Monday, August 10, 2009

3 days on the road

We stayed the first night at this charming little hotel in Goris, which is nestled in the mountains and we have decided is a far more picturesque city than Yerevan - the hotel was surrounded by beautiful flower gardens and fruit trees. There were 5 senior couples, the Mission President and his wife, and one of our District Presidents and his wife and other family members - we rode in 3 vehicles - had a great time. We all ate dinner together at the hotel restaurant Friday night (Armenian dolma, lavash, cherry juice, ice cream, and water melon) - then we took our chairs outside to the garden area and held a fireside type meeting.

Here is Dad at the Armenian Stone Henge later the same day.

We went on a 3 day Senior Missionary trip/conference this last weekend. We did alot of traveling to places we had never been in the southern part of the country - even went to the Iranian border. It was soooooo nice to get out of the city - you can imagine how happy Dad was to see animals and agriculture along the way. I will do several posts to cover the highlights. This first picture is of us on Friday morning at Norverank Monastary - this was actually our second visit to this site.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saturday night at our apartment.

more of Ammon's visit

Another one of Ammon, Dad and Poghos.
Ammon and Heghine (hay-gee-nay), his last night. They made supper for us - he did the tacos and she made cream puffs - all very delicious! He flew out early the next morning and Dad and I sure miss him - but wow! were those leftovers yummy!!

This is at our translator, Lusine's family apartment. They had us come for khoravats (Amenian barbecue) one hot Saturday afternoon about halfway into Ammon's stay.

Here Ammon is (at Dad's request) telling Poghos about rock climbing.

Ammon's visit

Ammon and Dad at Garni temple
Ammon and Heghine at our apartment

Dad, Abtin, Mushegh, Hayk, Ammon, Diana, and Heghine in front of the Mother of Armenia Statue.

Pictures from Ammon's visit in July

Some of our Self-Employment Workshop participants in Vanadzor

More views on the way to Vanadzor

These are braided greens and herbs that are hung to dry and then used throughout the winter is soups and stews, by just cutting off the amount needed for flavor. We stopped so Lusine could buy a couple and we could smell them the rest of the trip though they were put in the trunk. Very fragrant!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

no pics

We are off to Vanadzor again today. We've been teaching a self-employment workshop up there on Wednesdays to 10 people - tonight is the final class. It's about a 2 hour drive by taxi from Yerevan and this time we hope to get some pictures along the way. Northern Armenia is very beautiful and I will prove it with some good shots next time I post if we can get out of here in time this afternoon. We are hoping to leave the office by 2:30, but I'm getting my haircut at 2:00 - so who knows what time we'll actually be able to leave? My hair is driving me crazy - time for a cut for sure! It's a real challenge to communicate with non-English speaking hairdressers, so it's hard to tell what the outcome will be. Last time, I told her to leave the back longish and she zinged it off shorter than ever! If it turns out okay - I may post a picture of the results - otherwise - I'll stay behind the camera! :) Wish me luck!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Botannical Garden

Dad and Gagik picking and eating mulberries - very plentiful here and throughout the city. Some of the mulberry trees are very large and make a sticky mess all over the sidewalks as the berries ripen and fall. There are 3 varieties: black, white, and red.

Don't know what these are, but thought they were too pretty to pass up.

Smoke bush in all its glory!

The Tadevosyans - Gagik is a former Branch President and a retired Yerevan State University professor of Applied Mathematics. Zhenya made us terrific dolma (rice meat mixture rolled in grape leaves and steamed - very tasty!). We ate lunch at their apartment after our garden tour.

Here we are on Wednesday morning - our first time to the Botannical Garden here in Yerevan. You can see the top of Ararat behind us. The garden wasn't spectacular or anything like that, but it is big and we enjoyed the fresh morning air and country-like setting - it was a nice break from city traffic and views.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We enjoyed a returned missionary fireside at President Dunn's on Saturday night. The young man in the foreground is Grigor - he just got home this last winter from his mission in Ukraine. These young men and women are the future of the Church here in Armenia - if we can just get them to stay here! We've lost 6 RMs just this last month to the U.S.
Our lunch! The sister with the curly hair, Ani, has her mission call and will report to the MRC the first of July. She is going to the Russia Rostov Mission.
Our District RS President - Sister Sahteneek (in pink) - her daughter recently married a returned missionary who served here and is now living in Orem. They are being sealed this month and Sister Sahteneek received her visa Friday, so she will be there for their sealing and will visit with them for 2 weeks. She is very happy!

These 2 sisters asked me to take their picture. We had a District RS activity on Saturday - it was held outdoors mostly - we did a sewing project, played some games, and had refreshments.

Our office is brightened by these beautiful roses one of our returned sister missionaries brought to us last week. She picked them from her family's garden.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Remembering Truman G. Madsen

Truman Madsen passed away yesterday. He was our Mission President in the 1960s. I vividly recall sitting in a District Conference in the old Bangor meetinghouse on Center
Street, daydreaming through the session, as 10 year olds sometimes do, when my eyes passed over President Madsen, who was addressing the congregation - he was glowing - I mean really glowing. A light from within. I remember it well, because at the same time the spirit witnessed to me in a profound way that what he was saying was absolutely true and that I was to pay attention and listen carefully. He was testifying of the reality of the Restoration of the Gospel and the sacred role that the Prophet Joseph Smith played in its coming forth. It was a pivotal event for me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last night our young women made dinner for the Branch leaders. Here pictured are Diana (an investigator), Reima, and Ani - they are sisters.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is the Chobanyan family on the day of Astrik's baptism. The parents are Armen and Gayane (our YW president). Astrik is often the only child at Primary on Sundays - she and I have a good time doing activities together between Sacrament Meeting and RS. She is very bright and understands some English - her Dad has very good English skills. I am one of Gayane's visiting teachers - they live in a village outside of Yerevan. The last time we were at their home, we were served ice cold apricot nectar. It was so delicious, I made the mistake of exclaiming how good it was - then she absolutely insisted I take a big 3 liter jug of it home with me - and now she has promised as soon as apricot season comes we will have more - so generous of her! Great family!

These are our missionaries, Elders Larson and Ellison - the guy in the middle is Iranian - great guy! We like him so much! Elder Larson had a lung collapse in the MTC in March - but he recovered quickly from the surgery and came with his group as planned. We love our missionaries - they have several investigators at Church every week!!

More pictures from T'bilisi - the top one is the Parliament Building - many protestors there in the evenings. I don't know what the other building is - I just thought it looked interesting.

We went by this McDonald's while in T'bilisi Georgia a couple of weeks ago - I just had to snap a picture!