Friday, August 29, 2014

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Trolls!

We had another productive week! I feel so blessed that we have had a lot to do the last month or so because I do not handle down time well.

We started off our week with the Tony Hawk mom. She invited us over last P-Day to make crafts and bake banana bread. It was so nice to be in a kitchen again. I made bread for us, the Tony Hawk family, the Cheesecake Factory mom, and another lady in the ward who we love.

So last week I had a random email from a guy named Trevor Wolfe (I'm not even giving him the dignity of changing his name because as you will see, he is a Troll). He said that he has been trying to get a Book of Mormon from but he hasn't ever had one delivered.  He asked if I could help him out.  Okay, first of all I have no clue how this guy got my personal missionary email address (though I think that the mission addresses are so easy to come up with because most missionary's just have their that he probably just saw me on Facebook or something and took a guess and it worked). Second of all, I find it highly unlikely that if he has requested a Book of Mormon multiple times that he hasn't received one yet. Book of Mormon requests are sent to missionaries via text messages and they deliver the Book of Mormons.  Those are GOLDEN referrals because people are actually interested and have sought out the gospel on their own.  There is no way that missionaries haven't been by his house if they received a referral. But I decided that it wasn't my place to decide whether this guy was worthy of the gospel or not, so I responded and asked for his information and told him we would get a Book of Mormon to his home. I also told him a little bit about missionary work and about companions and signed Sister Dumas' name on the email as well so that he knew there were two of us communicating with him. He gave me his Facebook address as well, so I added him there and he messaged me right away and wanted to have an online lesson.  Most people don't even know that missionaries can do online lessons so that was pretty fishy as well.  As Sister Dumas and I Facebook crept him we saw that he is a born again Christian who has spent time in Utah preaching to Mormons.  He's also on a crusade against Jehovah Witnesses.  I Facebook messaged him and basically told him that we would love to teach him if he is genuinely interested in learning the truth, but that if he just wants some Mormons to fight with that I personally don't have time for that.  I told him that I saw his Facebook page information and that I wasn't wasting time talking to a guy who was just going to twist my words and try and convince me that I was going to Hell.  He said that he was genuinely interested in learning more so we set up a lesson with him.  We taught him the Restoration lesson via FaceTime and it was so stupid.  He didn't try and fight with us; he played the part of an interested person, but I could tell he was probing for information.  I can read people pretty well and I knew he was acting innocent.  He was probably recording our lesson and we will probably end up in some YouTube video misquoted or something.  I did have a few moments though where the Spirit told me to not say things though, so that was good.  In one instance he asked what things set Mormons apart from other Christian religions and we said really just the Book of Mormon and modern day prophets.  The temple came to my mind and immediately I was prompted to not even bring it up.  I know without a doubt that he wanted us to bring up the temple and that he had some sinister plans with that.  So I didn't mention the temple.  After our lesson I told Sister Dumas this and she said that she couldn't think of anything different which shocked her during the lesson because she always brings up temple marriages when people ask that question and she was stumped as to why she couldn't think of anything to say.  After I shared with her my experience she said that she knows she couldn't think of anything to say because she wasn't supposed to bring up temples.  I'm glad we were both cautious and onboard with that whole situation because it could have been way worse.  He hasn't contacted us since, and we aren't going to do anything more with him because he's an Anti-Mormon troll who picked the wrong people to try and manipulate into giving him the information he wanted. We were confident in everything we said and testified strongly at the end. Take that back to Satan and see what he'll have you do with it T Wolfe!

We went to the temple and it was great! As you know, I ran into Whitney and Jessica.  It was cool; I saw a wedding being photographed on the front steps as we were getting ready to leave and as I walked out I heard someone yell "AMANDA!"  I haven't heard my first name in a long time so I kind of just assumed that a member of the wedding party had my same name. I looked up and saw Jessica snapping pics and Whitney waving at me!  I ran over and hugged them and then we had to go to a meeting at the VC. I saw them after our meeting; it was a nice little tender mercy.

