Monday, November 25, 2013
Family and other family known as friends,
First off, we will get to do thanksgiving this week. armenians cant do their THs so i gave up saying thanks and started saying tanks. dont make fun, you cant do your KHs and GHs and hard Chs Ts Ps and Ks. i learned to roll my Rs. Street cred. anyway today we're cutting pday short cause thursday we're headed to vanadzor, we'll be celebrating as zones, so itll be us 12 northerners and the senior couple the Haglunds, who are amazingg, will be making our turkey. then we'll watch movies and relax. im stoked. but i already know halfway through the day ill be bored and just want to go do missionary work.
this week was a fun one. kinda, i dont know why i lable it fun but it certainly wasnt bad. we visited a lot of members, theyre great. we found a new investigator thats a young man, doesnt smoke or drink, came to church 3 times already, and accepted a book of mormon and a pretty quick baptismal date in armenia (the 7th) all was superb, until the second meeting- he didnt remember a thing. then we read from the BoM with him and watched the JS movie and he didnt remember a thing from that either. he kinda fell asleep while i was talking directly to him. my armenian accent is dull, but its not THAT dull. anyway that was discouragin and a setback but he's still a good kid who can get baptized and itll be a good opportunity to actually adjust our teaching to meet needs.
this week we went to Artik, a city about 35 minutes away with the Haglunds to go visit a member whos the only member there and rides a bus for an hour to go to church. we were excited, but it turned out not super well. the womans mother, who we're pretty sure has alzheimers or something of the sort, came out of her room and wouldnt stop screaming at us to either give her money or leave. she kept hitting her daughter (the old ladys 85, the member like 35) then she got pretty close to hitting me with her cane, so branch pres, who drove us, kept telling her to kiss me. thankfully she did neither. it was kinda funny, then just sad. esp since the member told her the rest of her family was like that too, and that explains why the member is a litttlee bit crazy, so we were just sad for her. after that we visited another small city nearby and got an inactive to come to church this week though so that was good.
theres not too much else to report. its pretty dang cold outside. im gunna buy a hat today, im also having a members mom make me a sweater. clothes are super super cheap here in gyumri, so ill probably spend a little more than i should. our apartment is actually too hot though, elder christensen says hes cold while im falling asleep during study cause its too stuffy. so we'll have to fight about that. hes awesome though its good to be back around him. itll be a good opportunity for me to slow down and not dominate every conversation. ive only served with good speakers and after my training i still dominated conversations. elder christensen is pretty timid but i'm working hard on getting him into everything, esp cause he knows the place so much better than i do.
lately ive been enjoying a frustrating study of faith. ether says there is NO witness until a trial of your faith. so i've been studying stories where it seems like the opposite happens, where it seems like a straight up witness followed by believing, and trying to shift my prespective of faith. some people refuse to believe until some neon sign, but i feel like i dont expect any witness because my faith isnt strong as the neon sign equivalent. ive been working on simpler faith and looking for the simple miracles to follow.
anyway ima split. i love you all, im jealous you get to go to grandma jeans this week for so many reasons. but im so grateful for all of you. the picture im attaching is of our gratitude board- we had a white board just chilling in the hall so we decided that we were being too ungrateful and put up pictures of our families and friends, our other awesome missionaries we love and most importantly the baptisms and close armenian friends we've been blessed with. i love the board. and now we're gunna go fill it.
nuff peace n hair grease,
Posted by delishishness at 5:02 PM
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Dearest Untanik yev Unkerner,
Well my quick email yesterday kinda gave it away but i doubt anyone is actually able to keep a mental picture of where i am. anyway i've moved north! Im going from down near the iran (or is it iraq? i dont remember) border up to Gggggggyumri (theres only one G, but it sounds awesome when you build it up) its pronounced gyoomree. i was bummed to leave artashat. its a great ward with good members, but we really didnt get too much done so i wanted to stay and have another go. plus i lovedd that district. but now im north. its super different. Charentsavan was tiny, and Artashat was super simply laid out, so i had no trouble getting used to where everything was. but gyumris the biggest city after yerevan, and we live like a 45 min walk from the church. theres vans, but im always standing on them so i cant see out the windows. any the city isnt grid like or anything. so im still pretty lost. its DANG COLD. and only getting worse, snow hasnt come yet but itll come by the feet. no more white shirt days. its sweater and coat every time. im serving with elder christensen, who i was around in hrazdan during my training. we served together a bit cause our companions were the zone leaders. he was super quiet and wouldnt say anything back then. he's grown a lot since, but he's still not one to take over. so i have to make sure i dont dominate everything like i tend to. hes been here 6 months already, and he looves the place and knows it super well so i just follow him around and we do alright.
