Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 81 (7/7-714)

Hello! This week has gone by super fast. It is a new transfer and a new set of adventures. Elders Cook Tavoian and I rocked it this week. We taught of ton of lessons, picked up a few new investigators, were driving a TON... seriously I think we were averaging about 70-80 miles a day. not because we were planning poorly but because we had set lessons all over the place. We finally got to officially meet our mission president and his wife which was awesome. love them already so much. and yep that about sums it all up! so continue on reading! 

Monday: twelves to the office - final goodbyes.. Until he comes back
for the summer. Moved my stuff over from Garfield to riverdale. Moved
sister esplin's stuff from riverdale to Garfield. Went to lunch at red
robin with Nate, cook, Tavoian, Esplin, Baum, Glendora member, Morell
and our new zone leader Cale. Went grocery shopping. Emailed. Started
moving cook as Tavoian from elk pad... They had nothing packed. Drove
up to Ashot's, threw cook a 'surprise' birthday party and we had cake.
Cook is Ashot's favorite.

Tuesday: service for my new investigator, Armen Avakian, who lives
next to the Princeton pad. Set a gazebo for him and jammed out on his
guitars. Very similar characteristics of some of our group, roller
coaster and... All over the place. Had a lesson with him afterwards.
Talked about the Book of Mormon briefly which led into our invitation
for him to be baptized. Feels pressured and not ready. Told him to
pray about the date of 17 August and he said he'd pray about it. Solid
lesson, just needs more small experiences with the spirit. He said the
closing prayer which was very sincere and spirit led. Stopped by
Greg's apartment to water his plants and pick up his mail, takes 5
gallons+ to water all they have in their small apartment. Went
knocking with the Burbank 2nd elders, Schroppel and his new trainee
Jones. Tavoian and I went with Jones who is a stud. Found some good
potential families. Met a younger YSA age girl, Jessica, coming into
her apartment. Taught her a lesson at her doorsteps. Said she wasn't
really looking for a religion and knew she had a relationship with God
but wanted to be more educated on what we believed. Taught the
restoration. She said the closing prayer and it was awesome, super
simple and asked the question of "what is going to happen after this
life and how can I prepare" or along those lines. Committed her to
read the pamphlet and meet again. Unfortunately she texted later this
week and said she wasn't interested anymore... That night with the
leadership was awesomely planned but ended to be a dud. Cook and I
went out with Aram. Tried by Edik, wasn't home. Called Edi, didn't
answer. But we did stop by Margarita and had an awesome lesson with
her. She had a ton of questions for Aram and Aram had the perfect
spirit led responses that helped her to understand the need for her to
pray and try and see if this will not improve her life and open her
eyes to knew knowledge and understanding of God. Committed her to read
the Book of Mormon and pray. Aram shared some experience of how his
father had a vision/heard a voice in a dream that he needed to serve a
mission, even though he was against Aram being a member at the time.
So that was awesome. He also told a story I liked a lot that goes
something like: there was a fish in a bucket of water. He knew his
water very well and could see the sky and clouds from where he was.
One day it started to rain and the bucked started to overflow until
the small fish was out of the bucket and in a large pond. His eyes
were opened to things he never knew could be out there. That was
something that Margarita very much needed to hear and I think we are
getting somewhere with her. It was a great lesson. So not a total dud
of a night.

