After my last letter to you, I have to report of another death here in Armenia. This was a good kind and yet very sad at the same time. Here in the mission field, when a missionary goes home, they say he died. His companion says that he is killing the missionary because he will be his last companion before he goes home. I told the missionaries that my son, Ken, killed some of his companions when he was a new missionary out in the field. They all had great empathy for Ken and said how hard that would be. As a new missionary, you are still dealing with trying to learn the language, how teach, how to get around, how to get to know the members and investigator's names and tell them from each other, new food, doing your own laundry in a bucket, new money system and homesickness. The missionary that is going home starts to get "trunky" and talking about home. As a new missionary that just left home recently and is adjusting to his new completely different life, going home sounds pretty good. I could understand how hard it would be as they explained it to me. I, also, have a greater empathy for Ken now since they explained it to me.
We always have a get together before the missionary leaves with the missionaries in their area. It is called a funeral. I was on line looking for a recipe for apple pie when Susan skyped me. She was at her in-laws home at their regular Sunday Night get together. It was Monday morning my time. The whole family was sitting around on couches visiting. I told them I was looking for an apple pie recipe on line because I had funeral that day and needed to make it before I went. Then I remember that Jason's sister, Stephanie, knew Elder Davis and told her that he was going to die. The whole family panicked thinking that Elder Davis had died. They were very relieved when I told them what that meant and we all had a good laugh. I made the apple pie in a large skillet about the side of an extra-large pizza. I needed enough to feed everyone. It turned out "tasty" (the Armenian's who speak English use this word to describe food that is good) It looked like a pie that the pioneers would have made in the metal skillet.
When we went over to Vanadzor to go to the party, all the elders were in jeans, shirts and sweatshirts. They looked like college kids. It was the first time my sweetheart and I had been out of the apartment in anything except missionary clothes. We all looked like we were going on a picnic which we were. It is much warmer in Vanadzor than in Gyumri and all their snow is gone except on the mountains. The difference in Armenia is that if you want to go as a group out of town, you rent a mar/shoot/knee for $35. The driver put on some Armenian music and everyone was dancing in their seats and singing at the top of their lungs. There is only seatbelt in the mar/shoot/knees or cabs and is used by the driver. The missionaries all know the words to the Armenian music because you hear it everywhere. The driver took us about 40 minutes out of town to a village in the mountains to visit a museum of a famous poet. The poet's temple work for his family has been done by one of the sister's that was with us as he is part of her husband's family tree. Her husband was from the little village but in 20 years he had never taken his wife to see it. People here just don't travel like we do in the USA as they just can't afford it. He would have come with us except he had to work.