We had a RS activity this week about serving and loving our husbands.  It was based on a book called "The Husband Project" and it is supposed to help your marriage.  They said that they were going to tailor the presentation so that you could apply it to anyone, not just a husband, but it was still pretty husband oriented.  Sister D and I sat at the naughty table and were distracted half the time by the women we were with.  They were hilarious, but they're so disruptive!  We aren't allowed to sit by them in any real church setting because you add Sister D and I to their already loud group and it just gets worse. I liked the core message of the evening though.  Basically if you're having problems with your spouse or a child or a friend, serve them.  If you serve them and choose to not let little things bother you, you will grow to love them. I've found that to be true on a mission with my companions and will definitely use that in marriage!

We have two new members in the "Sisters Poppe and Dumas Youth Fan Club".  They're hilarious girls.  They are Bryce's age.  I found Bryce a wife.  She is 17, hilarious, a little weird, and wears RayBans.  Clearly she will fit in with our family and will be a perfect helpmeet for Bryce. I've got his back. She is actually the girl who called you on Sunday, mom.  She said, "Hey, can I call your mom and just tell her you're awesome and stuff?" Don't be surprised if you get a few random picture messages here and there from that one. She's a riot. The other girl is hilarious too.  Her whole family is funny; they are the ones we ate dinner with last week where the youngest daughter said we were fun because we don't talk about grandma stuff.  These two girls are compiling a list of reasons I shouldn't be transferred and they are going to give it to the mission president this Sunday when he comes to speak in sacrament meeting. We'll see how that goes!

Mom's note:  random picture showed up just yesterday saying, "corndog day".
We had a member of the second quorum of the 70 come and speak with us yesterday and it was really good!  He talked about the basics of the gospel and using our personalities in our missions.  His wife was hilarious and spent her entire time talking about the fact that we were sent to our mission for a reason.  We have experiences in life and characteristics that make us perfect for someone and that is why we are here, so we can't hide those things.  We need to be ourselves and we need to let our uniqueness shine.  I loved it!

Sister D got her visa! She heads out on September 9th! So the likelihood of me staying in this area for another transfer went from 2% to much higher.  I wouldn't be surprised if I'm transferred and I wouldn't be surprised if I stay.  If I do stay I will have spent 6 of the 12 transfers of my mission here; I would be okay with that though!  If I get transferred I have to make people love me again and start a new youth fan club.  Too much work.

Quotes of the Week:

"You need a haircut. It's getting straggly on the ends. Like 4 or 5 inches so it's all the same. It's all over the place."-Hazel our assisted living friend to Sister D. I don't think Hazel understands layers are supposed to make your hair multiple lengths.

"What is central to the Plan of Salvation."-Me
"Central. That means middle. Okay. The holding tank!"-Harry
"Ummm...what?"-Sister D
"I think he means Spirit Prison."-Me in a whisper
"Spirit Prison, Harry?"-Sister D
 "Yeah!"  Hahahahahaha's
"Okay, well no. That isn't it. The atonement is central to the plan of salvation."-Me

"What's a dispensation?"-Me
"Your attitude."-Harry
"Harry! No! We go over this every time. A disposition is your attitude. What is a dispensation?"-Me
"Something with a time."-Harry
"Yes, that's the start. It's a period of time when there's a prophet on the Earth, Harry."-Sister D "A dispensation is when dis prophet is on da Earth."-Me
"I can't even handle you. Did you really just say that?"-Sister D
"Hey! See, now I will remember that!"-Harry

I was planning on giving you an update on our investigators, but this letter is already long so that will have to wait until a time when my letter is shorter!


Sister Poppe

P.S.   I don't even know why I wrote LOVE!!!!! so obnoxiously.

