Email from James - November 21, 2011

Good morning Neverland!!!! aka. family

Fun week this week. Quite hard and yet, still good. We found some great lesson and Romas, the one with the bapt. date, is doing super. We just taught about the second lesson and in the first lesson, he was confused about some things, but we gave him some verses to read and then it helped him. He came to church for his second time and really liked it. We, along with pres, boswell, are going to try and move his date earlier so that Elder Manning can be here to see it. I really hope Romas will get baptized then. He is doing so well and progressing amazingly. So I figured I will probably just keep attaching the emails from Pres. Boswell because they sum up what we did during the week and then I can email more to you. :D 

So haha about the money thing. So I may need to go stop by a dentist office this week. My tooth has been hurting and it would be good to go get it checked on. But I found out a really cool thing. Elder Leishman went and got his teeth checked and had to get a couple of fillings. When he did, he was able to send home to receipt from his checkup and his insurrance covered it and they were able to get refunded. It was about 120 Litas which is about 50 bucks or less. Tell me what you think but I will probably use some of the b-day money to go get that checked on. Yay b-day present, going to the dentist in Eastern Europe. Haha. But that would be good to get money back for it because there are some small souvenir things I want to get here in Šiauliai before I leave. Hopefully not anytime soon because I would cry. 

Hahahah oh my I laughed when loud when I heard about the ol Turkey bowl injury again. I remembered last year when you told me about that happening and now Bro. Nelson got hurt this year. Man, I'm kinda scared what could happen next year because I want to come. :D I'm just glad you didn't get hurt. I know how bad your knees can get. For thanksgiving here, we are getting a little spoiled. Last year on exactly thanksgiving day, it was Elder Nelson's first day in the field and Elder Manning was training him, so we went to Can Can Pica. Wooo. haah sarcasm in that woo. This year, the Lord rememberd our poor loss and is now blessing us. We are going to have a branch thanksgiving party. Appartently it's a Šiauliai tradition. Thanksgiving isn't a holliday here. So some of the members are going to kill a couple of turkeys for us and then we, the missionaries, along with some members, are going to cook a whole bunch of food. :D Yum!!! I can't wait. I asked the members that are going to kill the turkeys if I could come and kill one and they said they live to far out of Šiauliai but if they lived closer I totally could have. Bummer. :/ It should be a lot of fun. I'm pretty excited. 

I haven't gotten any letters from the primary and the package still hasn't come but it could be here today. We always check mail after emailing. I am getting a hair cut lady from a lady from our english class. She is way good and we started going to her last week. Elder Manning got his hair cut and after she said it was free for us anytime. I'm way excited because my hair is long. It's way soft though which is good. You'll never believe it but I don't wear gel in my hair anymore. Only for special occasions but I trained my hair to be soft and work without gel. I know craz huh? :D 

At church, one of the mom's was in a meeting and all of her daughters who are about anna's age and her sons who are parkers age were running all around the church. So I entertained them for a while and kept them busy while their mom was in a long meeting. Everyone got a good laugh watching me play pirates with them and keeping them entertained. They all said that Parker must be way lucky to have a crazy brother like me who can act like any charater and have tons of energy to run around. I told them I like playing with the little kids because it reminds me of playing with parker. :D Then I would tease the girls about Twilight and what not and then they said oh, so this is the side that your sister gets. Haha. :D I love this branch so much. We are all way close and they keep saying their worried when transfers will come because they don't want me to leave. Aw :) 

Well I hope you have a super duper jumbo size splendid week. I can feel the snow will soon fall from the Heavens and then this beloved land of Lithuania that I love so dearly will become a frozen winterwonderland. I have a feeling that Lithuania is going to get a few last beatings into me before I leave with all of the ice. I took some pretty good falls last year. haha. Elder Manning always laughs at that because he remembers how many time I kept falling with all of the ice. :D Should be fun. Anyways, I love you all so much and I can't wait to hear from you again. Keep being the crazy and wonderful Sanford family that I am so proud of and love so much. :D

            Lots of love
           Elder James Sanford

Dear President Boswell,

It may sound repetitive but I have to say it, we had a great week. We worked really hard and had some great lessons. I learned a lot about what it means to follow the Lord's example and how we truly need to become "miracle missionaries" to keep this work moving forward. I learned also a great deal about how much God truly loves me, how much he truly loves the people here, and how much trust he puts in us. Along the great journey of learning, I saw some great miracles by the Hand of the Lord

Saulė- Ok so with Saulė and Vladas, they are full of many miracles for this past week. We met with her and Vladas only once this week. We read some of the Book of Mormon with them at the end of 2 Nephi to the beginning of Jacob. Our readings with them are good but they aren't too energetic and they just read and answer the questions how they know they are supposed to. Their attitude has completely changed. Remember last week we had a fast for them to find a job. Well, that fast was answered. When we came to meet with them, they imediately began telling us about how she had found another place to work and that she was positive she would be able to get the job. They said the whole week they had been reading the Book of Mormon and part of the Bible every single night. I was thrilled to hear that. They said that they both notice how strong they can feel the spirit when they read. They said they have been reading before they watch tv or anything else and they make sure that all of the distractions are turned off or put away. They said that there were times when they just wanted to keep reading and not stop. True miracle and testimony builder that the Book of Mormon truly does have power to change the hearts of people. Also, during the week, they are taking action to their process of getting married so she can get baptized. They are getting baptized in the end of December and they said once they are married, they want to set a baptismal date. How great of a blessing is that? We have been meeting with Saulė since the summer and it has been really hard for them to get married and to find suitable jobs and now they windows of Heaven have been opened because they were heading the words of the prophets and doing what the Lord asked of them to do. To add on those great miracles, Vladas came to church and to preisthood and participated so much. He sat up in the front row and almost every question we had in preisthood, he was answering. He is going to be a great strength here. A lot of the members are so surprised how much he has changed and it just builds my testimony more and more of how people truly can change. 

