Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Talking in Your Sleep, When Does it End?

Happy Memorial Day!

We had a pretty slow week here in the Salt River Stake.  It was one of the worst ones since I've been out, but we found ways to make it enjoyable.

I came up with another object lesson for Neville that involved cakes.

I'm going to blog about it this week so I don't want to ruin it.  We made cakes though on Monday for this lesson and then Neville cancelled so we just had all this cake sitting around.  We were a little annoyed because we spent some of our own measly missionary funds on the ingredients!  We gave the cake away at our zone study for the week though so at least it didn't go to waste.
We received a referral from the church on Tuesday and also had an appointment cancel so grabbed one of the young men that just graduated and got his mission call and had him follow us over to meet Kayla and Austin.  An older lady answered the door and informed us that there has never been a Kayla or Austin that has lived in that home and that no young kids do (which is interesting because we didn't know the ages of Kayla or Austin...we never said they were kids).  She then proceeded to talk to us for about 40 minutes about her religious beliefs, spirits, and her background.  We felt like the conversation went well so we took mental notes and were discussing them with the young man we took with us on the curb before we left to go home for the evening.  As we were talking two kids walked out of the house with a dog!  I asked them what their names were and they sheepishly said, "Sam" and "Matt".  WHATEVER.  OKAY FINE.  JUST WASTE FORTY OF MY MINUTES LADY.  Looking back her answers were too perfect and I think she gets a kick out of messing with missionaries. We were livid.
We had dinner with the most wonderful elderly couple on Wednesday.  They were funny and a good example of what a marriage should look like. They care so deeply for one another but they aren't overly mushy or anything. After dinner the husband said, "Tell your parents’ hello from us and that you are doing a wonderful job here. It was such a pleasure to host you sisters this evening. Keep working hard. You are doing so well." So, hey from the Moore's! Brother Moore is also a fan of RFD TV and tractor pulling. I learned all of this by asking about his Ernest Tub CD I saw on the counter and telling him about how dad likes Ernest Tub. He was impressed and thinks he would be just the best of friends with dad. He said he would watch tractor pulls and RFD TV with dad any day. Yes, I do believe I had dinner with the old man version of dad; that is probably why I loved him so much. The wife was super patriotic so I loved her too #godblesstheusa #andoldpeoplewhoarenotcrabby

We had a zone conference on Wednesday. It was really good. We talked about being consecrated missionaries and I was thoroughly humbled for an hour straight (almost to the point of tears, but I held it together). I've come to realize that feelings of inadequacy are never going to leave while on a mission, but that doesn't make experiencing them any easier! I left the first hour of that meeting feeling like the vilest of creatures. I will admit that I have the tendency to take things too personally and to the most negative extreme, but there still are things I need to work on and zone conference provided a good reflective time for me to recognize my plethora of faults. We also had a wonderful meeting on interacting with ward council members and how missionary work is actually supposed to work at the ward level. All ward councils were invited and we had people from both wards come. I have been working so hard to establish accountability in both wards I'm serving in and have tried to establish relationships of trust with some of the ward leaders so the work would pick up here and I think this meeting validated the things that Sister Dumas and I want to see instituted in our wards. Everything that was said came from a plan laid out by L. Tom Perry so it isn't just coming from our mouths now, it is from an apostle and that will help. I told one of our bishops that we want this to work and he agreed with us so I followed up by saying that Sister Dumas and I will keep the ward council accountable.

We will be blatantly honest when things aren't done right. He is looking forward to a positive change and a re-energized attitude about missionary work. I think everyone will just pray that we get transferred because they will be sick of us "motivating" them.

Sometimes I think I was called on a mission to act as a cheerleader/Dr. Phil hybrid (still better than being a Prius hybrid).  Not exactly what I had in mind when I decided to serve a mission, but I guess we can't all save souls. Some of us have to do the administrative work.

On Thursday we had a really fun dinner with a family in one of our wards that we didn't know very well.  They had all the same OCD issues as me (like taking eggs, ice cubes, and sacrament cups out in the right order and tv volume on a multiple of 5 (except they actually liked theirs on even numbers). At the end the kids played us their piano recital pieces and they had me play as well because my poker face is horrible and they saw through my lie and knew that I played piano.

