Email from James - March 13, 2012

Dear Dad,
Hello my family from the other side of the world who I love and cherish so deeply. How are you? :D
I loved the pics of you and parker snowshoing together. That looks like a lot of fun. I love seeing the Utah mountains and I can't wait to see them in person. I miss them quite dearly.  Is parker missing a tooth already?

We still haven't had a chance to go see Elder Bean's friend. He lives in the other elders area so we are going to have exchanges this week so I can go see him with one of the other elders. I am way excited. :D Ofcourse I remembered he had a friend here, I could never forget hearing about something about this wonderful country and people.

   Wow I have to speak on the 22nd. That is when elder hilton is speaking but it's fine because he wouldn't be able to come if we had it a week later because his family is going on vacation somewhere. I really hope grandma and grandpa sanford can make it. Thanks for putting out the info on facebook. I really want everyone to know about it so they can all come. So I don't have a topic picked? If not that's fine because I will pray and think about what I should speak about. I will speak as long as you need me to. I'm way excited and I am positive it will sound funny because if I have to say things about the gospel in english, it comes out hillarious. I can't translate for the Flakes here because I don't remember how we say all of the church lingo in english. It's more comfortable for me in lithuanian. :D Ah presidnt homer. How is he doing? I can't wait to see him again. I'm excited to report to the Stake High council about my mission. Ha it took me forever to remember how to say that. :D

A really fun study I have been doing is in the Book of Alma. I have been looking up why Lamoni's father changed so dramatically to the gospel. He used to be very strong in his father's traditions and was so against Ammon that he wanted to kill him. I have been finding why he was so touched and why his heart was so softened so that he accepted every word from Aaron. That is a very applicable scripture here because everyone says they are catholic and that they won't change and that they will die catholic. I never thought this story could be so applicable to the mission. It has been a great study. Right now there are only questions in my study but next week I will let you know what I find.

    Well this weekend was quite fun and heart wrenching. We had district conference with all of the members on sunday which was so much fun. I didn't think we were going to have one again because they normally have the one in spring in may. So they randomly called all of the branch presidents and told them that they wanted to have one last week. Ya, a one week warning. It was a great conference and all of the members from Šiauliai were freaking out when they saw me. I came in the church and hear "SENFORDAI" and all of the members came over and talked to me forever. :D Aw, I miss them all so much. They say they miss me so much because sacrament meeting isn't as happy as it was when I was there. ha. It was a great reunion. Lots' of hugs and tears where there.
      So after that fun sunday, yesterday we had a zone conference. OH my gosh it was so amazing. I won't tell you any of the details, because I want to tell you about it in person because it would be so much better to tell in person, but I will tell you it was the best zone conference out of all of the zone conferences I have ever atteneded in my mission. It was a long one, from 8:30 to 16:00. It didn't even feel that long. I was quite sad when it ended. The ending of conference was quite a heart breaker because after the musical number, one of the zone leaders got up and announced what would be happening now. He said very softly and slowly, " we will now have time for testimonies. we will hear from the departing missionaries and we will have them go in this order; Elder Hengst, Sister Shneiderei, Elder Hilton, Sister Stout, and.... Elder Sanford." That was like a knife going through my heart. As he said that tears started coming to my eyes. When Elder Hengst and Elder Hilton bore their testimonies, we were all crying. Not only us three but everyone else was. When it was my turn, it felt like a long walk to the front. I couldn't hold back tears. I couldn't believe I was giving my last testimony in zone conference. I never thought that day would come. Through my tears, I bore my testimony of how much I love my mission. It will bless my life forever and through the eternities. There's no other way I could have come so close to God and have grown such a deep love for the gospel then through my mission. I wouldn't change it for the world. I told how much I love the members and the people of lithuania. They are my family and I will never forget them. I quoted one of my favorite quotes I recently found from Joseph Smith, " Every waft of adversity I have received has only gotten me closer to divinity." The mission has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life and yet, I am eternally grateful for those hard times because it has helped me to grow into the person I am now. Most people know that I quote a lot of things from my running experiences because I can apply it a lot to the mission and to the gospel. I told one of my favorite stories from cross country where we finished a race and we were exhausted. The JV had finished their race before us and were playing on the park. One of our coaches came over and was very upset with them. He told them to go run up this huge hill back and forth until he said to stop. He told us, the varsity team, to go run with them. We couldn't believe what we had heared. We ran with all that we had in the race and now we had to be punished. He grabbed us and made us go. It was one of the hardest physical things I have ever done in my life. When I finished races, I had no energy or strengh left, and now I had to run back and forth up this steep hill. Many of the boys started crying and falling on the ground because it was too hard but our coach kept making us run. We kept asking him why we had to but he wouldn't answer. After a long half hour of enduring that, he pulled us together and looked us all in the eye and told us how we are a team. We all run as hard as we can every race because we can't win if everyone doesn't put forth all that they have together. I bore my testimony how that is what has kept me going through the rough and hard times of the mission. I told them to work as hard as they can to the end. Don't ever give up because we are all running the same race together till the end.

