The Rollercoaster

Ashtarak, Armenia December 13, 2010

eench ka, ch-ka(what is, what isn’t)
in other words, what’s up?

I feel like again prayers have been answered. I feel that your prayers are assisting me and the work here. Thank you.
I dont’ have a lot of time to email, and the internet connection is very choppy, but I’d like to give you a quick update.

So I have experienced the greatest happiness and the very low emotions.
Aram is progressing so much and he continues to show a bright countenance as his faith increases. Friday we met with him and taught him about keeping the sabbath day holy and the importance of attending church. We committed him to asking his boss for the day off.  This was huge because he only had a 15 day work contract and he was making about $1.20/hr. Work is precious here and the unemployment is probably around 75% (I wouldn’t be suprised) many people live off of the government help (10,000 dram/month = $30/month). We told him to pray and that the Lord would provide. If we do all we can and obey the commandments, God will provide a way to success. So he called us on Saturday morning and said he got Saturday off. We were happy, but we didn’t know why he didn’t ask for Sunday off. Anyways we met with him and took him to the adult session of District Conference. He really enjoyed it. Then we asked him to see if he could get off work to go to District Conference on Sunday. He said he would try. So we woke up Sunday morning not knowing if either Karo or Aram could make it to Church. So we called Karo. He said he couldn’t take the bus because of the pain from his recent surgery was too much. So we told him that we would take a taxi. Then we tried calling our taxi driver (who owes us some money) but his phone was off. So I went into the next room and started to say a prayer that Hamo would answer his phone. Then the phone rang. It was Aram. He told his boss that he needed to keep the sabbath day holy so his boss so ok. I was very excited and so I finished my prayer for the taxi situation to work out and walked back into our study room. Not more than 20 seconds later Hamo said that he had woken up and realized that the battery in his phone was out. So he put it in and called us back 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave it all worked out and everyone made it to an amazing conference.

Aram said he just wanted to stay at the conference forever. He is so happy. His shy character has changed into an almost gitty joy. He says “I’ve changed in a hundred ways and I am willing to do whatever it takes”. He has lost a lot of friends because of his association with us, for which I am sad. But he put his recent hardships into a very wise perspective. He told his friends, who left him, that he would rather live what he knew was from God and have a few sincere friends than all the friends in the world. He is not blindly obedient, he is very wise in that he is willing to obey God’s commandments to see if they really will bring him joy and blessings.

Karo said he didn’t want to get baptized last night for reasons that I dont’ really feel like talking about but long story short he doesn’t want ot go to church and he feels like he knows everything in the Bible and BofM and that he has great faith, enough to sustain him. Which is great, but he hasn’t even read the BofM and his unwillingness to attend church is a lack of understanding and therefore a lack of faith. So we are praying to know what doctrine we can teach. We want him to feel what Christ wants him to feel. We don’t want to prove anything. Proving, by means of logic can convince, but it will never motivate. Motivation comes from feeling that something is true, not merely understanding it with our logic.
After our visit with Karo he said he would be baptized, which is wonderful, but we are still seeking to know what God would have him learn.

Anyways. We are working hard, but the Lord is doing all the work for us. Elder Lusk and I were talking about the last couple weeks and agreed that missionary work doesn’t need to be done by ignorant (in a sense) 19 year olds. God could do it a better way, but he does it for the 19 year olds, so that we can grow and become strong witnesses of Christ. People who are willing to serve the Lord for the rest of their lives because they have an undeniably felt and accessed the power of the Atonement.
Sometimes service may seem unsuccessful, but if we are willing, that service can change us and strengthen us.

Concerning Gratitude. I have learned that gratitude towards God is the best way to learn of him and to begin to understand how he is working in our lifes. Through gratitude we are able to notice patterns in our actions and their consequences/results. We begin to see the World with eternal eyes. Eyes that see the good. Ungrateful, greedy eyes will never be satisfied. They will not appreciate what they have, what they receive or even what they want. If we want grateful eyes we must first be humble, and have faith (that God can and does keep his promises). Grateful eyes teach the most precious truths and strengthen the structure of our lives. Gratitude binds friendships and finds friendships. Gratitude teaches us in weakness and in strength. I hope that I can obtain the eyes of gratitude.

I love you.

Elder Cook

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