Email from James - November 14, 2011

Sister Boswell just called and sang happy b-day for me and said how much her and president boswell love me, so that was a fun way to start off the day. :D I got myself a cool present I guess you could say. We got our shopping done this morning and they were having really good sales on some books and I have a card that gets half off of books. So I found the three musketeers in lithuanian. It's a huge book and they have a second one and they were only like 5-8 dollars with the money difference. What a deal and they are really nice. I will enjoy those greatly after the mission. You will have to let me know if grandma sanford's card got to you ok because she mentioned it twice in her emails to me. :D So far it feels like anytoher day in the amazing feild even though it is my b-day. It is weird though that I am now 21 so I have to start telling people that. My english class told me some good alcohol to buy to celebrate for my b-day haha. :D We are going to the Hill of Crosses with Irena and Monika, the members. I am way excited because we will be in suits so the pictures will look even better out there. I will get some good pics. I loved the brownie pic. I bet it was delicious and I bet I would have loved it to death. I have been loving cooking so much, believe it or not mom. We have a crock pot and a bread maker, only one in the whole mission, at our apt. and I found some way good recipes and I tweaked them a little bit. I have made a loat of raosts and chili. Yum! I have grown such a great love for cooking. It will be fun to try it out at home with all of you. :D

If you haven't, for the christmas package, could you put some good candy cane/ cinammon hot chocolate. Oh that stuff is soo good and we don't have any hot chocolate. :D

So Elder Nelson just got made to be the branch clerk. I had to help him out a lot yesterday because we had a lot of finances. I feel bad because it's a little overwhelming for him but I will be there to help him out. I'm still the first counselor so President Boswell and I went over the tithing settlement and what we are going to have to do for that. Just following in the steps of my father. :D It probably won't take 20 hours to do. ha. I had to fill out some more financial stuff and he went to the lesson and then he came back 10 minutes later and said, do you know where the teachings of ( some prophet that I can't remember who he said) that teaches about excorsism or something. I was so confused. Our awesome new investigator who has a bapt. date came for his first time to church and the class he was in was a joke. Apparantely they went way off the lesson and into some deep doctrine stuff and somehow got on the topice of excorsism. Great... Elder Manning said it was bad and he was trying to calm it down. Well, the Lord's church is perfect but he doesn't call perfect memebers :D. I talked to one of the members, who I am really good friends with, for a bit while I was overseeing Elder Nelson doing finances. She has been filling out her paper work to declare her divorce with her husband with whom she hasn't talked in over two years. She was also talking to an investigator of ours whom we dropped because he wasn't progressing and didn't like having leaders and yadadad that I will explain after the mission. But we talked for a while and I got a good feel of what our great leaders feel when they are helping members of the church. Pres. Chomskis was in a meeting so we talked for a bit and she started crying because she felt so weak. I bore my testimony of how loved she is by God and how loved she is in the branch. It was a really powerful moment for me and I felt such a great love for her. Pres. Chomskis talked with her more and after she looked a lot better and said what I said meant a lot to her.

We also had another great chance to excersise our preisthood power last monday. We went by to see Maksim, a wayward less active kid we have been working a lot with. He is a great kid but just not making the best choices and he isn't nice to his mom at all and it makes her so sad. His mom, Larisa, is one of the greatest ladies I know here and she has the most powerful testimony. We had a realy powerful lesson with her because when we went shopping with her, she looked way sad. The lesson was so good and I felt such a strong prompting to ask if she would like a blessing. She said she would love one and we gave her a really sincere and powerful blessing. I was about to cry it was so spiritual and heartfult. After, she was teary eyed and said she feels so much better. She thanked us a lot. I love Larisa so much and she is someone I will never ever forget. I look at her as my grandma here. She loves us so much and treats us so nicely.
I honestly would not mind finishing my mission in Šiauliai. I love being here so much and the members, I can't explain how much they all mean to me. They make me so happy and I try my best to make their day everytime I see them. Šiauliai means so much to me because I can see this was where I really became the missionary the Lord needs and I have grown the most in. I love it here so much and I hope I never leave. :D

Sooooo, don't think I'm lazy but I attached the email to pres. Boswell because it has the stuff I would have told you but it makes it easier on me so I don't have to email it all twice heh heh. :D

I hope you have a super and fantastical week full of joy and fun. How's the weather there by the way. We are still surviving with no snow but it is getting way cold and darker sooner and sooner every day. :D

Loves a ton,

Dear President Boswell,

"In the power of the Lord" would be how I would say this past week was for us here in Šiauliai. We worked really hard and from that, we saw the blessings from the Lord. I felt we truly gave our best effort and offered a more perfect sacrifice. I pray this next upcoming week will be just as great and can match up, or even better, outdue this past week. We have some great investigators to work with and the members are eager to help us in lessons. We set a goal to have more member present lessons and to get or members more involved in our work. That proved to be such a great help and we had many member present lessons. I have a strong testimony that membesr present lessons is the best way to help your investigator to progress because they not only hear the testimony from missionaries, but also from the members who come from the same background as they do.

