Email from James - May 23, 2011

Hey everyone,

That worried me a lot hearing about how Anna has Diabeties. I really hope she is ok. You hear of things happening to other missionaries families and it's hard to imagine what that must feel like to be away from them and not being able to do anything, but now I know. It sounds like she is doing better now though which makes me very relieved. What type of diabeties does she have? Ofcourse I don't really know the differences between them so you might have to explain. I will make sure to keep her in my prayers. Let her know that I love her and give her a hug for me :) That's way cool you got to give a blessing to that little baby boy. 

So this we had a good hard working week this week. We had some dropped lessons but then found more while out harvesting. I was amazed cause that never happened in Klaipeda. People are just so nice here cause a lot of them will stop and listen to what we have to say. There were a lot of things that happened and I can't remember all of them, but I wrote them down in my journal. Post mission stories I guess. :D The baptism was alright. Don't consider it that I had a baptism cause I was only in a few lessons and they were just check up/ make sure everything is ready for the baptism. I don't know if you know but here in the Baltic Mission, Pres. Dance doesn't want missionaries to baptize, he wants the members too, so missionaries never baptize their investigators, not that I really mind :D. We were a little upset because we called a lot of the members to come a few days before the baptism and they said they would come but only 5 of them showed up and none of our investigators showed up either. We were a little disapointed with that but we still had a good time. We had the baptism at the lake near the church cause we don't have a baptismal font so that was kinda different. It was a beautiful day so it looked really nice outside for it all. There were some teenage girls sitting on a bench by the lake we were at and I can't imagine what they thought with us being there and some older man being baptized. haha. It was good though. I got lots of pics. After, the guy that got baptized sorta bore his testimony I guess. hahaha he is a very funny man and he always complains how the schools aren't good about teaching kids how to behave and how parents need to be betters yadadada. When we have lesson with him, we will ask, so why would scripture study help us in our every day lives, or something similar and he somehow gets off on talking about how bad kids are or how the schools don't do a good job of teaching. And he won't stop talking once he gets going. SO the "testimony" went sort of that way but it started with a story when he was young in the Soviet Union and how it was hard etc. and I thought he would connect it but he didn't haha. Then he went to how bad schools are etc. He did mention once how the book of mormon was a very good and correct book haha. The branch president asked about his testimony of the church or something then he made a few comments but kept going on about his thoughts of the schools. It was interesting haha. Then yesterday in church, we got to be in the circle, well it was us 3 missionaries and the branch president, for when he received the holy ghost. That was pretty cool. A returned missionary from way back came with his wife and his parents and his brother so it was fun to have americans with us in church. I had to speak so I gave my talk about the holy ghost. It went pretty well I thought. I spoke for about 20 minutes cause elder erickson just bore his testimony so there was a lot of time left. The brother and the dad of the family served in France so they were going there after lithuanian. I told them about how you served there and he asked when and I said, "eithy something" and he laughed and said oh ya I definitely didn't know your dad. haha. He was a lot older but the brother has been back a few years.  The mom of the missionary was so so nice to us. She just talked about how cool it was we could speak and how great the members were then she gave us a bag of taffy and some beef jerkey. That was so nice of her to do that. She said, " I just know how your mothers feel and I know they would want someone to give you a little something like I did when my son was on a mission." Oh utah mormon mothers are just the greatest. It felt a little weird just to see how they acted and it hit me that that was how all members act in Utah. I'm going to have a major shell shock when I get home cause it felt weird how they were so bumbly and way super super nice. hahaha ya for East European cutlures killing my inner soul haha. They were really nice though. After church, we, with the branch president who is hillarious here, did clerk work stuff. Oh man that took so so long and we have to do that every sunday with him. Ya, let's just say now I really never want to be a bishop or a clerk now haha. the Branch President is way cool. He served in England and is a funny guy. He looks a little like Uncle Todd with the shaved head and he says the funniest things. We are already becoming way good friends.

Other than that nothing really much to tell. We have a lot to do everyday which is super great. Elder Erickson is just awesome and he speaks like a champ even though he says he can't. It's been a lot of fun helping him and what not. Him and I have sort of the same personalities so we always laugh at random things and Elder Lindell is more serious so he just laughs in a funny judgmental way but not being serious. They are both great though :D We are having a lot of fun serving together. This week is technically the third week of the transfer so it's pretty much half way over. In two weeks we are going to be having the major missionary conference in Riga so I'm way excited for that. The members here think I should marry a lithuanian girl and live here in lithuania. I'm pretty sure I have a mojor cavity on one of the back of my teeth. It has been hurting a little since last December and so when I drink cold drinks it hurts a ton but I don't want to go to a dentist here so that will be fun to take care of when I get home. I floss every day and brush after every meal so I'm surprised I even have one. hmmm but that's all I can remember. The days just kinda go by when you have a lot of lesson so I forget what things happened on certain days so it's kinda all a blur really. haha. It rained today and I was hoping we would finally play some b-ball with the members who want to play but I guess next week. Šiauliai is super super small so there's not too much to see but I love it here a lot. There is a big walking alley thing that has all these shops lining it which is really cool. It's very clean and there's a beautiful church

