Email from James - August 22, 2011

Before I forget, you asked about which small scripture I was talking about. There are some kind that I really like that a lot of missionaries have. They look just like the small hymnbooks, like the one I took with me on my mission and they are the same size as them. The pages have the gold on the side and the leather cover is black. The Bible and the Triple aren't conectted which I like. If you could get those kind that would be really nice to have. The big quad is big to cary around to zone conferences and district meetings. Plus those are easier to read while traveling. :D Just let me know what you think. Transfers aren't until the 20th sometime of September so there's still plenty of time. The MTC had a mix up or something so they are getting all the missions aligned so this transfer is an extra week long.

I can't wait to have those fun nights where the family all get together again. I can't wait to see them all again. I miss good ol american BBQ's. Especially big grills and some nice steak with A1 sauce. Man, i'm making my mouth water. But for now, I really like Šalti Baršai and Cepeliniai with a nice cold can of Gira. Yum :D Hahah grandpa and his swap meets. I think he would go crazy here with the Turgus' here. You can find anything at a really cheap price. They are a lot of fun to go to because you never know what you are going to find. 

I hope the buying of a van works out and that you can find a way to sell the Mazda. It always makes me smile whenever I see a mazda like yours drive by. I can say that I am so tired of seeing European cars. They all look the same. It literally is like looking down the road and seeing: Audi Audi Audi Audi Audi BMW Bmw Audi Audi Honda, Audi Audi , crapy Ford small car you would never see in America, Audi Audi Audi. Haha :D We go crazy if we see some big car like a truck or something cause you never see big suped up trucks or really trucks at all. 

We had a pretty hard week this past week in finding. We have been really working with the all of the members. That literally means everyone. Active, less active, inactive, whatever. We are meeting with everyone. We set a goal at zone conference to meet all the members of each missionary's area by Oct. I'm excited. We meet with about ten members who haven't been to church in a while, including the old Branch President who hasn't come to church in a long time. That was a pretty intense lesson, well it was more just nerve racking before we got there, but once we came in and started talking it was really good. It was a bit of a strange leson. Not sure what to say about it, but I can tell you more after the mission. Him and his wife were really nice to us and said that their door is always open to us. We only found one new investigator this past week and that was yesterday. She had met with missionaries a long time ago and had an older translation of the book of mormon. She was really nice and we talked about Bapism, cause the good missionaries who found her invited her to baptism in the first lesson, and she says she does't want to change but she said it would be interesting to find out what we say is true. 

One member here, who is one of my greatest friends here, came back from his work trip in Norway. He left my first transfer here so I already knew him pretty well. He was baptized when he was younger and is now wondering if the church is true or not. He has been struggling with his testimony for a while and wants to get an answer. He is such a cool guy and I love him a ton. He loves meeting with us and just talking and having us help him find his answer and his testimony. He is a very deep thinker and I think he just thinks to much. I know how he feels cause it was hard to get my testimony back and to keep it strong. I bore my testimony and told him about how you told me one day. It was that day when I was having a hard time finding my testimony and I was talking to you about it. You told me simply, " I think you have a testimony". I thought about that for a long time after and it made me just stop and look at where i'm at. Why am I going to church? Why do I read the Book of Mormon? Why did I go on a mission? Why do I want to keep changing every day? 
I had to have that reminder this past week to stop and look at myself and see how I could change. I could feel my spirit and my testimony was weeking this past week. It was a pretty hard week to keep going and my studies were loosing their meaning. One of my weaknesses is putting down my pride and realizing I knew God's help at all times and simply put his turst in him. It is something I am constantly working on. It took up til Sunday night to really talk to God. I had to really stop and look at myself and say, " God, what do I need to do for you to become what I need to be". Then he answers when we lower our pride and show Him, that we truly need his Help. The thought came to my head that one of my comps said a while back that is now a quote in my Preach My Gospel. It is, " Never be comfortable where you are at, always be improving". I knew I hadn't been studying the best I could that past week and that I can be better than how I was. One quote that is from me that I had come to my head last winter, which is also in my Preach My Gospel, is " God gives us trials to help us become our full potential, it's how we use those trials that determine what we will become".  I am so grateful that God has such great patience with me. It's hard to change, but it is possible. I am so excited for this week and i'm really going to try to make this week a great one and work as hard as I can. It is so true what you said. We are constantly becoming desciples of Christ as we change ourselves and then help others change. It's such a great blessing and a great responsibility. 

