Monday, March 24, 2014

Pour Some Salt On Me

Season's Greetings! (Why do people only use that at Christmas.  We're technically always in a season?)

This week welcomed a hodge podge of experiences.  At this point in time I don't hide anything from my companion; I'm just my normal kind of weird self. I think that's why weirder things are happening now.  She enjoys it though.  She actually told me that I am her favorite companion ever and that I make missionary work fun.  That was my goal all along and we know how much I love making and accomplishing goals!  The other night there was a cat in this neighborhood and we just started meowing at it and it was meowing back.  We realized what we were doing and stopped because we sounded ridiculous.  I'm still not even sure how that happened.  

On Tuesday we went to the temple and it was such a nice experience.  I didn't realize how much pent up stress I had until we were there though.  We were there just a few minutes before I realized it was the first time in a month and a half that I was thinking about myself instead of the entire population of Mesa.  It was nice to focus on the 99 problems I got that ain't about investigators.  It was a very peaceful and spiritual experience.  Everyone, go to your neighborhood temple!

Remember when we had dinner with the family that took us to Cheesecake Factory?  We had dinner with them again on Tuesday at their home.  They have the sweetest kids.  They're five, three, and six(?) months.  Their three year old took an immediate and extreme liking to me.  I'm not sure what I did to earn his friendship, but we bonded.  While dinner was still cooking I was playing with the kids while my companion was talking to their dad.  The little boy was climbing on the couch behind me and then was lying behind me and touching me with his feet (thankfully there were no socks on them) so I turned around and was tickling him and then said, "Noah!  I heard that we are eating you for dinner! I bet you are yummy.  Let me put some salt and pepper on you!"  I acted like I was putting salt and pepper on him and then like I was cooking him and he loved it.  So then his sister wanted to be my friend so she came and lay behind me too (how we all fit on that couch I am not sure) and she said, "YOU HAVE TO PUT THE SALT ON ME TOO."  So I did it again.  When we were getting ready to eat their mom told them to go wash their hands and Noah straight up refused to unless I would go with him.  I'm not allowed to be alone with children so I grabbed my companion and we went with the kids to wash their hands.  We all four fit in the little bathroom by magical means I am sure #engorgiocharm #youprobablydidn'tunderstandthatharrypotterreference. He then insisted that I sit next to him at the table, I obliged. When we got to the table Noah wouldn't put his bib thing on so I told him he had to because it was like a superhero cape and then I agreed to wear one if he would.  So he put it on and then I ate with an apron as well.  He talked to me the entire meal about Frozen, the Lego Movie, and everything else under the sun.  He attempted to share his mashed potatoes with me, but I wasn't having that.  After the meal his mom took a picture of all of us and she said she was going to text it to you.  

                                          The cheesecake factory family

Let me tell you, jeopardy was a success!  We made a kids version and an adult version and our investigators loved it.  

We are still trying to drink 125 ounces of water a day and eat healthy for Hermione.  We started working out with her a few mornings a week as well.  We take our roommates and another set of sisters.  My legs were sore most of this week from our crazy moves.  We don't know how much longer it will last though, because she wants to meet at 5:30 instead of 5:45 in the morning now that spring break is over and she has to get her kids ready.  We told her that 5:45 is already killing us and we can't do 5:30.  We think we will start working out without her but get together with the other sisters a few mornings a week still.  Hermione is hilarious though.  She's sassy and will get on me about doing the moves right and stuff.  She will say things like, "POPPE!  You need to have a wider stance so you get a better work out," and I'll be like, "HERMIONE!  YOU NEED TO READ YOUR SCRIPTURES SO YOU DON'T GO TO THE TELESTIAL KINGDOM."  It's actually a very loving relationship.  This is why we're taught to teach people, not lessons.  She responds best to threats about the Telestial Kingdom.
I found myself saying the same thing in every prayer I said one day and have decided to make it my mission motto.  I always ask that I will be able to focus, enjoy, learn, and grow so those are my only goals now.  To focus on my mission, enjoy the time I am here, learn from everything, and grow both spiritually and temporally.  

We had a district meeting the other day and we were studying faith.  We watched a clip from an Elder Holland talk that ends with Elder Holland re-telling the story of Christ asking Peter if he loves Him three times.  We did an activity with our companions afterward where one of us acted like Christ and asked our companion if he/she loves us (Christ) three times.  Then at the end of that we were instructed to tell our companion whatever the Spirit prompted us to tell them so we could practice deciphering other's needs.  It was the coolest experience.  Honestly, it was probably the closest to giving a blessing that I will ever get.  I mean that in a completely non-blasphemous way.  It was an amazing experience.  My companion told me there were times I quoted her patriarchal blessing and that I told her exactly what she needed to hear.  When my companion did it to me I cried because it was such a spiritual experience.  It really helped build my confidence in my ability to help others.

