Dearest Loved ones!
Baree Looys!! Well aside from it taking an hour and a half this morning to get from our apartment to the institute to email.... it has been a great week full of new adventure, a new trainee, and new miracles that have been all around!! It seriously has been an awesome week and I've never gotten home so tired from all this no car travel!! Pretty sure if my belt has some more loops, I would have gone down one because of all the exercise we get while biking/walking. Thankfully it hasn't been TOO hot this week. Anyways let's get at my week, shall we?
Monday was... yet again very frustrating and just nothing got done. Just as our P-day is just about to start, we get a call from two new elders who are opening a new area asking where they will be moving... umm... I guess their apartment fell through the cracks and they never got one. So they were homeless and were forced to just come with us for the day. So we had to wait for what seemed like forever until they made it to our pad and then off we went with Khoa up to GCC to do email and whatnot. Well 2ish rolls around and the office calls and says they found an apartment they could move into and so Elder Winfield and I left the two other Elders at the institute to go back to our pad, grab our car and head to the office to pick up their furnishings for their new apartment, including a new fridge which we had to get elsewhere as well (Elder Winfield had to back up the truck and trailer which he was very proud of but it took seriously 15 minutes to back out of a driveway. Gotta give him props for persistence!). But then back to Glendale to pick up the Elders, back to our pad to load up the rest of their bags and such, then up to Tujunga to unload, move in and deal with the paperwork of the apartment and contracts and whatnot. Not a fan of being the middle man of a deal that can just be made on the phone. But finally we got to head back aroundafter already having missed a scheduled appointment with our new investigator, Gary. We then biked up to Central to meet Robbie at FHE because he wanted to talk about things. Unfortunately it ended up more talking to other people and Robbie just giving us a ride home so we didn't get to address the things that were going on... but long story short after having a rough weekend and losing hope and whatnot, he had some more answers given to him in the way of friends reaching out to him. Seriously I don't know what it is, but that kid can pray and have some miracle happen anytime to show him the way. Pretty amazing his faith. But boy was it a busy day!
Tuesday was a little better. Elder King was dropped off at our pad a little before 6 the next morning while the AP's went to Arcadia to drive the departing Elders/Sisters to the airport. So we spent the morning with him. After studies we walked over to Target to get some groceries since we didn't have time the day before. (Which we found Dino-Quaker oatmeal for a dollar. A DOLLAR. Remember those? The oatmeal where you start out with eggs and by the time you heat it up the dinosaurs come out in an assortment of color? That was my breakfast for the week. Couldn't be happier.) Then our day continued with taking the bus up to GCC again (it took an hour and a half waiting for the bus) to meet some Armenian girl that flaked on us..typical. After getting a ride home with Khoa (all six of us, Elders Twelves, Cook, Jewell, Winfield, King and I), we drove to Arcadia to pick up our new trainee!! His name is Elder Bret Whitney. Born in Washington. But claims he isn't from anywhere because his Dad is in the Army and never lived anywhere for too long. He has moved 15 times, was studying math education before his mission at Utah State, his parents live in Beijing, and he is into music! So besides him moving a lot, as of right now, we don't have a ton in common which makes it not quite as fun as it was when Elder DeSpain was our trainee. But Elder Whitney is a good Elder. It doesn't seem like we are training him because he is already a good teacher and has his head on straight. So that is good, right?! The Armenian Elders invited us to finally have dinner with Brad and Nancy, the people we helped move into a few weeks ago who fed us pizza last time. It was them and 9 missionaries I think? But it was awesome. So the rest of the night was rather confusing because it was our first official time that we knew we couldn't take the car. So we spent quite a while trying to figure things our with transportation and finally hoofed it to the Central building to meet the two new Elders in G2 Elder King and his trainee Elder Llewelyn. Both are awesome. Elder King was a Zone leader for a while so I already knew him (He was mtc companions with Elder Bangerter) and he is a cowboy from Farmington Utah and loves to rodeo and actually is pretty good at it. Elder Llewelyn I don't know that well yet but he is hilarious. So nuff said. But we helped them out figure out the area, what members they should go by and basic stuff like that to try and get them started. I'm thankful I don't have to ever open a new area! Gotta love being in Glendale for two years!
