Sunday, September 2, 2012

We Seniors took a day trip to Armenia's tallest mountain - Mount Aragats.  The trip was the event as we were able to see the countryside and some interesting things along the way.  Like this castle that was built in the 7th century.  It is a stone age settlement which was a fortress that protected Armenian rulers used as a summer residence.  It was captured and destroyed by the Mongols in 1236 A.D.  It was made of blocks of's tower walls were inclined to make it easier to fire on attackers below.  Life wasn't easy living in a medieval castle and we will tell you more about it when we get home.


For the purpose of perspective, if you look real hard you can see Sister Eyre (below) in the turquoise shirt, it will help you see how high these walls are.
Elder Eyre on top trying not to look down!!!

Here is looking down at the parking lot from atop of the castle by the flagstaff.  Just to give a perspective of the scary heights.
Looking through the door way from the castle at the monastery.

This monastery was built in 1026 A.D.  for one of Armenia's great commanders.  

We saw this crude sundial just below the Monastery.  I suspect it was more for the seasons than the time of day.  Perhaps cattle herdsmen and shepherds use it during this time of year to determine when to move the cattle from the high country to lower elevation.

We saw these nomadic camps all along the road up the mountain

Rocks and more rocks, everywhere you look!

This was the highest nomadic camp and it was very large with several herds of cattle and sheep.

This is at the top, at the end of our climb (by car) and shows the backside of Mount Aragats with this small lake in the foreground.  Not much to see from this angle, but when down at the lowest point from the villages below, it looks commanding, especially from the other side.  See below of Mt. Aragats taken last winter:

A fine fitting for the end of the road - the senior's in a water melon spitting contest.  They were shooting to hit the dam and some made it.

A few weeks back we had a visit from the newly called Presiding Bishop - Bishop Stevenson and also the President of the Europe East Area - President Schwitzer.  That makes two General Authorities and that was a real treat for each of us.  They visited and spoke at our District Conference.  We only have one District in all of Armenia and Georgia.  They gave wonderful talks.  Then afterwards they had a special meeting with all of the missionaries in this mission (Georgian missionaries were in attendance through Skype).

It was a powerful meeting where we could really feel the Spirit and enjoy the words we know Heavenly Father wants us to hear and feel. It was motivating, which always comes from those who are servants of the Lord.  One of the things that President Schwitzer shared was that when Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in the grove of trees back in 1820, the first thing the Father said was to call Joseph by name, and then introduced His Son.

Likewise, He knows each of
us by name.  He knows us.  He knows each of us and loves us very much.  Elder Schwitzer spoke of love.  How, it wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus on the cross at Calvary.  He had the power to come down off the cross at any time, but he hung there because of His LOVE for mankind!  He hung until he said, “it is done.”  Then He freely gave His life, no one took it from him.  

Elder Schwitzer said, “diligence is about persistence, not just hard work.  Direction not speed.  Taking scripture at a time, one prayer at a time.  You can tell if you are persistent if you have joy in doing what you are doing.”  (D&C 123:17) - ...”let us cheerfully do all things that lie our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” He reminded us to “stand still - and let the Spirit speak.”

Bishop Stevenson talked of a lighthouse and referred to a hymn in our hymnbook “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy”.  It has wonderful words.  He reminded us that the lower lights are those that if the ship is lined up with it, the lighthouse above the shore will light the way through the channel to safety away from the storm.

Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy
   Brightly beams our Father's mercy
   From his lighthouse evermore,
   But to us he gives the keeping
   Of the lights along the shore.
   Let the lower lights be burning;
   Send a gleam across the wave.
   Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
   You may rescue, you may save.
   Dark the night of sin has settled;
   Loud the angry billows roar.
   Eager eyes are watching, longing,
   For the lights along the shore.
   Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
   Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
   Trying now to make the harbor,
   In the darkness may be lost.
 Text and music: Philip Paul Bliss, 1838–1876

The lighthouse is the Savior.  The lower lights are the missionaries and the shore is the gospel.

Bishop Stevenson said, “I always follow a prompting, I don’t postpone a prompting.”  He quoted President Monson:  “If the Lord wants an errand, I want the Lord to know he can depend on me to do it.”  

How do we let the Lord know we are on His errand?  Share your feelings with Him... prayer is very powerful!

We love this great work and being able to devote our time to serving the Lord by serving others!

Elder and Sister Eyre

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