Email from James - July 5, 2010

Alo from Kaunas!!!!!!!!
        Everything has been going pretty well here. No one like to talk to us but we keep trying. Crazy things with Drunks and Russians still happen. But eh, That's Lietuva. It's become quite the norm. for me.

         I still haven't placed my book of mormon yet. We keep searching though. My language is still coming. I try to say more and more but it's a very hard language. I talked to a cool guy from France. I told him how dad served there. I told him I used to take french in school but now it's almost gone. He said ya Lithuania is way way harder than french. He tried to learn it. lol. I have been learning Russian, but they are things I would never say. haha.

         We have been meeting with a guy who meet with some elders before us. He wanted to read the book of mormon before being baptized. So we got a txt from him at midnight. We txted him the next morning and made an apointment. He is way way nice to us. He agreed to come to church but when sunday came he didn't show. He later txted us at 10 PM and said he needed to talk to us and that he felt way bad about not coming. He said he had drunk some alcohol and felt way ashamed. He sounded really desperate. We told him we couldn't leave. After some time we agreed to meet him outside our apt. We talked to him and I could tell it really helped him alot. He said we are the only ones who are there for him and support him and want him to be better. I have faith we can really help him to get baptized.

          Other than that nothing too exciting has happend. We are celebrating the 4th of july today. The senior couple and the Kaunas district is having a bbq. Sister Murrel, the senior sister, is making root beer. YUM!!! They don't sell it here. I tried making some but I bought mineral carbonated water so it turned out way salty lol. Elder Hatch and I had a good laugh about that.

        I got mom's letter last week! Thanks for the pics. It made me so happy. My tapes should be coming soon. it takes longer to send stuff out. When you send stuff it comes a lot quicker. About 9 days. It has been raining alot. I love it though. It's way cool in the morning cause it's way foggy. My legs have gotten stronger cause we walk so much. We went through a way pretty forest that had some houses we had never seen before way outside of Kaunas. I felt like we had stepped into a whole new world. It was awesome to get out of the city. No one listened to us but we had fun.

         I caught a glimps of the world cup again. Germany playing Argentina. Algirdas, my good friend who is 17, tells me all about the World Cup.

        But all is well here. Still doing the same work and trying every harder to find more poeple who will listen to us. This is a holliday weekend here so everyone is gone. but it feels the same when we go harvesting with or without people. lol.

        Ya i'm in a Branch here. We have about 40- 50 people come each week. It's sad. There is 300 memebers but only that many come. It's really sad. It's alot different hrere with church but I love it. The kids love to play with me. We always goof around outside after church.

       That's so cool about the office dad. If i was there I so would have helped out. I can't wait to see what it's going to be like when I get back.

        I love you all and I love hearing from you. I hope my package thing gets there soon. It has some cool stuff in it about Kaunas and the money system. The money here is really easy to figure out.

         I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you again. I think about you lots and always pray for you.

              Su myliu
                 Vyresnysis Sanfordas

Email from James - June 28, 2010

     Today i'm in Vilnius for a day. Elder hatch had to go up to Riga, Latvia for a mission zone thing so I spent last night at one of the Elders places in vilnius. It's a way cool city. Alot more, richier, then Kaunas. lol. But Kaunas is still better. :D We barely went and got hair cuts so I have short hair again. yay! The lady spends a lot of time cutting our hair so it was way well done. Vilnius is very pretty though. Lots of cool streets ( gatvai ) with cobblestone. Elder Hatch and I will be heading back to Kaunas tomorrow.

      So ya they do have pizza here. We are actually going to a large pizza chain called Can Can Pizza for lunch. The pizza here is very thin and they usually put vegies and stuff on it. But they have really good salami pizza that i always get. It's so much more better than pepperoni. We get the large size for our selves individually and they look at us weird, cause that's alot of food to them. lol. The sodas here are way small. You get a small of bottle of sprite or fanta and you don't get refills. Last monday we went to a cool Lithuanian restaurant and I had my first try of a Sepalinai. They are so so good. they take potatoes and fry them then rap it around a ball of meat. It's so good.

       My talk went very well yesterday. Everyone said I speak Lithuanian very well for an american lol. They were way nice to me. I love the branch. These two little girls are so cute. They always run up to us and ask us random questions about America and just silly stuff. They taught us how to play a card game after church. The only aaronic priesthood holder in the Branch is a 17 year old kid named Algirdas. Him and I have become really good friends. I like him a lot.

