Thursday, May 30, 2013

Week 23 (5/20-5/28)

WHY HELLLLLLOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Family, Friends and loved ones! It has been a marvelous week here in getting-hot-Glendale. Maybe it is just because this morning we went to Forest Lawn (a massive famous cemetery) here in Glendale and it turned out to be QUITE the adventure. So it all started last night. We were driving home and we stopped by the gate to see what time everything was open because they have a museum and a mausoleum and such. We talked to this security guard and tried to convince him to show up where Walt Disney and Micheal Jackson were buried (yes it is where the celebrities are buried) but alas he said no one gets personal tours of private property like the mausoleum. So this morning after we threw in our laundry we headed over and saw the big famous 100' x 45' painting that they have of Christ on Calvary which we also took pictures which we weren't really supposed to. After that Elder Dicus and Elder Twelves showed Elder Bangerter and I where Walt Disney was buried. Which was very anticlimactic because there wasn't any big Mickey Mouse statue or anything. Just his name with some relatives on a plaque. But then we made our way over to the 'Great Mausoleum' and looked at the marvelous stain glass windows and such. Then Elder Bangerter ended up just wandering around which we weren't supposed to be doing but one thing lead to another and we were going up stairs and then out of seriously tens of thousands of burial places/shrines and such in this one place, we found the tomb of Micheal Jackson! It was so awesome! Not much sooner after we found it and took pictures we realized that this was the only corridor that had cameras all over and so we got out pretty quick. But it was awesome :) So that is my day so far! But as for this past week. 
     Because we don't have a lot of time to email today I'll just sum up what happened or the highlights. So this past week was really busy. Elder Bangerter and I are still trying to just stop buy a ton of people to get to know the area better and build more relationships especially in the family ward. One family we are working with has been on and off inactive but they have two boys who aren't baptized yet and so we have been working with them and it has been going really well. Different teaching in English. I tend to make things more complicated than they are. But it is good experience for sure. I have learned a lot from Elder Bangerter and his different teaching style. Also this past week one of our investigators in the family ward (who is actually Armenian) invited us to his business opening house thing/tour so we went to support him. It is one of those businesses kind of like when people go sell security systems and after they become so good they can have their own team and such. Except Ervin does finacial consulting kind of. But anyways long story short he basically invited us to this thing so when we go out and about and run into someone who is having financial struggles, we can refer them to him. So he obviously doesn't understand our purpose. We picked up a few new potential investigators this week from some pass off lessons with Elder Dicus as well from going up to the college and talking to people. We are really pushing to go up there a lot because the sememster is coming to a close and no one really goes up there for the summer so we need to get stocked up on information to keep us busy! Other than that, our other investigators are doing really well. Our other family ward investigator Gina is golden. Seriously she loves meeting, reading, church and she wants to be baptized so badly she is just eating everything up we tell her so she is set with a solid date of June 9 but we are trying to get her boyfriend Forest to baptize her so it depends on when he will be able to. But I still just am waiting to meet that one Armenian person/family who is just like that. Waiting to learn and understand. So we will wait and see if I can find them. I know they are out there somewhere. Oh! Cool fact of the day. In our ward we have some kid that was little Bryan in the Hangover part 2. So that was pretty cool! And yesterday we had Zone conference up in La Crasenta. Usually us Zone leaders would have taught half of it after President and Sister Becerra but they wanted to take the whole time to focus on what they taught. Fine by me! Other than that and some other little errands we have had to run during the week, I haven't noticed much difference of being a Zone Leader. I still just feel the youngest and least experienced compared to everyone else. But It will come right? Anyways we had a lovely couple of barbecues yesterday to commemorate Memorial Day. I hope everyone else did the same. 

Well that is it for the week! I love you all. Catch you next p-day with more adventures!! 

Week 22 (5/13-5/20)

