Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't Mess With Sista P and Spicy D!

First and foremost, I SURVIVED THE 5K. HOLLLLLA ATCHA CHAMPION RIGHT HERE. Bum, Bum Bum Bum, Bum Bum Bum, Bum. Bum. Bum (That was Eye of the Tiger) STRAIGHT UP ROCKY STATUS! More on the 5K later.
The sisters from our apartment in our Fit for the Kingdom 5K shirts
On to my week!

We are teaching an active member from Twin Knoll's who is kind of in a faith slump right now. She feels stagnant and wants help building her faith and progressing. It is so rewarding to work with her because she does everything we ask her to do, she is trying so hard, and she is making amazing progress. I always leave her home knowing that I have such a special calling right now to help all people come closer to Christ.

We had another story time this week and it went really well! We told the same stories as last time because we figured our audience would be different (and it was) and added a children's Mormon Message and another song. The kids were all pretty young, but the moms and toddlers enjoyed it! They said that we need to make it a regular thing and that they'll all invite someone. I'm so happy that it is working.  I charged Sister D2 with carrying on the program after I leave. We had 7 total kids come and I know that it will only grow from here!

We received a referral for Thunder Mountain and we were so excited! We showed up to talk to the guy and he seemed kind of confused and said, "don't we have an appointment for tomorrow at one?" We said sure and figured that whoever sent the referral had told him that we would be able to meet then or something. We weren't really too hung up on it.  We went by the next day and as we were walking up to the door the single's ward sisters pulled up. Basically we were both sent the referral because he lives in our family ward, but is single's ward age. They had contacted him and set up the appointment, that's why he was confused. We were so mad and sad. We really got our hopes up and they were dashed. Plus the other sisters were kind of rude about it.  We went to Smashburger to console our feelings. #girlswhoeattheirfeelings
We had our first training for the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights and we are so excited! My first shift is on December 1st, and from there we serve every other night through New Year’s Eve. Because transfers are December 3rd, I don't know which shift or which schedule I'm on yet.

As a warm up to the 5K, we participated in our stake's Fun Run on Saturday. I only did a mile; Sister D2 did two.

Harry quote of the week:

"I saw a lady with a veil and red dot right here (points to middle of forehead). She was a Lamanite. (Nods his head in self satisfaction)."-Harry

"Harry. That was a Hindu lady! Not a Lamanite."-Me

Hahahahahaha's had by all

"I'm glad I didn't tell her that her ancestors were wicked then...I was going to."-Harry

Sister D2 has started to become a little bit sassy. It's evidence to me that my training period is complete; she has become what she needed to become. Whenever we have correlation meetings in Thunder Mountain I always get more worked up than I should and my spicy side comes out.  Sister Dawson's spicy side FINALLY showed itself at our correlation meeting on Thursday and I was so pleased. I started calling her Spicy D and it has stuck. I think she enjoys it. She definitely likes it more than "the gazelle" which is what our TK ward mission leader now calls her. Hahahahaha. It makes me so happy.

We are experiencing a little drama with the missionaries in our stake currently. I know I'm supposed to write home uplifting things, but this is too good to pass up. We are the only missionaries in the stake that cover two buildings. Because of that we asked for a key to the family history center in the one building we didn't have one in. The other sisters asked for one too apparently and they were given our key and we were sharing it. It was working out well until one of their ward councils complained that we brought ants into the room and were using unauthorized websites. The ants were in the room before we had the key and we reported them, and the unauthorized website was BYU because one of the elders got permission from the mission president to work on a BYU application on P-Day for after his mission. Someone, please send that disobedient elder straight to where the sun don't shine. Unworthy swine, anyway. So the sisters took the key away and said that "until we gain their members' trust back no one was allowed to use the key". We thought that meant all of us, but we found out that their bishop didn't take the key, the sisters did and still have access to the room. We were already irate because it was our key to begin with and we didn't do anything to deserve it being taken away!  On top of that, the fact that they have the key enrages me even further. So we told our ward mission leader and he was furious as well and said he would take care of it. He confronted the sisters at church yesterday and demanded they give him the key or to put it back in the library where it was so we all had access to it again. They said they wouldn't because their bishop entrusted it to them. He said that buildings are a stake responsibility and that the stake didn't take it away, so their bishop doesn't have right to and further, we requested the key so it was never theirs to begin with. The high councilman who gave it to them only did because he knew sisters requested it, but didn't know which ones and he saw them before he saw us. The one sister still refused, so the WML took the issue to our bishopric and they said to take it to the stake and to get us a key because we need one and one other ward in the building doesn't have the right to bar our entrance. We are currently waiting on our WML to contact the appropriate stake representative and to get back to us. I will not let this die! Justice will be victorious. Don't mess with Sista P and Spicy D!

