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.