  I am just realizing that the month of May is almost over. That most of you are out of school or just finishing up. And that English work in a family ward and a singles ward is completely different than the Armenian group. However, I don't feel too different as a Zone Leader. Even though there are just more responsibilities and meetings to go to. Which are pluses in my opinion. 
     So Monday was crazy but not at the same time. The first part of the morning consisted of just moving all my stuff, helping Elder Dicus pack up the remainder of his things and seeing him off with Elder Twelves. Then started my companionship with Elder Bangerter. Ohhh he is quite the character and we are already friends talking about how after the mish I will be invited to go boating with him and his family and that I simply must try his mom's home made giant Belgian waffles. So after I was basically settled the rest of P-day went on without much stress or to do. We were going to go over to Chuck Stapel's house/workshop to finish up the knives that Elder Tovey and Bangerter started (Chuck makes knives for a living. Awesome ones. Like the type that are in movies. For example. The Disney worlds that have the swords in the stone, yep. All made by him. Hopefully I'll get one). That evening we had a member dinner. It was just like eating back at home with a very americanized roast. To my surprise though we had a few Armenian contacts on the street that invited us to come back and visit. I guess I'll still be doing Armenian work afterall!
     Tuesday was very busy as well. We had a lesson flake on us after we already had a almost less active member come drive up from Hollywood. So we just had a lesson with him instead. He was a super cool guy who works on movie productions and such. By the time the kid actually showed up we had to leave for Arcadia to pick up some new missionaries for the rest of the day. We got two. Elder Su from Taiwan and Elder Maybe from Sandy Utah. Fortunately for the first part of the evening we were able to stay together for the appointments with us four. But later in the evening after a dinner with the bishop of the family ward, we had to split up to cover the lessons. So Elder Maybe and I went off to try and navigate. I never realized how small of an area that Elder Dicus and I covered for the time we were together. So lets just say most of the night was driving around, being lost and not sure where we were downtown LA. In those times I just wanted my iphone again! "Siri, I'm lost. Help!...Recalculating." So finally we called in some directions and found our way into the area where some people lived... who weren't even home. Elder Maybe was a good sport though and he wasn't complaining that we were just driving around. But it just kind of turned out to be a dud of a night unfortunately. 
     Wednesday morning we dropped the missionaries off in Arcadia again and went off to GCC for the afternoon. Gotta love being able to just astound people on that campus. Unannounced to them that I can understand what they say when they talk about us running a religious booth. Very funny and cool to see their reactions when I join in on their conversations. After a few hours we had to split again for two lessons that were about to happen at the same time. i went with the recent convert Khoa and Bangerter went with one of the Senior missionaries who run the institute. Our lesson went pretty well. It is difficult to teach in English again. things get so complicated. But the guy we were meeting with wanted an answer last sunday so we addressed that and he said he was leaning more towards the church that he grew up in because he didn't feel a bucket of warm fuzzies to come over him to show him the way. But after some good explanation and personal experience from us two he understood it will take time to receive the answer he wants and hopes to find through meeting with us. The rest of the evening consisted more of trying by members in particular areas to become more acquainted with the families and individuals in our wards. Neither Elder Bangerter or I really know anyone in the ward so we need to change that to get work done. For dinner we had a member feed us green pasta and some steak! It is some south american dish and it was pretty good. the sauce was a spinich sort of thing and turned out pretty good! Too bad I didn't take a picture. 
     Thursday was District meeting. Our district is big now that our zone got rid of one district an made it only two. We have a new Sister and a new Elder who is awaiting a visa to Brazil. Odd to not be with Elder Dicus. We met up with Melinda later that day. We picked her up as an investigator in the singles ward since there is now an Armenian speaking missionary working in the ward! She is doing really well. Just has to come to church and read consistently. That night was full of lessons. First was with Trea and Natalie. She is a less active coming back in light of her new baby boy Daniel. Trea is just like my old investigator Mike in the fact he doesn't like to be talked serious to and he has a very short attention span in regards to being taught a lesson. But I really connected with him and we were able to set a date with him to be baptized on June 30. But we know it will take a lot to get him there. Next lesson was Forest and Gina. Gina is the Bulgarian girlfriend and Forest the 6'8" member from Hawaii. She is doing awesome and we have a solid date with her on June 9
     Friday busier than usual. We met with one of our other investigators Ervin who is Armenian but speaks good enough English to talk to him that way. And yes he is a typical Armenian business man who just wants to make money and he talks a lot and doesn't really want to listen. He tried to tell us that he isn't going to read anymore but we convinced him other wise that he needs to. Following that we had a lesson with this kid names Wells who has been to basiclaly all the religions. He knows his stuff pretty well and asks some pretty deep stuff. He is kinda spacy but he is really interested in finding out what is real because he is finding out that some things just don't make sense in other churches. Finally we had a dinner with my recent convert Anthony who is doing awesome and is flying through the scriptures and is getting ready to receive the priesthood. He is just a stud and is super funny. 
     Saturday we had our second annual free car wash! But it wasn't quite as successful even though we still got 4 tours of the church building. The afternoon we decided to organize the area a little more to make it easier to split up the people we visit in areas. Nothing too interesting happened. We made dinner ourselves consisting of refried beans, pasta roni, chicken, and canned fruit. Delicious :) We got kind of distracted visiting people and went on an investigation on what this massive cathedral looking building was in Glendale. Found out it was part of Forest Lawn which is a super nice cemetery and the building was a mausoleum. Which is seriously MASSIVE. the whole place is beautiful and you can just imagine it takes more than just an arm and a leg to be buried on the grounds. But we got some great pictures from that. After we got back on track we visited this less active family whose kids haven't been baptized. They are an awesome familiy and the older daughter hasn't even been baptized and she is 17! We set up something with them in the next few weeks so we will see where that goes. 
     Sunday was different that is for sure. We had a meeting with the stake presidency as Zone leaders and our mission president was there and we gave a report on the zone and baptisms and such and got to give input on things and hear all the official business that goes on with the stake. it was awesome to be there. I felt important sitting around that big conference table. Then we had to rush off to 2nd ward church where Gina and our 7th ward investigator, Chris, came. It was awesome. And sure enough as my first sunday they introduced me and on top of that I taught the gospel principles lesson. With not much time inbetween we then had to attend the 7th ward meetings. It was a little mixed up because Owen could only stay for an hour so we went to another ward sacrament before he left. And then Elder bangerter and i had to go teach another gospel principles lesson. just so busy!! It was weird being in a singles ward. I'm just used to at most 30 ish people in the chapel and they all are basically shorter than me. After a busy day at church we had a dinner with another member who was really helpful in telling us some people that we could visit and stuff to get to know people better. After yesterday I definitely needed a P-day. 

So that is my week. Not too much but enough to keep me busy. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder DeBry

Week 21 (5/6-5/13)

