Monday, March 26, 2012

Faith Like a Violet

Parts of the letter to me:

So Violet's doing pretty good :) She's way excited about doing missionary work and she's including her daughter and nurse with everything the church does. Plus she loves us too. Every time I come to shake her hand on Sunday, instead of shaking my hand, she slips some kind of candy bar in it :p She's so funny.

She was actually going to go to the hospital, but she said before her baptism that she had faith that through the baptism, she could get healed. We thought it was kind of pushing it, but later that week her nurse said she could just do her treatments at home. And now she says she's getting better really quickly. Plus it looks like her heart problems are about gone. :) So I guess faith has no Boundaries.

Around Christmas time, we sent Jared a bunch of yarn and these looms called Knifty Knitters.  They let you knit hats without any actual knitting.  I had them at home and showed Jared how to use them before his mission.  We thought he might like to use it to make hats for himself, companions, and the people of Armenia.  ..Speaking of yarn though, there are places everywhere here for yarn, and it seems like Sister Carter knows them all :p There's actually one right off the Metro station we use to go home :)  I already gave away the 1st one to Sister Kholer because she gave me a tie and I had to make it up to her. It was a funny story actually, she was just walking through this one store and was looking at the ties and the store owner came up to her (kind of flirtatiously) and asked if she had anyone in mind for the tie, and she said she was just looking. The guy then told her to just take the one she was looking at, so she did :p She didn't need a tie, so she just gave it to me :) 

We made a picture book for Jared through the company Shutterfly that included a lot of family pictures as well as pictures of himself in band and scouts. ...The picture book is well used :) I carry it in my backpack everywhere. Everyone always looks at it and they love it :) The most asked question is what is the funny uniform I'm wearing (both for scouts and band :p )

Letter to Carl:


This week was good. :) Challenging as usual, but good.

As far as youth in Armenia, it's a bit lacking, at least in the branches I've served in. It seems like there are mostly elderly women that attend, which is a bit discouraging. In Malatia there were none. In Charentsavan, there were actually a few, I'd say about seven or eight, but then here in Center there's only about one or two active.

With conference, we watch it a week later than it takes place so that we can watch it with the rest of the Armenians. We actually have our own disk that we watch in English, usually somewhere else in the building, while the Armenians watch a dubbed version in Armenian.

Violet is doing just great :) She's found her place in the branch and she has quite a few friends she hangs around with. When we teach her now, we actually teach her from the New Member Lessons which is lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel. So hopefully we'll be doing those soon. Plus we also teach the first 4 all over again, now that she has the spirit to guide her in her learning.

On Sunday I had to translate for all three hours because Elder Fairclough was sick and had lost his voice, and Elder Peterson did it last week. (And Elder Rackham is still in his training). I was actually kind of nervous at first, but I didn't do as bad as I thought I was going to do. I never feel like I make progress in the language, but it's nice to have those little moments that let you look back and see where you've come from.

Some Iranians also came to church and we had a meeting with them afterwards. This was kind of difficult because I'm not used to dealing with people who don't accept Christ as our Savior. They brought up the point where Christ never says He is the Son of God directly in the Bible and I thought that was a bit odd. So in personal study today I did a project on that and found quite a few scriptures, in the Bible and in modern scripture where Christ reveals his true identity as the Son of God and our Savior. Plus scriptures where God himself says Jesus Christ is His Son. So they said if I could find a scripture where Christ directly says that, they'd join our church :) So I'm going to be bringing my notes next Sunday.

They did say though that the really respected our church though because out of all the denominations, our church comes closest to Islam, which is actually somewhat true. We believe in a high standard of modesty, we both believe in not smoking or drinking, and we both believe in the Abrahamic covenant. It just makes me realize that all of us in the world really aren't as different as we think :)

Then you get people who try to tell us Christ actually didn't die in Israel but actually moved to Greece and then Japan and died of a ripe old age there after having three sons. He's seen the grave himself....


Quote of the week:
Me: "We bring news about Christ"
Guy: "Way good. What is it"
Me: "Well it's called the Book of Mormon"
Guy: "Wait, aren't Mormons dangerous"
Elder Peterson: "Do I look dangerous"
Guy: "Wait, you're Mormons??"
Us: "....."
Guy: "I thought Mormons danced around naked and did tribal dances"
Us: "....."

Our sink overflowed this week. So we took it apart to see what was wrong, and it turns out everything was wrong. Years and years of grime, food, rice, and peas were clogged up in the drains, so we spent one of our meal hours cleaning all that up, but thankfully we came out victorious, not a penny poorer, and feeling just that much manlier for fixing something ourselves :p

Love you all!

