Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Week 13 (3/11-3/18)

My Dearest loved ones, 

     This week has been very rewarding with all the hard work we have been putting in to finding new people to teach. And along the way, some exciting stories have been made and will be told. 

     Tuesday the ZL's who live up above us went on exchanges with another companionship. Elder Fochs stayed in the area with Elder Winfield who has only been out for a month or two. It ended up that Elder Dicus and I went up to GCC campus to meet someone for a lesson but to no avail. I learned to appreciate the simple joy of blowing someone's mind when a little white boy comes up to some old lady or armenian man and starts inviting them to learn english. Pretty funny. Which we had our first successful class that night with 5 nonmembers showing up to class! It was awesome. And i'm learning that teaching English is really quite hard. Teaching Armenian would be so much easier. But it is rewarding to help them learn and have them in the church building. 

     Wednesday I finally finished my 12 week training program. Which means I'm no longer in training officially! Woo! It was a bonding moment with Elder Dicus though. We were watching some training videos and one was where this family gets baptized and Elder Dicus ended up... umm... getting something in his eye. Just a sensitive lil guy! That afternoon we had a bomb diggity lunch with our member Christine and some home made Armenian food. Nothing gets better than that. After lunch Elder Dicus and I visited Samvel our investigator and he was outside washing his car. And we found out that he did actually come to church last sunday but didn't know where to go. So I had the idea to invite him on a church tour so he would know where to go. And it turned out well but was interesting. When we started he was kind of hesitant and he actually said that our chapel didn't feel like it was a church at all because there was no cross or stainglass windows or anything. But he said he just felt that way because he grew up in the Armenian church. But we got into the baptismal font and was explaining baptism and I invited him to be baptized and he said yes to the date of April 21! So super stoked about that. later that night we tried to go visit Minas to help him prepare for his talk this past sunday but we showed up and he basically didn't want to talk to us. Something happened but we aren't sure what. He said he made a mistake coming to our church. So not too cool. That night we met with Bridget and talked with her to help her build her testimony. She is much easier to teach when Mike isn't there because the focus is on her. She gave us some good insight on how we can help Mike. 

     Thursday after District meeting, we had a lesson with a girl we met up at GCC last week and taught her about the plan of salvation. She was quite and not giving many questions but she understood it. Especially when we were explaining the fall. Elder Dicus and I hope to invite her next time we meet this upcoming Thursday. Then we had ESL that night and it was even better than Tuesday! We had 7 nonmembers show up! It was awesome. Kind of stressful because I ended up teaching the  more advanced students while Elder Dicus taught the newbies. But it is awesome. Also found out that Bridget's bird named 'DeBry' was sick and she asked up to pray for her. I didn't want me to die! 
     Friday not much happened. We got invited to have curry with a member from the singles ward named Khou and he gave us a referral in the building he lived in. Then after that we went and picked oranges from Christine's tree again. Got another 5 bags. And then probably the most exciting thing was on our way back to the church to get our bikes, we walked past some couches that were put out on the street. So we carried the medium sized one back to the chuch so we could get it the next day to put it in our apartment! We needed a homely touch in our pad. We just hope it doesn't have bed bugs or that it has been a homeless man's bed for a while. 
     Saturday morning we moved the couch to the pad. It looks awesome. We gave a tour to one of our potential investigators and his wife. Then we went with Ashot and Hambarsoom to the LA temple visitors' center! It was strange because the last time I was there was for Kiel's wedding. But it was good. On the way there we drove on Hollywood Blvd. Saw some awesome stuff. Then we explained what we do in the temple to Hambarsoom and he understood it. And then we drove back through beverly hills and saw the mansions, 2 Ferrari's, Rolls Royce, Maserati's, and an Aston Martin. Total change from the Armenian love of Mercedes in glendale! Then we had dinner with a member from the English ward who is visiting from Utah. She and her son are famous. He is in movies and commercials and she was an opera singer on broadway. She played Carlotta in the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Not to mention the little boy who is 11 is like a musical prodigy on the violin. Which he played for us. Pretty awesome. The rest of the night we had a lesson with Edmond and his family and extended family who were all there. Total of 9 people listening to our lesson. Pretty awesome.

