Friday, April 1, 2011

week 13

Well, it has been an interesting week. It started off really good. We were excited for the week and the work ahead of us. We started planning last week a movie night for our branch to invite friends and family to and we were really pumped for that because we felt like it would be effective at getting people more involved in missionary work. We also spent some good quality time with members (one of whom made us the BEST dolma I have ever had and probably ever will have in my life). So, the week was going well, and we had one new investigator and then it all just came to an abrupt pause. On Wednesday night we had to go stay with 2 other sisters in Arabkir (Northern Yerevan) because there were going to be “demonstrations” close to our area the next day and so they just wanted to make extra sure we wouldn’t be around for those. So we had a “slumber party” (or as close to a slumber party as you can get on a mission) and the next day we had planning so we stayed in for hours to do that. In the afternoon/evening we went on splits and I went with Sister Cornwell and we visited a less-active lady and read the Book of Mormon with her for a bit and then we went to a sick member’s house and the Assistants came too to give her a blessing. She has the cutest grandkids – so I enjoyed the evening. It was weird being with someone else too.  I guess it wasn’t really that different, but just being in a different area threw me off a little. We thought we would be able to go home that night, but then we were advised to stay one more night there and go home after studies the next day. It was fun and all, but I was so happy to go home after. Back to Little America. And back to Shengavit. I appreciate my area more now and I am glad that I am in with the members and know where we’re going and where we are – more or less. So anyway, because we were gone from our area we didn’t get the chance to get meetings in with our investigators and potential investigators, and we didn’t get to visit the members as we had planned to really talk it up and get people there. We worked hard Friday and Saturday, but still didn’t get a ton of meetings in because we just have soooo far to travel to get to our meetings, and then Saturday night we had our movie night and 5 people came. Boo urns. And 2 of them were our branch presidency – but at least we know they support us I guess.  So that was pretty unfortunate and a bit of a let-down, but we are just gonna keep on trucking and keep working at getting members involved!

So, all was fine and well Saturday evening. Sister Deaver said she felt a little nauseous before we went to bed, but I didn’t really think too much of it because she often feels nauseous from her mono (ps did I tell you she had mono? She is pretty well recovered by now, but just gets tired and needs to sleep more and sometimes feels a little nauseous). Anyway, I should’ve been more concerned because we had eaten some sharmas (like the shwarmas we have in Calgary, but smaller and less-packed with stuff, but still really delicious) from a street vendor really quickly that evening. Anyway, I woke up at almost 3 and Sister Deaver was out of her bed and the bathroom light was on, so I knew something was wrong. She had been up really sick since around 12 and I hadn’t heard a thing. I sleep so deeply, it is ridiculous. Anyway, she was not doing well, so we called the Carters and President Carter came about an hour later with the Zone Leaders to give her a blessing. That helped, but she was still sick the rest of the night, and all day yesterday. She wasn’t as sick, but just really weak and tired with some residual problems haha. Poor girl! I felt so bad for her and wished I could do more to help her. She was still joking around about it all though – she was talking to president and said “She’s the new one, she’s the one that’s supposed to be sick, not me!” My bad. I didn’t know. And I don’t think it was from the food either cause we ate the same thing and I have felt fine. Hopefully I won’t catch whatever she had. It did not look like fun.

So, we got CRAZY news from President when he came over. Our branch, the Shengavit branch, and Yerevan branch are being merged! INSANE! We knew something was up because President had called a couple of times asking about priesthood in our branch, but we just thought that our branch presidency was going to change or something. But nope, in two weeks our branches our merging, which means that there we be 6 of us missionaries in the same branch. Yuck. We liked having it to ourselves. And the branch boundaries are huge! The whole southern half of Yerevan and some of the villages. I was talking to Sister Carter about it yesterday and she said that merging the branches is one of the steps to creating a ward eventually, so it’s really exciting. It makes sense too, we will have a much larger branch now, so that will help with missionary work and support within the branch and I just think it’s going to be great. Crazy, but great. Also, transfers are in two weeks, so maybe there won’t be 6 of us in there anymore…? Who knows? No one can ever really predict what will happen. President Carter said himself that he usually doesn’t really know either, until it’s time to find out. So that’s my exciting news of the week. Yesterday we stayed home all day and I did everything I could think of to keep from dying of boredom while Sister Deaver tried to get some much needed rest. I ended up reading and marking scriptures for a long time, and then I watched some church movies about Joseph Smith, and then these super old movies with biographies of the presidents of the church. They are really really cheesy, but pretty good. I didn’t really know anything about anyone other than Joseph Smith, Gordon B Hinckley and Thomas S Monson (and the only reason I know much about the last two is because we have two really good movies about them). So that was yesterday. Oh, I also had to make my first phone calls in Armenian to cancel our meetings. I didn’t really understand what they said, but I got my point across so it’s all good.

I’m in Alma in the book of Mormon right now, and I have been reading about Ammon and his brethren and their missions among the Lamanites. I was reading chapters 17-20 and on and it was so cool really being able to relate it to myself. Armenians are not as “wild and ferocious” as the Lamanites I don’t think, but there are definitely differences between how I am used to living and how they live. Ammon does such a great job of explaining the gospel (from the creation of the world and from Adam to the atonement of Christ) in a way that Lamoni would understand and relate to, and Lamoni was ready to learn and so the Spirit taught him powerfully. I hope I can become that good one day! And one day soon so that I can be a more effective tool in God’s hand. It’s just a matter of finding the people who are ready and then relying on the Spirit while teaching. Especially when I am still struggling understanding what is going on and expressing myself. I am talking more and more in lessons though. This week I gave my first baptismal invitation – she said yes, but then wouldn’t commit to coming to church every week… so that failed a little bit, but we gave her the opportunity to act, which is our job. That’s all we can do really. That’s all the Lord does too. He gives us commandments and then allows us to govern ourselves. We have the tools and ability to choose what’s right, and then it’s up to us to do with that what we want. If we choose what is right, we are blessed. If not, then we’re not. In fact, our knowledge and testimonies work against us if we choose what is wrong. That is why it is so vital to follow through with impressions from the Spirit – if you don’t then you lose the Spirit.   Look at me; I went off on another tangent again. I just can’t help myself sometimes.
Alright, it’s time to publicly call people out again for not writing to me.  Chelsea, Vicki, Aleks (I still haven’t heard from you once!) and Alex. It is time. Show me the love. It’s not hard. Just send me a quick little note. Vicki and Chelsea, I don’t even have your emails yet so I CAN’T write you, otherwise I would have already.

I love you all a ton. Keep being great. Keep being diligent and hard-working and charitable and all those other wonderful attributes that you possess.

Sister Smith

PS I forgot one other story. We were at home for our lunch break on Friday and someone knocked on our door – which is weird and scary every time. Anyway, we answered it and it was this man that Sister Deaver knew that used to own a falafel place near our house. He knew where we lived because a senior couple had lived there before us and he knew them. He basically just asked us if he could get baptized… so the Lord answers prayers. Sometimes He just sends contacts to you. Haha. We were supposed to meet with him yesterday, but couldn’t, so we hopefully will sometime this week

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