Corn dogs were only 50 cents at Sonic on Thursday. We went twice. The drive through man remembered us. #embarrassing  (Who works shifts longer than 5 hours though anyway?)
We had a member go with us to our lesson with Harry Potter on Friday and afterward she asked if we wanted to go to Sonic with her for half priced shakes. We agreed and went there for the third time in 36 hours. It just so happened, that four of the elders in our zone were biking home during our visit. They saw us and harassed us for being at Sonic again. They stopped their mocking phrases pretty quickly when the member offered to buy their shakes too.

Every week I think about telling you about random things that are not necessarily new, but that I've never told you before.  This week I am going to share with you the rivalry between Arizona Mesa full field sisters and Arizona Mesa Visitor Center Sisters. This is a serious rivalry.  It goes un-discussed and people act like it isn't there, but it is.  Whispers are shared in closets and other closed places between full field sisters about the injustices of being a real missionary.

The rivalry is up there with the Sharks and Jets, the Taliban and the US, the Bloods and the Crips, and the Team Edward and Team Jacob teens. I'm telling you this is real stuff here.  Someday I will go into more detail about the main points of the rivalry, until then you will just have to be content with this knowledge and know that in the case of a battle you have to side with the full field sisters (because we are better and because we are probably more dangerous because we have more street smarts because we don't serve most of our day in an air conditioned building with scripted monologues).

We hardly ever have service to do in our wards and we are supposed to do service once a week. I brought this up in ward council in one of our wards and said that we ask people all the time if we can serve them and they say no. The bishop said that every woman likes their windows washed so we could always do that. We took that seriously and bought a squeegee and some microfiber towels and spent a few hours on Saturday walking through one of our gated communities asking ward members if we could wash their windows. A lot of people weren't home, but we ended up washing the front windows of two members' homes. At one point in time I was on a step stool on a ledge of a house and I just knew I was going to die. It didn't end up happening, but I'm sure that mental picture about gave you a heart attack, mother given how clumsy I am. This service must have made an impression on me because that night in bed I guess my companion and I had the following conversation. I was asleep, she was not:

Me (in a disgusted voice): Why do we have this bucket. And the water?

Her: We are doing service, we are going to clean windows.

Me: (scoffs) Gross!

Sunday was a pretty good day.  We met a potential investigator in Thunder Mountain and I have a new fan club in Twin Knolls comprised of children.  When the Cheesecake Factory Family got to church they sat in the pew in front of us instead of on the side like normal and Noah came right on back and sat with me while his sister turned around in the pew to talk to me.  At the same time another family arrived and their toddler insisted on talking to the missionaries so she came over and was stroking the leg that Noah wasn't trying to climb on.  I talked to them until church was about to start and then Noah stayed in my pew until he was summoned to his row after the opening prayer.  He sulked on and off during sacrament meeting because he wasn't allowed to show me his toys or sit with me.  In relief society I played the piano; it went alright.  I'm still not half as good at the piano as I was at the clarinet, but we got through the hymns alright.

Today the Cheesecake Factory Family invited us over for breakfast and to "help" them put pavers in their side yard.  Really Brother Cheesecake Factory just wanted us to be there to talk to his neighbor who was going to help to.  He staged an entire fake breakfast visit so we would "just happen" to be there when his neighbor came over.  We had a really tasty breakfast and we did help for a little bit with the pavers.  It really was a two man job though and I'm not really good at things that take precision and need to look nice.  I ended up playing an elaborate game of shark attack with my bestie Noah and his sister Maya.  My companion played for a while but then went over and talked to the parents.  As we left Sister Dumas told me, "When we got there for breakfast Maya told me I had to be her best friend because you were Noah's, so she only wanted to be my friend by default.  After your shark attack game and her new nickname for you-Sister Poppe Seed-I would say that you've won her admiration and she would rather be your second best friend than my first best friend." Their mom is just sad that missionaries aren't allowed to babysit.

We also went to Deseret Book today, Backyard Taco (missionaries eat half off there and it is delicious!  Think Chipotle but more authentic and better), Winco, and we were invited to a member's home for Memorial Day Dinner (we normally fend for ourselves on P-Day's for dinner).

