Friday, December 9, 2011

December 4, 2011 - Sister Griffiths

For us it is 4:00 in the afternoon. We have just finished eating our Sunday dinner. Church ends at 2 but we usually don't get home until about 3 or after so far. We go early to set up and visit with the members and try to learn their names. The only English one that I have found so far is Rosa. I few names are like Melseeda, Carmelay, Ona, Newnay and Awnna. I have shared with you, I have shared with you a million times, that I am not really visual but I am really trying to be more diligent in that area. I know with the Lord's help I can get to know all their names and tell them apart. I know that I have got to hug all the sisters and gotten kisses on the cheek from a lot of them. That is the Armenian way that you all feel like family in a situation like a church family. You shake the men's hands (never with gloves on because that is an insult). Church is all in Armenian so for right now we are just listening and trying to sing in Armenian to learn the language. The only problem I have found is when I ask them what is their name in Armenian, they tell me then proceed to talk to me in Armenian thinking that I know how to speak the language. I have to quickly tell them that I only speaking a little Armenian and Smile.

I have shared with you a little what it is like living here to share our mission with you. I would now like to tell you a little about what it is like being a missionary here. I don't know if I told you about meeting in President Sergays home. He is the branch president and about 35 years old. He has a wife, Ona and little Art Tarsh who is 18 months old. They live with his parents. The Armenian way is that when you get married, you live with his parents so that the dad can teach his son how to be a husband and the mom can teach the wife how to be a wife and mother. They usually live there for about 5 years. The other son is married and they live with the family, also. His wife is expecting a baby in March. President Sergay has younger sisters who are teens. In the summer, they have a garden and put up food for the winter. They also buy fruit and veggies from the market to put up. If you think that our grandchildren are the apple of everyone's eye, you should see it here. We taught the family the lesson and then they served us lemon tea (fresh lemon or lime) or cherry jelly (they had made that had made) that you put in hot water.

Homemade flat bread that they make fresh every day except Sunday with butter and pumpkin jam that they made. Fresh fruit sliced and wrapped candy for dessert. This was all nicely served on a table cloth. We were all in a room about the size of the blue room. It is cool in most homes but they warm it up to welcome you. The two teenagers were near the heater the whole time. It was a really pleasant experience and the spirit was really strong as we taught as we helped teach our first lesson. The missionaries translate for us. Dad bore a wonderful testimony in Armenian and President told the missionaries that they could learn from him.

Monday we had two teaching appointments. The first one with a member named Newnay. She has two daughters and a son. They are all older and one of the daughters is married. She served a mission to the Ukraine. Her is in the army and her daughter lives with her. She invited over to be taught her Aunt who is from Russia. We taught the Plan of Salvation. She was interested to know where she lived before her birth and where she was going to go after she lived her life. Dad and I taught part of the lesson. She had a parakeet bird that talked a lot during the lesson that sound like the tv down on low. Every once in a while he would say what sounded like, "Here Kitty, Kitty” which seemed really funny to me since they don’t have a cat. After the lesson, the table cloth came out with cookies, candy and juice.

Next, we walked about 5 blocks in the dark and cold to another investigator’s home. When we get there, there is a lot of contention. The man they have been teaching is called Soss. He is a twin. He is about 50 years old. His wife was killed in the earthquake in 88 here. He has not done well with here loss and was drinking to comfort himself. When the missionaries started teaching him, he gave up drinking and started to turn his life around. He lives with his parents and extended family also. His whole family was thrilled. However his son came for a visit from the military and his twin brother came to live with the family as well recently. He had a social drink with his son and that night had a fight with his twin brother. It looked like it had been a physical and verbal fight. His parents were quite upset. We went with Soos to his bedroom to talk and during that time his twin came in to talk and his dad. Dad mentioned that sometimes we all have devils we have to wrestle with and his brother and dad agreed. When the contention between the two brothers got heated. The thought came to my mind about when I would have you kids say something nice about the other sib. I ask them what they loved about the other brother individually and I was surprised at the calmness that came into the room. When we left, things had calmed down a bit and I was so proud of how these two young elders handle the situation.

Dad just came to tell me it is time to go back out to our two appointment tonight. I will write you more later if we get home in time.