Monday, May 27, 2013

ahhh transfers are coming transfers are coming

Dear Family and Dear Friends, 
  Transfers are coming! If that wasn't obvious. But more important news first. We had a baptism! Our investigator Nara was the only bright spot of the past two weeks, and Sat she did get baptized and it was super great. Elder Maughan got to baptize a few times in his last month and you could tell it was very special to him. I confirmed her Sunday, she's doing super good. The gift of the Holy Ghost will do wonders I think with her progression and deeper conversion. And she's already sharing the gospel, she brought family members to her baptism. Our next goal is her son- Pres Carter challenged us at the last zone conference to baptize our "replacement" before he left- meaning a young man who can serve a mission. Arayk, Nara's son, is just that. At first he was kindof a punk, a 17yr old smoking and wanting tattoos and stuff, but he started sitting in and listening and now he seems more interested. We havent done any specific work with him yet, but if I get to stay in Charentsavan my goal is to baptize him as my replacement. MIssionaries that serve from Armenia are special. At 18 all Armenian men are required to go to the Banak, the Armenian Army, and serve for 2 years. A lot of Armenian males that serve missions come home early just because 4 years of service in a 6 or 7 year span is really hard on them. So the future kind of makes me nervous or Arayk, since terrible things happen in the Banak- they're required to swear allegiance to the Armenian Apostolic Church, and its just filth. Smoking, drinking, etc etc. But Arayk is a super good kid so we're going to work a lot with him. 
   So anyway transfers are coming this week. Basic logic says that I will stay here in Charentsavan, either with Elder Marco, who was trained here before me, or with a new senior companion. Since Elder Maughan is leaving, and the other elder in Char is having a pretty hard time with it, and hasnt developed good relationships with the members, its very likely I will stay, or that Elder Marco will stay, or that we both will. However, that makes far too much sense for me to feel comfortable. Pres Carter is known for shaking things up pretty crazy. But I still havent heard anything, so I cant say anything more. I want to stay though. I love our strong members we work with, and our new baptizees that are so great, and Char has a ton of potential right now. 

  The other man we met this week is named Kamo. We saw him on the street, and I recgonized him. I had talked to him on an exchange my first week in country. I obviously didnt speak well, but he was kinda a jerk to me. Not too bad, but he made it very  clear he wasnt interested. He'd read a little from the BoM and didnt care for it, said he didnt want to meet, etc. So when I saw him standing on the same corner as 2 months ago, smoking, I was going to tell Elder Maughan we shouldnt bother, that he wasnt interested, didnt have work, etc. But I didnt feel 100% sure it was the same man, so I kept quiet. He confirmed that we had met, but he was different. Still not super open, but more accepting. He said he didnt have a problem with what we taught, just that everyone taught similar stuff, how's he supposed to figure out who's true, etc. He agreed to meet though. We met at his house the next day, and he was even better. He has a wife and 3 small kids, he doesnt work because his health is bad (he's smoked since he was 6yrs old) but he's being helped and he'll be able to work in August. He was even more open, he tried to quit smoking that day, and was more interested in finding out what we were about. He asked us to leave a BoM so he could try again. Basically he's a very good man, very humble and quiet, and receptive to the Spirit. He has a lot of potential and a great family, and I almost wrote him off. He wasnt nice to me the first time, but that doesnt mean I shouldve walked away without saying a word. He still has a way to go, but he's already changed a lot in the 3 times I've met him, and the whole time I just felt like God was not necessarily chastisting me, but just making it very clear that I need to trust His power more, and realize it's His will for every single person in Armenia to be happy and come back to Him. Its true that when the church is first starting somewhere we have to be careful about the order in which they come, but they all need to come. 
  Anyway Char went from a dead week to having a lot of potential, so we'll see what happens with the transfers. Nothing else too exciting to report this week, we're going to Lake Sevan today so that should be nice. 
  Lanes- singing in front of class is terrifying, but just remember what we learn from American Idol tryouts- its not enough to be an okay singer. You either have to be good, or super bad and embrace that badness, and go crazy to make it funny. Ill let you decide which to choose. I agree that Mean Girls would be awesome, but always love your leaders for the effort they do put in. As for food, get some! It really isnt that hard, ask around the ward for some super simple recipes and put em together with Alex and itll be delish magish. As for what I miss most, theres such a long list of American food i miss. Burgers is probably top, 5 guys and Red Robin. I miss Alexanders, and Chipotle, but I miss super easy food we can make at home like Mac and Cheese and canned soup and chili. And sandwich meats, I miss the one I used to do with ham and turkey and bacon.  
As for TV, i miss classic movies, but I also miss Raising Hope and New Girl and Ben and Kate. TV in general though just represents personal time to do nothing with my life. Sometimes I miss it, but this is much more fulfilling. As for homesickness, it also comes and goes. Its been worse lately with Elder Maughan so close to leaving, but it hasnt been tooo bad. Maybe like a 6 or 7 at the worst of it all. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