Amanda's sassy elder alter ego 
This is Jean who we help with her crossword puzzles 
Light out from under the bushel
Me and Sister D at the temple
there are no words for this 
Collecting chicken eggs after dinner
Mission farewell, he is going to South America

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Half Ton Sisters: Their Only Hope is the Resurrection

We had the busiest week I've had since I've been out and it was fantastic! I love not having to worry about filling time. We had quite a few really successful lessons with some active families in the Thunder Mountain ward. We ended every lesson with a family prayer in which we asked the head of the household to pray for missionary opportunities as well as for the faith to act on them when they are provided from heav'. One of the lessons we had was with a single middle aged lady who has never been married.  She was raised in Minnesota, is the oldest of three children with only brothers and went to BYU.  So basically we are probably going to have the same life.  Don't count on grandchildren from me...I'm destined to be single 4 lyfe.

We have an assisted living home in the Thunder Mountain Ward boundaries (it isn't the one we already volunteer at) and a new lady just moved in who is a member. We stopped by and talked to her and learned so much about her. Her faith is absolutely amazing. She joined the church not many years ago and has had a lot of serious health problems in her older years, yet her only concern is making sure that she has completed all of her ordinances and lived true to them before she dies. Her faith is astounding. Her husband was baptized by proxy and she is now praying about whether she should be sealed to him. She has been debating it because they had a pretty rocky relationship before his death, but she wants to do all that is expected of her.  We told her about the Holy Spirit of promise and the Millennium and how being sealed works and she feels a lot better about things now.

Some good quotes from our week:

"You are fun missionaries! Not like the ones we had over for dinner last time. They only talked about granny things. Like how our house is clean." I'm a little sad it took 6 months for us to get into their home for dinner. Their children are hilarious and were potentially cut from the same fabric that I was. It makes my heart happy to meet children with robust personalities.

Harry's opinions on the Biblical practice of stoning women who become pregnant out of wedlock: "They never should have gotten rid of that.  All those young girls get pregnant. They never would have got pregnant if they would be hit with a rock."

Sister D and I gave training on being Christlike in our companionships at our Zone Training Meeting. People loved it! We first talked about the characteristics of a Christlike companionship as a group and then we had an activity in which we had each companionship come up with a hashtag for themselves. Some people came up with some really good ones.  Mine and Sister D's has been #popsndums4lyfe (pronounced dooms, not dumbs) for a long time. We shared that and then I said that when we get half-price Sonic shakes it changes to #fattys4lyfe. Everyone thought that was funny. Seriously though, we're about 3 half-price Sonic shakes away from starring in our own TLC show called "Half Ton Sisters: Their Only Hope is the Resurrection". We shared the scriptures in Alma I talked about last week in which Ammon was so joyous to see his old missionary friends that he fainted.  We challenged everyone to treat their companion in such a way that they will be excited to run into each other 10 years down the road. We also created a getting to know you questionnaire for everyone and handed them out so that each companionship can get to know one another better.
Our zone 

We went to the YSA stake's production of Rob Gardner's "Joseph Smith the Prophet" (or something like that) on Saturday.  It was actually done really well. They must have auditioned for the choir and stuff, there's no way that choir would have done as well if it would have been a free for all. We took a lady in our ward and her daughter that we thought could use a spiritual performance like that.

We sang with the Twin Knolls Ward Council in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. It was nothing fancy, just a hymn. There was a farewell in that ward as well so the place was packed.  We were in a row alone and all of these youth from other wards came at the same time and sat in our row and the one in front of us.  This was bad. So bad. We can not be allowed to sit by anyone under the age of 30 in any meeting because we get distracted too easily. At one point in time I hissed at Sister Dumas as a YM from the row in front of us was turning around and he saw it and literally thinks we are the weirdest sisters in the world I am sure.  So then like half the row was laughing and I just kept a straight face and acted like I didn't know what was going on, so when the bishop looked over to see what was happening he didn't associate me with the lack of reverence. I already repented though, so it is okay.
We have a temple trip this week AND a 70 is coming to speak with us on Monday so it will be a spiritually high week I am sure! Because of the 70 coming, my P-day next week will be on Tuesday, just so you know.

