Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Death Plague is Over!


We had a good week on the whole!

I was feeling better on Monday and then things took a nose dive again on Tuesday. Finally on Friday I went to the doctor. He said I had the flu the week before and that it turned into a sinus infection. He said I had a fever and he asked if I had all week. I don't know? What missionary has a thermometer? I told him I had felt warm all week but I wasn't sure. He said he thinks I've probably had a low grade fever on and off for a week. He gave me some good antibiotics and I am actually feeling good for real now!

The family with six kids was a bust. They ignored us when we went for our return appointment and the neighbors we took with said they have never actually been serious about investigating the church. They smoke pot and just want welfare benefits. So that was discouraging!

Cho Chang is doing really well though and we had a miracle with her nephew that lives with her! We stopped by to visit them on Sunday because they missed church and they are going out of town this week so we won't be able to see her. The nephew has always been silent and stand off-ish when we have been there. They were about to do this raw egg challenge though when I got there and they asked if I wanted to try eating a raw egg with them. Of course I didn't want to because that business is disgusting, but I had the immediate thought, "if I do this, this teenager will respect me." So I said, "Sure! We don't have the opportunity to eat weird things serving a state-side mission...this may be as weird as it ever gets for me." And then I tried to choke down a raw egg and actually ended up like gagging and spitting half of it out and looking like a hot mess. It was actually kind of funny. We were all laughing and then when it got silent he said that he has been reading parts of the Gospel Principles manual in his spare time. We talked about that and he said he is enjoying it a lot more than Of Mice and Men and that he likes it in general. I asked him if he would read a Book of Mormon and he said he would and the entire atmosphere changed. I think this is a kid that could really take a lot from the gospel and that a part of him wants to. I am really excited to work with them some more. Cho Chang said the live in babysitter they will have while she and her boyfriend (who we just found out is a boyfriend of 10 years, NOT a husband) are in St. Louis was investigating the church at one point and that we had her permission to come over and visit the boys while she was gone. I am really excited!

Find. Find. Find. was our motto this week. We did find 2 new investigators, but we have to find 13 more THIS WEEK if we are going to meet our January goals. I'm kind of nervous, but I also know we have done all we can do and if it doesn't pan out then it isn't in the Lord's timetable for us to find 20 investigators this month.

I did do a special fast yesterday that we would find 13 people this week. Sister Rasheed fasted with me as well, and we added in that her English will quickly improve.

Please pray to help our finding efforts! We need it.


Sister Poppe

Another 50 cent corn dog day was upon us and I received a FB message from Nug Nug saying that she needed to find me to get me a corn dog. I met her in our area right before it was time to return to our apartment that night. She left a Laurel class presidency meeting early and when she left every one said to tell me hello. She reassured me that everyone still loves me more than any other missionary and that they still hope I get transferred back. I don't think I will ever connect with an area as well as I did in that one. I really think that I was sent to this mission for that area and to help them and love them in a way that missionaries never had. I wasn't sent for nonmembers in that area which is typically the case. They will always be such special people to me.

We got a couch! And took selfies!
Cleaning and disinfecting our new couch. #blessings

Our apartment is tiny and this is a huge sectional. It only fit one way in 
our living room, so we have to jump over it to be able to sit on it.
Sister Rasheed LOVES this picture and I'm like, "sister, I look like Shrek and you look like Donkey." I then had to find a picture of Shrek and Donkey to show her. 

When life is discouraging and you are literally fighting like dragons to find people to teach the gospel to and no one is interested, you make brownies at 9:30 at night with Reese's in them and eat them out of the pan with a fork with your roomie friends.
Sometimes companionship study ends with a 3 minute companionship nap

"Sister, make a shark face!" And she obeyed immediately.
Our entire district lives in the same apartment, #1085. We refer to ourselves 
as District 1085. It feels like a 90's boy band and I love it.