 What a wonderful week it has been here in beautiful Glendale! Although I'm not a fan of this hot weather. Especially having to be in my lovely missionary attire. But hey you gotta do what you gotta do! My tan lines sure are coming along. So it was very good to hear from the family yesterday. I hope all are well. For those of you who are wondering in light of my recent transfer, which i'll explain below with my weekly update, my new address is: 485 Riverdale Dr. Apt #4 Glendale, CA 91204. Same address but just different apartment number! So unfortunately in the rush that I was in this morning from moving upstairs to my new apartment, I left my planner back at the pad so this weeks email won't be quite as much of a play-by-play. Just more of whatever I can remember! 
     So this past week was very eventful even if I can't remember it all! As I might have mentioned last week, this Wednesday was Elder Dicus' 21st birthday so leading up to that and even for the rest of the week was a celebration with him. Last monday I remember we went down to China town because I had never been down there before. I definitely thought it would have been more exciting than it was but it was still cool. It was a kind of rainy day and so it called for some shopping. Even though I didn't buy anything. Got Elder Dicus to buy some brown shoes. Now he is a real missionary. While we were down there though I got a call from one of the Assistants, Elder Nielson, telling me that I will be attending Zone Leader Council with a one Elder Keels from the South Pasadena area... I wasn't sure what that meant but I kind of just had a feeling all week that I was probably getting transferred and It wasn't going to be with Elder Dicus anymore. 
     So the next day most of the day was spent counselling with the other Zone Leaders from the mission and our Mission president. Not much to say about that other than I was just kind of auditing and it was odd to be out of the Glendale atmosphere with a bunch of other Elders and Sisters who I wasn't familiar with. But it was great being able to be instructed by our Mission President and his Wife.
     Finally Wednesday rolled around and it was time to celebrate with Elder Dicus! I tried to make it a special day for him so I did some stuff around the house for him in the morning and then we just went to work as usual. Did some GCC stuff I'm pretty sure and then some of the singles ward members wanted to come to lunch with us at some hawaiian barbecue place which was pretty good. There were even armenians working there! But the day was awesome and we got a lot done and even had bro. bradley take us out for some dinner before he helped us out with a lesson. The kicker though was at the end of the day I had arranged for the other Armenian elders and the Zone leaders to be back at our pad to surprise Elder Dicus with some red velvet cupcakes and dowse him with silly string and water. Good time good times :)
     Thursday was exciting because the Zone leaders asked me to help them teach at zone training because I had been there when they were instructed by President on Tuesday. So I was pretty nervous especially because I'm one of the youngest in our zone as in experience wise but when they told me when I needed to teach it was actually a lot of fun and I learned a lot! I guess talking in front of people isn't as bad as I thought! But it was good. Had some great armenian food after with the zone at our favorite place and then went about our day until the dinner with the Bradley's and then English class right after. Minas showed up again and it was hilarious. Some how we started talking about belly buttons and he went around to us asking/feeling for what kind of a belly button we had!
     Friday was an awesome day. It was bike day so after we finished morning studies and did some weekly planning with the other elders we all went out to Outback Steakhouse for lunch which was bomb and after the giftcard, was only $4 :) The rest of the day was slow. Ashot was supposed to take us out to celebrate with him at BJ's with a pizzookie, but he canceled as usual and wasn't able to come to our lesson with Albert and his family either. But Bro. Bradley and his wife came instead even though that just meant more translating for us. The whole lesson basically just consisted of following up on their reading, praying and especially the word of wisdom. Man the girls are such complainers!! Even Bro. Bradley made a comment on how immature they are for being 27 and 22 years old! But they are not making a very good attempt of keeping our commitment of that. But their friend came towards the end and expressed interest in learning so maybe that is who we are supposed to teach! But we will see. Just frustrating to see that when a things get a little hard that this family could just kind of quit/give up even though they know it is right. Kinda sad really. 
     Saturday was also awesome. Ashot came up with a great idea to get church tours. That was to give free car washes and while people wait, they can take a tour of the church. Brilliant right? So that is what we did for the first part of the day on Saturday. We washed about 10 ish cars and the other sisters and some elders got some tours out of if and I think even some potentials! So that is something we are going to do from now on every other week or so. But right after that I took Elder Dicus out for his birthday lunch at some sushi place with the Zone Leaders. between three of us ordering the all you can eat, we ate about 18 rolls. Approximately 36-42 rolls a person. Not bad! We also followed up on a referral we got from some other elders out of glendale and it turned out to be some girl that is very willing to learn and actually said that we should come back and teach her cousin and brother when they didn't have guests over. However the rest of the day wasn't super busy. we were going to stop by Albert again but he canceled even though we were just going to drop off tea and milk for his family. But then Saturday night we got our transfer calls. I am being transferred to work in the Glendale 2nd and 7th wards. One is a youth ward and the other a family ward. I will be working with Elder Bangerter as a Zone Leader for this La Crasenta stake. So that is exciting! I have known Elder Bangerter for the last transfer and he is super cool and a great missionary so it will be a good transfer. I am excited to work with him. Bummed that I'm not with Elder Dicus. He will be working with Elder Twelves in the 1st ward and the armenian group so I'll still see him every now and again though. Glendale isn't that big. 
      Yesterday was really good. Church was pretty good. We did another musical number and sang in sacrament meeting. That was fun. But then we got to call home! It was awesome to hear from you. The rest of the day was pretty good. Stopped by Ashots and dropped off stuff to Albert. 

Overall, just awesome week. I loved hearing from home! I will be able to talk to you in a few months. But I hope you all have a great week! 

Much love,

Elder DeBry

Week 20 (4/29-5/6)

