Week 39 – 9 Months? Crazy!

Well, I am staying in Oakdale this transfer! I am still with Elder Powell and we are both super excited to spend another transfer here! The other two Elders in the Oakdale 3rd Ward are both staying too! We are super happy. It is going to be another great transfer.

We just got a referral from a member who lives in Washington. We contacted the referral and were able to share a message with her. She is going through a hard time with her family and she was so happy to see us. We invited her to church this week and she showed up right before the meeting started! She loved it and met a lot of new friends! Right before she left to go home she told us she would be back next week since she loved it so much. She seems pretty promising! Her name is Jasmine. She is super awesome! We still have the Tangles on date to be baptized on November 3rd so we will be here to see them get baptized! All of our investigators are doing good but the Tangles are the most promising. We have dinner tonight with a family in our ward that has four non-members living with them!

We have an investigator named Ceaser who we can only meet with about once every three or four weeks because he works so much. When he is free he loves to talk with us! We talked about prayer and about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. The lesson went really well. We talked about how we need to pray all the time and not only once every two or three days. I made an analogy that I had heard. It is just like how a father wants to talk with his children and ask how their day went. God is the same way. He wants to hear from us each and every day. It is important that we always talk with him and always go to him for everything. It was also super cool because we talked to him about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. It was awesome because he took Sunday off the week before to watch General Conference with his friend and he got a lot more work at his shop and he was a lot happier. We were able to explain to him about how important it is. He is going to take the next Sunday off again!

We were only able to do one service project this week. We helped members in the 3rd Ward, Belinda and Wayne, cut down some of their almond trees that were dead and some branches that had fallen off when they shook the trees. It is really fun doing service and I am glad that my father taught me about service. Service is really awesome! We also helped at Community Sharing, just like we do each and every Tuesday.

This week all of the Elders in our district got airsoft guns! We are super excited and have already had a war last week and are having one today in a member’s orchard! There are a few pictures below so hopefully no one gets mad that this is a short email today! We go out into a member’s almond orchard and have fun!

The scripture for the week is Isaiah 41:10. I love this scripture. God will never leave us or let us be alone. It always makes me feel good whenever I read this. Sometimes we feel alone in life but we are never alone. Always turn to Heavenly Father in times of need. He will never let us go. He loves us and cares for us more than we can imagine. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful day today!

Elder Pope

We had the Sisters take a picture of us before we left to go have our airsoft war! Best preparation day!
I decided to grow a beard while on my mission. Just kidding. It is fake. I know I had you all but don’t worry, I didn’t.

Week 38 – Living the High Life

What up everybody? Life is going great in the mission field! Just teaching the gospel to everybody like no big deal. I can’t believe it is already October – like where has the time gone? Time is flying by way too fast!

This week was a fun week. It was especially fun to watch General Conference and hear from the leaders of the church. It is always so wonderful to be able to hear from them every six months. The talks were so wonderful to listen to and I know we can grow from following their teachings. One of my favorite talks was Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita’s. He shared about the Elder who went to Japan and how his prosthetic leg kept breaking on his bike. The Elder was so ambitious and wanted to keep pushing even though he was having problems. He had to go to a different mission where he didn’t have to bike, but I loved how diligent and ambitious he was to keep working as hard as he possibly could. It really made me pause and check to make sure that I am being as diligent and ambitious as I should be. We need to regularly check ourselves and make sure that we are always staying ambitious and faithful to the Lord.

We have to push the Tangles baptismal date back to November 3rd. They both have to work everyday this month, but they will be getting that day off so we are hoping and praying that this date will stay. They are doing really well. We were able to eat dinner with them this week and share a message with them.

We were able to do service Tuesday through Friday this week. Tuesday and Wednesday we helped a less active member rebuild a gate, then we painted it for him. They are selling their house and they were really grateful for our help. On Thursday we helped a less active member cut down weeds all around her yard. It was really fun to help and share a message with her and her family. On Friday we helped Wayne and Belinda, who are super awesome members, rake some of their walnuts out from the fence. We love doing service for them because they always feed us and it is always the best food.

For Conference we went over to Horacio’s home for the first session. Horacio, one of our members, fed us breakfast before it started. We ate menudo, which is cow stomach, and it was pretty good. It is always fun to try new things. For the second session on Saturday we went to the church and watched it with the other missionaries. For the Sunday morning session we went to the Stocker’s. They fed us french toast and sausage then we watched it together. For the Sunday afternoon session we went to the Eckstein’s. They have three non-members living with them so we thought it was a great idea, and it was. We have a return appointment to come back and teach them! They fed us lunch too.

My scripture for the week is 3 Nephi 11:14. I really enjoy this scripture because Jesus is wanting the people to come and feel his wounds. The word “thrust” really stands out to me because that means Jesus wants everyone to know He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He died for us and lived again so we can live again as well. We can all come unto Jesus just like the Nephites did. I love my Savior so much! Always strive and do as the Savior would. You will be blessed because of it! Have a wonderful week! Love you all tons!

Elder Pope

We had a big nerf war last preparation day. Elder Simms and I were on a team and the other two were on the other team. We beat them every game. It was pretty fun!
Two other Elders from the zone, Elder Thomson and Elder Feltman. They are both super awesome!
Sitting on the fork lift, with Horacio, looking cool. It is too bad that missionaries can’t drive fork lifts because I really wanted to.
The crew doing work at Wayne and Belinda’s house. The only place where money grows on trees. I know what I am going to get when I get home!

