Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 84 (7/28-8/4)

4 August 2014

Overview: my release date has been set on 8 November 2014. Markus
miraculously came to church. Had another super busy week teaching
another 15 lessons. We found the old branch relief society president
Azatoui and she was less active because she didn't know there was a
group and now she wants to come to the group! We are that much closer
to a branch. Had some good visits with leadership, some leadership has
been really flaky and making it hard to keep everyone stable this past
week. But it was a really good week. Can't believe it is already
August. AND I found out that this black guy, Gary Turver, that Elder
Winfield and I found and taught was baptized yesterday into G2! It
made me so happy to hear that someone that I had been able to find was
again helped into the waters of baptism!

Monday: it was a pretty jampacked P day. Went to the grocery store
early on in the morning. Well I went with the zone leaders went
grocery shopping and to the bank. I found out that I can't cash a
check at a bank other than that bank if I don't have an account with
them... So that was lame. And we emailed home. Was nice to hear from
you all. And then we are all starving by then so we went and grab some
burritos from Gina's up the street and then headed to the Wilson
building to play some sports. Aka Wilson ball, gator ball and
basketball. But they close at PDay we went over to see Marguerite and
her husband Andranik. They let us in but not long after we got there
their daughter in law came with the grand kids. They were probably
some of the most adorable little Armenian children I have seen thus
far my mission. There was a set of twin boys whereabouts two years
old. They were quite shy. Just like I was! Anyways. We showed them the
because of him video. Andranik told us of another dream that he had
while he was in the hospital. He still is marveling that after our
last prayer with him that his leg was healed. We invited them to pray
about the things we discussed about miracles and we'd see them later
this week. He said he really wants to come to church and tell everyone
of the congregation what happened with his leg. They are really
awesome couple and we are able to see them a few times this week
thankfully. Next on the agenda was Azia and her husband Gevorg. We saw
Azia on her pourch just about to leave. She had been praying we'd come
because she was in need of prayer. So we said a prayer with her and
talked about the hard things that are going on in life right now but
that she is very happy that we are out preaching the word of God. She
feels the spirit with us when we are there and we told her we'd come
back next week and talk more. We invited her to read the resoration
pamphlet before we come over. She has this awesome dog named Christmas
and he loves to jump up on us and put his little head on/against our
legs. He's adorable. To finish off the night we stop by Edik and his
family. As we were walking up to the apartment building we saw his
wife Angela at the door of the apartment building and she said he
wasn't home. She seem to be a little off. So we asked her if we might
be able to stop by again or see when he might be home. She said that
he would give us a call at some points and that he was just really
busy. So not sure if keeps trying by then unfortunately. Even though
they are an awesome family.

Tuesday: I honestly can't remember too much of what happened during
the day. I know that we had a bunch of cancellations and that's
probably why I don't remember much! But I do remember that we were
knocking upon the Glenoaks corridor, didn't have much success. We went
out with our leadership that night as usual. It was awesome I went out
with Samvel and we went to margaritas house first. We had a really
good discussion with her. It was perfect we brought Samvel with us.
They talked a lot about finding truth and going deeper into the
meaning of things see you find the understanding and joy. Not a lot of
it made sense to me but to Margarita she loved it and was eating it
up. (The reason why I didn't understand it is because I feel that
Armenians have a different way of thinking and I haven't quite caught
on to her storytelling sometimes. It just seems kind of random to me
occasionally.) Towards the end margarita found out that Samvel have
been a member for almost 20 years. She still astonished that there
were members of our church in Armenia at that time. She started asking
questions and it came up that she had the book of Mormon and had read
some. Samvel told her that if she had really read from the book of
Mormon that they wouldn't having that conversation. He promised her
that if she really read the book of Mormon from the beginning as it
was intended to be then the next time we visit her she would be a
different person. Explain to her that it wouldn't be from brainwashing
or anything like that but a personal relationship with God and finding
truth. She really enjoyed all that Samvel had to say. In the future we
just need to be more authoritative and sincere in order for her to
listen more intently. Members are key to her understanding. She told
us she wanted to come to church on Sunday but she had guests come
over. Just an overall really positive experience, margarita really
enjoyed it and sound will thought that she and her family were great
but that her outside influences might be a problem in the future. Such
as her extended family and so forth. Next time we go over we need to
follow up on the book of Mormon reading and answer any questions she
has. So I was really good start off tonight. Even though it was quite
a long lesson. Funny story: she's enjoying our conversation so much
one song that started talking that she wanted us to stay there even
though she was going to go and get her son from football practice. She
almost made him walk home. My next visit was to Ashot since the last
few times that Samvel has been in town he has wanted to meet with
Ashot but for some reason or another something came up. So we went
over there and I'll show was rather sick. Samvel then started asking
him all these questions about his sleeping habits, exercise, and
eating habits. He seems more like a doctor than a economics major.
Anyways, they were there talking for about 45 minutes when I texted
the other Armenian elders to come and pick me up and take me home.
Overall it was a good night.

