Month: February 2016

Week 7 – Familia, que honda?!

Well, this week was a great week! We didn’t teach as many lessons as we were hoping for, but it was really solid.

The baptism that was supposed to be on Saturday got pushed back until the 12th so more family members can be there. We were sad, but it is what it is.

We are teaching Anthony, who is an investigator, each week. His baptismal date is for next Saturday the 5th. Anthony is a super awesome man! He already has such a strong testimony of this church and I always feel the spirit when I am around him. I can’t wait until next Saturday for his baptism. We are teaching the lessons at his finance’s uncle’s house. His family doesn’t know that he is getting baptized yet, but he is going to invite them this week. He didn’t want to, but we agreed that it is always important to give out the invitation.

Drew and Aydin are still preparing to be baptized since it got pushed back two weeks. They are really strong and I can’t wait for them to be baptized. We are still trying to work on the dad. The dad is super cool. He just doesn’t really want anything to do with the church.

I haven’t really talked about our apartment but along with the pictures, yes there are a lot of things to do there! We play pool during lunch and at night after planning if we are ready for bed. We play ping pong too. It is really fun because the other Elders will come over about once a week and we will play games. All the Elders want to play me in ping pong because I just wreck all of them so they want to keep playing and hopefully beat me.

This last Tuesday we had a meeting for all the new missionaries in Modesto. It was super fun to see all of the people I came here with and to share stories with one another. They are all doing really well. We just talked about how it is adjusting to missionary life and things like that.

This week we had the opportunity to do two service projects for different people. The first service project we did was for Brother Mallory (our weekly service for him). We helped him finish his chicken coop and clean up his yard which was pretty fun! The second service project we did was to mow a ladies lawn and clean up her yard. She isn’t a member but we asked if she needed help with anything and she told us to come back in a few days to do her yard. She said she will pray with us next time, but she was busy the time we did her yard.

I want you all to read Moroni 10:32-33. They are great scriptures that you all need to read!

It was a good week, but we didn’t do a whole lot. I am praying for you all everyday. I love you all so much! Keep emailing me and sending me letters! I love them. Keep up the good work! Always be a missionary 24/7. There are always people waiting to hear something about Jesus Christ and our church. Don’t be afraid to open your mouth!

Elder Pope

This is the view from our apartment. We live in a garage basically.
Before and after of the ladies yard. Her grass was super tall. I mowed it all!
This is a German Shepard that we play with every time we go to the Sutton’s house (The kid I am baptizing on the 12th).
I got a hair cut today which was pretty nice!
Oh and also. We had to walk to Walmart today because all of the other missionaries were going somewhere else and we were the only ones without a car. My companion bought 80 dollars worth of food and we didn’t want to carry it all the way back so we just took the cart and stopped and had lunch at Little Caesars. We looked ridiculous pushing the grocery cart home, but it was super funny. Everyone gave us the funniest looks! But don’t worry! We’ll return it next p-day.
We received this picture from Pam Reschke, who is from Alpine. She was visiting her son and his family, who live in Turlock, and ran into Elder Pope at Stake Conference.

Week 6 – Que pasa mis amigos

As you can tell the Spanish is coming along strong!

This week was pretty cool. I went on exchanges with a different elder for 24 hours and slept at their apartment. His name is Elder Holman. He is super cool and really funny. It was really awesome to be with a different companion for that short period of time and to learn from him.

I had a really cool experience this week. In President Palmer’s email to the missionaries he said that we needed to talk to everyone no matter what they look like or what race they are. It was awesome because I was riding my bike down the road and I managed to see a glimpse of a guy who was waiving us down. I yelled at my companion and told him to stop. I pulled up and the guy had big gages and tattoos everywhere. He explained that he was a member and that he had fallen away. He and his girlfriend are living together and he wants to start bringing her to church and getting back into the flow of things. He also said if anything comes up and we don’t have a dinner, or we just need a place to hang out, to just come over. He said that his home was our home too. He was super cool!

