Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another month in Armenia

HELLO everyone!  We haven't posted in a while - for a very good reason!  We have been very busy doing missionary work.  We are called first, to be missionaries.  Yes, we still work in the Mission Office all day but at night we teach and testify, love and assist in missionary work!  We love it.  

But, today I have some time to again share some more of what we do here and what we are experiencing.

We want to introduce you to some of the Armenian food:

 This is Armenian Stroganoff which is made with hamburger and a type of cream sauce put on top of french fries.  They also put a lot of fresh greens spices on everything.  Is it good?  We haven't tried it yet.

This is what they call gada.  It is layers of dough that has nuts is also sweet.  It is good.

The is the milk we buy.  It is around a quart and around $3.00.  It tastes a lot like canned milk.

 This is what they call Dolma.  It is usually made with meat, rice and some vegetables wrapped in grape leaves and boiled.  The grape leaves tend to have a bitter taste.  On top they put matsum which is equivalent to sour yogurt.
 This is Dolma too.  The difference is they wrap it in cabbage leaves.  We prefer the cabbage leaves.  The lady below made these for us.  They actually were pretty good!

We ate at a restaurant the other day and we tried to tell the waiter that I wanted the salad dressing off to the side.  Sign language (or charade language) doesn't always cut it but he said he understood.  We waited to see if he really did.  Anyone who says they can speak some English, really doesn't know enough.  I wanted the dressing off to the side because they put so much on that you might as well drink your salad!  Well, when he came with the salad, there it was - with all the dressing on it!  He set it down and left.  I just started to pick off some of the dressing with the spoon he gave me to eat it with!  I got about 3 tablespoons worth and when he walked by the table and saw what I was doing, he realized that I didn't get what I had asked for.  He picked up my salad and came back a few minutes later with a salad and no dressing.  I just gave up.  It was pretty dry.  All of their salads have cubed chicken pieces in it.
We have a lot of incidences that take place like that because we can't communicate.  We are learning some of the language, but without training like the missionaries get, we are way behind. 

We want you to meet some of the people that are very special to us:

This is Alicia.  She is an Armenian lady that made the Dolma for us.  We had her at our house for Family Home Evening and a short discussion about the Plan of Salvation.  The lesson for FHE was on families.  We showed pictures of our family and we even got Nick and Corina on Skype to talk to her. We had one of our kids and his family sing "I Am a Child of God" on video from the computer.   We talked about the importance of family and how much we loved our families and how we wanted to be together with our families in the Celestial Kingdom and how Heavenly Father's plan has provided a way for that to happen.  We talked to her about the fact that we lived with our Heavenly Father as spirit children before we came to earth to experience how to choose right over wrong and the importance of keeping the commandments so that we can live in His presence someday.  And, of course following His plan would bring happiness to us, now and forever.  We taught along side the sister missionaries. One of them, Sister Tolman is on the right.  We really enjoy sharing our testimonies and helping others learn how they can find out for themselves the truth of what is being taught.  Isn't it wonderful that we can know for ourselves and be given a sure testimony by our faith and desire and then praying to receive an answer from God for our own personal witness?  

She was thrilled that I wanted to try on her coat!  She said, if you like, I will help you shop for one for yourself.  I thought - that would take up my whole suitcase and I don't think I could wear that in America.  It's fur.

Everywhere you see these long fur Russian coats.  They are beautiful and warm.

  This is another lady we had in our home and helped teach.  She is from Egypt originally but is Armenian.  She is such a cute little thing.  She has trouble remembering things and so the sister missionaries got this wonderful idea of having her write down after they teach her a principle of the gospel, in her notebook what she learned and what she is feeling.  They then review that with her the next time they meet.  It is really helping her.  She is able to understand a whole lot more and retain it.  I know the Holy Ghost is helping her and blessing her with the ability to learn the truths of the gospel.  You can really feel the Spirit in the meetings we have with her.  She has no family here.  She has some brothers who live elsewhere.

This is Meruzhan and his wife Alvina.  They are such a special little couple that we have really learned to love.  She is crippled but gets around quite well.  I am guessing it is because of polio, which is common among the people here from when they were little.  He started listening to the missionaries and was so touched.  He started reading the Book of Mormon and really treasures it.  He knows that it is true.  He is a regular to church on Sunday's and just recently his wife has started to learn with him and in fact she is reading past where he is at, mainly because he works and she is home and has more time.  After he started learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and started living the Word of Wisdom, he was blessed with a job!  That is very rare to be able to find work around here.  A hugh percentage are unemployed (around 70%)!  He really felt it was a blessing from the Lord.  We do too.  