     Sunday was St. Patrick's Day and yes I did get your green package Mom and I wore a green tie. It was awesome. But Church was really good. We never got to meet with Minas so we didn't have anyone to speak so I gave a talk along with a few other members who agreed to bear their testimonies. After Church we went and visited one of our less active members, Varter, in the Hospital. She has really bad diabetes and she had to go to the hospital for it and so we just went to check up on her and offer a blessing. She is the nicest little lady who just makes you smile from her just saying Hello. She is hopefully getting released today. After that we rushed to Mike and Bridget's to meet with them. After some dinner, Elder Dicus and I re-inacted the first vision on Bridget's request. All because she said she was a visual learner. But it was good and we really broke down how Mike needed to go about reading and praying to get an answer. He still says he will try and make the date of Mar. 31 but he needs to put in the work. So we'll see. We stayed too long and forgot we had a lesson with Souren and his family. So we go there and the little 8 yr old remembered that she had asked a question and she wanted it answered. But we didn't have time so we rescheduled to answer her question on Wednesday but then we re-taught the lesson on faith because the mother was there, Hilda. And we had little Dallar and Devin teach it to her and it was awesome. I love this family. Then we had to rush to Helga's to have a lesson and another dinner with Her and her daughter Christine. And they liked our message so much that they gave us some steak to cook sometime this week. AWESOME! 

     So that is my week. Long. Busy. A lot accomplished and a lot still left undone. But I hope you all are having a great week and I hope to hear from you all soon. Love you all! 

Elder DeBry

Week 12 (3/4-3/11)

What a week it has been family and loved ones! I must say, I'm getting word from everyone (well a very few people actually) that it is around the time for spring break already! Next week will be my 5th month. Crazy how time has flown. This week was a long one. Very busy. 

     Tuesday we met with a new potential who was at one point a millionaire in Lebenon. He showed Elder Dicus and I pictures of his crazy life adventures. the more people I meet, the more I realize that I need to get out of Utah more! We checked out a few referrals we got up in Tujunga. Lets just say its pretty ghetto and every other store there had a green cross lit up in the window signifying they prescribed marijuana there. Pretty funny. Tuesday seriously was crazy. I left a lot out but just trust me on this one. 

     Wednesday on the other hand was just a bunch of attempts at trying by people but they weren't home or didn't have time. 

     Thursday was Zone Training up in La Canada. I was feeling a little under the weather but I toughed it out. We had a lesson with a member and it ended really well but before we were about to leave, they started fighting with each other and it was really awkward for us... what do we do when two grown men are yelling at each other?! Then that night we had a new member dinner with Christine and Minas there at the Bradley's. It was really fun and we got to know them better in a more comfortable environment. But I wasn't feeling super well so we stopped by and gave another member a blessing (he mixed two kinds of bleach together and it hurt his eyes at work) and then we went home early. 

     Friday we had to go give Henry a blessing early because he was sick too and was stressed from Midterms and his performance coming up this Thursday at USC. That afternoon we had lunch with the really wealthy guy, Sarkis, and his wife from Lebenon. They aren't super interested in learning from us but they would still like us to come and visit. Later we had a lesson with Hambarsoom and we brought Ashot with us and it was awesome. We had to re-teach the w.o.w. and he understood it after listening to Ashot's experiences with everything. It was awesome. Then right after that we had been invited to attend Bridget's birthday party at Mike's parents house. Which was really good because we met Mike's aunt and she wanted to talk to us more so she took us out for sushi today actually. 

     Saturday we had a lesson with Elizabet and Sona and brought Minas with us. The other Elders have been working with her and her english so we actually got to teach her a lesson that day which was nice. not much else happened. we stopped by Mike and Bridget's to see if they were home and we ended up going to get chinese with them by their house. We also found out that Bridget named her new birds after Elder Dicus and I because we gave her things for her birds as birthday gifts. 

     Sunday we forgot it was daylight savings and slept in half an hour late...oops. Church was normal. Hambarsoom came for Sacrament. Mike and Bridget had to go to a 40 day thing for Mike's uncles funeral. Armenians go back to the gravesite after 40 days and a year. After we went and had lunch with Helga and she actually says she wants to come back to church! she has to make some changes but she wants to come back because she misses the community. That night we taught a lesson to Souren and his two youngest kids, Devin, 10, and Dallar, 8. We taught them about faith and the kids really enjoyed the object lesson we used to illustrate faith. Crazy how little kids catch on so fast. 

     So looking back I guess my week wasn't too crazy. Just regular but at the time it seems crazy! Well I hope everyone is well. I love you all. Thanks for the support.

Elder DeBry

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 11 (2/25-3/4)

Բարեվ բարեվ! I would write more in Armenian but it takes too long to figure out where all the symbols are on this keyboard! But anyways! hello after another beautiful week here in California! It was a long one for some reason but good nevertheless. 
     Last monday we had FHE with the group. And somehow with very little to no planning, Elder Dicus and I pulled a lesson out of no where. The mood went from fighting/hungry members to a happy group wanting to do more family history work. Which is what we taught about. So that was good. Even though I was exhausted after our super early morning hike last Monday. 
    Tuesday started out busy. Elder Fochs and Elder Tovey had a couple lessons planned at the same time so Elder Dicus and I went on splits with them. I got to stay work the booth up at the glendale community college while Elder Dicus went with Elder Fochs to do the lessons. It was a hot day and we just so happened to set up the booth at the time that everyone was in class but we still got a good 15 ish contact information with only an hour and a half. Pretty solid if I do say so myself! Later that night for Elder Crumrine's Birthday, we went out to celebrate at BJ's for some pizza. A guy from the singles ward came with us, Cody Owens, who is going to the Leeds England mission speaking Polish. He left for the MTC this past Wednesday. It was super fun. good food. Even better because the La Liga Championship game between Barcelona and Real Madrid was on the TV while we were there. Unfortunately Real Madrid was up when we left 1-0. We got another 4400 calorie pizzookie. super delicious. But then Later that night we all said good bye to Cody because he got set apart that night. he was a pretty cool guy even though I only met him a few times. 