Wednesday was busy. We took the bus up to GCC again (only 20 minutes this time) to go set up the booth! It was awesome just getting Elder Whitney to dive into talking to people. We had the Armenian Elders come with us and I've taken a liking to Elder Cook. I can see us being friends back home. But it was a lot of fun. It was a pretty slow day for some reason. So we headed back home and as we were about to start our studies again we got a call to give someone a blessing in the emergency room. So we biked down to Glendale Memorial Hospital to meet a Sister Perez who was having something wrong with her appendix. So we gave her a blessing as her Armenian nurses were trying to usher us out of her room because they only are supposed to have one visitor at a time... Sorry lady! I'd love to leave my companion but we are attached at the hip, didn't you know? But as we were unlocking our bikes to head home we got stopped by this kid who yells out and asks if we are Mormon. We started talking to him and he started telling us how he used to be into drugs until he got something laced with anther thing which got him really bad anxiety and he wanted to change his life around. Uhhh..... did that just happen? Yuppp. Sure did! so we got his number and still waiting to hear back from him! All because we have a brand new missionary... LOVE IT!! We were supposed to have a lesson with Chaiwat that afternoon but he ended up not being able to until later when we had a dinner appointment.. so we got Kelli to give us a ride to our dinner and we had K go to a lesson with her! Later he texted us and told us how awesome it was to teach and he now understands why we loved being missionaries and were happy all the time! He is awesome. So we had dinner with the Knight family and they weren't very happy because they had made dinner for 7 and only 5 came... this is the problem with having so many companionships in a ward. NO communication! But it turned out alright. we just had to eat a little more until we were about to pop and had to be rolled out the door. We had a lesson with Stuart that night and it is amazing to see his progress! He told us he has realized to really come to know that these things are true he needs to do it full fledged and with all sincerity and purpose of heart to know if it's the right thing. I hope he serves a mission. He'd be so solid. We had to make the long 30 min walk home last night but we ran into this guy from Iran that we started talking to. Apparently he had talked to me before on his doorstep and he didn't want to have to go to any church because it doesn't matter what the 'name' of God/ what church he goes to, because what is important is how Church helps people change into the people that God wants us to become. Which I thought was brilliant and all I could do was bear testimony about that being our purpose as missionaries then we left him to think about that. Up until then I had been struggling to figure out why it was so hard to teach Armenians. I started to figure out just a piece of it. They have always been forced to change. To move. To do things and live a way they didn't want to live. They want to be able to do something because they want to. That is why they cling to the Armenian church so strongly. Because it is all they haven't had to change since 301 A.D. This all makes sense in my head if it doesn't to all y'all...
Thursday we had to run to the office again to get supplies for some Sisters in our zone who moved into a pad infested with bedbugs... we felt terrible to so we made sure to get them all the things they needed to clean their apartment the following day before it was to be exterminated. So that took up most of our morning and we missed district meeting.. ontop of that we had to then go home and bike back to the church for a lunch that Khoa made. but when we finally got there all the other missionaries had ate it all... sad face.. but there wasn't much we could do and had to bike up to our lesson with this girl Cynthia at GCC. It was probably one of the funnier lessons I've had. She wasn't even quite sure why she was meeting with us and was making sarcastic jokes all the way through but we got to explain our purpose and she said she'd try and make it to church. Then off to our lesson with Raquel! she had told us that after her fast for Yomm Kippur she didn't feel much different than before about what to do. So we started to explain that and related it to the last lesson we had with her. She now doesn't even know if she should tell her Dad all together and that is what her mom and sister said she should do. So we are hoping she'll be baptized before she leaves for school this Wednesday! But we had a lesson on the Atonement and it was pretty bomb. We got her favorite candy and started going around the room asking everyone if they'd like a piece. if they did, I had to do 20 push ups before they could have it. Pretty soon neither of them(raquel or her boyfriend) wanted to have any more candy but I did more push ups for them if they wanted it. Pretty soon I was struggling to do any more push ups and Raquel was soon in tears because she understood what we were trying to teach. The rest was powerful and moving as Spencer explained what the Atonement meant to him and not much needs to be said further. She knows what she needs to do and we hope she makes the right decision. We got a call from Melissa later that afternoon and she was in tears explaining how stressed she was and bad she felt that she wasn't able to meet with us and how she just needs to figure out everything that is going on before she continues. It broke our heart to hear that the time she needs it most is when she doesn't have time. But that is when her friend Alexis (after telling her what happened) told us that we should make her cookies and drop them off to her to brighten her day. Which would work out perfectly because we'd be in Arcadia the next day. That night we stopped by a lady who we met on the bus Wednesday and she let us in to have a lesson! Her name is Jolene and she is aweomse! She lives alone with her dog Abby. She just wants to find the truth and she agreed to have another lesson the following day. Miracles are happening from taking public transportation! After that we had Scott Vance come pick me up and the other Elders went with Russ Peterson to go do some visits of referrals we had received! So Scott and I ended up visiting this referral from the Northridge YSA sisters. it ended up being all the way up in San Fernando almost! Road trip? It felt like I was visiting Kiel up in Sacramento again. And the address we had wasn't even the right address! Lame!
