Monday, November 21, 2011

Tie Trouble

Happy Thanksgiving week, everybody!  I'm thankful our favorite missionary is getting the opportunity of a lifetime to serve in this country on the other side of the world. I'm thankful we have friends and family who love him and love us. Jared will tell you about the Thanksgiving he'll have this week! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones this week.


This week, the two Americans we met at church last week (I think I told you about them--I don't think he mentioned them actually) took us out to dinner, or rather we took them and they paid. We were able to show them the traditional foods of the area, and I was actually quite excited to share how much the culture and food here is different. In some ways, the food is similar, but in others the food is completely different. One food that a lot of missionaries like here is called Tolma (people poke fun at Sister Tolman pretty often). It's a kind of spicy meatloaf with veggies and a special sauce all wrapped up in grape or cabbage leaves. It's not my favorite, but others seem to like it a lot. One food that I like here is called Sharma. It's grilled meet cut up into chunks with raw onions (actually kinda good) with cilantro, tomatoes, fried potatoes, cucumbers, ketchup and mayo, all wrapped up in lavash which is a tortilla kind of thing.
Other things though, are not so good. Like Khash, which is made by letting a cow bone stew for three days until all the bone marrow soaks out and you're left with a mush soup kind of thing. It's pretty bad.
 They also enjoy a drink called tahn, which is made from putting mayo, plain yogurt, and milk all together, then putting a ton of salt and pepper into it and letting it cook until it reaches just below boiling temperature. I nearly 'gave back' (that's how it's phrased here) when I first tried it. 

For our zone conference, Elder Schweitzer of the 2nd quorum of the 70s spoke. He's the area president for Europe East. So that was way neat. I was chosen, with three other people from my zone to be personally interviewed by him. It was a pretty neat experience. 

So, yesterday, we walked to church and got inside when I realized, after looking at my shoes, that I had forgotten my tie. I tried zipping up my jacket all the way to cover it up, but not before two of our branch members noticed. Thankfully Elder Seegmiller had an extra tie in his backpack from going on splits with me. It was so close to being pretty embarrassing. One of the other Elders started making fun of me real hard, and then someone pointed out that he didn't have a belt. He looked down and then turned really red. :) He had to borrow a belt from someone else :D

Thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, so I just want to let you all know that I'm thankful for each and every one of you that supports me on my mission :) I'm especially thankful for my family who made me the person I am today :)

Well that's my week! I love you all :)

Elder Hammer
And some parts from my letter:
Hi mom! :)

So a little about the church here. We have about 60-70 members showing up every Sunday which is really good. The branch presidency is awesome and really helps out the missionaries when he can. The members at this branch come from Shengavit and Erebuni because they don't have branches of their own anymore. It's really easy for us in Center because the branch building is actually here.
Investigators are a little keech (short) right now. The work has been kind of hard. But Elder Seegmiller and I were on splits for the last few days and we pounded Center. We got about 60 OYMs (Open your mouths) and a page full (about 20) of potential investigators. It looks like we might be picking up about 5 or 6 of them for real. We have a lot of work to do this week.
Also this week, we are celebrating Thanksgiving as a zone. I'll copy the email our leaders gave to us about it:

Thanksgiving is soon here. We want it to be a wonderful day, a happy day with fellow missionaries, a feast day and most of all a day when you feel the spirit of Thanksgiving. We’d like the Zone Leaders to use this schedule so we are all having the same wonderful Thanksgiving experience together. Plan up with your zone and include senior couples (but don’t dump it all on the Senior Sister, OK?). Each companionship should help with food but get the good stuff and make it a feast. The mission will send an extra 10,000 AMD to the senior Zone Leader to buy a big, juicy Thanksgiving Turkey.

Until 11:00   Normal morning schedule
11-1:00       Meal prep and travel to Zone dinner location
1:00            Thanksgiving Dinner. Gather by Zone
3-5:00         Watch “17 Miracles” DVD provided by mission.
                   This will be the only movie that
                   day.  Please make this the last activity before 
                   you go back to your areas.  It will fill you with a
                   wonderful spirit of Thanksgiving
5:00            Travel home
6:00            Back in area working, full of gratitude and 
                   Thanksgiving and counting your many

So that's what we're doing. It's going to be at the Center branch building, and the Carters (Mission President and his wife) will be attending as well. Sister Carter offered to help us with the chicken (Chicken?  Turkey??) if we provide it. :)

Anyways, Madeleine is such a boss! How is she so amazing? She can really go far with music if she ever decides that path. But yeah, I'm proud of my favorite sis. (Madeleine made a musical group this week and her big brother is proud of her!)

So yeah, I hope you're doing well back home. I pray for you all everyday. I love you lots mom!

Elder Bear

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