Holy guacamole I can't believe it is May already! Happy Cinco de Mayo yesterday! Unfortunately Armenians don't celebrate for that... but everyday is a celebration with the Armos :) And this week was definitely a good one so lots to talk about! 
     After last P-day came to a close, we went to visit our main family we are working with, Albert and Romina and their two daughters. We were short on time before we had to call it a day but we had quite a few visits/lessons with them this entire week. They really loved church on Sunday. We talked about a few questions they had but they really enjoyed the simplicity and the feeling of it all. Especially the people. Since we did have a little short of 50! 
     Tuesday not much happened. We met up with a former potential for a visit. They are the family from Lebenon who had a steel factory and was pretty well off. They let us in with open arms and couldn't stop telling us how happy they were to see us and how we are like their grandchildren. We didn't really plan it out well so it was kind of a dragging visit. But things got interesting when they fed us orange peels... which looked tasty and were glazed with some sugar type thing but.... they tasted absolutely disgusting. I can't even describe it but they had a mound of them and kept making us eat them. Finally Elder Dicus got smart and slyly would put them in a napkin and hid them in his pocket or backpack so when we eventually left we had a good pile of gross orange peel in our bags. BLEH. That afternoon our lesson with Melinda got canceled on account of some tests she was studying for. Hate it when that happens. Before our dinner appointment we stopped by another potential that was interested in meeting with us, Levik. But when we tried by the apartment where we met him, the old guy holding a baby said he didn't live there. So either we were confused or the old guy is not very honest... But off we went to the Mitchell's for dinner. Which was awkward because it was just us missionaries eating. The parents weren't home and the son was just chillin in the house. And of course we had to leave early for ESL and only saw the parents as we were running out the door. Literally. Which was a disappointment because we got to the church to find only Nvart (the arab lady that translates for Cheri). So we ended not having class and thus didn't meet with Olga either. She was just MIA this week. On top of that Albert canceled on us as well so we visited Kris Aristikisian to see how he was in his new apartment. Seems like any normal just-moved-in pad. Except for the roaches...
     Wednesday was a special schedule because of our interviews with President on Thursday. So we had district meeting that was awesome. Not sure if Elder Dicus is just the man (which he is), or I was just in the zone but it was very beneficial. Gotta love references! Then we heard that the Frost's were cooking at GCC so we opted for free lunch again. Elder Dicus and I realized though that after having a good lunch around that time, we get the 1-4 sleepies. Which really means that after we have a lot of food we are very lathargic walking, talking and teaching until dinner time when all of a sudden we just wake up. Kind of odd. And so it was for the afternoon stopping by a guy that used to come to ESL class but hasn't in a while. We saw him out with one of his grandchildren and so we got to talk to him for a while. While his neighbor was telling us war stories against Afghanistan. Next we stopped by our almost 90 year old friend Nersees. As friendly as he is, he really is just old. He doesn't look like it but he definitely has trouble remembering some things. Or at least that is his excuse. We aren't sure how much progress we are really going to make with him so we are trying to going to meet with his kids who have kids of their own. We rushed off to dinner with Antonia and Bella which for the first time I think was satisfying. Not too much food and it was actually edible. The day before we got a call from a Sister in the Filipino Branch who has an Armenian neighbor so we met up with her. Again kind of the same excuse that most people have when asked if they'd like to learn from us. "I'm too old and it just won't stay up here (referring/gesturing to their head)". Tis the norm of Armenians. That is the thing that is a bummer.The old people are too old and the young people just don't speak that good of Armenian here and it is hard to find in-between. But finally we got to meet up with Albert and his family again. Ashot was supposed to come but got called into work. Which was a downer at first to the family but we got to enjoy some dinner with them and some wicked hot peppers. I don't mind hot but they put their peppers in vinegar and pickle them and these ones seriously singed my taste buds. Ouch. But after quite some time of visiting we taught them a bomb lesson about our purpose here in life and the word of wisdom. They knew this was coming and they have been complaining about it (mostly the daughters) but the parents took it/understood it well. It will be hard for them because they drink so much coffee. I mean, the daughters asked for hot water at the picnic last week. Seriously? Addicted much? But they are awesome. 
     Thursday I was on exchanges with Elder Twelves. But it wasn't much of an exchange because for about 3/4 of the day we were around Elder Dicus and Crumrine. We had interviews that morning with President which was awesome. I talked to him about my studies a bit and how I can ponder more to make them better which I've been trying to do. But other than that, mine was pretty short and nothing super extraordinary was exchanged. Other than him saying I'm super blessed to be able to be with Elder Dicus. Which I already know. But after the four of us were done, President asked us to eat some Armenian food with him because he had never tried it. So we drove back down to glendale to our favorite corner market deli and then got to eat with him. He is just quite the man. Very knowledgable, powerful with words and you can just tell how much he cares about every one of us missionaries. So after all that we finally got to do our own thing.. which consisted of driving around contacting people in the First ward to remind people about the dental clinic that we had this past Saturday. So we did that for a few hours until we had dinner with the Bradley's and the other Elders again followed by ESL. After class the four of us and Ashot went up to visit Joey. The armenian friend who has his own car body shop and works on all the mission cars. It was really a good visit for once. He was telling us about his soon to be wedding in August. Hopefully we will be invited! 
     Friday was long. As usual. We went by Christine on our way to plan at the church but she canceled on us as we were just getting to her house. Weekly planning took too long as usual from getting distracted and such (being typical missionaries stuck in a room for a few hours). When we finally got done we headed up to Souren's for our lesson. Unfortunately we caught him when he was still taking care of some things so we had to go eat somewhere for a bit. We decided Rubios which was a bad idea. worst $6 I've spent on street tacos ever. they were maybe a little bigger than a quarter. Not really but it felt like it. But our lesson was awesome. We talked about the first half of the plan of salvation and when we got to Christ we gave the family ice cream but before they could eat it, Elder dicus had to do 15 push ups for every scoop they wanted. We didn't explain it to them so they didn't get it at first but pretty soon they didn't want any more ice cream but even if they didn't want it, Elder Dicus did 15 push ups so they could have some more if they wanted to. pretty awesome in my view. We gave them an invite and after some addressing why they wouldn't they said yes if they find out it is true. Love teaching families. Next we had a lesson with Albert. Ashot bailed on us again which was a bummer but we got to visit them for a while. They have been struggling to keep the wow but they are trying and know they can do it.
     Saturday was interesting! We were at the dental clinic with our members translating for the dental students for half of the day. We got to see a bunch of extractions, cavity fillings and a bunch of people being numbed up by massive shots! It was great! even had the smell of a dental office. It was cool though. There were quite a few Armenian dental students there but only some of them spoke it well so we got to talk to some of them and plant some good seeds. If we had more time in the day we could have gotten a cleaning as well! Gotta keep these pearly whites clean! We got a referral from the Filipino sisters and stopped by  him after we finally got done with that. His name is Serge. After not long he invited us into his house where in about 20 minutes we commited him to take the lessons and work towards the date of June 9... WHAAAA??? Not sure how that happened. That doesn't happen! So we are super excited about that. At the end of the day we stopped by Talia. She wasn't home but her Dad was and we got to talk to him for quite some time. He is a great guy and is very open to letting Talia make her own decisions and just guiding her to what makes her happy. 
     Sunday was not quite as crazy as last but every Sunday is just a new adventure. We had 10 non members at church yesterday which was awesome! Only half were investigators was the crazy part. After church we had a lesson with Mike and Bridget. Working with her towards a recommend and him coming to church for all three hours! We had dinner with the Townsend's after that and not much until we met with Edmond at the end of the night. Straight up he didn't know why we were teaching him and so we laid it out for him and he said he wouldn't change. So we kind of had a mutual drop. But we left it with a good relationship which is always good! 

Overall, really good week. Excited for this next one. Can't wait to talk with you fam on Sunday! Talk to you then! 

