Monday, June 16, 2014

What Would Katniss Do?

You're in France (we'll talk about the fact that your travel email stated that if you die on this trip Brandon gets to raise Bryce instead of me later #what #itisbecauseheismarried #singlechoppedliveroverhere)! I am not even going to hint around. I want a cool postcard sent to me. I told Betsy the same thing for when she is in Africa this summer. In fact, I'm going to extend a blanket invitation to everyone who will be anywhere thrilling during my mission. Really this is more of a blanket expectation than invitation; I expect a postcard from all exciting destinations anyone travels to between now and August 11’ish, 2015. If I don't receive one I will assume you don't love me and you will subsequently be dead to me without the option of resurrection. You can expect a sensational postcard from me in return with desert landscapes, jackalopes, or other desert flora, fauna, or feisty animals (I had to make that start with an F somehow). Blessings from Heav' are also still available for all mail delivered to me. That offer is always redeemable and stackable with other coupons.

I had my exchange for the transfer with Sister Dunlop on Tuesday. She served in my area for seven and a half months and was Sister Gillespie's trainer. We had a good exchange and she told me at the end of the day that it was a blessing to work with me and that I'm one of her favorite sisters in the mission now. I don't know what kind of genetics you and dad contributed to my makeup or how you raised me, but for some reason people really like me here. So thanks for raising me to be me. Maybe I'll never leave AZ because my approval rating is higher here than anywhere else I've lived. Harry Potter's fiancĂ© even told me this week that J-Lo released a new song called I Love Poppy and that it was probably written about me. I have a lot of undeserved admiration and love from people in this mission; even on bad hair days. I'm not used to being "cool", it's kind of awkward. We worked on street contacting during my exchange because I hate it and think I am awful at it (though Sister Dunlop said the awkwardness is only in my head, I'm a natural talker.  Surprise, surprise, eh?). I was bothered for a while that I wasn't sent on a foreign speaking mission because I thought I was smart enough to learn a new language and figured Heavenly Father was doubting my ability to quickly learn a new tongue.  In hindsight I don't think my intelligence was ever a factor in that decision. My only talent in missionary work is connecting with people and talking and that would have been severely hindered if I was trying to converse with people in a language I'm not fluent in; I'm more grateful every day that I am in an English speaking assignment.  We didn't have any immediate success with our talking, but I do believe that we had a miracle with a member's neighbor and that she will be interested eventually. She used to manage a property that missionaries rented when she was in California, and a lot of her friends are members. We will stop by occasionally and talk to her until she solicits our salvation saving services (I don't know why my letter is so alliteration heavy today). We were also invited by some elders to team teach a girl they're meeting with who they are having a hard time connecting with because she's 11 and they're older and weird. She was such an amazing young woman with a great love for God and a strong desire to learn more. I loved her and wish she was ours to always teach.

My missionary portal hasn't been letting me log in for two weeks now.  We use that website to facilitate correspondence with the mission president on a weekly basis. Some techies in SLC are looking into it.  I was beginning to believe I was being sent home and hadn't been informed yet. I know I lit some scarecrows on fire, but I'm not an extremist! I've done nothing to warrant a dishonorable release! I told president last week at zone conference why I didn't email him and just figured I would send a double email the next week. Well last Monday it was still not allowing me to enter, and I've yet to be sent home, so I decided I would hand write my weekly letter and mail it to the mission office. I used a stamp with Dumbledore on it and added a note on the envelope that said, "If the AZMM was Hogwarts, you'd clearly be Dumbledore," with an arrow pointing to the stamp. I really hope he appreciates that as much as he should.

It was my companion's hump day on Wednesday and my four month mark on Thursday, so we went and got Froyo with the gift card her aunt in Gilbert gave us. The employee gave us half off and an extra stamp on our stamp card. I'm going to miss the benefits associated with the black badge when I'm home.

