Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Walking on Rainbows While Fairy Dust Accompanies my Journeys

It was birthday week, everybody!

Here were the birthday week happenings:

Monday:  We had some sisters over to our apartment to hang out on P-day.  Sisters Adams, Remington, White, and Snyder came over.  Sister Snyder gave me a cute little notebook with a note in the front that said I am the best sister in the mission and that I deserve a great birthday week.  She was already my favorite, but she is even more my favorite now!  

Tuesday:  We had dinner at Smashburger with the YW president and her daughter from the Thunder Mountain ward.  She even bought us shakes.  It was one of many expeditions from the week that ultimately will lead to #birthdayweekdiabetes

Wednesday (my real birthday):  The elders greeted me at the gym with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" to the tune of the "La Cucaracha" song, complete with clapping.  They went on to sing it to me five times over the next three days.  We had a grill out with our district for lunch and that was fun as well.  I got a package from Michael that had some fun trinkets and some cards from our other friends.  A family in the ward made me a birthday cake that we had after our lesson with their daughter (she is one of the youth that we teach).  We had dinner with the RS president in Thunder Mountain, she made us burgers and bought Reese's ice cream (at this point about 50% of the members we are close with know that I have an obsession/border line addiction with Reese's Eggs). She also gave us a gift bag with fun toiletries.  We had a lesson with Harry Potter that night and played jeopardy with him.  All in all it was a wonderful day!

Thursday:  We had a RS activity that Sister Gillespie and I sang at.  A lot of women came up and told me Happy Birthday (they saw it on Facebook the day before).  It was very nice of them.

Friday:  We went to Chipotle with the Tony Hawke kids' mom.  I was so full later that day still that when my companion asked if I wanted some popcorn I told her, "No, I'm still full of one pound of Mexican diabetes."  She had a good laugh and now we classify our foods by what type of diabetes they are.  Mexican, white, Asian, etc.  I think white diabetes is probably the worst variety, but I haven't consulted the FDA yet.  Before lunch our member asked what my favorite restaurant was so that she could take us to lunch on Friday and I told her that my favorite restaurant, Rubio's, is just outside of the mission.  She said we should just go to Chipotle then and someday in the future she will run to Gilbert and pick up Rubio's for me and bring it back.  She really is the sweetest lady.  I would be her friend in real life.  She also said that if I ever need anything from Old Navy she will run over and pick it up for me too.  I love the members here and how great they are to us!

Saturday and Sunday:  Nothing too special happened in regards to my birthday.

Outside of birthday happenings, we had a great week too!

On Monday we had a family home evening with Neville Longbottom and his family.  We played gospel jeopardy and the step dad, Sirius Black was kicking butt.  His wife kept getting mad at him for doing so well and knowing everything because he won't be baptized.  At the end of the game Neville said, "So Sirius, where are you with the church right now anyway?"  It was hilarious.  Sirius got all quiet and kind of nervous and brushed off the question and said they would discuss it later. I hope it led to a good, productive conversation and that he is able to reflect on why he isn't a member yet!

On our way home from that FHE we ended up at the stop light with the elders.  They rolled down their window to tell us about the baptismal date they had just set and we were telling them about our good FHE.  The light turned green so the elders sped up to be next to us and were shouting at us from their car!  We continued our conversation with them for about another mile and it was hilarious! When we got back to our apartment complex we gave them some cookies (people gave us so much food this week for Easter and my birthday) and finished our conversation.  They're fun elders and they're pretty hard workers too.  I really like them.

Earlier in the night we had a lesson with the Tony Hawke family.  The boys fart and burp in front of us now because they like us so much and are comfortable with us.  It's a compliment wrapped in poor manners.  At one point in time the youngest boy was doing something that I couldn't see very well, though I saw him in the corner of my eye. I then heard his mom say, "Hey!  No more twerking!" I about died!  He was twerking in the kitchen.  The oldest boy prepared the FHE lesson and we had to list our favorite super hero with their strongest characteristics.  I picked George Washington. The boys thought it was really funny that I picked a historical figure instead of someone like Iron Man.  At this point they know me pretty well though and they said they weren't surprised.
            I saw this car that said, "Twerk it Miley".  I thought that was
            hilarious so figured this picture would fit in here since we just
                                       talked about twerking. 
I woke up Tuesday morning and was just kind of antsy so I scrubbed the kitchen with a toothbrush during companionship study.  I told my companion that I needed to scrub some things to get out some aggression so she could write down our lesson plans while I went to town with my best friends, Comet and a purple toothbrush I stole from the dentist in December.  

On Thursday we stalked one of our less active members (Harry Potter's fiancĂ© actually) at her place of employment, Waffle House.  She has kind of been hiding from us lately so we stopped in and bought a waffle so she would have to talk to us.  I'm not above being creepy when people's salvation is on the line #stalkingforsalvation

Do you want to know what obese chihuahua's look like?  Corgi's.  When you tell their owners that though they get a little sad.  Oops...

We met a crazy man the other day who is a medium and communicates with spirits.  We talked to him for about half an hour and as we were leaving he said that my ancestors had things to tell me. Naturally, it was me, not my companion, because the crazies love me.  He told me the following things:

1.      My ancestors are really confused about me, but they want to
      warn me about a mistake I made a few weeks ago.

2.      There's a lover in my life that is lying to me (Jesus is about the
       closest thing I have to a relationship right now, so that is interesting).