Elder DeBry

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week 19 (4/23-4/29)

So basically this week was fantastically awesome. Not that every week has its awesome days and such but this week was just full on awesome. 
     Like I said in my last email, last Tuesday was our P-day because it was our Zone day to go to the LA Temple. Which was awesome! So I don't think I told you about last tuesday so I'll do a brief recap. Woke up at 3am. When we got to the members house at 4 they weren't answering our calls and were making us nervous that we wouldn't make the first session. But they came out so no worries. Then went to the temple with our zone. Had the member, Sister Turley, drive us there and back. She is awesome and her family is kind of like a super family. One of her son's is a navy seal. Another one pitches for the New York Yankees. And the youngest one grew up with Denzel Washington's kids and grew up knowing him and his family. (She took us over to his neighborhood and showed us where his house was in Beverly Hills). And now that sons plays professional basketball for Mexico. And the mom Sister Turley grew up with Elder Bednar in Germany while he was a missionary. So not sure how I become that successful but I'm going to try! They are an awesome family. So she took us out to this BOMB breakfast burrito place called Lucky Boys after the temple and before we started out P-day. The day went as usual with a '3 AM wake up' drag to it. We played soccer with the zone for a bit and went to an Armenian CD store and Elder Dicus bought some CD's to listen to after he goes home. Christina Papillian is supposedly a good Armenian signer so she bought one of hers. When the day ended we had ESL which only had our usual people there but then Antonia and Bella came. Which is always nice to see them. Bella is getting quite good. Then we visited Mike and Bridget who fed us and then proceeded to wrestle in front of us... which ended up taking the rest of the evening so we left before teaching anything. It gave me an insight how young married couples spend there time! 
     Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Crumrine here in our area/investigators. It was good to be in charge of the area for once. Felt a little different without having Elder Dicus there just because I'm so used to him but Elder Crumrine is cool too and we get along. But the day kind of stunk because everyone we tried wasn't home or didn't have time for a lesson. We stopped by Tina who is this crazy funny armenian that speaks good english and she is going to let us clean her house at some point this week. Then we had lunch with Antonia and Bella and they were super excited to see Elder Crumrine because they don't see him very much. We tried by some other people but they weren't home and then just ended up going around to members and some other people to invite them to our Picnic this past saturday. We had a lesson with Elizabet and Sona which turned out to be really good. Elizabet was talking to us about her cousins Albert and his family. We are going to have them help us with lessons because Elizabet speaks fluent Farsi and French so she can translate better for us. But she was just asking questions that they have had concerns about such as the drinking coffee thing and such so she can help address them when she helps. Then the rest of the night we went over to help the other Elders with their Armenian class because they had to go teach someone so we taught the remainder of the time. I love teaching Armenian. Much easier than English to teach. Then we switched back. At the end of the day I'm super glad to be such awesome friends with Elder Dicus. The other two Elders don't get along super well together and they aren't really trying to make it work. But hopefully they will. Elder Dicus is just pretty hard to beat. 
     Thursday I went on another exchange with our zone leader Elder Tovey who is AWESOME. He is the wrestler from Oregon State and he is just a ball of muscle and laughs. After district meeting and running some ZL errands, we had a lunch with Khoa from the singles ward. Gotta love free lunch! But then I had to sit and chill while Elder Tovey talked with the Assistants to the President about their area (because they are in the same area) and I didn't get to participate much. Then the rest of the day basically consisted of stopping by peoples houses, hoping they were there, them not being home and then trying another person. Thankfully we got some MexiCali for dinner which is that member owned mexican place downtown LA and it was worth the boring day. Until we had the two set appointments not show and I had to sit through a super boring Ward Council for their ward. But I learned a lot from Elder Tovey. He is a great Elder and a good friend. 
     Friday I was finally back with Elder Dicus. After the morning studies we headed off to go to the church to weekly plan. But after not even being there for 10 minutes the other Armenian Elders called and asked for our help. Which we did but it was one of the most unproductive moving service I've done because the member Kris wasn't being helpful at all at what needed to be packed with what and where and if he was keeping stuff. So we didn't get to help for long before we had to go to Varter's for that lessons. Her doctor finally told her that she can walk so she is able to come to church now! So that was really good to hear. Then we were taken out to lunch by Frank to this place called Shakey's for one of the Elders Birthday. (Elder Selfridge). After that we just called and visted more people for our Picnic! Not sure why but with Armenians they need constant reminders of these things to ensure they will attend. We had a lesson with Souren and his family which was just on their reading of the Book of Mormon because they hadn't read as a family yet. So we read with them and it never gets old having the kids want to pray and be excited for our lessons. Then we went over to Albert's apartment where Elizabet already was and we attempted to teach them. I say attempted because I felt like we just kept focusing on one person at a time becasue they were all over the place. 
     Saturday was our group Picnic! And it was awesome! Ashot got there at 5 that morning to save tables. I guess it was a popular place on Saturdays. So at 8 Elder Dicus and I took the watch of the tables while the other elders helped Kris finish moving and Ashot went home to cook. We were there until people started showing up at 1130 but the majority of the people didn't come until 12 (an hour late) but then it was a party with probably 40 or so people there! Investigators, members and friends just all gathered around for the huge amount of food that people brought. The spring Tolma and home made hummus was probably my favorite! We played soccer, had water balloon games and everything! Oodles of fun! After everyone eventually left the day resumed with planning the rest of the evening because we didn't get to Friday which took the rest of the evening and even involved some wrestling caught on film! 
     Sunday was AWESOME. We had a productive morning with our Ward Council for once deciding who will visit whom this next week. But then church actually started and by the time it was sacrament, we had 49 people there! Between some investigators, a ton of our less active members (some of whom i've never seen at church), and even some visiting Armenians who live in Utah with their families! This one Armenian family from Orem was the majority of the program between the two younger kids speaking and the family singing together. It was awesome. Such a different feel to the meetings when we had almost everyone there! It was almost like it was a branch! After church we went with Mike and Bridget to Mike's sister's house. Bridget chilled by the pool, Mike graded tests and Dicus and I gardened with the Sister and Husband! It was really hot and I never thought I'd garden in my sunday best but hey that is what dry cleaning is for right? We were there for a while helping before we had a dinner with the Turleys at their house. Not much more to say about their family besides they are awesome. The rest of the evening we visited Edmond and finally got to answer the question we posed to him two weeks ago. It was a struggle, but we got across the point about prophets even though he kept going off on tangents. 

