So last monday wasn't much of a P-day because of the big move from El Sereno back to the South Pasadena pad.. then I went into the office with Elders Lloyd and Bangerter to drop Elder Bangerter and all his luggage off. I guess the Monday before you leave you spend the day with President in interviews and fun activities with him. So we dropped him off to do that and load up the trailer of luggage to prepare for us taking them all out to the airport the next morning. While we were at the office President informed us of some other disobedience that had been noticed by a bishop in a ward and had gotten back to President. So he had us go meet up with those Elders to straighten things out. Not only did they not have a very good explanation for doing maginc tricks for recent converts and investigators instead of lessons, but their apartment was a mess. Meaning they were spending too much time there during the week instead of doing work! So after that we headed back to Glendale to pick up the rest of Elder Lloyd's stuff from him pad. I miss Glendale. Anyways. We got all settled in just in time for Brother Mouri to come pick us up for what I thought was his wife making dinner for us.. but they took us out to eat instead which is cool too. Dottie Mouri is not a member and so we were trying to engage in a gospel related conversation with her and it was going well but then all of a sudden she just tells us to "just drop it.." Long awkward pause after that... "So Brother Mouri any big plans for the holidays??"... yeah later came to find out she hates the church because her daughter was married in the Temple and she wasn't allowed to be there. We then headed over to the Lewandowski home to have a FHE with Hector, Kristy and Alex which actually went really well! They seemed to really take a liking to Elder Lloyd which always makes things easier! But unfortunately it ran a little late because of how good our scriptural discussion was and so we finally got to Nate's house to do a mini planning, correlation, run down of South Pas operations for Elders Lloyd and Johnson (Haslam's new companion).
Tuesday was busy busy busy! And very stressful to me because I'm new to this whole assistant thing.. so we had to get up early () and head out to Arcadia to pick up the truck and go to Presidents house to have breakfast with all the departing missionaries that we were dropping off at the airport. It was bitter sweet to see them all go and had a very nostalgic feel of being at the airport almost a year later. So we dropped them all off and then had to run over to arrivals to pick up the big group of missionaries that were fresh from the MTC! Crazy to see them all come down the same escalators... we divided them up and then headed back to the office where we had some lunch and then started the brief instruction with the trainees and then the trainers who came in a little later. No planning. Just winged it. And all the time when I was being instructed in those meetings I felt like they were all planned and well organized! But man was it stressful... especially when I felt inadequate to be doing the training when I hadn't had that much experience myself! All was well though. We then had to make a few adjustments to the assignments of trainers to trainees after getting to meet them briefly and then we made the announcements! It was a good experience overall though. Just getting to see the other side of things and really having my eyes opened to how everything works, how some missionaries are and such. Pretty cool. We were at the office for what seemed forever though... Not sure which day was which because we just seemed to be finalizing transfers, learning how to do certain reports and all that fun office stuff.. but finally we were off to our area again. All this time I was pretty stressed on how we would be able to upkeep the work when we were spending so much time in the office.. but Elder Lloyd reassured me that the Lord blessed us for the time we were in the office and just would lead us to those who would help us lead the mission in example. Sure enough! We met up with Nate to try by the people we had planned and even had Nate take us to some of those people whom he had planned to visit.. including a visit to Carole to but they weren't answering the door. We had a lesson with Jacqueline to see how she was doing and follow up with all the commitments that she may have been struggling with... we brought up the Word of Wisdom and smoking and drinking coffee and she said that she had been slipping up on coffee and she was still smoking... so that really made us worry. She recognized that she couldn't be baptized if she was still doing those things and said that we could postpone the baptism. But we assured her that if she stopped and really showed commitment before her baptism that she had changed then we could proceed as planned. We were still worried though. After we made our way deeper in El Sereno to make a visit to Julian and Liza. A media referral we had gotten a week previous. We knocked and they came to the door and invited us in (unusual and exciting) and we went right into how to begin teaching and teaching them about the Restoration using our new method of teaching. First off, they had started off telling us that they had many children and grandchildren who were Mormon in Utah and they had had missionaries before.. but as we taught them the Spirit was very strong as Elder Lloyd and I taught one of the best lessons I've taught. They were asking great questions that just led right into our next point and they really understood it all. Julian towards the end had the question of "how can I feel peaceful like how you are describing?" that is when we invited him to pray to God as if he were in the room and ask him that question and any others that he had about our lesson. He offered one of the most heartfelt prayers. We sat in silence how we had explained we would and then had them describe to us what they felt. We testified and invited them to be baptized and they said they would want to pray about it first. We left that lesson and we were all blown away about how awesome the lesson went and how we all felt the spirit that strongly. Nate even told us it was one of the best lessons he had ever been in. Felt pretty good to hear that!
