Sunday, August 4, 2013


Week 32 (7/22-7/29)

Holy tolito has it already been a month since my birthday.... no way.... I guess this week has only added to the way time flows here with how much has been going on. Not quite as much as last week with our five baptisms in the zone but it was still a very successful week! So here is the little re-cap.
     Last monday I injured one of my toes playing volleyball. Not quite sure how but it really hurt and it has been bruised all week. So that hasn't been fun but they only had to amputate a little bit of it.... just kidding! We have started to get the swing of things in the singles ward with all the activities that they have. It has been awesome to have our investigators and solid potentials build relationships with us during activities. Makes the work so much easier! 
     Tuesday felt like it was the longest day ever! Well not really but sort of. Our zone had interviews by the Mission President and so as Zone Leaders we had to get there early, talk with all the companionships and teach them while they waited, and then have our interviews when everyone else's were over. Which took basically all day from 830-3. But it was good getting to know some of the companionships in the zone that we don't get to interact with very much like the spanish district or some of the districts further north of Glendale. Overall our zone is doing pretty good besides some complaints from sisters about some immaturity of the younger elders... Finally we had our own interviews with President. And mine was magnificently short. President just talked to me about the importance of me teaching Elder Mendoza english and being more patient with him in all aspects of the work... not that I'm not patient with him but like I've said in these past few weeks, it has just taken time to get him willing to be involved in the work because of his lack of confidence in the language. Which I can understand but I wasn't even my frist transfer in the field I feel like I participated more but everyone is different and I love him all the same. But after our interviews we had President Becerra come to a lesson we had set up with our Iranian investigator, Ervin and his wife Aylin. The run down with them is basically they want to have the church be able to refer people who are in financial trouble to them and their business... and if they learn some things that will strengthen their faith that is cool too. So the lesson was quite funny. It was 2 hours. Ervin and Aylin talked for almost an hour and a half before President cut them off and astounded them with a lesson on the Restoration in about 15 minutes. After which they still were reluctant to say that they would not join the church even if they knew it was God's church.... at that point they tried to use the fact that President was a very successful financial adviser to their gain but their purpose is now known and there won't be any more lessons we set up with them. Only if they come to us. But the next lesson was with K. Man it was so cool to see him that night. He seriously seemed like another person. We taught him about the upcomingsunday in which he was confirmed. So cool! Especially because he asked me to do the confirming! 
     Wednesday we had another lesson with Christina in the morning. Which we thought would be better so she wouldn't be all hyped up on monster... but nope. She was drinking one at 9am. She hasn't been reading on account of her not having her glasses. Dumb. The rest of the day was quite busy though. We stopped by Kenny and read with him. Ran to the office to get supplies. Did some service for Gina. Had a lesson with the Sinor family about the priesthood. Met up with some members from G7 (the ysa ward). One works for ESPN and the other works with producing P-Diddy's music. Pretty cool jobs if I say so! However the rest of the night slowed down. We stopped by this potential Natasha who we ran into a few weeks back. She is super awesome and has grown up around the church. She even went to seminary with her friends. But she is still Atheist with an even more Atheist husband who was yelling at us by the end of our conversation with his wife... just not very nice! 
     Thursday we had our last District meeting with Elder Crumrine. Well depending on if we have zone training this next week or not... but it was good. Especially the lunch afterwards in which we went to Los Gringos Tacos in La Canada. Home of the 'Big Bertha" burrito.  Which is five pounds. And yes. I did order it. And yes. The burrito was gone. But I shared it... so not as cool. I just need preparation to eat such a burrito! Next we headed off to do some service for a potential, Tina. Who is this Armenian lady but very much so americanized. She is the one that refurbishes and makes cool things she finds at garage sales and such. She had some things come up so we weren't able to help her much but at least we got to help. Later that afternoon we stopped by our flat tire friend Sharen at her clothing boutique which is funny. We walk in and Sharen, her sister Mary, and their friend Susan are all sitting back smoking and drinking their Armenian black coffee (pure grinds and water). I can't imagine that tastes very good. But they were exstatic to see us return. One of them had even started reading the Book of Mormon that we gave them. We also found out the friend, Susan, had a grandchild recently pass away in an accident and she asked me if he was alright and it was a sweet experience being able to tell her yes. They are some of the more soft hearted armenians that I have met thus far. 
     Friday Christina told us she had guests still sleeping on her floor and wouldn't be able to meet... so we went and picked up Elder Grifitts dry cleaning and I was able to talk to the Armenian owner who was 'testing' my Armenian. He said I passed until he started quizzing me on the 'bad' vocabulary. And when I said I didn't know the words he was saying, his response was "how can you not know the bad words?!" Sorry man. No need for such a pretty language! We had a lesson with Anthony that afternoon which was solid. He is just a stud and wants to help teach people so we went over more missionary work which was awesome to be able to have him understand. after weekly planning we had a spur of the moment lesson with another potential (kind of) named John. Who is technically already an investigator for some other sisters in Pasadena but since he comes to the singles ward too... he felt comfotable with us to ask for a lesson. So not sure if i've already talked about John but he is a student studying at Harvard here in California to write his senior thesis on Mormonism... so he said he had some question on how to recognize the holy ghost because as he has been interviewing people he hasn't quite understood that. So we talked to him a little about that but then it led into another concern that he had which included that he was gay and he wanted to know how gaining a testimony of this church could benefit him. Curve ball? So we meet with him again this week and it will be an awesome lesson. 
     Saturday I was on exchanges with Elder Stocks and Elder Crumrine for the day while Elder Mendoza went with the spanish elders who are in our zone. So that morning we had Armenian coordination and I found out this past week that Henry was recently released and they have a new ward mission leader. Who is good. kinda old. not as enthusiastic. But we'll see how it goes! after that we had a meeting with another potential Josh who was a former in the family ward and just graduated high school. we just had a meeting with him over some Boba... which is really weird drink and I don't even know how to describe it! just little black slimy balls in a smoothie... interesting. But then we had another meeting with Christina which was really good and she is going to pray about a date in September 1. After some following lunch at MexiCali, which is so delicious, we had a lesson with a recent convert in G1 named Mike who talked a lot. Then another lesson with a girl in G9 who is struggling with some addictions. To top the day off we did some yard work service and ate some of the best Chile Relleno I've ever had made by some lady that is from Guatemala. NOM! 
     Sunday was a blast. Christina showed up to church. I was able to confirm K. And Pat's friend Paul, who was already my friend Paul from BYU, brought his girlfriend Becky with him to Church who I also knew from BYU. It was fun to see people from home. A little strange and it took me aback. But cool. Later we were invited to have dinner with the Townsend's from the Armenian group. Following dinner there was an amazing musical fireside that the group put on. People sang and played piano and violin and the armenian members read poems and sang songs that you could feel the passion about Armenia and then at the end all the armenian group members sang a song. Which I participated in :) It was awesome. Love the group. Miss them. 

