Monday, September 4, 2017

Sister Walles' last email

Sister Walles writes her last email from her mission.  She titles it, "I LOVE LITHUANIA"  This section tells of her experiences with Kayleigh.   

After my training ended I was blessed with the opportunity to serve with Sister Jerman. Along with a new companion, we were asked and assigned to open a new area for sisters in Klaipeda. I felt inadequate in opening Klaipeda, knowing that my language skills were not the best, and I wasn’t sure of, how strong my desire to do missionary work really was. Needless to say I was sort of lazy, while being in a trio was easy... because my two companions were more than eager to carry on the work for me. I knew that serving in Klaipeda would be much different. Sister Jerman taught me the principle of Diligence, we worked hard together. I remember coming home so tired I would sit down and fall asleep immediately only to have Sister Jerman wake me up so we could plan for the next day. The first week was great full of excitement and new adventures but by week two I could honestly say I was frustrated, We didn’t have any investigators and all we ever did was go outside for nine hours of the day, all the day long being constantly rejected. I felt that my testimony was weakening. OneSunday morning at church a member approached me and asked me how I was doing, In broken Lithuanian I tired to explain that I was tired but still good (Which might not have been the complete truth, I Was sad) The member seeing through my facade, smiled and sat me down and asked me what I had studied that morning, I repeated the best I could about my scripture study then I asked what they had studied that week. The member opened up his scriptures and told me a story from the new testament, About Christ being rejected by his own. He looked me in the face as My eyes filled with tears, he took my hand and said, “It is hard to be rejected, but remember that the Savior felt all of this as well, he is proud of the work you are doing.” With that he patted my hand then got up went to Sacrament meeting. This was one of the first times in my life I took the sacrament sincerely thanking my savior for staying by my side in my time of need and thanking him for the member who reached out to me for but a small moment. Klaipeda is where I began to truly love my mission. It is a beautiful small city and the members there are like one big great family. I felt at peace as I started to find my place. My desire to go out and do missionary work seemed to catch fire, even though winter was quickly approaching. My companion and I worked hard to visit members and receive referrals which was hard because most of them would say, “The only friends I have are church members.” well now what? Is what I often thought. Well nothing like having an Eight year-old approach you and ask if you would teach them the gospel. I remember reading in a Lithuanian Liahona when I was serving in Vilnius an article about a young eight year-old who wanted so badly for sister missionaries to teach her that she would wait until they would come so she could have sister teachers. Aha! now that I remembered this, I looked at the little girl named Elizabeta and without a second thought agreed to start teaching her the gospel. We met with her a total of two times before she accepted to be baptized, It was cute and her testimony was definitely sincere. Her parents humored her in allowing us to come and teach her lessons but I remember the look of relief on their face when she agreed to be baptized and that she would be baptized at the church building instead of the ocean, I had to explain to her multiple times that it was way too cold to do it now and it would be a shame to wait. She smiled and agreed then asked if I personally would baptize her. I laughed and told her she would have to ask her dad, Who then told her he really wanted to do it. So for the first time in two years Klaipeda had a baptism.
Well it didn’t stop there, God seemed to bless us day by day. We were able to then go and teach a members brother, his name is Marius. Marius lives about an hour and a half outside of klaipeda, He has taken the missionary lessons before but has had a strong addiction to alcohol. He finally was able to quit and then agreed to be baptized, as easy as that all seems it was actually a very long process. The exciting part of this baptism was that at the time Marius’s nephew was serving a mission and he had just returned home and was able to baptize Marius himself. I love this family and being able to see them come together spiritually was a huge miracle for me. Seeing Marius come to church with his two sons and sit with his sister (Irma) and his nephew (Mindaugas) is one of my favorite memories.
The miracles continued as we were able to meet a student from Spain named Victoria. Victoria and I became best friends immediately. Teaching her the gospel was like teaching someone I had known for a long time, we were always able to connect things and make the lessons rich with the spirit. When we first started teaching her, her English was sometimes hard for us to understand but with time it was like she was a native speaker! While teaching her she had an addiction to coffee and it was interesting and sometimes impossible to get her to understand why we were asking her to give it up. That stayed that way for a while until inspiration kicked in and we invited her to have dinner at a members house, with sister Lucy Wang. Lucy, when the missionaries were teaching her was addicted to alcohol and coffee. I was blessed to watch as she taught Victoria how living the Word of Wisdom changed her life, Only this experience was able to get through to Victoria. At the end of the lesson we gifted her with some Fruit tea and told her to call us if she was ever having a hard time with staying off coffee. After that lesson with Lucy she never drank coffee again even to this day. I am forever grateful for the members and their help in teaching investigators, Every day I am reminded that we can’t do this work alone. We need to work together as well as with God. Every Sunday I waited eagerly to greet my adorable Spanish friend among all the members who adored her. That is what I love about serving in this branch, I was able to see how much they truly cared for each other and I know that helped Victoria a lot. After Victoria was baptize a member approached me and told me how grateful he was that Sister Missionaries came back to Klaipeda but that he wanted us to baptize Lithuanians so that they would stay in the branch and not leave, I understood what he was saying. So Sister Jerman and I went back to work in trying to find new people to teach once again. This time my energy for missionary work was lacking just slightly as we had hit what I like to call the Dark ages or more appropriately the Dark days, Winter had come and the days lasted about five or so hours then we were walking in the dark for the rest of the day. This was really hard seeing that Lithuanian summers are so bright and that was all I was used to at the time. So the work once again became hard, however, Sister Jerman kept me moving, and I will be forever grateful that she was diligent to the end!
Toward the end of Sister Jerman’s mission we found a man by the name of Vaidas. We met him one frozen winter morning and briefly talked, Vaidas had the appearance of a thug, he was someone we normally would have avoided. However he had over-heard a conversation Sister Jerman was having with someone else on the bus about the Gospel, so he decided to talk to us about it. I honestly didn’t think this would go anywhere but the next day we started teaching him. After Time Sister Jerman went home and I was now companions once again with Sister Aidukaitis (We were destined to stay companions forever), We were able to teach Vaidas together and soon after he agreed to baptism! This was truly a miracle in my eyes, when we first met Vaidas he had just been baptized into another church about three months prior to our meeting. He had many friends at his other church and he felt that it was were he belonged. Before he joined the other church, Vaidas was not believing at all. He did many things that would be offensive to any church which in time landed him in jail. While he was in jail, a prison guard handed him part of the New Testament and told him he could change his life if he so desired, then left him to read. So while in Jail he read the scriptures and soon gained a testimony of it’s truthfulness. It was pure luck that we even met him when we did, I have been able to see his testimony grow and that has been a huge blessing to me.