Wednesday was another busy day in the office. After personal study we headed to the office to set up a conference call with all the zone leaders and President to discuss the upcoming mission christmas party and other matters of business such as any questions people had on the new method of teaching (20 min using pamphlets) and cool experiences that people had. Following the call President went over with us the outline to the Christmas party including his teaching segment to have us give input as well as role play how it would go. Such a humble man to have us give input even though his teaching skills are far superior than ours. After we did that for a while President had to go to a lunch and we got assigned to pick up his son from school... which he wasn't aware of so we ended up waiting around at the high school for about an hour before President received a call that his son had just walked home. back to the office to finish up the agenda and found out that I would be 'MC-ing' the talent show portion of the christmas party... Elder Lloyd and I desperately tried to find some tangarine and baby blue tuxedos to do it but to no avail... We finally got back to our pad later that evening to make a quick dinner and then head out to meet up at the Lewandowski home again to have a lesson with Jesse. Came to find out he had to leave early so we stuck around with them and role played for our next lesson with him which will be today! We are finding out that this new method of teaching is leaving the members unsure how to participate in teaching so we have to give them more prep. Fine by us! But anyways, we left and went and tried by an investigator who Elder Van Duren and Garner had picked up while they were together but ended up walking in the neighborhood to talk to this guy who had a family of 6 and invited us over to his house Friday night, another group of younger people putting up Christmas lights who said they'd love to hear a Christmas message but in spanish, and then we got into teach Robert Soquet! Which I didn't think would happen because he answered the door asking if we could come back in a month or two.. but he let us in. We taught for another 30 mintues and by the end he was sobbing about what we had taught and told him how much we wanted to see him feel the spirit.. he again tried to tell us he didn't want us to come over but after the spirit touching him he agreed to have us come back the next day to discuss more. Miracles! Love 'em!
Thursday we didn't have district meeting because of the Christmas party on Friday. So we weekly planned instead. Which was such a relief. I think I've really learned the importance of planning. It is now to the point if I don't have a plan then I don't feel comfortable and just feel lost! Afterwards we headed back up to the stake center to do internet proselyting and I think we are getting the hang of things because we got a few more names to get in contact with and even taught a lesson! Love being productive. It took a little longer though so we were late getting to Nate's for a delicious sushi dinner and then headed out to go teach and do splits because of the 5 lessons we had planned in a two and a half hour period. We all taught Jacqueline together to start off. She had still been smoking about 2-3 cigarettes a day and wasn't sure she would be able to do it since she had started smoking when she was about 10 she said. We taught her more about fasting and told her we wanted to fast with her this Sunday to help her not have that addiction anymore. She agreed and has the desire to quit and she understands that every time she smokes she is pushing back her baptism. I finally asked her for her pack of cigarettes and she resentfully gave me her two packs except for one individual cigarette that she did not want to give up.. but somehow she gave it up and was still unsure how she'd overcome the addiction she had. So please keep her in your prayers. We went and met up with Brother Heap for elder Lloyd to go with him while Nate and I tried by some people we had previously contacted. First one, wasn't home. Second one, was going through a family crisis but didn't say we couldn't come back. Then we went to Mark's house to have a lesson. He is so close. He is still not consistent with his prayers and reading but at the end when we had him pray he felt the spirit but he is looking for more of a sign than just a still small voice. He even described previous times when he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace and comfort but still wanted more... just.. just... YOU'RE THERE MARK!! Still working towards the 12th though. Met back up. brother Heap bought me a lengua taco. mmm lengua.
Friday was the MISSION CHRISTMAS PARTY!! Woohoo! Boy was it a long day though. We started off the first two hours by being instructed by Elder Plewe (an office elder) and then by President Becerra who taught the mission the new way of teaching. It is weird to think for me that we used to teach such long lessons. This new way totally makes things so much easier! They all split off into zones and I went and observed the Armenian Elders who were still missing me and wanting me to come back. hangeestana yeretsner. Kveradarnam. We all regrouped and then went into the cultural hall for our christmas feast which was delicious! I wish I could have enjoyed it more but I had to eat quickly to then start the big talent show! It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
ooooooooooooooooooooooooo long... too long and we were very behind schedule. There were magic shows, skits, songs, stand up missionary comedy, carrot jokes, polynesian dances, poi balls, yoyos and rubik's cubes. And in the midst of all this we had to stop mid way to take our annual mission picture which took 45 minutes itself trying to coordinate 270 missionaries.. sheesh. But it was awesome and I'm glad I was a part of it. We finished up back in the chapel for more reverent talents including piano pieces, christmas hymns and solos. it was quite special. After we finished it there were many presents to divide out to each zone and then we were left to clean up and make sure everyone had a ride home which took proportionally long. We ended up driving two of the chinese sisters home to their pad in San Gabriel and then headed off to try by the guy with a family of 6 we had met. turned out that his wife actually lived there but she was just as friendly and willing to have us come over this upcoming week. We have really just come into contact with some good people lately. We met another family who knew the Arandas and said we could come by and they were excited for Billy to be baptized. I thought I also lost my favorite pencil.. but Elder Lloyd miraculously found it!
And that was my week. We have already had a great morning of playing some tennis with our ward mission leader Nate and will probably go to China town to go christmas shopping for y'all! I hope you have a wonderful and safe week where ever this email finds you.