Monday, April 7, 2014

HERMIONE IS OFF PROBATION AND IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON MAY 3rd!

Hey!

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 her...my 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.
 
Love,

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.