Okay.  Now here is the best story.  I saved it for the end so we can reward all of those that actually read my entire blog.  The other night we were in the sketchier part of our area.  There weren't any street lights and it was already dark.  We had parked our car a few houses away from where we ended up.  We had a member with us and we had just visited a less active family and were walking to our car when this exuberant blonde kid asked if we were selling something. We told him who we were and he got really excited and started telling us about how he read part of the Book of Mormon in prison and how the Holy Ghost is, and I quote, "better than heroine.  Seriously.  That's the most powerful drug and it is better than that!"  I asked if he had a Book of Mormon and he didn't so I gave him one that I had on me to which he exclaimed, "SISTER.  I LOVE YOU!"  Then he hugged me.  Let me tell you, getting hugged by a skinny stoned kid with elbows like Chinese ninja stars was not a pleasant experience.  At this point a random kid came up to us and asked for a Book of Mormon too so we gave him one.  He left.  We continued to talk to the over the top high kid about the books he was out selling (though he didn't have an order form with him or any books...I think he was just trying to con people out of drug money).  We decided to get his contact info because he was really excited about everything.  He told us he doesn't have a phone and is living in a hotel but that he would give us his Facebook name and email addresses.  Okay, one of them contains the words dopest and king next to each other.  Seriously.  I am not making this stuff up.  We were kind of entertained by him up until this point, but the instant he gave us his contact information I had the distinct impression that we needed to wrap this party up and get back to our car, another person's house, or at least on a street that was being lit by something more than the glow of our ever expensive and enticing iPads.  My companion asked if we could share a scripture with him and then asked if we could pray.  He said that he wanted all of us to pray.  Okay at this point I am like, we need to go and the member with us was also extremely uncomfortable.  But we oblige.  I didn't shut my eyes through the entire prayer and I had my hand in my purse ready to grab my pepper spray and/or my screw driver.  After we all prayed individually he asked if he could walk us to our car.  Again we said yes but I was working out all the scenarios in my head.  I was ready for him to pull a knife or gun out, for a van to drive up to kidnap up into the sex slave trade, or for him to try and steal our car.  He didn't try anything; luckily for him because he was maybe 120 pounds and my companion and I are both a little thicker.  After we dropped the member off I said, "I hate to break it to you Sister Gillespie, but I don't think we should contact that kid.  I got the distinct impression partway through our conversation that we needed to leave and never talk to him again.  I know he seemed promising because he was excited about the Book of Mormon, knew about the Holy Ghost, and had a good knowledge of Mormonism, but the Spirit straight up told me to leave him on the road."  She was relieved because she had the exact same impression at the exact same time that I did during our conversation.  After finding him on Facebook and seeing the creepy stuff he has on there we were further affirmed in our decision to leave him to his own devices.  We found out from some members in that neighborhood that he had stopped by their homes trying to sell books to them as well and that they all had a bad feeling about him.  For a drug addict he was actually clean cut and looked like a nice kid.  It was just another testament to the fact that Satan will present nine truths to get you to believe one lie.  I don't doubt that he knew what he needed to know to sound impressive to us so that we would hopefully try and communicate with him again so that he could then do something bad to us or to try and con us.  

Well, that is all of the excitement for this week!  When you have some time, read Mosiah 18:10-11.  Alma is talking about baptism and he says that the people clapped and shouted for joy when they were told that they could be baptized because it was the deepest desire of their hearts to serve others and follow Christ.  I think I often take my baptismal covenant for granted. I should clap my hands and shout for joy more often because I have been given the opportunity to follow Christ.  Sometimes we forget how much we have to be grateful for.
Thanks to everyone who has read my blog posts and liked and shared them on Facebook! It means a lot to me. I can't believe the positive response I've received on my last blogpost and am in shock at the number of people who have shared it. Imagine all of the people who learned something about Jesus Christ, Mormonism, Joseph Smith, etc. just from the people who have shared my post! I love it. Keep sharing it. Not because I want people to adore me, but because I want people to learn more about the church!

Sister Poppe

    This is my first district here in the field!  We all get along really
      well and Sister G and I love being the only sisters in our district.
We get the treatment that we should and the elders love our sassyness.
                  L to R:  Elders England, Webb, and Call, Sister Gillespie and I, and Elders McCown,
                                                                   Couch, and Erickson.