As always, thank you so much for all you do for me. I don't think I day goes by when I don't think how blessed I am to have the family that I have. You are my greatest joy and I love you all so much. We are tuly blessed for all that we have. We have so many great blessings and I see them more and more as I serve here among peole who have nothing. These people have been through some of the hardest things that none of us could ever imagine going through. This culture is the true russian culture, every man for himself. It breaks my heart to ask someone how they are doing and constantly hear,  " terrible". They look at what's bad in life, but not about the good. It's a great joy to be able to smile and tell people that they can find happiness. We get a lot of no's  or that we don't know what we are talking about. But I can look them in the eye and say that I know. I'm not perfect but I know God loves me and he loves you. It's a great blessing to have the knowledge that we have. Don't overlook the small blessings that we have. :D 

Makes this week a great week.
            Love always,

Email from James - August 16, 2011

We had zone konference yesterday so that is why I didn't email yesterday. Don't worry, I am still alive and well. :D It was a lot of fun. We got to go down to Kaunas and see everyone again. I love zone konferences so so much and they are such a spiritual strengthener and really boost you up and make you want to be better. It was so awesome to see Elder Erickson again. We acted like we hadn't seen eachother in years. He ran up to me and gave me a huge hug and said how much he misses me and all my funny moments and my acting. Haha. It's really crazy though. Around the whole world for all missions, the First Presidency wants every companionship to have a small DVD player so we can watch the PMG DVDs more often so we can learn a lot more from them. So we all got small little DVD players so that will be fun to use. I was a little tired yesterday because yesterday was a holiday here so they only bus that left from Šiauliai was at 6 and we had to get up at 4 to get ready to go. So that was a blast. I slep a little on the bus ride but not to much. It was so foggy that morning then it cleared up a bit and it was so pretty with the sun shinning through the fog onto the beautiful midevil land of Lietuva. Ah I love it here so much. I'm so blessed to be a Baltic Missionary and in Lietuva speaking this ancient language. 

I'm so happy i'm still in Šiauliai too. The branch president is way close to us here and he is way funny. We had to go down to Vilnius to get Elder Kezele's visa stuff done and we went out to eat with the branch president because he lives in Vilnius and every saturday he travels up to Šiauliai for sundays. He's so great. 

We found a great lady this week who came to church and became really good friends with some of the members which was a real miracle. I really hope that she can find out that the church is true. She is in her late 20s and has a daughter but she isn't married. Her parent are pretty against the church but she doesn't care. She would be such a great help to this branch so much. 

I had a fun day at church. I had to teach Preisthood Quorum and I taught about the Book of Mormon and it's importance for us in our day. It was a really good lesson and a lot of fun to teach in LIthaunian. 

We don't have a lot of time to email today so it's a little short but just know that I had a great week last week. We have been working really hard and I can feel the Lord is blessing us for our obedience and for our hard work in helping his children come back to him. I love this gospel with my whole soul and I thank God everyday that I am blessed to be on a mission. I wouldn't have been able to have this change into the person I need to be if I hadn't gone on a mission. Thank you so much for all the help you give to me and all the love and support. I can't wait to hear from you next week. 

                 su meile visada,

Email from James - August 8, 2011

Oh Kęstutis. We aren't really sure what to do with him any more. I love meeting with him and we have literally taught him everything. He has been meeting with the missionaries for about 8 years. He had this problem before but he brought it up again that he really wants a missionary to baptize him. The rule still stands that members need to do the baptizing here so we explained that to him, which we have done so many times in the past. He says he just has a great feeling that he needs to be baptized by a missionary, which he takes to believe is from God. We explained how God wants him to be baptized and how revelation through leaders works, that the mission president receives revevelation from God on how the work needs to be run here. He said he understands and has nothing against the rule but that is just how he feels. It was a good lesson but he isn't progressing. He said he would pray about it. He didn't come to church again so we aren't sure what more we can do because he really isn't progressing. I think he just really wants to be baptized by a missionary but still doesn't realize that baptism is more than just being baptize by a misionary. I could go on and on because we have taught him all that but you get the point. haha. Just a little side note: Thank you so much for fasting for Kęstutis. That meant a lot and I know you are helping so much. But, i'm not sure why but the Lord has said that families aren't supposed to have special fasts at home for our investigators. So if I mention an investigator, your kinda not supposed to fast for them. You can pray for them ofcourse but your not really supposed to fast for our investigators. As a mission president would say and as i'm saying to you, if you have questions see the Handbook. Obey with exactness!!! Wo!! :D