So Yeah! That is my week. Pretty awesome. I love you all and hope you have a great rest of your week! 

Elder DeBry

Week 31 (7/15-7/22)

This week was amazing!! We had so much going on this week it was incredible. 

     After last P-day we started planning for K's and Brian Ting's baptism (the AP's taught Brian). We found out from the previous Sunday that Brian basically doesn't want to share his baptism with anyone but himself... which wasn't flying with us so we had to combine his three speakers and arrange for K to choose some as well... baptismal drama... ugh... but it was an awesome start to the week. 
     Tuesday afternoon Elder Griffitts Mendoza and I stopped by the Armenian lady's shop that we helped change her tire. We didn't have much time but we got there and it was just this little clothing boutique and her and her friend were there just talking. So I started talking to both of them and her friend knew who 'Mormons' were but had some really good questions and I almost got to just teach them the first discussion but Elder Griffitts had to go with the AP's for one of their lessons so we ended up having to leave after we got her friends information and gave them some bom's. I was so excited that they actually willing to learn and wanted to know the difference. All started with us just helping her change her tire! Pretty cool how that works out. The rest of the night was pretty busy. We had dinner with all five of us (Garcia, Bangerter, Mendoza, Griffitts and me) with the Sinor family. They bough six large costco pizza's.... needless to say we did not finish all of them but it was very nice to see them being so hospitable! Sister Sinor even gave a prayer during sacrament meeting this past Sunday! But after dinner we had to run off to a meeting with Christina downtown. So we really had to rush. But we were a little nervous at first because we asked another Sister in the ward to come who is younger and would have to bring her little baby... so we were hoping he would be good and not fussy... but we get to her apartment and her friend is there and is sick... coughing and sneezing and just sounds like death. We felt so bad for the member but the little boy was very well behaved which was a surprise. After that lesson we had a lesson with K to finish teaching him the commandments and to go over the baptismal interview with him. It was kind of nerve wracking... when we were going over some of the questions the was he was answering made it seem not very confident at all... so we weren't sure what to do but then we started addressing some of his concerns and Elder Griffitts shared a really personal experience and K really connected and after that we knew he was ready. It was awesome. 
     Wednesday I was on an exchange with Elder Hendricks who is one of the newer Elders that came out this past transfer. He is with elder Brown and is a really good Elder. We had a pretty slow day unfortunately of going to get supplies for the zone, a lunch with the Frost's and Elder Crumrine (who got a new companion because of an E.T., Elder Stocks) and then a bomb lesson with Anthony who went to the temple this past week to do baptisms. After talking with him about it Sunday he just seemed to have really felt the experience of the temple go through him. Which was awesome to see. We stopped by some potentials and G7 members and found some really solid potential named Sunshine and her little boy, Astrid.. I think... but anyways. At the end of the night we had a lesson with Trea and Natalie. We weren't quite sure what direction to go with him but we ended up teaching him the Word of Wisdom and it went really well! Well.. for how stubborn he is anyways. He went from saying "I'm never going to give up smoking" to "I'm going to give up smoking to be able to be with my family forever." Pretty proud of that man if he can keep it up. 
     Thursday was pretty busy as well. We tried by a referral that morning before District meeting. We ended up having a combined meeting with Elder Twelves because no one was in Elder Crumrines meeting. AFter however we all went to Red Robin because one of the members from the singles ward was working and hooked us up with free shakes! She's da That afternoon we had a meeting with Carol Peralta who is a recent convert from the los robles singles ward but because of her work schedule she is going to start coming to G7. She is awesome but we could tell she needed to start having lessons again because she stopped going to church so soon after her baptism. Next was dinner with the Knight family which was a very delicious steak dinner! Noms! 
     Friday was... interesting. We had another lesson with Christina in the morning which was awesome. She really felt what we were teaching and said she'd set her own date for when she is going to be ready. Which is fine by us! However, the rest of the day was kinda.. well you'll see. So we go home to finish studies and Elder Mendoza just crawls in bed because he says he doesn't feel well and is super tired from not sleeping well the previous night (he has a sleeping disorder so he never really sleeps well). So because he was complaining about his throat and ear hurting I called one of the sisters who is a nurse and told her and she said it might be strep so we called the doctor to schedule an appointment that afternoon. Elder Griffitts and I cleaned the apartment and studied while Mendoza took a nap until the appointment that afternoon. So we go and wait and wait and he gets checked out to come to find out he does have a throat infection but the pharmacy was closed at that point so we would have to wait to get his medicine. So we go rush to a dinner after the doctor's office and right after I conducted my first baptismal interview for a man named Daryoush who was being taught by Elder Crumrine. Daryoush started coming to our English class when Dicus and I started it and he has been coming ever since. He is a stud. Speaks a little armenian but mostly Farsi but still wanted to be baptized into our group :) So I got to interview him and it was an amazing experience. Even though I had another Armenian translator who I'd talk to in Armenian who would then translate into Farsi, I could just tell that from Daryoush's light about him that he was ready. pretty cool to see. So after that we had a lesson with Forest and Gina after not seeing them for a while because of their work schedules. they are so awesome though. Solid. 
     Saturday after studies and a homemade pizzookie/cake thing thrown in a pan, we had weekly planning which took a lot longer than we thought. We had to prepare for our meeting with President Becerra and the Stake Presidency that would take place Sunday morning at 7 and so we had to collect information from all the companionships in the stake. When we finally got around to planning though Elder Mendoza and I got to have a good talk on our companionship. Since he is new to both being a Zone Leader and learning English he has been frustrated with the work and his progress. Which both I understand completely. He also expressed his concerns but ultimately we came to a conclusion that I need to be more patient with him and that he needs to stop being so passive, take some initiative in lessons, and finally and most of all stop looking at his watch every 5-10 minutes. he is a great Elder but not quite the best leader at this point. So we have some work to do. After that and attending Daryoush's baptism, we went up to the stake's Pioneer day festivities which we caught the tale end of before trying by more people that night. 
     And then came yesterday. Sunday. Super long. Started at 6 to get to the meeting at 7 at the stake center. It never ceases to amaze me how incredible our mission president is. From the meeting we went to 2nd ward church where none of our investigators attented :( very sad face. it was pretty disappointing but we were all excited for the baptisms in G7 that we got over it. And then singles ward happened in the blink of an eye and soon enough it was time for Chaiwait Seehabat and Brian Yu Ting to get baptized. It was kind of frustrating at first because the two people Brian chose to talk basically only addressed Brian and congratulated him on his decision to be baptized... made us feel so bad for K but it didn't seem to affect him at all. Especially as he was baptized by Patrick May. It was one I won't forget anytime soon. After the baptisms we had to rush and have Khoa drive Elder Mendoza and I to Elder Mendoza's last area for one of his baptisms. Which was also a very neat experience to have everything be in spanish... I even got to sing in front of everyone with the other missionaries there! but after 13 hours of church events and meetings, I was beat and we just headed straight home after the long drive back. 

Overall it was a great week. Very busy. Still working on building a good companionship with Elder Mendoza. Elder Griffitts and I are really becoming good friends. The work is moving along but we need to focus on August now. I love you all. Thank you for all your support. Have a wonderful week! 

Elder DeBry

Week 30 (7/8-7/15)