The spirit was so strong and everyone had tears falling from their eyes. I have never grown such a deep love as I do for the missionaires I serve with and the people we serve. I love this country and the members adn the people with my whole soul. They will never leave the special place they have in my heart. They are a part of my family and will be forever.
That was really neat how you sent me that email from when I was in the MTC. I have changed quite a lot since then. haha. The language is a lot more enjoyable since then. I can't wait to come home and have you see what the mission has helped me to become. It will be so wonderful to have so much time to sit down and talk about things that matter most.
I'm quite excited for this week because I talked to a lot of great people and have a lot of numbers to call today. A really neat thing that happened last night was the bus we rode on. We take a bus back to our apt. from center and the sisters took the same one because they don't live to far from us. So as we got on, we all randomly sat down and began contacting people. The man I sat by was so great. He is a middle aged guy and is studying in college and he was quite interested in the Book of Mormon. He asked who wrote it. The thoughts came to my mind from conference about being more bold and using the gems from preach my gospel. I really want to break some of the route routines in this mission among missionaires. I told him quoting from preach my gospel how an angel named moroni showed joseph smith where an ancient record was, a certain plates, and by God's power, he was able to translate them. He listened very intently and I bore my testimony how it has helped me in my life and how it can bless his. He warmly accepted the book and gave me his number so we could meet.

        I love you all so much and I look forward always to getting your emails. They make me so happy. :D
            Elder James Sanford

Email from James - March 5, 2012

Hey dad,
Wow talk about working through revelation, I wrote down in my planner to ask you about Brother Bean's friend and you had it all here. When I saw the "title" of the email I started laughing. I'm so excited to go see him. He sounds pretty cool. We surprisingly get some referalls here because one of the members works with computers so he created a lithuanian church website out of his own free time. It is way well done and people write that they are interested. So far though, when we go by, they weren't too serious when they wrote it. Kind of a bummer but it keeps our hopes up. We will definitely go stop by this guy. We have to find out where he lives and hopefully he will be in our area. We will probably pull some strings so that me and Elder Rich can go stop by there even if he doesn't live in our area. ( I have to apologize if my grammar is a little weird. I have been completely endorsed in the language so these past couple weeks I have seen my english is going down hill. :D) Funny story of bad english, I had to translate for Elder Flake, one of the senior couples, when we were in preisthood and I couldn't remember any words in english so I just told him I would listen and get the jist of what is going on and then he can understand. He said that was perfectly fine with him. As I would do so, he laughed and said, " You have been giving me little over views so well, but when you give me an overview, you keep going into lithuanian." :D I laughed and told him it's easier for me than speaking english. Anyway, tell Brother Bean thanks for doing that. That will be one of our miracles for the week.

We had a way fun Preparation day this last monday. We went to Trakai which is that big picture of that castle out on a lake. It was way fun and it was way cold good weather. Cool part is, we went and walked out on the Lake. We got some sweet pictures and we were totally acting out King Arthur as we fought on the frozen lake. :D Unfortunately the castle isn't open in the winter but you can still walk around it. We also went to a really yummy lithuanian restaurant and we all bought huge flasks of Gira. It looks way funny and looks like we are drinking a huge thing of beer. I will show you pics later. :D Gira is so delicious.