She reminds us that Klaipeda had not seen a baptism for 2 years.  These two sister missionaries were part of 4 baptisms in the 4 months they were there.  They worked MIRACLES together!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sister Walles' email about Vaidas Baptism

Laba Diena Visi!

We were able to have a baptism this week and instead of it happening on Saturday it was moved to Sunday!   Sundays are truly a blessing.
Vaidas our now new convert was baptized and he was so excited about it, He invited a lot of his friends and the miracle about that is they actually came! The baptismal room was so full we had to have people stand because there was no more room to sit. It was such a blessing for all those that were able to come. Vaidas shared his testimony with all of us and in his testimony he quoted Patarliu knyga 30:5 "Kiekvienas Dievo ┼Żodis yra tyras; jis yra skydas tiems, kurie juo pasitiki."
Proverbs 30: "every word of God is Flawless (Pure); He is shield to those who take refuge in him."
it was so powerful and just an incredible thing to witness.
God truly does change people for the better, he sees what we can become, we just need to trust him.
I don't know any other place i would rather be than serving the Children of God in Lithuania. 

Go. Love. Serve.

-Sesuo Vales

(see picture of Vaidas in drafts)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Her legacy lives on

I received this email today from Elder and Sister Suisse currently serving in Klaipeda, Lithuania where Kayleigh finished her mission.  

Hello Sister Jerman,

Sister Walles told us this story about your daughter and then Sister Suisse shared it with the other missionaries in zone training today. She also sent it to our grandson who just entered the MTC this week. I thought you might appreciate what she said to our grandson.

At our zone training I shared a story that I'll share with you too.  We had a sweet sister in our district that was quiet and tiny, but a really dynamic missionary.  One icy and cold day as she was walking down some steps. she slipped down the steps and fell facedown in front of a man walking by.  She jumped up and gave him her best street approach.  It would have gone over better if the man hadn't been laughing so hard.  And then they tracted him out later in the day and he laughed again, but didn’t let them in. The point to this story is that she didn't give up.  Right before she went home she contacted a man on the bus and he is the one we are baptizing this Saturday.  She didn't let little slip ups hold her down but did her best right until the day she returned home.  What a missionary.

