Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Mother Called Him a Communist Dictator

This week was a week of firsts for my companion and me. There were so many firsts, that I'll start with all of those and then go into the remainder of my letter.

1. It was the first time I've called a group of sisters to repentance.  When I was in the Salt River Stake our district leader told the stake president that our district had some of the best missionaries in the mission in it. At the time I thought that was an exaggeration, but having left the district now, I believe it was true! I miss being with some of the most obedient and driven people in this mission. I woke up the day of our district meeting and felt inspired to change the training I was going to give to a talk on obedience and repentance.  There has been too much slipping in the district and too many times that the sisters haven't pushed themselves (myself included). I boldly, yet lovingly, shared some scriptures and passages from Preach My Gospel about repentance and diligence and then told them a few things that needed to improve and then invited them to repent. I was so nervous. Naturally my neck was red. No one hated me by the end, and one sister told me later that day that she has been praying for correction and that I answered her prayer. Things are improving, but they still aren't where they should be, unfortunately. But I do have a tendency to expect more out of people than is likely to be achieved.  So I need to work on that.

2. It was Sister Rasheed's first time riding a bike! I taught her last P-Day and we worked on it some more on Christmas Eve. It was so hard!  How do you explain to someone how to balance? You can't! We are to the point that she can ride the bike by herself  if I hold it and help her start or if she can use a curb to push off of. I looked so ridiculous running around holding on to the seat and handle bars of a bike that a grown woman was riding.

The bike started to roll forward as the self-timer was
counting down and this is what it captured.
Battle wounds.
3. I did my first dumpster dive. I bought a pair of earrings at Target and I couldn't find them the other day. I looked all over and finally decided that someone must have accidentally thrown them away when we cleaned up all the wrapping paper and boxes Christmas afternoon. It was 9:30 in the evening, but I knew the longer I waited to check the garbage the more there would be to sift through. I grabbed my head lamp and Sister Rasheed and reluctantly headed toward the dumpster at the end of the parking lot. We checked the recycling bins first because they were cleaner. When that didn't yield a positive result I knew I had to actually climb into the dumpster. I stupidly was still in a skirt, sweater (complete with my name tag...#dignified), and slippers, but I just went for it. I knocked a recycling bin over and used it as a ladder and then grabbed another recycling bin and threw it in the dumpster so I had something to sit on that wasn't a pile of trash. I hopped in and spent the next half an hour sifting through the remnants of people's festive day. I didn't find my earrings and decided to give up. I put the recycling bins back and went home with nothing more than dirty hands, an appreciation for the fact that I've never been homeless, and a pair of two year old slippers that met their demise. The next day I found the earrings in the trunk of our car.
4. I spent my first Christmas away from home. In all honesty it didn't really feel like Christmas because of the weather so it didn't hit me until Christmas Day that I should be sad. We had a great day though! I still can't believe that you mailed my gifts to a member's home instead of the mission office so I couldn't open them before Christmas! I inherited my poor self-control at Christmas time from you and you had the audacity to limit me! We went to the relief society president's home in Brimhall and had breakfast with her and her children and grandchildren and opened our gifts.  When I opened my watch she said, "Look kids! Blessings of a mission! You go on a mission, you get nice things." It was so funny. I got to take a nap on Christmas day and it was potentially the best gift I could have received. I am literally always exhausted.  ALWAYS. My right eye has twitched on and off for a month and I'm still not sure if it is from sleep deprivation, stress, or an undetected case of epilepsy.  Probably the last one. I'm dying. We had dinner at a fun home that night and they gave us cute stockings with treats. We ended the evening by singing with the entire mission at the temple. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with the recordings I heard of us, but people seemed to like it. We all know I'm kind of a music snob, so I'm sure the general citizenry liked it even though I didn't think we sounded that great. I did rock my bell part though!

5. I took part in comforting the first sister in my district to have a small break down during my tenure as district leader. So many emotions all the time! 

That's all for the firsts!  On to the last few points of this letter.

A couple in Brimhall does "Subway Saturday" with the sisters once or twice a month so they took us out for lunch and it was hilarious. A friend of theirs from another ward ate with us as well. I literally thought I had climbed into a time machine and was having lunch with Brandon 40 years from now.  He talked a lot about guns, oil drilling, the military and other things, but the most Brandon like thing he said of the day was, "the first thing I'm doing when I'm dictator of this country is kicking all the Prius owners out!"  When he asked about my family and myself and I told him that he reminded me of my brothers and dad he said that I must come from a fine family. Then when he found out that I had a degree in American Studies and the men in my family had all or were currently serving in the military he said that we were fine people and that he should fly out to Minnesota to meet my family. He's crazy! hahahahaha.

