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
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!
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.