Month: April 2017

Week 67 – Eternal Life is Key

Hey! This week was a pretty good week! I hope you all had a wonderful week! It was pretty warm and cold at night.

It is super crazy because we have been working with lots of less active members recently. We have been struggling finding investigators but working with less actives is going really well. It really seems like the hardest thing is finding people to teach here in California. There are so many people but none of them are willing to listen to our message. One thing that I have really learned about on my mission so far is PRIDE. It is the root of all evil. It seems like people are too prideful here in California to listen to our message. They all think that they are good but really they are not. I love the people here and know what is on the line for them. Eternal life is what we are striving for!

We played frisbee golf and then a card game called “Save your A$$ets” with some of our less actives this last week. It was a ton of fun! They really enjoy us coming over and sharing a message. They committed to come to church yesterday but didn’t show up, so we were pretty sad about that! We just picked up a new part member family! We were able to share a message with the family. Two of the kids are active and come with their grandparents to church but the mom and a few of the other kids are less active. The dad isn’t a member YET! We have another time to meet with them this next week and are super excited about it. They are a Polynesian family, the Sovatabuas, and want to have us over for dinner sometime too, which is super awesome. I don’t know what it is but we are good at finding Polynesian families to teach but no one else. And, I am sure a lot of you have seen the pictures from the Robbins’ house with the lizard on my shoulder. The Robbins’ are a super awesome family in our ward! We love going over to their house and having dinner with them. There is never a dull moment.

So we have been trying to teach our investigator, James, lately but haven’t been able to meet with them. We just found out that his wife is pregnant so that is super exciting! It is going to be so awesome for them! They are so awesome. Also, our investigator, Marianne, is in the hospital right now. She has some crazy disease that if she had not gone in when she did she would have died. Please keep her in your prayers!

It is super crazy because when I left on my mission I didn’t have allergies. Well, now that I am in the central valley I have allergies. I now know what all of you were going through. Having allergies is the worst! They said it is worse this year than it has ever been. For all of you who don’t know, the central valley is where they grow tons of stuff. They say that if you don’t have allergies and you come to the central valley that you will get them. Well, lucky me, I got them!

The scripture for this week is Moses 1:39. I love this scripture so much! It is a constant reminder that our Heavenly Father wants the best for us! He knows our potential and all the wonderful things that we can do on the earth. Everyone here will receive immortality but not everyone will receive eternal life. We need to be doing the best that we can in everything we do to strive to attain eternal life. Jesus Christ made it possible for that to happen!

Love,
Elder Pope

We went to IHOP with all of the other missionaries for dinner this week. It was pretty fun! The redhead is Elder Whitlock and his companion, Elder Hayden, is sitting next to him.
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Our new duck friend!
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Week 66 – Happy Easter & Jesus Loves You!

Happy late Easter everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter full of love! I think that one of the main concepts of Easter is love. It is the love that the Savior has for each and every one of us that led Him to do the things that He did. He didn’t have to do any of it, but He did it out of love. Always remember that!

We met with one of our investigators this week and it went really well. We showed her the #PRINCEofPEACE video and it went really well. She was in tears at the end of it. We talked about things that we can do to help strengthen our relationship with Him. We talked to her about getting baptized and she is nervous that if she were to join our church that Jesus would be mad at her. We told her if she does what is right then he won’t be mad at her. She is still praying and trying to figure out if it is true or not, so this week we will see what she says. We also have been visiting a lot of less active members here. It is nothing like in Utah. Two-thirds of the members in our ward are less active. It is super sad. They don’t realize how important attending church really is. Partaking of the sacrament is so important. Yeah there are weeks that we can’t partake of the sacrament because we are out of town but every chance we get to take it each Sunday we need to take it!

