Armenian Time

Monday, July 18, 2011

Final Post

Dear family and friends,

Well, time is up. It's been an amazing and humbling two years. I will be ever indebted to the Lord for all the ways he has blessed me, led me, and taught me. As much as we try and give to God, he always gives us more in return. I'm so grateful for this life that he has blessed me with, and I hope that I can use it in such a way that I will be ready to live in his presence and with all of you. I'm grateful for good examples in this life. They make life a lot easier and strengthen our hope. I'm grateful to have been able to serve the Lord amongst the humble people of Armenia. I have a lot of hope for the people here. I know that happiness and success in life only come from following Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and will show us the way. Any other way leads to misery and captivity. I'm so grateful that we have living prophets who are called of God and will help us find our way in the darkness of these days. God's works are so amazing and I hope I can continue to be a part of that as I stay worthy of the Spirit throughout my life.

I will never forget the people I was able to serve and to serve with. I wish all of you peace and happiness. I'm excited to be back with you, but I will also miss this work. Take care.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The work is going alright. I went on exchanges this week and I think it went well. We're still trying to find people who are ready to progress, but our teaching pool is getting larger.

The sisters had an wonderful baptism before they left. The man, Harut, is a wonderful, humble man who knows the bible very well. He has great faith and has learned much through revelation already. I think he really wanted to be baptized in a river and God wanted to give him that, because that's what happened. We got up early to fill the baptismal font and halfway through I realized the water was pretty dirty. So we drained it and started again. When it was about a foot high again the water stopped. Water is very rarely on 100% of the time here. The meeting was about to start and President Carter had even came up from Yerevan to see the Sisters' last baptism. President Carter suggested to drive to Gyumri, but Harut said "I know where some water is." We went to the stream and there was just about enough water to make it happen. The service was very nice and everything worked out. It seemed like that was how God wanted it to be.

Well, I don't know of anything I need. We're going to visit a nearby town for Prep-Day today. I'm so excited to see all the family. I miss you so much. It doesn't even seem real yet. I hope you know how much I love you and am grateful for all you and Dad, and everyone has done for me in my life. Take care.

Elder Bruce Wainwright

The next two weeks are going to fly by. Elder Lowe and I are going up to Alaverdi again to see how the members are doing. A few of them have been making it to church lately. I also have to go to Yerevan for some District Leader Training. The work is going pretty well. We had to drop a few investigators, but we started teaching two old investigators. One is a really good kid named Herbert. He's seventeen, so we need to get permission from his parents (he's living with a member grandmother who actually just went through the temple). It sounded like the six that went to the temple had a great experience. I'm way excited to be able to go again. It has been so long. How blessed we are to have a temple five minutes away, let alone thirteen in one state. We have another investigator woman that the sisters were teaching before they left that should have a baptismal interview right after I leave.

I feel a little bad for Elder Smith right now. All the missionaries around him are going home. The two sisters that were here went home together three weeks ago, and now Elder Lowe and I are leaving. He's a great missionary and super hard worker. I hope I have been a good companion and trainer for him. I haven't even had to push him because he does it all by himself. Both missionaries I trained were like that. They made me want to be better. I think that's what a true friend should do, is help you be the best you.

Well, I'm excited to see everyone. I'm sad to leave as well. I hope I can remember all that I have learned here. I'm really going to miss the people I've been able to work with. I trust the hands that they're being left in.
Love Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, June 27, 2011


This week went by pretty well. I realized I really don't have that much time left. I set some goals for things I want to accomplish before I leave, which should help me be able to keep sprinting to the end, like Dad was talking about. I hope I have given all that I could have. There is still so much to learn and so much to work on. This life really does seem so short and precious. There's also a lot weighing on it.

We found some good people to work with this week. Sadly, the kid that had set a baptismal date dissappeared soon after so we haven't been able to meet with him. We found a couple new people to meet with, however, and I'm excited to work with them. One is a man who lived in America for 30 years, but is now here and married and has a kid. His mother recently passed away and he had some other bad experiences that kind of made him wake up and want to be a better man. He's a great man and a good father. I hope he will be ready to act so that we can help him. We're also going to start teaching the father of a girl who just got back from a mission in Ukraine. He's a really nice man and I'm excited to work with him.

We had some good laughs at Aram and Susanna's house this week. They're a great couple. Elder Smith seems to be getting more comfortable and is doing amazing with the language. Oh yeah, six people are going to the temple this week! A family is getting sealed! I am so happy for them. There's not very many of those. This is the second for Vanadzor.Things are slowly but surely going forward.

