Friday, February 28, 2014

Week 61 (2/17-2/24)

  Well this past week was probably one of the most amazing weeks of my mission. And I know looking back on the time that I have been out I have said that quite a few times but seriously this one tops the rest! It was such a testimony builder week and a powerful one with the baptisms we had on Saturday. That was the highlight for sure but there were just so many good times we had this past week! No time to waste to explain about them all! 
     Last monday was an emailing p-day so that wasn't too fun. Not a big fan of these big novel-like emails but I don't have much time to journal when I get home at night so it is the time to fill in the cracks when I don't have time so really... this is more for me! But anyways. we did go to the mall and got some red robin which was delicious and we had someone approach us and asked if we were the missionaries they had seen on FACEBOOK!!! So stoked that video has been going viral! The rest of the night was pretty ineffective. Right before we were finished with pday we got a text from Ashot saying he had some more stuff for Elder Cook from his parents. So we waited around for him at the Church... and then our apartment..; and finally we just needed to go get stuff done but right as we were going to head up to Burbank Ashot said he would meet us at the Church... so FINALLY all four of us Armenian Elders drove up to Burbank to try by some potentials... it was a mess. We both had to go to some areas and Elder Twelves was cutting people off and they were following us and we almost ran out of gas and by that time it was almost time to head back.. frustrating. We parked the car and tried by this referral we had received from Elders Llewelyn and Coontz that was down the street from us. This man opens the door named Markus and lets us in but says as we enter.. 'you'll need to forget what you see in here'.. whatever that meant. Kinda creeped me out. But he was pretty normal... kind of walks the line of insane and genius. He told us he was only 20% dead but that he needed help! He was telling us some weird stories from him going to visit some other churches and we only had time to do some how to begin teaching and set up a return appointment. But better than nothing! 
     Tuesday was a trek back up to GCC campus to start off the next semester! After some brief morning studies we headed up there via bus on the overly crowded, REALLY get to know the person standing next to you bus ride. But it was a good time. There were lots of people up on campus and we took a different approach. Instead of the standard surveys which most people have taken on campus, we were handing out flyers that advertised the free lunch at the institute building which got us a little bit more attention but some people even turned down free lunch... can you believe it? But probably the best thing that happened was in the first 5 min a guy that I was trying to talk to, who rejected the free lunch flyer, stopped for a split second and asked 'hey haven't I seen you on facebook?' and it was awesome. We talked to some good people and such and as we were packing up to leave we were walking past some club booths and the one guy that asked if I was the guy in the video brought me up to a bunch of his friends and we started talking and I joined their service club! Not sure what the name was for the club but all they said was they did service and I could come to the activities even though I'm not a student! We headed back and had some lunch at the institute and had some of the people we invited come and join us. After all that fun we headed back to do some afternoon studies. We also realized that we needed to wash the car in preparation for the next days zone conference so we headed into the office and washed, waxed and cleaned our car til it shined like new :) I was impressed. That evening we were able to meet up at the Church and meet with both Christina Avoian and teach her about the temple before she was interviewed by the Bishop for her temple recommend. She has had some of her immediate family pass and that has been really hard for her. So when we were able to explain that she could be baptized and confirmed for them all in the temple she was brought to tears and I could feel how much the temple is going to mean for her in the future. And at the same time Elder Cook went and taught Hambarsoom at the Church with Ashot and I guess had a really good lesson and set him with a new baptismal date of 8 March. Hopefully he'll make it and won't disappear for another month.. after those lessons we I think headed out to try by some people. Met this cool kid Mazhan who is an atheist but has read the bible a few times and has read a lot of religious material and was cool to meet with us again!  
     Wednesday was ZONE CONFERENCE!!!!!! We all met up at the South Pasadena building. Always a good feeling to be able to walk into a familiar building and have the flood of good memories come back! I miss South Pas. It was a good area. One of the best! But anyways, the majority of zone conference was role-playing the new style of teaching with pamphlets and the Book of Mormon. it was good. No really new information but it was just a good time to have some practice. Overall, it was good. After the meeting we headed back to Glendale and got ready to teach Armenian class which we were expecting people to not show up but Peter and his member wife came (whose name I can never remember. which is awkward because when i call on her in the class i always have to pause) and then funny thing was Nate couldn't be there but he skyped in and participated that way. But it was a really good lesson! Not sure how long we'll keep this Armenian class going at this rate, however. 
     Thursday we didn't have district meeting in light of zone conference. So we headed up to verdugo hills again that morning to try by some of the people that we had received from the Sisters. None of them were home or able to meet at the time. Lame. But we headed back and Nate took us Armenian Elders out to lunch. First we went to this Arabic/middle eastern place for lunch which was kind of expensive for the small amount of food we got. Funny story though. Nate got some Armenian language study CD's to listen to and so he tried to order lunch in Armenian and the lady was laughing and thought it was the most entertaining thing. Probably thought he was flirting with her. My favorite was how he randomly asked where the street was that we were on, only to be able to use the bit he had been working on. But we then went back to the Church and started to work on a game plan to hasten the work in the Armenian group. We talked about what to do up on campus, activities we could do and how to expand into the surrounding areas. And after that much we were still all hungry and hit up TB again. Right after that we got a text from one of my formers, Cynthia, who said she was up at GCC and asked if we wanted to meet. so we quickly caught the bus up there and met her up at the institute. She at fist didn't want a lesson but instead just wanted to talk with us and some of the other members that were there at the time. But we some how started talking about what made us happy and we thought of to show her a Bible Video so we did and showed her the one of Christ being baptized. It was a pretty powerful short video and we got to bear testimony and the spirit was definitely felt as I shared another scripture in John 10 about Christ returning to the place of his baptism. We invited her to attend a baptismal service that we had on Saturday and then headed out. We were on our way back to the church when we ran into one of the G1 Sister's investigators who we started talking to and found out that she had quite a few concerns about the sisters and them not really being able to answer her questions and taking too long in lessons to be able to meet often... but she had bomb questions and had a great desire to learn more! so we had to be sure to talk to the sisters about that and give them some tips on what they could do better. Then we headed up to the Bradleys for dinner. The Korean Elders ended up coming because they are in the Bradley's ward. Afterwards we went and visited Kris Aristakissian who we found around the corner from his house and taught him back at his house. He was bringing up some of his concerns again how bad things happen and we taught more scripture how they are all for our experience. He ended up coming to Church Sunday too :) So that was a good lesson. 
     Friday was frustrating. Elder Cook and I had some bomb studies and great role-playing which led up into a disappointing day... it was frustrating. We went to the Church to do some online and clean up the baptismal font and then coordinate more with the other Elders about venturing out into Burbank and Hollywood. And then our afternoon appointment cancelled with one of our Verdugo potentials. Lame again. And then we had a not very effective weekly planning. i don't know what it is but it just seems to take FOREVER to weekly plan with these new devices. AND I love him to death, but elder Cook sure does get distracted with the iPad. So I've been trying to help him with that! After a very incomplete planning we drove over to Mike and Bridget's to have dinner/lesson which was actually pretty productive. Bridget had bought us some delicious tamales and we had a baptismal interview with Mike to see where he was at! He still isn't sure that Christ is the son of God or how exactly the Atonement is needed/or works as well as if we have a prophet here on the earth today. He is just going to take time. I feel like we are just going in circles with them. But it was a way too long of a lesson and we got out of there late and didn't get to anyone else that night. 
     Saturday was amazing. We got up early to start the baptismal font and make sure everything was good to go. While we waited we watched those old Church advertisements about family and 'isn't it about, time?' which were hilarious. But then the service started and it was simple, short and powerful. It was probably the best baptismal service I've been a part of. The testimony that was shared of the person who was baptized was so pure and special that it really helped me to feel that closeness with those I teach. AFter that there were some light refreshments and then we headed back to a lesson which we had set up with a lady we met up in verdugo hills but she wasn't home.. but her husband was indeed Armenian so we plan to go visit them tonight. We stopped by and saw Ragned and taught her the first lesson with the new pamphlets. She said she would be baptized! And come to Church but we're stil not sure what her questions are because our meetings with her are usually all over the place or awkward. Then we headed back and did some more studies. I was getting nervous at that time though because I had been in contact with Elder Lloyd about Hectors baptism that night and they hadn't heard from him that day.. come to find out he was just out late and was asleep... scared me half to death though. We decided to go out to a nice dinner though because it had been such an awesome day. We went to outback and then caught the bus back and got the car to ride out to South Pas again for the baptism of Hector Pasillas. Although he was late and it was stressing everyone out, and he was just taking forever, it was so awesome. Some good talk was given by Dillon Jensen that gave me some new insight about Abraham Lincoln. But the highlight was the actual ordinance. it was so powerful. He had awaited this moment and thought he'd have to wait even longer but what a blessing it was to be there for him. After the baptism he bore his testimony of the atonement. It was super powerful. He is just such a stud! It was an awesome day. 
     Sunday was good. Jerry had an accident in Sunday school. Anoush was upset that no one had wished her a happy birthday but we did to Deborah. I translated Anoush's lesson in relief society(I'm getting better!) and then we had both Mike and Hambarsoom at sacrament. Also, Kris Arisstakisian came which was awesome. Anna and Armen Gvorgian spoke. Almost put me to sleep but he didn't succeed. After sacrament Elder Cook had his music lesson with Nvart's nephew, Kevin, and then we ran back to the apartment to grab the car and head up to the Townsends. But on the way we saw Narek talking to some other people and explaining his 'magic mirror' and the leaf that had fallen perfectly center. We rushed past him so we wouldn't have to talk to him but he saw us and caught up to us at the corner "with open arms" and hugged us as he had a stink of alcohol. He kept telling us of further revelation he had received and when we could stop by again when two police cars pull up and one of the officers calls out to him by name and asks what he has been up to and tells him to put his hands behind his head and turn around. Both of them searched him and made sure he wasn't carrying weapons and while they were he was telling them how we had stopped by and knew him and that we understood what he was telling them about his mirror because we were 'spiritual people'. At this point both Elder cook and I weren't sure what to think because we in our last lesson with him told him we'd vouge for him and tell people he wasn't crazy! So funny. One of the officers pulled us aside and asked if we knew him, ever been threatened by him or anything. But don't worry, we hadn't been. But then she found out that we spoke Armenian and said "man I wanted to find out how I could do the whole learn Armenian in three months thing but they said I couldn't because I wasn't a missionary." and then we invited her and her other officer friends to our Wednesday evening class! Then off to the Townsends for dinner. Which was super quick because then Ashot called us and had us come help him move from his old house to his new one which took a lot longer than we thought. It was fun though and we got Ashot in a good mood again. It is never fun to have him in a bad mood. Elder Cook and I got to ride in the back of the moving truck which was fun. Last thing of the night was teaching Markus again. Again, we didn't get to much of the lesson but we did talk about baptism for a while and he explained how he would go to different churches and learn about them and we invited him to be bapitzed and he said he wasn't prepared but if he was he would. So that was good. Not sure how accountable he is but we'll see. 

