Week 35 – Members Are Always Important

Well, this week was a super awesome week! We were super busy the entire week. We did five service projects and we were able to see all of our investigators!

This week we had the opportunity to do some service for some members! It is super crazy because it feels like the beginning of most days we are doing service for someone. On Tuesday we did service at Community Sharing, like usual. On Thursday we helped stack a moving truck. On Friday we emptied the moving truck and helped a lady mow her lawn and pull her weeds. On Saturday we finished moving Sister Akers into her new house, helped shovel some dirt for a less active member, and mowed an almond orchard. So our week was full of service!

We were able to teach our investigator, Pat. She really loves this gospel but wants to read the Book of Mormon all the way through before she gets baptized. She is in the middle of Alma right now so we are going to go over to her house three times a week and read with her to keep her going and motivated. Please pray that she will read the Book of Mormon. She is ready to be baptized! We were also able to teach the Tangle family. The son really wants to be baptized but the mom doesn’t right now. The son wants to get baptized with the mom so it is kind of hard. I guess it will happen at the right time!

This week we had an awesome zone training! It was on finding people. Elder Powell and I were able to give a training on “talking with everybody.” It is very important that we always talk with everybody. Regardless of whether or not they accept the gospel, you can always leave a touch point with them. I love talking with everyone! Since I came on my mission, I have really loved talking with lots of different people here! One thing that also stood out to me from the training was “the importance of members.” Without members, missionary work for missionaries is really hard. It is really important that the members help the missionaries in any way that they can. Don’t ever be afraid to share the gospel with your friends. I have seen way too many people here who won’t tell their friends that they are members. They don’t want to ruin their relationships with others. If it ruins your relationship then they are not true friends.

The scripture for this week is Isaiah 41:10. I really love this scripture. As I was reading this week I came across this scripture and I feel like everybody needs to know this. Everything happens for a reason and in those times that we are down, always remember that Jesus will always be with us. Jesus is always there helping us through our times of need. He loves each and every one of us. Jesus is our savior and redeemer. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and all that he has done for me and will do for me. I sure hope that all of you are well! I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Pope

Me in my natural habitat. Just kidding! I got to smash boxes so they told me to climb in and jump around. It was pretty awesome. I even did a flip into the trash can off of the top!
sam_1098
The crew helping Sister Akers move.
sam_1102
Going back the second day to help her move into her new house!
sam_1105
Today we went to the driving range and it was super fun!
sam_1110
sam_1112

Week 34 – Families Can be Together Forever

What is up family and friends? I know I say this every week but I can’t believe another week has gone by! Like holy crap, everything out here goes by way too fast. You feel like you just woke up and then you are getting ready for bed. I guess when you are super busy time flies.

This week we ran into some anti-Mormons. It was really interesting. All we could do was testify. The sad part is that their family used to be Mormon. They had a son on a mission and the family found some anti-Mormon material and left the church. The dad went and picked up his son from his mission and brought him home. It is so sad to see that happen to a family. The one thing that people can’t take from us is our testimony. People can take everything from us except our testimony. If we keep our testimony strong then we can never be shaken!

We were able to visit a lot of less active members this week. We were able to commit a few of them to come to church. A few showed up and a few didn’t. We have been working with a few of the part member families. We have a meeting set up to meet with a family tonight. The son just turned 12 and we are hoping to get him and his mom on date for baptism tonight! Please pray for them. Their name is the Tangles. They are a family who is ready to be baptized. We were supposed to meet with them twice last week but things came up and they had to cancel the appointments.

We helped a less active man this week. We made some fresh chile verde and some mole. It was super awesome to help and to be able to take some home! The chile verde is super good on eggs and anything! I am going to be great at making salsa when I get back home!

