Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 49 (11/25-12/2)

 IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!.. Okay not really but after this big week of Thanksgiving and many a decoration put up in my new apartment, it kind of has a Christmas feel to it! Even though it is still sunny and 75+ degrees... But anyways this past week sure felt like a whole new transfer! And to think we get our actual transfer calls this upcoming Saturday. I have no idea what will happen. Will I go back to Armenian work with President Morgan's announcement of a Branch in the coming year? will I stay here in South Pas? Will I go to spanish work?? Time will tell.. But it was a fabulous week and a wonderful and filling Thanksgiving so I'll tell you all about it! Before I forget, our new mission address is: 614 W. Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, CA 91006. So basically just send all mail and post to that address until further notice.
     So last P-day was.. interesting. Kind of confusing with the whole ET (emergency transfers) and knowing that at the end of the day I'd be with a new companion in a new part of our area. But at the start of the day we had to drop off Elder VanDuren at the office so he could help move the office to the Foothill building and such (I learned that if you take time away from President Becerra's P-day, he'll take yours away! Kinda funny.) After that we came here to email and that is when we found out that Elder Mabey would be taking the spot of Elder Mendoza in La Verne and I would now be with Elder Garner.. So the rest of the day was kind of a blur. Grocery shopped, had to go back to pick up Elder Van Duren from the office and then headed straight to our FHE with Hector and the Oka's! It was quite nice. Seriously every time I get to see Hector it astounds me with how just awesome he is. I think it blows all of our members away that he isn't even baptized yet. We had a nice lesson on what we are thankful for and added them to their 'Thanksgiving tree' which I thought was adorable. After that, Elders Haslam, Van Duren and I rode down to meet with Jacqueline. We couldn't find a member unfortunately but we had three so it's all good! We started teaching her the rest of the commandments and got her ready to have a practice  baptismal interview next time. It was funny. We taught the 10 commandments using little kid hand signals and she asked if she needed to memorize those to be baptized. Sometimes we forget how long we've been around stuff like that and that it is new to others! We ended the night by heading back to the pad to pack all of my stuff.. oh man do I have a lot of stuff. We called nate to come help transport it all and he was making fun of me about how much stuff I had.. I had to explain that Mom thinks I need a new outfit every now and again. Thanks Mom! :) But I was kind of sad leaving Elder Haslam. He had to leave and take Mabey and Van Duren to La Verne and pick up Mendoza so we parted ways there. It was a good 4 weeks with him. So the new pad we are at is behind a Jack in the box dumpster in the more lively and culture filled part of town.. I miss my little garden! 
     Tuesday was a new adventure. After what seemed to be a long morning (I now have to finish Elder Garner's training, thus adding another hour to our studies). So we didn't head up to the stake center until later than usual. But for some reason this week people have been SUPER receptive and excited to have me talk to their friends and coworkers about what we do as missionaries/answer questions they have/follow up with commitments that were extended over facebook! so I got a ton of referrals that i've been trying to keep up with all week. Not complaining at all because it was AWESOME. It took a little longer than usual so we headed back and then called up Brother Mouri to see if he had some free time to take us to get some grub. Brother Mouri is this hilarious older member who loves feeding the missionaries (wife isn't a member). He took Elder Garner and I out to this place called shakers where Brother Mouri started off the dinner by asking the waitress when the floor show was going to start.. confused she replied "I"m sorry Sir, floor show?" Brother Mouri then started to tell her that she needed to sing for us. She laughed and said that she wasn't a singer. "Oh. Well we do! And we are having a choir performance at our Church in the upcoming Sunday and would love to have you come to Church!" ... It made us laugh as she took our card and said she'd try and make it. Oh Brother Mouri... after dinner we went and stopped by the Arandas. Which was actually really frustrating. The next mourning we had a conference call with Salt Lake that we needed to be to early and decided we'd take the car to el sereno with us so we could save time. So we went to the other elders pad to find that elder Haslam had taken the key. as we were going over to meet them Elder Garner got a flat tire. We walked to the car to find that the pin that holds the bike rack onto the car was not to be found and probably left in La Verne when the others made the trip out there.. so we were a bit late to our lesson which was already having to be cut short because they were in a rush to get out the door. We show up to teach the three children who want to be baptized and the less active mother. Right after we said the opening prayer the mom and non member husband say they need to leave, forcing us to go teach the kids outside due to the three man rule. It was similar to trying to get kids to eat their vegetables. trying to set up a schedule of when we could come back for the next three weeks to help them be baptized and come to Church. Because I was 'so down to business' one of them said that I wasn't as fun as Elder Mabey and that they missed Elder Mabey.. well that is what happens when the previous Elders weren't completely on task with the family! But no matter.. the rest of the night we stopped by some people. I got to meet the other family that one of their children is investigating. The mother is less active and just had twins named Axel and Rose and all their boys have long long black hair that make them look like Slash. It is pretty awesome if I do say so myself! 
