Month: November 2017

Week 98 – #LightTheWorld

This week was a crazy week. I love holidays! I only wish I could have been home with my immediate family but it is okay because the extended family has us covered. I am so grateful for so many loving people in our ward!

Thanksgiving was definitely one for the books! Thanksgiving morning we woke up and played some football with members from our ward. It was super fun and intense. Funny story though, while we were playing I was playing safety for our team. I dropped back to guard the second counselor in the bishopric when he got the ball thrown to him. Or…at least I thought it was to him. A guy from a ward in Modesto went to catch it and he was going the opposite way that I was, so needless to say I accidentally leveled him. Well, he didn’t catch the ball. He got hurt a little bit but I helped him up and apologized to him. Everyone was like, “Ohhhhhhh!!!” It was super funny! Good thing we said a prayer before the game that no one would get too injured. Prayer really does work! It was a great time playing football. After we played football we went to Oakdale and helped feed homeless people Thanksgiving dinner. It has been really neat the last two Thanksgivings to be able to go and serve those who aren’t as fortunate as we are. You can really see how much they appreciate it! We then hurried over to the Langi family for our first of three dinners. They roasted a whole pig! It was super good. They also fed us LuPulu and Tero. They were all super interesting and something I have never eaten before. We hurried out and went to the Bailey’s home. They are super awesome! We had a whole bunch of different kinds of food: chow mein, hot wings, mac n cheese, curry. It was a great variety! After them we went to the Montuy family for the last dinner! We had ribs, sweet potatoes, ham, and turkey. It was a really cool experience to have so many different items for Thanksgiving. After dinner we played some cards with them to finish off the night. Thanksgiving was great!

So the new #LightTheWorld initiative came out! I love when the church does initiatives. It really helps the missionary work! We get to share it with people and help them be a better light to others. The last couple of days we have shared the video as our dinner message. I love being able to talk about it and the different ways that we can be a light to others around us. There are the 25 different ways that we can be a light to others over the 25 days! I love that we can be a light to others and I am grateful for my Savior and all of the light that He has brought into my life!

The quote for today is from Elder Holland, “Here in our mortality our perfection is still pending.” It is from Elder Holland’s last General Conference talk called “Be Ye Therefore Perfect – Eventually.” Each and every day we can do our best to live as Christ did and be perfect. But, we will always fail. The only perfect human being to walk the earth is Jesus Christ. None of us are perfect. We have to repent each day! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and His willingness to sacrifice Himself for us. I love Him so much and am so grateful for His gospel (the good news) in my life! I love you all and can’t wait to see you in 31 days!

Love,
Elder Pope

We carded the Sylvan Elders’ door!
SAM_2416
Post Turkey Bowl picture.
SAM_2419
Feeding the homeless.
SAM_2420
Playing Pit with the Montuys!
SAM_2422
It is me on the TV? Haha! We had a recent convert show us a video of me opening my mission call. It is so crazy to think that was over two years ago now! Wow, where has time gone?
SAM_2427

Week 97 – Happy Turkey Day!

What’s up fam? First off, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! It is a great holiday! We have four dinners lined up already for it! We are also going to play in the Turkey Bowl our ward is hosting on Thursday morning. It is going to be a super fun day! We are both looking forward to it. Also, happy birthday on the 23rd to the best dad out there! I love him so much and I hope to be like him someday when I get older! I love you ya “Old Fart!”

We got to go on two different exchanges this week! The first exchange was pretty interesting. I went the first night with Elder Rigby (Elder Gunner Miller’s companion) and the next morning I was super sick. I got the flu. It was kind of a bummer but thank goodness it only lasted for 24 hours. So that day I stayed inside with Elder Miller because Elder Rigby needs more training since he is a new missionary. It was great to be able to talk about life just the two of us. We had a couple of really great spiritual conversations and funny conversations. I love having that guy in our zone! The second exchange we got to go on was with the Oakdale 1st Elders! It was super fun being in an old area! I was with Elder Ozment. He is a new missionary from Oklahoma. He is such a character. We had a great time together and it was also super awesome running into members from that ward. We went to the taco truck and as we were finishing Brother Neville pulled up. He said, “Is that who I think it is?” Haha! He is such a great member and it was funny too because he said his kids were talking about me last week. Haha! Exchanges are always super fun!

