Monday, September 24, 2012

Fist Fights


Well, this week we went to the old Erebuni fortress ruins, which are apparently super old. But that's just what they say :) Regardless, they still looked pretty old.

On Saturday, Elder Bott's group also went to Vernisage, which is the giant market tourist shuka thing. It's pretty huge and has a whole bunch of souvenirs, both hand made and factory made. It's pretty neat.

This week we celebrated Armenian Independence day. I think we might have been the only ones in Nork celebrating. I'm sure in Center they were doing something, but up here there was hardly anything. We put an Armenian flag on our apartment wall outside and we bought a cake  and ice-cream. :) It was pretty fun.

 A fight broke out in church yesterday :p I'm not quite sure how it started, but at the end of sacrament meeting, two of the men in our branch exchanged words...and then blows. Branch President took care of it though. :p It was an experience I'm just not really going to get back in America.

Well, finding people to serve isn't really a problem. It's just trying to get people interested in the gospel. The people that let us help are always thankful, but never really want anything else to do with our church. We did run into one lady that we helped carry her bags. She was completely shocked that we were here on our own money and just came to help people and spread Christianity. She said that we were the only true Christians that she had ever met. Then she asked to see our book, and she was like "Ohhhhhh. You're Mormonists." which turned her off a little, but she still invited us to come back some day. So I guess it's still okay. I just wish people would get past the title of the book and actually read it.

So that was my week. Not much but still fun. People still love yelling at us, but it's a normal thing :) Thankfully there are still people who love us to death.

Elder Hammer

Small  part of Jared's letter to Mom

So yeah, we're using the balloons a lot. We did one for our investigator and he flipped out! He was looking confused yet amused at the balloons we were twisting, and then I put the eyes in the body of the snake and he was like "ohhhhhhh!!! char odz e!" which means 'ohhhhhhhh It's an evil snake!' He said that it was awesome and put it on display :)

Erebuni fortress ruins from 700 b.c. (or so) (or so they say)

Balloon plane :D

Someone in my district made this for me during district meeting. I wish he were paying attention :p but, it's still pretty cool
Found another cat in our yard. So we played with it :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jared's Hospital Visit

This is Jared's mom.  We got a call from Jared's mission president last week letting us know that Jared had been taken to the hospital for some heart palpitations.  Carl even got to talk to Jared for a few minutes. (Yes!  I was jealous!)  Sorry we didn't let everyone know earlier.  We weren't sure he wanted people to know. But he's out now and here's his side of the story!


Well, this week was, well, very different :) And educational. What did I learn? That even Kaiser is better than the best hospital here :) (Editior's Note: Actually our family thinks Kaiser is very good!) Though I can't complain. They took very good care of me and the doctors and nurses are very friendly. I also learned a lot of new words in Armenian. Such as ultrasound, thyroid, examination, and beat (specific when describing a heart beat). So that's good :)

Well I'm assuming you all know about everything.  (Sorry!  Wasn't sure he wanted to tell everyone!  Heart palpitations ended up being a thyroid issue.) Probably more than I do. Elder Bott would come in to visit and be like, "So what's going on with your thyroid??" and I'd be like "I don't know! What's wrong with my thyroid??" The nurses told him more than they told me. I just sat there while they pushed me full of shots and weird medicines :p
It was an interesting experience. Not fun, but very interesting. By the third day, I was very happy for a shower right after they took the monitor off of me. Brushing my teeth was also nice :)
The first and second days they kept me in intensive care, where I saw a whole lot of....interesting things. I got to make really good friends with all the nurses though. I made friends with all the cleaning ladies too. They're super nice. Halfway through the second day they sent me up to something called the "palat" which means palace. It's essentially a hotel room with a medical stretcher bed instead of a real bed. Once I was moved up there, Elder Bott was allowed to stay with me. He slept on the couch that night. After we did studies and stuff, we got kinda bored (you can only do scripture study so long) so we started making up our own games with Uno cards.
But really, I'm just glad to be back and able to work. I never knew how much I took for granted being able to do simple things whenever I want, such as shower, shave, use the toilet...Whenever I had to use the restroom, they had to unplug me from the machine, and then unhook me from the IV, and then set it all back up when I finished. So I learned to hold it :p

Well anyways, on to better things :)

There's not much else I did this week. I gave my first District meeting. That was pretty cool. It seemed to go alright :)

Okay, well I'll have more to talk about next week. The hospital took most of this week :p 
Today we're going to an old ruin of some settlement in Erebuni that dates back super long ago :) The museum is closed on Mondays, like everything else in this country. Hence the Pday change :)

Love you all!
Elder Hammer
Part of Jared's letter to me:
I've been in Yerevan now for well over a year. This has kind of become my home. I love it a lot. People are super surprised that I'm still here :) But I really really like it! I love Yerevan. It's just so full of life and a ton of people. (Plus it is also nice that Nairi Hospital is here. The only American-safe hospital in the country :p ) (I included this part of the letter because I was happy to hear that there is a safe hospital there and that they aren't asking him whether he'd like clean or dirty needles!)
P.S.  Apparently, even though Jared didn't mention it, it looks like Jared got our most recent package.  We sent him balloons and a book about how to make balloon animals. We thought it might be a way he could talk to families and kids.  Who doesn't love a good balloon monkey?  
Elder Bott with his balloon sword attacking the snakes.