I'm still trucking through the Old Testament and am really cruising through the Book of Mormon.  I finished a few weeks ago and re-started and I'm already in Mosiah.  I really love Nephi though.  I didn't realize how wonderful of a missionary he was until I became a missionary.  He is Christlike and so patient and loving.  He always mentions his love for others and his distress at their sins.  Everyone always wants to emulate Alma or Ammon, but I'm really trying to be more like Nephi.

That about does it!


Sister Poppe
PS:  We met the first litter of puppies that Harry Potter's dog fathered.  They really were precious!  We can't wait until we get to meet the other puppies when puppy mama number two gives birth.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Coyote Swear is Like a Pinky Promise


First of all, I can't believe I forgot to share with you one of the best stories from last week! We were heading to dinner Saturday night and the road we were supposed to turn down had a car sitting just out of the intersection sideways. It was blocking both lanes, but it looked untouched. I told Sister Dumas to just drive around it, and as she did I looked inside and saw a man slumped over the steering wheel.  We immediately pulled over and jumped out of our car. As we did another car with two ladies stopped and they jumped out. I called 911 and Sister Dumas and one of the ladies went over and began to assess the situation. They tapped on the windows and he didn't respond. The lady declared that she believed he was having a seizure. This happened while 911 was still ringing so when they picked up I told them where we were and what was happening. They transferred me to the rural unit since we technically weren't in Mesa but instead in the county island.  As I was transferred and told the new guy what was going on the lady told her niece to call the lady's husband because he used to have seizures so she thought he could help. The man told us to get into the car and shut it off, so we did, and to make sure the driver didn't move because he would be disoriented. The car was a manual so it was only in neutral and was rolling, so we moved it slightly out of the way and then I braced my body against it so it would stop inching forward (I told the lady she should put the emergency brake on but she didn't listen). The man came to at this point and threw up so we made sure he didn't aspirate anything and then we kept him in the driver's seat. He was incoherent and confused throughout all of this. I stayed on the phone for about 10 minutes while we waited for the ambulance and fire truck to arrive. They got there and put him in an ambulance and moved the car and we went off to dinner! We are pretty sure the guy will be fine. He was young. He had college books in his car and a name tag from Sprouts Marketplace. We were 20 minutes late for dinner, but they clearly understood!

I also forgot to tell you about the Women's Appreciation Dinner we went to in one of our wards.  On the Friday before Mother's Day, the Thunder Mountain ward had a dinner for all the women aged 18 and up.  The young men, elder's quorum, and high priests served the women a catered Italian meal while one of the young men played beautiful piano music. They gave a short presentation about the power of women and mothers and then served us cheesecake. It was delicious and provided us with a good opportunity to get to know ward members even better.

I've always wished that we walked around more because we would get more exercise and we would talk to more people on the streets.  On Tuesday we parked our car and then spent almost two hours weaving in and out of part of our ward.  We were knocking on less active peoples' doors and would wave and talk to individuals that we passed.  We didn't see a ton of people because it was hot and the middle of a weekday afternoon, but we talked to two more people than we would have if we had been in our car.  One man was an intriguing individual that we will call Jeff on a bike.  Jeff stopped us and asked if we were Mormon girls to which we responded in the affirmative.  He said, "I knew you were.  You're so pretty.  I always said if I could get me one of them pretty Mormon girls and have a dozen babies that would be the life.  Even if you can get a half dozen of them pretty Mormon girl babies you're lucky." We thanked him as every good sister missionary does when she receives a kind compliment hidden in a basket of creepy and talked to him about the church before we went on our way.  We had a lady stop us in her car and gave us a referral (though it was for Spanish missionaries...so we had to pass the information along).  These were dubbed walking miracles and we hope to see many more of them as we have intentionally scheduled time to walk instead of drive.  After our adventures we drove to visit a referral we received from church headquarters.  Normally these don't yield any success in our area, but this kid has promise!  He is a senior in high school and received a Book of Mormon from missionaries in Pine.  They talked to him a little bit and he is really interested in learning more.  We set up a lesson with him for this Tuesday and we are very excited!  #walkingmiracles

We had an eventful week with the wildlife.  We found some quail eggs at a members home (we have put the husband in charge of being in charge of the quail watch 2014...we expect an immediate text when the chicks emerge from their shells).  We also saw a coyote!  I wanted so badly to get a picture of it but it slinked away before I got my iPad out of my purse.