At Christmas lights I saw someone with a UNI sweatshirt on so I approached her and asked if she is from Iowa. Through our conversation I mentioned that I lived in Hampton and it turns out that her brother is Mr. Wempen, my middle school principle! Her dad asked for my name so he could talk about me and I gave it to him. I really wanted to lie because I'm sure the only thing Mr. Wempen remembers about me is that middle school years were bad hair years for me and that my mother called him a communist dictator the first month of our three year authority figure/pupil relationship.

I'm going to be honest.  Things are slow here. I feel like I'm in a hamster wheel just running, running, running and nothing is happening.  I really hope that when Christmas lights end and when we have more time in our area that things will take off. We have a mission wide fast this upcoming Sunday to find new investigators and our wards are fasting with us. I know that will lead to many miracles and I am so excited for them to start pouring in!

Today is my 11 month mark!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAT????? Also, I'm having a crisis because I realized my birthday is in 4 months and I am not ready to be 24.  24 just seems so much older than 23. Where did 23 go?  I seriously JUST had my birthday month. I can't even handle this. 24 year olds own houses and stuff. I can't even.

On that note, have a happy new year!  Set some real goals this year. Include spiritual and physical goals. I am going to read all of the Standard Works in 2015 for one of my spiritual goals.


Sister Poppe
This is an awful picture, but for some reason Sister Rasheed loves it.
Christmas morning with our stockings.
Thanks Bri Bri! They are adorable.

These are all of our favorite things! I spy a Smashburger gift card,
                               a fancy new watch, Sperry's, and Resse's trees.
Sister Rasheed said as she was opening the gifts from my family,
"How your family know all my favorite things! These my favorite gifts."
Spot on family. Spot on!

I LOVE MY WATCH! I'm taking it to the mall today to
get it sized down though because it is a little large.
All bundled up.
I ran into two members from Twin Knolls at Christmas lights!

Seriously, I have been waiting all month to illegally hop the
little fence to take a picture with this fake man.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Sister! You no good sleeper!

Happy Christmas week!

Our first official lesson with Jamie Lee Curtis went pretty well. She is really chatty and kind of lonely, so she appreciates our lessons.  She had a small back operation done a few days later, so we haven't seen her for a week, but we will stop by in a few days.  She contacted us and said she is looking forward to seeing us! I'm really hoping and praying this will go somewhere because she has so much potential!

Sister Rasheed got the first zit of her life on her 22nd birthday. I don't know if that is what Taylor Swift was feeling when she claimed the age of 22 to be an emotional state, but it was definitely part of Sister Rasheed's reality. She was confused about what was on her face and thought she had a rash. We told her it was a zit and we were trying to describe to her how to pop it and it wasn't going anywhere.  She was trying, but without a decade of practice like the rest of us, she was a bit behind the learning curve. In a true moment of companionship love, I popped it for her.       #Ra-pop4lyfe

We had dinner this week with a couple that thought our names were Sister Coffee and Sister Lasheed. Sister Rasheed gets a kick out of calling me Sister Coffee on occasion now.

Sister Rasheed likes to cook and she wants to open a restaurant someday, so I bought her an apron for her birthday and she loved it!  We also went out for pizza, her favorite American food, on her actual birthday. She didn't want me to take her because I threw her a party on Monday, but I told her that in America we celebrate birthdays for at least a week.  And if you're me, for a month.

Sister Rasheed made her hand into a cobra snake shape this week and made a snake noise and moved it toward me and I about died! I asked her if that is a Pakistani thing and she said, "No. We eat dinner one night at members home and the dad do it to his son.  Now I do it." I taught her how to hiss and to make other noises and now we make noises all the time and it is so funny! She said that people in Pakistan are not this weird. But she also said she loves American people.

