Week 78 – Happy (Late) Fourth of July!

Hey, hey, hey! How is everybody doing!?! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! I hope everyone had an awesome day celebrating our freedoms and knows how wonderful the country is that we live in! I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with a great missionary that day. His name is Elder Wade. He is super cool! For lunch that day we ate with Horacio! Do any of you remember Horacio from when I was in Oakdale? He moved to Modesto and wanted to have us over! After lunch we did a little proselyting and then had dinner. It was probably one of the best dinners I have ever had! The food was pretty good but there were a bunch of different families there that were so awesome! We played cornhole against everyone. Elder Wade and I were the reigning champs, I guess you could say! We had to be in at nine but we were at Elder Wade and Elder Jarvis’ apartment so we watched the fireworks from their balcony. They live on the third story and it was pretty great! It was funny because there were a lot of gunshots and a lot of fireworks going off. Modesto is a pretty interesting place! We had a great time on exchanges.

We had a zone conference on Wednesday that was really awesome! We just got a new five points of emphasis for our mission. The five are:

  • Increase unity through effective daily companion study and companion prayer
  • Plan daily to meet the specific needs of all those we teach
  • Prepare commitment-based lesson plans for every lesson
  • Extend commitments to everyone we teach and follow up
  • Have members help those we teach keep their commitments

These points are the basic points of missionary work. Our conference was all about extending commitments and following up. Elder Wray and I had the opportunity to give a training on preparing commitment-based lesson plans for every lesson. It was so awesome! It is so important that we leave people with commitments. If we don’t leave them with a commitment, then we aren’t asking them to repent and come closer to their Savior. It is when people act that they will grow.

I am not sure how many of you saw the picture of us weeding one of our part member family’s garden but it was awesome! We showed up with our team up and she was out in her garden weeding. We took off our shoes and socks and jumped right in. Man do I miss getting dirty. It was a lot of fun pulling weeds. I love giving spontaneous service! When we see people that need help with something, we need to think, “What would Jesus do?” I love that saying that I learned when I was young. What would Jesus do? Throughout Jesus Christ’s life and ministry he was always serving. Nothing was for himself. He was always looking outward and helping others. Too many times in our lives we are too “busy” to help someone with something so simple. It may mean the world to them and you may not even know it. It is when we do the “small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.”

All of our investigators are doing really well! We are still teaching the same ones. We are really trying to find more people to teach. We can’t teach until we find people to teach! I hope you all have a wonderful week! We are going to Oakdale to play some wiffle ball in the gym!

Love,
Elder Pope

Us helping a family in our ward weed their garden! It was pretty fun!
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We helped a member move a piano. Service is great!
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The homies! Elder Beus and Elder Wray. We’re out here ballin’ it up!
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Dirty…
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Week 77 – The Life

What is up everybody!?! How is everything going? Things are going fantastic here in the great Golden State!

This week seemed to fly by. It is so crazy to think that time is going by so fast! I know I say it a lot but the past year and a half has flown by. I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Owens! There is a picture of him below. It was a pretty good time with him. He is a funny person and will talk your ear off! We taught some great lessons to different individuals. We accidentally met a less active member named Cecil James. We also got a church headquarters referral for a lady named Mercedes. We taught her and him. It is amazing the places that God directs us. We are in an area for a reason. He will guide us and direct us to the people we need to see!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach the Gospel Principles class. I taught about, “The Gifts of the Spirit.” I love reading about all of the gifts that we can receive. It talks about some of the gifts in D&C 46. There are so many gifts that we can receive if we will open our hearts and live worthy enough to receive them. One of my favorite gifts to read about was the gift of tongues. It is so real and so amazing. Even though I am here in California speaking English, I have seen the gift of tongues help me in the work. When someone speaks to us in Spanish, it is amazing that we can usually understand them. Sometimes we know what to say back to them in Spanish and sometimes we don’t. It is just amazing!