So this is the first full week of my last transfer, we have transfer calls sometime this week and I garauntee I won't go anywhere but if I do, I will not be too happy. :D There are six weeks in a transfer so, ugh, it will go by quick because we have a lot of new investigators and members to meet. This last transfer cruized by and I can't believe I already have a new planner. But all in all, I am excited to come home. I miss you all and can't wait to see you. Elder Hilton and I talked about it for a while and we thought that you know, you know, it's not the end of our missions. It may be the end of our missions here in lithuania, but this is a new transfer call to another big area. Plus it will be good to start my life and put to test all the things I have learned on my mission. I can't wait to tell you all about it. Just don't be surprised if I walk around in my church clothes randomly. We did some "english group advertising" and we wore normal clothes. That was what the whole zone planned on doing. I changed into some of my normal clothes and I felt so weird. I am so much more comfortable in my white shirt and tie with good suit pants. So I pulled a sneaky trick. I just left my missionary clothes on and just wore my hoody and just changed my shoes. I looked like most of the youth here cause that's kinda what they wear, except not a hoody. I will explain later. :D I said I was like a super hero. I appear normal and harmless but when someone calls for spiritual rescue, I shed off the hoody and WAM I'm a missionary once again! Elder Rich thought I was weird. What can I say though, I love being a missionary. I also can't wait to enter into a temple again. Oh I dream so much of feeling that wonderful spirit again that only resides in a home full of love and in the Lord's temples. I literally just want to go to Wendy's to get some food in me to sustain my human body, and because I haven't been there for so long, and then go straight to the temple to strengthen my spiritual body. I will be there for hours I know it.

Oh Ema is hillarious. I was thinking she would have forgotten all about that by the next sunday. Nope, she remembered perfectly and she flew over and gave me a big hug and just hung onto my arm or bag for most of the day. Hahaha. She is so cute. She said it's to hard to remember my whole name so she just calls me Fordas. :D

The weather today is slowly getting better and better. This morning it was so warm and I could feel the joy of spring slowly approaching. But, as we were emailing, it keeps trying to snow so that kinda puts a downer on things. It will come and then kinda fade away and then it will try to snow again. I really want to see a good green spring before I go home. Lithuania is so beautiful in the summer and spring time.

OH haha, so we have been thinking of new finding ways because President Boswell and the zone leaders have encouraged us to frown on knocking on doors because we aren't finding people that way. So we got together as a District and thought of some new finding opportunites. One of our new ideas and it is already under way is a musical accappella group. We are going to be a band and our group is called the Fire of Zion. Hahaha. We have practiced and we are going to go sing on the streets and hopefully find some people that way. While we are out singing, we are going to take turns but just holding up a book of mormon and boldy testifying to everyone that is around. I'm way stocked and full of fire to try it out. It will be like the old days when missionaries would preach like that. It's going to be a lot of fun and I will tell you how it goes. I love singing so much and it's way funny how this random talent has come to be. We are having a district conference this week and we are singing. Which is so weird because the next district conference wasn't supposed to be til May so I had alreayd figured I said my goodbyes to everyone. But one of the area authorities is here so it was just planned this last week. Yay for quick planning. So I get to go see everyone and there will be tears and what not. It will be fun to see everyone again. They all know I'm going home next month but I hope not too many of them will truly remember. :D

Not much else to report about. One question though: Do you know which sunday I will be speaking because I want to work it out so that I can go see Elder Hilton's farewell and then it would be easier for everyone who served here too so that they can go to both? If you could find that out that would be great. :D I love you all so much and I always look forward everymonday to hear from you. BTW also, have you heard anything about college stuff from this Robin lady? I'm wondering if she sent everything ok and then if the info is coming home to you. I told her our home address so it should be going there. Anyways well I love you all and I look forward to hearing from you again next week.

             su meile per amžių amžius nuo,
                  Vyresniojo Senfordo

(a part from my email to president boswell which was a cool scripture I found in DC)
I had a great study one morning that really helped me a lot this week to think about what I can still change and how we can receive blessings. It is in Doctrine and Convenants 58:26-34. I titled it in my scriptures, "the reason why men receive blessings and why they do not". It stood out to me how we shouldn't wait to be told to do something, for if we do, we aren't being wise and we are loosing the blessings of God. If we act on our own free will, anxiously in a good cause, then we receive the blessings. I thought about that a lot in how we do in finding and what we do in our finding and teaching opportunities. Some days get hard and those may be times where we don't feel like talking to people and stepping out of our comfort zone. I thought about those times and felt a greater need to repent. Then the Lord provides a deep and powerful promise that took me a couple of read overs and pondering to see. In verse 31, who asks a powerful question that makes you have to answer it. In our words we could say he said, " Don't I always have a promised blessing with every commandment? Don't I always bless you when you obey?" It was wonderful for me to see that because it made me see all of the times the Lord has blessed me and us in His work. There will be those random times when someone will say, "hey, can I ask you a question about that Book?" or in our case, an awesome investigator will get passed over to you and will accept a baptismal date. The Lord is waiting to bless us, we just need to act on his promises.