      3.  There's an impending pregnancy in my future

      4.  A shy young man adores me and I need to start being active with
           other young men so this shy admirer will make himself known to
           me and invite me out for a coffee date.  He is 1-2 years younger
           than me, or he's known me for 1-2 years.  He was a little unsure 
           how the 1-2 was supposed to manifest itself.  Anyway, his name
           starts with a T.  So I give you the go ahead random admirer, you
           have my permission to reveal yourself.  Maybe it's my Twitter
           stalker from 2012?

       5.  Something about a Ford Galaxy and an Allis-Chalmers tractor.

I don't even know how I find these people.

We had a really productive meeting with the bishop in Thunder Mountain.  My companion's first companion always said that the missionary work in that ward wasn't moving forward because the bishop wasn't on board, so I said I wanted to meet with the bishop.  Finally after I had my passionate border line temper tantrum a few weeks ago (the one that ended with My Milkshake) we had a meeting with the bishop set up.  I left any references to milkshakes at the door and we had a great conversation with the bishop.  We talked about the broken machinery for missionary work in the ward and brainstormed a lot of wonderful ideas.  After the meeting my companion said she is a bad missionary because she has been here for 7.5 months and never tried to meet with him and I've only been here 3 and demanded a meeting that I got, that resulted in a standing meeting once a month with our bishop, an invitation to BYC, and a missionary fireside on the date that I decide in which we will discuss missionary work as a ward in a round table meeting of sorts.  I am so excited!  I told her she isn't a bad missionary she just trusted her trainer and believed the work was dead in this ward.  I told her that she needs to learn from this lesson that you shouldn't live beneath your privileges.  We are both missionaries called by the same prophet to profess the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  We are entitled to a supportive bishop, ward council, and good members that are willing to work for us and with us.  I said that I got a meeting with the bishop because I told our ward mission leader that I deserved one and that I deserved more support than I was receiving.  Further I pointed out that the Lord deserves better members, especially when the people in this ward are showered with economic blessings.  It made me feel good that this went so well.  I'm not your stereotypical good sister missionary.  I don't walk on rainbows and fairy dust never accompanies my journeys.  I will not uplift people with my sweet spirit or tender voice, but I will motivate people and I will get something done.  I don't doubt I was sent to this area because they needed a sister with a little fire inside of her instead of sugar.  Once I've straightened things out then they'll probably get a super nice sister missionary in here to start converting the masses, but I will be the sister to tighten the bolts and fix the broken machinery.  I've spent a lot of my life feeling guilty for being "bossy" when I don't need to.  I read a book before my mission that said if you were ever called bossy as a child it actually just means you're a natural born leader and you shouldn't feel bad about that.  So I'm not #sisterpoppeforworlddictator2015

I hope I get to stay in this area for a little bit longer so I can help it along.  I hope that I can actually help it too! I have a lot of big ideas and hopes and dreams for this area.  Hopefully hard work and faith will help it out!

That about does it for this week!

Sister Poppe

                                       Flowers on a cactus, how odd.

                                               My companion and I

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Join the Young Liberty Lovers Club!

Hi peeps,

I had another exchange this week as my companion had her turn with our sister training leader.  It was a fun day.  I went to a different area and was with a sister named Sister White.  We taught the first lesson to a girl in their YSA ward and she cried!  I've never made anyone cry in a lesson, so that was kind of fun.  We had a fun dinner with this cute family.  Their youngest daughters are twins and they made us cards that thanked us for having dinner with them.  They were fun and enjoyed our company.  We also helped out with a YSA service project that involved sewing.  We all know that me at a sewing machine is a complete joke, so I stayed at the practice station all night and just talked to girls in the ward.  I practiced sewing figure eights with a sewing machine and sewing in a straight line. I am a disgrace to the women in my ancestry that can sew.

Aunt Tammy's sister is in one of my wards and they own some cows.  They had some meat to get rid of and they gave some to us!  Imagine how happy I was to get some free red meat!  We are sharing some with the elders this week for my birthday grill out.  We have grills in our apartment complex, so we are doing a district lunch on Wednesday.  It will be fun.  Some of the elders said they have never grilled and don't know how to. I thought every man was born with grilling abilities, but I guess I was wrong?  I guess its fine; I don't know how to sew after all.  I said I would grill though so it will not be disastrous.  Speaking of birthday meals, my companion took me to Smash Burger today for my birthday and bought my meal!  It was so nice of her. I told her I will get her some Pete's Fish and Chips with the gift cards you gave me next week (oh yeah, I did get your gift cards and the box you sent and the stuff you left at the mission office!  Thanks!).  A few ladies in one of our wards were saying that they wished they could have us over for dinner more often.  I like these ladies, one is the YW president and the other is the RS president.  Our meal coordinator hadn't scheduled our dinners for the week and the YW president was like, "I just always want to have you guys over for holidays but other people beat me to it!  I want Easter and Thanksgiving and Christmas!"  So I asked her what she was doing Wednesday and she said she was busy and asked why and I told her it's my birthday so it's basically a holiday.  The RS president jumped on that so she is feeding us on my birthday and the YW president is on Birthday Eve.  I'm glad that people love us in our wards and want to do nice things for us!  They will make birthday week a success I am sure!  Thanks for all the birthday cards!  As of Saturday I have received 45 cards!  A lady in the mission office asked what someone had to do to get people to love them as much as people love me.  I let her know that half of the cards were from you, mom and that I'm not sure people love me as much as they just fear you so they sent me cards because they were told to.  I also said it helps if you make a big deal about your birthday for two decades, eventually people catch on.

We stopped by this house the other day because we thought it was this guy named Tom's house that we were referred to.  It wasn't.  So we tried to talk to the lady anyway, but she wasn't having it. Later that week we drove by and I saw that her license plate says PAGAN.  #satansfriend No wonder she didn't want to talk to us.  She isn't even on the same team as we are!