The scripture for this week is Alma 7:11-13. This is one of my favorite scriptures to share about the Atonement whenever we talk about it. The Atonement is one of my favorite things to share with people. Everybody needs to hear about it! The Atonement is real and we all need to use it in our lives! I know that if it weren’t for the Atonement then we would have no reason to be on this earth. Because of the Atonement we are able to be cleansed from sin. And, because of the Atonement we are able to be resurrected again just as Jesus was!

Love,
Elder Pope

We went and visited a less active woman. I saw her electric chair and told her I have always wanted to ride one of those. She got super happy and told me to go and drive it around in the parking lot! It was super awesome but super funny at the same time! Elder Powell told me we should get those and proselytize in them. It was fun and all but I would hate to sit in one of those all day!
sam_1043
We went and did service for Community Sharing again! Doing service is so awesome!
sam_1047
The other missionaries came over for lunch. Elder Powell and I got a free rope from a member “because it is Cowboy Capital of the World.” She wanted us to always remember here. We roped Elder Owens and hog tied him. Just so you know, I am going to be on a roping team when I come home.
sam_1050
Elder Simms and I tied Elder Powell and Elder Owens together! It was super funny! Cowboy Elder Pope is coming along!
sam_1055
This is some more service that we were able to do. We went and brushed some horses and helped them move hay! I have never been the biggest fan of horses but they are super awesome! I really like horses now.
sam_1077
Picture taken at district meeting! Our district is super awesome!
sam_1078
I hope you all have fun partying with the Hylands while we play a super fun game! It is called “Pirates” and it is super awesome!
sam_1097

Week 33 – 6 More Weeks in Oakdale!

Well, Elder Powell and I are together for another six weeks here in the Oakdale 1st Ward! I know that we are supposed to be together for another six weeks and I am supposed to finish training him!

I can’t believe that another week has gone by here in the mission field. Like I said last week, weeks go by and it seems like it has been a day. I also can’t believe that this week is the beginning of September! I love doing the Lord’s work and I am grateful to have this opportunity, as well as a lot of others, to share the gospel with the lost sheep.

This week we were able to do service projects for some wonderful people. The first service project that we did this week was helping an elderly couple cut down a tree. It was such a wonderful service project and they were so happy for our help. The second service project that we did was helping a less active member of the Oakdale 3rd Ward pull out a fence. We helped him pull it out and we even got lunch out of it. He took us to a place called Hulas. It is a awesome hamburger place that has super good shakes. The third service project that we did was helping one of our less active members clean out her house because she is moving on September 8th. I love doing service and helping out all of the people in need. Charity is a Christlike attribute and it is one of my favorites! Charity and love are ways that we can become like Christ.

We were able to teach a few lessons this week. One of our progressing investigators just dropped us, which is a bummer. She said she isn’t ready to make the necessary changes in her life, which is really sad. It was a good touch point though. It is crazy to think how fast things can turn on a dime. We are still working with a few other people and we are hoping to keep them progressing towards baptism. It is so wonderful to see people come unto the waters of baptism and see them make that covenant with our Heavenly Father.

This week’s scripture is Isaiah 2:2. It says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” I really love this scripture. It means that the “mountain of the Lord,” also known as the temple, will be established in the “top of the mountains,” or in other words – Utah. I really love this scripture and how it prophesies of the Salt Lake temple. It is amazing to think that the Salt Lake temple took forty years to build by hand! I know that this church is true. This scripture was Isaiah prophesying of the Salt Lake temple! I love you all so much and am grateful for all of the support you give me! Have a wonderful week and share the gospel with everyone! Everyone needs to know about it!

Love,
Elder Pope

During district meeting we were having a little fun and made a throne. Our district is very awesome!
SAM_1028
This is our cool district!
SAM_1025
Our first service project this week. Helping the elderly cut down this tree!
SAM_1024
We are playing Scum for p-day and guess who is KING….I am! Preparation day is super fun!
SAM_1041

Week 32 – A Marvelous Work and A Wonder

What is up everybody? Well, another week has gone by on the mission. It is so crazy. Weeks out here seem like a day. They just fly past. I guess when you just lose yourself in the work it flies by. We have our good times and we have our bad times! It all works out the way it is supposed to!

