Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 45 (10/21-10/28)

Well... this is a new adventure! Ontop of a totally awesome week I have been transferred... get ready for it... I'm opening a new Zone here in Pasadena and will be training a new Zone Leader, Elder Haslam from Acworth, Gerogia who has been out a bit over 6 months!...Crazy right? No Armenian speaker has ever left the La Crescenta Zone! I totally thought I'd be transferred to go back to Armenian work but I guess the Lord has other plans for me... hopefully I can accomplish all I need to while I'm here! But let me give a recap of this awesome last week! 
     Last Monday after emailing we had to run to the office for Elder Whitney to be interviewed by President on some personal matters which took longer than expected so we headed back and got to clean our apartment kind of! Hooray for cleaning! We had to wrap up and head to the Prieto's for dinner which was a first for me suprisingly enough! All 7 of us really do have way too good of a time having dinner together. I think I'm going to miss that the most now that i'm transferred... but anyways! After dinner we hauled down to the church to do the G7 FHE which consisted of Elder Whitney teaching everyone about family history work and how to do it and prepare names for the temple. Pretty informative! Could definitely tell he was in his element! Then we made some carmel apples which were pretty tough to transport home on bike.. but we managed! 
     Tuesday was very eventful!! We were informed that morning that all the zone leaders were going to have a conference call with President and the assistants in the morning. So Elder Winfield and I did that while Elder Whitney taught a lesson to this kid, AJ and one of his friends and his sister who was recently baptized! But the reason why we had to have a conference call with everyone was because our numbers were down and President wanted our input with why we thought that was happening. The best explanation we had was because our zone isn't consistently finding. That has been the key difference in our work at least! But after talking with everyone for an hour we finished up, Elder Winfield, Elisse, some of her friends and I went up to campus to do a blitz with the booth to try and talk to as many people as we could in and hour before lunch! It was actually really awesome to have the urgency and know we had to use our time to its fullest potential! And then during lunch, one of Elisse's friends did probably one of the coolest magic tricks i've seen in person. It was a card trick where he had this other guy cut the deck a few times and then pick a card out of it and put it back in. Then he took us outside and he threw the cards up in the air but he was holding the kids cards. Pretty cool but nothing spectacular. but then the real kicker. (so mind you he was eating a random apple he got from the institute this whole time). He took the kids card and ripped it up and threw it away somewhere and then all of a sudden smashed his apple on the ground and lo and behold there was a card amongst the apple sauce on the ground and it was the kids card all put back together... blew my mind and got apple all over me because it was so awesome I didn't care. After that Anthony our investigator we picked up after church rescheduled for later in the afternoon so we went up and studied and brought Kelvin along with us while we waited to teach. We actually found out that he hasn't gotten his Patriarchal Blessing yet so we taught him how he could get one and why he should! Love Kelvin. But after studies we taught Anthony with Elisse and it was such an awesome lesson! We taught him about the restoration and focused on the apostasy. He followed along perfectly and was asking great questions/observations and understood the scriptures we used explaining it. We invited him to be baptized December 1st and he said he would set it as a goal but he wanted to continue to pray about it.. fine by us! After that lesson we made our way back to the pad and then realized we needed to get to dinner forever away.. so we took the bus for a good hour and then some to get to where we needed to be to have dinner with the Garcia family. It was rushed because we were going to play dodgeball with the young men in the ward... Sister Garcia took Elders King, Llewelyn and Winfield to the church while we waited for the AP's to come pick us up and that is when we got a call from the assistants saying that Elder Whitney had been emergency transferred and that he would be leaving right then to go pack up and meet the Hacienda Heights elders at the office to go be companions with Elder Bell in Creekside while Elder Beard would come back with me and be with Elder King and Llewelyn for the week until he went home the next week (tomorrow). So that threw us for a big loop! The ap's drove us to our pad and Elder Whitney had to pack up and then I had to drop him off and pick up Elder Beard. Funny enough, I guess Elder Dicus was with Elder Beard for a transfer in Glendale. Small mission! I guess Elders Beard and Bell weren't being the most diligent Elders in their area and abusing their car privledges/not taking being told what to do very well! But I didn't ask to much about it. Very sad to have Elder Whitney gone though :( 
