Month: July 2017

Week 81 – Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

What’s up family and friends? So, I hate to break the news to you but it is that time again. Tomorrow is transfers…Elder Wray and I will not be companions again. Elder Wray is one of the new assistants and I get a new companion. My new companion is Elder Ramsay. I will get him tomorrow. I know just a little bit about him. He is from Kentucky and only has one transfer left on his mission. It will be a good time but I will definitely miss Elder Wray. It is a good thing that after the mission we only live 40 minutes away from each other. We will be hanging out all the time when we both get back! He is a fantastic missionary and I will miss him as my companion.

Well, I also wanted to wish my parents a Happy Anniversary! They just celebrated 29 years of being married! I sure do love my parents! I am so grateful for them and their great example to me. Someday I hope to be just like my parents and to raise my kids the way they raised me. They have both done so many wonderful things for me and well…I guess if it weren’t for them then I wouldn’t be here. Haha! They are both such wonderful people and if you haven’t been able to meet them then you should! I love them with all my heart and I know that families can be eternal!

So it has been pretty crazy! Every day this week was over 100 degrees. It is so hot outside! It is such a blessing. So many people around here just love giving us water. We have been doing a lot of finding lately so we can have people to teach! It has been going really well. We have been knocking doors and talking with as many people as possible. We have found a lot of success doing it. We have been able to pick up a bunch of new potential investigators and a lot of appointments for this week. It is going to be pretty interesting teaching with a new companion but it will be great!

Another crazy thing that happened this week was going on exchanges with Elder Jarvis. Elder Jarvis was my trainer. We were companions for the first 4 and 1/2 months of my mission in Turlock. It was pretty fun to be back with him again for the day. He’s still the same. We were able to teach a lesson to a referral we received from other missionaries. His name is Peter. We taught him the restoration and have a return appointment with him this week! We also have a few other appointments this week with potential investigators!

The quote for the day is from President Gordon B. Hinckley. He says, “Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great things and good things.” This quote really means a lot to me in my life. If we are worried that we aren’t going to do great things then we aren’t going to do great things. We need to believe that we will do great things. There is another quote that I heard while on my mission that really goes along well with that quote. “It doesn’t take any effort to be loser, to stay down there on a low level, but it calls on everything within you, you have to harness your will to save you.” I am not sure who this quote is from but I love it. We need to have confidence. Not be prideful but have confidence. I know that with God all things are possible! I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week this week!

Elder Pope

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures this week!

Week 80 – Draw Closer to the Lord

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? Things are going great out in Modesto! It has been pretty hot here. Most of the days are over 100 degrees.

So this week was a great week! We just picked up a new investigator. He is named after the Aztec rain God. We had a great lesson with him about the plan of salvation. He was really receptive and willing to learn more. We have a return appointment with him tonight and we are really excited about that! We committed him to read and pray to know if our message is true. We will find out tonight what he says!

For those of you who didn’t quite understand my last subject line, He>I is a symbol that comes from Hawaii. He is Christ. It is a Christian symbol. We had members show us it after they just got home from Hawaii. It makes me think of how amazing Jesus Christ is. He is truly greater than I. It is just something that I would invite all of you to think about as you go throughout your week –

We had President’s interviews this week! President and Sister Palmer are both amazing individuals! They are wonderful examples of Christlike love and are always willing to help. I am so glad that they are who they are. They have helped me through hard times and always encourage me to do better. It is so great to just sit down with them for a little while and get to know them a little bit better. Not sure if I said it earlier in my mission but President Palmer has a brother who lives in Alpine. I am not sure what his first name is but his last night is Palmer. I do know that much. Ha! President and Sister Palmer truly do love each and every one of their missionaries!

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants this past week as well. I went with Elder Baird. He is a great missionary from Idaho. We did a lot of biking in downtown Modesto! It was pretty crazy. I witnessed a man stealing some beer from a gas station. We were in downtown Modesto and a man, who I think was homeless, walked out and pulled a big beer can out of his pants. He walked right in front of me. Then I heard a guy screaming and running towards him out of the gas station. The guy threw the beer and ran off. It was pretty crazy! It was pretty cool to see though. Definitely not something you see everyday! Don’t worry, mom. I am okay.

