Thanks for the letter and for everything you are thankful for. I feel so grateful, especially being away from home and being able to see how blessed my life has been. I'll do a thankful prayer this week. Besides that, I think we'll have a dinner with the sisters and senior couple on Thursday, like for Halloween. The senior couple are really great. They're trying to learn the language, which is way impressive. They can already say a couple things.
Sako hasn't been baptized. Quiting smoking was harder than he thought, as we expected. I think he'll be able to make it though. These last three days he was working to see if he could get a job. I hope it worked out for him. He's an intense man, but he's way great. He knows so much.
As far as food, there will always be something. Elder King wants to start eating more meat, chili and things. He just got over a little fever. Everyone in Gyumri seems like they're sick. It's kinda sad. We like to play Star Wars Monopoly when we get sick. It is getting pretty cold, though, and it starting snowing today! We're so excited for snow. I just got a nice looking fedora hat, or a full brimmed hat like the ones we have at home. I also got a knee lengthened wool jacket from an elder that left, and it's way warm and way classy. It was actually a little big, so I took in the back, adjusted the buttons, and am still working on fixing the pockets that the elder had ripped up. I love it though. I'll have to get a picture in it. I also have a scarf, gloves, boots, and sweaters, so I should be all set. Tell Megan thanks, for sure. Jonathan also gave me some money as well, and everyone else. I've only spent 15000 dram, or about $45. 1 dollar = 387 dram(Armenian money) right now. I'll probably have someone make me mittens and another sweater or something as well. I don't know about a Santa hat, but we actually did randomly see someone wearing one the other day.
Elder King is from Massachusetts. He's about an inch or two taller than me with blonde hair and glasses. He loves chopping wood, which we have been doing a lot lately. He also has a good imagination and dreams of doing crazy things like living underground in Alaska with elder White, his good friend.
A little about our apartment and things, we heat our apartment with a pedge, or gas heater like our fireplace. We have three big rooms, so we have to close it all off in order to heat it up our room faster. A lot of people do that here, is pretty much live in one room in the winter because it's easier to heat. Water only comes for a couple of hours every day, so we fill up a big tank called a bak (pronounced like J.S. "Bach") that looks like a fish tank and sits above our tub. There's electrical things that go into the water that we turn on every night to heat it for a shower in the morning. Then that water lasts the whole day. It's pretty neat.
Another interesting thing is our transportation. We can either walk, take a taxi (500 - 1000 dram), take a marshutni which we usually do (100 dram), or a big old slow bus (70 dram). Marshutnis are funny. They are like a skinny Astro van with about ten or eleven seats, however, we can fit about twenty people in. It's pretty squished sometimes. It's nice, though, people are really good about letting the elderly sit down. Sometimes it's hard to find something to grab and you get jostled around a little.
Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving. Mine will be fine. Who's all getting together? Thanks for your list of things your grateful for, it was really nice. We've got such a wonderful family. I love you. Have a great week. Let me know if you have any other questions, it's hard to know what you don't know. Talk to you later.
Elder Bruce Wainwright
Jnl 11/16/09 Mon
I am so glad that Zhirar wants to come to church with us. (Elder King has been teaching him English for three or four months. He used to be a runner. He's super nice. A great man, especially for Armenians). He really is our friend and doesn't want to lose this good friendship. He is worried about when elder King will leave. That's one thing that Elder King is really good at, is making people feel special, and being a good friend. Hamlet and Sako both feel very close to Elder King as well. That is something I need to work on, is expressing and showing how much I care about people.
Jnl 11/18/09 Wed
I've decided that one thing I want to work on in my mission is my relationship with God and the Savior. If I can go home knowing that I made those two relationships stronger than before my mission, I will feel content. I want to always be able to trust the Lord, and I want Him to always be able to trust me.
I also hope I can have a positive, productive relationship with every one of my companions as well. We should motivate each other to be better.
Jnl 11/22/09 Sun
I just had a thought yesterday. It seems like so much in my life I want to be somewhere else than where I am. I wonder why that is? It seems like no matter what I'm doing, there could be something even better that I could do. I don't want it to be that way. I want to be content. I want to always be able to make the most out of whatever situation I'm in. I also want to be able to always appreciate who I am with and try to build a good relationship with them. It's so important to cherish the moments we're given by God every day. I know he's watching over us, and every single experience we have in this life can be for our good if we let it. I'm so grateful for the life God has given to me.