Friday, October 4, 2013

Week 41 (9/23-9/30)

Just this morning, after planning last night and setting the goal to talk to everyone we possibly can, we ran into two people this morning in particular that I want to share with you. The first wasn't open to accepting a Book of Mormon but after Elder Whitney explaining to him why it was he came on a mission, the man turned to me and said 'Young man you have a light about you that is just shining.' He accepted a card but went on his way after I explained to him that we help people receive that light into their lives. Then the second man I spoke with on a bus was telling me about a recent tragedy of his Sister taking her life and leaving behind her family. I bore testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the peace and healing that comes through Christ. This man also looked into my eyes and said 'I'm not sure if it is the green in your eyes, but there is something in your eyes that makes you different. Why is it that you seem to glow?' I explained to him how we want him to have that same light and peace and we set up an appointment with him for this upcoming Friday

     My bad on sending the last one!! Just been an awesome day and wanted to share it RIGHT NOW!! Unfortunately this mornings events haven't been the summary of this past weeks. To say the least it was a rough-er week. But no mission is meant to be easy!
     Last Monday we had a lesson in the afternoon (which I really don't like doing but you gotta do what you gotta do!) with Raquel who was leaving Wednesday for UCSD! We did all we could think to do and that was to teach what we wanted her to understand, 3Ne11 when Christ first teaches to the Americas! And what was the first thing he taught...Baptism!! It was a great lesson. When Elder Frost kept bugging us he had to close up the institute, we all felt the biggest prompting to invite her to be baptized before she left to school and she said she still wanted to pray about it....UGH! It'll happen, just will take more time. But her and Spencer gave us a ride to Target and we finished up our p-day (which flies by now that we don't have cars). Then we rode up to the Central building to have another lesson with Autumn before FHE! It was also such a great lesson!  We right off the bat invited her to be baptized  but before she could respond we told her why and what she needed to understand. So we taught her the Restoration and she understood it and when we invited her to be baptized she said she felt this overwhelming feeling that she needed to and to say yes but was hesitant because she knew she hadn't learned everything yet. But we explained that understanding would come with time and she accepted the invitation knowing that she needed to act with real intent. After that we went and talked with people at FHE, Thomas about his friends at Caltech and then this guy Jershon came up and started talking to us. Basically wanting to bash and catch us in our words. Asking us questions like "are we all pure" and such that he already had Bible verses ready to flip out. After a while of talking and him just going off on us not telling him our first name, he turned to me and said that I was hiding behind my fake smile (I wasn't even smiling) and that I was the most defiant person he met that day. Then at that point, Elder Winfield who had been keeping relatively cool, spoke up and the best way I can describe what happened, is that video clip of Joseph Smith who was in jail and said to his captures, "silence ye fiends of the infernal pit!" Seriously though, Elder Winfield bore the strongest testimony and stood up for me and told him to be silent and not to speak to us in that way again.. then we proceeded to walk away and go home! It was much more intense than I make it sound. Just trust me on this one!
     Tuesday we went up to GCC and I was under the weather with a cold.. so I was not into talking to people at all. What made it worse was the fact that I had to sleep on a mattress with like a plastic wrap on it that made it sound like it was the loudest thing ever when i'd move at night. So not much sleep and a bad cold. NOt a happy camper!! So we were up there for a while until we had a lesson with another girl, Grace, back at the institute building. Grace is this black girl (African American girl in the words of Elder DeSpain) who talked to Elder Winfield the week before and just wanted to learn more about religions. We had this girl, Allie, come help us out with the lesson and it went great! Probably one of the first lessons that we had taught in unity with each other and knew where we were going with the lesson. Love it! She agreed to keep meeting with us! Then we had a good lesson with the Sinor family! I guess they had been dealing with some family stuff and Zach was preparing for some surgical procedure this next week and hadn't been coming to church. I love that family. No matter how odd their house smells. Thankfully I couldn't smell much with that terrible cold! Then we talked with the Hispanic lady at the bus stop who spoke less English than we did Spanish and we got her information! Finally we made it up to the IHOP to eat dinner with Sister Sowby and Elders King and Llewelyn. Funny thing was that on the way back home, we saw the same lady at the bus stop again!
     Wednesday was BUSY! We had an early morning lesson with this girl Enjimar who was pretty awkward when we taught her. We had this member from G7 come with us and we let Elder Whitney lead the lesson which we gotta give him props but it was a little all over the place. But she said she would meet with us again! Even though she was just wanting to know more about Joseph Smith and Polygamy... but right after that we had a lesson with Cynthia again to teach her about the Restoration. And because she was so sarcastic we had to really make it a chill lesson if that makes sense but she totally understood it and was surprisingly smart because she plays like she isn't! But we invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and she wouldn't accept a copy and later we found out that she was offended that we were implying that all other churches were wrong. I ended up having to call her and explain things a little more and eventually she agreed to meet with us again to give us another chance to explain it. The Crane family fed all 7 of us (Elders Bangerter, Lloyd, King, Llwelyn, Winfield, Whitney and I) lunch and then we went back to GCC to have a lesson cancel on us. We made an office supply run and still aren't sure how we would do a supply run without a car because people get so much stuff in a week! Later that night we had a lesson with Robbie about Patriarchal blessings to give him an overview so he could help us with our lesson with Stuart afterwards. Robbie said because of his recent slip up with the WOW on his birthday that he doesn't feel like he is ready but we know he is making progress and Stuart was totally into getting one so he could find out his lineage. I love reactivation work! It's so satisfying especially to think that both Robbie and Stuart could be going on missions soon/in the future.
