Monday, December 30, 2013

Well Shoot

Dear Friends and Family, 
  Come onn family two weeks in a row! I was hoping to hear about all the non electronic things you got for Christmas and the delicious food im sure Grandma made. Christmas eve in Yerevan was pretty great, it was a good recharge, focused on Christ and missionary work. It was awesome to see everyone that I havent seen in a few months from the south. It was hard to hear that the winter seasons been rough on everyone, but good things are happening in the mission and there are a lott of baptisms lined up for January, so we're excited to hit the new year sprinting. Christmas day we did a little devotional as a district (i tried to organize that and it went fine, but we should've just watched a Bible Video or something. Theres a reason they have me talk about teaching and finding every week and not about Christmas, i was not used to it.) then we had pizza- no, not american pizza and sadly not even close. im gunna eat an entire papa johns one day. anyway then it was back to work. we had a good day though. we got connected with a former investigator- he just tried to rent us his place, but hes a good man with a good family and hes religious. he's super connected to the armenian church, but we got him to atleast realize he needed to figure whos right. hes not crazy about reading or coming to church, so theres plenty of work to be done, but he lets us come over. i love how straight he is with us, and how straight that allows to be back. after talking about false prophets as wolves among sheep, he asked me if i was a wolf. never heard that one before. it lets me explain things as they are though. after we met with him we were walking to try to meet with one of three possible members, and then another one living close by we hadnt thought about called us and asked for help. so we got to do some electrical work for her and then had a really great lesson. it was an eye opener, i hadnt met with her before and realized shes an awesome member we need to work with. so that was good. 
   other news this week, we're continuing our branch list/less active project. we finally got all 400sih names of the members on record here (maybe 70 are active) seperated into the 3 missionary areas we have in Gyumri. we visited a name branch pres gave us and reported that she had moved to Russia, married to a non member, 2 kids, her mom passed away, and shes from Khazakstan, so sadly she really didnt have much of a reason to come back to Gyumri, and the people we talked to had no number or address. so branch pres accepted we have to send her record to Salt Lake and clean out ours. its sad work, but it is needed, and itll make it a lot easier for the next missioanries to not feel overwhelmed by 400 names, none of which anybody recognizes. now theyll know who has a lot of potential to be brought back, who hates us, etc etc. and we can already tell theres potential to bring people back and find new investigators through this work. im excited, its the first time i've ever focused a lot on bringing others back and strengthening them. 
  well theres not much else, yes it is my halfway mark this week. i love that my mission is 2013 and 2014, right on the dot basically. new years already encouraged me to think about the year and the one ahead, and that gave me the opportunity to dwell a lot on what ive accomplished/how ive changed the first half of my mission, and what needs to happen the second half to be the missionary i want to be. 
well i love you guys, i hope new years is awesome (theres no one outside, we're just praying well get invited in by some nice random people to eat and talk) and have fun back to school!!
love elder moore

us at the party

So Elder Marco gave me basically the coolest gift i've ever gotten. thats from us at Bjni way back in the summer

my group, a year later, still not taking good pictures together
did i mention the toothpaste was AMAZING? man Crest mint just blows russian teeth whitener out of the water. im hoping the two big tubes are enough to last the year. i told my comp id strangle him mid brushing if he used it

The Fox

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sick Sick Sick

Dear Family and Friends, 
  Man, you leave bablyon behind and do fine with it and then you get sick sick sick and think of Bayside again. Haha last night the random thought popped into my head to ask that my family be blessed to remember to write me... thats okay i have faith without the miracle :D burnnn no really though alex did write and i got good other christmas emails and i know everyones busy with fam. im just hoping everythings normal for skype on wednesday. check some time thing and make sure you know for sure what time itll be there when its 8PM in Armenia, we dont do daylight savings or anything and that just scares me. 
  anyway not a lotta got done this week. elder christensen spent the first half of the week with a nasty cold that slowed but didnt stop us. then i hit some of the longer nights of my mission with some sort of virus or food poisoning. sunday we were finally ready to go work and then it hit elder christensen. so that stinks. my zone leader has been trying to help me understand this could be an opportunity to learn to minister to others before i try to minister to the armenians. his point is valid, we are called to help others, not just those that arent baptized members. its tough though when things with investigators havent really gone your way since, well... hmm. but the Lord continues to teach me through it all as long as i let Him and dont complain. things went well in the district though, the other elders efforts are starting to pay off so we're excited for them. you never want to sit back and blame the situation but we're pretty sure that after all these new year feasts we'll atleast have more people to talk to
  while i was sick i decided to call every number in our area book. we keep records (we meaning missionaries in general) of "potential investigators" idk if its the same in other places but here it basically means anyone you talk to that you can give contact info about. they are certainly not the most reliable of means to find good investigators, but seeing as no one wants to talk to us i decided i would call people that talked to missionaries atleast once. plus my last comp taught me a good lesson that it was a good way to show the Lord you were serious about trying everything. so i called a bunch of people that had talked to the elders on the street about a year and a half ago. it was basically like a door approach, i kinda wish i knew how to do those "hi, im elder moore. yeah i know you dont know me. i have your number cause you've talked to missionaries like me from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. i just wanted to know if you'd want to talk again" a fair number of people hung up on me midsentence, others used the excuses they probably used a year and a half ago, but i actually got two people to say sure. hopefully we can meet with them this week. 
  on other fronts, we were working with a less active that showed up after being baptized in 2007 then moving to Georgia, but no one here remembers him. anyway we were working, hes pretty weird, its like im talking to a computer and regardless of the question i give he just seems to say everything he knows about the Bible. well this sunday our super strong member said she finally remembered him, and that hes not actually a member... hmmm. is he counted as a new investigator? do i want to work with said new investigator? we're gunna try to get to the bottom of whether hes actually a member or not, then convince him of the result, then let our Branch President call the shot if he's crazy. everyone needs their salvation, but the scriptures teach us the Church has to be built on the strong in spirit and leadership, so itll be BP's call since he'll be responsible for the man. we'll see. 
  not too much else to say i think. tomorrow we'll be in yerevan, get to see everyone i havent served around lately. we got some awesome white elephant gifts to join in the fun. it hasnt snowed too much but the snow on the ground wont melt and just gets more and more packed and icy. kinda sick of that. its dang cold outside, and since our apartments are made of cement and only that its dang cold inside too haha. we have a heater though, we moved our beds into our living room and sealed off the other rooms. im enjoying winter, mostly im just continuing to enjoy the experience that is missionary work. 
 i love you all, hope you have a fabulatastic Christmas, cant wait to see you! paint your faces, have  Liz do it
love elder moore
i paid about 60 USD total for the two to be made by a member family, im super happy with em

