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.