Monday, February 24, 2014

A Reese's a day keeps Satan away!

Hey guys!

Thanks for all the emails.  I opened my inbox and so many people loved me this week I was shocked!  I don't know if I will always have time to respond to every one, but if people include their addresses I can write them back after email time.  I only have an hour and a half a week to email and I have to write my mission president during that time each week as well.  

Things were kind of a mixed bag this week.  I got pretty sick but didn't want to stop working which just made me even sicker. One morning I woke up and my companion made me go back to bed because 1) I kept her up all night coughing so she wanted to sleep and 2) she said I sounded like death and needed to get better.  It's nice that she makes me do things because I'm really bad at doing things for my own benefit.  We were disappointed because ALL of our appointments cancelled on us Friday and all but one cancelled for Saturday.  It actually was a tender mercy because I started running a low fever and was really not feeling well so on Friday we just spent a couple hours knocking on doors and on Saturday we did the same and both nights we came home early and I went to bed early.  I'm still coughing a lot, but I feel much better on the whole.  I'll be ready to head back out again tomorrow full force.  My mission president's wife told me my allergies would be bad here, but I didn't believe her because everything is dead here.  People legitimately have rocks for a front yard.  ROCKS.  I guess maybe cacti have pollen or something. I don't even know.  Speaking of cacti, they really intrigue me.  I'm trying to figure out how they grow arms.  I've been examining the arms and trying to figure out how they bud and stuff.  If you have time I wouldn't object to you printing off the wikipedia article about cacti and mailing it to me.  

We had a pretty good week as far as food goes.  We even got to go to the Cheesecake Factory with a family.  It is just barely inside our mission boundaries.  Also, thanks for the Reese's!  Thank the Wilsons' and Patitz's as well for the gifts they mailed me.  I eat a Reese's every morning because I decided that a Reese's a day keeps Satan away.  My roommates all say that now as well.  Sister Adams' mom mailed her Reese's for Valentine's day too so we eat them together and say my new catch phrase.  I should probably get Reese's on board too so they can start using it and paying me royalties.  Reese's: Official treats of the Celestial Kingdom.  Also, related to food, I had dinner with someone you went to high school with mom. She is in one our wards and looked around your age and was talking about playing softball for the stake softball team as a teen and how she's always lived in Mesa.  I just was like, "Do you know Robin Kleinman." and she was like, "Yeah, I do. Why?" and I was like, "SHE'S MY MOMMMMMMMM" and she was like, "Oh I can definitely see the resemblance now that you tell me that."  Her name was Rhonda Gurr, now it's Rhonda Allen.

Just a little note.  If you mail things USPS the mission office can forward them to my address free of charge.  If you use another provider I have to go and pick it up at the mission office and we don't always have time for that.  So if you can, mail my packages USPS.   Also, just to keep on your radar, I get my iPad next week and I want a keyboard to use with it so I can email on it each week and type the information in the area book each night quickly.  You can wait until my birthday and it can be a gift to me from you for my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY.  

I had to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday and I enjoyed it.  It gave me an opportunity to prove to the ward that I'm competent and that I have a personality.  I saw a lot of people nodding in agreement with what I was saying and a few people after church told me that they just thought my talk was so great and that I'm sure funny.  I told them about dad's conversion story and wove that into the importance of members helping with missionary work.  I also told them that I hated Arizona as a kid and that is why I'm here.  They all died laughing when I shared the story of when mom made me take the missionary lessons with dad so he would listen to them and then how she tricked him into going to church by saying we needed more people to get a building.  

We taught some of our regulars this week and one new lady.  The new lady even committed to a baptismal date, but she also has some Word of Wisdom problems, so we'll see how it all pans out.  I like her though.  She's a little sassy.  We also had dinner with a really sweet less active member.  She sells Avon so she gave Sister Gillespie and I each some lotion, body wash, and body spray and a $20 bill.  Sometimes people are just too nice!  The skateboarder boys that we teach are just great.  The youngest is five and we're friends.  He gave me four rocks from his rock collection to keep and sang Adele songs to me.  Half of the lyrics were completely wrong, but it was entertaining nonetheless.  The one boy is the youngest boy to ever be invited to the X-Games.  He just turned 13, but was invited when he was 11.  He will be performing in them again this year.  Now that he turned 13 he is officially sponsored by Red Bull.  He is legit.  They all are.  And the mom made us cheesecake last night, so she's legit too.