  My entire zone at the temple!  We're the Saguaro Zone.

Me and my shadow
Arizona Sunset

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Hey girl hey!
Just to preface this, I'm typing all of this on my iPad instead of a computer, so there may be more errors than normal.  I'm finally to the point that the weeks are going fast.  Everyone in the field told me that your weeks go by really quickly and until this past week I rolled my eyes in my brain and scoffed because my weeks were not going by quickly.  I think being comfortable in your ward really helps with that because I know a lot of families at this point and I love them all.  I do still get overwhelmed at the fact that I still have 17 months left though, so I just don't think about that.

I had a great idea this week though.  Somehow I want to train cats to act out the Restoration lesson.  Imagine a lil' Joseph Smith tabby cat praying in some woods.  That would get so many YouTube hits and would subsequently lead so many people to the gospel.  I think the prophet needs to get on board with this.  #josephsmithtabbycat #allcreaturesofourgodandking #imisstwitter

We had a zone conference this week.  We were given more rules.  At first I was irate because I felt like we were living in the USSR.  To a certain degree we are, but I agreed to most of the rules before I got here so I'm willfully submitting myself to communism.  Anyway, I hate when the good are punished with rules that were only brought about because other people were breaking rules.  It took some effort, but I decided to not be bothered by the rules and just follow them so I can get blessings...and work on obedience.  We no longer have zone sports because too many injuries were occurring and inappropriate elder/sister relationships were blossoming.  We can't have iPods anymore and need to reevaluate our music choices.  But, we also get 2 hours to email a week now instead of an hour and a half! That is exciting, except not this week because apparently my inbox is only ever in feast or famine mode.  Either a million people email me or just you and dad do.  This week I have no friends.  They're all dead to me.  We also talked about bed bugs and scorpions at zone conference.  I am disgusted.  I thought I didn't have to worry about anything gross when I was called to to a stateside mission.

One night the family that was supposed to feed us dinner had something come up and so they just called ahead to a pizza place and ordered us a meal.  It was at Barrow's.  It's some of the best pizza I've ever had.  We have had it 3 or 4 times since I've been out and it is delicious.  While we ate a miracle of sorts occurred.  There were two televisions next to each other by our table.  One was playing CNN and the other was airing hockey.  My companion played hockey and loves it and I love the news.  There was no volume or captions, but I am officially caught up on the Crimean conflict and the lost Malaysian plane.  After we left we started to feel guilty though and decided that if that happens again we should just take our food to go because we can't fight the temptations Satan places before us and eat with our eyes averted.  #sistersinners

During one of our lessons with Harry Potter this week Harry brought up the wise man and the foolish man.  We told him there was a primary song about them and then we sang it for him.  I was shocked I remembered all of the words and the actions. He was shocked that we gave him a show.  We were brainstorming ideas to make his lessons more meaningful so I said we should create a investigator jeopardy.  We each wrote our own questions and created our own game pieces I'm going to buy Velcro later and a foam board and am going to create a legitimate set up.  I already made pretty point and category pieces and am going to get them laminated.  I am so excited, you don't even know.  

We get together with our district once a week to get to know each other better and theoretically do some sort of training, though that part never happens because we get off track really easily. Earlier I'm the evening I decided that if I got arrested I could probably get out of jail without the mission president even ever knowing that I was incarcerated because of all my connections in Arizona.  If I get arrested I'm just going to call you, mom, and you can then call everyone I know in the valley until someone can bail me out.  Well, I was sharing this theory and one of the elders in my district looked at me and said, "Sister Poppe, I imagine that you were just a wild wild woman before your mission."  Everyone else agreed.  I think they have a skewed perception of who I am, but I will embrace the bad girl persona, no one has ever believed that I'm's kind of exciting.  Just acting like I'm edgy makes me feel edgy.  Woooooo!

 Speaking of all my Mesa connections, a family in one of my wards is relate to us.  The husband was Grandpa Harold's cousin.  Also, my roommates are in Cammete's daughters' singles ward. My companion said that if she does ever get arrested it better be with me because I literally can throw a rock in this town and it will hit someone that knows me or of me.

We helped some families do a little outdoor service on Saturday.  I'm only 48 shades of white now.

One of the youth in the Twin Knolls ward is a convert of about 6 months and she has been wanting to go on visits with us, so we took her out to contact less active people and a referral with us on Friday.  She is a lot of fun and wants to go on a mission when she is 19.  We are trying to have members with us more during these visits because I believe it is more meaningful to have a member tell you they want you to come to church then it is to have two girls on your doorstep who are there because it is their job to be.  Hopefully this was a good start. 

