Month: March 2017

Week 63 – Cafe Rio is the Bomb!

What up everyone? I hope you all had a wonderful week! This week was a great week! Elder Silva and I just found out that we will both be staying here in the Northland Ward in Manteca! It will be an awesome transfer together again! I love it here and know that this is where the Lord wants me to be at this time in my life! It is sad though because Elder Schultz and Elder Perry are leaving and going to Lodi. We are getting two new missionaries in the ward, so that will be interesting!

Something that was super cool is that we got to go to Stockton on Thursday! My companion had a doctors appointment so before his appointment we got to go to the one and only Cafe Rio! That location is the only one in our mission. We had a member take us and it was wonderful! I have missed Cafe Rio so much! Below is a picture of me with the receipt. I was scared to take a picture of the food while we were in there. It was also awesome because there were people there who are from a different ward and we had the opportunity to talk to them. I love being a missionary and being able to talk to so many different people!

We went on exchanges this week. I went with Elder Perry and it was awesome! Elder Perry and I came out together and we have now been serving around one another for almost a year but he is going to a new area this transfer. We had a blast being together though! We had a team up with James Weeden that went pretty well! We were able to visit a lot of our potential investigators! James is a super funny member and an awesome team up!

This week we did some awesome service! We helped out at Second Harvest on Tuesday and it was a blast! There are a few pictures below that show how much fun we really have at service! We also helped out at the Methodist Church on Friday. That was super awesome!

On the bright side – General Conference is next week! I am looking forward to watching it again! I can’t believe this will be the third General Conference that happens on my mission. I also can’t believe that this transfer is Easter already! Time seems to be going by super fast! It was exactly a year ago when Ester Avina, one of the recent converts in our ward in Turlock, passed away. How grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation and to know how wonderful this gospel truly is! I love my Savior Jesus Christ and know that we can be resurrected and receive a perfect, immortal body!

Our investigator, Marianne, has really been struggling with her health. She is the lady who weighs 80 pounds. He situation is super sad! We have been helping her clean her house when her husband is home and just be there to comfort her. It is super sad because the doctors don’t know what is wrong with her. She is a wonderful lady! We have also been teaching James. He is awesome and we are getting slow progression. But just remember, slowly but surely!

The scripture for this week is Matthew 25:1-13. I think this is the scripture. I was reading about it in Jesus the Christ this morning during my studies. I just love parables! This is a parable that I have always known but never really thought too much about it. We need to be prepared. We need to always remember and be prepared. Just like the five who were prepared, we need to always do what is right and remember who we are and what we stand for. We are given commandments and need to follow them! I love serving here and all the people I get to meet each and every day!

Elder Pope

Cafe Rio receipt. The best place ever!
The district. Next week it will be totally different Elders and Sisters except for three!
Here are the pictures for service from Tuesday. Yeah, let’s just say we like to have some fun when we work!

Week 62 – Reppin’ in the Golden State

What’s up family and friends? How was your week this week? Well, here in California the weather is getting pretty warm. It has been between the high 70’s and the low 80’s. All of the blossoms have fallen off of the trees and now my allergies are going crazy, which isn’t fun!

I want to give a big shout out to my favorite blonde sister in the entire world! I can’t believe she is already 24! She has been such a great example in my life and it is always fun watching her coach softball. She is a great coach and a great leader. Happy Birthday, Nat! I love you!

This week Elder Silva and I have been focused on finding people. We have to find people before we can teach people. That is one of the hardest parts of missionary work. At least here! Well, we got a referral from a member this week and visited him last night. His name is Ramal and he has 14 kids! He is only 44 and yes, they are all his. None of them are adopted. He told us that and we all laughed. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and it went really well. We gave him the book and he started reading it right away while we were talking with his friend. Ten minutes later and he said he already loved the book! He said he is looking forward to reading it. It was great to get to know him better. He said if he ever sees someone giving us a hard time or trying to beat us up he will help us. He said, “Just call up ‘your boy’ and I will be there.” Oh, and did I forget to say that he is a BIG black guy? He told us to call him our black friend. He is super awesome and that is a little bit about him.

This week we helped the Wynn’s move to their new house. It is so sad to see them go. There are a few pictures below of us moving them and having some fun. You find the coolest things when you help people move. It is also pretty cool when they give it to you! We got some pretty cool hats out of it that we wore proselyting!

I had the opportunity to interview a lady to be baptized this week. It was such a special opportunity to talk with her and get to know her. Her name is Shangrung Chen. She is from China and is an amazing lady. She and her husband were legally married on Thursday night, then I interviewed her to be baptized on Friday morning, and she was baptized on Saturday. Yeah, let’s just say it was a close one! She was so excited for her baptism and she has such a strong testimony of the gospel. We were able to attend her baptism on Saturday morning and it was amazing. The spirit was so strong and everything went so well! During her baptism they showed the Mormon Message “The Hope of God’s Light.” It is such an amazing video that really touched my heart and I know it will touch all of your hearts as well!

