Sunday, July 22, 2012

We want to share with you more of what we are doing here on our mission.  May I reiterate that we are here as office couple for the Mission and so most of what we do is work in the office every day.  But our most favorite thing is to teach with the missionaries.  We love to share our testimonies of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and witness the change that takes place as someone hears Heavenly Father's eternal plan for them and all of his children on earth.  We see the wonderment in their eyes as they learn and they experience inner peace that they have never known before.  They feel a happiness and a contentment that brings peace to their souls.  Their hearts change and that is the greatest thing to watch.

One man we have seen embrace the gospel has gone through so much change.  He loves the Book of Mormon and the Bible and understands more fully the Eternal plan from the beginning to what will happen after this life.  His son was killed recently and though it has been extremely painful and difficult for him and his wife, he knows where he is and knows what he has to do to be with him again as a family.  He has found the fountain of "living waters" and just can't seem to get enough of the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means for him personally and for his family!  He is so excited about learning and we love him and his family so much!  It has been fun to watch him use the Priesthood that he has been given, to pass and bless the sacrament.  He just beams!

Recently we were asked to be a part of a Young Single Adult conference held in a mountain resort.  We were asked to be "parents" of about 5 Young Single Adults from various cities in Armenia.  It was an interesting experience we will share more of when we get home.  But, we got to experience the cultural differences that are in this country compared to home.  One being meeting times.  Here they might have a workshop as late as 9:30 to 10:30 pm.   They stay up later in this country than we would do at home!  Armenians like to stay up late and get up late.  Little kiddies too.

Here are some pictures of the Young Single Adults and leaders from the conference:

 Here are three special Young Women whom we love and enjoy being around.  The one in the middle, Ani just put in her mission papers and is waiting a call.  She is so excited.  The one on the left is a mini missionary that helps the full time missionaries.  She is a great help to them.  The girl on the right Anna is so very sweet and special.  She is a returned missionary!  She is a sister to one of the Armenian's that works in our office as Visa Clerk.

 This is a picture of the first counselor in the District Presidency and his wife and the District President and his wife.  We have one District in this whole country.

Each family was suppose to put on some sort of talent at the talent show.  Here is the skit put on by all of the Senior couples.  We are pretending to be riding on a public transportation van that they have everywhere here, which is crowded and well let's say, interesting.  Sometimes you have to stand up because there is no room to sit down.  Here Elder Eyre and I are just getting on this pretend one.  As we "proceeded" down the road, jostling and holding on for dear life, Elder Eyre made a sound of a siren and over here they also have a loud speaker from the police cars that say something in a muffled tone that we don't understand.  So, Elder Eyre did just that and our "van" came to a halt and we jumped out and ran!  Oh well, the kids liked it!

Here are two of our "daughters" singing a song as part of the talent show.  We really enjoyed these darling Young Single adults!  We had fun with them and for the most part it was a great time and something we shall never forget.

Now that it is summer, we wanted to show you a look from our kitchen window at our back yard.  When the fireworks go up, we get a show.  We can see the kids playing below and sometimes they get up on the garage roofs you can see down the middle, and they jump from one building to another.  These garages are not just for cars.

Just below us in one of these garages is the food market packaging shop for all of the vegetables and fruits of a little marketplace that is right below and to the left of us:

You can see our cleaning rags hanging on "our" line - in this picture.  We are four flights up.

 This is a picture of the lady (Christine) who cleans our apartment.  She is with her husband, mother and four daughters.  She is so very sweet and we love her dearly.  This is at her 8 year daughter's baptismal service.

 These two pictures below show a lady across the street from the Mission Office, who came out with a bag of wool.  She spread it out, beating it with a stick and picking sticks and weeds out of it.  It took her a very long time.  We guess that she will next wash it and use it to make whatever...  We asked her if we could take a picture and she was very happy to let us, but wanted a copy of it.  We took a picture, printed out a copy for her and took it to her.  She was thrilled!.  She was so cute!

 This is right in front of the Mission Office - you can see our steps.  This is our Armenian mission driver who likes to golf and will find any place possible to practice, even on this little strip of green, which incidentally is the only green grass for blocks!  Notice the unique sprinkling system made with pvc pipe with holes drilled in it and painted green.  Hey! it works!  The grass is green!

 This is one of the tables from the Vernasage open air market place where there is everything for sale.  this happens to be a table with a lot of the monastery and church replica's which are made out of Mahogany obsidian.  There is tons of obsidian all over this country.  You can see hillsides covered with it.  We see it in the sidewalks, driveways, etc.  Everywhere.  It is as common to them as gravel is to us in America.  We would love to bring a bunch home but with the weight limits......

 Here is Joan looking over some of the tables...

We want to share with you one tradition in Armenia that is very unique.  Our Armenian Visa Clerk has a little daughter that just had her first tooth come in.  Why is that unique you ask?  Well, here it is a big thing!  We were invited to a barbecue to help celebrate.  We thought that sounded very cute.  Little did we know when we showed up that it was a pretty big shindig!  There were aunts, uncles, grandma's, friends etc. to help celebrate.  There was a feast similar to the table spreads we have for Thanksgiving at home.

 This is Grigor, who is our Visa Clerk flipping hamburgers on his new grill.  They don't have grills like this over here, but Grigor received this from an American working for the Embassy here who just left to go back to America.

He was so thrilled and had to try out some "American" food - like hamburgers.  There buns are different and the meat tastes different but it was very close!

 This is the table spread just before they put on the different "meats".  You can see the fancy plate of fruit (pineapple to look like a fish, apples, cherries pineapple and mulberries), there were cheese's, even caviar, cheese and ham on little squares of bread, tart type cups with seafood salad mixture in it, chips, tomatoes, pickles etc.  They had the hamburgers and what they call horovots (which is barbecued pork chunks on a stick).

Here is the little girl with the "first tooth" being held by Grandma!

 Here are most of the guests (family).  They put the child on the floor and mom is getting ready to put something on her head.  See below
They put this netting on her head so they can next pour candy and colored popcorn all over her.  You can barely see mom's hand with candy being sprinkled on her.  You can see some of the candy on the floor.  The reason?  They said this is to make her a sweet girl!!  We believe the netting is so she can't grab the candy and put it in her mouth!

 Next they bring before her a choice of which flag she will pick, which will tell what she is to become when she grows up.

 This is a close up and it is styrofoam covered with colored paper and a few sticks with names of occupations like lawyer, nurse, doctor, engineer, translator, dentist etc.  She picked....drum roll....translator!

Proud mom and dad!
 So, can you guess how unique this cake is for the occasion?  Right!  A giant tooth!  So cute!
That's right folks!  We are indoors and this IS the candles they have here for birthday or other cakes!  It is an interesting candle to blow out!!!  Elder Eyre says, can you imagine having 67 of those on one cake for his next birthday!!!

Lastly, they put cake on her face to show how she is involved in eating (something she could care less about!) - just for the pictures.  Kind of like we do for the first birthday when we let our babies dig into the chocolate cake and get it all over their face - just for the picture!!

 We will close this time with a picture of one of our Zone Conferences.  This is one of four zones, however most of the senior couples are in this one.  We have a fantastic group of missionaries here in this mission.  We love them, we support them, and we are happy to serve with them.

Elder and Sister Eyre

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