Elder Wray and I got to go to Sonora this week and drop off packages! It is always a lot of fun to go to Sonora. We got to have a companion study with the Elders up there then come back. It is about an hour and a half drive up there! We aren’t too far from the Nevada border, which is super crazy! Sonora is up in the mountains and is a little tourist town.

The scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 4:16-35. We are having a zone conference this week and 2 Nephi 4 is part of the training. I just love this chapter but especially these verses. Sometimes we want to serve the Lord with all of our heart but feel weighed down by our weaknesses. We need to repent and move forward. Just keep pushing forward! I love this gospel and the things it teaches us! I know it is the one TRUE church on the earth today! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Pope

Elder Owens!
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The things you find in California…
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Week 76 – Sister Pope Comes Home?

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a pretty good week! It was my birthday so that was pretty fun! We partied it up with some members and had a ton of fun! It is so crazy to think that it is almost July! Time has gone by so fast here on the mission. Before you know it, I will be home! CRAZY!

I just wanted to give a shout out to some of my good friends, Elder Dallin Smuin and Elder Parker Freeman! Man, those two are super awesome! It is crazy to think that this is the last week on their mission, for both of them! I am so grateful for both of them and their great example to me! They are both going to do great things in this world!

Not a whole lot happened this week. It was over 100 degrees each day and it is supposed to be about 95 this whole week. It is so crazy when we come home at night and it is still 95 degrees outside! I feel like I am going to melt here but it’s all good! So many people are more receptive to let us into their homes and give us water when it is super hot outside. It is great for us! We love getting to meet new people and share the gospel with them! We were able to pick up a few new potential investigators this week! We were just knocking doors around some houses we had planned and they are super awesome people! We have a few appointments with them this week.

Well Jordi, our recent convert, has been doing really well. The Spanish Sisters just started teaching his family this last week. They were really standoffish with us but I guess when you throw Sisters their way they are receptive. I don’t know what it is but Sister missionaries can get into so many more houses then we can! The two Spanish Hermanas here are super awesome! One is actually from Alpine, UT. Her name is Hermana Law. Or, I guess her real name is Afton Law and the other one is Hermana Trejo. They are super awesome Hermanas! We are having dinner with Jordi’s family tomorrow night so we are excited to talk with them in the very little Spanish we do know.

It has been so crazy to think that I only have six months left on my mission! I have grown so much here! A mission has been one of the hardest things I have done and I am so grateful for trials. Sometimes I just want to give up but there are things that we have to go through so we can learn from them. There is a quote that I love which says, “Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep growing. Heaven will be cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.” -Elder Holland. There are times when God will cut us down so we can come back even stronger. We have a part member family that is really into gardening. We visited them yesterday and they were cutting back some of their plants. They were cutting the ones that didn’t have flowers. They kept the ones that did have flowers. It is so all of the nutrients will go to the ones that are about to flower instead of going to the ones that don’t need it. Sometimes God will cut us down in certain parts of our lives so we can become stronger! I have a testimony of this and know that God knows all. There are just some things that we won’t understand here on the earth. I love the scripture Jacob 4:8. It says, “Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” I love you and hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Pope

We took a picture after district meeting on Thursday. Elder Wade, Elder Wray, and I are the three who aren’t normal, as you can tell!
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The sunset was super cool this week! At this time of the night it was about 95 degrees.
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Elder Wray and I with our glow-in-the-dark ties. Thanks, Mom!
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This is Kevin. He took us for a short ride in his Kushman. Have any of you ever heard of one before? Kevin is super funny! He is one of our member’s brothers!
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Week 75 – Happy Late Father’s Day!

What is happening family and friends!?! This week was a pretty great week! Well, other than the fact that was above 100 degrees the last couple of days and it is supposed to get to 115 this week! Haha yeah, it was a hot one and it going to get worse. Elder Wray and I found out last night that we will both be staying here in the Riverbank Ward together. I love Elder Wray! It is such a good time to be with him and I am excited to spend another six weeks with him!

I want to wish my father a Happy Fathers Day! I am so grateful for him and all the wonderful things that he does for me and for my family! I am so grateful for his Priesthood leadership and being such a great example to me! Someday I hope to be just like my dad!

