Email from James - January 17, 2011

So things were a lot better this week then the last one. We were able to have more teaching lessons which was way good and english was so much fun. We had a major turn out. We taught this way cool guy who is a harnia christinia or whoever you spell it. He was way nice and friendly to us. I can't really go into detail but he has some pretty crazy beliefs. I think he was more interested in hearing about our religion then joining but he said it would be cool to have us over to his place to have tea and stuff. He really like how I respected nature cause I told him how I loved to go running in the mtn's and how if people cut down all the trees I would be so so sad. :D hahaha. We had the senior couple from Riga come down to check out apt's and then they came to church. During the youth class we go to. I had to translate for them. Wow I don't think my brain has had to ever work as hard as it did. I would have to be listening, translating in my head, then tell them, then keep listening as the lesson went on. It was President Blinduruk who taught the lesson and he speaks fast so I really had to listen and think quick. I was surprised how much I understood and was able to translate. They were surprised that I had only been in Lithuania for 7months and could speak and understand so much. The lord has truly helped me so so much. I love speaking Lithuania :D This country is the best.
I got grandma's package and now I have Husker pride in Lithuania. It takes packages about 14 days to get here so I called it the week it would come and it did like all the other packages. I took some cool pictures of me in it and I was going to send it to you for a good laugh but I left my camera at the apt. so I will send it next week. I love wearing it though. :D
That's good to hear the Grandma Welch's Funeral went well. I bet she is a lot happier then being so sick and what not here and now she is with her family. I bet that was nice to see all the people related to her you hadn't seen in a long time.
So funny story:
This morning as with every monday morning, Elder Hilton turns to me and aks, " what shall we eat this week?" Throughout the mission, all missionaires eat about the same things as eatchother. I have gotten a little creative with some things. I do all the cooking and Elder Hitlon does the dishes so I kinda decide some options and what would work I could make and he agrees if he likes it. He can eat anything so that is good. So we crossed off a few meals that we are very sick of eating like Chicken Queso's and Salami and Rice. We looked through all the cook books and didn't see anything that was too different or sounded tasty. They are very basic missionary cook books and you would have to be dumber than a rock to know how to cook with them. We really could not decide on what sounded good. We kept trying to think of things that we had eaten at home but nothing came to mind. Mom I have been having the worse guilt trips about complaining about food cause when you want something new to eat here, anything sounds good. WE HAVE THE SAME MEALS EVERY WEEK CAUSE WE HAVE NO OTHER RECIPES. So we thankfully found some different things to make in the small frozen aisle section that will last us this week. :D BUT, we really want some new recipes. Not the dumb Deseret Book type, good meals for nervous cooks and missionaries book or where is my mother books. But like REAL recipes. I have really gotten so good at cooking and I really want to branch out more and try new things but I can't think of what to put together. So mom, could you send via email for this upcoming week and then a lot more in a letter or something of some new recipes that I could make for us to eat. Elder Hilton doesn't cook or dares to so i'm doing all the cooking and I love cooking and want to learn some more meals. Send some good meal ideas, whatever works, complicated, simple all of them. I want to have more meals to eat cause we are exhausted of eating the same meals :D
So incase you were wondering, transfers aren't coming up for a while. You said we can't wait to hear about transfers and they won't happen til the second week in February I think. We are in out third week of this transfer so we still got some time. Just out of curiousity, have you sent the package yet? I just want to know so I can be looking out for it or not. :D We, mostly me, am excited to get some new music that I asked for. Like all of those cd's. We need new music.
I will have an aweomse week, I hope, and you all have a great week too. It has been raining during the day and getting way cold at night so everything is way way way icy. It's nuts. We walk way slow but we still slip all over. I almost had a huge fall. My legs were literally up in like a high ninja kick but with my super leg speed I caught myself so it looked like I was trying to hip hop dance :D I can't wait to hear back from you. BTW I got your letter mom :D

I love you all so much and love hearing from you every week :D
           Su meile,
             V. Džemsas Sanfordas