There was a party last P-day for a leaving sister that we went to.  It was nice because Sister Adams and I got to spend some time together and we ran into our friend Elder Sweeten.  I also ran into some sisters who had dinner at Grandma Margie's last week so that was funny.  She showed them pictures of me.  

I'm not going to lie.  I was kind of a hot mess last week.  I was just sad.  So sad.  But things got better.  I really have been working hard as a distraction, which is why I didn't want to stop when I was sick.  I started re-reading the Book of Mormon as well with the intention of finding out what it takes to be a good missionary.  It really is interesting.  I just love that right away in the first chapter of First Nephi Christ is already mentioned.  Nephi was just crazy obedient and I'm trying to be better like him.  I really think it is a good idea to read the Book of Mormon with a question in mind though, it has made my reading so much more meaningful.  I also want to read the Bible from front to back while I'm on my mission, so I may start splitting my time between both books during personal study.

Love you all!  I pray for you every night.  Actually sometimes I forget to and then I remember and have to get back out of bed and kneel down to pray about you all individually.

 Sister Poppe

Most of my zone in the MTC.  Also, it's kind of blurry.  I asked a senior missionary to take the picture and he was a little behind with technology.

Funny story.  Sister Adams wanted a picture of me for her wall so I gave her one in the MTC.  Then we became roommates and it was awkward/funny to always see myself on her wall.  I posed with it.  Also, look at my new pink skirt.  It's flowy.  It makes me feel like a desert maiden when we're out walking around.

The Love Nest.  Last night in the MTC.  Also post shower, which is why our hair is all blow dried and crazy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Plants aren't the only thing that need feeding and watering!

Hello all,

I'm doing pretty well here in the field! There are some frustrating aspects and things to get used to, but I'm sure I will adjust and be fine. My companion keeps asking me how I am doing and I tell her I'm doing fine, but I think she doesn't believe me all the time. I really am doing fine, the things that are frustrating are things I can't change (like my lack of independence) or things that I know will come with time (like knowing the people in the two wards I cover and getting to know the investigators we are teaching). It is hard that my companion has been in this area her entire mission (4.5 months) and I just got here. So everybody knows her and she knows everyone and can better serve people because of that. Sometimes it's hard for me to get a word in edgewise when we're teaching as well and that is hard for me because I feel like I have a lot of great things to say (as per usual. I always feel like what I have to say is the most important). We talked about it this morning and she apologized and said that most new missionaries don't want to talk or contribute and she figured I was the same. So I will get to talk more now hopefully.

I haven't gotten your package yet! Some of these other missionaries didn't read the package fully and they took it because they thought it was for a sister in their apartment. I am so annoyed. I have called them and texted them and will be tracking them down today so that I can get it before the end of the night. I was trying to be understanding for half a day but then I just got annoyed at their inability to read the shipping label that clearly said Sister Poppe and not Sister Pulley. I was also bothered that they haven't made any attempt to rectify the situation and try to get it to me. I'm still bothered, but am trying not to be and repent for my mean thoughts every day.

I am in Kyle and Tammy's stake! So my companion and I are in the Salt River Stake. The mission leader's wife is actually related to Tammy as well so he talked to me on Sunday about that. It's crazy! I live in an apartment complex with another companionship of sisters (my friend from the MTC is one of them)! We are so excited that we get to continue to be roommates. We live off of XXXX on XXXX in a complex called XXXX. You can google maps it and creep me. That might be fun.

Well I arrived here on Tuesday and we had some orientation and interviews with the mission president. President Jenkins told me I am a very accomplished young woman and he doesn't doubt that I will be a leader among the sisters in my mission. My trainer told him our first day out that I don't need to be trained, I came prepared and that I will be ready to train someone at the end of this transfer. I don't know if that will happen, but I hope it will. I would love to train new missionaries and help them learn. Most people don't train at six weeks, but she has said that I will be ready at six weeks to train and that I am ready now. So pray that will happen, because I am really struggling with not being in charge. It's hard for me. Maybe that's the lesson I'm supposed to be learning; that it's okay to be a follower.

The one ward we are in has a lot of work to do; we're teaching a less active lady and her non-member boyfriend who has a baptismal date. We are also working with a family that has three boys who aren't baptized and the mom just came back to church. They're professional skateboarders and are so legit. The little boys are crazy little Tony Hawks. We met a lady last night that we set up a first appointment with and we have a few other less active members we meet with here and there. This ward is so successful because the members are all so involved. It is wonderful the support we receive and how open the members are with their nonmember neighbors. It really works miracles.

