Hey everyone! Its sounds like all is well and everyone one is doing good and keeping busy. I am as well, the work in our area of Alaverdi and Sarahart/ few villages is on FIRE! It is currently the newest/pioneer stages of the mission, but its also the most successful in the whole mission. All thanks to the lord's blessings. On average the lord is blessing us with about an investigator a day, and about 6 ish to 7 which is a pretty uncommon compared to Armenia's past and other areas, my companion (elder wood) says hes never seen an area like this. All thanks to the lord's blessings, the president is very happy, but we just do our part and the lord blesses us with the rest. There is no secret, other than just doing your best each day, so that you can look at the end of the day and know you gave it your all. Sometimes there are blessings daily that we see like in Alaverdi. And other times, there are blessings that you dont see, or trials of your faith,when it seems like you're efforts are going unnoticed to the Lord. What I am trying to say is that there are plenty of great, consecrated, obedient missionaries here that each week have to report a zero to the president. My companion and i have just been blessed with an amazing opportunity to re-open this area and be instruments in the hands of the lord. Abinadi only had one convert he never saw baptized after a life time of preaching, and ammon had thousands. Its important to know that no work is ever un-noticed to the Lord.The group is growing fast, first week 6 people at church, last week 32, not counting us.... we should have a building soon, rather than at a members house, that will help. We have about over 20 investigators over 10 are progressing, so my companion and i are spread pretty thin, and keep extremely busy. This week we had the opportunity to teach and re-baptize the old branch president who was excommunicated in 2010 which led to the eventual closing down of this area a few months later, due to no priesthood. He got back from Russia because of no work, and we were cleared by the 1st presidency to teach him and re-baptize him. He was truly repentant and so glad to have a second chance.There was a special spirit at each lesson we taught and at the baptism, one i couldn't describe unless one were present, we decided to have the bishop in Vanadazor (1 hour away from Alaverdi) baptize him to make a good connection with this man, rather than with us, for when we have to leave. I love this place and never want to get transferred out, the people are friendlier here than any where else in the country and the members and investigators are so prepared and elect, (and the area is very pretty which is always a bonus). The language is coming a long great, thanks to heavenly father. I have never worked harder for anything though, and its showing quick. I try to never miss an opportunity to study words, grammar, etc. Most of the time we are so busy that I have to study when we are walking from place to place. This week we had a zone confrenece meeting and president said a lot of good things that are worth sharing. He said that most of us do way too much without asking for the lord's help, and we wonder why things are so hard at times. What I took away from this was we need to pray a lot more than we do (a lot more than I did before my mission), not just for meals or when you need something, but to pray and thank the lord for all that has been given to you and to seek help, guidance and comfort through out our day. Some thing else was said, that most people here and even back home dont read the scriptures every day, or attend church every week for all 3 meetings, and we wonder why life is so hard at times. Most people here and back home just simply dont do the things that bless us and they wonder why they are not blessed. Sad to say that it as is simple as it sounds, because it is. Its just something to keep in mind. Part of the reason I feel we have been blessed so much in this area and me with the language is because I always strive to get rid of the excuses or whatever it may be that keeps me from doing what i need to do to receive blessings. I have heard lately a lot of hype about "exact obedience" which sounds great. But many of us here have a hard time with that "exact" part here. Obedience is not obedience if it is not exact. I know that many of you reading this right now, are older and wiser than me, however i feel like many of us forget a lot of the basic, simple truths. WHEN WE ARE OBEDIENT WE ARE BLESSED, that is it. If you don't think so, try it for a week and watch your life change like mine did. Well I am about out of time, and wish I could say more. In closing, I just want to challenge all those reading this, to be "obedient", go to church (all 3 meetings if you have that opportunity), pray through out the day, and to read scriptures daily. These are things to think about and if your not doing them...do them, and watch your life change. Love you all more than you know and pray for you all by name daily.