So transfers came and i'm still in Šiauliai. Elder Erickson left to go to Klaipeda, which we were both pretty sad about. Elder Lindell is still here and now Elder Kezele is with us. He was with Elder Erickson in the MTC so he is pretty new too. He has already been really fun to be with. The work still goes on here but it's been pretty hard to find people to teach. All of our really solid investigators have dropped us and we don't really have a baptismal date anymore. It's kinda downing but you just keep going I gues. It's all in the Lord's time and he knows what is best. 

Nothing really happened this week. Other than transfers, it was a pretty dull week. haha sorry this email is kinda boring. Haha yesterday for lunch, I made pankakes and I found some chocolate chips to put in them. Great idea right? Well since it was fast sunday and we were at the church for a bit longer working on cleaning up all of the problems with the finances we have to do, I wasn't really using my head. So without thinking, I made the batter for the pankakes perfectly and then dumped the whole bag of chocolate chips into the mix. Hahah I started laughing a I mixed them in because it then clicked in my head how much I had just put in to the mix. Well they were quite chocolately, but they still tasted good. :D Hahah oh sometimes I wish I could just film parts of my mission when I'm not thinking straight. 

I was wondering if you could do a little favor. Whenever mom decides to send a package with my journals that I need, haha, do you think maybe you could send a small Book of Mormon and D&C, like the pocket size. and if you see one maybe the bible too. That would be so handy and some missionaries have them and I love them so much because all I have is my quad and they are kinda a pain to carry around sometimes. Just a small favor I thought I would ask while I remembered. :D

I'm excited to see pics from this fun camping trip your going on with Parker. That will be a lot of fun. I can't believe he is already starting school. How the time goes by. I'm glad to hear that Anna is coping with her insulin shot thing. To me, it sounds pretty gruesome having a thing in your stomach. She's tough though and I know she can handle anything. Like I always say but it's always straight from my heart, thank you so much for all that you do for me and helping me as I'm here. I love you all so much and you are all great examples to me. I ate one of the beloved boxes of Velvetta shells and cheese the Lambournes gave to me. It was a night I needed it, this week hasn't been so great for me, but that happenes, and it made me very happy inside so you will have to thank them for that. :D Those are like gold to me and I only eat them on very special occasions :) Have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you next week.

                        su daug meilų,

Email from James - August 1, 2011

Svieki kaip visada ;D

I am beginning this email with a funny joke:
So there was a Bishop and his two counselors on an island and it seemed as if there was no way to get off. They found a lamp and a genie came out of it and said he would give them one wish each. It seemed almost too good to be true. They could easily get off the island this way. So, the second counselor said, " Hmmm, well I think I wish that I was with my son up at his scout camp". Poof, he was gone. The first counselor said, " I'm not quite sure, I think I wish I was with my family right now at home." Poof, he was gone. It was now the Bishop's turn. He sat there and thought for a while and said, " Boy, i'm not sure. This is quite a tough one. I wish my counselors were here right now."  

Haha well I hope that made you smile. :D It's cheesey I know but it was funny to us while harvesting for a while.

Ya tell me about it, I can't believe it is already August. I don't know if you know, the transfer just ended as of yesterday and I am currently in my 11th transfer and there are only 16 tranfsfers in the field. Time is REALLY going by and it makes me sad and yet more and more determined to fight as hard as I can til the end and continually look at myself and see how I can improve. I have a lot of personal goals for the transfers and I am excited to see what this next transfer will bring. Transfer calls will be this week so I will let you know what happens. We are only getting two new missionaries this week and they are two sisters. 

That's fun to hear about you and your fun bike ride. I think rode bikes are way cool. Ha really random but during church, there was a big bike race going on outside so all of a sudden a police car went flying by saying to keep the roads clear and then all of these bikers came zooming by the church. It was cool. Ha, ah man my bike got stollen. Tai negerai. :/ Well hopefully we can find anotherone for college cause that's probably what I will be riding for a vehicle for a while. haha. 

