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 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 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.