Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Snake is in Transfer

It sounds like Jared had a very eventful week, with lots of run-ins with church General Authorities.  What a time to be there at the MTC!!!!  Oh, Jared wants letters!  Surprise, Surprise! :) 


I do enjoy these emails. Though, I only get 30 minutes to read and write. We're not allowed to print anything out. Plus, I would really enjoy a dear elder every now and then. I haven't been getting much mail for the past few weeks :/ between you (mom and dad) and me. Dear elders really do make or break a day out here. After working real hard all day, it's nice to sit down at night and hear from home. It's not necessary every day, but once a week would be nice :)

Anyways, this week was crazy! On Friday, I was teaching a lesson to my investigator. When we got out, I saw everyone crowded by the window. When I looked out I saw three cars parked right in front of the main building on the side walk. Right outside our window. After a few minutes a security guard came in and walked up the stairs, this scared most everybody away. When a few of us, including me, came back timidly, the security guard popped out of nowhere and said "You can stay here, but you need to be extra quiet, no knocking on the window or yelling out, and no pictures. We stayed at the window for a few more minutes and then another security guard at the door of the main building waved to the security guard by the cars and mouthed, "he's here". Then we could here the radios crackling out "the snake is in transfer". It also said a few other code names but we couldn't make them all out. Then a few seconds later, right outside our window we saw the entire first presidency, including the mouthpiece of God himself, walk out the main building, along with Elder Holland. The three members of the first presidency all got into the three separate cars and drove off, with President Monson's car leading the way. I even got to see President Uchdorf (sp?) remove his jacket and hand it to a security guard. (I saw him without his jacket!). Elder Holland, after hugging President Eyring, left to go back in the building.

Later that evening, we were treated to a "special devotional" where Elder Bednar gave an amazing talk on being a Preach My Gospel missionary. Also present were six other Apostles. The spirit was so strong in that room that evening.

On Saturday, we were just hanging out eating lunch when we saw Elder Oaks walk by. Everyone did a double take along his path.

It was an amazing week needless to say.

On Sunday, there was a fireside with all 2,500 of us present. In the the middle of the talk, the member of the 70s who was speaking said "you Sister, in the red, along with the 4 sisters on your left and the 5 elders to the left of them, come up and tell us what you gave up to be on your mission." He was referring to our district along with the Georgians and The Latvians and Lithuanians. (Seegmiller and Dicus got left out unfortunately). Elder Skidmore said he was giving up watching sports for 2 years. The 70s member then said, "Yeah I've been keeping up with sports lately. Like that one Jimmer kid, he got drafted to what? the Kings or something? Yeah, we tried to draft him....but the NBA drafted him first" :p after he said this, the entire audience went OHHHHHHHHH and then clapped and cheered. Shoulda served a mission Jimmer :p

One cultural fact I learned this week. The Armenians don't marry. No. They kidnapp. It's completely culturally and leagally alright to just kidnapp the girl you want to marry. It's part of their culture to go out, after one or two dates, to put a bag over a woman's head and then literally carry her back to your home, where the relationship is "finalized", which stops the woman from leaving. If a woman divorces in Armenia, it is considered "amoht" or "shamefull". It's actually quite sad, but it's their culture. Some women look forward to the day when they get kidnapped. If a girl doesn't want to be kidnapped by the guy they dated, then they tell their dad and he busts out the weapons and has a chat with the man, laying down the law.

So this is one challenge we have to deal with, with members. There is a legal way to have a marriage license, it's just hardley ever used outside the capitol, so we have to encourage members to use that.

Cultural funfact.

Anyways, It was another week. One more down and a few more to go. We get to our halfway point on Friday. I'm excited :)

Love you lots and I'll write again next week. :)))) 

Our zone includes the Armenians (7) the Georgians (2) the Latvian (1) the Lithuanians (2) the Greeks (5) and the English speaks (about 9?) All the foreign speakers in our zone are pretty close knit because we're here for so long together. So we're quite sad that the Greeks are leaving next week. We don't really get to know the English speakers so well because they come and go like the sun in a day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Remember Buddah

Here's the latest and greatest from our favorite Elder!

Barev dzez! from the MTC! 

Thanks for the spritual thoughts Dad :) I really enjoy them.