SATAN'S 5K OVER AND OUT: As you saw, I wrote a blogpost about Satan's 5K. The evening after I wrote it I received a text from Sister Jenkins that said, "Sister Poppy, I just read your post about training for Satan's 5K. :D :D :D! I had no idea how miserable this was making you feel. But I commend you for the turnaround and what you have learned!  I would call this a defining moment, wouldn't you? :)" I was so mortified that she actually read my blogpost! I figured that in the pile of 255 missionaries she would never see my post pop up on her newsfeed, let alone take the time to read it! I responded about it being a defining moment and reassured her that though this was her idea, I actually named the 5K after the one and only Satan and wasn't referring to her as Satan. That Friday at our Christmas lights training PKJ (AKA President Kirk Jenkins, AKA Prezzy J, AKA Prezzy K Jenks, AKA President) came up to me and said that Sister Jenkins made him read my blogpost and that he thought it was absolutely hilarious and written very well. He also apologized for filling the role of my middle school gym teacher. I was even more mortified that he had read it! During this conversation Sister Jenkins joined in to tell me that she also emailed a link to all of her children and told them to read it. She asked if I ran that morning and I told her I had. Somehow I think I've become the poster child for all the slow kids that have been stripped of their agency and forced to participate in this awful five kilometers of torture. The positive in all of this is that I know that my blog, though often unorthodox compared to other missionary blogs, is one hundred percent acceptable. A part of me always feared that PKJ would run across my blog and that I would get a phone call asking me to remove my less than ordinary blog from the web and to repent and think about what it means to be a respected female representative of Christ. Thank goodness Prezzy J appreciates humor and uniqueness!

At the 5K today I saw Prezzy J, of course, and he shook my hand and said, "I'm glad to see that no doctor’s appointments popped up to prevent you from being here!" This is never going to die! My goal was to run the first mile and then walk the rest. They said there would be mile markers, but I was starting to get tired and was convinced that someone forgot to put out the mile markers so I stopped running. Then, I looked up and saw the one mile sign and it was about 100 meters away. I was so annoyed at myself for stopping! I was so close to accomplishing my goal and I gave up too soon. It was okay though, I had caught up with my friend and we walked the next two miles and then ran the last 1/10 of a mile to the finish so that we could say we ran across the finish line. It was actually a really enjoyable event for the last 2 miles. Sister Moreton and I just talked and decided that we should probably be companions sometime before the end of our missions.

Sister Jenkins and I are practically besties now, so we took some celebratory
5K pics. NOTE: It was her idea to jump, not mine! That's a first!
I've met a lot of sisters that I love, but only a few that I LOVE and Sister Moreton is one that I LOVE. It took us 49 minutes to complete, which isn't terrible I guess. We could have probably pushed ourselves harder, but it was a pleasant morning and I thoroughly enjoyed spending some quality time with her. As we got close to the finish line Sister Jenkins ran out to meet me and said she wanted to run the last 100 or so feet with me.  She hugged me and congratulated me and then President Jenkins came up and shook my hand and did one of his terrifying combo side hug/shoulder shakes and said he was so proud of me for doing something hard. There were no medals though, so  I'm still a little upset about that. I am still going to run three mornings a week and am going to try to be at a point where I can run a 5K by the time I'm home. I have 36 weeks left, so I can just increase the distance I run by 1/8 of a mile a week and slowly work my way up to 3.1 miles! I did decide today that I would love to be one of those moms that just drops her kids off at school and then walks with her friend and chats for an hour. I could do a 5K every single day if I had someone entertaining to walk with like Sister Moreton.
Sister Moreton and I; 5K champions
You guys need to try Blue Bell's Christmas Cookie ice cream; it is so delicious. Also, read your scriptures! They're important too.

Happy Thanksgiving and Love you all!

