January 25, 2012 – Charentsavan, Week 21
A Stone That Has Been Cut Out of the Mountain
This week I played a longer version of Backgammon. It is called “Nardi”. I also learned what they say for 1,2,3,4,5,6 doubles and so forth. They use turkish words for them. Many words that Armenians use are Turkish, Russian or Persian. They use a russian word for stoplight (svetafar), they use a persian word for “news” (khabar), and a turkish word for “pocket” (jeb). They don’t have an armenian word for shortcut, so they use the turkish word.
One of the branch members that we have been working with is going on a full-time mission. She, Armine, just got back from a “mini mission” with a sister who is serving with native armenians. Armine’s excitement and example has also inspired another one of our members to serve a mission. Her name is Maga and her young brothers will be following her lead.
Some more great news. Levon, the young man that lives in Ashtarak has really turned around. (You probably wouldn’t remember him, but jsut play along like you remember my letters from last year). About one year ago he was in-active. Since that time he has become the second counselor to the Branch President, he has helped us activate his mother and little brother. He has recieved the Melkizedek Priesthood. He has been serving as a Branch Presidnet for the last few months. He has resolved to go on a mission. He quit working to prepare. His father has quit his job and applied for more flexible work in order to be free to meet with the missionaries. Their family has made some major steps of faith to build the Lord’s Kingdom. It is amazing to see how much the Lord can do with us if we will just trust him.
I have been asked to train a new missionary in Gyumri. I will be serving in the same area that I served in 6 1/2 months ago. I am very excited. President Carter was suprised. It is very rare for a missionary to go back to serve in an area where she/he has already served. But the Lord revealed to them (President and his assistants) that my companion and I would need to do something in Gyumri, without any explaination as to why. I am excited to see what can be done in Gyumri. I had a good time in Gyumri with Elder Frye, but I feel that we will be able to build the branch much more powerfully, with what I have learned from serving here in Charentsavan.
Our mission is comprised of two countries and two languages. One of the missionaries serving in Georgia, Elder Redpath, has a twin brother. His brother just left the MTC and went to Bulgaria. Within the last few weeks his call was changed. He went with 3 other missionaries to Turkey. Turkey is officially open. We always dream about getting called to Turkey or Iran (by the way the “I” in Iran is pronouned like “ea” in eat). The reason why they didn’t call Armenian missionaries to Turkey is because Bulgaria is closer to the Capital City. When they open Iran, the first missionaries will probably be from Armenia. We are less than 200 km from the Iranian boarder. Our current zone encompasses land that runs along the Turkish boarder. The sisters serving in Artashat can often see the Turkish Boarder.
We ( Elder Larson and I) had one final meeting with Babken and another one of our members, Radik. Babken and Radik have been meeting together often. They talk much about the Gospel. So we sat with them and for the fifth time asked them to plan to visit the members. The spirit was their. It testified to them that what we were saying was needed and true. They accepted to pray to know which family/individual to focus on. They accepted and were excited.
Babken about 2 weeks ago was stuggling. He stopped reading his scriptures. He was really disappointed in the branch members, who come “i mi jaylots” (as if to merely pass time). He has since started to read and recieve some powerful revelations. He said the the spirit came upon him and he felt that everything would work out in the branch. I hope that he can build the branch as much as I know he can. He is the first serious priesthood holder that I have seen in this branch besides our Branch President.
If we want to see miracles in our own lives and in the lives of the ones that we love, we need to start serving. Not just in good ways, but also and more so we must serve in the capacities that God wants us to serve. We know where God wants us to serve, only when we ask him. If we want to see his hand we must do his work. I know that He lives. He loves you and me. He listens and answers our prayers, the hard part is recognizing his voice. We already know that while serving others and reading his word he will serve us and speak clearly to us. The hard part is getting out of our comfort zone.
I have always tried to find the most effective and profitable route, whether that is a finincial or physical or spiritual route. The path that was given and shown to us by Jesus Christ is in reality the easier and more effective route. I know that we cannot find anything worth more than the power of God working with us and our fami. We can have all gold in the world and we wouldn’t have a fraction of the inheritance waiting for us. He doesn’t ask that we give him more than we are, however he won’t accept any less.
I know that when we forget ourselves and trust God a miracle happens and God reveals himself in the most subtle and yet most spectacular ways.
Bari Akhorzhak (bon apetit – in Armenian)