Everytime I feel like I'm starting to get into the swing of things here, there seems to be something new that pushes me even harder. The language is particularly difficult and complex. We know that we will get it eventually though. As usuall, the days go by slowly and the weeks go by quickly. I can't beleive I've already been here 4 weeks. Only less than 7 to go. :D

One thing I learned about the culture this week. Unemployment is about 70-80% in Armenia, which means that everyone there has nothing to do during the day. The people are in extreme poverty but the people will be very willing to sit down all day and listen to us. They have nothing else to do :p

A few funny things happened this week:
There's a monkey in our classroom, (I think you saw the picture) whos name is "Boris" He's the largest one. Boris was Brother Stutz' first "investigator". We asked him if Boris ever got baptized. He said no. When we asked why not, he said it was because Boris doesn't have a heart. So this week we made a heart out of paper and put it in a hole in Boris' chest. (He's pretty worn down).

New Zone leaders were called this week. Elder Dicus and Elder Seegmiller. The old Zone leaders passed on the famed "Zone leader crutches" along with a My Little Pony, with its hair braded and wrapped around a toy soldier on its back (signed by every past zone leader in our zone), along with a green monkey toy that claps its hand when you press a button and a zone leader penny collection to feed the hungry (the zone leaders).

Our teacher told us of a story about a missionary in the far east who sat on the belly of a Buddah statue for a picture of himself. He was arrested and subsequentially received criminal charges, and was sent home. So everytime one of us is about to do something stupid, we say "Remember Buddah!"

I joined the choir for devotional this Tuesday. We sang "come thou fount". I really enjoyed it and our director was really funny. Our choir is invited to sing for a "Special devotional" on Tuesday where we will have a "Special Guest". All of us hope it's one of the "Big 15" (1st presidency or the 12)

As for the tie trade, I don't really feel like wearing someone else's sweaty tie, so I've kept to my own ties. Besides, I like my ties a lot. I don't have that many anyways. Only 6-7 which is about half, on average, of what everyone else has.

Our favorite part of the day is gym. We go outside every day now, just so we can get outside these gates. Our group has grown quite fond of beach volleyball.

Spiritual thought of the week:
A member of the 70s came to talk with us and told us of his time in the Army way back when. He said he was offered a decision one day. He could either choose to be commissioned by the President as an officer, or choose to be commissioned by Jesus Christ as a missionary. He chose to be a missionary. 

I liked this comparison. Officers in the millitary are among the brightest, best, and most trusted soldiers. They need to be in order to lead their comrades into battle. We as missionaries are some of the brightest, best, and most trusted. We need to be in order to lead our brothers and sisters to Christ. We are in the Lord's army now and soon after we finish our boot camp here at the MTC, we will be dropped into one of the hardest battlefields in the world today. After 12 weeks I may not be able to speak the language well or know the gospel perfectly, but Christ is our commander and we will follow him into battle in the war against evil.

Anyways, I love you all and I will see you again in a week!

Love always,

Yeretz Hammer. 

There's a huge conference going on right now to train all the new mission presidents. We're all pretty excited and we're hoping to catch a glance of an Apostle or someone like that.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Here are the current pictures Jared sent us.  
There are MANY more pictures on the PICTURES PAGE.  (See link on the right)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cleaning Shoes and Swapping Ties

I love Wednesdays!  I love getting Jared's letters.  They make me so happy!  So here's the latest installment.  (We edit the letters at if it ever seems choppy, that's why!)  Here's the latest!


It's good to hear about all that happening at home. If i don't get a chance to write Chris, tell him I'm thinking of him and I appreciate his concern and everything he does for me.

I would love to tell you more about my peers and teachers, but I just don't know that much. My teachers will tell us stuff, but all in incomprehensible Armenian. I do know that all my teachers go to BYU. Brother White, Brother Carlson, and Brother Stutz. They all got back pretty recently. Besides that I don't know much more.

They like to tell us stories about Armenia though. I won't tell you some, because they would just freak you out......[edit, edit!] The Armenian people always keep their shoes clean, for some reason. Whenever they cross the street (by running with their hands behind their back) once they get to the other side, they always wipe their shoes off with a hankie. They also cross their legs the woman way, because they think it's rude to shoe the bottom of their feet. They have the Bible but they only use it as a centerpiece on a coffee table. They don't like things on the floor, especially books. So the culture will be interesting :)

Elder Maughan is from Idaho Falls Idaho and he is an INSANE Scripture master. If I ever need to look up a scripture on any topic, he always has the reference along with the scripture memorized, and possibly a conference talk or an ensign article to go along with it.