Why HELLOOOOOOOOOOO! (Ms. Doubtfire voice). So this week has been awesome. Today's schedule has been a little thrown off due to some early errands so not much time to write but I'll try and fit some good stuff in :) 
     I also forgot my planner so I can't look back at what happened this week so this is all off of memory! Except I just used Elder Griffitts planner (which is basically empty)  to remind me of some things and I found some legit boogers in his planner. Just thought I'd let you all know :) Love him though! 
     So this week like I said was pretty busy. Tuesday we had a special meeting with President Becerra with our Zone because of the slower work that has been going on in this area. He just wanted to give us kind of a pep talk to boost our faith in the work and ourselves. Which definitely worked! Our productivity from our weekly numbers tripled in some areas which was awesome to see as a zone leader. 
     We had a lesson with our investigator, Christina, that night which at first was a little scary because it was basically downtown LA and her drunk neighbor was around in her apartment building wanting to ask us questions. But it turned out well. we also had a lesson with Chris this past week. We haven't been able to meet up with him because long story short he was homeless at one point and is now joining the navy... but he is still willing to learn! which is always a good thing. 
     Next was Ervin. Our Iranian Armenian investigator who I haven't met since my first week with Elder Bangerter. We basically confirmed the fact that he was meeting with us to increase his business circle in his business and have people work for him (he works for one of those pyramid business like deals and the owners are from the Church). But we basically laid it down for him! So much that he went from saying he'd never join the church in fear of being tied down to anything that would hurt his image, to make him have a loss for words after getting after him and then having him ask us how he can help people better with the church. So I would definitely say it was the best lesson we have had with him.
      We also got to meet up with my Anthony this past week and help him try and do some missionary work with his friends. He is doing so well. he is consistently coming to church. he is trying to do missionary work. He has since his baptism which was the last day of march, finished the book of mormon, the old testament and pretty sure almost done with the new testament as well. And he will be doing baptisms this week. Super excited for him :) Love him. 
     And finally the last person we really focused on this week was K. We gave him the final lesson and went over the baptismal questions with him. At first he was kind of a little shaky on some of the questions which made me nervous but this past week he has been helping some sisters in the LA mission teach to some other thai girl who is learning about the church and his member friend who went with him said he was bearing pure testimony about him getting baptized this next Sunday. Super excited for him. 
     Next exciting thing was our ward mission conference this past friday which was AWESOME. We had our regular meeting in the morning where the assistants and President and his wife addressed us. But after it was a summer party with games, water fights and lunch :) It was super fun. I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy feeling like a normal person and getting other people wet/playing soccer. But it was super good. Much needed that was for sure. 
     Saturday I went on an exchange with Elder Twelves which wasn't too exciting. They didn't have many lessons set and the ones they did have canceled... so that was super unfortunate. But I really enjoyed doing armenian work again. I've really missed doing missionary work for the people that I was called to serve. Hopefully soon I'll be going back to the group... But we will see. 
     Yesterday was an awesome day at church followed with an awesome lesson with Natalie, Trea and two of his girls! It was kind of a long lesson with all the disractions that were going on (aka Daniel the most adorable 1 year old) but ultimately we picked the other daughter up as an investigator, and help them set a goal to work towards as a family baptism at the end of August! So we were super excited about that. 

Overall it was a super good week. busy and That is the way it should be. Love and miss you all! Have a great week! 

Elder DeBry

Week 29 (7/1-7/8)

 Happy belated 4th of July! What a great week it has been. To be in such a wonderful place as California. I have to admit it is growing on me. But I still can't stand the heat. But I'm getting better. Hopefully one day I don't hate the cold! But this week was a lot of fun. Hard work. But fun as usual. 
     Monday evening after many P-day adventures we got to teach the recent convert Kenny and help him feel more prepared to share the gospel. Although it was hard to focus when I could just feel sweat dripping off my face and look over to see Elders Griffits and Mendoza feeling the same way. SO HOT! The one bad thing about this week was that so many people were out of town so we just had to try by a bunch of people to see that they weren't home. 
