Monday, August 12, 2013

Winding Down. Or Maybe Just Getting Started

Dear Family and Friends and Creepers on My Blog, 
   Haha funny note about the blog- there's a man in Hrazdan, for his sake and privacy in general I'll call him Z. He's an amazing man with a great family, he was meeting with the missionaries for a while and reading the Book of Mormon but it just hasn't worked out yet, to the sadness of those elders and the rest of us who have been around Hrazdan and interacted with him. Anyway he came to a baptism a few weeks ago and asked me for my picutres from Sevan- he loves pictures with the missionaries (I think I gave him one of our family too at his request haha) but I wondered how he knew about Sevan- turns out he reads my blog. Idk how he found it, and Im assuming he just reads it in however decent Russian the internet can auto translate, but it was super funny. He was concerned when he read I was sick a while ago. Anyway, if he's reading this, I love you and your family, and pray often that you will be baptized. You will help many people to find God's church. Sirum em zez shat. (Idk what the translater will do with that english/armenian jumbo, but we'll see)
  Anyway we have a week and a half before this transfer ends, next week this time we should hopefully know our fates. Elder Marco's been in Char for 8 months and will bet thousands about his fate, but I really don't know mine. It's been a very long 3 months and made it a long 5 months in Char, but things could be picking up. Plus, we just found out they're sending new senior missionaries here to Char to do member leadership support. It probably doesnt affect me, but it would be tough to have a whitewash and 2 new senior missionaries that don't speak Armenian or know the city at all. So that's the sit. Im trying not to think about it much or make assumptions on what's up for me, which has been easy cause I honestly could see either way. Anyway. 
  The highlight of this week is the new family we met last Sunday, we met with them twice this week and they all came to church yesterday, which was super awesome. The dad came to a baptism on Saturday as well and it really impressed upon him. We're going to teach the Word of Wisdom tonight- some moron doctor has apparently told him he needs to smoke for his health. He's affirmed until now that he wants to quit but cant, and will just have to see how few he can smoke a day and still get baptized. So our focus is going to be on the BoM, so that he can gain a testimony that it really is a commandment not to smoke, and because the BoM is a pure vehicle of the Spirit.
  The other fun news this week- Armen, our BP, found us another family. The son is a very good singer that was touring Armenian with a group, and Armen apparently did a bunch of string pulling to bring it to Char, which made his family and everyone in general super happy. He told us we needed to go, so ultimaltey we decided we would. It was pretty basic, the room was like where the girls had their dance recitals, and they just sang. It was super Armenian (loud singing with kinda a wailing sound, hard to describe) anyway it was fun, the family was super happy we came. Then at the end the son was singing again and he went out into the aisles to sing. He was super close to us so we made sure we were smiling, clapping, etc, then he saw me, grabbed me by the hand and pulled me out to dance with him. As ridiculuos as it was, i was certainly not going to refuse, and it was super funny. neither of us dance well, but everyone loved it. so hopefully that increased our likeability in this tiny town. but that family also came to church this sunday and we'll be meeting this week, so we're super stoked about that. 
  This week I've been trying to dive deep into the doctrine of faith- its been talked about a lot in our mission lately. Pres Carlson arrived, and shortly after meeting everyone told our leaders
"this mission doesnt have enough faith" not to say we have none, after failing to reach last years baptism goal, they raised the goal in faith, and then by miracle after miracle we reached that goal in july, and it played a large role in the first stake coming to Armenia. But at the end of the day i think everyone was viewing that as our ceiling, happy about it in Eastern Europe in a country where the only legal proselyting is walking around outside. Anyway so with all the talk i've been studying hard and looking for ways to stop talking/writing about it and actually change the actions. In two stories, Ammon and King Lamoni's wife, and Christ and the centurion, the two are commended for having such great faith (as a Lamanite and Gentile), greater than ever seen in the Nephites or Israelites. Now I do not think that being raised in the church is bad for faith obviously, but it got me thinking about something pres carter sent out called "Try Not", where he quotes Yoda in saying "you have to unlearn what you have learned" I havent found answers unfortunately, but as great as being raised in the church is, I wonder what it is that we take for granted, that we have to unlearn, before we can have as great faith and these two who no literally nothing else than the few stories they've heard about Ammon and Christ. Food for thought, sorry I dont have an answer. 
  Anyway it sounds like summers winding down, I wish i could be there for Chipotle and puzzle time, mostly just fam time in general though. Make sure to read my emails to Linus and Livs, im sure Linus misses me and Livvie just needs a refresher on who I am. 
  As for Armenian religion- The main religions you run into are the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Hisunacans (I think the US equivalent is Pentecostal?) And us. I've met maybe 10 people who say they dont believe in God. But the thing is, the Armenian church, as great as it is being the first Christian nation in 301, doesn't do anything. They have really pretty buildings where you go and buy a candle to light, and thats it as far as i know, they dont preach or anything, it really is just a part of their culture. Its a huge part. But its kinda like a microcosm of the great apostasy, when no one actively preaches, people kinda believe what they want to. So most of the people say they go to the Armenian church, but in them you meet people who dont believe in life after death, the second coming, all sorts of stuff that just doesnt seem like normal Christianity. Its interesting. 
  Anyway that's all I got. We went to Sevan last week and Elder Marco and I went to Bjni this morning and saw a super cool church there, ill send some pictures in a few minutes. I love you all! So so much. Have a great one

ararat was super visible the other day in yerevan

we bought a 37 pound watermelon, but only ate about half before it went bad

elder marco and i at bjni

zone meeting- mega zone (called by others as south zone, but big)

sevan with the district

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