February 7, 2011 Ashtarak, Armenia
This week was busy. The missionary work was kind of hard with the snow storm, the cold, the six trips to Yerevan (one for every day of the week) But despite that, Elder Reece and I were blessed immensely. The Lord provided a way for us to nearly reach our goals and in some cases exceed them.
I went on Splits again with an Elder from my MTC group, Elder Wahl. It was harder than I expected. It was probably hard because meetings fell through, but everything worked out.
This week we had a Branch Family Home Evening. Our investigator Harut heard my voice and hung up. We haven’t been able to contact him for a week. Our friend Olga didn’t show up to the meeting we had this week because of the snow. So, Elder Reece and I worked with the members, we found some shoes, clothes, soap. The members brought the items over to her house yesterday. Elder Reece and I found out where she lived. Apparently, she lives alone. She was so happy to see us. She is so lonely. She begged that we stay. She has to burn bottles and cardboard that she finds in the trash. She has one lightbulb and her house is 20′ long 10′ wide. she doesn’t have a kitchen. She carries water from an external source to her house, but the house gets so cold at night that the water freezes. The Branch now has a plan to help this wonderful old women. Elder Reece and I love her and really feel God’s love for her. While I was sitting in her small shack, listening to the Ladies in the Ward (Primary President, Relief Society President, Branch President’s wife) show their love for Olga, I couldn’t help but cry. Knowing that such faith and love only comes from a love of God. I came to appreciate women even more. I couldn’t help but realize how little men can do without women. I knew that despite my calling as a representative of the Savior, I needed these women and so did Olga.
Miracles are constantly happening in Ashtarak. It is a miracle of fasting. In fact, almost every miracle I have seen on my mission is a result of fasting. I have learned that fasting has undeniable power. It is essentally an untapped source of blessings, strength, and miracles. This week our branch fasted for missionary work in Ashtarak and for the families in the branch. This is what happened yesterday during our church service: Two men walked into the building that I had never seen. I learned after the meeting that one was in-active and he had brought a friend, Ando, who is interested in the church. He is now an investigator. During our third hour of church an older man, Fanzo, walked into the church. He told us that God had called him here. He lives at least a 50 minute walk from the church. He too is our investigator now. He is excited about reading and praying and building his already strong foundation. And halfway through the third hour another man walked in, about 20 years old. His name was Samuel (Samvel – if you pronounce it in Armenian). He said he was baptized a couple years ago and wants to come back.
You cannot tell me that God doesn’t speak. God listens, He answers our prayers in mysterious and mighty ways. Four men (men are very rare in the church here) walked into our church building because, it “seemed like the thing to do”. I promise all who read this message, that if they truly desire to communicate with our Loving Father in Heaven, that you can. I promise you that if you do your part, He will make Himself know to you in an undeniable way.
“Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.”(Mosiah 8:18)
With Love from Armenia