Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September 21, 2015- Saying Hello to Artashat!

Transfers happened... I'm really bummed to leave Hrazdan and all those great people... But I've been transferred to Artashat with my companion from the MTC, Sister Kindt!!! Woohoo!!!! Here's a little about the area: It's really hot. Like really hot. We're right by Mount Ararat which is really cool! We're also right next to the Turkey border, which is scary! There's cockroaches in our house. We have scented toilet paper. Right now green apple. We have a WARD!!!! A big, beautiful, functioning ward! Some guy owns some bears here. So our taxi driver bought us some apples and we fed them. Our pianist at church is this little old lady that plays like old west rag time. Imagine a silent film. It's like that music. But hey, at least we have a piano. In Hrazdan it was a CD player. Baby steps, baby steps. That's about all I got right now. Things are super great here. We've been working a lot with new and less active members this week because there's a lot of them. I think there's 400 members and about 40 come consistently. We have some great members and investigators too. I already love it here. I had to translate during church on Sunday for a lady from the Philippines who is here in the Peace Crops. So that was crazy! I can't believe I can do that kinda stuff.... I just feel so privileged every day to be a part of this great and marvelous work. The Lord is constantly helping and blessing us as long as we just try our best! I love you all, have a great week! Sister Blanchard

We have a real church building!!!

I don't know if you can see it, but that's my bear friends!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 14, 2015- I'm not really 20!

But really... I'm not. There's no way I'm 20. It was a normal birthday. I didn't really talk aboutit. But an awesome family in the branch remembered! And they threw me a little party. It was super sweet. I dont't really have a lot else right now. Transfers are this week and I've cried a few times this week because it's probably my time to leave the area. This is what gives me comfort: Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. Doctrine and Covenants 123:17 Love you all! Sister Blanchard

September 7, 2015- Read the Book of Mormon

I don't have too much to say this week. Our baptism last monday happened at about 8:30 pm.. But it happened! We didn't have electricty all day, and then the electricity came on and the water turned off! But everything finally worked out! It was so great. We had another baptism in the branch on thursday. This cute little grandma!!! So things have been great! All I want to say is that I can truly testify that there is a difference in our lives when we put the things of God first. I have seen it in my life and in the lives' of people I am teaching. God blesses us in ALL THINGS when we put the Lord first. I just can't believe another transfer is almost over. I wish I had some other things to say... But I think that's all I got right now. Oh and yes, my birthday is coming up. And no, I cannot believe it. Love you all!! Sister Blanchard

August 31, 2015- Started from the bottom. Now we are here.

Wanna know why I love my mission President? This week for Zone Conference, the whole mission hiked Mount Aragats, The tallest mountain in Armenia. It took about 6 hours and we stopped about half way up and had a little zone metting on the mountain. We talked about our desires. And I've learned that God really does give us according to our desires. If we truly desire the happiness and salvation of others, He will let us be a part of that. If deep down, we really just want to be home, you guessed it, we will just think about home. The cool thing about this life is we have the opportunity, through Christ's Atonement, to change our desires so that they align with our Heavenly Father's will. That is when we find true happiness. That is when we recognize the immensity of God's love for His children and feel that love more fully in our lives. It all starts with our desires. And because of our Savior, we can find that happiness! I learned a lot from that meeting. And I also had a really sore bum... After the hike, we got a mini missionary to stay with us for a week! She's from Gyumri and shes almost 19 and about done with her mission papers!!!! YAY!!!! So we've been speaking just about nothing but Armenian this week! I'm surprised at how much I can understand and communicate pretty easily. We went on splits with her and another member one day too. It was kinda my first experience being a "senior companion" and having all the responsibility on my shoulders. I was super nervous. But then I realized, I actually kinda know what I'm doing out here! I've also realized, since I have to focus more on what I'm saying all the time in Armenian, how many random things I want to say all the time.. haha But our mini, she is the absolute best. She taught us how to make bread the Armenian way. Sooo delicious. And she's really a very dedicated girl. I'll send home some pics of her in my next letter. This week, our branch president's daughter got engaged. They have these special chocolates that you are supposed to put under your pillow that night and you'll see your husband in your dreams. I didn't see anyone... haha Now to the important stuff. Our investigators are doing well! Our branch president's other daughter should be getting baptized today. But there's noo electricity all areound the church right now... So we're just praying right now! Love you all! I can't believe it's already September. WHAAAT. Good luck to everyone in school! Praying for you all. մեծ սիրով, Sister Blanchard

August 24, 2015- I kissed a cow!