Anyways, it was a wonderful week. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Be safe and keep smiling! 

Elder DeBry

Week 60 (2/10-2/17)

Monday was actually a really fun pday. it was actually probably one of the best, if not the best. The whole zone got together right after pday started at the Wilson building and once everyone was there and had finished some of their emails, we had our ZONE OLYMPICS!! It was quite fun, despite some of the zone not participating in all the events (such as my companion) because they were too busy playing tiddily winks... We had events such as: tawn chugging, wheelchair relay races, chubby bunny, slack-lining, chair stacking and finally who could change into their proselyting clothes the fastest. But by that point it was just us Armenians competing so it was quite brutal... I won but got tackled to the ground by Elder Cook and may have bummed my ankle. But I'm okay!! Just a bit of a limp and a bruise. Nothing major. But because we aren't supposed to keep track of who really 'won'... Sister Brown made us all 'gold medal missionaries' medals to celebrate. And I was the only casualty so it was successful. Plus we did most of them outside which was nice because it was such a nice day. That took up most of the day and we didn't get to do anything else including shop or do laundry so that was a stretch to make it to today. But after pday ended we waited around to see if Olga would show up because when she was at Church the day before she said she would be able to stop by and we could help her with English... but she didn't show so we headed out and tried some others but to no avail. Before we were about to call it a night I wanted to stop by Bella to see when we could have a lesson with her and teach Emanoel guitar but when we got there Janet was there! So she invited us in (again she was in her pajamas) and we reviewed the first lesson to see how much she rembered from the previous time. And she remembered almost all of it! It was awesome. She was telling us about how she wanted to move up to Glendale and start working here so she could come to Church! She said she really wants to come but she only works weekends... but we invited her to be baptized again and she enthusiastically agreed which was so good to hear. 
     Tuesday my plans were changed last minute. So I had originally planned on being in the office all day to roll out iPads to some select zones which we were doing throughout the week as mobile device trainers and I had been told I would be training on Tuesday. But they changed the length of the training and so I got pushed back a day. So the morning was typical. During companionship study Elder Cook and I somehow started having a 'companionship inventory' wrestling match until the people that live below us started pounding on their ceiling to get us to stop... mot much happened that afternoon. We tried to teach Jolynne again but she is really... just... stubborn? not willing to change? maybe has some Armenian heritage? We then went out to grabbed some food with Nate at Chipotle and then brought him to a lesson with this guy Narek that we met a week previous and was probably one of the most interested Armenians that I have met thus far! Well we stop by his house and find out that it wasn't the front house according to the lady that answered the door but when we said we were visiting Narek she gave a mischievous little smirk that should have given us a hint that he was a little odd... okay little is a huge understatement. I can't even begin to explain what happened in that visit. He forced us to watch this music video that he made... here comes the waterfall and watch, watch the face and then here comes the dragon. basically it was a bunch of random videos and pictures that he put together and added little effects to it that were hilarious. Then he wanted to watch some 1 long youtube video and then he got distracted and started explaining his mirror... at that point we knew we wouldn't be able to have a lesson and Nate was asking these obsurd questions such as "what does the pomegranate with the headphones mean?" You kind of had to be there. After the lesson which we were all dying laughing after Nate drove us up to Rita's house to have a lesson and a small 'lunch' which turned out to be a big one which was delicious. She is probably the most awesome Armenian convert we have in the group. She is so sweet and is like our mother/grandmother out here. But after the lunch we had a quick lesson because I guess last time they were over there she had the question about the afterlife and so they started talking about the temple in hopes of helping her get a temple recommend but that day she had the question of why God would send us to this Earth if we were already living with Him before this life. Very valid question! But I stepped in and used the example of why do we serve a mission if we only go home afterwards! After that lesson we headed back and met up with the leadership to go on splits and visit/teach some people. We were waiting around and Ashot showed up after not hearing anything from him for about a week... and he was complaining about the group and saying no one helps him out or anything and it was quite awkward just sitting there having him kind of argue with the leadership. In the end we gave him a blessing and then he went out with Elder Tyler to visit some of their investigators. So when we finally left the office I went out with Elder Cook and Brother Bradley to visit Elizabet, Sona and their cousin/niece Caroline! It was quite funny, Caroline's son Kevin was all over the place but we got brother bradley to keep him under control while we tried to talk to her. She said she would take the lessons though which was cool! We were super stoked. 
     Wednesday was a verrrrrrrrry long day. I was picked up a bit before 8 by Elders Blanchard, Christensen and Perez to go into the office to do the mobile device training!! It really was good to address the zones again. I miss trainings. But anyways we went over the three hour training with two of the zones one after another. Teaching them how to register their iPads, the area books, and the gospel library which are all awesome! During lunch I was speaking with President about the soccer game and telling him about how awesome it was and how we got some potential people to teach from it. He was super excited for us and we were even talking about giving us Armenian Elders a car so we could venture out into Hollywood and more into Burbank. Which is cool! After the meetings we had to wait around for a while for whatever reason and then headed back to Glendale where I was dropped off with Elder Cook and we were off and hitting the pavement. We tried by some potentials but the highlight of the night was talking to this guy, Karin, on the street as we were trying by Souren and his family. We mentioned we spoke Armenian and he was blown away that we spoke it so he asked if he could take a video and that is the video that is now on Facebook! And all throughout the week i've gotten comments, messages and people have come up to me and said they have seen me in that video!! It is viral!! And I hope it keeps going! It has been 5 days and people are still commenting on it and stuff! It has been so awesome. Two guys messaged me on Facebook saying how awesome it was that I learned their language and I'm talking to them about learning more. And then last night at this fireside that we were at this guy came up and said that he had seen it. No idea who he was. THEN today when we were in the mall this OTHER Armenian lady came up and said that she had seen the video!! I'm famous here in Glendale. No big deal. But ANYWAYS. That is what happened Wednesday night! 
      Thursday we had weekly planning because of the multiple days of mobile device training that I had to do Wednesday and Friday. It took forever to get to it though because as we were teaching Jolynne again online we found the video that the guy Karin had posted and we were super stoked and wondering how we could keep it going and make it go viral. As of today it has 60+ comments, 80+ shares and 200+ likes. So I want to see where it is by next week! But then we pumped through weekly planning. made some calls to some solid potentials that Sisters Harding and Brown gave us who were excited to meet us. Then we went and had dinner with Bro Bradley at Chipotle and then he took us out to visit Rima, Ragned and Raymond. We showed them a Bible video and Rima had a ton of questions because she had been researching a bunch online. But it was a really good lesson and we got to answer her questions and they were excited to come to G7 on Sunday. 
     Friday we had another mobile device training. I rolled it out to the La Crescenta zone and Pasadena zone. I was teaching with Hermana Ward instead of Elder Blanchard this time though. But after the long day President gave us a car to use to go outside the mission. It was a long drive home however because of the horrible traffic. We had to pick up Elder Cook in Glendale and then drop off Elder Blanchard down in his area in East LA. Then thankfully we stopped by a mcdonalds to get some directions to our next appointment with Garlen and Desdimonia in Hollywood! And seriously it was awesome. Desdimonia made a very large spread of Armenian food. we were super full of fish, kabobs, lamb and delicious bread. After that we met his daughter and grandkids and then taught them quickly about the first lesson just setting up another appointment and setting some expectations. It was awesome. 
      Saturday we had district meeting which was kind of slow because it was supposed to be on the iPads but my district had just gotten them and so they didn't really know how to use them. So it was slow and I didn't really feel prepared for it...but after that we drove up to Verdugo hills with the other elders and had them drop us off while they taught and we tried by some people. We had this bomb street contact with this lady, Teresa, who at first was accusing us of not being Christian but after we talked with her and answered all her concerns, she admitted we knew our stuff but still wouldn't agree to meet with us. So we headed back down to glendale after trying by others but only getting told to come back another day. so we went back and had some internet, dinner which consisted of little ceasars again and some cake that Elder Cook's parents had dropped off to Ashot to give to us. That night we taught Kris as we were walking from Hambarsoom's whom we haven't seen for almost a month... but we saw kris and it was funny. He thought I was new because I have only taught him twice or so. But anyways we had a good lesson with him and he said he'd come to church. Nate stopped by and gave us some of his favorite street tacos that he found a little while AFTER I left south pas. Typical. 
     Sunday was awesome but I'm out of time so it will be condensed. I gave a talk in church. Everyone loved it. it was about baptism. We had a super funny relief society because neither elder cook or I could follow the teacher and translate what she was saying. we had a lesson with Christina after church which Armen Gvorgian was in and out of... we grabbed some food and then headed to this musical fireside which was awesome. it felt like I was in a baptist church though because it was a big deal. Some NFL football players came and spoke and we had a ton of other musical numbers. Manti Te'o was there if you know who that was. But it was awesome. Super funny to see everyone standing up and clapping and shouting out as they were singing with 'soul'. But anyways. It was an awesome sunday. then we had to walk all the way home from the central building...