The last picture is of my bibles. I've been studying Acts this week in three translations of Armenian alongside the English copy. It's helping with my Armenian and it helps me understand the verses better as well. Elder Scott encouraged the saints here to study the scriptures in multiple languages. The Joseph Smith Translation is still by far the best help, though.

Well, that's that. Sounds like things are going well. Even though I can't believe it I'll be back so soon. I love you all so much. Thank you for your faithful writing, mom. Take care.

Much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Happy Father's Day Dad,

Thank you for your letter. I like your analogy of the marathon. I'll try and sprint to the end. It's really easy because of my companion. He's doing so well and helps me want to be better. Both missionaries that I've trained have been like that.

I hope you had a nice Father's Day. You deserve it. I feel like you have been a very successful father. I know you're not perfect, but you are a great example to me in so many ways. Our lesson in priesthood this week was on honesty, and I know that I can look up to you as an honest man in all your dealings. They were talking about how in these days and in this country it's practically impossible to not lie or cheat. I know you have always tried to do your best, simply because you love people and you want to serve them. Some other things that I have learned from you are how to work hard, how to have fun while doing that, how to take care of others and help them have fun, how to be aware of opportunities to serve, and many other things. We have been greatly blessed with the family we have and I am so grateful to how you and mom have raised me and helped me overcome my weaknesses and challenges, and encouraged me to be better.

I am eternally grateful for the experiences I have had on this mission and I hope that I have been able to serve to my full potential. I love these people and pray that God continues to bless and lead them. I'm grateful for our Heavenly Father and family as well. He blesses me with more than I deserve. I hope I can faithfully follow my Savior as you and Mom are trying to do. I love you so much Dad and can't wait to see you again. Thank you for your great advice, love, and support.

Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, June 13, 2011


This week went well. We didn't find any new investigators for the second week, now, which is not good. We tried to meet with a nice kid who speaks english and invited us to help him with an English club. He has lived in America for two years and seems like a good kid. He said he'd be interested to learn about our church and our purpose here, so we're trying to meet up with him, even though it hasn't worked out so far. We're also trying to work with two part member families which would be so wonderful if they worked out.

Elder Smith is doing great. His understanding and speaking abilities are improving, which will make life a lot easier for him. He wants to be able to teach people the gospel so bad. I hope we can find some good people to work with.

Elder Lowe and I went up to Alaverdi this week with the Branch President and Relief Society President. It was really good that they came with us. It felt like the absence of missionaries and the distance to the church was already starting to have an effect upon the members there. This will be a test of their faith for sure, because of the distance they have to travel to come to church and the cost. Elder Lowe and I love the people there so much.

It has been raining here like crazy. There have been about three days with no rain. We're surrounded by mountains, so it will be sunny one moment and pouring rain another. I heard Utah has a ton of snow that is going to start melting soon. Hopefully there's not too many floods and such.

Well I love you Mom and Dad. I love this work and can't believe how little time I have left. I hope I can continue to learn much in the next 6 weeks while helping as many people as I can.

Love you.
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, June 6, 2011


Elder Smith and I had a pretty good week. We didn't get done all that we wanted to. A lot of our plans didn't work out how we wanted them to. It's hard for us to teach in unity right now if we aren't able to specifically plan up for our meetings, since Elder Smith is still so new. Maybe I just need to stop talking. It's hard. Especially because I'm not sure if our investigators are progressing or not right now. We might have to leave them and continue finding people who are ready to act. Samvel came to church and sat next to his member friend, but he doesn't like to read by himself, so he can't really get a testimony.

Sister Hallowell's grandfather passed away this week. That was hard since she leaves in less than a month. If I remember right, Grandpa passed away right after Crystal got back. The sisters are always such amazing missionaries.

We started teaching some interesting people this week. Their names are Vartan and Berta. I like them a lot, but I don't think we're going to be able to meet with them very much. They have some confusing ideas, and don't seem very open minded, even though the seem to be looking for truth. They kind of feel like all churches have the truth. It was also sad that Berta (female) said she felt like church was weak or a thing for children. We get what we want I guess. Vartan is a little different, but is a talented man. He played us some songs on the piano and sang and I really liked it.

We've been checking up on everyone on the branch list that aren't coming this week, and I think we had one success. We met with a lady named Ofik. She had gotten offended from someone and that's why she hadn't come for so long. It's sad that the actions of one person, whether or not they are right, can make someone decide to seperate themselves from God and lose their blessings. I hope she can forgive and come back. She would be losing so many blessings. Staying on the right path is so worth it, but seems so hard.

