Monday, September 20, 2010

"Recognizing the Spirit, is like the butter on my grilled cheese sandwich" -Elder Gearhart‏

Hey family and friends,
This past week was full of some really new and interesting events. President and Sister Dance were down here this week for training, and it was waaaaaay good. We talked a lot about the importance of the Spirit in all aspects of the work. That was pretty much all we did on Wednesday and Thursday. Oh! I was able to give my first Priesthood blessing on Thursday night, and it was all in Russian! Way intense, I hadn't even done one in English before, so it was a really powerful and spiritual experience. It was for one of the members here, Genadi. He was crossing the street, and a car came by and clipped his arm, so his elbow was pretty messed up. We had called him earlier that morning to ask him if he would sit in on a lesson with us that night. Even though he was in a ton of pain, and couldn't move his arm, he still came, and taught with us. He's the man.
Friday morning, Elder Mock and I went out to a town called Pabrade (no idea how to spell it in English) about 50 km north of Vilnius.I think it's pretty safe to say that we were the first missionaries to ever set foot there. We drove up with the Senior couple here in Lithuania (the Morrell's) to meet with this refugee family of 6. They are originally from Georgia (the country) but moved to Russia for work. The father started a business there, but was threatened by the mafia, so they fled the country and left absolutely everything behind. We showed up to the refugee center, and there was barbed-wire all around the gate, pretty serious stuff. The family came out and we translated for Elder Morrell to see what they wanted. It turns out they're members, and they showed us their temple recommends, and all they were looking for was help in getting down to Vilnius every week for church. Elder Morrell just whipped out his wallet and gave them money. And they showed up to church on Sunday. It was a very interesting and complicated situation, but it's very humbling to see that even with the situation they're in, all they want is to come to church.
Saturday I was on exchanges with Elder Dellinger. He's been here for 22 months now, and had is language switched from Lithuanian to Russian about 3 transfers in, so he can speak both now, it's pretty cool. We went and did service from like 10 to 6 on Saturday with some of the members. We thought that we were just going to go out into the forest to pick mushrooms (don't ask, picking mushrooms in the forest is a pretty big deal here) but whent we showed up we found out that we were going to gather firewood. So we spent the next several hours cutting down trees with chainsaws and such, and then tossing logs into this huge WWll truck. It's way hard to explain, and I still can't even believe it happened, haha. It was so sweet though! Elder Mock was way jealous, cause he said they don't get a lot of opportunities to do service here. I'll E-mail some pictures next week (we're emailing from the U.S. Embassy right now, and they confiscated my camera haha).
The work is still going along at the same pace. We weren't able to find any more investigators, but the few that we have are still making some good steps towards Baptism. And we still have a few contacts that are really promising, so I've got plenty of work to do =)
Well hopefully all is going well, thanks for your prayers and love
-Elder Atkinson

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