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?
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,