Elder Hammer

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shopping in Armenia--Pictures

Here are some pictures Jared sent us this morning.  He sent them kind of late so I could not upload them earlier.  There aren't any pictures of him but they do show where he shops and how cold it is still!
This is where we go shopping. It is THE biggest store in Armenia. We are so lucky :))
Garegin Nzhdeh square, right by where we live
Garegin Nzhdeh :)
Electric bus

(Referring to the last 2 pictures)  Menus at a restaurant. They don't have most of the food that they post, but it's up there anyways. They have all the stuff on the first picture except the last thing (pizza?) and only the first thing on the second. In order, Kebab (pork), Kebab (beef), Shaurma, pizza (don't have), [2nd picture] Lahmajo, and the other three they don't have :p

Everythings coming up...Violets!


So first the big news for this week. We had a Ukranian come over for two nights this week from Monday to Wednesday. Our Ukranian was actually from Denmark. His name was Elder Klestrup from Copenhagen. It was an interesting experience.

On the flip side, VIOLET WAS BAPTIZED!! So this is the story: Her nurse called on Tuesday and said that she had been admitted to the hospital because of an unexpected heart problem (she had actually been rushed in an ambulance). She was released on Wednesday to take medicine at home. She told us she still had to go in to the hospital for that 10 day treatment though. So on Thursday we went on exchanges with the Zone leaders and District leader. So I went down to Erebuni. On Friday night I get a call from Elder Peterson saying "I hope you're free at 1:30 tomorrow, because you have to BAPTIZE VIOLET!" Apparently she said her 10 days were going to start this upcoming week so she had time to get baptized and confirmed in church.

So I get to the baptism and we perform the ordinance which was way neat for me :) First time ever in my life. I get out of the water and step into the bathroom and realize, because I was on exchanges, I hadn't planned for any spare...clothes :p So I was in the bathroom putting my legs underneath the automatic hand dryer for quite a bit of time. Then on Sunday, Violet said she wanted me to confirm her as well, so I did :) It was quite a neat experience for me. It's was just kind of weird changing her name on our phone from " I Violet " to " M Violet " (I is for investigator. M for member :) ) It seems like it's been such a long journey, I can't believe it all happened that quickly.

Anyways, Violet's nurse came to her baptism and actually came to church to see her get confirmed as well. She turned to me just after the sacrament and said "I also want to get baptized" :) So that was way cool.
Violet's daughter though said she also wants to get baptized :D So it was just a crazy time for us.

So despite a rough beginning of the week, it turned out alright :)

Anyways, I love you!!!

Elder Hammer

Us and Elder Klestrup
A shaurma :) yummmmmm
Our apartment front porch

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pizza Pizza!

Letter to Dad


So first off big news for this week. Today we are receiving an Elder from the Ukraine mission :) After a year they have to renew their visas and while they do that they have to stay in a new country, so we're hosting one of them for three days :) That should be fun.

So as far as pizza goes. It is actually 300 times better here. I'm not quite sure exactly what they do, but they have this one place called Tashir and it makes amazing pizza. The crust is pretty thick and they mix mayonnaise into the tomato sauce. The cheese here is about as awful as the milk (pretty awful) but for some reason when they put it on pizzas it actually tastes pretty good. They have quite a few weird toppings but they do also have some really good ones. They have this one three meat pizza that I really enjoy, and they have a couple other interesting ones.  Plus they also sell crusts at even the smallest grocery stores here, so we often make our own too :)

So as far as the email rule goes, it was just instruction President Carter got from the Area Presidency. President Carter included it in Zone Conference. He made an analogy about a table with shaky legs. He said if these legs are shaky and you have something fragile you want to put somewhere, are you going to put it on this table? No, so what do we do to fix it? We don't have to absolutely destroy the table, we just have to tighten the legs a little bit. So with the mission, Heavenly Father is giving us people to teach, but he won't put it on shaky foundations, so he wants us to tighten up the rules a bit so we have a solid foundation for them.
....I'm still getting used to it, but it will be fine I guess. Snail mail still takes quite a bit to get to and from here, so that won't be to fun.  For instance, I still haven't gotten the packages, but they should be coming soon :)

As far as health though, I'm doing fine :) Just about over my sickness.

