In case I haven't made it ridiculously clear the previous 34 times I've talked about my Lithuanian branch, I love them. I love them all. Consequently, today had some of the harder good-bye's I've had to hand out since our time in Lithuania has been getting into single digits. Despite that though, it was also one of the best church meetings we've had yet.
The first talk was given by Marina, a recently returned missionary who was serving in Latvia and Estonia - Russian speaking. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our dedication to missionary work is probably one of our best known characteristics. However, the Lord's church has always been a missionary church - Jesus Christ's life was the perfect example of this. During His ministry on earth, he taught the gospel at all times, in all places, and to all kinds of people. He also called apostles and other disciples to preach the gospel so more people could hear about the blessings of His gospel. In our church, youth and older couples alike volunteer to serve across the world to share the message of the restored gospel - Marina was one such missionary, and spoke of the growth and love she developed while serving. It was amazing to hear the testimony of such a strong woman, and the love she had for her Heavenly Father.
|This is Marina - aka, Sister Grineviciute. Clearly, she's awesome.|
After Sacrament meeting, I headed into the Primary room to help out and start playing prelude music for the kiddos. Every week, I hope that playing hymns or primary songs before class will help calm them all down, and every week I'm left disappointed. Least I try, right? :)
|Little Sofie, the youngest daughter of the Miles (American embassy) family|
|Sofie stealing my camera and documenting Onita braiding my hair, 5 year old style.|
|The kids in Primary|
|The cover of the Lithuanian hymn book|
|Eli, the oldest son of the Miles family|
|Glori, the middle Miles daughter (are you starting to catch on to the fact that I love this family? :)|
|Marta and I|
After I made it back to my apartment alive, I packed up everything I needed for the adventure and set off with Elise to catch a bus to the train station. We had plans to meet up with Vika there, and made the trip down to see Trakai castle! After a brief setback involving grumpy ticket ladies and flirtatious/super nice male ticket collectors, we got an awesome discount on our train tickets and were on our way to the lakes.
|The view of Totoriskiu lake as we got off the Trakai train station. We had to walk a ways to get to the peninsula castle - about 30 to 40 min - but it sure was a great view!|
|The bridge connecting Trakai castle to the mainland|
|Inside the castle courtyard - this thing was BIG|
|Nothing puts a damper on your day like having your appendages locked in wood.|
|Or getting locked in a giant metal chicken coop.|
|Again, the Trakai castle courtyard|
|Inside the inner castle courtyard and looking up through all the levels of staircases.|
|Staircase maze, anyone?|
|Did I mention some of the stairs from afore mentioned stair maze was ridiculously steep? No? Well, then I just did.|
|Vika and Elise blinding me with their Lithuanian love|
|The view with the rain clouds. One thing I will miss about Lithuania - they sure known how to make rain clouds here.|
|Once it warmed up and I took off my jacket, Vika was SO excited about my sweater! Apparently, it matched the castle and therefore was worthy of a picture. Little does she know, I got it at a Lithuanian thrift store.|
|The sunshiney lake.|
|After it stopped raining (for the 3 seconds it actually stopped), we looked out the window to discover a beautifully bright rainbow! Vike had her 4th freak out of the day and dragged us all out for a picture :)|
|Kibinas are little Lithuanian rolls stuffed with meat. Basically, they're good.|
All in all, a full day. If anything else, I'm going to be quite the mess when I get home from this adventuring/sleep deprivation/jet lag. Look out family - I'm going to be a monster.