Elder Dicus is from Idaho as well, and he went to BYU with Maughan and I. They both lived in Wyview.

Elder Seegmiller is from Utah, can't remember the city, but it's up north. He is hilarious and knows how to have fun with us. (He is also our district leader)

Sister Tolman is probably the most chill out of all the sisters. She went to USU and likes to tell stories of the pranks she and her roommates pulled. Along with stories of how they went up to the "haunted nunnery" in Logan.

Sister Kholer grandma and Grandpa already know. I don't know much about her though.

Sister Boyle is originally from Ireland and is a History major at the U o U. She moved up to Utah when she was 5? And she enjoys keeping up with current events.

That's all the Armenians. We're pretty close and we do everything together.

This week, we had an epidemic of the Noro (sp?) virus. Everyone was ordered to not even shake hands with anyone. Zero contact was made. So that was interesting. I stayed safe from that virus, but I came down with a cold. Elder Seegmiller's sister gave it to him, then to Elder Dicus, then it came to me, then I passed it on to Elder Maughan.

All the loud people on our floor left yesterday for Florida and the other state, Spanish speaking. Things are so much better now. :) They were obnoxious. Beyond belief.

Random people tend to wander into our room. I think we need a fly net or something. Some random elder walked into our room and was like "ok bust out your ties, let me have a look." (apparently tie trading is huge here). so we were polite, but the whole time all of us were saying "gunaugh" which means "get out" in Armenian. Random hipsters who think they're cool also tend to wander in, it's kind of funny. One elder named "Kata" from Samoa, always seems to enjoy yelling at 11:00 at night. Sighh.... but he's gone now :P 

Something interesting that struck me this week: Things are hard here, really hard. But there is opposition in all things. The tougher things get here, and the harder we work, the more joy we can bring to the people of Armenia, who desperately need everything we have to share.

I sent pictures today, but they won't arrive for a few more days.

Anyways, I love you lots! Gotta go!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dreamsicle or Creamsicle???

Dear Mom and Dad (aka: family),

      Things are great here. You should have received my email already. I tried hooking my camera up, but the computer didn't recognize it. Oh, well, I'm sending some now. (P.S. As I write, the MTC president is walking by, here in the laundry room!). Anyways, Now that I have more time, I'll write a bit more.
Happy Anniversary, by the way!  What is it now, 21 years?

We teach "investigators" every day now. All in Armenian. That's how it's been since day 2. WE had to go to something called TRC where they set up a room like a living room and you teach for an hour. It was crazy!

Our first investigator, after we baptized him, turned out to be one of our teachers. It was really funny. He went from "Rubik" to "Brother Rubik" to Brother Stutz. He just got back from Armenia 6 months ago.

     We work hard here, but one day our district got so sick of studying that we just told jokes for an hour until dinner. :)  WE have new missionaries. A Latvian elder and two Lithuanian sisters. I think the elder is from Texas and the sisters from Utah.

     Saturdays used to be special but noooooooo. Not anymore.

     Also side note, we're having an argument here.  Is it called "Dreamsicle" or a "Creamsicle"? Maybe post that question on Facebook or something.

     I used to like showers too, but here, you have to wait in a huge long line if you wake up any later than 6:10 and then you get to enjoy a few minutes of a nice icy shower. One time, a few elders were taking a LONG time just talking in the shower so I yelled out "Oh my GOSH!  It's like a book club in there!  Come on!"  Everyone laughed and it got the line moving. :)  (Post that online if you want!). 

     One of the paper towel dispensers in our bathroom has the plastic knocked off of it, revealing a wooden roller inside. Naturally, every elder in the 7M classroom building on the 3rd floor has written their name on it. My name has joined the other missionaries along with my roommates, Elder Dicus, Seegmiller, and Maughan. MOM'S EDITORIAL COMMENT INSERTED HERE:  WE DO NOT ENDORSE TAGGING OF ANY SORT, ESPECIALLY FROM OUR 19 YEAR-OLD MISSIONARY SON!  :)

One of our sisters owns a camel, a zonkey (zebra & donkey), and a whole lot of other strange animals. Funny.