Monday, December 16, 2013

Well, that was disgusting

Dear Everybody, 
  I picture the somewhat now old Staples commericial with the Staples button saying "well that was easy" for my title. This week I tried Khash! Basically I knew it wouldnt be good but had to try it anyway. Khash is boiled cow foot soup. We had our member make it, shes served over 3 years time of mini missions, so we knew she wouldnt get offended if we hated it or threw up in her house. pictures included. its basically grease soup, with lots of salt and garlic in it. They tell you to throw it lots of lavash (tortilla bread)- i put in a ton, and then it became salty garlicy grease soup filled with soggy bread and it was gross. the flavor itself wasnt terrible but wasnt pleasant, and then all the grease settled in my stomach. our member finished mine for me. then you have to try the meat, scrape it off the hoof sitting in your bowl. so i took a bite of that. it almost didnt stay down but this iron stomach reigned supreme again. it was basically like eating a fat chunk of gristle and lard. pretty gross. i didnt eat the rest of the day and was sick the next day but now im fine and i can say ive eaten khash. 
   not too much else happened this week unfortunately. the family we had taught last week ignored us all week. either they didnt like something and just wouldnt tell us, figured we would just go away (good luck with that. its something that really bothers me now. people need to understand the easiest and only way to get rid of missionaries is just to honestly tell them you dont want it) or theyre caught up in new years prep. everyone is. so armenian christmas is jan 6, and they do more for new year anyway. they throw feast parties for 7 straight days, so everyone is working to get the money to buy all the food and booze. sacrament attendance is about half the normal. not too much to do. we have to stock up cause the grocery stores will be closed for a few days. anywho. 
 i went on two exchanges with teh elders in the district this week, got to serve with elder miller for the first time since we were enemies in the MTC. not enemies, but it didnt go great. we had a good experience though, ive grown up a lot and hes done a fair amount of changing. id serve with him in a heartbeat now. i havent gotten to serve around my mtc group too much, but its always nice to look in the mirror and realize the distance i have come. 
  anyway i got nothing else. it hasnt been easy but im enjoying christmas season as a missionary here. everyone loves when we sing christmas songs in english. missionaries grow closer together as we're away from home and try to work hard through the season. we'll be in yerevan tuesday as armenia for christmas, then wed we'll be skyping and we'll have a zone activity sometime next week. its just a nice time to sit and think about Christ. 
  love you all, hope everyone comes together and remembers the spirit of Christmas, cant wait to see you all! woof. 
elder moore

