Monday, December 17, 2012

Transferring.....Again and Leadership Opportunities

Me and Serge, our 1st counselor


It is hard sometimes to turn the other cheek, because you just want to teach the person doing the wrong thing a lesson. Somehow let him know he's being an idiot. But in the end, we can't really do that. Only one Person can teach in that way. It's definitely something I'm working on out here, but I think I'm getting better. Like yesterday for example, there was a 14 year old kid that veered out of his way to come and elbow me right in the chest. Although comments to throw at him came to my mind, there always seems to be something holding my tongue back nowadays :p Instead, I just continued to walk forward.

Well, in terms of Skype, It will probably be this Christmas evening for you around 7-9 pm :) I'm excited to see you all!

So big transfer call on Sunday. I will be moving over to the other Vanadzor area and I will be companions with Elder Harrington. Along with that, I will be Zone Leader, split with Elder Hall who will be training in Vanadzor. I will also be group leader for the Alaverdi group up there. That means I go up there every month or so and conduct a sacrament meeting for that area :) So fun stuff! 

I had to head down to Yerevan on Saturday for a check up at the hospital and I'm going back for the results today, but it looks like everything should be alright. It's kind of fun to watch the snow slowly melt as we headed South.

One of our investigators is doing really well. He's been an investigator for a while now, but he's making some really great progress. His main obstacle has been the word of wisdom, but slowly we're weaning him off cigarettes. It seems to be doing pretty well. He has amazing faith and he loves us a ton. His sister is going to be moving to LA for job opportunities, so that should be pretty cool. 
He also has a crazy kitty that runs all over me, especially because I'm wearing my thick winter jacket which is perfect for claws to snag on to. :p

It is super cold now, all at once. We had our first sticking snow this week :D So I've had a ton of fun sliding around everywhere. :)

Well, that's all for this week. Sorry it's rushed again. We have to bounce down to Yerevan.

Love you all!

Elder Hammer
Birds were on our porch :)
Me destroying wood :)))
Vanadzor from on high
First sticking snow of the season
Me and Pisik, our investigators cat :) I love that little fur ball

Vanadzor is known for its chemical factories

Beautiful view on the road to Yerevan from here (had a check up at the hospital on Saturday) 
Elder Hall made this for me

This is our landlord's work

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Transfer to Vanadzor

Our district Elder Peterson, Elder Anderson (new), Sister Broadbent, Sister Beal, Elder Hall, and me :)

I'm way busy so I won't have time to read the email this week. I'm really sorry. I have to cut internet to about half an hour or so. I'm going to print it out and read it at home. Sorry if there's anything you wanted a response to. I promise to respond to it next week!

Well, big news for the week, I'm in Vanadzor now! It's the third largest city in Armenia besides Gyumri and Yerevan and has a very nice branch. It was branch conference this week so there was a pretty neat amount of people who showed up. We had around 120 show up for sacrament meeting including guests, so it was way neat. Quite a change from the 20 we had in Malatia the week before. 

Besides that, there's not much else to tell. Elder Hall is my new companion. On Friday, we drove up through the highlands where there was a snow storm, and then landed in the valley where Vanadzor is located. It's a nice little city of about 50,000 people (I think) and it's known for it's old Soviet Chemical factories. :) They looked really cool.
But yeah, the city isn't as well developed. The mornings when we do have water, the showers are cold :) I still haven't figured out the trick with our cruddy little water heater. But I can't complain. I have a nice warm bed and enough room for my stuff. I think I need to drop a little stuff here in Vanadzor though.  Do you think it would be okay if I dropped those sheets that I brought with me here? Or will we need them when I return? They are a little heavy and take up some space. What do you think?

Well, I hope you like the pictures this week. They should tell pretty much the rest of it.

I love you all! 

Elder Hammer
Parts of Jared's letter to me:

No snow yet. Surprising, because I'm up in the freezing north now. It's cold enough for the puddles to freeze over now, but there hasn't been any snow yet. I got transferred up to Vanadzor from Malatia on Friday and now I'm with Elder Hall. I had a chance to serve around him when I was in Nork, and he's a pretty neat guy. He's from Kansas and comes from a family of six brothers.
Well, there's not much other news, except there's a slight chance my come home date might be moved back to May 29th or so because of the fact that the groups in the MTC are only there for 9 weeks now instead of 12. It's not for sure yet, but we'll see. 
Me haulin' logs
The wood we cut
Cross on the hill on the way up to Vanadzor
Vanadzor church
Ducks :)
Chapel in Spitak, a little city just out of Vanadzor
Our investigator's cat. The cat is super tiny and super cute
Cut wood this morning. This is the result of our work :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Half Plate of This, a Bit of That


So, the metric system isn't coming as hard as I thought it would. It turns out AP Chemistry had a deeper scar than I thought it did. Well, at least now I get to reap the benefits.

 I don't have to deal with them in the kitchen too much though. There are literally no measuring devices here at all, so all of it comes from the United States sent by missionary parents. If you ever ask an Armenian for a recipe, they'll just say "oh half a plate of this, a plate of that, just a bit of this" not very helpful. The ovens are in Celsius, but thankfully Chemistry helped with that as well. Plus I got a ton of my recipes from other missionaries, so they had it already written in Celsius.

 You know, it turns out that I don't mind raw onions as much as I thought I did (raw, mind you). They put them in Sharmas all the time and I think they add a nice sting to them. As long as it's not overdone, it's a pretty yummy addition.

Well, Armenian food is pretty complicated, so I haven't learned too much. I can make Borsh though, which is a really good beet/potato/beef stew thing. I can also make an Armenian staple which is fried cauliflower. It's basically just boiled cauliflower dipped in eggs and salt, then fried up. It's better than it sounds :p

Well, my week was pretty mixed up. We had an opportunity to go up to Hrazdan this week on Friday and Saturday on exchanges. It's a city that the missionaries haven't been in for too long, so it's really exciting to go and see everything there. The only downfall is that it is super cold there, second only to Gyumri.

 One funny tradition they have there though, is that in wedding processions to and from the church, the lead car straps a dead animal skin to the front (in most cases a fox or something). It was quite a shock seeing it the first time.

We got to do some service for our investigators this week, which was pretty nice. We helped them dig their garden area so that they could plant some garlic for the winter season.

We got a Christmas tree on Monday, along with some Christmas lights :) Now our home is all decked out for the season.

Well that's all, I love you all!

Elder Hammer
Our Christmas tree.

Us gathered at Hrazdan with the Charentsavan Elders and the APs