Romas- Romas accepted a baptismal date for Dec. 17th. We talked about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We talked about the great peace that we receive to our souls that we can't find anywhere else in the world. We leaned on what he told us at the beginning of the lesson that he wants to find peace and truth. He said that he has been searching for a long time and wants to find a solid place where he can be. We bore powerful testimonies about the power of the Holy Ghost. We invited him to find out for himself if the Book of Mormon is true and to pray about if this is the path that he needs to follow and then be baptized. He heartfetedly accepted. At the end of the lesson, he told us that he thought about when he went hiking in Austria and how he felt at the top of the mountains. He said he was so far away from work and the worries of life. He described how great of a feeling that was and how he imagined that was the feeling of peace we were talking about through the Holy Ghost. He said that would be great to have that feeling every day.
The next lesson we taught about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of the Sabbath. He accepted those greately and said he doesn't smoke, drink coffee or alcohol and the other ones make sense. He thought it was funny how we don't drink green tea but he understood and accepted to live it. He came for his first time to church this last sundy which was so great. He seemed to really like it and we are going to follow up with him, and with Antti nonetheless. He will be out of town but once he comes back, we will make sure to get him in a lesson.

Rimas- He is an older investigator, meaning he has meet with missionaries for a while. I met with him a few times in the summer. He was really busy so he wan't able to meet but now he is free and isn't working in the village. We went over the first with him and he said he believes the Book of Mormon is true and what we saw is true because we are missionaires. We talked more about the restoration and how Christ's church was restored. We asked him if it would be important for him to be baptized and he said it would. He accepted a date for Dec. 17th also. We will have to work a lot with him because he didn't come to church and he, I don't know how to describe it, is more of a answer what needs to be answered type of guy. If that makes sense. He had a date with us back in the summer but didn't progress but perhaps this time he will.

Great miracle wast that there were 31 people at church on sunday. The church was packed and it was a glorious site to see. That is the highest amount of people in church in Šiauliai for the whole year. We also had a great fast and testimony meeting. There were great testimonies born and the spirit was so strong. A very good meeting for Romas to come to for his first time.

A lady from my english class, who was new to our english class, came up to me after the spiritual thought and asked if we could meet with her sometime. She said she likes learning about new religions and has never heard about us or the Book of Mormon and it sparked her attention. We have a lesson set up with her for this saturday and she says she is very anxious to meet.

Another great miracle is that it still hasn't snowed yet. It has been quite cold but still no snow. A lot of people said it was going to but the grass is still visible. :D


Eduardas- He is doing really great as well with reading the Book of Mormon. He really liked when we read the testimony of the three witnesses because that showed that other people saw the plates and not just only Joseph. He has been accepting what we read so greatly. He has a different spirit about him and wants to find an answer. The concern we have with him is that he won't read on his own or with his wife. He saws it hurts his eyes to read and he wants to only read with us because we have "the true spirit" that is different from his wife's. He came to church as always with us wife.

Raimonda- She said she is having a hard time with not drinking Coffee. We had Irena and Monika (members) with us and they did a good job bearing testimony and sharing the blessings they have received from praying to the Lord for strength and then living by his commandments. For Raimonda, it is really hard for her to realize she can pray for strength. Prayer still feels like a foreign thing to her that we only do when we are in church or at night to end the day, but not when we need strength or help. We talked a lot about prayer and why it is important for us to ask God for help. She said she will really try to pray for help and strength.

Saulė- She is doing quite well. They wanted to meet with us more and so we set up that we would meet two times a week with them. One to read from the Book of Mormon and the other to have a lesson. It is really good for Vladas because he participates a lot in the lessons. We talked about patience and the importance of it. She has been trying to find a new job so she can come to church on sundays, but so far she hasn't found a new one. They asked us to pray for her so she can find one. I had the thought to ask them to fast to find a job. I invited them to fast to find a job. We explained to Saule what a fast was and she really liked that ideas. We said we would fast with them to make it a "super prayer". I really hope, from our faith in fasting, she will be able to find a job.

The members here have been doing so great and we have been meeting with them a lot and I have seen in them such a big change. They will come up and say to me, you know after you lesson, I thought of one of my friends I have been wanting to share the gospel with. I was reading in PMG about working with members and it mentions the best thing you can do, as missionaries, is to first build their testiomny and faith in the gospel and then their desire will increase to share the gospel. I see that already coming from the members here in Šiauliai. I always love whenever we call, one of the members always answers the phone and says, "how can I help?" :D We are very blessed to work among such great members. The trust between us and them is so strong and now we can start putting us and them to work.

-Elder Sanford

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