Monday, October 10, 2011

Cockroaches, Excuses, and Surge Protectors--Pictures

Hello everyone!  We're going to be adjusting the blog to make it a little easier to read.  Hopefully it won't take too long for me to change the rest of the blog.  Enjoy another letter from the other side of the world!

Hi there!
First off thanks for the stuff about the back. I'll try to work on that.  (After looking at that picture, do you wonder why back problems persist??)
About the pictures, I'm still working, but we were extra busy this week. I managed to get a few on though. 
There's the washing machine in the middle of our kitchen (dunno why).
There's the inside of the branch building with all 10 people there for general conference.
Then there's the piano. I'm working on the rest of the pictures and I'll get them to you soon.

About the cuisine here, we don't eat out much for financial reasons, but we've gone to a few places. One food that's really good is called a sharma. It's meat of some kind mixed with greens, peppers, etc. and wrapped up in a piece of lavash (kind of like a tortilla) and then filled with some kind of special sharma sauce. Way good. It's usually served with something called a lamajo,  which is a spread of dough covered with some kinda meat sauce and laced with a bit of lemon juice. Then you roll it up and eat it like a burrito. Way good.

This week, we waged war with the cockroaches in our bathroom. The bathtub is about two feet off the floor (again, I don't know why) and underneath was a collection of jars that collected mold and cockroaches. So we deep cleaned underneath there which took quite a while. I think we came out victorious though. There were no survivors. We found nearly 30 cockroaches underneath there, the biggest one was about the size of two ping pong balls put together. The smallest one was about the size your pinky fingernail.

The president of France came to Armenia this week, on the same day we needed to get our residence papers signed. So we had to walk for hours to the building we had to go to because all the streets in Yerevan were closed off. Traffic was miserable. So, in order to get our papers signed for our residence cards, we had to go into this sketchy building that was owned and operated by the KGB, and then walk into this sketchy looking office in a corner, where we signed on the backside of some of these official looking papers. Interesting :p but again, we were asked to take our name tags off.

We tried visiting one of our less actives this week. When we showed up at his door, we could see him through a large crack in his wall, just walking around fully dressed (this fact will be important later in the story) kind of just wandering around his house. When we knocked on the door he said "who is it?" and then as soon as we said "Yeretznair" He jumped behind the door of his bathroom and poked his head out from behind the door. He then said "Oh! I would love to answer the door but I'm just about to take a shower and I can't really get there right now." We could see him, and we were pretty sure he could see us looking at him. :p People make the funniest excuses for us. 

For another example, we had set up a meeting with a potential investigator the night before. 30 minutes beforehand we called him and said we were coming. Then 10 minutes before we said we were almost there. Then when we got there we called him and said we were here. He then told us that he had just left to go to Karabakh (The disputed area between Armenia and Azerbaijan) for 10 days. :p
Most people just tell us they're going to Russia for a year or so. I think we've had about 40 of our potential investigators go to Russia...Maybe that's why they have a stake up there....

Well we watched General Conference this weekend, which was amazing. We had to help our branch members with their General Conference though because it's obviously the Elder's responsibility to set up the TV and fast forward it for them and make sure it's facing the right way. They kept on interrupting us so often that we hadn't even gotten to the first talk when they were about halfway done. We tried using these old Russian surge protectors for the TV, but when we plugged it in, it popped and then the carpet caught on fire. So, we decided to go out and get a new surge protector.

Anyways, I was having a pretty bad day this week. Elder Lush was waging war with the cockroaches in the bathroom, so I took his mp3 player and plugged it into our speakers and sat right in front of them. I came across the MoTab singing #85, How Firm a Foundation. I just want to share a few lyrics:

Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand

I had never known about the 7th verse before:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

This hymn really helped me this week. It made me understand (along with this most recent general conference) that the gap is widening between the church and the world. There are those that follow God and those that follow Satan. The grey area is disappearing. It makes me realize even more that we need to help those people who are on the middle or other side of that widening gap come over the the side that can only bring peace and happiness. Though all hell should endeavor to shake those souls, I will never forsake them, because I know that my God is on my side and will always give his children aid.

Anyways, I love you all and I'll see you next week!

Elder Hammer

Hey there :)

So, I hope you get a job soon. It really is better in life when there's something to do. :)

About the opposition, we get used to it :) We were handed this pamphlet that said, "BE CAREFUL of the following CULTS". The Mormons were number three on the list right after the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Satanists. :p They're told to oppose and even fight these "Invaders from the West" It was produced by the church and sponsored by the government. These people have quite a ways to go with democracy :p

I hope you feel better :/ Colds aren't that fun. I'm lucky not to have gotten too sick out here. We'll see how things go though.

Why the riots? Well, the people here don't like the way the boarder with Turkey and Azerbaijan is being handled, and it's getting worse know that a new president is going to take office soon.

Heyyyyy, I love you Mom. I actually had another dream where they were sending missionaries home all over the world, I was the only one from my mission, but a lot were being sent home all over the world because the church was going to war with some kind of evil nation and they needed more young men to raise good families and build up the LDS nation. It was kind of weird but neat because you were there at the airport and you gave me a bigggg hug. You were crying just as much as that day when you sent me off at the gate :) Anyways, thanks for that nice hug you sent me in my dreams :p And I hope you get my air hug I'm sending right now. It should get there just about the time you read this :p

Love you mommmmmm!!!!!!!

Elder Bear

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