"Make model faces"-me "SISTER RASHEED! THAT IS NOT 
A MODEL FACE"-Sister Moreton
Sister Rasheed wanted a crazy pic

Sister love

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Baptismal Covenant and a Kit Kat Bar


The Death plague soldiers on. I seriously haven't been this sick since August 2009. I continued to try to do as much as I could until Thursday. I called Sister Jenkins to ask if I could skip our sister training leader meeting and she told me to not only skip the meeting, but to rest for 48 hours. We did end up going out a little on Thursday evening and all night Friday despite my quarantine orders, but I rested a lot during the day. Some sisters showed up after the meeting I missed and gave me a card that Sister Jenkins had all the sister training leaders sign, hot cocoa mix, and some poppy seed almond pound cake. I felt so loved and was shocked that Sister Jenkins took the time to make me, one of 240 missionaries, feel individually loved. I also missed a meeting with the high councilman over missionary work in our stake so he sent breakfast over with my zone leader after the meeting. A lady in one of our wards made me more homemade soup and others brought me tissues and medicine. I've never felt more pathetic in my life. It was humbling to accept so much charity from people.  Especially because I knew if I was at home I would have just taken care of myself. I wasn't incapable; people just wanted to serve me.  I'm still raspy and my nose is runny, but on the whole I am about 87% better. I did finally ask for a blessing on Friday night and that helped a lot.

Through all of this we found a new couple to teach and that was a miracle! They have six children as well. Our first lesson with them is on Thursday. They have had lessons in the past and we just re-contacted them this week. I heard somewhere once that it takes, on average, 7 meaningful interactions with missionaries and/or members of the church before people become seriously interested in baptism. I don't know if that is true, but it sounds about right. They have a lot of promise and I can't help but think about the positive impact baptizing this one family would have on so many people in the future.

Our new investigator, Cho Chang, came to church on Sunday with her two sons! It was such a pleasant surprise! She told us she wasn't going to come and then she ended up changing her mind. I've been praying so hard for her since we met. Every night I ask Heavenly Father to protect her from Satan. I know that she has a desire for the truth and I know that Satan will try her even more because of that. Her sons loved primary and she enjoyed everything as well. She committed to come next week again. The hard part will actually be sitting her down and having lessons. She loves church, but she is busy and it is hard getting her to schedule things.

We now live with Sister Moreton (my bestie) and Sister Casey (her new trainee from the MTC)! I LOVE IT! We party so hard every night in the hour we have between missionary work and bed.

We spent so much time trying to find this week in one of our wards and EVERYBODY didn't have any interest in learning anything at all. Agency is literally the worst. Why can't everyone just want to be Mormon already?

I had a great week though and felt very guided by the Spirit. Even when things weren't successful I knew we were doing what we needed to do. I am confident that we will continue to find people to teach. I know that sometimes we just have to go through dead periods as a trial and then things brighten up. It's always darkest before the dawn.  Thanks Florence and the Machine for your true lyrics.


Sister Poppe
We helped the Activity Days girls learn about the sacrament on Wednesday. I told them to think of a Kit-Kat bar when they can't remember their baptismal covenant. K-keep the commandments, A-always remember Him, T-take upon ourselves His name. The girls we saw throughout the week after the activity all remembered KAT and recited it to us!
"Sister. Tonight I your doctor. You need my steam." Sister Rasheed's boiled 
water with Vick's Vapor Rub in it actually worked wonders.
I think more people need to tease their hair and pose like Simba on Pride Rock

Post Lion King Photo Shoot pic. I had just drawn a scar on my 
face to be Scar and it doubled really well as a rock star look.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

“‘Poppe, I miss you’ many, MANY time!”

Family! Hello.

Winter is already over here. It's a little sad, because boot wearing weather is quickly ending, but it's nice to not have to wear a coat anymore.

I met a sister who asked if I was related to a Margie Kleinman who worked at the Family History Library years ago and I told her that she is my grandma! There is also a sister in one of my wards that is Grandpa Harold's cousin. She hugs me every week now and calls me cousin.

