Email from James - December 12, 2011

Well transfers will be this week but we just kinda found out what they will be. I still will be fully and 100% sure. Elder Manning is going home and it is so sad. I have never wanted a companionship to not end so badly. All three of us having been having so much fun serving together. We were all in the same district in Klaipeda when I was with Elder Hilton so we are already way close. We called Elder Hilton yesterday to get a good laugh out of him and reminice about the good time in Klaipeda so many cold winter days ago. Aw, good times. So about transfers, presdent boswell emails us personal small emails and says some stuff to each of us personally. To me he just told me about how great the work is going and yadadad. It was really good and the yadadad doesn't mean that it was boring it is hebrew for, it's only for the reader to know. :D But, in Elder Nelson's email, he told him that next transfer would just be Elder Nelson in I in Šiauliai. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Oh I don't know what to think. I am completely excited to be with Elder Nelson for christmas. Oh we are so excited to be together, it will be a blast. I am also beyond beyond beyond happy I will still be here because I love this place and all of the members to death. The problem is, we need three elders together. We teach a lot of women and you need a third guy there. Problem is, we don't have  third guy. Antti, who could be the solid guy who comes is always traveling to Russia or Latvia or Estonia, for the seminary trainings and what not and he doesn't speak lithuanian. Vladas is here so I can see we could get him in on more lessons. It's hard to explain with him but he is doing a lot better since I came here. I gave him a suit and he loves it and I was just going to let him borrow it for his wedding but I don't wear it all that much and he really likes it. We need him to come to church in a suit to start getting him ready to be a leader and his family has no money to buy clothes. We go shopping with them everyweek. I'm sorry if you think that is a little to much but I really felt like I should. I still have suits so don't worry about that. Plus, hint hint, it's kinda normal for departing elders to get a new euro suit to come home and look nice in so you know, I keep an eye out for one of those. :D Maybe christmas or something. They are actually way good here because they are a lot cheaper than the ones you can buy in american and they are so much more nicer looking. Trust me, when you see me in one, you would agree. :D So ya, this transfer, if it is just us two, will be intersting but o so much fun. I love Elder Nelson to death and we get along great. I wouldn't be any happier. It will be fun for me because I haven't been in a two companion companionship in over 7 months. It will be transfer number 6 in Šiauliai. Oh yea. :D I would love to just hear president Boswell's voice and hear him say, " Elder Sanford, the Lord wants you to finish your mission in Šiauliai." I would love it. 

Man father, you have been working a ton. Take a good rest this holiday season and watch Elf and How the Grinch Stole Chritsmas for me. I have been acting out those movies and I can't wait to watch them. hahaha The Grinch with Jim Carrey is hillarious. We were in a book store and I found, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in LITHUANIAN. I was flipping out because I had just asked my english class if anyone knew who Dr. Seus was because they had all seen the movie but they didn't know what it was from. I bought the book because it was way cheap and it was in lithuanian. It is so sweet! It is way cool because it all rhymes in lithuanian. Kaip Grinčas Kalėdas vogė. I took it to english class and showed everyone and I told them to all buy it. :D They got a good laugh. 

Our investigator, Romas, wanted to play basketball with us and before Elder Manning goes home. So he called us up on Saturday and asked if we could and we had time that night. Ya, we were a little nervous because we had no idea who was going to come, I haven't played in forever and neither had Elder Manning. So we went out there and we went to a school and we met up with his two friends. They were about Romas's age, about 40. So we felt pretty confident. Ha Romas's daughters came to watch us play. Hahah oooo real americans. They brought a camera too and took lots of pics during the game. It was so much fun. They were way good and we had a blast. I am still sore. I hate not having sport days or more of a way to work out as a missionary. Alas, America did not triumph. It was way close those but they pulled it out in the end. It was great and they really liked us. One of the other guys daughters came to and she played with us. She was really good. She plays for the school. We all got a picture together so I will send it. I look way short but I blam it on my flat bottomed shoed and everyone had higher up shoes. I was still taller than two of the guys so that makes me happy. :D haha. 

You should definitely send me that little movie thing. We have a lot of time when emailing and it would be fine to watch. I would love ot see it. It would be really fun to see pics of everyone. 

