Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Forty-Second Letter

November 2, 2010
Hey Fam!

Well, we weren't able to find anywhere to email yesterday so we got permission to do it today. So here I am! Thank you for your wonderful emails. I enjoyed reading them and hearing from you as always. This past week wasn't too eventful for us, but we do have someone that we are working with that is working towards baptism. The other Elders got in contact with a guy named ┼Żydrunas that had been meeting with the missionaries last year and met with him. He wanted to learn more and committed to a baptismal date. But he lives in our area, so they turned him over to us. We were able to meet with him
twice last week and it went pretty well. He is the nicest guy and is about in his 40's, but he is having some problems with alcohol and we have had to push his baptismal date back. So right now it is set for the 20th of November, but I think we might have to push it back again cause he didn't come to church and he drank again... This is so weird for me cause I haven't had to deal with this sort of thing before and I have no Idea how to help someone overcome an addiction problem! There is a lot of help from Preach My Gospel, but it is still a weird thing. I just think that it will take a lot of patience and persistence with him. I have really come to care about him in just the week that I have known him, but he is really struggling and is having doubts. I just pray that everything will work out and that he will be able to do this. So, that is kind stressful for me and I just want to do everything right so that we aren't the ones to blame if things don't work out. Sometimes missionaries make mistakes in how they handle things and it pushes the investigators away... I just don't want to do anything wrong and be able to respond and handle things right. Please pray that everything will go ok. So the other thing that was cool about last week was that the other Elders got a baptismal date too! On Friday night we were having an exchange and we were going to meet at the teaching center after we were done meeting with a less active member. So, after the lesson, the other elders came in and they had found someone to teach so Elder Sanford went with Elder Graham and I stayed with Elder Cooke and we taught this guy. His name is Dainus and is so cool! It was pretty much the perfect lesson. He was so prepared and everything went well. We committed him to baptism at the end of the lesson and he accepted! So we met with him again the next morning cause I was still on exchanges with Elder Cooke and that meeting went really well too. He came to church on Sunday and is just so solid! The other Elders will be teaching him, but I got to teach him twice. We are all really excited about him. He will get baptized at the end of this month.

So, that is pretty much it for me this week. Oh, and we carved pumpkins on Sunday too. That was fun. The only pumpkin that I could find was greenish blue! They don't have the big round ones like they do at home. But it looked cool and we just did some traditional faces. I had to keep up the traditions of carving pumpkins! I'll send some pictures next week. Yesterday we also went to a big graveyard here in Kaunas to see one of the holidays that they celebrate here. November 1st is called All Saints Day. The tradition goes that on All Hollows Eve (Halloween) all the spirits rise from their graves and then the day after, all saints day, they return to their graves. But sometimes they lose their way and they need to be guided back. So all of the people go and put candles on the graves so that they can find their way back. So the graveyards are COVERED in candles and it is so cool! They are all lit up and it was sweet to see! It's totally something that I won’t see in America. I took some really cool pictures so I will send some of that next week too. It was a cool thing to see. They don't celebrate Halloween here, just all saints day.

Anyways, that's it for my week! I got your package this week! Thank you so much for sending that. I LOVED it! I was so surprised to get it actually. I had forgotten that you had sent something. Thank you so much! I loved the Carmel Licorice and have eaten almost all of it already. The Oreos are gone already... :) I love them so much. And I made rice crispy treats for our district today for district meeting and they all said thank you for sending the marshmallows. I wear my BYU shirt every night now and especially on Saturdays to represent. :) And that article about Austin Callie was sweet too. I loved hearing about the cool mission experiences that he had and how he tries to share the gospel in the NFL.. Thank you so much for sending that. I loved it. Know that all of your emails and packages are loves so much and I feel so happy to get them. Thank you.

You asked about the baptismal invitation thing. I have struggled to feel comfortable with inviting people to be baptized in the first lesson too. I have felt the same exact thing that you felt. But they are really stressing it and I know that If I follow what they tell me to do, I won’t go wrong. At the beginning of the lessons we are encouraged to use some things from Preach My Gospel on page 176 and 177 from the point How to begin teaching. There are ten bullet points there and they are all ideas about how to begin the lesson. You should go read them cause they will give you a good feel of what we do now. The very last bullet is about baptism. And then at the end of lessons we are encouraged to commit them to baptism. Either in the first or second lesson. The baptismal invitation is the last paragraph on page 40 of Preach My Gospel. It is pretty direct, but we memorize it and use that one. I think that the biggest thing is that it gives the people something to work for and it shows them what our purpose in meeting is. I truly believe that through the strength of the Lord we really can do all things. As missionaries we are asked to do a lot and I know that I can't do it without the Lord's help. Sometimes I really struggle with all that is asked of me, but I know that If I rely on the Lord It will all be ok and I will be able to do all that the Lord asks of me.

I wanted to add a thought. I listened to that talk that you sent me a while back by Elder Holland, "Cast not away therefore your confidence." I thought that is was a wonderful talk and learned a lot from it. I know that things sometimes get so hard. I know that we all have our trials. I have had my far share out here on a mission. But I do know that if we trust God, He will take care of us. I have really been trying to focus on a principle that I have really needed to work on for a long time. Something that I have always struggled with. That is Diligence. "And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize." (Mosiah 4:27) That has become one of my favorite scriptures. I just wanted to share this thought because I felt impressed too. I know that I can't get anything done unless I am diligent. I am a slower learner and it takes me longer to get to where I want to be. So I have to be diligent just like that scripture said so that I can win the prize. I know that this is true for anyone. And all of you remember never to get discouraged, no matter what your circumstances are. "The Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 1:21) Trust God and have faith. I hope that you have a great week!! Good luck, cougs, this weekend against UNLV! I'll be wearing my shirt on Saturday night! haha, that's all I can do! I love you all!

Love, Elder Leishman

292 days down, 438 days to go!!!