khash liquid, you can see the grease bubbles

The meat

Camera has cut off my head

Monday, December 9, 2013

These boots are made for walking

Dear Family AND Friends,
  Not sure why i capitalized and. oh well. everyone keeps making fun of my english. 
ITS COLD. hot diggitty its cold and snowy. it was cold the whole week, scarf, sweater, gloves, two socks, etc. etc. then saturday night we got dumped on, and it continued most of the morning and afternoon sunday. it was a long walk to our blind members house and then to church, tons of snow and wind. its not snowing anymore and not too terribly cold but the snows a pain. no one really treats the snow, theres a truck driving around with two guys throwing dirt on it occasionally. so you have the snow thats been walked on, packed down and slippery, or you have the untouched stuff thats thick and takes effort to walk through. i've slipped a number of times, two memorable so far. i slipped hard in front of a Jehovah's Witness couple. they tried not to laugh, then asked me a question about how the end of the world was going to go. then this morning i was getting on a marshutni with a bag in one hand and phone in other and straight up ate it. the women freaked out. my backside hurt. its funny how when you dont have too many people to talk to and less chances to exercise humility and lose your pride, God gives it to you anyway and you look like a fool. my comp is fairly taller than me and a lot less coordinated, but he's stayed on his feet so far and gets a good laugh. anyway ive been happy to get my boots into action, theyre pretty awesome. 
   we taught a family this week! its been a goal of ours this transfer to find a family. theyre chaotic and harder to teach but sooo worth it. i told you about the man last week, he let us in off the street. this week we went back and everyone was home. my comp, who's already super quiet and doesnt teach much, decided to play with the kid the entire time to earn the trust of the mom. it worked, but he took our member's attention with him so i taught the whole thing myself, which im never a fan of. but they liked it, they loved Joseph Smith and agreed to read the BoM. there was a special moment at the very end. my comp and the kid are nuts, the member and mom are distracted, im trying to explain the need to be rebaptized. the dads getting distracted by everything, but all of the sudden his mom just goes LISTEN! and they stare at me for a good 30 seconds, then accepted to be baptized. it was awesome. other than them there isnt too much going on but we're working hard on controlling what we can and being grateful. 
   other news from this week... i was in vanazdor tues. then wed i had an interview with Pres Carlson. it was good. lots of needed statements and assignments/advice. he's legit. 
  yeah i think thats about it yall. i love being here, i know good things can happen in Gyumri with hard work. im glad you had good thanksgivings and Christmas is coming up. its a good time. stay classy, the Church is true because its lead by Jesus Christ
Love Elder Moore
The The building you cant see much of on the right is our church

This is more accurate of what little villages here look like. 
this bread is fluffy and delicious and costs 50 cents. its only good for about 3 days but it usually gets eaten in like two

elder christensen all bundled up

leather jackets and sunglasses, looking oh so good

Monday, December 2, 2013

mernum em

Dear Famsham and Friendrends, 
   First, off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY POPS. Dads awesome, I love him. I walked by an old man playing an accordion today (doesnt happen much) and threw 100 dram (25cents, but worth more here) in his case- he was so happy he started singing. i thought about paying him more to let me video tape him singing a birthday song but we try not to look like tourists. anyway i hope its a good one dad. 
  so yeah today we didnt get to email at normal time and i think the sister in the office sent home an email that we wouldnt- the president of Russia is here (?) not sure what he wants with Gyumri. There is a big Russian army base here. anyway all the main roads were closed off and the shops on them were closed. it was chaos cause the police were all out and keeping the roads closed but apparently no one told the marshutni drivers cause they had no clue what was open and what wasnt and where they should drive. we almost had to walk home, that wouldve taken like 1.5 hours. and all the police people kept saluting us and speaking in Russian hahaha. Hayernov! (In Armenian, say in it Armenian!) sometimes people guess we're Russian, and everyone here can get by, i guess we just got more of it today cause the big cheese came. anyway we were gunna email wednesday cause tomorrow ill be in vanadzor with the zone leaders, and we try to use nighttime hours to proselyte, but elder christensen has been SICK. so when our meetings died and he didnt feel good, but dediced he could sit down, we figured wed do email now and that would be better than sitting at home. mernum em means "im dying" hes the sick one, but im dying. we've been inside all day since friday with the execption of church and today. i've watched the districts, all bible videos, all mormon messages, the testaments, the bom videos and the work of salvation. TWICE. im charging through the BoM in armenian and english. trying not to nap cause then i cant sleep at night. he doesnt really seem to be improving cause its not like nausea or weakness or anything just a very bad stomach pain. sis carlsons working with the area doctor to get him all better. i keep asking the other elders to come and watch him so i can get outside but if they have a meeting then they wont switch out with me, and they have a lot of meetings. ugh
  anyway so thanksgiving was AWESOME. it was a blast, and by that i mean i relaxed the whole day and didnt do anything. we drove over to vanadzor around noon and hung out in the Haglunds apartment, we were squished but cozy. our zones pretty small and im not super good friends with any of them but theyre all awesome missionaries. i spent most of the time talking to the two sisters from new york about how awesome the east coast is. we had a pretty good dinner, turkey and mashed potatos, candy yams, that sorta stuff. watched a movie, talked about what we're thankful for. it was a needed break. 
   anyway not too much else to report from the week. we found two new investigators this week. one man invited us in right off the street, he was the first id met in a while that literally knew nothing about us, had never even heard the word Mormon. That tends to be a blessing, and it was. when his friend walked in he said hey these guys are talking about Christ. I LOVE when we hear that. sure Mormon is important but he is not the cornerstone of this church and the Savior of the world. they both kissed the pass along cards with a pic of Christ we gave them haha. anyway we're hoping to pick up their families this week. our other investigator isnt doing well but the father of a family whos all baptized came back to church and he's super close to baptism. i can feel we as a district are really close to great things here in Gyumri, just a few last steps to charge and a few screws to tighten. but we'll get there. 
  oh by the way this internet place has an Xbox with Kinect and its cheap to play by the hour. you guys dont mind if i play FIFA next week instead of writing? k thanks. 
i love all you peoples. we'll chat soon
Love Elder Moore