Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MARCH 2011

Hey Guys!

The Month in review, Dedukas got baptized. It was Great!

The first of the month we went up to Riga for the leadership training. Following the meetings, I got put with a Russian (Elder Mock) for the rest of the night. It was pretty entertaining as we had a lesson supposedly it went well and the guy was just feeling some sorrow from the wars he's been in and the lives he has had to take. Pretty crazy, but he loved reading about the savior taking upon him our pains and sorrows. So it was cool to see how it went. The next day went well with Zone Leader Council. We then went to TGI Fridays(Finally an American burger)!!!! Got on a bus and returned back home.

I enjoy teaching Dedukas. It was pretty funny one Saturday night while out harvesting, Elder Lindell and I ran into a pretty looking female while knocking doors. haha.. he totally just froze, and then proceeded to stumble over his words haha. Next we knocked into a guy that wanted us to come in, but his wife didn't want us to. He found out we were Mormon’s and then he didn’t want us to either. Then he asked if I was Lithuanian when I said, “no I’m from America”, he yelled back to his wife saying: "It's okay they can come in they're American" haha we told him we weren't going to just talk about America with him but about Christ in America. We then moved on. Haha, it’s just way funny how it all changed when he found out where we were from. Next we harvested into a mute. She could hear, but couldn’t talk. So she would write down her response to me on a piece of paper and then show me. She wanted to talk with us, when she saw the Book of Mormon she then wrote down that she will not talk to Mormon’s and then slammed the door. It was definitely an eventful night harvesting, and gave us some good laughs for awhile. Probably one of the craziest things or experiences thus far on my mission (okay maybe not the craziest, but its up there). We met with a Catholic Priest and taught him. It was nuts haha. He lives right behind a big cathedral (named: All Saints Church) and his flat that he lives in is just ridiculous as I've never seen so many Bibles in my life. He also had a little room with a kneeling prayer alter and a big star burst of Jesus on the cross in the background. He was a very nice man and he was originally from Brazil. He decided to become a priest and went to Rome to study for 5 years.... He speaks Portuguese, Spanish, Latin, Hebrew, English, Russian, & Lithuanian. He's very smart obviously. The lesson went well and He actually wants to meet again and talk more about our doctrines. He said that the words "confusion" and "authority" really were words he hadn't thought about before. He was taking notes the whole time and said he liked what we had taught. I guess we'll see where the next meeting goes when he returns from his trip. Oh and he was just all dressed up in his priest attire as well. It was crazy cool, but we'll just see what comes next. As we went knocking for the last hour of the night,we went inside a dome and this old Russian lady just followed us down the stairs screaming in Russian and way broken Lithuanian at us haha. She spoke terrible Lithuanian which caused me to start laughing, I guess that probably didn't help. She finally went inside. It's just funny how people react sometimes.

I'm definitely staying busy with exchanges and traveling to Riga (Latvia) for ZL Council and AP Exchanges so that is a plus! But at times I feel a little run down. The sun starting to poke its rays down at us seems to help a lot though :)! . I have enjoyed going on weekly exchanges with my zone. It is always really fun catching up with Elder Whicker, my MTC comp. and getting to know the other Elders better. They are all great missionaries and way cool guys. It really is a blessing to be working with such great guys.

We met with a member this past week who is super ripped and really active in working out (obviously haha) and just takes really good care of himself. So we go into the lesson with him and when we walk in he has a razor and asks if either of us can cut hair. Elder Lindell says "he can" and pointed to me. So I cut his hair for the next 10 mins or so. It was pretty fun haha. Next he asks us to read this email for him as it was in all English and he didn't understand it at all. Well we started reading it, and He won a green card to America! It was so ridiculously random as he had totally forgotten that he put in his papers for the "lottery" of green cards. I hope he doesn't leave. But we'll see.

Next event that was a few Sat. ago when Elder Lindell and I were about to switch back from exchanges with the Russian Elders. I get a call from the Elders Lindell and Frank saying that the Russian Elders apartment is flooding and pouring water from a little faucet thing. It totally flooded their apartment and we had to hurry and bring towels out there to try and help. It was okay in the end and now their apartment is going to be getting a big home improvement done on it to fix a lot of things. Plus the apartments down stairs i guess were pretty nasty from it as well. A lot of damage from one little pipe, pretty crazy. That same night as we were getting on the bus, this kid says "Oh it’s the Mormon's" so I look over at him a little confused. The next thing I know while we’re piling into the bus the kid is looking at me and when I look up he gives me the big "BIRD" hahaha. So of course I gave it right back to him... (just kidding) I started laughing as it's been awhile since I've been flipped off. He seemed a little confused and it was better than anything I could’ve popped off to him.

Our last Sunday of the month was great. A little different when two young women got up and sang a church remix to the "Hallelujah" song from Shrek haha. Different, but had a good message about Christ.

With General Conference the first week in April we went to Riga again for exchanges with the assistants and ZL council. We did our normal tracting that night. Russian and Latvian are just way different from Lithuanian for the most part and sometimes confusing. We were knocking a dome right before we headed home for the night and this lady comes down that we had knocked into and wanted us out of the building. At that same time the guy we just barely knocked, opened and he started yelling at the lady to stop yelling at us so we could talk to him. Then he found out who we were and he started yelling at me in Russian while the lady was yelling at Elder Okoren in Latvian, it was a huge GONG-SHOW and we ended up getting kicked out by this middle age Latvian lady who was in a pretty bad mood... again, I was laughing down the stairs because I was so confused, (Latvian and Russian at the same time) and I don't think that really helped the matter at all either, as she followed us out, but it was definitely pretty funny. The Zone Leader Council went really well and it was fun seeing all of the other Elders from the 3 different countries.

The last Saturday of the month in our Zone in Vilnius was way awesome as there were 2 baptisms in the Russian branch! It was great and really huge :)! We've had 3 baptisms in our zone this month which has been a huge blessing! We had an investigator come and he liked it. But the bummer thing is he will most likely be moving to Canada. Oh well, another seed planted. A member brought his friend to church and his friend really liked it. So we set up a meeting to start teaching him. I’m really pumped about that.

Day light savings time kind of took a big hit on us haha, really tired the next day. Things are going well. Every day is an adventure and it's been nice lately staying pretty busy. We get transfer calls the night before and call them out to the Zone the following day. Really crazy. It's always interesting to see what happens.

I love the regular pictures from home that you guys send! They're awesome and really brighten the day!

I love you guys and I am, like always, grateful for the support and prayers

Love, Elder Jeffrey John Manning

PS I read this thought "God gave us the best he had." I just really like it:)

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