     Wednesday was Zone Conference from 10-4 and it was awesome. Our Mission President is the man and really knows how to talk to make things seem so easy and do-able. So I got a lot out of that including a sort of 'Missionary Elevator speech' that Elder Dicus and I have been doing this week since then and it has worked magic! Later that night we had a lesson with Elizabet/Sona and we brought Minas along with us. I love Minas but sometimes he really isn't much help in lessons but it turns out that we have to teach him instead of the person we are there to teach. But his heart is in the right place. He is just really unsure of some major doctrine and it caused some problems! good thing that Elizabet and Sona knew there basics. You gotta love him though. Especially because he is the only one who continues to come to our Bible study class...
     Thursday we had quite a few no shows on appointments that we had set up previously. Which is really frustrating because it makes it seem like we run around in circles trying to catch these people when they are home. If only they would just give us their numbers so we could call them to confirm! We had a great dinner with the Bradley's and Ashot and Adrineh that night. It was so awesome that the lesson was going well and in the direction of us being able to pick up Adrineh as an investigator but then because our dinner appointments take so long, we had to leave for our ESL class and the other Elder picked her up instead... not too happy about that. Especially when we show up to class and no one was there! GRR! But we got to go meet up with Mike and Bridget instead and had a great lesson with them about Alma 7. If only they would actually read so we could teach them! But we decided that until they read, we are just going to read with them. 

     Friday was a typical biking/weekly planning Friday. we had an awesome session of contacting at a park where we were planning on just dropping off a French BOM to a Armenian guy from Lebanon  But it turned out to be a BBQ with a bunch of friendly/random Armenian guys who were drinking some hard stuff and cooking some delicious meat on a barbecue! It was awesome and I love the Armenian culture. They look kind of intimidating and not so friendly at first but once they find out you learned their language they open up and offer you whatever they have! Literally! It was funny and we even got an appointment to meet with the Lebanese guy Tuesday. However, the night was finished on a lower note when we went and taught Hambarsoom. He has been doing so well and understanding (or so we thought). We were talking to him about the baptismal service he went to and he said it was good and we tried to set him with a date. But that doesn't really interest him. He just wants to wait until he is ready.... not only that but when we were about to leave we followed up with how he had been doing with the W.o.w. and he said "What is that?" if that explains how well he understood our last lesson. Just don't know what to do with him! 
     Saturday was pretty awesome. We had a mini missionary (a priest age young man from the la canada stake) for the morning and afternoon. Our guy was named Aaron and he was a quite humble guy who was really cool. He got to experience quite a bit for only being with us for a few hours! We had some good street contacts and some faulty lessons. He even tried to give a armenian bom to some armenian lady while Elder Dicus and I were talking to her neighbor. Quite funny to watch and listen to what she was saying. All the time he had no idea what she was saying.
     Sunday, yesterday, was packed full of food. Right after church, which was really good and we had both of our progressing investigators there, we had a lunch with Minas, His wife Sonik, the other Elders, and the Filipino Sisters who have built a relationship with Minas' wife. they made some Parshkahi dishes including some lamb, some khash like soup but not as dense, and a lot of pickled veggies. Not a fan of pickled veggies even though I tried them all. Not even half an hour after that we went and had dinner with Mike and Bridget at the Townsend's house which is amazing and nice up in the la canada area. my first and probably one of the few times i'll have some steak on my mission! After dinner we read more out of Alma 7 with Mike and we actually had a great lesson on Faith. Hopefully that will help him build up enough to keep reading and keep his date of Mar. 31! And then the night ended with the best street contact I've had yet. His name was Pablo and long story short, he is going to come to church, he asked for our information to meet up with us, and he was SUPER grateful for the BOM we gave him. Super awesome. even though we will have to pass him off. still stoked. 

WEll I love you all and hope you have a great week! talk to you all soon!

Week 10 (2/18-2/25)

Բարեվ բարեվ!!! I found out we do have an Armenian keyboard function so I can type in it! Hopefully it shows up! But anyways! This week was pretty awesome! Well as far as I can remember it was awesome. So let me recount. 

