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.

MIRACLE ALERT!

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.

Love,

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!