I was struck with my annual The-Seasons-are-Changing-Death-Plague on Friday. I played a fun game with myself throughout the weekend called, "does this part of my body ache because I'm sick or from the weights I've been lifting." I also created a litmus test for illness that helps you know if you're too sick to work or not. If you're sick, but not sick enough that you wouldn't cancel a hot date with a boy you like, then you're not too sick to work. If you would cancel the date, then you know you're too sick to do missionary work. I stuck it out on Friday because I wouldn't have cancelled a date with Peeta Mellark. I also knew that I could push myself through three hours of finding (which was very unsuccessful) and that if I did we would see blessings down the road. Diligence is hard enough when you have an entire evening with no appointments, but when you add in a sore throat, sinus head ache, and inner ear pain, it is even more of a struggle. I also worked extra hard because I knew Saturday would be rough and that I would likely be down for the count. Sure enough, I woke up Saturday morning and felt like I had been hit by a train and like I could sleep for 27 days straight. We cancelled our early appointment and I slept in and rested so I would be able to go out that afternoon for an appointment I didn't think we should cancel. I also knew I needed to rest on Saturday because we were speaking in both sacrament meetings on Sunday and had four appointments set up, so I needed to be fresh.  I like to act like I am good enough at planning that I can schedule in an illness only when it is convenient. I'm not. I still felt awful the rest of the weekend, but we did what we needed to and skipped what wasn't completely important. I sounded like Elder Packer in my first sacrament meeting talk, but by our second sacrament meeting my voice was a little stronger and things went well. Our dinner appointment decided to scrap their plans to make Chinese food and made me homemade chicken noodle soup instead after they heard me struggle through my sacrament meeting talk. That was definitely a tender mercy amidst the trial of my illness. If avoiding Chinese food was the sole reason I have been cursed with this disease, then I will take it. Two appointments fell through and a member at our second forced me to go home and cancel our fourth, so we only had two that evening and was home by 7:45. It is hard being sick because I just feel so guilty. I know I can't control it, but I wasn't sent to Mesa to spend so many hours in our apartment. I will be grateful when I'm not coughing nonstop and when I don't sound like Bonnie Tyler anymore.  #totaleclipseofmyvocalchords #holdingoutforacoughdrop
Sick selfies. 
The sharks and Canadian diva helped build my morale. 

People did enjoy my sacrament meeting talk though. I spoke on faith being a principle of action. Because we all knew Sister Rasheed wouldn't speak as long as I would, I had a lot of time to fill. I shared a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon, a few personal stories, and points from a fireside by Gene R. Cook. The bishop in Aspen said that he believes that the members really got to know my heart through my talk and that they are going to be so much more eager to help now that they know more about the missionaries in their ward.  I hope that is the case!

Despite being bound to our apartment for a portion of our week, we actually had a lot of success. We have a new investigator who has a few children, step children, a husband, and a nephew who are all somewhat open to learning more. She is the most on board, but I have a feeling with time they will all become interested. They're all nice to us when we come over, so that is a good sign. We taught 13 member lessons this week and 7 nonmember lessons.  That is a little over 3 times more than our average number of lessons per week in December.  What a blessing! We are still trying to find more investigators. Our one ward felt somewhat guilty that we found new people to teach without their help. That coupled with our sacrament meeting talks has motivated them to re-focus their efforts. We still need to find 7 new investigators in Brimhall and all 10 in Aspen, so prayers are still appreciated. We have quite a few part member families and unbaptized children ages 9 and over in our wards, so with the help of members, I think we could find people in that category alone. While we were finding on Friday we met an interesting lady who has some crazy beliefs. She shared them with us and ultimately tried to convert us to her way of thinking. When we left Sister Rasheed said, "Sister! You strong. You listen, listen, listen, and ask questions and don't get bothered by her. You patient." I think a lot of her beliefs were interesting, but not valid, clearly. There were so many contradictions that were just not even worthy of my time. For example she believes that Eve didn't partake of any fruit, instead that is symbolic of Satan seducing her and her partaking of his fruit. From that, Cane was conceived and from there Satan's angels were able to come to Earth through him. But she believes they don't have bodies. They're only spirits. But somehow they can produce off spring with humans. That are born but don't have bodes...? But she is entitled to her beliefs and it brings her peace, I guess.

There is a member in Brimhall who lives in the retirement community (did I ever tell you that there is a huge retirement community in both of our ward boundaries and that there are a million elderly people here?) who basically wants to be my best friend. She calls us at least once a week to help her with her missionary work. The only problem is that her missionary work involves her giving us something to drop off to less active members or to nonmembers in her neighborhood. This would be okay if it got us in the door, but it never does and she sends us back to the same places. She doesn't quite understand that it would be far more beneficial for her to come with us or for her to invite her friends to her home while we are there. She also found out a few weeks ago that I sing and play the piano and now she is always pimping out my services. She's a slave driver who makes me come over and practice awful church songs from the 90's and then go and perform them for people. The old people love it though and it is softening one lady's heart in particular. She just loves my voice and thinks I am the most accomplished young woman. She invited us back whenever we wanted, so we have made steps in the positive direction with her. My pimp is a ward missionary so she told the ward mission leader that I needed to sing in sacrament meeting. They conspired and were going to throw me under the bus and just call me up after the intermediate hymn to sing a few verses of something before the ward mission leader spoke on Sunday. Luckily I sounded like a chain smoker with a cat scratching sand paper in my throat so that plan was abandoned.