This week we had a pretty cool experience. While we were biking to district meeting a lady honked at us. We waived and kept biking. She honked again so we looked closer and she was waving us to come over. We slowed down and pulled over to her car. She started talking to us and really expressed her feelings. Her husband died a few years ago and her son is in the mental institution in Stockton because he has been doing a lot of drugs. She said she is in a really depressing stage of her life right now. She goes to a church in Oakdale but is looking for a change. It was super awesome because we were able to testify of the peace that our message can bring and the joy it brings to others. She gave us her information and unfortunately it is outside of our area but that is okay! We sent the referral to the other missionaries in Oakdale. We are not sure what will come of it but she was such an awesome lady and it was an amazing experience. It isn’t the first time that someone has pulled us over in their car. It is just such an awesome feeling. I now know why President Palmer wants us to ride our bikes as much as possible.

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges this week with an elder in my district. His name is Elder Whitlock and it was a super awesome exchange. He is a really awesome missionary and knows so much. I was able to learn so much from him. He has been on his mission for 19 months now. He is from a small town in Wyoming called Ten Sleep. I love going on exchanges and getting to know new missionaries. That is one thing that I have really loved about my mission. I love teaching the gospel to people but I really love meeting new people. I have met so many awesome people out here!

Church was amazing yesterday! I always love Easter Sunday! I loved listening to the children sing. It was so awesome. Primary programs are just the best. I don’t know what it is but music just gets to me. I love music so much. I never realized how much I really love music until I came on my mission. After church we went over to Brother Cortez’s house and his whole extended family was over. It was a fiesta kinda thing. I think that’s what they call it. The kids had an Easter egg hunt and we had lots of candy and had some fun! We then went over to a different family’s house and had dinner. It was a super fun day!

The scripture for this week is Alma 7:11-13. This is one of my all time favorite scriptures about the Savior. I feel like it is appropriate for this time of the year. The past few weeks I have been reading Jesus the Christ and let me tell you – I absolutely love that book! It was super awesome because at the beginning of the week I was reading about Jesus Christ suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and yesterday I finished reading about His resurrection, the main few parts of the Atonement. Something that really stood out to me, that doesn’t get covered a lot, is the scourging. For some reason that just stood out to me as I was reading about it in Jesus the Christ. I know that He felt every single persons pains and afflictions in the Garden but I don’t think we will ever know everything He went through. I just think of the whip/cat-o-nine tails that they whipped Him with. I can imagine what that felt like and then getting the crown of thorns placed on His head. I can put my mind around those and no thank you. He is the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords. He was sent here to do something and because He knew it was the Father’s will, He did it. I know that if we will align our will with God’s will then we will be happier and live happier lives. I have become so much happier as I have aligned my will with His! I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week this week!

Love,
Elder Pope

My Lone Peak boiis!
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We did service for an investigator of the other missionaries. It was pretty awesome!
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These are things that go on here in California. We see this guy all the time! He is super funny when we stop and talk to him!
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Brother Cortez took us on a team up and then he hooked us up with some fresh fruit cups. The fruit was super interesting and had a bunch of spices on it. It was the spiciest fruit I have ever had.
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This was dinner last night. Let’s just say it got pretty intense!
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We found the Manteca Mansion. This is the biggest house in the central valley. It is pretty cool!
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We also found this super cool park last night. We had to test it out before we went home for the night. It was pretty awesome!
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Week 65 – Love Lard

This week was a pretty fun week! We got a few nice rain showers this week that got us super soaked, but it is supposed to be good weather this next week – we hope! I heard Utah got some snow! Not sure if that is a good thing or not but I miss the snow.

So this week we were visiting one of our investigators and, after visiting with them at the door step, these three guys called us over. They didn’t look too intimidating so we walked over and they asked us if we believe in space. We said, “yes” and it led into this wonderful conversation. We started talking and testifying of God and Jesus Christ. It just goes to show that anything can relate to the gospel. We have an appointment with one of the guys this week and are super excited to see him! Oh, I forgot to mention that they were all super high and super drunk so it was pretty funny. Hopefully they remember our appointment!