     Wednesday morning Elder Haslam and I drove through a rain storm to the mission office to have our conference call with Salt Lake. Which I was expecting to get info on getting iPads but definitely was just as awesome getting iPads! We had a call with President Donaldson who was a mission president while they were filming some missionary training DVD's. They are changing the way that we teach! Our lessons are now going to go from 45-60 minutes to 5-20 minutes. All lessons from now on will be less than 30 though. And it is so simple and based on the need and questions of those people who we are teaching! It is great! So we left the meeting just super stoked to try out this new teaching method and get to work. Elder Haslam and I stayed together and did internet proselyting for quite some time again. We met back up again with the other Elders and went and had dinner with the Colmenares who fed us things called bean boats that were really good. but we helped her make them by scooping out the center of hogies while she told us about her conversion, her falling away and it was actually really inspiring to hear her desire to raise her seven kids in the church and going through so much to give her family the best even if it meant sacrificing time with her kids. But anyways then we had Brother Campbell join us with his adorable daughter Kate. We used this new way of teaching from the pamphlets that we have always had but just asking different kind of questions and it worked really well with the little kids! Then he drove us to Sister Pumphrey's house.. who is a very interesting person to talk to! Bless her heart. She has some seizure issues and I think some past problems with addictions. But we got to talk to her and tell her that because she has now started coming back to church for a good while that we'd be passing her off to the ward. And she also gave us some referrals! 
     So because Elder Mabey was the district leader, and I took her spot, I took over the position of being district leader as well as staying zone leader.. double duty! But It was the first time that I have ever taught a district meeting. Kind of weird not having a wing man to help me teach but I thought it went over pretty well! It could have gone better but I have noticed that I need to do a better job of teaching application better. The doctrine comes out fine but I know that as missionaries we like good ways to apply the doctrine. Just good little ways to do it. So gotta work on that. OH! Totally forgot that Thursday was Thanksgiving too!! So Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope it was a good one! After the meeting, we went with the other Elders to their investigator Peyton because she had made us a pie! a home made pecan pie! And by that time we were starving so we actually devoured it by the time we got back to the church to get our bikes and head over to Brother Philips house to help with dinner! On our way we stopped by a member who we didn't know and we caught him getting ready to smoke his turkey. Also turns out that his parents are senior missionaries in Armenia! So that is a small world. But then we headed on down and it was a delicious dinner. Very very delicious. There was a delicious Turkey. One of the best I've had. massive amounts of sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, and all the good stuff! Not only that, but we had some of the best apple pie and coconut cream pie I've ever had! But after a few hours of chowing down, we had been previously invited to go to the Waltons for dinner as well... oh and all the while we had a contest of who could gain the most weight from dinners. My starting weight before the philips dinner was 160 flat. So then we headed up to the Waltons and seriously I was so unbelievably full.. it wasn't even funny. Then I was trying to force more roast beast, ham and jello. I couldnt' finish my plate. Then we spent some time with their family as I took the title of champion of the fusbal table. We had to go back to Philips to grab some more pie and do the final weigh in... how much did I gain you wonder??? 7 POUNDS. I weighed in at 166.9. So proud of myself. I outate the rest of them! Even though I weighed the least :) It was kind of miserable but oh so sweet. After dinners we stopped by some less actives to try and see if we could give them some left over pie but no one we tried was found to be home. It was an awesome day though. 