     Tuesday we had Zone Leader Council in Arcadia with the assistants and our mission President. For most of the meeting we talked about accountability and how our zones don't feel the pressure of being accountable like we do and what we could do to change that. For us it is never fun to stand up in front of President and tell him and the other zones that we didn't reach our zone goal for baptisms... But it was a super good meeting and It is funny to compare english and spanish work to Armenian work. Which is so drastically different. Even though I'm not in the group anymore I still feel like I have to represent them mainly. But after the meeting we got to have dinner with Gina and Forest who are doing super well and I gotta say, even though he is a giant and super goofy, Forest has the biggest heart and really wants to try and do the right things. Hard to explain but he is just a boss. Next we had a lesson with K which turned into Khoa's lesson unfortunately because he just kind of took over. I had forgotten why we just use him as a finding tool. Love him. But he is still a baby in the gospel and needs to let us teach the lessons. But K is doing super good and progressing towards his date in a little less than two weeks. 
     Wednesday we actually got to meet up with the girl from GCC who has stood us up twice already. Unfortunately it was a very short visit to only find she isn't super interested. Oh well. We ended up celebrating Elder Twelves' birthday for lunch and went to this sweet hawaiian burger place which really did a good job at making me want to go surfing. The rest of the day wasn't super special. We had some investigator drop us, we broke our phone, and then at the end of the day we had a one on one lesson with Trea. He is such a family man and just wants to be with his family. He just needs to find an answer to help him know that it is true. Then we found out that Natalie's Grandma has been declining in health and that we needed to go give her a blessing. The next day she was doing better and being able to hold down small amounts of food. 
     Thursday was Zone Training when we got to relay the things we learned in council with President. Elder Mendoza was super nervous because his English. But it went well. Felt like I taught most of it but we got the zone to participate and so that is always good right?  So after our meeting we got the usual Armenian food from the Deli and had Elders Mendoza, Griffitts and Jewel to try Tawn. Which is this Armenian yogurt soda drink. Some people hate it and some love it. I'm not a huge fan of it. first time I drank it I almost gagged. But the expressions on peoples faces when they try it is hilarious and then they spit it out or look like they will be sick. And because it was the 4th, no one was home. So the day really went without much even after that besides In n' out for dinner and it soundling like a war zone in our neighborhood when we got home that night. It was crazy loud. Not sure if they were just fireworks or what but it was something we don't have in Salt Lake! 
     Friday was usual. Had a solid lesson with Anthony to teach him about Patriarchal blessings then had a get together with the ward missionaries from the singles ward and made pizza that Khoa set up. it was a lot of fun actually. We got to start getting to know the ward missionaries which is helpful so they can help us more. Then was weekly planning which helped us realize we are slowing down in how much work we have. Which is never good. We just haven't been able to get into the rhythm of things in the singles ward yet so that is frustrating. Just so different than the group and a regular family ward. But it is good in the fact that it is making me step out of my comfort zone and talking to people more. Not that I don't but I'm still kinda shy sometimes. So that helps! 
     Saturday was a pretty good day. We had an early lesson with Andreas and ended up teaching his mom as well who is still recovering from her back surgery. Still can't understand half of what she says. Mostly because it legit doesn't make sense. We attempted to meet up with K but his friend that was going to drive him bailed/forgot and so he was going to have to take the bus for an hour so we just rescheduled for yesterday after church. We didn't have many member dinners this week so we got to relax a bit at the apartment before heading back out to try more people. We stopped by Trea and Natalies again but ended up they were at the grandmas house so we went there and met the rest of the family who were in town to see their mom/grandma. Which was cool. We invited them to church and found out that Trea's youngest daughter, really wants to learn about the church and come. 
     Sunday was super long. Fast sundays always are but go by super fast... weird. So in the family ward it was awesome. Natalie and Kaylee came to sacrament with little Daniel and they all really liked it. Also they got to see Zach and Sean get confirmed at that time and I was invited to stand in the circle which is always super cool. It was just a really good sunday. Next in singles ward we had four non members show up to church which was crazy and super fun getting everyone involved. And not to mention to have one of them bear their testimonies was awesome. Then there was the linger longer which was delicious and I got to meet more people from the ward before we went and taught K with Pat. He is so ready to be baptized. He shares all these experiences when he feels it and has cool things happen. He's a stud. A stud from Thailand! Then we had to seriously race to dinner all the way downtown LA at the edge of our boundry with a member who we had already canceled on a few weeks ago and they kinda complained so we couldn't be late. But they were super cool. So much food though. i didn't have room for ice cream if that puts it into perspective. Then we had a bomb lesson with Trea and kaylee at their house. Super willing to learn and make the steps to baptism. 