Last preparation day we did a key quest activity. I don’t know if any of you have heard of it, but it is when people lock you in a room and you have to find clues on how to get the key so you can get out. We had 45 minutes to get out or we would lose. Well, we won with two minutes left! It was pretty fun! We had six missionaries there and one member. There are pictures below of us doing it!

The quote I want to share with all of you is today’s daily quote. It says, “Nothing draws you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ than a desire to change.” -Elder Joaquin E. Costa. This is such a fantastic quote. One thing that I have learned on my mission is that change is good. Every day we need to be changing and becoming better. I have noticed that when I have my heart turned to the Savior and am willing to change that there is a change that happens. It is when we are humble enough to allow change to happen. Too many times we are too prideful to change. We think we are good where we are at. We are never good where we are at. It is when we truly turn our hearts and minds to the Savior that change will happen. If we want to come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ, then we need to have a desire to change!

Elder Pope

Elder Wray and I made chicken and waffles for lunch yesterday! Good stuff right there!
​​Winners at key quest!
​​Exchanges with the assistants.

Week 79 – He>I

This week was a pretty awesome week! We had a meeting on Tuesday for all of the leaders in the mission. We talked about finding the whole time and how we need to find more people to teach. It was super awesome. Elder Wray and I have been working extra hard trying to find people. We have set a goal for two new investigators each week. We can’t teach anyone until we find them. In the Riverbank Ward we are able to find people just not find people with real intent.

Sunday was a super awesome day. We had our usual meetings and then church. Church was super awesome! We had two high councilmen come and talk with us. They both did great. We were in our MCM (Missionary Coordination Meeting) after church and received a call from missionaries outside of our zone. There was a member in their ward who got super sick really fast and had to have her gallbladder removed. It was super awesome because we hurried over to the hospital and gave her a blessing. Oh, they were also Spanish speaking so that was a little awesome! I am so grateful for the Priesthood power on the earth today! There are so many miracles that are happening all around us each and every day.

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Bowler this past week. He is a great missionary from Missoula, Montana. Something else that is pretty cool is that he played football with my cousin, Walker, in high school! It was fun to be with him and to share the gospel.

On Saturday we had a ward party! We had a softball game against another ward and then we had a BBQ! It was a lot of fun. We played in the softball game and it was a blast. We were hoping that some of our investigators would show up but none of them did. It was a bummer but we had some less active members show up which was great! Oh, we also had a member just get back from Utah. They hooked us up with a loaf of Grandma Sycamores bread! It was one of the best days. Fresh homemade strawberry jam and Grandma Sycamores bread – that is what I am talking about!

The scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 9:7. This is one of the first places that it actually says the word “Atonement.” I am so grateful for my Savior. I love talking about Him and teaching people about Him each and every day. We need to always be doing what is right and know that the end is salvation. It is what we do here and now that will cause us to either receive salvation or not. I love my Savior and am so grateful for His gospel on the earth today!

Elder Pope

A&W any size rootbeer floats for only $2. We took a kid in our ward out on a team up and promised him ice cream!
They see me rollin’, they hatin’…
When you get hooked up with the best bread ever!
The crew when we were on exchanges.

Week 78 – Happy (Late) Fourth of July!

Hey, hey, hey! How is everybody doing!?! HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! I hope everyone had an awesome day celebrating our freedoms and knows how wonderful the country is that we live in! I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with a great missionary that day. His name is Elder Wade. He is super cool! For lunch that day we ate with Horacio! Do any of you remember Horacio from when I was in Oakdale? He moved to Modesto and wanted to have us over! After lunch we did a little proselyting and then had dinner. It was probably one of the best dinners I have ever had! The food was pretty good but there were a bunch of different families there that were so awesome! We played cornhole against everyone. Elder Wade and I were the reigning champs, I guess you could say! We had to be in at nine but we were at Elder Wade and Elder Jarvis’ apartment so we watched the fireworks from their balcony. They live on the third story and it was pretty great! It was funny because there were a lot of gunshots and a lot of fireworks going off. Modesto is a pretty interesting place! We had a great time on exchanges.

