Monday, April 11, 2011

The Sixty-Fourth Letter

April 11, 2011
Dear Family,

Hey, thanks for your wonderful emails. I love hearing from you and it brings me so much joy. I really can't believe that April is here and is going by so fast. It has been really cold here this week just like in Utah, but I have hope that it will soon be getting warmer. I REALLY need it to be warm because I am so sick of the cold!!! The warm months will forever be my favorite time of the year. Well... The fall is my favorite time of year... But you get the point. I am just sick of the cold. This past week was pretty good. Last P-day we went to KFC to get an Oreo milkshake. I don't know if I told you that they build one here and it is the only place that you can find anything Oreo in the Baltic’s. So it is a favorite for all of the missionaries now. :) We also went and saw some of the churches and cathedrals that I hadn't been in. They are really cool to go see... But it's just not the same inside of them as compared to our churches or temples. But I still love going to see them and the history that is there! It's so cool to be in Europe. Sometimes I forget that I am in Europe actually. Because this has become a sort of home and it is second nature. But it really is so cool when you really think about it! On Tuesday we had Zone Conference in Kaunas. It was great to get together with all of the other missionaries and see how everyone is doing. I love the missionaries here in Lithuania. Elder Nueunschander (I have no idea how to spell his name!), an emeritus general authority who was in the presidency of the seventy, was there with his wife and the Dances. They are on a mission in Russia teaching the people of Eastern Europe how to keep better records so that the church has them. These people over here right now are the pioneers of their countries in the church. So the church is trying to help them keep good records so that future generations will have them. It is a special assignment from the church I guess. Their assignment includes teaching members from all of the countries how to do audio recordings and getting the members to tell their stories their conversions. And not just audio, but on paper too. They are trying to train people to be over the program so that they can continue doing it when they go home from their mission. Anyways, it was cool to hear what they are doing and they talked to us about keep journals of our own. I have in recent months gotten a lot better about writing in my journal, but I need to remember to always be good about it. Journal keeping is really important. Anyways, Zone Conference was really good. On the way back from Zone Conference I was talking to one of the sister missionaries that is Russian speaking and she is a convert of about three years. It was interesting hearing her story. But I guess that she is the only member in her family and all pretty much resent her and don't support her being on a mission. She doesn't hear from them though she emails them every week. I just say this because I want to thank you guys for being such a wonderful family and for being there from me. I feel so bad for this sister, but it makes me so grateful for my family. Thank you for everything you do. On Thursday we watched the first session of conference and it was great!! Friday we watched the second session and Saturday we watched the first two sessions again in Lithuanian. Then on Sunday we watched the last two sessions in English while the members watched it in their respective languages. We still need to watch the priesthood session this week sometime. But can I tell you that I am SO grateful for conference!! What a great blessing we have to listen to our prophet and the Apostles every six months! I love listening to all of the inspired messages. Like Elder Holland Said, There is always something from all of us. There is always something specifically for me. The more that I learn about the gospel the more amazing it becomes for me. Before my mission I thought that I knew a lot, but I am realizing how untrue that was! There will always be so much to learn. Anyways, Conference was just great. I loved it and I feel so good after watching it. Mom, just send me the ensign when you get it ok? I think that would probably work best since right now I am trying to finish the New Testament. So, I will try to get that done before the end of the month so that I can study the conference talks. But I will study the ones that you sent today because they were some of my favorites. It was really funny... Yesterday when we watched Elder Scott's talk and he talked about marriage... He said something like, "You young men, serve a full-time mission and when you get home, make finding an eternal companion your highest priority!" All of us Elders looked at each other and were like, "well we know what we have to do when we get back!" Or something like that. It was just funny cause it was directly at us. I've never heard an Apostle say it that strait forward. But it was funny. Conference was great! I have so much to apply to myself and get better at. There were so many good messages. About our investigators... They are all doing great! We got another Baptismal Date this week! Our investigator Loreta. We met with her in the middle of the week and talked specifically about baptism. We were anxious because she has been scared about baptism in the past, that's what her teaching record said. So, we wanted to say it all in the right way. We just felt like she was ready to take that next step. So we talked to her about it and she was so ready! She really wants to get baptized on the 30th of this month. It really was a miracle. I asked her why it was easier this time and she said that everything is just fitting together and she is gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that God has been preparing her. She is great and I am really excited about her! She also came to one of the Saturday sessions of conference and really liked it. She is really solid. Vida, who also has a baptismal date for April 30th, is doing great! We met with her twice this week and she is so sweet. She is doing so well and we really love her. I have no doubt that she is going to get baptized on the 30th! We have been trying to get members to all of the lessons with our investigators with baptismal dates and it has really been helping. Vida came to conference on Sunday and loved it. We met with her afterwards and she was crying because our meeting was filled with the spirit. She really amazes me with her faith and desire to repent. I really can't explain to you how wonderful Vida and Loreta are. This is the first time that I have really felt that love that missionaries always describe. To see them progress and change their lives. To see that light in their eyes as they move forward. It's so great. I am so grateful. I wish I could express it better. I wish you could meet these people. They are wonderful. Dad, you asked about Dainus. I haven't heard anything about him really. I wish I could answer your questions! haha... I think that those talks would have helped him too. The thing that I think was holding him back from progressing was his mom. She didn't want him to join the church and he didn't want to offend her. But I don't know where he is right now. I hope that he came to conference over the weekend and is progressing now. I hope that with all of the people that I have taught over the course of my mission. I hope that the things that I did will one day have an impact on them. But it is so great to be seeing the fruits of our labors now in Vilnius! I am so excited for Vida and Loreta.

I'm really glad that Brandon is going on a mission! That is so good for him. There were a lot of guys going to his mission in my Zone in the MTC. Maybe one of them will train him. That is really exciting for him. Tell him good luck for me!

Love, Elder Leishman

446 days down, 284 days to go!