Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What's a Hugs Mom?


Wow. Another busy week in the Alta Mesa Stake!

A few weeks back we received a phone call from the assistants to the president (it was actually the day we came down with the flu). They called to ask if Sister Smith and I would give a training at MLC about correcting missionaries in a way that leads to them changing their hearts. I was specifically told that though I was released from my leadership position and was no longer a part of the mission leadership council, that I was invited back for this meeting for the purpose of giving this training. We focused on the importance of loving those we serve, being genuine, and following the Spirit when we correct. A few people got teary-eyed and everyone enjoyed our training. A few days before we gave it President Jenkins asked how I felt about coming back to MLC. I gave him a little grief about not using me the five months he actually had me on the council and he said, "Sister Poppe, you are the most equipped to give this training, so we just needed to bring you back. It was the only option." I have had to do my fair share of correcting people, so I guess I have the experience! Sister Smith is also good at loving people into correction, so we just went with it and prepared a lovely training. During MLC Sister Jenkins made a comment about googling someone and how no one would ever Google the Jenkins because nothing would come up. I let her know that that was actually the first thing I did when I got my mission call. She laughed really hard and said, "Leave it to you, Sister Poppe." The real question though is why don't more people do that? You have to be educated! I couldn't live under the spiritual dictatorship of the Jenkins' for 18 months without knowing the paltry details that the world wide web effortlessly provides.
 We liked our new outfits, but not our heads, so we cropped them out. 
This was after our MLC training.

We gave President Jenkins a coupon redeemable for one treat if he keeps Sister Smith and I together for another transfer. He is actually softening to the idea and said, "Well it's one thing to keep two sisters together because they're friends, it's another to keep them together because they're productive. You two are productive together, so we'll see. I won't say it won't happen." Then at our baptism on Saturday a member of the Bishopric approached him and asked what the ward had to do to keep the two of us together in that ward because we were the best of the best and President Jenkins said, "You're just hurting yourself with those comments! That's why they shouldn't stay together! It is unfair to the rest of the mission! We'll see what happens though." So there is a glimmer of hope that this could work out! Sister Smith is an AMAZING missionary and I'm just normal, so really there isn't any reason we shouldn't stay together. She can help me continue to try my hardest my last few months.

We made a goal to be charitable this week and as we set the goal I said, "The problem with this is that the Lord will definitely see fit to give us opportunities to be charitable now." And he did. So many of them. We (mainly me though) were more annoyed all week than we both have been in a very, very long time. Not at each other, just at flaky people, other drivers, and situations that were out of our control. It was still a great week and all in all everything worked out, there were just a lot of stressful situations where we were late because of things we couldn't control. I hate being late more than I hate people who don't vote. I still need to work on charity, so it will continue to be my goal until the end of my mission probably. 

We went to this cool place called Organ Stop Pizza with a senior couple in the mission that happens to live in our ward boundaries and a few investigators. The food was thoroughly mediocre, but the organ entertainment was so fun! The guy can play anything. We used that meal as kind of a means of bribery to get the mother and her daughters we are kind of teaching to the Visitors' Center to watch JSPR. The mom enjoyed the movie, the one daughter that came wasn't as enthralled. The mom loves Sister Smith and I though, so we'll use that to our advantage and teach them what we can, when we can.

The FG ward mission leader asked for our help to create a blog for spiritual stories. We helped him and I'll let you know when it is up and running! His wife made us the most divine brownies I have ever eaten as a thank you. It was a great 45 minutes doing some of my favorite things; eating and blogging.

We met a man from Iran who has two wives. One he lives with in the US for 6 months and one he lives with in the Middle East for 6 months. This is real life! He is more Mormon than he realizes he is.

We had a baptism on Saturday! My baptismal numbers have officially doubled! There was a ton of member support and she looked so happy. She has come a long way and has overcome many personal demons over the 18 years she has had interactions with the gospel. We're so proud of her for her complete change and total repentance and 100% dedication to the gospel. 
 We had a baptism! We'll call her Bambi because she is very nice and loving. 
This is a picture with some of the sisters who have taught her over the past
 few months and the ward missionaries and ward mission leader.