We had a zone conference on Wednesday that was really awesome! We just got a new five points of emphasis for our mission. The five are:

  • Increase unity through effective daily companion study and companion prayer
  • Plan daily to meet the specific needs of all those we teach
  • Prepare commitment-based lesson plans for every lesson
  • Extend commitments to everyone we teach and follow up
  • Have members help those we teach keep their commitments

These points are the basic points of missionary work. Our conference was all about extending commitments and following up. Elder Wray and I had the opportunity to give a training on preparing commitment-based lesson plans for every lesson. It was so awesome! It is so important that we leave people with commitments. If we don’t leave them with a commitment, then we aren’t asking them to repent and come closer to their Savior. It is when people act that they will grow.

I am not sure how many of you saw the picture of us weeding one of our part member family’s garden but it was awesome! We showed up with our team up and she was out in her garden weeding. We took off our shoes and socks and jumped right in. Man do I miss getting dirty. It was a lot of fun pulling weeds. I love giving spontaneous service! When we see people that need help with something, we need to think, “What would Jesus do?” I love that saying that I learned when I was young. What would Jesus do? Throughout Jesus Christ’s life and ministry he was always serving. Nothing was for himself. He was always looking outward and helping others. Too many times in our lives we are too “busy” to help someone with something so simple. It may mean the world to them and you may not even know it. It is when we do the “small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.”

All of our investigators are doing really well! We are still teaching the same ones. We are really trying to find more people to teach. We can’t teach until we find people to teach! I hope you all have a wonderful week! We are going to Oakdale to play some wiffle ball in the gym!

Elder Pope

Us helping a family in our ward weed their garden! It was pretty fun!
We helped a member move a piano. Service is great!
The homies! Elder Beus and Elder Wray. We’re out here ballin’ it up!

Week 77 – The Life

What is up everybody!?! How is everything going? Things are going fantastic here in the great Golden State!

This week seemed to fly by. It is so crazy to think that time is going by so fast! I know I say it a lot but the past year and a half has flown by. I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Owens! There is a picture of him below. It was a pretty good time with him. He is a funny person and will talk your ear off! We taught some great lessons to different individuals. We accidentally met a less active member named Cecil James. We also got a church headquarters referral for a lady named Mercedes. We taught her and him. It is amazing the places that God directs us. We are in an area for a reason. He will guide us and direct us to the people we need to see!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach the Gospel Principles class. I taught about, “The Gifts of the Spirit.” I love reading about all of the gifts that we can receive. It talks about some of the gifts in D&C 46. There are so many gifts that we can receive if we will open our hearts and live worthy enough to receive them. One of my favorite gifts to read about was the gift of tongues. It is so real and so amazing. Even though I am here in California speaking English, I have seen the gift of tongues help me in the work. When someone speaks to us in Spanish, it is amazing that we can usually understand them. Sometimes we know what to say back to them in Spanish and sometimes we don’t. It is just amazing!

Elder Wray and I got to go to Sonora this week and drop off packages! It is always a lot of fun to go to Sonora. We got to have a companion study with the Elders up there then come back. It is about an hour and a half drive up there! We aren’t too far from the Nevada border, which is super crazy! Sonora is up in the mountains and is a little tourist town.

The scripture for this week is 2 Nephi 4:16-35. We are having a zone conference this week and 2 Nephi 4 is part of the training. I just love this chapter but especially these verses. Sometimes we want to serve the Lord with all of our heart but feel weighed down by our weaknesses. We need to repent and move forward. Just keep pushing forward! I love this gospel and the things it teaches us! I know it is the one TRUE church on the earth today! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Pope

Elder Owens!
The things you find in California…