On Wednesday we had dinner with a family that has five kids.  The dad was still at work and the mom gives piano lessons, so we just are with the kids while the mom gave a lesson.  As we were leaving the mom of the daughter having a lesson talked to us and said she has never seen girl missionaries and that she likes that we are out serving.  Later that evening the member who was giving the lesson called us and said that the lady we talked to is interested in learning more and that she will set up a time for us to come back to her house and talk with her.  It was a miracle because no one in that ward ever wants to be taught!

In that same ward is a part member family.  I talked about them the first week I wrote home from the field.  We teach the step son (Neville Longbottom) who is a member because he doesn't know a lot because he always skipped Sunday school as a kid (and still does a lot).  The step dad (Sirius Black) isn't a member, but he comes to church every week and even has a calling with the cub scouts #drymormon.  It has never felt right to teach Sirius Black so we haven't bothered him.  We know that he knows the church is true and that he will come around when he is ready.  We figured teaching Neville would be a good way to show him that we care about people and don't just teach to baptize.  I also suggested we move our lessons with the step son from Thursday to Sunday so Sirius would overhear things.  My companion and his wife agreed so we have done that the past three weeks.  Well this weekend Sirius met with a member for lunch in another ward in our stake and told him that he has actually been reading the Book of Mormon and wants to know if it is true, but doesn't want to meet with missionaries.  The elders in the other guy's ward told us this, Sirius didn't.  We were teaching Neville the Plan of Salvation last night at our lesson and Sirius sat in on the entire thing (well the whole family did actually). We didn't have an 8:00 appointment, so we let the lesson go long and we spent over an hour just answering Neville's many, many, many questions.  Sirius told the wife a few weeks ago that he is surprised at how patient we are with with Neville and how we speak in metaphors and language he understands instead of just preaching at him.  After our lesson last night he thanked us for being patient and working so well with Neville.  We are hoping that Sirius will come around soon and will be baptized and that we can help Neville gain a testimony.  I love working with them, they're a really fun family.  They remind me of our family which is probably why I love them.  The older brother even said last night that it's a good thing we aren't elders otherwise we would have blown it with Neville long ago because elders don't have the kind patience that we do.  Neville has a hard time focusing in the basics and wants every crazy scenario explained to him.  He doesn't like the mysteries of God (like how we don't exactly know how the world was created, how black people were created, etc.) and allows that to get in the way of him believing there is a God.  Today in personal study I happened to read Mosiah 4:9 which basically says we don't have to worry about everything if we believe in God, so I sent him that scripture.

I'm up to Exodus now in the Bible and am still thoroughly enjoying it.  I don't know where Dreamworks got off with their interpretation of the Prince of Egypt though.  They sure extrapolated a lot out of the one chapter that describes Moses' birth, childhood, escape into the desert, and marriage. #dreamworksbetrippin'

Today we had a zone activity which is why I'm emailing later than normal.  We played mini golf and laser tag.  I actually did really well in laser tag.  I was shocked.  For a girl I actually did quite phenomenal.  I had the highest sister score, probably because I was a wild woman before my full time church service.  I even beat a handful of elders. #aintnobodygottimeformodesty #iamgettingridiculouswithmyhashtagsbutilovethemokay

Just a general note, I can read emails throughout the week on my iPad, I just can't respond to them until Monday, so anyone is more than welcome to email and it will always brighten my day.

As per usual, I'm sure I left a lot out, but these were the high points!  We get to go to the temple tomorrow, so I'll tell you about that next week!


Sister Poppe

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Dutch Oven Expert

Family and Friends,

 I'm going to skip the pleasantries and jump right in this week.  So our investigator Hermione was in prison for a period of her life (which is where she found the gospel) and I have been wondering for weeks if she was in a prison gang.  She's very straightforward and honest and I felt like we had progressed to a point that I could just ask her, so I did.  Unfortunately she was never in a gang.  The women all wanted her, but she didn't want to be under anyone else's authority.  She thought it was hilarious though that I had been wondering for so long.  She has been doing this healthy eating challenge and exercise program and is loving it.  When we were talking to her about scripture study and why she isn't doing it she said that she knows the blessings that are associated with it, she's experienced them before, she is just being lazy.  Later in the lesson my companion was talking about eating healthy and said, "I used to eat healthy and I should again.  I know it's better for me, I just don't want to do it!"  Hermione jumped on that and was like, "SEE WHY I DON'T READ MY SCRIPTURES!?!?"  So we made a deal to eat healthy and drink more water every day if she would read her scriptures.  We message her a passage every day to read and tell her how our health is.  She sends us motivational minions and sassy comments.  It's hilarious.