Email from James - January 10, 2011

Well to start things off, I have been out on my mission for 9 months as of the 7th. Crazy.
Wow Grandma Welch passed away. I was very shocked to hear that, even though she is very very old. I feel good though about it, she was very sick and now she can be in a very peacful place with the rest of the family. More gaurdian angles to watch over us :D
This email might be a little shorter than usual. We had a really very hard and very slow week. It was not the funnest weeks. In short, we harvested for over 50 hours and not one person let us in until Saturday night, hahaha go figure. ENDURE TO THE END has never felt so reall to me then this past week. It was really hard though cause we don't have english on tuesdays and thursdays anymore so everyday was wake up, study, HARVEST, lunch, HARVEST, go home and crash then get up the next day and do it all over again. We tried to set up meetings with people but no one could meet. The lesson we got though on saturday night was kinda cool. They had been to our church before. The wife was really nice and said she liked how we were so talkative and friendly at church. We taught with a sort of more casual conversation type way. English though on Saturday was way way way fun. I love teaching english. We had a lot more people show up for this class which made it a lot of fun. They all participated a lot and I got to be the jokster of the class, thank you dad for those genes. The english class really responds well and trusts us if we make them laugh and show them that we are normal and can have a good time. The spiritual thought was on the spot but was so so good. We told them about what we do as missionaries. I started off the lessons by asking, " How many of you have seen us walking around the streets?" No one really answered. I said, " Ok, how about if I do this" I put on my coat and my hat and grabbed a book of mormon and strutted around the room. They all started chuckling to themselves. " Now have you seen us?" . They all nodded and chuckled some more. " ooo the scary mormons with the black name tags". That got them to lighten up some more. After my little acting spree, we told them what we do, why we are here, and what we hope to accomplish with the short two years that we have. It went so well and really helped people to see that we are normal. :D I loved it.
I have been really enjoying the scripture reading we are doing as a mission. They have a schedule for us to follow so we will finish on time and at the same time. At times, especially this past week, when I was really doubting if anyone would listen to us, the scripture always always came to my head of when Nephi is comanded to build a boat. By what his brothers say to him, at first, get Nephi very lowly in heart. At times I feel like this, when no one wants to listen or they say mean things to us. But then, like the great example of Nephi says to his brothers in 1 Nephi 17 the great examples of Moses and all that he did with the Power of God. Then he tells of what God had commanded his father had to do. Then he tells of the Great Power that God has and what he can do with that power. With all that said, how can anyone doubt when the Lord has called them to the work. That scripture has never meant so much to me now than it has in the past. The scriptures are so true. There is no way that I could ever deny that. I love them so much.
Please pray that the hearts of the people will be open to our message and that we will be able to help people. Hahaha we have been able to help people by pushing cars out of the snow. We even lifted up the back of a BMW for a guy to get it over a curb so he could park it cause it had died :D. I keep saying, GO BIG AMERICAN CARS. :) I wrote down everydoor that said, " kita karta" ( next time). So very soon we will be going back to hold them to their word. Some of them truly did seem interested but they told us they didn't have time that day so I have faith that we will find lessons. We just really hard to work hard this week and show they lord we got what it takes :D
I love you all so much and love hearing from you every week. I loved the picture of Parker. :D That's one of my favorite biking jerseys to wear when I go mtn. biking :D
           Su daug mielų,