Email from James - February 27, 2012

Bonjerno ( or however you spell the italian way to say hello )
    So hey family guess what? I'm married. Her name is Ema and she is a very pretty girl. Haha. You're probably so confused and are just thinking oh no, our son is married on a mission. haha. Let me explain. It's making me laugh just thinking about it. So on sundays, sometimes the missionaries come and help in primary to help the kids stay settled down because they can get a little crazy but they look up to the missionaries. It's so much fun and we sing songs in lithuanian and have fun lessons. So this girl, Ema, was sitting by me and her and her friend where asking about where I was from and what I knew how to say in french and other languages and just being silly little girls. So as we are singing and doing activites, Ema hooks her arm around mine and says that I am her new husband and that I wasn't allowed to leave until she said so. So during the whole class she would run up and do an activity and then come and put her arm around mine and brag to everyone I was her new husband. The teachers, who are our way good friends because we teach them, laughed and looked really confused. I said I didn't plan the wedding. hahaha. Ema is hillarious. So after church, I was standing with some of the youth in a circle and just chatting and she runs up and stands in the middle of everyone and announces she loves me and that I am her husband. Hahaha everyone couldn't stop laughing. So heres the funny part, she's 7. Hahaha. Apparently she has told that to another missionary who is here so everyone asked what about the other elder. She said she said I'm her husband. I jokingly asked what about Elder Rich, my comp, and she looked at him and said, " he's funny". ha. She is so cute and just a little flirt. I will have to get a pic with her so you can see her.
    I really liked what you said about missionary work. It is so true and that is why I hope I get put into more missionary service "callings" after the mission and for the rest of my life. Like you said, whatever calling, it is a form of missionary work. That's what is so great about this church. I am so grateful for my mission because it has given me a good base for me to build on and to stay strong after when I'm not a full-time missionary. It will be so great to put what I have learned into my life from what I have grown and learn in my mission here. It truly is my "life MTC".  Ha Ha I'm so glad I have a free extra day in the field because of the leap year.
    There isn't really much to tell about this past week. The weather kept acting like it was turning to spring early because it rained/snowed so everything started melting and I was so happy. But then yesterday and all last night it snowed like crazy. This winter has been way nice compared to last years. Ugh, I hope I never have to experience a winter like that again. Elder Hilton and I have good laughs about that winter. I don't know if I told you but he is in my district. He was one of the elder with me in the MTC and I served with him in Klaipeda. We went on exchanges this past week and it was a lot of fun. He is a great elder and we have changed so much over these two years. Here's a clip from the email that I sent to president boswell of a neat lesson we had while on exchanges:
   Elder Hilton and I also had another great lesson that day with a less active family. They haven't come to church for some time but one of the daughters is very acctive in coming to family home evening. We had a lesson about testimonies and how we get them and the importance of strengthening them every day. It was a wonderful lesson and I know that we could all feel the spirit. Laima, the daughter who actively comes to family home evening, asked if we could give her a blessing because she was sick. I was blessed to be the one to give her the blessing. The spirit was so strong in the room as the words came to my mind what to say and bless her with. At the end of the blessing, her mom was in tears and said that they needed to come back to church. This sunday they came to church and stayed for all three hours. What a wonderful result and blessing.
   Here's another story but a funny story that happened this past week. I sat by a guy on the bus and I just started talking to him about just normal things. At first he didn't really want to talk but then he said how hard it is to live here because he doesn't have a job and then he said, " I think it is the same all over the world, even in America." I joked about how nice it was that someone thinks it's hard to live in america too and that it's not just the golden place where life is easy. Haha. Then he laughed and lightened up. We had a great conversation and we talked about music and he said he loves Elvis Presley. :D I told him we have to be friends now. haha. He said he couldn't remember one song so he sang the words that he could remember in a funny euorpean accent and it was "don't be cruel" so I started singing where he left off and he laughed and said I sound just like him. :D So we both got a taste of some elvis. Mine was just european version. ha. I'm proabably the only elder who can say I sang elvis presley with another lithuanian on the bus.
    You're telling me time is going fast. It's so crazy an my mind can't grasp where the time went and how quickly it went by. This week is the last week of the transfer and the next week will be the beginning of my last tranfer. It's gross. But time has to come for all of us to move on and begin our next "mission". I am truly excited to see all of you but I also don't want to leave the people I love here. It's so heart wrenching when you come to have another "family" on the other side of the world where you came to on your mission. And like how I had to leave my family in america, which was hard to do, now I will have to go through that all over again. Except this time there isn't a two year dead line.
     I love you all so much and I will be excited to hear from you again. I love you all so much and tell mom to hold in there. I am praying for her everynight.
        Elder James Sanford