We had dinner with a family this week that was making a Dutch oven dessert.  I was telling them about the Dutch oven I got for Christmas and they were asking me about my experience with outdoor cooking.  I told them about camp and such so they called me their Dutch oven expert all night and asked for tips.  They had me check the dessert throughout dinner and tell them when it was done.  I think they legitimately believe I am an expert.  I'm better than your average Boy Scout, but I'm not like the Paula Dean of outdoor cooking.  Though now that I think of it, I think HGTV should start a program about me cooking in nature.  Program title in the works.

The husband in another family we had dinner with last week kills pigeons for a living.  I told him about the mistress of Satan and said if he ever wanted to serve us he could pop on over to our place and dispatch the cursed winged beast.

We've been teaching our little skateboarders and it has been fun to get to know them a little better.  They're hilarious.

We had a lady who is good friends with a member of the church that we had talked to and then she cancelled our appointment with her a few weeks ago.  She only would talk to us on her doorstep, but this past week we decided we should stop by and she actually let us in!  She asked us quite a few questions.  She said she isn't interested, but she kept asking questions.  We're hoping she has a change of heart.  She is neighbors with the Tony Hawk dudes and we told her that we teach them every Tuesday at 7 and she was more than welcome to sit in on some of their lessons.  She seemed mildly intrigued and may come.  If not at least we've done our part to introduce her to the gospel and answer her questions and quiet her concerns.

We were teaching a lady who I will call Moaning Myrtle who things didn't pan out with.  Basically she loves the church but can't join right now because her dad who has Alzheimer's refuses to go to church anywhere but the Catholic Church.  She takes him to church every week and doesn't want to abandon him or change his routine because that is not advised due to his condition.  We have been wanting to teach her some more anyway, but she has family in town.  We texted her the other day to see how she is doing and she has all of the sudden contracted lupus, gout, and has been sick!  She said that when her Canadian family leaves she wants us to come back over because she needs a pick me up.  Understandably.  So we're hoping that we hear from her again soon.

My companion told me this week that we're in the lowest baptizing area of our mission.  I asked why she had neglected to share that information with me for so long and she said she didn't want to discourage me right off the bat.  Well newsflash, I was already discouraged and was blaming myself for the lack of tangible success.  I guess things here are much better than they have been in the past and we're hoping that the 40 day fast in our one ward will lead to more success.  On the other hand, we're professional seed planters.  I'm sure Johnny Appleseed didn't see many of the trees that grew because of his pan-national orchard planting; likewise I'm beginning to believe I will never see the fruit of my efforts either.  I'm starting to accept it and am trying to not base my success on the numbers, because quite frankly we don't have them.

I have an iPad!  Check out my new blog here  If you want to do a little missionary work that is painless, just like or share the posts I post on Facebook from my blog to help spread a gospel message.

We had this mid first transfer training meeting this week.  It was kind of a waste of time in my opinion, but it was nice to see my MTC friends.  We talked about the hardships we're experiencing and our trainers were in another room telling the mission president's wife the hard things they are experiencing with us.  My companion said she was already grateful that things were going well with me but she is even more grateful after hearing the things that are happening with the other new missionaries. I was grateful as well for her after hearing the frustrations the other greenies are experiencing.  There will always be things about your companion that bother you, but mine seems to do a lot less annoying things than the other trainers.  When I was asked what my biggest challenge was I said the lack of independence and trust involved with a mission.  I constantly feel like I have to report to someone else and can't even send a text message without my companion reading it (that's a mission rule). I haven't been accountable to anyone in almost 5 years and suddenly the entire mission hierarchy wants to constantly know what I'm doing.  Elder Sweeten raised his hand and agreed with my statements and said that it's also hard to constantly bite his tongue.  Like me, his trainer is younger and less wise than him and we both feel like we're always trying to softly lead and not step on their toes.  My mission president wasn't as apathetic as I believe he should have been.  He acknowledged the difficulty we were having and the humbling it would take to get over that.  He did say that our worldly experience does make us more knowledgeable in many respects, but we have to respect their mission experience and be teachable (which we both are).  We were frustrated that he immediately took our comments and assumed we were being proud and unteachable; we're both learning a lot, but wish we had a longer leash (or better yet, not one at all).  I feel like one of those children in an amusement park straining against my mother's grip on my pink monkey leash disguised as a backpack.