Love you all! Have a good week!

Elder DeBry

Week 59 (2/3-2/10)

Hey family!! I had a wonderful week this week. Unfortunately Jackie wasn't able to be baptized but as an Armenian group we got to go to see the LA Galaxy play the league champion from Armenia, FC Shirak!! It was so awesome. I explain more below.... Also sorry this email is squeezed, it was written on my ipad. I promise it isn't that long...
     Monday was kind of a boring pday. That morning we were woken up rather early to the noise of the other elders, Judd and Herman, moving out of the pad and the zone leaders, Winfield Mabey and carvajal, helping them. It didn't take too long to get their stuff out of the pad but when they had it all out we could really see how dirty the apartment was. So while two of them drove to their new pad, the rest of us stayed and cleaned. Y'all would have been so proud of me. I was throwing unnecessary things away left and right, even though we don't
have a garbage ironically. It got to the point that if it wasn't mine and no one claimed it after I asked a few times, it was in the trash. Elder Herman didn't appreciate that too much. To find out his yoyos and other junk... I mean prized possessions were in a sack ready to go out the door. But we got it all spotless. Bathroom and all! After that and after studies we met up with Nate who took elder cook and I shopping at target to use some of my Christmas gift card money. I splurged and even got some healthy stuff! Green stuff! After we headed over to the church and did some slack lining in the parking lot. We were trying to do it all the way across the parking lot but that was a little tough.. So we found some other poles that worked. I've gotten rusty in the few weeks it has been! I just think it is funny that Nate still wants to come hang out with us on pday even though he has work. He just does it on his lunch break. After we were all done we finished emailing which seriously took so long because our whole zone was just in the church hanging out and we were trying to figure out our next pday activity which is ZONE OLYMPICS! gonna be great for sure. So that was distracting. Hence why my email got less and less detailed with each day. Anyways... After pday ended elder cook and I headed up to have our lesson with Souren and his family. But when we called the daughter answered and asked us if we could come back the next day...
Which was a bummer. So we headed back and met the other elders and sister Townsend picked us up to head to their house for dinner with mike and Bridgett. Dinner was delicious. I've missed home cooked meals
tremendously. Following dinner we read from the Book of Mormon with mike and taught him the importance if reading it. Because for a lawyer who says he can read 100 pages in an hour, it sure has taken him a long time to get into the Book of Mormon! But on our way home as he was driving us he said he did learn some new stuff even though he has been taught by missionaries for I don't even know... 10+ years? But he  did say something of interest in the car that although he learned something, we weren't quite answering some of his concerns that he has which he isn't quite able to verbalize. So we gotta figure that out!
     Tuesday was pretty slow. Usually I would have been going to mission leadership council buuut I'm no longer a zone leader so no more of that unfortunately. I think if I remember correctly, we grabbed some lunch and then headed to the church to do some online proselyting as well as meet with the other Armenian Elders to plan for our upcoming Armenian class. We have been teaching this one girl online whom Elder Cook knew before his mission. She is an evangelical Christian and she has been... I don't want to say arguing but kind of arguing with us about Grace vs. works. So that was an ongoing process this past week with her. Her name is Jolynne. But we had a lesson online with her and then met with the other Elders. So we are going to start up Armenian classes again and we wanted to have a kick off party with some introduction to the language, culture and some games and food. So we planned out what we would review kind of, who would bring what kind of food mad so forth. Elder Cook and I then decided to bus over to Hollywood to visit some solid potentials that wanted us to stop by but ever since our first rescheduling, we haven't been able to catch them at a good time. Our bad.. But we caught the bus and headed into unknown territory. Love this iPad and being able to look at a map now though. So we found the house. On our way talking to this one girl, Eden, who had bright blue hair and was doing homework in the cold weather on the sidewalk...she was an interesting character. But turns out John and Allison were back east visiting some doctors according to what their neighbor had said which isn't very reliable between Armenians. So we just headed back. I spoke with this one guy on the bus who just kept telling me how bad of a state Armenia was in and that I probably shouldn't go there... We decided to get off a bit before the church and grab some food at Islands. It is like red robin but I think a little better. Finally we got back to the church and met up with some of the leadership to coordinate a bit and them head out on some evening visits. I went with elder Tyler and brother Bradley first to Hambarsoom, since Christina Avoian cancelled, but he wasn't home either. So we stopped by Elizabeth and Sona to find they had some family over that we got to meet. Which is always a good thing. They were cousins to Elizabeth, Zoran, his wife and their son Kevin who is just a little ball of energy. They quickly left and we started having a discussion with Elizabet. She is studying to become a citizen and wants some help on her English. We then turned to the scriptures to where she was reading and went over Moroni 6 which spoke about Church attendance which was perfect to discuss with her. Came to find out she was having some word of wisdom issues and in light of her brother passing not too long ago, she said she wasn't in the right state to go back to church. But we invited her to come and continue to read which she said she'd try and do.
     Wednesday was the anticipation for Armenian class that night sothe evening went pretty quickly. After studies we went up to the church and did some online and updated the area book. Which is never really fun even when speaking into the iPad. But anyways we headed out of the church and ran into Minas Sarkissian and two others that were with him. Turns out it was his sister and her husband who were visiting and helping Minas fix his blue taxi car. We stopped and spoke with them. Both very friendly, the woman asked if we could help her
with her English and we said of course. So we got her number and should be visiting her up in Sunland soon. We were on our way and tried by some other formers but nothing panned out unfortunately. Later that afternoon we met up with the other Armenian Elders to exchange again so elders Tyler and Cook could go teach the less
active/part member family Vardan and Varter. In the meantime Elder Twelves and I decided to go take advantage of a free smoothie voucher that he had received earlier that day. It was this new store that opened up, cool people, turns out that the owner had family who were members so he said anytime we wanted a smoothie we could stop in for freeee. Love it! They weren't half bad either for a meal replacement shake. After the shakes we caught a bus and headed back towards the Wilson building to try by another former who wasn't home. But I met
