Email from James - June 7, 2011

Hey dad, 

Talk about a very awesome and changing week. 

First off, I went on a way fun exchange with Elder Falk, who is russian speaking. We went to their apt. in Vilnius so I got to serve there for a little bit. The travel time to get down there from Šiauliai took off a lot of the time so that was a bummer cause the exchange seemed way shorter. We still had a lot of fun together. He is such a cool elder and we had a lot of fun learning from eachother and just chatting. He says he will plan a longer exchange for us to do later :D We ran in the morning through the streets of Vilnius, right in center where all the big catherdrals are. There was no one out so it was really fun. :D I love running so much and it will be so great when I will have more time to do it. 

Second, we had two of our investigators come to church which was so so great. They both have baptismal dates and it was so great to see them come to church. One has been meeting with missionaries for a while and has been struggling to keep church attendance so it was really good to see him at church. The other, we found and have meet with for only a week but he is pretty cool. His date is for July 2nd. I hope he will keep it and find out that the church is true and enter into the covenant of baptism.

The MTC group we flew out with a year later in Riga where we started.

Oh my gosh that was so so good. It was such a beautiful day and it was so cool to see all the missionaries from all the Baltic States together. It was even greater so see Elder Adams and Alder from the MTC. We were like little kids when we say eatchother. We just talked and laughed so much. The meeting itself was so so amazing. A real spiritual feast. President Clayton, from the presidency of the seventy, and President Lawrence, from the second quorum of the seventy, and their wives spoke to us. They had spent the week with President Dance and they got to spend some time in the Baltics and see around the mission. It was such an amazing conference and as they said to us, "it will be one that we will never forget". These type of conferences don't happen a lot in the mission field, especially when all the missionaries get together in the Eastern Europe Missions. I can't describe to you how powerful the spririt was in the conference. I took so many notes and received so much personal revelation that was truly many answers to my prayers. I can't describe it to you and you may not see it in person til I get home, but I will be making many great and important changes in myself and ever strive to become the person God wants me to become. They spoke a lot about making a change in ourselves and a lot more than just change, but it really was an answer to what I had been seeking from our Heavenly Father. I can forsee so many great changes that I will be making. Missions are just so great and I wouldn't ever trade this experience for the world. We got to shake their hands before the conference started and that was quite a treat.
After, President Clayton and Lawrence had to go with President Dance to go to a meeting with a gov. guy so they couldn't stay for the food after to chat with us. But, we had food after and got a long time to talk with all the missionaries and take pics. I talked to so many cool missionaries and one of the missionaries who serves in Estonia heard I was a XC runner from Bingham and so he found me and told me how he heard about me from the russian missionaries. We talked for a while and it was cool. He lives right by the Jordan River Temple. Seeing the elders from the MTC was so great. We talked about how crazy it was that it was a year ago we came into Riga for our first day in the field. It blows my mind that it has been A YEAR. I can still clearly remember my whole first day and how exciting and overwhelming it was. :D We took a pic all together of all of us who flew to Riga. I will send it. Note, I look smal because elder Alder to my right was on his toes and Elder Hilton is already way taller than me :D Just want to point that out. haha. It was so hard to say goodbye to them. I think we gave eatchother 5 hugs before we finally left. It was such a great experience to see everyone and see the other missionaries we know, like the russians who transfer through countries. It truly was a great strengthening. So So great, I can't describe it.

I'm sorry to hear that you aren't feeling good. I hope you get feeling better. The Lord has greatly blessed me for not getting sick at all in the field. Well only a few times but through the winter I didn't get sick which was a true miracle, especially being here. Drink lots of fluids and you will get better. Lithuanian juice is so so good. :D unfortunately I can't send any.

It's really cool that it is your Birthday this week. I remember when I was in the airport when I talked to all of you and wished you a happy b-day. Like I always say but it's true, it feels like it was yesterday. No lies in that missions just fly by before you know iit. Happy Birthday Dad!!! Su Gimima Diena, Tete! :D I hope you have a lot of fun with pizza or whatever you decide to eat. :D I'm a little jealous that you might be going to the pirates movie. :D They have the movie posters all over and it gets me very excited to see it, but I can live til then. It's funny how before I left, I worried about missing things, but now, they just don't matter all that much. Just the real things that matter most is what I miss the most. Like being with all of you, my family. Anyways, have a great B-Day dad and I am sending a virtual hug via email to you :)

So, I was thinking.. this is a little part of my whole change thing. I am really making studies a reall purpose rather than just a mission thing we have to do and it has been wonderful. I have been keeping a study journey when I study and I right down my thoughts and what I see for myself what I am learning. Great way to receive personal revelation, I hight recomend it. But it is also really wonderful to share what we learn with others and if I could I would in person share some of the things I have learned with you, but obviously I can't. But I think every email we should share one or a few things we have learned in our studies or in our everday lives that we have learned about gospel or seen Heavenly Father's blessing in our lives, things we have been working on, etc. It think this is such a great time not only for me to be learning and strengthening my testimony in the gospel and building a real foundation but we can also learn greatly and build from eatchother. I think it would be great to do me and you but also as a family. :D I haven't heard stories from you mission for a while either haha. Sorry I sound like s teacher. It can be a mix of both, some learning throughout week and some mission, whatever you want to do. I just truly think every week we should share what we have learned or restrengthened, you get what I mean. I regret thinking that I wasn't that open with you and mom when I was home and I really want to be as much as I can when I have the time to and now is perfect. Let me know what you think. I will be very excited to hear from you. Mom sends me emails to so she can send her own "spiritual learnings" :D

Just a little note, if you could, could you send two journals whenever you send a package. I am going to be better about writing more in my journals. If you could that would be awesome. :D
Also funny note, I realized that this is the fith week of this transfer, can you believe it, this tranfer is almost over already. We have zone conference next week and then the transfer will be over. Very crazy if you ask me :) Elder Erickson is already thrilled to finish his first transfer haha. He will still be with Elder Lindell cause he is technically his trainer and they have new training and they trainer and trainee are together for the first two tranfer to get the full training. I could leave but I probably won't. I hope not.
Anyways, have a great week and happy birthday again and know that I love you so much. 

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