I had my first experience speaking the language last Sunday. I was asked to offer the benediction in Relief Society and was told I could do it in English. I opted to do it in Latvian, brief and halting, but in Latvian nevertheless. The sisters were so pleased and thanked me for trying to learn their language.
I have also found that some women are responding when I say Labrit (pronounced "lah breet" -good morning) as we pass on the street. The people here tend to just look straight forward or down to the ground. I've had a few actually look up, smile and respond when I spoke. I feel comfortable saying "paldies" (pronounced "pall di es" - thank you) to clerks or others.
I'm still caught somewhat off guard when I hear children speaking Latvian!!! Imagine that. If I start to say something to a child, I stop, realizing that they don't understand me, nor would I understand what they might say to me.
I did say to a little 5-year old girl, the daughter of a woman I was visiting teaching last evening, "Ka jus sauc?" (pronounced "kah yous sows") That means what is your name. She understood me and told me her name. Little by little, I will be more comfortable, and more capable, of speaking to people.