Monday, February 23, 2015

So, this week was really interesting.  We had zone conference this week and so I got to see some of my MTC group buddies and afterwards I went on splits to Gymuri with my MTC companion and I loved it there! I met some amazing people there and the members there asked if I could stay and switch with his companion so I could stay.  She even called the president... it made me feel good and bad but it wasn’t a big deal.  I found a really good Sharma place for them and got to see the city a little bit and translate for the senior companions there.  In zone conference the main theme was finding more faith, that’s what I took away.  It was an amazing conference because we have some pretty high goals for this year and the only way to reach them is through faith in Christ. 
I have been experiencing the ups and downs in missionary work and in myself.  It is definitely not easy, but if it was easy then we wouldn’t grow.  My companion and I have been talking a lot lately and kind of opening up, it is really important because we have definitely become a better companionship but we also trust each other and we've been telling each other how great this gospel is, because you can always be working on something. 
We had another baptism this week and it was really great because we didn’t do anything.  She just took the gospel and ran with it and her family is following her example.  It comes to the point where we can only do so much for them. But, we've learned that the only way they will become truly converted to Christ is if they do these things on their own and find everything out for themselves.  It’s been hard the past couple days for mission stuff but we have been blessed with a lot of great people in our lives. 
This letter is not super spiritual but I just wanted to let everyone know what was going on and that only through faith is how miracles happen.  1 Nephi 7:12 says that God can do all things through the faith of men, so let us be faithful.  I love that scripture and there are so many more that talk about how faith is how you will receive answers to your prayers and to your trials, if that makes sense.  
Anyway, my point is that Christ is amazing and has done everything for us and all we have to do is believe on his name and have faith.  I’m stoked right now; faith means everything to me because I’ve struggled with that throughout my life but on my mission I have learned how to have faith and EXERCISE it.  Well, there it is.
Love all of you to death, literally all of you! Remember if you need anything email my companion, he's a hoot, but seriously he’s an amazing guy and he is been like a brother to me! So thanks for everything and to his family and to pretty much everyone, love you all.  Go hayestan
Elder Andrew Porcelli

Monday, February 16, 2015

Russian Museum
Well, this week was kind of insane.  I got really really sick and so we stayed in for two days this week.  We also stayed in for half of anotherday.  Then, my companion got pretty sick and stayed home for a couple appointments while I went out with another elder.  The funny thing is, all of our investigators were doing better without us and they were calling us,instead of us calling them.  It was bizarre, but we have a lot of work going on and we are really blessed and a lot of them are progressing toward baptism. 
This letter isn't going to be very long but Ihope it has some meaning.  I have really started feeling the Christ like love for these people and it makes me so happy but sad to see
people progress and then reject the things we are teaching.  It is amazing thatwe are so lucky to really have Christ's restored gospel and all the blessings that entails.  I never realized how important it is to have a prophet and the apostles on earth! It is an insane blessing the God has
given us and entrusted us to cherish. 
I love that God really does love us and he wants to hear from us and he has given us the tools to be able to communicate with him and receive life's questions.  He really is just waiting to shower blessings on us, all we need to do is ask and do what he has asked us to do.  3 Nephi 18:19-20, we really will receive if we just have faith! I love it here and the people are definitely being prepared, Armenia is a special place.

winter in Armenia:

Monday, February 9, 2015

This week has been really abnormal.  I have gotten really sick and I’m just barely starting to get better.  We have had a lot of success though and everything is moving really well.  We are having a lot of investigators attending church and we have met a lot of awesome people.  One thing that is difficult to do is to get people to be able to come to church on their own.  A lot of these people have little or no money, literally.  But, I have seen their desire to come to know Christ and to change their lives and enter the gates of heaven through Christ’s restored gospel.  I have seen many awesome things happen this week and a literal miracle that I think is the first time I’ve ever seen one.  It’s been really tough for me though, because I haven’t been able to wake up on time and I haven’t been able to do personal study most of this last week.  But, God is still blessing us.  Our goals for this last week were really high and we almost met all of them and this week we're going for our highest goals ever.  We are going to need a lot of prayers and help to make this stuff happen.  I know that this letter probably isn’t the most interesting but I just wanted to let everyone know that these people that we are teaching, aren’t just numbers, they're our brothers and sisters and we need to help them get back to Heavenly Father and receive all the gifts that he has in-store for us.  This really is Christ’s church and he is doing everything possible to help everyone know and choose for themselves whether they want to accept it or not.  Sorry this letter isn’t the best, but just know that there is somebody out there that needs your help, and you can help them through the gospel of Christ! 
Elder Andrew Porcelli

apartment in Armenia

Monday, February 2, 2015

Well, this week had a lot of ups and downs and crazy things that happened.  Our first two days this week, none of our appointments actually happened except one of them. So, it was really hard to plan for a little bit.  I went to Yerevan on Friday and saw a lot of my MTC buddies and they were all super happy.   Yesterday, we had the most people at sacrament than in the past; around 90 people, and we had one of our investigator families come and they were super excited and really loved it. The grandma who is 80 and doesn’t show emotion was super stoked to be there and see the baptismal font!  It started to feel like a hectic sacrament meeting at home which I absolutely loved!
This week I’ve learned so much about myself and that I really need to rely on the Lord for everything and not rely on my own ability to do everything.  My mission president and his wife are honestly like angels. They helped so much when we visited Yerevan and really opened my eyes on a lot of things.  
We had to drop my first ever contact because he said that he already knows everything about the Book of Mormon even though he’s never read it and he says he loves talking with us but thinks he's already found his way back to God through Hare Krishna.  It’s super hard and it was really difficult for me to make the decision to drop him because he is super smart but just doesn’t want to change.  I learned a really good lesson after that though, because I was being really stuck up after that and I was acting really prideful thinking that I knew everything and exactly what he needed.  The spirit wasn’t there, and it really hurt me because I thought I was doing what I was supposed to.  But then I learned the most important lesson I’ve learned so far, and that’s how to be humble, always.  I started thinking about how I can become better and not let my pride get in the way of people’s progress.  Since then, my last couple of lessons have changed because I didn’t judge them at all for their opinions and I was always keeping a prayer in my heart asking the Lord what these people needed, and they have been so much more receptive since then.  I know it’s hard to explain over email but the main point is the spirit is the real teacher and I need to do my best to not get in the way of his work.  Sorry that this email is kind of all over the place, but this week has meant a ton to me and I’ve met a lot of interesting people.  
Something that was interesting that happened, was yesterday a guy pulled over right outside our apartment and told us that he wanted us to come with him and his friend and they'd give us a ride.  I didn’t want to but we got in anyway and I found out that he was hammered drunk and they started going the opposite direction we needed to be headed, he wanted us to come over and pretty much party with him and he was swearing a ton but it was hilarious.  We eventually got back to the church and he drove off.  Hard to explain, but it was hilarious.  (Disclaimer:  Andrew’s mom doesn’t think it hilarious and will make sure he knows NOT to get into those situations again!)
The weather here has actually been awful and freezing.  It’s not warm at all and it’s always windy, but vochinch. 
I have one thing that I feel really strongly that we need to start doing right now.  We need to get all of our family's temple work done.  It’s so important for them, who have passed on, for us to do their temple work.  That is one of the reasons why we do missionary work is so that their families can have the blessings that we have.  I just wanted to let you know because it’s been on my mind a lot lately.  Good to hear that everything is going well at home!
​Sorry I don’t have a ton of pictures, I’ll try and get a lot more for next week, and I just can’t send the pictures that have different people in them

Elder Andrew Porcelli

(The scariest dog ever.... likely the
dog from the Sandlot)