Mormon Mission World

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas week

Our week began with a trip to the hair stylists. There we sat, side by side, while two young girls worked on our hair. It was my first attempt at getting my hair trimmed since I left WA.  The receptionist speaks English well, so that was reassuring and each stylist spoke some English. I do not have a Russian vocabulary that includes hair salon terms. While I was there I added a manicure as well. The cut was done very differently than I have ever seen, but seems to have come out OK. Not quite like Marti would have done, but acceptable. A day or two later I had a hairspray crisis. I could not find a pump style and bought aerosol that did not do much to hold. Finally I found a couple that together seem to do the trick. Crisis adverted!

In the evening, off we went to meet with the Young Adult group that was going Christmas caroling for their first time. It is definitely not a tradition here!  They were a little nervous about it so additional support was recruited – us! Unlike going door to door in a US neighborhood, here caroling required a bus ride and a lot of walking. We had a pair of young missionaries, Elders Mills & Holdaway, as guides. Even with them we overshot the bus stop and had to walk a long way back (in the dark and rain.) When we finally arrived at the first apartment we sang “Silent Night” in Latvian.  Latvian seemed to be the only language of which we had a copy.  An adorable little, old couple came out and were just delighted. We gave them a plate of treats and after hugs all around we were off to try to find our next stop. Soon we realized that we had picked up an additional caroler. However, he did not seem to be singing the same carol. Apparently a drunk was following us. He probably thought he had found kindred spirits. After all, who goes around singing in the streets in the dark and the rain when they are sober? We tried to shake him, but he would have none of that. Luckily we were not able to find anyone else home, or maybe they were just frightened to open their doors to singing drunks. He stuck like Velcro.  When we decided it was too late to visit anyone else we were able to lose him when we hopped on a bus. We were hoping he did not have bus fare.

On Wednesday the senior missionaries were recruited to provide a Christmas dinner for all the missionaries attending the Riga zone conference. Usually the zone leaders are in charge and they order pizza. The mission president’s wife did not think that sounded very festive.  So we concocted a way to make sour cream potatoes (AKA funeral potatoes) without either frozen hash browns or canned cream of chicken soup. Quite the accomplishment! Apparently there was life before modern conveniences. We served ham, potatoes, green beans and bread with cake for dessert. All the young folks were thrilled with such an American meal. After several inspirational talks and a slide show of the year in review we ended with a white elephant exchange. It was fun for old and young! During the final carol, Silent Night (in English this time)  at the end of the day I was hit simultaneously with sadness to be so far from my family at this special time of year and joy to share this experience with so many incredible young people, and old ones too. When it comes to the young missionaries here, certainly only first string are sent to Eastern Europe.

The weekend proved to be a very busy time. On Saturday we had two parties to attend. The first was with our Russian church group. I quickly baked a double batch of brownies to take. There was a speaker and then a rousing game of what they called, “Jeopardy” but I think it was closer to Trivial Pursuit. The questions were based on the New Testament and church history. Who knew you could find so many obscure facts? But they had a good time. This was followed by the Christmas story for the children as well as a bag of treats for each one. A very nice luncheon was served by the ladies. One dear elderly lady loved Elder Segeberg’s Christmas tie and nearly wrestled him for it. 

Then we hurried home to bake rolls for the party we were to attend in the evening. We were invited to the Bailey’s for dinner, a program and gift exchange. Brother Bailey works for the embassy. By the time we left the rain had started again. We were off on the bus with rolls, veggie trays, fruit salad, yams, not to mention our gifts for the exchange. After getting off the bus we still had to walk about a mile. But it was well worth it. The dinner was amazing! He has access to real turkeys and spiral ham. There were around 20 at the sit-down dinner. After dinner his family led a program of Christmas carols and scriptures to bring our focus to why we are celebrating. The evening ended with white elephant exchange that was very lively. It was fun to be in a family setting when we were thinking of home and our family traditions. It was so kind of them to share their home with us for the evening.

Christmas day was very quiet. Although we had received two invitations to dinner we decided to stay home and have time together and to Skype with our family. We had a schedule worked out to squeeze everyone in since the time difference means we are awake most of the time they are asleep and vice versa. Early in the morning when we woke to begin the day with two calls we discovered that our internet was down. So we quickly dressed and headed to the office to use the wireless there. We were concerned that we would have to spend our entire day there. Luckily, (blessed we were) that when we returned from church it was working again. It was great to be able to see almost all of our family! We miss them tons, but seeing their smiling faces was great! Monday morning our internet was down again! We were truly blessed!