It is getting so hot! The days of double digit temps are over and we've been launched into summer. Along with the double digits, good hair days have flown out the window. My hair is going to remain off my neck indefinitely. In an attempt to stray from my bun and pony tail comfort zone and simultaneously spice up this long summer of drab hairdos, I'm practicing my braiding techniques. Essentially I ask myself every day, What Would Katniss Do? #wwkd And then I do it. Unless it involves killing people with archery equipment, because then my ability to access my missionary portal will be permanently unauthorized and replaced with access to The Arizona State Penitentiary's inmate mail service. Who knows, maybe I'll get so good at braids and fancy up-dos that I'll be qualified to be Mary Crawley's lady's maid by the end of my mission.

Investigators are a lot like men you're interested in. You just want them to like you and marry you and let you have their babies and build you a house and take you to Disneyland (really, is that too much to ask) and just when you think you have their attention and that just maybe they will ask you out, they get distracted by something prettier. We have had two people express a lot of interest and meet with us and then either cancel a lesson and not re-schedule, or ignore our calls this week. C'mon people! I thought I was at least worth the dollar theater and the Taco Bell drive thru by now! I'm going to be all ready for dating when I get home because rejection is practically a prescription I take a daily dose of at this point.

We did some hardcore leg workouts on Wednesday and we were dying on Thursday. We were walking funny; it was like we had a little twerk in our step. We had a lesson with Harry Potter and he mocked us as we walked up to his house and then proceeded to pray that our sore legs would feel better and heal so that we could have strength to work our legs out again the next day. He got too much enjoyment out of watching us get off his couch after the lesson too. We didn't tell them that we felt like Miley when we walked but before we left Harry's fiancĂ© said something about us twerking when we walked and we were like WE KNOW, RIGHT! We had also told Harry he should consider bearing his testimony on Sunday and he had said no but then he said he would get up there and tell everybody about the missionaries who come over and teach him how to twerk and how that is his testimony.  As another visual for our walking, I will share a quote from my companion, "I think this is how they get the zombies to walk this way. They make them work out! I'm serious." We really did look like twerking Walking Dead cast members.

We have a lot of gated communities in our area and we struggle to remember all of the gate codes. We have one subdivision that has a lot of smaller subdivisions in it that doesn't have a ton of members. We have some of the gate codes, but one of the neighborhoods has an inactive family we have been trying to contact and we don't know the gate code there. It is pretty small, so traffic in and out is minimal, but every time we need to go there someone is going in and we piggyback them in, or someone is leaving and we illegally go in the out.  We kind of look like creepers, but Heavenly Father provides every time! It's a never ending tender mercy. #miraclegate

So, I think I must be doing this missionary email thing wrong or something. Every time I get another missionary's letters forwarded to me they're short and all about personal growth and the gospel and touching tales and stuff. I like my letters to be all encompassing, so sorry they're long, worldy, and not quite holy enough. Maybe by my one year mark I will write home letters of a higher spiritual quality.  Just so you know I really am a good missionary when it comes to being spiritual, and we do work hard, it's just more fun to tell you about Froyo and puppies than about unsuccessful door knocks and street rejections. You can just read my journal when I get home or something if you want the spiritual details.

Line of the week comes from Harry Potter. We read through one of the Priesthood Session talks from last conference with him and he asked why we read it. We told him that a lot of the messages apply to women too and because we have to know what to tell our husbands to keep them in line. He reminded us that we need to look for hard workers and guys who aren't into video games when we get home and start the husband hunt. Because when you marry guys who play video games you support them and they call you at work and say (here comes Harry's gem), "What's for dinner? Hurry home so I can go to my friend's house and play the...the EBay show." Hahahaha what? The man cracks us up. He also couldn't remember Sister Dumas' name the same night and he called her Sister Douchener. We laughed so hard that Harry and I were crying.

We also had a little girl (5 or 6 years old) tell us you have to pay your tithing so you don't get fired. She was 1007% serious. That was a contender for quote of the week.

