Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 7, 2013

Dear Family,

That is big news! I haven't even seen this girl yet! Oh well, I'll get over it.
This week has been... different. New Years was crazy. The was literally no one on the street in the whole city for like 3 days, because every one was inside partying. They take their New Years very seriously here. Basically every single appointment we ever go to they want to feed us, and it's gotten to the point where I just want it to go back to normal. The food is super good, but I feel bad because a lot of the families here can't really afford to feed us, but they won't take no for an answer. We basically have just stopped eating at our house at all, because we get so much food from other places. It's started to slow down a little bit though, so that's good. It really is like a week long party for these people though.
Our investigators are doing well. xxxxxxxxxxxx are scheduled to be baptized on the 19 of January, but they missed church again yesterday... It's kind of understandable though, considering yesterday was Christmas here. I'll keep you updated on them. We actually got our investigator xxxxx to finally accept a baptismal date, which kind of shocked us. She's been one of those eternal investigators. The farthest back teaching record I can find says that they picked her up in 2010, so she's been around for a while. We finally had a 'do or die' lesson with her and I kind of got in her face. Just enough to singe her eyebrows a little bit. But then she accepted! it blew our minds.
The weather has actually warmed up a bit here. It's been colder for the last little while, but today it's nice. It might even rain.
All of the snow has melted, at least here in the city. I hear that up north there is still a ton. How much snow do you guys have there?
I learned how to make tolma last night, with the help of some of our members. I'll have to make you some when I come back.
Well, I love you all. I hope you all had a good new year. I'll talk to you next week
Elder Pack

Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

Hey fam,
It sounds like everyone is doing well. It was awesome to see you this last week, but I have to admit the whole experience felt sort of surreal. Everyone is changing!I don't have a ton of time to write, because I want to send some pictures. And I'm typing super slow because my hands are cold. I guess they don't want to pay for heating in this internet place. The celebrations continue here. You can feel the tension in the air. I've heard some stories, but I'll let you know how new years goes. We had an awesome Christmas activity with our Branch on Saturday. Super fun. The members and our investigators loved it. I attached a few pictures. A couple of me being the balloon soccer goalie. It was my job to pop the balloon. One of Elder Ericsson hugging one of our members ( so you can see how big he is) They even had a Santa (our 2nd councilor in the branch presidency). It was a good one to finish out the year.
I'm sorry I don't have time to write much, but I love you all. I promise that I''ll write more next week!
Elder Pack

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012

Hey fam,
I have to make this quick, sorry. I'll try to answer some of these questions when we talk in a few days. I'm pretty sure I gave you all the info for the skype already, but just in case it will be at 9:20 at night for you and I will be using the skype account.
My new companion is Elder Ericsson, and he's awesome. He speaks super good for how long he's been in country, and he's a giant. But people love to talk to the giant American, so it's okay. I'm sure that you'll get to meet him when we talk. 
Again, I'm sorry. We have to be home in 10 minutes. I'll see you in a couple days!
Elder Pack

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2013 - Transferred!!

Hello family,
We've had a good/interesting week. First of all, xxxxx was able to get baptized this week, which is super good. We're pretty happy about it. I accidentally said the prayer wrong the first time, so I had to do it again, but it worked out. We had a really good turn out of the baptism this week, which actually made her pretty nervous for the whole thing. She did super good though, and I'll be sure to send you some pictures. Another investigator,  came to the baptism and had a good time. She asked some good questions, and seemed really interested, and even at one point she started saying 'when I get baptized...' which I hope is a good sign. All in all it was a really good service. 5 people total got baptized there, so it was a big one.
We had an interesting day at church yesterday. xxxx was confirmed, and was really welcomed into the branch. A man who was baptized about 2 months ago, received the Melchizedek priesthood (I think it's kind of fast, but I think he'll learn fast), and Elder Lake was able to give the blessing. It was a cool experience for him, especially because he didn't know that it was going to happen before hand. xxxx said that he wanted Elder Lake to do it, just there in Sacrament Meeting, and all of the color went out of Elder Lake's face. President Carter was also there, and was very impressed with how well Elder Lake did. He had never even done one in English, let alone Armenian.
We got our transfer calls yesterday. It turns out that I'm whitewashing an area, as a trainee and District Leader. I wish they could have let me know a little before hand so I could prepare a little better, but oh well. My new area is called Erebuni I'll still be serving in the same Branch, but just a different area, so I'll be in somewhat familiar ground when it comes to members. Elder Lake is staying here in Shengavit, and is going to be a senior companion, which does not happen very often when you're just getting out of your training. He'll be great though, if anyone is ready for that he is.
That's awesome that the Aggies won a bowl game! Right when I leave... Hopefully they can keep it up.
I'm glad to hear that Grandpa Cardon's funeral went well. I hope that Grandma is still doing okay.
I did get the bag that you sent with the Tolmans, but I wasn't able to actually see them. I'm sure that they're busy. Thank you for the presents!
As for Skype, my turn will be at 9:20 p.m. your time on Christmas day.
I love you all,
Elder Pack