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Beus. It was so great to be with him again! We had a blast, like always, bringing back the good old days. We were able to help one of our members move out. She is moving to Turlock and we are super sad about it! Her name is Juliana and she is my homie! I hate getting to know people so well and then we get moved. In this case, it was just the opposite. She got moved. She is going back to my old stomping grounds in Turlock so that is okay!

We have been teaching a few part member families. It is going great. We are hoping that some great things will happen with them this transfer. We have an investigator named Yamil. His whole family are members but he isn’t one yet! YET, of course! He has been coming to church each week and playing basketball with us. He is great and has so much potential! We are also teaching a family called the Baileys. The dad and two kids aren’t members. We are teaching them and it is going great!

The scripture for this week is John 3:16-17. This is a pretty familiar scripture to a lot of people but I just feel like sharing it. I love this scripture and how it defines God’s love for us. He is a loving God who wants the best for each and every one of us! He is my Father in Heaven. Yesterday made me think of all the things that He has truly blessed me with. I am so grateful for the many blessings He gives! He is truly amazing!

Love,
Elder Pope

This is a picture of the Leadership Council we had when Elder Clayton was here visiting a few weeks back.
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Elder Beus and I mobbin’ around Riverbank. It was a great time!
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This is my homie Juliana. She is super awesome and has such a great testimony. She has a First Vision tattoo that is super awesome!
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So, I caught a baby duck! Too bad missionaries can’t have pets or else we would have kept it. It was a cute little guy!
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Elder Wray, Elder Wade, Elder Jarvis, and I. We ball out!
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Week 74 – Jordi’s Baptism

Well, this week was a fantastic week! Today Elder Wray and I drove up to Sonora to spend the day with the missionaries up there. Elder Beus is up there and a couple others that are also awesome!

Jordi was baptized this week and it was so amazing! Jordi is such an amazing young man who has such a strong desire to do great things. I love seeing someone come unto the waters of baptism! Elder Wray was able to baptize him and I had the opportunity to confirm him yesterday and to bestow upon him the Holy Ghost.

Elder Wray and I both had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday. Elder Wray gave his talk first on kindness. It was great! Then I was able to give my talk on strengthening families. It was super awesome! It was based off of a talk given by Elder Hales from the 1999 April General Conference. I absolutely loved reading it and talking about it! One thing that I really took away from the talk is that family time is the best! Just being together as families is what truly helps you grow closer. I love my family and am grateful for all the wonderful adventures we were able to go on…and will continue to go on when I get home, right!?! It was also super awesome because President and Sister Palmer both came to our Sacrament meeting. It was kinda scary but it was super awesome. They are so wonderful! They gave talks in the morning at a Stake Conference then rushed over to our ward so they could hear us talk. They are such wonderful people! Just so you all know, I have the best Mission President and wife ever! They are amazing!

We had the opportunity to have President’s interviews this week. Elder Wray and I got to stay there the whole time and help direct everyone with where they needed to go. It was pretty fun getting to see everyone in the zone!

We also went on exchanges with our District Leaders. I went with Elder Sirstins and he is awesome! We were able to visit a few people but did not teach any lessons. We had such a fun time with each other. That night we had a nerf war with Elder Holt and Elder Wray. We had such a great time getting to know them.

We also went to Big Trees on Monday! It was so much fun! I want to share an experience we had. There were six missionaries all together. We went on the short one mile hike and we were taking pictures and such when we decided that there was a five mile hike we wanted to do. The five mile hike was to some of the biggest trees in the park. It was two and a half miles in and two and a half miles out. And…we only had an hour to do it before we had to return. We jogged most of the way in and saw all of the trees. It took us about thirty minutes in and we had to take a break before we came back out, so we decided to take a short cut back. There was a road that we thought would take us back faster. Well, we got going for about a mile and decided it wasn’t going the right way back to the car. We had seen a trail a little ways back down off of the road. It seemed like it was the one we were trying to get on. We all decided to go down to the trail. When we got on it, we had no idea which way to go. They both seemed to go the right way. We decided that we should pray. We said a prayer and all felt prompted to go down one way. It was amazing because it took us to where we wanted to go.

