Saturday, April 19, 2014

Week 63 (3/3-3/10)

 Well I'm just going to be honest and say that this past week was one of the most difficult weeks of my mission thus far. Probably closer to straight up hard and sucky but we can't have the most glorious days every day, right? But actually it ended super solid with the THREE BAPTISMS of: Jackie Wooten, Julian and Lisa Regalado from South Pas. Which made up for the days leading up to the baptismal service on Saturday. Nevertheless, just kind of funny and ironic how Elder Twelves and I were expecting a bomb week having us two senior missionaries together... But lemme tell you all about it! 
     So last p-day was average. It was transfers. Still wasn't sure how things were going to be with Elder Twelves. We went out to lunch with the other Armenian Elders and Nate to Islands burgers which is delicious as always with a massive burger and a few baskets of endless fries for everyone. Wrote home. Supa dupa fun... and then we ended p-day and when I got around to asking Elder Twelves what he and Elder Tyler had planned the night before... diddly... so we tried by a name we had been given by someone in the Burbank ward up in Burbank that we didn't have the full story on and we ended up trying to tell this Armenian lady (who was the wife of a less active) that she was baptized into our church when in actuality, her husband was the member. But we were turned away and decided to stop by the Ainian family who are in the Stake Presidency of the North Hollywood Stake and used to be in the old old old Armenian Branch. They were super nice and I had never officially met them. They invited us in while their youngest daughter had some friends over and made us some cookies and ice cream :) while we discussed some of the records for the old branch and tried to get updates on who they remembered. It ended up to be productive. 
     Tuesday morning around 4 I woke up in the middle of the night, shivering, achy and then eventually after about an hour of laying in bed crawled over to the bathroom to throw up whatever I had in my stomach... it wasn't fun. And not satisfying at all. You know how when you usually have the flu and you feel a million times better after throwing up? Yeahhhhh that didn't happen at all and I felt worse... I can laugh about it now because of how terrible I felt. I walked out of the bathroom and I guess I had awoken the other Elders who were super confused at what time it was (the night before I had said I was going to wake up early to do extra language study at 6). Then the alarm went off and I felt guilty for staying in bed because I can't be sick! Too many people need to be taught the gospel! But I wasn't in a state to work so I fell back asleep in my large trench coat through studies but made myself get ready to do run some errands up at GCC and then we had to meet with some Elders in Burbank to tell them more about the group and try and get more leads on potential work outside the mission. They mostly just wanted to know about the iPads... but we are looking into attending some district and zone meetings in the future to teach the surrounding areas enough Armenian to give us referrals. Which will be awesome. After that I got over my guilty feeling of not working and went home and slept until 6 to try and go do visits with the leadership. Which was also a bust because only Brother Bradley showed up and he was planning on going with the other Elders to visit Hambarsoom. So we headed out to try and visit Helga and Christine. Christine the week previous took a nasty fall I guess and we were trying to give her a blessing but she was asleep when we got there. But we had a quick lesson with Kris before we left and then headed down to JJ... but there was a miscommunication and he wasn't home... so we got our exercise for the night! And got to talk to this guy Gor. I think the only reason why he stopped when I asked If I could give him a card was because I asked not really wanting him to respond because I just wanted to go home and sleep. When we finally made our way back to the pad, found out that Elder Cook had thrown up as well not too long before and was already in bed. Woohoo! Sick party. 
     Wednesday. So since Elder Cook and I were both sick, I offered to stay home and tend to us while Elders Tyler and Twleves went out to tend to the areas. So we slept. And slept. And slept some more all day. At one point we felt up to eating so I made us some grilled cheese and soup. As I was eating mine in the kitchen, I heard Elder Cook scurry off to the bathroom again.. this time it came out the other end... the only reason I mention this is because it was hilarious and Elder Cook gave me permission to mention it as long as I made sure I told y'all it was an accident. And it just snuck out... dross. I know. ANYWAYS. I was tired of sleeping so I read a ton of the Armenian Book of Mormon and I'm getting close to finishing it so I made it a goal to finish it in the next month. By the time the other Elders came back home I felt up to going out again. We headed down to Hollywood to try by some members we had record of.. but got side corned by an Armenian priest we are pretty sure who was going off about one thing or another that he even kept losing track of where he was going with things. By the time we stopped him it was time to drive back to Glendale to the Armenian Class. Which we weren't planning on teaching but Elder Cook still wasn't feeling up to it so he called in a favor. At least we had a student though! Elisse Maynaz from the singles ward showed up and is super into Armenian and wants to go to Armenia for her mission. Which would be awesome. After we finished up Ragned wouldn't open the door for us even though we knew she was home. Then we had a random guy on the street ask up for 'Wisdom' but then was too stubborn to listen. 