 Bambi before she went into the water!

We met a young man that I'll call Lost, because he is a Poly and every time I think of Poly's I think of islands which makes me think of the show Lost. He is moving in with his uncle and cousins who are members. He has had a lot of interaction with the church already and has come to church many times and goes to mutual frequently. We had the first lesson with him and he committed to be baptized on June 6th! I'm telling you, this area is so good for my soul. There are miracles and blessings that I have never experienced on my mission here. Those Polynesians are so laid back. He was just like, "Yeah, I'll be baptized." But his eyes actually meant it. They're so quick to recognize truth and to feel that the gospel is what they need in their life.

I met a family in our ward at dinner who used to live in Plymouth and was in our stake for two years! They moved a few years after we lived there.

Now it is time for the most entertaining part of our week. It all centers around our investigator who we will call General Mills (GM) because his name reminds me of cereal. Let me start with a physical description before I jump into the joy he brought our life this week. GM is a 70 year old undercover cop who works closely with the DEA to catch drug dealers. He looks like he is actually in his mid-40's and acts like he is a 22 year old Harley Davidson salesman.  The man has tattoos all over his body, multiple piercings, chin length, wiry salt and pepper hair, and an interesting sense of style. His nails are often painted black and he has blue tinted glasses perched on his nose. He told us that his platonic roommate turned wife actually told him the first time see saw him that she was scared because, "You drive a big Harley Davidson and look like you're straight out of hell." You're probably thinking, "Wow, the man looks like a drug dealer!" That's because he does. He looks like the people he is trying to catch. He showed us a picture of himself before he had this career and he looked like a normal guy. He is hilarious and doesn't seem like anyone who would ever be remotely interested in the gospel, but he totally is! He has been wanting to make us lunch for weeks and our schedules finally matched up on Wednesday. He asked if he could make us tea and I told him that we don't drink sun tea but that we would talk more about that at lunch. It was the perfect set up for the Word of Wisdom, which we have been wanting to teach him anyway. He was so cute and excited to feed us. When we walked up to his town home we heard all his dogs barking (he and his roommate have 12 dogs because she rescues them). Blaring above he K-9 wailing was he most awful sounding screamo/metal/druid death cries/general ugly sounding music I have ever heard in my life. We just started laughing out loud. Seriously. GM is SEVENTY and he listens to this stuff. He came out all cheery like in black jeans and an open, cut off, button up wolf shirt turned vest with nothing on underneath. We suppressed more laughs and went over to the pool to wait for him (we didn't have a third female so we had to eat and teach outside). During the lesson he randomly said, "Well, I guess I'm getting married this Saturday. The roommate asked me and I said yes." So he just up and decided to marry his roommate, which is a blessing for us because now we don't have a law of chastity issue to deal with! He then invited us to the reception and said that we could bring proselyting materials to hand out if we wanted to! Who does that? Only an investigator who loves the gospel and loves us. He said it was going to be Bohemian and boy was it something else. We were only at the reception about 15 minutes and all of them were gloriously awkward. We walked up to the park pavilion to see him getting a tattoo at his own outdoor wedding reception. I'm not sure what the City of Mesa's policy is on that, but I bet it is not generally recommended. They proceeded to cut their wedding cake with a Samurai sword and handed out miniature Buddha's as thank you gifts. My Buddha will bring me luck in love and Sister Smith's will bring her happiness. I loved everything about our interactions with him last week and can't wait until he gets baptized. Because he totally will at some point in time. Hopefully before the completely arbitrary date of August 11th. 

Sister Smith quotes that prove we are meant to be best friends:

"I used to draw Ron Swanson all the time."

"That sign needs a comma. You give the best hugs mom. What's a hugs  mom?  See?  It needs a comma. You give the best hugs comma mom."