the main bummer thing about gyumri is its isolated. we're an hour away from the other 6 missionaries in our zone (we have 6 here in our district) and we dont have a senior couple close by like almost everyone else. no one comes to visit- zone meetings are in vanadzor, and thats the city on the way to georgia so anytime pres goes north thats where he goes. so its kinda like being back in Char. its funny, i wasnt happy to be isolated when i was in Char, but then i got out of my corner and realized i wanted to go back. but then i got used to it and loved it and now i dont want to go back to isolation.
so basically with that in mind and my new district, not feeling great about how i left artashat, and not wanting to move again and start over, i wasnt super excited to move. but i realized i was focused on all the wrong things, namely myself. so i decided to cut that out and go back to work. thats why i was happy in Char in the first place anyway, cause i was left to my work. so i just need to get back to working as hard as i can and ill be all smiles again. i hope i can. im confident i can.
we have a great branch here thats super close and really wants to become a ward. branch pres is awesome, he basically got back from serving a mission and then took everything over. i think hes 26, but he does a great job. he said the members are awesome, they just arent that into doing missionary work. and thats been a big focus of all our meetings as missionaries lately, so elder christensen and i are gunna get to it with the members. the church is super beautiful. and we have two investigators that are great potential.
so yeah, basically this week was a fair amount of introspection and realizing that everything else can wait and take its place, that the only thing i really want to do and will actually make me happy is missionary work. id just gotten away from that because the work wasnt going well at all. but i wasnt putting my all in anyway. so things are gunna change, and baptisms are going to follow. i can feel it in my bones.
i love you all soo soo much. my interactions with the armenians and with my other missionaries too just make me so grateful for the family i have. we'll be talking soon enough! basically ill be spending an hour instructing you all how to say armenian words without sounding like a fool. i dont want to come back and hear "so how was ararat" (with hard As, not long ones, its hard to explain, but it makes me laugh every time. ) everyone sounds like theyre doing good. good to see all the pictures, i specifically wanted the ones from alexs spirit week though. so send me those!
Posted by delishishness at 5:01 PM
Monday, November 18, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
Not a lotta to report this week. Tuesday we had a good zone meeting. we got out, sat a marshutni van to the metro, rode the metro to the marshutni stop to sit one and ride the hour back to artashat, and then i realized i didnt have my phone. i asked elder chojnacki, who sometimes carries it instead, but i already knew he didnt have it. so there we were with no phone, knowing we couldnt go back to the Shat without it but not quite sure how to locate and get ours. a nice lady let us use her phone to "zangetsnel" meaning "to cause to call"- they call you, then hang up immeduiately not to spend their money, and have you call them back. they do it to missionaries a lot. anyway we zangetsneled the sisters cause theres was the only number we knew and they called president and found out i had left it in his car when he gave us a ride to the meeting that day. so then we had to take a taxi back up to the other side of yerevan to the mission home, then all the way back to artashat. so we got back at night and our taxi driver shafted us for a ton of money. so that was tuesday. wednesday and thursday we did some more service for our members, friday we ended up walking in the rain the whole day and saturday we ended up walking in the mud the whole day. sunday was stake conference but we didnt gather as armenia, instead our ward went to the closest branch in yerevan and we watched the meeting on skype there. skype. people. skype is good but it is not thatttt good. it was like listening to a dying radio through a tunnel. in armenian. and then we watched a video made for eastern europe where elder nelson and some 70s spoke- it was translated by old return missionaries whos accents were TERRIBLE. im not saying i couldve done better, even though im confident by my misssion's end i will be able to. but thats why i dont translate conference. anyway it made me refocus hard on speaking smoothly and trying to get the accent.
anyway thats about it. the transfer is thursday, hopefully we'll hear whats up by tomorrow. artashats been tough, it wouldnt be true if i said i was dying to stay here, but i know its a possibility and if i do it will be a good opportunity to recommit and work hard. we'll see what happens. there could be some significant shake ups. i have decided that if i do stay here im gunna throw myself into less active work. i watched The Work of Salvation in english the first time this week and a bishop mentioned that he felt the Lord wasnt going to give them new baptisms until they took care of the ones theyd already been blessed with. thats a huge problem here in armenia- lots of inactives, and lots of church records that dont even have their updated info.
