Week 85 – Knights Ferry

This week has been a great week! Elder Ramsay and I are still hanging in there. He has been sending things home because he goes home in two weeks! We are still just trying to find a bunch of people to teach. Tracting is a lot of fun because you get to meet so many different kinds of people. You just have to have fun with it and laugh a little!

So this week we found out that Jose, the 18 year old we met a while back, is on date to be baptized in the YSA ward now! That is so awesome. Jose is such a great person! Someone who knows nothing about God and sees people reading their scriptures at school so he gets interested in what they talk about. We met him about a month ago and he is almost done with reading the Book of Mormon, has read a bunch of the New Testament, and is just in love with the teachings of Jesus Christ. He truly is a miracle story. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings. I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have the gospel in my life or where I would be at. I think too many times in my life I have taken for granted that I do know what is true. I do know who Jesus Christ is and I do know that I can live with my Father in Heaven again. Too many people are dwelling in unbelief and that is what makes me what to serve. I have seen so many different blessings from the gospel of Jesus Christ and I want other people to see and feel those special blessings He has in store for them.

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants this week! I got to go with Elder Wray! It was so awesome to be back with my old companion and to find people in the YSA ward. It is great because I still get to see him every week. We were able to pick up some new potential investigators for them in the YSA ward and send some referrals out to other missionaries. It was just great to be with him again!

Elder Ramsay and I had a great lesson with one of our investigators, Robert. We were able to bring a member with us and talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It went really well. He is also studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and just really trying to figure out what is true. He is just trying to quench his thirst. Robert is a great guy! He is in his 60’s and retired so we can visit him anytime, which is great as a missionary. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He said he will make more of an effort to read from it because he hadn’t since the last time we had met with him.

We met a super awesome less active member this week who we are going to start working with! His name is Brother Brown. He has been less active for quite a while now and has gone through multiple sets of missionaries but you just never know when it is the right time. We can never give up! I just got word this week that a less active member in my last area is going back to church. I am not sure if you remember the people where I took pictures with their lizards but he is going back to church now! I love Brother Robbins and am so happy for him and his decision to come back to church. It truly is amazing!

The quote for this week is from President Thomas S. Monson. “So much in life depends on our attitude.” I absolutely love this quote. If we will just have a good attitude about things then we will have a good life. A good attitude will get you far in life if you just stay happy and keep pushing on, even when the times are tough. The best example of having a good attitude is our Savior, Jesus Christ. He had such a willing attitude about everything and was always selfless. One of the many things I have learned on my mission is that if we will look outward and not inward we will be happier. That is what helps us have a good attitude and keep a good attitude! I am so grateful for all of the prayers that are offered on my behalf. I feel them and am ever so grateful for them. Have a fantastic week!

Elder Pope

So Knights Ferry is a pretty awesome place! We did a bunch of rock climbing and a lot of rock jumping. We were just hoping and praying that we wouldn’t fall into the river! Thankfully, we didn’t fall into the river but we had a couple of close calls!
Picture of the assistants and I after our exchange!


Week 84 – Jesus Loves You!

This week went by super fast! It is so hard to think of what we did this week because it seems like just yesterday I wrote my last “long” email home and now I am doing it again!

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Jarvis again this week. His companion is a district leader so we go on exchanges with them twice during a transfer. One time they come to our area for the day and the other we go to their area because his companion is our district leader. Elder Jarvis goes home this transfer so this is the last time I will go on exchanges with him. While we were on exchanges we stopped by a potential investigators house. He was home and let us in. We talked with him for a while then had the opportunity to read 3 Nephi 11 with him. He is praying about it and going to read it, so we will see when we meet with him tomorrow!

So we had dinner with the Prasad family last Monday night. I am not sure if I have written about the Prasad’s yet but they are a super awesome family! Brother Prasad was raised in Fiji and moved to California about 14 years ago. He makes the best food! Getting to the point, we had the normal chicken and rice. It is kind of like curry but that is not what they call it so I am not going to call it that. He also made chicken gizzards, which actually weren’t half bad but he also made chicken liver…that one is a little more interesting. If you have never eaten chicken gizzards or liver, you should really try them. It is something that you wouldn’t expect. I love going to the Prasad’s house because we don’t use utensils either. We eat the food with just our hands and that is pretty cool!

