Letter to Dad,
So in response,
They don't have Internet cafes here, but they do have these computer houses where people have bought quite a few computers and they let people use them for a small charge per minute. That's how I communicate every week. I'm luck because we have one right next to our closest grocery store.
Everyone here has cell phones, so they give some to the missionaries to make things more efficient. We don't pay for cell phone bills, the church does. But it's kind of funny, one thing that these people do is call you, and then once you pick up, they hang up. Then you have to call them back. What this does is make the charge for the phone call go from their bill to yours. We don't mind because we figure the people don't really have money and the church will pay for it anyways (phone charges are usually dirt cheep here). It just kinda funny when the phone rings and Elder Lush will pick it up and be like "allooohhhhhkay you're so Armenian"
So no service projects yet. We have a really small branch (16 people came yesterday. That includes us) so we've been working hard recently to just build that up first.
As far as snail mail, the only one I've received is from Monica. It took almost 4 weeks to get here. But yeah, we have to pick all our mail up the next time we're at the mission office. It's fine for us because the office is so close and it's where we have our District meetings every week.
We just had a Zone Conference, I think those happen every 3 months. All I know is the next one is before my birthday. But we haven't had any splits yet. Things have been kinda crazy because the AP's got switched around with our Zone Leaders and the Zone Leaders of another zone. But hopefully soon.
So as far as this weeks goes, it was way crazy.
There was a riot in Yerevan, down in Center on Friday and they shut down all public transportation coming into the city as well as all the major gas stations. We didn't realize this until we were already on the way out (we had to share a taxi with someone else) going to Susanna's house. On our way out we saw two buses and four transport trucks full of troops (about 200) as well as armed vehicles and a pressure hose truck owned by the police. We were stuck in Hocktemberian for a bit because of the lock down in Yerevan. We eventually got back by taxi. It was interesting trying to get one though.
While we were at Susanna and Alah's house, Alah's sister and nephews were over and one of the nephews (about 8 or 9 years old) took an interest in me. He came over and wanted to play rock paper scissors with me while the others filled out the forms for baptism. So he gave me 20 pencils and he had 20 pencils of his own. Every time I won a round he gave me a pencil, and vice verse. So near the end, I ran out of pencils but he was still going on. (I am awful at Rock Paper Scissors apparently) So when I lost again, he gestured to my chest and gave a "give it up sign". I was like "what? my tag?" and he nodded. So I gave up my tag, and as the game went on I lost my watch, planner, nice pen, my ordinance cards dad gave me, and my articles of faith card. It's a good thing we left soon after or else I would have lost my wallet as well. :p
About Susanna and Alah, Susanna got baptized, but Alah freaked out at the last minute when we were picking out their baptism clothes. She started crying and said she didn't want to. So we're going to have to work with her a little bit more. But Susanna is now confirmed a member of the church :) Elder Lush said that was the first time he didn't meet his weekly goal for baptisms and confirmations :p
Funny story: This one dog yesterday followed us all the way from our home to the church. He just seemed to like us. He was real friendly and just always kept a few steps behind us. Now if we could only get people to do that too....
Also funny, but only if you choose it to be: We were at the store and this one lady asked if "we were fanatics". We were confused at first so we said "in other words?" and she said "what cult are you from" And we said "Our faith is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" and she spat at us before we even finished. So we said "we teach about Jesus Christ" Then she started yelling (in line at the grocery store) "You do not teach about Jesus! You should let us Armenians teach YOU about Jesus!" She then turned to everyone staring and said "Am I not right?!" Then she took her wine and other groceries and left. :p We thought it was hilarious.
So we were just walking around trying to get people to ask us who we were when Elder Lush said "I think we should stop for a second." So we waited while he got a drink of water from his water bottle, and a few seconds later this guy came up to us and said "Hi Elders!" We were surprised someone know who we were so we turned around. This one guy apparently knew Brother White who was my teacher in the MTC and we ended up planning to meet with him to teach him. He had already read most of the Book of Mormon and wanted to follow us to church sometime. It was quite a neat experience.
That day was awesome because the Armenian Air Force was doing exercises over Malatsia, low and fast, which was way awesome.
Anyways, that was my week. I love you all and I'll see you next week!
Elder Jared Hammer
|A cool flower I found while Elder Lush was making a call|
|Elder Lush asleep|
|Elder Lush and I took a wrong turn and ended up having to slide down into a garbage dump to get back on the road. It was actually way fun, but also way gross.|
|Susanna is the short elderly lady in the center. The rest of her family is around her. The branch president is the one my arm is on.|
|Eeeeeevaaaaaaaa. Apparently they like this movie here. (Wall-E)|
P.S. Dad, do you think you could scan me that one piece I know by Chopin. I think it's on page 21 or something like that. Sometimes while we're waiting for people to show up for meetings at the church, we have a little time on the piano.
Letter to Mom
The baptism was interesting. I'll tell about it in the blog, but Sussana got baptized. Alah got scared at the very last minute, started crying and said she didn't want to. So we're going to work on that. :/ It was kind of weird actually. I haven't heard of too many people walking away at the waters of baptism.
The weather :p it's still hot, but that's okay. I have faith it will get better.
It's funny thought how attached I've become to this country from being here just a month. It's wayyyy run down, but the people are amazing. We went to the home of this one family called the Buds. The father is a member who works in the embassy here and he brought his wife and 4 kids with him. They invited us over for dinner last night and their house is pretty nuts. It was in a private community of very nice houses (probably would be considered middle class in America but their mansions here). It was fun and all, but it just didn't seem like Armenia. It was like little America. I was shocked to find myself wanting to return and go teach people again. I even felt quite at home walking back up the concrete steps (which are crumbling and usually have holes in them which allows you to see 9 floors down) and walking past the holes in the wall with wires coming out. It seems like a mess, but that is half the adventure. I felt out of place in that nice community. I'm glad that the church has us live among the people instead of in nice homes.
But yeah, that's my story here.
I actually had a dream about you. I had a dream that I got to come home for Christmas and you came to hug me but I was like "whoahhhhh. I haven't been released yet" :p It was kinda funny. (Love that boy! Wish I could hug him, too! I'd rather have him in Armenia right now, though! :)
Anyways, have fun teaching, and remember when things get hard, it's still a job. It's weird here if someone says they have a job. Most people we meet don't. The others drive a taxi or clean up garbage. But hey, that's why we're here :) The church can really help people find jobs and stuff and make right decisions in life so that the Lord will bless you.
Anyways, I love you lots!!!!
See you next week :)