Well I love you all so so much and look forward to hearing from you again next week. Keep me updated on how Anna is doing and I hope you will get to sleep in a real bed. :D I know what it is like to have to sleep on chairs or couches so that's never fun (Random exchanges and what not). Thank you so much for all you do for me and I really can't thank you enough for all that you do. I will send pics next week of what our apt. looks like and of the baptism, I forgot my camera so otherwise I would have done it. :D 

Photos from District Conference May 2011

The box cars of the cool train we rode

The front of the train

The sad good bye and end of a great companioship

The start of a great new one. Me, Elder Erikson, and Elder Lindell

Algridas, Aš, Ala, ir Antanas

Email from James - May 16, 2011

Dear Family,
Talk about greatest few days of my life. Ok let me gather my thoughts. There is so much to tell and I may have to re-write some more next week if I forget anything.
So first things first, I got transfered. :D Elder Hyer and I took a cool train to the beautiful city I am now in. That was a lot of fun. Right now, I am in the blessed city of Šiauliai. It is so awesome here. The people are so much more different then in Klaipeda. I love Klaipeda so so much but here the people will stop and listen to what you are saying. Plus, I have set much harder personal goals for myselft in contacting so that has probably helped a lot too. Ever since we talked on the phone, in a way my fire for missionary work has been so much stronger. I love it. But we contacted for a little bit and I got 5 numbers already which is way intense. We have a lot of meeting everday and we have so many investigators so we aren't spendning all day walking around and geting no where. This place is just so wonderful! I already got to know the members so so well. We had our District Conference on Sunday so we all took a bus down there and on the way I talked to a lot of them and showed them pics of the family and they just loved it. They are so faithful here and always tell us about who they have talked to about the gospel. I will tell you more about the members here but they are so great. We have 5 people with baptismal dates for next month and they are just wonderful. I have already gotten the chance to teach them and get to become such good friends with them :D Plus, we are having a baptism this Saturday and the guy that is getting baptized is an older man and  him and I talked for a while at District Conference. He said he was happy I am in Šiauliai (pronounced sh-e-ow-L- ai). So this weekend is going to be wonderful. The church, I will have to take a pic, is on the bottom of a apt. building and it sticks out so it's half of an apt. building on top and the bottom looks like a mini church. It's weird. We don't have a baptismal font so all of the baptisms are done in a lake right by the church. It's actually quite pretty. :D I will send pics. I'm just so extatic to be here!
So for the companionship. I am with Elder Lindell who is 2 transfers ahead of me and we are....... TRAINING! How fun is that?! We have already been getting so close. The new missionary's name is Elder Erikson and he is from Colorado. He is so so funny and we all are having so much fun working together. Elder Lindell was trained by Elder Hatch too so we always joke about our first days in the field. Elder Hatch trained him then I came in right after that. We are like mission brothers haha. We have been having so much fun helping Elder Erikson with teacing and speaking and what not. It's been fun to watch him with the shell shock of a new country, actually hearing the language, the culture, everything. The first few days there was no hot water throughout the city cause they were testing the water so we had to boil some then put it in a pot then shower with that with freezing cold water :D Our apt. is super small, especially for three people but we manage. We aren't inside ever for that long because of all the people we meet with. So when we contact, sometimes I am by myself talking to people and then sometimes Elder Erikson is with me so it's fun. :D I am excited for this transfer so so much. :D
District Conference was so good but what was so much better was seeing everyone! The Kaunas branch was just blown away when I talked to all of them. They were like, "  WOW, You talk so much better now!" hahaha I just talked and talked and talked and oh it was fun to know what they were saying and be able to speak quickly back to them. As of lately my language skills have just been crazy. The Lord has been helping me so so much. It's been wonderful. Everyone from klaipeda, more so the youth, ran up and said, " WHY AREN'T YOU IN KLAIPEDA!!!!?" hahah Gintara who is 14 and the funniest girl said that and I said cause president Dance said so and she said in her dramatic tone that I just love, why didn't you just say no. hahah. I miss the Klaiepda branch so so much but now i'm in blessed in Šiauliai. Algirdas, the kid that I am really good friends with in Kaunas, came up and we just chated the whole time. I sat by him in conference. I am so close to his mom and dad too so they just swarmed me and we just chatted for so so long. His mom is so so sweet. She just talked and talked and said how much they want me to serve back in Kaunas so badly. Oh you guys don't know how sweet they are too me. She blew me a kiss over and over when she saw me signing with the other missionaries before we started conference. She really wants to meet you mom. She asked about if you guys were going to come over after my mission was over and what not. She is such a wonderful lady. Here name is Ala and the husband is Antanas. They are so so cool and they thought it was so cool how I could speak so so much better. :D It was just a blast to talk to everyone a lot better, pretty much. I will send some pics cause I got a pic with Algirdas and Ala and Antanas. They said they just wanted to kidnap me and take me over for lunch cause we stayed over night in Kaunas for a meeting we had with President Dance for training today. It was fun, we sang with the sisters after we ate on Laives Aleja. We had a lot of elders and then the two sisters and we sang hymns in Lithuania. Not too many people stopped to listen but the spirit was so so strong and it was a real cool experience. Then I went out and contacted for the rest of the night with Elder Leishman. We had fun being together. We are still way close and we had fun laughing about all of our funny stories. It was funny cause he is serving with Elder Hilton and we stayed at their apt. so I got to be with both of my old comps. We had fun laughing about all the funny stories and what not. haha.  
Before I forget, here is my address:

A/D 56
76001 Šiauliai

Email from James - May 9, 2011

Hey everyone,
So talking to you was truly amazing. It truly helped me rekindle my fire for the work. That truly helped so much dad about how you said maybe my talent isn't finding the scriptures, but I have the talent for talking to people and not being afraid of it. I really needed to hear that. Thank you so much.
Before I forget, everyone keeps asking when you are going to update the blog cause they love reading it so much. So when you got some time, if you can, can you update it? :D
It is such a beautiful day today, we already played bball for a couple of hours this morning and then we are going to play some more. I love B-Ball so much. I truly think I can finally match you up dad, ahaha.
Well nothing really much more to report, but I love you all so much and I can't wait to talk to you more.
BTW, one of my awesome friends, Laenas sent me a package with a bunch of mac and chseese so you don't have to worry about sending a ton more. But candies like sweedish fish, kit kat bars, starburst, fish crackers, etc. would be awesome to get. :D
            Love you lots,
                 Elder Sanford

Email from James - May 2, 2011

Sviekas Papa,
Ok so before I forget, here's what you do for the phone call. I'm going to talk to you first at 8:00 p.m time here on sunday, since mom said there won't be any problems talking on sunday. So that I believe is 11 A.M. your time. We are nine hours ahead. The number is 01137060678579. President Dances number, incase you have problems, is 01137129287605. There shouldn't be any problems this time cause the phone lines won't be as busy. :D  I can't wait to talk to you all! If you have any problems with that email back asap and I can check my email later tonight cause we will be at the church.
This week was a pretty good week. We talked to three guys, one of them was kinda a bible bash he was trying to start but I "caught him with guile"haha. jk. I will tell you more about it on the phone. The other two were pretty cool. We are going to call one of them to set up a time to meet with him which I am way excited about. He was way cool to talk to. The other one is an older man who played futbol for russia before the USSR and then told us his life short story. He has lived all over and lives a lot of the time in Africa. He said the F word a lot which made us laugh. He spoke english with us. haha. He was pretty funny but I don't know if we will meet with him. Who knows we might as well try. :D We have another lesson set up with another guy who used to meet with missionaries so that will be exciting. The weather has been so nice here. I love it, today it is a bit cooler but last week was way warm. We were in our white short sleeve shirts and it feel great. It felt like I would never wear those shirts again :D Here's a funny thing, so here in Lithuanian, the celebrate Mother's day on the 1 of May, so we had mothers day yersterday. I was really confused when people kept saying happy mother's day to eatchother. I wondered cause I didn't tell you about calls or anything. haha. One of the members joked with me and said I should just marry a beautiful lithuanian girl after my mission so they could have more young families and more young mothers in the branch. haha. I said I would think about it :D
Parker sounds like he is doing really well with his T-Ball. I hope he will still be into that next year so I can come see him play. :D Baseball definitely isn't a popular sport here :D I haven't seen any baseball diamonds haha. They sure love basketball which I love playing. and Futbol as well.
Well this is kinda short email but I figure I can tell you more on sunday. :D That's so crazy how we are already having another talk on the phone. It feels like it wasn't that long ago we talked at christmas and there was snow everywhere. I am happy the snow is finally all gone and it is finally warm here. :D Lithuania is so beautiful in the spring time. It's so green. It rained yesterday for along time so we left the sun roof window open so we could listen to it. I love hearing the rain and when it rains, it really rains here. That's why it's called Lietuva, the place of rain.
Anyways, I hope you all have a great week and I will talk to you on sunday. :D
          su daug mielų,
                 Vyresnysis Senfordas
 ( I got new name tags that say senfordas cause it's easier to say for the people so now I am senfordas :D)

Email from James - April 15, 2011

Hello everyone,

It sounds like you had a great time in Omaha both from you and from grandma. I'm quite jealous you got to have amazing Nebraska steaks. Grandma said you ate some for lunch and breakfast. :D I hope you all make it back home safely. I will be anxious to hear from you next week and know that you are home safe.
Emma looks way different. She is getting so big, her hair looks a lot darker too. It was cool to see.
Hahaha Parker is playing for the Rays. I was praying they would give him the Redsox :D Oh well, we will teach him to love the Redsox. He looks really cool in his jersey. He sounds like he is getting really good. It will be fun to play with him when I'm back.
This email will probably be a bit shorter cause we are at the church. Today is a holiday so everywhere is closed except for Akropolis, the mall, so we have to email here.
This week we truly worked very hard but didn't find anyone. We found a hedgehog outside our house on saturday night. :D Ya, a realy hedgehog! We were coming back to our apart. and the dog at another house was trying to grab a small pookey ball on the ground. We walked over and it was a small hedgehog. Elder Hyer grabbed some gloves and we brought it in the house for a bit and let it walk around. It was a pretty funny night. I took some pics so I will have to send some later.