We did the service project Love Manteca this week. It was super awesome and super wet! The weather here in Manteca is super bipolar. We had the opportunity to spread mulch all around a park with a bunch of other people. When we started it was super sunny outside and the next thing you know it was pouring outside. It was lots of fun, but a bunch of people decided to leave because they were getting too wet. We pushed through it though and finished. It is so awesome to finish things! If you start something it is always such a wonderful feeling when you finish. We got back to our apartment and saw a moving truck outside so we helped the people move in. They are now interested in having us come over and share what we believe, which is awesome!

We met with a few of our investigators this week. We met with Marianne twice and it went really well! She was supposed to come to church on Sunday but wasn’t able to make it. I guess it is hard for people to come to church at nine when they are used to going to mass at like four in the afternoon. So that was kind of a bummer but we have another meeting with her this week! We also picked up a new investigator this week. He was a referral from the YSA sisters and he is super awesome. He is a single man who loves to talk about Jesus and we have an appointment with him tomorrow morning! This week we are pretty busy with appointments and meetings, so it should be fun like usual!

Yesterday we had the opportunity to teach the young women. It was kind of weird when we got a call Saturday night to teach the young women. It was super fun though. We shared the #PRINCEofPEACE video with them and talked about it! The young women in our ward are super awesome. It was the first time I have ever taught the young women and I don’t think it was as weird as we were anticipating it would be.

We have been watching the #PRINCEofPEACE video every day, multiple times a day. It really makes me think of the peace that He truly brings into my life. I cannot imagine myself and where I would be right now if it weren’t for Jesus Christ in my life! I know I talked about it a little bit in my email last week but this video is just so amazing. One thing that I really love is the music in the video. It just really gets me excited. Excited to share the message with all those people that are around who haven’t experienced peace in their life because they don’t have Jesus in their life. I love just going over the words that are in the video. Here are the words so you can look over them and reflect on a few of the many things that the Savior has done!

He was the world’s greatest conqueror, yet He ruled no nations, led no armies, never raised a sword, took no spoils.
His only crown was made of thorns.
He won victories no one else could.
He defeated death, He conquered sin and offers peace to all who follow Him.
He can calm troubled seas and troubled souls.
He can heal broken lives and broken bonds.
He can turn water into wine and heartache into hope.
He lived, died, and lived again so we will all live again.
His resurrection brings us peace now and forever.
He is Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

The scripture for today is D&C 46. I love this section talking about our spiritual gifts. We need to always be thinking, “What have I done to develop my spiritual gifts today?” I know that we are all blessed with different gifts that we need to use and develop. It makes me think of “The Parable of the Pounds” in Luke 19:11-27. Don’t just bury your spiritual gifts. Use them to the best of your ability. The more we use our gifts the more gifts we will be blessed with. I love this gospel and I love the Savior. He loves us and wants the best for us, and he will help us if we will truly turn to him!

Love,
Elder Pope

So the Spanish Elders somehow got a key to our apartment and put our beds in the bathrooms. It was super funny to walk in because we were not expecting that!
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Here are a few pictures from Love Manteca. It is always a fun time with these two Elders. It was super funny too because we met at a big church by our apartment. The church had a Starbucks in it. It was pretty cool to go in and take a tour of this church!
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Week 64 – #PRINCEofPEACE & Conference

So this week we had the wonderful privilege to listen to our wonderful prophet and apostles! I love listening to conference and hearing what they have to say. I hope you all enjoyed the wonderful talks that were given. I hope you all are also enjoying this heat. Well, I am not sure how hot Utah really is but it is in the 80’s here and pretty hot!

It is super crazy because my district is totally different! Elder Whittlock and Elder Hayden replaced Elder Schultz and Elder Perry. They are both great missionaries and super dedicated to the work, which is awesome. I also got a new sister named Sister Price. She is super awesome but a little too quiet so I guess we will have to break her of that. Haha! Elder Whittlock is from Ten Sleep, Wyoming and Elder Hayden is from South Jordan, Utah. It is going to be an awesome transfer with them all!