his neighbor Vasgen who was super cool! Made me laugh though because the last Vasgen I taught was I'm the MTC and I didn't know what he was saying the entire time. By that time the other Elders had finished up and we swapped back. Elder Cook and I then met up with Nate who wanted to come on a lesson with us who ended up flaking on us.. So right after we rent over to Pacific Market and picked up the food for the Armenian class. It was super funny though. So when we were at Alex's place to pick up the food, we were talking with his Mom who LOVES us to death. We were just talking with her and then she kept saying 'Anoush zez' which means you're sweet. Then I said to her 'chigiardus duk!' Which means you are my liver (a sign of endearment) and she busted out laughing and said 'kootem kez!' Which means I'll eat you! It was quite the conversation. Then her son who owns the store said hey come on man why'd you call my mom your liver, we don't do that in English! You had to be there... I'm her favorite. Then we headed back to the church and set up for the Armenian class which was kind of... Not too big of a crowd as we expected. Helga and kris came, Peter and his wife came (part member family. Peter has his doctorate in linguistics) and then Nate! So not too bad but still.. But it was good. We gave somewhat of an overview of the class and then did some basic conversation, then we ate and played some games! Hopefully word spreads how awesome it is and they start bringing some  friends! We'll see.
     Thursday we had zone meeting! It was quite a different experience not being the one standing up and teaching! But I did feel bad because I had so many comments! But that's okay, they were appreciated! Most of the training was done on how to stay on purpose as we enter into the age of mobile devices! So after the meeting, us Armenian Elders went to Little Ceasars. The girl that was working there said she didn't like working there and she wasn't going to school so I brought up the pathway program that the church offers and she was super excited! I feel like that could really help her out! So that was cool. We took the food back to our apartment because it was close. Another funny story! We were back at the pad eating and Elder Cook just kept pelting Elder Tyler with a nerf gun while he was in the feetle position. I got a good video of it, so don't worry! After lunch we taught Jolynne online and I feel like she is just asking the same questions so we are just trying to get her to the point where we can pass her off to the missionaries in her area. Soooo that evening was super depressing though... So that night I was supposed to baptize Jacqueline in South Pas but I got a call from Elder Lloyd and just from the tone of his voice I could tell that it wasn't good. They went to see how she was doing and they caught her smoking... So we had to cancel the baptism. Super bummed. I ended up getting to go to Mike and Bridget's house for dinner with the Bradley's though. Which was super good but I would have much rather been in South Pas dressed in white... After dinner we had another lesson about the Book of Mormon which was frustrating... Neither of them had read and Bridget wouldn't really commit to read because she didn't have time... Just breaks my heart. Frustrating day as it was. Then to top it off we had a lesson with this guy Nshan later that day but he came out and told us that he talked with his preacher and he said that he wasn't able to meet with us.... But he was nice about it and sounded sincere about it so that was at least nice. But that was our day...
     Friday Nate took us out to lunch before we got into weekly planning. He took us to the Tam oshanter pub which I guess was Walt Disney's favorite restaurant in Glendale and where he got the funds for Snow White! It was super good and had a super cool atmosphere... The waitress that was working there was a little odd... Anyways... After that we stopped by the riverdale pad to pick up some of my stuff but come to find out that the zone leaders had done some cleaning and THROWN AWAY MY STUFF... But what is done is done. Yeah I wasn't too happy, but oh well. So Nate came back to the church with us and showed us some Chinese and did some weekly planning and then left.. Then elder cook and I finished weekly planning well... I did on my iPad and elder cook kind of observed. Then we had a guitar lesson with Emanoel Nemegerdi and they fed us some dinner. Super funny though, Haikus kept taking the guitar and trying to play it. Then we had to grab the bus and head up to Joey's house. It was the first time I had been over to his house since he got married. We had the typical pizza and hot sauce. Then had a bomb discussion for once! I showed him the baptism of Christ and talked about it after and he said what we were saying made sense and he committed to take the actual discussions! The. He drove us home in his sweet, new jaguar.
     Saturday morning we were hitting the pavement hard up in verdugo trying to contact those referrals we got from the sisters. While we were up there we met this one lady who had an Armenian husband and agreed to have us come over to teach her family. No one else was around unfortunately... But I had some good conversations with some Armenian ladies on the bus and got a solid potential for the single ward elders. So after that exciting morning we headed back to Glendsle and grabbed some quick lunch at the Grape leaf before we headed down to our big activity that I totally forgot to tell you all about last week. We were given permission to attend the LA galaxy vs. FC shirak down in Carson. FC shirak is the league champion in Armenia and so the stadium was packed full of Hay martkants. So we went down a bit early so we could talk to people. By the way we went down with 30+ people and some non members which was awesome. SO MANY ARMENIANS! Seriously it was so awesome. We didn't get to watch much but we were walking around and talking to people and people were just amazed that we spoke Armenian. It was super easy to start talking with people because we weren't in Glendale where so many people know a little bit of Armenian. We got some good potentials. OH! And ELDER COOK AND I GOT INTERVIEWED BY AN ARMENIAN TV CHANNEL! It was awesome there was this lady standing near us and she notice that other cooking I were speaking Armenian so she approached us and asked which team we were rooting for and when we said that we are rooting for FC shirak she pulled the cameraman over and started asking questions including which team we wanted to win and then she asked us how we spoke Armenian as I replied I said we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we have a Missionary Training Ctr., Utah you went there for three months and Learned the basic Armenian and now we were serving in our Armenian congregation in Glendale. So that was one of the highlights of the night. But overall it was a really good experience really close game even fc shirak lost 2-1. On the way back we were speaking with some of the nonmembers that were driving with us and we ended up setting up an appointment with them later this week and having them come to church tomorrow. One of them and their wives actually came which was super excited. I got a jersey and a bobble head from one of the g7 members that came with us. So awesome!
     And we had a really good Sunday the next day. I translated for the relief society lesson which was a lot easier going from English to Armenian surprisingly. But we had a few people at church, including one of the potentials from the game. Right after sacrament Nate came and picked us up to go over to his coworkers house to have some lunch! Armineh, the wife, had A lot of questions why any Armenian would join a different church because of how stubborn they were and how long they have been in their own church. They made some barbecue for us which was really delicious and we got to talk to the husband for a while and found out that he is awesome and really wants the Armenian people to be more unified. I think we found our future branch president. After lunch Nate drove us back to the Wilson building where we met the other Armenian elders and brother and sister Bradley to take us to the Turley's house for our second dinner. It was super delicious including some homemade orange rolls but seriously I was so full. Sister. Bradley told us her conversion story how she joined the church against her parents will and then a year later then went on a mission where is visiting Authority, Elder Scott, told her that she would meet her husband in the mission field. She was a golden investigator and was awesome to hear about. Nothing much else happened after dinner...