     Wednesday was full of errands lemme tell ya. We got a call from Sister Lee/Sister Brown to give Sister Lee a blessing who had been working through some sickness but finally got to her. So we drove up there and gave them a blessing. Since we were up there, we decided to go do companionship study with the Sunland Elders to see how they were doing which was fun and good time to really get to know those elders better. Then the usual office run in which we realized we'd have to drive up to the north again the next morning..After that we had a marvelous brunch with the Crane family! They picked us up and we had breakfast for lunch! Homemade waffles, eggs, bacon and some OJ! I don't think I've had a full breakfast like that since Original Pancake house the day I went into the MTC all that long time ago! mmmmm bacon! After that we met up with Russ and had him drive us back up to GCC to have another lesson with Cherry who showed up late and we ended up just having to teach her more about the Book of Mormon and commit her to begin reading it daily to prepare her for November 24. The rest of the night however was rather frustrating. While we were around the church we stopped by some people and then had some difficulty with dinner plans with Sister Sowby. Her plan was to take us to La Canada for a fund raiser dinner. But long story short, the ap's couldn't come, Elders King, Llewely and Beard were forever away and we couldnt' go pick them up nor drive with Sister Sowby because there were only two of us... but it worked out that the five of us met up at the church 45 min later than planned and went to the fund raiser where I guess sister sowby was going to write a column in the paper about and have us as the picture! That was kinda cool! But I was stressed the whole time because we had to follow up with President Morgan with how the less active lessons were going/how working with the Bishop was going to have more less active lessons. Stress! But it turned out okay. We just had Stuart come pick us up back at the church to go to his lesson with Julia at her house. Which was so awesome and the spirit was so strong. He shared with us some of his concerns and doubts going on a mission. Saying that he wasn't sure if he had received an answer and that he was expecting it to be some big thing because he had been doing everything he could think of and that we asked to receive an answer. We taught him how he would receive an answer using many examples from the scriptures. I shared the mind blowing example from Ether 2 in the Book of Mormon and tied it in with Genesis 6:16 with the stones and all that jazz. So awesome. Then to top it off Julia shared her scripture she liked about the atonement in 2 Ne 10:25 I think that said it just made her realize that that explained why she is randomly happy. As we were driving home, Stuart told us that after the first time that Elder Winfield, De Spain and I taught him at his house, he felt an emptyness after having had a wonderful lesson that he wanted to call us and tell us to come back. I thought that was pretty cool. I think I've enjoyed teaching Stuart more than anyone else I've taught so far in English work. he's just the man!
     Thursday we had to go run out supplies to everyone super early so they would have the assignment that Elder Sitati wanted us to do in preparation for the Mission Conference/tour the following day. So we were errand boys for the morning! I felt like I was back working at grandpa's office as a runner. And since we didn't have regular district meeting, us and the Armenian Elders had Tina the potential investigator who gave me my steamer, cut our hair for free so we'd look our best for Elder Sitati! It took waaaaaaaaay too long though because she was talking to us so much! But it was good because we got her to talk to us about her church that she goes to which is some methodist church or something where she believed in the apostasy so we got to explain our belief about that as well! Funny story though: after we all had our hairs cut, she said that now that we looked so sharp, she realized how ugly our ties were and that she'd need to get us some new ones! She really bagged on Elder Twelves' tie. Oh elder twelves. following we headed up to GCC for our lessons with Glenn and Anthony... both cancelled last minute when we were already up there because their class got cancelled... boo that. thankfully we got a ride back with Bruno and Elisse. Next stop was the Sheffields a little early to follow up on how their invitations were coming and I guess they held an open house to invite all their neighbors into their home and get to know them a little better! Which was awesome! Hopefully something soon will come from them that will be promising! Brother Flake then picked us up and drove us down to the Sinors for a lesson finally! They are struggling spiritually. They seem to get caught up in the worries of the world and not have priorities with God first. And now Zach the older boy doesn't seem too interested as he was a few months ago.. It all starts with the parents though especially with those boys. We struggled to get them to focus on the short lesson we had about doing the little things like reading/praying daily. Makes me sad to see them not doing well. Especially because I knew I'd be transferred.. I just didn't know where! Our dinner was with the Velasquez family which was good and after we got to stop by Trea and Natalies since they were home and it has been about 3 months since we taught them last. We taught them about turning their house to the temple (comparing to Mosiah 2) and I got to tell the story of Mom and Todd taking lessons, baptism and in the near future the temple. Natalie wants to enter the temple for time and eternity but they both aren't willing to give up the church-free lifestyle to make it happen. But Trea had some good questions that I think Elder Winfield will follow up on with teaching them. the rest of the night was kind of a dud. Stopping by less actives and have them pretend like they weren't home or peek through the windown and not let us in... so funny how people think we are that dumb! come one I wasn't born yesterday...