The Jacques, senior missionaries who serve in the Baltics, came again to church. The last time they were here it was in January. We were amazed at how fast time flies cause it felt like that was only yesterday. I had so sit behind them on the podium and translate for them so they could know what people were saying. They also spoke in church. Then Elder Hyer and I taught the lesson in the youth class. We taught about Jesus Christ and the reason he attoned for us and the blessigns through His attonment. It went really well. :D
The weather has been so so beautiful here. It's been so warm and sunny and I just love it. We just walk around and try to talk to people which is a lot harder than it sounds. The teenagers are a lot more energetic so we have to deal with some stupid things everday. The memories of Kaunas are coming back, except I understand what they are saying to me now. haha. Today is a beautiful day so we are going to go to the church activity at 2 and then play some B-Ball. :D I am so so excited to enjoy the warm weather.
Even though the numbers haven't been so good, I have truly been growning so so much. I have really grown such a greater love for the gospel and especially for our Savior. I have learned so much in my reading of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. I never realized how great of worth his attonment was for me and for all of us. I wish people woud listen to us so badly cause I want them to know how much God and Christ love us and how they can be happy in this life, not in alcohol or in the stupid things. But that there is more, they can be happy in things that truly have meaning. Things of worth not only in this life, but in the next life. We pray that this week, we can find someone who is ready.
       I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you,
                      Su meile,
                      Elder James Sanford

Email from James - April 18, 2011

Svieka Šeima,
Another great P-day in the books. I swear time just goes faster and faster. It's crazy. This week was yet another hard but turned into a great week at the end.
So we didn't find any people this week until sunday. The other elders gave us a bunch of old teaching records they had in their area book so we went searching for all of them this whole week but so far all of them have said no and that they aren't interested anymore. So that was a bummer but we know we are doing what the Lord wants us to be doing. We went out to Erika's school again. We didn't end up having people come to the english thing but her brother, Martinas, was there and a kid, Dainus, who always comes and likes us a lot came. So it was finally a beautiful day outside so I played some b-ball with them and another cool kid who showed up while Elder Hyer and Erika watched and then he talked to her a lot about the gospel which was way good. I fellowshipped while he taught, double missionary work. haha. It was funny playing cause I was in my missionary attire and dress shoes but I still got my skills :D Then on saturday we had a sports day with the youth in the branch. We always play futbol. As we were playing, I triped kinda hard hurt my ankle. Thomas kinda kicked it when I fell, but not on purpose, so my ankle doesn't feel so great to walk on. But it's feeling a lot better now, I bought some sports tape and have it rapped so it feels better with that on. Then on sunday, president and sister dance came down to klaipeda again. It was so much fun having them here again and we had interviews with president Dance after. I believe that this was the best interview I have had with him so far on my mission. We had such a good conversation and he gave me some great invitations of how I can become a better missionary and find the prepared people. He thanked me so warmly for helping Elder Hyer. He said he has changed so much since he has been with me and is so much more happier about the work. He said I had such a great gift of loving the people i'm with and find such great joy in making other people happy. That really meant a lot to me. He said a lot that was so amazing. I wrote it all in my journal which btw is almost finished. I might need another one sent out but i'm sure I can find a notebook or something if you can't get one soon. Just let me know. Then after church as we were on the bus home, I lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we were jehovah witnesses. I said I wasn't and that I was a missionary and told her a little about our church. She seemed interested, especially cause she at first thought my first name was Vyresnysis. haha. Her and I talked for a while and she was so amazed at how I was from America and could understand and speak lithuania. :D I gave her a book of mormon and she insisted that I write down our number so she could meet with us and her daughter. Her daughter is  J.W. so that's how we kinda started talking. She was so nice to me and I look forward to meeting with them. I saw a couple of kids on the bus who used to come to the english class in Klaipeda but haven't come in a while. I went over and talked to them. The girl smiled way big when I waved and came over to them and the kid gave our inside joke peace sign hahaha. I love the teenagers here so much. I wish I could just go hang out with them for a week. So ya haha, there's my huge paragraph of what happened this past week :D
You'll have to take some pics of parker when he starts playing baseball. I really want to see what he looks like when he plays. :D People always say that I am so good with little kids and I laugh and say it's because I have an awesome little brother who "trained" me. I always say the coolest kid I have ever known is my best buddy, Parker Boy. :D We will have so much fun playing and hanging out when I'm home.
Here's a really random note but my face has been like beard crazy. I could normally shave with a razor and be good for a couple of days but now I have to shave everyday. I used to think it was so cool to have to shave with a razor, now it's more of a hassel. But at least my face looks good after haha. :D
I have really been getting so much out of my reading in the New Testament. I will have moments where I will just be studying 3 verses of what Christ taught and I will just go crazy looking up scriptures in the bible and the bible dictionary and then I write my thougths and ideas of what I learn in my study journal. It's amazing how much personal revelation you can get from the scriptures. I can't believe I had them through my whole life and didn't realize how much I can get out of them if I just slowed down my reading, take time to take notes, and really study what i'm reading. It's amazing!
I will pray for mom's knee. I feel so bad for all the pain she has to be going through. I hope the surgery will work ok when she decides to get it. You will have to keep me updated on how she is doing and what new things she will have to do for it.
That's crazy about the YSA wards being made. It will be interesting to see what happens when I get home.
Well my beloved family, I have no more comments left to say about this great changing week. I pray for you often for you and I can never say thank you enough for all the love and support you give me. It means so much. I am always very excited to hear from you every week. I got mom's letter today so I will read that later on in the day. :D I'm jealous you guys get to go to Nebraska but It will be fun to hear from you while your there. I will ask President Dance about the call date being switched. If I'm not able to, plan a  time I could call comparative to times here. We will most likely be calling at night again between 8-10 P.M. here. Let me know next week. Have a great week and say hi to everyone for me.

