Monday, May 3, 2010

The Sixteenth Letter

May 3, 2010
Dear Family,

So about my week... Last Wednesday was transfers and I thought for sure that I was going to stay in Vilnius because I am so new. Everyone was so sure of it! But guess what?! The Lord has other plans! I was transferred to KlaipÄ—da to be with Elder Graham! Klaipeda is Lithuania's port city so we are right on the coast. And before I forget my new address to send letters to is:

A/D 408
94198 KlaipÄ—da 10

So send all letters there now instead of to the address in Vilnius. I will get any that were sent to Vilnius this week at zone conference or in like a month at the next one... Yeah, it's not fun that if we get transferred we have to wait so long to get our mail. No one here likes it! So anyways, I'm in Klaipeda now and have been since Wednesday. We got the calls for transfers on Tuesday morning so I had to pack that day and then Wednesday morning I was on a four hour bus ride here to Klaipeda. Elder Whicker was sent here too so that was nice not to have to travel alone. So I was pretty shocked that I got moved though, and it has been a pretty hard week for a lot of reasons. I was just getting comfortable with the members in the ward, the area and what we do as missionaries. So I got used to Vilnius and I REALLY liked it there and was looking forward to being there in the summer. So it was really hard to leave and leave the people we were teaching because I really loved them and wanted to help them. I will let you know what happens with the people we were teaching in Vilnius if I find out. Thank you for keeping them in your prayers. That means a lot to me. Anyways, it was just hard to leave and it just feels like I'm just being thrown around! But I know that Heavenly Father has a bigger plan. Elder Graham is a great guy and we already get along really well! But the thing is that he only got here to Lithuania at the beginning of January when I went into the mtc! So he can get by with the language, but it's not like my last companion. We are THE youngest companionship in Lithuania and probably in the whole mission! So it has been very hard because now I am pretty much forced to learn the language out of necessity. I feel like I have learned more the last few days than I have the whole mission so far! That's not true, but I have talked more and have applied so much more than I have yet. Before, my prayers were just memorized, but now I have started saying full on prayers in Lithuanian and trying to form sentences and use all these grammar principles that I have learned. It's so hard!! Plus I am having to interact in the lessons a lot more whereas before, I would just do the little part that I knew how to do and my companion would do the rest. And my companion was always there to rescue me if I got stuck with a contact and didn't know what to say. I started to break away for that a little because I wanted to try and do it on my own, but now I'm doing full contacts and getting numbers and setting up other meetings in Lithuanian because I don't have any other choice! Ah...... So needless to say, I am very tired and worn out. Elder Graham it 6'9" and super skinny. So he is huge! I'm not the tallest guy to begin with so I'm sure we look pretty funny walking down the street! He is from Georgia and actually went to BYU with me last year and I knew him a little bit. He was in my freshman academy group so he was in my Biology and Book of Mormon and American heritage classes! He's pretty hard to miss. Ryan would know exactly how I'm with and maybe even Kara would, but I'm not sure. Maybe... But yeah, he is a great guy and really mellow like me so we get along way good. A lot better than my last companions anyways. So that's what's new! Quite a lot! It's been rough and I know that the Lord is really tying my faith right now and doing that whole molding thing that everyone always talks about. :) It's been way hard but I know that the Lord will help me through it. I've really had to pray for extra strength this week to be able to do it all. This is going to be a very hard transfer, but I know that it will turn out ok. Sometimes it's hard to say that, but I know it will. So I got here on Wednesday afternoon and we went contacting and stuff and had a lesson and we just did normal missionary stuff on Thursday and Friday. Nothing to really tell there, but on Saturday there was a baptism in my companionship. Elder Graham and Elder Delinger (His last companion) had been teaching this family and they got baptized on Saturday. So you could say I had another baptism, but not really. I didn't do anything at all and was just here for the baptism. But it's still so great that people are getting baptized! Klaipeda is a lot slower than Vilnius because it only has about 200,000 people compared to 700,000 in Vilnius. So we do a lot less teaching here and do a lot more contacting and knocking on doors. I hope we can get it up to how many lessons we were teaching in Vilnius. But yeah, Saturday there was a baptism and then Sunday we went to church and the branch here has a lot more youth and it is a half Russian branch, so some of the talks, songs, and prayers are in Russian and the other half in Lithuanian. We just knocked doors last night and studied and went grocery shopping and now I'm writing you guys! We're going to go to a Swedish food place after this and just play some board games after because we're sick of always doing something big on P days. We have risk at our apartment so maybe we will get to play that! Haha I love risk! There are only four missionaries in  Klaipeda so yeah. It's Elder Graham and I right in center in the north part of the city and Elder  Whicker and Porter in the south half. The city is nice. It's not as pretty as Vilnius, but is right on the beach which is sweet! Even though we can't go swimming... But we went out there after the baptism and there is a pine forest all the way to the edge of the sand and then it looks like a California beach! It's so awesome! That's how it is all over the Baltic coast. So the actual city doesn't have a big old town like Vilnius, but it has a beach! It's cool. So anyways, that is my busy week. It's been way hard but it will make me grow.

This really is a true church and I'm very grateful that I can be serving. Though it is very hard at times, I know that so many people can be blessed by the message that us missionaries bring. Have a good week ok? Stay strong and always have faith. Things will always work out for the better. I love you guys!

Love, Elder Leishman

110 days down, 620 days to go!