Sister Poppe
Flamingos! We placed them in our first yard in Thunder Mountain. 
We had a stake fun run on Saturday. We went and ran as a warm up to our 5K.
I did a mile with Sister Dunn and Sisters Krueger and Dawson did 2 miles.
Spicy D and I
When I'm frustrated/angry/confused/or any other negative emotion, I just fall on the ground and exclaim something like, "I DON'T UNDERSTAND LIFE," or "UGGGGGGGHHHHHH WHY IS LIFE HARD," or my favorite, "FREAKING I DON'T EVEN KNOW. (followed by unintelligible noises of frustration)". Well, my legacy has continued with Sister D2. She fell over in frustration the other day and I loved it. Training=a success. #winning

Last P-day we got home after emailing and there was a fort in our living room!
We watched the Testaments in it and all fell asleep during the movie.
 It was actually a really great nap.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We Must Check Out the Pug Run on Youtube


Another week has come and gone and I'm here to tell you all about it!

We contacted an older gentleman about a month ago who, when we asked if there was anything we could do for him, said, "oh no. I just need to weed my yard, but you young girls can't do that." We had some open time this week and decided to just go over and weed his yard without even asking him. He may never know that we did that for him, but it was still really fulfilling!

The Cheesecake Factory Family took us to dinner at a Mexican place on Tuesday and it was delightful to be with them, as always. Some of my favorite parts of the evening included:

When we arrived at his house Noah sprinted out the door and yelled, SSISSSSSSSSTTTTTTERRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSS," and then latched onto my leg with both arms and started stroking the bird on my skirt and grabbed my hand and said, "okay, now just come on inside!" It was the cutest most welcoming tone; I felt like he was the little toddler bell hop at a hotel. We settled for the garage while we waited for Brother CF to change so we could head to the restaurant.  This is the conversation when we arrived and saw Maya's new haircut, keep in mind Maya is way too smart for her own good and quite the little sassy pants. Kind of like another small girl you all may remember from approximately 18 years ago: 

"I love your hair! It's just about as sassy as you are now."-Me

"I am NOT sassy! (Said with her hand on her hip and with a little head shake...contradictory? Yes.)"-Maya

"Sister Poppe is sassy."-Sister D2

From behind her hand, in a whisper to Sister D2, "I bet she is!" -Maya

Sister CF told us about a conversation she had with Noah as she was telling him about the story time we are going to do next week about Jesus:

"Is Jesus going to be there?"-Noah

"No, sorry."-Sister CF

"Ahhhhh, but I haven't even ever got to meet him yet!"-Noah

At one point in the evening Noah wanted me to share with him his joy over his root beer so he legitimately took his cup and shoved the straw in my mouth after he wasn't fooled by my fake drinking and yummy noises. The germs were already shared, so I took a sip as per his demand.

We had an all day zone conference on Thursday. My group presented our training on planning and it was so legit. I wrote a play the incorporated scriptures from the parable of the vineyard in Jacob 5.  The script followed the evening of two missionaries. They were in a dead area and weren't sure what to do. We had three "pop out" trainings in which the play stopped and trainings were given on accountability and taking ownership of your area, setting goals, and how weekly planning funnels into daily planning which funnels into lesson planning. We compared different trees to less active members, recent converts, active members, part member families, and nonmembers.  The audience watched as the different pop outs slowly gave the missionaries direction and they eventually developed a desire to focus on the needs of individuals as well as their goals. I feel like I'm not giving it justice; it was way cooler than I'm describing it to be!

It was by far the most creative training of the day. As the narrator opened the play he did mention that it was written by "the one and only Sister Poppe." He wasn't supposed to announce that, in case people thought it was stupid. We had a practice for our Christmas choir as well. This year all of the mission is required to participate in a choir that sings on Christmas evening on the temple grounds. I get to play a bell in the song that needs a bell choir accompaniment!  I jumped at the opportunity when they asked if anyone could sight read music and played an instrument in high school. I cover the A flat; I'm kind of a big deal.

We had dinner with a middle aged couple with older children who don't live at home one evening this week.  Their dogs have become their children and we were introduced to each one of them one by one.  Two are pugs.  The dad started telling us about how pugs do this thing where they run in circles and are crazy.  He kept calling it a pug run, so I finally asked if that was the official term, or his term.  He said, "Well, it's probably mine, BUT if you ever go to a pug party and use the term people know what you're talking about." So then I had to ask what a pug party is and he went on to tell us about this one time that he went to a party for pug owners and there were about 35 pugs with their owners in one place at the same time. He then started describing the pug run to us from that night and we were dying imagining 35 pugs running in a circle together like maniacs. That's the first thing I'm going to Youtube when I get home.