Sister G and I worked the pageant Tuesday and Thursday and then went again on Friday night with Harry Potter and his soon to be step son.  After we walked through the visitor's center and looked around we still had an hour to kill.  We had our seats saved, so Harry was like, "Follow me." So we did and he started leading us away from the pageant...I knew immediately where we were going...and I was right!  A block later we were at DQ in line for Blizzard's.  We always ask Harry what he learns from things so he said to us, "What did you guys learn from this?  Oh I know, you guys learned to always follow Harry.  He knows what's up. And he goes towards ice cream."  He is a funny guy.

I took my mission driving test this week and passed so I am all ready to take over if Sister Gillespie gets transferred in a few weeks.  They see me rollin', they hatin'.  Seriously though, that Toyota we drive has no giddy up, so I will really just be rollin' and every one behind me will be hatin' and thinking I'm a snowbird that has over stayed her welcome.

 Hermione has taken to giving us life lessons during her lessons.  They're usually pretty funny.  We've created a hashtag #hermioneslifelessons.  Speaking of hashtags, in my attempt to be healthier I created my own motivational hashtag #totesfit815.  Because I want to be totally fit by August 2015 when I get home.  We'll see if it actually happens.  Also, that hashtag doesn't actually serve a purpose, it just makes me feel cool.  I put one on the fridge.  

I want to close with an excerpt from the letter I sent to the mission president this week:

"About a week before you gave us the atonement study guide to use leading up to Easter I decided I wanted to understand the atonement better because I didn't really know it that well.  I realized that I needed to find a way to understand the atonement better (because clearly sinning and then having to repent is not the best way to understand the atonement).  Lo and behold a week later we have this Easter study guide!  As I was reading the daily assignments I learned a lot, but it wasn't until Elder Bednar's talk about the enabling power of the atonement that my prayers were answered.  For the first time I understood how I personally relied on the atonement.  Sure I've been through some hard times where I asked for Christ to comfort me, but I wasn't sure how you were supposed to use the atonement regularly beyond repenting every day.  I'm proud at times and am overly confident in my abilities as well. I have stayed on the straight and narrow for the most part my entire life and attributed it to my personal strength.  It never dawned on me that the enabling power of the atonement is what made it possible for me to continually endure to the end.  It makes a lot of sense though.  I've often said that it is easy for me to make the right choices and always has been; peer pressure has never really been an issue for me.  Now I know why it has been easy!  Because the atonement makes it possible for us to be better and to continually improve!  The natural man will always prevail if we don't rely on the atonement.  I'm sure many people have said that the atonement packet was an answer to their prayers, but it was most definitely an answer to mine as well.  This Easter was the most meaningful one that I have ever had and I am grateful that I can continue to learn about the atonement and how it applies to my life."  In all seriousness, I have never felt closer to the savior than I do now and I understand things in an entirely new way now.  I don't know if you guys saw the Because of Him video that was all over Facebook, but it is beautiful.  I cried the first time I saw it.  We watch it multiple times a day because we love it.

Also, when you get a chance read through Alma 58-62.  They're the war chapters, but just pay attention to Moroni.  He is awesome.  I didn't realize how much he loves liberty.  He may have loved America first, but I love it most.  I think we'll hit it off in the Spirit World.  We'll start a young liberty lovers club or something.  He probably would have voted for Mitt Romney...but maybe not, since the church has no political leanings or whatever. #moroniisalibertarian #iknowit #ilovehim

Happy Birthday Week To Me!

Sister Poppe

                   10.3 pound pizza we had for dinner with Harry Potter.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Milkshake Doesn't Bring all the Boys to the Ward

Here we are at another Monday!

Man, I don't know if it is me or what, but my weeks keep getting filled with more and more crazy people and experiences. It's probably the world's birthday month gift to me. I do enjoy entertainment.  The first of this week’s entertainment was the Easter Pageant.  We got to attend the dress rehearsal last Tuesday and it was pretty good.  As a child I thought it was a super long production, like four hours, but it is only one.  So I guess six year old me was a little off.  We are working at the pageant this Tuesday night and going with some of our investigators that night and then we are working it again on Thursday evening.  It will be a nice change of pace and it will be nice to know that at least two nights this week our plans won't be cancelled!

