Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 82 (7/14-7/22)

21 July 2014

Well family and friends here is my weekly email. Overall: interviews
with President Villanueva, taught 18 lessons, two people came to
church, one of them being Edi who has a solid baptismal date, Richard
Twelves came back and is visiting, family home evening... Think that
is about all the major events as a summary but continue reading to
find out greater detail!

Monday: pday- golfing with Nate, played Wilson ball for a good three
hours; lesson with Maggie and Elizabeth- Had a great lesson with them.
At first it was focused on Elizabeth but then we had her daughter
Maggie come sit with us. She was hesitant because she didn't want to
offend us with her views about God. We set good expectations that we
are the spiritual guides for them to find out for themselves greater
truth. Maggie really liked that idea. She asked the question why bad
things happen in the world. We explained to her that we all have
agency and God won't intervene but the bad at happens compels us to do
good in the world. That all bad and experiences in general are for our
benefit and to come closer to God. She liked that answer. Then she
asked the question of why there were so many religions and we taught
her the restoration. She said it made a lot of sense and was asking
great questions. Her final question was how can we know that it was
true and she committed to pray to God every day until our next
meeting. She thought it was a good positive attitude and recognized it
could benefit her kids if it were true. Elizabeth kept going in and
out of the room so we didn't get to commit her to do anything but she
was there for most of the principles taught.; went over to Ashot's to
give him a blessing for his tooth infection, didn't come to church
previous Sunday, had a nice visit. By the time the night ended we had
to go run and water Greg's plants and head home. I'm finding out I'm
not a very good gardener.

Tuesday: went to NoHo and taught the Burbank Spanish zone more
Armenian 101, funny story we drove there on fumes. Enjoy teaching
missionaries who know and have a desire to learn a language. Lots of
studies done this week with Elder Tavoian still being in his first 12
weeks. Knocked west Thompson. Elder Tavoian doing most of the door
approaches (with a lot of push) and doing them in Armenian. Very proud
of him, he has made a lot of progress this week in language, teaching
and just talking to people in general. Visits with leadership - Elder
Tavoian went with brother Clark to see Bella and Jerry. Brother
Bradley came with Cook and I to see Edi in Sun Valley. Had another
great lesson with him. He told us his car was vandalized (battery
stolen and tires slashed) and that is why he wasn't able to come to
church. He was very apologetic and felt bad. We taught him the gospel
of Jesus Christ and related it back to the plan of salvation. He bore
his testimony of faith, specifically in Jesus Christ, and related a
story of when he saw a miracle in Iran. We focused on him having the
spirit with him and becoming more like our Heavenly Father as he lives
these things. Told us "I don't care if there is fire falling from the
sky, I am coming to church on Sunday."  Still praying, still working
towards baptism on the 24 August. He wants us to come back and read
with him Thursday. He is on fire right now! Weren't able to see anyone
else that night.

Wednesday: had another massive (biggest one we have made) party
pizookie made by us to celebrate sister esplin's half birthday. It was
a battle. Started knocking on N Jackson. Second door we knock into was
this couple, Andranik and Margarit. At the door we told her who we
were and that we prayed with people and such and she told us that her
husband had seen us in a dream of his and invited us in.. Caught us
off guard. Came in, the husband Andranik wheeled in on his wheelchair
and told us that in his dream three people like us would come and pray
with him and then asked "so is it okay if we start with a prayer?"...
It was just a very peculiar was to start a lesson and we weren't sure
if we were understanding correctly. Very faithful family and have a
strong faith in Christ. He told us that because of church close that
they would come. The husband had a stroke not too long ago. We aren't
sure too much of how much they understood but they seem to enjoy the
message and the spirit that they felt. The wife said the closing
prayer but it was the Lord's prayer. They told us we could come back
on Saturday. Had to run off to teach Varter afterwards. Had a good
visit with her. Talked about how busy she was as usual but she seemed
more healthy and happier than usual. She committed to come to FHE to
see Twelves' family. Elder Tavoian then taught her the restoration all
by himself! He did a great job. His confidence seems be to improving
as well. Next we had a visit with Rita. We talked to her and reviewed
the temple and she committed to meet with the bishop on Sunday and to
go to the temple. Now that she doesn't have work on Sundays it should
be easier to get her there. She's excited to go and happy to feel the
spirit more. She is just so wonderful. Hazar anush! Funny story: later
we were looking for Edgar's apartment from an address that Debra gave
us saying it was his (it turned up to be Ashot's address oddly
enough). But Ashot was outside so he wanted us to take him to this
market around the corner but we can't drive members but he was saying
"Debryjan we're going to have a lesson there just you watch and
see!"... So I kicked him out and we drove and met him there... And
sure enough after we got our peroshkis there was Khachik Ghazarian
sitting at one of the tables. So we started to talk to him. For those
of you who may not know Khachik is a member but less active. He was
baptized a few years ago but the thing is his wife and entire family
don't know he was baptized or that he come to our church. He works
every day at the pacific market but occasionally will go to central
for sacrament. But anyways, had a good lesson with him about coming
back to church in the next while. To end the night we were up the
Glenoaks corridor and we saw Robert (a potential Twelves and I had
knocked into) walking to Taco Bell on Glenoaks and stopped by and
taught him. He had been drinking a bit so he wasn't all there. But we
talked a bit about the plan of salvation since his wife just died two
months ago and he is pretty somber after that. He is very nice. Likes
us a lot. Set up a return appointment to talk more for this past
Sunday which happened. Stopped by Aylin and Zhorants but they had a
guest over and said to come by the next night. Zhorants said he hadn't
prayed yet..

