Friday, February 28, 2014

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

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