The Pirate House
The smell was awful. I didn't dare touch anything. All four of us stood outside the door of what looked like something from a ship. And then white handprints from children were on the door. We all said a prayer and someone knocked (It was a passoff lesson from elders to sisters). Valija opened the door. I smiled. A real smile. I am really doing this. We all shuffeld in, passed a sink, 5 kitties in a box, and then stepped over something into a small little room, (smaller than any hotel room I've ever stayed in, about half the size of my bedroom in yellowstone). I sat down on one of the beds. There were about 3 small ones and a couch. She started talking to her son who had a cigarette in his mouth...one of the elders turned to me and said, "They are speaking in their language." ? oh, ya. I remembered. She is a gypsy. They asked her if she wanted to pray after she told us that she had quite smoking a while ago. Her prayer lasted....15 mintues? With some of grand children coming in and interupting. Then her moving to pray on her knees. Some of it was real quite, then loud, then in a different language, then part of the memorized prayer, then in her own words. An Elder then began to teach part of the plan of salvation. I ended with a small, simple, latvian prayer. We asked her to come to church. She came :)
After talking to a man from Germany on the plane about why I was going to Riga (in his little english) and exchanging cards (I'm a mormon card and his architek/sculpture card :), I grabbed my luggage and shook President Boswell's hand with a big smile. I stepped out of the airport and wow....so hot! I didn't expect that. They put us in a taxi and told him to drive to the mission house. "Great, we are going to die." haha it was just like New York. I miss new york. All these old buildings. There is a place right by the mission home that is abandoned. They said that it was where they interrogated them and tortured them. They were going to make it a museum but it is pretty sad and it's just a reminder.
Contacting: I said Labdien to like everyone I saw haha. and one man stopped and started talking to us. I gave him a BOM and he gave us his number (with chalk on the sidewalk). I couldn't wipe off the smile on my face. I loved Riga. Dinner came and I entered this resturant. It was like a midevil dungeon. words, axes, I was in a fairytale.
Jetlag was no where until after we ate. We all fell asleep during the prayer. it was funny.
After being in Riga for a couple of days, I left with my companion Sister Gallacher on a bus and traveled for...2,3 hours to Liepaja. I am also with Sister Pliha, who is a native latvian, she's 28 and went to her mission in Ukraine and then taught at the mtc there. I prayed for a native. I got it! But she will be coming and going. She is doing a mini mission.
Got in a taxi with all of our luggage, don't know how we did it. And what song do I hear? "House of the rising sun" I almost started crying, felt like I was back at zions with my best friend. Our place is pretty nice. Didn't expect that. My window right next to where I study in the morning, is right by a beautiful old church. The bells go off at 7:45. So beautiful.
The steets are coublestone and interesting fact:no dirt or rocks here. We are built upon Sand! So if there are rocks, it's imported. I can't drink any water except what's in my water bottle. We do have a filter at home, that is what we brush our teeth with. Some streets are really smelly, pee, blood, etc. I am taking doterra every day :) So my first couple days in Riga were the happiest because People actually were alive. But not here. I haven't seen anyone smile. haha I think that's why they act so supprised when I smile at them.
To be happy is a choice. And I have been trying really really hard to stay happy. It kinda wears on you (the no happiness here), but I pray every morning to be happy. I asked Pres in our first meeting if there was anything he wanted me to do specifically. and he said. "SMile." So, here I am, smiling. :) I love this. Going out in the streets, trying to speak latvian, getting on the tram every hour, I love it here. Alot of people go camping. They have their backpacks with them all the time.
I got to church and Valija came! So I have realized, since going to church yesterday, that we are really started new here. There were I think...15 people there yesterday. Everyone is a convert. Excpet for the Branch presidents children. OH, he speaks russian. In Liepaja we have 2 elders speaking russina and four elders speaking Latvian and us 2 sisters. Me and my companion are doing what they call white wash? We both and new to this area. She started here, and was trained here, but then they took the sisters out. And now we are back!
Well have to go. I didn't have time to take pictures. I will soon. Love you all. Sister Woodland.