So overall kind of a slow week from the holiday but it was fun. Miss you all. Hope you had a great week! 

Elder DeBry

Week 28 (6/24-7/1)

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! They have made my day today and all the letters and packages definitely made Saturday one to remember. So thank you all. I felt very loved even from so far away! 
     So this past week was just straight up stressful and overwhelming. First week since I've been out to manage not just the area but the zone as a whole. I've really learned a lot of patience and especially learned how much I've grown since I've been out here. I've learned a lot being with Elder Mendoza who is the most humble Elder I could ever meet. But also we have had Elder Griffitts stay with us this past week and hopefully for the rest of the time he is here. He is awaiting a visa to Brazil. He is a ball of fun and made the week full of laughs. 
     After a p-day full of soccer. Seriously we played for 3 hours and I got roasted in the 100 degree heat. Which has been killer this week. the day wasn't super eventful. Mostly because I just can't recall what happened. 
     Tuesday we had a set appointment that the girl didn't show up to. So we met with Khoa, our assistant ward mission leader and he pitched to us this big plan to have a toy/can food drive towards the beginning of august to get a ton of people at our church. We stopped by Edna Stapel again because she was on a down again and some of her grandkids were even there. It breaks my heart to see people in so much pain but not being able to help them. She kept saying "I want to join Nickel" who was another man this past week who passed away in our ward. So after that joyful visit we had our last lesson with Zach and Sean before they were baptized this past Sunday. The rest of the day was quite funny just getting used to Elder Mendoza's broken english and Elder Griffitts and his spunky atttitude. seriously the best threesome in the mission. That night we had a lesson with K about the restoration which was awesome and he is progressing so well and looking forward to his baptism. 
     Wednesday got all messed up because after the regular morning and some really bad lunch that we made at home, the Ap's called and had us come help with painting for a potential which was pretty fun. So that took up until dinner and our lesson with another lady Christina who is an ex-wife of a less active in our ward. The lesson went awesome and I got Elder Griffitts to participate more. The AP's never really let him participate and he just fell to the third wheel position. But Elder Medoza was still quiet. Trying to learn english work is hard even I admit. Didn't help that she was sarcastically doubting he wanted to come on a mission and his parents didn't force him to. But he just has to get used to the sarcastic humor. 
     Thursday was good. We had a solid district meeting in the new district consisting of the DL, us ZL's and the AP's. So you know it is good. We had some lack of communication this week with the AP's who kind of leave us out of the working with leadership and coordination so that only added to stress of the week. And after that we got another call from Chuck Stapel to give Edna another blessing. We got there and they told us she wasn't going to make the night. So they had me say the blessing in Armenian which was super hard after not doing it in a while. Long story short with her, she passed away the next day after all she had accomplished. Going to miss her and her calling us 'the children'. The rest of the night didn't get much better. We had to seriously search for a gas station with no gas in our car and after 4 different places finally found one that took a credit card. Which made us super late to our lesson with K. Which actually went super well about teaching him the word of wisdom. 
     Friday we got to meet up with Anthony. I was super happy for him for getting the priesthood and now we have him going to the temple this week to do baptisms. Which is AWESOME. super proud of him. Then our schedule got messed up again because we had to do more errands for the office to help people move things to their apartment.
     Saturday was my birthday! After the usual get up at 6 to read scriptures me and Elder Twelves, whose birthday is the 30th, opened our packages which I loved from everyone. So thank you again. Then the day was pretty normal kind of. We went to the armenian group picnic for lunch and ended up having a massive water fight and i got cake frosting all over me. It was awesome :) Then we did some weekly planning or attempted before we caught the end of our family ward barbecue at this mansion of a house. Then we stopped by Trea and natalie because their little boy who turned one has the same birthday and we shared a lesson with them. So it was a really good birthday. 
     Then came Sunday. I just knew it was going to be stressful and it was for the first half of the day. We had to go over to the church early to fill the font to make sure it was ready for inbetween the singles ward and family ward block. We got everything set up and after the family ward block the baptism happened and it was a good thing we did a practice run! the dad was super nervous, wearing the wrong jump suit, he had to redo the baptism twice for the older son and three time for the younger to get them all the way under. Not to mention him being nervous about the prayer. But it was so good to see them and their family together. It was a great baptism. Then we had the singles ward. one member gave me a cupcake for my birthday. K got a ride to and from church not to mention him just making friends while he was there. It was a solid meeting. Then we had a great dinner with a member whose laugh is hilarious. then to end the day we had a lesson with a less active and her non member daughter. it was awesome. Just awesome day. 