I had an exchange this week with my sister training leader and it was such a wonderful experience!  The one we had last transfer was literally a waste of time, but this one was awesome. My companion went with my sister training leader's companion to their area, and Sister Snyder and I stayed in my area.  I was excited to have the opportunity to prove my value and plan a day the way that I want to.  My companion has a hard time letting go and doesn't like to listen to my input and it has been frustrating, so I was really pumped to be in charge for a day.  The night before the exchange we trade companions and talk about our goals for the transfer.  Sister Snyder is new at being a sister training leader and she told me that she very intentionally picked me to be her first exchange.  I didn't know her very well before our day together, but I guess she has observed me for quite a few weeks and wanted to start with me because she knew it would be a positive experience.  She was nervous to be in charge of her first exchange and said that I am personable but professional so she knew I would be nice but would give her honest input about her leadership style and capabilities.  I felt honored...but then got kind of nervous because I realized if she's been watching me other people may have been too!  I think I can adequately describe our relationship by saying we're like liquid pipe snake.  We work well together to get the job done.  When we combine, we're explosive!  She only has four months left in the mission, but I am praying really hard that she spends one of those transfers as my companion.  We had lunch scheduled with an investigator who dropped us, but wanted to eat with us.  We haven't talked to her in a month or so.  At lunch she shared some of her fears and concerns and we talked through them with her.  My companion isn't the strongest listener, so it was nice to be with someone who just listened with me so that we could help her.  The lady has a cute little beagle and that beagle loves me.  She will come and sit by me and lick me and climb on me.  We were in the middle of discussing something and the lady was like, "Man, Lysie has always loved you!  From the moment she met you she has just never left you alone!  It's because dogs can read auras and you have a good one." That's right.  Dogs can read auras.  And mine is good. #humanwhisperer.  After our visit with her I said I wanted to walk down the street to meet with an Iranian woman who had been to her neighbor's mission farewell.  We have talked to her a few times but she has never really talked to us long.  Her husband is still back east while they wait for an adoption to go through so she is a single parent right now and has a lot of yard work to do to get her yard up to HOA standards.  I stopped and asked if we could help her and she said that she didn't want us out in the heat but she invited us in and we talked to her for an hour and half!  She is a forceful woman and has strong opinions, but Sister Snyder and I held our ground really well and just had an adult conversation with her.  We didn't preach to her or belittle her ideas.  She invited us to come back whenever we wanted to and agreed to let us come back next week to help her with her yard work.  I called the elders in my district and they are coming with us now as well so we can get everything done in a few hours.  We stopped by a few other houses after that and stopped by a member's home so I could update her on someone she has been fellowshipping.  We then went to dinner with a cute new family in the ward.  After that our appointment cancelled, so I wanted to go to a less active family's home who we have had a hard time working with.  She never wants to talk to us, but won't say that, she just says things like "today isn't a good day."  So we stopped by there and she seemed stand offish but we just kept talking to her and after a few minutes she came outside and we sat in her garage and talked for over an hour.  She said she doesn't trust missionaries because some stopped by (my companion and me) a few weeks ago and then never came back.  She didn't remember me, but she remembered my companion and said she didn't like her but that we seemed like nice girls so she opened up and told us about her life.  Sometimes it is sad listening to people talk about their lives and realizing how hard it is for some people to live and make the right choices.  I just wanted to cry for her.  Well it was a good experience and she has more faith in missionaries now and agreed to let us come back over for an FHE lesson tonight.  She wasn't too jazzed to find out that my companion wasn't gone for good and that she would be with me, but I promised that it would be good and that my companion is a nice missionary too.  I've been feeling like we needed to talk with this lady for weeks but it has never been a priority for my companion so it was good to get it done.  I then had a lot to report to the bishop at ward council yesterday about that family because they are on a list of people to look after.  We taught three daughters after that and it was good.  They weren't interested at first so Sister Snyder and I were straight with them and told them that we didn't care if they were only taking the lessons because their dad wanted them to.  They better pay attention or we weren't coming back.  And then we gave a lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ and two of the daughters were way more interested.  They've had lessons before according to their teaching record and the missionaries stopped because the girls just wanted to goof around.  So we let it be known that we aren't there to mess around and that if they are we'll just leave.  They were great after we set that expectation.  At the end of our exchange Sister Snyder and I had an evaluation and she couldn't come up with one negative thing to say about me.  She said that she is telling president that I am not valued where I am and that I need a leadership responsibility or at least a companion who will value my input. She said that I am where I need to be 100% of the time and that I follow the spirit so closely that that is why I have success.  She can understand now why I'm frustrated because we waste so much time visiting people who we aren't supposed to be visiting.  I was starting to believe that I wasn't following the spirit because my companion and I always have different ideas of where we need to be, but I am in tune with it, my ideas just get tossed out so frequently that I started to believe that I was wrong.  She also said that I am a wonderful teacher and that it must just come naturally.  She said other nice things too and gave me a strand of lights from the Mesa Temple Christmas lights!  She had two strands given to her and she wanted me to have a strand.  I felt honored.  She lucked into getting them because they were not going to use them again and she happened to be in a ward with the lady who was in charge of Christmas lights this past year.  I took away a lot from that exchange and have confidence in my abilities now.  I recognize that I have been given a lot of talent and because of that much is required.  I feel guilty because I have a lot of success when I'm left to my own devices and I feel like it is undeserved because I don't try very hard, I just do what comes naturally.  But I guess that just means that the Lord has given me talents for His benefit so I need to keep using them for his benefit!  My companion was pretty ticked off that I had such a successful day and she wasn't here. I told her it's because she doesn't give me the opportunity to lead and Sister Snyder did and I knew where we needed to go and because I listen to people and she doesn't.  We got into doors because I didn't shove a Book of Mormon into people's faces 3 seconds into our conversations.  The rest of the week went better than normal as my companion kind of sat back and observed me and wasn't so eager to preach.  I have to say that I do love my companion, we just differ in teaching style and it has been hard for me.  I love her as a person but don't necessarily love her as a missionary. Oh, and I saw a naked man watching TV in his living room that day as well.