It's kind of been a week of chastisement.  I feel like everything I've read in the scriptures has been a call to repentance and then my mission president told all of us to be more humble and we would have fewer problems (he did also say that we are the least whiny group he has ever had, so he must tell everyone to be humble).  I also read some talks that made me feel like a horrible sinner, right down there with that pigeon.  I'm going to be seeking some more uplifting study materials this week. Maybe some relief society session talks, or articles from The Friend.  Our mission president did share a good scripture with us though.  Jacob 4:18 is basically Jacob saying that he hopes he doesn't have over-anxiety to the point that he can't feel the Spirit.  I think that's my main problem right now.  I have over-anxiety about all of my flaws and insecurities and am trying to fix every abominable characteristic that I have all at once and it is blocking the Spirit out at times.  

I don't know a lot of things that happened in 1994, but that is the year that this little elder who has a crush on me was born. I was running the streets of Iowa, being a pre-school ringleader and he was a fetus. I was in denial that he was making eyes at me, but out of nowhere my companion commented on how cute it is that Elder Apparently Into Older Women has a little crush on me. He needs to calm it down, it's just the light of Christ that comes with my missionary duties that is sucking him in.  I'm awful at zone sports but he is always passing me the ball and stuff. Like what is this? Even undying love isn't a justification to put your chances of winning on the line! It's just kind of funny. I have never had anyone interested in me (let alone someone who is supposed to be abstaining from women) and now this pre-Backstreet Boys elder is trying to make a cougar out of me. You're going to hear me ro-oa-oa-oar? No. No roaring. Not even any meowing.

This year has been kind to me in regards to daylight savings time.  I got to reap the reward of an extra hour of sleep last Fall and didn't have to jump forward this weekend when everyone else did!  What a tender mercy. #seriouslysoblessed.

We had dinner at this family's house and their kids put together a dog show for us.  The dogs' main talents were jumping on humans and being dragged against their will behind a leash (seriously, what is with all of the leashes this week?!?).  They also had a pig in their backyard. I still don't even know what was going on.

We had stake conference this week and the stake president had the missionaries sit on the stand because he wanted to stress the work that we are here to do and give everyone a visual.  Saturday evening was all about missionary work and it was great.  I'm hoping it leads to more referrals because I hate the days when we have nothing and just try and find less active people to teach.  They rarely want to talk to us and they get all sassy and I'm not allowed to be sassy back.  

I have this dilemma.  BYU trained me to never walk on grass with all of their "don't walk on me I'm trying to grow" signs.  But here's the thing, if people's front lawns are just rocks and not grass are you allowed to walk on them?  I don't know.  I mean to me a rock is a rock, but to these people rocks are their groomed front yard.

I had a profound spiritual idea this week.  What if we picked our race in the pre-mortal life but some of us didn't get our first choice?  That would explain all the white boys with the droopy pants in this world and all the white ladies who say, "NO GIRL.  NO YOU DIDN'T."  Maybe a lot of people wanted to be black and had to settle for a white body.  *Disclaimer, this is not a belief of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This is #thegospelaccordingtoAmanda

We've been teaching the youth in our one ward a lot because we have no one else to teach.  It is a very rewarding experience.  A lot of them have strong testimonies coupled with doctrinal concerns.  It has been a joy to get to know them and help them figure out who they are and what they believe.  

Peace out! 

Sister Poppe

Tender mercy! We passed Pete's Fish and Chips during today's P-day adventures! After my exclamation of excitement, my companion insisted that we eat lunch there.  It was so delicious I could eat there every day.

We did some service for a family renovating their house.  I felt like we were guest staring on Property Brothers.  Unfortunately my screwdriver was of no value for this cleanup job.

Companionship unity.  We both agree that Oreos are delicious.  Though she is all about the single stuffed ones? Who is she?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

That pigeon was the mistress of Satan himself!