This week I went on exchanges with our district leader, Elder Simms. It was a ton of fun! We were able to commit two of their investigators to be baptized, which was awesome. It was an all around super fun exchange! Elder Simms is a really awesome district leader.

This week we were able to teach our investigator, Pat. We were also able to have dinner at her house this week and it was really good! We taught her the Plan of Salvation and committed her to come to church yesterday. She wasn’t able to make it, which was pretty sad, but we are meeting with her tonight. We are going to teach her and get her on date for baptism. We are excited about her!

Yesterday we went and helped one of our recent converts. He has had some really serious problems in his family. We talked with him and helped calm him down. It made me really happy to know that I have a wonderful family. It went really well too because yesterday in Elders Quorum we talked about eternal marriages. Family is so important and I am grateful for my family. One thing that really stood out to me from the lesson is that each parent gives 100% and when one struggles the other one picks them up. You will always be 100% in your relationship if you do that. It taught me a lot for when I get married (which I am not planning on anytime soon, but for the future).

I love serving here and getting to meet all of the wonderful people. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He atoned for each and every one of our sins. He loosed the bands of death so we are able to be resurrected when he comes again! I know that Joseph Smith saw a vision of God and Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from ancient plates called the Golden Plates. I know that this is Jesus Christ’s church. He set it up and it was lost, then through Joseph Smith was restored!

The scripture for this week is James 2:26. It says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” We need to have good works on this earth. No one is perfect but thank goodness for Jesus Christ. Because of Him we are able to repent and be forgiven of our sins. Always do all that you can to do what is right. It will pay off in the long run! I love you all so much. I feel all of your prayers. My back is getting better which is a huge blessing! Keep up the good work and keep spreading the gospel. There are people out there who are waiting for YOU!

Love,
Elder Pope

SAM_1021
SAM_1017

Week 31 – “Which is, which was, and which is to come”

Well, this week was a wonderful week!

This week we were able to pick up a few new investigators. The schools all started this week so it was a pretty busy week for everyone around here! One of our new investigator’s name is Amisty. She is super cool and is a chef. She wants to have us over for dinner and she said she will come to church in two weeks. She wants to learn more, which is awesome!

We are still teaching our investigator Pat Nydahl. We were able to get her some fellowships this week and she wants to come to church. We are hoping to get her a baptismal date. She is a wonderful lady and we have dinner with her this week!

This week I ate SPAM for the first time! I am not going to lie, fried spam is actually not too bad. I have always wanted to eat it but never got around to it. It just worries me that it’s meat that comes in a can and isn’t refrigerated. Kinda creepy. We also ate cow heart again last night! Every time I eat it I love it even more! We are going to have to cook some when I get home because it is pretty bomb!

This week we were able to do a few service projects. The first service project that we did was helping Sister Akers move and walking through Brother Hilton’s yard to check out some of his old stuff. It was a ton of fun to check out the things in his yard. The second service project that we did was helping one of our members sand down his doors and his base boards. It was really awesome to help and they are in the process of painting them all now.

The scripture for this week is 1 John 4:20-21. It says, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” I really love these versus because it talks about how if we truly love God then we will love everyone. We are all brothers and sisters here on this earth. I love you all so much! I hope you all enjoy your week!

Love,
Elder Pope

On our way to do service in 105 degree weather. Super hot but super fun!
SAM_1004
One of his old motor homes that is in his yard!
SAM_1007
Sanding Brother Jones’ house!
SAM_1010

Week 30 – Sirviendo Al Senor Mi Amigos

This week was packed! We were able to teach quite a few lessons. Hope all is going well with everyone back at home!

We are currently teaching a few investigators. Sister Pat Nydahl is one of our investigators who is progressing. She is reading the Book of Mormon and we are hoping to get her to church. She was not able to make it this Sunday but hopefully this next Sunday she will be there!