Sister Jerman’s legacy lives on. Tell her hello for us.

Love,

Elder and Sister Suisse

Sunday, January 15, 2017

News from Klaipeda

Kayleigh has been home 17 days.  We just got this message from Elder and Sister Suisse who serve in her last area.  
"BTW - you can tell your daughter that Vaidas is being baptized next Saturday.  She found him on the bus a couple of weeks before she went home."  (Actually less than a week)
Wow - I just cry about this one.  
She was proselyting on a bus and the man she sat next to was not interested in her message.  After he got off the bus, another man leaned over and asked if she was really a believer.  She was able to share her testimony with him and he wanted to learn more.  They met him 2 days later on Christmas Eve for a lesson, then he came to church on Christmas Day and then they met again the following day.  She left 2 days later wishing she could stay to teach him but Sister Walles and Sister Aidukaityt─Ś took over and continued teaching him.  He will be baptized this Saturday, January 21st. One day less than a month after his first contact with the church, this young man has heard the gospel, received a witness that it is true, and now desires to be baptized!  This is an astounding miracle! 
This makes the 6th baptism she was directly involved in. 

Here is what she wrote home about Vaidas her last week on her mission.  
"After having a conversation with a person on the bus, a man leaned over to ask if I really was a believing person. He said that he had just learned about God a few months ago and was trying to do his best to follow him. We were able to have a lesson on Christmas eve and talk about the mercy of God and how He has given us the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He is a pure follower of Christ that just wants to give back to Him because Christ saved him from his addictions in rehab. He came to church on Sunday after attending his, and stayed the entire time. He plans to come every week and stay to learn all he can. He is already reading a few pages from the Book of Mormon each day and is excited to be able to better follow Christ. This person is so prepared by the spirit. I am so excited to see where the doctrine of Christ can take him. God is preparing His children to accept the gospel because He loves them. He gives us the opportunity every day to share that special gift of the atonement that He gave to us. It brings so much joy because it is true joy. "

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fun stories

Kayleigh told us a fun story that happened to her during the last month of her mission at the Christmas devotional/celebration held with her mission president.  A brand new Elder had just arrived from the MTC and overheard someone say something about "Sister Jerman."  He was surprised to learn that she was still there serving so asked to meet her.  He explained to her that when he got his call to Lithuania he looked on the Internet and found her Blog  - lightinglithuania.blogspot.com  and he said he read through the whole thing and looked at all the pictures to try to learn all he could about his mission.  He said he mainly picked up on the idea that is would be cold - not from what she wrote but from the pictures.  He was truly happy to meet her as he thought she would already be home by the time he got out there.  He met the legendary "Sister Jerman"  She would never say that about herself but here is the story shared by her cousin.

  Her cousin Jacob Turville asked a friend of his who came back from the Baltic mission if he knew Sister Jerman.  He had served in a different country but finished serving as an AP in the mission home.  He told Jacob, "Many missionaries come here and serve for two years without a baptism, but, I know Sister Jerman.  She was the missionary who would call every few months to tell us she had another baptism lined up and ask if the president would like to attend." 
 Wow -  we are so proud of that super obedient and hard working missionary girl!  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Kayleigh's Homecoming Talk

Here is the basic outline of her talk as she shared the 10 things she learned (to value) on her mission.  

1. ​Joy over Happiness
2. After going days and weeks with "no sun",  "the Son" is always there.
3. scripture reading
4. personal prayer
5. obedience
6. coming to know Christ
7. the atonement
8. finding the one - God cares enough about each person to help the missionaries find them one at a time.
9. our precious time on earth
10. God loves each one of us

She gave such a beautiful talk and testimony.  She is such a sweetheart and it is SO good to have her home.  She thought school started a couple days after she got off the airplane but was happy to learn she had a whole week.  She put on her Lithuanian traditional clothing and went to Roger's school to teach the kids about Lithuania.  She said winter is considered to last 8 months there.   She told me that the lack of sun was the hardest thing for her to deal with.  So cold and always so dark and gray.  Hard to feel happy and have the desire to bundle up and go out.  They often just boarded buses and road around town as a way to contact people since no one was on the street or at least no one wanted to stop and talk.  Her last baptism came as a result of talking to a student on a bus.  She was a part of 5 baptisms during her 18 months in Eastern Europe.