Thursday: had District meeting. Went out to lunch with elders ward and
smith to chipotle afterwards. Finished studies. Knocked with Burbank
2nd Elders Schoppel and Jones. Elder Tavoian went off on his own with
Elder Schoppel. Found some good potentials. This one man, Hamlet, is
from Armenia. He is just visiting for a few weeks and then going back
but we knocked on his door and he said that he had seen missionaries
in Armenia but hadn't ever talked to them! We got into his apartment
and started talking to us and he was asking about what we did and what
were some of our basic beliefs. We taught him most of the first lesson
but then he said he didn't have a lot of time but if he could he'd
stop by church! But I made him promise that the next time he sees
missionaries in Armenia that he will talk to them so I really hope he
does because he is awesome!  Funny story: rang the call box on this
one building and someone buzzed us in and a second later ran outside
with a big existed look and saw that it was just us and then said "oh
it's you... Well... Go ahead I guess." Headed back and watered Greg's
plants again right before heading up to Bradley's for dinner where
Christina Avoian joined us. Taught her afterwards about callings in
the church and committed her to accept a calling and help our group
more. She is so solid, most active and willing to help out of all the
group. She's so awesome. Drove up to Edi's us three after. Had another
good lesson with him. We read from the Book of Mormon. He said he
hadn't read much. We read from 1 Nephi 2 with him and talked about the
example of Nephi praying to god to know what to do, whether to follow
his brethren or his father. Related it to Edi. Talked about being
obedient. He asked a question about receiving the Holy Ghost. He Also
asked about marriage, said we'd talk about later. Said he'd come to
church. Said his work was really physically tiring. Told him we'd talk
about more commandments to keep him worthy for baptism next time.
Still seems on track for baptism. Tried by Aylin and Zhorants at the
time they said and they were just about to take Emanoel on a walk
because he had been crying for the past 40 min... So we stopped by
Helga and had a visit with them. They fed us a massive bowl of beans.
Massive. Didn't sit too well on our tummies to say the least. You all
know what they say about those magical fruit... Helga is doing well,
worried that this new calling Christine has in the relief society that
she won't be able to keep up with school. But she'll do great and has

Friday: pretty frustrating day. First off, Ashot was supposed to have
us over and do yardwork for him in the morning. But he called us 20
minutes before and told us that he couldn't that day and that we would
do it next week. So we finished studies. And then my iPad started
whacking out and I wasn't able to sign into my area book or my
scriptures or any talks on Gospel Library for some reason. It was so
frustrating! But there wasn't much I could do about it other than be
frustrated so we started weekly planning here at the pad because we
have wifi here but then Elder Cook started falling asleep and Elder
Tavoian wasn't participating much and that plus my iPad not working
didn't make for a good weekly planning. So we headed over to the
church and finished there... Well did more before we had to head out
and we still hadn't finished and my iPad was not behaving.
Then we went up to Burbank and knocked with elders Mcaughly and
Chapman. Cook and I went with Chapman and sent out little boy off with
Elder Mcaughly. He's doing us proud! But it was a pretty slow
afternoon. Not too many people to talk to... Which was rather
unfortunate. But we did see some of the biggest and most elaborate
Armenian houses in Burbank where we were. So if you are ever in
Burbank and see a big house, that is tannish, has pillars, statues,
fountains, a big drive way, white or black luxury cars (BMW, Mercedes,
Lexus...etc), and a big elaborate door, and Palm trees in the front,
it is most likely to be an Armenian house! 95% of the time that
formula will yield good results. But usually only in the San Fernando
mission. The Glendale area is different because it is mostly
apartments. Anyways! We had dinner and a lesson with Mike and Bridget.
And I've realized something with them and why I've shied away from
seeing them is because it breaks my heart that they have an
opportunity to be strong in the gospel and go to the temple but they
don't. They would be so strong in our group if they would just follow
what God wants for them. We talked to them about Bridget going to the
temple and Mike Elder Tavoian taught about the difference between
testimony and conversion. But it was a good discussion, a bit long and
they only started wrestling once while we were there and Bridget won
by pulling Mikes toes... Those two. After that to end the night we
stopped by Aylin and Zhorants again to see them but they weren't home
again... Lame. That night Elder Tavoian and I were on exchanges with
Elder Cale (our new zone leader) while Elders Cook and Morell were in
the g2/7 area. Elder Cale is a stud. Been out almost a year and very
humble and willing to learn. I was very impressed with him.