This next Saturday I get the opportunity to baptize Drew Sutton. He is 10 and really awesome. Elder Jarvis will baptize the other brother. I am really looking forward to it.

Yo soy un misionero de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias? Esta bien si le damos una tarjeta de Jesucristo?

That is the other Spanish that I learned this week. I will say it to people who don’t speak English and I can give them a picture of Jesus Christ.

Another one of our investigators is Pradeep Chan. He is like the coolest guy you will ever meet. He is from Fiji but is Asian Indian. He was in the 2000 Olympics. He represented Fiji in boxing and in rugby. He ran the Olympic torch in those Olympics. He is super fun to talk to. He is a pharmacist and owns 4 different companies. He knows all of the guys who are on the Fiji rugby team. He is an official that goes and refs the 7 on 7s in Las Vegas every year for the world teams.

I love you all so much! I know this is where I need to be and where the Lord wants me to serve. My testimony has grown so much while being out here and I am really growing to love it! Keep doing everything that you are supposed to do and always follow the spirit. Keep me in your prayers and I will always keep you in my prayers.

I love you all so much!

Elder Pope

This is Elder Lino. He is from Peru and has one transfer left.SAM_0154
This is Elder Holman who I went on exchanges with. He is speaking Lao and Tai. He taught me a few words and it is super funny!SAM_0153
This is how real Mexican food is cooked! I ate 10 tacos with 4 big slabs of carne asada. These are the people who we helped cut down their tree.DSC04332DSC04333
I eat like a champ! I make a good breakfast on Sundays because we have an hour and a half to shower and eat so we aren’t rushed.SAM_0149
This is what I made myself for lunch today. They were pretty good.SAM_0152
This is a shirt I bought that is really cool.SAM_0141
I’m going to try to take a picture of myself each day so you know what I look like. Here is two of the days. I will just send them to mom if you get sick of them! Haha.SAM_0147SAM_0151

Week 5 – First Month Down

This week we were able to do two different service projects. The first one we were able to do for a less active member whose name is Brother Mallory. He is a really cool guy who wants to build a “fallout shelter.” For two hours we helped him dig a hole in his backyard. The second service project we did was for an older Spanish member who had to cut down her tree. So we cut down her tree and organized the wood. It was actually really fun! That project took us two days. You know, just cutting down some trees. Good thing I didn’t cut off my leg like I did with the axe! Plus, chainsaws are a lot more fun than using an axe anyways!

Today we were able to go to a flea market for the first time and it was awesome! I have never seen so much crap in one place in my entire life. I bought a sweet knife that was 15 bucks! Flea markets are really cool and there is one every Monday so we are probably going to go every once in a while.

This week we were able to teach a few of our investigators and even got one to commit to be baptized on March 5th! His name is Anthony. Anthony is engaged to a girl who is a member and he wanted to learn more about the church. This was the second time we have taught him and we knew he was ready to be baptized.

We have two baptisms on the 27th and I am really excited. My companion and I think it will be us that baptizes them because the dad hasn’t received the Aaronic Priesthood yet. I love the two Sutton boys. They have a petting zoo that their mom runs and takes the animals to parties and things like that. They have a fainting goat and we tried for like 15 minutes to get it to faint but we didn’t have any luck. Haha. They have a mini horse, mini pig, two different goats, ducks, bunnies, and chickens. We played with the goats and the horses, which was super fun!

Every night we have dinner with some family and all of the food we have had here has been pretty good. We also have team ups at night. It is when someone from the ward takes us around at night, which is really nice.

On Saturday we stopped at a food truck called Silvas right down the road from us. It was the first time we have eaten at this food truck and it was the best thing I have ever eaten! I also bought some pineapple empanadas which were so good! The food here is so good! We have eaten at Taco Bell three times since I have been here and every time we go someone pays for our food, which is really nice!

Well, I love you all so much! I am so grateful that I get to serve in the California Modesto Mission! I have learned so much since I have been here and I want to keep learning more! Always keep me in your prayers, please! Have a good week!

Elder Pope


Week 4 – First Baptism

What’s up Fam?! Broncos with the W!!!!!

