Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Sunday back home

This Sunday was a very reflective and meaningful day for me. Since it had been so busy and crazy the couple days before, I was definitely in need of the calming and centering spirit of the Sabbath day. This Sunday was especially uplifting, since it was Fast and Testimony meeting, which is a special meeting that occurs once a month. In the LDS religion, we believe in fasting once a month, which is the process of forgoing food or water for two meals in efforts to communicate our humility and priorities before the Lord. This special opportunity occurs the first Sunday of every month, and just happened to fall upon the day Mom and I returned from Stockholm. On this Fast Sunday's, it is also customary for the church leaders to refrain from prior assigning specific congregation members to speak, and instead opening the time up for members to voluntarily bear their testimony of the truths in this gospel. (For those who would be interested in seeing this unique Sunday firsthand, you are welcome to enter your address into THIS portal on the LDS website, and locate a church near you)

Since it was Fast and Testimony meeting, I was able to hear the testimonies of the humble Lithuanian branch members.  Though multiple members bore their testimony, I was especially impressed by one little Polish boy, who bore his simple testimony of God's love for us. In his words, "Heavenly Father will also embrace us, and will always love us".  It was a sweet reminder.
The faith of a child.  What a blessing to have them in our lives.  Even when there's 40 of them and they don't speak English :)
After church, I had the opportunity to speak with Edward, the second counselor in the Branch Presidency. He is a remarkable and loving man, and was willing to share his conversion story with Mom and I.  He told the story of his recently divorced and bankrupt younger self, and the suicide he consequently attempted.  When he laid down on the train tracks, but discovered the train was only coming on the other side of the station, he decided that maybe it wasn't his time to die after all :)  Instead, he resolved to change the settings of his life, and felt strongly that he should go to London. Prior to leaving, he confronted the LDS missionaries and the message they brought of the restored gospel.  This led to his interest in the church, and he assured the missionaries that he would find a chapel once he got to London.  Though Edward had no money and no prospects in London, he trusted the prompting he felt to go there, and looked up an LDS chapel first thing.  Upon arriving, he discovered the the missionaries in that area had been praying and fasting for a new investigator while Edward had been praying to find the missionaries.  The Lord was able to fulfill both righteous desires, and Edward began lessons with the missionaries.  When the missionaries challenged Edward to be baptized, he replied that he would discover an answer for himself and let the missionaries know in his own due time. In the meantime, he had applied for various jobs around London in hopes of working and restoring his rapidly declining finances.  When Edward approached the Lord to pray about the truthfulness of the LDS church, he felt a strong impression that "if he was faithful and made good choices, he would be blessed", and that once he was baptized he would be able to find a job.  Proceeding with faith, he was baptized and received a call offering him a job in that same day.  After working in London, he received another prompting from the Lord that he was to return to Lithuania, despite Edward's hesitancy to do so.  Knowing that he had no prospects of a job or future there, Edward approached the Lord humbly about this prompting and was told again that "if he was faithful and made good choices, he would be blessed". Trusting in this promise, Edward moved back to Lithuania and continued on to convert his Mother and siblings to the restored truth found in the LDS church.  Later, he met and married his wife, who he was later sealed to for eternity in the Stockholm temple.

Overall, Edward's story is one of faith and complete trust in the Lord - how inspiring to speak to a obedient, who works so hard to draw closer to his Father in Heaven.  It was so wonderful to speak with him.

After Mom and I came home from church, we attempted to take a train ride out to Trakai, arriving there around 2.  After we got off the train, we were met with downpours of rain, and instructions to walk about 1-2 miles to find the castle.  These two factors contributed to Mom and I getting our soggy selves back to the train station, and buying another ticket back home :)

Later that night, Edward called randomly, and asked if we would be willing to feed an American man who had recently moved into our ward earlier that day.  We accepted, and made some past concoction for Charles, the California born/British styled man, who appreciated Lithuanian yoghurt as much as Mom and I :)

Overall, it was a wonderful Sunday!


  1. OK--I need to know if Edward is the husband of Ema? (I'm pretty sure it's the same guy!)

  2. Hmmm, not sure. Tall, lean polish guy? I'll find out his wifes name on Sunday! Do you know him?