Saturday: that morning we finished studies early to go try by Hermine.
We caught her as she was about to leave and said we could stop by
Monday morning. As a back up we knocked a bit on Loraine and got into
this lady's house, Jana. She was watching her grand kids, from
Armenia, said she had a faith in Christ but not a very strong one. She
was in a hurry and so I taught the restoration super quick and we gave
her a Russian pamphlet to read on her own and she said we could come
back at some point this next week. After we went over and had lunch
with Anoush. We had "Sausage" with her potatoes. Wasn't too bad but
just a typical Anoush meal but I was very grateful for it! We met her
granddaughter as we were leaving and invited her to come to FHE.
Neither came.. Finished studies at the Wilson building and had a good
language study with Tavoian. Started to continue knocking N. Jackson
until our lesson with Andranik and Margarit. Ran into this one family
who at the door told us they had met with missionaries before and had
told them what they believed our religion to be. It was kind of creepy
he way the guy said it but we went in for a few minutes and knew that
we shouldn't have. Basically he was trying to dispute our beliefs,
twist our words and show us scriptures that he didn't know the full
meaning of. So it was a waste of time but it didn't get too
contentious but we did get out of there pretty quick once we realized
it was happening. The guy was telling us to be open to things when he
wouldn't stop talking long enough for us to say what we really
believed and not what he looked up on the internet. So that put a
damper on things and we knew we shouldn't have gone in, we all felt
it. Margarit answered the door for that lesson and told us Andranik
had to go to the hospital for his sugar or something along those lines
so we just said a prayer with her and then left. So with that we
decided to head out to North Hollywood and try and see some of our
investigators there. Max wasn't home but we were able to talk to his
wife who seemed very friendly and may be good potential for us to
visit. We stopped by Armen's but he wasn't home either. So we went
across the street to his neighbors Melik and family because we saw
them trying to pull out a tree stump in their yard. We offered to help
but they wouldn't let us because they didn't want us to get dirty.
Nice family but not too interested in learning from us. We tried by
some other potentials and got into an neighbors house of one of them.
Her name was Sylvie she is very kind. She was from Iran and she had
cancer. She told us that she was gone pretty often either adopters
were with her family but that she loved to talk about Christ and
discuss her faith. She went to the church out North Hollywood and we
started to teacher about the restoration. She talked so much we didn't
get to finish it all and then some of her family came home and we had
to go. We headed back to Glendale, had dinner and then went over to
see Jerry. And to my surprise he was the healthiest and strongest
looking I'd ever seen in my full-time serving here. Told us all about
the life of an Armenian church priest and told us how much ridiculous
amounts of money they get paid for all the little things they do. He
was rolling in the dough in Armenia! Literally he told us he had so
much money he didn't know how much and didn't care to count... After
that we actually met up with Richard Twelves and his family and good
old Rick came out with us and went on a splits with Elder Tavoian.
Elder Cale and I walked around to some different potentials and
investigators but none of them were home and by the time we were
finished we had to meet up with the other elders and drive Rick home.
It is really weird to call him Rick. He is just Twelves. But it was a
really full and fun day. And busy.