The scripture for this week is 2nd Peter 1: 5-8. In short it says, “diligence to virtue, virtue to knowledge, knowledge to temperance, temperance to patience, patience to godliness, godliness to brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness to charity.” This is the formula to progression. If we will do these things, we will grow closer to our Savior Jesus Christ and continue our progression on the earth. I love learning so much on my mission. I have seen what the gospel can truly do to you if you are open and ready to make a change. If we are open and willing to make the changes necessary, God will help us become better.

Elder Pope

Elder Silva and I ran to the Wynn’s house because my bike was in the bike shop. Let’s just say biking is totally different than running. It was also like 100 degrees outside!
A few things that we found when we were helping the Wynn’s move. This mask is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I was surprised it fit my massive head because it is like the real deal!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We had a party!
Here is a picture of the hats we found at the Wynn’s. They didn’t want them anymore so we scored some free hats!
Elder Silva and I decided to make some food last night! He made biscuits and gravy and I made snicker doodles. They were pretty good!

Week 61 – The Prodigal Son

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful week and are excited for this upcoming week! Where do I start off for this week? Well, the high this last week was 85 degrees. So yeah, it is going to be a hot and miserable summer here but that is okay! It will be fun like always. It is super crazy because a week or two ago it was pretty cold and two days ago it was 85? I don’t think that is normal but whatever!

Another crazy thing that happened this week was our phone breaking, so we went a whole day without a phone. I don’t know how the people in the olden days lived without a cell phone. Yeah, it was pretty hard giving up a smart phone to come out here, but at least we still have a phone to communicate with people. The day that we went without a phone we felt like lost dogs. We had no way of calling anyone and no way of getting calls. We eventually got a new phone from the Zone Leaders and a whole bunch of texts just started coming up along with a bunch of missed calls. That wasn’t fun but we got everything situated and now it is going great! Don’t ask how our phone broke because I am not telling!

This week I had the chance to go on exchanges with Elder Schultz! It was a fun exchange and a great teaching opportunity! We were able to learn so much from one another. It is so great to have such a wonderful district. We were able to visit with a less active family and some prospective elders. We have really been focusing on the prospective elders. It is crazy because a bunch of the time the person has moved out of the ward and their records haven’t been moved. We just met with a part member family last night. We talked with them outside for a little bit and it went well. They told us we could come back but to not try and convert her husband because he has already taken the lessons and said, “No.” We will see about that!

We had the opportunity to do some service. We helped at Second Harvest Food Bank on Tuesday and that was pretty fun! This week they had us throwing out all of the old stuff. It got pretty gross but it was a lot of fun! We have been able to meet so many new people while offering service and it is just such a blast. This week we also helped the Wynns move out. The Wynns are such an awesome family! They are moving to the ward next to ours so hopefully my next area is that ward! While we were waiting we may or may not have had a nerf war. It was pretty fun!

Our Zone had a Zone Training this week. It was on all of the parables. We got to chose a parable and study it then come to the meeting and share it. I chose the parable of the “Prodigal Son.” This has become one of my favorite parables while I have been on my mission. There is so much in this parable. The biggest thing that stands out to me is that repentance is real. The second thing that I love about this is that when the prodigal son has decided to come back home, the dad runs out to him and hugs him to bring him back. As members of the church, there are many people who have strayed from the gospel and we need to run out and meet them. We need to help bring them back to the fold. And, even those who have not yet accepted the gospel, we need to bring it unto them. We can’t bring it into them but we can bring it unto them. The third main part is to not be selfish or prideful. The brother is mad that he has not been able to have a big party and he has always been with their dad. We need to be selfless and look for opportunities to serve others!

This week in my studies I decided to read the Children’s Book of Mormon. I know that I have looked at it before but never read it all the way through. It was so awesome to be able to read and look at the pictures. I am a visual person so for all of you who are visual people I recommend you read the Children’s Book of Mormon and then the Book of Mormon. It really just made so much sense to look at the pictures then imagine it in my mind! The scripture for this week is 1 Nephi 8 where it talks about Lehi’s dream of the Tree of Life. It talks about the three different groups of people. The first group falls away pretty quickly and doesn’t even make it close to the tree. The second group is almost to the tree but they are in the mist of darkness and fall away. The third group, on the other hand, pressed forward clinging to the iron rod and eventually made it to the tree and were able to partake of the fruit of the tree. Let us go about clinging to the iron rod and stay steadfast in our work here on the earth. It is an important job that we have, so let’s make it count! I love you all and am so grateful for the wonderful examples that you are to me!