This week we also visited with a part member family. I think most of you have seen the pictures of us helping them “weed” their garden because the member posted it on Facebook but I will put one of the pictures at the bottom of the email. The Locklear family is super awesome! We love getting to help them in any way that we can. The mom and daughter are members but the dad isn’t. But guess what? He came to church yesterday and is hopefully going to start coming more often! That is a great sign. The missionaries a little while back were super pushy with him so we are just growing our relationship back with them. He is into making things go fast or just fast cars, dirt bikes, etc. so we get along pretty well!

We had the opportunity this week to help a great family move all of their belongings back into their home after their house flooded about a month ago. When her house flooded it was the one year mark of her husband passing away. She had prayed that she would have a distraction so she would keep her mind off of him. Well, she got a distraction alright. It comes to show that you need to be careful what you pray for. She learned her lesson and I think I learned my lesson. God does answer our prayers. No matter who you are or what you are praying about He answers each and every one of our prayers. It also shows that God has a sense of humor! Be careful what you pray for. We also had a great lesson with their family this week. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and how amazing it is. It is truly amazing that we have the knowledge we do of the Plan of Salvation!

The scripture for today is D&C 88:63. It says, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.” This is such a wonderful scripture that couldn’t be said any better. If we will search out the scriptures we will come closer to Christ. If we will do things that help us come closer to Christ we will receive blessings and feel the Spirit stronger and stronger in our lives. I love the gospel and I love my Savior. Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Pope

Picking “Weeds”
Elder Miller and I deep in our thoughts while writing in our journals. Monday night was a party! It was pretty awesome staying up late talking about all of the good memories before the mission!
We went up to Sonora to give a baptismal interview so I decided to take some pictures.
We didn’t have a dinner appointment so we grilled some steaks and corn. Good stuff!

Week 83 – Zach Got Baptized!

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a great week this week! We had the opportunity to teach a non-member family this week. It went really well! We were able to sit down and talk with them about the Plan of Salvation. They were really receptive and it went great! They were not sure what their purpose is on earth and if there is an afterlife. The message we share is of hope. I love knowing that we do have a purpose here on earth and that we can live forever because of Jesus Christ. It is so amazing that we have this knowledge of the gospel and we have the opportunity to share it with all that are around!

Elder Ramsay and I had the opportunity to go up to Sonora this past Wednesday. I love going up to Sonora and getting lunch with the missionaries up there! We had lunch with Elder Miller, Elder Spencer, and Elder Jones. It was so fun to sit and talk with Elder Miller about our past times together! They are sleeping at our apartment tonight. It is going to be pretty wild tonight! We have a zone conference tomorrow morning and they are staying with us so they don’t have to leave super early.

So we were at dinner with a member this week and we asked him about his mission. He served in Florida. He asked me if I knew Marty Haws because I am from Alpine. Come to find out, he trained Marty Haws on his mission! It is such a small world! His name is Brother Horlacher. They are a super awesome family who is moving from Riverbank and looking at houses in Alpine! It was so awesome to talk with them about Alpine.

The quote for today is, “Remember, what you do, where you go, and what you see will shape who you become. What do you want to become?” – Gary E. Stevenson. I love this quote. It truly is amazing! What we do now, is what we will be. I love the gospel and I love Jesus Christ! He truly is amazing and I love serving Him! Have an awesome week!

Elder Pope

This is a cool cake that a member made for the ward party!
For all of you that remember Zach Meredith. I taught him for six months when I was in Oakdale. Well, he just got baptized! He is the one I got the prayer rock for. I guess he used it too! He put it in his truck and every time he turned a corner it would bang and remind him to pray. He is so awesome and I am so grateful for him!
Here is a picture of our district!

Week 82 – Be the Light

What’s up Fam? How is everyone doing? Hope you are all enjoying the last couple weeks of summer!

Things are going great out here in Modesto/Riverbank. I got a new companion this past week, Elder Ramsay. He is from Richmond, Kentucky! He is super funny. He really loves video games and guns so we met at guns. Sorry, I don’t do video games! He is a great worker and I am excited to be with him. This is his last transfer on his mission so that means in five weeks I will be getting a new companion! That is pretty exciting, I guess.

We didn’t do a whole lot of proselyting on Tuesday or Wednesday. We were busy driving around helping out missionaries! Did I tell you that Elder Gunner Miller is in our zone now!?! I will get to see him about once a week when we drive to Sonora to drop off packages or anything for them! That is pretty exciting! He is the district leader up in Sonora, which means that we will get to go on exchanges this transfer! I am super pumped for that!