We had President’s interviews this week! I freaking love President and Sister Palmer! They are both amazing and great human beings. They are always so uplifting and always looking for different ways that they can help you out. It is so nice to be able to just sit down and talk with them about life. They truly do love all of their missionaries and want the best for us. We had a specialized zone conference this week. We found out that our mission will be getting smartphones soon. I guess it is time to get rid of these old dinosaur phones. We aren’t sure when we are getting them but soon. The zone conference was also on reactivating less active Melchizedek priesthood holders. It was crazy when he told us that half of the Melchizedek Priesthood holders in our mission were less active. I about died when I found that out. We are still pushing and working with ten prospective Elders but also with less active Melchizedek Priesthood holders.

Last Monday we went to Knights Ferry. It is just past Oakdale. It was pretty neat because it is the end of the salmon spawning season so we were able to see some pretty big salmon! It was also super fun to be able to go hiking and just be with our district! I will attach some photos below.

Today I want to talk about a Mormon Message that I got to watch this week that touched my heart. It is called, “You Never Know.” I love the description it gives right under the video. It says, “Sometimes, the most important things you do each day are never even on your ‘to-do’ list. You might worry about the things you never get done, but President Gordon B. Hinckley reminds us, ‘You never know how much good you do.'” It is exactly what the title says. Sometimes we never know how much we do each day. I will be forever grateful for my family, friends, and acquaintances who do so much but don’t realize it. I can’t really say it in words but you will just have to watch the video. You are all amazing. No matter what trials and tribulations you might be going through, you are amazing. You have a loving Heavenly Father who cares for you. He loves you and is grateful for the things you do each and every day that sometimes you might not realize you have done. It could mean the world for someone else!

Love,
Elder Pope

Here is the crew! Knights Ferry was bomb!
SAM_2384
SAM_2389
Elder Bonola is heading home this transfer. Man I love that guy! It will be a nice reunion after the mission!
SAM_2403
We TSP all of the missionaries in our district. This is the sisters’ door that we did!
SAM_2406
We sticky noted the Spanish Sisters’ car this week and gave them some TSP’s!
SAM_0975
SAM_0976

Week 96 – Faith Always Defeats Fear

Well, it is crazy that another week has flown by! It seems just like yesterday that I sent my group email. Time goes by so fast when you are super busy!

This past week we had a great zone conference! Elder Silva and I got to give a training on loving members and ward leaders. It was great. We talked about how important it is to give TSP’s to everyone we come in contact with(TSP = Truthful Specific Positive comment). When you compliment someone or show someone they are loved it really helps them and helps you feel better about yourself. It is when we are selfless and put down our pride that we are the happiest. I have seen using TSP’s, or just letting someone know they are loved, really be beneficial in the work in this ward. As we were in our Missionary Coordination Meeting yesterday we came up with the list of families that we have reactivated this past year. We have been able to reactivate eight different families. The baptisms haven’t been as we were hoping but we have come to find out that the Lord wants us to work with the people who have gone astray. It is truly when we let people know that they are needed and are loved that they will make the effort to come to church. God loves us all. Too many people just go into a house and ask why they haven’t been going to church. Sometimes people get offended because of that. We need to love them back into activity. When they are ready to come back they will.

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Wray this week! It was a blast being able to catch up and have some fun together. We had a super cool experience happen this week that really helped me build my testimony on God placing people in your path. We were street contacting late last Monday night in downtown Modesto. We came across a guy named Xavier and he told us he had talked with missionaries in Stockton and now he moved to Modesto. We looked at each other and said, “Xavier Webb?” He said, “Yep!” So crazy situation. When Elder Wray and I were companions we got a referral from church headquarters of a guy named Xavier Webb who was taught in Stockton and now moved to Riverbank. When we stopped by his house his mom and dad had kicked him out and didn’t know where he was at. We just left it at that and didn’t think anything of it. This one time we are on exchanges 4 months later we run into this guy in downtown Modesto? Something just isn’t right. God is a loving God. He is a God of miracles. I know that this didn’t happen just because. It really helped strengthen my testimony and I hope it helps strengthen yours. Elder Wray and his companion are now teaching him in the YSA ward!

We also had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Oakdale Elders in our area. I got to go with Elder Schultz. He is our District Leader so we will be going on exchanges in the Oakdale 1st Ward area this week! I am looking forward to being in one of my old areas again! One thing about being a zone leader is that you go on so many exchanges with other missionaries. It is actually pretty fun!