This week was a great week! Yesterday I was able to baptize Don Evertt. This is a little background information about Don. Don is a 53 year old man who is super awesome. He has been in two hit and runs. Both times he was walking across the cross walk and got hit by cars. I feel super bad for him because his memory is like a 5 year old. He and his wife are both legally blind. They were married for like 10 years and got a divorce but got re-married the beginning of January. He is super funny.

It was super funny because we had gone over what he was supposed to do when he went down and all that fun stuff. He was like, “Yeah, sure.” When it came time to be baptized I reminded him. I said the prayer then dunked him. I made sure his head and hair went all the way under but his feet shot out of the water. It was super funny but we had to do it again. I explained to him again how he needs to just sit down. So I baptized him twice and that was fun. He said he felt so awesome and great!

It was also a super great week because I was able to give two blessings/sealings. The two blessings we gave this week, they wanted me to seal it. They were both inactive ladies and it was really funny. It is such a great experience to give blessings.

Another thing that was great this week was going over to a less active house to talk and see how they were doing. She went on to explain how she had problems with her computer and see if we could help. Elder Jarvis said he could and she laughed and said, “I could tell you were the computer one. And Elder Pope, you look like you should be out hunting grizzly bears!” It was possibly the funniest thing I have ever heard and she was being dead serious. HAHA.

In the mornings we wake up at 6:10 and some other elders pick us up and we go to the church. All of the elders from the Turlock area play sports. There is usually about 10 of us each morning and it is super fun to be with everyone and enjoy sports. We usually play chair soccer, basketball, and flasketball. I love doing it.

For chair soccer, you have a chair and put it in the gym. You then have one soccer ball and try to hit the other person’s chair with it. It has to hit the chair. I have been winning it a lot and there are even elders that are really good at soccer. They are getting mad. No teams. Just everyone vs everyone. It is really fun. Flasketball is basketball with a football and like ultimate frisbee. So a basket counts as 1 but the ball cant touch the ground or else it goes to the other team. You can also knock the ball out of the persons hand if they pick it up. It is actually really fun. You can only take 2 steps after you have gotten the ball too!

This last Monday we went over the the Youniquez house and watched Meet the Mormons for family home evening. It was the first time I had watched it and I loved it!! The last kid in it really hit home because that was me 26 days ago!

I was able to eat at the Taco Bus this week and it was amazing. When I get home I am going to create a taco bus because it is the best thing ever. Authentic Mexican food that is cheap and delicious. (Doesn’t feel the best coming out the other end but its worth it!)

We have eaten dinner at members homes all except one night and preparation days. That one night I was on splits and we just went to Taco Bus. The dinners the members serve here are all really good. I haven’t had something I haven’t liked yet. I have had 4 steak dinners and it has been really good, so I hope it stays that way!

I went on exchanges with Elder Brower just for fun. He is a Zone Leader and is super cool. We saw little kids playing soccer so we played with them and it was awesome!

We have three baptisms on date right now and hopefully another on by next week. One of the investigators who doesn’t have a date is Anthony. He is 20 and is engaged to a 19 year old Mormon girl and she wants him to be baptized. We have taught him one lesson and he has come to church the last two weeks which is awesome. He comes with her and her uncle and aunt, who are members.

While my companion and I were riding to an appointment this week, he was following me because I bike faster and we were a few minutes late and rushing. I slowed down so I could make the turn and he had his hands off his handle bars because he thought we didn’t turn for a while, but we were. He ran into the back of me and flew off his bike. He got all scraped up and was lucky he didn’t get hit by a car because he flew into the road. I ran and made sure he was okay and grabbed his bike.

In the southern part of our area there is a part that is pretty ghetto and every time you ride by it smells so bad because of all the weed the people smoke. It is the most disgusting thing you will ever smell and it is so bad here!

One thing I learned this week is that missionaries make “METH.” It is Honey Combs with chocolate and peanut butter, then powdered sugar. Instead of Chex they use Honey Combs and it is actually really tasty.

