Monday, December 17, 2012

Transferring.....Again and Leadership Opportunities

Me and Serge, our 1st counselor


It is hard sometimes to turn the other cheek, because you just want to teach the person doing the wrong thing a lesson. Somehow let him know he's being an idiot. But in the end, we can't really do that. Only one Person can teach in that way. It's definitely something I'm working on out here, but I think I'm getting better. Like yesterday for example, there was a 14 year old kid that veered out of his way to come and elbow me right in the chest. Although comments to throw at him came to my mind, there always seems to be something holding my tongue back nowadays :p Instead, I just continued to walk forward.

Well, in terms of Skype, It will probably be this Christmas evening for you around 7-9 pm :) I'm excited to see you all!

So big transfer call on Sunday. I will be moving over to the other Vanadzor area and I will be companions with Elder Harrington. Along with that, I will be Zone Leader, split with Elder Hall who will be training in Vanadzor. I will also be group leader for the Alaverdi group up there. That means I go up there every month or so and conduct a sacrament meeting for that area :) So fun stuff! 

I had to head down to Yerevan on Saturday for a check up at the hospital and I'm going back for the results today, but it looks like everything should be alright. It's kind of fun to watch the snow slowly melt as we headed South.

One of our investigators is doing really well. He's been an investigator for a while now, but he's making some really great progress. His main obstacle has been the word of wisdom, but slowly we're weaning him off cigarettes. It seems to be doing pretty well. He has amazing faith and he loves us a ton. His sister is going to be moving to LA for job opportunities, so that should be pretty cool. 
He also has a crazy kitty that runs all over me, especially because I'm wearing my thick winter jacket which is perfect for claws to snag on to. :p

It is super cold now, all at once. We had our first sticking snow this week :D So I've had a ton of fun sliding around everywhere. :)

Well, that's all for this week. Sorry it's rushed again. We have to bounce down to Yerevan.

Love you all!

Elder Hammer
Birds were on our porch :)
Me destroying wood :)))
Vanadzor from on high
First sticking snow of the season
Me and Pisik, our investigators cat :) I love that little fur ball

Vanadzor is known for its chemical factories

Beautiful view on the road to Yerevan from here (had a check up at the hospital on Saturday) 
Elder Hall made this for me

This is our landlord's work

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Transfer to Vanadzor

Our district Elder Peterson, Elder Anderson (new), Sister Broadbent, Sister Beal, Elder Hall, and me :)

I'm way busy so I won't have time to read the email this week. I'm really sorry. I have to cut internet to about half an hour or so. I'm going to print it out and read it at home. Sorry if there's anything you wanted a response to. I promise to respond to it next week!

Well, big news for the week, I'm in Vanadzor now! It's the third largest city in Armenia besides Gyumri and Yerevan and has a very nice branch. It was branch conference this week so there was a pretty neat amount of people who showed up. We had around 120 show up for sacrament meeting including guests, so it was way neat. Quite a change from the 20 we had in Malatia the week before. 

Besides that, there's not much else to tell. Elder Hall is my new companion. On Friday, we drove up through the highlands where there was a snow storm, and then landed in the valley where Vanadzor is located. It's a nice little city of about 50,000 people (I think) and it's known for it's old Soviet Chemical factories. :) They looked really cool.
But yeah, the city isn't as well developed. The mornings when we do have water, the showers are cold :) I still haven't figured out the trick with our cruddy little water heater. But I can't complain. I have a nice warm bed and enough room for my stuff. I think I need to drop a little stuff here in Vanadzor though.  Do you think it would be okay if I dropped those sheets that I brought with me here? Or will we need them when I return? They are a little heavy and take up some space. What do you think?

Well, I hope you like the pictures this week. They should tell pretty much the rest of it.

I love you all! 

Elder Hammer
Parts of Jared's letter to me:

No snow yet. Surprising, because I'm up in the freezing north now. It's cold enough for the puddles to freeze over now, but there hasn't been any snow yet. I got transferred up to Vanadzor from Malatia on Friday and now I'm with Elder Hall. I had a chance to serve around him when I was in Nork, and he's a pretty neat guy. He's from Kansas and comes from a family of six brothers.
Well, there's not much other news, except there's a slight chance my come home date might be moved back to May 29th or so because of the fact that the groups in the MTC are only there for 9 weeks now instead of 12. It's not for sure yet, but we'll see. 
Me haulin' logs
The wood we cut
Cross on the hill on the way up to Vanadzor
Vanadzor church
Ducks :)
Chapel in Spitak, a little city just out of Vanadzor
Our investigator's cat. The cat is super tiny and super cute
Cut wood this morning. This is the result of our work :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Half Plate of This, a Bit of That


So, the metric system isn't coming as hard as I thought it would. It turns out AP Chemistry had a deeper scar than I thought it did. Well, at least now I get to reap the benefits.