We met with this truly frustrating woman on Friday night. She was a referral from our ward mission leader. She is his neighbor and seems to always be upset about something so he told her to let the missionaries come over to help her. He's invited her to do that before and this was the first time she actually took him up on it. We stopped by and she spent almost 2 hours complaining about her life and the injustices she has faced and telling us what Mormons believe. She cut us off many times and would never let us share information or even a testimony before belittling our childlike faith or citing literature from an anti-Mormon group called Concerned Christians. Finally she let me get in a word and I told her it was time for us to leave her home with a blessing and to continue on with our evening. Sister Rasheed wasn't feeling well and had actually fallen asleep on her couch during one part of her rant. She wouldn't let us show her the,  He is the Gift video, but she did let us pray. The most amazing part of this whole experience though was the fact that nothing she said swayed me. I have heard a lot of people say that they have left lessons full of anti-Mormon stuff a little shaken up.  I was angry that she wasted my time, but I wasn't concerned about my beliefs. I'm grateful that I have a strong testimony in the gospel and that I am not concerned when I hear the logical arguments against the church. In a way I am grateful that she spent so long spewing lies because it was a testimony building evening for me. To end it all, Sister Rasheed gave a simple and sweet prayer that I know will come back to her remembrance during the Millennium.

We had stake dinner two days this week #christmasmiracle

Sister Rasheed's quote of the week:

"I just like only one movie.  My faaaavorite. TITANIC! Many, many time I look that movie. I like."

The craziest thing happened this week! A lady Facebook messaged me and said that she read a blogpost about my companion and me, and that she wanted to share a gift with us for Christmas. I was super confused and eventually found out that an LDS blogger had taken an excerpt from my letter home about Sister Rasheed and I, and how Sister Rasheed doesn't get much mail and then the blogger asked for people to send her cards for Christmas. I ended up corresponding with the blogger because there was a piece of false information that needed to be corrected and in the process the lady asked for my blog address so I could be featured on her blog. She posted my latest post and already has received positive comments.  She sends out a weekly newsletter and features different bloggers from time to time and said that she will feature mine occasionally! I am so excited. I told her that I want to pursue a career in writing if at all possible and that I would love any deserved publicity. She said she loved my latest post on the Poppe's Plates blog and that is why she ended up sharing it.  I haven't had the chance yet to check my blog stats to see how many more views I had after she shared it, but I am excited to hopefully work closely with her and to help more people learn about the gospel through my writing!

I will talk to you all on Christmas day! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT AND HAPPINESS I COULD PEE MY PANTS!!!!!!


Sister Poppe
Sister Rasheed's birthday was on Wednesday so we celebrated last P-day with some other sisters. I forgot to mention that two weeks ago a random stranger paid for my groceries at Walmart. I felt bad because I was also buying bobby pins, mascara, etc. so my bill was higher than normal. But the lady really wanted to help out so I let her. Anyway, because I had extra money I decided to buy stuff to make Sister Rasheed's party more special, such as party hats and ice cream. Again last week, a lady offered to pay for my items at Walmart and I felt bad because I had all of this party stuff and face wash and random stuff. But again, she insisted! It turned out to be good though, because it cost and arm and a leg for me to ship home Christmas gifts.

On Sister Rasheed's birthday we stopped by the mission office for our car inspection and one of the senior couples was sharing a cake they had been given.  I told them it was Sister Rasheed's birthday, so they made her chop off about half the cake and take it with her!  We enjoyed it for 3 or 4 days.
Someone in Mesa has our mailbox!

We put all of our beds in one room so that we can study in separate rooms.  I feel like an orphan. I hate it. I never get to sleep on time because people are talking and it is just not an ideal situation for me.  But the other sisters love it because it's like a sleepover.  Maybe if I was 19 and didn't love sleep I would be more on board with this forced nightly slumber party.  Also, since I took this picture I have been moved to the middle bed, because the other sister doesn't like the fan to blow on her.  It's kind of funny, because now I roll onto Sister Rasheed's bed AND Sister Fry's bed throughout the night. Sister Rasheed said, "Sister!  You no good sleeper. You like dis and dis and dis. Your arm here. Your arm on my pillow. You no good sleeper!"



Monday, December 15, 2014

"I curse in da morning and pray in da evening."

