Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 50 (12/2-12/9)

Welp. I think it is safe to say that this past week. No, this past transfer has been the wildest ride I've had thus far in my mission. With that said, let me just give a summary. Elder Van Duren got transferred home, I was put in a threesome with Elders Haslam and Garner covering the entire ward (which was BUSY BUSY BUSY). Lastly, President Becerra has called me to be one of his Assistants. I'll include more below but that just about sums it up! 
     Monday was a good one. After emailing and such we decided to go down to china town as a zone which I hadn't done in a good while. I knew that Elders Haslam and Garner had some pretty cool stuff from there that I wanted to get. We went down there via train. And since we were all starving I said we could go to mexicali since it was within walking distance! And oh boy oh boy did it hit the spot. Miss that Vampiro with an egg so much. NOM! After we ate we started walking around. I realized I didn't bring any cash with me so I didn't end up getting anything but I wanted to get out of there in a hurry because I wasn't feeling the greatest. But it was a good last activity with the zone before the next transfer. We headed back on the train and we had been there a little long so by the time we went to the 99 cent store (Elder Garner wanted to buy cheap fruits and vegatables to go on a juicing cleanse diet for the next three days..) we had to rush to our lesson with the Colmeneres' family. I love that family. It is nuts with all 7 kids around the house but it is hilarious. One of their boys Joshua never wears clothes and he is about 5. His mom makes him put on pants when we come but only at church have I seen the little rugrat with a shirt on. We followed up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson and they seemed to remember it pretty well. We even had the Dad Marcos sit in on the lesson which was nice because he brought a little more order to the lesson. We then had Brother Figeroa come and meet us at our pad to go out for exchanges. We stopped by a potential Carlos who wasn't home unfortunately. Then we decided to head back to some less actives on Lowell street where we met a man, Miguel, who was on the ward list but we didn't know who he was. So he peeked through the window at first and was shocked to see us. He then opened the door and basically said "How did you find me?" After talking with him it was apparent he hadn't been to church since he was a teen and that now he had a daughter with his girlfriend. Wasn't too interested but his expression was pretty priceless. 
     Tuesday was a little different. After some morning studies I got a call from President Becerra asking me if I would drive Elder Van Duren to the office so he could interview him again and that he wanted to talk to me as well. So Elder Garner and I had to go meet up with Elders Haslam and Van Duren in Pasadena where they were and then we headed into the office just the two of us. Both of us confused as to why we were going in and why I specifically had to drive him in. So we got to the new mission office and waited for President to talk to Elder Van Duren. I was then pulled asided by one of the office missionaries and handed the flight plans for Elder Van Duren that he would fly out the next day. Sure enough Elder Van Duren came out disappointed in himself that he because of some dumb mistakes was being sent home. President then pulled me aside and asked me how I felt Elder Haslam would feel if he had to stay another transfer in South pasadena (having served there his entire mission thus far) and I explained that with the success that we had been having I felt it was deepening his conversion but President expressed his concern with him being in the same place for too long. So leaving that conversation I thought that Elder Haslam would be transferred to another area for sure. Not only that, but Nate had also spoken with Elder Oldroyd (mission presidency) and had given me a tip that it was an obvious decision who would be transferred. So I was honestly kind of bummed. I was hoping I'd get sent back to Armenian work with the new announcement of a Branch coming soon to the Group. After that whole ordeal we headed back and met back up with the other elders and helped the process of packing up Elder Van Duren to leave the following morning. We had to dip early and head to our lesson with the Arandas with Nathan which turned out to be frustrating. We had only planned about 30 min to teach so we could then go Caroling with the youth but we show up and the kids weren't even there and had just barely left to go run some errands! It was dumb. So we ended up teaching the less active mother who had some very interesting thoughts on our church teachings and we took it as an opportunity to teach her some truth. Finally when we were about to go the kids showed up and we had to express our disappointment that we had to go but Billy and Nick came with us to go caroling afterall. Which was a blast by the way. Nate and I had worked out a pretty good duet of 'I'm dreaming of a white christmas' by the end of the night. It was quite a show! But after about an hour Elder haslam nate and I went to teach Peyton who wasn't feeling very well and had expressed some doubts about her baptismal date on the 22. She explained to Nate that she just wanted to plant more seeds in other churches to make sure she is finding the right one. But she wasn't sure how she would recognize her answer. We left her with some scriptures and set a return appointment. 