Monkey with a banana! :)
My 2nd attempt at a snake. Much better.
My butterfly
Me and the flower
Elder Bott and his snake
Me and the snakes :p
My flower balloon :)
Elder Bott's snake on the left, mine at the right
My first attempt at a snake...
Our 'pet' cat we found in our yard :) We fed it yershik (sausage thing) and milk :) It's our friend now.

We bought a ton of matchboxes and we found out they had Farsi Sudoku on the back :p

me :p random (Beautiful random picture!)
Geese :) at center
The burial process

The end result of the burial

Monday, September 10, 2012

Armenian Funeral

Hey there!

So I have had chances to play the piano, much. I was the pianist in Malatia, but organs don't exist in this country, so I haven't really had a chance.  I often get to play the piano though, because I play for district meetings and a lot of other meetings that our mission has. So it's good :)

Well, so news for this week. This Thursday, I was made District leader :) Right now it's actually the biggest district in the mission. Elder Bott is still my companion, but they wanted me to get experience in while he was still here so that I could get trained on being a district leader. So that's neat. I give my first district meeting tomorrow :)

Another interesting thing that happened this week. I got called to be part of a quintet to sing for a member's funeral. It was way down in Artashat, and actually happened to be one of the first, if not the first LDS funeral in Armenia. So we went and sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and then we all went down to the grave site.There, the deceased's son, Elder Minasyan of the 70s, dedicated the grave and then they placed the body in. What happened next was pretty interesting. The Armenian culture is for everyone who wants to put a handful of dirt in, and then everyone takes turns using the shovels. Once one person is tired, some one standing right behind them taps them on the shoulder, and then it's tradition to make sure the handle of the shovel touches the ground before the next person picks it up. So I got to take a turn with the shovel. It's apparently a sign of respect for the family of the deceased.
After that, we went to the family's house, where they had a huge dinner set up with chicken, beef, lavash, greens, and all sorts of stuff. Before you walk in, there are two family members who wash your hands (also tradition). Once we got in, there were about 50-60 people all seated at long tables. During the meal, whoever wants to can stand up and say a few words about the person who died. So it was a really neat cultural experience, and also a good missionary opportunity for the friends and family who weren't members of the church.

Well, enough about death. A little about service now. This week we had a few random opportunities for service. As we were heading home for the night, we passed this one lady who always sells books in the underpass. She was putting away her thousands of books and it looked like she was struggling. So we asked if she wanted help and she was like "no, no everything's fine" and we were like "are you sure, you look like you're having a hard time" and she said "no, no, really" so we said "okay, well we're going to help" and she said "thank you so much; I broke my back and it's hard to carry things" :p So we never believe anyone anymore when they say they don't need help.  We also had a chance to help someone fill up their car hand. That was a little difficult. 

Well that was my week :) I love you all!!!

Elder Hammer

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tsoghik Gets Baptized!

Elder Hatch, Elder Bott, Tsoghik, me :)

Who did I help this week? Well, we helped this one crazy guy :) He was dumpster diving for clothing, so I ran back home, got him two ties and Elder Bott grabbed him a Book of Mormon (which he wanted). We then helped him carry all his clothes back to his home. He kept on talking to himself and had a few other problems, but he seemed like a nice guy :)

So, about my companion Elder Bott. He's from Peoria, Arizona. He hasn't gone to college yet, but he plans on going to BYU Idaho and then transferring to Provo. He has only one brother, so our families are the same size. He's really good at art and the guitar, and plans on going into animation after college. His favorite Ice cream flavor is vanilla (bleagh. I just stir in cocoa powder), and likes anything from Asia. 

Anyways, so the big news for this week: I baptized Tsoghik! It was actually kind of funny. She had one last interview with President Carter yesterday (Sunday), and as we were finishing up President Carter said, "So normally baptisms are on Fridays or Saturdays, but it doesn't really matter. What day do you want to get baptized?" and Tsoghik responded, "Can it be today?" :p President Carter was kind of shocked but said "Oh...well...I suppose it could." So we had a Sunday baptism. :) I had the privilege of performing the ordinance myself :) She is such an amazing lady. She already has a great support system. Her mother and sister are already in the church, so everything will be great. Her sister is in our branch, so she can come to church with her. 

Well that was the exciting news :) 

We found a water cooler thing in our apartment this week. You know like those Arrowhead or Sparklettes ones that pour out either cold or hot water. So we hooked it up, cleaned it up, and filled it up. :) Now we can either have nice cold water after being outside, or I can have instant hot water to make Ramen. :) 

We walked by this one guy who was kind of crunched over this week, so we stopped and see if we could help him. We asked if he needed help and he got up, smiled, and told us to have some fruit that was by his car. He filled up a bag and gave it to us (that's not unusual around this country). But what was unusual, was that after that, he crunched back over and clutched his chest. We asked what was wrong and he said his chest was feeling tight and that it was painful. So we got his family to call medical and made sure he was going to be taken care of before we left.  Armenians....Even when they're having heart attacks, they make sure their guests feel loved.

We found a fox this week :) He was cute and fluffy.They're smaller than I imagined. 

Well anyways, that's my week.

Love you all!!!

Elder Hammer

Elder Gropp, Natalia (other elder's investigator), Elder Bott, Avetik (first counselor in branch), Elder Hatch, Tsoghik, Me, Gayane (Tsoghik's sister)
Elder Bott trying to force the water filter chambers off. We had to change the filters and clean them last Monday and they were a pain to take off.
Funny English on our washing bucket thing, translated from Arabic
Arman (Stix) 's cat, rolled up in a burrito :p