"But Mom, where is Armenia?" I stopped packing and looked up to see my little 6-year-old standing in the doorway. As we walked over to the globe, his hand was holding mine a little tighter than usual. We walked in silence both a little uneasy about our new adventure. Soon he discovered that it was half way around the world from our little home in Ellensburg, Washington. "But why are we going, Daddy just got back?" he asked.
"When he was gone, he did such a good gob at helping the people there, that they asked him to come back for a long time to help more people." I replied. "He told them that he didn't want to go back unless we came with him." I was waiting for him to express what was on is mind. We sat down on the couch and I asked him what his concerns were. He was worried about missing school, his friends, and everything that he has always known. As he spoke, I was silently praying that I would have the words to comfort him. I was in need of comfort myself.
I had received comfort. It came in a form that I didn't expect. We only had 29 days to rent our home, sell our car, pack, make arrangements with my husband's job, say painful good-byes to dear friends, and drive two days to say good-bye to our family in Utah. Not only were we able to accomplish everything, but also we still found time to play at the park, jump on the trampoline, and watch beautiful sunsets.
As we cried our good-byes, we all new that the next year maybe two were going to be hard. I didn't realize just how hard it was going to be. I knew that I would be going somewhere that didn't have running water all of the time. Electricity was scarce, and heat, was a luxury. My husband's assignment was two hours south of the capitol. We were the only American's in the region. Not only were we the first American family out here, but the first LDS family to have ever stepped foot in this part of the world.
I was somewhat prepared for this new life. I had prepared myself to be ready not to have the conveniences of home. What I wasn't ready to see all the suffering and pain of the people here, especially the children. Everyday I would learn of a new family that didn't have food, clothes, or heat. My heart sank, and I was caught up in a darkness of despair. I had never seen anything like this before. It wasn't long before I found out that our neighbor was dying. The saddest part was that he was leaving this world fast, but he wasn't sure what would claim his life first. He suffered from Cancer, but the real fight for his life was not having lights, heat, or food. The day we found out about this dear man, we also discovered that he was in debt to the bread shop. A loaf of bread here cost 3 cents. Fortunately we were able to go to the store that day and purchase the basics of flour, salt, yeast, sugar, and some other items, and then deliver it to them. The next day, we were able to find some wood to be delivered. I was under the impression that we had done all that we could. I was wrong. Several days passed, and on Saturday night, I saw my little boy (now 7) standing on the bottom stair with a concerned look on his face. "Mom, what day is it tomorrow?" "Sunday" I replied, curiously. His tender answer will always be remembered. "Good!" he replied, "I want to fast for Varom and his family." His tender heart knew how to help him the most. Immediately my mind raced to the scripture "Man can not live by bread alone." I asked him if I could join him with his fast. "Sure" he said with some excitement. We walked upstairs into my bedroom to start the fast. He asked me how to start a fast. I told him that I would say my prayer first, so he will know what to do. After thanking my Father-in-Heaven for my son and his example and the many wonderful blessings we had, I humbly asked that the family be comforted. I ended my prayer, and waited for my son to start his prayer. Beginning with a sincere sigh, he directed his prayer not only to his Father, but you could sense that it was to someone whom he really loved. He also thanked his Father for his blessings, and then asked specifically that Varom and his family have "enough pillows, and food to eat, and blankets so that they will stay warm." He continued to ask that they "have enough water to make dinner, and that they will not be sad." The faith of a child, and not only ask for their comfort, but to ask for miracles as well. I have learned how to fast from my son, when I thought that he was learning to fast from me. That night as he was getting ready for bed, he asked again in his prayer that he "will do a good job with [his] fast".
We all learned and grew during our experience there, but reflecting back, I realized that before we left for Armenia, our concerns were for ourselves. Not only did we grow personally, but I realized how our concern for others grew as well.