Hey Mom and Dad,
Well, I made it. It was a fun trip. A little exhausting, but I had a few nice conversations with people. I got to sit next to an Armenian family, but only really talked to them in English. My father/trainer/senior companion is way awesome. His name is Elder King. He is very funny and likes to joke around with the Armenians, which is cool. It helps me feel relaxed. He is also incredibly smart, and loves learning from grammar books, etc. It'll be awesome to learn from him, he's very helpful and positive. I'm serving in Gyumri right now with just us two and a sister companionship. The branch has some great members that we got to meet while watching conference. I am already beginning to understand these people, but they do think and act very different than we do. There is still a lot of communist influence in their culture, and many of them actually want to go back because a lot were better off. Gyumri is so amazing. This city I think was hit by the earthquake the worst, so there is a lot of destruction. Almost all the buildings are newish, but the living conditions are very poor. Our apartment is actually quite large, and there is only two of us, so it's really nice. I'm excited to learn to get to know these people better. I can surprisingly understand quite a bit for how little I know. I think. Well, I guess I am starting to be able to catch some of what is going on, and that makes it hard to participate in the lessons. I've met a few investigators already, and they're really nice. A lot of what we are doing right now is trying to strengthen the less actives and work on retention. The baptisms per month were dropped from 40 to 10 ish, so that is interesting. But, that actually helped a little with retention. There were too many new members for the branch presidents to watch over before. About 40 members show up to sacrament and there are hundreds of in actives. So the work will be a little different than normal here. I am so excited though. I am doing great. So far all the food I have eaten is amazing, but there is also some iffy things. It's fun though. The missionaries are all great. The other day we met some Jehovah’s witnesses, which was cool. Their transportations, called a mar-shoot-nee is like a van with seats in it, but sometimes there are at least twenty people inside. It's so awesome :) I don't really know what else to tell you. Today we are going to buy a few things and play around a little bit probably. Elder King loves Chess and this other game Armenians play that's like mancala. Anyway, I am doing so good. I am going to love Gyumri, I think. It's really not that bad of a place. It is very humbling, though, and I hope I can share with people the joy, peace, strength, and all the other blessings that come from this gospel. I love you. Don't have too much fun. I'll talk to you later. I don't think I'll really mail letters, they said that's quite unreliable for me. It's not bad for you, though, if you want. It did sound like we don't have pouch anymore, though, so I'm not sure about the dear elder thing. Email is really the best, though, because it's quick and reliable. Alright, talk to you later.
Elder Bruce Wainwright