Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Poppe is my Clean Cut Anne of Green Gables

We went to an elderly FHE on Monday and it was literally like YSA but with old married people. But it was fun and people were all in similar life situations and almost no one could hear each other. A 92 and 97 year old couple went off and created it on their own. That will be me at 92. You're never too old for a social function!

Sister Merrell and I actually had a rough week. Our roommates have had a few miracle baptisms this month and we were really happy for them, but it kind of put us into a crisis of worth. We work just as hard as them and we haven't been seeing that manifest in results. After a few days we finally had a good chat about our feelings and realized that Satan was just making us feel useless. We also realized that we are both the oldest child and only daughter in our family so some of our self-worth flaws and the pressures we impose on ourselves were also at play. I found out during all of this that Lavender Brown and her daughter were getting baptized. Those are the second and third baptisms my first area has had since I left and it made me wonder a lot last week why I wasn't good enough at what I do. I left and Thunder Mountain had their first baptism in two years! After a lot of pondering and studying I was at peace. I didn't baptize Lavender and her daughter, but I contacted them and taught them and did a lot of the ground work that lead to her decision to be baptized.  I also realized that so much of missionary work is timing. Many missionaries taught Lavender over the years, we were just the missionaries to initiate the last contact that would lead to baptism. That will probably happen a lot with people I've contacted down the road. Missionary work is just a long process with many interruptions a lot of the time. I've come to peace with the fact that I'm just not a baptizer. I don't really know what I am. But I'm something. It's also helped that the Lord has placed a lot of people in our path with inspired statements. People who didn't even know we were struggling have said exactly what we needed to hear. We were asked to fill in for some visiting teaching and the lesson this month was on patience. A member told us to read a talk about faith and trials of our faith. A few people randomly told us they appreciate us. We are on the Lord's errand.  I think I decided that Satan and I were besties in the PME for a bit before he started acting out, that's why he tries so hard to win me over to his side all. the. time. The man won't give it a rest!

I don't know if you've ever checked out the LDS Pamphlet app, but it is out of this world awesome! They're the missionary pamphlets on steroids! The church also released a new video for Easter that talks about Christ's role in our lives now as the risen Savior. It is moving and my favorite video they've released thus far. You can find it in multiple places, but you can find it at www.helives.mormon.org. Everyone please watch it. It reminds us all that some of the most important things happened after Christ's death, not during. I'm grateful that Christ died for my sins, but I'm even more grateful that he lives to support me and love me. I can rely on a living Christ. I can only appreciate a dead savior. #becausehelives

The Women's Broadcast was powerful. The only problem was that it was all about the importance of the family, so it made us all suuuuuper trunky. I wanted to hang out with my mom, dad, brothers, cousins, grandparents, future babies, basically everyone I can't hang out with or shouldn't be thinking about extensively. My mind wandered a lot and we were all getting slightly teary-eyed. I was like, "Poppe! Get it together! You have 4.5 months left. That's half a pregnancy. Not that long. Seriously. Half a pregnancy! Bad analogy. STOP THINKING ABOUT YOUR UNBORN BABIES." Bonnie L. Oscarson's talk was spot on. She hit it out of the park. The YW presidency talks are always my favorite. I was sad that my favorite woman leader and LDS role model, Neill F. Marriott, didn't speak, but she can't be a rock star at every conference I guess.

We went to the Easter Pageant with individuals a few nights. It's fun to see people from my old area there and to have an amazing production be a lesson with our investigators. We are blessed to have so many opportunities in Mesa!

Sassy Sister Friend Quotes:

"Here is a banana for each of you. Eat it. You need potassium so your bodies can produce beautiful magnificent children."

"You'll be blessed for serving a mission. Your womb will be blessed."

"You are like my clean cut Laura Ingalls, and Poppe is my clean cut Anne of Green Gables."


Sister Poppe

P.S. I had to write the missionary piece of the Aspen Relief Society Newsletter again and this is what I whipped up. I was only given about half an hour’s notice, so it isn't my finest piece.

"Imagine with me for a moment that your boss gave you a $100 dollar bill and she told you to go and give it to anyone who would take it.  There are no strings attached or criteria the recipient must meet. You simply need to find anyone who will take the money from your hands.  You're financially set and have enough Benjamin's to keep you going so it isn't hard for you to want to share it with another person. You know it will bless their life and that they will be grateful for the random boost in income. Your boss also promised you that she would supply you with as many $100 bills as could be given away. As you begin to seek out someone to give the money to will you stop if the first, second, third, or fourteenth person doesn't accept your gift or see the value in it? Probably not. You have $100! Who cares if someone was foolish enough to reject such a prize? They're the one that is missing out on the blessing.