I wanted to write a little bit about an experience we had this past week. We got a referral from church headquarters for a guy named Jose. We contacted Jose and set up a time to meet. He proceeded to tell us that he grew up atheist and his parents always told him there wasn’t a God. Just so we had a little background before we met. Well, we got to meet him! It was an amazing experience. We were able to teach him the basic principles of how God loves us and He sent His son, Jesus Christ, down here to perform the Atonement. He proceeded to ask us, “Then why, if there is a God, does He not speak to us?” We testified of the Holy Ghost but we also testified of prophets. It was an amazing experience to be able to talk about prophets and how we believe in a modern day prophet today who is God’s mouthpiece. We taught him a few other things and he was amazed. Oh yeah, did I mention that he is an 18 year old kid who wanted to know more about church and God because he saw some people reading the scriptures at school? There is so much that can come from this story. First off, I am so grateful that we do have modern prophets on the earth today! I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and is God’s mouthpiece on the earth today. Second, it is so important that we are great examples to all those around us. You just never know who is watching you. Because of a few kids in high school, Jose has decided to learn more about God and Jesus Christ. It was so amazing to see a kid that just got so much light in his life. He told us he know has hope. I love seeing that change when people see that there is actually hope in this life. There is so much to the story but the moral of the story is that God does love each and every one of us. He has a plan for us and wants us to return to live with Him again. We can find hope in that!

I love the daily quote today! It says, “As we follow Jesus Christ, His love motivates us to support each other on our mortal journey.” I love this quote. As we follow Jesus Christ and strive to become like Him we will help everyone around. This reminds me of missionary work. I am taking two years of my life to serve God. I want to live with all of my brothers and sisters after this life!

Elder Pope

So, we found a water leak in our apartment this week and told the complex. Come to find out, it has been leaking for a little while now. It was super gross!
This is my new companion, Elder Ramsay!
We visited Kevin! He is a funny guy!

Week 81 – Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

What’s up family and friends? So, I hate to break the news to you but it is that time again. Tomorrow is transfers…Elder Wray and I will not be companions again. Elder Wray is one of the new assistants and I get a new companion. My new companion is Elder Ramsay. I will get him tomorrow. I know just a little bit about him. He is from Kentucky and only has one transfer left on his mission. It will be a good time but I will definitely miss Elder Wray. It is a good thing that after the mission we only live 40 minutes away from each other. We will be hanging out all the time when we both get back! He is a fantastic missionary and I will miss him as my companion.

Well, I also wanted to wish my parents a Happy Anniversary! They just celebrated 29 years of being married! I sure do love my parents! I am so grateful for them and their great example to me. Someday I hope to be just like my parents and to raise my kids the way they raised me. They have both done so many wonderful things for me and well…I guess if it weren’t for them then I wouldn’t be here. Haha! They are both such wonderful people and if you haven’t been able to meet them then you should! I love them with all my heart and I know that families can be eternal!

So it has been pretty crazy! Every day this week was over 100 degrees. It is so hot outside! It is such a blessing. So many people around here just love giving us water. We have been doing a lot of finding lately so we can have people to teach! It has been going really well. We have been knocking doors and talking with as many people as possible. We have found a lot of success doing it. We have been able to pick up a bunch of new potential investigators and a lot of appointments for this week. It is going to be pretty interesting teaching with a new companion but it will be great!

Another crazy thing that happened this week was going on exchanges with Elder Jarvis. Elder Jarvis was my trainer. We were companions for the first 4 and 1/2 months of my mission in Turlock. It was pretty fun to be back with him again for the day. He’s still the same. We were able to teach a lesson to a referral we received from other missionaries. His name is Peter. We taught him the restoration and have a return appointment with him this week! We also have a few other appointments this week with potential investigators!

The quote for the day is from President Gordon B. Hinckley. He says, “Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great things and good things.” This quote really means a lot to me in my life. If we are worried that we aren’t going to do great things then we aren’t going to do great things. We need to believe that we will do great things. There is another quote that I heard while on my mission that really goes along well with that quote. “It doesn’t take any effort to be loser, to stay down there on a low level, but it calls on everything within you, you have to harness your will to save you.” I am not sure who this quote is from but I love it. We need to have confidence. Not be prideful but have confidence. I know that with God all things are possible! I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week this week!

Elder Pope

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures this week!

Week 80 – Draw Closer to the Lord

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? Things are going great out in Modesto! It has been pretty hot here. Most of the days are over 100 degrees.

So this week was a great week! We just picked up a new investigator. He is named after the Aztec rain God. We had a great lesson with him about the plan of salvation. He was really receptive and willing to learn more. We have a return appointment with him tonight and we are really excited about that! We committed him to read and pray to know if our message is true. We will find out tonight what he says!

