So last tuesday we got permission to go the Rose Parade on Colorado and it was awesome! However, I was pooped from not being able to sleep much from all the partying going on outside. I guess here people shoot guns into the air to celebrate... not sure why but whatever. Not too happy about it because it kept me up! So the rose parade was fun but after that the day continued on as usual. We had a lesson with Elizabet and since she has been sick she asked for a blessing and asked me to say it so I gave my first blessing in Armenian! It was pretty cool. Definitely not sure what I was saying completely correct but its the thought that counts right? So you could say the language is coming along but still slowly. My understanding is getting better too from reading everyday but its still frustratingly slow. I'm just waiting for the day that it all just clicks but i haven't hit that oint yet. But hopefully I will someday! later we met up with the philipino sisters who had a referral for us with a couple that we had stopped by the night before but were having a party so we were invited back the next day. They fed us a bunch and some of it was not quite to my liking. This food they have thdolma is like a cold egg roll but its a grape leave wrapping and rice and flavors inside. Not quite the best but everyone else says its da bomb so I will try it again. We have been meeting with our investigator Hambarsoon and he is actually reading the BOM and is understanding it! Slowly but we are excited that he is keeping the commitments we are leaving him. Wednesday we had a lesson with a recent convert, Minas, who is solid and loves reading the BOM even though he is a slow reader. He is really hard to understand because he is from Iraq. So far i've heard/had to understand three dialects. Eastern armenian which is spoken by those from armenian and it is very easy to understand, Western armenian spoken in lebenon and syria and places as such with different congugations and odd stuff compared to eastern, and then there is the difficult parskahide (iraq) armenian which is just difficult because they mumble and use more arabic and farcy words. its rough. so for those in armenia be thankful!
We stopped by another family who we helped move into their apartment last week and talk to the Father. he isn't super interested but we hope to establish a good relationship that leads him to teaching him more. And also, we have been stopping by this building where three potentials all live and we have met with two of them and given them the first lesson. the third speaks more russian and he is NEVER HOME! but we are thinking of dropping them because they haven't been willing to meet and they must not be ready. thursday was our regular district meeting but thats is about it for that day. we ran into two interesting people. the first was a family of jehovah's witnesses and they were fun to talk to. they were armenian but spoke pretty good english but they were asking some pretty odd questions and i was finding out that they have some very peculiar beliefs themselves such as they believe only 144,000 people are going to heaven...? yeah not sure either. but the second was this guy who was totally into our conversation with him on the street and he was asking all the perffect questions that we were trying to answer with our lessons but he just wouldn't listen! so frustrating becaues all of his confusion and questions about why there were so many churches and different teachings could have been cleared up but no he had to just say we were too young to know anything. grr. so we were cheered up with our dinner with the bradley's that night so it was all good. we also met with Ashot our ward mission leader from Iraq and talked to him about his recent trip to Utah to visit the RM who i replaced and it was funny to hear that on his way back he got pulled over going 95 in a 55 but got out of the ticket and went to the temple with the cop that pulled him over in st. george.
So Friday morning we had a big surprise during planning. the other three elders show up at our pad and tell us that Elder Smbatyan was going home to Armenia leaving that afternoon. He had been really struggling and negative here since i've been here and he has been wanting to go home but finally the president gave him a ticket. So i was really bummed about that because I liked him alot and I gave him a big talk the last time he threw one of his little tantrums but to no prevail i guess. Hope he does better at home. Later that night we ran into some great guys who were from yerevan, Martin and Joseph, and we ended up talking to them on the street for a good hour just about the church and their lives. martin was very cool and we got his information to talk to him later. We also met with hambarsoon and taught him about prayer because he is still saying the lords prayer and even after our great lesson... he still is. so we'll try again next time.
Saturday was basically full of food. we met with Ashot and he took us out to lunch after our weekly missionary meeting and had some great lebonese food. then after that we had a lunch appointment with some members Antonia and bella and their son Emmanuel who are from Iraq as well and they fed us some persian food which was not very good and i had to gulp down with water each bit... bleh! AND THEN since it was Armenian Christmas eve, we had dinner later that night with helga and her daughter for a christmas eve dinner and that was very good armenian food. Now Sunday was crazy. During sunday school I got pulled out of the meeting while Elder Dicus was translating and got three referrals basically, then had to worry about coordinating with someone to go pick up a member who had not been in the right spot when the ride was there and then in sacrament our potential, Martin, showed up our of no where and he ended up talking to this member Arman who used to be a Armenian Apostolic priest and he was giving him way too much info about our church and yeah. craziness that went over my head. Also found out that I sound like a russian-armenian because of my accent? Not only that but EVERYONE thinks i'm russian! After Church we met with a part-member family and set some new years goals with them to get them to come and the husband baptized. but i have a good feeling about him even though he has gone through 10 sets of missionaries... later we actually met with the potential, Martin, and had a very frustrating lesson with him. although he is fun to talk to, he doesn't see the importance of there being just one correct church. we covered so much information and ended up being there twice as long as we should have been. BUT ANYWAYS! that is about my week :)
So overall, This week has been great and flown by. The language is coming but still slow and we have two progressing investigators and a ton of potentials. Elder Dicus and I are really getting along and he is awesome. Bummed Elder Smbatyan went home. So for those in armenia, make sure he stays strong! his name is Sahak Smbatyan from Yerevan. age 26. lives with his mom. Okay thats it for now! love you all and have a great new year!
Elder Tanner DeBry