I asked Sister Dumas the other day if she ever used MSN Messenger, to which she responded, "Sister. Of course I never used MSN Messenger in my life! You have to remember we practically grew up in different generations." Excuse me! When did 23 become the new 40? Well we were talking to a teenager we met at the home of an inactive lady and he asked how old we were and we told him. He said something about the three year age difference and I said that Sister D acts like it's so huge but it isn't--even though she never used MSN Messenger. He proceeded to say, "I don't know MSN messenger, but I do like older bands like music is awful." HE THOUGHT MSN MESSENGER WAS A BAND. OKAY, LET ME JUST GO CRAWL IN A HOLE WITH MY WALKMAN AND ALL THE OTHER OLD LADIES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHO WERE BORN BEFORE CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT. #kidsthesedays

We are giving Hermione the new member lessons and this week's was on Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity.  She imparted some of her own knowledge about intimacy during the lesson. Let's just say we all learned some new things that lesson...

It's Sister Dumas' birthday week! She turns 20 on Sunday! I'm going to do something special each day this week and I am excited to make her only birthday in the mission memorable.

We ran into Tammy in the foyer at church and they gave us left over Mexican food from her birthday for lunch! It was absolutely delicious.

                                            Lunch at Kyle and Tammy's

We gave a short message in jr. and sr. primary and it was so fun. We talked to them for a few minutes about being a missionary and then asked them what they thought they could do to prepare to be one someday. After that we challenged the jr.'s to memorize the Articles of Faith and the sr.'s to study the scriptures by themselves each day.  We were welcomed with lots of excitement. It's amazing the kids that remember you even though the only interaction you've had with them is one meal in their home. It was humbling and a good reminder that kids are always looking to us as an example and they truly idolize missionaries.

Today while we were driving to meet Sister Dumas' aunt for her birthday lunch we had quite the small adventure.  We were stopped at a red light and a Schwan's man turned left from the perpendicular street and one of his doors flung open and a bunch of meet flew out right in the middle of the intersection! The guy stopped a few yards up the road and we jumped out of our car and helped him pick up his products.  There were a bunch of cars stopped while the clean-up was taking place and no one else jumped out to help!  We were shocked.  We got it all picked up really quickly and ran back to our car so traffic could continue to flow.

I have to tell you, I love my companion, but she is an absolutely terrible driver.  She didn't get her license until she was 18 and then promptly went to college and didn't drive there and then came on her mission at 19 and hasn't driven until this transfer.  It's like being the passenger in the car of a teenage girl with her learner's permit.  I have empathy for you now, mom.  I'm going to get an ulcer.  "Are you going to stop at this red light," and "We should probably pick a lane instead of taking up two," are the most common phrases out of my mouth while in the car. Oi.  "Turn your headlights on," is another frequent request.

I'm currently in Alma and it is interesting comparing the evil that was abounding before Christ's birth with the evil that is abounding in the world now as we lead up to the second coming of Christ.

Enjoy your trip!  Send me a postcard!


Sister Poppe
Sisters with the cheesecake kids!
Our favorites!  Noah and Maya.  Noah finally calls me Sister Poppe
instead of sister missionaries.  He also always asks if he can come to
my house whenever I see him now.  I always tell him my house is boring
but maybe I'll come to his again sometime.

We asked a member to take a picture of
us in our Memorial Day outfits and he asked if we wanted him to hang a
flag up and we were so excited that he did and then he asked if we
wanted to hold guns!  I guess it's a violation of the white handbook
to handle firearms, but we found that out after the fact.
The Memorial Day gun family has one daughter and she drew
the picture for us.  It's of her with us and her parents.  I enjoy the
fact that she included my companions bump that she always has in her
hair.  My companion and I were arguing about my hair color the other
day and then we received this picture in which I am a blond.  My
companion took that as enough evidence that she wins and that I am a
blond.  We all know I'm a brunette, but I have to let her win
sometimes because she said the other day "You're the only companion
I've had that I'm not always right with.  I NEVER BEAT YOU IN