crazyy week

Dear Friends and Fam, 
  When I say it was a crazy week i mean it was the opposite of crazy and the opposite of fun. I was sick. As a dog sick. I'm not really sure what the root cause of it was, or if the root cause was just the final straw or what. For about a week I'd felt a little under the weather, unusually tired and having stomach issues. That's not news here in Armenia though. Tuesday was Hrazdan Rescue day. Ill explain that first and then the sickness. 
   Hrazdan is about 30 min away from Char, it's kinda the same set up. A decent sized city about an hour out of Yerevan. I'd been up a few times on exchanges- Elder Maughan is a ZL, and Elder Smith, his ZL comp, is in Hrazdan, so I ended up there a few times while they did other stuff. Its a really nice city, very calm. I found it was a lot easier to talk to people there, in Char they always rush past but in Hrazdan they just kinda sit and talk with you. ANYWAY Hrazdan has been open for about 10 months, and they still have 0 members. They've been super close tons of times, but Satan is working hard to keep the church out. The original plan was actually to have anyone baptized there  go to church in Charentsavan, but its too far for people so Pres Carter got special permission funds to have a small one room church in the city. So with that, and the fact that no Armenian Elders are coming from the MTC for the next two groups, Hrazdan's in trouble. Cause the number of elders will be getting a little smaller, and Pres Carter wont put sisters in Hrazdan (no priesthood, too isolated from him/other elders) So we dont have numbers to keep 4 elders in Hrazdan with no success there. So President Carter told them something had to happen now, meaning there has to be a man thats capable of being the branch president that is making serious steps towards baptism by the end of the month, or Pres Carter has to pull everyone out. Now, why is this relevant. We heard this, and Tues became a day of help. The two APs are the elders that opened up Hrazdan together, so they came. Elder Maughan came as the ZL, I got to come as his companion and take part. The whole zone fasted. We split up into 4 companionships, had a meeting about how focused our finding had to be (the man has to have a job, family, and be interested off the bat) and then set out. We were just gunna go contacting all day, with no breaks, unless for a meeting with someone interested. Elder Smith and I were together, which was funny cause he'd also been sick, much more than me. But we were determined. Right before we start, it starts pouring haha just dumping. But no one cared. We went out all morning and found some good contacts. But around 2 in the afternoon i hit a wall of sickness, and I was down for the rest of the day. it stunk, i felt bad that i couldnt finish. but i couldnt stay on my feet. we went back to Char the next day, and i stayed in bed all Wed and all Thur. Heavy head, sore neck, sore joints, leg cramps, no appetite. It seemed like the flu but i got my fly shot so idk. Anyway i managed to leave the apartment friday, but even today i stil dont have a ton of energy, or appetite. all the members are freakin out that im not my chubby self (i havent skinnied that much, dont worry). being sick on the mish is seriously like the worst thing ever though. not just because i dont have any of the normal things from home to get better/busy my sick self with, but because you just sit there feeling bad that you arent doing work, and keeping your comp from working too. i hope to never be sick again. 
anyway thats all the news this week. sorry its lame haha. Transfers will be like the 30th i think but i still havent heard my future. Some crazyyy things are goin down though. one AP is going home, Pres Carter's already called 2 new ones. The other will stay with the 2 new ones, since i think he's actually going home a little early (he's the next). And with elder maughan leaving my zone will have 2 new leaders. if i even stay in this zone haha. Its all chaos, pres carter is famous for shaking things up, so we'll just have to wait and see till i get called. 
i hope everyone has a fantastic week and doesnt miss me too much, but knows i love and miss them very much. 
Love to all, 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hey Hey Hey