During this season I love the opportunity to reflect on my blessings. First of all there is the gift of our Savior that brings us so much hope in this life as well as the next.  There is our family that is dearer to me than I can express. Then there are countless tender mercies that He sends our way. One that I have been grateful for is the fact that my knee is not bothering me.  Ever since my surgery several years ago I have seldom taken a step without thinking of it. It is tight and stiff at best. Last spring I discovered (in Hawaii) that it likes the warm much better than the cold. I was concerned how I would do here. But I have had no problem with it. In fact, I seldom think of it except when using the stairs. Truly a tender mercy! The mild weather we have had thus far here has been a tender mercy to me.  The Bailey’s sharing their home and family with several senior couple who are far from their own families, the internet working when we were depending on it. The list goes on.  I don’t think there are coincidences, only things we take for granted at times.  Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Ours was very different, but very nice! 

Elder & Sister Segeberg

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 12-18th

Monday - It's Pday and we have been very busy.
Started out by getting up and immediately doing Carrie's hair color. I took on the role of Andre and gave her a hair color treatment. It came out great and she was happy. It looks just like Marty, her professional hair-dresser in Federal Way. When she's happy, I'm happy.
Showered and shaved, dressed then ate breakfast. Did our studying, then left for a walk to the Elkor mall about a 20 minute walk down Brivibus iela. Walked around there then came back. All-in-all it took 2 hours.
Cooked all afternoon. I made Lisa's chicken noodle soup. Carrie made home made noodles for me. This soup uses Mash potatoes as a thickener. It is super delicious.
Carrie made rolls and brownies and Connie's chicken salad. We are set for the week.

We had the Sister Missionaries over for dinner. Sisters Sandberg and Grineviciute. Sister Sandberg is from Orem and Sister Grinevicute is from Lithuania.We had a good time and the Sisters enjoyed the dinner.
Full day at the office today. We opened at 8:30 and had nice quite time until 10:00. Completed the Missionary Baptismal Certificate for President Boswell. Sister Segeberg got the design down on word, and we found some heavy stock to print it on.

Worked on the process of burning the Mighty Baltic Mission 2011 Christmas DVD that Sister Boswell put together. Need a better burning program.

Went to the post office to pick up packages. There are so many at this time of the year that we decided to take the van. The post office is only about 1/4 mile away to walk, but by car is 2 km. The traffic flow in Latvia is crazy. It is almost impossible to make a left-hand turn. There are no left-hand turn lanes, and, there are signs that prohibit you from even attempting it.You have to carefully plan your route because you have to make many right hand turn groups. Most light you have to go straight thru or can turn right. We had to go 2 Km more to get to the PO because for this.

Today was transfer day. Around noon time the office was flooded with Elders and Sisters either coming to stay at the Mission Home tonight for departure for home tomorrow or just coming to say goodbye to the people leaving. A local Sister received her mission call and she opened it in front of everyone. Lots of hugging and crying went on.
17 missionaries are going home tomorrow, so they all come into the office, then go to the mission home for the night and get taken to the airport in the morning. Many others came in to say goodbye and see the Mission Call opening. It was pandamonium with 30 or more people in the office. When the Sister opened her call, it was to the SLC Temple Square mission. She will be with the other local Sister that is also going there

This afternoon we had a power blip that took out the Cisco AP. It uses POE and has a special power supply for that. It looks like the POE unit is now dead. I went to M79 and bought two cheap switches and wired the two computers that were using wireless into the network. They now have full access but President Boswell's laptop won't be able to access the internet. I can get an AP at M79 for 22LS to fix the immediate problem. Maybe tomorrow.

My new best APP is google translate. I use it daily to figure out what things are in the food Ad's as well as everything else.

Got authorization today to buy a new computer for the office. I bought an ASUS laptop that has good specs. I was surprised to get it back to the office and turn it on. Only had DOS on it. Had to go buy Win 7 to put on it. Oops.