I just started 3rd Nephi today in my personal studying and I am excited because Jesus was just born. This is one of the best parts of the Book of Mormon! I love it! I also read about the Plan of Salvation today and it is amazing to me how Heavenly Father thought of literally everything before he sent us here.  We have nothing to worry about if we just follow him.

Much love,

Sister Poppe


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

She is the Amy Poehler to my Tina Fey

So I have mentioned my bosom sister, Sister Adams quite a few times in my letters home. Just as a reminder, she is the B to my FF, the Amy Poehler to my Tina Fey, the Reese's to my egg. Though I have only known her six short months, she is one of my very favorite people; I think we were probably besties in the PME or something. She ended up having to go home after our second transfer because she was having some serious medical problems. Though she had hopes of returning to the field, Missionary Medical deemed her unfit to return to missionary service. Through all of this, she kept her faith and a kind family from the area she served in offered her a place in their home and lined up a job for her here in Mesa. She moved back a little over a month ago and I finally got to see her last P-Day. It was the most joyous reunion; almost as moving as the Boy Meets World Cast Reunion earlier this year! She came bearing gifts in the form of homemade Kneader's sandwiches. We talked for about an hour and a half and hugged it out and took some pictures before we had to leave to proselyte for the evening. While this was the most touching moment of my week, it wasn't the only sweet reunion I had.

Elder Michaelis (the Uncle Si elder) went home last week because he honorably reached the end of his two year mission. He was the first real missionary friend I have had go home. Up until the end of last transfer, the people going home didn't mean much to me because I didn't know them well. He was in my district for three transfers, so we got pretty tight. He called me President Poppe instead of Sister Poppe at least 57% of the time. On Tuesday morning as we were walking up to the gym, he popped out of the door to greet us! All five of us sisters from my apartment stopped dead in our tracks. My hands leapt to my mouth and I covered my gaping expression as if the bus had just been moved from in front of my very own extreme home makeover. TLC should have been around to tape the moment; we were all so shocked and excited to see him! He brought his parents down from Utah to meet the families he served and taught. We all met his parents and talked with him. He worked out with us Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning.

After this week, I think I can fully relate to the story in which Ammon runs into the sons of Mosiah and Alma after they've been separated, preaching the gospel. He is so excited to see them that he loses his strength! I didn't do that, but I was more excited to see my missionary friends than I ever thought I would be. The people I've served with have come to occupy such a special place in my heart; even if the vast majority of my friends are twerpy elders who are 2-4.5 years younger than me.

One of the Thunder Mountain YW asked me to sing in church with her yesterday. We sang a beautiful medley of Called to Serve and Savior, Redeemer of My Soul. Her mom told me about a month ago that she heard me sing when they sat a row in front of me one Sunday and that I needed to sing in church. I thanked her for her compliments and didn't think much of it until her daughter asked me to sing a duet with her in Sacrament Meeting. The daughter said that she was thinking about what her mom told me and that she wondered if I would be more open to singing if it was a duet with her. She decided to be bold and ask the music coordinator if she could sing and the coordinator penciled her in. She then hunted me down and asked if I would join her and I agreed. The music coordinator told her later that she couldn't find anyone to sing a special musical number in the month of August and that she had prayed that somehow she would be able to find someone so she could fulfill her calling and then the YW approached her! The song was beautiful. I saw a few people in the congregation even tear up. It was an honor to sing with her; she is extremely talented. Her voice matched mine better than anyone else's I've ever sang with. "Sister Poppe! Why did you never tell us you can sing!?!" became the phrase of the day.

We have started teaching the families in Thunder Mountain and it is actually going very well. Between our two wards we already have 15 lessons scheduled for this week. With our community service, daily studies, and a zone training meeting this week, we literally have every hour Monday through Friday already booked solid. Our schedule is crazy; I am so pumped to be busy! We wrote out a four step plan for meeting with the families and our objective in teaching them. The ward mission leader loved it and instituted it as our ward mission plan.