Wednesday: 6 week training meeting in Arcadia at the foothill building
with President Villanueva, his wife and the assistants for Elder
Tavoians 12 week training program. Instructed on the pillars of
conversion. Then split where the trainers went with the assistants to
ask for help and whatnot. We had a lot to talk about because of the
slow progress being made with our new Elder. Progress nonetheless.
Received some good insights on how to best teach him, which will be to
teach him how we teach our investigators. Had lunch at in n out. Elder
Tavoian ate two 4x4's (four patties, four pieces of cheese, and two
buns... He took off the lettuce and tomato), fries and two drinks.
Went knocking on Winchester. Didn't get too long before we drove to
Verdugo hills for our pass off lesson with the sisters, peters and
Atkins, and their Armenians-Syrian investigator Shooshik (Susan). Had
a long lesson with her. Retaught the restoration which she thought she
already knew and didn't think she needed to be taught again (funny
story: at one point in the lesson she took the pamphlet and started to
receive what happened to Joseph Smith to Elder Tavoian because he
didn't understand what we were saying... She was close but not quite
right). She didn't understand authority even though we basically
spelled it out for her. Still thinks all churches were right and
Joseph smith was just another guy like Gregory the Illuminator (look
him up). Told her we'd come back the next day to talk more since the
sisters had to leave.  Had dinner at Glendale market. Cook is still
nervous to go there and have Ashot find out because of Ashot's scuttle
with Alex and his family. Stopped by Edik. Angela was just leaving. We
taught him and read with him from the Book of Mormon. We got down to
the point that we were having him and his family read the Book to come
to know that they need to be baptized. He said he was already baptized
but seemed to understand our point of authority but still hesitant if
being re-baptized was allowed. Committed him to read and come to
church. Then met with Aylin and Zhorants. Had a really good lesson
with them. Zhorants was telling us of how he learned English. It
started with him having a bad experience of not knowing English before
he learned but once he decided he was going to learn he devoted
himself to it and recognized he learned with the help of god. Related
it to learning about the gospel and overcoming addictions. He really
liked that. Told him he could do hard things. Committed him to think
of a date that he wants to stop smoking and he said he would pray
about it and then we'll go from there. Aylin said she wasn't prepared.
They brought up the concern of making mistakes after their baptism.
Taught that they didn't need to be perfect to be baptized and to not
to wait to be, but to have the desire to be and to keep working at it.
Kept relating it back to him learning English and how they still
aren't perfect at speaking English. Read 1 Nephi 3:7 and then related
to Alma 32 about the seed. For Zhorants he is ready. He reads and
knows it is true but is afraid he is going to make a mistake. Aylin
needs a confirmation. Told her she didn't need to wait for the seed to
grow to a tree to know it is going to be good or eat a whole cake to
be good. She accepted that she needed to just start reading and
praying more. Very positive lesson.

Thursday: instead of District meeting we had meet the president where
President Villanueva and his family (wife, three kids, Daniel, Rick,
and Becky). They are all so wonderful and so happy to be here. I am
very lucky to have them as my new mission family. Please keep them in
your prayers! But they introduced themselves, showed some pictures of
who they were and such. President Villanueva is still working on his
English but he is such a humble guy it is inspiring. And sister
Villanueva is such an angel, she is so strong in the gospel and leads
her home well. They are just awesome. Anyways, pray for them. I love
them already. After the meeting I set up some new missionaries iPads
on the new server. Had lunch at Osaka with Esplin and her new trainee
Rassoulipour from Montreal Canada and is half Iranian! So she knows
some Farsi. Finished studies, really worked on helping Elder Tavoian
practice teaching. Finished knocking Winchester, taught a lesson to a
man named Yebrem from Iran. He was 90 years old but looked like a very
fit 60. Didn't understand much of what we were saying. His wife just
had a stroke and he walks over to the hospital everyday to see her.
Stud man, just a bit old. Drove to Verdugo hills again to teach
Shooshik. Reviewed the Book of Mormon with her and answered some
questions that she had, short visit this time and seemed to put some
clarification to things but still not sure how to address the
authority. The thought comes to mind that as long as they feel the
spirit in the lesson it won't matter if they fully understand the loss
and restoration of authority. Had dinner at the Bradley's with Armam
and Kristina Avagyan. Sat at the senior spot. The reign of twelves has
fallen. Got a call as dinner was ending from Max (Khachik in NoHo)
that he needed some advice pronto and needed us over there. Cook and I
drove out and Tavoian stayed with Bradley. He was having some
confrontation with his landlord and all we had to say was "what would
Christ do" and literally we were there for no more than 5 min and then
he said he had to go but appreciated our advice. Since we were so
close we stopped by Edi's shop. Caught him working but he let us teach
him. He hadn't been reading the book of a Mormon nor had he come to
church so we readdressed his baptismal date. Placed a calendar in
front of him as to when he could be baptized in August and he chose
the 24 and then we said a prayer and he specifically asked about that
day. He is solid. We read with him from the Book of Mormon . He
understood the relationship with praying to god to feel the spirit.
Just needs to act upon it now, but it was a solid lesson. He told us
at the end that he wants to get baptized not to just join the church
but to be cleansed in his heart and mind of who he had been before and
the things he had done. We told him we'd talk more about that next
time. Awesome day,

