Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Seventy-First Letter

June 7, 2011
Dear Family

Well, I will jump right into it! This past week was kind of a slow one for Elder Hilton and I, but we were able to meet with a few members and some great less active members. I really love working with all of these people. They are so wonderful and I love them. I really have come to love the Lithuanian people and am really coming to love their language the more I get into it. At first when something is hard, it is hard for me to really like that thing. Because it kind of makes you want to be bitter towards that thing. I think that kind of happened to me at the start of my mission because I just wasn't getting the language. But as I have tried my hardest to follow the assignment that President Dance gave me, I have started to love it. My heart is being softened and I am so grateful. I feel bad for not taking full advantage of it sooner. So, things are going well on that front. I am working hard to master it better. It's a beautiful language, but sometimes I feel that that grammar is too difficult for its own good! haha, some of the members that I have talked to say the same thing! But it's good. This week I created a map of middle earth from memory and I will be writing all of the declension charts on it to help me remember them better. Thanks for the Idea, Dad. :) The map is the size of four pieces of paper and I think that I did a pretty good job of remembering where everything is. It's a good thing that I love maps so much and that I looked at that map so much before my mission! So, I hope that will help. It's all about diligence with this language and any hard thing that we have to do. With God's help, it will come in time.

On Sunday night we went to Vilnius and stayed with Elder Whicker and Kezly because we had to leave Vilnius at 5:30 in the morning on Monday to get up to Riga on time. We got up at 3:45 to get to the bus station on time so, I was way tired! It's like a five hour drive to Riga. But we had chartered a bus and all of the missionaries in Lithuania went up together, so that was really fun. I talked to a sister missionary that is new here about education for a while because she is way nerdy and know tons about school and stuff. So I was just trying to learn some things from her and it was really cool. She had a really good outlook on education and it made me really excited to get back and start studying again. I also really think that I want to do a study abroad too. She had been on a lot and told me all about them. I have always wanted to go on one, but I really feel that it would be a great thing to do for sure now. Anyways, I learned some cool things. The Conference was great! We got there late but it was so cool to see all of the missionaries there. We had all lined up to have a mission picture and President and Sister Dance, President and Sister Clayton, and President and Sister Lawrence drove up. The assistance had all of us sing called to serve for them as they walked over to us. It was pretty cool. The meeting was mostly Q and A so we got a chance to ask some questions to President Clayton. One thing that stuck out to me was when someone asked how we can forgive ourselves better. President Clayton read that scripture of how if we work hard and serve faithfully, our sins will be forgiven to me. But he said that as we do that our whole lives and serve the Lord faithfully, we will be forgiven of our sins. I thought that was really cool. I was amazed at their knowledge! People would ask questions and President Clayton would answer the entire question with the scriptures! He would just call up these scriptures out of nowhere and go from one to the next super fast. I was blown away. I need to know my scriptures better. He talked a lot about how one day the church will be a huge power here in the Baltic. He said that the church was just a baby here still, but not to worry or lose faith because it will become huge some day. That was really cool for us to hear. He talked about how the first stake in Russia was created on Sunday and that we were helping with that. Anyways, It was just really cool and there was a great spirit there. We didn't end up getting home last night until about mid-night because stuff just went wrong with travel plans and we had to call someone in Vilnius to give us a ride back to Kaunas. What an exhausting day! But it was great. I need to run, but I love you all so much. I am praying for all of you and hope that you have a great week. Work hard and take advantage of every day and moment that you have. I know that the church is true! I love you!

Love, Elder Leishman