Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm on the Up and Up

Dear Family and Friends, 
  Haha k two things first- this computer's spellcheck says im spelling everything wrong because its functioning in Russian. 
2ndly- Pres Carter has made this mission a very obedient mission, and the success that's followed is evidence of that. my biggest fear in coming here was slowing the work even for 3 weeks due to inadequacy, so fot that reason (and others) i made a commitment to obey as exacly as possible- shocking, i know. anyway the only reason i bring it up is because of email. were told only to email family, so ima do it. sending the family email home to multiple people is no biggie, but im not going to send emails to anyone thats not immediate family, and ive also decided not to read anyone elses emails and respond to them in this, and same with letters. but idk if anyone has heard, but that rule is being changed. missionaries are being allowed more time and to email friends. i asked pres carter and he confirmed that salt lake was informing mission presidents the white handbook was indeed being changed, but he still needs to discuss it with his leadership first before he announces the change. so he asked me to just hang tight and it will change within 30 days so thats what im doing. Anywhoo
   Im in Armenia! Thats crazy. The reality of being here hasnt quite set in fully. whenever were talking to members or random people and they just stare at me i keep waiting for them to give up the hoax and talk to me in english.I should backtrack though
   We got here wed morning 6 am and went to the mission home. i couldnt fall asleep so i think i was up for like 72 hrs with like 8 hrs sleep or something ridiculous. we got 10 hrs of sleep that night though. we had meetings with the pres and the assistants. then we went to see the Genocide Memorial. That was an experience thats hard to describe. theres some very graphic pcitures there, and everything thats written is informatory but also very negative and accusatory. biased would be def a wrong word to use, but hopefully you get what i mean. i cant understand the nation's attitude towards it fully, but i think i understand how it still affects people today. everyone - seriously everyone- had family that was murdered or starved or deported or left homeless. and half the world wont recognize its a genocide because its better to have favorable relationships with Turkey. theres probably more behind it i dont know but it was a heavy place to be. i wish we were allowed to go there on the memorial day because they say the eternal flame is surrounded with thousands and thousands of flowers- you should look up pics- but the US wont recognize the genocide so were ordered to stay away that whole week because the Armenians def wouldnt appreciate us going. 
  After that we saw Hayr Mayr- Armenian Mother. You should also look up those pics, my camera was dead so i dont have any right now. it was a statue of Lenin during the Soviet times that they replaced. very huge, very cool. after that we had dinner and a meeting and went to bed early. 
  Thurs we had meetings about basic stuff like money and what not then we met our trainers, who introduced our areas. Before the meeting I saw Elder Marco- i've told you about him, he was in Chases BYU ward and hes a good friend- at the mission office for transfers. I had mentioned to Pres Carter that i knew him. Anyway its funny because now Im basically Elder Marco. Im serving in Charentsavan (where he was trained) and being trained by Elder Maughan (who just trained Elder Marco) and Char has been expanded to two sets of elders now, and Elder Marco is still here. So i see him a lot which is awesome. 
  Okay so onto actual mission work stuff. when we took a taxi to Char E.Maughan was talking to the driver and I actually understood an okay amount. then E. Maughan brought up church so i figured i would get more. turns out the driver started talking about a vision he had where he saw his neighbor murder someone and wrap up his body and dump it in Lake Sevan- he then had his neighbor arrested. Unfortunately i didnt study that vocab in the MTC. When E Maughan later explained it i laughed a lot. 
  When we go ut on the streets talking to people i still dont get farther than hi how are you. I've managed two OYMs -you bear a short testimoney about a gospel principle- so far, which is cool. one just wanted money, the other didnt care about anything.  
  Despite that the work is on fire here in Charentsavan. Elder Maughan is really great. He came here with Elder Marco and helped a branch that was dying to get somelife back. He's training me, he's a zone leader, and a member of the branch presidency, which consists of the BP who's been a member 2 years and doesnt want to do his job, so everyone hates him, and another new member whos young and reminds me of a priests quroum member, just goofin off a lot. Theyre both good people though, and the backbone of the branch is Armen. he converted 8 or 9 years ago after he was in a car accident- he was on hs way to beat someone up for the mafia- and now he's incredible. seriously incredible. everyone in the branch has come through him, and whenever were in a tough spot he bails us out. hes awesome, and super nice to me. he always makes me bear my testimony if ive been silent during a lesson. 
Anyway we have a few awesome investigators were focusing on right now. Armic is an old lady who was supposed to be bapized 7 yrs ago but had a heart mumor during her bapt service and then fell away.  but shes back and even strnger and getting baptized this sat unless something major happens. we also have a family of 3 that has a date for april 13 but wasnt making the right progress. but the past two lessons have been huge improvements and were hoping they tep up and make it. and we also have a man named Caren who has a testimony but isnt being diligent in trying to change. he's also improving though, so were hopeful. pray for them! 
  Thats all I have for now. This place is great. run down, kind of sad, and very cold, but great nonetheless. Im still overwelmed and not sure i can do this for two more years but im improving and trying to be patient, and i know im being helped. so yeah thats that, the church is true and awesome, and im stoked about trying to strengthen it here in Charentsavan. 
Love you all

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