Overall it was a great week. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Երեց Դեբրայ

Week 18 (4/15-4/23)

 HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY SIERRA!! I just had to make sure to acknowledge that in my email this week :) And yes, I did get you a present. And yes. It is awesome. But anyways :) this week has been awesome. well, basically so far today has just been really awesome and therefore made my past week seem awesome so we will see if it actually is when I go over what happened this week. 
     Tuesday was pretty good. Ashot made us some lunch for once and gave us what he called 'the most expensive meal in Iran'. It was basically some meat/rice thing that had safron in it. And he gave us some delicious smoked, raw fish. Noms. Most excitingly was English class. We had 7 students. An all time high. It was awesome and we even had Anoush show up. Who really should be there ever week but she doesn't... typical. But after our class we had a great lesson with Olga, Armen's 'girlfriend'. We had the other Elders bring Armen to the building so he could teach with us. But she had read the entire plan of salvation pamplet we gave her and had understood it! She was asking great questions and really wanted to find out more. So we gave her a BOM and told her to just start reading. We never would have expected her to be so awesome. Then we visited our awesome Albert and his family. We didn't have much time so we just visited for a while and was introduced to a good family friend who was super friendly and could be a potential.
     Wednesday we worked out at 6 again at this guy Jon's apartment building. It is kind of weird going to a gym again. But hey at least i'm not getting fat! So i'm not complaining! We had an awesome lunch with Christine and the other Elders. She made some of her famous chicken and some new Egyptian food that was bombdiggity too delicious not to overindulge. She is going to teach us how to make all this stuff so i can do some cooking when I come home. maybe. But then we met with this guy george who is armenian, married and lives in SLC. Just got married two weeks ago to some armenian girl. And they were visiting his aunt who lives in Hollywood. he called us and told us he wanted us to meet up so we could give her a book of mormon and explain it to her. So we did and we gave her a church tour. She didn't quite understand/wasn't listening because she was baffled at us speaking. She also asked for us to sing for her so we did in Armenian (pg. 12 of the armenian hymnbook for those who remember that one). But she is awesome and said we can come visit her this week. We are hoping to go visit her tomorrow and be able to swing by little armenian during the genocide demonstrating that will be going on tomorrow in hollywood. to see her of course and not be affiliated with all that stuff...but speaking of which we bought the official t-shirts this week. Which are hilariously dramatic and say 'Our wounds are still open. 1915.' I say dramatic because even after almost 100 years they are still violently bitter against the Turks. Which is understandable but every year they march to the Turkish consolate in Hollywood and protest and stuff. But a few million of their people were killed so you gotta support your heritage I guess. But yes we bought the shirts. We had another massive dinner with our less active Helga and her daughter. Which was kind of frustrating. You know when someone just kind of breaks down and you know they are having a hard time/life in general and that they deserve something better but you honestly have no thing to say to them? yeah that happened. And to top it all off, we jsut don't know how to get Helga to come back to church. She just keeps making excuses. The same ones over and over. Main event was our lesson with Souren and his family. And once again their cousin and Souren's sister was there! Love teaching families. We taught about the book of mormon and the first lesson. The kids loved being able to use the Jenga blocks we brought to build the church and have it fall and being built into a bunch of little churches. But even though at the end of the lesson, the kids were arguing who could say the prayer and that they all wanted book of mormons, the dad Souren just isn't really in that big of a hurry to do anything about our teachings even though he wants to learn. 
     Thursday we had an awesome district meeting given by Elder Dicus. So glad he is my companion :) he's kind of a big deal around these parts of glendale. Not much else happened besides English was good again. Not quite as many came but the regular four or five. I was going over shopping terms and stuff with my more advanced group and one of our members made up a sentence of 'My shoes are sexy!' which made us all laugh. We had a brief discussion with Olga after class and she has read all the way up to 1 NE 5 which she had totally highlighted and wrote stuff in the margins and stuff. Golden? Maybe? We will see. 
     Friday was an awesome day planned but it went a little south. Weekly planning was unusually long that day. Probably all the distractions we had with other Elders coming in and drawing each other on the white boards. We had our two big lessons cancel on us so that left our afternoon kind of not so exciting anymore. But it worked out because we got invited to come visit Mike and Bridget at their house. Almost found a new favorite soup. It was similar to broccoli cheese but it had asparagus and not so thick as the broccoli cheese from einsteins. still the best around. but we don't have one here... dang. we had the ZL's drop us off to meet the other elders over at this guys house who comes to ESL every now and again and has been wanting us to come visit for a while. It is another Souren and he is super funny and talkative and he was telling us about all the ladies he hangs out with at the adult day care. quite funny. 
     Saturday wasn't too eventful either. Our church tours haven't been too successful lately so we are thinking of doing a free car wash to get people to come and while we was their cars to show them the church building. Good idea to me! We stopped by this park that I hadn't been to before and just sat down with a group of armenians playing chess. everything was quiet so we didn't talk much just a few hellos and mostly just watched them play. They are really fun to watch because of how good they are. it takes a while for them to build up but then they go on a 5-7 move streak that they knew would happen. But eventually we got to talk to a few of them and just have some nice conversations. Man I love Armenians. We stopped by Albert and them to make sure they would come to church on sunday. which they all said they would attend. However an hour or so later we got a text from one of the daughters saying they wouldn't be able to attend. But we wanted to hear that from the Dad so we had one of our members call him and ask. He said he'd for sure be there. We attended a ward activity that was offering free food to us missionaries. The young women were having an auction/game night to raise money for some other activity. So we stayed there for a bit and were actually introduced to some armenian people who came with members and even some non members. Gotta love it! We met up with Edmond and interrupted a family get together but they welcomed us in like we were family and edmond sat us down and just started talking to us like his family wasn't even there. We didn't quite get to teach them about the things we wanted because he was caught up asking us questions about philosophy and some books that he has and yaddayaddayadda. We invited them to our picnic though this upcoming Saturday so hopefully they will come. 
     Sunday was seriously the craziest thus far. we were planning on about 7 investigators coming to church. Only 5 came. Which was super awesome. But having that many to take care of is ROUGH! It felt like I was babysitting 5, 4-6 year olds. Making sure they knew where to go. Making them feel comfortable. Making sure people talk to them. Helping them participate. But the worst part was trying to make sure our members were on their best behavior. Not saying that our group is OAC but they were especially rambunctious because there were more people there. Not to mention one investigator that the other elders brought and weren't watching totally interuppted our new sunday school teacher lesson with him saying things about what he does in his church and such. Not willing to stop talking when asked. But even in relief society which we translate for, we had to find someone to translate what we were translating/explaining into Farsi for Romina (Albert's wife). SO STRESSFUL! Then things calmed down a bit in sacrament even though one of our investigators had to leave early. But It was the most awesome busy sunday by far. Love it. We went and met with Nersees and another lesson with Souren. Souren's lesson we reviewed what we taught last time to ensure understanding and to teach the wife who was absent last time. We aren't very good at keeping our lessons short there. We feel the need to over explain things with the little kids even though it should be shorter with them. 
     Then yesterday which is usually our P-day but because we went to the temple this morning at 500, our p-day is today and we got to work yesterday. Which was cool because we got to go up to GCC and set up with booth. Definitely getting....Tanner.... from all the sun i'm getting the past few weeks. After the booth and some planning with the other Elders for Family home evening last night, we stopped by all the people we didn't see at church as well as the people we wanted to be sure to invite to come to our picnic on saturday which should be super fun. We had a lesson with Hambarsoom as well. We decided to leave it up to him to continue to meet with us. We have taught him the lessons and invited him over and over to pray to know but he just hasn't done it yet. I feel bad becasue I blame myself for not teaching something well but he just isn't progressing and needs to find that desire to change. I was really sad about that. he was my first investigator and I thought at the time he would be baptized. I have faith he will find an answer though and will continue to come to church. But finallly we had FHE last night and it was awesome. WE played jeopardy and everyone loved it. 