Aunt Cami wrote up her notes to share with my family. 

Notes from Kayleigh Jerman’s sacrament meeting talk:
God can bless us so much more if we keep His commandments.
Scripture study and sincere prayer are so important. I have learned to pause and listen,
even in the midst of prayer so that I can be guided. It is also important to choose to follow
His will.
Some of my greatest experiences of my mission were on my knees speaking to my Heavenly
Father, knowing that He loves me and is listening. What an amazing privilege!
Moses 1- We see that Moses received strength from prayer. I cherished the time I was
given every day to study the scriptures. I love the Book of Mormon and learned to love the
Bible. It is amazing and we need both books.
As we come to know Christ, I believe we experience a little bit of the pain that He suffered.
John 17:3- “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent.” So essentially, Christ experienced all of our lives so that He
could give us aid when we experience trials. He loves each one of us!
Man on the bus, after hearing Kayleigh invite another person to discuss the gospel, “Are you
a believing person?” This gave her the chance to teach him and then he came to church.
Many missionaries will be helping this man on his journey to baptism. And the Lord cares
so much about each one of us that he prepared a way for this one man to hear the truth!
I have learned that we really have so little time in this life. We are on His time. Before and
after this life are long stretches of eternity. We must use this time wisely so that we will
have no regrets.
Mosiah teaches us about being an agent…to act and not to be acted upon. Agency is so
precious!
Remember always that you are God’s child. When we forget that precious truth, we can fall
into temptation. But as we follow more intensely and exercise greater faith, we can qualify
for greater blessings. It requires consistency and daily effort.
Bonnie Oscarson quote (not sure if this is the one): “We need to acknowledge the centrality
of God our Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, to our faith and salvation. Jesus Christ is
our Savior and Redeemer. We need to study and understand His Atonement and how to
apply it daily; repentance is one of the greatest blessings each of us has to stay on course.
We need to see Jesus Christ as our primary role model and the example of who we need to
become. We need to continually teach our families and classes about our Father’s great plan of salvation, 
which includes the doctrine of Christ.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kayleigh Comes Home!!!

Here is the link to the video clip showing her arrival.    coming  ?????

Monday, December 26, 2016

Loving the Light (Her last letter! )

Christmas Eve dinner at Lucy's house
Merry Christmas!
This past week has been a very humbling and sacred week. I cannot even express my joy and love for the people here in Lithuania. I feel as if the Lord has overflowed me with blessings and opportunities everyday. I am just so extremely happy and rejoice to know that God is our loving Father and that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. They love us, each and every one of us. Heavenly Father answers every one of our heartfelt prayers. I have seen that and know it to be true. He will answer. 
One of the many miracles this past week involved meeting with new investigators, members, and less actives. It was amazing how many people were home and let us in! We were able to have a few lessons with some less active people, even those who are hard to reach. They were all at home at this Christmas time and let us right in.We had the tender mercy of being able to truly testify of Christ's purpose here on earth. That He was born, lived, died, and lives again for each one of us. That we can not only live again with God and our families, but become clean through the atonement each day as we repent. What an incredible gift. This gift has truly lifted and filled me. I know that it is real because I have experienced it!
After having a conversation with a person on the bus, a man leaned over to ask if I really was a believing person. He said that he had just learned about God a few months ago and was trying to do his best to follow him. We were able to have a lesson on Christmas eve and talk about the mercy of God and how He has given us the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He is a pure follower of Christ that just wants to give back to Him because Christ saved him from his addictions in rehab. He came to church on Sunday after attending his, and stayed the entire time. He plans to come every week and stay to learn all he can. He is already reading a few pages from the Book of Mormon each day and is excited to be able to better follow Christ. This person is so prepared by the spirit. I am so excited to see where the doctrine of Christ can take him. God is preparing His children to accept the gospel because He loves them. He gives us the opportunity every day to share that special gift of the atonement that He gave to us. It brings so much joy because it is true joy. 
We were also able to meet with a past investigator who hasn't been in contact with us. She suddenly decided that she just really wants to know why we have the Book of Mormon with the Bible. She desires to know the truth. I know that she and all of us can through prayer and study and acting. It will bless us more than we can know. 
I know that this is God's true church. I love His work because I love Him and am so grateful for His sacrifice to us. He is our father, and He will help us and strengthen us to be better than we can imagine. I love you all!
Love Sese Dzerman


                                         Doing service
                                        - stacking wood 
                                        at Roma's house 
                               Doing service as a district  :)





Monday, December 19, 2016

Miracle of Marius

Sesuo Dzerman and Sesuo Walles quilting in Klaipeda
Merry Christmas Family and Friends ~ Su Sventom Kaledom!!