Today I determined that I was not going to get the Cisco AP going, so I went to M79 and bought a cheap Wireless AP. Had the office up and running on Wireless in an hour. Everything is working fine at the moment.

Started the project to burn the Mighty Baltic Christmas DVD that Sister Boswell put together. She did a great job on it and it is very nice. I burned 28 copies today for their first Missionary Christmas Party in Lithuania on Monday. I was afraid that it would take longer, but got it done by 5PM.

Went to the Millet's for dinner and a movie. We had a good time and watched "While You Were Sleeping", it was a sweet movie and we talked for a couple of hours after the movie. Had a great time. We really enjoy being with the Millet's, they are a sweet couple.

Went to the Restaurant supply store and Prismo this morning. It is a ways from here -- over the river and through the woods. Spent a bunch of money. I hope we are done feathering our nest here.

Sister Skvortsov called while we were shopping and asked what time they were suppose to come to Dinner tonight. We had invited her and her husband (the Russian Center  Branch, Branch President) to dinner tonight, but hadn't heard from them since we invited them. That's great. We'll see if they like American cooking. 2 PM

The Skvortsov's arrived and we had dinner. We had a pleasant evening and ate and talked. Sister Skvortsov speaks very good English (she teaches English in a school here). President Skvortsov speaks a little English, and understands more than he can speak. He did get lost sometimes if we were speaking because we speak so fast.We talked about each of our cultures and they told us of their experiences going to Russia and how they were treated, even though they are native Russian speakers.

                    President and Natalia Skvortsov
We have Church at 1:00, and got back home at about 4:30 PM.
Miss the car. We have to take the bus everywhere.My mobility is very restricted. In the spring would like to see more of the country than just Riga. Maybe we can rent a car?? There is an Opal van that we can borrow for shopping on Saturday, but it isn't available all the time. It actually is used by the Assistants to the President mostly.

This is the most foreign we have lived in another country. While in the military we lived in several different countries but had military support, such as commissary and BX. We could get all the foods and goods we were use to.

This is different. All writing is in Latvian or Russian. Yesterday we bought a package of what we thought was whipped topping. Well that was what we thought it showed on the picture. Turns out it was yeast. The package was written in German and we obviously don't know what the word for yeast is in German. We do know what it is in Latvian though.

It is much different being a tourist also. When you are a tourist you stay at a hotel and generally eat in restaurants that cater to tourists. That really insulates you from the real culture and living conditions. If you really want to get to know a country, live on the local economy for a while.

We skyped with Shelly & Vince, Wendy and her gang, Ryan and Amanda, and the Christmas gathering at Aunt Helen's house. It was a big skype night. Busy week.

                      View of our apartment from the street. We are the one that has blue lights in the window
                                                              Our little Christmas tree

See you later,
Elder Segeberg

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Good Week

Week of Dec 5th - 10th
This week was busy. We had P-day on Monday and took the van and went to the Alfa mall. We bought a 32" LG flat screen (I know, it's small- but I'm suppose to be roughing it) and found leather winter boots for Carrie. Most of the boots she looked at (and there were many) were very expensive 100 LS plus (1LS = $2), but she found some she liked for 48 LS, so we were happy.

An interesting thing that happened on Monday: we had a leak from under the pedestal of the shower. Every time we took a shower water flowed out from underneath. We had the plumber over several times to fix it and to no avail. So on Monday the landlord (who speaks no English), came over with his son, John, (who speaks pretty good English) and a plumber to fix it. They didn't believe what I was telling them about the water coming out from underneath. They thought the shower doors were leaking. So I explained to John about what we saw and he had a discussion with his Father and the plumber. So instead of just turning on the shower and watching, the Father strips off his clothes and jumps in the shower while the plumber watches for leaks. Lo and behold, the shower leaked from underneath the pedestal. The plumber is now ready to go to work and cuts a hole in the side of the pedestal so he can fiddle around underneath. After 30 minutes John comes to me and tells me it is all fixed, then they leave. I go in and turn on the shower and quickly shut the doors. You guessed it, leak not fixed, and maybe even worst. I walk up three flights of stairs and tell John the bad news. They scheduled for Wednesday to come back and actual fix it this time. Yeaaa!

