Month: May 2017

Week 72 – Happy Memorial Day

How is it going family and friends?! I hope everyone is enjoying their day today and also starting to enjoy their summer!

So, like I said in my last email, Elder Clayton and his wife were visiting our mission. It was so awesome to have them here! On Tuesday we had a Mission Leadership Council with him there and a couple other missionaries. He gave some super amazing trainings on Christlike attributes. I absolutely loved the trainings! The thing that was the coolest was when we all knelt down and he offered a prayer. I have never heard a seventy or an apostle pray. I have always heard them give talks but never pray. It was the best prayer I have ever heard and witnessed.

This week we talked with our investigator, Jordi! He decided that he wants to continue going to the home ward and keep being taught by us! We aren’t going to turn him down so we agreed! He came to church with us yesterday and it was great. It was super funny because in opening exercises they asked if we had any visitors so he raised his hand and we introduced him. He nudged me and got mad because we didn’t tell everyone that he is getting baptized on the 10th! It was super funny and everyone got a good laugh out of it! We weren’t able to teach the Bailey family last week because they were out of town but this week we are hopefully going to teach them! We also just picked up a new part member family. The dad is not a member but the mom and kids are. He is super awesome so we will see where it goes!

This week we got to go on exchanges with our District Leader. His name is Elder Holt and he’s from Texas. It was super fun and we got to teach a bunch of people. Well, other then that we have had just over 16 hours of meetings in the past seven days. That is really all we did this week! We didn’t do a whole lot of proselyting.

So, I don’t think I told you but my companion’s cousin is Aaron Story. It was also his birthday this week. Let’s just say that we had a party!

The scripture for this week is Omni 1:26. I really love this scripture and the things it teaches us. I have been studying about fasting lately and why fasting is important. This is one scripture on fasting that I think is great! We need to offer up our whole soul unto Christ and partake of His salvation. It is only through Christ that we can be saved. Christ has brought so much peace into my life and I know that if you will love Him then he will bring peace into your life. Have a great life!

Love,
Elder Pope

We made an ultra bunk bed!
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The missionary crew. I love having zone conferences and getting to see all of my friends!
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When people tell you to do a wheelie because they think you can’t – like WHAT!?!
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Here are the other missionaries we went on exchanges with!
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Week 71 – Thee Elder Clayton

What’s up everyone?! This week was a fantastic week here in Riverbank!

This last Saturday and Sunday we had our Stake Conference! It was amazing. We had a Seventy come too! It was Elder Weatherford T. Clayton. He gave a great talk on the Plan of Salvation this last General Conference. It was so awesome to be able to hear from him and from our wonderful Stake President! It was also super awesome to see a whole bunch of members from the Oakdale Ward that I haven’t seen in awhile. We had the opportunity to get up and sing during the Saturday night session.

This morning we had a Zone Conference. Guess who was there? Elder Clayton and his wife! It was super amazing! And, guess what is even cooler then that? We get to have another Leadership Meeting with him tomorrow morning! It will be the Zone Leaders, the Sister Training Leaders, and the Assistants. It is going to be super intense tomorrow but I am super excited! During the entire meeting today we talked about the Book of Mormon and how wonderful it is. Elder Clayton called four missionaries out of the audience to bare their testimonies and I was one of them. Talk about intimidating. Half of the mission was there, plus President and Sister Palmer and Elder and Sister Clayton. It was so amazing to bare my testimony even though I was super scared out of my mind! I love the Book of Mormon and all of the wonderful things that are taught in it.

We have been teaching a few of our investigators. Last night we had a great lesson with a part member family, the Baileys. They are a super awesome family! The mom is the only member and they have three kids who are twelve, eight, and one. The eight year old wants to be baptized and the twelve year old is praying to find out if she wants to be baptized. We are hoping that if they commit to be baptized that the dad will want to be baptized too! It would be an amazing thing to see the whole family joined together in the gospel. We have also been teaching an 18 year old who we found two weeks ago. I think I talked about him last week. We committed him to be baptized on June 10th so that is super awesome. We are going to give him to the YSA Ward missionaries now that he is YSA age but it was awesome teaching him! There are a bunch of part member families in our ward that we are trying to teach! After we spend some time
working with them we will find more families and people to teach.