Well, I love you guys! Keep praying for me. I feel your prayers and am thankful for them. Oh, and yesterday was the first time I fasted for a full 24 hours and it wasn’t bad. There was only a period of time like 5 minutes long that I actually felt hungry, but we had steak for dinner last night and it was great. For lunch today we went to Subway. I got a foot long sandwich and a pizza. The other Elders didn’t think I could eat it all but I did and am proud of myself!

Keep up the good work in Alpine, Pleasant Grove, and Atlanta! I love you guys and am grateful for the roles you have played in my life. Love you guys!!

Elder Pope

P.S. One thing I want to leave you all with is a commitment. I want you all to pray every morning and night. The night one is easy but the morning one is pretty tough. I have come to find out that when I pray in the morning I have a much better day. Also, be reading your scriptures. I am in 2 Nephi 6 and am making progress slowly every morning trying to understand more about it! I love you guys!


Week 3 -1st Week in the Field

This week has been a really interesting week! I made it to Modesto safely. I was assigned a new companion. His name is Elder Jarvis. Just a little background info on him: He is from a town in Montana that is right by the Canadian border. The population of his town is 400. He told me that his graduating class was 17. I was like “Wow! That is tiny.” He is a 20 year old who has been on his mission for four months now. The other day was pretty funny. He was texting while riding his bike and ran into the back of a parked car. It was like the funniest thing I have ever seen. I helped him up and we looked at the car to make sure there was nothing wrong with it, which there wasn’t, but it was super funny!

I was assigned to the Turlock 4th Ward and they are awesome people. I love it here and it has been pretty nice. We have eaten dinner at a members home every night so far and the food here is pretty good! We had district meeting on Thursday and we ate at a food truck for lunch. It was the best mexican food I have ever had. The burritos are only five bucks and they are pretty big.

Everyday it is pretty hard to get into a house that isn’t a set appointment, but we usually teach two or maybe three lessons a day. They have only had four baptisms in the last six months and I got here and we have three this next month, which is super cool! We are teaching a family where the dad and the kids want to be baptized but the mom doesn’t. She isn’t sure and the dad won’t get baptized unless the mom gets baptized too. We have only been able to teach them once and hopefully we can keep teaching them. We just met two investigators the other day and we taught them a lesson this week and committed them to be baptized. Their names are Drew and Aiden. They are 10 and 12. Their family went inactive for 15 years but they are starting to come back to church now!

The other investigator that is getting baptized is Don. He is 53 and his wife is a member. He has been in two hit-and-runs and can’t remember a lot of things. He is getting baptized next Sunday and I am so excited for him! Oh, and one more thing…………………………………..I AM BAPTIZING HIM!! I am so excited to baptize someone.

All of the Elders are super cool here! I love being here. It was really hard to say goodbye to my MTC companion because we had really connected and had talked about everything. I am so grateful I get to serve a mission in Modesto (Turlock right now). Turlock is the nice part of Modesto so you don’t have to worry that much.

We figured out how big our area is. It is 4 miles by 7 miles and we get to bike. With the ward that we are in we don’t get a car, so it is kinda fun to bike everywhere but it would also be nice to have a car for things. Our apartment is 16 feet by 22 feet long. There is a bathroom, kitchen, closet, queen bed, twin bed, two dressers, and two desks. It is a small space but I really enjoy it. It is an apartment behind a house that is connected to a huge garage.

I love this gospel so much and am so happy I get to serve a mission here! I am so grateful that I have been able to see this gospel change peoples lives and mine as well. I can’t wait for Don’s baptism this next Sunday!! I will send pictures of it!

Oh, and thanks for the Valentines box. A little early but thanks for everything! Just word of advice: I don’t like skittles so quit sending them because I just have to give them away.

I am also super excited for the super bowl. Not like I can watch it or anything but I hope that the Broncos can beat the Panthers. Let me know how the game goes!

I love you all and am grateful for you. I have a family picture on my desk and I look at it everyday and am praying for you. Keep up the good work at home and I will keep up the good work here!

Love, Elder Pope