I just got back from splits! I went across to Vanadsor (Von-ah-d-soar) with Elder Lystrup, it was nice. I learned some good things. It feels a lot more like a city than Gyumri, even though there might be less people there than here. It's crazy, people do really talk different here than in the rest of Armenia. It felt a lot easier to understand people in Vanadsor because they use so much less slang. They do say "ah" instead of "eh" everywhere else, which is actually less correct, but it is still easier to understand. I like the feel of that city, though, I'll probably serve there someday. I also got to eat a wonderful chicken sandwich at MaxBurger. I really liked the meeting that I went to with Elder Jonas. I loved how hard he tried to talk to everyone. He seems like a great elder and tool for the Lord.
The last couple of days were a little strange for me. I was starting to have little spurts of homesickness, and I just felt a little unsettled or incomplete. I was starting to feel a little helpless, like I couldn't really communicate my feelings and I wasn't helping these people change and accept Christ's gospel. While talking to Elder King, he said that this mission is really for me, and my shortcomings and weaknesses won't damn anyone else. Then, today in our meeting with Surik, I realized what my problem was. I think I was feeling stressed because I was trying to make someone else's decision for them. When I realized that, it made me feel so much better. Obviously, I can't make someone else's decision for them. My responsibility right now is just to help them make those important decisions and changes in their life by being a special witness that Christ lives and His gospel is real and works. My life experiences have proven that to me and now I need to share that with others, so they can learn the same thing for themselves.
I do know that this Gospel is true and real. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who answers my prayers and who wants us all to be happy.
P.S. - We got to go see some fireworks last night at the Celebration of Gyumri Day party, or whatever it was. Almost the whole city was down there. There was actually some cool fireworks. It was nice.
Well, I threw up for my first time in Armenia:) That was a rough night. I had a nice thought, though. When I am doing things for the Lord, I really have no need to fear. I really didn't want to throw up, but it wasn't that big of a deal and I really had no reason to fear. It was a stinker virus, though, I had to stay home from church and tried to sleep but wasn't too successful. I did get to play a fun game of Star Wars Monopoly with Elder King, though. That was great. I won:) It was a good game, and we got in some good abacus work. Elder King has been teaching me to count and do math on a homemade abacus. He's funny. I love Elder King, he's a wise and caring guy.
Another cool thing is that when I woke up from my stomach ache, I knew it was going to happen, so I got ready, but nothing happened. It's possible that my reluctance to throw up was keeping my body from doing so. Anyway, I simply offered a little prayer to let my body do what it needed to in order to take care of itself, and right then my throat started watering up and everything came on out. It was nice to have a simple prayer answered and to be reminded that God is aware of my needs (D&C 84:79-83). Love ya, Bruce
(In response to me asking him if he could scan in his journal entires so he didn't have to spend the time typing them--I would like I have done previous to last week) His response: "I'm not sure how I would scan my journals in. I think this is probably the simplest way for me. I think Bryce probably has only a half hour or so whereas I have about two hrs, so maybe that's why he can't write much. It does take some time for me, but it's alright. That just means my other letters will be a little skimpier. Sorry I didn't get to write you too much last time. We actually drove down to Yerevan to have dinner with the elders down there. That was nice to meet them. There really seem to be some choice missionaries serving here.
It was nice to see a little of Yerevan. It feels a lot more like America there, but I really like the people up here in Gyumri better. Elder King says they live less in a "lie" here. As in, they don't all have nice clothes and phones, but no happiness in their homes and things, if that makes sense.
Anyway, I'll write up some of my other journal entries. I love you. I hope everything is well at home and you have a nice Sabbath. Talk to you later.
(I sent Bruce a picture Lisa had emailed me where some missionaries drew pictures depicting the plan of salvation on the sidewalk with chalk in Australia (I think), any way it was called sidewalk preaching or something)Bruce's response:
Ha ha, that was an awesome picture. That's so cool. I think one purpose of this mission is to find out what skills and gifts we have, and then use them to help others come closer to Christ and to build God's kingdom on earth.
I have to tell you this, I am so excited. Elder King and I have been trying to think of how we can help the people in Gyumri develop some of their talents and skills, including problem solving skills. English class is a good service and provides a valuable skill for people here, but we have decided to start a class that will help people develop their problem solving skills. This will be done first through the construction of bottle rockets! How cool will that be? I really think it will be good for whoever comes and it will be quite fun. I hope it works out alright. It's already been approved and everything, so we're going to see if we can build a launcher today. I'll bet Bryce isn't building bottle rockets in Alaska:) Anyway, it's going to be great. What if we started a mini Science Olympiad Competition over here? Ha ha, anyway, we'll see how it goes. Thanks for your letters and thoughts. See ya.