Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks in Armenia


Well, Thanksgiving is coming up again. It's always nice to celebrate Thanksgiving on a mission, because you tend to be more sensitive to things that matter most in your life. Like, God and his wondrous bounty he's granted us, His Son Jesus Christ and the Atonement he completed for us, for a loving family who keeps you going despite what others outside say to (or yell at) you. For an amazing sister that is turning out to be a very accomplished young lady, a mother who's love is only surpassed by Heavenly Father's, and a father who's guidance and strength has blessed me more than I've properly given thanks for. Those are just the things at the top of the list, after which would include things like a loving mission president, food [ :) ] , the opportunity to learn and grow out here, health, etc.

 This year, we're lucky to have actual turkey for Thanksgiving dinner :D We're in charge of the potatoes. Don't mess up! :p We'll also be bringing the Jello. Not actual jello brand, but a little known secret that Russian brand jello exists in this country. You should have seen Sister Stone's face when I mentioned jello exists in this country. I think I'll have to bring the package for her :p

So the weather is getting quite cold. I'm still waiting for it to snow though. I love the snow so much. I've only ever experienced two seasons of it. California sun is very nice, but I do like playing around in this curious white fluff they call snow. Soon though. The temperature is dropping quickly.

So the branch here is doing alright. The attendance is up about 15 people from the last time I was here. We get about 30 people coming every week, which is pretty good. We have to do a lot more less-active work though. Only about 5-10 % of the members actually come every week.

It was a sad week for our branch though. One of our long-time members and a close friend of mine personally passed away this week. Ashot, was the Elder's Quorum teacher and very active in helping us out with our missionary work. We went by his house on Saturday to deliver him a plate of cake as a thanks for the work he does, and his wife opened the door and told us he had passed away the previous night of a sudden heart attack. It was a really hard blow to me personally, and to the rest of the branch I'm sure. He was loved by many and there were quite a few people from the church country-wide that showed up for his burial. We couldn't go because he was being buried in another part of Yerevan out of our area, but we played the piano while people gathered at the church to head over to the grave yard. It was quite interesting though to see that though everyone was sad, they did know that it wasn't the end, and there was a special spirit there comforting everyone.

Well, sorry to end on such a sad note. Maybe I'll end by saying we had a lot of good service opportunities this week. Lots of old ladies carrying more than their weight in bags and people's cars breaking down. It's fun :) and fulfilling, to help those in need.

Elder Hammer

Brief part of Jared's letter to me:  Hey fun fact. This next Sunday, I'll have been on a mission a year and six months. Isn't that crazy? :) That's a long time. I guess that means Brody :D and Christian are about ready to start heading home. I'm sure they did great on their missions. 

All the next family pictures come from the Elders in Jared's district, including Abraham at the end.
Elder Christensen's family
Elder Woolley's family

Abraham's family


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