Email from James - February 20, 2012

Dad or family, whoever it may concern or whoever reads this. :D,
     I love missionary work! My love for missionary work has grown like crazy over this past week. I can't even put into words the crazy change that I have gone through in just one week. I love it and it was way humbling to see all the miracles. I am going to attach my email I sent to president boswell because I wrote everything I would want to say to you. It was such an amazing week and I love talking to people everywhere, and anywhere. I love missionary work and I'm sorry, but I really don't want to come home. It makes me sad to think how short of a time I have and I am now getting this crazy love and fire that I never had before. I always loved missionary work and worked really hard but I have never worked as hard as I am now. I ask the Lord for his patience and forgiveness for me for that but thank Him that I have this great fire now that I never had before and make promises to work and preach the gospel until the stake president says, "take off the tag". Ugh that hurt to write that. I still have so much time and it makes me comforted. I may or may not be planning on getting a good ol talk with the president to see if he needs an extra elder around a little longer. :D Odds are he probably won't let me :( but I can still try. ha. My studies have been so great. These past few weeks I have been really having a deep study about prayer and personal revelation. I can't wait to just sit down and discuss about how powerful prayer can be and how blessed we are to have such a gift. I think the reason I don't want to go home is because I love being so close to the spirit 24-7 and I have so much time to put what I learn to the test. Everymorning, I get up and I start getting way excited to go out there and start talking to people. I love having that sacred and powerful responsibility to go out and preach the gospel like the ancient apostles and propohets of old. I read a way good talk about that by Elder Holland. A line I really like was ," Imagine being Peter or Paul as you go out to spread the gospel and yet the lurking darkness of the apostasy is creeping in even while as they were living and they had lived with Christ himself". I pondered about that for a long time. How terrible that would feel. You had just been with Christ, after he died he is resurected and exhorts you to go out and feed his sheep and then as you do so, people start rebelling and then the world falls into darkness. Elder Holland went on to say that they had literally failed their dispensation. But, they knew that the gospel would be brought back for when last great time where it would never end. All of the ancient apostles and prophets dreamed and prayed for this day. I believe they still are and they are counting on us to do all that we can to keep it growing stronger. That made me so honored to be trusted with that great power and calling. It made my deisre grow even more to go out and talk with everyone. My bus contacting has been moraculous and I have met some amazing people. Elder Bennet visited Estonia and Latvia but didn't get to come down to Lithuania. He called those missionaries to repentance and a call to be better. I was with a russian elder this past week and I had him bring his notes so I could copy them and then he could tell me all about it. It was such a spiritual intense talk. He is like another Elder Holland. I love it. I will definitely share my notes with you. A couple lines that I just love is that when something is hard or umcomfortable for us to do, the Lord will see if we talk that step to change and become perfected and he will bless us for it. The other line I love was to enjoy the "sting" of the gospel. The gospel is here to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable. If we aren't feeling that "sting" of the change that we need to be doing, we aren't doing our part. That was a call of repentance to me and I have loved getting super uncomfortable and making myself change. Haha I'm so weird huh? I love feeling a prompting, thinking how weird that will be or how uncomfortable it will be, and then taking a deep breath and doing it. I read this morning that joseph smith said, " you have been baptized, you have had hands laid upon your head for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and you have been ordained to the holy priesthood. Now, if you will continue to follow the leadings of that spirit, it will always lead you right. Sometimes it might be contrary to your judgment; never mind that, follow its dictates; and if you be true to its whisperings it will in time become in you a principle of revelation so that you will know all things.’ Constantly be looking for the change that you can be making every single day of your life. It's a wonderful thing.   I love you all so much and can't wait to write next week.
                   -Elder James Sanford   

