite a few. Sister Hoskin made her amazing quiche for us after District Meeting, I ate it while I watched a beautiful sunset. Then we went to English class. Our class is really hesitant to participate, I don't know why they know how to speak English wonderfully. We ask them questions and we don't really get a response, they tend to change the subject, but Romas did try saying the prayer tonight, so that was really great. This one older man in the class always says my name and asks if I know what he is talking about. He is like a grandpa, he is so cute. He gave me this brochure for this manor and he said I would probably want to go see it, we will have to do that sometime, it looks beautiful.
Today we got to learn how to make bandeles, which are just a pastry with some kind of filling in it. They were super yummy. I am excited to make them again. Gitana taught us and she also offered to teach us other recipes that we might want to make. I have decided to ask all the members what their favorite verses are in the Book of Mormon. I will mark all of their favorite scriptures in my Lithuanian Book of Mormon, then I will write their name beside it so that I can remember them through their favorite scriptures. We went and taught Jovita a lesson about keeping the Sabbath Day holy because on Sunday we were on the bus and she got on at the Akropolis stop with a Maxima bag, it was really good. She then wanted to paint our nails, so we got a free manicure.
Today we took the bandeles we made yesterday over to one of our members, Skaiste. She is super cute, she has a super sweet family. She is the Young Womens president. She has two little boys who make up our primary, and a little daughter who is three months old. Her husband is the first counselor in the branch, they also teach the seminary and institute class in all of the Baltic Mission, that's what Ante, her husband, does for a job. I have really found that asking the branch members for their favorite scriptures really helps me get to know them better. I found out that before Skaiste was married she was inactive for a year, I would not have found that out unless I had asked her for her favorite scripture. After that we came home and made more bandeles to give to people. Sister Hoskin did an amazing job. I can't wait to make them for you when I get home. We went to English and we finally got someone to give a really good prayer. It was really good, I finally just gave them the option of praying in Lithuanian to see if they would be more willing. We still had to call on him, but he gave it willingly. We are in the process of getting a new apartment since we have to travel so far to get to the church. The Elders had a few pulled up they were looking in to and they looked really nice. I am super excited. After that we decided to leave some bandeles on the doorstep of this really nice Jehovah's Witness couple. Apparently Sister Hoskin is pretty good friends with them. We left them on the doorstep, we rung the doorbell and ran away. Then later tonight, while planning Kestutis, the husband calls and asks if it was us because we had put our names on the little note. He says they thought it was a bomb and they called the police and the investigators were there, and so was the press. I hope he was joking, but I doubt it, Lithuanians don't use sarcasm. We felt bad, but he still invited us over, I guess it the thought that counts, right?
Today we went over to Birute's and she let us knit some more, then she fed us some delicious food. It was potatoes and I think, for my first time ever, lamb. It was delicious. Then she let us have a few of her nail polishes and also gave us some cookies to take home, then gave us a huge bag of potatoes to take to Jovita. It was so heavy getting it back up to our apartment, she did that on purpose so that we would keep some of them. She also let us take our knitting home, so now we can work on it whenever we would like. We are making scarves, I am super excited about it. We then went over to Larissa's house, she is a member, she fed us tea and slices of bread with cheese and meat on them. This is the same house that I ate dog hair at last time, but this time I didn't notice any. I also made bandeles all on my own for the first time, we put chocolate inside, they were delicious.
Today we got to have a lesson with Jurga over Skype, it went really well. We taught her the first half of the restoration. This will be her second time going through all of the lessons, so she is awesome and already knows everything, she is so ready to be baptized. I hope that I will get to see it when it happens. We were taking this huge sack of potatoes from Birute down the street to Jovita's house, when all of a sudden this man who maybe was drunk, I don't know, starts running toward us and as he is running in between Sister Hoskin and I says "give me your bag," and then he just kept running. It was the strangest thing.
Today was good, but cold, the sun did come out for awhile and I hadn't felt the warmth of the sun since I have been here, but I was sitting on our couch and it shined in on my face and it felt so warm. We had visitors in church from Vilnius, he is our area authority and comes and visits often, but he brought his family so we had a couple more kids in our primary class. We did not know how to do our lesson in Lithuanian, since Matias and Magnus speak English, so we ended up letting them play and we made hearts for them to give to someone they love. It was sweet.
The next few pictures are sunrise and sunset.
Making bandeles with Gitana.
Jovita giving me a manicure.