Friday: had our first weekly planning as a new companionship. Took a
while to catch them up on all the people twelves and I were working
with. Not to long to hear about the people they were working with
(notice how I said were... Most of them aren't too solid). Afterwards
we watered Greg's plants again. Then started by some referrals we had
received. No such luck contacting them. Grabbed some Taco Bell. Then
we drove down to highland park and Eligio threw Elder Cook a surprise
birthday party with some other missionaries. Eligio is one of the
other investigators in G1 who is gay. Super cool guy. Funny story. We
show up and he brings us in his house. He tells us he needs to talk so
he asks if he can say a prayer. He mumbles a prayer and then says amen
really loud. Nothing happens. He said amen again.. Nothing happened,
third time he says it the other missionaries jump out and start
singing happy birthday. It was good. In other news, during nightly planning we heard some shots going on what seemed not too far from our pad. First time since I have lived there! 

Saturday: had a lesson set that morning by the NoHo zone leaders that
was a no show but he rescheduled for Sunday... Still cancelled. But
then we got a text from this potential we had from some other NoHo
companionship and he asked if we could come by that afternoon so we
drove out to meet him. His name was Jack Tovmasyan. Younger guy, in a
wheelchair because he was shot. (We didn't ask why/how). The Spanish
missionaries who spoke with him went over some of the restoration so
when we started talking he said he had heard it all and thought we
couldn't really teach him from the pamphlet. So we kinda threw the
pamphlet aside and went back to the old style of teaching of just
talking with him. It was a good lesson. More personal experiences were
shared and it took a lot longer but he agreed to read the pamphlet and
give us a call when he was ready to meet again. That afternoon was
pretty slow, tried by a lot of potentials that were solid but no one
was home or the spouse we spoke too was away. We knocked with the NoHo
zone leaders that evening. I went with elder beetoch and we started in
a sisters area a bit west of where we usually were and found out that
it was dead and only a hand full of Armenians. So it was pretty slow. 
Then we knocked back into there area. Met this real jerk who in response
 to us asking if there was any service we could do for him asked "we are just
 about to open some wine can you come open it and pour us all a glass". Real classy bro..
Afterwards we tried by some more people in NoHo, Mac cancelled, Edi
wasn't picking up again, Alina and Karo weren't home. It was a rough
night. We worked through dinner so at the end of the night we stopped
by Gina's and got some burritos. Noms.

Sunday: wasn't much better than Saturday. No one investigators came to
church, not even Mike and Bridget which is saying something. Total
count of English leadership, missionaries and visitors were 19...
Hasmik  the relief society president from Armenia came to visit and
she was very thankful for the translation I did and she asked us to
give her a blessing. Love that woman. She said I just needed a little
bit of spirit (using her fingers to indicate how much) but you gave me
a lot (now using her arms.) translated relief society which was on
eternal marriage... That was interesting. And cook and Tavoian spoke
during sacrament meeting. I was very proud of Tavoian. His talk was
6-7 minutes which I didn't think he could do but he pulled through. He
spoke about enduring to the end. Yes, there were some words and
conjugations I didn't quite understand but his spirit was humble which
made it good. Cook spoke on service and tried to use big vocabulary on
me, it didn't work, he forgets I've been out longer than he has.
Bradley brought us lunch. We tried by Andre again in Burbank but his
family said he wasn't home and he wasn't answering. More trying by
people. All not home. Fell through. Funny story. When we were knocking here in glendale there was this older woman coming out of her apartment complex and we must have gone straight to her door or something because then she got on the phone and called the person inside the apartment and said in armenian (not thinking we'd understand) "the people knocking are from some church... Don't open the door!" so that made us all laugh. Something big must be coming
because it was SLOW. But we all have those days. Even Helga cancelled.
So we ended the night with doing service for Armen Avakian by moving
his fridge in his man cave and cleaning up a bit for him.

Well folks that is my week. I love you all very much and hope you had a week full of fun and adventure just like I did. Keep smiling. Know God loves you and that you are in my heart and prayers. 'til next time! 

Elder Tanner DeBry

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