Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hi everyone.  We would like to share some pictures of a place that we visited, called Jermuk (jer-mook).   It is a hydropathic and climatic resort in Armenia.  Jermuk was very famous during the Soviet Era when thousands of tourists each year visited Armenia for the purpose of recovering from a number of illnesses with the curing thermal waters of Jermuk. Jermuk is 175 km away from Yerevan. There are more than 500 thermal springs in Jermuk. After the collapse of the Soviet regime the resorts and hotels in Jermuk were left in a terrible state, but presently they are in reconstruction. Jermuk is known today as a spa town. During the winter season, people come here to ski. They have a nice hotel nearby the beautiful falls - which you will see here. 

We are approaching the Jermuk falls

Sitting up on the rock is President Carter, Ruben (mission driver), Elder Griffiths, and Elder Eyre:

Sister Griffiths and Sister Eyre had to take their turn!
Getting down wasn't as easy as getting up there!

Here is a picture of the whole group that went on this trip.  President & Sister Carter, Sister and Elder Griffiths, Elder and Sister Eyre.

We really enjoyed the cool feeling from the falls on such a hot day!

President Carter and Elder Eyre.

All down this row of pots are spigots pouring thermal spring water into a huge earthen jar.  Each successive one being hotter than the one before.  Above the spigot it will tell you the temperature.  The water is meant to drink for your heath.  It is meant for curing whatever ills you may have!

This one says it is 35 degrees centigrade.  That is about 95 degrees.

Here is Sister Eyre and Sister Carter testing the temperature before drinking it!  This says it is 53 degrees centigrade, which is about 127 degrees Fahrenheit.  

President Carter and Elder Eyre trying the 53 degree centigrade "healing" water in a mug that is specifically designed for this use.  There are some people who spend much time here and you can see here a gentleman that spent time watching us.

A toast to good health!

The town itself is small and in the middle is a pond - as you can see in this picture.  Up on the distant hill is a ski lift.

The next few pictures are of the garden around one side of the pond.  There are many monumental busts of famous partisans.  These are carved out of large boulders.  We enjoyed seeing them all but only show you a few here:

Our Mission driver, who is Armenian - comparing noses!

This was a gravesite on the property and shows just how much work they do to honor their dead. Most all families have private lots like this one.

On down the road as we left Jermuk, we came across this farm.  Can you tell what kind of farm it is?
Here is a hint (as you look at the statue in front of it).
If you guessed a chicken farm (egg ranch), you are right!

There are many things interesting about Armenia.  They have some wonderful traditions and celebrations.  They have some symbols that are important to them and are fun to learn about.  One is the pomegranate.  

Here is a wooden one on a stand.  You see a picture of a pomegranate on many many things throughout Armenia.
Here are a few facts you might find interesting: In Armenian mythology the pomegranate symbolizes fertility and abundance. The fruit is the Armenian symbol of life and tradition tells us that each mature pomegranate has 365 seeds, one for each day of the year. But, the exact number of seeds in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to about 1400 seeds.
Illustrated Armenian manuscripts dating as far back as the 6th and 7th centuries depict many figures of fruits, including pomegranates, as representations of the blood of Christ.
As a symbol of life, this fruit has many legitimate health benefits. Pomegranate juice, which contains vitamin C, folic acid, and antioxidants, is recommended for many illnesses. 
Although Armenia’s main fruit is the apricot, many villages east and north of Yerevan grow and export pomegranates to countries such as Iran and Georgia, and throughout the Middle East. Armenians also use pomegranates in many of their recipes, in dishes I wouldn't think of on my own without the suggestions that are made by how they use them!
We are in a land traditionally thought of as having been settled by Noah.  Armenia in those days was much broader and comprised most of the area south of the Black Sea.  There is much history here in the Middle East that is so fun to learn about.  In spite of the challenges we see all around us, we find the people here so very loving and innovative and resourceful and great examples for the rest of the world in so many ways.
We appreciate all of you who support us through your thoughts and prayers, emails and Skype calls!  These little trips we share with you, afford us an opportunity to see this country of Armenia and it's richness in history.  Even though our trips are few and short, we enjoy learning the culture and this country's history.
We are going to be busy in the office this week because we have missionaries arriving from the MTC and at the same time we are sending home 6 missionaries who have completed their two years here.  We have some of the best missionaries in the world!  The language is not easy to learn and yet they are diligent and committed to learning and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Armenian people.
We love you.
Elder and Sister Eyre, Grandpa and Grandma, Mom and Dad, Larry and Joan.  (I think that about covers it!)

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