Email from James - April 11, 2011

Hello family,
Ya so we went to the school again but Augustinas wasn't able to meet. He left before we got a chance to talk to him. That made us a little worried but we are still going to try and meet with him. That's way cool about that find in Bordeaux. I really want to find a solid person like that. As of right now, we have no new investigators so it's gets a little hardsome but we keep trying.
That's way crazy that Anna already went to her first highschool dance. Her group looks pretty fun, well they are all from drama so i'm sure everyone enjoyed their group even if the weren't in it. I hope she had a fun time. I still remember my first dance very well.
Geez your work didn't sound fun at all. I'm sorry you had to work that much. That's awesome you are saying that family time and your health are more important than working. Haha I loved the quote by Indiana Jones. :D I am quite known among the mission for being the movie guru. I always quote movie scenes and stuff. Ofcourse that will probably end once the new missionaries start coming in starting next transfer and they will have seen all the new movies that are out and we will have no idea what they are talking about :D
Ya the weather here isn't too great either. Thankfully no snow but it has been raining pretty much everday and it's pretty cold. We were finally hoping to play some basketball today but it's raining so we can't.
It has been fun to read over the stuff I wrote in my journal a year ago from when I first went into the MTC. It feels like yesterday when I wrote that. It's crazy to say to myself that was a year ago. Time doesn't really seem that big when your on a mission. It does at first, like when you first enter the MTC, but once it gets going, you don't even notice how fast time slips by.
Conference was amazing! I loved every part about it. You will for sure have to get me an ensign. I took a ton of notes while watching. I learned so much and it gave me an added boost to make this last year of my mission really count. If you do send one, can you put that paper cover on it, the last ensign has some water damage on it and I don't want a nice general conference ensign to get ruined. :D It was funny to see conference on saturday all nice and warm looking and then on sunday, snow. Crazy utah weather. It was sad that less people showed up to watch conference at church then show up to actual church on sunday. There were so many things that would be so good for this branch to hear. Thankfully we will be able to go over them in preisthood throughout the year.
I'm excited for you to go to Omaha soon. That will be a lot of fun. Grandma sounds really excited for all of you to go over. She told me that when grandpa went in to get a root canal, they dentist is LDS and they were talking about me. So now when grandpa comes in, the dentist alway aks how I am doing and what not. That's so cool! I'm not sure what we will do for easter here. We will have to make something tasty. We had mashed potatoes, brokoli, and some really good chicken yesterday that was really yummy. :D
I forgot to say that I finished the Book of Mormon again for our mission wide reading. Oh it was so so good and I got a lot out of it. It has been fun to look over what I wrote down in my study journal. Personal Revelation is such an amazing thing. So now i'm reading the Book of Mormon over again in Lithuanian. It has been so cool cause I can read it and understand what it's saying. I love learning this language and the Lord has truly helped me a lot. I am also reading the New Testament and that has been really neat because I have never read it before. It has been a real big help in helping me to truly feel and know my Savior.
Well nothing else to report this week. Hopefully this week will be a little better than the last. We only had one lesson last week and that was it. A lot of it was caused cause we didn't have a lot of time with conference and having to watch conference and what not. I'll be excited to hear from you next week. I love you all so much
         su daug meilų,

Mission Pictures - Klaipeda 2011

Here are some pics of when we went to the beach and other pics :D

Attempting a Rocky picture running on the beach but Elder Hyer jumped at something and I couldn't stop laughing.

My vokda bottle full of sand. Maybe I should send a letter this way and see which was is faster. :D

A cool missionarizied pic I took. Looks perfect for an Ensign haha.