Week 37 – Missionaries “R” Us

This week was a pretty fun week, like always! This whole mission thing is pretty awesome! It is so great to be able to serve people and to get to know people the way that I have been able to! A mission is for teaching people but it is also such a wonderful time to get to know people and make everlasting friends.

This week we spent three days digging a trench for a less active member. It was super fun but super tiring. The ground was super hard so we used pickaxes the whole time. You couldn’t shovel it because it was too hard. It was also super fun because another missionary and I were able to go under the house and dig from the inside out. They were putting in an electricity cable so the trench had to be at least two feet deep. Great times with great people. They were so happy that we served them that they gave us another full cooler of meat!

Another really awesome service project was after a meeting we had in Modesto. We went to Costco to get gas and the car next to us at the gas pumps, driven by a younger lady, wouldn’t start. She was getting really frustrated so we jumped out to see if we could help her. She asked if we could push her car into the parking lot and she would call her husband to come check out her car. I asked her if we could take a look. Right as we were looking at her car another lady pulled up and said, “Hi Elders!” We asked that woman if she had jumper cables and she did! We were able to jump the car and get it started. We gave the lady a picture of Jesus Christ and she was so happy that we were able to help her! Service opportunities are great!

We were able to teach a few lessons this week that went really well. The Tangles are still on date to be baptized on October 6th as long as she isn’t working. She finds out if she is working then or not tomorrow, so hopefully she isn’t working. We were able to teach them a few times this week and it was great. We taught Sister Nydahl last night. We went in planning on teaching the restoration but we ended up teaching her about the iron rod. The spirit was super strong and she was really involved, which was great. She wants to read the Book of Mormon all the way through before she gets baptized.

I am so grateful for this time that I have to share the gospel with the people that are in need and also do service for people. I love being here in the California Modesto Mission. It is the best mission in the entire world (Sorry dad and everyone else who didn’t serve here but it is!). I know this is where the Lord wants me. We were talking with an investigator this week and it was so great when she said, “I am so happy you are both on missions.” She then proceeded to say, “I hope that we can stay in contact forever!” She likes us to call her “Nana” now because that is what her grandkids call her and she said we are like her grandkids now. It is super awesome. I have been able to meet such wonderful people here and I will never regret coming on a mission.

I am not going to do a scripture of the week this week. Instead, I am going to do a Mormon Message of the week. We love to share the Mormon Message, “I’ll go where you want me to go.” We love to share it with the families that we have dinner with each night. It is such a great message that really helps members. Watch the video and think of ways that you can do missionary work. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week and always do what is right.

Elder Pope

On our way to service being awesome. It was super funny to see the looks that we got while driving. We look pretty boss.
Digging a trench for our friends! They are the ones who gave us the meat! Super awesome.
Our freezer full of meat. We have some T-bones, bacon, ribs, sirloins, ground beef, elk steaks, and some antelope jerky.

Week 36 – Follow The Promptings

This week was a fantastic week! Elder Powell and I committed the Tangle family (mother and son) to be baptized this week and they said YES!!! They are going to be baptized on October 6th! We are super excited for them! We knew that if worked with all of our 45 part-member families that at least one family would be ready to hear the gospel and be baptized!

We decided that every week we are going to hold basketball and invite our investigators and others who want to play. On Saturday we had a few people show up but we are hoping for a bigger turn out this next Saturday. Yesterday we were biking passed a park and saw these two guys playing basketball. We stopped and talked with them. We ended up playing basketball and invited them to basketball on Saturday! We are hoping that they will show up and we can teach them more about the gospel and Jesus Christ.

This week we had a zone conference with half of our mission. We talked about following the promptings of the spirit and what we can do to feel the spirit more often in our lives. I learned so much! Since I have been on my mission, I have felt the spirit so strong in my life. I have felt it tell me when something is good and when I should stay away from a certain experience. I know that if we will live worthily and always act as Christ would, then we will feel the promptings of the spirit more fully in our lives.

This week we only did one service project. It was super crazy because we usually do more, but we have a few signed up for this next week so we are excited for them. Something that is pretty cool right now is the harvest for the almonds. I never knew how they got the almonds off of the tree. We were on our way to do service and saw this thing with a big arm. It is called a “shaker.” Shakers go up to a tree and shake it for like 15 seconds. It was super interesting to watch. I have always heard that money doesn’t grow on trees. Well, I am here to tell you all that you are wrong. Almonds grow on trees and they are worth a lot of money! So therefore money grows on trees!

The scripture for this week is Mosiah 3:19. I really love this scripture because it talks about the natural man and how we need to put it off. We need to allow the spirit to come into our lives and if we are being the natural man then it won’t be with you. We need to always act as Jesus did and not how the natural man acts. I am so happy I made the decision to serve a mission. I am so grateful for all of the blessings that come from it. I know that this is where Heavenly Father wants me to be in my life right now! Sharing the gospel is the best!

Elder Pope

Eating dinner with Brother Jones after we did service for him. He is an awesome guy!
Basketball on Saturday morning!
Elder Simms and I hanging out today!

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!

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!
The crew helping Sister Akers move.
Going back the second day to help her move into her new house!
Today we went to the driving range and it was super fun!

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!

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!
We went and did service for Community Sharing again! Doing service is so awesome!
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.
Elder Simms and I tied Elder Powell and Elder Owens together! It was super funny! Cowboy Elder Pope is coming along!
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.
Picture taken at district meeting! Our district is super awesome!
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!

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!

Elder Pope

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