Tuesday night we left the office at 5:00 PM and took the bus, with the Millet's, and went to dinner at Elder & Sister Davis's. They are the CES couple and live several miles from our apartment. They fixed Mexican food. I had the best Salsa and chips I have ever had in my life. The main course was a soft shell taco and it was really good, considering what they had to work with.This isn't exactly a Mexican food haven.It's hard to find the ingredients needed. We did find cilantro in the food store under the name of Kolendra. Shtow?? We looked it up on the internet and found out that Coriander in America is the seed and cilantro is the leaf, of the same plant. Who knew??

On Thursday we went to the National Opera House (incredibly beautiful and ornate building) to see "The Nutcracker". President & Sister Boswell, Elder & Sister Millet went as well and we all had an enjoyable time. Lots of leaping gnomes (those guys dance in sheer tights), and pretty ballerinas. Very elaborate production and the hall was all gold leaf. we had great seats, first row, lower balcony. and only $30 each.

(Back row) Sister & President Boswell, Elder Millet (front row) Elder & Sister Segeberg (Sister Millet took picture)

Saturday we went shopping at RIMI's in the morning, had down time in the afternoon, then had the Millet's over for dinner and a movie (The Joseph Smith story). It was a good evening. Sister Segeberg then skyped with Aunt Helen until way past missionary bedtime. I won't tell President Boswell on her. What happens here, stays here, haha.

Yesterday was Sunday, and we have the morning to read scriptures, work on our journal, and generally relax until we leave to catch the city bus for church. We attend the Center Russian Branch. We have enjoyed going there, the people are warm and friendly to us.We don't always know what is going on, but usually have a young missionary whispering in our ear a translation of what is being said.

One thing we have been very impressed with is the caliber of the young missionaries. They are personable, dedicated and hard working. It is amazing how mature they can seem for such young people. We had a meeting with someone who is having marriage issues. The Elders were very sensitive, in spite of having no experience with marriage, they made several insightful comments. The main experience they have with relationships is learning to work well with their companions. Not quite the same as marriage, but some of the same principles apply - patience, tolerance, understanding and cooperation. I was very impressed! It makes you want to write to their moms and tell them how great their sons are doing and how proud they can be of them. We are actively engaged and figuring out what we are suppose to be doing. The weeks are going fast.

This next week is transfer week, so we will be busy.
Love to All
Elder & Sister Segeberg

Monday, December 5, 2011

Second Week in Latvia

Well it was a busy week. We worked in the office everyday, Tuesday through Friday. On Saturday we went downtown and walked around what is called the "Open Air Market". It actually is part open air and part inside. The inside part in in four old dirigible hangers, ah the good old days when we could fly in lighter than air, air ships.The fruits and vegetables seem to stretch on for miles, some we had never seen before and had to examine them. Sister Segeberg thinks that there can't be any hogs left in Latvia. There was one whole hanger that was full of different little companies sell pork and pork products. There was everything there but the "oink", and Sister Segeberg thought she saw some of those. There was a fish hanger, and a beef/meat hanger, etc. It was the men's worst nightmare, endless shopping and hours of walking around looking at stuff.

 Checkout the hat! Do I look sporty or what. Sister Segeberg of course looks great.

This is the Freedom Monument. Latvia got their Freedom from the Soviet Union in 1991. You can't see it very well, but there are formal guards at the base. We watched the changing of the guard.

Sunday was Fast & Testimony meeting at our Russian Branch. We got up and gave our testimony in Russian, and everybody actually understood us.They seemed very please that we could speak some Russian.The members are very warm and appreciative of us. We have a translator with us during most meetings. We went home after church and made dinner than relaxed and had Sunday evening Ice Cream. The ice cream here is good. Talk to you next week. Dasvadanya!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Hi Everyone: We had P-day (preparation day) on Monday and spent the morning typing our blog entry for the week and doing chores around the house. We decided to go look at the local sights. So I go outside to give Sister Segeberg a weather report. It seemed fairly calm and about 40 degrees so I told her we don't need to bring our ear muffs. Boy was I wrong. It started hailing on us on the way to the bus stop. By the time we got off the bus it was a 30 MPH head wind and felt like 20 degrees.