Love Elder Lunt
P.S. please excuse my grammar, I don't correct a lot due to time, I promise I can still speak English.
ench ka em unkerner (ha doesnt translate well...what up my friends), well i apologize for not writing a big letter last week, I ran out of time. I hope everyone is doing well. I have been praying for all of you and hope that life is giving you what you deserve. This last week has flown by, its crazy. It has been a great, busy and productive last few weeks. I cant even write all that has taken place. Its an adventure every day. The language is coming a long great. I am starting to think in Armenian and have armenian dreams. I understand most of whats being said, most of the time. And can speak pretty well for where I am at, so ive been told. I can now show my personalilty through this language and am connecting with people, its been great, but my english is getting kinda bad. Early this week, they sent an elder from my group named elder williams upon his request to come all the way up to alaverdi from yerevan (3 hour drive). He has been struggling with the mission a lil bit and we talked on the phone last week and said that he needed help and some advice so I did what I could. He came to Alaverdi and we did a split together in my area, it was great and things went well. we taught some of our investigators and it went great. (we have about 12 which is un heard of here, we have been very blessed, and president is very happy). I also gave E. williams quite a bit of advice on how to get through the hard times and that through the hard times, is when we experience the most growth in life. He was pretty greatful for the split, and it benefited the both of us, so it was good. I love our area and have absoulutly fallen in love with the people and this goregeous area. The people are so glad to have missionaries again, and this area is more than ready to have the gospel again. This week we taught the branch president that was excoummunicated in alaverdi (he was the reason for alaverdi closing/no priesthood) he came down for a few days from russia. and the 1st presidency said he could be rebaptized. So we are teaching him two lessons and he gets rebaptized on tuesday, ha kinda cool, the atonement is amazing. But he goes back to russia soon, so we still have no priesthood in alaverdi. Its all good though, that will change. This area is exploding, the" work is ripe and ready to harvest"and we are getting a building in the next few weeks. We have been so blessed, I cant even tell you a fraction of all that has happend and the miracles Ive seen. So I have a funny story. Its already getting cold in the north/ Alaverdi and so we have had to use our box heater that plugs into the wall already, and this morning the water heater and the lights on with the box going broke the circuit and we didnt know where to flip the breaker so my comp and i went out in the hall of all the appartments and I started fliping breakers only to hear people's answer machines and other things get reset, and i hear people yelling and coming twoards the hall way, so I ran back in our appartment with my comp and people were so upset in the hallway haha, and one was a former investigator haha. kinda funny, but the best part is that the breaker was in our house behind a door hahah opps. Well church was good yesterday its still at a members house, and my companion is the group leader (the bishop and conducts the meeting) Well i wish I had the time to say all that is going on here, but i hope you all are doing great. Love you all.
Hello everyone. I ran out of time and didn't get around to writing a big email for the blog. Sorry, I will have to learn how to balance the time we get for email better. I will write a big one next week for everyone/ the blog. Love you all and miss you more than you know. Elder Brian Lunt
Dear Everyone who reads this...Wow its been a tough week. First off I will start with the positive. People and things in Alaverdi continue to progress day by day. Its such a testimony grower seeing the Lord's hand in all that we do. Everything from being in the right place at the right time and leading us to those who are prepared for this gospel. We are finding so many new investigators, that are interested but aren't if that makes sense. Many of them just aren't progressing which is really sad to see. We are doing all that we can to help them, but at the end of the day, when we do all we can, its left up to their agency. This week has been tough and a bit humbling. Just like everyone else the language takes me to my knees at times. Its hard to not be able to express exactly what I want to say to these great people. But its something every foreign missionary goes through and I am no exception. I am a very confident person so it can be hard to be humbled by a language at times. Its all good though and I know that I am progressing day by day and that I am truly doing all I can to qualify for the help of the Lord. It still is hard though at times. Its been a fairly discouraging week. I have been having a hard time focusing my mind. I don't think about friends and family that much but I still think about you all more than I should. Its hard when I hear a song from America, smell, picture, and other things that triggers a memory and can be discouraging and distracting at times. The Language took me to my knees this week and a many other things kicked me while I was down. And so many little things and big added up to the pile of discouragement and frustration. Its hard to not let it get to you and not to think about how good you used to have things..For example I don't fit in my bed hahah kinda funny... We ran out of food just in time for fast Sun the next day. We went to market before bed and they were out of everything we usually get. We went home empty handed, cutting into our free time before bed and some street punks pushed me around and tried to get me to swing. Definitely test after test this week and I wish I could say I handled them all like Christ would of..but that would be a lie. Its no doubt been hard. Just because we are trying to do our best and what the Lord wants us to do, does not mean that we will not have trials. Where would the test of faith be if when we did good, life was great. Happinessisn't the absence of a load but it's what makes us who we are and what can build or break your testimony. Its on us. Please try to remember to see things and people the way Christ would. Always easier said than done especially in the moment. I never thought I would react to some things listed above as calmly as I have. It's not me though, I know its with the help of Christ that I am able to not shrink in my trials. And through Him, repent when I do. In closing I would ask to whoever reads this,that you would please make time in your busy lives to do three things that help you progress. If the members of Armenia were doing these three things daily, the active membership would actually be what it says on paper around 3,600 but in reality its around 900 to 1000 if that.
