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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