"It just proves to me that our bodies are carbon and water. Sometimes  they erupt like a volcano."

On a doorstep, after the normal missionary-esque questions have been  asked and it seems as if we are about to lose this awesome hipster guy that we just want to share the gospel with/be eternal friends with, "Is that Parks and Rec playing in the background? Sister Poppe is literally Leslie Knope. And I'm Ann Perkins"-SS this lead to another  five minute conversation about some worldly things but also his religious background, upcoming marriage, his Mormon family, and his life goals. We are all three besties now. Leslie Knope, what a heart softener.


Sister P

Sister Smith thought the sign and my coincidental outfit was 
too serendipitous to not take a picture of.

An elder took a creeper shot of us biking when we were on bike for two days. 
It was kind of cute. Poppe/Smith on bikes. Doing the Lord's work, 
saving miles, having awful hair days. Biking was kind of the 
worst thing ever and we decided to never do it again. 

To save miles today we did personal and comp study at the temple 
after a sister’s movie gathering we had this morning at the VC. 
How lucky are we to get to study the word of God on His grounds?

Sister Smith draws an exceptional Ron Swanson. 
He probably won't like that this is putting him on the grid, 
but it's too fine a piece of art to not share.

If I ever have to live in a nursing home, this is what my door will look like.

This is our 8 year old investigator's 6 year old uncle. 
He got a new tag and was so proud of it at church that 
we had to get matching missionary pictures.

Skyping home! Keep it classy, family. Nice wardrobe.

 A sister who served here for two transfers had to go home because of some
 bad leg problems (she had surgery before her mission and was still having
 problems). She came back for Bambi's baptism because she taught her
 before she went home and then we all went to lunch today before she 
heads back to St. George.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hermana Guapa


We have been meeting with our ward mission leader's neighbor (who we will call Rose, just for the simple reason that I'm down to half an hour to write this letter and I don't have the time to think of anything more creative!) and things are going well. She is interested in the church for purely historic curiosity at this point, but she did commit to read the Book of Mormon this week so her secular interest is about to become a lot more spiritual. We also took her to the VC to see JSPR this week and we invited her to the missionary fireside we sang at last night. She enjoyed the fireside quite a bit. We also formally invited her to take the lessons this week and she agreed. Though again, for only the sake of understanding those around her better. Yeah. Whatever. We'll see what happens. We don't get to tell the Spirit no! She said that she likes discussing ideas with us so it will probably go really well.

We had exchanges this week and I was with Sister Whitney Smith for the day and we found a new investigator in the Springs together. It was like a Preach My Gospel moment. Seriously. We were walking to knock on a potential's door and we saw a lady on her porch. I had the impression that we should talk to her, but she was on her phone so we just smiled and walked by. As we got just out of eyesight we heard, "Girls! Come back!" We turned around and as we approached her she looked at me straight in the eyes and said, "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?" I responded, "Yes, we do. And in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father." She went on to tell us about the struggles she's had since moving to Mesa six months ago and said, "I just don't think I'm feeling the Holy Spirit in my life. How do you feel the Holy Spirit? I need to feel it in my life!" I asked if we could come in and talk with her and she let us in. We spent half an hour talking to her about baptism, priesthood authority, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the great apostasy. It was a jumbled first lesson without the first two points and without the Book of Mormon. She said she has been baptized into three different churches in her life and just wants to feel the Spirit. She invited us back and we are so excited! Everything that morning had been crazy and nothing went as planned and truly everything leading up to that point prepared us for that moment. We needed to be in front of her porch exactly when we were and it lead to the most miraculous finding experience of my mission. We are going back this week and I fully intend her to accept what we share with her. The only problem is that she lives with her daughter and wants to move out, so it is likely she could move out of the area. Her daughter is also pretty anti, so that isn't good!
Remember that one time I told you about that sister who loves my
blog and has always wanted to be my companion? Well we were for
a day! We went on an exchange. I'm afraid she probably realizes now
that I'm not as amazing as she originally thought.