So I am tired of people acting like there is nothing we can do to make the area I'm in more productive.  People always say things like, "This is just a hard area," and "There isn't much we can do," and my companion keeps saying she is burned out here.  So we went to our weekly correlation meeting and I passionately shared my frustrations.  I said I wasn't sent on a mission to have nothing to do because an area is dead.  Talking about it won't do anything.  We need to act.  If we do all we can do and then the area is still dead, then we can sit around and talk about how much it sucks.  So after my little rant my ward mission leader set up a meeting with our ward missionaries and said we will get to work.  I came up with a bunch of different ideas to jump start the ward and the area and I presented them at our meeting on Sunday. Our ward mission leader is going to run them by the bishop and then we are going to get to work.  I outlined our plan of action for less active families, the job of the ward missionaries, my expectations for the ward members, and came up with a few easy motivational things to do during priesthood and relief society.  Our ward mission leader said that I have the authority to share with ward members our frustrations with their lack of help in a "loving but bossy way"(he acknowledged that I'm good at that) and that it is time that people step it up.  I was relieved that his response was to work harder and to not tell me to calm down because nothing was ever going to happen.  I'm excited to see if we get anywhere good after this.  At our first meeting where I ranted we got a little off topic and I said "Well, my milkshake has never brought the boys to the ward," and he had a good laugh and then said, "What does that even mean?"  So then I had to explain to him the song and he was dying.  Every few minutes he would start laughing again and just say, "Oh man, milkshake, that's too good."  So after we left he and his wife listened to the song and "jammed out to the brother music." I apologized on Sunday for being so passionate in my ranting and then defiling their home with the milkshake song but he said it was great and his wife said they enjoyed it and that we can't be missionaries 24/7.  So I was relieved that they didn't like turn me in to the missionary gestapo or anything.

The crazy elders who brought me flowers last week stopped by and gave us some pie the other day.  I decided to go to the bathroom when I saw them coming because I didn't want to talk to them.  This is how the conversation without me went:

Sister G: Thanks for the pie.
Elders:  Is Sister Poppe in the bathroom or something?
Sister G:  Yep.  (she didn't know what to say at this point so she just said the following) She's fixing her hair. We're the face of the church.  Gotta look good.
Elders:  Oh that's good.  At least it's not that time of the month.

OKAY WHO SAYS THAT?  Also, why couldn't I have just been relieving myself (which I was)?  Seriously?  So then I came out and didn't know that they had talked about all of that and just thanked them and sent them on their way.  Even when I shoo them away they still want to be my friend.  I don't want to get rude, but I may have to.

Yesterday we had took a nap during our lunch hour and Sister G didn't set the alarm right so we slept for an hour and a half and it was glorious.  Mainly it was nice because I can't be held accountable for oversleeping and because we didn't miss anything important.  #birthdaymonthmiraclenap

We taught Neville yesterday about the creation.  Well I created this hands on lesson (he is a hands on learner) where we made cookies and I related each day of the creation to a step in the cookie making process.  It was a lot of fun and we got cookies out of it.  We started with all of the ingredients on the counter as matter unorganized and then went into the lesson and by the end we had a perfect cookie...just like when the perfect earth was created.  I asked him if we would have blown his counter up with all of the ingredients if we would have gotten a cookie and he said no. He then realized why we believe the big bang wouldn't have led to the earth.  It was a good lesson for him and I think he took a lot away from it.  It was fun for us too.

Ward council is hilarious.  People can't agree on anything and I just sit back and watch it all happen. 

Our investigator Harry Potter has taken to complimenting all of the prayers I give.  Yesterday I said one that he thought was extra good so he said he is going to call on me from now on to pray at his house.  I told him he is too easy to impress and that he would get more out of our lessons if he prayed every time.  He informed me that my prayers are better and will give him better blessings and answers.  So I'm a professional prayer now.

I'm out,

Sister P
This is the Easter shrine that I created.  We had some extra hearts from a heart attacking expedition we went on and my companion got some Easter eggs in the mail so I put them in this basket with a picture of Jesus for a little spicy Easter decoration.

Monday, April 7, 2014



I'm just going to forewarn you that this will be a long one.  It's been a good week!

We'll start with the boring stuff...

After my crabby attitude from last week abated, I took some time to think about why I'm frustrated.  I always try to figure out why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling, though sometimes I think it would just be easier to just chalk it up to my XX chromosomes.  I thought over the goals I set for myself for my mission because usually my frustrations stem from me not reaching my goals.  I take goals pretty seriously and get upset when I'm not meeting or exceeding expectations.  Sometimes being a type A oldest child is exhausting. Anyway, our mission president asked us to think of one thing we wanted to have down before we left our mission.  He said that we needed a personal goal that way if we never have a baptism, a meaningful connection with an investigator, or never feel like we made a difference we would at least see a difference in ourselves.  I knew instantly that I wanted to work on faith.  By the time I board the flight from Mesa to Minneapolis I want to have such a trust in The Lord's plan for me that I never doubt a prompting, trial, or event in my life.  I want to be able to face every moment of my life with confidence in The Lord so that when trials come I'm not trying to get through them AND trying to grow faith at the same time.  I want to be immovable.  I was thinking of this goal and a talk by Elder Holland came into my mind (I'm pretty sure it was him anyway).  I remember he said something along the lines of, "If you pray for patience you will have to go through experiences that help you develop patience.  It won't just be given to you."  I recognized that that applies to my goal of having faith in The Lord's plan. If He always gives me what I want then I won't grow faith, I'll just be fooled into thinking I will always get what I want.  Yes, I would love to be in a successful area of my mission and I would love more people to teach, more confidence in my abilities, and more motivated member missionaries, but I don't have that.  I can grow faith from this experience though and ultimately that is what I asked for. Trials will inevitably come, so it's better that I learn lessons now so I can be strong the rest of my life when trials keep abounding. I kind of wish I could kick myself in the butt and focus on having nice hair by the end of my mission or something, but I'm sure someday I will be grateful for the work I've put into becoming a woman of faith.  I'm sure my husband and children (if they are ever existent, that is) will appreciate it too.  We were supposed to have interviews with the mission president this week, but our district meeting beforehand ran over so two of us forfeited our interview slot so others could meet with him.  I gave mine up because I don't need to talk to him to know that if I was less stubborn, more humble, and more faithful I wouldn't have the problems that I have.  I was telling the elders in my district this when they asked why I volunteered to give up my interview slot.  They asked what my problems were and I just said I'm frustrated with everything.  They started giving my advice and scriptures and such, so it ended up being like I had an interview anyway.  One of the elders asked if I had taken the time to think about the woman I am being shaped into and another said that we aren't given more than we can handle.  I replied that I know that.  Sometimes I get tired of being strong and of being the example and wish I could just float for a while.  But then I always remember I will never be happy as a floater, so yet again I am the source of my own frustrations.  I'm going to be a woman that Satan fears (I'm kind of developing a Chuck Norris complex as a way to motivate myself).