Saturday night we got to go to a “Better Together Concert!” It was a concert that a whole bunch of different churches put on. They all came together to raise money and food for the food banks in the area and money for the disasters that have happened recently. To get into the concert you had to bring a bag of food! It was held at the Stake Center here and a bunch of people came to it. I love that there are so many wonderful people all around! Sometimes we don’t agree on religion but we can come together in other circumstances and help out the community! I love that it was able to happen like that!

The quote for today is, “Faith always defeats fear.” We need not fear but have faith. It is just plain and straightforward. Sometimes we don’t think we are good enough but if we have faith and not fear then we will be okay. God loves us and wants the best for us! Sometimes when talking with people we are nervous about not knowing what we should say. If we have faith that the Lord will put words in our mouths instead of having fear and not talking with that person we will be better off.

Love,
Elder Pope

We did service again for George. We had to wait for him so I decided to pop a squat in the wagon.
SAM_0925
Here is a picture we took at the Bailey’s house! They are so awesome!
IMG_5520
This is really what we do for district meeting! I love our district! #squad
SAM_0929
SAM_0931
SAM_0932
Us at the Better Together Concert!
SAM_0938

Week 95 – God’s Will is Key

This week was a pretty great week and a packed week!

Last Monday we had the opportunity to go and give a blessing in the hospital right by the church. It was for a brother who happened to be in mine and Elder Silva’s last ward. It was for his son, Travis, who I never met but Elder Silva has. Sunday morning he started having pain in his side so they took him to the emergency room. Come to find out that his kidney shutdown and all of his organs started shutting down. Travis is currently in a coma and not doing too well. The day before he was out riding dirt bikes and having a great time. He didn’t crash or anything like that. Out of nowhere he gets a pain and he almost died. The moral of the story is that you never know when it is the last time you will get to see a loved one. The doctors expected him to pass away last week but he is still in the ICU. But, how lucky are we to have the Plan of Salvation to know we can live with our loved ones again some day. The brother whose son we gave the blessing was so calm and knew that when his son passes that he will see him again someday. There is so much hope believing in the Savior Jesus Christ and knowing that each of us have our own plan.

Monday night was super awesome. When we were out proselyting we came across a haunted house that someone had made in front of their house. They were actually less active members so we talked with them for awhile then ended up going through the haunted house. It was one of the coolest haunted houses I have been in especially with it being homemade. They had air hoses all over the place where people could hide and scare you with the air and they even had a chainsaw guy in it. It took a total of four minutes to walk through the whole thing! We were able to sit down and talk with them around a fire they had going in their driveway. He told us he was baptized because his ex wife wanted him to be baptized and now he is inactive. It was just super awesome to be able to sit down with them and talk. People can come and walk through their haunted house for free and every time people come in they run in the back way and scare them. So we even got a turn to run in the back way and spray some people with air. It was pretty cool!

Tuesday was transfers and Halloween! We got to help put together some bikes for the new missionaries and take missionaries all over the place. It was also Elder Silva’s birthday so we had a great lunch! Transfers are always super crazy for us because we have to run missionaries all around in our zone. We had to be in by 6:00pm that night so we played cards and had some fun for Elder Silva’s birthday. Nothing too crazy!

Wednesday we had Mission Leadership Council. It was great! The spirit is always so strong in those meetings and there is always something new that you learn. Something that I learned and am working on is loving the ward leaders and members more. When you gain the trust of the members then they are more likely to give you referrals and help you with the work. Until that happens they are pretty hesitant to give you a referral for one of their best friends. I have been working on giving TSP (Truthful Specific Positive) comments to people. You can really tell a difference in the communication you have with the ward as well as them trusting you more!

We were able to help George build more of his fence. I think Elder Silva and I are getting pretty good at building fences now. We have helped George for a while now and are about done with his fence. Not sure the next person we are going to build a fence for but we are ready to start again. Haha! I guess you could say we take pride in our work building fences. I will send you a picture of the final masterpiece when we are done with George’s fence.

The quote for today is from Dallin H. Oaks. It says, “Choose the Lord’s way instead of the World’s way.” Too many times we get caught up in the things of the world. Yes, worldly things are great and can give us temporal happiness. Godly things are even better and can give us everlasting happiness. I love this work, I love God, and I know that He truly blesses us if we will always focus on Him. It is God’s will and not our will.

Love,
Elder Pope

George’s fence is coming in nice!
SAM_2356
Once a year it looks like it snows here. There is a bunch of white stuff that falls off of the trees and it reminds me of snow.
SAM_2358