Awesome week. Love you all. still can't believe I'm 20! 

Elder DeBry

Week 27 (6/17-6/24)

So by this time next week I'll no longer be a teenager! How sad is that? I definitely don't feel like I'm 20 and other times I feel much, much older. I guess that is what responsibility does to you! So this week was very interesting on accord of transfers today. Which I'll tell about below. 
     So after P-day last week, Tuesday was kind of a slow day. We were supposed to do some service which entailed moving some companionships around to different appartments but we found out that we didn't have a truck at our disposal like we planned. So we resorted back to just trying by people. It was kind of a bitter afternoon because it was slow and hot. The people we stopped by were not exactly the friendliest group of people telling us that we'd "have no success in this area" and people continually just opening, looking at who was there, and then closing it again. But the evening picked up with a dinner with the Boyack family, a solid lesson with the Sinor family in which they are planning on having the baptism the 30 of this month, and then we had a lesson with our Thai investigator and set him with a solid date of 21 July! So the day turned out to be good overall. 
     Wednesday after we made a run to the office we got another call from Chuck Stapel telling us that Edna wasn't doing so well. Thankfully/Unfortunately we had our afternoon apointment with Ervin/Aylin (Iranian Family) cancel so we could go visit her and give her a blessing. We went and found out that she was not in a very good condition and some family had come up to see if she was going to make it. After we gave her a blessing we had a lesson with Chris on forgiveness. He has some stuff in his past that he just can't get over and that is stopping his progression because he just can't get over whatever it was that happened. Later we had a lesson with Anthony about the priesthood since he was ordained this past Sunday as a priest. By me :) Had a dinner with the Flake family and found out that Bro Flake served in Greece with one of the MTC teachers I had which was cool. We stopped by Trea and Natalie to find that one of his daughters was there so we taught about faith hope and charity which I had been studying about this past week. Pretty cool topic in my opinion. But the big news of the day was when we got a call from President that night to tell Elder Bangerter that he was going to be the next Assistant since Elder Nielson is going home tomorrow. So for the rest of the week he partially inherited the duties of an Assistant. Leaving me to be with Elder Griffitts, the visa waiter who is from Cour de'lane Idaho and is super funny. 
     Thursday I was with Elder Griffitts all day as Elder Bangerter went into the office to help finalize transfers with Nielson, Garcia and President. We went to Elder Dicus' last district meeting and then went to lunch after. The rest of the afternoon was us going to get our oil changed and having to sit and watch the dramatic daytime television which is pretty ridiculous to watch. Not just as a missionary. I gave Elder Griffitts some time to do some language study since he never gets to with the busy schedule of the AP's. At dinner Elder Bangerter finally came back and it was as if he was already not my companion anymore with how much he couldn't tell me what was going on. We had another bomb lesson with K though and really solidified his progress. 
     Friday I was with Elder Griffitts again. For lunch we went to the Las Vegas seafood buffet for only $12! It was awesome. All we could eat sushi and brazilian grill. It was awesome. But the rest of the afternoon consisted of me planning. For the week. By myself. while Elder Griffitts took a nap from his long day of street contacting with the other Visa waiter, Elder Zarco. Not super fun. But we ended up having a good lesson with Gina about her going to the temple soon to do baptisms so that was awesome. 
     Saturday was half with Elder Bangerter and Griffitts. We had a practice baptism with the Sinor boys because they are uneasy in the water. Which was a good thing we did because it would have gone really horribly if they hadn't had the time to get used to going under the water. But it went pretty good! Should be an interesting next Sunday! Later that afternoon when I was back with Griffitts we ended up talking to some old little Armenian grandmas on the sidewalk for a good time and eventually I was giving out pictures of Christ like they were money/trading cards. I miss the old ladies. A lot. Just armenians in general. So that night was transfer call night. I am staying in the same area. Bangerter is going to be Assistant. And my new companion is Elder Mendoza from Barcelona, Spain. He has been out for a year and a half and has been only in Spanish work and President wants me to work with him on his English before he goes home in the next few months. Which will be a lot of fun! Interesting. But fun. 
     Sunday was crazy. Two wards to go to full of meetings. I ordained Anthony a Priest. K came with all of his buddies. One of whom I knew down at BYU. Paul Saddler. Then went to the broadcast of the mission presidents seminar which was awesome and we will now be going more towards media missionary stuff. Not sure how excatly but i'm thinking maybe iPads? Smart Phones?  Then right after that we went to the farewell for departing missionaries. Elder Dicus is leaving tomorrow and it was really hard to see him go. He was a great Elder and I was very lucky to know him.