Quail Eggs
Shortly after we saw the coyote we ran into Neville at mutual (he was skipping and hiding in the hallways as per usual).  He actually spotted us and hobbled over on his crutches (he just had knee surgery to correct a recent hockey injury).  It was really wonderful that he approached us to talk; it makes us feel like our lessons are meaningful to him.  In the very least he likes us and he doesn't like
most members of the church because they are fake in his opinion.  We decided that we needed to come up with a secret handshake and I still had coyotes on the mind so Sister Dumas, Neville, and I created what we call, the coyote handshake and the coyote swear.  You make your hand into a coyote and then make it run and touch noses with the other two individuals.  A coyote swear is like a pinky promise but more binding in which your coyote ears touch.  I can sense your jealousy already. Everyone wants to be included in a handshake featuring Arizona wildlife.

I have really been striving to figure out what it means to be humble.  I have always struggled with accepting compliments because I'm afraid that acknowledging my gifts will make me look pompous. As I've been on my mission I have been frequently complimented on some of my finer qualities and it has been hard knowing how to handle that. I think I have a lot of flaws and I could name many of them at the drop of a hat and I used to think that to counter-balance a compliment I had to bring up a flaw so people would think I was humble. Sometimes that annoyed people and they would say things like, "just take the compliment! You really are good at (fill in the blank)." I had a boss tell me once that I am the hardest person to compliment because I get awkward and start to deny it. I've realized since I have been on a mission that being humble isn't denying or downplaying your strengths as much as it is acknowledging that they are gifts from Heavenly Father. Yes I have spent a lot of hours practicing the skills required to be a talented musician and I have continually used and polished my teaching and leadership skills in various capacities in classes, jobs, and extra-curricular activities, but I was given those abilities to serve others with. As long as we give thanks to God, recognize His hand in our lives, and serve others with our talents we are being humble. So the next time someone tells me I am a good pianist I will try and smile (though that is the hardest compliment for me to believe) and thank Heavenly Father for the miracle that my chubby hands can gracefully slide across the keys. It is a struggle for me to be humble because I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve with really valuable and marketable abilities and personality traits that I take for granted. I get frustrated when people can't keep up with me and I need to work on that too because that is another aspect of being humble--accepting others the way that they are. I need a nap from all this soul searching, pondering, and internal stretching. It's exhausting!

This is getting long and people are starting to lose focus and not care; I know.  So I'm going to finish up with some short sentences/paragraphs that aren't very descriptive.

As an attempt to woo the older women in the ward into loving us we attended an enrichment activity on bread making.  #trophywifeskillz

I think the ground squirrels here are the most adorable creatures God created.

Someone cancelled dinner this week and just gave us cash.  We hit up Smashburger.

We are giving Hermione new member lessons and wanted a member to go with us to help in the fellowshipping process.  I really felt prompted to invite a less active lady down the street to help with these lessons.  After I persuaded our ward mission leader that she was a better option than the individual he selected to go we invited her and she has been coming.  At our last lesson she said that these lessons are exactly what she needed because they help her realize the testimony she has and help her realize how strong she is and that she needs to make a better effort to read her scriptures and go to church regularly.  We were so excited that she said this and then she went on to share her concerns and opened up to us all!  We had dinner in her home that night and it was wonderful as well.  We are grateful for the direction of The Spirit!

I gave another training this week.  This time it was at a zone function and my companion co-taught with me.  It was on effective planning.

George W. Bush's dog died. #sadfacebookfind #rip #heprobablywouldhavebeeninmyk9fanclub

We went to Hermione's sister-in-law's baby shower to support her and fellowship her.  She is kind of taking the lessons from us.  She is.  But she won't commit to anything.

A member told me that the white supremacist gang in Apache Junction would probably recruit me if I served there because I'm so white.  I did point out that they do have a lot of the foreign missionaries there.  It's probably so missionaries don't get hauled into a modern KKK ring.  He also said I would probably end up heading one of them because I am such a fair shade.  Then he pointed out the ever so slight natural red undertones of my hair and said I probably don't have a soul so I would be a great addition to their group. I'M NOT EVEN A GINGER AND HE MADE ME THE BUTT OF A GINGER JOKE.  #haircoloridentitycrisis

Last night the two of the Tony Hawk kids greeted us at dinner with Nerf guns.  After we ate we had a Nerf war with them.  It was a lot of fun!