The family that has the son coming home from Lithuania, he is a russian speaking missionary. I don't know him that well but I have seen him. 

We went to Vilnius on friday for the whole day because Elder Manning had to go undeclare as a resident in Lithuania. We went out to lunch with President Chomskis because he lives down there. We went to a really cool italian place which is like a buffet, which is rare to see a buffet type place here. What you do is they give you a plasitc card that keeps track of how much food you eat. You go up to one of the lines and say what you would like to eat. They make it and then when it's done, you put your card up to this machine and then it records what you got and then you pay for it all after at the cash register place. Way sweet restaraunt and it was way yummy. I talked with the kid who made my pizza. He asked me what we do here and how we eat and work etc. He was way funny and about my age so we had a good laugh. I love speaking lithuanian. My kids are so going to speak a little lithuanian. :D I already have my first daughter's name picked out. I won't type it because you will read it americanly and I don't want that. It has to be pronounced lithuanianly. :D We took some pics by some of the old streets and I have one I want to use as a christmas card thing to family and some friends. I will send it in the email. It's really cool. It was  way fun being in Vilnius because it was starting to snow and vilnius was just covered in christmas decorations and what not. Being in big cities around christmas is one of my favorite things to do. It was fun going there and back because we took a train both ways and it was snowing so we joked around that we were on the Polar Express and we started singing the Hot Chocolate song. We had our own little cabin room thing to ourselves on the way there and then on the way back, we had a room again, but it was way old and we were pretty crowded in it. We didn't realize it was friday night and everyone was going back home for the weekend. Mostly all of the college students. :D 

hahah so I found a solution for how not to be tired in the morning. Yes, first was to ask the Lord for MAJOR help. I did that. Second, was to just take it in and just work out. It was quite a battle, I can surely tell you that. I just had to turn on all the lights and just start going at it. I felt so much better the whole day though and it made studies a lot better. Plus, for my future job in mind, I gotta start getting in the habit of being in shape. :D haha. Thanks so much for starting to look into the college stuff. I can't believe that time has already come to start thinking about college. I will be excited to hear how that goes and what goes on. If you could, try at UofU also, just more choices. :D The more choices the better. I can't wait to hear what you think about my job in mind. :D It may sound weird at first, but you will have to hear me out. It's a good job though and one that can support a family. Let me know how I can help with any of the applying stuff and keep me updated. Thanks so much for doing that.

I will have the info about the calls for christmas next week. I can't believe that is here either. I remember saying goodbye last mother's day and it felt like Christmas was far away and now it is here again. It snowed on tuesday crazily, there was so much snow and it just coming down and down. When I woke up and saw that it was snowing, I started yelling and doing my little Elvis dance and started singing Santa Claus is coming to Town. :D Then it melted and then it snowed and it melted then all the water froze and now there is only a little bit of snow left, but, snow or no snow, the nightmare of chirstmas past is here, the cold. Oh man it's just goes right through your bones and the wind doesn't feel any better. I am starting to get more used to it but it will still be freezing no matter what. Oh Utah winters will seem so nice when I can get in a warm car and look out the window and drive through the snow. Eh, I will still walk, bring back some good memories. :D I love it though. I really want it to snow more. I want a winterwonderland, not the dead marshes with a little bit of snow. It's not christmas without a winterwonderland. 

Oh, those pics just made my day. Oh I love the house and the beautiful durango. You got to give her a hug for me. Oh so many good memories with that car. Hahaha I sound weird but it's true. I am madly inlove with that sweet car haha. :D Our house is SOOO BIG. I couldn't believe it. I always thought about it but I never realized how big it really was. Whew, we are a blessed people. Say a big prayer for all that we have everyday. I tried that last night and it was kinda fun. I just said a prayer just thanking Heavenly Father for all that I had, without asking. It was a little hard at some parts but it was fun to try. Thanks for sending those. I would be happy to get copies of those because I tired printing them out but it's only in black and white and it doesn't look as good. I like the real pics when you print them at a store because they look so good. 