Anyway, that was the week. We're going to work a lot through the members this week. We're actually going to plan a fireside where we can teach the members what their role is in the work. Then there will be another fireside they can invite friends and family to. Elder Lowe and I are going to go up to Alaverdi this week also, to encourage them to come to church. That'll be nice. I hope all is well. Thanks for the BYU email, I'll have to sign up for classes next monday. Love you all so much.

Love, Elder Bruce Wainwright


Well, training is going pretty well. It's somewhat stressful, but I'm glad that I am training right now. Elder Smith is a great missionary. He's from South Jordan. He's a very hard worker and doesn't ever want to stop studying or working. I hope I can help him have a good start to his mission. I forget how hard it is to not be able to understand people. He wants to know the language so bad, even though he's doing very well. We're starting to warm up to each other and have more fun together and trust for each other. We found some new investigators that seem like good people this week. One is an older woman who has attended a pentacostal church (which is very popular in Armenia right now right behind Jehovah's Witnesses and the Armenian church of course) for a few years but didn't like some things she was seeing. She lived alone, but has taken in a man who is a little emotionally different but has a pure spirit and is a pretty good musician. There nice people and I'm excited to work with them. Our branch president was really kind to them. I love our Branch President. I've gained a lot of respect for him. He has a daughter serving in Ukraine right now.

Well, I hope everything's good. President Carter invited us to his house for Preperation Day today, so our district and another district is going to have root beer floats and maybe play some games. I like how President Carter leads us. He's a great leader and I've learned so much from him. Tell the Farnsworths that I'll be praying for them. I love you dad.

With much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright
Hey Mom,
Thanks for being so wonderful. You should have Hykoohee email me. I would be interested to talk to her about a lot of things, especially what she thinks of America. People here idolize America and many think of it as paradise and the answer to all their problems. What they don't realize is that we have actually come to bring the answer to all problems to Armenia. We had an interesting conversation with a pretty devout member of the Armenian church, in english, where he starting asking why we came to preach to christians and to really think about what we believe. Elder Smith handled it very well and bore a strong testimony, even though the man didn't want to listen. He was pretty excited afterwards. And then, this was pretty random, a man named Bob Stone from Michigan or somewhere came and said hi (in english). He was an interesting man. He also didn't want to listen but he said he had only talked to nice missionaries, which was a nice compliment. We obviously wanted to know what he was doing way out here in Armenia, and he appearantly was just living here because it was cheap. I think he was waiting for stock to go up, or something. He was a funny guy, but I imagine he's got to be somewhat lonely. That's the second interesting man I've met lately who is not married and doesn't seem like that's very high on the priority list.

That's about how our week went. I hope all is well with you. That's wonderful that Matt got to go through the temple. I'm way excited for him and his mission. I love you all. Love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright


Well, my trainee is here. We're in the same area, and the zone leaders are now the two district leaders that were serving under me. Funny, huh. And now I am one of their district leaders. Elder Smith is his name. My trainee. He is a great missionary. He has a lot of excitement and is very diligent. He is diligent both in the language and with the work. He really wants to love the people and make a difference. I think he'll grow up to be a fine missionary. He's going to be speaking the language very well very soon if he keeps working at it like he is. I liked your advice to make sure to have time to laugh and enjoy ourselves. I'll try and do that. I think it can take people a while sometimes to understand my sense of humor. I think we're going to do good work together, though. He's willing to put himself out and teach, even when it's hard. Understanding is still pretty hard, but it'll come. I forget how hard it was to strain to differentiate words from each other, let alone understand what they're asking or saying. It really does take the Holy Ghost for us to be able to understand each other.

This is interesting, there have been three branches (or six I guess) that have been merged together in the last month or so. Alaverdi is now part of Vanadzor. I think it's going to be a big faith tester for the members, but I hope it will help them grow stronger and try even harder. If they come, it has to be on their own bill, which won't be easy. President Schwitzer and the Eastern Europe Area Presidency have counseled to focus on centers of strength. That's one of the main reasons why they did it. President Carter is trying to lay the foundations for a stake in Armenia. There's a long way to go, but I can see how it will help.

Anyway, better go. It's been great. I'll have to tell you how things are going next week. Love you so much.
With much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, May 9, 2011


We met some really nice people this week. One of them is Karen who is an intelligent less-active man that we visited. Elder Crawford said Karen is his favorite less-active member in Armenia. He's a quiet man who likes to think and talk about people and try to solve the problems of the world. He's a little sick, but is starting to exercise and is trying to prepare to receive a calling. We want to try and do some service for him this week. I like him a lot.