Elder Pope

Here is our zone picture! I can’t believe they talked me into putting my leg like that in the front. It looks super weird, not going to lie! Haha!
Yeah, we fit in with everyone else that is here but our guns aren’t real! #YOLO
Doing service for the Wynns and having a little nerf war.
We had dinner at Red Robin and got the endless fries. Lets just say that four missionaries eating endless fries is not good. Our waiter just kept bringing us fries and it was so funny! We about ate them all out of fries.
After dinner we stopped by the pond. I found a crawdad, so of course I had to pick it up and take a picture with it. You don’t see these everyday!
It is pretty nice when members love you so much that they call and ask if you want shakes from In-n-Out. Heck yeah! We aren’t going to turn down shakes!

Week 60 – Happy Birthday Mom!

Hola mi familia y mi amigos. Como estan ustedes?

I want to first start off by saying Happy Birthday to my Mother! Today is her birthday and you all should wish her a Happy Birthday because she is super awesome! I am so grateful for my mom and all that she does for me. I hope that my future wife will be just like her!

So the weather here is finally starting to warm up! Well, at least we thought so. It seemed to be summer a few days ago and then yesterday it was like 40 degrees the whole day. It was freezing! It is going to be a really hard adjustment when I come home to a bunch of snow but I miss the snow like crazy so I won’t complain! The blossoms are still on the trees and I forgot to take a picture of them again, but maybe this next week.

Yesterday at church was super awesome. When church was over we were walking down the hall and I saw Connie Goeckeritz! It was so awesome to see he and see Toby Goeckeritz. For all of you who don’t know who Connie is, they are long family friends and one of her sons lives in Ripon. It is the ward right next to ours. It was super weird to see someone from back home but it was also super awesome to talk with them. I love the gospel and I think it is so awesome that wherever you go to church anywhere around the world they are teaching the same thing. That is one major thing that I love about this church and this wonderful gospel. It is the same wherever you go!

This week we had a great lesson with James! It was super awesome because we got the Stake President to come with us on a team up this week. His name is President Maxfield and he is a wonderful person! We taught about the Restoration and it went really well. It was so awesome to have such an awesome team up. President Maxfield was able to bare his testimony and teach about a third of the time, which was great. James said he isn’t ready just yet but we know it will just take some time until he gets baptized. It really seems like with a lot of people it will just take some time until they are ready for that next step. The spirit was so strong in the lesson. We were also able to teach our investigator Marianne this week. We read 2 Nephi 31 with her and talked a little bit about baptism. We had to hurry out because we had a dinner appointment but she said she is going to pray about whether or not she should be baptized, which is great! She is really awesome and a super sweet lady.

This week we had a zone conference with the North half of our mission. It was mainly focused on the Atonement and Repentance. I love the Atonement so much. One thing that really stood out to me during the meeting were the R’s of Repentance. There is Recognize, Remorse, Restitution, and Repent. These are a few of the R’s that I know we have to do to Repent. One of the R’s that I never thought about in this context is the Redeemer. You cannot Repent without your Redeemer. This is all able to happen because of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Without the Atonement we have no purpose on this earth. It is only through Him that we can return to live with our eternal family again!

So this week we had a few service opportunities with the food bank and with helping out few members. We helped Brother Cortez saw some of his wood and split some of his logs. Don’t worry everybody. They only let me use the ax a few times and no, I didn’t cut my foot open again. It was pretty funny because I had to redeem myself and show them that I wasn’t going to cut off my foot. Brother Cortez laughed when he heard about me cutting my foot. We also helped at the Methodist Food Bank. It is so awesome and we have come to be such great friends with them. They are such wonderful people!

I finished the Book of Mormon this week for the second time on my mission where I was just reading it through cover to cover and studying it. One scripture that I really like is Moroni 10:32. I am not sure if I have shared it before but I just read it again yesterday. I love this scripture and how we truly need to come unto Christ. We need to do all we can to come unto our Savior. I know that it is after all that we can do, His grace will make up for the rest. Some people ask, “What is all that you can do?” It is an answer you need to find out for yourself from God. I love this gospel and am so grateful I get to serve here at this time in my life!

Elder Pope

We had dinner with Brother Cortez. After dinner he gave us these wonderful treats. He makes them for every new missionary in the area or for special occasions. You might remember the picture of me when it was my first time having dinner there.
This is a picture of us helping Brother Cortez split the wood and help with his backyard.
They got this super cute husky! It has so much energy and is so fun to play with!
Brother Cortez called us up and fed us some Menudo. It is the second time I have had it. It is pretty good, I guess!