Month: November 2016

Week 46 – Manteca Means Lard

I would first like to start off by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY a few days ago to the best Dad around! I am grateful for him and all that he does for me and for my family. I know I wouldn’t be here without my family and especially my parents!

What up everybody? Manteca is pretty cool and my new companion is also super awesome! His name is Elder Beus and he is from Mesa, Arizona. He has been on his mission now for three months. He knows a few people that I know who used to live in Mesa and now live in Utah! This week was a pretty solid week! I got to meet a lot of new people. It is always so nerve-racking when you go to a new area but it is also super fun!

For Thanksgiving we helped at Mountain Mikes Pizza. We helped make food and hand out food to the homeless people. Guess what…we made it onto the front cover of the newspaper! It was super awesome to be helping and serving people on that wonderful day! Growing up I was very blessed in that I always had a meal. I never had to worry about when the next meal was. It really hit me how blessed we really are. There are people who don’t know when their next meal is going to be. That is why I really love serving! There are people out there that need me and they need you. We were able to meet so many wonderful people while serving the food and to see how much they truly appreciated it.

We did weekly planning for a while this week. We are totally re-arranging the area and are going to try and work with the members to regain their trust. There are four missionaries that are serving in this ward because it is huge! Our area is massive and we get to cover all of it on bikes. People can’t believe that we bike as much as we do each day but it is super fun biking and talking with lots of different people!

We were able to teach a few lessons. There are 66 part-member families in this ward so we took 33 and the other elders are taking the rest. There are also a lot of less actives. We are really excited to get to work here! Missionary work is so fun and I love being here. Helping others come unto Christ is really fun. It is so great to meet people and help grow their faith!

Also, I hope that you all had the opportunity to watch the Light the World video. Share that video all around and strive to be like Christ. There are things that we can do to help others. We need to be the light to others. I always think to myself why everyone asks why we are so happy. It is because we have light that no others have. We need to share that light with everyone!

The scripture for this week is Matthew 5:14. I got the scripture from the video. We are the light of the world representing Jesus. I love sharing this light with everybody around. I love the gospel and I love my savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for all of your prayers. I feel each and every one of them. I pray for all of you every day! I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Pope

This is Elder Beus and I right before service on Thanksgiving morning!
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This picture was taken during service at Mountain Mikes!
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One of our ward members makes a special treat for new missionaries. It was a pineapple that the middle was cut out of with sorbet and pineapple pieces in it. It was super awesome. I guess they feed people these at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
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Us in the newspaper! I guess you could say I am famous now, like no big deal! My smile is pretty cheesy!
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A picture from Brother and Sister Wynn. We are so grateful that they invited Nathan and the other missionaries in the area into their home for Thanksgiving.
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Week 45 – Happy Turkey Week!

Is it really Thanksgiving already? It seems like just yesterday it was Halloween and it is going to be Christmas before we know it! It is so crazy how fast time flies!

Well, we got our transfer calls last night and I am going to the Northland Ward in Manteca. Elder Powell will be staying in the Oakdale 1st Ward and will be training a new missionary! I guess I was a good trainer or something? Haha! Just kidding. He is going to do great! Also, I was called to be the new District Leader too! I am really excited to serve there but I will miss all of the people here in Oakdale. The Oakdale 1st Ward is a really awesome ward. I am excited for when I get to come back and visit them all! It is so hard because you make such great friends and you just start to get to know them then you are transferred. I guess that is the way it is supposed to be. The Lord knows everything!

This week was a good week. We met with the Eckstein’s twice this week and our meetings went really well! We invited the two boys to pray and ask if what we are teaching them is true. They accepted and are really interested in the church. I am really going to miss them and I hope that when they do get baptized that I can come back for it! Brother and Sister Eckstein are getting sealed soon and we were hoping that we could both stay and go with them. I hope that I can still go with them!

On Friday we had the opportunity to do service for most of the day. We started off by helping the Riley’s move into their new home. They had a lot of big furniture that we were able to help them move. When we finished he took us out to lunch at a really good Mexican Restaurant called Suzy Belens. We then went to another service project for Brother Hilton. We helped clean all around his house so they could put a new roof on his house. We also got to see some of his cool old cars! He has an old Plymouth Duster that is super cool! I will get one some day!

Not a whole lot else happened this week. We visited quite a few people and picked up a few new investigators. I am just anxious to get to Manteca now! It will be a great new experience but everyone here will be missed! Oakdale will always have a special spot in my heart. I will miss the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” even though there are hardly any cowboys here!

The scripture for this week is Proverbs 3:5-6. This scripture is a really awesome scripture. We need to always keep our trust in the Lord and he will direct our paths in the way that they are supposed too! I love the Savior with all my heart. We will have difficulties but if we will keep our faith strong and always rely on the Savior, he will never let us down. We are never alone. He is always there with us. It makes me think of Romans 12:15. Jesus weeps with us when we weep and he rejoices with us when we rejoice. It is so important that we know that and always remember it! I love you all so much and feel each and every one of your prayers. Thank you so much for all the love and support you give to me!

Love,
Elder Pope

Picture of Elder Powell and I after service on Friday.
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This is a prayer rock that I made for one of our investigators.
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These are the Eckstein boys. Sean, the 17 year old, is the one right next to me and Prince, the 11 year old, is next to Elder Powell. I am going to miss them like crazy! I am excited to come back and visit them!
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Week 44 – Christ is the Light

Another week has gone by–like holy crap! Time is going by super fast! I love my mission and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. This week was a great week and we were able to teach a lot of lessons.

