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.
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.
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.