Long week!!! Everything is good though. Monday, we had planned a little Preparation day activity with a girl in the branch. On our way out with her, we ran into another girl from the branch that has been super depressed lately. We've been trying to help her but she just doesn't know what she wants out of life, and her brother doesn't allow her to do anything. But we invited her to come (and just not tell her brother) and she did! We had a great time. The next day we called her and she sounded like a totally different person. She was actually happy! It was amazing the difference that it made for her to get out and be around some good people. I have a lot more hope for her now. Sister K and I got asked to go to a youth camp out for the stake this week and present a little devotional. It was so much fun!! It helped me realize the potential that Armenia, and Hrazdan, has. Those youth were so great! Of course, they were a little crazy.. But they had strong spirits and knowledge of the Gospel. I loved being around them! We taught about the temple and what we need to do to stay on the path towards the temple! And soon enough, we'll have our own temple here!! On our way home on the bus we met a lady that was obviously prepared to meet us. He son had died and she had a lot of questions about where he was, seeing him again and things like that. We basically taught her the whole Plan of Salvation on the ride back. I know she could feel the truth of what we were saying. The Gospel is really a message of hope! Who wouldn't want to hear it?! Not everyone is ready right now, but I know that the Lord is preparing people to receive this Gospel and to build up His kingdom here in Armenia. I also know that Satan does not want that. We met a contact from some other missionaries this week, and she really needs the Gospel. She's probably a little older than I am, has four kids under the age of 7, her husband is in Russia, she has no education and is in the process of moving right now. Her life is rough. We went over and had a great lesson about how church will help her with everything so much. And then her neighbor came in.... She's apparently some leader of another church. She was saying all these untrue things about the church and threatening Irina. She told her that if she didn't make us leave right then that the landlord would kick them out of their house. People are very blinded and just don't understand. And if that isn't sad enough, that have to come in and try to getin the way of other people's happiness. But the Lord is merciful and loves His children. He sent us to this young mother at this time because He loves her and knows we can help her through this. And she felt that. Got to do some awesome service this week bailing hay at a members house! I spent about three hours in this little storage thing doing squat jumps in the hay to compress it down... And then this happens: I'm walking by Elder P We pass a cow Me: what are the odds you kiss the cow Elder P: 1 to 11 Sister K: 3-2-1 Elder P: 7 Me: 6 .....yup And then there's branch conference... It was really cool to see a lot of people there. We didn't have any empty chairs! But a lot of those people were from the stake... haha. During the sacrament, I had a really strong confirmation that God is proud of what we are doing here. We've been feeling really overwhelmed trying to help the branch actually function, but I knew at that moment that our efforts were making a difference. I think the stake leaders were really excited to come in and give some counsel to our branch, which we definitely need right now. Our branch president is suuupper busy and trying to do everything on his own. Basically all of our other leaders, or anyone with a calling, is inactive. I just hope that the kick in the pants from the stake wasn't too much for him. I know he's trying. We've decided some ways that we are going to help him out, by trying to teach him to delegate and helping him get people active again. We've got a lot of work to do!

August 17, 2015- Week 20 in Armenia

Such a great week! It was weird, I didn't feel like that much was going on this week, but we reviewed everything yesterday and we actually accomplished a lot more than I thought! By small and simple means for sure.

First, our rough day. We had a member set to go out with us all day!!! And then... she bailed. She was home and everything and she wouldn't even come to the door :( And then we found our new member's brother (who won't let our member come to church) outside with his friends. They just wanted to fight with us a little bit... And then we had this awesome lesson about the Restoration with a new investigator, and then she didn't want the Book of Mormon. That was probably the most heart-breaking. We just wanted someone to want it!!! And then on our way to our next appointment, this old guy asks us if we have any brochures to give him. So we gave him a Restoration pamphlet with our number on it and didn't think much about it. We went to our appointment and we hadn't seen this investigator in weeks, and she wasn't super interested... About 20 minutes in, I get a call from an unknown number. "hello", I say. Then a man says, "do you have a Book of Mormon I can read?" It was the man we had given a brochure to no more than half an hour later. He said he had read it and wanted to find out for himself what the book was about. So here's what I learned: The Lord truly is preparing people to receive the truth. How ever many rejections we face, it is worth it when you meet someone who really wants it. We have learned a lot about how the Spirit guides us as a companionship this week.

Sister K, one day on our way to an appointment, said she felt like one of our inactive members was outside and we should walk down by her house. We walked down the street a little ways, and there she was!!! It was so cool because they had just moved and we didn't even really know where she lived anymore, but there she was! I don't think I've ever had such a direct impression from the Spirit. Usually, I would say, it's a little more subtle. We had a former investigator call us this week ask us to come over. We were at her house and didn't really know what to say to her. We were praying that we could say something that would help her. We decided to just do what we are supposed to and extend a baptismal date. She accepted! I think a lot of times the Lord expects us to pray for guidance and just keep moving forward. I know the Holy Ghost was guiding us and that if we are earnestly seeking to follow the Spirit, we won't go wrong.

We had a better turn out at church today! And we got that same investigator to church too!! We are really trying to support the branch and just love these people. I feel like there are so many ways it needs to improve and grow that I get a little overwhelmed! But we are just doing little things to try and help people. We've started taking this journal around when we visit members so they can write their testimonies in it. We're trying to get them excited about the Gospel again! I think it's been good so far. Last night our investigator that came to church called and she was feeling really sick so we went over with the elders so they could give her a priesthood blessing. And I can tell you one hundred percent that the power of the Priesthood is real. The elders gave her a beautiful simple blessing and the woman said she felt so much better. Her whole countenance was changed. I am so grateful for Priesthood power in my life, and that we can feel God's love and sustaining power so strongly in our lives through the Priesthood.