Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011 Иисус воскрес! воистину воскрес!

Dear Family,

Wow it's sounds like all of you are having a lot of fun and that makes me way happy. Haha Rome looks a little more interesting than Daugavpils. Daugavpils actually doesn't have a lot of really old stuff because when the Soviet Union took control they basically rebuilt the whole thing, so there's just a whole bunch of Soviet Union stuff.

This week was a really good week because of Easter. HAPPY EASTER!!! or since we're saying it in other languages here's what they say in Russian. Иисус воскрес! воистину воскрес!... it was a lot of fun being a missionary during Easter. People are automaticaly closer to Christ, so it made talking to people a lot more interesting. We were able to make people think about their lives more. We had a fun Easter party in the branch here. I took some pictures so I'll send them so you can see them. Not a lot changed on the missionary work side of things. We went out and talked to a lot of people, and we're basically teaching all the same people. It's kind of funny over here because people have such deep catholic and orthidox roots that even the members of the Church of Jesus Christ attend the orthodox church services on Easter, so a lot of people weren't there yesterday haha. So hopefully things will be better next week as far as church attendance goes.

This week I've been pondering a lot over the scripture in doctrine and convenants that says that those who are commanded in all things are lazy and slothful servants. I've just been thinking about our personal responsibility to do good even if we haven't been asked. We must always keep our eyes open for opportunities to do good and serve others. And as we do this extra step we are blessed so abundantly in our lives.

Thank you so much for not forgetting about me, I never forget about you. You should ask my companions I'm always bragging about how awesome my family is. thanks for all you do have a great week!!

-Elder Pack
Elder Karlsson and Elder Pack getting ready for exchanges
Elder Huber and Elder Gudmunson smiling like the little girls in the branch
Easter Party in the Daugavpils Branch

April 18, 2011

Hey Family,

It's just way crazy that I'm so close to you right now mom and dad. Mom it's ok that you don't understand what's going on, I know exactly how that is I was in the same boat not too long ago. I'm way curious dad how is the branch there doing since you were there? Are there more people, or are a lot of people leaving to other places. I just want to know what maybe can happen to the branch here in 20 years. Also what's the difference between being in a country as a missionary and just being there as a regular person, because I have no idea haha. I hope that all is well over in Italy and I'm way excited to hear your impressions from your trip in next week's email.

As for me here in Latvia all is just going fantastically. Elder Gudmunson and I are having a lot of fun spreading the gospel and trying to bring people to Christ. It's definitely not easy but it's just so much fun. This week was another good one. Miracles are happening as we get out there and do all that we can. We had a really cool miracle this week were an investigator that we haven't taught for months called us and wanted to me. She noticed as we stopped meeting that something was just missing, so we taught her this week and she is a lot more prepared to accept the gospel now than she was 3 months ago. Nina is doing very well. Life is really hard for her right now, her son is in the hospital, and her husband had a stroke and she has to take care of him all the time. But she's continuing to read and have very strong spiritual experiences. She said that she knows she needs to be baptized and that this church is the true of God on the earth, she just wants to get through her trials a little bit more, because she knows that baptism is a big commitment and she wants to be ready. Thanks for praying for her I know that it's really helping a lot.

I'm sad that I wasn't able to hear from the kids this week, that shows how much they care about me ;). No I understand that things are just way busy right now so everything's fine. I hope that you have a great week. Thanks for all the support it really helps. And remember that God loves us and everything is according to his will. While we do all we can to keep his commandments, hard times will come, but it will all be for our benefit.