thats all i got for this week, only one picture too but its a good one. i wish i had more to write. im still waiting on pics from the fammmmm- alexs halloween ones for sure, and i need to keep seeing my doggies. alex didnt write, the rest of it was good though. sounds like lanies havin fun. ill be jealous of everyone come christmastime, especially cause i wont be allowed to listen to rosie o donnell christmas special (im still working on getting that approved) but it sounds like an awesome time.
anyway i love and miss all of you and hope you have a great week. i love being a missionary, i cant imagine life without my mission. i hope you look for and see the blessings that Im confident the Lord is giving us as I serve. shat em sirum zez! tsavd tanem
lolve elder more (yes that was a lol on purpose)
|me using a "tatik (grandma) broom" its all they ever use, and it forces you to bend over, so tatiks just end up stuck that way. anyway i had a good time. i think im going to come back to armenia and create a broom company|
Posted by delishishness at 4:56 PM
Monday, November 4, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
Not a lot to report this week but it's been an okay one. Not too much worked out but it was alright. The older guy that fell asleep during the Joseph Smith movie did accept a baptismal date, that was a great moment. Idk about others, but as a missionary i keep going all over the place with baptism. sometimes i feel like its this life changing event that people have to understand completely and other times its just the door, and people just need to get through the door so they can understand the rest. well obviously its both, but ive struggled to find how to explain that balance to people. but with this man it really was that simple- the church of God is back on the earth, but you need to join it to gain a remission of sins and eternal life, not just because everyone should find a church. he got it- he actually asked me how he could be cleansed from his sins, and how to know which church God wanted him to join. it was great. unfortunately he dropped us this week, hes moving to Yerevan and still working so he just doesnt have time. but hes a great man and once he moves we'll try to get him set up with the yerevan center missionaries.
other than that we didnt find too many people to teach, but we did a lot of service for our members. to be honest i was super annoyed when we first showed up- we were the first elders here in 3 years, but instead of being excited about strengthening the priesthood, everyone was like "yay, now we can send the elders to give blessings instead of us going, or yay now the elders can come do my physical labor the sisters couldnt" but i realized that while thats obviously the wrong attitude, service is the way into the members lives. its a great ward here, but we havent gotten a single referral in the 3 months here. but we served, and tried to chat up their neighbors, kept mentioning the ward activity, etc etc. it didnt work out, but i know it was more effective than just eating their food and then asking for a referral, and also more effective than just saying we'll go get our own investigators, forget the members. so that was good. i've done more service in the past 3 weeks here than i ever got done in my 5 months in Char, so its been a good feeling.
i got sick this week, maybe from being tired with all the service and being out in the cold. but i actually took it easy the next day instead of going out in the rain all day like the last time i got sick. so im fine now, not flu ridden for a week, although my voice is struggling to come back. its making me sound super weird when i speak armenian. no one understands me, its like im back in march.
i was stressed out this week but i found some awesome council in pres eyrings message from this priesthood session- he gave the story of how the good samaritan could be "the overstressed EQP" but i've decided just to call it "the missionary" since every missionary is working super hard and it never goes as well as it should. this missionary was breaking up little kid fights after our activity/ before the sisters' baptism, and then trying to stop their moms from yelling at each other. but pres eyring gave three promises that i realized i needed a reminder- we CAN feel the love the Savior does for the people we serve, there WILL be others to help, and the Savior will recompense ALL that we spend in his service. those gave me comfort. the third one i think we focus on too much, but i decided to do something more than dream of my mansion above and get back to working hard so itll actually be there one day.
thats all i got from this week. theres only 10 days left in the transfer and thats crazyyyy. esp cause we're both new here so anything could go. the week didnt go much better, but theres some potentials here and there, and im committed to leaving this area better than i found it, so i can either recommit to another 3 months here, or leave it feeling at peace.
i love you all, hope halloween was awesome and fattening (did i mention im skinnier?) crazy how the time flies, the winter holidays are coming faster than i care to admit.
sirum em zez. Astvatc zez het
|sorry but i never get sick of ararat photos. theres some great ones from this week that im not allowed to send!!!! blegh. i love armenia, but not the fact that its in eastern europe. sort of|
Posted by delishishness at 4:49 PM