Dear Family and Friends, 
  So good to hear from you this morning. Im super tired from being up at 5, but it was worth every second. I miss you all very much, but now its back to work. I have a long stretch before the next call, and lots of hard work to get done. Miles to go before I sleep. Next time we talk it'll have been a whole year and if I work hard it will go way too fast. 
  We had a good week, the other elders here in Char had a baptism. Serjik, who's been a member since March- his wife Kristine was super shy at first. Elder Maughan actually gave her to the other elders cause he's not good at teaching shy people haha. But after some time she saw the change it made in her husbands life and decided to open up more to it. She loves to read, she read the whole BoM in about 3 1/2 weeks and read the entire 3rd chapter in PMG, all before her baptism. It was so good to see her join her husband. Now they can raise their two small kids in the church, and theres a temple trip going to Kiev next May when they'll be able to be sealed as a family. Seeing her get baptized and realizing that a lot of people in Armenia dont have that made me grateful for my parents being worthy members that were sealed and raising their children in the gospel so well. So now its my turn to take that to others. 
  Other than that there isnt too much else. We have an investigator Nara we're preparing for baptism this week. Shes Serjik/Kristine's neighbor, and she's know Armen for 20 years, and always been invited by him, but just randomly decided to come. HA! Like thats random. God is bringing her to this branch now because its in a position to receive her, and she's needed here. And because something special is happening in Armenia, and the Lord is hastening His work here so that we can have a stake and start preparing for a temple. Were hoping to reach our yearly baptism goal before July, and it will only continue from there. Its very exciting, and helps everyone stay focused on being 100% worthy of the Lords help. 
I hope you all have a fantastic week, I love you all

Caren's baptism. 

prob 2 weeks after the baptism. Caren's a very good man, and even though hes hard to understand we have a special relationship. he can tell i have a lot to say, just not in Armenian haha and he's very receptive to the spirit

this is elder maughan when he broke his bed. For whatever reason at like 1130 one night it just snapped haha

this is elder maughan. dont mind the umbrella, its our 9yr old new baptizee's
Serjik is the man who was baptized in March, hes the 1st counselor right now basically being trained to become the BP. 

Gohar and her daughter Anahit

Nara and her son Arayk, who we are hoping to work with eventually. 
The other night Elder Maughans belt got stuck and since hes going soon, and the belt was just left behind by someone else, he just cut it.

This is Armen helping us break into the other elders apartment and steal their microwave (we have a key to they place and like messing with them, we mostly did it just for the pictures which we left where the microwave was

Monday, May 6, 2013

Another week

Fam and Friends, 
  Hey everyone. this week was pretty hard to be honest. Ive been fighting some physical fatigue. Part of that might be we've done prob 4 fasts in the past 3 weeks, but im not sure. I go to sleep on time, but dont sleep soundly all night. idk what to do about that though. but also a lot of feelings of inadequacy. our numbers for talking to people were really bad, so that was discouraging cause we struggled to find a solution. But we did have awesome news. 
  We had a baptism! Gohar and her daughter Anahit had a great baptism. Apparently the water was cold, and theyre both scared of water, but they pushed through. Gohars so great. After it was felt that she should wait a week she was upset but understanding and very humble. she promised she could read from 2 Ne 9 to Alma in one week and man did she read. We saw a huge change in her come from all that reading. Shes been taught since Feb but only got that far, and then basically doubled it in one week. Its been a big testament that conversion isnt about time, its about effort. we and the other elders here both moved up baptismal dates we had to try to help them see that, and see the urgency of baptism, and the possibility to reach it sooner with greater effort and faith. anyway the baptism went really well. I was set to confirm Anahit the next day, and id been praying and thinking about what to say, but then at the last second Elder Maughan confirmed her and left me to confirm Gohar. I was not prepared for that. Im not sure if he did it on purpose to help me grow or if it was just a miscommunication, but i was freakin out to say the least. it went okay though. 
After that Gohar bore her testimony and even though shes put in a lot of work, she ony thanked God and thanked us. It made me realize id been selfish. focusing and dwelling and being discouraged about personal weaknesses isnt getting anyone anywhere. i need to focus on them, and whatever i can do to help them, and then do that. it was a good lesson, hopefully i can apply it this week. 
  as for skype, im gunna be on at 6am my monday morning- youre 10pm sunday night, tylers 8pm (make sure to figure out how to get him in, i cant use google plus) my skype name is armeniayerevanmission4     so watch for that. im gunna use kmoore_6, if thats not right email me. 
Im out of time, we'll talk about other things and the rest of the news next sunday. cant wait to see you all

Branch President (Armen)