We had a lot of lessons last week too and more already scheduled for next week. The lessons we have done so far have been really good. In every home someone has said that even though what we are teaching is something they know, they've learned something new from what we have taught. We leave every member lesson by praying with the family for missionary opportunities and then we encourage them to pray as a family again about specific people and for the faith to act on missionary opportunities. We also give them ideas for missionary opportunities; the last thing we want is for these people to just give their neighbors Books of Mormon. In the very least, the members seem to like having us in their homes so we feel loved and that is always nice. It really will be a challenge for me to leave this area; I love these people!

We had our first day volunteering at the library this week. It isn't that hard; it's just alphabetizing, but this girl who works at the library is super condescending and is always hovering "in case we do something wrong and need a little help." Puh-leaze. I have a college degree, I can handle the alphabet, and I don't need help.  #Kthanxbye. I'm very Christlike to her on the outside though. She probably just wants to feel important so I let her.

All in all we had a busy, but pretty uneventful week, so I think this about covers it!


Sister Poppe

                         We received treat bags for no reason 2 days in a row.
                        I kind of feel like an Oscar nominee with my swag bags.

              We invited one of our YM friends to go to a lesson with us and he
             invited another boy from our other ward to come as well. Their third
             friend invited himself when he found out what they were doing so we
              had three boys from three different wards in the stake at one lesson.

                                                  Sue was telling me jokes.

                                                      Perdizzle and Sista P

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Carry a Batman and a Screwdriver in my Purse, of Course I'm Winning.

Last Monday we went with a couple on a drive to Canyon Lake for FHE.  The wife asked us a few weeks ago if they could take us on a scenic drive around sunset to see the beauty of the desert outside of the city and we finally went!  I had never thought the desert was beautiful until we took that drive. We stopped to take pictures of the lake and they turned out stunningly. I also got car sick and was dizzy for three days after the trip whenever I stood up after sitting for extended periods of time, but it was worth it. Also, the lake looked familiar; I think we may have gone boating there with Kim and Dean years ago.
                                             Sunset at Canyon Lake

One of our appointments fell through on Wednesday evening, so we helped the YW help an older lady in the ward pack up her home to move.  There were way too many people in her tiny trailer, so I stayed outside and helped a few of the girls trim a Mesquite tree.  Our loppers didn't work very well, so I started just ripping the thin branches off the tree and the girls helped me.  I had a good time talking to them and getting to know them better. One of the girls was Harry's soon to be step daughter. We actually had a really good conversation about their home and different things. She also said that I'm her favorite missionary and it will be weird when I'm eventually transferred and won't be on their couch three times a week. She said I'm her favorite because she actually respects me because I am intelligent. It made me feel good, because we all know that sometimes I struggle with being labeled as "intelligent" instead of "spiritual".  After the service, we had Italian sodas at the YW president’s house and were attacked with water.  Once we were wet we decided to just join in and have a water fight because we were already wet and we weren't technically swimming or taking part in water sports.
The assisted living home we serve at got a piano!  There was a hymnbook and a children's song book and a few other books with songs from the 50's and such there. I decided to just play a hymn on a whim and one of the residents, Phil, asked me to keep playing. I played for an hour and toward the end I started singing the hymns I was playing because he started singing. His father-in-law is the man who owns this particular assisted living home and the piano is actually Phil's late wife’s. It was actually a very tender moment; he was so glad someone was playing his wife's piano and enjoyed hearing the hymns.  I played all the hymns I can play, some of the children's songbook songs, and a few pieces I have memorized that aren't church related. You'll have to mail me my pink binder of sheet music, mom, so I can play some more for Phil. By the end of the hour there were 5-6 elderly people sitting in the room just listening. Hazel told me that I play wonderfully and then she told Sister Dumas and me that she loves us before we left. The sassy old women are starting to show affection for us! As we were leaving I realized that even though the residents are old, and many aren't fully there, playing hymns for them may be a seed that was planted that will be harvested on the other side. I know they felt the Spirit as I played; Phil teared up a few times, and they all were nicer to each other than they ever are.