     Last Tuesday was really fun. The local community college opened back up from its long winter break and so the new semester started. the zone leaders who serve in the singles ward down here in glendale are in charge of the institute table where they advertise the church and contact people. well the majority of the student population is armenian so the zone leaders invited us up along with some members to contact and it was awesome. rainy and cold but it was still awesome. talking to people your age is much more interesting and casual than talking to old people. as much as you love them, the young people actually have dental hygiene and aren't quite as bluntly honest/rude. later that afternoon we picked up a new elder to the mission, elder compton. he isn't in the armenian group but for some reason we did like a mini exchange before he got to go with his trainer so we had him for the afternoon/night. he was from Brigham City, Utah and a pretty quite guy. we went to a few lessons with him and he didn't say much. Even though the two lessons we brought him to with Hratch and Armen and Helga/Christine were the best lessons we have ever had with them. Hratch actually spoke of his daughter and wanting her and her family being taught. then with Christine she was actually excited to keep the commitment of writing down things she is thankful for in the day. they were awesome. but when it came to knocking later that night, he straight up refused which was kind of funny. Hopefully his trainer is more forceful than we were about making him knock on a few doors! 

     Wednesday after sending Compton off to meet his trainer, we had a lesson with Minas to teach him how he can better help us teach fellow members and even nonmembers. Even though he is one of the more solid members of our group, he still doesn't understand the doctrine. but i love him. seriously one of my favorites of the group. but then we went and helped our other recent convert Christine pick oranges from her massive orange tree. picked about 50 or so. Orange juice anyone? Then we had bible study and no one showed up... but it was still interesting because this homeless lady showed up and kept saying she had no place to stay and she just wanted help. I guess as we found out later that she had come in the church before and she absolutely refuses to go to a shelter but instead wants to be put up in a motel... she claims she is a member from Idaho but she has no idea what she is saying when she tries to explain her situation in idaho. the things you see in Cali! then we finished off with a visit to Antonia and Bella who we finally caught at home together. they work 6 days a week and usually miss church because of it. but we taught them and they shared hilarious stories about the work they do in the convalescent home. I'd share but not too much time. 
     thursday we ran into a guy at the park playing cards and he complimented me on my Armenian and said I have a better accent that Elder Dicus :) Kinda made my day! I guess I have progressed since i've been out. It is hard to see but it is coming slowly and day by day. later that day we saw the homeless lady again trying to break into the church! it was hilarous but the doors were locked and we saw her walk away. we had dinner with the Bradley's but Ashot and Adrineh finally came! I guess their daughter Arpa is stuck up in Canada and can't come back into the US because she isn't a citizen! So that would explain some of the reason why we haven't seen much of them lately. but i guess she is investigating the church up there at some relatives house and wants to live up there now! so i guess it works out alright! Then we stopped by to give Mike and Bridget some oranges from Christine's tree to find that they are fighting! but we talked with them and they seemed to chill out and we left them with each of us saying a prayer because they always argue with who has to say it... and to think they are adults! 

     Friday was very busy on account of a lesson we had before Planning with Varter and her husband that they wouldn't let us leave until they made us food! so that made us late to our planning and had to re-schedule our later visits. WE met up with Minas to go visit Elizabet and actually had a really good lesson with her about how she can act on her faith because she feels like she can do more. but the gem of the night was our lesson with Hambarsoom (which i found out i've been saying/spelling it wrong forever). we taught him about the gospel of christ and it was bomb. so bomb that i went straight into teaching him about the word of wisdom after I finished explaining eduring to the end and he just simply said that he'd keep the commitment to live it! no questions. he only said that he knew he had the faith to live it. straight up!  and that is that! 
     Saturday after our open house of the church, we went and ate at Tommy's burgers just because Dad told me to. Everyone says thanks dad because I decided that I would just have lunch be on you :) so thanks! it made me full enough to start our zone fast that we were doing from Sat-Sun. Our zone has been struggling to have solid investigators so we fasted and it helped already! after lunch we met up with Hambarsoom and took him to a baptismal service at the church just so he could see one. but it was in spanish but thankfully he got the gist of what was going on. later that night we stopped by Edmond and his wife and it was awesome because they were so inquisitive and they invited us to come back next saturday. 
     Sunday was awesome. Hambo's uncle Sedrak came to church (he is the high functioning autistic). we taught mike and bridget and we COMITTED MIKE TO BE BAPTIZED ON MARCH 31! Even though he has some concerns to get answered first we know he can be ready to be baptized on that day. so after all these years he is finally progressing! 

So that is my week. pretty awesome and way stoked about our fast and Mike's/Hambarsoom's lesson. Hopefully things keep going up like they are! Love you all and hope to hear from you all soon! Have a great week! 

 Երեց Դեբրայ
Elder DeBry