Missionary work is much like trying to give someone a $100 bill. Even if people reject your offer you can still bless someone's life. Many people will reject the gospel because of skepticism, pride, fear, or apathy and that's okay. Someday someone will take the $100 bill and will treat you as if you gave them a million dollar bill for the rest of their life. Your success doesn't diminish (or increase) based on the number of $100 bills you hand out; it is entirely reliant upon your dedication to invite others to take the treasure you want to give them. The March 2015 New Era had an article that encouraged readers by reminding them that, "Your success is not measured by their response; it is measured by your commitment to share [the gospel]."

Maybe you've neglected to try to hand out your $100 bill and you don't know how to start or you feel you've missed a lot of great opportunities and now you just don't know what to do. Make the resolve and start. Invite someone to watch Meet the Mormons in your living room. Invite a friend to eat a plate of cookies you made them and to read the pass along card taped to the cling wrap. Show your neighbor the #becausehelives video. Simply invite a friend to dinner and ask if you can start the meal with a prayer. Don't forsake the small opportunities to share the gospel just because you missed the big ones. You might have to hand out your $100 bill $1 at a time."

I met my doppleganger this week! She looked more like me in 
person than in this picture. It was almost like the Parent Trap!

I convinced the elders we were doing service with that I was 
responsible enough to use a hedge trimmer. It was the most 
                               exciting thing I've ever done as service! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Social Butterfly of the Valley Homeless Community

I had my exchange with Sister Moreton this week. I brought her into my area. Nothing too eventful happened, but it was fun to be her companion for a day.

We did a ton of service this week and a lot of it was yard work for older people and it gave me an appreciation for landscapers. It was enjoyable though, I kind of like just ripping weeds out and such.  Though I'm sure 30 degrees from now I wouldn't enjoy it as much. I've never wanted to be a gardener, but I'm starting to like the idea of it more and more now after the hours I've spent in citrus trees and rose bushes this spring. I could grow and can my own food like a pioneer!  We also helped with Project Connect, a homeless services gathering thing. It's really cool. It's interesting to see homeless people interact with others. They have friends and everything! The one lady we helped is the social butterfly of the valley homeless community.  She had so many friends! If I were homeless, I would want to be like her.

We got into a slight fender bender this week. Someone backed into our parked car while we were checking our mail. I had to fill out a church incident report and everything even though the damage was almost nonexistent. Just a little paint scuffed off. We talked about our really bad accident all week though and it was kind of funny.

 Accident Report

We had interviews this week and they were great! Sister Jenkins brought a quote by Barbara Bush for me because she knows I love America and the Bush family. She is always bringing me quotes and stuff to interviews and I thought it was just her thing, but I found out I'm the only person she ever gives stuff too. I'm not sure if she thinks I'm unstable and need extra encouragement or if she just wants to be my friend. President talked with me about my future in church service all 8 minutes and the impressions he has for my future and it was kind of odd. We didn't talk about my district or my missionary work or goals. Both he and his wife said that they want to keep tabs on me the rest of my life which is kind of intimidating, because they're perfect and he will probably be a general authority or something. Too much pressure! I'll over think my Christmas cards every year because of them!

 My quote from Sister Jenkins. "I was going to print it off and make it cute, 
but our printer stopped working! So I had to resort to this...
but maybe after it's fixed I'll make you a cute little handout."
-Sister Jenkins

We watched Meet the Mormons with our grandma and granddaughter and a member family this week. We had pizza and a fun little movie night for spring break.  

We set a baptismal date for a nine year old in our ward this week (anyone 9 or over is considered a convert baptism...even if their parents are members. His parents are members and we started working with him this week). It is on the 4th of July! I probably won't be here then, but a date is set!

My roommates got into a pretty bad fight this week, so I separated them, took Sister Moreton to Sonic to get a drink, took her to do some service and had Sister Merrell go and just listen to Sister Casey so she felt loved. They did service with us and then we came home and I facilitated a 2 hour long companionship inventory with them after they took 45 minutes to write down their feelings. I feel 65% prepared to raise teenage daughters now. Hopefully I can make up the last 35% between now and the point in time in which I have teenage daughters.

We went to the Sunland Songsters concert this weekend and it was great! Our pseudo investigators, Brother and Sister Evida, invited us and bought us tickets to watch them perform. It's a 55+ choir that sang golden oldies. It was so cute! I'm not entirely certain it was mission appropriate, but it made them feel super loved. They were so excited to see us! I feel like Jesus was okay with our decision to go.  The members we went with also applauded us for being not stuck up and being open to out of the box activities that have a purpose and show love.