We had the opportunity to have a specialized training this last Thursday instead of our usual district meeting. We got to watch the new #PRINCEofPEACE video and talk about ways that we can implement it into our missionary lives. I absolutely love this wonderful video. For those of you who haven’t seen the video, I challenge you to go and watch it. It truly made me think how much Jesus Christ had to go through and how he is such a wonderful example to me and you. He is the King of Kings. For our dinner messages we have been sharing this with the families and talking about it. The one question that usually comes up is, “How have you found peace in Jesus Christ?” One way that I have found peace in Jesus Christ is to know that I can live with my loved ones again and to know that we will be resurrected just like He was! I love my Savior and how much peace He has brought to my life. I want you to think of all the ways that Jesus has blessed your life. Another great idea is for family night tonight, or even next week, watch this video and come up with all the ways that Jesus Christ has truly brought peace to your life!

There were so many wonderful talks given at General Conference. One of the many things that I really loved was by President Monson. The Book of Mormon is such an amazing book. I know that if we are having struggles with anything or not, we should always read the Book of Mormon. It truly will keep our thoughts and actions on a higher note. I also loved what President Uchtdorf said in his talk – to not look anywhere but up. Sometimes we will have hard times but we always just need to look up. Look at the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the tunnel may be longer then what you think it should be, but it is God’s will and not ours! Something else I learned from Conference was to follow the spirit the FIRST time it prompts you. Elder Ronald A. Rasband said, “If you listen to the first prompting, you will get it 9/10.” Always follow the spirit when it prompts you. Sometimes we get nervous that it is just our own thoughts. Yes, sometimes it is but most of the time it is the spirit telling you to do something!

Sometimes we may want something to be different then it really is. We want it to be our will and not God’s will. This week I had a really big testimony builder of that. We were invited by one of our members, Brother Jones, to give his mother a blessing. Just remember that she is 101 years old and in the hospital. Elder Silva anointed her and I had the opportunity to seal the anointing and give her a priesthood blessing. Brother Jones really wants his mom to get better and be healed. I mean, if that was our mother that is what we would all want too. It is hard to lose a loved one. As we all know, the spirit directs the blessings and speaks through you. I wanted to say that all would be okay but that wasn’t the case. The spirit directed me to just say that she will be at peace. The blessing was all about peace. After the blessing was over, Brother Jones noted it was about peace and that she would know how much her Heavenly Father truly loves her. We talked about it and knowing that it truly is God’s will. She is still with us today and doing a little better but he said it truly brought peace into his life. If that is God’s will then that is what is supposed to be.

This week in Manteca they were having a carnival at the southern part of Manteca and a street fair in the middle of Manteca with the whole road shut down. So what did we do as missionaries? We went and contacted people. Yes, it was super awesome and lots of fun! We were able to talk with lots of people and give out lots of pass along cards! I love going to activities like that. It is also super funny because everyone looks at you super weird. As a missionary, people are always watching so it is important that we always act the best! We ran into the people who we helped do “Stuff the Bus” and they invited us to their next service project that they will be doing! It is so awesome that people are placed in your path the way they are. Some times people are super rude to you and the next day they are super nice to you. The Lord prepared people and places them in our paths. I love how it works!

The scripture for this week is Alma 30:44. Recently we have been running into a lot of Atheists and people who don’t believe in God. It really makes us sad that these wonderful sons and daughters of God are dwindling in unbelief. I love what it says, look around us. There is so much here that wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for God. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for God. I want to testify that I know God is real. I know that we can pray to him and ask him if he is real. I think I may have said it in my email last week but again, if any of you are struggling with your faith watch “The Hope of God’s Light.” It is a really powerful Mormon Message. I feel each and every one of your prayers each and every day! Thank you for all the support that you give to me!

Love,
Elder Pope

Here is a picture of Elder Silva and I with our snazzy blazers that might be a little too small…haha! A lot of missionaries left a lot of their clothes when they left so we decided to try on some of the blazers. They look good, huh?
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Tracting at the street fair went really awesome until we found the cars. Hehe! Here are two of my dream cars. Corvette Z06 and a Challenger HELLCAT!
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Us and the Spanish Elders tracting at the carnival. It was pretty intense! I love carnivals!
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