How we pass the time before bed.

Cheesecake Factory Family's son ran to my pew to greet me yesterday at church and talked to me for a bit and then church was about to start so I sent him back to his mom.  Halfway through sacrament meeting he threw a fit because his mom wouldn't let him come over to talk to the missionaries (he calls me the missionaries...just me.  Not my companion and I together.  I alone am the missionaries).  After sacrament meeting I went over to talk to their daughter and the mom and I sat down behind them in a pew and the little boy hurdled the pew to sit by me.  He snuggled in and said "Missionaries...what is in your purse?" My normal Batman toy wasn't in there or my Nanobug, so I showed him my screwdriver.  He actually really liked that.  I will really be sad to leave behind my three year old bestie when my time in this area is done.

Things are going really well here in Mesa.  My companion and I are in a completely platonic and straight love affair with one another and are already dreading the day we aren't companions anymore.  The members seem to like our dynamics together and I feel that with our similar personalities we are getting a lot closer to our investigators and members alike because we're both pretty personable and friendly.

Love to all,

Sister Poppe
                         Poor quality desert shoot, we need Jessica @Wonderland Photography!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One night I went all out and entered a coma sponsored by Nyquil and Benadryl


I had a really good week; skyping home definitely made it even better as well!  Here were the big events...

Last Monday we were playing keep away with a soccer ball and at one point in time the soccer ball was coming in my general direction so I decided I would jump up and head the ball. Elder Webb thought he would do the same. Neither of us realized that the other had the same ambition so we both leaped into the air (admittedly, my leap was clearly less athletic looking...more along the lines of an awkward grizzly bear hurdling a boulder). Before we knew what was happening my face collided with his cologne scented pectorals. We landed on the ground and immediately wept, wailed, and gnashed our teeth at one another (okay, there was no weeping). We were both wearing looks
of horror on our faces as we realized that that was the closest we had been to a member of the opposite sex in three months. My chapped bottom lip cracked open during the traumatic experience, but it healed, as did our mortified missionary minds.

I have a new companion and am in the same area! It is exactly what I wanted to happen at transfers! Her name is Sister Dumas (dew miss).   She is 19, though she turns 20 this transfer. I told her she is in luck because I love birthdays and there is literally no one better to spend a birthday with as a missionary than me. She has been out 9 months but is waiting for a visa to Brazil. We decided this morning that the best case scenario involves her staying this entire transfer and the next one with me and then getting her visa after our two transfers together. It was love at first sight for us. She is hilarious and fun and hard working.  She has to study Portuguese an hour a day as well, so I usually study extra there or organize things.  When missionaries found out we were going to be together they all were like, "Man you guys are going to tear it up!" and "Oh man, you guys are going to have a hoot together!"  I really enjoy her and feel blessed to be with a companion who is fun.  She thinks I am 
fun too, so that is good.  She also thinks I am just the best teacher.  I hear that from every one I serve with and from ward members we teach and investigators too.  I guess I just have a natural teaching
ability or something because everyone comments on it.  I kind of hate that I am good at teaching and that I am doing well as a missionary because I have to admit that I was wrong.  I never wanted to serve a mission because I thought I would be bad at it and here I am actually succeeding.

I've been playing the piano quite a bit for different district and zone meetings and it's a miracle that I don't suck as bad as I normally do. I have started practicing hymns while my new companion
does language study every day.

I have finally figured out an adequate way to describe Elder Michaelis to you all. He is crazy, but hilarious. It hit me this week that he is literally Uncle Si trapped in a young missionary's body.

Before I share this story, I need to remind you than an entire first world country that used to rule almost the entire world lights effigies of varying sizes on fire every year in honor of Guy Fawkes.
Okay. When we moved into this apartment there was a bunch of random stuff left behind from many sets of previous occupants. Among the trinkets, clothes, and missionary paraphernalia were two small
scarecrows. I thought it would be fun to light them on fire in the elders' lawn for April Fool's Day, but then thought that wasn't wise for a 22 year old recent college grad who is currently serving The
Lord. Translation: I didn't want the elders to think I was crazy. Well as the transfer progressed we all became slightly odder and somehow I decided it was acceptable to light things on fire in one of the
driest states in the nation. Sister G and I put some napkins in our small sacrificial fall crafts and I doused them in a generous amount of almond body spray a less active woman gifted to me.  We marched across the apartment complex during nightly planning and I struck a match as Sister G knocked on the door. The tiny creatures burned inside the spaghetti sauce jar we balanced them in and we hid behind the corner and taped the show with an iPad. Their reactions were hilarious. Imagine the following:

Sister P:  Sets the pants of each scarecrow alight while Sister G knocks. They both flee the scene.