On Friday evening we stopped by a new family's home in TK. The four year old daughter prayed before we left and her prayer, in its entirety, was, "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless that these two moms will come over again. Jesus Christ. Amen."

The stake I'm serving in does an annual event every November called Night of Classics. They find talented (like actually talented, not mediocre) people in the area (they're usually members, though there were a few nonmembers and a handful of inactive people this year) to showcase many varieties of fine art.  The first hour was fancy finger desserts and a walk through art gallery that was amazing, followed by an hour and a half program of musical talents.  I got a little teary-eyed when a lady played the 2nd Movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto because it was the same song I played for contest my senior year of high school. I haven't played the clarinet in almost 2 years!  I bet I'm nowhere near as good as I once was; which makes me sad. Two women sang Pie Jesu, which was another song I performed at contest in high school.  It was actually the highest scoring piece I ever did. It was the one Kalyn Schroeder and I sang together that lead to me singing at a Lutheran church on a random Sunday with her.  Anyway, we got a 39/40; a near perfect score.  So it was a beautiful evening that made me a little sad that I don't do much with music anymore. But the positive is that Lavender Brown and her husband came with us! They really enjoyed the evening. Lavender is one of those really talented black lady singers, so she loved it and was excited that someone already asked her if she would perform in the show next year.  They're really trying to make this a community event to help expose people to normal Mormon activities.
Us with Lavender Brown after the Night of Classics.
The Phoenix Temple dedication was yesterday and it was a really great dedication. A lot was mentioned about not taking the temple for granted and going repeatedly.  I love that.  I wish everyone made the temple a priority in their lives.  The majority of members in the US have a temple within an hour of where they live. There is no better way to protect yourself from Satan than by going to the temple.  Really, people should go more often!

People have started inviting us over for Thanksgiving and we are so excited because so far, they're all some of our very favorite families. I feel like I'm in high school again and people are getting asked to prom and at first it's nerve wracking because I could get asked by someone I don't want to go with, but I'd have to say yes because I don't have a date yet, but now I can breathe, because I just got asked to prom by someone I really want to go with. I'm relieved that we have plans for Thanksgiving and that they're with such wonderful families. We already have three dinners on Thanksgiving Day, one the Sunday before, and one on Tuesday of that week already penciled in.

Sister D2 is trying to topple my dynasty. As we left mutual she said, "I'm never going to be able to get as many people to love me and be my best friend in these wards as you've been able to." I told her to give it 7 more months and it may happen; you can't create a band of admirers overnight. She told me she wouldn't need that long to steal all my friends. As if. May the odds be ever in her favor. These are Poppe's peeps. But, Harry's dog, Paco lovesssssss her. So she is making headway in her attempt to steal all the members of my fan club.

I had an idea this week that I am so excited about! You know how people do fundraisers in which they will put flamingos in people's yards and then require them to make a donation before the flamingos are removed?  Well I decided we will do that and instead of money, we will require members to do one of the following to get the flamingos out of their yard: invite us to give them a family home evening lesson, teach them one of the investigator discussions, do an hour of service for them, help them create a family mission plan, or present a gospel lesson on any topic. Hopefully this will not only increase our teaching hours, but will also generate conversations about the church between neighbors. "Hey, why do you have flamingos in your yard? That's an HOA violation waiting to happen." "Oh, just the obnoxious missionaries in our ward. They put them there and now we are having them come over for a family night to give us a lesson as payment to get them out of our yard. They're actually pretty fun girls. You want to join us on Monday evening?" BAM. BAPTISM IN THE WORKS.

I've yet to receive any Christmas music selections, so get on it people!  I need some festive tunes!


Sister Poppe

Tony Hawk Fam and us (and one of their skater friends).
I'm starting to slowly get pictures with families so that I don't
have to take a million pictures the Sunday before I'm transferred.

Selfie with Ron to document another successful indexing session.
His pointer finger chicken peck is getting faster week by week! 


Happy sharks make for a happy sleeper.
Shark faces

Companionship unity blankets. Aren't we so cute? 


