Friday, October 18, 2013

Week 42 (9/30-10/8)

SHEEESH! I HIT A YEAR THIS WEEK. How crazy is that? One year ago on the 10th, I was driving down to the MTC. After having a delicious and stressful breakfast with the family. Don't know how so much time has already flown by. Crazy! Also, sorry for the delayed email this week. Today we were able to go to the Temple so our P-day got pushed to today. And also, a heads up, we will be having interviews with President Becerra next Monday so our P-day will again be on Tuesday. Just in case y'all wanted to know!
     But seriously this week was AWESOME. I mean, Zone Leader Counsel/Training, General Conference, AND the Temple this morning?! I felt like it was Christmas I was so excited to wake up at 3 this morning! Spiritual high! Anyways. Many experiences were had this week and much to tell and who better to tell all about it than the missionary of the year (almost) to tell about it!
     Last Monday was typical. Too much to do, busses taking forever to get places and all that jazz. BUT! We did end up visiting this girl whose Dad called us a few weeks ago and said we should stop by and visit her because she was not active. Tender enough he said he didn't want her to be offended and told us not to tell her he sent us. So we ended up traveling to Burbank (out of the mission) to go visit this aghcheek (girl in Armenian). Funny enough while we were walking and probably looking lost with our giant map out, a member from Burbank stopped and gave us a ride and actually knew the family we were going to visit! So we get there and the daughter is there with her two friends from work so what do we do? We teach the gospel of course! It was an awesome situation. The one girl knew we were there to try and get her back to church and apparently her friends had been asking her a bunch of questions that day about the church so we got to teach them both about the Restoration! They seemed super interested. (Surprisingly enough we got later notice this week that they weren't sure they wanted to meet again because it was uncomfortable...uhh...ok?) But the rest of the night unfortunately we were stuck at this blimey bus stop for an hour waiting for a bus and it was almost time for us to be home. Until Khoa came and saved us! Our hero!
     Tuesday was MISSION LEADERSHIP COUNSEL!! We were at first super stoked that we were going to take the two hour ish train ride to get to the building but then the assistants issued an order for us to drive and pick up supplies... lame. So we went. Were blown away but President's mind blowing way of teaching and viewpoint. Felt like we could baptize all of Glendale after we left. And then had a very uneventful night not being able to find anyone home! We did have a visit with the McCubbins family to help them become our missionary tools to find people. And then started to talk home when I thought to call Trea and Natalie for a ride home and sure enough they came, picked us up, gave us a ride and we got to remind them about Conference!
     Wednesday we decided to hit up GCC again and have a lesson with our investigator Enjimar who we are still a little unsure how 'investigator' she is. I don't even think she knows what she really wants. She doesn't really give us much feedback so it is hard to really know what she needs to be taught and after we finish teaching what we had prepared, then she decides to speak up and ask a question about baptism and what we believe about baptism... so that was frustrating! Just get to the point and tell us! The rest of the day we finished studies and had to go problem solve how to fix Elder Whitney's flat tire problem on his bike by going to Target, them not having the right size of tube, and getting one a little big but it seems to have worked out so far! The Frost's took all 7 of us out to dinner and I had this massive burrito called 'El Gordo' which I was forced to finish all of it because I said I could, and I did. Unfortunately no picture was taken.. but that caused us to be late to our lesson with Stuart again but it is a good thing he is a sport about it. We decided to teach him about Repentance by first asking him about all the changes he has seen in himself since he has started to meet with us and getting back into church. The answers he gave seriously made me feel so proud of him and full of love. Some of the things he said include: a clearness of his thoughts and decisions, wanting to smile more, understanding by himself through his studies that we can carry our knowledge we gain in this life into the next. He listed a few more but they all were great evidence that he has experience a change of heart and began to teach how he was repenting and didn't even know it. It was awesome too because my recent convert, K (Chaiwait Seehabat), came to the lesson and shared some experiences about the things he has noticed and got to share some of his experiences dealing with the Word of Wisdom and how he wants to share the gospel more because it brings him joy. To add, Stuart has seriously been contemplating about going on a mission to the point he wanted to go talk to the Bishop about how he could make it happen financially. So cool. Think of how many peoples lives will be changed forever just because he wanted to meet with us.
     Thursday we started early by going to meet with the Sisters serving in Verdugo Hills so Sister Brown (Sister Trainer), could plan with us how to teach Zone Training since she attended Zone Leader Counsel with us. The time arrived and we taught the zone about finding those who already have 'Believing Blood' in them. Meaning those who literally are more of the House of Isreal and have a blood line that allows them to be more receptive of the gospel. It makes so much sense. Then we discussed how we need to not just 'fish', taking anything we catch, but we need to 'hunt', and seek those who are prepared. Somehow after we finished addressing the zone, we got stuck running people around to their prospective appointments and pads. Including building/ putting back together the Verdugo Hills pad after being fumigated for bed bugs.. aiy chinche! That afternoon I went with Elders Twelves and Cook on an exchange to teach some lessons with them. First on the list was good ol' Hambarsoom! Remember him? my first legit investigator who we thought would get baptized the month after I got here in December but has been coming to church ever since? Well he is so ready to be baptized but on account of a few people being so inconsistent with coming to church and falling aways, he wants to be sure he has a strong enough testimony before he takes the pluge. Respectable. But frustrating for us because he is so ready! It'll happen before I leave! I actually also got to go to the Bradley's for dinner as well! It had been what seemed like forever since I had been up there for the typical Thursday night dinner! Our group isn't doing very well. A lot of members are unsettled in their testimonies. Fighting has been typical I guess during Sunday meetings and confrontation is spreading. Elder Twleves told me that the leadership is considering merging with the first ward to have the English members be better examples for our members... that'd be sad to see but could solve problems. Not sure how I feel about it. After not having one come to ESL (again, typical), we stopped by Ragned and her family who I guess haven't been coming to church for about three weeks and still aren't progressing. It is hard to push those Elders to drop them and find others when I know how hard it is to actually have an Armenian FAMILY listen to you teach about the gospel. Tough situation. Funny story though, we walked over to Elizabet and Sona's apartment with Ragned and after knocking a few times, Ragned pounded on the door and tried to twist the door knob and then ran away laughing. Gesh aghcheek. (Crazy girl).
