Email From James - October 10, 2011

What a great week! This week we didn't get huge numbers, but we had great lessons and I saw some miracles this pat week. One miracle, the fleas are gone so that isn't a big worry. I wash my sheets every week and after that, I really washed them. :D But they aren't in our apt. anymore. Conference, simply amazing! Hahah Elder Holland's talk was sweet. Pretty much all of the talks were amazing. I think this was by far my favorite conference. I learned so much and I did something that was in the first presidency message for this past month. President Uchtdorf talked about being prepared for conference and one of the ways we can prepare for conference was to come with questions. I did just that and I learned so much more and they were all answered. I do have to say, I didn't like how a lot of the talks would be like, " the blessings of missionary service are wonderful. A missionary will learn so much more in their life in a mission than by anything else they would learn on their own" I would sit up and get ready for revelation and stories of missionary work and how I can improve, then in one of the talks I really remember well, " an important meeting a missionary will have is their last interview with the mission president, when a missionary is preparing to go home". Man, so many of those talks talked about returned missionaries and stuff about after mission. Ugh, I didn't like those parts of the talk so much. Oh don't get me wrong, I will love them after the mission, but in the mission, I don't want to picture me in jeans isntead of church slacks, a normal T-shirt without a nice looking tie, no Book of Mormon in Lithuanian in hand, no missionary planner in my chest pocket telling us who we are going to help that day, no name tag bearing the name of Christ. We talked a lot about conference and then we talked about those parts of the talk. I really fear coming back " to the world". Thankfully there were words of comfort and encouragment to return missionaries to continue their same study habits and "continue with that same missionary spirit we had as a missionaries". It hits me harder and harder how fast time goes by and how short I really have in the mission field. I just know I'm going to miss having literally 24/7 living the life of a missionary preaching the Gospel of Christ. I still got time though, the time is not yet at hand for me to leave :D. 

Conference was simply amazing though. I can't wait to get the Ensign. I am quite jealous of how the weather looked in Utah. At both conferences the weather looked so beautiful and people were outside with no coats on, sitting on the grass, and just very relaxed. Winter is definitely knocking on the door here very early. It has gotten so cold as of late and it is getting darker and darker very quickly. We can already see our breath when we are outside. Oh joy. The natives say that this winter is going to be very bad because we had a very mild summer. 

I got your package you sent. Thank you so much. Let's just say I may or may not have given my cereal a standing ovation when I ate it for breakfast. There is just something so amazing and beautiful about American Cereal. :D Also thank you so much for those journals. They are so nice and I love how they look. They look way cool. That picture, the bigger one, is really neat looking too. I have it on my wall. I changed to title of the pic though. He didn't really look like Jesus to me so I retitled it as, " Paul, the Servant of Christ". He looks like a paul to me :D Don't worry about those scriptures, I will be fine. I'm already far enough into the mission that there isn't any point of having to carry around more books. But random thought, for my b-day, I promise I normally don't think this far ahead. But, all I really want for my b-day and it can be a part of christmas, since you have helped out so much with so much on my mission, all I really want is the October Ensign, the November Ensign with the talks from Conference, and this new MOTAB Cd I saw in a Deseret Book magazine that President Chomskis randomly got. It's titled This is the Christ. It has a pretty white cover and it looks really good. Just a little thing on my mind. ;D  I also thought it was funny how mom sent my other jersey. Now I got two but it's so cold I don't really have a chance to wear it. I didn't know I asked to have that one sent but thanks a lot mom. It was really fun to see that again. :D Oh the candy corn was amazing too. It may or may not already be all gone. :D Oh how I love candy corn. They don't have that here. Really random but some people were wondering when your going to update the blog? :D

So like I said that this past week was really good and that I saw some miracles, I will share. We met with some really cool members who haven't been coming to chruch for a while. The lady's daughter who is my age hurt herself by falling down some stairs so that's more of the reason why they couldn't come. It hurts for her to walk but they have been coming to church a lot now and it has been making me so happy. On monday we went over to their house and had a wonderful lesson with her. Funny part was that they have a ginormous dog. This mission has really made me hate dogs, long story but I will explain after the mission, but they had a huge german sheppard. We didn't know that before hand. We went into their living room and sat down but we could hear this dog barking in another room. The came in and asked if we were afraid of dogs. We said no and they said ok we just want our dog to come in and see who you are and maybe it will calm him down. So i'm expecting some middle sized dog to come out because they live in a very small apt. Oh no, they decide to have a huge dog. It was this huge german sheppard who just charges out and jumps onto the couch and then all over us. He was nuts! He kept falling down and then jump on the coffee table and then onto us. OH I though I was going to die right there. Bring on any angry drunk guy, I feel safe with that, but not with this dog. Hahaha oh it was crazy. So they took him and put him in another room. I said a very sincere and heartfelt prayer in my heart that I was still alive :). So as we had this great lesson with them, the dog is literally killing this door to get out. It was way loud but he would quite down then randomly get loud during the lesson. It was worth it though to go see them. They are so great. The daughter conducted the music on sunday and I learned that she sings so beautifully. It was amazing. I asked her at this lesson if she would speak in church and she said she would. They are so nice and we asked how we could help them and they said to keep coming over to visit. :D 

