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

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