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.