And that is about my week! It was pretty awesome getting to go to the soccer game. Love being back in Armenian work. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! Oh and Happy Valentines day!!
Elder Tanner DeBry

Week 58 (1/28-2/3)

Why Hello!!! Barev my nearest and dearest. It has been a great week here in Glendale California! It has been seriously so awesome. Way different. Not just Armenian work different. But I got an IPAD this week. our mission is one of the first 15 to get to use mobile divices (iPads) to use to hasten the work! How awesome is that!? Seriously it is so awesome. I'm emailing on it actually. I will eventually use Siri but i'm still not sure how I like the whole talking to a machine yet... but anyways. Besides that, and because of this great instrument that we now have to hasten the work, it has been so awesome. I can't wait to see what next week brings! 
     So last Monday during P-day we all Armenain Elders went over to Vegas Buffet to celebrate again my return. It was quite scrumptious and Nate Philips wanted to come so he tagged along too! Seems like even though I have left South Pasadena, a little bit of South Pas still hasn't left me! I love that place so much. Also update, Jacqueline is getting baptized on Thursday. Hector is getting baptized on the 15. And Todd will be baptized in the month of February as well! How is exciting is that? I love this work so much. Anyways, back to last p-day. We hung out mostly at the church and didn't really do much. We just stayed at the church basically until we had Armenian Family Home evening that night right as p-day ended. We had a really good family night though! Mike and Bridget came. Our recent convert Rita were there. Hambarsoom was there. We had the typical FHE Armenian food,  KFC, Pizza and icecream brought by Hratch and Armen. After we ate we had some 'minute to win it' games which included: boll tossing, oreos sliding down our face into our mouth, pulling tissues out of the box, etc,. It was quite fun. And that was the rest of the evening basically! 
     Tuesday was a sovorakan day (typical). We did some internet proselying (which has its ups and downs, slow days and days of many lessons) and then went back to our pad and had some lunch i think... Oh yes Taco bell! I remember because we went with Arman Avagyan... but we had a referral for our next door neighbor so we went over there and met Samvel! Who the sisters had met his father who said he might be interested. So he let us three in and we sat down and talked with him for a bit. Couldn't really understand him that well but that just added to the humor of the lesson. So we asked if we could say an opening prayer and he said "oh yes of course! I'll open the door so the spirit can come in.." and then no joke he went over to the door and opened it. Just kind of had to be there. But anyways we taught the first lesson and we weren't sure how much he really understood. Especially when we had him read. His comprehension wasn't very high. But at the end we invited him to meet with us again and pray to know if it was true and he said he would be baptized if he did come to that point. Which was awesome! After that lesson we walked down to a park nearby and had a lesson with this girl, Tagouhi, who we had met on the street a week previous. We had a short discussion about her non belief in God and how she came to have a belief that their wasn't a God. And so she wasn't really interested in learning more about God but what got her attention the day that we met her was our speaking of being happy because of what we do as missionaries. We kept it really short as to not lose her attention and set another day that we could meet and continue talking about what made us happy as missionaries. Which was awesome to just tell people because at least for me, I can't just stop smiling when I tell people how much I love being a missionary. After that lesson we had Arman drop us off and  meet up with the Armenian elders so we could go up to Rita's house to have dinner and a lesson! She made this delicious speghetti (persian style) and she even made some home made tawn! (not sure how to spell that in english) which is this yogurt drink that is usually nasty but it was pretty good. Rita is seriously so awesome. it is ridiculous. Anyways, so after dinner we reviewed the Plan of Salvation with her and it is so awesome to see someone who has newly received the gift of the holy ghost ask more inspired questions to better their understanding. So cool. After dinner we headed over to the Church and met Brother Bradley there to teach Christina. Elder Tyler and I taught her with Brother Bradley and gave her the Book of Mormon on CD's. She loved it and we reviewed the first chapter with her. We finished the lesson and then had Brother Bradley drive us back over to the Wilson Building to meet Elder Mabey so we could bring him and pass off Ragned and Raymond. Which was really funny because at first they didn't know that he didn't speak Armenian, but then when we pointed it out we got to hear Ragned speak in English. Which was weird especially because she spoke it so well. But anyways! it was a good day. 
     Wednesday I was just on a roll. not to toot my own horn or anything but lets just say in the first 30 min we got 4 people's information for other missionaries! It was awesome. One guy, Louis, called us over and started crying, asking us to help him change. So we got his info and sent him on his way! But anyways Nate gave us another call to  meet up and go out to lunch so he took us out to CPK which was delicious. Reminded me of home. And he also gave me an update with all the investigators who are getting baptized soon in south pas! Namely Jackie, Hector and hopefully Vicki and her family. So excited for them. The rest of the afternoon was pretty slow. We went back to try and see Samvel but his Dad answered the door and told us that Samvel wasn't all there and that  he wasn't interested.. which was super sad. But he'll come around. We went back to the pad and Elder Cook made me some of  his favorite soup! All the while I was playing the guitar. Which I have had Elder Cook give me some lessons and teach me some basics. The rest of the night we didn't have anything going on.. we walked.. and walked.. and walked.. and finally Ashot saw us on the street and took us out for some ice cream at McDonalds before we had to head home. 
     Thursday was district meeting!! Elder Cook taught this one though since we are co district leaders and we switch off every other week. He done good! After DM the senior couple in our district, the wertz family, brought us some lunch! Which was great. The afternoon was slow again... not much to report. Before we went to dinner with Arman and Christina with the Bradley's, we stopped by a former, Souren, and his family. Seriously. Love that family. We stopped by and it was only the Dad, souren and his daughter Dallar. Who is 9 and adorable. We were just catching up with them and then Dallar asked "Do you guys have a lesson for us??" I love that question! So anyways, we taught them the Restoration and it was just so awesome. She asked when we could come back and told us to come back Monday night so we'll be coming back tonight! I'll let you know how it goes!! But after that lesson, Arman drove us up to Bradleys and we had our weekly dinner. Arman is Samvel Avagyan's son, who is the first counselor of the group, and he is awesome. He is thinking of going on a mission but just doesn't want to go to Armenia. I dont know why! But after dinner, we went back and saw Bella and Antonia's sister was there and so we taught her! I guess she had met with some sister missionaries but she didn't understand well enough in English but they did give her a Farsi copy of the Book of Mormon and she had read half of it! And we invited  her to be baptized and she said yes as she comes to know it is true! She is so awesome. 
     Friday was the mobile device training!! I got picked up by the zone leaders and brought into Arcadia to meet with Brother Donaldson and got training from him! It was just so awesome. I don't even know how to describe it but it is going to  hasten the work. But the rest of the day was pretty slow. We had weekly planning which was awesome on the iPad but it was very long process trying to figure out how to work the things! But after our planning session we had dinner with the Davtian family who is awesome. They are the family that I found before I left to Pasadena. But anyways that was about the evening! 
     Saturday! This email is taking too long to write so I'm just going to do this rapid fire! So Saturday we went up to Verdugo hills to try by some referrals but most of them fell through.. and not  much happened that day either. 
     Sunday was pretty rough. I translated and it was so hard! I felt like I fell on my face. i could understand what they were saying... Church was good though. Mike came. Sourik came. We finished weekly planning. Elder Twelves and I taught Helga which was really good. She made us broccli cheese soup. and we stopped by another Samvel and met his daughter who has a family and they are going to come to our Armenian class!

