Friday, January 18, 2013

Week 4 (1/14/13)

Well the holidays are finally over so things are finally calming down party wise with all these crazy partiers of Armenians. Gotta love them. This week has really flown by fast because our bathroom was being redone so we had to use the other elders above us to get ready then wouldn't be able to come back for lunch or dinner. So lets just say we ate WAY too much fast food this past week. Glad to finally make my own food this next week! Which i''m finding out i'm not too bad of a cook afterall :) 

So last monday was crazy. mostly because i found out that MY BEST FRIEND IS GETTING MARRIED?!?!?!? WHAT?!?!?! Wow. Definitely need someone to keep me updated with that or else i'm going to die. Seriously. So nothing too exciting besides that news of home and regular errands. Oh but I did have a bomb dinner that is called khash. Its a very thick/dense armenian soup that is awesomely delicious and definitely the most exotic thing i've eaten so far. it is lamb tongue, stomach, cow's calf, and its cooked with the bone in the broth so it turns to a gelatinous mush and you pile on lavash (armenian bread) in it and its really good :) supposedly it is supposed to be eaten with alcohol but since that isn't quite available.... we made do. But yeah so Tuesday we met with one of our part member families and they gave us this really mysterious tea that they kept insisting we drink it because they said it was from a flower so we ended up drinking it but yeah we were skeptical! We had dinner with a less active and it ended up being just me and Elder Dicus because they were going to see their son/brother who was the one that was arrested and is a schizophrenic so they just bought the food and left! 

Wednesday was kind of an adventure because we went to visit a referral I received from some other lady that is in the philipino ward here and lived in LA. so we drove over to LA wednesday night to see her but we chose the wrong time to go and got stuck in traffic and found out that she is really out of our boundary... so we just had to turn back. and we didn't even get to see the hollywood sign! so bummed!! also wednesday night we started our bible study class for our armenian members and non members. it was the first class so we weren't expecting a ton of people to show up but we thought there would be more than three! We had two members and one non member which was really cool. i was really nervous about the class because i can barely get by in a lesson so how was I supposed to teach a bible class?! but it turned out well for the three that were there. it was funny though, one of our members was having problems with his non member wife and he was going off about that so we had to keep redirecting it back to the actual class stuff. Thursday we had our first zone training! well, my first zone training. it was basically just like a bigger district meeting with our zone leaders teaching. it was funny to see our zone leaders teaching because they live above us and we see the not so serious side of them in the mornings and at night.... you can just imagine the good times :) but anyways we had a really good lesson on the vision to baptize people and so we hope to see that more in our lessons. we contacted less actives in the afternoon and we were going to this one lady's apartment who we didn't even know if she lived there but on our way there some guy down the street just randomly was staring at us and started yelling 'SATAN!! SATAN!!!' It was more funny to us because it was so random and yeah :) cool story! some people are just so funny! 

but anyways we had our weekly dinner apointment with the Bradley's and talked about the new movie les miserable. I guess it is really good? it looked awesome in the previews! wonder what other movies i'm missing. someone better be keeping a list of all the must see's when i get back. And that night we had a lesson with our progressing investigator Hambarsoon and we brought our member Haratch with us. So lets just say we gave a bomb lesson and he is getting baptized the first week of February! So I was stoked about that! It could have been an even better lesson if our member would actually let me speak instead of being super impatient and kind of rude that i'm not that great at armenian and speak slowly... dumb. but hey he is getting baptized! It has been really cool to see him progress like he has and to see the time from the first time we met him to now. so yeah! Oh also forgot to mention that thursday they officially started working on our bathrooms and we came home to a completely torn up bathroom! 

