Tuesday, June 14, 2011

week 17

Barev Barev,

This week was crazy and busy but so good! Where to begin? I guess at the beginning. As you know I went up to Vanadzor on Monday. Sister Burnham and I have a great time up there. I understood SO much more than I usually do and I think it can be attributed to God's help, and the fact that speak more slowly up there. I wish that was the case here. So I feel pretty good about the work we did up there. We managed to make a few good contacts and we actually picked up a new investigator in our last meeting. So it was a cool experience and it taught me to trust in the Lord more and depend more on Him instead of on Sister Deaver haha. Usually I just let her deal with things when I am confused or tired or frustrated, but in Vanadzor I was kinda the person that was looked to... so I looked to God and it all worked out. Our lessons were not amazing. That I will openly admit to, and we had help from members and the senior couple for much of it, but it was still a good experience. The members there are so amazing! I love them already. The Branch President said that he received revelation that I will be serving there, so I guess I will be going back haha.
We came back to Yerevan on Wednesday evening. The drive down in the marshutni was really interesting. There was a guy that spoke perfect english on there, so we ended up talking to him about the gospel for the majority of the trip down, as well as some other people on there. It was really weird teaching the gospel in emglish actually. I jjust have a set way that I normally say things in Armenian, and they are comfortable for me to say in Armenian, so it was different doing it in english. It was really cool though having an intelligent discussion with a very intelligent person.
By the time we met back up with out mothers I was exhausted. Like as soon as I saw Sister Deaver I was felt like collapsing, but up till that point I had felt fine haha. I loved my splits, it was fun and I learned a lot and was pushed a lot, but I am so grateful to be back at home in my area and with my companion. Plus, the weather is just so much nicer here! It's already spring here and the trees are green and blooming, whereas it snowed a ton while I was in Vanadzor. It had all melted by 2 the next day, but still. I prefer green trees. It is super beautiful in Vanadzor though. I hope I will get to serve there in the summer or something. I don't want to be here in the hottest area for that.
Up until Saturday we were kept busy helping a girl, *Z*, prepare for her mission. She will be serving on Temple Square and needed help getting everything in order and getting her clothes and everything. So we had to go shopping. I hate shopping. But it wasn't too bad. We have to do it again this week though. But I am excited for her. Missions are so awesome. So if anyone is going to temple square relatively soon look for some Armenian sisters! There's *Z*, and then there's another one there named Sister Hart or Heart or something (her real last name is harootsyoonyan, but who wants to say that? slash who CAN say that? haha I mean other than Armenians and those of us that know Armenian... kinda).
Saturday!!! Saturday was so awesome. Mariam's baptism was amazing. Her husband came, which was awesome, but we're still not too sure how interested he is. When we asked what he thought about it he said it was just normal. IT WAS NOT NORMAL, haha. I think he just doesn't know how to recognize the spirit yet haha. Sister Deaver and I talked a little bit about Mariam for the baptismal service, which was terrifying, but one of my favourite children in the country, Benyamin (like Benjamin without the j) came and held my hand when I was nervous. He's about 2. It was so cute. I will send you a pic of him.
Sister Deaver and I watched Mariam's baptism from the side so we got to be facing her. She was nervous going in, but the Spirit was so strong. I got a little emotional... I just can't help it, I get it from Dad! When she came up out of the water she kept her eyes closed for a few seconds, just soaking it all up. It was SO GOOD! And then we got to get wet kisses on the cheek from her. I have been to a few baptisms since being here, but there is just something so different about having your own baptism. You are so much more invested in the person, and value their decision so much more. Mariam is SUCH and amazing woman and she really understood what she was doing. She is going to be such an awesome member of the church here! After her baptism her girls were supposed to sing I am a Child of God (we taught them... its so cute and so off key), but they got too nervous. Mariam bore her testimony at the baptismal service. She is so solid! Overall, it was just awesome. I got a better glimps at what I am doing here and the value of my work here. I did so little to help her prepare, but I did what was needed of me. And thats all we really can do. Its just a matter of finding the people who are ready and pointing the way. It's easy really, but so rewarding.
After Mariam's baptism there was another service for 4 women, who were the sister, mother and neices of our investigator *J*. She came for their baptisms and got to see her family enter the waters. Julietta still has some way to go, but she is definitely on the right path and we're excited for her baptism which should be in a few weeks.
Yesterday Mariam was confirmed and then was asked to bear her testimony again. She is seriously just so solid! I know I have said that a lot, but we are just so excited about her. And for her kids. They are going to get to be raised in the gospel. Her older daughter *A* is almost 8 so we're hoping to start teaching her soon. She and I are basically best friends. I will try to send pics of her too. (ps Irena I am not sure that I am allowed to put pics on the blog so you prob shouldn't if there are more than just missionaries in them). All the missionaries were also asked to bear their testimonies... so I got to speak in front of a huge group of people AGAIN. Its really just inevitable... I should really stop getting so nervous. No body booed at me or anything, so it couldn't have been too bad.
Overall it has been a crazy but amazing week. I feel so blessed to be here and so be involved in such amazing work and to be making friends with such amazing people. It took me a long time to finally feel at peace with my decision to serve a mission, but now that I am here I can't imagine not being here. Sometimes you have to just make a choice and then you find out after the trial of your faith that it was the right thing to do.
I love you all and I love this gospel!

Sister Smith

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