Elder Raisor: (opens door) What the crap!...Sisters!

Sister P and G: hahahaha (Sister G's ha's are considerably louder than Sister P's)

Elder Michaelis: (bangs chest and dances around flaming scarecrows like George of the Jungle while making ape noises.  Imagine Brendan Fraiser in missionary attire and no shoes)

Elder England: What is this?

Elder Webb: (whooshing the smoke) It's getting into our house!

Elder England: Ya'll are crazy!

All are laughing intermittently.   After the fire was out they all admitted that the prank was hilarious
and that they are glad we are fun sisters.

I was sick this past week again.  I think I'm allergic to cacti, though a member told me I'm probably allergic to the grasses because those are what are blooming now.  In my head I was like, "What grass lady?  The two sprigs in your yard or the square inch of it a block away?  You do know that turf isn't real?"  She probably is right though if she knows the area.  I'd like to think it is the cacti because that seems a little more fun.  People were offering medicine all of the time because I sounded miserable for about three days.  One night I went all out and entered a coma sponsored by Nyquil and Benadryl.  Man did I sleep well that night.

The children in church yesterday were like wild chimpanzees!  #happymothersday? I finished the Book of Mormon and have started it again and am still in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is painful to get through at this point.  Moses has far out-stayed his welcome.  I mean really?  Five books?  Greedy much, Moses?  It has been good for me to read though because I really do see now why the Book of Mormon is such a powerful book of scripture.  It is so simply written and is meaningful.  Every verse of the Book of Mormon serves a purpose as opposed to the chapter I read in Numbers this morning that was literally a list of what the sons of Aaron provided as sacrifice for the year.  It really is a testimony booster to read about golden spoons being offered while turtledoves are being burnt!  

I'll finish with a quick blurb about all of our investigators:

Harry Potter:  He is doing well.  We got him to pray in Sunday School yesterday! The teacher asked for a volunteer and as a joke I volunteered Ron and she ran with it and he actually prayed.  We're still waiting for his bankruptcy to go through and then he can be married and get baptized.  Pray that his lawyer gets his act together so we can get this show on the road!

Ron Weasley:  We mutually dropped each other.  I like to think we broke up with him, but really he is the one that never called us back.

The Tony Hawk Family:  Those boys are just the best.  They are doing well and are really working hard even though they know they can't be baptized without their dad's authority.  I gave them my cookie dough creation lesson last week with some other young men in the ward and they loved it! Actually, Neville and his brother from our other ward know the Hawk boys and we invited them over too so Neville and his brother got to listen to that lesson again and they still loved it.  It really is fun to teach them.  It just re-affirms my thought that if I had to choose between only sons or daughters, I would pick sons.  Boys are fun.

                                       Cookie dough creation lesson 2

Hermione (and a little about a less active sister):  Baptized!  And we are now giving her the new member lessons and her sister-in-law (heretofore called Ginny Weasley) who isn't a member is sitting in on them.  We also have a less active lady from down the street sitting in on them too.  The less active lady is younger and fun.  We stopped by to ask her if she would go to the lesson with us and she said she would love to and then she said, "I'm sorry, I just have to say, you are the most darling missionary, but I didn't like your last companion, that's why I avoided you!  I know that missionaries are sent for certain people and she just wasn't sent for me and I felt so bad that I would ignore the both of you because I just love you, Sister Poppe!"  I told her it is fine; I'm sure there are people who don't like me either.  She really likes my new companion though too so it is nice to get to work with her a little bit more and have her help with Hermione's lessons.  She is also feeding us this Friday so that is exciting!