Something cool happened this week. We were biking, out in the country, trying to find a house that was a referral for us. While we were biking, we found out we were in the one thousands and we needed to go to the six thousands. It would have been five miles more down the road, so we decided to turn around. While biking back, I went through a patch of goat’s head and it popped both of my tires. We were out in the middle of no where but a random guy was driving past and stopped to see if we needed help. We said we would love help. He ended up giving us a ride back to our apartment. We were able to teach him a lesson and give him a picture of Jesus Christ. I know that everything happens for a reason. Even though I had to buy two new tubes, it was totally worth it! I also found out that God has a pretty good sense of humor. We were joking that one of us was going to pop our tires, and sure enough I did.

There is a quote from Elder Holland that I really love. It says, “Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.” If we will keep doing what is right and follow the guidance of the prophet, we will not be led astray. I know that our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, is the true prophet who leads and guides us in these latter days. He is God’s mouth piece and will keep us on the strait and narrow path!

The scripture for this week is D&C 123:12-17. I really love these verses. There are people who are searching for the truth but know not where to find it. We need to bring the light into their lives and share it with them. I love the last verse. It says, “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” We need to be doing everything in our power to share this wonderful message with one another. There are people out there that are waiting for you to influence their lives for good. I am so grateful to be able to serve a mission. I know this is where I am supposed to be and there are people that need me here. There are people who need you!

I love you all so much! I appreciate all of the prayers that you say on my behalf and for all of the other missionaries. I feel each and every one of your prayers.

Love,
Elder Pope

Listening to my cousin Tanner Clegg’s welcome home. He killed it!
SAM_0998

Week 29 – Service Crew

What is up everybody? Hope y’all had a great week and will have a great one this week!

This week we were able to do tons of service. The first service project that we did was helping a member move 27,000 chickens into one of his barns. He has ten barns with 27,000 chickens in each barn. Talk about a lot of chickens. It was super fun to see how it all worked and to fill up one barn. They change out every six weeks and it was so fun to do it! The second service project that we did was helping an investigator tear out old carpet so she can put in hard wood floor. It was pretty gross but glad to be done with it! We did two service projects on Saturday, which was really great! The first was helping an investigator trim his front yard. We had eight missionaries and it took us three hours to trim his front yard. He then took us out to lunch, which was great! The second was helping a less active woman clean out her barn that was full of who knows what.

This week we had the opportunity to eat some amazing tacos! We ate lamb chop tacos, cow heart tacos, and carne asada tacos. They were super good! The food here is so good! A lot of the time we get fed steak!

This week we were able to teach just a few lessons. One of the lessons we taught was to Prince. He is a foster kid that is living here with a member family. They are planning on adopting him, so we really want him to be baptized. He is a great kid and is learning so much about the gospel. He said he wants to wait a little longer to be baptized because he isn’t quite sure about it yet. We are making sure that he is the one who wants to make the decision and not be pressured into it.

The scripture for this week is Doctrine & Covenants 46. I love this section because it talks about spiritual gifts. We all have spiritual gifts that we can develop and share with one another. I know that my companion and I are supposed to be together and share our different spiritual gifts with one another and with people we come in contact with.

Have a wonderful week and remember to share the gospel with every person you come in contact with. You never know who is prepared for the gospel! I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Pope

Eating cow heart and other good stuff!
SAM_0956
Ripping carpet out for our investigator!
SAM_0958
Doing service for the other Elders in our district’s investigator!
SAM_0971
A less active member is teaching us to lasso. You could call me a professional now! I am now officially a cowboy!
SAM_0963
All of the chickens in the barn we filled. All 27,000 of them.
SAM_0950
More at the chickens with the ten barns. It was only like 105 degrees outside. No big deal.
SAM_0951
This is a picture of Jesus that one of our investigators drew for me. It is all hand drawn and is super cool!
SAM_0978