Friday morning we dropped Elder Winfield off to go with the Sunland Elders to help them clean the Verdugo hills sister's pad while Elder Whitney and I drove the Armenian Elders to Arcadia for the new missionary orientation which was Bomb. All meetings where we get to listen to President are bomb. So after the all day meeting we stopped by Melissa's house to drop off the cookies but unfortunately she was already at work. We also made some for Alexis' family for the meals they had us over for. Finally we got back to Glendale and went over with Elders Twelves and Cook to teach Jolene. It was an awesome first lesson and Elder Whitney got to invite her to be baptized on October 13th and she said:
"that is my birthday!" "well Jolene do you want to be baptized on your birthday?!" "I'd love to!"
That was our conversation! It was pretty great. After making some mac n cheese with polish sausage, Mike Avanesian from the Group came and gave us all a ride up to the Central building for the 'Epic gamer night' which turned out to be not so epic afterall... but we got some free ice cream!
Saturday we went up and had to study with the Verdugo Hills sisters while they had an exterminator in their pad. It was quite interesting studying with Sisters and I cried laughing from Elder Winfield making faces while Elder Whitney was roleplaying with the Sisters... classic. But then we had another lesson with Jolene where we went over the restoration again to make sure she understood the apostasy/authority/prophets. She was solid by the end of the lesson and was nervous to come to church but said she would. The afternoon we planned and then had dinner with Elders King and Llewelyn and the Solomon family. It was so funny. The solomons are already a funny couple with Sister Solomon being so worried about everything and Cecil just being totally random. So much laughter was to be had that Elder King ended up spitting his jello into the bowl of mashed potatoes.. The rest of the night was exciting! We started out on the bus and just kept riding because we started talking with some people who came up to us asking questions! it was awesome! We met this one lady who was a doctor but taking the bus so her son could have the car... that's a momma!! But once we got off we had a very long way to go to walk.. we stopped by Forest's to use the restroom and Gina was over and they were just about to have dinner. We haven't seen them for a few months now because of Gina's three jobs... but they were acting strange and didn't even want us to stick around.. so we started walking home and about half way a member stopped us and gave us a ride home.
Sunday morning we went over and picked Jolene up with Brother Prieto. She loved church and everyone was befriending her! It was awesome. We also found out she'd be coming to the AP's baptism that night to see what she'd be getting into. G7 was awesome yesterday because President and Sister Becerra came and spoke in Sacrament. It'd be too long to summarize President's talk but he spoke about where he came from, his purpose and the man he will be because of his Grandfather joining the church and in effect, 135 of his children, grandchild have all been faithful and strong members in the church with numbers of stake presidents, mission presidents and so forth. it was certainly inspiring. right after church we had a lesson with Autumn who has been coming to church since april but hasn't wanted to meet with missionaries until now. She knows it is true and says she wants to get baptized but she is afraid that by her doing so her parents will be disappointed/won't support her and that when she gets married they won't be able to be there if she goes to the temple.. very legitimate concern. But she is solid in her testimony and it is awesome to teach her. WE had a quick dinner with the Bazil's before going to Ramiro's baptism(I guess he got baptized with his ipod in his pocket) and then had a lesson with Jolene after to talk about her feelings. It was an awesome day. But that night we got a call from Brother Prieto telling us Jolene had called him telling him we couldn't meet anymore. She called her sister and her sister told her we were going to take her money and not to meet with her anymore.. we still don't know what is going on but I hope it turns out alright.
Well, I love you all very much and hope you are having a wonderful, sunshine filled week where ever you may be. Hajo!