Our week started out a little slow as we recovered from our colds. Luckily, they were rather mild and did not last too long. We came down with them on Friday morning and were over them by Tuesday or Wednesday. It is great to be back to normal.
We have settled into a routine in the office. I spend 75% of my time working on visa issues and the other 25% on my other tasks. Elder Segeberg spends his time on a constant flood of emails from the Mission President with things to do. :)
On Thursday Elder & Sister Flake traveled in Riga from Lithuania in order to be here for the Single Adult “Celestial Marriage Seminar’ on Saturday. We had Skyped with them for several months before we both came to the Baltics but had never met in person. They had gone to Lithuania before we arrived. It was very fun to finally meet them. They were even more fun and charming in person. In the evening we met with the other senior couples for dinner at Lido’s.
In addition to the regular group and the Flakes, the Robinsons joined us since they were in our mission on an audit and financial training tour as well as to assist with the Saturday activity. They were the only ones who had actually attended one of these activities. We had a nice visit with them as well. The food is always very good at Lido’s and the company was great.
On Friday there was a district conference with Elder & Sister Bennett (of the seventy) visiting from the area presidency in Russia. He gave a very interesting presentation on redoubling their efforts to talk to people and to be more obedient. He said there is a wide gulf of misery between getting up at 6:30 (the set time) and getting up at 6:31. He sent all the young folks off for the afternoon to see what a difference the could see and to report back at the end of the afternoon. We had not opened the office at the usual time in order to attend the meeting so we quickly grabbed a hot dog on the way back to share. After we closed the office at 4:30 (a little early) we headed out to attend a Family History event that had been planned by the missionaries in Imanta which is across the bridge. They were super excited about it! (Now I am sounding like them) The turnout was not as many as they had hoped but they were pleased with how it went. One young missionary here has run into someone who has common ancestry so that is how the idea started, I think.
The plan was for the senior couples and the visitors, the Bennett’s and the Robinson’s to meet for dinner but since there was not time between the meeting and the activity it had to wait until after. At around 8:45 we finally arrived at the restaurant – nearly famished (remember that there was only a half a hot dog between then and breakfast.) The evening was great. We sat between the Flakes and the Bennett’s and had a great visit with both. By the time we arrived home it was pretty late and we were pooped!
Sister Millet looking at Family History Display
Saturday we set out for the “Celestial Marriage” activity. It was held to get the single folks from all three countries together in hopes of sparking a few flames. I guess the program has had great success in Russia so they want to expand it to the Baltics. I started on the money table. We were not charging but were reimbursing them for their bus fare to get to Riga form the other countries. There was a small charge for the dinner, but that was collected at another table. The challenge was dealing in three currencies – Euros, Lats and Lits since each country has its own currency. Elder Bennett spoke to them and two young couples also talked about their marriages – the joy and the challenges/ Both of the couples that spoke had difficulty communicating when they first met since they had different native languages. In fact, each couple converse in English at home since that is the one they have the most in common – but it is not native to either of them. They were both cute couples and gave good presentations.
After that part they were divided into groups and given a bag of props to put together a skit. They seemed to have a lot of fun doing that. Next came a couple of hours of speed dating. It was amazing to see how well they chatted with each other one on one. We served a spaghetti dinner then sent them on their way with a directory that had picture and contact information of each participant. They all said they had a great time and now we will see what comes of it. They are hoping to hold another one in March, possibly at a different location.
After that we headed off on the bus to go to Imanta (seems like a common theme this week, huh?) There was a baptism there for a woman the sister missionaries had been teaching. She is very sweet and was thrilled to be baptized. When we first saw her at church she had a pigeon snuggled in her scarf. She had found him injured and rescued him. Luckily she has been able to leave him home alone lately. The sister missionaries were concerned which of them would get to hold him while she was baptized! It was a great meeting! After, we hopped back on the bus to head for home, well we didn't actually hop, had to wait 25 minutes in the windy cold. Was grateful for the bus when it came.. It actually took two different buses to get back. Every time we had gotten on a bus that evening we ran into other missionaries. Another late night getting back home! But well worth it!
Sunday was a bit quieter! We each gave a talk at church. It is a little awkward having to have it translated as you go. After all, I am getting older and have a difficult time holding a thought while someone is translating the previous thought. After all, I can no longer dial a rotary phone. Thank goodness there are very few around. It was a quiet afternoon with only one Skype call since the west coast had been without power for several days not everyone was able to get together.
A beautiful building near our Chapel
The weather had turned more wintry with snow and colder temperatures. The sidewalks are more treacherous since not all are cleaned off well after each storm. This week the temperatures are dropping even more. We may need some of the warmer clothes that we brought after all. So far it has been a lot like Seattle weather and temperatures. Soon we may find out what the Baltic winters are really like! We are enjoying our time here and getting more and more involved to the people and the area. It is a joy to serve!
Elder & Sister Segeberg