So Elder Peterson is from Clinton Utah. (His brother was actually interviewed for his eagle badge by Uncle Neil :) ) He hasn't gone to college yet but he's thinking about going to Weber State. Some day he's thinking about maybe being a professional baker (of cakes and treats and stuff). But yeah, I don't know a whole lot about his family but he has four brothers and two sisters. Both of his sisters are married and one of his brothers in law actually works for Marvel Comics as an illustrator. He actually worked for a few years in Santa Monica :) But yeah, as far as sports goes, I think he played soccer while he was in school :) So yeah, that's my companion.

I'll try to do better on pictures. It's a little difficult because I don't have too much time to take pictures and we're not supposed to while we're proselyting, but I'll see what I can do :) I actually had a few for this week but the computer doesn't accept pictures. We might find one in a bit that does, so stay posted :)  (He did send pictures!)

Funny you should mention rock throwing youth :p We were actually walking by a few when they started throwing rocks at us, so we took off and tried getting away. One of the youth ran after us and caught up with us and starting talking, pretending to be interesting. Then he took Elder Peterson's tag and walked off, saying "thanks for the gift" I was a little bit more frustrated than I should have been, so I said "hey, don't take that. You're stealing" He then said "No I'm not, you gave it as a gift" and I said "No we didn't, that is a lie. And now you've broken two of the commandments" (oops.) He walked off and we decided to just let it go, but one of his friends got mad at him and brought the tag back for us. I kinda felt bad afterwards, so I decided to take more control of myself after that :p

And for service we actually went and chopped wood for our member Samvel again. It was funny, Elder Peterson was having a bit of difficulty with one of the logs so Samvel tried coaching him. He said "Strike the axe on the wood. Don't place the axe on the wood, strike it! Pretend it's a Lamanite!" :p We love Samvel and his clever remarks.

Anyways, that was my week :) Love you all!

Elder Hammer

Ps. As far as packages go, the mission just wants us to send them though normal mail because if we don't we have to do some customs thing. Just for any future references :)

Two quick notes from my letter:

...Soooooo Violet. It was a rough week. She'll called us and told us she'd be going into the hospital today. She passed her interview and was going to be baptized tomorrow, but....yeah. So we'll see how that turns out. She'll be in for 10 days, so we're not quite sure when she'll be coming out. :/

...So is it warming up? Well we thought it was. Then we walked out the door this morning and saw a blizzard. So we walked back in, put more layers on, then went out to do internet. :p

Jared included these pictures.  He said some were from a branch activity. I personally like the first picture...and the lumberjack picture..and the orange tie picture.  Okay, I like most pictures with Jared in them!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Email Change

Hi!  I've added a small page to Jared's blog.  On the right side of the home page, you'll see "Jared's Companions".  It is a link to a page that lists all the companions that Jared has had since he started and includes pictures.  Here's Jared!


Before I start in, I have a little announcement. President announced at Zone Conference this week that the policy is changing now so that I can only email family and him, so others have to write by snail mail or Dear Elder :/

Anyways, so it looks like things are starting to melt over here. We were sitting doing studies when we hear this huge crash. We look out the window and all the ice from the ceiling, about 50 pound of it, fell off and crashed to the floor. :p We were also able to chip the iceberg off of out front steps :)

My cold has pretty much gone away, but something really weird happened though. On Wednesday or so, we were about to go outside when I feel a drip in my nose, so I sniffed and thought that was the end, but it kept on coming back, so I wiped and found a whole bunch of blood on my hand. Naturally I freaked out, because I had never had a nose bleed before :p I run to the bathroom and about half a cup of blood comes out before it finally stops. It was really weird for me but I guess it's normal in the outside world. Guess it was just the dry winter air and the fact that I had a cold.

As we were walking to Violet's this week, I heard a strangely familiar sound. As we rounded the corner, lo and behold there was an Armenian marching band right in front of the play house. :D I was pretty excited to be around my type, but we were running late, so we couldn't stop. They weren't quite the best quality :p but it was nice to hear something I haven't heard in almost a year now :)

Speaking of Violet though, we couldn't get much done that meeting because she kept on making fun of my accent to our member present every time I spoke... :p great....

And on the ride back, I was reminded that the metro is still an Armenian metro. Right after we got on, the lights went off in the metro, and the driver naturally can't see the cab behind him, so we were stuck in darkness the whole ride. It was a little awkward, seeing as a herd of teenage girls were giggling right next to us.

On Sunday, the lot fell on me to translate for the Seniors during Sacrament meeting. A lot of it was easy stuff like "I know this church is true" and "I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet" but then some would go in telling their life story about something or other and using all these technical words. So that was less than fun. :p

Anyways, Violet is doing great and should be getting her interview tomorrow :) Next Tuesday we're hoping for a baptism :)))

So, I love you all :))) See you next week!

Elder Hammer