Anyways, I love you all. Keep sending mail!!!  I love it!

[Jared then writes "I love you guys" in Armenian, phonetically, and literally].   

Elder Hammer

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Letters, Leaders, and Language....Oh My!

     So here's the next installment of Jared's letters.  He doesn't usually have much time so it looks like he's going to pick either Carl or I to write to every week. It was my lucky week today!  If you get a chance to write to him (or his companion!!!), it looks like it would be appreciated!  Heeeeeerrrrreee's Jared!!!

I'll write to you this time since I wrote to dad last time. :)

    I'm glad things are going well in SM. Things have gotten a lot better here. I may not be able to write as much because I'm testing out sending pictures with my camera, but it doesn't seem to be working. I think I'll just have to send hard copies and you can scan them in.

     I leave the MTC on August 8th (estimated) and it looks like I will be leaving my mission on May 8th, 2013. This is apparently because of some visa issues.I don't know much about my visa yet. I don't think they'll tell me much until I get closer to my leave date.

     My teachers are amazing. We don't know much about them much yet because they only tell us about themselves in Armenian. I think one is a pre-med Major at BYU. The other, we're pretty sure has a girlfriend. :p

     Things are crazy here but very fun. It's very difficult but that's part of the package. My branch president apparently (spell check my messages please :p) was in the Air Force :D He was a helicopter technician. He studied forestry at the U and after retirement, became the church's first forester. He became a member around 20 or 21, so he never got to become a missionary. He told us he was in a high councilor's meeting one day when everyone was talking about their mission and he felt very out of place. He told his wife that evening how sad he felt and how out of place he felt. 3 weeks later after that day he was called as the branch president at the MTC. He was crying as he told us that he was never able to wear a tag like we do, but he got his chance when he was called as branch president. Someday he hopes to serve with his wife and have the tag say Elder instead of President.

     We baptized our first "investigator" this week, which boosted our morale. But then they handed us two investigators at once after that. I pray in Armenian now which is very cool.

     Our sisters' names are Sister Tolman, Sister Boyle, and Sister Kholer (sp?) They are all lovely young women and they make class that much more fun. Two go to USU, and the other goes to the UoU, but we still love them all the same. We forgive them.

     Gym is everyday except for P-day. Our district has grown quite fond of beach volleyball outside, but there's also basketball, a track, gym equipment, soccer, frisbee, and a whole lot of other things. My companion is injured so I can't really run, but I still play volleyball.

     I play piano for both sacrament meeting and Priesthood. It's nice, but I was kind of surprised; I don't think I'm the best player here.

   I love all the letters and dear elders!  I get some everyday which is very nice :) Elder Maughan is jealous though because he hardly gets any. It was really funny. One day I got a package from Sister Jensen and Sister Stout (tell them thank you from me! :))) along with about 7 dear elders and 2 postage letters. Elder Maughan received nothing that day or at all that week. :P So I decided to send him a message myself. I think he liked it.

     But yeah, Armenian is coming along fine. I don't feel like I know much, but I know it will come in the next 9 weeks.

     I see Elder Bean here all the time and he speaks Russian really well now.

     We had a really good Devotional by a member of the 70s who was Japanese. He could speak English very well, but I could feel the spirit stronger with him than with anyone else. It just goes to show that you don't need to speak the language perfectly in order to teach the gospel, you just need to bring the spirit with you. He told his conversion story where his dad was killed by an American sub during World War II. The Joseph Smith story though overpowered his hatred for Americans when two missionaries from Idaho came to his door in Japan when he was only 13 years old.

     It's fun here and I know I'll be better when I leave. I miss home but I know this is where I'm supposed to be.

     I love you guys a lot. Stay well.

Yeretz Hammer (Tasty)

ps: I would write in Armenian but this gmail doesn't let me type in it. I can read everything you send though!

pss: I'll be sending pictures real soon :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes! "Tasty" Elder???