We went to "Old Town" which is the original old part of Riga.Very old and picturesque. It was fairly cold, but very windy and blustery. We were on the edge of freezing the whole time but had a good time. We ended up eating lunch at McDonalds then went to "Stockmans" a English branded department store. We had made spaghetti sauce for a dinner with Elder & Sister Millet and wanted to find some parmigiana cheese to grate up for the dinner. We found some and also some American BBQ sauce so it was Wahoo! We scored.

                                                                A little Wind-blown
                                                                 Checkout the hat!

Monday, November 28, 2011

First Week in Latvia

This, our first week in Latvia was busy and eventful. We arrived on Tuesday and went to our new apartment and unpacked.
On Wednesday morning we had a breakfast meeting with the Senior Couple from Estonia and the other couple who will be serving in the office with us. It was great to meet everyone and the breakfast buffet at the Radisson hotel was extensive and very nice. After breakfast we went back to the office and worked all day being  trained in our jobs. Wednesday night we went to dinner at the Millets (the other office couple), then went to a store called “RIMI’s” which is kind of like a Walmart, well as close as they have to that. We needed to “setup housekeeping” in our new apartment. 300 Lats later (about $600) we went home with our loot. The prices are not “Walmart” however. They have a 22% tax on everything here so everything is much more expensive. Example: a large skillet that I bought in the states for $20 cost $60 here. We didn’t get to bed until 11 PM.
On Thursday we worked in the office from 8:30 until 4:00, then went to a special Thanksgiving dinner hosted at Brother Bailey’s home. He works in the American Embassy and kindly invited all the Missionaries in Riga to come for Dinner. There were about 40 people there which included our Mission President and his wife (President & Sister Boswell) the Area President and his wife (Elder & Sister Lawrence) and three senior couples, as well as about 24 elder and sister missionaries. We had a great time and it was very fun to meet all the Elders and Sisters. Took the bus home and got to bed at 11:00 PM.

On Friday we worked all day at the office. I finished a special project of taking the October conference talks (which had been translated into Latvian, Estonia & Lithuanian) and copying them into word, adding pictures of the speakers and making each in to a booklet. We then send them to the printers and distribute the booklets to the members. The church translates conference into Russian, but not these other languages, so we do that. Anyway it took some time but I finally got it done. Friday night we had a dinner with the Area President and his wife, plus The Mission President and his wife, plus the three senior couples in Riga. It was great to spend so much time with Elder Lawrence (member of 1st quorum of the Seventy) and his wife. Elder Lawrence told his of his conversion story when he joined the church as a young man and how he met and married his wife. It was a great story and we enjoyed his company as well as Our Mission President and his wife. President and Sister Boswell have been so kind and supportive of us. We are very happy to be serving with them.

On Saturday we had zone conference. Left the house at 8:15 and travelled by bus to the Center Chapel. The zone conference was fantastic. It started off with Sister Lawrence giving a 90 minute presentation on “The Holy One of Israel”. She went into the bloodlines of Israel and how scripture and patriarchal blessings relate. It was powerful and informative. She is a former seminary teacher and knew her subject well. I’ve read a lot off Hugh Nibley and have studied this before, and I learned a more  few things. Major point, “The blood of Israel is believing”. Elder Lawrence then talked to us for another 90 minutes about “The keys of success on your mission”. It was great and time went fast, we were not watching the clock. One thing he said that I liked: Question: What is the difference between a prompting and a good idea? Answer: Who cares, just do it! He was talking about following the spirit. We broke for lunch and had pizza that had been delivered. It wasn’t like Costco (My west coast standard) but it was good. Sister Boswell spoke about the sons of Mosiah and how she observed us like that. When the missionaries came in they were hugging each other because they were so glad to see each other. President Boswell spoke about: Most of us are 1st watch prayers (meaning we want it now), but we worship a 4th watch God (meaning God does not often answer our prayers until later, but he always answers). It was a great discussion. We then had a musical number with 5 Elders and 2 Sisters singing a Latvian song. A Latvian sister accompanied on the piano. It was sooo beautiful. Maybe the most beautiful singing and piano I have ever heard. It was titled “Heavens Near”. Elder Lawrence finished up the discussion part of the conference with a talk on the difference between the committed to baptism number and the actually baptized number. He discussed ways to bring them closer together. Then we had testimony meeting where every missionary got up and gave their testimony. It was powerful and moving. Closed the meeting and we went home and collapsed.
Sunday we went to the Russian branch for the first time. We were warmly greeted and got to use some of our Russian. During the services, an Elder sat next to us and whispered in our ear about what was going on. We could understand a few words here and there, but without the translation we would have been clueless. Some of the members spoke some English and the Branch President’s wife spoke excellent English, although the Branch President speaks very little English. All-in-all it was great. Atleachna as they say in Russian.
It was a great first week!  We were worried about jetlag, but didn’t have time to experience it. So we are now fully involved and ready to start the new week. Since today is our P-day, we are off to explore. Chow!