Dear President Boswell,
  In all my time as a missionary, I have never liked to bus contact. Now, I can say that it is one of my most favorite tools for finding people. Out of all of the things I have done over my mission to find people, I have been the most successful in bus contacting. It has been so wonderful and my happiness and my excitement to share the gospel just keeps growing and growing. I saw some amazing miracles and I know it was because of our obedience and because everyone in our district has an even greater desire to go out and find. I am so proud of the District that I am in. We have all changed so much and we will begin to see the fruits of our labours of we work our hardest and go out with the Lord into His vineyard.
  This week I really applied some powerful scriptures into the work and into my life as a missionary. It was so wonderful to see the results and to see that the Lord truly aids his people when they carry on His work. The scriptures were D&C 82:10. The verse before that I really like. In my own words he says, " here,let me show you how much I love you". Then in verse ten he gives us a powerful promise. He is bound when we do what he says. There is also a very powerful consequence. If we do not what he says, then we have no promise. That is pretty scary. I can't imagine being in the field with no promises. So as I said last week, I have been really making it a part of all that I do to be 100% obedient and to spread the gospel as bodly and as powerfully as I can. One of the great Lord's promises is that he will give us what we need to say at the moment we need it. Another verse he says, if we do not open our mouths and speak, he will take away our talents. I expecially like D&C 62:2. It was a good scripture for me to get the desire to bus contact and fear god and not man. In comparison to D&C 82, I found the verses in D&C 130:20-21. That made the verses in D&C 82 more powerful and more meaningful to me. God always gives us laws, but with every law that He gives us, there are always blessings. I thought about it in two ways. It thought about as me as a missionary all of the great blessings the Lord has promised if we keep all of His commandments and if we go out and open our mouths. My other thought was to the investigator. Are we letting them know how many great and wonderful blessings the Lord has in store for them if they keep His commandments? If they aren't acting, are they realizing they are denying themselves the blessings from Heaven? I thought about it long and hard. I wrote down a lot of my thoughts on why investigators aren't progressing and how we can help them see that the Lord is waiting to bless them, but it is entirely up to them. IT was a wonderful and very intimate personal study for me and it has changed how I look at a lot of things pertaining to the gospel.
    For district meeting, we set a goal of each member of the district has to hand out at least one book of mormon with out testimonies on the inside and we have to testify of the book of mormon to at least ten people. What a great goal to set? When there is a goal like that, my runner attitude comes out and I want to beat that number. Well the Lord surely made that happen. I set a personal goal that added to a really neat miracle that happened this week. I promised with the Lord that every bus ride I am on, I will talk to at least one man. It has been amazing. So as I was working on my goals this week and trying to talk to as many people as I could, we got onto a bus to go to the church to start our exchanges. I sat down next to a really nice looking man who is about in his mid 20's, perfect Melchezidek preisthood age,and right as I was about to open my mouth to start talking to him, he asked, "Can I ask you something? could I get one of those books?" Mircale! I couldn't believe what came out of his mouth. We had a great talk and I testified of the book of mormon and how much I love it and how personal it is to me. He almost didn't take it because he saw there was writing but I told him that was my personal testimony and he said, " oh great, even better." That same day, as I was working with Elder Mays, we handed out another book of mormon. Two book of mormons in one day! Those amazing miracles have really helped me to get that burning fire and desire to talk with everyone as bodly and powerfully as I can. I love it so much. I don't wake up tired anymore. I wake up and I get super excited to go out and talk to people. I kinda hit myself on the head because I am having this great desire now instead of earlier on in my mission. But I thank the Lord that I have this change at all and that I still have time to use this new talent and love I have for the work.
   The only lesson I was in this week with Elder Rich among our investigators was with Radvile. She is doing so wonderful and keeps making great progress. Our first lesson was about repentance and she understood it so well. We were both amazed at how well she knew it. We read from Alma 7:15 and in Alma 36:17-21. We talked about why we have to leave behind all sins and not just the ones that are easier to leave behind. It was a very powerful lesson and the spirit was strong. The other lesson we just decided it would help her a lot to read with her from the Book of Mormon. She is now in 1 Nephi 18. Our goal with her is to have her finish the book of mormon before her baptismal date. Elder Rich gave a very powerful promise that if she reads every day, her parents hearts will be softened before that time and she will be able to be baptized.
   We have some great goals and we have changed plans on how we can work more effectively this week to achieve them. Our numbers in other lessons have stayed at a constant 4 and we really want to get that up and find some more people. We got the courage to go out and find, even on the buses, but now it's time to find those people and teach some lessons and get the members to get the same excitment for finding as we do.
            Elder Sanford