     Friday was busy to make up for the lack of lessons we weren't able to get the day before. Online I was again very successful by teaching a few people and gettting many more names of those who would be potentially open to asking some questions! It was awesome. so if y'all have people like that, send them my way! It was raining again that day so we had found a key from someone to just use the Clerk's office and attempted to do some weekly planning as well.. wasn't very long before Nate showed up to take Elder Garner and I to Costco to see if we could pick up a few things as well as contact people on the mad Black Friday which I hear really started right after thanksgiving dinner for some stores.. crazy.. but we did get to talk to some very nice people at Costco! It wasn't as crazy as I thought never having shopped on black friday. But I'm sure the madness goes on in the wee hours of the morning. But I did get a chicken bake so no worries! After that we went back and we decided to head down to make a visit to Shelly down in El Sereno. She was home but seemed really not herself. She told us it wasn't a good thing that we were there. That we shouldn't have been there. Then she came outside and closed the door behind her and she just started crying with her face in her hands. We weren't really sure what to do. She just started talking about how the guy Kamar who lived there was up to no good or something like that. Couldn't really make sense. But she told us to come back another time so we left. Confused. We again stopped by Sister Pumphrey again to get some more names to visit and contact on Facebook.
     Saturday we had some problems. After studies we had planned to finish weekly planning... but we got a call from the Assistants saying that there was a planned get together with the district down in Eastmont and potentially some people from other Zones.. so after we met up with the other Elders and had to drive down to a wingstop in East LA only to find that it was just the Elders from that ward out to lunch for one of the elders who hit his 18 month mark.. so we just explained that they weren't to have district lunches anymore. Then we headed back up to Pasadena to do some internet pros when we got a message from a spanish sister from down in that area saying that she had seen the elders down there at the library multiple days that week on the computers while she was doing facebook time.. so we had to try and figure out all of that. Just kind of a mess. People don't realize how some dumb decisions affect other missionaries. But the rest of the evening kind of was a dud. we had three lessons cancel on us and left us trying by people the rest of the night. Nate met up with us that night though to go out and make rounds of visiting our investigators to make sure that we would see them at church the next day! We ran into a brother of a less active and got to teach him a lesson as well. 
     Sunday was awesome. we had 9 investigators at church between both companionships! Robert Souget even came which was so awesome to see :) so we had all the colmeneres come, the arandas came (Billy had to borrow one of my shirts) and then Nora Lew came! It was awesome!! Then we had two lessons right after church, I taught the Arandas and Elder Garner taught Nora Lew. We had some time to finish weekly planning and then Nate came and picked us up to go teach his neighbor! He took the approach that he needed us to teach more lessons than we already were and that he needed to help us out. So we went over there and first off, this guy was super intelligent. Harvard grad. CEO of his own company. Very well rounded. So it was kind of different because he was kind of grilling us as to why we came out and getting us to really focus on that moment that we needed to share with people to get them to really FEEL what we had felt. Which was really good advice actually. But all the while he was making us dinner which was really good. But overall he said that we were more than welcome to come back with Nate anytime. So we got somewhere! After that we went to the Banks to have another dinner and have him help us teach us this upcoming week. After dinner we had him come out with us and contact people on the street! gotta start having more people feel the missionary spirit! After that he decided to go and invite his neighbor to our christmas party that we are having this upcoming Saturday! Should be good. AFter that we stopped by Shelly's again but she wasn't feeling well again so we taught Shannon a lesson really quick and talked to someone on the street who was actually really promising. We were talking to her about church and such and she said she didn't go but she did pray. So I asked her if she read the scriptures and she said if she was already a good person, why would she need to. Then I brought up that Christ read from the scriptures and that we need to go from good to better and better to best. She ened up saying "Oh... well maybe I should start reading my scriptures. would you be willing to help me?" SURE! AFter that we had a bit of a mix up. Brother Staten came and picked us up at our pad and we were going to stop by Carlos again but Nate sent us to the wrong Carlos.. but we ended up sharing a thought with the member carlos who has gone through a rough life but pretty inspiring in how he is still working towards going to the temple. Gotta love the temple :) 

Well that's all folks. Next week I'll be with a new companion. We'll see how it goes! I love you all very much. I hope you have a beautiful and safe week where ever you may be! 

Elder DeBry

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