Well i gotta get off. this email took way too long. i love you all and hope you have a wonderful day :) 

Elder Tanner DeBry

Week 57 (1/20-1/27)

 My Dearest family and loved ones!! It has been week one back in the Armenian group and it has been awesome. Definitely a whole different world than South Pasadena. But I have missed it dearly. I have forgotten how exhausting it is to be in Armenian work. So full of adventure! And to my surprise my Armenian isn't TOO bad. It'll come back though. 
     Monday after emailing, we played some basketball with all the companionships that are down here in Glendale. Went over grocery shopping and I guess I had grown accustomed to having a car for grocery shopping and forgot how much time it takes to walk places. P-day went without much event though. I can't remember much of what we did. We met with Olga (Armen Baghdoyan's girlfriend) and helped her with her English and sure enough, before we had gotten there some sister missionaries were explaining to her a few gospel terms and so she was asking for some further Armenian clarification and she was asking us words like: Prophet and Gospel. So I capitalized on the opportunity to explain what the Gospel meant and had a quick lesson with her. When we got to explaining about baptism she asked "so if I wanted to get baptized, what would I need to do? " and both Elder Cook and I were just kind of stunned that she had asked us that! So we didn't really have that great of a response other than to keep meeting with us to learn more and then she had to go. So that was awesome! As we were walking out of the Church I really wanted to go say hello to Minas who lives across the street so we did and found him home and was surprised to see me. Still wouldn't let us in but he was laughing with us and saying that the other missionaries had told him that I had gone home already. He said anytime we needed something to give him a call and he'd meet us at the church. Miss that man. Anyways, we started walking back down to our next referral we were going to visit and we ran into this one lady who referred us to one of her neighbors who she said were religious and Armenian. We started heading down to visit Jerry after that and on our way we ran into Elders Coontz and Llewelyn on Chevy Chase and as we were talking with them a younger Armenian woman walked passed, Elder Llewelyn tried to talk to her but she wasn't interested but then we followed after her and started in Armenian which caught her attention and she ended up wanting to have something she could read about what we did as missionaries! We didn't make it much further when we started talking to this other guy as we were walking and started back tracking so we could talk with him. When all of a sudden at the intersection that we were at a car got t-boned and spun into another lane but thankfully didn't hit any cars. So all three of us walked into the road to see if everyone was okay and thankfully they were. Annoying though, one of the cars was hit so bad that their horn was jammed going off and it was super loud. But they all got out and were fine. In shock of what just happened but were fine. So we stuck around until the ambulance came and they initially didn't have to check anyone out but then one of the Armenian guys who hit the other who ran the red, was complaining about his head. We had to talk to the officer who was first on scene and tell him what we had seen and try and remember if we had noticed the color of the lights at the time of the collision. We weren't able to. Funny story though, the captian of the fire department that arrived on scene had some kids who grew up with some people that I knew from Unitah and he was talking to us about how everyone was fine and they were just complaining. So that took up the majority of the night and when we came back we still had to unpack and clean up the mess that the other Elders had failed to have cleaned the week before. 
     Tuesday after studies we met up with the other Armenian Elders to have a mini planning session and split the work. Which they had already had done but I just wanted to get an overview of how the group was doing. Which is great to hear about by the way. The two recent converts are doing awesome. Still strong. We have a few baptismal dates and a few investigators each to teach. So a good start! After we met up and did some internet proselyting, we stopped by the referral we got from the random lady on the street and found the couple she was referring to on their porch and we started talking to them and ended up explaining to them about the Book of Mormon. The wife wasn't having it. Especially when she went inside to grab HER bible and say that is all she needed. But the Husband was thankful and accepted it and said he wanted to read more about the things we taught him. After that short lesson we ran into some Armenian teens who we started talking to. Most of them were kind of ignoring us but one of the guys was really cool. Made us really wish there were more Armenian teens who were around more regularly to talk to. Funny enough we parted ways but saw each other a few minutes later at the McDonalds while we were getting some water. We walked and walked some more, ran into these two other grandmas who were super nice and friendly to us and wanted us to meet their granddaughters who were about our age. Which made us both laugh and blush. Down the street a ways we tried by a former who had moved (funny story: Elder Cook was writing a note to leave because no one answered at first but as he was doing so the guy opened the door.) But we met their neighbors who were again these two mid 20's guys who were on their way out and we surprised them with our Armenian and they were just laughing. One told us to call him "ARTHUR-MAC" and the other was actually willing to have us stop by. He was a member of the Choir at the Church he attended. After that we headed out to grab some dinner with the other Armenians. On the bus this old Armenian couple kept looking at my tag and wondering/conversing with each other if I was Armenian. I finally talked to them and the wife was super interested in having us stop by so she was yelling over the crowd to give me her number which never happens! So we definitely have seen some miracles this week. Dinner was awesome. The assistants stopped by with a phone of our own which was nice. Then we met up back at the Church to meet up with the leadership and go on splits with them. Elder Tyler and I went with Brother Bradley to teach one of the recent converts, Christine, who I was able to interview for baptism. We had a great lesson with her and tried by some other people with Ashot as well but none were home. Then called it a night. 
     Wednesday was pretty slow and long. We ended studies early to head up to GCC to do the booth which was pretty slow. I asked some guy who he was and he said "disgraceful" which had me pretty stumped. That was about the extent of the excitement at the booth. We went back to the institute and had some paninis which were delicious. We headed out and went back to the pad to finish our language study when Elder Cook realized that he lost the phone and so we decided to head up to the Frosts to see if we could get them to drive up to the institute with us. so it took seriously FOREVER to get there. But thankfully Aaron Gamez had picked up our phone and had given it to the Frosts. So by the time we had bused all the way out there, and gotten back to our pad it was time for dinner so we stopped by Little ceasars. But I ordered the pizza and Elder Cook was going to order the garlic cheese bread but it wouldn't be ready for 15 minutes so we decided to just eat the pizza there while we waited. And we had just about finished the pizza when the bread was finished. Which was super funny because they don't really have tables to eat at, only chairs to wait for your pizza. So while everyone else was waiting for their pizza we were eating ours with it on our laps. Kind of humorous if you were there. After dinner Arman Avagyan met up with us and came out with us for the rest of the night. Which was pretty slow. We stopped by and saw Bella, who is now living with Antonio's parents because they are getting a divorce... which is super sad. But anyways it was good to see them. The rest of the evening we didn't have anything set so we were trying by people and Arman was teaching us some new words! Always fun. 
     Thursday was my second district meeting that I've ever taught! First one as a full time district meeting. And I thought it was pretty good! I think I taught the wrong lesson BUT that's okay. But after the meeting Nate Philips took Elder Cook and I to lunch. It was originally set up that we were going to meet his co-worker who is Armenian but she rescheduled for an upcoming Sunday. So we went out to our favorite Armenian place on Glenoaks. While we were there we saw this poster that was advertising an international friendly game, the LA Galaxy vs. FC Shirak, who are the league champions from Armenia! So that sparked a great idea for us to try and get permission to go and get seen by the 20+ thousands Armenians that would be attending the game! But anyways. More on that later. After that we finished studies and online proselyting then had some cancellations! Gotta love them! We were going to visit Susanna Adamyan's Dad but he said he would just see us at Church on Sunday and then went inside... but thankfully we had dinner at the Bradley's that night and Mike and Bridget came! So after a delicious, classic dinner we were able to have a short lesson with them. After dinner, Brother Bradley drove us back down to Glendale and we were able to stop by and teach good ol' Hambarsoom! We went in and watched the Restoration DVD that he had been requesting from the other Elders and then talked about baptism. He said he wanted to get baptized in April but Brother Bradley didn't want to have to wait that long so he pushed up Hambarsoom's date to March 2nd. he didn't seem too sold on it but he agreed. 
     Friday was awesome. We had studies, started our weekly planning, took a lunch break and went to the church with the food we got from the Grape Leaf cafe down the street, and then went up to the Church where we finished planning and awaited to have our interviews with President. I was one of the last ones to get interviewed because it hadn't even been a week since President saw me. He was 'never better' in his classic words and he asked me how everything was going in Armenian work. I told him it was different from South Pas but he assured me that it could become a south Pasadena area. The interview question this time around was from Alma 23: 4-7 and he asked what our weapon of rebellion was that was holding us back from being a fully converted, baptizing monthly missionary. Good question to ask ourselves to see what we need to do to be closer to God. I love President so much. We talked for a while and then I asked him for permission to go to the soccer game in a few weeks and he said as long as we have it be on purpose we could have the good to go. Which is awesome! And I also asked him about school and what I should do and what is logistically possible if I wanted to come home early for school, or extend and how long I could for. He said I could go 30 days past the day that I am set to go home so whatever that is. Still need to decide. I'll let y'all know! But after the awesome interview that we had we printed off some addresses to some potentials that we received in Verdugo Hills. so we went up there and got some directions from the missionaries up there and then were on our way to find our way around verdugo hills at night! It was quite funny. We did contact one person who was fine with us coming back some time which was awesome. But we weren't sure how late the bus ran on a friday night so we had to cut it early and make sure we caught the 8oclock bus. Then we made a late night taco bell run! 
     Saturday we ran into some awesome potential. Two families before we even got to lunch we talked to and both of them coincidentally had just moved here from Iraq less than 3 months and said they'd be willing to meet! so that was awesome. Then we went and got some sushi. It was the place that used to go to and it was all you could eat but i guess it is now under new management so it wasn't.... which was oober lame. But after lunch we went over and did some service for Susanna Adamyan. we moved her large storage unit into a small unit and it took some serious tetris skills... so glad i have so much experience! After that we had Mike and Bridget pick us up and we had a lesson at their house with Mike's sister, Melineh, who had a bunch of questions about the Book of Mormon. After that lesson we again went down to Susanna's house because she had made some dinner for us. We were hoping to teach her dad but he was in the back room and his wife who is a jehovas witness wasn't wanting us to share a lesson.. which was lame. 
     Sunday was great! I started to translate some of the meeting! I was in the Relief Society and translated Anoosh's lesson (which I guess are the hardest for some reason) but thankfully she was teaching about a talk from Elder Nielsen about missionary work. In Sacrament meeting we had the Relief Society President, Hasmik Mnatsyan, come and give a talk which was awesome! She asked for a blessing after the meeting and we got to talk to her for a bit and she was telling us about the missionaries in Armenian and she was super funny and her Armenian was super clear and easy to understand. So jealous! But anyways. After the meetings we did some online then ate some food that people brought for us. Following we did a little exchange where I went with Elder Twelves to visit Helga and Christine while Elders Cook and Tyler went up to visit some more of the Verdugo hills referrals. On our way to Helga's we stopped by Tina and caught her home for once! so we stopped by and talked to her. We found out that her mom had passed away around thanksgiving, and her Dad was now in the hospital with heart problem. so we taught her the Plan of Salvation but she was so tired that she wasn't listening much so we ended it short and left. We got over to Helga's and it was great to see her so happy. Her and Christine had been at church that day. I've never seen her so happy before! 