Well I still have a ton to do today so that is it for now but I will write you next week. Love you all. Happy birthday again Sierra. Hope it is an awesome one. 

Elder DeBry

Week 17 (4/8-4/15)

So I am officially 6 months out. Doesn't feel like it but it does at the same time. Weird how that works! 

     After P-day ended on Monday (during which Elder Dicus and I bought healthy food to try and stay healthy.. which was more expensive than the typical box dinners and pasta!), we went and helped Albert and his daughters figure out their phone bill and listen to them explain (more like complain) about their bad haircuts which cost them $6 dollars. Well, that's what you get when you pay that much! The mom is awesome though. whenever we go over, she tells us we need to pray so she can ask us questions. Awesome. 
     Tuesday we had an early morning meeting with the group mission leader to go over the month and set up a calendar that we will be putting together. We are making some changes in the structure in the group to help the growth and development. Had a lesson with Melinda up at GCC. She is one of our few progressing investigators. Because our other 11 yr old canceled on us, we visited Hambarsoom #2 and his family. But he was asleep. His brother (who is a little not all there), has been hearing some stuff about what we do and obviously doesn't like us anymore. We were invited to eat with the Mitchell's up in La Crasenta. Taco Tuesday :) then ESL where Olga (Armen's girlfriend) and Cheri the Egyptian arab showed up who we thought moved away! She is awesome and just brightens anyone's day with her broken english and big smile. Ended up going to teach some less actives with the other elders and watching elder hollands G.C. talk with them and hopefully beginning to meet with them often. 
     Wednesday. Official 1/4 of the way day. Tried to be healthy and make egg white omlettes with tomatos and spinich... still not sure how to extract the yolk of an egg without seeming like you are just playing with a raw egg. Taught our 11 yr old, Talia about the plan of salvation. this was the first lesson it was truly difficult to teach because we were being way too complicated. but she said she understood. Probably not but it was our bad. We stopped by Souren's house who we hadn't seen for a while. His family wasn't home but we taught him a good little lesson. 
     Thursday we had Zone Training up in La Crasenta. Our new ZL Elder Bangerter is a good teacher for sure. Him and Tovey gave a good lesson on commitments. Went up to GCC for a bomb lesson with Melinda. She remembered all the key points from our last lesson with her about the Restoration and said she would come to church. unfortunately she didn't. I'll get to that though. ESL that night, Minas showed up! we had seen him earlier by his apartment across the street from the church. If you remember, Minas is the one whose wife wanted a divorce and him to move out if he kept coming to church. So i'm assuming he came to english class without her knowledge. 
     Friday we had a surprise cleaning check. good thing i learned from the best to keep our place nice and tidy! had a lesson with Varter who hasn't been coming to church because she has been in and out of the hospital with her diabetes. She is doing better though and just needs permission from her doctor to come again. Weekly planning was awesome. We have 12 investigators. As of Friday we had half of those progressing. It was awesome. Super happy about the progress we have made from when I first got here with 1 investigator and a ton of potentials. We made our own pizza for dinner at Khoa's house. Had a lesson with Albert's family. Taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Committed all four of them to a baptismal date of may 26th. ]
     Saturday we did some service for the less active member, Susanna, whose son died a few weeks ago. She had us pack her garage into a moving truck and then unload it again into a storage unit. we could have made it in one trip if she hadn't been such a horder! it was ridiculous the kinds of stuff that she was putting in storage. but It's her deal! We are just here to help and move stuff. We had dinner with the ZL's at this place called MexiCali downtown LA. A member owns it so we elders eat for freeeeeee! Stopped by our friends the Uzbekistani family. Only caught the parents and the youngest home but we talked about what he had read and he just kept coming back to the same thing that we just choose whatever we like and hold strong to that. So we dropped him and told him to call us. But they did feed us some Uzbeki food which was super healthy and delicious while the little girl gave us the cereal KIX in a bowl to eat with our hands :) So cute!  
     Sunday was weird going to church after no regular meetings for two weeks. we walked over to walk with Poulet, Benet and Romina to church but the daughters were asleep... the mom (Romina) couldn't communicate with us because she only speaks Farsi so we just told her no worries and left... bummer. Next week though! Armen Gvorgian brought this lady, Anna, from Holland to church though who is an Armenian member from there just here to visit her sister for a month. It was awesome to see a solid Armenian member when we have so few. Church was good. Anoush during her testimony started talking to us Elders about how she hopes we go home to find good wives and girlfriends and have good lifes. Kind of funny because the English people didn't get why we were blushing and laughing. Mike and Bridget invited us to a birthday party in Azusa a ways away. they went to some place like boucing off the walls and played dodgeball but we were still in church clothes so we didn't. we met some of their friends and cousins so it was awesome that we got to go. after we got back we had a lesson with Souren. Well Souren's kids and one of their cousins (all under age 10). So that was fun. Hard to keep their attention but they liked our object lessons. Especially when fire was involved. Little kids are the greatest to teach. So fun! then we had another great lesson with our frustrating friend Edmond. Who wasn't so frustrating today! we answered his questions of how he can make his kids happy and why women never lead a church or anything like that (mainly because of his women's history class he is taking) but it was a good question. 

all and all. awesome week. Love you all. Hope to hear from you soon! 