Quote of the week from one of our teenage skateboard investigators: "I don't want to sound prissy, but only the best of the best, the ones with real integrity, ya know, can be Mormon."

We had lunch at Panda Express after a meeting one day.  Clearly I was not going to eat there (though I did make one of the elders get me a fortune cookie so I could have a fortune), so I stopped at Wendy's in the same parking lot and ate that while everyone else was in line.  This random lady came in and greeted all of us and then was in the long line when her arm got tired from carrying her baby in the infant seat.  She came over to me at my table and sat the kid on it and said, "Hey, will you watch arm is tired."  So I did.  This may seem odd to some people, but not to me.  This isn't the first time a random stranger has given me their baby.  It happens more regularly than one may think.  Apparently I don't look sketchy.  We aren't allowed to hold babies, but it was fine for her to sit in her seat on the table.  So I talked to her and played with her for about 10 minutes. My companion was super jealous.  Later that day we were telling a member about it and I said, "Yeah, I think the elders were just shocked to see that I'm actually kind of a tender person...especially with children," and the member was like, "Why would they not think you're tender?  You have tender written all over you.  You're the sweetest."  So apparently I'm doing something right because people think I'm sweet and tender here.

Bryce wins for most loving family member of the week...he told me FOUR TIMES that he misses me, three times in a letter and once on Facebook.

We have these stupid little scarecrows in our apartment that the previous sisters left.  I want to do something funny with them.  I wanted to light them on fire and put them in the elders yard on April Fool's Day, but then figured that was a little too KKK and decided against it.  We're still thinking of what we can do to them with the scarecrows without going into their apartment since we're not allowed to do that.

We have some new elders in our district and one of them is legitimately crazy.  He picked up a dead bird the other day and took it to another apartment of elders to show them.  He's always doing and saying the most random things.  Well after our discussion on Wednesday during our president interviews I guess he and his companion were worried about me (even though I had been fine and my companion was more outwardly annoyed with the world at this point that I was) so they put some flowers on our doorstep that evening #peopleactuallyloveus.  It was very kind of them.  The next day we saw them coming over but I didn't want to talk to them because they're crazy and I was reading a conference talk so Sister G answered the door.  They yelled in for me to come to the door, so I did and they had another flower for me...and they made it clear it was for me.  So then Sister G was like, "WHY DO THEY LOVE YOU MORE THAN ME?" and I was like, "I DON'T KNOW! MAKE IT STOP! IT IS MAKING ME FEEL AWKWARD. YOU ARE THE ONE THAT IS HAVING A CRABBY WEEK THIS WEEK YOU SHOULD GET ALL THE FLOWERS", she agreed. I don't know what to do with them.  I am not depressed.  I told them I was frustrated, not that I was suicidal. I am not used to so many males giving me attention.  So I thanked them and then later that day made it clear that I was doing great and was having a phenomenal week.  They still brought me more flowers yesterday #thisisgettingoutofhand.

Day 1 of flowers

We may have a new investigator so that's exciting!

HERMIONE IS OFF PROBATION AND IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON MAY 3rd!  I AM SO EXCITED FOR HER.  She is my favorite.  This week she said, "You guys need to hurry up and get off your missions because we could have so much fun together if you weren't missionaries!"  I'm glad she wants to be our friend.  It was actually a really cool visit with her.  We stopped by to teach her our normal weekly lesson and I told her that she needed to pick a baptismal date because she had a rough idea of when she was going to get off of probation.  I told her to pick a date in faith.  She picked May 24th and then about 10 minutes later her PO called and told her she was officially off of probation!  She was crying, I was crying, Sister G wasn't, because she's heartless, and we all had a group hug.  So after that we moved the date up to the 3rd because we have transfers on the 7th and want to make sure that we get to be here for her baptism.

My baby faced elder suitor mentioned to me that he is writing a girl.  So either his many declarations of, "Oh Sister Poppe, you're too hilarious and your hair always looks so nice," were acts of devoted friendship or he is prepping for the return of polygamy and he's pegged me as wife #2. The jury is still out on this one...they're busy trying Warren Jeffs. I can cook a mean Sunday dinner though; we'll share with wife #1 and her children. He is a nice kid though with a solid taste in music, so he can still be my friend, for the time being at least. #starcrossedfriends