 I don't have to deal with them in the kitchen too much though. There are literally no measuring devices here at all, so all of it comes from the United States sent by missionary parents. If you ever ask an Armenian for a recipe, they'll just say "oh half a plate of this, a plate of that, just a bit of this" not very helpful. The ovens are in Celsius, but thankfully Chemistry helped with that as well. Plus I got a ton of my recipes from other missionaries, so they had it already written in Celsius.

 You know, it turns out that I don't mind raw onions as much as I thought I did (raw, mind you). They put them in Sharmas all the time and I think they add a nice sting to them. As long as it's not overdone, it's a pretty yummy addition.

Well, Armenian food is pretty complicated, so I haven't learned too much. I can make Borsh though, which is a really good beet/potato/beef stew thing. I can also make an Armenian staple which is fried cauliflower. It's basically just boiled cauliflower dipped in eggs and salt, then fried up. It's better than it sounds :p

Well, my week was pretty mixed up. We had an opportunity to go up to Hrazdan this week on Friday and Saturday on exchanges. It's a city that the missionaries haven't been in for too long, so it's really exciting to go and see everything there. The only downfall is that it is super cold there, second only to Gyumri.

 One funny tradition they have there though, is that in wedding processions to and from the church, the lead car straps a dead animal skin to the front (in most cases a fox or something). It was quite a shock seeing it the first time.

We got to do some service for our investigators this week, which was pretty nice. We helped them dig their garden area so that they could plant some garlic for the winter season.

We got a Christmas tree on Monday, along with some Christmas lights :) Now our home is all decked out for the season.

Well that's all, I love you all!

Elder Hammer
Our Christmas tree.

Us gathered at Hrazdan with the Charentsavan Elders and the APs

Monday, November 26, 2012

Merry Happy New Year?

Me eating jello with chopsticks because we were out of utensils. They're clean now...don't worry.

Christmas time is America :) Unfortunately, it's a bit later on here, plus they don't really seem to care about it here unfortunately. There are always more preparations for New Years than for Christmas. All the alcohol companies stock up the stores real well and advertise more than ever (People will buy quite a bit of alcohol to welcome the new year.), fireworks are on display for sale (of all sizes) and people will usually start gathering up enough food to have enough to last the seven days of the New Year. The way it works out, is that the New Year celebration usually tends to cover up Christmas. It's quite sad. I asked a few people last year what they did for Christmas celebrations; A few said they went to the church and burned a candle, several said they just spend it at home with their family, and several others didn't even know what it was. In any case, it looks like western culture is starting to invade Armenia, so Christmas-based advertisements seem to be creeping in.

At the grocery store today, we did start finding Christmas trees. They were, unfortunately, at the cheapest 36,000 dram, about 90 - 100 dollars. So who knows. Maybe we'll find a Charlie Brown Christmas tree somewhere.

As far as warm clothes, I'm still doing fine from last year :) So everything should be ready for this year.

Well this week was a bummer. I got sick starting on Monday and it took me out pretty bad, as soon as I got better Elder Christensen got sick :p So our work got knocked out for this week. We did have Thanksgiving though with our Zone this week, so that was really nice.

For Thanksgiving, we went to the office building bearing jello and mashed potatoes, and after about an hour of prep, we got eating...and eating, and eating. :p Turns out we only ate half the potatoes, only one Turkey and we hadn't even touched the soup. :) It was way good though. For dessert, we had homemade pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, fudge, and cookies. (All homemade. Pies don't exist here). After clean up, we went and watched 17 Miracles, just like last year :) Unfortunately, it didn't snow as we were watching like it did last year. Snow still hasn't hit Yerevan. Waiting....very impatiently :p

On Wednesday, we went to an 8 year old baptism. It was really strange, because you never see those in this country.
(Kids in our church can get baptized at 8. There aren't many young children in that country that are getting baptized apparently.) The church is still very new here. It was a really neat experience though, especially for the investigators we brought.

President Carter came to our branch this week, and I'm the one that has to translate now every week, all three hours. :p Thankfully I didn't do too bad, it's just a little exhausting.

