Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sometimes, you're at church for 5 hours.

Started off the day a little bleary, since I was pretty tired from the night before (after Vika had left, I stayed up kind of late making some good ol' American chocolate chip oatmeal cookies - it's Elder Reynolds birthday this week :) Once we got up and moving though, we all headed over to catch the bus to church.  Which we missed and had to improvise by getting onto a random bus and winging it. Still, it was a good adventure :)

Even though church is wonderful every Sunday, it was especially so today, since it was Fast Sunday.  Similar to fasting in other churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has designated one Sunday each month as "Fast Sunday", usually the first Sunday. To fast is to go without food and drink voluntarily for a certain period of time. Fasting combined with sincere prayer can strengthen us spiritually, bring us closer to God, and help us prepare ourselves and others to receive His blessings.  Another reason I love these Fast Sunday's, is because the church sacrament meeting is a little different than normal.  As opposed to having members of the congregation preassigned to talks on certain topics, Fast Sunday is also a Sunday for a Testimony meeting - members of the congregation voluntarily approach the pulpit and bear their own personal testimony of gospel truths.  It's always a wonderful opportunity to hear the testimonies of other members, especially when it's from these wonderful Lithuanian people I love :)

For more on Fasting or Fast Sundays, click HERE.

After sacrament meeting was over, I headed over to help Sister Miles in the primary.  Sister Miles is actually American, and is married to Brother Miles (obviously) who works for the American embassy on construction.  Basically, him and his family travel around the world to various embassies and complete construction projects that need to be done on the governmental buildings.  Their family has been living in Ethopia for the last 4 years, and they recently moved to Lithuanian about 3 weeks ago.  As soon as they got here, Brother Miles was called as Young Men's president, and Sister Miles was called as Primary President. They've sure got their work cut out for them, that's for sure :)

Anyway, they have 3 little kids - Eli (10), Glori (8) and Sofie (3 1/2) - who are all wonderful.  They also speak English and have English names, which is a fun little bonus :) Sister Miles started her first day in Primary today, and did a wonderful job.  The church here in Lithuania is so young, that many of the details and organizations tend to slip through the cracks. For this reason, Primary has slowly transitioned from an opportunity to teach the children gospel principles, to baby sitting hour.  Sister Miles changed that pretty quick though, and introduced the yearly theme and some new primary songs today. She'll do wonderful things for the kids here :)

After church today, there was a Branch meeting scheduled for all the leaders of the Branch - YW presidency, YM presidency, etc.  Since both Brother and Sister Miles were recently called to leadership callings, they both had to go to this meeting, so I volunteered to watch their kids for them until they got out.  Luckily, I adore their kids and love spending time with people who actually speak English, so it was a win-win situation :)

While I was expecting to watch their kids for a while, no one was expecting the meeting to last as long as it did - 2 hours!!! During that whole time, I probably played 57 rounds of Hangman, 34 games of Tic-Tac-Toe, and let the kids goof off on my iPod.  It was super fun, and I enjoyed spending some time with the kids.
And this is what I spent 2 hours of my life doing.  Even though I was playing with the English kids, we had to make a rule of "English words only"! since they also speak a little French/Spanish.  On a sidenote, I never realized how morbid this game was until I taught it to little children.
After Janese and I got home from church, I skyped my family, caught up on scripture study, and listened to some wonderful talks from April General conference.  For those who don't know, "General Conference" is something specific to the LDS church, and is held twice a year. During this conference, our church leaders (apostles, prophets, etc.) gather together in Salt Lake City and hold a meeting for all members of the church worldwide. On these days, we are blessed to hear council, advice and insight from our modern prophets and apostles.
One of my favorite pictures of President Thomas S. Monson - our modern prophet on this earth today.
For a full list of the modern prophets and apostles today, click HERE.

It was wonderful to relisten to some of their recorded words, and be reminded of the goals and changes I need to be making in my life. If you would be interested in hearing some of their words for yourself, you can see the full video and audio recordings HERE.

All in all, it was a wonderful Sabbath day :)

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