Well family, I love you all so much and I am beyond so thankful for all that you do for me. Just be prepared for a lot of spoiling, that is after I have a decent job, have some money, but I will do all that I can for all of you to pay back. :D If you haven't watched the first presidency christmas devotional, watch it. It was so good. We watched it last week on the computer in the church. It was so good. It is such a great time to think about our greatest gift, our Saviour. It was cool because they showed some videos from the new New Testament movies they are making. They are pretty cool. The clips they showed in the devotional had a lot of good music to it and it blended way good together. If you go to, the have the clips and they are a little longer but there is no music in most of them. It's kinda weird. Pres. Eyring talked about the videos. They really make you think and ponder about the scriptures. I can't wait for the next ones to be released. 

I love you alll so so much and I can't wait to hear from you next week and then on CHRISTMAS.
     Lots of love forever and ever,
           Elder James Sanford

P.S. Dad, if you get the chance, would you mind doing a little update of the blog. That would be great. My friends always like to read it and they ask when it will be updated if it doesn't get updated. :D

Dear President Boswell,

We had quite a busy week and quite a good one as well. I can't believe how quickly this transfer has gone by. It makes me quite sad actually. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago when I was thinking how blessed I am to be serving with Elder Manning and Elder Nelson and now Elder Manning is about to go home. I have learned so much from him and he has helped the work here so much. He told us that you told him one time in a meeting that you said he would be finishing his mission in Kaunas but later on those plans changed and he came up here to Šiauliai. I know that the Lord needed him here and we also did too. He has changed the work here in Šiauliai and I was so blessed to be able to serve with him for two transfers. They are transfers that I have grown and learned so much on and ones that I won't soon forget. I truly believe that some of the best missionaries are sent to the Batlic Mission, but I also believe that even greater missionaries are sent to Šiauliai. I try my best to match up to their great potential. I think the Lord just wants to me to learn and see how I can improve from their great examples. :D 

Romas- He is doing so great. We went over the baptismal questions with him and he said that the only problems he has is finding a testimony. He said that he is a little bit nervous for his baptism and still hasn't found an answer yet. He said when you have a testimony about God and Jesus Christ, everything else falls into order. We challenged him to pray more. It was quite a powerful impression actually. I felt the reason why he wasn't getting an answer was because he wasn't praying sincerelly enough and that he needs to pray more. He said he prays every night without failure and it looked like that was just a routine that never changed. We found the scripture where Alma says how he received his testimony, "much prayer and much fasting". We read that with him and asked him how he thought Alma had such a strong testimony. He said he prayed and fasted a lot, I guess I need to too. He is sensitive to the spirit and he is changing drastically. He wasn't able to come to church this sunday because he hurt his ankle but he has been three times. He are going to meet with him a lot this week and get him ready. We had a special fast for him yesterday that he will feel an answer from our Heavenly Father and that he will feel ready for his baptism. 

Saulė- She is doing really good. We finally got a chance to meet with her. We went over the baptismal questions with her and talked about what she needs to do for her baptism. It was a pretty good lesson. She was a little confused aobut what it meant about a living day prophet. We talked about that for a while adn helped her see why it's such a great blessing that we have a living prophet in our day. Vladas tends to be a little silly in lessons and we have been trying to make him see that it's a serious thing that we are talking about. Something great though is that he has been coming to church every sunday and he has a suit now. He texted us and asked if we had a suit he could borrow for their wedding which will be at the end of this month. That means Saulė's date will be moved back, but I already had a feeling it would be. She still needs a lot of preparation. So I found one of my suits and gave it to him along with a nice white shirt I haven't worn my whole mission. We went over and he tried it on. He looked so good in it and his family was way impressed. I had to help him tie his tie but he will learn pretty quickly with help. :D I told him he should come to church like this every sunday and he said, " definitelly", as he was looking at himself in a mirror like he was a model. I think he likes it more because he thinks he looks like James Bond in it. But if he comes to church in a suit, I'm fine with him thiking he is James Bond. :D President Chomskis and I were talking about what calling we could give him now that he is becomming more active and showing a lot of progress. 