Made taco soup this week :) It was pretty good. I made it up on the spot, because I thought it sounded good, especially with a cold.

Well, that was my week. Sorry it was short, but we were pretty sick :/ I'm doing better now though :)

Love you all!

Elder Hammer

The family of the baptized boy
Us around the table

The turkey :)

Oh yeah, the APs also made Tolma (traditional Armenian food. Meat, rice, etc wrapped in grape leaves) for Thanksgiving.

Me :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks in Armenia


Well, Thanksgiving is coming up again. It's always nice to celebrate Thanksgiving on a mission, because you tend to be more sensitive to things that matter most in your life. Like, God and his wondrous bounty he's granted us, His Son Jesus Christ and the Atonement he completed for us, for a loving family who keeps you going despite what others outside say to (or yell at) you. For an amazing sister that is turning out to be a very accomplished young lady, a mother who's love is only surpassed by Heavenly Father's, and a father who's guidance and strength has blessed me more than I've properly given thanks for. Those are just the things at the top of the list, after which would include things like a loving mission president, food [ :) ] , the opportunity to learn and grow out here, health, etc.

 This year, we're lucky to have actual turkey for Thanksgiving dinner :D We're in charge of the potatoes. Don't mess up! :p We'll also be bringing the Jello. Not actual jello brand, but a little known secret that Russian brand jello exists in this country. You should have seen Sister Stone's face when I mentioned jello exists in this country. I think I'll have to bring the package for her :p

So the weather is getting quite cold. I'm still waiting for it to snow though. I love the snow so much. I've only ever experienced two seasons of it. California sun is very nice, but I do like playing around in this curious white fluff they call snow. Soon though. The temperature is dropping quickly.

So the branch here is doing alright. The attendance is up about 15 people from the last time I was here. We get about 30 people coming every week, which is pretty good. We have to do a lot more less-active work though. Only about 5-10 % of the members actually come every week.

It was a sad week for our branch though. One of our long-time members and a close friend of mine personally passed away this week. Ashot, was the Elder's Quorum teacher and very active in helping us out with our missionary work. We went by his house on Saturday to deliver him a plate of cake as a thanks for the work he does, and his wife opened the door and told us he had passed away the previous night of a sudden heart attack. It was a really hard blow to me personally, and to the rest of the branch I'm sure. He was loved by many and there were quite a few people from the church country-wide that showed up for his burial. We couldn't go because he was being buried in another part of Yerevan out of our area, but we played the piano while people gathered at the church to head over to the grave yard. It was quite interesting though to see that though everyone was sad, they did know that it wasn't the end, and there was a special spirit there comforting everyone.

Well, sorry to end on such a sad note. Maybe I'll end by saying we had a lot of good service opportunities this week. Lots of old ladies carrying more than their weight in bags and people's cars breaking down. It's fun :) and fulfilling, to help those in need.

Elder Hammer

Brief part of Jared's letter to me:  Hey fun fact. This next Sunday, I'll have been on a mission a year and six months. Isn't that crazy? :) That's a long time. I guess that means Brody :D and Christian are about ready to start heading home. I'm sure they did great on their missions. 

All the next family pictures come from the Elders in Jared's district, including Abraham at the end.
Elder Christensen's family
Elder Woolley's family

Abraham's family


Monday, November 12, 2012


Ararat :)

Well, guesses for Monica?  I wrote them in a letter, but I can't remember what I wrote. :p So I guess I'll just say Detroit, Michigan for the states and Copenhagen, Denmark for the world (forgive me, Father, I have no idea how to spell that city right.) (Monica is going on a mission and wanted Jared to guess where she may go.The call is probably coming next week!)

Well, my companion is doing well. Learning and going forward as usual. :) The district is doing well as well. By the district, I mean just Elder Woolley and Abraham (Elder Hambardzumyan), because that's our whole district. Just us in Malatia.

We had a cool service story this morning. So we had a meeting to go to at the office at 11:00 this morning, so we left at 10:00 to get there on time. We waited for about 25 minutes and our bus wasn't showing up, so we started to get impatient. As soon as we saw our bus show up, there was this old man who's taxi broke down. I was torn because I didn't want to be late, but then it hit me. It didn't really matter. This was why I was in Armenia in the first place. So we went and helped this guy push start his car and ran to see if we could get the bus, but it had already passed. Just then though, the Taxi guy turned around and offered us to take us a little distance on the way to his work. So we jumped in and he dropped us off at the bus stop right in front of the bus that had passed us by :)

So, just a little faith. :) The Lord has his eye on us. All of us.