-Elder Pack

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011

Dear Family,
Wow it sounds like a lot of adventures are happening back in humble cache valley. Robbie that stinks that you broke your foot and now you can't play basketball, oh well it will be a good time for you to master some other skill, like you could learn Spanish or something that's a way useful language or even master your mathematical skills. You have some new found free time make sure to fill it with meaningful activities that can help you and others ;). I've realized a lot since I've been out here on my mission, I find myself regretting the time that I missed that I could have done something good, but I never find myself regretting missed time playing video games or watching tv. They create feelings of temporary satisfaction but true satisfaction only comes through living the way God wants us to, and accomplishing all we can with the time we have. I'm glad I don't have to be there for the first practices of Alycia's driving ;). I'm just kidding I happy that she's having a good time. Let's just all hope and pray that she ends up a better driver than I was.
This week in the field was a really good one. Elder Gudmunson and I are back on our feet and it feels really good to just get out and work. We found some new people and taught some old people. One really cool experience is that we were able to work with a member and help one of their friends learn more about the gospel. People investigating the church want to hear about the gospel sooooooo much more from their friends than they want to hear it from us as missionaries. People can't relate to us really well (19 year olds from America that have been members their whole life) but as when we work together with members the work goes so much faster. A lady from the ward invited one of her friends and we met with them and had a nice conversation. We're hoping that all turns out well. Thank you so much for the prayers for Nina she's really doing well and still looking for an answer, but she's making all the steps so it's just a matter of time until she receives a strong answer.
Mom and Dad good luck in Italy you'll have a good time. I want to hear how it is and what cool things happen.
I just would like 2 or 3 short sleeve shirts I have a few, but one of them got ruined and 2 isn't quite enough because I'll be sweating a lot and needing to change every once in a while haha.
I'm sorry that I've been so terrible at sending pictures. I'll make sure to bring my camera next week so you can see some.
At the end of this email I just want to share a way short impression that I got from general conference. The talk that stuck out the most to me was Dallin H. Oaks' talk about desire. Sometimes our desire to be lazy or just fulfill our worldly wants are stronger than our spiritual desires. It doesn't mean that we don't have spiritual desires we just need to work on having our desire to study the scriptures, serve, and keep the commandments outweigh our worldly desires. I'm working really really hard to apply this talk into my life. When our desires change we change and soon we become our desires. We no longer find the want to watch t.v. on Sunday, but we find ourselves excitedly anticipating the opportunity we have to do our home teaching.
Thank you for all the support that you give me while I've been out here. I'm having a lot of fun. I love hearing how things are I hope to hear from you next week. I excuse mom and dad cause they'll be in Italy but I still want to hear from the rest of you ;). Frank you're in charge of telling me the events of the next week. Good luck talk to you next week.

-Elder Pack

April 4, 2011

Dear Family,
WHAT! Both Mariah and Nate are getting married in May?!? I'm way happy for them, but that also means I won't be able to have as much hang out time with them. Oh well I'm sure it's for the best, please pass along my congratulations. I'm way jealous that I missed the whole ski season this year and it sounds like it was a good year. I'm glad that you had so much fun with it. Except for Jenna crashing right onto her face, but that's ok we never learn if we don't crash.
That would be way radical if you could pray for our investigators. It really would help them receive answers I think. The main one right now is our investigator Nina. She has said that she knows that she needs to be baptized, and she loves our church and having lessons with us. She just wants to receive a more concrete answer so we've really been praying that she'll receive the conviction she's looking for. We've also been praying because she's been having a really hard time coming to church, because her husband had a stroke a few months ago and her son is in the hospital, so we've been praying that she kind find more opportunities to come to church.
Please tell Grandma and Grandpa thank you very much for the money, I'll make sure to get something awesome that with always remind me of my mission. I'll be writing them a letter soon so one will be on the way.
We had a really really really slow week here in Daugavpils, because we had to move. Our old apartment had leaking pipes so mold was starting to grow so we found a really good apartment just a few blocks away haha, but it took a long time to move so we didn't get a lot done. We're really excited for this next week though because we already have a lot set up, and we have some really good plans to help people come unto Christ, so it should be way radical. Nothing happened with exchanges. Elder Gudmunson and I are still companions and still having a really good time.
I'm really sorry that I never have a lot to say, is there anything you want to know, any questions? I'll try to work as hard as possible this week so that there's a lot to tell you this upcoming week. Thanks for all the support it really helps. I love all of you and I hope that you have a great week.
-Elder Pack