     Friday morning we stopped by the William's apartment for our supposed appointment (wasn't home and wasn't answering). Same guy who told me last Monday that I had a glow about me on the bus and whose sister committed suicide.. but we decided to go try a former investigator who was dropped because her boyfriend told her she couldn't. We caught her just getting home from the vet and got to teach her the restoration again and invited her to be baptized as she knows it is true. On our way back to the pad, I had this lady run up to me while I was waiting for my companions to catch up on their bikes, and she asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon! However none of us had a copy on us (we sometimes just run out! :) ) so we biked home and got a copy for her and her fiancĂ© who we found out was a less active member! It was probably one of the funniest/strangest lessons I've taught. First the guy, Joseph, was telling us to give her a blessing right there on the corner of this busy street and she kept saying 'Yeah!! Bless me!! (pulling up a chair and throwing her arms up in the sky). We then told her we could teach her a lesson about the Book of Mormon and actually started and ended with a prayer, and committed them to come watch conference with us for Sunday! Then was the very long winded weekly planning but we endured to the end...pun. After we had planned to go try some less actives and part member families down on the southern part of our area so we took the bus down to downtown LA. Sunset blvd to be exact! You see some pretty interesting people on the bus, lemme tell ya. And somehow we kept missing the stop and got caught up talking to this black lady who was telling us (more like scolding) that we just needed to have who ever we were visiting the pick us up. not a bad idea. Finally, because we didn't have time to eat, we wound up going to Mexicali and running into Elders Bangerter and Lloyd doing the same thing.
     Saturday WAS GENERAL CONFERENCE! I hope everyone else enjoyed conference as much as I did. Saturday morning we went up to the Bazil's house (we made cinnamon rolls for everyone) to watch the session with their less active friend, Melissa. It was probably one of my favorite sessions but they were all good. We went down to the Central building to watch the afternoon session, and then had dinner with Bishop Lee of the family ward. Then we all went up to the stake center to watch Priesthood session together! It was just an awesome day full of inspirational words! We ran into this one Armenian lady as we were going around visiting people who was super nice. Was Atheist because of her divorce with her husband but found a liking to talking to us so said we could stop by again. So told me that my language skills were still up to par and because I learned Armenian I could learn any other language I wanted, including Chinese. That was a surprise!
     Sunday we got stood up by Monique and Joseph (the couple we taught on the street corner) so we didn't get to have them come to Conference. But it was a marvelous session nonetheless. I'd be telling you more about what I liked and found cool but I've been up since three and I can't remember what this morning was this morning, let alone what talk/speaker I enjoyed listening to. That evening however we stopped by this less active member, Stanley, and found him home and got to sit on his porch for a good while and talk to him. (He's seriously Steven Tyler's twin. Long hair and everything). Funny thing though. He's 60 ish. and has a four year old son who came out in his diper and stunk like a dirty diper. Yikes! Then we visited the Higdon home who we might be moving into their now open spare room. But we'll see!
     And the bonus day of the week, yesterday, was a very, very long but an awesome ending. After studies and making some chili mac (no, not as good as how you make it Mom), we took the bus down to Brother Prieto's office to try and teach some of his co-workers but we missed their lunch break and they were busy so we peaced. Ran into some Hispanic lady who said she was a member who wasn't anymore and when we asked if we could visit she said it was a secret. But I sneakily got her first and last name. teehee.. But seriously it was a very slow day because there was nothing set up and we were just trying by people. on foot. downtown LA. When most were at work or away from home. But the good thing was that we had some great contacts on the busses and had a lot of people to talk to because of the Dodgers game that was happening. We had dinner with Brother Weger whose wife died 6 years ago but is a great guy and had the cutest little maltese named moose who was 8 months old. adorable. Then we got a call from Brother McCubbins to help him with a blessing to Christina Ratcliff's ex-husband, Tim who was sick! So we got to go over and share a spiritual thought before we gave him the blessing. Hopefully now we might have an in with talking to him and teaching his two girls! And maybe if we become buds with him he'll invite us to see him perform his magic act at the Magic Castle which I guess is a pretty big deal! But to top the night off, we stopped by William's house and he was home! It seriously was probably one of the most memorable lessons I've had just because of how prepared this guy is for the gospel. Seriously. I was just waiting for him to ask to be baptized! He has had a pretty rough life being raised in a catholic orphanage and being abused all his life and so now he is very closed off. But he opened up to us and he recognized that he doesn't do that with everyone. We invited him to be baptized on 27 October and he accepted and said he, quite humorously, that "if this is true, I will be one lucky (insert explatives)". He is just awesome.
Well, family friends and loved ones, I hope you have had a marvelous week! Again, apologies for the tardy email. But I hope this updates you until next Tuesday! I love you all so very much and appreciate all you do for me!
Elder DeBry

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