Wednesday: was a pretty good day. Started off studies. We still have
an extra hour because of other twins 12 week training. This is the
last week so we have been trying to catch up as much as possible. He
seems to be improving a lot! We are very proud of him. That afternoon
we went out and started knocking with the Burbank Elders, Schroppel
and Jones. It actually wasn't too productive. In the driving up and
down some of the streets that they had previously chosen and we're
looking out for the most Armenian looking houses which is quite easy
to do. But not too much success. For the next little while we tried by
Summergirls and potentials that we had received or spoken with in the
Burbank area. Some of which weren't interested, but one family that we
ran into was quite funny. We were looking for one of the sons, Pedro,
but the mother was just walking up to the door told us he was at home.
She had two other younger boys with her and they were amazed that I
spoke Armenian. As we were walking away I overheard that they thought
that I was Armenian. So I went back and talk to them some more and
told them that I wasn't. I started talking to one of the younger kids
was about 12 or 13 years old. I told him that his Armenian was still
better than mine and he responded "of course it is because I am
Armenian. Can't you tell by the unibrow." It made me laugh out loud.
Then we went and met up with Deborah and brother Twelves to go teach
Hermine. Since there was no need for all of us to go I took Elder
Tavoian out and we started knocking some doors on West stocker. The
first door that we knocked into rose not so nice Armenian lady. She
came out and was angry with us and telling us to go into go do
something better with our lives and blah blah blah. I told her that we
were just there to help. She responded quickly and said how could you
possibly help me. She said for example I'm sick. What Are you going to
do? So I told her that we could pray right there for her. She said
fine. So I offered a short, quick prayer. Afterward she had a
different tone of voice and seem to be really touched from the prayer.
I was kind of taken aback from the difference in her. She seemed to be
much nicer inside asking me how I learned such good Armenian even
though I looked Russian but she knew that I was neither Armenian nor
Russian. Nothing more came out of it but it was just a testimony
builder for me of prayer and seeing such a drastic change from one in
another person. After that we met back up with the other elders who
had taught the lesson. And we drove up to brother Bradley's to have
some dinner. Rita actually came! So that was really good. After dinner
we had a lesson with her on teaching and learning in the church and
how she could prepare to receive a calling. Of course she was more
than happy to help. After dinner I again went out with Twelves and we
went to stop by Eileen and Zhorants while elders cook and Tavoian went
up to Sunland to see Eddie. Eileen and them we're just about to go out
on a walk. So we talk to them for a bit, Zhorants still hasn't
praying, and set up an appointment for the following night. We tried
by dollars but she wasn't home either. So it was kind of a dead night.
Except for when we were walking back to the church to meet the other
elders I wanted to go stop by Anthony. Sorry dude and he was home. We
got to talk with him for a little bit. He seems to be doing good, you
just got some new work as a security guard for some office building.
The only downside is he works Sunday's now. So even though now he
wants to come to church she isn't able to because of his work
schedule. But he seem to be doing a lot better from the last time I
saw him. Still have to get that kid on a mission.