We had our mission Christmas party this week and it was a nice little event.  We were split into three groups over three days and each of us were assigned a day.  Our party was on Wednesday.  It was fun to see one of my good MTC friends, Elder Sweeten, again because I haven't seen him very often since we arrived in Mesa. We've both been in different parts of the mission.
Mission Christmas Party!
We did a temple session and had a chapel session with the temple president. The temple president said, "I wish I could tell you all that I know. I know so much. All I will say is that you really are the best of the best and you have been sent here to wrap up the scenes of this Saturday Evening of the Earth. You are a chosen group." Can we talk about how terrifying that is! I excused myself from the obligation to SAVE THE WORLD under the pretenses that I am 23 and not one of the 19 year old missionaries, so I wasn't saved for this purpose...only the 19 year old missionaries were. Clearly the 4 years I have on them places me in a different generation. We had a luncheon after the temple and then practiced our songs for Christmas evening. PKJ and his wife then addressed us and shook each of our hands and wished us a merry Christmas and gave us each a copy of Lectures on Faith. As I shook his hand he said, "Sister Poppe.  The members in the Salt River Stake sure miss you.  I've already received comments that they just miss you so much out there."  It really made my day and gave me the motivation to keep on trying in my new area even though I just want to leave them and go back to what I have known for 10 months. It reminds me of when we moved to Minnesota.  I didn't hate my new situation and there was a lot of good happening, but I still just wanted to move back to Iowa because it was what was easy and normal for me.  It took time for me to like Minnesota as much as I liked Iowa and then even more time for me to love Minnesota. So I know with time (probably another two weeks) I will love this place as much as I should.

Sister Childs (the one who got her ears pierced last week) is an amazing missionary. She is just so lovable and good at being bold and talking to everyone.  She gave the girl who pierced her ears a pass along card and it inspired me.  So when I bought my new coat last Monday, I gave two employees a pass along card as well and invited them to have Christ in their Christmas this year.  They were actually very nice and thought it was sweet of me.

We have a new investigator in one of our wards that I will call Willy Wonka.  Mainly because he is kind of crazy and mysterious and blunt.  Not because he gave me candy, because he didn't. He is an ex-communicated J-Dub, so a lot of his issues are ones that Hobbit Hole Grandpa had.  Those J-Dubs sure know how to brain wash people! He honestly isn't very open, but wants to know more because he likes the way Mormon people act. I think over a long period of time he may have potential, but I will probably just be here long enough to start to chip away at the bedrock before someone else can get to the fountain of water beneath.

We had a sister training leader meeting this week (even though I'm a sister district leader, I go to those meetings, because my responsibilities are the same as a sister training leader, plus more on top of that). It was a good meeting.  We brainstormed and talked about ways to help our sisters. After our meeting while we were mingling Sister Jenkins gave us dating advice and it was so funny.  Somehow we convinced her to bring her wedding pictures out and they were hilarious! THE 80'S. I'm telling you.

I met an excommunicated member of the church at Christmas lights who was feeling pretty down on herself. I shared Helaman 5:12 with her and she teared up and said that she prayed in her car before she came to the lights and asked that she would have enough strength to keep trying to get her life in order.  She said that my scripture helped her focus on what she needs to do; rely on Christ. She hugged me and thanked me.  It helped me feel like I was actually helping people and not just wandering around doing nothing.


Let's set the scene: 12/13/14. 8:48 pm. Sisters Poppe and Rasheed were contacting referrals and had had no luck. They were exhausted and wanted to sleep after roaming for 3 hours at the temple and walking about a bajillion miles. They decided to try one last referral that hadn't been home on a previous attempt. She was home and let them in and is super interested and even said she normally doesn't answer the door at night because she lives alone. We are going back tonight!  The church is true! She will be heretofore called Jamie Lee Curtis, because she has short hair and is sassy. JLC is so prepared it is crazy!

We did service for a sassy lady in one of the retirement communities in our ward and it was hilarious. I seriously wish I could have video recorded the entire thing. She gave us a 20 minute introduction of herself that included her stance on welfare, parents these days, and people with weak testimonies. She then said, "so that is me. I have a good feeling about you girls. You have a good spirit about you. I think we will get along just great and this will be the start of many wonderful visits during and after your mission. I hope you will accept who I am and that we will be friends. God bless these sweet missionary sisters!" Here are a few of the highlights that I remember from our visit (keep in mind she still has trace amounts of a Jersey/Brooklyn hybrid accent from when she lived back east):  Her daughter joined the church in 1991 and then after college in 1995 she went on a mission. The lady joined right before her daughter left.  The daughter's original mission call was to El Salvador and the lady wasn't having it, so she petitioned the first presidency and got it changed. I didn't believe her because that never happens, but then she showed us the framed mission change letter her daughter received that reassigned her to California. I was floored! She said though, "I didn't raise my daughter to be killed in the jungles of El San Salvador!"

"I still love Tom Selleck's shorts in Magnum P.I. He is the only man who has business wearing shorts on television."

"The lady is a gossip and she has a dog face" (about her Jewish neighbor).

"You are a princess and don't let any man treat you otherwise."