Raimonda- We met with her once this week. We asked how her prays are going. We challenged her to pray more sincerally. She said it was a little hard for her still but she is trying. We focused our whole lesson about Jesus Christ because she only knows who he is from a movie she watched. We had a really powerful lesson and talked about what Christ did for us and what that means to us personally. We gave her The Living Christ and the chapter 9 in 2 Nephi to read as her assignment. We watched with her the finding faith in christ and she really liked it. It was a great video for her because she struggles with finding that faith that we always talk about. She always asks,how? How do you believe? When Jonas askes those types of questions in the movie, it perfectely applied to her. After the movie, we could tell something touched her. She seemed more sincere. She came to church and seemed a lot better. 

Dalė and Ruta- They are doing so great. We met with them last week and Dalė said she didn't like fast and testimony meeting. One of the members gave an "interesting" testimony. Dalė didn't like it and said it was a bit strange to her. We were going to talk about it but she kinda went on a long story about how she "saw god". We were able to bring it back to the lesson and brought the spirit back so powerfully. Her daughter Ruta asked about baptism in our church with us and with the young women on sunday. I was amazed at how she was so interested in baptism. Dalė came to church, which was a great miracle, and she was so smiley. It must have been something in our lesson because I thought she was scared away after the fast and testimony meeting. She came and after she was so smiley and said to call her and we would meet again. I am very excited to meet with them this week. 


We had to go down to Vilnius so Elder Manning could undeclare. We were down in vilnius for a while so as we were walking down through center, a lady came up to us and asked us how she could get a Book of Mormon. We talked to her for a sec and she said that she was interested in our church and didn't know exactly where it was in vilnius. We gave her a book of mormon and our visiting card and she said she would call us and would love to meet. After that, a few hours later, a man ran up to us and said that Christ or God helped him so much last year because he was trying to quite using drugs. He said it was so hard for him to do but God helped him. He said he started using them again the day before and that he didn't want to go back down that hard path. He said he wanted our help. He gave us his number and we told him other missionaries would call him the next day. He said he was excited and that he would be waiting. It's so great when we are simply outside, the Lord truly does place people in our path who are ready and prepared to hear the good news. 

We had 5 investigators to church. That was so wonderful. So many people are wanting to hear our message. The great task for us is is to be prepared at all times with the spirit to help them be prepared for baptism. One of the members said to us, " wow, you elders have a lot of investigators to church. you are guys are working so well here. keep it up." 

It was a double witness to me about testifying to everyone even if they don't want to listen, the Lord will always send people to us according to our desires and our work,as you mentioned in your email. We may not see the outcomes now, but all that we do is noticed and seen by the Lord and it will change the heart of someone. I learned it first in the scriptures and then your email provided that second witness that it was true. I first found out that truth this past week in my personal study. I read a story in the Book of Mormon that everyone knows quite well but I noticed something I never noticed before. Abinadi was commanded to preach repentance and the truth to all of the people. He did very well and very powerfully. No one listend to him. He kept preaching and then the people took him before the King to be put on trial. Quite a powerful way to tell a missionary that no one wants to listen to you. As he was before the King, in chains, already having been told he was going to be put to death, he continues in his calling from the Lord to cry repentance and the truth to the people. He preached so powerfully and with the spirit that his face shown as it did with Moses. EVEN AFTER he preaches this wonderful sermon, and I can bet the spirit was beyond powerful that everyone could feel it. It's shown how powerful it is that the guards dared not to touch him, the preists and the people cried to put him to death. I could imagine that was very heart breaking for Abinadi. What stood out to me is how devouted he was. He never gave up even when people wouldn't listen to him and then he was sentenced to death. BUT, his work had tremendous success, but not right away. ONE preist believed what he said. We could probably agree that Abinadi preached to thousands of people, but the Lord needed him to be prepared to touch the heart of the ONE. From that one, Alma, went on and converted thousands. THOUSANDS were brought unto christ because Abinadi did what he was commanded and he was ready, with the spirit, and bore a powerful testimony, that touched the heart of the ONE. How great is our calling.....

     Thank you so much for all that you do president. Thank you for praying for Romas. I know that it is helping a lot in his success. Tell sister boswell thank you so much for all the wonderful things so does for us as missionaries too. :D
                   -Elder Sanford

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