I was reading in Alma this week and noticed that Alma does a lot of less active
work. It makes me feel validated. He isn't always just preaching and baptizing!
He goes out and re-teaches people and re-commits them to live the word of
God. I never caught on to that before, but early on in the book of Alma,
he gives up his judgment seat and goes out to the people to re-activate them in
the church. I absolutely love that. Less active work is so
important and it is done in the Book of Mormon!
Sister Dumas had her exchange with our Sister Training Leader, Sister Dunlop,
on Thursday, so I was with Sister Dunlop's companion, Sister Taumawara. Sister
T has been out nine months and is from an island off of Fiji called Kiribati.
She is a Visitor Center sister currently doing her full field outbound, so she
is not only still learning English, but she is learning the ropes of being a
full time proselyting missionary. She is so funny. She says "for
real" in her funny accent whenever something disappointing happens. During
companionship study she wanted to practice teaching for the four lessons we had
planned during the day so I told her I would be the investigator and she could
be herself. She was struggling through the law of chastity and finally asked if
I would just practice teaching so she could observe what I do. This launched us
into a two hour long companionship study in which she wrote down what I said
verbatim for the law of chastity, word of wisdom, and half of the plan of
salvation lessons. She was so cute. I think she hasn't had the opportunity to really
learn the lessons in English very well and that a lot of words
haven't been defined for her. Like intimacy. She had no clue what that meant. I
enjoyed the experience a lot, I have really come to absolutely love teaching in
any way, even to other missionaries.
You know you're a missionary when you close your voicemails in the name of
Jesus Christ. I wish I could say that I was on the receiving end of that,
but I most definitely left a voice mail that went like this, "Hey!
This is Sister Poppe. I have your stuff in our car. We're in the parking lot by the VC, but we're
getting ready to head out to lunch, so if you're not here in two minutes we'll
have to arrange another time to meet because we're starving. I say these things
in the name of Jesus Ch---oh my gosh. I am so embarrassed that I just
started to close this voicemail like a prayer. Okay, just call us.
We had a temple excursion this week. That just means that we had a short
chapel session with the mission president before our session and that our
session had 4 zones in it instead of 1. We had about 80 missionaries
there the day we went. The other two days there were about 60-70.
It was nice to have peace for a few hours and to see other missionaries.
I ran into my friend Elder Sweeten and we talked about how the people we
came out with are dropping like flies! My best friends, Sisters Clift and
Adams, are both home for medical reasons right now. Sister Adams is going
through some pretty serious stuff and may not be able to return, and Sister
Clift is losing
motivation to return the longer she's home, so that makes me very sad.
There is a man that lives in our apartment complex that has become friends with
some of the missionaries. He likes to talk to Sister Dumas and I while we
online proselyte each day. His last name is Bouchet and he is a
substitute teacher. He told us that he tells his students that his name
is Master Booshizzle. I think he should be friends with L-Shizzle.
He brings Sister Dumas and I a piece of hard candy each day. I
think we're his favorite...mainly because he is a history teacher and I love
America, so I'll talk to him about D-Day and stuff.