Thursday: we had a really good district meeting that morning. It
involved a lot of role-plays. Especially me demonstrating for some
reason and trying to help everyone teach the frustration for example
in about seven minutes. It was really good. After the meeting I got an
envelope from the zone leaders with my pretrunks... Meaning my
approach release information. The day I will be coming home has been
set at 8 November... So that was a shocker and kind of threw me off.
Anyways, afterwards we got some quick lunch and then zoomed out to Van
Nuys to meet Ashot. Ashot was a referral from the Elder serving in
that area. They said that they met him while they were at the donation
store/Goodwill kind of store that he was serving at. He seemed
interested so we headed out because he called us that day and wanted
to talk to us. He is pretty awesome. From Armenia, Lateer for about
four years, but the thing is he doesn't have a permanent residence. So
basically he is homeless. But he told us that he doesn't sleep on the
streets...very often. But what was good was he contacted us to try and
get set up with some work connections and to live a more productive
life. But just from the appearance and meeting with him I couldn't
tell nor could anyone that he was homeless. Had a great discussion
with him. We met with him across the street from the place where he
volunteers. He was asking us about the job center that we talk to him
about on the phone. He had some questions for us about the church and
missionary work. We told him we would get in touch with some members
to help him find work go down to the job center. We introduced the
message of the restoration to him and he seem to follow it and
understand it pretty well. We brought up baptism and he was a little
hesitant to accept it but we told him that with the answer from God he
needs to be baptized again and that we would need to be baptized. He
was asking questions such as needed to be baptized in order to be
welcome at the church. He told us of his baptism and the Armenian
church when he was young he had a certain skin condition and was in a
lot of pain from that. But he told us that after his baptism when he
was a toddler that he seem to miraculously be healed from the
condition. He told us that his baptism he was able to live basically.
So that was really cool! Other funny stories: he predicted the date of
when World War III will begin. It is 14 November of this year... He
told us of some other divisions that he's had of Christ coming to
visit him. It is amazing to see how grapes of faith the Armenian
people have. He said that if he wasn't at church this Sunday that for
sure he would be there next Sunday. He said the closing prayer but is
more of a getting things to us into God for everything. It was a great
lesson. On the way home back to Glendale we stopped by a potential
that Elder Tavoian had knocked into. It was probably one of the
funniest things that has happened knocking. We get to this apartments
and buzz the unit. This young woman buzzes us in and peaks her head
out the door. Walk up to the door and it is already open. Elder
Tavoian knocks and the one girl that he talk to and her older sister
came up and said hello. In response, Elder Tavoian said "hello...
(Waits about a good 15 awkward seconds)... We are the missionaries!"
It was probably one of the funnier things that has happened out here.
Turns out that she didn't really remember talking to him and this time
around she wasn't interested nor was her family. That night I went out
with Twelves again and we visited Eileen and Zhorants. We had a pretty
productive discussion with him. We followed up with Zhorants if he had
prayed about a date to quit smoking. He told us that he had not. He
told us that he just loves to smoke and likes the  feeling of it. We
told him and set him with the date of quitting smoking by August 31.
We brought the concern of coffee as well and Eileen tried to justify
saying that he needed to just work on smoking first including that and
then he can worry about coffee. Eileen on the other hand is still
wanting a confirmation. She knows that it is true but she wants an
actual confirmation of some sorts. It was productive in the sense that
Zhorants accepted a date to quit smoking and said he would work
towards that date.. And Eileen knows that he needs to. They said they
would try to come to church as well.

Friday: morning was pretty exciting because we got to go down to the
Hollywood zone and teach them some Armenian 101. We hadn't gone down
there into that area for a while but we feel that it is time to start
using the resources! down there and it was mostly a Spanish district
but there was some English as well. They all seemed more interested in
what's our mission was up to including mobile devices, Facebook, and
other cool things that have happened in our mission since the
hastening of the work. Afterwards they told us of a place that had
some really good papusas (spelling?). So we took those back to the
church and began our weekly planning. But before we had that one of
the comoanionships told us to go to by a less active member down the
street who was Armenian. We stop by and found out that this lady,
Azatoui, is the relief Society president in the branch. She served in
the leadership with Samvel, Jerry, and Victor! She started naming off
members that she remembered and was super surprised to hear that some
of them were still going and others went. She told us that she wanted
to come and that she didn't understand the Spanish ward that she was
currently going to really wanted to come back. So she came on Sunday!
But anyways weekly planning Seems like they took forever this week.
Running pretty behind schedule and so by the time we were finished we
went up to see Susan in Verdugo Hills. We stop by when we are on the
way up to la canada. She told us to call ahead in the future just
because she's so busy praying for tests and stuff. She just took the
writing test for the DMV. has a lot to do with preparation for her
English class. We had a really short lesson with her and read from
Alma chapter 7. We talked her about the importance of church
attendance and for taking the sacrament. We focus more on the peace
and comfort received from partaking this afternoon during our trials.
Invited her to come to church. She said that the next few weeks she
will be really busy with your classes and not sure if she'll be able
to. So we aren't sure how much longer we are going to teacher.
Afterwards we went over and picked up Twelves from the Bradley's
house. He staying there long live the Bradley's are up in Salt Lake
for a few weeks with family. We drove over to Burbank to go see Mike
and Bridget and have dinner and a lesson of them. Walk down to a place
called yaggis and got some rice bowls chicken and burgers and stuff.
We take back to the house and eat it and then had a lesson on the good
Samaritan. Elder cook pulled up an article that went into more depth
on the symbolism of what the parable really meant. Mike really seem to
enjoy that said that we should share more lessons like that. He
brought to reference a previous lesson that I had taught a similar
thing that went into more detail. Bridget seem to enjoy it as well. We
invited Mike to continue reading and applying the Scriptures into his
life to find greater meaning. Bridget said that she had read five or
six days out of the week. So we committed them to continue to read
every day. Twelves also followed up on Bridgets commitment to meet
with the bishop on Sunday. Mike told Bridget that once she starts
going to the temple regularly he will start thinking more seriously
about baptism.