Well family and friends, that is about my week. I love you all very much. I hope all is well and I get to hear from you soon!

Elder DeBry

Week 56 (1/12-1/20)

Well.... I've been transferred! And yes I knew about it since President and I came here to Glendale to visit the Armenian group. I'm now back in Glendale in the Armenian Group and my new companion is Elder Shad Cook from Provo, Utah. It is bitter-sweet to be back here and to only have served as the Assistant to the President for one transfer. President himself said he didn't want to send me back but after President Morgan, the stake president here in La Crescenta, used his Priesthood keys to bless the group to become a branch this next year. He said "how can I not help this man fulfill this prophetic calling of the group becoming a branch?" So I know he would have kept me in until this summer but the Armenians needed me here to help them become a branch. So I'll do my best! It has been 9 MONTHS since I've been in the Armenian group so time to dust off the ol' Armenian and praying for the gift of tongues! But I'm excited to be here. A new transfer brings new miracles!! And a new address: 1123 E. Elk, Glendale California 91205. But let me tell you about this past week. 
     Last Saturday after going to the and Lucky Boy and emailing, we really didn't have much to do. Probably because we were so exhausted. We drove through Alhambra and got one of Elder Lloyd's favorite shaved ice places but after that we got called by the other Elders to do a baptismal interview for them because our district leader wasn't answering his phone. So we had to end our P-day early and have Elder Lloyd interview Natalie Colmenares who was baptized the following Sunday! I wasn't able to interview her because I had taught her. So Elder Lloyd went with Elders Johnson and Savage while I went with Elder Wymer to Glendale to interview the Armenians SECOND BAPTISM OF THE YEAR!! Baptizing weekly!! But anyways their investigator's name was Christina and she was solid. Funny story though, in the interview I have to go over some of the commandments that we teach people. One of the requirements for a person to be baptized is they can't be unmarried and be living in the same place. And she told me that she was allowing one of the armenian male members to live in her pad... not knowing that President had already talked to the Armenian Elders about that and he said it was okay for some reason.. but thankfully I felt like it was okay for some reason in the interview and that she could still be baptized. Gotta love the promptings of the spirit! So we finished the interview and she was prepared for baptism. We headed back to South Pas making a stop at Taco bell on the way. I got to know Elder Wymer pretty well in that drive. He is a great Elder. So much to love too! So by the time we got back we only had time for one lesson with Jackie. We had Hector cancel on us for once!! Which was a bummer. But we didn't have a member so we just set up some chairs in the hallway of her place so we wouldn't have to go sit out on the loony benches. It was a very long day. 
     Sunday was pretty awesome actually. Besides the residual sleep debt, we had 5 investigators attend Church!! Julian and Lisa, Jacqueline, Hector and Jesse was even there! It was great. Julian and Lisa are diabetic and had to head home after sacrament to have something to eat (Lisa had fasted to take the sacrament so it would be more special... HOW AWESOME IS THAT! We hadn't even taught her about fasting..) so before they left and came back for the baptismal service we had a quick lesson because Julian had the question about the sacrament and he didn't know why we took it. So we tried to go over that but he still wasn't really getting it. Meanwhile, Lisa was loving it and understood it just beautifully. She is so ready but he is going to take some time. After  Church was two of the Colmenares Children baptisms. I hate to say it but I have to say it was one of the worst services I've been to because of how last minute the other Elders had put it together... it was kind of embarrassing to have it not run as smooth because it wasn't as powerful for Julian and Lisa who when we asked what they thought after they said it was "interesting". The uncle who baptized the two kids didn't know the prayer or anything and so Elder Haslam had to tell him what to do for both Natalie and Josh. But Lisa still was able to feel the spirit which was good but we were hoping it would help Julian see how his was going to be... so unfortunately Elder Lloyd had a baptism at the same time as the Colmenares baptism in Glendale and he wasn't able to go to see Aimee Anaya be baptized. Now their whole family is baptized which is awesome. I'm so happy for them. The rest of the afternoon we were participating in the Lost Sheep activity which wasn't as big as the one that we had when I first got there in November. But it was still good. I went out with Nate and we talked to a bunch of people on the street and I met this one guy who wasn't interested but he referred us to his friend Tony, whose wife had just passed away that morning and was super religious. So we had to meet up with Elder Lloyd and then visited Tony who was willing to have us back but too in shock to really listen that day. So I am excited to see how that will turn out! After a few hours Nate had to go and before he dropped us off we told him that it'd be my last week in South Pas. And he didn't take it too well. Not too many questions but more bummed that his missionary bud was leaving. We didn't get much else accomplished that night. We headed home and finished weekly planning.. well made the attempt. 
     Monday was busy busy business in the office. We weren't even close to being done with Transfers before we started that day but after a long day of counsel, and a nice lunch of Wendy's, we got about 65% of the way done but still had a lot of holes to fill which made me uneasy because we weren't in the office much the rest of the week either. But it all worked out in the end! I just love being around President. I know I say that every week but he is just awesome and so full of wisdom. It is very inspirational. But after we got done with the office about 5:30, we headed down to El Sereno to have a lesson with Jackie who was still going strong with two days behind her of no smoking! So that was awesome to hear. Nate had to leave though again and after no success of finding a member to come with us to Kimberly, we stole Elder Haslam to come with us in hopes we could get in the door but she ended up having us just stand on the porch and teach her.. which was kind of awkward but it worked out. We went over the Restoration pamphlet and I almost fell off the porch after leaning on the railing and it breaking and almost falling off. But no worries I'm all good. At the end I was able to invite her to be baptized and she said she would! So she turned out to be more solid than we thought she'd be. After that we had to drop Elder haslam back off to his companions and we called in Nate again to have him help with our lesson with Vicki. And it wasn't that great of a lesson... we went in planning to teach about church attendance but Elder Lloyd kind of took the lead and started teaching them more of what goes on in Church as apposed to why we need to go to church.. but it seemed to be good and they had some good participation even though it went to long. After Vicki we hustled out and had nate drop us off at Cody Caffalls place to teach his friend Christ who he played frisbee golf with and had agreed to have us teach him because he was going to the the play "the Book of Mormon" and wanted to know more about what the Book of Mormon was. He is an EMT and lives with his girlfriend of about 4 years and not too religious 'on his own accord'. But we thought it went well! He agreed to have another lesson so we could better explain the background of the Book of Mormon. Gotta love teaching member friends! 