Sometimes the washing machine jumps around so much we have to sit on it.

Taking a nice stroll through Laisves Aleja after zone conference.
Or a good boy band cd cover.

Email from James - April 4, 2011

Aulo Brangai Šiemai,
So transfers...... I'm still in beloved Klaipeda. :D I'm still with Elder Hyer and Elder Hengst and Elder Nelson are still here too. But, we got a russian speaking missionary here. He is in a three way companionship with the other elders. It's way funny cause they just moved to a new apt, and it is way way small for all three of them. haha. But i'm so happy i'm still here. I love it here so so much. Thomas, the only young man in the branch who is 18 and i'm way good friends with, was so so happy I was still here. He was flipping out, he kept saying, " Yes your still here!!!!" It made me happy to hear that :D
The weather has been so so nice. Today it's a bit cloudy and windy but it's still feels nice outside. All the members and us were so happy that spring is finally coming. Yesterday it was up to 18C and it was sunny and so beautiful. We are probably going to finally not have to wear our coats this week which I am so excited for. 
We found a flipping sweet new investigator, we thought we would have 3 by the end of this week but we got shanked from two of the lessons. But our new inv. is a kid who is about 18 or 19. His name is Augustinas. I will explain how we know him. There is a girl in my english class who I am way good friends with, her name is Erika. She asked if we could come out to her school to teach the kids that go to her school cause they can't make it out to english. They live out in a sweet sweet village outside of klaipeda called kretinga. I love it out there so much. So I talked with the zone leaders and they said we could as long as there was a good opportunity to share the gospel. Well it defenitely is cause no one out there has heard or seen us or even heard of the church. So we have been going out there and having small english lessons with a bunch of the youth out there for a while. It's so much fun and they are all the coolest kids ever. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a missionary so I could just go and hang out will all them for a while. So Augustinas is one of the kids that comes and he didn't seem that interested in what we had to say about what we do as missionaries. Well that all changed this past friday, After the fun english lesson, he came up to us and asked how he can become a missionary like we do. He said he really wants to start growing up and things. We were so surprised that he would want to do that. We explained what you have to do but most importantly, you have to believe what you teach. He understood and we had an awesome first lesson with him. He notices so much wrong in the catholic church in their village and said so many things that highlight truths of the gosepl. We were so thrilled to teach him. He drove us back to klaipeda with erika and we showed him around the church and he really liked it. When we showed him the baptismal font, he looked very interested. It was awesome. We are going back up there this friday. Funny thing too, we have been so popular at this school, cause quote, " we are two, good looking americans who want to come all the way out here to help the kids learn english better". They love having us come, so we are going to be in the newspaper. They want journalists to come and write about us and how it's so cool americans are out at their school haha. :D I will get a copy of it and show it to you when i'm home. I'm hoping it will be good way for our work to get more published and teh public to see us and know what we do. Hopefully it will spark an intersest.
We went to the beach last week. Oh my gosh it was so much fun. The waves were huge and we just acted like kids running up to the waves and running back. I found a glass bottle, well old vodka bottle :D, and but sand and shells and stuff in it so it will be cool to have after the mission. I will send pics next week. It was a blast and it was so pretty to see.
Tell mom HAPPY BIRTHDAY. (SU GIMIMA DIENA). Give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and tell her I love her so much. BTW when is mother's day. We were trying to figure it out but we can't remember. Thanks so much for sending the pics. I loved them.
Oh man yes, the year mark is this week! That's crazy, I still can't believe how fast time is going by. crazy crazy crazy. That's all I have to say.  Nothing else to report except that I love it here so much and I love lietuva, the lithuanian langugage, the people, everything here. I know when I will have to leave, I'm going to cry. I'm going to miss it here so badly, especially Klaipeda. This has been the greatest area.
I love you all so much and always look forward to hearing from you. Tell everyone hi for me.
             Su daug mielų,

