Բառև ձեզ իմ սիրելիներ (my beloved family)
What a good week for you! It sounds like the Brigham temple is just beautiful! I'm sure it is-I'll wait as patiently as I can to hear how the dedication is and for when I'll be able to go myself! Jim and Kami are great aren't they-how's their family? I wish I could hear Josh and Beth play their whistles-especially that piano and whistle duet-I'm sure it is beautiful! I wonder if you could record it and send it to me-or we'll just wait for Christmas and they can play it then :)
We had a really neat experience this last week with our investigator Gayane. We were teaching about the Word of Wisdom, discussing it, and then asked her to live it. She accepted and then proceeded to tell us that when she first went to church in Yerevan, she had already decided to start living that. She was a smoker and knew she needed to stop. She was doing pretty good, and then one day she came home really upset and her kids' behavior made her more upset. She decided to light a cigarette and smoke. Not even a minute after she had lit it, we knocked on her door and walked in-it was within the first week of when we first started to teach her. She told us she knew from then on that she wouldn't smoke or drink anymore because Heavenly Father had sent us to her. What a miracle! Despite that we had no idea that we had had that kind of effect, the Lord used us as His hands. I am continually amazed at the tender mercies and miracles that the Lord works in our lives and in the lives of others. I've come to learn over the past few months of being here, that there are many days, if not most day, where I may not feel like I received any specific impression from the Spirit, but I just try to do good things, and try to do and say whatever seems right; and that is how the Spirit seems to work. If we are obedient, worthy, and working, we can be sure the Lord is using us. Wow! I feel so blessed!
One other miracle-a little sad, but a miracle none the less. I know I've told you all about Virab-Elder Minasyan's dad-one of the oldest and most amazing members here. We visited him all the time and he's just amazing. He passed away this last week, which is hard because we love him so much, but let me tell you about the miracle and experience we had. We had planned to help Elder Minasyan help clean his house this last week-we called right before we went to make sure we could still come and he told us his dad wasn't doing well. Later in the evening, we went to see how he was-and he was basically in a coma-laying down and not responsive in any way. We had a small lesson with the family and talked a lot about the plan of salvation-they all have a really good understanding of it, but it's always nice to have reminders. We went on our way-expecting it would at least be a couple of days before he died. The following morning our branch president called to tell us he had died the night before. We came to find out that he had died about 15 minutes after we left the home. As small as a miracle this may seem-I feel so grateful that #1 we were able to go and be with the family before he died and that we were able to say our own goodbyes and #2 that we weren't there when he died. The Lord's timing is so perfect and I am so grateful. Another really neat thing, we were able to participate in the first LDS style funeral in Armenia. Pres. Carter felt very strongly about doing the funeral how we would in the states-he invited many of the members to participate and all of the branch presidents. He gave direction that that is how funerals done for church members need to be done from here on out. It was a really neat learning experience and the spirit was so strong as many taught about the plan of salvation. Also, this is probably more cultural than anything, but I think it was really neat. in general, Armenians are buried in a dark brown color, the only time they are buried in white is if it's an unmarried girl-kind of as a symbol that she was never a bride. Anyway-Virab was buried in his temple clothes-it was just so neat!
I love you family! I don't really have much else to say nor do I have much time to say anything else. I hope this week is another great one!
I love you a lot!