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Heavenly Father's Approved Blessings List

Our sister training leaders this transfer are Spanish sisters, so instead of doing an all day exchange (because one of us would have to spend a day doing Spanish work then), we did an evening with them in our area. We did a blitz, which is just when you try and visit as many people as possible who aren't members. We already had a lesson scheduled, so I went to that for part of the evening and Sister D2 spent her whole evening finding people to teach in Twin Knolls. She found 3 investigators, and I found 3 in Thunder Mountain as well! To be counted as a new investigator, you just have to have been taught a principle, commit to an invitation (read the Book of Mormon, come to church, etc.), and schedule a return appointment. So while we had 6 new investigators in one evening, they didn't all pan out. People weren't home when we went back, but that is pretty normal. To get 1 baptism a month you're supposed to aim for 16 new investigators. We've never had that many in a month, but things are looking better already for November! It's amazing how much more you can get done when you split up and cover twice as much area in just 2.5 hours. I was so proud of Sister D2. Her personality is such that she is better at finding than other things in missionary work, and I didn't realize that until Monday evening. She gets down to business, whereas I talk a lot. I only made it to 2 houses beyond my one hour lesson that night, but she hit up 7 houses and a few street contacts. She's so good at it! If I had my way, I would outsource all my finding and just teach people 24/7. Oh yeah, that's also the Lord's way too...but somehow it never happens.

I was asked by an elderly lady this week if Sister Dawson was my sister or my baby. (Insert Emoji face with slanty eyes and lowered eyebrows).  *mom's note:  Sorry, I don't have emoji's on my computer, only my phone.  You will just have to imagine it.

There's a less active lady that we have been asked to visit on and off my entire mission and we are never able to contact her because she won't answer her door.  We were asked to stop by again this week and I was annoyed but then felt like we should try so I could be a good example to my companion.  I was kind of negative and made the comment that it was a waste of time because she wouldn't answer the door on our way to dinner that night. We were eating across the street from her so we were going to just give it a shot after dinner because it was close and wouldn't take any of our miles. At dinner the wife mentioned that if you ever wanted to visited the less active lady you just had to go around to their backyard and knock on the back door because they answer that one because they figure only friends know to go to that one.  So after dinner we tried the front door and she didn't answer. I was like whatever!  Let's just be creepers and let ourselves into her back yard and do this.  So we did and she answered and talked to us for about ten minutes! I knew her whole back story, but acted dumb and she talked to us about all of her drama (of all the people I've met she is the first one who I can understand why she wants to avoid our ward). I invited her to attend the ward that meets at 1:00 in our building so that she wouldn't see the people she doesn't want to see. She also asked about what she could do to save her brother who died. We told her we could come back and teach her about the Plan of Salvation and baptisms for the dead.  She took our number and said she'd call us.  I prayed for her before we left and it was actually a really good little meeting. #miracle

I don't know if you remember Ron Weasley, but he was my very first lesson out in the field. We taught him my first night in my area. He goes to Montana for the summer, and he was finally back last week so we stopped by.  He remembered me and even gave me a hug.  We shared a message and talked with him outside for about half an hour and invited him to church.  I know he still isn't ready for a commitment, but it was good to stop by and check in with him. He said he was going to see Meet the Mormons that weekend. He's a nice guy; I hope he comes around eventually.  He did say that he read my Facebook posts all summer.

The women at the nursing home were sure on something on Saturday.  There were two fights while we were there and a lot of sass.  I had four women trying to talk to me at the same time while Sister D2 was at the piano and all of them would get mad if I diverted my attention to someone else.  I've come to learn more and more that volunteering at the assisted living home is a lot like working with the six year olds at camp.

We were taken care of pretty well this week as far as meals go. We were taken to Smashburger one evening just because the family feeding us remembered that I loved it. Another night we had Barro's pizza and then on Saturday a sweet single sister took us to a great place called Red, White, and Brew. Dad also randomly mailed me a crisp Hamilton so I treated myself to Pete's Fish and Chips after the temple on Thursday.

Some friendly advice: never feed missionaries lasagna. They'll lie and say they love it and eat it and want to die. They just really don't want it. I can promise you that I will never eat lasagna, spaghetti, or goulash ever again in my life. I already didn't like those things and now I despise them. Heaven help me when I get sent to a poor area and have it more than I already do.