We also met with two sisters who are preparing for baptism. They are wonderful women. Both are very happy and very pleasant. They are so willing to change. Elder Crawford taught about the Word of Wisdom last lesson and they had quit drinking coffee before we met again, because "if a prophet asked [them] to do it, then [they] better do it." One of the sisters had met with missionaries before, but didn't feel right about it and she said this last time that she realized God wanted her to wait for her sister who is less spiritual and who was here for a month or two from Russia. Elder Crawford is really excited for them, and I am too.

We decided to do a deep cleaning in our house today. It needs it pretty bad. We got a good start already this morning. This apartment has been a Zone Leader apartment for at least three years, so that means a lot of missionaries have gone home from here and over the years the things they've left behind have been gathering. It's a nice apartment, but it will be much nicer when it is de-junked. It will be nice.

Well, that's what's happening here. I'm way excited to be able to talk to you next week. I love you so much. Thank you for everything and for being so great. Tell Gary to take care of himself. I don't like scary dogs either. Now I know why Ionut is so afraid of dogs. Wild dogs running around on the streets are not the same as well taken care of dogs. Love you.

Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, April 25, 2011


Dear Mom and Dad and family,

I had a very nice Easter. Church was very spiritual for me. During personal study, I read from Jesus the Christ about Christ's death and resurrection, which helped me be prepared to remember Him throughout the day. There were nice talks in church and good lessons. What was most memerable, however, was the Easter fireside we had afterword. Right after church, we all had an easter meal together while we got ready for the fireside. It was a simple fireside, but powerful. We watched the Lamb of God video in Russian and then read portions of The Living Christ with five songs in between by our choir and missionaries. Sister Blunck and the sisters made it all happen. I was honored to conduct it and thoroughly enjoyed it but sort of messed up the last phrase, but it was very nice. The Alaverdi Branch came down to Vanadzor (which is where I have been since right after new years) to participate, so there was plenty of people. Elder Blunck invited the Vanadzor Orchestra director, Rudolf Grigorich, to come and he came. He also tuned our piano, which I found out takes about four hours! And I thought the violin was hard to tune. Speaking of, I don't even get to really use the piano because Elder Crawford and I finally got put together, so I will be going to the other Vanadzor area. He goes home in less than a month and I only have three months! That's crazy. I'm excited to serve with him. I'll miss Elder Peterson and our investigators. Ohan should be baptized soon. His interview is in two weeks. I didn't think he'd make it, but I think he will. Gevorg finally came to church. We haven't seen him for two weeks because of work. He has changed so much as well, I hope he can keep going. We found a cool family who live below our new apartment. They all have diabetes and Arakel, the dad, hasn't left the house in three years, but he got really excited when we started teaching him about Christ. We went over to wish them Happy Easter and he wants us to come back. Our land lady feeds us cake every time we go over. It's so hard to refuse Armenians. You almost have to be rude to say no. Elder Peterson and I are working on how to say no to cake:)
I love you so much. I hope you have a great week.

Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, April 18, 2011


Hi Mom,
Elder Peterson and I have had a pretty good week. We moved into a new apartment for its location and it's really nice. It's the nicest one I've been in, except for a few days at one in Yerevan. I'll probably stay here until the end of my mission.

We had to do some translating today for our Branch President and Senior elder Elder Blunck (He's from Santa Clara by the way), so we don't have much time. I love our Branch President. He is trying so hard to do things the right way and to help this branch go forward. He is far from perfect, as we all are, but I can see how the Lord is working through him to help this branch go forward. I love that the church is living and growing and changing all the time. We should be as well. Elder Peterson and I have some good things to work on this week, which should be good, having more efficient meetings, opening our mouths and testifying more, eating less sweets and things like that. As of right now I don't know if anyone is super close to being baptized. A less active mother of a large family of 7 kids came back to church, which was wonderful. The branch president is teaching her how the welfare system is supposed to work, and I think it will help her. Taking care of the poor in the Lord's way takes a lot of work. It's not just as simple as giving them what they need, but trying to help them become independent so they can continue to help others. Actually, I feel like that same principle applies to the gospel and our spiritual welfare. Anyway, I have gained a lot of respect for our Branch President and am grateful to be serving with him. Elder Peterson and I decided to make him some cookies and bring them to his house. When we went, his sister-in-law was there and we were able to help invite her to church. That was a nice little blessing, even though she didn't make it. Hopefully we can give her and her family another opportunity soon and invite them better.

Well, I love you. Thank you so much for caring for me and always writing. Thank you for your good examples and good advice. I hope that you have a great week. Tell dad and the family that I love them so much.