We also spent some time at the assisted living center in our area during exchanges and Sister W. Smith and I had a great time visiting the members in there. They're so sweet and so grateful when we come by. I really don't want to get old! We met an old Catholic lady who was convinced we were nuns because we go by "sister". She told the Mormons at dinner that she met some nice nuns and even they tried to tell her that the sisters that came were Mormons. She didn't believe them. She told us, "Go out and make every one Catholic in this place, sisters! Some other people (most likely the Mormon) share their beliefs in here and we need 'em all to be Catholic!" 

I was really struck with the importance of the work I am doing this week. I've always known it was important, but I just felt differently about it this week than I ever have. Maybe it's because I hit 15 months on the 29th or something. I just really love what I'm doing and know how valued missionary service is. We often do things (like visit the assisted living home) that no one else has a lot of time for. Honestly, teaching nonmembers about the gospel is sometimes the least effective part of my day. Really uplifting people is what is important and what Christ did the most of.

We set a date for our 8 year old to be baptized on the 16th! Woo! We have another baptism this Saturday! My record is increasing by 200% in the next two weeks. #holllaaa #blessings

On Friday we had zone conference and it was my favorite zone conference of my mission. We talked about having a change of heart and making permanent changes to our natures. I love it. I am so grateful for the lessons I've learned on my mission and for the way my nature has changed. I feel like such a better human being now than I did before I came out. I am excited to always serve selflessly and to be an instrument in the Lord's hands for eternity. During the conference Sister Smith and I both had to give two one minute lessons without prep time. It was kind of fun and President Jenkins thanked us after the meeting for our good comments. He also said that he will possibly consider keeping us together for another transfer because we keep working on him! We still think it is a slim possibility though, so pray for us! The best part of the day was when President Jenkins turned the meeting over to Sister Jenkins and introduced her as Hermana Guapa, which translated is Sister Hottie or Sister Babe. They're so cute!

Saturday was a day of moving! We helped two families move and it was crazy! 

There were other great experiences, but I'm out of time! As always, excuse the typos and general lack of awesomeness that comes with penning something in a brief period of time.


Sister Poppe

Cat wrapping paper. I still stand by my statement that cats in real
life are awful, but cats on things and in YouTube videos are hilarious.
And with this package, birthday month is officially over. Until next year,
birthday month. Get ready, because next birthday month will be huge.
I will be celebrating a quarter of a century of life after all.

We have a problem.
Dos de Mayo lunch celebration...
because we won't have time on Cinco de Mayo

 Bike swagger
Just doing missionary work on a bike.

Funny story! We had a mission fireside last night for nonmembers and Sister Smith and I were asked to sing in a small group of sisters. They have these monthly and I've sang at a few. They have recent converts share their stories and have a few musical numbers and then the mission president speaks and sometimes Sister Jenkins does. They're intended for nonmembers and they're great! We had two investigators come and after the program we were talking with them as the chapel cleared out. We found ourselves as the last people there other than President and Sister Jenkins and a counselor in the mission presidency. They were talking with us and then it became 10 minutes to 9:00 and we started leaving because of our curfew. As we were leaving President Jenkins said he would walk us out. When we got out front our car was on the opposite side of the parking lot (it wasn't a huge parking lot, but decent sized) so he told us to get in the car and he and Sister Jenkins would give us a ride to our car. We protested, I said, "President, this is why sisters gain 30 pounds in Mesa," and he just laughed and made us get in his car. We ended up talking to Sister Jenkins for 10 minutes while he talked outside the car and it was fun. This was made all the better because at zone conference a few days before as they shook our hands President pulled Sister Smith in and said, "How is one of my favorite missionaries doing," a few minutes later as I shook their hands Sister Jenkins pulled me in and whispered, "You are my favorite person, Sister Poppe." Neither of us heard this but as we told each other later we thought it was funny that neither of them are supposed to have favorites and somehow their two favorites ended up in the same companionship. So as we sat in the back of their car we felt like their children. But it also kind of felt like we were in the back of a cop car. He drove us to our car and thanked us for all that we do for the mission and then awkwardly waited until we started our car and drove off. The best part is that we took this picture, which we have entitled, "Backseat with Mom and Dad," without them even knowing.