So the mission is going alright. It's been slow lately, but it looks like it's starting to pick back up :)
Georgia is doing great. A little while ago they opened up a brand new branch there in a different city, and it looks like there going to start sending sister missionaries up there soon.

We found two guys this week that are really amazing. They're a father and a son from Syria. Right now they're living as refuges in Armenia because of a civil war going on there. They only speak western Armenian, which is super hard to understand because I've been learning Eastern. For Armenians, it would be like the difference between American and British English, but for us, it's like the difference between English and Spanish. They are way awesome though. They already accept the Book of Mormon as the word of God and they know everything we say is true. It's way fun working with them because they just have a completely different culture than the rest of the Armenians.

Well that's me. Sorry this is short, but we have a ton of stuff to do. It seems like that's always the case with P-day :p Always on the rush.

Love you all!

Elder Hammer
PS: Happy birthday Dad!!!!!! <3 Love yah! Sending something in the mail today. Sorry it won't get there for another few weeks.

Made a fun soup with lentils, potatoes, cilantro, corn, etc. Super good :)
The soup
Cool sunset after rain

Monday, November 5, 2012

New York Storm

Us and Arus, the new member in our branch. She's an amazing 75 year old lady :)))

I have to admit, I'm not sad of the fact that daylight savings doesn't exist over here. I remember that Armenia changed it when I first got into country. It makes things a whole lot easier to deal with. Plus, people have trouble coming to things on time here, despite changes in time to mess them up more.

So I heard about that storm in New York from one of our members....and everyone else we talked to this week. It always seems like by the time news reaches this small country, everything gets twisted out of recognition and blown way out of proportion. I've heard everything from a tsunami that wiped out the city, water levels that have covered three story houses, the government closing off the island, people dying because gas couldn't reach the island (not sure what that has to do with people living or not), and even Obama himself dying in the storm. So I figure, well, I'll find out when I get home, which by that point it won't matter. Not that it would anyways. It's kind of funny what all doesn't 'matter' when you're out here on a mission.

Well, my trainee is doing fine :) He's a hard worker and is making progress every day. It's a little stressful coming from the MTC thinking you can just baptize the world and it's just a math formula which is obedience+hard work = baptisms (at least one a week). But he's adjusting really well and is very bold on the streets. The language mistakes happen (and are sometimes hilarious, such as "we are all mistakes" instead of "we all make mistakes") but those are supposed to happen and will get flattened out over time.

How do I feel about the culture and Yerevan in general now that I've been here over a year? Well, I think it's amazing. Yes the people have their faults as everyone does, but their peculiarities continue to amaze me. We have someone we're working with in our area who's trying to save up money for an operation to remove his liver cancer and disabled legs. His mother receives a little bit of money from her petty work, yet, just yesterday, she made us my favorite Armenian dish after having secretly found out what it was (she prepared a whole feast for us that day).

In terms of service, we helped out that family on Saturday. We pulled down the dead grape vines that were hanging over their garden and collected branches and other twigs for them to burn during the winter. It was fun and we got a ton of scrapes and scratches as medals of honor.

I have to admit, it didn't surprise me too much hearing about Russia and propaganda just starting. It's something we've had to deal with here in Armenia a lot. The Armenian Apostolic church (and therefore the government to some degree) has openly opposed the church, by name, but under the flag of their traditional religion rather that Soviet pride. Granted the Jehovah Witnesses get most of the flak, we still manage to get a large portion of it as well. It doesn't help that "Morm" means Tarantula in Armenian...We get that a lot.

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

Elder Hammer

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

British Accents and Armenian Cheese

Me and one of our members, Susan

Although I did take four years of French, I'm not sure if any is remaining at all. I was able to read the French Book of Mormon in the MTC, but by now, every time I try to speak in French, it just flows into Armenian. :p

Elder Christensen is doing well. :) Despite natural language difficulties and culture shocks (most of which I had already forgotten about. Going back will be weird.) he seems to be holding up well. The training seems to be focusing more on Preach My Gospel and less on the language. So we use every opportunity we can to practice the language.

Well, in my district we have Elder Woolley and Elder Connor, although this week Elder Connors leaving our district and a mini-missionary is coming in, named Abraham. Abraham is a pretty neat guy that Elder Fairclough and Rackham baptized while I was in Shengavit. He's a way cool guy and a great support to the church in Yerevan. Elder Woolley is from Utah and I don't know too much more about him. I'm pretty sure he did a year at BYU before he came out.