For those of you who didn’t quite understand my last subject line, He>I is a symbol that comes from Hawaii. He is Christ. It is a Christian symbol. We had members show us it after they just got home from Hawaii. It makes me think of how amazing Jesus Christ is. He is truly greater than I. It is just something that I would invite all of you to think about as you go throughout your week –

We had President’s interviews this week! President and Sister Palmer are both amazing individuals! They are wonderful examples of Christlike love and are always willing to help. I am so glad that they are who they are. They have helped me through hard times and always encourage me to do better. It is so great to just sit down with them for a little while and get to know them a little bit better. Not sure if I said it earlier in my mission but President Palmer has a brother who lives in Alpine. I am not sure what his first name is but his last night is Palmer. I do know that much. Ha! President and Sister Palmer truly do love each and every one of their missionaries!

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants this past week as well. I went with Elder Baird. He is a great missionary from Idaho. We did a lot of biking in downtown Modesto! It was pretty crazy. I witnessed a man stealing some beer from a gas station. We were in downtown Modesto and a man, who I think was homeless, walked out and pulled a big beer can out of his pants. He walked right in front of me. Then I heard a guy screaming and running towards him out of the gas station. The guy threw the beer and ran off. It was pretty crazy! It was pretty cool to see though. Definitely not something you see everyday! Don’t worry, mom. I am okay.

Last preparation day we did a key quest activity. I don’t know if any of you have heard of it, but it is when people lock you in a room and you have to find clues on how to get the key so you can get out. We had 45 minutes to get out or we would lose. Well, we won with two minutes left! It was pretty fun! We had six missionaries there and one member. There are pictures below of us doing it!

The quote I want to share with all of you is today’s daily quote. It says, “Nothing draws you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ than a desire to change.” -Elder Joaquin E. Costa. This is such a fantastic quote. One thing that I have learned on my mission is that change is good. Every day we need to be changing and becoming better. I have noticed that when I have my heart turned to the Savior and am willing to change that there is a change that happens. It is when we are humble enough to allow change to happen. Too many times we are too prideful to change. We think we are good where we are at. We are never good where we are at. It is when we truly turn our hearts and minds to the Savior that change will happen. If we want to come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ, then we need to have a desire to change!

Elder Pope

Elder Wray and I made chicken and waffles for lunch yesterday! Good stuff right there!
​​Winners at key quest!
​​Exchanges with the assistants.

Week 79 – He>I

This week was a pretty awesome week! We had a meeting on Tuesday for all of the leaders in the mission. We talked about finding the whole time and how we need to find more people to teach. It was super awesome. Elder Wray and I have been working extra hard trying to find people. We have set a goal for two new investigators each week. We can’t teach anyone until we find them. In the Riverbank Ward we are able to find people just not find people with real intent.

Sunday was a super awesome day. We had our usual meetings and then church. Church was super awesome! We had two high councilmen come and talk with us. They both did great. We were in our MCM (Missionary Coordination Meeting) after church and received a call from missionaries outside of our zone. There was a member in their ward who got super sick really fast and had to have her gallbladder removed. It was super awesome because we hurried over to the hospital and gave her a blessing. Oh, they were also Spanish speaking so that was a little awesome! I am so grateful for the Priesthood power on the earth today! There are so many miracles that are happening all around us each and every day.

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Bowler this past week. He is a great missionary from Missoula, Montana. Something else that is pretty cool is that he played football with my cousin, Walker, in high school! It was fun to be with him and to share the gospel.

On Saturday we had a ward party! We had a softball game against another ward and then we had a BBQ! It was a lot of fun. We played in the softball game and it was a blast. We were hoping that some of our investigators would show up but none of them did. It was a bummer but we had some less active members show up which was great! Oh, we also had a member just get back from Utah. They hooked us up with a loaf of Grandma Sycamores bread! It was one of the best days. Fresh homemade strawberry jam and Grandma Sycamores bread – that is what I am talking about!

The scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 9:7. This is one of the first places that it actually says the word “Atonement.” I am so grateful for my Savior. I love talking about Him and teaching people about Him each and every day. We need to always be doing what is right and know that the end is salvation. It is what we do here and now that will cause us to either receive salvation or not. I love my Savior and am so grateful for His gospel on the earth today!

Elder Pope

A&W any size rootbeer floats for only $2. We took a kid in our ward out on a team up and promised him ice cream!
They see me rollin’, they hatin’…
When you get hooked up with the best bread ever!
The crew when we were on exchanges.