"I curse in da morning and pray in da evening."

"I'm 73 years old and I'm a racist."

While we were contacting potential investigators in an apartment complex, this man greeted us from his balcony. I started talking to him about his faith from 15 feet below in the dark and eventually he came down to talk to me. He was not a fan of me. He was trying to trip me up by asking me historical questions about Jesus and the Bible but I answered all of his questions correctly. He asked how I know so much and I said I went to college and that I know many sides of Christianity's story, I just know which ones are actually true as well. He got all up in my business about how I shouldn't be out spreading lies about Jesus because I'm clearly educated and I know better. At one point in time he flat out told me that the Almighty isn't pleased with how I am wasting my time and lying about his son.  At this point I was livid so I said it was time for us to go because things were going to become contentious. I said, "I respect your beliefs sir, but we are going to just have to agree to disagree, because I have been called by a prophet of God to share what I know, and I know my message is true (quoting Preach My Gospel for the win)." #elderhollandstatus To which he said, "I refuse to consent to that; I will not let you believe you are right." I bore a brief testimony then and we left. #troll Someday his knee will bow and his tongue will confess and I will not live with the guilt of knowing that I backed down.

The toilet paper in our church building is not your typical church stock. I don't know if this stake pays 11% tithing or if a t.p. enthusiast donates the bathroom tissue or if these wards won a contest put on by the first presidency in which they won multi-ply toilet paper for a year or if something else is going down here. I'm telling you though, it's magnificent. #blessingsonhigh

I was a little worried about how being companions with Sister Rasheed was going to be because I knew she loved her first companion a lot.  Things have been going well between us, but a part of me still worried that maybe she was putting on a front. The other night before bed she said, "good night! Sleeping time! I love you!" Then the next night she said, "sister. You is funny. When we transfer I nervous. I said I no know Sister Poppe. And all the sisters say, 'Sister Poppe great!  Sister Poppe funny. You have fun with Sister Poppe. She good missionary.' But I still scared. What if I no like Sister Poppe? But I like you sister. You is fun and funny." I'm glad that we get along and that I love her so much because it would be hard dealing with all the stress of having a companion who isn't fluent in English and not like her at the same time.

Sister Rasheed learned the word sassy this week! It is so funny. She uses it all the time now. She will point at naughty kids, or me, or random strangers and whisper "sassy!" I also told her she can call those people spicy so sometimes she says spicy. When we did service for our funny new friend Sister Rasheed looked at me and mouthed, "Spicy!" I died.


Sister Poppe!
Brimhall Ward Christmas party. Sister Rasheed thought it
 was hilarious that we were taking pictures with props on sticks. 
Every time she sees this pictures she says,
"Sister! I like. This good picture!"
Sister Rasheed admitted to me that she has been practicing her kissy
lips face ever since we took a kissy lips face last week as a district. 
She has greatly improved! She also made me put on her
bright lipstick before we took the picture because my
 more tame lipstick wasn't bright enough.

Temple Lights!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give

We stopped by 11 homes Monday and Tuesday evening so I could tell people goodbye/so we could share the He is the Gift video. They were hard visits to make. One of my favorite families gave us Christmas gifts from the Target dollar spot that were cute. We were already excited, and then when we found a fifty dollar Target gift card between the two pair of warm holiday socks we are even more jazzed! We definitely have to make a trip back to Mesa now after my mission because I promised a bajillion people I would come back and visit them. The Target gift card family told me that they are moving to Minnesota though and they want to meet my family when they get up there! The husband is from Minnesota and the wife and kids love it so they are moving. They're thinking it will happen in May. The wife already Facebook creeped you, mom and liked all of your little home renovation crafting things.
Needless to say, I was so sad to leave my area. I had a hard start to the week. My first night in my new area I felt like I was back in the MTC. I was sad, wanted to cry, and didn't know why I was here. I was overwhelmed at the idea of creating new relationships and I just wanted to cry. But I didn't. I prayed so long on Wednesday night that I fell asleep on my knees with my head resting on my bed. I was asleep for at least half an hour before I woke up because my legs were tingling. I had a lot of meetings my first few days in the area, so that didn't help because I felt like I wasn't getting anything done in my area. Additionally, we have to do four hours of studies a day so Sister Rasheed's English improves, so we really didn't get much done my first two days in the area. On Friday I decided I couldn't be sad anymore so I just prayed and asked for the strength to love the new people I was meeting. In my personal study I read Matthew 10:8 (because I decided to read the four gospels before Christmas Day) and the line that said "freely ye have received, freely give," jumped out at me. That was the official end to my pity party because I realized that I have been given so very much and all Heavenly Father wants me to do is love and teach new people. He isn't asking me to chop of a limb or give up Reese's for the rest of my life. I have been given so much, so I can give to others. In a new area.