                                          View from our apartment
                                          Another window view
                                           Mission President -The Boswells in the middle, and two Senior Couples that work in the office, the Segebergs and the Millets
                                           Area President, Elder Lawrence and his wife, Sister Lawrence, and us.
                                         Old Lutheren church that is in front of our rented apartment chapel (Center Chapel)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We're In Latvia

We made it. Here we are in Latvia. We are so happy to finally be here after all the months of preparation. We were staying in the MTC Senior Couple Apartments (brand new). We got up at 3AM on Monday, November 21st and got ready, then completed final packing. We had four large suitcases that were packed and weighted to exactly 50 lbs each. Additionally we had two carry on suitcases and I had a backpack and Sister Segeberg had a large soft-sided briefcase. We were loaded. We then moved all the luggage down the elevator to the staging area outside the building. We then moved the suitcases out to the parking lot and hoisted them into a large truck, then boarded a bus for the trip to the airport.

After the hour long bus trip to the airport, we unload the luggage truck, in the rain, and start trucking our luggage into terminal 2. When we get to the kiosk that checks in multiple airlines, we are told that we are in the wrong terminal, so we saddle up and pull our luggage over to terminal 1 where the check-in goes smoothly. Now to get through security. Well, we got through, but not before being xrayed and all the other hectic "take everything out of your pockets, all electronics out of the bags, ETC." Finally we could just relax and wait for boarding.

The flight to Chicago was uneventful, which is good.In Chicago we waited about 3 hours for our flight to Frankfurt. The flight to Frankfurt, GE, was 7.5 hours and felt every minute of that. The seats are very close together and we were as crowded as I have ever been on a flight.I thought someone told me that international flights had more room? When the guy in front of me put his seat back, I could have easily given him a head massage.Unfortunately for him, I reserve massages to Sister Segeberg's foot massages.

We got to Frankfurt and had a 4 hour wait for the flight to Riga. Frankfurt is a huge airport and it took us an hour to carry our backpacks and "stuff" to the next gate.
The flight to Riga, Latvia was delayed about 1/2 hour, but was only two hours when we finally got in the air and was pleasant.

We were excited to land in Riga. Finally here! I was anticipating going through "custom", as I have years ago in other countries. There was only an exit door to the outside, and a small door marked "Customs" so I stopped and asked a security guard if I needed to go through customs and they looked at me strange and started asking me if I had excessive money or other "funny" things and I said "no", so they just told me to leave and had no interest in anything else, so we went out the exit door --- and there was our Mission President and his wife, smiling and hugging us. We were so happy to see them. They loaded our luggage and us, into there van and off we went to the Mission Office, getting a tour of Riga on the way.

At the Mission Office we met the Millets, the other office couple we will be working with. They are wonderful and we are going to enjoy working with The Mission President, his wife, Sister Boswell, the Millets, and all the missionaries here in the Baltic mission. Everyone is very friendly and nice. Some elders, lead by Elder Millet moved all our luggage to our apartment while we chatted with President  & Sister Boswell.

We finally got to our apartment about 4PM, Latvian time (GMT+2). The apartment is great. Right downtown about 2 blocks from the Mission Office. We unpacked and the Millets came over about 6PM. We had a dinner together and got acquainted. Very nice. We are happy to serve with such great people, and, we have a breakfast meeting with the Senior Couple who live and work in Estonia. They are in town, so we have a chance to meet with them and the Millets for breakfast.