Sister Poppe

Scottish treats!

Sonic with healing powers 
("our eyes look like pools of 
liquid green desire"-Sister Moreton)

Sister Moreton forgot her tag in her bedroom and didn't 
want to walk in and get it because her companion as in there 
                            so we were both Sister Poppe for a few hours.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I do Like to Fancy Myself the San Diego Temple

We went out with MP again this week a few times. She and her nonmember friend that we love took us to Applebee's. We also taught her other friend and she wasn't feeling well and this lead to a lengthy and far too detailed conversation about being constipated! I'm telling you, these 55 plussers are another breed. We met two new contacts as well.  If we just had four more MP's, we would be the busiest stateside missionaries in the church. She made us sing a few times and it was actually beautiful. I finally have a companion that can sing! We made people tear up with our song three times that day and we are scheduled to sing in sacrament meeting next week.

Our ZTM for the month was really great. I was asked to give a training on the balance between following the Spirit, being ourselves, and being dignified. It's something I feel very passionately about because too many missionaries conform to some unwritten standard that no one actually likes! I compared us to temples. We are all different and beautiful and we help people perform saving ordinances, but we all look different. Some of us have laundry facilities, some have cafeterias, and some have the bare necessities. But we can all help people and we are all loved by those who we help. So everyone just needs to stop trying to be the San Diego Temple and embrace that they're the Chicago Temple or the St. Paul Temple! I do like to fancy myself the San Diego Temple though....I also told them that they need to think of a three circle Venn Diagram that overlaps. In that magical place is where we are allowed to be ourselves while following the Spirit and being dignified. It is our job to find the sweet spot (and it changes depending on who you are talking to) and then people will respect us and love us.

I had my exchange with Sister Casey this week and during the process I realized that she had goals but no real plans to accomplish them. I helped her go through and study and learn her Area Book so we knew who we could contact. We spent most of the day trying to contact referrals and potential investigators. We also went to their Relief Society birthday dinner and it was cool! They had a throwback theme and Costa Vida style pork salads (which are quickly becoming my favorite food).  After dinner they said that there were props hidden under each table with a decade theme that we had to make a skit for. We did a skit during the depression where a coon dog and his owner are on a coon hunt. It was pretty funny. We got the "most original" award. I felt strongly that Sisters Casey and Moreton needed help with their weekly planning session because I had the sense during the exchange that they were floundering a bit. I asked if I could plan with them on Friday and they agreed. I spent three hours walking them through every step in Preach My Gospel for weekly planning and helping them know what and how we plan. It was mentally exhausting but worth it! THEY KNOW HOW TO PLAN NOW! Sister Moreton was a little bothered that she has been out 14.5 months and finally learned how to plan. I always thought it was self-explanatory, but I'm learning that planning actually isn't an innate skill that everyone is born with.

Sister Merrell thinks a little bit too much like me. She has the craziest ideas. This week we got a box of bread from a member to give to people (long story...basically when this bread company has overstock they give it away...we get some each time and give it to nonmembers, LA's, and other missionaries). The box was a huge diaper box, so Sister M got the idea to cut out this baby's head and taped into the bathroom mirror. I was like what the heck is this. Now the baby head keeps popping up in random places; my food cupboard, the microwave, the medicine cabinet, etc. It's kind of hilarious.

We had to drop a lot of people this week and that is not something I am good at. But Sister Merrell convinced me that they aren't progressing and that they seem to be more attached to missionaries than the gospel. It's true. We dropped Cho Chang and her family and Jamie Lee Curtis. They've all cancelled multiple appointments as well, but I still struggle with it because I worry that their lack of progress is due to a lack of effort or ability on our part. I don't want to be responsible for people not being saved because I'm not good enough at my job. On the other hand though, we had the most productive correlation meeting I've had in this area and I presented our goals and vision for the Aspen ward. Our ward mission leader is on board and got the ward council fired up on Sunday. We have members committed to throw block parties multiple times in the next three weeks, priests signed up to take the lessons from us as they put their papers in, a gospel principles class will be taught in someone's home during the week, the YW are going to use us more often, and we have more service opportunities. Just in this upcoming week we have appointments and hours of service from this one simple meeting! Brother Andes is great!  We are moving along! Work will come I am sure! Unfortunately, I think it's my calling in life to help members and move on before the nonmember work picks up. So I wouldn't be surprised if this is my last transfer in this area.