Our new ward mission leader in Thunder Mountain is really magnifying his calling.  He has emailed a million families in the ward and has set up appointments with them. We're excited to start teaching in that area!  Even if it is active members of the church who already have the gospel.

We set up a family mission plan with a Hispanic family in our ward on Friday night.  While we were there we each received a drawing from their son, lots of hugs, ice cream, and an invitation to come back and teach them how to play the game of Life (they own it and don't know how to play). Their kids LOVE us. They run up and hug us every week and always want us to come over. It makes me wish I was serving in South America a little bit. Hispanic people are just so loving!

We were teaching Harry how to do family history the other night and some of the elders in our stake happened to be teaching an investigator in the family history center at the same time. We are supposed to be home at 9:00 every night, unless we're in a lesson, then we can get home at 9:30.  We wrapped up at 9:00 and told Harry goodbye and headed out to our car.  As we were approaching our car, we saw that the light was on in the elders' car and we decided to check to see if the doors were unlocked because if they were we were going to shut their dome light off.  We also decided to put the Pizza Hut sign on their car.  Their doors were unlocked and somehow we decided to just hide in their car to scare them when they came out. We knew that their lesson had to be almost done because it was already a few minutes after 9:00, so I hid in the backseat and Sister D hid in the front passenger seat. We ended up camping out in the car for FORTY FIVE minutes because they stayed in the church FOREVER. Every time we got close to just leaving we decided against it because we had already invested time in the hot, axe scented vehicle. Finally they came out and they had one of the YM with them that had been out with them all night and we scared them. Their reactions weren't as dramatic as we wanted, but it was still hilarious. We saw the YM at mission prep on Sunday and he was telling other YM about our scandalous exploit! We told him he had to stop or we would make him stop.

We really do enjoy mission prep on the Sundays we can make it! I love working with the youth in general and enjoy every opportunity we have to interact with them. We took two YM out with us to Harry's lesson on Saturday and had them teach the entire thing. One leaves in a few weeks for his mission and the other is a recent convert who is planning on serving next summer when he hits his year mark. It's kind of cool because when I first got into this area the youth never wanted to serve with us, now they all want to go out with us. There is a rivalry between a few of the YM in the Twin Knolls Ward and a few of the YM in the Thunder Mountain Ward about who we like more. They fight over who our favorite YM are, which is hilarious, because none of them wanted anything to do with us three months ago! The boy that is prepping to leave in a few weeks on his mission sat by me in Gospel Principles yesterday and Sister D got mad at him for not sitting by her, so now there is a rivalry between us about who the youth like more. Really it isn't a rivalry; it's a one sided competition in which Sister D tries to win. But I'm winning; I carry a Batman and a screwdriver in my purse, of course I'm winning.

We went to a political fundraiser for dinner on Saturday and it was fun! Our less active member invited us and even introduced us as missionaries during the program. We had dinner and then watched a performance of different island dances.

I don't know what it was about yesterday, but it was love the missionaries day or something. Everybody wanted to love us! We got so many hugs and compliments. The YW who is following me on Twitter that I mentioned last week told me we're now best friends and I told her to make a handshake to prove it, and she did! She is hilarious. She's only 13, but I want Bryce to marry her.

I have started studying from the beginning of the Old Testament Institute manual and it is so enlightening!  I really enjoy learning about basic doctrines in a deeper way. I think it has made my studying more productive and I am learning some really cool things about the pre-existence and stuff.

Things are still going well with our investigators.  We are excited that school starts this week because that means more people will be home more regularly.


Sister Poppe

We are teaching a family how to be missionaries.  The couple wants to leave when their daughter graduates in a year and the daughter wants to serve a mission after she graduates as well. We meet with them every Sunday night and give them a mini MTC experience. I mentioned last week that this is the first summer in at least 15 years I haven't made a S'more, so when we arrived yesterday they had everything for S'mores and we made some over the stove.  I was so excited!

                                                    WE ARE COUSINS!!!

    The Hobbit Hole Family let their desert tortoise inside for us to see this week.