So this past week was pretty good.  I have more fully adjusted and kind of know what to expect now so I'm not as all over the place with my emotions.  I've decided to give my investigators Harry Potter character names so I can tell you about them and you won't have to change their names on my blog or anything.  And then I can keep them all straight from week to week as well.  Additionally, let it be known that the character names I pick are in no way related to the personalities of those I am writing about. So the first person I'm going to tell you about is Harry Potter.  He is pretty solid.  We're just waiting on his bankruptcy to go through so he can get married and then get baptized.  I may have already told you that though.  Things went well with him this week.  Ron Weasley is my favorite, mainly because he is a challenge and I've known him from the beginning almost.  They only had one lesson with him before I got here.  I think I need to interject here something else before I continue with him.  First of all I have been getting frustrated with how my companion and I prepare and teach our lessons.  I feel like they are robotic and aren't addressing the needs of the individual.  I brought this up and there was some tension between us as I tried to explain I didn't like our process without telling my companion that she's been doing everything wrong her entire mission.  She let me plan the way I wanted to and begrudgingly asked if I wanted to take the lead in the lesson we had with Ron.  I said that I did.  The thing with Ron is I knew there was something we were missing.  Something wasn't clicking with him and he wasn't progressing because of that.  I wanted to mainly take the time to ask him questions and figure him out before we kept bulldozing through lessons.  I questioned him and got a lot of information out of him.  Mainly he isn't praying sincerely because he is afraid that the church is true.  And if it if true he is afraid of the lifestyle changes and persecution that may follow.  He was a born again Christian for a while and was all crazy about religion and lost all of his friends.  He doesn't want that to happen again. It was so nice to finally get an honest response from him.  Now we know what to do to better help him.  I was a little straightforward with him and he appreciated that as well.  He said he is going to actually try harder now and read and pray with real intent.  Next is Hermione Granger.  My companion has been working with her for a while and gets defensive about her because she knows her.  I was frustrated again and told her that I need the opportunity to get to know the investigators so I can help them.  Additionally, some people will share more about something you already know about if you bring it up again.  I felt like I needed to ask Hermione why she has had a sudden slide backward (I suspected I already knew the answer, but wanted to hear it from her).  My companion told me she already knew the answer to that and that we didn't need to ask.  I told her I was going to ask and then she could take the lesson wherever she wanted to, but that I wasn't doing my job as a missionary if I wasn't asking inspired questions and I felt like we needed to bring up her lack of motivation.  So I did.  I was bold and straight up asked why she had started smoking again, why she wasn't reading her scriptures, and why she was being lazy in general.  She gave us a super lengthy and informative answer about her past and her need to feel in control and her coping mechanisms, etc. I asked if she wanted baptism or not (her family is all baptized and she isn't--she has to wait until her parole is finished).  She said she did.  I asked if she was acting out because she knows she can't be baptized for a few months and she felt the need to be in control of something. She said that is why she started smoking again and why she stopped reading her scriptures.  So we spent the entire lesson being blunt about repentance (she's blunt, so we knew we could be too).  It was nothing like we had planned and I knew that would happen if we took the time to figure her out instead of teaching her about something just to teach her about something.  We also teach Hermione's whole family on a different day.  We were going to show them a Mormon Message and it wasn't working. My companion was just going to disregard it, but I told her I was going to act it out.  So I did.  The kids loved it (probably more than they would have loved the video) and it was more interactive.  My companion said that I should just plan on acting them out from now on because people actually pay attention to me.  It was fun.  The girl with us for exchanges told me I was born to be a missionary.  I responded with, "Born to be a, probably not.  Born to get an Oscar, yeah that is likely."  Hahaha, I'm so funny.  I really like connecting with the people and finding out what their real issues are and digging down until I find something I can work with.  We also met a random man on the street and talked to him for about 10 minutes.  He wasn't interested, but it was good practice.  I spent my first few weeks being timid with my companion, but realized I need to be forward.  Just because she is in charge doesn't mean she knows what she is doing all the time and because of that our lessons were suffering.  I'm glad I set some things straight because 1) I feel like our lessons went a lot better this week and 2) I feel a lot better about the missionary I am becoming and actually feel like I am using my skills and talents and being directed by the Spirit and not by logic.
I need to thank everyone who has written me and sent me packages.  I am the most loved person I know.  My companion said that my friends put hers to shame.  You guys are all the best and I sincerely love getting mail.  I got a package from Michael this week and you, mom.  When I opened the one from Michael I was so excited that the sister that was on exchanges with us said she wished she got to see me open a package every day because it brought her so much joy to see how excited someone could be about mail.  She wasn't there this morning when I opened the one I got from you, mom, but I was excited then as well.  I'm just super easy to please, like a 4 year old.  I got some Reese's eggs from Michael which naturally made me very happy.  I got a massive Reese's egg that is approximately the size of a Chipotle burrito.  I am saving that for a low point though.  Some time when I really need a pick me up.  So I had these random shark print outs from Halloween and I put them on Michael's car one day to scare him.  Lo and behold one of those made its way into the box!  Those ghetto black and white shark cut outs have really made their rounds, let me tell you.  There was also a scripture marking pen, some scripture tabs, study aids, and Oscar ballots.  Thank you for the Nutella you put in my package!  I am so glad you read my mind!  I wanted it so badly.  Prayer works.  I got a few letters from camp friends too and they made me happy.  Keep sending the love, peeps!  I can't put into words the happiness I feel when I receive the love!