Much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, April 11, 2011


Dear Mom,
Thank you for the nice letter. I love hearing your thoughts. I can also always feel your love in your letters. Thank you for the pictures of all the kids, too. It looks like it probably is a little chaotic. I'm sure they will love those memories of times they were together, though. I'm grateful I was able to have close contact with all of our cousins. They are some of my best friends. I agree with you in that I have at least four good examples of good parents in our immediate family, besides both grandparents and everyone else in our family.
Conference was amazing, as always. I feel like there is so much more to the talks than I was actually understanding, but I learned a lot and feel like I have found some things to work on. I actually like Elder Christofferson's talk on chastisement (if I am remembering correctly). He said that we should be looking for correction. I like that way of thinking. I think repentance should be like that, us asking for help to overcome something we don't understand or are having a hard time with. I don't know what my favorite talk would be. I also loved Elder Scott's like dad did. I think dad is a good example of a lot of the things he was talking about. Elder Scott sure loved his wife. I like how he said he will be even more in love after this time they have been seperated. Some of the focuses I saw in conference were the closeness of the second coming and need to prepare and share, the family of course, and caring for the poor. In my mind, I see caring for the poor as similar to sharing the gospel. In sharing the gospel, we teach people how to improve their relationship with heavenly father so that they can follow him for themselves and then take care of other people, but they rely on the faith of others in the beginning. In caring for the poor, we share with them something that we have (time, talents, physical labor, money) and help them learn to take care of themselves so that they can take care of their family and others as well. It's like "one eternal round." Things seem so clear while listening to the prophets.
We're moving into a smaller, but nicer apartment this week. It's closer to our area but still in the city part, so that should be nice. Elder Peterson is amazing. He's doing very well with the language. I'm trying to continue to focus on improving my language as well. It's easy to get laxed with an alright ability. I would describe Elder Peterson in one word with "bubbly." He has a kind lighthearted personality and is a hard worker. Good man. We're working on getting on time and having shorter meetings. It's hard, but I think it will make a big difference. We're also working on opening our mouths more and testifying to people more. I realized a big part of that is just being friendly so that people have an opportunity to talk to us.
We haven't seen Gevorg all week. I'm worried about him. He had grown so much. I hope we don't lose him like this. Ohan isn't doing well either. Davit came to church and seems to be doing well, but he needs to get more into the Book of Mormon. We're working with our other investigators this week as well and we started teaching a family of old investigators. It's hard to tell how things are really going this week, it was a busy week.
I'll try to get a Khorovatz recipe. It's like smoked barbeque over some coals (the best smoke comes from dried grape vines), and it's very tasty. They marinate it not in juice like we do, but in chopped onion, garlic, greens (like parsley and sillantro), thyme, and other things. Maybe just a little vinegar. That's just what I observed, but I'll ask. My favorite Armenian food is the shaurma. I think it's actually a turkish or persian food originally, but they're very good. They cook usually pork and cut it into small pieces and then wrap greens, onion, tomatoe, cucumber, or pickled things with just some mayonaise and ketchup into lavash, which is like a tortilla. I love them. The best I've had are at a place here in Vanadzor and a place in Gyumri. It's like the only fast food here. I'll have to learn how to make them before I go.
Well I must be going. Love you all so much. Take care.
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Friday, April 1, 2011


Hey Mom,
Gevorg and Ohan are doing well. I wouldn't say there has been a ton of progress since last week, but we are trying to help them to have more spiritual experiences while reading, praying, and at church. That's something that doesn't come easy I've realized. You have to work for it and also know what you are looking for. I think a big focus of the selections from Preach My Gospel that we have been learning is how to help people have spiritual experiences. Davit wasn't able to come to church this week, but he wants to quit smoking and is coming to a lot of our meetings with us. I love his happy personality, despite the hard life he has lived. Or maybe it is partly because of that.
That's sad that Brother Payne passed away. He was a great home teacher and a wonderful man. I miss listening to and playing good music. I wish I could have had my violin here with me. I'm sure it would have been handy. One of the senior couples began learning the violin before he came, so he bought a violin here and tries to play a few minutes every night. I agree that music is a wonderful way to connect to the soul. Tell Christy shnorhavor with her marraige. Or as the Armenians would say: Bari bacht (Good luck!).
Elder Frye and I had a fun week this week. He's doing very good. We had a little companion exchange, and I think that was good for him. Elder Crawford and I have to travel so much! I don't know if there has been a week where we haven't either gone to Gyumri or Yerevan. I love Elder Crawford so much. He's a good example. He has a very fun personality and he is willing to be obedient and to work very hard. He is also a thinker and is always analyzing and trying to do things better. He's not a bad rhymer and rapper as well. I basically have two companions right now, which I kind of like.
We had an interesting experience at Armine's house this week. We are trying to work with her husband, but he drinks a bit and isn't sure what he believes about this life and God. We tried to have a family home evening with them, but he was drunk and it didn't work out. He wanted to dance with us, but we decided we'd better try another time. (That should explain the picture with the man hugging Elder Frye). Suren's a good guy. I hope he can overcome his problems soon. His family wants to help him so bad.
Well, that's all I have to say, except that you are so amazing. Thank you so much for praying for me and doing so much and for having done so much for me. I hope I can better realize how blessed I am. Say hi to all the kids for me. much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Dear Mom and Dad,