No caption provided, but aren't they cute?

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Best Worst Birthday Week Ever


Being that it was birthday week, I'm going to give you a day by day account of what happened!

Monday: We had a get together with other missionaries in our zone and had lunch, slacklined, and played ultimate frisbee to celebrate my birthday. It was fun! One of the recent converts in FG received the priesthood that night and he had the most touching reaction. He was so grateful and felt very blessed to have such an honor bestowed upon him. I don't think enough people react to receiving the priesthood in as reverent of a manner as he did. I think it is taken for granted by people who know they will receive it when they are 12. He went on to pass the sacrament yesterday and it was so cute! He's an adult, but it was still cute. He is from Africa and his wife is as well. They are a lovely family.

We had a zone picnic last Pday for my birthday and one of the 
elders brought his slackline. I refused to try initially because I'm 
about as graceful as a Hagrid on a unicycle, but every one insisted 
and I gave in. I did say that someone had to hold my hand though 
so that if I fell I would only break something instead of die. I did 
end up falling right after the second picture was shot and I grabbed 
Elder Parrella's hand to save my body from any harm. He isn't awkward, 
so it wasn't awkward which I was grateful for.

Tuesday: We had district meeting and promptly after our meeting Sister Smith was struck with the stomach flu. We spent the afternoon inside and I made cookies while she slept to give to investigators. We found a member to stay with her in the evening and a member to go out with me for our appointments. I made it until 8:00 until I started to feel sick as well. We had one appointment left with a LA lady that I really felt like we needed to see, so I didn't mention to the member that I was on the verge of emptying my stomach and we soldiered on. It was good that we did because the sister forgot about our appointment and said, "I don't know why you're here tonight other than the fact that you listened to the Spirit because I really was feeling lonely and down today. I needed a visit." After that appointment though I asked the member to just take me home because I was feeling ill. I got home shortly after 8:30 and by 8:50 I was in the bathroom over the toilet bowl. Sister Smith felt awful but had only thrown up once and just a little bit, so mid episode she flung open the bathroom door and said, "I AM SO JEALOUS THAT YOU'RE ACTUALLY PUKING!" Between my moments of agony I laughed and she laughed and when I caught my breath and could stand up again I pointed out how abnormal it is to interrupt someone while they're losing it in the toilet. We spent the rest of the night alternating trips to the bathroom. Luckily neither one of us needed the facility at the same time. Finally at about 4:00 am I was done and could sleep. Due to my sickness and  absentmindedness I didn't get the cookies put away though and had to just throw them out. Which I had already decided would be a good idea since I made them just hours before the flu hit me so they were probably full of germs anyway.
Sick day #1

 Sick day #2...progressively more pathetic as each hour passed.

