Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 48 (11/11-11/18)

This week has been full of miracles! Not that all weeks aren't out here in the wonderful California Arcadia mission, specifically here in South pasadena, but this week has been one of much hard work, sacrifice and we have been able to see the promised blessings as such! This includes: seeing our baptismal goal of 5 before the end of the year as very possible, having 18 appointments already set up for next week, and picking up a new family to teach last night as we were headed home! So without further a do, let's get down to business!
     Last P-day was quite fun for once. After emailing and some chipotle burritos, a bunch of us from the zone headed down to the south pasadena ward building to play some basketball and have a pie eating contest. Surprisingly I lost. Only becasue I couldn't make it past the first few bites of the pumpkin pie.. not a fan. at all. blehhh! But it was good to be able to wind down and get to know some of the zone a little better. We even  had some of the sisters join us. We finished up and we had our 6 oclock cancel on us so we decided to go contact people in the grocery store while we bought some milk. Then we headed off to the Steven's household for a family home evening with Hector! It was awesome. Hector is seriously the man. He brought families for the wife to show his appreciation for their invitation into their home.. what a chivalrous man! But we enjoyed dinner and then shared an object lesson about the importance of the Book of Mormon. Then the kids wanted to play Spiderman Operation. We were picked up by Nate to go meet up with Elder Oldroyd and go over our weekly planning (which thankfully we got around to finishing the night before!) So we went over what we had going on for the week and how they could help us out. Unfortunately Elder Oldroyd was going out of town and wouldn't be available to go out with us but we had some good ideas with following up with the lost sheep activity we had. Things are happening here in South Pas! 
     Tuesday was exciting! After studies and finishing up our internet proselyting (which is stumping us as to how we can really use it efficiently.. any ideas or referrals would be excellent and needed!) we had a conference call with President and the other zone leaders to discuss how our zone training meetings went and how the rest of the zone seemed to have accepted the message and vision of everyone baptizing in the month of December! There were some zones who had companionships bring up their doubts but for the most part, people seemed to have caught the vision and seem to be enthusiastic and our weekly numbers seem to reflect how everyone had accepted our teaching. Like I said, things are happening! We also talked about the upcoming zone conferences that will happen this week and what we needed to do to prepare such as fast and come prepared having studied certain topics and with our investigators in mind. I'm super excited for it. Hearing from President is always a highlight and I look forward to it. It's like listening to an Apostle! Seriously though. But after the call, Elders Hall and Velasquez met up with us here at the stake center to start our exchanges. I went with Elder Hall to work in his area. But it started off slow because we had forgotten to report numbers the day before and had left our sheet at our pad. And while Elders Velasquez and Haslam had to go to the office for an interview, we went back to South pas to get the sheet. That is when Elder Hall requested help on how to have an effective weekly planning session. So we did just that! Surprisingly I had a thought to do that with him anyways. So we spent the next few hours discussing how to have a good weekly planning session! Following that we went and had a late lunch/early dinner and then headed back up to Pasadena to get to work! They didn't have much planned but we got to contact quite a few people along the way between plans. Elder Hall I learned lost his dad a few months ago (right before he came out) and that before his mission he was preparing to go to medical school at 19 (finishing high school at 15). He is a great Elder and made it look easy to speak with people on the bus. As we went around we talked with this one guy at a bus stop who said whenever he ran into Elders he had to make fun of them for the fun of it but was actually really sincere about learning more at some point in his life. Later after trying by a referral they had received, we rode past this lady who was pushing a stroller and I felt prompted I couldn't let her go unspoken to. So I turned around and started up a conversation. Turns out she had two children, one on the way, was moving back and forth between her parents house and another relative, and was looking for a church to raise her children in. We got her number and headed on her way but for some reason this week I have just been going off promptings to speak with people and it has been a major testimony builder. We had to head back to the church for a recent convert class that they attend and then headed home up a mountain. Seriously, they live with a member who lives up the canyon and we had to bike up (mostly walk). It was brutal! 
     Wednesday morning after only getting to personal study we had to go to the Foothill building because the District Leaders had their quarterly meeting with President. So we all had to meet up there again and I got to talk to Elder Twleves while I waited for Elder Haslam to show up and he told me about the new Armenian Elder that had arrived the day before. Still haven't met him or talked with him. But he sounds... like I need to meet him! But after all that jazz we made an office run for supplies and then did some more internet sturff. Following we had a great lunch/lesson with Brother Hector Pasillas who is the man. When we showed up he had made some sandwiches for us! So we got to hear a little bit more about him and his family and even some more details of who he was before he was incarcerated. Probably a little more detail than I would have asked for but it is seriously so incredible to hear all the stories and then to see who he is today. The Atonement is real, Brothers and Sisters. We spoke more about the cleansing power of the Atonement which was great because it led into our lesson with him that we had on Friday. As we were on our way to our dinner appointment, we were taking busses and riding and I just felt the need to talk with everyone I could! I don't know what it was! The first person I sat next to on the bus, got her information. Next lady I jumped over to sit next to, had a good convo and gave her our info. Got off and biked and talked to this guy who refused to take a copy of the Book of Mormon. No dirt off my shoulder. Continued on as Elder Haslam and I were riding up Fairoaks on different sides of the street and contacting everyone. It was bomb. BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE BEST! When else can you just strike up random conversations and relate them to the gospel as directed by the spirit? So it was great. You all should try it sometime this week! Just strike up a random conversation with someone and relate it to the gospel. Challenge accepted. Anyways, we had a lovely dinner with the Astle family and Sister Scanlon and talked about all the times we've seen the adversary at work with our precious investigators. Again, continued to invite them to fast with us this past Sunday. Then we were on our way to have another member lesson with the Israelsen family. Shared a good lesson with them and then was on our way just like that! We started walking around again while we waited for Nate to come pick us up for visits. And guess what?!? We walked past this dry cleaner and I see that one of the workers is Armenian! So we went inside and I got to talk to her. Totally made my day. She said she'd even give me a discount because I spoke it :) Then we went out with Nate to visit some people and I can't remember who we visited so...