The scripture for this week is James 1:5-6. We need to always turn to our Heavenly Father in prayer. He can help us in all that we do. I love getting to pray and feel prompted to do something. I love being a member of this church and having the Holy Ghost with me all the time, as long as I live worthy of it!

Love,
Elder Pope

Picture on the tree, just like last time! BIG TREES!
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Jordi’s baptism!
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We had lunch today at a famous restaurant. This is a burger from Squeeze Burger. Guy Ferarri did a TV show here. The burger was super good but I feel like I am going to die!
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Elder Brough and I chillin’ in the back seat!
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Week 73 – Big Trees

What’s up everybody?! Sorry that my email is going to be super short this week! We don’t have hardly any time to email. We are going to Big Trees today! But, this week was a fantastic week!

There is a lady in our ward that is really struggling. She texted us on Friday morning asking us to pray for her. We then asked if there is anything we could help her with. She replied and said, “Text me the first scripture that comes to your mind.” We both grabbed our scriptures and decided on Helaman 5:12. She got up yesterday and bore her testimony. Earlier in the week she had been reading her scriptures and came across that same scripture. She bore testimony of how real the Holy Ghost is. She really needed to hear that scripture. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost and the scriptures. I absolutely love this scripture! The promises that it gives us are amazing. Build your foundation on Christ!

Jordi is doing great! He is still on date to be baptized this next Saturday! I will send some pictures next week. I hope you all have a great week! I love you all and am so grateful for all of the wonderful prayers you offer on my behalf!

Love,
Elder Pope

When you see that investigator trying to ignore you…We like to have fun!
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Week 72 – Happy Memorial Day

How is it going family and friends?! I hope everyone is enjoying their day today and also starting to enjoy their summer!

So, like I said in my last email, Elder Clayton and his wife were visiting our mission. It was so awesome to have them here! On Tuesday we had a Mission Leadership Council with him there and a couple other missionaries. He gave some super amazing trainings on Christlike attributes. I absolutely loved the trainings! The thing that was the coolest was when we all knelt down and he offered a prayer. I have never heard a seventy or an apostle pray. I have always heard them give talks but never pray. It was the best prayer I have ever heard and witnessed.

This week we talked with our investigator, Jordi! He decided that he wants to continue going to the home ward and keep being taught by us! We aren’t going to turn him down so we agreed! He came to church with us yesterday and it was great. It was super funny because in opening exercises they asked if we had any visitors so he raised his hand and we introduced him. He nudged me and got mad because we didn’t tell everyone that he is getting baptized on the 10th! It was super funny and everyone got a good laugh out of it! We weren’t able to teach the Bailey family last week because they were out of town but this week we are hopefully going to teach them! We also just picked up a new part member family. The dad is not a member but the mom and kids are. He is super awesome so we will see where it goes!

This week we got to go on exchanges with our District Leader. His name is Elder Holt and he’s from Texas. It was super fun and we got to teach a bunch of people. Well, other then that we have had just over 16 hours of meetings in the past seven days. That is really all we did this week! We didn’t do a whole lot of proselyting.

So, I don’t think I told you but my companion’s cousin is Aaron Story. It was also his birthday this week. Let’s just say that we had a party!

The scripture for this week is Omni 1:26. I really love this scripture and the things it teaches us. I have been studying about fasting lately and why fasting is important. This is one scripture on fasting that I think is great! We need to offer up our whole soul unto Christ and partake of His salvation. It is only through Christ that we can be saved. Christ has brought so much peace into my life and I know that if you will love Him then he will bring peace into your life. Have a great life!

Love,
Elder Pope

We made an ultra bunk bed!
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The missionary crew. I love having zone conferences and getting to see all of my friends!
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When people tell you to do a wheelie because they think you can’t – like WHAT!?!
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Here are the other missionaries we went on exchanges with!
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