Monday, April 30, 2012



About the candy here, it's hit and miss. The cheap stuff that everyone buys to be hospitable to guests is fine I guess, but the really good stuff comes from Russia. They have a couple really good brands that I've grown attached to. For the most part though, the stuff by the check-out line is all from America. They have Kit-Kats, Snickers, and Skittles, etc. It'll be a good day for Elder Hammer though when they start bringing Butterfingers over here. :)

You know, Turkey has been on the mind of everyone here this past week. This past Tuesday was the Genocide Memorial Day and we got a bit of rough comments this week. People take out their anger on anyone who tries to "change" their religion, not just the Turkish Muslims, and they don't understand that we're not changing anything, we're just adding to the knowledge they already have. 

We had some drunk guys cornered us last night and they really ripped into us. We got out before things got out of hand though. Sometimes it's hard to love the people that do that, but then you remember what these people have gone through and it becomes easier. 

Anyways, this week was pretty fun. We went to a couple places on Monday. We went to somewhere called Garni which is an ancient Pagen temple and then we also went to Geghart, which is an old Armenian church dug into a cave in the mountain. It was way cool to wander around the random tunnels and go into secret rooms with crosses etched into the wall and all sorts of cool stuff like that. It's even cooler to think that this chapel still functions as an active church for the Armenian Apostolic Church. 

This week was a week of ups and downs. We have one investigator who is the daughter of one of our members. She accepted everything this week and said she was ready to be baptized and then at the very end of the week, she told us she was moving back to her home town for at least a month if not more, :/ so we had to let her go.
We were teaching this one lady who was the aunt of one of our members and she was way amazing. She had a son pass away a year ago and she had seen in a dream basically everything that we had to teach in the plan of salvation. She saw her son standing with a glorified body dressed in white and he told her, "Mom, this body doesn't hurt. There's no pain anymore." She also saw that there was something after the Resurrection. She prayed one night to know if this Church was true and she had a dream of all of us missionaries standing in front of her all in rows leading up to heaven. It really was quite interesting working with her. We would teach her something and she'd stop us and be like, "Yes, I know, I saw this all in a dream not to long ago." We had to go quickly one night. In order for her to make her baptismal date she would have to have stopped any Word of Wisdom problems the very next day. So we told her to stop drinking coffee that day and we'd explain more later (We had found out that was the only problem she had). When we came over the next time she told us how she had stopped coffee all together, even though her relative said she could stop bit by bit if it was easier. She told her "No, if the missionaries said don't do it, then I'm stopping now." She had to get over some pretty serious headaches, but after that she quit her coffee habit. Just this last Saturday, we figured out she's from Ashtarak and has to move back there, so that was really sad for us, but still good to know that she can still get baptized up there.
The family I talked about last week is doing amazing as usual. But we found out they had a problem that is pretty common to Armenians. They don't have something called a zacks, which is a legal documentation of marriage. Most of the time, people only do a religious ceremony because the documentation costs money. Their family would have to first get a passport, which they can't get because they don't have an exact home (they're basically homeless), and then get the zacks, which in total would be about $150-$180, not including the price of a home or apartment. That money they really don't have. So we'll still work with them and invite them to church, but we're not allowed to baptize them until they get legal marriage documentation. So it was a pretty rough week.

We have one investigator who has worked with the missionaries a lot and we were over one day just talking. We had heard he worked as the valet for a strip club, so it wouldn't be a problem if he was only a driver, but as we were talking he told us exactly what he worked as. The verb ' varel ' means both to conduct and to drive and to manage. So he told the other elders he was a ' varogh ' Which they took to mean a driver, when in fact he said to us he was the ' varogh ' of the ' aghchikner ' , or, the manager of the 'girls'. So we're helping him get new work :p
But anyways, his little 4 year old son was there and we were all drinking some tea thing (herbal, of course) and every time the kid (Rrubo) would take a sip, he would say (loudly) "Sambareko!", which means absolutely nothing. It's just a word he made up :p So whenever we come over, I always greet him with an enthusiastic "Sambareko!!" :p

Saw an ambulance get in an accident this week. Everyone was alright, but it was still kind of weird seeing it. 

Rain, rain, go away....
My clothes are starting to turn orange :p

Anyways, I love you all :)

Elder Hammer
I asked Jared if there what were some weird foods that he has eaten on his mission.  Her is a quick part from his letter back to me:
So weird foods? Well the food isn't too weird, but some of the stuff they drink. I think I've mentioned Matsoon which is the danish equivalent for Umer. But they also drink this one drink that's mayonnaise which is boiled, and then they put a raw egg in it and load it with salt, and then top it off with diced vegetables, and let it sit for a while to ferment a little. I hate it. Thankfully I've had it only once :p  For the most part, the food is just amazing. I really like the food here. I'll have to make some of it when I get back.
We're counting on it!  
I wish I could explain what all the pictures are about but Jared did not include any explanations this week.  I'm assuming they are from his trip to Garni, the ancient pagan temple, and Geghart, the old Armenian church dug into a cave in the mountain.  I may not know what everything is, but I certainly recognize our favorite missionary!


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