Friday morning we planned at the church for lack of privacy in the pad and had a pretty busy day with three lessons. Christine with brother bradley, Elizabet and Sona with Minas, and Abraham. They all went really well. I had been studying patience because of my frustrating with Haratch the night before and it turned out that both Christine, Elizabet and Minas all needed to hear about how to be more patient. Funny because Minas was supposed to be contributing but he was more like we were teaching him too... with him still going on about his wife. Ashot bailed on our plans again so we had a lesson with the other elders wiith this less active family who were all really smart and going to med school and had these two ancient dogs that could barely walk. it was so sad! but we taught them and pinpointed when they had stopped really progressing in the church and found that it was when they stopped reading  the scriptures so we addressed that and got them to read. I was just so caught up about the dogs being so cute but old and depressed! 

So Saturday morning was really funny because we were getting ready at the church (brushing teeth and such) and they were cleaning the church so we had to go into the primary bathroom and some sister who was cleaning the church came in when we weren't looking and was like 'What are you doing???' It scared us and I was in a panic for a reason so i just blurted out "THEY ARE REMODELING OUR BATHROOM!' And it was just funny. Also saturday was the day we learned who was being transferred and such! it was no surprise that none of the armenian group got transferred. found out that one of our zone leaders, Elder Lambson, is getting transferred :/ Sunday was sunday. church was church. don't have a ton to say about it this week in comparison to last. We taught a part member family, Mike and Bridget, and lets just say it wen't a little longer than it should have as usual..... but hey they fed us filet mignon! And finally we had some other lessons with another member family but on our way home we stopped by this potentials house and they were not very nice saying that we had no right to teach... wasn't very nice. 

So that is my week! this email is really long so enjoy!! love you all :) have a great week! 

Week 3 (1/7/13)

Well it's officially the new year!! So happy new year everyone! Things here have been great and I'm starting to get the hang of things finally. Well, not completely but i'm just getting used to it I guess. 

So last tuesday we got permission to go the Rose Parade on Colorado and it was awesome! However, I was pooped from not being able to sleep much from all the partying going on outside. I guess here people shoot guns into the air to celebrate... not sure why but whatever. Not too happy about it because it kept me up! So the rose parade was fun but after that the day continued on as usual. We had a lesson with Elizabet and since she has been sick she asked for a blessing and asked me to say it so I gave my first blessing in Armenian! It was pretty cool. Definitely not sure what I was saying completely correct but its the thought that counts right? So you could say the language is coming along but still slowly. My understanding is getting better too from reading everyday but its still frustratingly slow. I'm just waiting for the day that it all just clicks but i haven't hit that oint yet. But hopefully I will someday! later we met up with the philipino sisters who had a referral for us with a couple that we had stopped by the night before but were having a party so we were invited back the next day. They fed us a bunch and some of it was not quite to my liking. This food they have thdolma is like a cold egg roll but its a grape leave wrapping and rice and flavors inside. Not quite the best but everyone else says its da bomb so I will try it again. We have been meeting with our investigator Hambarsoon and he is actually reading the BOM and is understanding it! Slowly but we are excited that he is keeping the commitments we are leaving him. Wednesday we had a lesson with a recent convert, Minas, who is solid and loves reading the BOM even though he is a slow reader. He is really hard to understand because he is from Iraq. So far i've heard/had to understand three dialects. Eastern armenian which is spoken by those from armenian and it is very easy to understand, Western armenian spoken in lebenon and syria and places as such with different congugations and odd stuff compared to eastern, and then there is the difficult parskahide (iraq) armenian which is just difficult because they mumble and use more arabic and farcy words. its rough. so for those in armenia be thankful! 

We stopped by another family who we helped move into their apartment last week and talk to the Father. he isn't super interested but we hope to establish a good relationship that leads him to teaching him more. And also, we have been stopping by this building where three potentials all live and we have met with two of them and given them the first lesson. the third speaks more russian and he is NEVER HOME! but we are thinking of dropping them because they haven't been willing to meet and they must not be ready. thursday was our regular district meeting but thats is about it for that day. we ran into two interesting people. the first was a family of jehovah's witnesses and they were fun to talk to. they were armenian but spoke pretty good english but they were asking some pretty odd questions and i was finding out that they have some very peculiar beliefs themselves such as they believe only 144,000 people are going to heaven...? yeah not sure either. but the second was this guy who was totally into our conversation with him on the street and he was asking all the perffect questions that we were trying to answer with our lessons but he just wouldn't listen! so frustrating becaues all of his confusion and questions about why there were so many churches and different teachings could have been cleared up but no he had to just say we were too young to know anything. grr. so we were cheered up with our dinner with the bradley's that night so it was all good. we also met with Ashot our ward mission leader from Iraq and talked to him about his recent trip to Utah to visit the RM who i replaced and it was funny to hear that on his way back he got pulled over going 95 in a 55 but got out of the ticket and went to the temple with the cop that pulled him over in st. george. 