Sirius and Neville and family:  We still visit them and we have had a lot of success with Neville.  He really is latching on to things now that we are coming up with hands on lessons.  My new companion is creative so it is nice that I don't have to come up with all of the object lessons on my own now. That was stressin' me out!  He believes in God!  He didn't when we started. He is praying every night too.  Sirius is still being stubborn, but I'm going to wait him out.  Like a hunter stalking a deer I will wait.  I have plenty of beef jerky to tide me over.  Actually, I have none.  But I have Reese's.  So it's the same.

That about does it I believe!


Sister Poppe

The first photo shoot of Sisters Poppe and Dumas. Here we are posing with our Mother's Day roses.  ALSO! Best part of being in two wards on Mother's Day? You get chocolate in two wards!  We even had nice chocolate.  One ward gave us See's Candies and the other ward gave us Lindor truffles. In Twin Knolls one of the young men gave me two servings of chocolate for being a good missionary! #iamnotevenamom


Monday, May 5, 2014

It’s the Hair, It’s Always the Hair!

 Hello (seriously the most stressful part of my week is deciding which greeting I will use to open my email home...I only have so many creative ways to do this and 78ish weeks is a long time)!

 I'll start this email with transfer news!  I am staying in the same area but I am getting a new companion.  I don't know much about her and everything I know is hearsay, so I'll tell you more about her next week when I have learned things about her first hand.  I do know that she is waiting for her visa to go through so she can go to Brazil where she is really supposed to be serving, but she has been in Mesa for at least 6 months.  Technically she could get her visa any day and then leave shortly thereafter, so I may have a new companion at any point during this transfer.  A couple of other sisters told me she is funny and kind of loud.  I'm not sure what president was thinking, I'm sensing that there may be too much personality for one companionship.  This is either going to be hilarious or a complete disaster resulting in more damage than Hurricane Sandy.

This week I had the opportunity to lead a training session during our district meeting.  It was on asking inspired questions and listening.  Those two things are my favorite aspects of missionary work and the only things I'm really exceptional at so I loved giving the training.  I started everything out by playing a game of 20 questions.  When we finished I used that object lesson to outline my key points.  I told the group that teaching lessons is a lot like the game we played.  I pointed out that a few times some people asked me questions that had already been asked and related that to working with your companion during lessons.  If your companion asks your investigator a question you better listen to the answer because you can't ask something they already did or it will show that you weren't listening and don't care.  I also pointed out that when someone asked me if I was a mouse (I was actually a burrito) they didn't try and force me to be a mouse, they moved on and asked questions until they found out what I was.  When we teach people we need to focus on them, not on what we want to share with them or who we want them to be.  Though the people asking the questions may have wanted me to be a mouse, I wasn't one and preaching to me the merits of being a mouse instead of a burrito isn't going to make me want to change.  We can't just throw doctrine at people and expect them to want to change.  We have to get to know them and find out what their needs are and then we can help them.  After this introduction I gave more training on asking inspired questions and facilitated role playing exercises to practice.  It was a good experience for me to teach my district and I really enjoyed it.

Hermione's baptism was on Saturday and it was beautiful!  President Jenkins and his wife came and they enjoyed the service.  President said that our talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost were the best he has ever heard at a baptism because they were short, centered on core church doctrine, and meaningful.  I took that as a huge compliment because I'm still not entirely convinced that president likes me.  He also enjoyed the meaningful presentation we gave while Hermione was changing.  We showed the Because of Him video the church released and then we had taken pictures of people holding up their own Because of Him... signs and had a slide show.  We then shared brief testimonies of Christ.  Hermione's sister-in-law got really emotional and told us she should have been getting baptized that day too.  We're going to work on her a little bit more and hope that she decides to take the lessons.  
                        Hermione and I right before she was baptized!
This random old lady talked to me for a long time and hopes that I get sent to her ward.  That's super flattering and all, but the lady doesn't know me!  How can she know that she wants me in her ward?  It's the hair.  It's always the hair.  I have gotten more compliments on my beauty since I've been on my mission than ever before and I think my hair just fools them into thinking I am beautiful or something.  There is a Glee episode about hairography in which they say that if you whip your hair around enough people will think you're a good performer.  I take the time to do my hair each day and people assume that I am beautiful and an amazing missionary.  EH, it works for me! I am so sneaky.