Cheesecake Factory mom's parents are in my new ward! I am so excited because it means I will be able to see them occasionally when they come to church with her parents. Her younger sister gets home from her mission in a few weeks so she said they will for sure be at sacrament meeting for her homecoming talk the Sunday after Christmas

I sat through approximately 8.5 hours of meetings on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Another meeting I was supposed to have was postponed so our four hour meeting from Thursday that didn't end where it needed to could be finished on Friday. So I will have another 2 hour meeting this week on top of ZTM (that I have to give a THIRTY minute training at) and a breakfast meeting with the high councilman over missionary work in this stake. These meetings don't include the correlation, weekly planning, and ward council meetings that I normally sit through! They were all wonderful though. Our long one Thursday that carried over into Friday is called Mission Leadership Council (MLC) and that happens once a month. Normally it doesn't take two days, but this month we had a lot to discuss! We talked a lot about what leadership looks like and how leaders help people grow. I loved when we talked about missionaries that come into the field at a 2 and leave at a 3 and how that growth is huge even though it doesn't seem like it. PKJ said that we all probably came in at a 10, but if we don't leave at a 15 the other elders and sisters still made more of an improvement than we did and that we need to remember that. Growth should always be looked at within one missionary, not between one missionary and others. We also planned how we are going to prepare for a super baptism month in March. We set a lot of small goals for December, January, and February to help improve the quality of missionaries that we have and to increase their faith so we can find enough people to have 100 baptisms in March. I also had District Leader Orientation (DLO...seriously, missionary work is all about abreves, I guess). That was pretty straight forward and short; I was just trained on how to be a district leader by my zone leaders, and then helped them set goals for the transfer and talked through the needs of the missionaries I am serving. I also sat down with three of the five sisters in my district and talked with them one on one about goals and expectations and how I can help them. It isn't required of me to do that, but I really felt like it was important. I want each sister to know that I love them and that I will help them reach their goals and keep them accountable.

We had the Aspen Christmas party on Saturday and it was so fun! A decent amount of the homes in that ward are on huge plots of land. I think they're acre plots, but I am also bad at estimating, so I don't know. The bishop lives on one of those plots and he has an amazing backyard. He has a full size basketball court, a covered outdoor kitchen and pavilion, in ground trampoline, batting cage, BATHROOM, projector, fire pit, garden, legitimate park-like playground, and some yard to spare. The Christmas party was in their backyard. I was in love. We went early to help decorate and set up the food tables. The bishop's wife is President and Sister Jenkins' niece and the daughter of one of the mission presidency members. Her brother and sister-in-law were there to help set up and they are in my other new ward. I really like all of them, but especially the brother and his wife. They're hilarious and not super Mormony. The wife is a reporter and reported at the Sochi Olympics for NBC. #legit. I spent a lot of time talking to one of our investigators at the party and that was good for me. I know her well enough now that I feel like I can connect with her in lessons. The bishop has a four square court as well and I was so excited! I played with a group of ten year old boys for a bit.  The next day at church one of them told me he was going to beat me at four square someday and that we had to play again. I'm already making friends with people in my mental range.

The fire alarm went off in the middle of sacrament meeting in our first ward yesterday. It was eventful! Every one sat there for about 45 seconds and finally a member of the bishopric stood up and we all followed suit and filed out of the chapel. It was a false alarm, but some people just went home because we stood in the parking lot for 10 or 15 minutes while everything was examined. It was kind of funny.

We were invited to YW to help with the lesson in Aspen Ward and it was so fun. One of the YW forced me to give a lengthy introduction of myself and when I was done I heard her whisper to her neighbor, "I like this missionary!" Hopefully we can work with them as much as we did with the TK YW.

Sister Rasheed says a lot of funny things. This week's favorite was her interpretation of Jingle Bells. She was singing "Jingle Man!  Jingle Man," all day on Saturday because she thought those were the words to Jingle Bells. I also love her prayers. She always says, "Bless me and my companion we teach very well," and, "thank you for all the blessings." Sometimes she says, "bless my tongue that I speak English." It's so cute! She said she wants to learn more real world words, so I've started teaching her a few a day. Drive thru and dollar menu were probably the most useful.