The other ward is struggling. I think it's because it's an affluent ward so the people in the area are very comfortable with their lives and don't see the need for religion. The members are great there too and involve their neighbors, but it just isn't working as well there. There is a part member family that we stop by and meet with in that ward as well. I think I was sent here to work with them because their situation is a lot like ours was before dad joined the church. He is supportive and goes to church with his wife and teenagers, but has some doctrinal issues. He loves American history so we talked about that last night and I am praying for ways to help him. One of these nights I will tell him about my childhood and dad, but I want to get him to trust me first and want him to know that I love him before I try and talk religion with him. He also grew up in the Midwest (Sioux Falls) so we have that in common as well.

We stopped by a lady's house a few days ago who was taking the lessons and then stopped. We just wanted to check back in with her. She is a nice old lady and she broke my heart. She has read the Book of Mormon and knows without a doubt that it is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and she believes everything. EVERYTHING. But she won't be baptized because she is a Baptist and believes getting baptized more than once is blasphemous. I talked with her a little and at the end of the lesson she hugged me and told me that I have a sweet and genuine heart. So at least she knows that I love her and just want to help her.

On Thursday we got to go to the Gilbert Temple open house. It was absolutely beautiful. I can't even put into words the astonishing beauty of every room. The detail in the woodwork and carpet and everything was phenomenal. The baptismal font has beautiful tile work. That was probably one of my favorite parts. The stained glass throughout the building is also breathtaking. I can't wait to make a trip back to Arizona sometime after my mission and to do a session in that temple. Man it was just wonderful. They've had a great turnout there as well. A lot of members in the area took their nonmember friends and it has been a wonderful way for us to talk to people about the church.

Everyone I meet loves my last name. Conversations go like this:

Me: Hello, I'm Sister Poppe

Them: POPPE! That is just so cute. What a last name!

Thanks dad, I owe ya.

Then the conversation always takes this turn:

Them: So, where are you from?

Me: Minnesota.

Them: Oh! I bet you're glad to be here then, in this weather! Man it is cold there.

These Arizonans just think that their state is the biggest blessing in my life. They don't know me. Maybe I miss the cold. I really don't, but I can tell you one thing. In a few months I will be missing it. They really are nice though, even if they believe their state is superior to mine.

They're also great because they feed us. I am super excited for this week because on Wednesday someone is taking us to Golden Corrale (spelling is off, I know...but spell check wants to change it to coral) and on Thursday our solid investigator is making us bacon wrapped steak. Mmmmmmm.

So the sad news from my week is that I don't have an iPad yet and won't have one until I've been out for three weeks. The mission president wants us to do "real" missionary work for three weeks before we get an iPad. But when I get one I am allowed to blog again! I will most likely have to start a new one because they want us to, but I will get an hour a day to be on Facebook and on my blog. I am really excited because my letters home are always poor quality because of time restraints, so I am excited to actually have a lot of time to compose a well written message. It will be nice to have my letters published on one blog so people can see what I'm up to and then to have another blog with spiritual thoughts and posts that aren't related to me as much as they are to scriptures and the gospel.

I thought of a Hunger Games/Plan of Salvation metaphor yesterday in the middle of a doorstep lesson, but didn't share it because it was probably slightly blasphemous. But it was really good. Basically I wanted to liken the creation of Earth to the creation of a new Hunger Games arena every year. Earth was created so we could live and be tested and try to be triumphant. The Hunger Games arena was built every year so the tributes could live (or die) and be tested and try to be triumphant. It's solid. I encourage you to share that with those who are okay with unorthodox teaching methods.

I've been really good at scripture study. For someone who didn't study throughout her entire college career, I am actually pretty good at scripture study. I am super proud of myself. It's probably just because Heavenly Father is qualifying me to do His work, but I've never had such a long attention span in my life! I've been marking every scripture mentioned in Preach My Gospel in my scriptures and it has really helped me memorize the references. After I finish that I want to start re-reading the Book of Mormon with a specific question in mind and only read to find that answer. Elder Bednar gave that suggestion in a talk we watched in the MTC and I think it would be good for me and help me focus.

Well, that is about all I've got. Be nice to the missionaries you see because I am one of them now and people aren't always nice to me. Feed them and give them water. Study your scriptures because it is important. I'm not sure if I shared this with you last week or not, but read Mosiah 27:14. It's a good verse about prayers of faith being answered. It's when Alma the Younger was in his angel induced coma and the angel mentions that the faith of Alma the Elder was so great that he (Alma the Younger) was being chastised by an angel. Good stuff.