     Wednesday was very long it seemed like. We had to take Elder Van Duren into the office to help him with his luggage and stuff before they drove him off to the airport. Following which we went on a hunt for this doctors office that we finally found and Elder Garner had to get an xray of his recently healed broken wrist to ensure it healed correctly. Then we went up to the stake center to see what Facebook (Elder Haslam started teaching Elder Garner's girlfriend, Andi) was up to and then rushed down to the Church building for Jacqueline's baptismal interview which had to be done by President Becerra. We were all nervous because of some things that we weren't sure if she'd have to wait to be baptized. But she passed!! Oh we were so relieved and overjoyed to hear that she could be baptized! I think she was even more relieved than we were. We taught her a lesson after and went over some other questions she had from her reading. Love her. Just feel so much love for all these people we are teaching. We headed to subway for the $2 dollar sub deal (steal!!) and then we had to split up with having so many appointments that we couldn't alone. So Elder Haslam went with Brother Lowe from the ward and we headed to the Colmenares again. This time we went and taught them some of the commandments and went on our way to meet up again with Elder Haslam to teach a Katrina Johnson and her nonmember husband. They allowed us to come in and we got to know them a bit and found out that he just had zero religious background growing up in Hawaii. So we began to teach him the message of the Restoration and it was incredible to see his wife's face just full of the spirit as we discussed with her husband the things that she had come to know were true. He prayed for us at the end of the lesson and we were able to set a return appointment. We then had to bike up (what seemed like mountainous roads) to the complete opposite side of the area to teach mark newport and follow up with our goal of having him set a date for baptism. We were able to have a great discussion and came to find out he hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon but had decided that reading the Bible was what he started to do. He came to understand why we were inviting with the Book of Mormon and committed to begin reading it daily. It was quite the night. And I was exhausted. Those bike rides take it out of ya! 
     Thursday was district meeting! We were informed by the AP's that I should let Elder Haslam teach the meeting so he could get some experience. And I thought it was a great idea! So we were able to be taught by him and it was good. following the meeting and roleplays we stopped by Sister Watson's house to make a visit and have some lunch with her. She bought us some pizza and then we were on our way full of pizza and jelly belly's. We headed up to do more Facebook and then went all the way back down to visit a man named Gilbert who wasn't home. BUT we were able to talk to one of his neighbors who were doing some yard work and they agreed that we could stop by and have a Christmas message with them! Right after we had another lesson with the Arandas and it was so frustrating. I don't know why but they liked to push my buttons. And it didn't help that elders haslam and garner were just laughing as they could see my frustration with trying to round up the three kids to have a spiritual lesson. I came to a point where I just didn't want to talk but let them teach. Grr. we met up with Brother Banks and had him come out with us to teach Nora Lew who is an investigator with a baptismal date for the end of the month. She is an older asian lady who has a disease similar to MS and has a strong desire to learn about the church. Right after we had Peyton come meet us at the church for another lesson and we had Brother Hilton come join us. She got a call after 5 min of our lesson from her mom whose car's battery had died. So we ended and drove over to the grocery store and tried to figure out what to do. She ended up just calling the tow truck and we all waited at this frozen yogurt place and got to talk with Peyton and her mom. Turns out her mom totally needs the gospel! She might even more interested than Peyton! 