They have a daughter, son-in-law and grandson living with them in a very tiny apartment, which has no running water or bathroom.  It is very humbling to see how some people live and yet are uncomplaining and find it a way of life sufficient for their needs.  The job he just got is going to be a great help to them, even though they make very little.  Alvina said her first prayer at the end of a meeting we had last week.  I told her if she prayed, I would pray in her language the next time.  I did.  I am sure it sounded like a child's prayer, but from my willing heart and lots of practice I was able to do it and I am glad.  It helps me to help them understand that I care and want to learn more so we can communicate better.

This is a picture of Meruzhan and Alvina and the missionaries that are teaching them, Elder Gerber (always takes a great picture) and Elder Steglich.  Sister Eyre always takes a great picture too, especially when she is trying not to blink at the flash (something she is very good at!)

This is Brother Rogers who came from America to give Patriarchal blessings to the people of Armenia.  They have to be able to speak Russian, which many of them do.  If you remember, this country was under Russian rule up until around 20 years ago.  Much of the Russian influence is still felt here.  There were under communist rule but decided they wanted to be independent and Russia pulled out, leaving many buildings and factories half built.  They still stand today all over the country.  
Patriarch Rogers speaks Russian and taught Russian and Russian history at BYU for about 31 years.  He served a mission in Germany but also served as Mission President in Russia St Petersburg Mission back in 1993-96.  And, small world that it is, he knows my cousin Bona (his wife and her were roommates in college)!

This is Silva who is the District President's wife.  I am only 5'4" and yet I feel like a giant over here!  Her and I both helped Brother Rogers (her with the translation, phone calls, recommends etc. and me with the logistics etc.)  It was a great experience.

 Part of Brother Roger's assignment while here was to go to Georgia (which is in our mission) to give blessings there. The two Assistant's to the President went with them to help translate and download the blessing recordings to dropbox and send to Moscow for translation.  Whenever they get to Georgia, they always have to take a picture of eating at McDonald's to rub it in Elder Eyre's face!!    The Elder in the back is from Othello!!!! Elder Gerber.  Note the expression on his face! On the right is Elder Steglich. Just rub it in Elder!  They are so funny.  We love them!!  You have no idea how good that looks to us!!  And, I don't even care for McDonald's food!

 This is a marketplace (even in the dead of winter), called Vernesag where you can buy souvenirs.  It is just right out on the street and it was cold this day!  The picture directly below is more of the same.

 This is our Humanitarian Directors who are from St. George and are just leaving to go home.  They are finished with their 18 months and sure hate to leave.  They have done a tremendous amount of good work here in the villages outside of Yerevan.  They have been instrumental in bringing water into the villages so that people didn't have to go so far to bring home a bucket or two.  You need to understand that the water was brought down the center of town through pipes and to a central station that is similar to what you see below:
 The inscription on the fountain gives tribute to the Church for their much needed help to hundreds of people in the village.

This a Mayor (and some of his staff) of a village that is very appreciative of the Church for their efforts to help his village.
Here is a picture of the new Directors - the Stone's  At their left is the translator Suzie.  We went with them to visit one of the villages.  Along the way we stopped to visit a pipe factory where they obtain piping for the water work to be done in the villages. This is a reception we got (which is typical of Armenian's) from the owner of the factory.  Lots of pastry and fruit and candy.

Below is part of the foyer of this man's office.  You can see Elder Eyre about to be devoured by this eagle!
We next visited this village where they are trying to get water to the people by again putting water through the main street.  This picture shows the main street.

Leaving the village we noticed this hugh stork nest.  Awesome!

We have been getting lots of snow here lately.  In fact more than most Armenian's ever remember.  I love the snow and so I have enjoyed seeing the beauty that it brings.  It covers the dark and dirty.

This is the entrance to where we live.  We go through that little opening and climb four flights of stairs.
Keep going Elder Eyre.  Just a few more steps!!!!  UP!
Home, sweet home.

Before we leave our blog, let us say that we love the experiences we are having and the country of Armenia and the people here!  We know we are on the errand of the Lord and we know that this is His Church, His gospel and we love serving in this way. 

Lastly, out of our very own balcony, we saw clearly Mt Ararat!!!!

And in a beautiful sunrise.  See little Sis to the left.

We love you all.  We miss you.  WE LOVE SERVING HERE!
Elder and Sister Eyre

1 comment:

  1. I really look forward to your posts, they are fun to read, I feel like I am there with you. I can really feel the spirit through reading your experiences with these people. Keep up the good work we love you