My companion and I are singing at a relief society activity on April 24th and the wife of the Cheesecake Factory family offered to accompany us.  We stopped by their place on Friday night to give her the music to practice and we were greeted by my friend, Noah, in his Toy Story skivvies and nothing else.  They were outside working on the side of their house and he was running around.  He was potty training that day so he was rather proud of his underpants.  He ran up to me and greeted me and then ran inside and grabbed some toys to give me. We then played with "piggy lion" (a lion that lights up with balls inside of it) and "piggy (S)piderman"  (a Spiderman toy that doesn't resemble a pig in any way, shape, or form).  They were our last stop of the night and we had an awkward amount of time (long enough that you know you shouldn't go home yet, but not quite long enough to visit someone else) so when they invited us in for root beer floats we obliged. While we were inside Noah insisted that I "lay on that blanket and get comfortable".  I sat on the couch and he was not content with that so he showed me how I should be laying on the couch, which involved actually laying on me.  His parents were shaking their head and talking about his lake of shame and I assured them it was alright.  He then cuddled up next to me for a minute and it was super cute.  He then checked my blood pressure with his sister's little doctor kit (keep in mind it was made for a 4 year old so he put the little band around my fingers because my Shrek sized forearm was not fitting in that Tinker Bell sized arm cuff).  He also checked my heart beat and then said I was healthy.  He wanted me to do the same to him so I did and I said, "Noah.  We have a problem.  Your heart told me it wants more vegetables.  Do you think you can eat more vegetables?"  He promised me that he would and that they had some in their refrigerator.  Then he was concerned about whether I had a refrigerator or not.  I assured him that I did.  We talked a little bit more and then he had to go try to potty again.  So then I talked to the wife and we discussed the different lighting fixtures she is looking at for their kitchen.  She can't decide between two. I told her she should buy both and try them out and then return the one she doesn't like.  She thought that was a wonderful idea...I'm sure her husband will be cursing me when she shares it with him though.  I just love this family.  They've quickly become my favorite.  The husband was filling us in on their family drama because he says we probably need a little excitement and it was just a fun end of our week.

We got so much unsolicited marriage advice this week.  I don't know what it was, but everyone seemed to have "advice for when you're off your mission".  It is interesting the things you observe about marriages and parenting on a mission though.  I think at least once a day my companion or I say something along the lines of "when we have a family we're going to do that," or "oh man, we will never let our kids do that..."  We're flattered that people are convinced enough that we're going to be married that they give us advice.

We stopped by a member's home to leave some Books of Mormon that she wants to give to people on Friday evening.  While we were there she asked us to share something uplifting with her because she was having a rough day.  I thought of Helaman 5:12 right away and shared that with her.  It's the first time that I've actually had a scripture come to my brain in a moment when I needed it.  So that was a relief...I was beginning to believe that I would never have that power.  As we were talking to her though she stopped mid-sentence and just said to me (in her Peruvian accent), "Oh sister, you are so beautiful.  You just have the most beautiful hair.  So beautiful."  It was really nice.  I needed to hear it.  In general people were really nice to us this week and said how appreciative they are of all that we do.  It's what I needed after my long week the week before. My language of love is words of affirmation after all.  I need constant affirming!  Not really.  But I like it.  I'm so needy.  Anyway, after the compliment she did go on to give some of the above mentioned unsolicited marriage advice.

Conference was a really great experience as a missionary.  I feel like I learned so much and was just getting revelation left and right.  Elder Holland on Saturday morning though. I half expected him to throw the microphone aside and say flatly, "we're done here." Then we would have just sat in silence for the next 3 3/4 sessions of conference. How do you follow that? That's like starting a concert with Selena Gomez and then closing with a second grade choir's rendition of skidamarink a dinky dink.  People will think the second graders are cute and enjoyable, but they're no Selena Gomez.  As it turned out Elder Holland's strong start was just that, a start.  Selena Gomez was followed by Mumford and Sons, One Republic, and just one song by Miley Cyrus (Wrecking Ball, obvi).  All of conference was powerful and meaningful.  Saturday afternoon was cool because they had the Orem Institute choir singing and I knew four people in that choir (at least four people I saw I knew, I could have known more that weren't on TV possibly).  There was a close up of Alyssa and it made my day! #tendermercyfriendcloseup I am going to actually blog about my conference experience a little bit more sometime this week so I'm going to say nothing more.

                                 This is how we do conference break.
                         Little Caesar's and some drinks from Chevron.

Sister Poppe

PS:  I forgot two things...

On Wednesday we got together with the Relief Society president in one of our wards to make cookies for less active women.  We made some General Conference invites as well and attached them to the cookies.  She was supposed to deliver them with us, but she forgot she had a hair appointment, so we took her 18 year old son who just got his mission call with us (well he followed us, we didn't take him).  It was a lot of fun.  We stopped by a part member family's home and the husband who isn't a member was in the garage so we talked to him.  He had his ping pong table up and insisted that we play, so after a little arm twisting we played with him.  It was a good opportunity to be normal with him and just talk about things and get to know him better.  He is good friends with the bishop and has a lot of contact with people so that is good.  We want to do this regularly in our one ward (the cookies and delivering) to try and reach out.  We'll see what happens.
                                      Ping pong. Note the beer signs and
                                        man cave nature of the garage.
Thank you everyone for all the birthday cards!  I would like to think that people just adore me and respect birthday month, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you just bought all of these birthday cards and are forcing people to write in them and send them to me.  At least I know that my mom loves me more than anyone else's mom does because no one else would make sure their daughter got a birthday card a day during birthday month.  In all seriousness, letters make my day and I appreciate all of the contact I have received.  As I already said, I am kind of needy and enjoy hearing from people.  I hate how needy the mission has made me!  I used to be a lone wolf!  Now I'm like, "Hey world, every one send me letters so I know that I'm loved when I feel unloved by the entire Valley of the Sun".  Okay the entire valley doesn't not love me, but I'm not used to so many people hating on me!  I should have been bullied in middle school or something as preparation.
PSS:  Can we just take a moment to question the sanity of these people?
These family cut outs are already obnoxious, but they took it to a whole new level! The whole world knows now that the youngest kid is the only unmarried sibling.  Poor kid.  And way to make every infertile woman in Mesa sad.  Cocky big Mormon families anyway.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SOUP, It's What's for Dinner