Yesterday we got the impression that Jared was struggling with the language and the whole experience.  His first letter was a handwritten letter that he wrote on Friday.  Today, Wednesday, he seems to have a whole new, positive perspective.  Things are looking up!  Here's the email to me:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 12:19 PM 

HI MOM!!!! I love you! I wrote most of my stuff to dad. I would write more to you but as of right now I have 7 minutes left on the computer.

The first day was a whirlwind! But very exciting.My P-day is today, Wednesday but only lasts from about 10:00 am to 6pm. We go to the temple from 7-10 in the morning and we teach "investigators" after 6. The food (and the MTC in general) is basically BYU exactly. I would go so far as to say it is BYU, MTC campus. The food is good though, I like it and I'm staying healthy. Milk every meal and small portions.
I love you mom. The MTC is great and I'm doing well now. Don't worry about me. At the time I wrote my letter I was very stressed and overwhelmed. But right now things are better. I'm having fun with my three other roommates and things are going great.

Just to let you now, I will never tell you if and how I get injured :p an order from my branch president. Never worry about me :) I'm doing great! I'll see you soon (in two years :p) and I hope you have a good time until next week.

I'm very fond of letters so right me often! Dear elders are amazing too.

Love always,
Yeretz Hammer

PS: Hammer, in Armenian means "Tasty" :p Elder Tasty haha.Much love, bye!!!

PSS Maddie can write to and I can respond to her.

Here's the letter he wrote to Carl:


30 minutes to write emails. My P-day is on Wednsdays for these next 11 weeks.

My companion's name is Elder Maghan (Sounds like Mahn) and he is from Idaho. My other Armenian Elders that I room with are named Elder Dicus and Elder Seegmiller. Dicus is from Idaho as well and Seegmiller is from Ogden. Dicus is going to California Armenian speaking but the rest of us are going to Armenia. All of us except for Seegmiller go to BYU, for the most part they haven't chosen a major.

These are the Elders in my district, and we have three sisters as well. There are only seven totall in my Armenian class/District. Our Zone includes the two Elders in the Georgian district as well as the three elders and two sisters in the Greek district. Today we are also getting two lithuanian sisters and one Latvian Elder.

My teachers names are Brother White and Brother Carlson. They both served in Armenia at different times and they both go to BYU.

My departure date is 11 weeks from my arival date I think. I'm pretty sure. It's on that Wednesday, but I'll check and tell you next week.

I am so overwhelmed by the language and the entire experience here. Armenian is really difficult but I can already read and write it. We were supposed to teach an "investigator" on the second day all in Armenian. We could only speak in Armenian and so did he. It was so difficult but we improved the next day when we taught him. We teach our "investigator" every day except for Sunday. It's good for the language though I guess. We don't have a culture class, but it's kind of mingled with the language class. The language structure is suprisingly similar to romance languages but it is very unlike anything I have ever seen. It sounds like arabic at times and even has a similar gramatical structure to it.

LOTS AND LOTS OF LETTERS! They really make my day. If you don't want to send letters, dear 's are also very appreciated. Tell people to dear me. Make an announcement on Facebook for me about it. It really makes me feel better.

Things were really difficult the first two or three days, but things have gotten better now. Not easier, in fact harder, but better. The Lord eases our burdens, not by lifting them, but by giving us more to make us stronger.

Things are really fun here and I have an amazing district. We made our own handshake and chant, and we know how to have fun while working hard at the same time. Armenian is probably the most difficult language here and I get a lot of "woah, what language is that??" when people look at my name tag, but I can see myself learning it very quickly. This is where I'm supposed to be and I'm happy to serve the Lord. We sang called to serve for the first time as a whole MTC yesterday and it was so amazing.

Anyways, anyone can email me right now, but I can only respond to immediate family. So Maddie can write as well if she wants and I'll respond to her, but anyone else's emails I can only read.

I am always busy, there's always something to do, but despite the cold showers, the craziest language, the fact we call it "spirit prison", and the intense schedule, I am having such a great time. The MTC is a whole lot better than I thought it would be.

Other notes:

I play piano for priesthood.

Went to the temple for the first time today... ( was at 7:00).

I'll send pictures as soon as I can. I need to get them developed first though.

Love always,
Yeretz (Elder), Jared Hammer 

(I would have typed in Armenian, but Gmail doesn't recongnize it)
So as you can see, life is better for Elder Tasty, I mean Jared!