Email from James - March 28, 2011


Oh my gosh, Eric Schofield's mission is already over! Wow it was literaly like yesterday I was at his farewell. You got to go say hi to him and tell him I say hi. I was wondering how close he was to being back home. That is so cool. And travis is going to the big Monastary Missionary Training Center. hahaha That's what Elder Hengst and I have titled it as. We always talk about our frustrating and crazy days in the MTC whenver we are together. :D It seriously felt like a Monastary. I don't feel so bad for travis, cause he will only have to be there for 3 weeks. He will do good. I'm excited to email him.
Oh stake conference. District Conferences here are so awesome cause we all travel to usually Kaunas and everyone from Lithuania is there. It's going to be a lot more fun now that I know more of the members really well. We had District Conference yesterday and that was really fun. We had the District Presidency come and speak and the branch president, Donatis Blinduruk, ( the one I called eminem, well now me and him call eatchother white cracker :D So when I call him he answers "what up craker) Haha he's hillarious. He gave a really good talk though and I really enjoyed it. There is a member who is lives in Vilnius and he is in the District Presidency and he has the coolest accent. He talks so so so so so so fast in lithuanian. I can truthfully and honestly say, I understood everything he said and what everyone said at church and it was the greatest feeling in my whole life. I am getting this language. That is why time is flying so fast cause before, everday, I would be learning about the language or having to use my langauge and teach a lesson but now, I don't even think about the languge. I honestly enjoy it and love learning more and more. I study only from the Lithuanian PMG and the " white missionary handbook". I love this country, the people, and the language so much. Elder Hyer is funny about it. He doesn't like learning the language so much cause it's hard for him. So he doesn't speak much lithuanian to the youth members or that much to the members. We have been trying to help him, Elder Hengst and I, but he gets upset. Ha ha! He will get it, I know it. He just has to be serious about learning the language. Another funny story
When I was on exchanges with Elder Nelson,We talked to this way nice lady the other night. She was pretty old. When she opened the door and saw us, she said," oh what beautiful boys." I laughed and said thank you and told her who we are and what we do. She said," I know about your church and your "bible" and i'm sorry boys but I don't need it." I began to tell her it wasn't another bible and that it was the book of mormon and that it's comparible and goes along with the bible. She smiled big as I was talking and said I had a beautiful smile and then asked where I was from. I wondered if she had even heard what I said. I laughed and said I was from America. She then opened her eyes really big and said, " how did you learn to speak lithuanian so well?" I laughed and thanked her and said just by talking with people everday. :D She didn't end up letting us talk to her more but that made me smile the rest of the night just by how nice she was.
I've really enjoyed your stories dad. It really means a lot to me. It truly strengthens my testimony and rekindles that fire to keep going. Thanks so much for sharing those. :D I really look up to you a lot and truly want to be like you. I'm really excited as " the stories" continue through the emails. Ugh, when you said the next 58 emails, I couldn't believe it. Time goes too fast. I don't like it. I thought everyone was lying when they said the two years flies by. I used to think, how could that be, it's TWO YEARS, but it does. It really hit me when I told someone how long I had been on my mission. They were like, "WOW, almost a year. That's crazy". I never thought how extreme that can sound to people cause a year is a pretty long time when you think about it, but it hasn't seem like that long. I think back and say to myself, about this time, I was geting ready to go, my farwell would be this sunday and then I would be off. :D It's crazy. Can you believe that we went to conference a year ago right before I left and now the April Conference is here again?
So we turned our clocks ahead sunday so you're back to 9 hours behind. Ha Ha. You had a few weeks of feeling special. :D jk
Transfer calls are tomorrow and I have a good feeling I might be leaving. We have a few guesses and I have a feeling where it might be. Elder Nelson thinks I'm going to Šauliai. That would be cool. It's a way small city and only two elders serve there. :D I think District Mettings would get pretty lonely. Elder Hengst is set up to train here so Elder Nelson probably won't transfer til the next transfer. We are getting three new misisonaries next transfer. I'm so excited :D Next email I will let you know what happens.
I did spend some money and i'm sorry. I knew how much I had so I didn't go over. Be patient with my weaknesses. I am trying to be better and I won't spend more. I am trying, truly I am.
I love you all so much and I can't thank you enough for all the love and help you give me so I can be out here. I love this gospel so much and I am so so happy to be serving a mission. Just think, we will be talking on the phone again very soon :D
     Su daug mielų,