You'll have to forgive if things are spelled wrong or don't make sense. About 10 kids just walked into the internet place and they're all playing Call of Duty the top of their lungs. Fun.

So we're just starting to see the effects of the new missionary age change. We already have three new Elders that got added to the March group. :) So that will be fun seeing what happens.

Well, lots of walking around. Lots of people who really did not like us :) Just part of the job right? We almost got to meet with this one guy named Albert. He seemed neat and seemed to understand and accept everything, but for some reason, he just called us and told us not to call him again.

Elder Christensen found the cure to Armenian cheese this week. We found out that if you eat it with the most sugary fruit you can find, then the salt and the sugar cancels out. :) They always have fruit to give out, so everything's looking up :)

We were talking to some guys on the street and one of them mentioned that he knew English. So I spoke kinda fast English trying to throw him off and it worked sort of. He made an excuse that he learned British English, not American. So I put on the best joke of a British English accent that I could and it worked! He understood every word I said after that. It was super funny.

Well, I'm sorry I don't have more spiritual stories; it was a little rougher of a week. Next week though yeah? :)

Love you all!

Elder Hammer


Monday, October 22, 2012



Sometimes it hurts to be lifted up so high, only to be dropped....hard. Well, this week we were sitting in a bench when a guy came over and asked about us, etc. We asked how he was doing and he said not good. He told us he was trying everything to get his mind off of death. We asked him why, and above other things, he had a father who had had three heart-attacks and was now dealing with cancer along with a leg injury caused by malpractice. He asked us if we could come over sometime and pray for his father and read from the scriptures. We agreed and came over later that night. During our meeting we prayed for him and his family, which put the father in tears. He told us that we prayed for exactly what he needed and wanted. It was late so we could only read a short verse about the Saviors love before we left.

 The next day we came over and we asked the son how he was doing and he said 'towards good'. Everything seemed to be starting off well. We were going to pray and then tell him how he could pray whenever he wanted, and he didn't need us to pray for him, because God would always listen. We were also going to teach that we could pray from our hearts, but before we could get to the lesson, an acquaintance of the family came in. He saw us, then began to tell the father he was very unwise to let us over. I said hello to let him know we knew Armenian and that we understood what he was saying, and then he turned to us and in a very lengthy manner told us to stop being idiots, cut out our destructive work, and go home. He then turned back to the father saying...not good stuff. The son realizing the situation could get worse, helped us leave and said to come back another time. 

They were close to being my first investigators, a whole family of them, in 3-4 months. But, that's fine. I guess the Lord has other plans for them. We'll still try to get a hold of them; I guess we'll see how it goes. 

On our way home though that night there was a light rain, and later we saw some Chinese lanterns floating above the Armenian Church in our area. Just a little tender mercy  which cheered me up from a very bad day. (We'll skip what the other people on the street that day told us to do)

There was a Relief Society activity for our branch on Saturday, at which Sister Carter gave a fifteen minute message about the most important things in our life. Early on in the week she had asked me to translate for her. She used an example which was focused around the idea of fitting your time into a box, which was funny, because just that morning, I had studied how to put the word 'box' into several different cases (cases are basically tenses for nouns). 

Well, time for a funny story. Every week seems to have one. So we were just walking along when this 60 year old man ushered to us. We asked him how he was doing, but he didn't answer, he just gestured for us to follow him. We followed him until we got to this one garage which he opened and invited us in. As soon as we got in, we bolted the door shut and started jabbering in Russian. We said we understood Armenian and then he began to jabber away in Armenian. It was pretty obvious the guy wasn't all there. He told us stuff like Stalin is still alive, America doesn't really exist, etc. Then he came up to me and said "English people don't usually like it when I pachel them (the Armenian form of greeting with a kiss on the cheek), but is it okay?" and grabbed my head with two hand. At this point I was getting a little nervous as he moved in closer. Then without warning he headbutted me right in the head with strength that defied his age. I grabbed my head and it was all I could do to keep from laughing in front of him. He then, with a complete serious face, proceeded to ask the same question to Elder Woolley (we were on splits) to which he responded "uh...welll" and then he got head butted too. At that point I couldn't hold it in any more and busted up. We both said we had to go, and headed, no wait, that's not the right word, and aimed towards the door. The man smiled and said we could drop back by at any time.

Well. That's it for this week. :) I love you all!

