Monday, September 27, 2010

С Любовью от Литвы! (With Love from Lithuania)‏

Hello all,

The work is still moving along, sometimes not as fast as I would like it to, but I'm learning to look at things in the Lord's timetable. The weather here this week was really nice, we had about 3 days of sunshine which was great. This morning we were able to head out to Trakai Castle this morning as a district which was sooooo awesome. I'll attach some pictures.

I think I kind of mentioned earlier that most of our time here is spent contacting people on the streets. It's something that I'm getting better and better at, and it is definitely way helpful for my Russian. We're usually able to find people that speak Russian, and if they don't, they usually know enough English to communicate. I think only like 6% of Lithuania is actually Russian (compared to like 36% in Latvia, and 45% in Estonia) but there are a ton of Polish people here, and quite a few from Belarus- And they all speak Russian. All of the food labels and stuff here are in Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian. If you're lucky, there's some in Russian and English too. I'm finally feeling comfortable with the culture changes (I'm totally buying a European man-purse and bringing it back to the states) except for the smoking. Everyone here smokes, it's ridiculous. Apparently I'll just become accustomed to that over time haha. I had a cool experience at church yesterday, I sat next to a member in the ward from England who lives quite a ways away, so he only comes every other week. He asked me if I could translate for him and I told him i'd only been here for 3 weeks but that I would try. I was able to translate everything the two speakers said, it was so awesome! Granted, it was all Gospel-related lingo, but still, I didn't realize I could understand that much. I have definitely been able to see the hand of the Lord in my progress with the Language. Our one investigator (Yolanta) who's ready for Baptism is going to take her mom to court so we can get the legal documents we need. The other investigators we have have been kind of flaky in meeting with us, but we have a couple more that are really solid.

This past week in my studies I've been really focusing on the Atonement, both the cleansing and enabling power that it can bring. I don't think that I could ever run out of material there. It is something that I don't think I've ever understood very well (I don't think there's anyone who fully understands it) but as I learn more and more about it, my calling as a missionary becomes more and more important to me. Everyone out there needs to hear this message. Sorry, there wasn't anything super exciting here this week. Now that I've been here for 3 weeks, I'm hoping (actually expecting) to get some letters or Dear Elders this week. The zone leaders are heading up to Riga on Wednesday and they'll bring the mail back. Thanks for your love and prayers!

-Elder Atkinson

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