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 now....at 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.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Talent Show


I kept on missing the 'H' key and hitting the 'J' key just now....So Jello!

Well, this week was busy and full of ups and downs and other things you'll hear when I get home :p

We had Zone Conference this week which is always a good spiritual booster but at the same time always a large chastisement. But that's good. It keeps us doing or best. It just takes a soft heart and an open mind.

We had a pretty cool activity this week. We decided to set up a talent show for the branch which ended up being a huge success. We got a ton of people to show up. The first part was the actual talent show. It was nice to see a complete different side of the branch. We had good piano players and all sorts of talents. We found out that one of or members actually happens to be a professional piano player and had just had a concert before the talent show.
After the show they did a demonstration of all the sewing works and all the paintings and other stuff. That was neat. And then we all had food to end off the night.
The activity was super cool because everyone who came to the activity, including less-actives and investigators, all came to church the very next day :) Way cool!

Well, the only downside was that I was sick that whole day and the next, so I couldn't eat any of the delicious food people had prepared to impress. Oh well.

Conversation on the street this week:
Kid (9 years old?) : What are you?
Me: A person :p
Kid: What kind of person?
Me: A good one :)

He was a cool kid, just interested in what we were doing here. He asked a ton of questions about America and stuff.

Had my second nose bleed ever in my life this week. It was really weird, but at least I wasn't freaked out about what was happening this time like last time. Both times have been in Armenia.

Sorry this is so short, I have to do something else on internet this week for the church. Some survey or something.

Anyways, well, I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Hammer
Small section from note to Mom:
The balloons are awesome! We had a talent show on Saturday, which went super well, and Elder Bott had a little station where he made balloon animals. The branch thought it was AMAZING! They don't really have balloon animals in this country, so it was a new thing to them. But everyone loves it :)
Creations by the branch

This little guy popped up between Elder Bott and I as we were sitting on a bench. He then crawled up into my lap, snuggled into my armpit a little (without any prompting on my end) and then began to suck on my shirt. Then, after I took the picture, he played with the wrist band on the camera, bounced down, and left :p It was really cute, but I washed my hands really good after that and took a shower.

One activity was to be blind folded and try to guess who a person was just by feeling their face.
One activity at the talent show: who could wrap a person with toilet paper the fastest :p I guess that's a talent too.