Remember that one time I referenced My Milkshake in correlation meeting?  Well that is never going to die.  My ward mission leader still thinks it is the most hilarious thing.  Somehow I think he likes me more after that incident than he did before.  I would be a little worried about the missionary work in my ward if my missionary was quoting scandalous rap songs in my living room, but he doesn't seem to mind.  He also said that he talked to the men in priesthood about how they need to be more supportive to the missionaries and he said he almost ended by saying, "And I just told you guys this in a way less colorful way than Sister Poppe would have, so you better shape up".  I'm relieved he didn't; I don't need the ward members knowing that I am as sassy as I really am!

One of the elders kept bothering me to take this energy supplement.  So one morning I finally did.  It's called C4.  I was straight up crazy for like half of the day...and my arms are still sore from the intense lifting I did.  The elders incorporate me in their workouts now and I get so many dirty looks from the other sisters in the gym...they have a different interpretation of what an inappropriate relationship is than the Elder’s do I guess.  We're just doing squats!  We aren't whispering sweet nothings. #sweetheartsquats

Because people love us they give us food...it's kind of made #totesfit815 turn in to #fatty4lyfe

Remember when that lady told me that dogs can read auras?  I'm still on the fence about that, but I do seem to have a dog fan club.  It is becoming outrageous the number of dogs that love me.  Dogs in Mesa revere me; I think my name has gotten out among the barking chains.  Hermione's brother-in-law and sister-in-law live in her house and they have a dog that is usually in the backyard when I am over.  Well one day this week she was waiting in the living room for us.  The dog greeted me cordially enough, but then decided that she needed more love than I was offering, so she knocked me onto the couch, sprawled across my lap, and started licking me from forehead to chin!  This is no small dog either, mind you.  My fan club now consists of many loyal K9 followers, though Lysie the beagle is the president because she follows me around when I'm over and sits by me at the dinner table.  Other members include (listed in no particular order): Paco, Mercedes (newest member, inducted 5/1/14), Perdy, and Toby.  There are other dogs that are trying to join, but these are the most common purveyors of doggy love.
         Lysie.  President of the K9 charter of the Sister Poppe Fan club.  
         She is off to  Washington for the summer but will be back when
           snowbird season starts up again.  Until then she will preside
                                                    from afar.
I think they need to get orchestras for fast and testimony meetings like they do for the Oscars.  Some testimonies just need to end and I think a tactful way to encourage that would be to play a lovely hymn on some strings.  It works for the celebs so it will work for us!

We had a really awesome experience yesterday at church.  A lady walked in and said that she was looking for another church but couldn't find it so God sent her to ours.  We ended up talking to her for half an hour and then invited her to follow us to our other ward for sacrament meeting.  She did and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately she doesn't live in our area so we referred her to the missionaries in her ward boundaries.  I think she will end up being baptized...she is really prepared.

We went to a fireside presented by the architect of the Gilbert Temple last night (who is actually Michael's uncle) and it was a really wonderful experience.  I took a lot away from the fireside that I needed to hear.  The architectural information was interesting and such, but I liked the personal story he shared of how he became an architect.  I really have spent a lot of time thinking about the way in which the Lord shapes us to become who we are and I think more often than not we are shaped in ways that we don't realize until later.  I had another opportunity to think about that while we were in the temple this week.  I was pondering the people I have been blessed to know in life and how I was really worried about going on a mission because I was afraid that no one would be around when I get home.  I was convinced that I would have no friends and that no one would care about me anymore.  I realized though that I have a small group of people who faithfully write me and that I am actually becoming closer with though I am away and only hear from them 2-4 times a month.  Heavenly Father knows our needs.  If we are doing what he wants us to do then we will be blessed in a way that is important to us.  Relationships have always been important to me and I have a hard time letting go of people I care about, so Heavenly Father has blessed me with meaningful relationships with people I care about even though I am far away and restricted in my means of communication.  It is amazing how we are always blessed for living according to His will.

Hopefully I will continue to have meaningful insights and will become a better person each week.


Sister Poppe
We had a lesson with a youth in one of our wards this week and we were teaching the ten commandments.  I decided to make the lesson more interactive, so I took the towel that was hanging up in her bedroom off the wall and put it on my head to make me look more like Moses...instead I just kind of looked like the Virgin Mary.
We went to the temple as a zone!  It was crazy windy and my skirt kept trying to fly up and do other scandalous things.  It was a wonderful morning, as temple mornings always are.