We had a fun ward progressive dinner on Friday night.  It was amazing how many people actually came!  It was only for adults, and every one was assigned a home to eat dinner at, and then every one met at the RS president's house for dessert. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be around the members and talk about real things. They enjoyed it too.  They finally understand that we will be real people around nonmembers!  It was amazing to realize how close I've actually become with these people.  So many couples approached me just to talk at the dessert party. Who ever wants to talk to missionaries? But so many people felt the need to come up and talk with us; it made us feel really loved.

While I was sitting in the most useless ward council meeting of my life, I had a wonderful thought. Bishopric's should wear matching ties every Sunday. Not super matchy matchy, but at least ties from the same family of colors. Think of how that would automatically invite the Spirit! #GQbishopric

I am starting an official competition that will run from today until December 1st. I am asking for Christmas music! You can send complete albums or create a customized mix. Whoever sends me the best Christmas CD will be rewarded with an AZ postcard, a certificate, the pride of winning, an official announcement in my letter home, and one blessing from Heavenly Father's approved blessings list*. Entries will be judged based on my musical taste, and my musical taste alone, so think Sister Poppe when you start burning! Bonus points will be given for creative mix names. Please send all entries to:
Sister Amanda Poppe
2525 N 32nd St.
Mesa, AZ 85213.
Bonus points will also be given if you include Reese's Christmas Trees in the parcel. Every participant will receive a gratitude shoutout and, as customary, general blessings from Heav'.


Sister P

*Heavenly Father's Approved Blessings List has actually never been published, though it is likely that blessings could include one, or any combination of the following:

1. An extraordinarily wonderful day
2. The opportunity to star on a game show  
3. A new puppy (Betsy, this one is for you) 
4. A Get Out of Ebola Free Card
 5. A wink from a handsome stranger
6: A vacation
7. An onion ring in your French fries (this blessing brought to you by Sister Krueger)  
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio twice in one day  
9. A five dollar bill on the ground  
10. A new friend
We made a pizookie to celebrate.
The sun shone down upon us gloriously as we left the temple; 
the heavens smiled at our service.
Target had their hats 20% off today so we were trying them on in preparation
for Christmas lights.  Unfortunately we both settled for a more conservative
and professional look.
My companion gets a kick out of my "laughing" pictures. 

I just think they're so great.




Monday, November 3, 2014

The Gestational Transfer

This week was full of crazies and a lot of boldness on my part. I couldn't be caged! I was straight up a female Elder Holland. BAM. THE GOSPEL AND REPENTANCE AND STUFF.

On Tuesday all of our evening appointments cancelled so we were pretty bummed. We stopped by the Hobbit Hole Family and were talking to GHH when this lady came over and started ranting and raving about this crazy drama filled story that happened to her. Basically she believed she was drugged by the cops or someone else of authority and left in the middle of the desert. She doesn't remember how she got there, all she knows is that an ambulance took her out of the desert and she was in the hospital for four hours before she demanded to be released because she doesn't trust doctors. She was convinced they drugged her too and that they were trying to cover up why she was really left in the desert. She said the cops are killing her friends off. She also said she was drunk before she was taken into the desert so that combined with the drugging that the people of authority did makes it so she can't remember much. She is absolutely convinced of this. I don't doubt that she was in the desert and that an ambulance took her out...that all seemed verifiable, but the conspiracies that have nothing to do with the alcohol she ingested and could have wandered off on her own into the desert are where I start to make my own conclusions. It was all I could do to keep a straight face. Call me naive, but I trust cops and doctors for the most part! It was definitely entertaining. She asked us to pray for her.

A member in TK had told us about her neighbor who was interested in the gospel a few months ago. We contacted her once and then she cancelled her appointment and said that she wanted to stay Catholic.  We asked if we could check up on her down the road and she consented.  On Wednesday we had some open time and we felt like it was a good idea to pop on over there again on our way to mutual. She and her daughter were both drunk, but a friendly drunk. They had an up and down kind of day emotionally and we helped them climb to another up. I used their pliable nature to my advantage and talked to them about why they were staying Catholic and about how our church was similar, but had other benefits as well. I talked about Jesus, Sister D2 prayed, they cried, and we set a return appointment. Hopefully they remember.  Either way, it was kind of hilarious and they enjoyed that we weren't judging them. At one point in time when the dog was being obnoxious, the mom said, "stop it! We have ladies over...MORMON ladies. Behave!"  Like we were a special breed of royalty that deserves the utmost respect. I hope they always remember the sisters that loved them enough to interact with them while they were inebriated.

