Monday, April 1, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
That's a rough english version of the word for baptism! We had an awesome baptism this week. I say awesome describing the investigator, now member, Armik, and not the actual service itself. The service went okay, apparently pretty good for Armenian standards. But there were kids running around screaming and it was all we could do to keep them out of the chapel, the branch president was chasing after 20 yr old children like he was one of them, and people were just overall irreverant. But that didnt stop Armik. she was so happy. after she came out of the water she paused for a minute with her eyes closed- we thought she mightve been mid vision (she's had two during her time being taught) but then she just put her hands in the air and rejoiced. ah i cant even describe how happy she was. i dont know her very well, and i still cant talk to her much cause she doesnt have many teeth, but she's an awesome lady. and we had 4 of our serious investigators there and it had a good effect on all of them. Caren, the man with a serious testimony but an equally serious smoking problem, is currently in Yerevan for a few days. but he called us and said he wants to set a baptismal date when he gets back. So were stoked. Baptismal dates have to be approached thoughtfully and prayerfully though- Caren's already had 2 but then he went to Dilijan for a month to see family and stopped reading and praying. but he shoudnt be leaving for a while. anyway apparently people used to push baptismal dates back a lot but Pres Carter has changed that culture. So we need to give a date thats not super far away but enough time to make sure he's quit smoking, not just "fasting" from it. Im so excited for him though, he's a great man.
Anyway on to secondary news. I forgot to mention that we do email around noon here, so like 4 am VA time i think. But if you send an email sunday night we'll be fine. As for my non blood brothers that are emailing me- you know i love you. And our mission is changing the email regulations tomorrow at zone conference, so hang tight. i wouldnt care but our mission is so intensely focused on consecration right now, so im just gunna wait the one week. Esp here in Charentsavan it becomes clear quickly that if you dont have the Lord's full support you cant do anything. the past few days have gone by really without any progress. part of that was planning for Armiks baptism and another childs baptism but its still been slow, and i feel its because i havent been sacrficing enough of my heart. the other elders in our district are also struggling a lot with consecration, but were gunna try to turn it around.
I forgot to say Happy Easter! Armenians love Easter, its a good opportunity to show people on the street that we are Christian. I missed mom a lot this week. friday wa hard like the 29th always is but I think she wouldve been happy that I was trying to focus on missionary work. And we had the baptism that day so that was nice. I love that this year Easter was 3 days after she died. I think that's fitting. I love the scripture Mosiah 16 7-8. Read!
Im trying to think of other news. I got insulted a couple times this week but nothing terribly offensive. Our apartments not bad at all. my beds a little small, the kitchens cramped, but whatever. the funny one is our bathroom. when you wanna flush you have to reach into the back and pull the chain. it always makes me laugh for some reason. but we have hot pressurized water in the shower usually and good study space which is kinda all you could want in an apartment here. the water comes on around 7am and sometimes it turns off for a few hours during the day but its usually there when we want it. Im gunna send pictures of the apartment and the city next week. its all old soviet buildings- concrete 9 story apartments are what essentially everyone lives in, were no different. the roads are all shot and everythings dirty. theres a constant smell of cigarette smoke or natural gas- thats what everyone uses and the lines are above ground. but im happy here. next time i ride in the car with a member im gunna take a video of how people drive here- theyre crazy. im gunna get home and drive like a maniac. Also interesting is theres no rules against tinting windows here in Armenia, so a lot of cars have just straight black windows, like not possible to see through.
the branch were in needs a lot of work, and the members can be pretty frustrating. after 3 days (2 baptisms, church) of being around all of them i was really worn out patience wise. we had to deal with a shouting match in sunday school, etc etc. but i cant get angry at them, cause that wont get us anywhere. but it is discouraging when you look at the awesome investigators you have and then at the branch youre bringing them to. but the other elders here in Char are here to focus on member work, bringing people back and training people to do their callings right and trying to increase reverence, etc. so i know we can get this branch back where it needs to be if we sacrifice and have faith.
I think that's all i have this week. i love you all. before you know it we'll be skyping for mothers day! Be good