We went to Klaipeda for a district meeting which was so much fun. I miss klaipeda so much and it's way crazy. Sister Alldredge, the sister who was with us in the MTC, is going home in a few weeks. Her mission is over. We couldn't believe it! How time flies. 

We met with a guy who is about 17 or 18. He started off as kinda a smart alic kinda kid. He said our first lesson two weeks ago that he doesn't believe in God and that people do because they are stupid. Hahah then are we stupid? :Dhaha This lesson we had last week was such an amazing change in him. He began asking about Adam and Eve and trying to have a big psychological talk and it wasn't going to help. We really followed the spirit and directed his question to a better concern, his faith in God and Jesus Christ. We told him we would love to talk about all that more with him later, but right now, what he should be focussing on is wether he believes God is real or not. He opened up a lot more tenderly after that and he told us something very amazing, he said, " you know, since meeting with you, I have been doing something I have never really done in my life a lot before. I have been praying a lot since meeting with you." That was such a miracle in my eyes. He has grown a lot in just a few short weeks. He's more sincere when we talk instead of trying to speak smartly or intelegently about God and stuff from the Bible that don't really matter all that much. He took a Book of Mormon and said he would read it. We bore our testiomonies of how he could know God is truly there and that he truly knows him. He was really touched by it and said we could meet again and that he really wants to. I had the feeling, and we talked about it after that his life is pretty sad. I don't think he has a lot of friends and he isn't happy in his life. I am so glad we found him now. And to add to that great miracle of his beginning of his "Change of Heart" he ended the lesson by saying a prayer. He bore such a short but sweet prayer. The last lesson, he wouldn't say the prayer and it seemed like it would be hard to get him to pray at all. The spirit really can really change the heart.

We met with a guy who has seen many visions, had many revelations one of which he knew and saw when 9/11 would happen and tried to write the first president, had seen and talked with God but doesn't remember what God said, and has many revelations and has three PhD's. Ya pretty weird huh? Even though he has all of these things happen to him, he is the nicest man I have ever met. He isn't full in his knowledge or puffed up by pride. This was our second lesson with him last week and it was pretty good. He says he believes that Joseph was a prophet because he believes people can see and talk with God. He said himself, ' I'm not a prophet, but I believe Joseph could have been." Your probably thinking, he is kinda wierd, but he is a really great guy. He came to chruch and loved it. I gave him my Book of Mormon that I wrote my testimony in and he said that really meant a lot to him. We challenged him to baptism and he said he needs to know for sure. He will do anything we tell him to, meaning about commitments. He could really help out this church a lot. There is a lot to tell about him but the Lord straineth me to not share more than that is needed. :D And I want to tell more in person about him than through email. :D 

Thanks so much for sharing that story of when you first prayed about the church dad. That really meant a lot to me and I want to have a good sit down with you when I'm home because I don't really know about your story. I can't wait for that day when I'm home :D I laughed how the missionaires didn't challenge you to baptism til forever down the lessons and even when you had prayed and gotten an answer, they still were nervous asking to set a date. I love preach my gospel and I have found a great way to get right to the persons concerns and get them more prepared for baptism, I learned a lot from Elder Lindell, it is to challenge them to baptism right in the first few minutes of the first lesson. That seemed so crazy to me at first, but it really gets people to become progressing investigators preparing for baptism and not just people meeting with us because we are nice boys from America. I love the feeling of your heart pounding and the worry of what will they say when I ask them, but then the power of the spirit coming in and giving power to your words when you call them to repentance. It's intensifying! I am so blessed to have this great opportunity to have that calling, that I can invite people to come unto Christ and follow him. This is the best two years of my life and for my life. I wouldn't want to ever trade it for the world! This Gospel is so great!

       I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week. If not, look at what's great in life and then it will be great!.
           I am Elder James Sanford, I have a great family who I love to death. I'm a missionary in the amazing and beautiful country of Lithuania. 
                   And I'm a Mormon ;D

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