     Thursday after dropping off supplies to Pasadena and south pas, we went down to the Eastmont district for district meeting which was interesting. All the Elders down there are pretty close with eachother and things tend not to be as serious as they should be... but it was good. We had some good roleplays going on about contacting because the district as a whole seems to be struggling with finding. As we were about to leave the district leaders asked if we could give them a ride to the office to pick up a phone that was left there after the district leaders meeting. So sure enough we played taxi for them very lovingly and then headed up to do more internet sturff. Which wasn't very pleasant because one of the ladies who work here in the family history center was very angry with us for multiple reasons.. all of which seemed pretty petty and not even on us. But oh well. Later that afternoon we had a lesson with our new investigator Jacqueline who Elder Haslam and Velasquez picked up while on exchanges. She lives in a care facility kind of place (part loony house/transitional home for those who just got out of the big house) and her story is pretty interesting. Long story short she grew up around the church but her father wouldn't allow her to be baptized. Her father was a member of the KKK and she was shot in the head when she was young by some black members of the freedom fighters. But her father just recently passed and now she wants to get baptized on 15 December! So that is awesome. We had a lesson with Sister Richards afterwards which was awesome! She had been reading and had some great questions about Mosiah and actually came to Church on Sunday! Woohoo! Since we had Brother Caffall with us we had him come with us to our next lesson with the Lewandowski's which was seriously about 5 minutes becasue Brother Caffall had to go home to babysit.. but following that we had to run to the Brady's and follow up with them fasting with us this past sunday as well. Their kids are still adorable. Liv and Roran. Then we were off to the Figueroa's for dinner which was a birthday party for their oldest daughter Larissa.
     Friday was a little all over the place. During studies we got a call from some Eastmont elders asking if they could use our car to run an errand for the office and so we decided to just do it for them and save an unnecessary trip. So we went and picked up their mini fridge and dropped it off at the office. So much fun.. then by the time we got back to our pad we didn't have the full time of weekly planning so we had to make do. On our way to our dinner and a lesson with the Hilton's and Hector I was shut down hard core all the way as I was trying to talk with people. I had this one lady roll down her window to ask if she wanted a card for She declined and I asked if she had ever spoken with missionaries and if she knew of anyone who would want to meet with us. She again declined in a rather rude tone and then said I don't speak english. So I referred to the only spanish I know and asked her where she was from and how long she had lived here. her reply was again in english "20 years" as she rolled up the window. Some peoples children..But my mood was cheered up with an awesome dinner and an even better lesson with Hector. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ which really hit home with him. As we taught repentance we referred to Alma 36 I do believe and it really stuck with him that God forgives us and our joy can be sweeter than our pain. He is so golden. So much that the Hilton's commented on our lesson the following day at missionary correlation. After the lesson Nate again picked us up to go try by this guy that he had met on the street the last time we went out with him and found out that he was a dud.. we waited around for him and he finally showed up only to tell us that he wasn't interested in learning but didn't understand why he was meeting with us.. so we had nate drop us off again at Elizabeth's house and we stepped inside to teach them a lesson and got talking about the Plan of Salvation. We committed them to come to church but they never came.. and they couldn't give us a ride home because the brother and oldest son weren't in the right state of mind to give us a ride.. 
     Saturday morning we went to this pancake breakfast our ward was ahving a pancake breakfast for the scouts and we went with Hector who ended up cooking the breakfast for most of the time. Went back home. Studied. Met with brother Astle to update the stake on the zone. Did internet sturff. Elder Haslam bought me a big shake from the corner pharmacy. Finished weekly planning. Stopped by a bunch of people and set up lessons for this upcoming week. Had a lesson with Jacqueline and Brother Israelsen and invited her to Church after teaching her the plan of salvation. Nothing super exciting! 
     Sunday was awesome. We got to tell the correlation that we had 18 appointments set up for this week and we needed members at most of them. Then we met with Nate to talk about how we are going to achieve our goal of 5 before the end of the year. Jacqueline came to church with the Hiltons. Hector showed up in another new suit. Our bishop had one of their friends come to church with their kids and are setting up a time for us to have dinner with them and teach them. So awesome. Had to give Sister Watson the sacrament. she is regaining sight in her eye. Stopped by the Lewandowski's again and answered Kristy's questions about the Plan of Salvation lesson we had in Church. Went and taught Thomas Albano who said he was going to die very soon and we shared some scripture to combat his negative thoughts of him being hopeless. Went and broke our fast with at the Figeroa's bbq they had for Larissa and had their family there. Found Paul and Rita out talking again and invited him to come on a Church tour but he bailed again.. says all he needs is rehab. We were stuck and needed to find three new investigators so we said a prayer and when we finished walked up to this mother and daughter who were walking and asked if we could meet with them and they said yes. So we taught them on the street right there and set up a time for next sunday to stop by and meet the three daughters. So prayer works! Then met up with Nate to tell him all about it over some hot coco and then did the tour de france to get home on time. 

So this week was awesome. I'm super excited to see what this next week has in store for us! We have zone conference this Thursday and I'm super pumped. We're seeing miracles! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week where ever that may be! 

Elder DeBry

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