I liked what you learned from your lessons, Mom. I just started reading Jesus the Christ again during our lunches (I only ever got a few chapters into it). It's amazing how much James E. Talmage knows. Hopefully it will help me better relate to the scriptures and better understand Christ's teachings. I already feel like I can relate a lot better to the scriptures, especially the New Testament, from being a missionary. We're basically continuing the same work that they started. Our Zone Conference this week was all about the Book of Mormon and how we can use it more and better. I feel like that was something we needed to focus on and I'm excited to see the results. I personally want to strengthen my own testimony of the book, its importance, and its reality.

I've been a little sick this week, so we didn't have a ton of meetings, but there was still some good things that happened. Gevorg, our investigator quit smoking. On Sunday, he said he had quit for four days and was pretty excited. I could see a difference in him and in the light in his eyes. If he can keep reading and praying, I think he'll be ready for baptism. We also met with Kristine again. She still hasn't set a date to be baptized, but she seems to be doing well. We felt like we might be able to do a better job at helping her resolve her concerns.

Not much else happened. We might be moving apartments soon, so it's closer to our area. The one we want is pretty nice inside. Oh this Sunday was really nice. The deaf man, who just got baptized, gave a talk in sacrament with his family and it was really spiritual. I think that's one of the first times that big of a family has spoken like that. We also have an open house at the church this weekend, which should go well. I like this branch a lot, and my respect for the Branch President is always growing.

I miss you all and hope that everything is good and well. Happy Saint Patrick's Day this week.

With much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


3-7-11 Dear Mom,
I don't need better boots. I have yak traks that you put on the bottom, but it's just not worth it always. The snow has kept on coming, but it melts pretty fast and should all be gone soon anyway. I've enjoyed it though. Sounds like Bryce will still have some opportunity to enjoy the cold as well.

I can't wait to get back and be able to go hiking with everyone. Dad has really taught us how to have good fun together. I was thinking about families lately. Armenians are interesting to me because families are very important to them, but they don't seem to be able to know how to show their love towards each other. Teaching with love seems like such an important principle in successful families. I think the teaching in families is decreasing. Maybe that's why they had the talk about courageous parents in the last conference.

Gevorg has a date for the 19th of March, but we'll probably change it at least one week back. Kristine didn't come to church, but I think she'll figure things out. This week I went to Gyumri for exchanges with the District leader. It was nice to be able to see some of the changes that have happened in the last year and to see Sako again and some other wonderful people. Sako is married and his wife and mother have been baptized. He's the one Elder King and I taught. He seemed to have grown a lot, but he's going to Russia for a year or so to work alone. I hope it's not too hard on him. He said he'll still be sending tithing home and studying. He's a good guy. The Elders there needed a boost and I feel like it helped them.

I'm sorry this isn't as long of a letter. My stomach is really rumbly today, so maybe that has something to do with it. It was a good week, though, and I'm excited for next week. The time is flying so fast for me. I feel like I am becoming a better missionary all the time, and hopefully a better person too. I love you all so much. It's so comforting to not even have to doubt wether or not you love me. Take care.
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Monday, February 28, 2011


Elder Frye and I were finally able to have some good time in our area, and I feel like it did us good. I love Elder Frye and I feel like we are both growing together. He had to go on exchanges with Elder Peterson who is less than a week in country and I feel like it helped them grow. E. Frye's Armenian has grown a lot, even though he still struggles. He's starting to get a flow of progress. It's hard for me to give him opportunities to talk and teach, but it is getting better. He'll usually start off the meeting and say as much as he can, then I'll back him up. We had a good meeting with Kristine at the Blunck's apartment so that she wouldn't be distracted by her daughter. It was very powerful. I don't think she's going to get baptized yet, but she know's what she needs to do to prepare. We kind of need to leave her alone for a little while and that will hopefully help her be prepared to progress soon. There's a lot of reasons, but she just needs to strengthen her faith. We gave Gevorg a baptismal date. That was exciting. It's been a while since anyone has accepted one. Also, Armine's husband asked me to sit down and talk to him while Armine(from the picture) was cutting my companion's hair. We had a good talk. Just a few weeks ago he didn't even want us to come. He's a nice guy, but drinks a lot. His family wants him to be converted so bad. We also started meeting with one of their family friends. We have a lot of work to do and I hope it goes well.