Well I gotta go so I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 

Elder DeBry

Week 26 (6/10-6/17)

Good morning family and friends! This past week has been an awesome week. Plenty of adventures and tales to tell. 
     Last Monday I was convinced into buying a suit from J.o.S. A Bank for a killer deal that they could only get if four people bought.. so might want to keep an eye out for that on the statement. I'll be sure to send pictures when it is finished being tailored and such. We got a call from Chuck Stapel letting us know that Edna isn't doing too well and we made a good effort to visit her this week. Which turned out to be quite the story that I'll tell further down. I'm finding out that some of the families that we have dinner with are just as odd as we are back at home! It is hilarious to see some of the things people say even in front of missionaries. Quite hilarious so that made me feel more at home and always a good laugh. 
     Tuesday afternoon we ended up going to our Armenian deli for lunch where the owner's son (who was six and spoke adorable Armenian) took our order. Quite hilarious. Especially to see him spell tomato: TOWEMATO. Kids. We went up to the hostpital and stopped by Edna to find Chuck and one of his daughters there as well who had to come from Salt Lake from a high school graduation. Pretty cool to see that much devotion from a guy who doesn't exactly wear his heart on his sleeve. I mean he makes knives and guns for a living and doesn't stop making fun of me for speaking armenian (most americans here in glendale don't exactly LOVE the Armenian population.) Found out her body still isn't able to keep potassium and salt balanced. Kinda odd. Anyways. We had some great lessons. One was with the Sinor family. We now have both Zack, 10 yr old, and Sean, 8 yr old, scheduled for the end of the month and their father to baptize them both. Next we picked up a new investigator whose name is Chaiwat from Thailand. He is here in LA working towards medschool and ran into a guy who recently moved down here from teaching at the MTC. So he got him interested in learning more and found us. It is different teaching him because he has a Buddhist background and so we have to start from the very beginning of everything. But he is really cool and already has come to church twice. 
     Wednesday after some zone leader errands to the office I went on a split with Elder Selfridge to teach our recent convert Anthony who hasn't been coming to church lately. He says he might just want to go to the ward that is right around the corner from him. Hence why I brought Elder Selfridge with me. But we talked to him and he says he might still want to come to the singles ward to get he priesthood and there is a girl he likes that goes there... so we will see. Also met up with Chris who we haven't been able to meet with because of finals going on. It was cool we really got him to open up on some of his past and some concerns he has that explain why he was asking about the wrath of God. Also that evening we got to walk through some downtown LA projects which was pretty sketch. But don't worry Mom we made it out alive :) 
     Thursday was a pretty slow day. We didn't have anything set so we worked on some transferring of information from our ward information to our area book and such. Yeah i know that doesn't sound fun at all right? But it has been helpful to get to know who is most effective to go by and such. Had dinner with a young family and the wife said she gained 70 pounds during her pregnancy... not sure if that is normal or not but the pictures of her feet she showed us looked like balloon animals. Then we had a second surprise dinner with Forest and Gina at Gina's apartment due to the bed bugs in Forest's apartment. But she was super stoked to be confirmed this past Sunday. It really is so cool to see how happy she is. Truly happy and I've only known her for a month. 
     Friday we had weekly planning and a coordination meeting with our mission President at his house with our new ward mission leader and assistant in the single's ward. It was pretty productive. Our new mission leader is a guy who is already working on his PhD and he is only 24, a return missionary and goes to Cal Tech. And the assistant is a recent convert of a year and has already gone through the temple and is super good at organizing events. So we think we are about to cook up some good things in the next little while. But we will see. We had our main lesson cancel on us because the guy, Wells, wants to bring another one of his Pastor friends because they know the doctrine well. He basically just wants to see us have a discussion and he is going to base his decisions off of that. 
     Saturday we just tried by a bunch of referrals we have received this week and ended up almost teaching this Armenian lady but got a little intimidated when we had another companionship show up to have another man. Oh well. That night we were invited to a graduation party of a less active and her family who has one less active daughter and one not baptized. But they just aren't too interested. 
     Sunday was Father's Day! So happy late father's day for all the Dads out there! it was a great day. In the 2nd ward we confirmed Gina and she was just glowing after. The ward is really taking a liking to her. Also never thought I'd miss childrens singing programs until I saw a mass of toe heads sing a father's day song. Then in the 7th ward we had a few investigators come and we finally got Anthony back to church to talk to the bishop. We had some dinner with the Boyack family who fed us a nice barbecue dinner of burgers, sausage and steak. Noms. Then we met by some leaders in the ward to try and build their trust. So yeah! 