I was asked to be part of a committee to help improve planning across the mission. Seven sisters and ten elders were selected by the mission president from a list of recommended missionaries to meet together and create a training to be presented next week in every zone conference on how to be better planners. My boldness came through as I shared my frank opinion on why creating a 100% prescriptive planning method is a horrible idea because people need not be instructed in all things. I shared some other ideas and thoughts as well that were actually well received. We came up with solid expectations and are excited to help the mission become more focused on goals and plans instead of just going with the flow. I didn't realize how bad missionaries were at planning until we started discussing the common problems worldwide for missionaries and planning. It's so easy! Elder Cook said though that planning is the weakest area of missionary work across the board, no matter which mission you're in. I was honored to be selected as an "expert planner". There was a second committee formed to discuss online proselyting that I wasn't on. Everyone was a little confused by that, but when it comes down to it, my planning skills are better and a stronger asset than my Facebook and blogging talents. It's kind of like how I'm sure I would make a remarkable McDonalds employee, but I would also be a great dictator of the world, so specialization dictates I should be dictator of the world, because less people are good at that. Plus, my online abilities are solely dependent on my personality. I can't teach people how to be me. So, I'm glad I was nominated and selected to help the mission plan, because I love to plan! I was born a planner.

I forgot to tell you about a cool thing we did last week. We were invited to another stake to present a short training for members on how to share the gospel online. I made little handouts and wrote a training that Sister D2 and I gave.

On Thursday we were invited to help with the Assisted Living Home's Halloween party. It was so fun! I was singing along with the 40's music and one sweet lady asked if I would please come back at Christmas and sing her carols. I didn't have the heart to tell her I'll be transferred by then, which by the way has been confirmed. At my planning meeting, Prezzy J asked how prepping Sister D2 to take over the area was going, because I will be the first sister they reassign come the end of the transfer. Which is good, because women literally got pregnant after I got here and are starting to have their babies this week. I told President that and he laughed and dubbed my time in this area "the gestational transfer".
It was my NINE MONTH MARK THIS WEEK. Not to be confused with my halfway mark on November 6th. Because I speak English and was only in the MTC for 2 weeks, it isn't counted as part of my 18 months, so I will be serving 18.5 months. If you learn a foreign language and are in the MTC longer, then it counts. It looks like I get 2 weeks of extra blessin's! #perksofenglishstateside
We weren't allowed to proselyte on Halloween evening, so we were told to go to the temple, or spend time with members if we were invited over.  Nug Nug's family invited us to spend the evening with them and it was nice to just be a normal human being for a few hours.  We helped them hand out candy, baked cupcakes (so I could use the cupcake decorating things you sent me mom), and just talked with them. Only their youngest daughter was home and their dad reminds me of my dad (in that he is anti-social), so we spent it with Mama Nug Nug and baby Nug Nug. Mama Nug Nug asked if we wanted to help her vote as a joke, but I really actually wanted to.  I don't know if I ever told you about Sister Dumas' and my odd obsession with the political signs here.  We are more informed than the average voter just because we read every political sign in this city and talked about them all the time.  So I was actually able to tell her small facts about most of the candidates (like who endorses them and their broad plans). She even voted for a libertarian twice because I told her I'm a libertarian. IT MADE ME SO HAPPY TO VOTE BY PROXY! I love that family.
Sister Mama Nug Nug was making fun of my "perfectly posed smile"
(you know, the one I've been practicing since I could walk)
and her daughter snapped a pic as I was laughing. 
 Sister Mama Nug Nug told me I should send home
the laughing one instead of the posed one because she liked it more.

The assisted living home resident update:

Sue: She still has a broken hip, but she is starting to look less sickly. She held my hand on Saturday and kept kissing it. One of the employees said she must sure love me. Sue does love me, and I love that sweet thing too. She seemed cold on Saturday and so I said something to a nurse and the nurse got her a blanket and Sue just thanked me over and over again. The poor thing is so out of it she can't even ask for a blanket! Sue is my homey.

Barb: Barb is a new resident. Her first day was Saturday and she was so so so sad and confused. It was heartbreaking. She reminded me of a homesick camper, so I treated her like one and she cheered up. When I had to stop interacting with her though so we could leave she started crying again. Just lesson 2,948,492 from being a camp counselor that I used in real life.

