Hello family and friends, hope you are having a good week
This past week has been awesome for me, I continue to learn and grow everyday, and I am really beginning to see the Lord shape me in His own way.
Last Tuesday's devotional was from L. Lionel Kendrick, an Emeritus. And he gave a way awesome talk about faith - It was probably my favorite one so far. Again, I wish that I could share everything with you all, and paste my notes right here. I have really been focusing on what more I can do to increase my faith, because it is vital to my calling as a missionary. It's been way awesome to learn so much here, I still love it.
Sundays are really good for me, it's so nice to have a day where I don't have to worry so much about Grammar and Language concepts being thrown at me, and I can really focus on feeling the Spirit. One of my favorite parts about Sunday is being able to just sit and listen to my companion play the piano while I write in my journal. It's way awesome. All around sunday is the definitely the best day, which I'm sure many other Missionaries can testify of.
I mentioned the language, and things are still going really well with it. There are still a few grammar concepts we need to learn, but me and my comp have already gone 100% Russian and it's been way helpful. The teaching in Russian is also going very well. I never would have thought that just after 8 weeks I would be able to direct entire conversations, and understand everything, in a different language. The gift of tongues is definitely real.
So all of the native Elders went through the temple and took out their own endowments today, that was a really awesome experience, and it makes me more grateful for all of the temples that I have close to home. One of the Elders is actually from Riga, Latvia (where my mission home is) and knows President Dance (my mission Pres) very well. Apparently he was the ward mission leader at one of the branches in Riga. Kinda cool. We've been pegging him with questions all about what our mission will be like, haha I'm sure he's sick of us. Anyway, he told us that about half of the people will want to be taught in Latvian, and the other half would be taught in Russian, so we will find people. He also said that we'll most likely spend our first 6 months or so in the Riga area. He said that all of the youth speak English there, and a lot of the people will want to talk to us simply because we speak English. Though he emphasized that we aren't there to speak English with them, we are there to change their lives. Kinda cool. We can never remember his name though, cause it's some crazy Russian name, so for the mean time, we call him Elder Latvia.
Oh I forgot to mention that we all got a letter from Pres. Dance. He said that we will get to work the day we get there. It's way exciting- we get our flight plans hopefully on the 19. 3 weeks from now I will be walking the cobblestone streets of Riga. And from what we've heard, as soon as we get off the plane, he takes us to a park for 3 hours, and we need to place Book of Mormons (that's right, I said it- Book of MormonS) and all that fun stuff. Crazy.
Well that's about all I got right now, thanks for the letters and all of your support. Love you all
-Elder Austin P. Atkinson