     Thursday we found out was zone training. Andddddd yep that is really all I have to say about zone training. I wasn't super impressed. Elders Mabey and Carvajal don't get along well together and it is effecting their teaching so that was a bummer... gotta talk to them about that. But they also didn't tell us it would go longer than we planned so we had to leave early so we would have time to walk to Christine Hagopian's for some delicious delicious muhlkhee. Which is this awesome egyptian dish. So good. Everything Christine makes is delicious. We had a really good conversation with her though. She came out and told us she was having problems with smoking again and she needed help to overcome it again. Which I was super proud of her for asking us. So we taught her what she could do to overcome her addiction. Then we gave her a blessing and she felt like she could do it. So far so good as of us calling her this morning! After that appointment we were picked up by Brad (who we moved him and his family in a few months ago when I was still with Elder Winfield) and we did some yard work service. He is putting a playground in his back hard and he needed his mancave and garage cleaned out so we worked on that for a few hours and invited some other Elders to help out. But it wasn't long after we started that they bought us pizza... but we were so stuffed from lunch with Christine. I was super excited though because he said we were going to be able to mow his neighbors lawn because it was getting shabby... but when we asked she said she had just been out of town and that the gardner was coming the next day... sad face. It took longer than expected because we had to remove the first six inches of dirt off this big patch of his yard to put woodchips in for the playground. but by the time we finished and he dropped us off it was almost time to head up to Bradleys for the usual dinner but because we were all so full we moved it to friday night. And instead, Elder Twelves and I headed down to Hollywood again to search for more MIA Armenian members. We got a tad lost though.. either that or conned. A referral we had received sent us to Hollywood Blvd to the Pantages Theather where the 'Book of Mormon' play was showing... it was quite funny and we took some pictures that I'll be sure to send  home. Clever of whoever sent us there because as we were driving by and taking pictures, there was a huge crowd going in to see the show and we're pretty sure we were seen. I wanted to go have people want to take pictures with us and tell them all we were the REAL deal. But it didn't turn out that way unfortunately. Not much success turned up. 
     Friday was a good day. I think once I got over the flu things just got better. But we were again taken out for lunch by Nate. Only Elder Twelves and I went. We ate at this place in eagle rock called the Oinkster. Which I guess has been on Food Network and is known for their pastrami and unique shakes. So I had just that. I got a lucky charm vanilla shake which tasted just like the milk after you finish a bowl of lucky charms. But it was good. Nate was giving us some updates on South Pas and we weren't sure that Julian and Lisa were going to be baptized on Saturday because one of their daughters was in the Hospital in Utah and they wouldn't want to do it without her. So that made me nervous. But it all ended up well so don't worry! We also got some updates on Kristy and her family and i guess they are going through a rough time so keep them in your prayers if you don't mind.. but after we ate we went back to the Church and once again Nate wanted to wrestle but this time all five of us ended up on the ground wrestling one another. At one point I had Tyler, Twelves and Nate under me.... oh the joys of weekly planning! But after we really did have an awesome weekly planning session and Elder Twelves and I had a good heart to heart on how he could improve as a missionary. He is a good kid. A wee bit impatient at times. Sometimes doesn't know how to handle certain situations the best way. But he is getting better and we talked about it. We did take forever though so by the time we finished up it was about time to meet Brother Bradley and Ashot over at the Habit burger grill on Glendale so we met up with the other Elders and walked over. After we finished dinner we did a split where we took Ashot and the other Elders went with Bro Bradley. We tried by this guy Razmik who I had never met but I guess used to be solid but went missing and really clicked with Ashot. On the way over there Ashot was telling us about how his boss at his new job is a jerk and kind of bullies Ashot for no reason which was sad to hear about. Found out that Razmik had moved up to live with his Sister in Valencia or somewhere far. But then Ashot got a call from Adrineh telling him to come home so we ended up having to call it a night. He did teach me some farsi though and I'm learning a bit of the alphabet which is SUPER cool. 