Our one ward is doing a 40 day fast.  It's going well; we're fasting for missionary work.  My companion and I did our day of fasting last week.  We haven't really had any work in that ward and we've already had a less active family express interest, so that is a blessing!  We went to dinner last week at a member's house and their daughter was there.  She is a lesbian and asked us a lot of questions about the church and same sex attraction.  It was really good.  I enjoyed it.  My companion was glad I took the lead on that conversation.  She was very polite and it was really a two sided discussion.
There's a crazy pigeon in our complex.  It literally hid in a bush and jumped out to scare me as I walked past it. I kid you not; it was like a child hiding in a clothes rack at a department store waiting to scare someone as they walked by.  That pigeon planned it and was the mistress of Satan himself, I am sure.

So I keep forgetting to tell you about my screwdriver! I brought 4 part floral screwdriver with me because I figured I would need it.  In the MTC every one mocked me.  Well guess who has gotten to use it.  Me!  A single sister needed help putting together a bookshelf and only owned one screw driver.  Luckily I have one so I brought it with me and now I keep it in my purse so when service presents itself I am ready.  We were able to use two screwdrivers and put together the furniture much more quickly.  She sincerely thinks I was inspired to bring it for her.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that I mainly brought my screwdriver so I would have a weapon if the zombie apocalypse happened while I was out.
I've learned a lot about being a leader without being in a position of power since I've been out here.  I have subtly taught my companion things without teaching her because I don't want to step on her toes.  I sneakily teach her so that we are both growing.  Before neither of us were.  We also had another sister with us last week (the one who likes it when I open packages) and she is young and kind of quiet.  She has a lot to say when you give her the chance and I really love her.  I wanted to help her, so after our day together when she asked for advice I spent some time talking to her.  I told her that she is quiet and contemplative and because of that her companion runs over her and that she doesn't get the opportunity to shine.  I also said that I don't doubt that she would shine if she was given the opportunity to do so; she is so powerful.  I encouraged her to talk to her companion about it.  She got teary-eyed and told me that is what she needed to hear because she isn't give the chance to show people that she knows anything.  I really liked working with her and think that I'm an average missionary, but an above average missionary motivator.  I really think a lot of the reason I'm on a mission is because I help the sisters I reminds me of when I worked at camp.  I just like mentoring people and helping them with their problems.
I have had some crazy dreams, let me tell you.  I think I get frustrated by all the rules of missionary life, so I break them in my dreams.  I had a dream that there were people that kept dropping their baby on the hot, hot, hot Arizona pavement and I wanted so badly to go and pick it up but I didn't because we aren't supposed to hold children.  I was so angry.  I then went swimming, but felt like it was okay because I put my missionary badge on my swimming suit.  I also had a dream that dad went crazy and wasn't going to church and that he was lying to me in his letters and he wasn't praying for me or wishing me well.  I was so mad.
Remember that one time we DVR'd the CES devotional that was on the same time as the Golden Globes and then I never watched it?  Well we were told to read that talk this week so I did!  It was really good.  You should read it or watch it if it's still on the DVR.  It's by Elder Callister of the 70 and is called something along the lines of The Blueprint for Christ's Church.  You should also watch the Mormon Message that I acted out (sorry, you'll miss my rendition), Wrong Roads.  I've been reading the Bible too.  It's hilarious.  Man.  It cracks me up.  Seriously, the Earth was only around for 7 chapters of Genesis before it was flooded.  And then not that long afterward the Tower of Babel happened and the people were punished again.  That is why we can't have nice things.  Human beings are literally always causing trouble.  I wonder if Moses got a kick out of all of this when he was learning about it via the burning bush?  In the Book of Mormon I'm in 2nd Nephi and I read a really good scripture this week in chapter 4, verses 27-30.  Basically Nephi is like, I spend so much time being bothered by my enemies and getting down on myself for being a sinner, and being frustrated about things I can't change when I should just be focusing on Christ and the positives of life.  It was good for me to read because I, too, focus on my faults more than the power of repentance and the positives in my life.

Wow.  This was long this week!
Thanks for all the prayers.


Sister Poppe