Wednesday (Birthday Eve): We woke up at about 9:45 and still felt awful. We called the mission nurse and she said if it had been 6 hours since our last episode then we could go out if we felt good. We didn't feel good, but we had a stake meeting at 10:15, so we showered and went all ugly like to our  meeting. We felt horrible and I'm pretty sure I still had a fever, so after we endured the meeting we decided to go home. We texted the nurse and she chastised us and said we should have just stayed in all day anyway and shouldn't have gone to our meeting. I took a four hour nap and then we watched Legacy--a cheesy pioneer film, Elder Ballard's talk from Priesthood Session in preparation for zone conference this week, and Finding Faith in Christ. We then spent literally at least three more hours just sitting on our couch in the dark laughing and talking. Our roommates got home at 9:15 to us giggling on the couch with all the lights off and were super confused. We explained that the lights hurt our eyes and we were too lazy anyway to get up when the sun went down to turn the lights on. It was a bonding day for Sister Smith and I. Though it was truly the worst Birthday Eve of my life, it was somehow still one of the best at the same time. If I had to have the flu with any other missionary, it would be Sister Smith. We quoted the Parks and Rec episode that everyone gets the flu in to each other all day and just had as much fun as you can when you literally feel like you're dying. It was the first time since I was very young that my stomach hurt bad enough that I actually wished someone was around to comfort me. Even when I was a child I was usually fine by myself when I was sick, but I just wanted someone to scratch my back and love me because I felt pathetic and awful. The members and our zone leader were so kind to us though. We had many Gatorade's dropped off and Saltine's and some Jamba Juice...because it was the only thing that even resembled food that we thought we could stomach. We nursed our smoothies all day and nibbled on Saltine's.

Thursday (MY DAY OF BIRTH! MAKE MERRY EVERY ONE!): We still didn't feel great, but we put on our happy faces and went to the temple! How lucky for me that our temple trip for the transfer was scheduled on my actual birthday! Jamba Juice was having a special that day where four of their flavors were absolutely free before 11 am so we stopped there and then went to Pete's Fish and Chips as a zone. BAD IDEA! It was the worst "first solids in 48 hours" we could have eaten. I felt so sick after that and wanted to die. We had a lesson after that with our investigator that is getting baptized in two weeks and then went to Basha's with some ward missionaries (see picture for the story there). We had a lesson with the 8 year old and it was cute. He got up during the middle of the lesson out of nowhere and walked out of the room to ask his mom if he could be baptized. It was literally out of nowhere! She consented though on Sunday and we are setting a date this week! We're thinking May 16th! We had a fun dinner with some members that night and then at 9:00 we got a text from the senior couple missionaries who live in our apartment complex inviting us over for cupcakes. They're so sweet!
 For every one who isn't my mom....an explanation is necessary. My cousin Brittany and I have this ongoing joke that she needs to paint a picture of me on the cakes at Costco (because she works in the bakery) because they would always sell out because every one wants a picture of me on their cake. So my mother coordinated through some members in my area to get a picture of me on a cake in Bashas' on my birthday.  Oh my gosh. I lost it. I was so shocked and embarrassed when I saw this cake with me on it with this picture from a photo shoot Brianna and I did. They were ridiculous pictures not meant for normal human viewing! We kind of threw a wrench in our WML's plans because he was out of town so he coordinated with a ward missionary to get me to Basha's and it was supposed to happen in the evening but we called and asked if they could come with us to a lesson in the afternoon instead of the evening. So they agreed and they asked if we would go to Basha's with them for a treat after even though I really didn't want to because I still was feeling flu-y. But I just felt like we should say yes. So we did and we went to the lesson and we went to Basha's and they said I could pick anything I wanted so I was looking at everything and all the sudden there was this freaking cake with me on it! I actually screamed out loud because it freaked me out! It was terrifying/embarrassing/flattering? I looked like such a diva on that cake! It was hilarious though.

Friday: Sister Smith's high school bestie goes to ASU. President found out and actually gave her permission to give her friend a lesson at the VC. We met her for lunch and then gave her a tour of the VC. We didn't think she would be ready for a real lesson, but she asked some amazing questions that proved that she was ready for the Restoration lesson. After our Christ tour we sat her down and gave her an in-depth Restoration lesson. It was amazing! You could tell that members had always been such a good example to her and that member missionary work is so important! She said we were eloquent and that we presented the information so simply that we answered so many questions she's had for a long time. She agreed to take lessons from missionaries in Tempe and to read the Book of Mormon! The events were also a huge reminder that as missionaries we are just ugly. Sister Smith and I left our afternoon with her being like, "man, our hair is awful. Our skin is so not clear and our outfits are hideous. Why are real human beings so much more beautiful than us." We decided we had to love ourselves more though and we're just not going to focus on how truly awful we look each day and focus on how our appearance is an indicator of how hard we've worked for the past 11 and 15 months. Seriously though. When I get off the plane in a few months you're all going to cringe a little...but it is the mark of giving of yourself for a year and a half I guess! I wouldn't have it any other way! Also, the senior sister secretary in the office asked me for my flight information on Friday. They'll be buying my ticket home soon I guess, so that's crazy! I still have 3.5 months left people, you can't be getting my mind focused on home yet! She knows that I need to go to the MSP airport though and will be getting that squared away shortly.
 Sister Smith's bestie, Sister Smith, and me.

