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!
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.