Otherwise, things have been going well. I've only slipped on the ice like seven, eight, or nine times. Elder Frye hasn't fallen so far. I had a pretty good one that reminded me of the Patrick McMannis short story "How to Go Splat." I went to step off the sidewalk and somehow managed to get my feet above my head while pushing off the ground with my hand not holding a Book of Mormon so I wouldn't hit hard. I'm sure it looked quite nice, I just forget to yell something clever like: Geronimo!

This week, Elder Crawford and I decided we need to do companionship exchanges with Gyumri because they've been having a rough time finding new people to meet with. The work, and maybe the branch too, seems to be a little dead and might have some problems, which have been wearing on the missionaries, so we're hoping this will help them. We have some great missionaries here, and I like the new ones a lot.

Monday, February 21, 2011


It really is hard to know how to best help people. God is the best example, though. Being a missionary and teacher for others and especially being a leader, I have been thinking about how we can best influence others for good and lead them. The best help I've found so far is from something that Joseph Smith said. Someone was asking how he governed all the members specifically with welfare I believe, and he said I teach them correct princeples and they govern themselves. The teaching method that the brethren teach us is to: explain, demonstrate, practice, evaluate, and re-practice. In order to demonstrate it, we need to ourselves be living what we preach. As far as I can tell, that's the best way I know to lead. I feel like you and Dad have done a wonderful job at leading and teaching Bryce and I. I don't really know how you raised the other kids, but I feel prepared to make wise decisions on my own.

I've been out of my area a lot this week, so it's been a little crazy, but I got to see some people in Center and in Alaverdi, which I loved. It's nice to remember everyone I have worked with and to see that many of them are still working with the missionaries and trying to progress. It's not an easy work, but the results are worth everything. God has so much love for us. I am trying to gain that love for others. He is quite a patient God as well.

I'm sorry, but I have to go. I would love to talk to you more. Someday. Here's a picture of Armine and her two girls. They're amazing members. Armine calls all the missionaries her boys. She feeds us a ton every time we go over and knit me a nice beenie. Elder Thylin came through with his dad before he leaves to Sweden. I served in Center with him if you don't remember. Great guy.
I love you so much. Have a nice week. Love, Elder Bruce Wainwright

Friday, February 18, 2011


2-14-11 The work was a little slow this week. We haven't been able to have consistent contact with our investigators. We're working with a woman named Kristine and her aunt that she lives with. Her daughter has some health problems and it is hard for Kristine. She seems to have a hard time trusting God, and her life revolves around her daughter. It can make it hard to teach her. She's a wonderful woman and she knows the church is true, but seems to not be ready to put her trust in God by getting baptized and fully giving up her will for God's. It's hard to know how to help her. We want to help her build her faith, but we can only do so much. I guess it's like what Joseph Smith said about leadership, we have to teach correct principles and let them govern themselves. We haven't been able to meet with Garnik, the taxi driver again, but we gave him the last conference edition so he can read it in his car. He's a nice guy, I hope we can help him. We also had a marshutni driver ( those van-like buses) that invited us to his house. He said he already had a Joseph Smith pamphlet. It might not work out with him, however.

Tell everyone hello. I miss you all and can't wait to sit and talk about good things. I love you so much.

Love,  Elder Bruce Wainwright

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Yes, I feel like we are still being blessed in the work. I am really trying to do a better job at helping people "come unto Christ" and encourage them to really change their lives. That's why we're here. This is the only way back to Heavenly Father and to recieve peace and happiness. I'm trying to strengthen my understanding and testimony of the Atonement of Christ so that I can better help people. I read an article from the December Ensign about teaching children the Gospel. There were some good points in there and I feel like in a way that's what I'm doing now and what i will have to do in the future. I feel like I am really learning how to make a difference in the lives of others, or at least I would like to do that. It's not easy, especially to do it well. I want to try and learn from the example of Christ and his other servants in the scriptures and that we have today. Anyway, those are just some of the things I've been thinking about lately.