Overall, it was a great week! Hope everyone had a great week and an even better one coming up! Love!

Elder DeBry

Week 25 (6/3-6/10)

 Today is the 1/3 marker since I have entered the MTC. Crazy how time has seriously flown. With how much we plan as missionaries, it already seems like the summer is coming to a close!
     Last P-day was pretty awesome. A husband of a not active member, Chuck Stapel, took us out for breakfast. This is the guy who makes knives for a living and is a stud. Other than that, the Monday went on as usual. Although, we gave one of our neighbors, Jorge, who is a big time Born Again Christian, a Book of Mormon at his request. Pretty awesome :)
     Tuesday we had our monthly Zone Leader counsel in Arcadia. It was pretty awesome and not so intimidating as last month when I wasn't officially a Zone Leader yet. Weird. I've been one for about a month now... President counseled a lot with us on this past Zone Conference we had the week before and got feed back from everyone. It is cool to see how even our President is trying to restructure everything and go back to the basics of things to see if we can be more effective. That night we met with Gina to go over the final lesson on fasts and offering and gave her a heads up on our next lesson when we reviewed baptismal questions with her. She is so golden. She loves the scriptures. It is cool to see because it all started with Forest who wasn't even active. As i'll explain later, Gina was baptized yesterday and we got Forest to baptize her :) Best baptism ever. well, thus far.
     Wednesday we had some service to do for some scientologist that lived above the AP's. I've gotta say, with my moving ability, it is just like playing tetris. kids stuff. It was ridiculous how much stuff we fit into this big truck of his. Not much else happened that day. We had a dinner with our family ward bishop and then headed over to Pasadena to set up for this big interfaith dialogue that was going on the following night so the organizer of it all, Clarence, a recent convert of about 7 months, had us set up a whole gym full of chairs because of all the advertising he had done these past few weeks. Probably had about at least 700 chairs set up...
     Thursday we had zone training which is where our zone of la crascenta comes together and we the zone leaders instruct them. So we had a great lesson set up but unfortunately we asked one of the Sisters in our zone to help out teach a small segment and she took a lot longer than we planned so we had to improvise. But I'm noticing that it isn't intimidating to get up and teach a big group of people anymore! Well, a group of 26 is fine but more than that and it is still intimidating. After a cancellation of more college student lessons and a quick lunch, we had a lesson with our investigator Wells and he brought along his friend Chris. And we knew from the start that Chris meant trouble. And he was. When we asked him why he was meeting with us he said "To protect Wells from you guys teaching him false doctrine and to make sure he doesn't listen to you". So basically it was an expectation full lesson that ended up in our member being contentious with Chris and Wells ultimately siding with us when it came down to what we were teaching. So we left and it was interesting. Found out that Chris is a pastor of a church he just started the other week... We had our final lesson with Gina and showed her the baptismal font and gave her a practice interview. She was so ready. She answered confidently and had felt what she had learned. We then visited Edna Stapel again in the hospital where I accidentally (don't asked me how) but in our closing prayer I asked to bless her to 'fart' trying to combine start and feeling better.... super hard not to laugh which I failed at. How embarrassing! But then it was a rush to Pasadena again to the Interfaith Dialogue where leaders of the catholic faith, jewish, islam, evangelic and a few others including our mission president were there. It was a great idea. just was disappointing to see that the few hundred chairs we set up weren't used because only the chapel was filled with people... but it turned out well. Just expected a bigger turn out!
     Friday wasn't as exciting as Thursday but it was still pretty filled. We were asked by President to come into the office and have a session of planning with him and a few other companionships that he asked. It was very beneficial to really go step by step and review all that we are supposed to plan for and not just schedule in a week. Which we have been neglecting. So that was good! But the rest of the evening was just a bunch of little things like meeting with our Ward Mission leader to set up details for the baptism on Sunday.
     Saturday started off with Elder Bangerter and I cleaning the font in the Central building due to it being newly renovated and dusty. I got to stand in water up to my ankles! What a sensation that I didn't think I'd miss but found out that I have! After that was Gina's interview with Elder Dicus. It wasn't long and they both came out knowing she was ready to be baptized. then we ran off to the Wilson building to do Car Washes which is now about a monthly occurance and is very effective. Gave about 4 tours! But the rest of the night was slow and not much to report.
     And yesterday. Busiest/stressful Sunday since I've been in this new area/wards. Started off with an early morning ward council meeting for the family ward. Then throughout the rest of the meetings following Elder Bangerter and I were setting up for the baptism. The chairs, programs, the font, everything had to be taken care of before. Forest's parents even drove out from Vegas to see the event! But then we had to still go through church for the singles ward! IN which we had 7 non members just show up to church which was crazy trying to meet them all and explain and direct them around. I felt like I had a bunch of kids just needing to be taken care of. But finally after it all was the baptism and it went smoothly and very nicely. Forest's Mom spoke and we even got a jump suit to fit the massive 6'8" man who was Forest. Both Forest and Gina had one of their daughters come and we are hoping to teach them now. So it was awesome.
Overall it was a great week. This transfer is almost over. Can't believe it. Love you all and hope all is well where ever you all are.
Elder DeBry