We think Harry Potter has started smoking again, which is disappointing because
he hasn't smoked for almost 6 months. We are going to talk to him about
it on Tuesday. On a funnier note though, he told us about an experience
he had at the grocery store this weekend that was hilarious. He said that
the lady at the cash register got all huffy at him because he came to the
express lane and he had more than 15 items. She said that his pack of
water bottles was 32 items alone and that he should learn to read
signs...because we all know that water bottles attached by cellophane count as
32 items and not 1. She complained to him the entire time she rang up his
items and then called him a sinner. Before he paid he said, "You know,
you're right. I am a sinner. So I should probably repent and I should
do it now because if I get hit on the way to my car I would go straight to hell
for not repenting." So he proceeded to pray at the cash register out loud
and ask for forgiveness and for The Lord to bless the cashier with more
patience. He also went all out and blessed the missionaries, his family,
and prayed for a few more things and then ended. When he was done the
other cashiers and people in line all said Amen! A few people approached
him and said that was the best thing they've ever seen and that they couldn't
believe how rude that cashier was. We were dying! We also taught him how to
index this week and that was entertaining. He knows nothing about
computers. He was frustrated because he said he was typing numbers and
they wouldn't show up...we looked over and he was hitting F2 and F7. We
let him know that those aren't number keys. #babyboomersandcomputers
I don't know if you remember me telling you about the fireside we had set up
with the bishop in the Thunder Mountain Ward a few months ago or not, but we
had it on Sunday night and it was a success! The bishop had forgotten
about it even though we had mentioned it in ward council and emailed him about
it so he was kind of dragging his feet, and the ward publicist didn't do a good
job of getting the word out, so on Wednesday we made small fliers and found the
addresses of every family in the ward that has at least one active member (I
decided that that meant someone with a calling in the home) and posted fliers
on their doors. We had 66 families written down and we ended up getting them
on 60 or 61 doors. It was good practice for my upcoming
political career. We had about 35-40 people come to the fireside and they
generated a lot of good ideas. We opened with a clip about missionary
work and then I addressed the audience and kindly told them that we were
looking for ideas to move missionary work forward, not
for excuses, we know them already. The bishop then did a good job of facilitating
a good discussion. It was a good ending to my week because I had been
struggling all week long. I was feeling like I wasn't making enough of a
difference and wondering why I was even out here on a mission because we aren't
teaching very many people and I was worried that I was a disappointment to The
Lord. But to see so many people want to do better missionary work was so
After the fireside the ward mission leader's wife was talking to me and said
that this ward has never been fired up about missionary work and that she knows
the only reason people came is because I insisted on a meeting with the bishop
and I insisted on the ward members being
held accountable and I continued to plan this fireside even though people
weren't on board, and then we put up fliers and advertised on our own.
She said that I may not think I am saving souls, but I am because I may
have motivated a ward of people to do their part and down the road people will
be taught in this area because of my diligence. Her husband also said that he
talks to ward members and they respect us and have the highest opinions of us
as missionaries and that they recognize that we are working hard even though
our numbers don't show that. Our bishop in our other ward said the same thing
to us. As I was having a discouraged moment this week my companion told
me that she is continually amazed at the relationships I have developed in the
wards I am in and the way in which I lift the people up. She quoted
something I said in ward council that morning as evidence and said that The
Lord knows I can handle not having success and that some people can't handle
that. There is a reason I am in these wards and it is for the members.
I still struggle with everything because at the end of the day we don't
have high numbers and I worry that that means I'm not doing my job, but at
least the members like me. I get discouraged because there are sisters in
this mission that people associate with being selfless and loving and generous
and kind and trusting and I will never be looked at as that type of missionary.
I'm always classified as a go-getter, a problem solver, entertaining, and
someone who gets stuff done. One of our ward mission leaders even told me that
he pities the man that ever tries to cross me because he will never win. Those
are nice characteristics, but I'm also loving and kind and trusting of The
Lord, and selfless but no one ever acknowledges those characteristics.
Basically there are sisters that are candidates for future general relief
president and are wife material and I'm just a candidate for future president
of the world and our culture tells us that it is more desirable to be one of
the women that is future general relief society president and wife material
than who I am. It's been a rough week.
We also had two really productive ward council meetings yesterday in which
names were discussed, assignments were given, and both bishops told the ward
councils that they need to fulfill their responsibilities that were assigned so
we can do our work as missionaries. I pray I'm here at least one more
transfer so that we can continue to work with these ward councils and help them
establish a habit of missionary work. Transfer planning is this week and
we find out if we're being transferred on Saturday. The OCD part of me wants
to stay another transfer because that will mean I served six months in these
wards and I like the roundness of that number.
Sister Dumas' birthday week was fun! I took her to lunch to get a Chicago
hotdog on Saturday and a Sonic shake for her birthday and on Sunday we made lemon
bars when we got home because those are her favorite and her mom mailed us a
mix. She is officially not a teenager anymore, so I told her I'm holding
her to a higher level of accountability. Hopefully her driving skills
improve exponentially. Her mom also
mailed us money to go and get birthday pedicures today, so I am excited to do
While we had exchanges, Sister Dumas found two new people to teach! We are really excited and hope that
everything works out, though at this point I know better than to get my hopes
up! At least I'd like to think I do, but secretly they're already up.
Good luck to Bryce at Basic Training!
That about does it!
Sorry, no pictures this week.