We are invited to go to a large Thanksgiving dinner at a couples home who work at the US Embassy. All the Senior Couples and the Mission President will be there. Sounds like fun! Will post pictures soon.
Love: Elder and Sister Segeberg

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Completed Second Week at MTC

 Once again we have had a busy week. We were in class from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm Monday thru Thursday.. This week we learned several office systems as well as the churches office system. In Word, Excel and Outlook we felt like superstars because we had have plenty of opportunities to work with those. For some of the others it was their first exposure to them all. One Tuesday there was another great devotional.This was was with Tad Callister who spoke about '10 evidences of the apostasy.' He has written several books that Dick has enjoyed in the past.

  On Friday we had lunch with a friend we had not seen in maybe 30 years. It was great to see him again and hear what has been going on in his life. We have enjoyed all the visits we have had in the past few weeks.

So here we are on the eve of our departure from the MTC. Our clothes are washed (thanks, Rick & Brenda for lending us the use of your washer and dryer - usually the kids bring laundry home to mom and dad. We reversed the tables and brought ours home to the children.), our bags are packed and weighed. Even though we are wearing as many layers as we can and have chosen the heaviest clothes we have with us to wear we are still right on the edge of the weight limit on every bag, but are hoping if the airport scales are off it is in our favor, not the other way. The shuttle comes very early to pick us up so we will be turning in soon. The trip takes about 22 hours from door to door. We will write again as soon as we recover from jet lag. It will be fun to explore and post pictures of our new area. Da svee-da-neeya!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Week at MTC Completed

The first week at the MTC is over, and what a week it was! We were definitely busy, in classes every day from 8 AM till 8 PM. On Tuesday we attended a devotional with a General Authority, Elder Eduardo Gavarret. It was great to be able to attend that. There were at least 2000 in attendance.

We taught the first and second lessons to volunteers. The thought of it was a little intimidating at first but it went well. I enjoyed watching Sister Segeberg jump into the fray and carry the discussion. Our companionship works well. We also attended a language department testimony meeting where everyone bore testimony in their new language. Our instructor told us we did well but I think his job is to encourage us not depress us.

Next week we will spend our time being trained on office duties. We are looking forward to that because we feel we can handle the computer systems. This weekend we are resting up and trying to recover from colds. I was nearly better when my cold returned with a vengeance on Wednesday. Hope we will be better before we leave the country on the 21st.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In the MTC

Our first day in the MTC! It was great! Rick and his family dropped us off this morning. It was not lost on any of us how we had been the ones dropping him off about 24 years ago. Our accommodations are very comfortable, like in a very nice hotel - 4 star at least, in the recently completed senior couples housing area. We did not get assigned to the Marriott, but the only real way to tell is that there is no big screen TV . We had a few meetings this afternoon and did some in-processing then had dinner and now we have study/free time.. Tomorrow we have classes during the day, then a devotional at night with a general authority speaker. I'll let you know who that was later this week. We had about 88 people in our senior group and we all got a short period of time to stand up and introduce ourselves. Everybody is very nice and we have had some good conversations over lunch and dinner. The young elders and sisters are very kind and courteous to us, I feel like we are in a very special place.

We sang one song today - Called to Serve -- it was rousing, but I had such a lump in my throat I could hardly sing. I've always loved that song from the time we took Rick to the MTC and sang it together with the new missionaries. We have sung it as we dropped each one of our sons at the MTC and now it was our turn.

It is great to be some what settled after out nomadic wanderings of the past few months. And it is great to be finally beginning this new chapter.  Saying good-bye to our family and friends was hard , but we look forward to sharing our experiences with them on Skype. Yeah, for electronic media! We picked a great time to go.
Love - Elder & Sister Segeberg

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Set Apart

Tuesday night we were set apart by our Stake President, President Miles. He gave us a wonderful blessing and the time with him was very spiritual and uplifting. Ryan and Amanda were with us at this meeting and were asked to give a testimony and express their feelings about our mission.It was touching and wonderful to have these experiences.

The Bishop kindly drove us to the airport on Wednesday and we had an uneventful flight to SLC. Today we went into the MTC for a russian tutoring lesson. We got to meet the tutor (Brother Ryan Smith) that we have been working with for the last few months. After the russian lesson, we went to the Verizon store here in Orem and talked to a young woman that took an interest in our problem of canceling our Verizon cellphone contract. She spent a long time on the phone and computer researching our problem and finally found away to convince district managers to forgive the termination fee. We are of course very happy we don't have to pay the $870 termination fee.Yeah! what a blessing. Looking forward to Monday and MTC induction.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In the MTC in One Week

We had a busy Sunday. We spoke in Sacrament Meeting then had a family dinner, and finished with an open house at Karen & Bud Little's home in the evening. Many people came by to wish us well and say goodbye. We are very appreciative that Karen and Bud hosted this open house for us so we could say goodbye to our friends in the Auburn area.