     Friday was the mission tour with the member of the 70, Elder Sitati from Africa. He. Was. Awesome. Seriously it was so informative and from on high! The first hour he taught just he zone and district leaders and had us come up with all our concerns reguarding our districts/zones. Then he taught true doctrine that answered all of our questions. He taught us that it is our responsibility to help our zone be converted. It was just so awesome. TEaching out of Matt13 with the parable of the sower, he went through and compared each grown as different levels of conversion. Then President Becerra taught us how we are to minister unto our zones and lift them up. It was powerful. The rest of the afternoon he taught our purpose. giving us ways we can enhance our studies and baptize more because of it. then he tied it all together by teaching us/reviewing with us the exercises we did in Alma 32/1Timothy4:12-16. Talking all about the mission not being the opportunity, but just a step in the right direction of achieving all the blessings we can from our opportunities we receive out here. I wish I had more time to explain about it all. But it was awesome. Y'all should be jealous. After the meeting we went home and had some dinner. Luke then drove us around and visited less actives with us.. none of which were home. But we did scare some girl who was the neighbor of a less active. She was being super awkward when we opened the door and it was during an silence when Elder Winfield piped up and said "Don't worry, we aren't cops!".... Ohhhhhh Elder Winfield. Gotta love his goofiness! We were supposed to have a lesson with Forest but he bailed on us so we stopped by Gina's and she is in a knee brace and a possible torn meniscus! We were asking if she wanted a blessing but she was being weird about it and saying she wasn't ready for one... then I noticed in the background that Forest was there in the bathroom from the reflection off a picture on the wall... broke my heart. At least be honest with us. No need to lie. So deep was my despair that I needed Taco bell so we had a late night snack with Luke before we headed home. 
     Saturday morning the La Canada sisters had us come up and help them teach ESL and tutor koreans that have been coming the past few months to use the building as a finding tool. Awesome idea. Just needs more structure becasue when it turns into a babysitting kind of deal, doesn't work out so well. President Lew was kind enough to drive us there and back and we got to discuss the work and his ideas on how we can improve. He dropped us off to have our lesson with Robbie who looked like death because of the lack of sleep and amount of work he has been doing for the past month and a half. Between his closed captioning job and now hollywood horror nights, he has worked some 20 hour days... ridiculous! And so thus he is worried about his commitment/conversion to the church and so we got to have a good long lesson about that with him and how if he continues to do those little things, he will feel better about it all. After some lunch with him we started our weekly planning which was too short and never actually finished... oops! But we got a call from the Chavez's asking where we were to help with cleaning up their Halloween party which I guess had been going all afternoon so we rushed down there to help clean up their actually scary backyard! then head all the way back up to the church for the trunk or treat event for our ward! although it took forever to make it up to the church by bus, we made it! there was actually a lot of people! Trea and Natalie came as well as Mike and Bridgett from the Group!! Bridgett's family goes to the g2 ward. It was pretty awesome. then we got transfer calls... man was my mind blown. Never thought I'd leave Glendale! I just hope I go back to the Armenian Group at some point...
     Sunday was bittersweet. Natalie actually came to sacrament with Daniel and her Mom. I had to say good bye to some of the families I had gotten to know. But what was even more sad was in the singles ward. No one came to church and on top of that people were actually sad I was leaving! I felt so loved! But I know that it will be a good change. I was transferred here for a reason even if I don't know it yet... we had dinner with the Kosanavich family who are moving to Poland soon for his job which is awesome. then we went out again with Brother Flake to visit more people and catch them home. We stopped by the Jones-Ravenswood home and got to teach a second lesson with them! It was such a good lesson to end the night with. Brother Jones (Stanley who looks like steven tyler) brought up the book of Mormon and we went right into the restoration. Which Linda (his wife) totally already knew and when we asked why we had the Book of Mormon, she began to explain/teach the apostasy to us! All the time being absolutely thrilled that we have the Book of Mormon! Then she said, "I know it is all true. All of it. I just don't know what I need to do about it."....uhhhh serious?! So we immediately jumped into baptism. 3 Nephi 27. Teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and Baptism being the gate. Then after the first vision, I invited her and her two daughters to be baptized. she said, "After all this time that I've loved the church, no one has asked me to be baptized. I am so honored to be able to be baptized. Thank you." I've never heard a response like that and I've never been so thrilled for a family that I am for them. We set them with the date of December 8 to be baptized. All three of them. 

It was a wonderful week. Certainly will be an adventure this next one. I love you all so very much and hope you have a wonderful week! Be safe and happy where ever you may be! 

Elder DeBry

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