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.

Love,

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.