Hey Mom and Dad,
Yes, I do my emails in an internet cafe. It is actually really nice, with individual stalls and things. I'll figure out something with my journal entries. I might just be only able to give you a few though.
Thanks for all of your letters and updates. Gary is such a good boy. It sounds like he is doing so great. Every time I see a little kid, I think of all my neices and nephews. It will be so great to see them again. It seems like there are some pretty good fathers here. So many men drink, though, it's sad. I think the saddest thing about this place is how many people have nothing to live for. They always say how there's no work, but that's largely because they don't try. Almost everyone gets money from the government, and a lot of them seem to just have no motivation to work. Elder King says one of their greatest aspirations in life is to be a taxi driver. It's pretty strange to me.
This week was really nice, though. We had some very nice meetings with people. Right now we are focusing on two investigators, a few less actives, and helping some of the members. One of our investigators is Sako (saw-k-oh). He used to be a preacher for a church in Russia, but now he is mid-thirties, which means it's about time to get married. He has decided he wants to get married to a mormon girl. He is such a great guy. He can be a little intense, but he's very smart and really nice. He walked about four or five miles to come to church yesterday, because he doesn't have any money right now. I feel the spirit so strong in our meetings. I'm really confident that he will be able to accept this gospel and have a change of heart. It's not going to be easy for him though. But I love teaching him so much.
We also started visiting with an older man named Surik (soo-reek) who had been taught about a year ago. He is so wonderful. He's also very wise and loves the Savior. He really feels stuck in life, it seems like, both physically and spiritually. We have really enjoyed visiting with him, though, and I'm looking forward to meeting with him some more. We're pretty much going to start from the beginning and slowly go through the lessons. I also felt the spirit very strong at his home as well, even as we sat and listened to the news on the radio with him for a couple minutes. It was actually a really nice bonding experience. Elder King said he could have sat there with him all day:)
Elder King and I are really doing well together, and we've been having some fun as well. These last two days were really interesting. On Saturday we played some basketball with Zhirar (ha ha, we actually don't have the "zh" sound in our language, except maybe in the color "beige"). He's our english learning investigator. He is such a nice guy. He's probably about thirty. He gets so excited to learn, and wants to be our friends so bad. He's going to Europe some day, and can't wait to go. Some other guys played were supposed to play with us as well but had to leave, so some little kids played us. It was way fun. It felt good to get some nice exercise. The cool thing, though, was one of the boys' father was there watching, and he was so grateful to us afterwords. That was really nice.
Church was so wonderful yesterday. It was so spiritual and so good for our investigators that were there. Then all our appointments were falling through, except for two, with Surik and a less active named Artur. They were both so wonderful.
Ha ha, then this morning was crazy. We went on a morning run, which was new and really fun. I'm way out of shape though. Then we ate some amazing deep fried potatoe things for breakfast. On our way back, the neighbors keep complaining of a water leak. We're still not exactly sure if it's coming from us, but we tried to fix this drip in our bathroom and it was crazy! The hose came off and our days supply of water began dumping out of the hose. We were going to let it just drain into the tub, but then water started coming up the drain in the floor, so we started freaking out and tried to plug it up and re-attach the hose. We finally got it reduced back to the slow drip and fortunately the neighbors didn't come back up. We quickly wiped down the walls and I changed out of my sopping wet church clothes. It was crazy... But way fun. We're going to let a plumber take care of it now:) Ha ha, I also hid from Elder King under the couch this morning. He was talking about how he used to do that to one of his old companians. It was way fun:) It reminded me of all the times I used to scare you, mom:) Good memories.
Well I better go. I love you. I hope things are all well with you at home. I am really growing to love some of these people here in good old Gyumri. It's a funny place. I understand a little more everyday, so in a month, or year, I should be doing pretty good. It's hard not being able to fully communicate with people, but I'm quite blessed. I love being a missionary. There are so many opportunities to help and serve people. I am also learning so much every day. I love learning new things. There are so many things I want to learn. Even besides the gospel, there's so much.
Well, I took up a lot of time, so I don't think I'll get to write to anyone else. I do love you though. Thank youk for sending me those things from Bryce. I'm glad he's doing well. He's going to be such a great missionary. I am so grateful for all of the many relationships I have with people. I love how every one is different. I'm so glad it's that way. I really want to be able to find out who I am, and who I can become on my mission. I will never have opportunities like I have here. Well, talk to you later.
Elder Bruce Wainwright