Yesterday and today was spent taking care of all the last minute details. We sold our remaining car and talked to Verizon about leaving the country and canceling our phones. That didn't go well.We've talked to several people in the Verizon company and all want us to pay $870 in early termination fees.Doesn't matter that they can't provide service in Latvia. Hmmm. After 60 we should have been on a pay-as-you-go plan.

We are excited that it is finally time. We fly to SLC tomorrow, then into the MTC on Monday. Thursday we get to meet our Russian tutor at the MTC and have a Russian lesson in person.Starting next Monday we will see him daily for Russian lessons. I have heard that the MTC is intense. Will let you know soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our mission to the Baltics is almost ready to start. Only a week to go until we fly to SLC and get ready to enter the MTC on November 7th. I am ready to start this great two years of service.

It has been an adventure in itself just getting ready to go. What with physicals, dental exams, getting all our financial and living arrangements taken care off, as well as immunizations, selling cars, moving out of our house and putting things in storage and a whole host of other things to do to get ready, its not for the faint of heart.

Did I mention that its worth it. I would do many times all of the above to be able to serve. Any amount of effort or treasure is worth it when you have had such strong conformation as I have that this is what the Lord wants us to do.

The paperwork for our visas to Latvia just won't stop. Now I have to provide documents to prove I am not in the military currently, and detail what I did in the military when I was active. I am retired military and noted that on my visa application. They seem to have a real interest if you have ever been in the military.

Last week we returned from the grand tour of New England, visiting family and fauna. Family was fine, the usual brilliant display of fall colors was muted this year but still beautiful to see. We went to Booth Bay Harbor on the Maine seacoast and stayed in a B&B. The town was quaint and pretty, we had a great time.

This week we work on getting everything we are taking to Latvia for the next two years into 4 suitcases that can't weight over 50 lbs each. I theoretically get two suitcases, but the love of my life thinks that my suitcases are for her overflow, which looks highly probable. Not a problem though, all I need is a suit and a happy wife. Learning Russian has been challenging. It's in there but hard to recall it when I need it. Faulty retrieval system. Oh well, I'll just keep putting in and see if I understand anything when I get there. Our Russian tutor at the MTC thinks we are doing well, but he probably doesn't want to discourage us and tell us we should stick to english, haha. Paka!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Only one month to go

Whew. It has been so hectic the last few months. We have both retired from our jobs and moved out of our primary house. I worked on the house for two months, getting it ready to lease, and is now in the hands of a management company. Hopefully it will be leased soon. We are now visiting family in New England before we leave for two years to Latvia. We can't wait to get there and start serving our mission. We know that this is a direct call from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are so thrilled to serve.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Here

Yessssss! We finally received our long anticipated large white envelope from the church in our mailbox on Thursday, May 26th. We went to our son & daughter-in-law's home to open it, together with all the rest of the family that we could get on multiple phones.

We are going to the Baltics Mission, as office specialists, headquartered in Riga, Latvia. My daughter-in-law, Amanada is so happy and excited. That is where she went on her mission, and she loved it. Also, we are to go into the MTC on November 7th, the same day she reported to the MTC. Hmmmm. what are the chances.

We are so honored and happy to be able to serve the Lord on a mission.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Still Waiting

It's been three weeks since the Stake President submitted our missionary papers on-line. Today is Thursday, the day mission call often arrive in the Pacific NW. Hoping when I get home today it will be in the mailbox. Telling myself, remember, patience is a virtue. I've been practicing patience for years and haven't perfected that attribute yet, but I'm better.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting For The Call

Our papers have been in for two week. We are now just waiting for our letter telling where we will serve for the next two years. We are so excited to start, but still have at least 6 month and a lot of work to do getting all our personal affairs in order before we can leave.

Where we go should be a complete surprise. We didn't request any certain area or job.

Just waiting .....waiting