     Thursday we went up to have district meeting with Elder Compton and his district up north and it was still miserable being sick. It's funny to see the newer district leaders esteem us Zone Leaders as such knowledgeable and Elder Compton even said he was getting nervous because we were there. I don't know why! I don't even know what I'm doing most of the time when I teach groups of missionaries so we're in the same boat! We had a lesson with Autumn after the meeting and it was awesome. She said she felt better about her being baptized but still wanted to be more confident about her choice which was ironic because that was what we were going to teach her about! Confidence and Faith and tied it into the Plan of Salvation. We invited her to pray about a date for October and hopefully this week we were be able to see how she feels about that. From there on the day went downhill. We had a lesson with Anthony because we hadn't seen him for two weeks or at church. We were planning on talking about commandments but he started going off on some of the things he had been studying and researching online and was asking questions that made it seem like he wasn't a member yet... so we had to go back and teach him the Gospel overview which basically made him roll his eyes because he felt like he already knew it all. But obviously he was struggling with his testimony concerning it. So we decided to meet with him the next day and it wasn't much better. But that night we had a lesson with this other black lady, Lequita who was awesome! We had Brother Prieto come with us and we talked about the Book of Mormon and read it with her. Funny though because after the lesson Brother Prieto was still critical of the fact that I brought of baptism on the first lesson... typical.
     Friday was very long! Studies, lunch, weekly planning and then off to our lesson with Anthony. We taught him the law of learning and invited him to start teaching us the lessons if he felt like he had learned all that he could from us but he was still too prideful and said that he didn't see the point. Especially about going to church each week when he feels the spirit more in the temple doing baptisms. It was so disheartening to see him question such basic doctrine after such a short time of being in the church. It made me think of back to how I could have done better or taught more clearly. We ended the lesson after Anthony was saying he'd just come to the Wilson building to church for sacrament so he wouldn't have to walk so far and said he was embarrassed to tell people in G7 that he didn't have a job or a car... I walked away from that lesson feeling really down on myself and finding Mosiah 28:3 to be very true. To add to that, we stopped by Jolene's house to talk to her and see what was going on with her Sister. She immediately questioned why we were there when she told Brother P that she couldn't see us again. We told her that we just wanted to hear it for ourselves and to give her the large copy of the scriptures. She sounded so sad that she was having to tell us off. She said she was sad that she couldn't learn from us, that she had already made friends in the church and was excited to be baptized on her birthday. It broke our hearts to hear that and then to have her say she couldn't because her sister thinks we are going to take her money.. Anthony and then Jolene. I felt like I had been sucker punched. Two of the other Elders didn't show up for another dinner so we had to go late to the Sheffields to cover for them. Still somber from the long, tiring, day and still being sick, we made our final stop at the Bishop's house to get to know some of the youth that went to seminary. We got to share a message about faith and did the tea bag example and went around talking how we can all strengthen our Faith and I shared about how Mom and Todd are now taking the lessons because I simply invited them too when I wouldn't have thought otherwise if I weren't on a mission. The night did end on a good note though because Bishop Lee drove us home in his 1948 restored Jeep that was a blast to drive into. Especially because I felt like I was sitting on a toolbox in the back with nothing to hold onto and it being an open Jeep. Good times!
     Saturday I felt like it was very unproductive. We decided to go to the FHC and to map some places where we could visit because of our lack of GPS. But after a while of doing that it ended up that I was almost out of money on my metro bus pass tap card and so we had to walk around downtown Glendale for about an hour and a half trying to find a place to put more money on the card. Ridiculous! We then ended up having to rescue Hermanas Minchin and Munoz by driving them up to the stake center for the General Relief Society broadcast and then down to the Berganza's for dinner where we had a massive amount of delicious BBQ. That night we got back on the busses to go visit people and talked to this kid at the bus stop for a long while and just had a very casual conversation that ended up pointing towards the gospel. Awesome how that works. We ended up going to visit this former, Amy who was home and we got to stop by and they said we could stop by again this week to visit. It was already late and we weren't sure we'd be able to catch another bus and as we were walking across the street we saw a bus and tried to go catch it but didn't. But thankfully there was another one that got us home right before we had to be home! Gotta say though, downtown LA and riding the bus even at 9 pm, still sketchy. But I'm alive and it's good experience!
     Sunday we had Gina drive us to church in her beat up Falcon which was hilarious. But it was so good to have her back at church because of her busy schedule now with three jobs. G2 church went without much event and then in G7 we had the area authority, Elder Haynie, come in and speak to us which was AWESOME. Lets just say he taught us about the last parable that Christ teaches us and it isn't in the N.T. PLUS there was the small dude guy from 17 miracles there at church and I didn't realize it was him until after! I wish I could have gotten a picture! After break the fast we had a short lesson with Robbie about what Elder Haynie had taught us. I just love Robbie. Such a great guy. Struggling and beat up from his Horror Nights job but he is good again. We then stopped by the Salazar family after with Brother Salomon and we had a lesson with Claudia the oldest daughter who hadn't been taught in 3 years says Brother Salomon. But it is so good to see members care so much for those families who have stopped coming. Fills your heart! Then we had dinner with the Bazil's again and met Sister Bazil's not active friend, Melissa who we are going to watch conference with this next Saturday!! So excited for Conference. Y'all have no idea. Just something about being a missionary and being able to be an Elder with the Apostles and yeah. It's just cool!
Well that is my week. I love you all very, very much and hope you have a wonderfully splendid week! Enjoy Conference!!
Elder DeBry

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