     Tuesday after studies Elder Lloyd was still complaining about his ear and not being able to hear out of it so we went and bought some hydrogen peroxide to try and see if that would cleanse it out... it was pretty nasty. There was these orange bubbles coming out of his ear and it didn't help. don't worry, I got pictures! After we tried to figure that stuff out we did some online and we're getting the hang of it with using it to keep up with our investigators. Later that afternoon we stopped by Kimberly and she sent us a text right before we were there telling us that her mother in law didn't wanting us to stop by... so that as a bummer. So we ended up walking over to Fank's house, who we found during the lost sheep activity, and had a good conversation with him and read the book of mormon. not to mention that he likes to talk alot and it was 80 degrees and he was putting us to sleep... but anyways after we headed back to jackie and she is still doing good! the rest of the night was kind of a bust... most people cancelled on us which was a bummer. seriously, 3 out of the 4 cancelled. But we were still able to teach Vicki and her family and we reviewed Church attendance and they all agreed to come not this Sunday but next sunday when they didn't have work... but on our way back I got some news from Elder Twelves about the group... I guess Antonia and Bella are getting a divorce and that made me really quite upset. I loved that family. 
     Wednesday not much happened either. We stopped by Wendy's and they gave us an accidental free sandwich! We did some online and then had a lesson with Thomas that afternoon and met his friend Pat who is interested in learning! Not sure how accountable she is because she lives in a convalescent home but we'll see. had 3 more cancellations that day and only talked to Jacqueline that night but we had a good lesson with her. Still smoke free! 
     Thursday after studies we headed down to La Verne to attend Elder Diehl's district meeting which probably wasn't the best but at least we role played a lot. Cool thing though was there was a massive FIRE on the mountain while we were driving out there. Seriously it was massive. so much that there were ashes coming down all the way down where we were in la verne for their district meeting. After the meeting we headed back to Arcadia for the new trainers meeting which was pretty awesome. It was a small group so it wasn't as stressful as some of the other trainings we have done. After all that we headed back to el sereno where we had a reschedule of a potential we had set up a lesson with. We had Brother Papworth with us and so we stopped by this other potential, Christina, who Elders Garner and Van Duren found. She let us in and we taught her the first lesson and she was awesome. She is looking for what we had to teach her. It was a interesting lesson because she has a autistic son who was being a bit distracting but she still felt the spirit and we invited her to be baptized February 15. She said "OF COURSE!" and we told her that she'd probably want to move it up as she continues to meet with us. Last stop of the night with Brother Papworth was this other Lost sheep, Linda Puppe, who was quite receptive of having us there and was open to having home teachers. She just had gotten out of the habit of going to church! Elder Lloyd's ear was still bothering him so we went to rite aid again and bought some ear wax remover stuff and tried that out and it seemed to help but it has been bothering him all week and no matter how much I've suggested it, he won't go see a doctor about it. Oh well! It's his ear, not mine. But we stopped by Kristy and had a lesson with her about Joseph smith when one of her roommates joined in whose mother is a member but she was never baptized! So we picked her up as a new investigator, Katie I think. 
     Friday we had an early morning lesson with Cody's neighbor, Chris who we invited to Church but he straight up said no and didn't set up another lesson.. he'll be a tough cookie. But he'll come around. We headed straight to staff meeting after, picking up Elder Morell, the new assistant on the way. It was again bitter-sweet to be in my last staff meeting and getting to hear about all the mission and how it works. But after the meeting we had some lunch and then started working on transfers which President had revised a lot of stuff on his own which all worked out pretty great! The afternoon went pretty smooth. Introducing the two new assistants how transfers work and such. Elder Blanchard and I sitting at the wayside as Elders Lloyd and Mostert were training Elders Morell and Hoover how to run things. They'll get things done though and keep up the good work. Before we headed back to South Pas we grabbed some dinner and then picked up Elijah who wanted to come out with us for the night which was awesome. What other 16 year old wants to just come hang out with the missionaries?? It was unfortunate though, most of our lessons cancelled again. Not sure what it was with all these cancellations and such this past week but most people were sick. We stopped by Vicki again and went over our purpose because we felt like she didn't understand we wanted her to be baptized. When we brought it up to her again she remembered and her daughters sounded like it was something new. But they are now set to be baptized to 15 February as well! Best part of the night though was Sister Becerra made me lentil soup that I had made mention to her earlier that day in staff meeting and told her I had heard so much about it but had never had it before! It was delicious. 
     Saturday morning we had some service to do with Frank painting/cleaning up graffitti! so that was fun. Riding the streets of El Sereno and going through the back alleys cleaning up all the gang graffitti. After we headed back and cleaned up we had lunch with Nate and his family as well as the other Elders. Just as a farewell because Nate knew who was leaving and such. Kind of. The other elders kept pestering us with questions of who was leaving and staying. After lunch we took Nate and stopped by Hectors but then felt like we needed to go back to visit Jackie really quick. so we did and found out she had smoked two cigarettes and was just about to get some coffee.... it broke our hearts again. We had to let Nate go and we finished the evening by heading into Glendale to pick up Elder Morell before we headed into the office to start the calling process. But President had given us permission to head to a session of stake conference to see our Ward mission leader talk about missionary work. I bet him $1 if he could use Armenian in his talk... he did and it was awesome. But anyways after that we went into the office and finished the process and started calling. President was sick so he asked me to call the zone leaders and tell them what was going on in their zones which was cool since it was my last time calling. It wasn't quite as long of a night since President wasn't there to just talk to us about upcoming transfers and such. But still had to go back to Glendale and then didn't get back to our pad til 11:30. Nate had stopped by and dropped off some breakfast foods for us, Bacon and OJ. 
     Sunday morning I started packing. We headed into Stake conference expecting some big announcements since it was a broadcast from Salt Lake and we got to hear from President Eyring and Elder Anderson about missionary work but no big announcements. After church we took some pictures with the other Elders and then headed back to our pad to do our weekly planning.. which felt pretty productive since we were just going over everything i might have had in my planner that Elder Lloyd didn't. There is a lot I left In south pas that I hope they have success with. Jackie, Hector, Julian and Lisa and Vicki and her family. So much potential. I mean, this past transfer we taught 60 member present lessons and found over 20 new investigators. It was an awesome transfer. Before we headed into the despedida we stopped by the Caffalls for dinner and Nate and his family were there to our surprise. Hector showed up later before we headed out to see the 4 missionaries out, none of whom I really knew except for Sister Fogavai from Samoa. 

Well family and friends, I love you all very much. I'm glad to be here in Glendale and I'm going to miss doing English work. I Hope you all have a great week and are able to see the blessing of sharing the Gospel in your own lives! Talk to you next Monday! 

Elder DeBry