So Friday morning we had a big surprise during planning. the other three elders show up at our pad and tell us that Elder Smbatyan was going home to Armenia leaving that afternoon. He had been really struggling and negative here since i've been here and he has been wanting to go home but finally the president gave him a ticket. So i was really bummed about that because I liked him alot and I gave him a big talk the last time he threw one of his little tantrums but to no prevail i guess. Hope he does better at home. Later that night we ran into some great guys who were from yerevan, Martin and Joseph, and we ended up talking to them on the street for a good hour just about the church and their lives. martin was very cool and we got his information to talk to him later. We also met with hambarsoon and taught him about prayer because he is still saying the lords prayer and even after our great lesson... he still is. so we'll try again next time.

Saturday was basically full of food. we met with Ashot and he took us out to lunch after our weekly missionary meeting and had some great lebonese food. then after that we had a lunch appointment with some members Antonia and bella and their son Emmanuel who are from Iraq as well and they fed us some persian food which was not very good and i had to gulp down with water each bit... bleh! AND THEN since it was Armenian Christmas eve, we had dinner later that night with helga and her daughter for a christmas eve dinner and that was very good armenian food. Now Sunday was crazy. During sunday school I got pulled out of the meeting while Elder Dicus was translating and got three referrals basically, then had to worry about coordinating with someone to go pick up a member who had not been in the right spot when the ride was there and then in sacrament our potential, Martin, showed up our of no where and he ended up talking to this member Arman who used to be a Armenian Apostolic priest and he was giving him way too much info about our church and yeah. craziness that went over my head. Also found out that I sound like a russian-armenian because of my accent? Not only that but EVERYONE thinks i'm russian! After Church we met with a part-member family and set some new years goals with them to get them to come and the husband baptized. but i have a good feeling about him even though he has gone through 10 sets of missionaries... later we actually met with the potential, Martin, and had a very frustrating lesson with him. although he is fun to talk to, he doesn't see the importance of there being just one correct church. we covered so much information and ended up being there twice as long as we should have been. BUT ANYWAYS! that is about my week :) 

So overall, This week has been great and flown by. The language is coming but still slow and we have two progressing investigators and a ton of potentials. Elder Dicus and I are really getting along and he is awesome. Bummed Elder Smbatyan went home. So for those in armenia, make sure he stays strong! his name is Sahak Smbatyan from Yerevan. age 26. lives with his mom. Okay thats it for now! love you all and have a great new year! 

Elder Tanner DeBry

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Week 2 (12/31/12)

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week has been so much better than last week. Well now it just feels like i've been here for a while and i'm used to it but at the same time I am still getting used to things... especially the language. But anyways!! It's been great and I have loved it. Especially getting to talk to everyone last tuesday. I hope everyone's Christmas' were wonderful and filled with holiday joy :) I know mine was that is for sure! But like always, not a ton of time to email so it'll be not as descriptive as the emails from the MTC. So briefly last monday and tuesday. Monday I just want to say, PLL on Jan 8th?!?!?!?!? WHAT?!?!?! Then monday night we got to go to this really nice family's home and have a christmas eve dinner with them and their entire family and it made me feel like at home with all the little kids and great food to eat! So that was a really special dinner to have considering I was missing home in the anticipation of getting to call home.