Saturday: exchanges that morning without a word. After studies we went
up to North Hollywood to go try by some referrals and other
potentials. We stop by and one man didn't live there anymore, tried by
another woman who is about to have a vacation in Armenia and told us
to try back in a month or two, we tried by Armen out North Hollywood
but he told us to try back this week and we could have a lesson with
him. We also stop by next but he wasn't home either. Sure quite what
to do with him because he had a baptismal date scheduled for yesterday
but obviously it didn't happen. We got a hold of Jack, the guy in a
wheelchair, and went over to his house because he said he was home and
available. He asked us more about our church leadership and compared
it to the Armenian Church and how corrupt it is.  We explained church
organization how are services was and reread from alma chapter 7 and
explain the meaning behind the sacrament. We invited him to church and
he said he might come. He told us that we need to just make church I
foundation but continue to learn other things that would help us grow.
We read from Helaman chapter 5 and explain tell Christ in the church
organization and the teachings Help us grow and is our foundation. It
was the end of the lesson he told this really random story that had
nothing to do with the lesson at all but just prove the point that he
like to learn things like that. The story was about a guy in Armenia
was engaged to this girl. The girls brother killed a guy and the girls
father asked the other guy was about to be married to his daughter to
take the fall and go to prison for his son. The father promised the
guy that if he did he would take care of his sick mother and that he
would somehow break him out of prison. So he did. Long story short the
girl ends up getting engaged to another man and when the guy gets out
and finds out that his mother died.... I know right? After that we
went back over to Burbank to knock with the elders there. It wasn't
too successful either. There is just seem to be really slow lately. We
got some dinner and then headed over to Marguerite and Andranik's. We
taught the Book of Mormon. They seemed to accept it without much doubt
or question. We invited them to be baptized and Andranik said he'd
have to talk to his wife and Margarit said that they were already
baptized and went to the central church every Sunday before Andranik
had his stroke. Explained that it was our claim and invitation for
others to pray for themselves. They don't understand the concept of
prayer. Andranik is still so happy that the prayer said with us is
helping him heal. They committed to read. They said they'd pray about
baptism. They accepted that us knocking into them wasn't random and
may be a sign that this is the path they need to take. So that is
good! After that lesson the rest of the evening was trying by other
potentials up in Burbank. At our last stop of the night I started
talking to this guy as we're walking back to the car and it turned out
that he was a member that hadn't been in quite some time because he
was gay. He told us of some of the experiences that he had within the
church and with members that made him feel very negative towards the
church. I'm not sure how much of what he told us was true but it is
still sad that some people who were and are members have negative
experiences like that's and go against what they know it's true.

Sunday: it was probably one of the best Sundays we've had in quite
some time. The small in numbers and Sunday school but during the
lesson Marcus walked into the room. Marcus if you remember it was a
referral the Elder cooking I received from Elders Llewlyn and Coontz
and we started teaching him from there. For the longest time he didn't
come to church because she didn't have any teeth and felt embarrassed.
And finally a few weeks ago we tried by but he had moved! So the fact
that he came to church is a miracle. We're going to start meeting with
him this week. Another exciting thing that happened during church was
Azatoui came and surprised our members! She was so happy to see some
of them including Arousiak and Anoush who were so taken aback that she
was there. So that was really cool to have her there at church. And
besides that it was just really good sacrament meeting. Karina, the
Davtians daughter, bore her testimony and so did Kristina Avagyan
which was awesome to hear. It was a super powerful meeting. After
sacrament we set up a lesson with Marcus, and Azatoui invited us over
to lunch later that afternoon. We had Elder Cooks music lesson with
Kevin. We had to run down to Hollywood afterwards and we had a
delicious lunch. She made us this Russian salad and some lahmajun
(Armenian pizza). After we were full to the brim she pulled out some
pictures of the old branch and with some of the members that we
recognize. It was crazy to see them 20 years younger and in the same
church building! It was a really good visit. The Hollywood elders came
over and she told them that she think she is going to start going to
church with us. Afterwards we went back up to Glendale and met up with
Twelves to go try by Ashot (wasn't home) and then we all went down to
Helga's to have some dinner. We had a really good time and enjoyed
some birthday cake because it was Kristos birthday the day before. We
all seriously so cool and can eat another bite. After that we split
up. Elders Cook and Tavoian went by some potentials around the central
building and Twelves and I again went up to Burbank. We tried by this
potential that Elder Twelves had taught when he was here with the
North Hollywood zone leaders. He was home but a little occupied and so
he told us to come back later this week. Were going home we stop by
the Ainians to try and tell them that we met Azatoui but ye weren't
home either. It was just a really good day.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Tanner DeBry

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