Fun Culture Fact: when people sneeze in Pakistan they believe it's because someone misses them (kind of like how we believe someone is thinking of you if your nose itches). I sneeze at least two times a day, and when my allergies are acting up I sneeze more. Usually my sneezes are pretty small, but they've been bigger lately because of nature and stuff. Sister Rasheed says things like, "Sister! Who miss you?" Or "Oh sister, someone miss you big!" On Saturday after a large sneeze she said, "Sister! You sneeze big this week and week last many time. Someone special miss you big. They say, 'Poppe, I miss you' many MANY time!" It is one of my fondest wishes that you all could hear her speak in her cute little Pakistani accent. She says the funniest things all the time. I told her a few weeks ago that she is more than welcome to visit me in America whenever she wants to in life. I overheard her telling another sister, "Sister. I excited. Sister Poppe tell me I come to America after she married and stay in her house and visit and eat her food. I excited!" I think it is funny that, "come visit whenever you want," turned into "after I'm married come stay in my house and eat my food." Clearly I would let her stay with me and would let her eat my food, but I never actually said those words.  hahaha.

It's already the end of another transfer! Wednesday will be the start of the next one and Sister Rasheed and I are both staying here! They combined two areas into one and took a companionship of sisters out so our district is only four sisters now, which is tiny. I'm not sure why they just didn't put us in with some elders and unmake me district leader, but I'll do whatever I'm asked to do. Six more weeks!


Sister Poppe

The last Sistrict Meeting of the transfer.
I'm glad that the term Sistrict was born.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Costco Sized Amount of Faith

Busy week! I don't have a ton of time! Sorry! Also, sorry for all the !!!!! Who am I?

Sister Rasheed is crazy when it comes to New Year's Resolutions, or as she calls them, 2015 big goals. We spent a lot of time brainstorming what our big goals were going to be, while we drove to appointments and such. We then ceremoniously wrote them down on New Year's Eve.  Here are some of the highlights from this week's big goals conversations:

1. "Sister you make other 2015 big goal. You go home August and make goal to pray for husband in October. Marriage 2015 you BIG goal!"-R

"Sister. I'm a missionary most of 2015. I don't have enough time to find a husband after I'm a missionary and before 2015 ends."-P

"SISTER. You just pray."-R

As funny as it was, it was even cuter that she was sincere. She has the biggest testimony of prayer. She said she didn't have one until her mom helped her develop one. Her mom sounds like an amazing lady who has a Costco sized amount of faith.

2. Last P-day I bought a jump rope, scale, and resistance bands for my big goal to lose 5 pounds a month in 2015. I was jumping rope in the living room the day I bought it and Sister Rasheed looked at our roommate and said, "she practice for 2015 big goal."

We tried to contact some people on NYE but we weren't having much success. People were just partying, so we eventually gave up and spent the last hour and a half of our evening at a member's home. They invited us to their party. It was actually really good because there were a lot of members in our ward at the event so I talked with them and learned more about them.

On New Year's Day we had a mission wide activity. Each zone had 25 minutes to come up with a theme based on a bible story they were given. Some were really hilarious. We did Shadrack, Mishack, and Abednego (seriously I have no clue how to spell those names and don't care to look them up). I was Abednego and two other sisters were the other two. We were sassy and I rapped:

We ain't bowing down to no idols
We would rather take a knife to our vitals.
We only worship the one true God
Anything else is outright fraud!
To the Lord only, we will Pray
Queen French Fry, you be cray cray!

Sister Fry was Queen French Fry, so that is why that is there. It was pretty funny and a good modern retelling of the story.

We are on a finding kick in our area! We have to find 20 new investigators this month. To put that into perspective, we found 1 in December. I found a lady when I was on exchanges and she has three children. We are going back tomorrow and I pray that this whole family will be interested. She lost her husband this year so she really is open to something that can help her. Please pray for us to be able to meet our goal. Also, we had MLC this week and PKJ said that we have to be willing to work hard enough to pick up the slack if other missionaries don't find enough people. That was nerve wracking! But I have to be prepared to find 40 people if the sisters in my district don't find people. I have faith that they will, but it was the first time I truly felt like I had to make up for other people as their leader.

Meet the Mormons is in the VC now, so we took an investigator to see it on Wednesday. It was fun! Go see it if you haven't!

I also set up a TON of member lessons for this week so I can talk to members about member missionary work and how to help us find people to teach. We are also speaking in both of our wards' sacrament meetings this week.

I'm happy and healthy and ready for 2015!


Sister Poppe