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Assistants this week! It was lots of fun going on exchanges with them. They are great Elders! I went with Elder Booth and it was awesome! We visited a recent convert and we taught about the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was so awesome because right after Stake Conference yesterday he was able to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. He invited me to stand in the circle. It was so awesome to see someone receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The scripture for this week is Mosiah 2:17. I love this scripture. We have been using it a lot in our teaching and for our dinner messages. It is so important that we serve all of the people that are around us! There is such an amazing Mormon Message called “Lift.” It is so touching. Every time I see this video it really touches my heart. I challenge each of you to watch it and look for opportunities to serve all around the community. If we will pray for opportunities to serve they will arise! I love you all so much and hope you have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Pope

We are the dynamic duo when it comes to ballin’. We will play anyone two-on-two. Give us a call and we will make it happen!
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The squad on exchanges. The Assistants and us ballin’ outside their house!
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Elder Wray and I chillin’ out!
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Week 70 – Happy Mother’s Day!

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Mother’s Day! I am so grateful for all of the wonderful mothers and women that are in the world right now. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful Mother, who I love so much! She is such an amazing example to me and to all the people around her. I am so blessed to have her in my life. I love my Mrs. Pope, as everyone knows her! One of my favorite hymns to listen to is Hymn #309 (notice how I said listen to it and not sing it…haha!):

1. As sisters in Zion, we’ll all work together;
The blessings of God on our labors we’ll seek.
We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor;
We’ll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak.

2. The errand of angels is given to women;
And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
To do whatsoever is gentle and human,
To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name.

3. How vast is our purpose, how broad is our mission,
If we but fulfill it in spirit and deed.
Oh, naught but the Spirit’s divinest tuition
Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed.

My mom is the definition of this song. Every time I think of it I think of her and all of the amazing things that she has done.

My new companion’s name is Elder Wray. He is super awesome and the Riverbank Ward is super awesome! The members here are great and we have a bunch of investigators. We had four investigators at church yesterday.

One thing that I have really loved and learned while I have been on my mission is that the Lord places people in your path. We were biking around visiting people on my second day in the area. There was a kid out standing by a canal. We stopped and talked with him about the church. He said he was out doing a senior project and wanted us to be a part of it. We got to take the survey he had and it was amazing. He really loved the message that we shared and invited us back. We talked with him about the Book of Mormon and how it is the most important book in the world. He loves it. His name is Jordi. He came to church with us yesterday and he told us he knows the Book of Mormon is true! It is amazing what that book can do. He hasn’t read a whole lot of it yet but he just knows it is true. I love the Book of Mormon and I know without a doubt that it is true!

Sorry but there isn’t going to be a scripture of the week this week. We have to go and help the missionaries in Oakdale move out of their apartment. Have a great week! I love you all so much and am thankful for all that you do!

Love,
Elder Pope

This is our new district! Everyone is tons of fun and I am excited to be here!
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A lane in Modesto that we found. Good old Elder Lane!
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This is my companion, Elder Wray. He is super awesome!
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Week 69 – Golfing is Great!

Well, we got our transfer calls last night and I am being transferred…I am going to the Riverbank Ward and am a Zone Leader in the Modesto North Zone! My new companion’s name is Elder Wray and I am super excited! It will be a change but I have been here in Manteca for 6 months now. It is bitter sweet. I will definitely miss my companion Elder Silva but this is what the Lord wants.

So, it has been super hot this past week. One day it got up to 101 degrees here! Let’s just say that I am not ready for summer. It is still supposed to be spring. On the bright side, I will now have a car. This is the first time on my mission that I have had a car, so that is pretty exciting! We had to deliver some papers to the Ripon Sisters (a good five miles away) and decided to bike there since we couldn’t find anyone to give us a ride. Needless to say, it was 96 degrees outside when we biked there and then turned around and biked back. We said we probably won’t be doing that again. Haha!

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with one of the zone leaders. I went with Elder Chambers in the Lathrop Ward. It was so awesome and I was able to learn so much from it! I love exchanges with other missionaries and seeing the different ways that they do things. It is so awesome to see such a variety and to see what works the best and what doesn’t work so well. Missionary work is not easy. When I first came out on my mission it was so easy to prepare people for baptism, but as time goes on it just seems to be getting harder and harder. I know that we can all do hard things if we will rely on the Lord and seek out His guidance.

