Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 14, 2012 - Sister Griffiths

I understand that most of you are experiencing an different kind of winter this year. You need not worry any longer. I have found your winter weather and it is in Armenia. We got 12 inches of snow this last week to add to what we already had. Everyone here is saying that this winter is colder and with more snow than normal year for them. I didn't dare tell them that it is because I brought it all with me from America. One absolutely wonderful thing about the snow is that now the roads and walk way paths are covered with packed down snow instead of ice. It is really a joy for all of us which seems silly I know. But here, it really is the little things that mean a lot when you are used to snow plowed roads and sidewalks. Here all the bumps are filled in with snow for smoother walking and riding.

We entertained our first visitor from Bountiful, Utah on Saturday night. He was Patriarch Rodgers, along with the Mission President Carter, his wife and their driver. You are probably wondering why President Carter didn't just drive. It was because they were on a 5 day trip in the worst snow storm that Armenia has seen for several years. They went to the country of Georgia and a mountain village at one of the highest points here along with their other cities. As they were coming down from this village, Sister Carter told the driver to feel free to slow down as needed. He told her to close her eyes tight and pray. Patriarch Rodgers comes 3 times a year for two weeks to give blessings to Russia and eastern Europe. It is very rare to be able to get the blessing since he can only give 3 or 4 at a time usually at each city since there are so many that want them and such limited time. He got his doctorate at Yale and eventually taught Russian at BYU for 30 years. The first time he got to use his Russian was as a mission president for 3 years after he retired. He said he was so excited to see all the things he had taught about and meet the Russian people.

After 5 days on the road in the worst storm of the season and eating out in restaurants, the hot homemade potato soup, bread, salad, juice and cakes tummies. Everything in Armenia runs late so we thought that would be a good thing that we could keep warm until they got here. It was delightful to talk to someone from Utah that spoke English without a translator.

In the middle of this last week, we went out to teach a family at one of the villages. It was snowing, windy and freezing so walking part of the way was inspiring after the cab dropped us off. When we got there, they had warm milk with a bowl of sugar for us to sweeten it with to drink. Now, I am not a big fan of warm milk but it was wonderful all the way down. The milk was the best I have tasted since I got here. It was really creamy like the kind I used to drink as a child. I am not sure since we were in the village if it was fresh from a cow since it didn't taste like the milk (either Russian or Armenian) we usually get from the store. After our lesson, the sister was sharing with us some of her struggles in life at this time. She really does have it hard with her sweetheart just dying a few months ago along with her family and their children. She wasn't really complaining but was trying to teach us a new way to pray. She said that she closes her prayers in the name of Joseph Smith or Thomas Monson because they are righteous men and they will help take her prayers to Heavenly Father better than she can. She even thought that because Brother Griffiths and I are longtime members of the church and on a mission that Heavenly Father would listen to our prayers and answer them over her prayers because she has only been in the church for 3 years. We had a hard time convincing her that we are all Heavenly Father's children and he loves us all the same. We tried to convince her a fervent prayer from the heart is all she needs to do and that he would hear that prayer just as much as anyone else’s. We taught her that he knows her and loves her and that is waiting for her prayers so he can bless her with the desires of her heart that are best for her. In the end, we were able to teach her that it is not different for Joseph Smith, Thomas Monson or her to pray. Just keep the commandments to have the spirit with you and keep praying to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. She seemed very relieved but a little disappointed that President Monson or Joseph Smith couldn't give her the inside edge on answering her prayers.

That night we had an appointment to teach back out by that village at 7:30. It was still very windy and cold but the work always goes on. My sweetheart was calling the elders to see where to meet on the mar/shoot/knee route so we could finish walking together when he dropped his phone. It fell completely apart and would not turn back on. We had no way to contact anyone and tell them our problem so my sweetheart emailed the President to tell him to have them call us. We didn't know that the President at that time was on the road so we just waited. We were thinking that if this was a night to drop the phone it was a good one because we didn't have to experience frost bite that night or the elders we were supposed to meet. Well, about 10:15 that night, our door bells starts to ring. It is the Zone Leaders who we were supposed to meet. They phoned into the President (who had finally got to his motel which didn't have the internet) each night when all the missionaries are safely in. Our other two sets of missionaries had been trying to get a hold of us also to set up appointments for the next day. We usually don't call in because we are seniors but since we didn't call them to set up a place to meet and no one could get a hold of us, they told the President. He asked them to bundle up, find a cab (which is hard at night) and go out to find us(the lost sheep). My sweetheart showed them the phone and they showed him how to hold down the red button to turn it on. "and a little child or elder shall lead them". We fed them cake for their efforts and we felt bad that they had had to get out in the cold. We put them in a cab and they called us when they got home. With this parable of the Lost Senior Couple Sheep, I will close with my love to each and a wish for a Happy Valentine’s Day which we don't have here so eat some extra candy for me.

Your Senior Armenian Couple:)

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