Sunday, June 10, 2012

Just a Beautiful Sabbath Day

Since I was gone at Palanga last week, and at Riga before that, I haven’t had a chance to attend our branch until today – and what a wonderful day it was!! Woke up this morning before we had to walk to the bus and took some time for scripture study – I’ve really been thinking a lot about my personal efforts, and have been a little disappointed in areas of scripture study and sincere prayer.  While I may read my scriptures and pray daily, I don’t believe I’m truly studying and sincerely speaking with my Father.  Now that I’ve gotten better at consistency, I need to work on value.  New goal.  Feel free to be inspired and do the same for your life - we all have ways we can improve!!

Anyway, Elise and I walked to catch the 48 bus and meet with the other girls, since they had gone in early to prepare for their callings in the Primary.  Funny thing about our church times – technically, they are supposed to start at 10:00am, and they usually do.  Some days though, everyone just needs an extra 15 min to get to church, so we just won't start until 10:15am or so.  They just wait patiently for our little congregation to show up, and start eventually.  

Anyway, the meetings are church were fantastic today!  I always love this branch, but EXTRA loved it today – maybe since I haven’t been there for 2 weeks.  Still though, even the Branch President mentioned in his testimony that our meeting had a special feeling to it today.  Perhaps it was because 3 new converts were confirmed, or that the missionaries gave a spontaneous musical number (it was actually pretty funny – when the Branch President announced that the Elders would sing”, Elder Erickson who was translating said “now we will have the missionaries sing a special musical num- …. Wait, what?  Hm. News to me. Anyways, we’re apparently singing for you.), or maybe it was because the new converts took a chance to bear their sweet testimonies. Either way, it was a wonderful Sunday or I loved the Spirit present in our meetings today.  I always walk away from sacrament meetings uplifted, but today was especially so.  

Sunday school was also great – plus, Elise and I had a chance to talk with Elder Erickson and Elder Kezley before it started, and that was really good. I really just enjoy having a chance to actually speak to someone, because it’s so frustrating that not many members in the branch speak English.  Being away from home for 4 short months, I am so proud of those men and women who have the bravery and faith to leave home for 18-24 months to serve their God.  I’ve definitely developed a new appreciation for missionary work since coming to Lithuania. (HERE)

I especially loved Relief Society, because it was taught by (one of my secret favorites in the ward) a sweet older lady, with beautiful white hair and one of the brightest smiles I’ve seen. I wish she spoke English, because I want to speak with her so badly every time I see her at church.  I believe I spoke about her in my blog before – she was the cute older lady who complimented my height on the day that we sang in church.  Anyway, she spoke on the Book of Mormon and the necessity of involving it in our lives.  I liked her even more after that lesson – that woman’s a little firecracker :).  I was very glad that Victorija came into RS to translate for us, because today’s lesson was especially touching.  At one point, the teacher asked us what our favorite scriptures were, and if we had any specific thoughts on them.  Though I wasn’t able to say anything, I recorded every scripture the Sisters mentioned, because I felt it portrayed their humility, kindness and efforts so perfectly.  Here are some of the scriptures they mentioned:

2 Nephi 2:25
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

Mosiah 4:9
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”

Mosiah 4:30
“But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish.  And now, O man, remember, and perish not.”

3 Nephi 17:5
“And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them”

What wonderful members the Lithuanians are - they love this gospel, and live it so simply.  Perhaps the greatest reminder of today was how sacred and beautiful The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is.  I love every point of doctrine, every saving salvation, and every merciful blessing that comes from the efforts of living this gospel.  How I love this church, and how deeply I know it to be true :)


  1. Hillary,
    I love hearing your stories about the branch. It is so wonderful to see how the church continues to grow there. Of course when I was there we didn't have a building-we rented an apartment above a restaurant. I was there when the first "native" was put in as branch president-before that it had always been a missionary serving in that position. I was also in the RS presidency in Vilnius. I got to be there when the first Lithuanian speaking branch was formed-before that Russian and Lithuanian speakers met together. We didn't even have church materials in Lithuanian for quite awhile...including the Book of Mormon.

  2. Lietuva holds a very special place in my heart. Especially Vilnius as I spent most of my time there. I living vicariously through you. Thanks for the stories! I hope you continue to enjoy your time there!

    1. Sister Baliff!! Thank you so much for your comment! I love the connection that you have with the Lithuanian people as well. Are there any people that you remember by name, that you'd want me to look up for you?