Email from James - March 21, 2011

Hello from still cold Lietuva,
I'm glad you got to go see President Christensen at Stake Conference. He sounds really cool and I'm sure he gave way good talks. I am going to literally pass out when I go to a stake conference when I'm home cause there will be so many people. I will probably pass out just from seeing the ward. All the members in Lietuva don't even get halfway through the chapel. I am so accustomed to small numbers coming to church that my mind can't even grasp how many people come to church each sunday.
Wow, Anna's big 16 is finally here. That's really weird to think about how she's in highschool, driving, now she can date, ....kaistas.
So this has been a very hard but good week. So the beginning of the week, it was very depressing. We lost two investigators and no one was letting us in and it was starting to wear on us. Monday and tuesday were very depressing days, and that was going throughout us 4 missionaries. District Meeting made it worse cause we had nothing to talk about and we couldn't think of any spiritual things to really talk about cause we were so down about not having anything and not finding anyone. We were pretty low. We compared it to the scene in the First Lord of the Rings where Boromir is getting shot with the arrows at the end. That's pretty much how we were feeling. We got shot with an arrow. We fall but we get up and keep fighting then we get slammed with another arrow right to the chest. We struggle to keep fighting until the last arrows gives a deathly strick to the chest and as he did in the movie, flings his head back with a deathly groan and falls to his knees cause he can't go on. Ya... that was exactly how we were feeling. Until we noticed something. We have been watching PMG Dvds which show real missionaires teaching and stuff. Pres. Dance wanted us to watch the ones on planning. Before, I thought my plannings were...ok. Not great, but not bad. I took notes as we watched and I learned so much at how I can be better and build my faith and testimony in finding. In their daily and weekly planning, they are constantly accounting to the Lord. That hit me cause that is a Heavenly Law. I noticed I was accounting to the Lord at all. We would pray but I noticed that they weren't even that personal. So, we had a majorly different and very good weekly planning. I truly believe the best one I have ever had thus far on my mission. We set really good goals, not just weekly goals, but we have been setting goals to get throughout the day which has given a sort of challenge to each day instead of just watching the time go by til we can eat. It felt like we were really praying to God for Heavenly Help as we told what we had to work with, what we had, what we wanted to achieve, and how we needed His help to get there. It's been great. Unfortunately, the darn but great blessiong, free agency, takes a major part in missionary work so we haven't seen any fruits yet but we know they will come. It's really hard having faith here but I am learning more and more what it means to build my faith on a solid foundation and I can see i'm building my foundation for after my mission so I will be solid in the Faith. This is the last week of the transfer and I have a feeling it's going to be a real hooorah week. :D I have been sick these past few days, elder hyer a little too, so we haven't been going out as long. I really hope it goes away cause it's terrible being sick as a missionary. I have been drinking lots of herbal tea and praying that it will pass. I really hate being sick.
So other than that, nothing really new to report. I do want to ask something though. We used to have the Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration movie here but we had to get rid of it cause it was burned. So we didn't legally own it. We loved watching it and it is such a faith builder. So I was wondering if you could get me a copy of the Jospeh Smith movie, the one they play at the memorial building. I know that they sell it now and I would love to have that movie so much. We used to watch it on lunch breaks and I also want to show it to our english class. If you could that would be so awesome. :D
Keep praying for the hearts to be softened here. We have also been praying, as it says in the scrips, for the people "who know not God". We really want to find people and especially me as my year mark is almost here. I have never had a solid investigator my whole mission and at times it really makes me sad. I try to keep a positive attitude about it and realize that it's in the Lords time and I just have to keep working but it makes me sad still. Thank you so much for putting my name into the temple and praying for me. It truly means a lot and it does help.
I love you all so much and I pray for you everyday. On a cool note, we are taking a ferry out to the peninsula where some cool sand dunes are and where we can go to the beach on the Baltic Ocean. It's pretty cold but we are going anyways cause we wanted to go last week but it started to rain and it was very cold. I am so excited cause I haven't been there yet. I will take lots of pics and show them to you. :D
      su daug meilu,
               V. Džemsas Sanfordas

Email from James - March 14, 2011

Hahah I don't have anything green so I don't know what i'm going to do for thursday (St. Patrick's Day). They don't celebrate that here, surprisingly cause we are closer to Ireland, so I think I will be ok.
So far we haven't had to change the clocks yet but I think we will soon. Who knows. I know they do change clocks here cause we did last fall.
Wow it's already two weeks til general conference. That's way weird. Ugh time is going by so so fast. :D It feels like it wasn't that long ago when we all went to conference before I went into the MTC.
I love cooking a ton. We are going to make sort of pigs in a blanket this week so that will be exciting. :D cooking is just way fun.
So yesterday, I had to teach elders quorum. So I spent a long time writing out in lithuanian what I wanted to say and scruiptures and what not. Hahaha I got through not even half of my lesson. Elders quorum here is more like a debate room or they don't say anything at all when i ask questions. It's not as bad here as it is in Kaunas but they get on stupid tangents and what not. But for the most part it was really good. It was a good practice for my lithuanian to teach in front of a group for about 45 minutes. I had fun. One of the senior missionaries was there and he said it was cool to watch me teach in another language. :D
We had an investigator/ well sort of investigator/ come to church. She is an english class student that we have been friends with for a long time. We were able to teach a first lesson. I let Elder Hyer lead most of it cause he could speak english with her cause she is very fluent in english and he has a hard time speaking in lithuanian. It went pretty good. She kinda thought it was too much. Apparently, she was upset with elder hyer cause she said when he is normal he is good to be around but when he taught, it wasn't him. It made elder hyer a litle upset. He just said, dumb girls and their dumb drama. hahaha we had a good laugh about it. She came to church and said she liked it. Well she said she like the fun youth class but sacrament meeting was kinda boring. Hahaha she said in a joking way that we sound so cute when we speak lithuanian. lol So I learned I sound cute when I talk to people hahah. I don't know if I should take that as a complement or as an insult.
I was also going to ask you dad,
I want to know more about your conversion to the gospel. All I know is that you took lessons and then you decided that it was true and then you were baptized. I would really like to know more about your conversion story. I would really like that and also I would love to hear stories from your mission. Like I don't even know if you had any baptisms, struggles on your mission, stuff like that. You can tell me stories here and there or however you want but I would really like to know more about that :D
I don't think I can say thank you enough for all the love and support you all give me. It means so much and it will be such a great day when I can give you all a big hug and say how much I love you all. :D Have an awesome week and pray for the lithuanian people cause they are the greatest to me and I love them so much. :D
              su miele,
                  V. Sanfordas