Great Miracle! We had 36 people in church on sunday! That's the highest number of people for this whole year of how many people have attended church in Šiualiai. We had to bring in chairs from the other classroom to fit everyone. Romas came for his second time to church and stayed for preisthood and really enjoyed it. After, he went up himself and talked to President Kucinas, who came to visit Šiualiai and spoke in sacrament meeting. 
The spirit was so strong in sacrament meeting. It was neat to see everyone and I could see Šiauliai growing. You could say it was through the spirit, but as I sat there and saw everyone listening to the speakers, I could see the growth of the branch of Šiauliai. I felt a confirmation that real soon, this branch would become a great strength in the city of Šiauliai. It kinda made me tear up because I love this branch with all of my heart and I want to see it grow. They speakers that came from the presidency in Vilnius spoke about how Šiauliai truly would grow as it did when they began going to church when it was small in Vilnius. I can express enough my great love for the members here. They have put so much time and effort into the chruch here. They are a small handfull, but I know as I felt and heard in Sacrament Meeting, one day it will grow into something powerful.  

Rimas- He is our other baptismal date but we weren't able to get ahold of him. We only have his phone number but he didn't answer it when we tried calling.

Raimonda- She was quite busy this week and wasn't able to meet with us. It was her daughter's birthday and they went out of town for a while.

Romas- He is doing wonderful. He is smiling so much all of the time. He never smiled when we started meeting with him, but not he is so friendly around us and smiles a lot. We met with him twice and we taught the second lesson with him. He had some concerns at first but we gave him some scriptures to read, it was mostly about Adam and Eve stuff and satan according to God's plan, but the power of the scriptures helped him so much. At the end of the second lesson, he said it made much more sense. He is progressing so well and we have been praying and pondering about moving his date to Dec. 10 as you said. He will have attended enough time to churh by then and we feel he will be prepared. We are excited to talk with him about that this week. Elder Manning really wants to be here to see his baptism and I really hope he will be here to see it because he has been such a major factor in our help with Romas in helping him come unto Christ. He said he really likes coming to church and he enjoys the members a lot. 

Maksim- He isn't a member but he is a less active. He is a teacher aged young man with whom we have been working alot with. He is the one that we read wit or have a lesson with every week. We met with him two times this week and the first time we had a really powerful lesson. We didn't feel what we should plan for him but felt that we just needed to go in and listen to what his concerns are and what he expects out of our lessons. It was such a powerful lesson. I will explain about him and what our lesson was like, as you read, if you have any thoughts of how we could help him, please share with me because that's one of my main quetsions ( I guess you could say) with how we could help him. So maksim, he is a really smart kid and when we read the scriptures with him, he understand what is going on and understands what we teach him. He answers sincerely and he knows what he needs to do in the church and out. We have been really trying to help him to get the desire to read on his own and not just with us when we come over. Everytime, we will give him a place to read, but when we come over and we asked how his reading went, he says he didn't read and has excuses why. When he is with us, he likes reading the scriptures and I can feel he does. He is dating a girl who is a bit older than he is. She is really nice and she has sat in a couple of the lessons. She has been in a lot of lessons in the past. We had a lesson about the law of chastity along with the standards of the youth with him not too long ago and he learned a lot from it that he didn't know before but he said he can see why we have those standards. He is quite serious with his girlfriend and we feel it's not the greatest relationship for him to have. With his mom, they argue a lot. When we are with them, if his mom is in the lesson, he doesn't really respect her. He acts a little nicer when we are around but his mom tells us what happens when we aren't there and it's breaking her heart. We had a really good lesson with her because she was way sad about her relationship with maksim and her. She is trying to do what's right and wants the best for him but maksim doesn't want anything to do with her. It's such a hard situation. This past lesson, we talked about being worthy of the preisthood. We talked about what it means to be worthy and why we need to be worth to hold the preisthood. He answered exactly what it means to be worthy and why we need to be worthy. We talked about how blessed we are and how much trust God has in us for giving his power to us on earth. He understood so well and said he would come to church but he didn't end up coming again. We are trying so hard to help him. If you have any ideas of how we could help him more, we would love to hear. Any new ideas would be great. 

We have some cd's in our apt. that our round table discussions from some professurs at Brighom Young Universtity who work in the dept. of ancient scripture and we were listening to the part about the book of Moses and then Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. It was amazing to read and it opened my mind and my eyes to how much love God truly has for us. He has built countless worlds, more than the sands of the sea. He has all power and all knowledge that no man could possibly comprehend. He sits on the mighty and majestic thrown of his grand creations above Kolob. His time is nothing compared to the time we have according to man. He governs all the tides of the seasons and everything in natures course. He knows the beginning from the end. He is alpha and omega. And yet, he knows and loves each and every one of us personally and with a heart full of love. He knows our weaknesses and our concerns. He smiles and is beyond pleased with us when we do our best and follow him and he cries with us when we fall. But, he is always there to pick us back up, brush us off, and then tell us to keep going. He may be all knowing and all poweful, but I know without a doubt that he is also... all loving. 
          May the Lord bless you in all that you do,
                 Elder Sanford

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