Quotes of the week:

"I don't care if you're the president of Canada, England, or the Queen Mother's brother! You don't treat a woman that way."-Sassy Elderly Sister Friend

"What is the district leader sister assistant to the mission president doing in such short skirts two days in a row? I can add six inches to that skirt!"-SESF.  First of all, I am just the district leader; I'm not that important enough to warrant that fake but regal sounding title. Second, my skirts are past the knee, but not mid-calf, so she thinks I'm trying to get fresh. She went on to say, "Just because you have those fabulous legs doesn't mean you have to show them! Save 'em for your husband, then you can go boom boom (complete with a demonstrative hip swing)." Ha! Good legs. As if.

"My brother thought RIP meant resurrection in progress."-Sister Merrell


Sister Poppe

Creepy Roommate hand from last week

 Toothbrush shanks

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Miss my Little Pakistani

Elder Malm of the 70 and Brother Randall who works in the missionary department came and gave us a seminar entitled Missionary Work in the Digital Age. The church has official protocols and training for online missionary work now so they have to kind of re-wire the brains of the 30 test missions who have been online proselyting and making it up as they go for the last year or so. The conference was absolutely wonderful. The central theme was that we need to be our own filters when we are online. If we can't control ourselves as missionaries, we will never be able to control ourselves in the real world. We touched on technology addiction, the positives of sharing the gospel online, taking ownership of our online conduct, and then went over some training materials. The most profound statement though had to do with the real reason iPads are being introduced into missions. They help in a small way with missionary work, but the real reason we are using technology is because the Quorum of the Twelve believe that technology abuse is such a huge problem that they want to teach the rising generation how to better use it. By giving us iPads for 18-24 months we are being trained on how to use it as the Lord would have us use it, and we are building our own firewalls in our hearts that then won't fail in the real world. The hope is that this will curb the gaming addictions, pornography habits, and overuse of social media in our generation and generations to come. It was so powerful to hear all of that. I really felt that that was true. We have so much potential and so much of it is wasted. I know I've wasted too much time on social media. I probably would have graduated with a much higher GPA if Twitter and Facebook wouldn't have always been open on my desktop.  As a part of this, we are off Facebook for a couple of months. This will take place in every mission that has already been online proselyting. This will help us re-center ourselves on our purpose, and it also gives the church enough time to finish the online proselyting manual that is in its final stages.

I asked President Jenkins the next day at MLC if we aren't doing any online proselyting or if we just aren't doing Facebook because others and I were wondering if we could blog. He said he wasn't sure and kind of went back and forth for about ten seconds and said, "if you fulfill your missionary purpose by blogging then you can. Well, no. I think they want us to do nothing online for a few months. So we won't do anything online until we get the go ahead. But you're a fantastic blogger. Especially when you write about mission fun runs...I'll always remember that. Sister Poppe, you can blog because you bring people closer to Christ." So I got special permission to blog during our online fast! I feel like I go through this cycle where I am terrified of PKJ for like two months and then I will feel comfortable around him because he compliments me and I'm good for like a month and then get re-terrified of him. So we're friends again right now...maybe we can ride this friend wave for my last five months. But in all seriousness I have never felt very close to a church leader in my life until my mission (with the exception of my last singles ward bishop...even though he was only my bishop for a semester he truly loved me and we got close. Probably because he finished my mission papers). I love President and Sister Jenkins and will always feel blessed that I have gotten to serve under the best mission president and wife in the church. They see so much more potential in me than I ever will and they love me for who I am, which I haven't always felt from church leaders.

Sister Rasheed is hilarious. She abandoned her companion at our conference to sit with me (even after I told her she should sit with her companion so her feelings didn't get hurt). She said, "I tell Sister Smith that Sister Poppe and me have fun all the times. We laugh, we have fun, Sister Poppe say funny things...and Sister Smith just say, 'well I'm not funny.' So I don't know." She is doing well though. AND the mission got 11 cars taken away and her new area is small so they're getting put on bikes! So it's a good thing I taught her how to ride one! I miss my little Pakistani. I do enjoy Sister Merrell though too.

We had MLC on Wednesday and it was a good day to be me! Two flattering comments were made throughout the day. Sister Jenkins came up to me before the meeting started and whispered to me while she side hugged me, "Sister Poppe, you are one of my very favorite people. I don't get to see you often enough." I replied with, "I can come up with some problems if you want so I have to visit you (she talks with all the missionaries who struggle with mental health)." She asked me to please do that. Then at lunch I sat by a sister who is in my old area and she said, "I serve in the Salt River Stake where literally everybody still asks if you know Sister Poppe and then they talk about how much they love her. And we are just like, but we are your missionaries now and they don't care."