And of course, Tuesday was Christmas! I loved all that I got so thank you to all those of my family who contributed to that package that made my christmas morning special :) the sweater and ties look great and the treats are delicious and i'm not sure when i'll ever get to play with those random games that were included but i'm sure they will be used. I would also like to that the Williams family for their special christmas package :) I loved it very much and hope your christmas was wonderful :) After our morning studies and presents, we got invited to a breakfast with some members Henry and Lacey for french toast and some catch phrase that was very nice and fun morning. And because that took so much time, we had to run over to Christine's house for an amazing but too filling meal (armenian food is very filling), pretty sure we took home more food than we ate their but that is never a bad thing!! After that we had an appointment with a part member family, Mike and Bridgett, to visit with them and meet them for the first time. We hope to get Bridgett more active and Mike baptized but he has gone through something like 10 sets of missionaries or something like that so we'll see how that goes. And best part of the day, after our appointment with them, we got to go call home at the Bradley household :) And if I know my mom, everyone knows about that already so i won't talk much but i'll just say it was very much needed. Miss you all!! After the call everyone was eating and we were completely filled with a nice dinner yet again. The last thing we did on that day was visit a family who has become less active because a lot of family problems. so overall, a very good christmas :)

Wednesday wasn't quite as exciting but still good. we found a new potential investigator while trying to visit another potential and got to teach him the first lesson that went very well and we plan on meeting him after the new year. That afternoon we got to play some cards at the park with some old armenian men. and it is very hard to understand card talk in armenian so i didn't quite catch on. Thursday we had our weekly district meeting with some absolutely delicious armenian lunch after. man it is sooooooooo good. definitely new favorite kind of food. it isn't even anything spectacular. just really flavorful and actually super super healthy. that afternoon we had another lesson with our investigator Hambarsoon and we were clearing up some questions that he had from the first lesson we taught him. And i actually extended him an invitation to be baptized but he wasn't quite sure why he needed to be baptized when he was already baptized in the armenian church. so at least now we know what to teach him! Later that night we got a call from the sisters in our district to help this armenian family move into their apartment and they ended up inviting us in and feeding us and there were a ton of people there so we hope to get some more people to teach from that contact. And lastly and one of the most interesting lessons we have taught so far, was to this less active woman's son who is legally crazy and probably done a little too many drugs in his life. he was talking about how adam and eve were just a story and we were really created to be observed and as amusement for aliens.... no joke... ALIENS! He was talking for a good 30 min before we just told him we had to go. Quite funny talking to a crazy guy about aliens and how he talks to them and such... some people!

Friday morning during weekly planning we had a lesson with anther less active, Abraham, and he is always really good to teach. We finished up our planning at the church because we were supposed to teach Christine but she called and said she was sick so we ended up going to her house to give her a blessing. On our way back to the apartment from that, we saw Mariam limping up the sidewalk to her apartment and found out she had fallen and hurt her ankle. Taken she is like 70-80 years old, she was in a lot of pain so we helped her walk to her apartment and later that night when riding our bikes back past her place, saw her getting lifted into an ambulence... so hope everything is good!! We know that she has gotten a cast for her broken leg but that is about it. Also that night, found out I had to give a talk on sunday... that was excited to look forward to! Saturday was kinda of a dud because most of our plans fell through because most everyone is sick because of the cold weather. We did end up getting to teach Haratch and Armen which went really well. Kinda don't like teaching them though because Haratch is impatient with my teaching/reading so he cuts me off a lot... not nice! But then things kinda got exciting later that night at dinner with the other elders at this pizza place. We found out that Elder Smbatyan, the one from Armenian, was having a rough time and he just wanted to go home and was basically throwing fits, breaking his missionary tag and jokingly running away from his other two companions.... ROGUE MISSIONARY!! So that was funny to hear about all these mishaps during the day for the other companionship.