Sunday: it was an awesome Sunday. The Twelves family attended all
three meetings with us, we had two investigators at church and another
potential investigator, Edgar, who was the one that came to church to
weeks ago from the flyer activity. Edi even came and stayed for two
hours even though he came a little early and went to the English
sacrament meeting. It was so good to have him there and see the
desired he had to be there. Twelves's parents gave some talks as well
as with the high counselor. Think I'm getting the hang of translating.
After church Elder Cook had a music lesson. We some lunch that Bradley
brought for us. Then we finished our weekly planning which took a lot
longer than we had expected but it was really good and we had a most
wonderful companionship inventory! Water Greg's plans, went up and
tried by Robert on irving. We found him over at the porch of a
neighbors house talking to another man. We approached them and started
to teach them when the other man's wife, Azia?, came up and started
talking with us. She was really open to having her questions answered.
She Had met with or at least spoken with missionaries in the past but
said that she really liked the message that we share and the work that
we do. Taught the restoration. Robert didn't know we were Mormons but
Azia did. She was very much following along and seemed to understand
and was asking good questions that began the conversation. Robert  was
just kind if there listening. She said she saw the light in us and the
goodness we were doing by inviting others to have what we do. She
related it to us eating a very delicious feast and us being kind
enough to share with her part of the meal. Very good discussion.
Interrupted by another friend of Azia who spoke more Russian than
Armenian, Tanya. They said we could stop by again and we could talk
more. Invited them to meet with us again and to pray to god to find
for themselves. After that we went down and tried by margarita. She
was home but had some guests over. She told us that it was her
birthday the day prior and she invited to send you some birthday cake.
We sat down for a few minutes and talked with her had a good
conversation. Before we left she asked that we say a prayer for her
and her family. When I was basically the extent of our evening!... But
actually I just remembered that before we went home we decided to go
try Rostone one last time. We drove down to his house and knocked on
the door a few times but no one was answering the lights werent on. We
got back in the car and started talking and returning calls and such
when all of a sudden the lights turned on and we decided to knock
again. (It was divine that we didn't leave right away.) he answered
the door and first we were going to go in but then we felt like we
could at least say a prayer. It ended up being that we had a very
direct 'come to Jesus' moment with him. He was apologetic that he had
been ignoring us, telling us he had been trying to forget god. He was
in a low place. We directly told him he wasn't going to change without
meeting with us and praying, coming to church and reading. Said he'd
come to FHE. Said a good closing prayer. It was a Very powerful
spirit. He was crying during the lesson and we could tell and see his
countenance and from the words in this prayer that he was in a lot of
pain in his life and really needs the gospel.

Monday: so yesterday like I said we had interviews with President
Villanueva and that is why we weren't able to have Peter yesterday.
Instead in the morning I went on a splits with Elder Morel to go to
some lessons at PCC. We met with this kid whose name was Andrew they
had met on campus. Was a nice kid, Catholic, and seemed sincere and
open to learning more and expanding his horizons as he put it. We
taught the restoration. It seems like a really good lesson, at least
that is what other Marilyn I thought, but from what she was asking in
his closing prayer we aren't sure he really understood. But he agreed
to meet with them again and so I hope everything is well with him. We
even got to invite him to baptism and he said he would keep that in
his prayers. After which we drove back to the Wilson building and then
we went to Glendale market to meet other Twelves's family and Rick for
lunch. Sisters baum, baker, Esplin and Rassalipour also showed up but
just took their lunch back to the church. It was a good lunch, seems
kind of like old times but it's kind of weird to be around Rick and
his family. It was just a different feel, not weird. During lunch I
received a call from Maggie we had a lesson with on Monday were
supposed to have another one with her this morning. But anyway she
called and told us that the Mormon wasn't for her. She told us that
she had been talking with her mom and they both felt that there was a
need to continue to meet with us and they didn't want to change, that
they were comfortable where they were hats. She told us that she
enjoyed the last lesson however but didn't feel it necessary to meet
again in order to strengthen her relationship with God. She seemed
kind of torn that she couldn't meet with us again but we will try back
in a few months and see where things go. After we went back and had
our interviews with Pres. He is such a humble and sweet man. He's
going to do great things with this mission and already has. His wife
even brought apples for us after we had finished our interviews. We
decided then to go out to North Hollywood and try to buy some
potentials. One of them was at home but we talk to the neighborhood
was very nice and surprisingly spoke Armenian. She told us that we
could come back and she would make some dolma for us. Next stop was a
man named Moses. His daughter or daughter in law or someone answered
the door and was pleasant to us but told us that Moses wasn't
interested and she wouldn't even tell us your name or how long she had
lived in the states. Not very nice but funny thing was that Moses
pulled up with his wife who we had talk to previously and en the woman
closed the door on us. So we talked to Moses out by the car and he
told us that he was so busy but we would have to come back in January.
Headed back to Glendale after that, we dropped elder cookoff with
elders Smith and ward to go to the Carlins for dinner while Elder
Tavoian I set up the church for family home evening and went down to
Rostone also find that he was not home. Which made us very sad. And we
headed back up to the church and start a family home evening. It was
good, not a very big turnout. We had Varter and Vardan came as well as
the Twelves family. We played some pioneer games and showed a video of
the Armenian states being organized. It was a pretty good message!
After when we are trying to clean up and go Armen Avakian saw us and
wanted all of us to say a prayer with him. So we did... One by one.
Which was kind if weird. But whatevs!

Well that about sums up my week. I love you all, and hope you have a
wonderful day and rest your week and I look forward to hearing from
you all next Monday! Keep smiling!

Elder Tanner DeBry

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