After last week's run in with the unique kid hopped up on who knows what, I feel like this letter will be uneventful.  We had a pretty slow week.  We spent a lot of time trying to contact inactive members which is my least favorite activity.  It is just frustrating when people have known the truth and then they choose not to live it AND are rude to you when you try to contact them.  It is necessary though.  This week we have more appointments already so hopefully they don't cancel and we won't have to spend as much time being blatantly ignored by people.  We stopped at one inactive person's house and they flipped the outside light on and peeped through the blinds very sneakily.  No one answered the door so we rang the doorbell again (sometimes we are pushier than I would like to be, but I guess it's people's salvation we're talking about).  We heard a parent whisper, "Tell them we're not home, actually, and don’t get the door."  Another family never answered the door even though all their lights were on and the TV was going.  There isn't much we can do in those situations except report to the bishop so that he knows they very clearly are not interested.  

I didn't get transferred and I didn't get a new companion, but we did move to a different apartment that is closer to our areas.  Same area, same shadow, new digs.  We are the only sisters in the apartment and I miss having roommates, but I do like having my own bathroom and closet.  I miss living with Sister Adams.  She was the Oliver Cowdry to my Joseph Smith (well pre-apostate Oliver Cowdry.  We're talking about when they were young and best chums and translating together and having lunch dates and getting revelations and the priesthood and stuff) #likeningchurchhistorytoourselves.  We wept on each other's necks when I left...and by that I mean she jumped on me when I was sitting in my desk chair and we embraced and were sad.  But that doesn't have a biblical ring to it.  She also said my favorite quote of the week, "I have started to believe that you can be consecrated and still use inappropriate terminology."  I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that.  Sometimes the only way you get through to people is if you use analogies and examples that are at their level.  And sometimes that involves comparing the Holy Ghost to a contact high (I never actually did that, but I did come up with a really good analogy that I wish I could have shared with our former substance abusers).  While we were discussing all of our great ideas (like making a movie called P-Day, a rap about the Restoration, and our interview with Ellen DeGeneres) I decided that we would be like Saturday Night Live, except we would be called Sunday Morning Pre-taped.  I think we have a promising future.

Guys, I have had 12,944 views on my 6 Things to Do Before Assuming Mormons are Crazy blog post.  THAT IS SO MANY PEOPLE.  I can't believe the number of people that shared it on Facebook.  Thank you.  It made me feel good to realize that while I can't pay people to listen to me in Mesa, I do have people that will read my blog. Unfortunately I will never top that though.  I've been out a transfer and I've already peaked.

Just pieces of advice, missionaries don’t want you to feed them soup when they come for dinner.  We had soup three times last week.  I don't want to sound ungrateful, but soup isn't a meal.  Okay, that sounded ungrateful.  I am grateful...but seriously.  SOUP?  IT'S 88 DEGREES OUTSIDE.  So just feed them steak and other cuts of meat.  That's what they want.

We have training for the pageant this Friday.  Unfortunately we aren't working every night.  We feel a little cheated because they're having sisters from Gilbert, Phoenix, and Tempe come to help.  Gilbert didn't want us for the temple open house, so I don't know why we're letting them come and work our pageant.  They're all going to be super fancy because they're in a rich mission.  They'll probably be cuter than us too.  WE JUST CAN'T WIN. 

Can you tell I've been a little crabby this week?  Because I have been.  I'm just frustrated about life.  I'm clearly supposed to be learning patience, but it's not being learned very quickly.  I'm tired of working so hard and seeing no results.  I feel like I'm not anything special so I don't know why I'm here.  Everyone always says that you're called to your mission for a specific purpose and I am starting to doubt that.  I haven't done anything amazing since I've been out, so why am I here?  My companion said she can see results, particularly with Hermione, which she attributes to me being here and teaching and connecting with her, but I don't know if I believe it.  I feel like I am being myself and doing what I would normally do and people are reacting to me the way they normally would.  I connect well with most people already, that isn't special, that's just me, so I doubt that I am doing anything extraordinary with Hermione.  I guess I'm being humbled too.  I don't know.  I'm just frustrated and don't know.  I DON'T KNOW.

On a more positive note, BIRTHDAY MONTH IS UPON US!  That is right.  I can't even wait.  

Here's the funny story of the week for ya.  Harry Potter has a dog named Hedwig (name changed to protect the innocent K-9).  Hedwig has so much puppy mama drama. He has impregnated two dogs in the last two weeks on his block!  Hedwig needs to be a little less friendly and think about how he is going to support all the little pups he's already fathered.  He clearly wasn't tuned in when we taught the law of chastity.

We had a really great combined 5th Sunday lesson in one of our wards about missionary work.  Our bishop in that ward is so supportive and bends over backwards to try and help us.  He gave the ward clear goals and told them they need to step it up because we are working really hard but won't have much success until they help us.  We are going around now and helping families create family mission plans and encouraging them to invite their neighbors and friends to family home evenings and the Easter Pageant.  The ward members love us, we just need to help them love missionary work as much as they adore us.  I think with this bishop though things will really start to pick up because he is so motivational and is a good example of a member missionary.

Love from AZ,

Sister Poppe

This is my motivational desk art.  My family reminds me to work hard when I don't want to because I imagine you guys are getting blessings for what I'm doing.  The shark is just scary and scares me into working hard.  The quote is one my companion and I share with each other when we feel ugly.  And Jesus.  Well he's Jesus.
Mom's note:  You can't see the quote on the post it note but it says, "You're value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth."
Additional note:  Amanda's other much funnier blog is be sure to check it out!