Email from James - February 13, 2012

Hello family,

I am a bad big brother and didn't say last week so I will say it now: SU GIMIMA DIENA PARKERAI!!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARKER!!!!!!! I loved the pictures dad sent and it looked like you had a way fun time. You, dad, and I will have to go hit some "real" golf balls when I'm back. haha you will probably play better than I will. I am terrible at golf. :D You will have to ask dad if you can write to me in the next email to tell me what you got for your birthday. Love you bud! :)
Before I forget, on the blog my address is correct but just need to add one thing to poeples letters will get sent to the right place. After the Lt-01011, there needs to be Vilnius written after it. So it would look like this:

A/D 3438
LT-01011 Vilnius

This email is going to be really short so forgive me if it isn't too long. We are going to Trakiai, the big castle that is outside of Vilnius and I had to email a lot to president Boswell today so I don't have a lot of time. Just know that things have been so great here. I love Vilnius so much and the members are so wonderful. I spoke on sunday and the members really liked it. I love public speaking. Also, me and two other elders sang in sacrament meeting. :D yay using my new talent. I have never been more happier in all of my mission than I have been than this past week. I will send a clip from my email to president boswell so you can know why. I was also wondering, dad, do you have a line of your priesthood. Like who gave you the priesthood and then who gave him and so on up to the apostles and jesus christ. All the elders have theirs and I don't even know mine or have one. hahaha. It would be really cool if I could get that. Well I really need to go but here is the clip from my emial. I probably would have written about the same thing. :D I Love you all so so much and I can't wait to hear from you again.
Elder James Sanford

Dear President Boswell,
What a powerful week. I feel this has been one of the greatest weeks in my mission. The reason I say that is one, I learned the great joy of repenting, pushing myself to the limit/stepping out of your comfort zone, and one investigator we called from the area book has a baptismal date. Let me explain this great overjoy that I have felt in this past week. I went on exchanges with Elder Frollick who is such a great elder. Him and I became quite good friends right from the start. As we were out working, he told me about the great conference he got to be in with Elder Bennet. He told me all that happened and all that he said. Wow, talk about a humbling conference and quite a powerful one. It really made me look at myself and get the desire to become even better that I already am. I thought I was a good missionary and that I lived according to the rules well, but I could see I could do a lot better. The reason I wanted to do a lot better was because of Elder Bennett's great promise," every blessing comes from an act of obedience." Elder Frollick and I talked a lot about that and we set a goal together and it is one that I have never been fully comfortable with. That is, contacting on the buses. Elder Frollick said since he started doing that, he has been so much more happier and he has seen the blessings from it. I am a second witness to that as of lately. It was so scary getting up the courage to go up to a guy and sit down and just start talking. But I did! I felt so happy and now I am always looking harder for someone to talk to. Harder now than I have ever done in my mission. I know the Lord has seen my desire to change and he blessed us with Valdas, who now has a baptismal date. I have been really looking in the handbook and looking at myself at how I can improve and change and repent. It has been wonderful. I can't describe how happy I am. My prayers have become a lot stronger and I have personally received so many strong and personal revelations. When I am in lessons, I have so many good questions come into my head that I didn't even think I knew. I kinda smack myself on the head for not starting this sooner. Haha. I am just glad I am still blessed with lots of time to use these knew skills the Lord has blessed me with. It was so hard to start this great change at first, but it was so worth it.