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

Hey fam,
I hope like everyone is doing okay over there. I'm so sorry about Grandpa Cardon. He really was a great man and a great example. I'll always think of him as my Grandpa.
We had a good week this week. xxxx passed her baptismal interview last week, and is scheduled to be baptized this upcoming Saturday. We're really excited for her. She's doing great, as always, but we're still having a hard time with her mom committing. We're hoping that her example will help her mom make a decision. xxxx is still doing really good as well, and had a good time at church yesterday. We're going to try and get her a baptismal date this week. If you could keep them all in your prayers that would be great.
That's awesome that you were able to talk to Elder Davis and Elder Gerber (yes his name is Aaron). I've actually never met Elder Davis before, but I have heard a lot about him. He left the transfer before I got to country. I have heard that there is and Armenian place in Salt Lake City, you should definitely try to find it. Oh, and if you end up talking to Elder Gerber again tell him that I'm sorry I haven't written him a letter yet, and I will for sure really soon.
Are you going to be able to send me those recipes? Let me know.
I included some pictures, and I hope that you enjoy them. I'll be sure to start taking more, I haven't been very good at it.
Well family, I love you. Sorry my letter is so short this week, but I'm short on time.
Oh, and thank you for the package! We already have the presents under the tree.
Peace and Love,
Elder Pack

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

Hey fam,
another good week here in Shengavit has come and gone. It's hard to believe that it's already December. I've already been with Elder Lake for about 2 months, and it has just flowed by. Time flies when you're having fun. We were able to find a decent Indian restraunt here in the city, and we tried it out this last week. It was really good, and a really good change of pace, but when I got the bill I almost died. And I didn't even get full! Oh well, we still made it to the end of the month. I also had my first good hamburger in forever last week. They're so easy to get in America! I just took them for granted. Later we also got fed this huge meal by a member family we visited, which was super good. And they wouldn't let us stop eating! Armenians are kind of like that though, if you don't eat their food they think that you didn't like it and get offended. They made us dolma, which is basically just meat and rice wrapped in a cabbage leaf. I really want to learn how to make it. Speaking of cooking, there are a few recipes that I would like you to send me if you could. I want to be able to do a good Christmas breakfast. So if you can send me the recipes for Buttermilk syrup, Swedish Pancakes, Orange Julius, Ginger Bread, Pumpkin bread, Eggnog, and a good chocolate chip cookie recipe that would be awesome. Oh, and if you haven't sent off a package with the Tolmans yet there are a few things that would be great if you could send: Nutmeg, that cranberry sauce stuff that you make the cran butter out of on Christmas, and another good thing of cinnamon. The cinnamon here isn't very good. The Armenian bread is really good, but other than that I think America has it beat. Oh, except for the fruit. Armenian fruit is really good. The cheese is super salty, and not a lot of missionaries like it. I don't mind it. The milk isn't very good, and it kind of tastes like the cheese. And it goes bad in like 2 days. As for meat, they basically live off of this stuff called yershik, which is basically like summer sausage.
The Christmas Spirit is settling in nicely. We put up our Christmas tree the first second that we had, and been listening to Christmas music since the beginning of November. The Armenians are even starting to get somewhat into it, and you see some Christmas decorations every so often. They have a Christmas tree up in the square outside of our house, and they're supposed to be putting up a huge one up in Republican Square in Center. As for celebrating, I hear that they don't really do much for Christmas, but New Years is huge here. Everyone gets drunk. And as for exchanging gifts, I have no idea. I guess I'll probably find out.
You gave in and bought a fake tree?! I'm so disappointed...
Mom, I'm sorry about your aunt. I hope that Grandma is doing ok.
Our investigators are doing pretty good. xxxx should actually be baptized on the 15, so that should be really cool. We moved it forward a week so it would be before the transfer. We don't know if either of us will be here after that. We have a ton of missionaries going out and a ton of new missionaries coming in, so it should be a pretty big one. She's doing really well though, and now we're just trying to get her ready for a baptismal interview. Her mom,  still won't commit, so we're working a lot with her as well. We know they would do a lot better if they progressed together. We also picked up a new investigator this week, and she's awesome. She really has a desire to figure out if this is all true. We've only me with her twice, and so far she's been really accepting.
Happy Birthday Mom! I'm so sorry that I didn't say that last week. I hope that you had a really good one!
Well it's good to hear that everyone is doing good over there. I'm never good at emailing, because I always space what would be good to talk about. Maybe I just need to make a list. Oh, and I promise that I'll send some pictures next week. I don't have my camera with me, or else I would do it now. I need to get better at taking pictures as well, I know that I'm going to want them later.
I love you all, and I hope you have a great week.
Elder Pack