This week I had an interesting experience. When Elder Crawford and I were driving back from a Gyumri meeting, our taxi broke down and we had to wait an hour for someone to bring a car part. I started reading from the Plan of Salvation pamphlet to try and make use of the time, but started falling asleep. Our nice taxi driver, Garnik, got in the car and I woke up. I asked if he had one of the pamphlets from the missionaries. He didn't, so I offered to read it to him and he agreed. We had a nice discussion as we read it. He said he had invited Elder Cheney to his house, but it didn't work out. We planned up and were able to go to his house and have a nice meeting with his family. I felt like God gave us that opportunity to share some of our message with him and I hope we can help him and his family change their lives and come unto Christ.

This week Elder Blunck, the senior missionary in Vanadzor, has come to a few meetings with us this week. He is an amazing guy and has so much energy. He's pretty sparatic sometimes and loves to make people laugh. I really enjoyed spending time with him. I think there's a lot I can learn from him. It's been a good week overall, and I feel quite happy.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Hi Mom and Dad,

I didn't do my ecclesiastical endorsement because I don't think I need another one. I'm trying to finish the scholarship applications though, so I might have to be brief.

A zone leader mostly has the responsibility of being an example. We keep track of key indicators that help us know what are things we can discuss or help with. It doesn't interfere very much with the work. We have only two districts of two (Gyumri District) and four companionships (from Alaverdi and Vanadzor) with one of those being sisters. We have meetings with the other Zone Leaders and discuss the work and we attend District Meetings. It's pretty simple and I feel like our biggest responsibility is to be an example of living the gospel, being obedient and effective. I felt really good about the work this week. We are building our relationships with those we are serving and we found four new people to teach. Two are younger men, so I'm excited to work with them. As far as helping my companion, we are just trying to plan out our lessons well and I am trying to teach him principles occasionally. It's a frustrating thing to not be able to communicate with others. Elder Frye's always progressing though.

Armenians are always talking about dreams they see with Christ or some other profound experience. I think they might be a visionary people. Anyway, one of the ladies we found this week said she has always considered herself an athiest, but has had a few dreams lately that have caused her to really want to attend some church. She must have been ready to find us, because she committed herself to come with us to church and we thought it'd be good if we agreed. She came and loved it. I hope we can help her come to know her Heavenly Father and his plans for her and her family. We met some other nice people as well. One of them is this woman I'm sending a picture of and her somewhat handicapped son. I'm not sure what's the matter with him, but he just has some problems. They invited us over, though, and loved having us there. It was a nice week.

Well, I hope all is well and that the college stuff works out. Good luck with everything you are working on. I hope you are all happy and healthy.

Much love,
Elder Bruce Wainwright

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This week has been a little hard to get meetings with people, but it is getting better. My companion is new here and is still struggling with the language, so we're slowly building up our teaching pool. We're also trying to define the areas for the two elder companionships and sisters. It should get easier from here on out, though. My favorite part of this work is the relationships we get to build up with the investigators we teach and the members we help. I love the time I get to spend with these people that I care about and that the Lord loves so much.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well, my time in Alaverdi has already passed. I am now serving in Vanadzor as a Zone Leader. It's kind of different than normal, though, because I am now finishing the training of Elder Larson's companion while being Zone Leader with Elder Crawford. Elder Larson is now with my companion. I don't know if that even makes sense to you. My companion's name is Elder Frye. He's a great guy. He's struggling a little with the language, but it will come. I only now realized how amazing Elder Kurth was really doing with Armenian. I really didn't have to do much to help him, but now I hope I can help Elder Frye. I also have gone from the newest branch in Armenia to one of the most developed. I'm sure I will be able to love the people here like I was able to in Alaverdi. I really am grateful that God has blessed me to feel love for these people. I'm excited to get into the work here, and I hope Alaverdi continues to go forward. I hope I can learn how to be a good Zone Leader. I still have questions about what a District Leader is supposed to do. Although, I do feel like it is giving me an opportunity to serve others, develop greater love, and to learn (as it says in the white handbook). I feel like I'm growing a lot, and I hope that my feelings prove to be true.

Before I left Alaverdi, we had a great meeting with a 20 year old guy named Hamo who is our investigator. We are amazed by him. He wants to start a business effort in Alaverdi, he walks to church with us, he quit smoking without us asking him to, he is reading from the Book of Mormon and I believe he will be baptized in the near future. He's a nice kid and I hope he can continue being the great man that he is.

Well, Christmas and New Years wasn't the same without you. I hope we can be together next year. I haven't done any college applications for grants, scholarships, or anything. If you, Brandon, Mark, or Crystal have any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. I think the deadline for those is Feb 1. Time is flying. Love you all.

Elder Bruce Wainwright

Tuesday, January 4, 2011