Sorry for the short letter. I am all out of time. Didn’t have a whole lot of time to email today. We just got done golfing with a less active member and have dinner soon. The scripture for this week is Alma 32. I really love this whole chapter, mainly because it talks about faith. We need faith in all that we do. We all have that seed of faith in us; it just depends on how much we nourish it and help it grow to be big and strong. Or, we can just not nourish it and do things that we are not supposed to do and it will incinerate. I promise that if you will continue to be diligent in reading your scriptures, praying, and going to church then your faith will grow immensely and you will be blessed because of it! I also want to talk about a wonderful and powerful video that we found this week. It is called “The Infinite Power of Hope” by Elder Uchtdorf. It is a short Mormon Message that teaches us so much about hope. In some ways I like to compare hope and faith. They are both super awesome and we need to have both of them! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love,
Elder Pope

Elder Silva and I enjoying this beautiful weather by going golfing today. It was super funny wearing my Durant jersey on the course. Everyone kept yelling, “I love your jersey, man! They are totally going to win tonight!” It was super funny!
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This is Brother Cortez’s granddaughter, Abby. We have the same birthday so she really likes me. It is pretty great!
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Week 68 – Caswell State Park

This week was a great week! Have a great week everyone!

Last Monday we had the opportunity to go to Caswell State Park in the town right below Manteca. It is one of the smallest state parks I have ever been to, but it was an absolute blast! We went on a little hike with the Sisters and just had lots of fun! Down below there are some pictures of the wonderful fun we were able to have. It reminded me so much of home (except that home is in the mountains). Being outdoors is so fun! I have loved the outdoors ever since I was a little boy and I am loving them even more each time I get to go do something in the outdoors!

We had the wonderful opportunity to help a family move. It was super fun! They lived with Brother Cortez (the guy who is in a lot of my pictures) but moved about two blocks away. They are still in our area but we have to get a male over the age of 18 if we want to go and visit them. Her name is Sylvia and she has two daughters. They are a super awesome family! I love meeting so many wonderful people here and developing a  friendship with them! I love doing service projects for people!

We have been working a lot with our less active members in the ward. We just found out that there are over 500 members in our ward boundaries and only about 150 of them are active. We have been making it a big push to visit everyone on our ward list who we don’t know and bring them back to church. Attending church is such a wonderful thing! Each week we are able to partake of the sacrament and take upon ourselves the name of the Savior. The sacrament is such a wonderful and peaceful thing in our lives.

Yesterday we had a special fifth Sunday meeting with all of the brethren here. We talked about prospective elders and less actives. We talked about the importance of home teaching each and every month. It is so amazing when we visit a family on the ward list who we are not familiar with. When they open the door they see it is the missionaries and get super excited. Oftentimes they have been praying for someone to stop by or talk about the church. There are so many families here and all around that are ready to come back to the fold, but “they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12). I think that it could also mean that they don’t have a friend or that they don’t know that someone cares about them. Home and visiting teaching is so important. We just need to let people know that we love them and that we are always here for them. Just being a friend to someone may be what could bring them back to church so they can receive the wonderful blessings. I am so grateful for my dad and the wonderful example he set by home teaching his assigned families every month! I want each one of you to reach out to someone in need. Pray about it and reach out to them. Help them feel loved!

We had the opportunity to do our usual service this week at Second Harvest and then at the Methodist Church Food Bank. We always have so much fun serving at these places and meeting the people who come through. Below is a picture of us at the Methodist Church Food Bank. They didn’t believe that we could stack the baby food but they were wrong! We got it!

For our dinner message we have been sharing the Ask of God video. I really enjoy the youth video. I love the questions that the kids ask. A bunch of them ask questions that we will all ask at some point in our lives. I know that our Father in Heaven loves us and will answer any question that we have. Prayer is so important. He wants to hear from us each and every day. I love that I can turn to Him any day and at any time. He is listening. Sometimes we get frustrated that He doesn’t answer our prayers when we want Him to, but in His time He will answer them! Sometimes our prayers take a while to get answered and sometimes they get answered right away! I love my Father and knows that he answers our prayers!

The scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 9:5-10. I love my Savior so much. I know that nothing would be possible without Him. If it weren’t for the infinite atonement, that He completed for each and every one of us, there would be no purpose here on earth! It is only by the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can be saved. It is the grace of God that we are saved after all that we can do! I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week! Family, I will see you in two weeks on Skype!

Love,
Elder Pope

This is Caswell State Park. Let’s just say we had a lot of fun doing whatever we were doing!
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​​Here is the district!
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