President and Sister Jenkins had good friends in Mesa this week and they sat in on some of our meetings. They're pretty important people in Idaho. The husband has advised President Bush and Obama in cabinet meetings before and is the top guy over education in Idaho. President Jenkins had him share words of wisdom with us a few times. During one of the stories the friend shared, he said, "I took my daughter and President Jenkins' daughter on a little trip one Saturday when they were 6 or 7. We stopped at a gas station and I went over to get a fountain Diet Coke when I noticed his daughter looking at me. I asked her if she wanted one and she replied, 'no, that's what Laman and Lemuel drank!'" We all died laughing because it sounded exactly like something President Jenkins would have told his children when they were young.
I did my first Christmas lights shift on Thursday and am looking forward to doing more! I have an in with all the snow birds and love it. They don't always want to talk to the missionaries, but I have found that I can spot them pretty easily by their wardrobe (or lack thereof) and then I say something along the lines of, "you must not be from here! It's too cold to still be sporting sandals and capris!"  Then they tell me they're from Minnesota or Canada and I tell them I'm from Minnesota and we are friends. We work every even day at the temple. Our shift is always two hours, but changes depending on the evening. We are either 6 to 8 or 8 to 10. It's so fun!

I have decided that I want to find and baptize a family in this area.  I am praying for it every day and am devoting all free time to contacting potential and former investigators. I've already made lists and we are going at it! Sister Rasheed keeps saying, "Sister! We so busy!" It's good for us.

Love you all,

Sister Poppe

Sister D2 and my last trip to Golden Spoon together

Harry and his fiancé and her daughter and I with Paco the pup.
Sister Rasheed and I!
Sister Childs didn't have her ears pierced, so we went as a district
today and she got them pierced! These are the things
you can do with an all sisters district.

Friday, December 5, 2014

And a Poppe in a Pear Tree


I had such a wonderful last full week in Twin Knolls and Thunder Mountain! I am being transferred to the Kimball East Stake which isn't too far from where I already am.  It is like 5-10 miles south west I believe. I have two wards again, the Aspen and Brimhall Wards.  I am going to be companions with a sister named Sister Rasheed! She is really neat and I am excited to get to know more about her. She is from Pakistan and entered the MTC the same day as her twin sister who is serving in the Temple Square mission. When I was asked to train originally I met Sister Rasheed because she came out with Sister Dawson. I had the distinct impression that Sister Rasheed was going to be my companion, and then I was called to be Sister Dawson's trainer and not Sister Rasheed's. I forgot about that and just went about life and figured it wasn't a prompting and was just a strange notion I had. I realize now that I was supposed to be Sister Rasheed companion, just not when she was being trained. The prompting just came 3 months before it was actually going to happen.  Anyway, she doesn't know much English, so we will work a lot on that, but she has a tremendous testimony. She is from Islamabad and lives with her family in a Christian area. Due to her circumstances, she doesn't get mail, so I would encourage you all to write her a simple note sometime and send it to her. Her name is Sister Maria Rasheed and her address is the same as mine. I was also called to be a sister district leader! It's a relatively new calling in our mission.  Two transfers ago the mission president created the first all sisters districts in the Arizona Mesa Mission's history and called the first sister district leaders. I will have five other sisters in my district and will be in charge of preparing our weekly training meetings, dealing with any drama that occurs, following up on their goals, doing companion exchanges with all of them once a transfer, and other things that I don't know about yet because I haven't received my handbook. I am really excited for the unique opportunity to be with only sisters and to tailor our trainings to their needs. I read through my patriarchal blessing and have been studying Christlike leadership since PKJ called me on Saturday to ask if I would accept this position. I've really learned a lot by the Spirit on what I need to do to help these sisters in life, not just as missionaries.  It's really cool how much of my patriarchal blessing talks about me helping sisters in the church and how I am able to understand better why that was put in my blessing now.