Sad news this week. The Tangles were not baptized and we have not been able to meet with them again. We are going to work things out when we meet with them. We were pretty disappointed but we know that everything happens for a reason! We are still teaching the Eckstein boys! They are doing great and we are teaching them about baptism this week. We are hopefully going to get them on date to be baptized! They are really great and we are excited for them.

We picked up a few new investigators this week! We were biking and a woman yelled at us to come over. She is in her thirties and visited Salt Lake City when she was younger and toured the Temple grounds. We gave her a Book of Mormon and have a return appointment to meet with her this week. We are really excited. Another investigator we picked up is a part member family. We stopped by a less active members house and shared a message with him outside. We then asked if he knew anyone that we could go visit and he opened the door and let us in. His girlfriend was inside and he wants her to hear our message. We have stopped by a few other times and she now one of our investigators! It is so great how things like that work out!

So this week we had a zone conference. It was super awesome. We talked about our mission emergency plan and we also talked about the new Christmas video that is coming out soon from the church. We even got to watch it! WOW! The new video is amazing. I won’t ruin it for you all but you have to wait anxiously for it to come out. It is called “Light the World.” I can’t wait to be able to share it with our investigators and with everyone around. Christmas is a wonderful time to help others and to give. We need to go about lighting the world with this gospel! I also really loved when President Palmer talked to us about Christ being the light! He is such a great Mission President and loves each and every one of his missionaries. He is a dedicated Mission President and I know he is called of God. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be my Mission President!

We did a lot of service this week. For two full days we did service! Service is the best! We did service for Wayne and Belinda and let’s just say they are the coolest. I think I may have said that before but it is true! We got to clean up all of the trees that we cut last week. I can’t wait to do things with them after my mission! We have a few projects lined up for this week and it is always so great! Also, Happy Birthday to Belinda yesterday!

The scripture for this week is Ether 4:12. I know that Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world. He died from me and He died for you so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. I am grateful for Him and all that He does. I am grateful to serve a mission and know this is the least that I can do to give back to Him. More people need Jesus Christ in their lives and that is what missionaries and members are for. We need to share this wonderful gospel with everyone and make their lives great because of it!

Love,
Elder Pope

Our district in full glory!
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Eating lunch during service!
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Cleaning up all of the branches that we cut off of the trees!
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Eating lunch after doing a little more service! Belinda and Wayne are really good cooks!
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Week 43 – Unity is Key

This week was a pretty cool week! I can’t believe that I have been on my mission for ten months already! It is super crazy how fast time flies.

Halloween was awesome! We went to a super awesome member’s house for dinner! We then went to a less active member’s house and played games with them. It was super fun to play games. I taught everyone how to play SCUM and of course I was the king, just like every time. They couldn’t figure out the game until the last hand and they got super mad!

We had the opportunity to do a few service projects this week. The first project that we did was helping at Community Sharing. It is so fun to be able to help there each and every week. It is a great way to talk to people who are picking up food and help them. The second service project that we did was cutting down more trees. Here in the Central Valley there are lots of orchards and different kinds of farming(If you haven’t noticed from all of the pictures and service we do). A bunch of the members here own almond farms and walnut orchards. It is so awesome to be able to do service!

This week the Tangle family is supposed to be baptized! We are meeting with them tonight and having family night with them! They are really awesome people and are ready to be baptized. They have been investigating the church now for a while and it is time for them to become members. We have also been teaching another part member family! We are teaching their foster kids and it is going really well. We went to their house last night and are starting to do family home evenings with them on Sunday nights.

We got the new Ensign this week! I have been reading it and it is great. The two talks that I really love from it are Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ on “Sharing the Restored Gospel.” The other was “A Witness of God” by Elder Neil L. Anderson. Both of their talks are on sharing the gospel. The one thing that stood out to me in both of the talks was to just pray for the faith to share the gospel. Pray for strength to talk about this wonderful gospel with everyone. A member in our ward got up yesterday during fast and testimony meeting and bore his testimony. He also talked about how important it is that we share our testimonies with everyone. When we share our testimonies it helps strengthen others’ testimonies and it also helps strengthen your own testimony. I challenge each one of you to share your testimony with someone this week. It doesn’t matter who it is but just share it with someone. You never know what that person might be going through and by sharing your testimony you might help them out in a way that you would never have known.

This week we had a zone training. Every month we get together as a zone and have a zone training. Well, Elder Powell and I had the opportunity to do a training on “Unity.” It was a really great training. The zone leaders told us they thought we were the most united in our zone! It made us happy. Being united as a companionship, as well as being united with our Savior is very important. The definition of “unity” is, “the state of being united or joined as a whole.” We need to be one with our Savior and our companions. Our mission vision is, “We are one with the Savior in doing the will of the Father.” Just like with your wife or husband, we have to be united. If we are not united with each other, we will struggle. When we do get united, all will go well. Unity is the key to success!

I love you all so much. Keep up the good work and share the gospel with everyone! The gospel brings such great joy to so many people and there are people who don’t have that joy yet. Give them the opportunity to accept that joy and how wonderful this gospel truly is!

Love,
Elder Pope

Helping cut down more trees and clean up a member’s orchard!
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Dinner after service. Wayne and Belinda are the coolest people ever!
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Picture from zone training! I got a few Elders and Sisters to look but that is all! This zone is super fun and I love all of them!
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Horacio has a cowboy hat and it is way too small for me. I will get a cowboy hat later – one that actually fits.
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Here is a mustache that Horacio gave me. I think I am going to grow one when I get home and dye it black!
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I got a nice new pair of glasses. How do you like them?
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