Love you all,

Sister Poppe

Monday, February 10, 2014

Heading to Arizona!


Hey guys!
I have a ton to type and only twenty minutes, so here goes!  
I have had a superb week here at the MTC.  That being said, I am ready to head out for Arizona tomorrow morning!

The highlight of my week was teaching our first investigator, Jane Doe.  At the MTC we teach individuals and we are never sure if they're actors or real people who aren't members of the church.  Most of the actors are recent converts to the church and the stories they share are their own.  Jane is in the 12 step program, believes in energy healing, and is a way left wing liberal, but she is seriously amazing.  I love her so much and am sad to leave Provo and her behind.  Sister Whitten and I learned so much teaching her.  Basically we learned that you create lesson plans and then you don't use them because the Spirit directs you in other ways.  But it has been so powerful teaching a lesson that isn't my own, but exactly what Jane needs.  I pray every day that I never forget how to teach by the Spirit because it is so much better than teaching the lesson we've planned.

I also started using my class breaks to parkcore in the lounge of our building.  Basically I just look like a fool and run around jumping off of chairs, walls, drinking fountains, steps, end tables, and chair rails.  But the funny thing is now my entire district does it during free time and on our way to dinner, the gym, etc.  Also it's hilarious because we all are awful at it.  And we're in skirts.  Imagine me just running around kicking off of drinking fountains and yelling PARKCORE.  I can understand why a member of my branch presidency shook my hand the other day and just said, "Sister Poppe, you're just a gem."  Because I am crazy.  

Speaking of being crazy.  Bryce would be proud of me because I have started doing my vampire hiss at people.  I officially know these people well enough that I am freaking weird around them.  My friends Sisters Adams, Clift, and Whitten and I are starting a missionary band called Pug in a Basket.  I don't have the best track record with starting bands and actually having them go anywhere; there's a first time for everything.  Along the lines of bands, I have instituted Disney shower time sing a longs.  I lead all others in the showers in princess songs as we bathe.  It is often a high point in my evening as I imagine birds are washing my hair while I serenade the entire first floor with my lady friends.  

Something else important.  It's called 4 square.  We decided that we are starting an olympic team because we are good.  I kid you not.  I am actually pretty decent at this sport.  And I'm the most enthusiastic.  I was actually kind of embarrassed because a boy from my ward last semester works at the MTC gym and I am so crazy about 4 square.  Our American Olympic team is comprised of myself, Sister Clift, Sister Adams, Elder Pitts (he just left for Australia today actually), Elder Sweeten, and one random elder who isn't in our zone whose name is Elder Jolley, but I just call him Elder 4 square because for the longest time I couldn't remember his name.  I've included a few 4 square pics.  

One is a team picture of my district (not the olympic team) and the other is me doing the winning shot that kicked Elder Sweeten from the king spot and put me in it.

The other high point of my week was when I had an interview with my branch president yesterday.  He told us it was his goal to make each of us cry and he did just that.  I'm not sure how he did it but after 15 minutes of talking to him about how I decided to serve a mission and other things I was sobbing.  I hated it, but also kind of loved it.  He has far more faith in me than I have in myself and is just the kindest man.  He is one of the only people I've ever met, who isn't family or a good friend, who I actually believed loved me when he told me that he did.

We had this in-field orientation on Friday that was 8 hours long and awful.  I'm running out of time otherwise I would elaborate.
My companion is exactly like Bob.  I told her about him and she agreed to marry him if he is single when we get back.  They are so much alike.  I love it.  

Read Alma 19:6 when you have some time!  It's really great!

I've included some pictures of the girls in my district and the guys in my zone.  The smaller group pic is all of us going to Mesa (sister and elders except Elder Pitts is in all of them even though he isn't going)


and the larger ones have the boys that left last week.  

Some pictures are also from the day I was dropped off at the MTC and one is the one mom took of me in the Minneapolis airport.  


I love you all and miss you all and can't wait to tell you more about my time out in the field.  

Pray that I make it safely to Mesa and that I will not be very awkward.
PS:  Sisters Adams, Clift and I also spend an hour or so every night in the "love nest".  Basically we push two couches completely together to make an enclosed space where we sit and de-stress and talk about things.  Everyone who walks by is super jealous of our creativeness.