March 28, 2011

Dear Family,
HEY! hey family I'm glad to hear from you. I'm really happy that everything is going so well. Everything over here is just fantastic. I love walking around and just talking to people. Sadly this week was about the slowest week I've had in a long time, so I don't really have any cool stories to share with you cause nothing really worked out haha. But it's ok we're working hard and all we can do is try to improve ourselves and give people a chance to listen. The weather is also moving really really slowly towards the warmer side of things. It's really weird lately since daylight savings happened so now we have a lot more light, I still don't know what I think about it though haha. That's way awesome that mom and dad are going to Italy that will be a lot of fun, we'll be in Europe at the same time! I'll get to answering your questions now cause I really have no idea of what to say.
1. What do the people in Daugavpils do for fun? Do they fish in the river or go somewhere interesting. Have you met anyone that skies? Well Russian people for some reason LOVE to go on walks for free time. There are so many times a week when we go to try and find somebody and their parents are like "oh sorry he's out on a walk with his friends". At first I thought it was just an excuse cause people didn't want to meet with us, but they really do just go on walks. A lot of people like fishing also, especially men that are over 50 and receive pension. I've met a few people that "really" ski. A lot of people cross country ski but there are no mountains in the Baltics so there's no a lot of people that go downhill skiing.
2. We are putting a package together for your birthday. Do you have any requests? Do you need any clothes or anything? I don't really need anything specific... I don't know what's up with me lately haha, as a missionary living out of two bags and having no free time I don't really know what to ask for. I could probably use like one or two short sleeve white shirts for the depths of Summer but more than that any other clothes would just be a burden cause I'd have to carry them around. I would like some more pictures of the family, it would be cool if they were in a small album that I could carry around and show to people :) (the people here love looking at pictures of families)
3. Tell us about your companion. What does he like to do? I think you said he is from Utah. Is that right? Where? How long has he been out? I myself don't know a ton about my companion Elder Gudmunson because we haven't been together for so short amount of time haha. He's from Pleasant Grove, Utah. He's about 6'4" Just a way nice guy. He served here a year ago so all of the members remember him so that's really cool. He loves to play basketball which makes sense cause he's tall. He's been out for about a year and 4 months. So he's pretty experienced and speaks Russian really well. We're having a lot of fun together, but transfers are this week so we have no idea if we'll be together or not.
4. Did your headaches get even better this week? Let us know if we can send you anything like vitamins in your package. You need to definitely stay hydrated. They better sometimes and sometimes not, but it's ok they don't really bug me as much anymore. I don't need any vitamins Sister Dance has sent me some medicine so that should help.
5. What have you been studying lately in your scripture studies? I've just been reading through the section in 3rd Nephi when Christ appears to the Nephites. It's really amazing to see how much the Lord loves his people. As a missionary and just a person living in this world it makes me think about how much Christ loves me, but not only that also how much he loves everyone else just as much as me. It's a way amazing feeling when you're walking down the street and you see someone that you don't know at all but you just know that God loves them just as much as he loves me!
Thanks for always emailing me have a great week I hope that all goes good for you this week.

-Elder Pack

March 21, 2011

Dear Family,
Yes I am well on my way for the record of emergency transfers. I might actually already have it because usually missionaries don't even go on one haha. It just makes everything a little more exciting haha. They sent Elder McNerney to Imanta, which is Riga basically just on the other side of the River. Sadly the story of my mission and investigators is they're progressing really well and I feel like nothing could go wrong because of the effort that they're putting in, but something always goes wrong haha. We're back to only one person preparing for baptism and that person is kind of shaky. We're still working as hard as we can and miracles are still happening. Even if I don't get a baptism is will all be ok as long as I did everything that I could :). I actually have absolutely no idea what to talk about this week... Not a lot happened. We had a record low amount of lessons for my whole time in Daugavpils this week haha, but that's still more that I basically ever had in Vilnius. My headaches are getting better slowly but surely. They're not as bad as they were but they're still not all the way gone. You won't need to send me anything right now I'm just gonna watch and see if they just go away. Do you have any other questions? you should ask some questions cause I have no idea what to say haha. I'm way happy that everyone is doing so well. It's weird being on a mission because even though I'm all the way over here, life still goes on as if I was there haha. Well I hope you all have a great week. I'm sorry I'm so bad at writing emails, I just can never think of enough to say in a weekly email.

-Elder Pack