Today is grandpa's birthday. He has been gone since September and we really missed him even though we are far away from home. We talked for a long time today about some of our favorite memories of him. It was kind of like spending some time with him. It is hard to believe that he won't be there to meet us at the airport when we get home. However, sometimes it almost feels like at times, he is here with us. It will be interesting when we get to the other side of the veil, to ask him about it or if we just had hope in our hearts that he was getting to share some it with us.
I had to close this email and go teaching as we got a phone call from the elders so it is now the next day. It has been a busy one as we had a cab pick us up to go to Vanadzor at 9:30 for district meeting. We had a surprise for the missionaries over there. We had made them a taste of home- Brother Griffiths homemade chili, salad (cukes, tomatoes and cabbage since there is no lettuce this time of year), cake from bakery, Armenian juice that you can buy that is wonderful and of course, 4 big loaves of flat bread bigger that a pizza. So it wouldn't spill, my sweetheart engineered a travel box due to the bumpy roads for the hour trip. He put the chili in bottles with very tight canning lids and then into a container that would seal. We were very pleased that there were no spills especially since when we got there, we had the assistants to feed also. 12 hungry missionaries and one cab driver were super excited for the meal and did not even leave one little bread crumb. We cleaned up as quickly as we could and hurried back over to Gyumri to our district meeting over here. We finally got home about 4:30. I just heard the water come on, I will be right back. I had some darks that needed to be washed and we were gone last night teaching during water turn.
The family we taught last night was combined with a Family Home Evening. The family consists of a mother, the father just died 6 months ago, a daughter and her two boys which are 10 and 8, a 18 month old little girl whose mother (a daughter) is a journalist working in Yerevan to support the family 7 days a week from 10 to 8 while they babysit her. The son just got married a month ago. That means that his bride moved into the house with the rest of them a month ago. It is a tradition that the bride brings with her bed and a closet with her clothes which is about 20 feet long and 10 feet high and has room for all their personal things for the years to come. They have applied for the official marriage license a month ago and now need to go back and pay for the official paper to show that they are really married by the government. It only cost about $10 for it but they usually don't worry about it and just live together. However, these are members of the church. He has been inactive but now because he married, he has introduced her to the church. She is taking the lessons along with one of the grandsons. She is very interested in the church and wants to join. She is going to church, reading the Book of Mormon and taking the lessons.
Let me tell you a little about her life now. She fell in love with this handsome young man and they decided to get married. She moves in with this family and will stay in this home the rest of her life because he is the only son so it will be his home when the mother dies. They will raise their family there. The mother will teach her how to care for her family with the garden and fruit to preserve for the winter. She will teach her how to cook and clean the way their family likes. She calls her mother-in-law, "mom" because that is her mom now. We had a lesson for Family Home Evening and then a beet, onion and carrot salad, hot homemade bread she is learning to make daily, fried scones, juice that she learned how to prepare along with the desserts we brought from the bakery. The company is always the honored guests and gets the best plates and eats first. Afterwards, My sweetheart played chess with the ten year old while grandma helped him and the other grandson played backgammon with an elder. I helped (against much protesting) clear the table and played with the little girl. I tried to help with the dishes but they wouldn't let me saying that that is now Gayonee's job. (the bride). The sister missionaries talk about it like the bride becomes a slave. But I think that it is their tradition that more that she is to learn and some day after she will be the mother-in-law keeping the family support system going. They are extremely dedicated to their families and the family unit. It is almost like an oath. The joy that they get when they are able to go to the temple as a family and be sealed is so over-whelming for them. Life just couldn't get better. Well, there goes the phone and I am on my way. I will hang up my wash when I return.
I love you and miss you, The Griffiths Armenian Seniors:)