Saturday: By Saturday we were running drastically low on miles for the month and we couldn't get any more. Any other time I've run low I've been able to sweet talk myself 100 more, but it didn't happen this time. I guess the mission went over their allotment last year and SLC came down on them hardcore for doing so, so this year they're being less lenient. Because of this we spent a lot of time walking, which was actually kind of fun. I love walking. Sister Smith had a sealing to go to for someone in her first area, so I spent the afternoon with another sister. It was nice to serve in the real ghetto--or as we like to call it, Mesaco, because it's Mesa's own little Mexico. I probably will never serve anywhere remotely low income so it was a taste of something different. We stopped by a potential investigator that we took to the VC last week and she let us in and we had a good talk with her. We're actually taking her to the VC again tonight and we're excited! She still is only interested for purely historical reasons, but that can change! We ended the night with a trip to Starbucks. We went through the drive thru so we would hopefully not be pegged as missionaries (avoiding the appearance of evil, ya know), but the girl knew right away. We had a good talk with her at the window though, so it was a missionary opportunity. You have to try the Frappe's without any coffee! They're delicious. Unfortunately, they're really delicious.
 We ended birthday week with Frappe's without the chino and a hipster selfie.

 Bestie Companions 4 lyfe.

Sunday: We did more walking on Sunday and got rides from people to supplement. It was kind of great! In ward council (which was just the Bishopric, WML, and us...I guess the third Sunday it is different in this ward) they wanted a full birthday week report before we gave our missionary report. They're so kind and loving! They died laughing at our report of our illness and at the Bashas' cake story and thanked us for the laugh...we realized later that they were basically laughing at us and not with us at our pathetic-ness when we were sick. Later that day we stopped by a member of the bishopric's house to look at his bikes (we're going to start biking to save miles and to increase our opportunities to talk to people!) and he said that there were a lot of comments yesterday about how well Sister Smith and I work together. He said that he told people that we already suspected we'd be separated because we are so good together and that people need to start talking about how awful we are so word gets back to the mission president and we're kept together. The bikes worked out and just need to have some tune up things done before they get them to us. Mine has a bay baby carrier on it, naturally. It would only happen to me. I can pull it off though! Plus I can strap my purse in it! Pictures will be sent next week! So we just have to buy biking shorts today and bike lights and helmets and we'll be good to go! Hopefully this leads to my legs being less white too.

That's a wrap! This week will always be known as "The Best Worst Birthday Week Ever". Because it was the worst. But the best of the worst. Sister Smith made it great!


Sister Poppe
My lovely companion placed these sticky notes on my package in a 
moment of weakness when I wanted to open it before my birthday. 
I'm proud to say that I didn't open it until 6:00 am on my actual birthday. 

 Sister Smith decorated the living room wall. Happy 24th to me!

Our dinner appointment decorated their kitchen the night of my birthday. 
They're one of my favorite families!

Birthday temple trip. 
No, I didn't get any special birthday revelations. 
I still don't know when we should head to Missouri.

Post ZTM zone pic! I'm not sure why I look so blonde.

The conversation with KJ continues...it isn't looking good.
I fear that Sister Smith and I are halfway finished with our time together.

This is a note I forgot to send after my first week in the area. 
It was so funny and reminded me of dad.