     Saturday was awesome. We had been in touch with some missionaries down in the LA mission as well as an Armenian member who attended the Hollywood ward down in Little Armenia and we found out about a service project that a whole zone of missionaries were going to attend. So we headed down there that morning and showed up by this Armenian church and this what looked like Armenian school/place/thing and waited around for the service to actually start. It was really interesting. It was a service project put on by the Armenian version of the Boy scouts of America and so they went through this whole flag ceremony in Armenian which was actually super cool, national anthem of Armenia and then a handful of speaches given by officials on certain boards and administrations that were over the district of east hollywood/Little Armenia. One was an Armenian priest that was shouting out his blessings to us all as we did service to clean up the streets of Little Armenia. Unfortunately they had split us up into groups where all the Mormons and Thai group people were cleaning up certain streets by our Church building and the majority of the Armenian youth went to other neighborhoods. But it was still good. Talking to some of the youth that were in our group, the missionaries who were interested in learning more Armenian. So it was productive. And hot. We all got sunburned pretty bad and have a great tshirt tan line now! It's hot. After we finished cleaning they gave us a puni free lunch of lahmajun (Armenian pizza) and then we left to go do more work with members. Talked to one sister missionary before we left from the LA mission that knew Elder Garner and wanted me to say hello to him. Anyways...Came to find out that I had forgotten my tie and so we ended up having to go back to Glendale after grabbing some lunch at quiznos. The other Elders wanted us to drop them off in North Hollywood for a lesson. And we were very much deceived because you'd THINK that Hollywood and North Hollywood would be close, right? Very wrong. It took like 30 min to drive them to where they needed to be because Elder Twelves wouldn't listen to our directions which elder Tyler was horribly giving. But we made it there. Then they didn't want to have to bus back so we waited to see if they'd even get into the door. They didn't so we all drove back home. By that time it was time for us to head to south pas for the baptism of Jackie, Julian and Lisa anyways so we changed and left. We pulled up just as Nate, the assistants and Jackie were there. They didn't tell Jackie that she would be baptized until that day just so she wouldn't stress out and be tempted to smoke. Which was genius. I guess when they told her she about cried with Joy. We went in and changed into our whites and took some pictures and then Julian and Lisa showed up with their family from Utah who drove down that morning so their grandsons could baptize them. They were both super happy and surprised to see me. Lisa was adorable and kept introducing me to all of her family and making sure they all knew that I was one of her missionaries. I felt so loved and I loved them all so much! The baptism was simple and beautiful. They all looked so perfect in their white baptismal clothes. After the baptism, all us missionaries went down and got some street tacos which were DELICIOUS. So after we headed up to Verdugo Hills to try by our investigators Alina and Karogh. But Karogh wasn't there so we weren't able to teach anything. I guess they were initially found by Elders Craft and Judd (the very first Armenian missionaries before they even had a group set up and who were originally sent to Armenia). Super nice though. Then we just ran back to Glendale and got some milkshakes to top off the night. 
     Sunday was quite an adventure as well! It was brutal to get up an hour early. Most of our members weren't at Church. No investigators. No need to really translate which was kind of a relief because it was Group Conference and the Stake Presidency came down to speak. President Morgan gave an excellent talk on missionary work. He is going to be an awesome mission president one day after he has accomplished all he needs to in this stake. But after church we ate really quick, then took Arman to a lesson with Aylin who just had a baby not too long ago. she has been taught since Elder Smbatyan was here but I found out why they have been sticking around because she is solid and has a super strong desire to learn but I guess her husband is kind of a stinker. But we didn't meet him. We taught her a great lesson about the Restoration. It was a bit long but it was good. After Arman dropped us off at the Church again and Elder Twelves and I took a long road trip! After we had met with the missionaries in the San Fernando mission (burbank missionaries) they had been sending us quite a few referrals of people to try by. So we stopped by some neighbors of sister missionaries in Sun Valley (ran into the Sister missionaries, Stewart and Brown and again all they wanted to see were our iPads) but not home. Then a mailman in Granada hills who was super friendly but busy and just said to stop by next time we are in the neighborhood... I felt pretty confident though because as we were walking away we could hear him exclaim "Wow!" as he went back inside to talk to whoever else was inside. then we continued up the i-5 to Sylmar to meet a dealer... not sure what kind. Again, nice but busy and said stop by whenever he was home... great thanks for the info! Then we got onto where the 210 starts and drove back into Verdugo hills to stop by a former, Memek, who said we could stop by again, and another referral we spoke with we were super excited about. This man, Raffi, lost his son about 5 years ago this next month and is still super depressed about it. He came outside and was telling us how all these religions have been coming to him in the past telling him this and that but it didn't change what happened and weakened his faith that there was a God. We talked to him and he felt the spirit and said we could stop by next Sunday when his family would be home and we could talk to them. Last stop of the night was Hela. We had a great lesson with her and even got Christine involved which was awesome. yep! That was the day. 

Well family. I love you all very much. Don't worry, I'm feeling 112% now and am over the bug I had. I'm eating well. I'm safe. I'm doing good. Have a wonderful week! 

Elder DeBry

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