Hello everyone from a small hole in the wall/internet parlor in Armenia! I don't even know where to start. It has been a very eventful few days. First off know that I am loving this, every second of it. My companion/trainer is on his last transfer so he is great with the language and everything else. His name is Elder Wood, first name Micah. He is a stud of a guy and even better missionary. He speaks like a native and everyone is shocked when they see this white boy from Utah speak better than them. Then they see me and think I am Russian and speak Russian and I'm still lost haha. I am doing well with the language and I get by especially with the help of Elder wood, hes awesome, I have never met anyone so loving and non judgmental as he is.
Well I have some big news. At the mission home, we were told by the Mission President that one of us and our trainers would open up a new area in the northern part of Armenia called Aliverde. It hasn't been opened for 4 years and that one of us would open this area with our trainer. Well...I wouldn't be telling you this if I wasn't the one that will be opening this new area. I am excited and feel honored that my trainer and I were selected for this area. From what I've heard, some of the AP's thought they were going to open Aliverdi and they were just as surprised as I was when president said that my companion and I would be opening it. So I am grateful and will do my best. We don't have an apartment in Aliverdi yet so we are in Gyumri for a week til we get an apartment there. Gymuri is great. Everyone in my MTC group laughed when they heard I was going to Gyumri because they speak different than the rest of the country here. They call it Gymuri "bar bar" its super sloppy Armenian. But it doesn't make a big difference I am lost half the time anyways. I thought I was understanding one time and my trainer was like nah Elder Lunt they are speaking Russian. haha dang. Our apartment is kinda rough, I thought it was an abandoned building but boy was I surprised when I heard we were living in it. A.C. is non existent here and most houses are no bigger than a small room, luckily our apartment is a bit bigger than that.
Where to start... I know now why every missionary just simply says that they love their mission and they love the people and they have never been happier. Because as missionaries we can't possibly explain all that we have seen, experienced, and felt. However I will attempt...My eyes have been opened to a whole new style of life and of living. And how different things are here and how different the church is but yet the same doctrine. I cant believe the poverty here and the things that people do to get by. Its things I could have gone a life time with out seeing, but It makes me so grateful for all that I have. words cant explain how grateful I am for our country and all that I have been given. It makes me think less of Americans and how spoiled but yet unhappy most of our country is. These people here are amazing I say this with tears in my eyes. I've never seen anything in my life like this, ever. The members are so devoted and they go through so much just to get to church. Everyone here is poor, everyone! There is Rich, poor and super poor. And very few of these people have enough to put food on the table.or to pay for a taxi to come to church.
We are teaching an Investigator named R*** and she is so poor that she doesn't have electricity or enough food. But what I am about to tell you is a perfect example that describes all ward members and most Armenians. When we taught her she brought out all this food and a can of Pepsi and she said a few words that I caught in Armenian "I want you to have this" I cant believe that she was feeding us, she barely has enough to feed herself I thought. I didn't really know what to say. I was speechless. This is the love I am talking about. They will give all they have to give even when they have hardly anything to give in the first place.
We are teaching a few other investigators. One guy we are teaching is progressing and stopped cheating on his wife for 2 months now and he reads the Book of Mormon daily. He and his wife are very interested. We teach our investigators with a blind member named Y*******. This is the devotion I am talking about. He is blind and he has been team teaching lessons with the missionaries for 8 years. He knows the Book of Mormon so well and saved enough money to buy one in brail. He lives with his Mom and she use to read it to him everyday before he had one in brail. He does very well at navigating but we lead him around a lot. He is awesome and his nephew is 5 years old and is so cute. I squatted down to give him a high five as I left and he jumped on me and gave me a hug, It can make a grown man's heart melt. I have taught a couple lessons now or at least attempted to. We taught a member yesterday who is such a strong member but her parents are inactive. I taught on the gospel blesses families and we taught with our district, 2 other sisters and 2 other elders they are awesome and we get along great. They helped out a lot in the lesson/saved me, and the spirit was there so strong, so so strong. We committed her to pray with her family and I promised the as she did this her family will feel the spirit.
Yesterday was water day. So it was crazy. My companion and I were sneaking around town every where trying not to get drenched. The rule with water day is there is no rules its fair game any where! And two white boys in nice suits are prime targets. We were doing pretty good not getting wet, our taxi driver almost drenched us. But after church we saw a bunch of kids outside our apartment and they were coming for us so I decided to run (big mistake) I was in my suit and I just got it dry cleaned and didn't want it to get wet. Well when I ran they chased me and my companion stood his ground and got destroyed right in front of our apartment door. I ran to the top floor and tried to climb a ladder to the roof but it was too late a bunch of kids with buckets of water were right behind me. They were hesitant when they saw how tall I am and I said in Armenian "no no, no allowed" They then drenched me in my suit. I was kinda mad and wanted to throw them down the stairs, but I didn't :) They then got more water and tried getting us in our apartment it was a crazy day. We also had a water fight with some of the members it was a good time.
Church yesterday was great! I felt the love and dedication of all these people. Our ward here in Gyumri has about 60 people in it. They do their best and heavenly father knows that and the spirit is sooo strong. one of our investigators came to church. He is blind and he had a smoke break before sac. meeting. Also during sacrament he stumbled out of the front door (cause hes blind) and had a smoke break during the middle of sacrament. The members love us here and they come to us to ask questions before they go to the bishop. Its really cool. The missionaries are highly respected here in the ward. There is this old man who is legit crazy and he always yells during church and argues during gospel doctrine class, its so funny but sad, because everyone gets mad at him. Hes awesome and he loves the elders. He gave me stones and kept trying learn English words. He wanted to know the word for city so i told him and he kept saying the S-word super loud ha I tried not to laugh. Oh and yesterday in the marshutini (super cramped crowded nasty vans with so many people in them) I saw a lady with a full on black beard. I was scared and kinda impressed at the same time haha.
Honestly though, things are great here. These people never cease to amaze me. I never woke up in the morning feeling like a have so much purpose. Never again in my life will I do anything that has this much divine purpose and eternal significance. I am excited to go to open the new area of Aliverdi next week. And honored that the Lord chose my companion and I. I truly am so glad to be here and am making the most of every second. I love you all and hope you are doing well.
Love Elder Lunt
P.S. where does our family come from? Investigators keep asking and I just say England.