We had some spot on Thanksgiving feasts this week. Last Sunday was our first dinner and it was with a family in Thunder Mountain. They're some really funny people. I'm telling you, it was basically a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Extravaganza.  I was so sad that we had two dinners scheduled that night because I could have stayed at that house and gorged on the many delicious options for dayyyyyyyyz. Additionally, they had Diet Dr. Pepper. 10,000 points for Gryffindor! On Tuesday we had Thanksgiving dinner with Hermione's family and that was a lot of fun as well. Of all the people I have met, I will be most sad to leave their family behind. I did learn though that I like yams!  Who knew? On Thanksgiving Day we had a TON of invites and we really didn't commit to any of them except for the one extended by Nug Nug's family. Every one else was like, "sisters! Just drop on by during the day if you have some time!" We planned to stop by everyone’s who invited us, but then we just stayed at Nug Nug's all day. Her mom had planned activities for us and everything! It was so sweet. We made crafts out of pallets (I am not sending a picture because the thing I made is a gift for a member of the family and I don't want it to be spoiled before Christmas!), helped make dinner, and played a three hour long game of Phase 10. I ALMOST WON. We were exhausted because we woke up at 5:15 (more on that later) so after we left their house we just stopped by Kyle and Tammy's briefly and then went home and went to bed. I was in bed and asleep all before 9:00 and it was the thing I was most grateful for that day I think.

During our district meeting the day before Thanksgiving I had this idea come into my mind via the Holy Ghost (we're pretty tight...He is always giving me bomb ideas now).  The church released a Christmas video about Christ that is quite breathtaking. We have been given pass along cards with information about the video (the same ones that were mailed out in the Ensign this month) with the clear instruction from the First Presidency to hand out ten a day. As we were talking about the unique challenges that face us in this area of Mesa an elder was saying that we need to focus on giving ten cards out a day to members and asking them to give them to their friends, which is a valid idea. Well, during this, I thought that we should gift wrap the pass along cards and add bows so they really look like a gift and then hand them out with hot chocolate. I shared this and every one was like WOW YEAH GREAT WOOOHOOO THE CHURCH IS TRUE AND STUFF. Then an elder pointed out that the Turkey Trot was taking place the next day so we should set up a booth there. I didn't think we would be allowed to set up a booth at the actual event with such last notice, but I found out that the route ran right by the stake center and that people were going to be parking at the stake center for the run so we set up shop there.  We woke up at 5:15 to start boiling water and then we set up at 7:30 on the church lawn. We didn't have a ton of success early on, but there was a lot of traffic and I think a ton of people probably read our sign that said #ShareTheGift. Also, when the elder relieved us at 10:00 the race had ended and people were walking back and driving by and they handed out quite a few of our free gifts during that time.  They started just walking up to cars in traffic and giving out the gifts. Overall, I think it had a great impact! Also, our bishop ran by and saw us and LOVED it.  He also said that the 10K was awful and at about mile 4 he thought, "Sister Poppe is right. This is awful. This is Satan's 10K."

Wrapping pass along cards to look like gifts and watching the life
story of Thomas S. Monson and Johnny Lingo
We had Sister Tony Hawk mom's wedding on Friday and it was a lot of fun, but also kind of sad because it was the last time I will see the boys. It was really small and simple.
Sister Tony Hawk mom said we should get one last pic together so the boys
 wanted one where they were pointing at me and saying, "The Popsta"

It was supposed to be a nice picture with the Tony Hawk Boys,
but one of them had a different agenda...
One of the sisters in our district wrote a song about our district to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. The best part is "and a Poppe in a pear tree!" We die every time! 

We were asked to fill in, in Gospel Principles yesterday in Twin Knolls.  The lesson was on the Law of Chastity. I prefaced the lesson with, "I'm sure you've all always wanted to have a lesson about sex and God given to you by a 23 and 19 year old. Buckle up!" It was actually really good. I did most of the talking, partially because we had such late notice we didn't have time to prepare and I'm better at the off the cuff teaching, and partially because it was an awkward topic. What a way to leave a ward though. I went out with a bang!

Saying goodbye in my wards was really hard. On a positive note, everyone wants to see me one last time, so we have 6 lessons scheduled for tonight and 5 for tomorrow! 

The flamingos in Thunder Mountain are a huge success! People LOVE them and think they're hilarious. I hope that I did all I could do to create some good programs in this area before I left and to leave this area better than I found it.

I'm running low on time though, so this will have to do for the week!


Sister Poppe

 Salt River District album cover pic...I'm not sure why the sisters
  struggled so much with it and why the elders KILLED it so well.

Salt River District

I don't even know
 I wasn't paying attention when we parked at the assisted living
 home and drove a little too far forward...the curb will always
bear my mark #markofthepoppebeast

I had mentioned that I wanted hot chocolate in passing one day
during ward council and so our ward mission leader had a fire and
hot chocolate waiting for us when we arrived to our weekly
 meeting with him. How great is he?

Hahahaha Paco hates when we ask Harry to
dress him in his costumes