Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

Sorry, don't really have anything this week


Hey all,

Had a really interesting week. I was on a three day exchange with Elder Seitz, who got here the transfer after I did. Realized there's a lot my Sr companion does that I need to be more grateful for =) It wasn't too bad though, we were able to teach pretty well, and get the message across.
Church went really well yesterday, we had one of our investigators their named Ahmer. He's Muslim and from Turkey, but we teach him in English. So I was able to sit by him for fast and testimony meeting and translate. He kept talking about how so many of his beliefs are already really similar to the Mormons, and is way happy that we live the word of wisdom. Way cool guy. Also, had a great miracle happened last night, we were out contacting former investigators and less actives in a place called Vecmilgravis all day, and we decided to go ahead and knock this one complex that was kinda hidden behind some trees. We went all the way from apartment 48 down to number 2 with no luck, but again, we got let in to door number 1. The man's name is Dmitrij, and he has a pretty solid religous background. A lot of the things he was saying about his relationship with God were closely aligned to our beliefs. He was baptized in the Russian Orthodox church (like everyone here) so brought up concerns when we talked about baptism. But, he accepted to be baptized on Dec. 25th as long as we "continued to meet with him and explain more". Really cool to see how the Spirit was working on him. You'll see that happen a lot, where they're baptized into the Orthodox church here, but have their own set of beliefs, and have no idea what their church really preaches. We had a really good training from President Dance this week too, all about weekly planning. It has definitely proven effective. I feel like I have too much to write about, and I find that a lot of times I don't know what to pick... Any suggestions? Hope all is well with you, God Bless.

Love, Elder Atkinson


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pictures from Riga

Pictures: 1) Me with the Freedom Statue; 2) The Freedom Statue; 3) The Russian Orthodox temple closest to our apartment; 4) Some graffiti in Daugavpils, it says "who said I was white?!"; 5) In front of a Russian Orthodox Temple when I was out in Daugavpils.

Who Said I Was White?

Dear family and friends,
Yet another week here in Riga, things are still going pretty well. Still don't have any baptismal dates, but 3 of our investigators really are progressing towards it. I taught my first real Word of Wisdom lesson this week, it was way tough. It's so hard to see people addicted to all this stuff. Last tuesday I was on exchanges with Elder Seitz and we were just contacting on the streets when we heard someone behind us shout "Elders!". We don't hear that too often here, but at first we just kinda looked at each other cause we didn't know who it was. We both thought it was like a member from the Latvian branch or something. Turns out it was this couple from St. George, members and everything. They were here for an adoption, and just happened to see us on the street, so they chased us down and wanted to take us to dinner. We had English class, so we couldn't go, but it's still crazy we ran in to someone from Utah here, haha. Last night something pretty cool happened. Elder Koegler and I went out to an area called Sarkandaugava to see if we could find a former investigator from the area book. We found his Дом (apartment building) and went up to the 9th floor where he lived. He ended up not answering, but we still had like 30 minutes, so we decided to harvest (knock) the floor we were on. Nobody accepted, so we were on our way out of the building. As we passed the last door (room apartment #1) Elder Koegler was like "let's knock it for good measure". This lady, Йелена, answered and let us in immediately. So cool. Her family had just barely moved in, and were in the middle of a remont, so they didn't have any power, but we were able to share a bit about the restoration, and set up a return appointment. She volunteered to pray at the end of the lesson too.
So the daylight savings just made it get dark here at like 5 now, so our schedule is gonna change a bit, going out to proselyte a little earlier, so that we're home earlier. Yup, that's about all that's new, Love you all
-Старейшина Аткинсон


Pictures from Vilnius

The pictures are from top to bottom: 1- the monument at the top of the Hill of Three Crosses in Vilnius; 2- Umm, kinda boring, accident (just Vilnius); 3- Our District at the Hill of 3 Crosses (with Vilnius in the back); 4- Clock tower at the white cathedral on Gedimino in Vilnius (with me haha) I don't know the name of the cathedral; 5- Cathedral.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Elder, I think we just sold a Book of Mormon..." - Elder Koegler

Привет моей семье и друзям,

So it's good to be back here in Riga, I think I would like to serve in the bigger cities as much as I can, simply more people to talk to. We had our first snow on Saturday, and it pretty much rains every other day, and keeps getting colder we're at about 5* C now. Also, it's starting to get really dark pretty early now, the sun is usually down by 6 and doesn't come up until around 8 in the morning, and the day is only going to get shorter haha.
So we ran contacted this guy on the street this week, and we talked to him about the Book of Mormon and he seemed interested, so we gave a copy to him. He wouldn't let us get away without him giving us something, so he took us to this way nice Latvian Kitchen here and bought us a meal (we tried to pay and everything, but he insisted). We taught him about the restoration during lunch, and found out a little bit more about him. Turns out he owns the largest insurance company in the Baltics, and is just filthy rich. He didn't really want to meet again, but was very nice. Afterwards, me and Elder Koegler were talking about how it was very easy to see that something was missing from his life, and that money really can't buy happiness. The rest of the week has been filled with a lot of area book work (that thing was SO messy) and a lot of meeting with less actives, so we've been pretty busy. Dzintars is our closest investigator to baptism, and he is so ready for it. He's been coming to church every week for the past 3 months, and reads the Book of Mormon everyday. He was supposed to get baptized on the 30th, but his wife still doesn't approve. So we're going to try and do a fast with him this week, that her heart can be more open to the Gospel. Please keep us in your prayers!
This past week I've been reading in 1st and 2nd Nephi, and looking for reasons why Nephi was "highly favored of the Lord". I've been able to find out quite a bit more about what I need to do to become more effective in following the Spirit. I've also started to read through the New Testament, cause I feel like I need to become a little bit more familiar with it. The Russian is still coming along famously, I have definitely been blessed in learning the language. I can understand everything in church now, so it's become that much better. I am so grateful that I haven't had so much trouble with it, and can definitely accredit (sp?) it to the Lord. Well, times up this week, thanks for your prayers and support.

Elder Atkinson