Elder Hammer
Elder Christensen fighting a battle with the language :p
Me and Elder Christensen :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy 2794th Birthday!


Well, I just got back from the hospital this morning and we're going back again at 5:00 to get the results :) I'm doing fine, it's just a blood test thingy.

We got to see general conference on Saturday and Sunday. It was way good :) The new announcement about the missionaries came not as a surprise but still made me happy.

 On Sunday, the sisters made soup, and so did the Elders. The Elder's soup was super spicy and the sister's soup was actually good. All I have to say is that I had nothing to do with the elder's soup. I brought the juice :p

Also Sunday was Yerevan's 2,794th birthday :) That was pretty cool. They decked out Yerevan with flags and everything and closed off Republic Square for the big celebrations that were going on down there. So that was pretty neat. I wish it wasn't Sunday, and that I wasn't a missionary (not really, but at that moment it was tempting) so I could go down and see all the stuff that happened and get the free t-shirt, hat, and Armenian flag :p

There was a kid in our building who got stuck in the elevator, so we went and helped him to get out. We handed him our cell-phone while prying the doors open a little bit, which has a flashlight on it so he could see because the light had gone out. After about 15 minutes though, we were able to get him out. Fun :)

Well, lots of walking, but that's okay. It's really interesting when the people always insist on giving you some sort of food or drink, even if they've never met you before and probably won't meet you ever again. They just love giving away their stuff even if they don't have anything. We have a fridge full of peaches, all of which we got for free from people who refused to take money from us.

Well, that's my week. Sorry it's short. We had a lot of busy work to do this week. Well, I love you!!!

Elder Hammer 

Ararat, with the sunrise in the morning :D

Monday, October 8, 2012

They said what??? In Malatia again!

So yeah! Tons of cool news this week! Besides everything everyone already knows. :p  (Jared is referring to the Church's decision to lower the missionary age to 18 for boys and 19 for girls--used to be 19 for boys and 21 for girls.)

So on Monday, we got a call saying that Elder Gropp would spend the day with Elder Bott and I because Elder Poulsen would be in a meeting for a couple hours. A couple hours turned into 3 hours, which turned into 4, etc. until it was 9:30 at night. We went back to the Nork apartment and expected to stay there for the night. Later that night we got the call saying I would be going to Malatia for a few days  with the Elders there and Elder Bott and Gropp would be together for their last few days cleaning the Nork and Arabkir apartments, getting them ready to turn them back over to their landlords. This meant that Arabkir branch would have no Elders. :( I was then told that I would be training in Malatia (In the sister's apartment :D ) (Jared told us once that the sisters had a really nice apartment. Apparently they have been moved somewhere else.) and the district would include us and the other Malatia Elders. 

So now to my new Elder :) His name is Elder Christensen and he is from Utah (sort of. They moved to Texas right before he left) and he comes from a family of 9 kids, he being the youngest. Before he came on his mission he went to Snow College as a music major. He sings, plays piano, and cello I think? :) And that takes up most of his hobbies as well. 

Yeah, so that's him :) The rest of our district is Elder Wooly and Elder Connor. Way cool kids. I knew them before because they were in my district when I was district leader. Elder Wooly is from Utah and Elder Connor is from a base in Germany. His parents work for the Air Force. 

Well, this new training program isn't something too new. They used it with me and really all it is, is having us get to know Preach My Gospel a little better and having a more structured language program. 

I went to the hospital again today for a check up, and they gave me more pills,.....merrrrrr

Well Elder Christensen is super gung ho about missionary work. He is super open with people on the streets. Just says hello to everyone. It's kind of funny sometimes, because he'll enthusiastically greet someone and they'll kind of jump, look up at him (he's 6'3'' ), and then ask him some sort of question. At which point he looks at me to respond :p Sometimes I like pushing him in the water and making him respond. 

In case you don't remember, I started my mission in Malatia. This is my second time there, and it's amazing seeing everything, except from the perspective of some one who actually knows what's going on now :p I've found I get angrier at the teenagers now, now that I actually know what they're saying. 

Well that's about it :) I have more stories than that. But I can't tell you 'till I get home :p (This phrase is being used far too often by my boy!  I hope and pray all is well with him!)

Love you!

Elder Hammer.

(P.s. The apartment is super nice! I'll try to send you pictures) 
Jared only had 2 pictures and he didn't label them.  I'm assuming the first person is his new companion, Elder Christensen.  The second picture?   I'm not sure why it was included.  The label was...interesting.