That's crazy to hear that they are already talking about next year's youth conference. Eh I don't want to hear I will be home by then. I will still be here haha. :D Those ideas for an EFY thing or the raft activity sound really cool. I agree with both too. Hearing all of the missionaires fun trips to EFY when they were younger makes me wish I would have gone to some. Eh maybe I will be an EFY counselor or something. That would be fun. That's really crazy to hear that you may or may not be the bishop next summer. That would be weird to come back and see you sitting in the audience at my homecoming. I hope you can still be the bishop when you get home. That would be a real cool experience. Get set out by my dad and then return back with my dad as the bishop. I guess we will just have to see what the Lord has in store. 

Tell Brother McDermott hi for me. He's way cool. Whenever people say hi for me just tell them I say hi back as a temporary recording hi until I can get home and say hello back to them. Haha that was super random though. I can't wait to be back and be able to thank people in person and tell everyone about my mission and all the great experiences I am having. 

OOO I'm very glad to hear that Bro. Bean still wants me to be on the team next year for Ragnar. I really want to run that next year. I am also very excited to hear that you want to do it too. That would be so much fun to have you on the team. :D That's way cool to hear also that Dallas is on the Bingham Cross Country team. I can't believe he is in highschool too. 

My tooth is doing fine. It hasn't been bothering me. I figure I can make it tell I go home to get it checked. 

So quite a full week this past week. I shall rehearse for you:

The funniest thing happened to me that has never happened to me in my whole life. So we were harvesting for a long time and we were coming out of a dome stairwell and I had to check something in my planner. So I open it up and begin looking. I felt something hit my shoulder and figured it was a rain drop from a tree cause it has just poured a few minutes before. So I glance over expecting it just to be wet, well it wasn't water. I had been hit by a bird poop. Haha oh man I couldn't believe it. It landed right on my shoulder.  I went over to be big puddle and tried to wipe it off carefully but it smeared it pretty good. It was a joke and we couldn't stop laughing. I wiped it off a lot with the water from the puddle but it didn't turn out too good. It looked pretty funny but thankfully it came out when I put it through the wash.

As for Kęstutis' baptism. We had a lesson with him and gave him a blessing because he was pretty nervous about his baptism. It was a real good blessing and he said it made him feel better. We picked out a baptismal jump suit and we got all ready. His baptism was on sunday morning before church cause that was the only time he could. We planned on having breakfast at the church after with him and with president chomskis. He didn't want anyone to come cause he says he wants it more private. I will explain that all when i'm home. He is way funny. :D So saturday night he said he was fine and ready  and happy. Well we get up early sunday morning and I began making crepes for breakfast. Just the batter. There was a ton. Well we get a txt and he said, sorry I can't come today. That was it. We tried calling him and sending him txts but he didn't reply. It was a little bit of a bummer cause we really thought we were finally going to get him baptized but he didn't come again. So the baptism didn't happen but we are going to keep working with him. He's such a great guy and we would do anything for him.

Yesterday, Irina, one of the members here was really sick. She couldn't even sit up. I think it was a reaction from a sergery she had and she didn't look so great. So after church we went over to give her the sacrament and then to give her the blessing. I gave the blessing after the annointing. That was a really powerful experience for me. It was a little nerve racking at first cause it is in lithuanian but I just realized I had to just really on the spirit and I would be given what to say. It was amazing. I didn't have any worries right as we put our hands on her head. The spirit was so strong and I could feel the Lord working through us. The words came without thinking to my head and I know it was exactly what she needed to hear. That really helped me so much. I felt such a new fire and energy for the work after that blessing. That was my first time giving someone a blessing in Lithuanian.

I'm excited to see what's going to happen this transfer. Who I will be with, how I can improve, what the Lord has in store, who I can find, and how I can better serve the Lord. I am so blessed to serve here. I love the people here so much with all my heart and I can't believe how many blessing I have received from Heavenly Father. He knows me and he knows how I can help people here. As it says in Corinthians, " The Lord takes the weak things and makes them strong". 

I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all the help you provide to me. I can never pay you back for all you do for me. Have a great week.

                   su daug meilų visada ir per amžius,