This week was really fabulous and full of miracles. On Monday night we went knocking and got to have a short lesson with an older lady who let us in her house. She was pretty old but accepting of our message we had to teach. Her spirit was very strong and sweet. For our english class we played charades and discussed the importance of communication in our lives. We learned how communication truly makes our relationships with others. We have to learn how God communicates with us and constantly communicate with Him through prayer. This builds our personal relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. On Wednesday we went by a member who is struggling with depression but has been able to slowly overcome that with her true faith on Christ. She has been doing a lot better, and we were able to see her great knowledge and testimony of the gospel. That night we met with Victoria to talk about sharing the gospel with her family. We first knit a quilt to take by a member who cannot leave her house. She explained that she is a little nervous to invite her family to church but knows how the Book of Mormon can bless them. She plans to share one with them over Christmas break while she is in Spain!
On Thursday we had exchanges in Vilnius, and I was with Sister Hodson. We met with a member to talk about teaching and learning in the church. She is one of the best member missionaries I know. She literally hands out pamphets to people at bus stops and on the streets. I am so grateful for her missionary spirit! Friday we were able to meet with a couple of students from Nigeria who are very believing. They truly know that Christ is their Savior and have such strong faith. It was really incredible to be able to talk about prophets and how we are so blessed to be in another gospel dispensation with a living prophet today, just as in the Bible. It makes so much sense and gives us so many blessings! That night we met with Marius. He drove from Plunge, which is about an hour outside of Klaipeda, with his wife and kids to the church. We had a lesson on baptism and confirmation to prepare him to baptism. He was very ready. I find that he teaches us the gospel because he has such a strong testimony. He knows and can't wait to accept the gift of the holy ghost on Sunday. The spirit was just so strong and we were just amazed with his knowledge of the gospel. 
On Saturday we cleaned the font and prepared for the baptism. It was such a joyful experience because the uniting of a family is progressing. About four years ago, Mindaugas was contacted on the street and came to our english class. He then met with missionaries and was baptized. Two years later his mom was also baptized and then he left on a mission to serve in South Africa. Now two years after that, Mindaugas returned from his mission this pastTuesday to baptize his uncle, Irma's younger brother, Marius. All three of them can be sealed in the temple!! Irma and Mindaugas are such great support for Marius, it is a perfect set up. They drive from their city to Plunge to pick up Marius and bring him to church. So Marius gets to be taught by two stalwart members of the church. The spirit was so strong at the baptismal service, and their was so much happiness and joy. Irma was so grateful to have her brother finally accept baptism. Marius couldn't help but smile the entire time. After the ordinance, he bore his testimony on the importance of following the Savior throughout our entire lives. He has used the atonement and has received blessings from it. On Sunday he was confirmed by Mindaugas and could not express his joy afterwards. He said the closing prayer and thanked us for teaching him how to pray. A few weeks ago he had been struggling to know if this was truly the right path he should follow, to continue to come to church. After sharing how weak things can be made strong through Christ, he received the witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. It was truly a miracle to be and learn with him and see his family receive blessings from the gospel. I know that through our covenants made with the Lord that we can be with our families forever. That is the greatest blessing we can receive from the Lord, and I will be forever grateful for it. We are so blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who wants to give the best to us, who gave us the very best, even His Son Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we will live again and can be clean through the atonement to live forever with God and our families in never ending happiness. He is the gift. 
Merry Christmas!
Love Sese Dzerman

I am happy and so so grateful for every day I have here.
Lithuania Christmas Devotional Photo

Merry Christmas, Elders & Sisters! 

Look at these gorgeous, light-filled Sisters! We love you!

Love,  Sister Harding    #LIGHTtheBALTIC


Here’s another Sisters photo—including Sister Hodson this time!


Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Devotional in Lithuania

This is President Harding with his white elephant gift from the christmas devotional, haha maybe don't post that one for his sake :) It worked out perfectly though that he got the santa suit

All of us with our white elephants
Even a poster of Elder Karlinzey, probably not to post this one either

All the sisters :)

Actually now all the sisters together

And a funny one too

Well, Here is my MTC group together here at the end. They are all such awesome elders