And sunday definitely made up for Saturday's slowness. Started off with the combined priesthood and relief society meeting that ended up turning more into a discussion with some contention in the air... in front of investigators... not good. Then I got to give a talk in sacrament! My Armenian was very not fluent and scattered but I pulled off a good 10 min talk! Pretty impressive! I also had to conduct the music which i don't really know how to do so that was fun! Later after church we ran into some guy who him and his girlfriend had just served in the military and was congratulating us for doing something we believed in, that was pretty cool! The rest of the day was good, visiting those who didn't make it to church and we ended up finding this awesome family from Iraq that has only been in the country for about 2-3 weeks and they want us to come teach them the lessons and help them learn english in exchange for them teaching us some Arabic! Elder Dicus and I are super stoked for that. However, we weren't quite as excited when after we had found this family we lost our car and had to walk around forever to find it but it's all good! So yeah that has been my week.

It's been really good and busy but I hope to get some more investigators soon so we have more teaching apointments and not so much having to focus on finding! We'll that is it for now so I will update you all next week! Love you and Happy New Year!!!!!!

Elder Tanner DeBry :) 

Week 1 (12/24/12)

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE EVERYONE!!!!! Wow I can't believe I have already been here for a week. It has been really rough adjusting not going to lie but it has been great and I've loved it. I miss the MTC but I know here is where the real fun will happen. But just a heads up, I don't have a ton of time to email. Since it is Christmas Eve, the libraries are closed and for some reason so is the family history center in our church so we can't email there. so instead, we are here in the APPLE STORE emailing. we are pretty genius. So as you could have guessed, my preparation days are on mondays and so far it has been good. a lot more relaxing than the ones in the MTC that is for sure!! but I'll get to my week. it'll be short but I will be calling tomorrow for christmas. I'm not 112% positive when I'll be calling but I should be able to call around 3-4 California time tomorrow. But please please please keep in mind that I only have AN HOUR to talk so that means when I have to go when I have to go. But I'm sure none of you would try and delay me getting off the phone....MOM.... :)

But anyways. Weeekly highlights. Tuesday was an early morning with having to wake up at 330AM, it was rough. I got to call mom and sure enough she even showed up at the airport even though I told her not to. No worries i still love you.. Just against the rules that is all :) I landed and met my Mission President. He is awesome. President Baccera. Our mission home address is: 170 W Duarte Rd. Arcadia, CA 91007 for those who don't know it. Send packages there but I can tell you my apartment tomorrow. My Companion is Elder Dicus from Shelly, Idaho. And sure enough, we had lunch with the president and then after we got to work and started teaching lessons. I taught three i'm pretty sure on that first day. It was rough and I feel like I don't know Armenian at all but that is how i felt in the MTC so I'm sure it will get better. Wednesday I had my first taco bell and it was ever so satisfying! Let me tell you about the armenian group. there are five of us. me elder dicus elder crumrine elder twelves and elder smbatyan who is from yerevan, Armenian. they are all really cool and i've learned alot from them this first week. even though they all talk about me in front of me because i can't understand them fully but i guess that comes with the territory of being the new elder. The schedule here in the field is a lot more on our own which is really nice and it keeps things lively. I've met and talked to a lot of the members in our armenian group. we aren't a branch yet but we will be by the time i leave! We have a few potentials as of right now but nothing significant.

One investigator, Hambarsoon, came to church yesterday and enjoyed it but we haven't talked to him in detail about it so you'll be filled in more tomorrow. thursday we had our weekly district meeting. went well and that night we had a dinner with one of the members, the bradleys who i'm pretty sure i'll be calling from tomorrow. Funny story, friday elder dicus and one of our zl's ate some habenaro peppers and elder dicus threw it back up. kinda funny in a immature way but it made the highlights. The armenian people here are amazing and i love them. they are so hospitable and feed us every time we have a meeting with them. even if they don't have food for themselves they still give some food to us. So overall, it has been a very good week and i've learned a lot! i'm sorry this isn't a long entry but like i said i'm in the apple store and we are calling tomorrow so i'll talk to you family at around 3-4! love you all and I hope you have a merry merry christmas eve and an even better christmas :) 

Elder DeBry