MP was on fire this week! She set up a lesson with her neighbor and we are now teaching her. She also took us around her neighborhood to deliver invites to our stake 25 year anniversary party we had on Saturday. We have three new contacts now. One of which told us he is a minister for the Church of Jesus Christ, which is a branch off the 1840 Mormon tree. They still use the Book of Mormon too. I really want to go back and talk to him to satisfy my selfish curiosity, but it wouldn't be a productive use of my time.
 Shindig 25

Sister Moreton told me this week that she hates that I'm good at correcting people without actually correcting them. She said I have a way of phrasing things just right so people feel guilty and then want to just change themselves on their own. She said she cried 7 times during district meeting this week and that she hates that I have a gift for making her feel guilty. I'm practicing for parenthood; I'm not much of a yeller and yelling doesn't change much anyway. Guilt delivered from someone who loves you, on the other hand, is corrosive.

On Saturday we were enlisted to help with our huge stake party. The Kimball East Stake turned 25 and they spent months planning this huge event called Shindig 25. We had an hour to fill before our services were required for the rest of the day, so we spent time contacting people in the apartment complex in our area. We stopped by a member couple we didn't know and visited with them at the end of our open hour. As we approached our car I couldn't find our keys anywhere. I took everything out of my purse and they were nowhere. We re-traced our steps and asked the roaming maintenance man if he had seen any and went to the front office.  Nothing. At this point we were convinced they had been left at our last visit, but the couple had followed us out and were leaving for the afternoon, so we knew they weren't home.  We tried anyway and finally dejectedly decided to just walk to the stake center and figure this out later because we were already 15 minutes late and we had about 3/4 of a mile to walk. We had prayed a few times already, but I said a prayer in my heart that someone would see us and offer us a ride and that I would be able to not fret about our keys all night. Someone did see us and offers us a ride, and I completely put the keys out of my mind! We texted the couple and asked if they would check their couch for our keys when they got home and they must have because a few hours into the party the elders approached us and said that some members had dropped our keys off. It was a miracle. I have been more scatter brained in my mission than at any other point in my life and I hate it.

The party was a success though! They expected 1600 people and they ended up serving over 2500 people food and had more on top of that that didn't eat. There were less actives and nonmembers there too! It was a lot of fun to just mingle and talk to people for five hours straight. I love talking to people!

I'm a very jumpy person. Everything scares me and makes me scream. I try to keep this under wraps so people don't intentionally scare me.  Well, my roommates found out inadvertently and now they love to scare me. One night this week my companion hid behind my clothes in the closet and when I walked in she just stuck her arms through my hanging clothing and I screamed and freaked out because I thought it was a murderer. Then last night they all conspired against me. Sister Merrell was hiding underneath my bed and as I was praying she just stuck her arm up and grazed me. I assumed it was just Sister Moreton getting into her bed (because our beds touch it isn't uncommon for us to bump into each other as we pray or get into bed each night). Then my arm was grazed again so I peeked open my eyes in the dark and didn't see Sister Moreton anywhere. As I tried to convince myself that there wasn't a concealed spirit sent from Satan to torment me in my midst, I saw this white arm ascend from my bed and I lost it! I screamed and flailed around my bed and shouted mean things when I heard my roommates laughing and was subsequently convinced that the only part Satan played in this prank was planting an evil desire in my roommates' hearts. As things settled down I told them that I needed to finish my prayer and apologize for so rudely screaming in my Heavenly Father's ear. They told me I was being dramatic again and then they left me alone. Fifteen minutes later Sister Merrell whispered, "Poppe...are you okay?" I assured her I was and then she said in a relieved tone that she was glad because she was worried I wouldn't forgive them. I let her know that I am incapable of holding a grudge and that I can see how scaring me would be someone's favorite hobby.

We are already seeing the work pick up in this area and I am so grateful! We are scouting out less actives to work with and are stopping by people's homes and visiting with them if we don't know them. We received more referrals this week than ever before. Though none of them have panned out it is still great to see that people trust us and are willing to send us to visit other people.

G2G. My companion is homesick for the ghetto so we're going to make toothbrush shanks.


Sister Poppe

Because we aren't on Facebook anymore I have to get creative when I want to send funny iMessages to my district. It's harder to find pictures when you literally can't be on the internet unless you're on LDS.org or Family Search. I sent this picture of Great Grandma Kleinman that I found on Family Search to Sister Moreton with a caption that just said, "Girl Please!".  It was hilarious. That picture makes its way into conversation at least once a day. Someone will make the face and say, "Girl Please!" or they'll flash the picture during a silent moment or something.

Shindig 25!