             Vyresnysis Džemsas Sanfordas

Email from James - January 3, 2011

Ya that boat is way cool. I love being in upper Klaipeda just because everthing looks european. The south area doesn't look all that exciting but it's still fun. :D Hahaha I laughed when you told me Parker saw that hat that looked like mine and he wanted to buy it.
Well our new years was kinda funny. The other elders smelled gasoline or propaine that morning of new years eve so they brought their stuff over just incase if they needed to spend the night. So their land lord got everything checked out and everything was ok. So we talked and they just decided to spend the night at our place anyways since everything was already there. For New Years eve, we had to end our day at 5 so after we played cards and just hung out for the whole night. Sleeping was way hard cause everyone outside was shooting off huge loud fireworks like they do at the big shows. It sounded like WWII was going on outside. I managed to doze off but then was quickly awoken as the huge grand finally was going off at midnight. Elder Manning ran in and was like," elders elders, it's the new year. " I just laughed and said, " oh so that's what is with the bombings." It was so loud car alarms were going off too. hahaha. I should have taken pics but I wasn't thinking straight cause I was way tired.
We found a cool lady this week. We were able to teach her a first and give  her a book of mormon. Yay a lesson. We are hoping to meet again with her this week.
We were harvesting in some domes the other night and this older man let us in. We were in some bendrabs which is like very run down poor apartments. They are very crappy and all the people have to share a crappy bathroom and a kitchen. It's so sad adn humbling to see how these people have to live. Anyways, so this guy let us in and we tried teaching him a first but he would just go off on random tangents. Then something happened that I would never forget. He put his face in his hands and started crying. Through tears and a choked throat he told us how hard life is and that he barely has enough money to buy food today. His room was barley big enough for his small bed and a little wooden chair. I had tears coming by this point. I reached over and put my hand on his arm and told him we could help him, not so much with money but they we really wanted to help him to be happy. He gave me a happier look and said maybe. He didn't let us teach anymore but he said he would try to come to church. The night of New Years Eve, I was with Elder Nelson, the younger missionary, and right before we went home, I went and bought some food with him and we went and took it to him. He was so happy to get it. He didn't say much but he just kept thanking us. I really care about that guy. His name is Alfredas. I was very humbled by that experience. We are truly blessed for all that we have and for where we live.
Today we went bowling with some members before emailing. It was mostly the few youth. We had a lot of fun so we are hurrying and emailing and then we are going to make Cepeliniai with them at the church. I'm way excited :D I do love Cepeliniai.
Oh so transfers was a boring call this past week. No one changed in all of Lithuania so I'm still in Klaipeda with Elder Hilton. :D I'm not too upset about that hahaha. I love it here so much. This will be Elder Hilton's 4th transfer here so i'm pretty sure he will be transfering after this one. If not that is a long time :D He hopes he gets to see another area.
It's been another random weather day here in Klaipeda. As we went to Akropolis this morning for shopping, it was dark and was snowing like crazy. After bowling, the sky was clear and the sun was out and everything was warm, I was happy about that, now it's cloudy and it's snowing a lot. hahahaha I love the weather here. I thought Utah had really bad random weather, but here it's a lot worse.
Well I think you have plenty to read now :D hahaha. I love hearing from you every week. Keep safe and know that I love you all so much.
     su meile,

              V. Džemsas Sanfordas

Photos from Klaipeda - 2010

Email from James - December 27, 2010

Wow so I cannot tell you how hard it was not to call you right back as I hung up the phone. It felt like there just wasn't enough time to talk. That really made my christmas. We were all checking our watches at dinner with Lucy cause we were so excited to talk to our families. When I was waiting to talk with you all, I had to do push ups just to calm my nerves :D. Every missionary does something like that before they call. Elder Hatch said he always had to do jumping jax. I was so happy to hear your voices and talk back in forth. :D In all the excitment I didn't thank you for all the cool gifts you got me. That scripture cause is so so nice. It doesn't fit my Lithuanian one but my older case I have for my quad fits over them so i'm using the new nice ones for my quad and it looks a lot better. That tie was way sweet too. I'm wearing it today. I love it. Elder Hilton says thanks for the stocking. I was so happy to see peeps. He doesn't like them so now I have double the peeps. The Capn Crunch is and was so so good. I still have a lot left. Breakfast has never tasted so good. :D Thanks so much for going through all the trouble of getting all of those things for me!

I am really excited for the new year to begin. President Dance has been saying to set some goals and to pick a christlike attribute to work on for the first 3 months. We are all getting new book of mormons in english to read. He wants us to read the book of mormon and to highlight the christlike attributes Faith/Love and something else I can't remember lol. But he wants us to pick a christlike attribute to work on as we read the Book of Mormon. I am really excited. But, I have been thinking a lot about personal goals. I have never been good at setting spiritual/personal goals. I am good at setting goals with running, that come easy. But with spiritual or personal goals, I kinda set them and then just forget and not really care about them. But, this year, this whole new year where I will be a missionary, I want to set some goals, and then keep them. I am really putting it to prayer a lot this week and what I should set. I want to set goals that will make me work harder and really streatch me as a missionary and that will help my grow spiritually more. I have some ideas but I want to think more about them.
Well not much to tell either. Transfers are this week and Elder Hilton think he is peacing to Šauliai so we will see what happens. I don't want to transfer cause I just got here and I love it here so much. Plus I don't like packing and unpacking :D I will send some pics of Christmas and what not. I can't wait to hear back from you. I forget to tell you, I got mom's 4 letters she sent. I loved them all. I like our christmas card too. Now that the snowman idea has already been used, I was thinking maybe get a cool cut out of me or you could get an elvis one :D hahaha maybe elvis then it would make me look better. 

     I love you all so much. Have a great week.

             Vyresnysis Džemsas Sanfordas