       I placed my first book of mormon on the 23rd. Before the day started, I said today's going to be a lucky day because 23 is my favorite number. lol. This kid we talked to spoke english so that helped a lot. His name was Edvinas. We asked if we could talk for a while, he said yes. So we found a bench to sit at on Laisves. On the way to the bench, Elder Hatch looked at me and said, " you got this". I taught him the first lesson and shared the first vision and bore my testimony. He was really interested. I asked if he would like to learn more and he said, " with a story like that, how could I not want to learn more." I was so so happy. Someone finally wanted to learn more from us. Then after we went to a member's Kaimas, village hut thing. Every weekend, most Lithuanians go thier Kaimas' out in the villages. They usually have a garden and stuff out there. But we went up there and his cat just had kittens. Oh my gosh they were so so cute. They were way little. I took a couple of pics of them. I didn't want to go lol. I put on  in my pocket as we taught a lesson. It just sat there with it's big eyes and looked around. lol.

        Saturday was not such a fun day. It started off fun. One of our investigators, and he is my good friend, named Vytautas, he is way way catholic so he won't come to church. He is almost done reading the book of mormon and he remebers everything. We aren't giving up on him. He cracks a lot of jokes. He's hillarious. Anyway so us 3 went and played basket ball. It was way fun. We played with these other two guys who were there. I think the mission improved my bball skills. lol.

          After we ate lunch. Our favorite meal to make is chicken quesidillas. The cheese here is so so good so we make them way cheesy. So after lunch we went down to Laisves to teach Edvinas again. We were both so excited! We for sure thought he was going to get baptized. lol. So he came and he had two of his friends, a guy and a girl, with him. They were all really nice. So then it went downhill as Edvinas began talking about how he doesn't need religion cause he wants to do more enjoyable things and that God and Jesus are just in life to give people hope. We kept trying to teach him and help him realize the truth but we could only do so much. So we both bore our testimonies. After he said, " I don't need the book. You can give it so someone else. It will help them more." It broke my heart. I really had hoped he would have read it and wanted to learn more.

         After we went to Sance which is the scary part of Kaunas, to teach a guy who was less active. He was really cool and we had fun teaching him. We were waiting at a bus stop. The Edvinas thing was still making me sad. These two teenagers rode up and said in poor english, " It's danger to be here now. Drunks" We told them we knew and we are just waiting for a bus. One of them pointed at my tag and asked if i was from Lietuva. I said no i'm from america. He said do you speak lithuanian. I said no I was learning. He then called me a liar because my tag was in Lithuanian. He then got up in my face and started saying mean things to my face in Lithuanian in a very rude way. He rode off. The bus ride home I was not in a good mood. I wasn't mad, just really sad. This was drunk guy carrying a bottle of vodka got on the bus. The policija really don't care about anything here. lol. But they got on and were cat calling to this really pretty, nice looking 16 year old girl. I can't stand to see girls be treated badly. I could tell Elder Hatch was getting upset too. She got off thankfully, they didn't follow. Then the guy was trying to rip off the chair on the bus. He was out of control. I am sick of alcohol. It brings good men down. Thankfullly he didn't bother us cause I have learned quickly to not look people in the eyes when I can tell they are drunk.

        It breaks my heart to see good people live in such a dark place. I have really come to see how important this gospel is and how grateful I am to live in America. I have only been here a month and I have been humbled so much. I was so so spoiled living and having what I had. I feel so bad for these people. Whenever life gets hard, when I'm back home, I am never complaining. I'm so glad the Lord sent me here.

        I love the pics of Parker. :D they make me so happy. I unfortunately can't print them off. I love how he prays I will make friends and have fun. I am having fun and making lots of friends lol. :D Oh btw. If you send back tapes. Send some for me to record on. I have been looking for tapes but I haven't been able to find any.

      It's so cool to see movies and stuff at the stores in Lithuanian lol. The Avatar movie is all over. I forgot how you say it but it looks way cool in Lithuanian.

        I love you all so so much. I hope I get to take you here some day! :D
             P.S. Don't send stuff pouch mail. It won't get here any faster and I won't get it till a zone conference. Just tell peole to send stuff to my new address :D

          Love,        Vyresnysis Sanfordas