Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Release Date - March 17th 2010

Elder Martin has been notified that his mission in Lithuania will end on March 17th.  We are planning to travel to Riga, Latvia to meet him at the mission home the evening of the 17th.  His previous release date was March 18th, which isn't a big deal, except we had already booked our airline tickets based on the previous date.  So we had to scramble our plans and we hope our plane isn't late on the 17th - since we will pick him up the same evening at 8:30.

We will spend a few days visiting the cities throughout Lithuania and then we will travel together to the temple in Helsinki Finland (where the Lithuanian saints attend).  We will then head to London and spend a few days in England before flying home.  We thought this may be our only chance to see the places Suzanne's family came from, but now with Matt being called to Scotland on his mission, we are likely to see more of the UK in the future! So we plan to swing by the Preston MTC to see where Matt is heading while we are at it.

We will all arrive in Salt Lake the late evening of March 27th, 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Elder Martin Trains a New Missionary

We spoke with Justin on Christmas Day and he reported that on Christmas Eve he received his new companion, Elder Warner from Orem Utah.

He is excited to be training a new Elder and says that Elder Warner speaks better Lithuanian than he did when he first arrived in Lithuania.  He thinks the new MTC teachers (American's) may be better able to help new missionaries learn the language than the natives he learned from.

He will stay in Klaipeda and train for the last three months of his mission.  He and another Elder in his group are both training as their last assignment.  They would have usually trained earlier in their missions, but the Baltic Mission has not received new missionaries for more than 9 months.  He is excited for his new assignment.

He sounded great and we were excited to hear is enjoying his experience as much as he is.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Photo from the Baltic Mission

Photo taken at Zone Conference and sent to us from President and Sister Dance

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Comes to Town

Christmas is a big deal in Lithuania.  They are seeing lots of fun decorations and fireworks!

Welcome To Klaipeda

Large companions make the teeter totter difficult

Neat Monument and the Port in Klaipeda

Homes in Klaipeda

A Church in Klaipeda and an elevator that will stop between floors! How cool.

New Apartment - Klaipeda

Very serious face - clearly he is not about to put up with any dirty socks on this floor!

Thanksgiving in Klaipeda

This would be the "before" and "after" of the big meal. The Elders spent Thanksgiving in the home of the Branch President and his family.

Halloween in the Mission Field

Seems the Elders are not as excited about being Ninja Turtles as Justin was a a kid. Elder Putnam is showing some moves!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Arvydas Joins the Church

Congratulations to Arvydas, welcome to the family.

Sending Home a Great Group of Missionaries

This is a group of missionaries Justin has served with. This is the last
Zone Conference for most of them as they are heading home.
Sister Thorne was in Justin's MTC group and she is also finishing up her mission.


These are pictures of a castle near where Justin is serving. The castle is called Trakai. What a beautiful place!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Justin Transferred back to Vilnius - July 2009

Some of the people we are working with:

Nijole on the far left, next to her is her daughter then me and then Lolita who is a member.

The new senior couple - out at Valdas and Virginijias house picking rasberries with us.

Homemade Kabobs, Elder Cox is happy to cook them.

A city called Klaipeda where we went on exchanges.

Me at a members country lot where we did some service.

Me with Valdas and Virginijia which are members you will meet when you come.

Elder Solomons birthday party where we made hot wings!

Downtown Kaunas during Kaunas Days where they set booths and sell stuff in an open market

Friday, May 1, 2009

Parade of Priests

This is reported to be a parade of Catholic priests in Lithuania. Justin says about 1,000 people were following them chanting and praying. Looks like the missionaries need a parade of their own - Salt Water Taffy anyone?

Anxiously Awaiting Lunch

These poor deprived missionaries await anxiously their lunch.

.....and the Kitchen

Nothing like having the comforts of home........or better.

This is a Missionary bathroom!?

I am a little disappointed that Justin is forced to be so coddled. There should be a garden hose hanging in the shower and a bucket to flush the toilet.

Nuclear Neighbor

This is a shot of a nuclear power plant visible from the apartment window. Justin says if he has 3 eyes when he gets home - it may be the effect of the radiation.

Castle Meets Missionaries

Once you get inside the castle - seems like the servants haven't been doing their job to keep things all tidy. Is that a TV I see there?

Justin's Castle

This is the apartment building where Justin and Elder Solomon (seen here) live. Quite like a castle.

Justin & Elder Richarson

This fine young missionary with Elder Martin is Elder Richardson - who happens to be the son of a fellow I work with at the Church Office Building. Elder Richardson is a Zone Leader from Estonia - here they meet up at a Zone Leader Meeting in Latvia.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Elder Martin & Elder Anderson

Elder Solomon - Awake

This is Elder Solomon

Elder Solomon - Studies Lehi's Dream

This is Justin's companion, Elder Solomon, deeply pondering the scriptures.

The Effects of a Year in Lithuania

This is Justin's group from the MTC after one year in Lithuania. Clearly it has had a dramatic affect on them - can they last another year?

English Class in Lithuania

This is the English class that Justin and his companion teach. They have had great success in finding teaching opportunties from the class.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Elder Martin - Called as Zone Leader

With only one month to acclimate to his role as a District Leader, Justin has been called to serve as a Zone Leader. From his letter, he doesn’t sound nearly as overwhelmed as he did when asked to be a District Leader.

He is staying in Kaunas with Elder Solomon (the other Zone Leader for Lithuania). They will be travelling to Latvia on a regular basis for Zone Leader meetings and training.

Justin will hit his “Hump Day” this next week, so what a way to celebrate his first year!

He is having great success (as measured in Baltic terms) - they even have a baptism scheduled for March 31. He plays the piano at every event he attends, and is now teaching piano to a local sister so they have a pianist when he leaves.

Our family is blessed to be able to support such a dedicated missionary.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Elder Martin - Called as District Leader

Justin has been transferred back to the city of Kaunas. He has also been called as a District Leader. He is admittedly a little "freaked out" about the whole event. He was sweating becoming a senior companion or maybe even training a new elder - but he was knocked off his socks a little by the assignment as District Leader. He will hit "Hump Day" in March and so he is really hitting his stride - we are thrilled to see his progress.

The Baltic Mission is an interesting mission that only has one zone per country! So with only 3 zones in the whole mission (covering 3 countries), the elders and sisters need to be pretty self-directed and it is a compliment to Justin to be asked to serve.

He is excited to be back in Kaunas and hopes to pick up with the investigators already found and also add new contacts to their teaching pool.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We had a chance to talk with Elder Martin on Christmas. He sounds great and seems to be enjoying the area he is in. Turns our Winter in Lithuania is not quite as extreme as we thought. Since it is on the ocean it takes on a more maritime climate and seems to stay a little warmer than some of the more Northern countries. His english sounds a little clipped as he has developed a little accent. It was great to hear his voice and to sense the enthusiasm he has for the work.

He hasn't really told us what the pictures are - but we assume his apartment building - and a photo of the missionaries
volunteering at a food pantry or something.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Justin has been transferred to the capital city of Vilnius. His new companion is the District Leader and he is glad to be in a traditional two-missionary companionship for a change (the three-leg got old apparently).

He is doing well and is excited about their prospects in the new city.

Above is a cemetery lit for the "Day of the Dead.
The words under the bridge say "I love you" which he sends on to all those who support him.

Welcome to Vilnius - the Capital City

Here are samples of
picture taking skills".

These are described as a "pretty pictures of Kaunas". And they are!

This is a photo of the church in Kaunas on a foggy day.