     Friday morning was... stressful. We decided for breakfast to go to Jack in the Box for breakfast and came back just in time for studies. But when we got back, we had left our phones at the pad so we had a missed call from President on both phones and a text saying I needed to call him. Doing so he explained to me that after much prayer and consideration he wanted me to serve as his Assistant and would need to come to the Staff meeting in the office that morning with the other Assistants. SO not expecting that. At all. Felt totally out of place and not sure what to do. So until they came and picked me up I was rather fidgety and unable to really have an effective study. They came and picked me up and then we headed to the office for the meeting which was incredible to hear about all the time and effort that each of the senor couples that have been called to work in the missionary put into taking care of us missionaries. After a few hours of discussing the needs and business matters to say, we had some lunch and then headed into President's office to work on the rest of transfers and boy was that eye opening. let me put it this way. Transfers are like a puzzle. with 266 pieces. And you can't put two missionaries together that have been disobedient in the past. Who may not get along together. You also have to have people train. Be leaders. What to do with non baptizing areas. Seriously tough puzzle right? absolutely. But I felt like after the few hours spent that I was a little more wise as to how the mission runs. Just totally still shocked about it. The mysterious transfer board was opened for me. Pretty cool I must say. But after what seemed like all day, we headed back to south pas where I met up with the other Elders who were bombarding me with questions about what was going on. Similar to what I did to Elder Bangerter when he got called. I felt bad for putting him through that! We had a busy night though. Taught the Colmenares with Brother Mouri who told the kids to put away their phones. Brother Paul johnson again and his wife along with Brother Gonzales from the ward. And we finished off the night with a great lesson with Jacqueline and brother Caffall talking about family history work and getting her ready to enter into the house of the lord. So excited for that day!! 
     Saturday was pretty eventful as well. It was pouring rain all day and we had an early morning lesson with the Arandas because they were busy all weekend and unable to meet. So we had a lesson with them which wasn't as distracted as we read a page with them from the Book of Mormon. Following, Nate took us out to eat at this delicious burger pub in Pasadena called the Dog Haus. So good. He knew that people would be leaving and wanted to say good bye and spend time with us. Very nice of him. following lunch I was again picked up by the assistants and driven to the office to work on transfers some more and make them digital which was very tedious. going through the computer version of what we had on the big transfer board. That took most of the afternoon after stopping by Elder Bangerter's favorite Wendy's in the mission. I was dropped off in South Pas to make the tail end of their weekly planning and to help set up for the ward Christmas party which was a blast! Probably one of the oddest though. First off, there were these two stranger boys who came walking in off the street and a member told us to go talk to them. Turned out they had run away from home and had no where to go and were just lost. Both couldn't have been older than 17/18. We got them some food and told them to stick around so they could talk to our Bishop but after I told Bishop what was going on they were on their way out and said they couldn't stay. Odd. Later on in the party after some pictures with Santa were taken, there was an older woman who was having some breathing/heart ache problems and the ambulance was called and the paramedics arrived soon after to take her to the hospital. shortly after the assistants again came to get me to make the calls of transfers. which I was super nervous for for some reason but quickly learned the process which was still kind of confusing. We finished a bit before 10:30 and then started talking with President about what would happen in future transfers. Planning already for the transition to a new mission president in July and who would be assistants then. So crazy. But then we were just able to discuss with him about things. Family. His career. Scriptures. All while we were waiting for one of the spanish assistants (there are two english and two spanish assistants) finished a report. I didn't end up getting home until after midnight that night and not into bed until around 12:30ish. I was so exhausted. 
     Sunday came early as we went to coorelation and talked about transfers. Who would be leaving. The assistants being in the ward and having some sisters work in our ward partially. It was exciting to think our ward was being noticed of the progress we have made. The meetings flew by and we had a meeting with the Stake Presidency shortly after church in which we talked of the baptismal dates and baptisms in the stake. We had a quick lesson with the arandas when we finally got to south pas again, only to head back out to Arcadia for the departure devotional for those missionaries who would be leaving this week. This meeting I had been assigned to conduct. Very nerve wracking but seemed to be easier as the time went on. There were probably close to 300 people there. It was sad to see that Elder Bangerter would be leaving. Meant that time was flying by too fast to realize it. But it was a great week. Should be an experience of a transfer this upcoming one! 

I love you all and look forward to hearing about all your winter festivities! Keep sharing the love of the gospel. Have a great week and I'll be back on Saturday! 

Elder DeBry

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