Phil: Phil was on his way to leave the living room when we arrived and he had the nurse wheel him right back around when he saw me coming because he knew I'd play the piano. It's nice to know that he remembers me now and can even remember that Sister Poppe=piano. Phil is my number one groupie.

Kitty: Miss Kitty is still one of a kind. At 96 she is smart as a whip and loves our company. She tells us she loves us when we leave and always looks forward to our visits.

Hazel: I didn't get to talk to her on Saturday except to say hello between piano songs. She is sassy as ever and was showing Sister D2 how her dress was reversible so she can always look nice even if she spills, because then she just takes it off and flips it around. She told Barb she needed to stop freakin out and just pray. Sassy ole Catholic anyway!

We had a really great stake/regional conference this weekend. Saturday evening was the adult session for our stake.  During it they talked all about the many aspects of missionary work. One member of the stake presidency basically told everyone they had to get on social media because it's how the world works now.  He was pretty informed on the different avenues, though he did refer to Google Plus as Google Plus 1, but we're making leaps and bounds here. The stake president spoke last and had warned us that one of us might get called up to speak.  We had a meeting with him during the week in which we talked about the work in the stake.  My boldness peeked out again and I didn't spare anything in telling him the challenges that we face.  Unfortunately, that same boldness is probably the reason I was the missionary selected to come up and speak with him on Saturday evening.  All of the missionaries were invited to sit on the stand so we were all up there. He went a step further and had us all stand up around the podium and invited the members to take a moment to look at us and see what the Spirit told them. It was actually really cool.  In our meeting with him earlier in the week our district leader told him that the missionaries in this stake were some of the best missionaries in the mission and that we weren't being used like the best missionaries in the mission should be used.  So the stake president told the stake that same thing and told them they need to let us help them. It was so awesome!  Then he said, "Sister Poppe has been with us for 9 months, so she knows us better than we know ourselves.  Sister Poppe, come on up here; I have a few questions." He then asked me to tell the congregation what they're good at doing in this stake and then I had to tell them what they were bad at.  I said that they were good at feeding us and they laughed and then I said, "You're all a little too good at feeding us; we do want husbands and wives when we get home, so..." They laughed some more. Then I was invited to tell them what they aren't good at and before I did, the stake president told them to listen to me and be humble and accept what I said.  It was the best lead in I could have been given. I said that they were all looking for a quick fix to missionary work and that there isn't one.  They have to put in the effort and actually talk to people and stop thinking they can just wave a wand and people will be interested. I told them that many of them have told me personally that they can't do missionary work because they don't know their neighbors and then I said, "Well, it's been 9 months and you still don't know your neighbors (and I shrugged my shoulders and put my arms in the air), so that excuse doesn't really work anymore." I don't really remember what else I said, but it was good. The evening session was for people 12 and up, and every stake in AZ had conference that night, so it was kind of hard for some people to find babysitters and stuff.  They were live streaming the Saturday evening conference over the internet to people who were invalids and those who weren't able to make it.  So a super pregnant lady in our ward stayed home with her husband and kids and watched it and she said when I got up to speak her three year old son ran to the TV and yelled, "THAT'S OUR MISSIONARY!!!!" Then the next day when we sang in the choir he yelled that again.  So she was glad that her kids recognize missionaries and that they specifically know which ones are theirs. The stake president had the audience raise their hands if they knew the names of the missionaries in their wards, where they were from, some of their hobbies, and their conversion stories. So many people told us that they knew where we were from because of our Miss America costumes!  It wasn't a competition, but people definitely knew more about us than the other sets of missionaries.

We helped the YW find names for the temple again last night, and I actually helped a girl find a name for her and her brother! It was kind of hard because everything was in Spanish, but we did it and we were so excited! The laurel I was helping got tired of looking pretty early on and resorted to Twitter stalking me instead.

It was a full week, as you can tell!


Sister Poppe
Nug Nug invited us out for lunch on Halloween for 50 cent corn dogs at Sonic. 
I was put up to another challenge; which I completed.
I felt like I had ebola afterward.
We had lunch in a pumpkin; it was kind of cool. 
I didn't love the meal, but it was cool to eat out of a pumpkin!
We were invited to a members' son's wedding reception in their backyard. 
It was Harry Potter themed!  Before you get any ideas; I'm classier than that. 
Maybe an HP bridal shower, but never a wedding.