Saturday, December 1, 2012

Well some good news.  We have no more continuing...... saga.  No hide nor hair of any roaches the past month and a half!!  Nilch, nada, none!!!  Well, I guess hide nor hair doesn't exactly fit as an adjective for a cockroach!  But we did everything we could and this apartment is sealed so tight I believe it could float as if it were a boat ("tight like unto a dish").  It has become our very comfortable living space once again.

We are happy and healthy and the Lord has blessed us so very much, even with the little things that could serve as a distraction. 
A few months back the senior couples accompanied the Mission President and his wife on a day trip to Mt. Aragats (which we showed you previously).  On the way back we stopped to a place 30 minutes outside Yerevan and is what they call the Alphabet monument.  (This is the only trip we have worn pants since we got here).  So, it may look funny to see us in jeans and shirts instead of a dress and shirt and a tie.

This monument is out in nowhere.  But all of the letters of the Armenian alphabet are here with a few statues scattered here and there.

 We are all looking for the one that has the sound of the letter our name starts with.  You have to know the Armenian alphabet to distinguish.

Elder Eyre found the one that matches the sound of the letter of his first name - Larry.  Of all of the letters of the Armenian alphabet (except for the lower case o), his was the easiest because it looks like an L.  But notice to the left of the L and you will see the letter I!!!

So, here I am with my J.  Behind me is the letter S (which looks like a U).  To the left of me it looks like a backwards J, but which is a yev sound.

                              Here we are in front of our letter E, pronounced Eh.

Here is the statue of Saint Mesrop Mashtots, the founder of the Armenian alphabet.

The following was taken from the internet, but explains better than I can the history behind the coming of the Armenian language:

In Armenian his name looks like this: Մեսրոպ Մաշտոց) (361 or 362 – February 17, 440).  He was an Armenian monktheologian and linguist. He is best known for having invented the Armenian alphabet, which was a fundamental step in strengthening the Armenian Church, the government of the Armenian Kingdom, and ultimately the bond between the Armenian Kingdom and Armenians living in the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire

Leaving his duty as secretary to King Khosrov IV for the service of God, he withdrew to a monastery with a few chosen companions. There he practiced great austerities, enduring hunger and thirst, cold and poverty. He lived on vegetables, wore a hair shirt, slept upon the ground, and often spent whole nights in prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. This life he continued for a few years.  He prepared to be a missionary and converted many heretics and pagans.  However, he experienced great difficulty in instructing the people, for the Armenians had no alphabet of their own, but used the Greek, Persian, and Syriac scripts, none of which were well suited for representing the many complex sounds of their native tongue. Again, the Holy Scriptures and the liturgy, being written in Syriac, were, to a large extent, unintelligible to the faithful. Hence the constant need of translators and interpreters to explain the Word of God to the people.

Mesrop, desirous to remedy this state of things, resolved to invent a national alphabet.  Mesrop's alphabet consisted of thirty-six letters; two more (long O and F) were added in the twelfth century.
So there you go, now you know.  I can tell you the language is hard to learn, just ask the missionaries!  We know some words, bear our testimony and give a simple prayer, can greet the people, but for us to carry on a conversation is not possible.  So, we just love them, hug and kiss them and we are all friends and truly love each other, without words.  We do find charades works well sometimes too!

The statues that follow are interesting.  
This is the Armenian King with Hesrop holding the Armenian alphabet whom Hesrop created.

This is St. Grigor Lusavorich, one of the Armenian apostles.  He is declaring that in 301 A.D. Christianity began in Armenia.

                                   This is Mkhitar Gosh.  He created the law for Armenia.

In the 19th century Khachatur Abovyan (whose statue shown above) said it is better to sell your soul than to give away your motherland.  He was born in 1809.  He was an educator, poet and an advocate of modernization.  He was considered the father of modern Armenian literature, however none of his works was published during his lifetime.  An interesting fact about his life is when Friedrich Parrot arrived in Armenia in Sept 1829.  Parrot traveled here to climb Mt. Ararat to conduct geological studies but required a local guide and translator for the expedition.  Abovian was assigned by the Catholicos to the task.  Parrot with Abovyan's help became the first explorer in modern times to reach the summit of Mount Ararat, which has an elevation of 16,854 ft.  Abovyan dug a hole in the ice and erected a wooden cross facing north.  He also picked up a piece of ice and carried it down in a bottle, considering the water holy.  On April 14, 1848, he went out of his house for an early morning walk and was never seen again.  His mysterious disappearance remains unsolved.  He had received opposition stemming from his opposition to dogmatism and formalism in the school system.

We had a Branch activity (Arabkir Branch) and it was about talents.  One of ladies of the branch brought this beautiful bouquet she made.  She is a flower arrangement designer.  She was so very sweet and gave it to me, saying she wanted me to have it because of the love that Larry and I have for each other.  It is in the shape of a heart.  The Armenians are full of love and are always giving what they have and what they make to guests.  I have many gifts that have been given me by women here.  It is very humbling.  

This arrangement has well over a hundred flowers!  Here is another view:

Another activity in another ward (Ajapnyak Branch) and was on American Holiday Halloween.  The missionaries in that branch planned it.  They had games that we are use to like a fish pond, musical chairs, bean toss, and this may look familiar:
She had to eat this bread without using her hands.  The kids really had fun.  Three of the children were in costumes.  They don't celebrate the holiday here but some are aware of our holiday in America. The children here are so cute and so sweet.

One of the sister missionaries showed the Armenians how we bob for apples!

Brave sister!!!

One of the things that we are asked to do here on this earth is first to love God and then to love others and serve others.  We must forget ourselves and not serve only when it is convenient.  We can make our enemies our friends by serving them.  We find so much more happiness when we love others than when we love only ourselves.  We have truly found that to be true.  

We have found joy in serving, and especially when we have taught the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this part of the world.  There are so many wanting to know the purpose of life, where did we come from and where are we going after this life.  To be able to answer those questions is so gratifying.  You can really feel the Spirit.  People's lives change and our lives change. They come to know the Savior Jesus Christ and all that He did for mankind and for them personally.

We love our mission.
Elder and Sister Eyre

1 comment:

  1. Larry, thanks so much for sharing your journey with us back here State side. It is an amazing history and culture lesson as we get to share in your adventures. Please continue to be a great servant and keep the posts coming.

    So glad you resent me the blog site.

    Hugs to your beautiful wife.

    Cindy Harris