Elder DeBry

Week 16 (4/1-4/8)

BAREE LOUYS!! Unfortunately the computer i'm at right now doesn't have the armenian keyboard. Or else that would look a lot cooler and mean good morning or good light :) This week has been awesome and lots to tell and tale about. Feels like I'm back in elementary school on a friday when we'd actually do show and tell. Anyways!
     Monday was kind of a bitter sweet day. We had to say good bye to those in our district who were actually being transferred. Namely Elder Fochs (pronounced Fox) who has been here since I got here. He's awesome and will be dearly missed living above me. The new ZL above us is Elder Bangerter from Bountiful Utah. Pretty cool guy. Not a whole time to really get to know him yet but he's not too weird. We had to end P-day early and go to a dinner with a less active where we played a traditional game that Armenians play around Easter where after you color the eggs and decorate them, you play a game where you hit someone else's egg with yours and whosever egg doesn't break, wins. Pretty fun. Stopped by Mike and Bridget. Tried to find out what his expectations were at this point since he missed his date. He's not quite sure. And we got a media referral from the ZL's from a girl that is 11 and referred herself on to meet with us... yeah pretty excited about that. 
     Tuesday we did the exchange for a day with a brand new elder. Our brochacho was Elder Coontz from Memphis Tennessee. pretty cool guy. I felt bad though because we had a full day of Armenian speaking lessons so he wasn't able to contribute that much. But we did give some lady we found last week a tour of the church and it went really well. Passed her off to the spanish sisters this week as well. 
     Wednesday after we dropped Elder Coontz off in the morning in Arcadia, we stopped by our Armenian mechanic friend, Joey and found out he is getting married August 10 of this year. Went up to GCC to hopefully meet with a guy that never showed up. I love GCC because there are so many Armenians to talk to. Not that Glendale isn't already majority population but Glendale is just a bunch of younger generation. But instead of making fun of us like they would in Armenian they praise us for knowing the language. We taught a guy Nersees Iran who is super nice but had some interesting views on why we have so many different religions. He said it is because we have different languages... I guess that would make sense if all languages went to their own specific church but that is not the case. But the most exciting thing this week. Met up with the 11 yr old who wanted to meet with us. Her name is Talia and seriously looks like she might be 8 or 9. But she is wicked smart and went to some church and wanted to know more and ended up meeting with us! Not sure how the parents feel about it because they haven't really been there. ONly the grandparents who don't understand English. But she was super excited to meet with us and find out more. Said she would read and ask to know if what we were teaching was true and be baptized. What 11 yr old does that?! I wasn't that mature at that age. went on visits that night as well with Bro Bradley to Chris Aristokisian and Elizabet and Sona. Found out that an old referral that Elizabet gave us but nothing ever came out of it, was a guy and his family that we had just met last week and we saw him over there that night! small world even in California. 
     Thursday Elder Dicus taught District meeting. Then had a lesson with Abraham. Still not sure what he needs. But we told him about General conference this weekend. Melinda canceled on account of midterms so we visited our other Hambarsoon 2 whose wife is very pregnant and should be due in the next few months or so. visited Hambarsoom 1 and invited him to General conference as well. 
     Friday was long and hot and hard work. It was a bike day as usual but we had planned lessons early in the week all over the city so we figured we biked about 13 miles ish at least. Not to factor in the hills and pace at which we had to ride. Lets just say we were very sweaty that day in our lessons. Started off biking to GCC and the girl didnt' even show up. So we planned at the Central building and after planning rode to the mission boundaries to meet with Talia again. She said she had been reading but didn't completely understand so we reviewed and committed her to a date of May 12. So now we just have to run it by the parents. But right after that we had to go to the central part of town to meet with Albert and his family (the ones that know Elizabet and are malnourished). The first thing the wife said when we came was "I have questions about this book." It was awesome. Especially because she actually doesn't speak Armenian. Only Farsi. So throughout the whole lesson she kept whacking her husband to translate and speaking up in Farsi to us in response. too bad I don't speak Farsi! Before that lesson though we ran into some Armenian teens who yelled out to us not knowing we knew what they were saying and we found out from them that there is some stuff going on in Armenia having to deal with the voting and such and it being corrupt or something or other. But then before we went home we decided to treat ourselves to some authentic mexican at el suaz again. But I didn't get tongue this time. just al pastor. 
     Saturday was General Conference! We watched the morning and afternoon sessions at the central building and the priesthood in la crasenta. It was an awesome first day. we had dinner with Bella and Antonia after priesthood. Found out that in the village they lived in Iran, when it was cold, they would make their own cow pie sort of things to heat up the place they were living in. Their little boy asked what about the smell and the dad said that when it was cold enough you didn't notice the smell. Kinda gross but you gotta do what you gotta do. 
     Sunday wasn't quite as exciting. We missed the first quarter of the session waiting for people to show up to the session and at that point it was a bit harder to fully get what the speaker what trying to say in armenian. I understood the topics but it just wasn't the same having a monotone translater when you see the speaker getting into his/her talk. So that is how it went for Sunday. we taught another lesson to Nersees and made some progress. meaning found out we need to go back to the beginning. But then we stopped by Edmond and he is so frustrating to teach. he won't let us teach. he is asking questions about how he can help his family be happy but he won't let us answer because he just keeps talking and talking. So yeah! 

Well that is about my week. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you soon. Have a great week! 

Elder DeBry