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 7, 2012

Hey fam,

How is everyone doing? It sounds like everyone has their stuff going on these days. That's sad about the Beastie Boys... I think I'll live though. I totally forgot that this was Mom's last year in Tavaci! What is she going to do with all of her time now?! That's crazy about Robbie too. He's going to be a giant. We'll have an intense wrestling match when I get home. How is Jenna and Mom's play going? I'm bummed I won't be able to see it. How is Alycia's cheer? And I hope work is good for you Dad, and I hope you have some time to get out and have some fun. You're getting pretty close to the boating season that should be pretty sweet. How is Nate doing? When is his baby due? That's crazy to think that he'll be a dad when I get back.

Armenia is good. We had kind of a slow week this week, they just weren't biting. The weather hasn't been that good either; it rained most of the week. My companions from the MTC are both somewhat close to me. Elder Chojnacki is down in Char, and it sounds like a party down there. They have a family that's pretty close to baptism. We all went to Yerevan this last week to do physicals and stuff for our residence cards, so I was able to see him and two queers from the MTC. They all seem to be doing well, but I still feel like I need a bit more of a break from the queers. 12 weeks was a long time to be with them. Elder Harrington luckily is actually serving in Vanadzor as well, and his companion is Elder Larson. This week I actually went on splits with Elder Larson, and it was pretty fun. We had a good few days. Because Elder Gerber is the District Leader here, I get to go on splits basically every week. It should be good, it will push me to be better. These next 2 weeks I'll be with Elder Rakham and Elder Harrington, and we're all pretty new, so it should be pretty good. Pretty hard, but good. Like I said, it was a slow week, so not a ton happened. One funny thing that did happen though is I got all the way out onto the street just to realize I still had my sandals on. If only I could have gotten all the way to the lesson without noticing. We had a really good meal yesterday, at this old somewhat crazy lady's house. The food was really good, and also pretty interesting. She felt the need to constantly feed me food. When my mouth was full she would try to stuff more in. Then she did a dance for us for some reason. Like I said, a little crazy. But very nice. People are interesting here. I had one guy spit on me, and another guy tell us that we don't care when babies die. Whatever that means. Some people are way nice and others are just insane. Sorry, my thoughts are a little scattered.

So everything is good. I also heard that the Avengers came out this week, so let me know how that was.

It's awesome to hear from you, Thanks again for writing me,


Elder Pack

Abandoned Ski Resort

Elder Pack & Elder Gerber