These simple three things: read the scriptures daily, pray,attend church (all 3 meetings if possible). If you have that opportunity where you live, do not take it for granted like I used to. This is called (by us missionaries) the tripod and it's the most common lesson we teach here. With these three things we have so many promised blessing; try them, just for a week if you don'tbelieve me. I promise you that if you do these 3 things in your life, no matter what you are going through, smooth or rough, right now it will be easier to bear because you will have the spirit in your life and qualify for the help of angels. I could not do anything of this without the help of the Lord. I promise you all these things in my God who I trust and serve. Love you all and miss you.
Wow, these weeks are going by faster and faster its crazy! This last week was tiresome and difficult but very rewarding and blessed. Alaverdi is doing great,We are trying to resolve some of the feuds between members, some of the members here are so crazy and just so funny they make me laugh any day. We are still working through the stake pres here to get a building for church so we dont have to meet in our members home. Thats about the only thing holding us back and they should happen pretty soon. I went to Georgia this week, well close...we were about a few hundred yards from the border and we saw some of it. We taught a members sister up there about the restoration and my companion and I are working on 50:50 teaching ration and its working out great, and she is now an active investigator. We have been blessed greatly with finding people. we were blessed with 6 new investigators 2 weeks ago and 4 this last week, its been a great blessing. Things are great and very tiresome, Its a different kind of hard that I would have ever expected, its great though. The language is still hard but i grow more an more everyday so I am just trying to stay patient with it. We have been focusing a lot on finding people that were baptized years ago through members partial address and old phone numbers, and sometimes nothing other than a prayer. Its been neat to see these prayers heard and answered. This country is really pretty and neat in some ways but the thing I would say that makes this country as great as it is, is not the country, but the people in it. I know this sounds like a stereotypical missionary answer but its because its the truth. The people here are so friendly and always just want to help and give, even when they have nothing to give. We are always being given stuff and fruit and the list goes on. Its cool to see and most of the time they don't even know us. Its a great life experience here and more importantly I am growing so much spiritually as well as through the spirit helping others do the same. There is a whole other reservoir of spiritual growth I would have never unlocked if i hadn't made the decision to be here. I am very grateful. When I look at it though i realize the only thing im giving back to the lord is the only thing I have to give. My WILL/ My mind and my heart. Everything else he has already given me. The Lord has everything. Everything except your heart and your mind if you with hold it from him. I am truly learning what that means. To center my mind on the Lord and those I am serving and not dwelling on things back home, or the past, or whatever it may be. It takes daily prayer and constant practice. I am becoming so close to many of these people here and I love them so much. I lose sleep for ones that reject us especially ones with so much potential. 2 Nephi 33:3...Its a sad thing to deal with daily but you cant let it get you down. I love the lord and I am out here for him and no other reason, I am being stretched and pulled in ways that I would have never wanted to be stretched in pulled if left to my own decision but thats all apart of the molding process, and i am grateful for it. I always try look for opportunities to grow, and more importantly help others grow. Love you all so much.
Love Elder Lunt Some quick background info... Armenia in the north has a lot of Russian influence..I am as far north before you go to Georgia as the mission gets, and I am picking up some Russian, and in the south it has a lot of middle eastern influence so I've heard. and the southern tip called harabats I think is how its spelled in English is currently at war and has been for years with Azerbaijan, many young boys in the "banack"/army die each month there. But armenia is not like any other culture race or religion. It is its own race. and they take much pride in their race and their church, being the 1st to accept Christianity, and in their language, being close to first of the first several languages. Its great here and very intresting. They have many pretty old churches that I have been able to visit on pdays. pics coming soon...
P.S. My english gets worse daily so sorry if I sound weird when I write