Author: Elder Nathan Pope

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.
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Here is a picture we took at the Bailey’s house! They are so awesome!
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This is really what we do for district meeting! I love our district! #squad
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Us at the Better Together Concert!
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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!
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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.
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Week 94 – Happy Halloween!

Well, we got our transfer calls last night…I am staying with Elder Silva in the Riverbank Ward! It is so crazy. I would have never guessed I was staying. It is going to be another great transfer! I love it here in the Riverbank Ward. People are so nice and the members here are great. We just need to help them do better at missionary work, that is all!

So the last two days have been pretty wild. On Saturday we stayed in the whole day until the ward Halloween party because Elder Silva was pretty sick. I forced him into going to the Halloween party so we wouldn’t have to be bored out of our minds the entire day. We weren’t bored because we had our scriptures to read but that can only go on for so long! The ward Halloween party was super awesome! We both wore black ties, black pants, and black shoes. We were going as men in black because that is the most we could possibly dress up as. During the trunk or treat we sat at Brother Hetzler’s trailer. He had a whole bunch of mannequins dressed as clowns in his trailer and outside it. Towards the end of the night I got dressed as one of the clowns and stood there as if I were a mannequin. We got some pretty good laughs and scares out of it all! On Sunday we stayed in until church at 1:00pm. We just went to sacrament meeting and then headed back home to rest. Not going to lie. Staying in your apartment as missionaries is really terrible! You don’t have hardly anything to do. The great news about it all is Elder Silva is getting better today!

We had a couple of great lessons this week with less active or part member families. I love being a missionary because you get to talk with so many people. I have found that it is more effective when we talk with people if we spark a conversation about something not gospel related. So many people are caught off guard when we ask them about the Giants or the Raiders. It really helps them open up to you which is a great segue into what our purpose is! Some of the time they aren’t interested in our message but they now know that we are normal people just like them. Yes, we represent the Savior but we can talk about other things besides the gospel to start up a conversation.

The quote for today is from Neil F. Marriott, “Heavenly Father will help us love even those we may think are unlovable.” We need to love all of our brothers and sisters. There are so many people that we may think are “unlovable.” We are in a rush to go and give a blessing. I love you all! Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Pope

Everybody put December 31st at 1:00pm on your calendars. That is when my welcome home will be! Make sure to put it on your calendars! Below is the address to the church building:

Alpine Stake Center
98 East Canyon Crest Road
Alpine, UT 84004

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Week 93 – Mobbin in the 209!

What is up everybody!?! Well, it is that time of the week again! It is so crazy how fast time flies. I got onto my email today and had a email about Myplan. Wow, I can’t believe it is that time of my mission where I start Myplan.

This week we were able to help out with some service for George. He is a potential investigator who we have been helping out with a bunch of service. This week Elder Silva and I helped him put up part of a fence and this week we are going to help him finish the fence. It was great service! We were also able to help out with some service for a guy named Erick. I am not sure if I have written about him before but he called the Sylvan Elders a few weeks ago and needed help. He needed help again so we decided to help them out with the service project. Not sure if any of you have seen the “Hello” video by Adele, but he watched it and decided to call missionaries. It is a super funny video that talks about how missionaries will mow your lawn for free so he gave them a call.

We have been knocking a lot of doors! We had the opportunity to go on exchanges this week with the Oakdale Elders. I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Ozment. He is a new missionary from Oklahoma. He is 18 and has graduated from high school and has already done 2 1/2 years of college. He is a pretty smart guy! We were able to talk with a bunch of people and we gave out a Book of Mormon to a lady who is Muslim. She said she would read it, which was pretty cool! I love being able to briefly testify about the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed my life.

Not a whole lot else happened this week. Time just keeps flying by. Here is the quote for today, “Make the decision to do what Jesus Christ has asked you to do.” -M. Russell Ballard. I love this quote. Jesus Christ has made and set the example for us. As we strive to be like Jesus Christ and do as He did, then that is what Christ has asked us to do. We need to follow Him as closely as possible and always be a great example to others. I love my Savior. Each and every day I am so grateful for Him and the things that He has done for me. I love this gospel and know that it is true!

Love,
Elder Pope

The crew we went on exchanges with this week!
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Here are pictures from our service project with George.
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Here is a picture of the list that Erick had to ask us about! He is a funny guy. He does a lot of research on the church!
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Here is a picture of the mission office door. We get to come here at least three times a week!
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Week 92 – “Daily HOPE is VITAL”

What a week this week was! It was such a great week! We counted up how many hours we actually proselyted in our area and it was only 20 hours. We had a pretty busy week, I guess you could say, with other things.

Monday night to Tuesday night we went on exchanges with our district leaders. I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Wade. He is the missionary I have been on the most exchanges with my whole mission. He is from Idaho and I am looking forward to hanging out with him after the mission. From Tuesday night to Wednesday night I got to go on exchanges with my boy, Elder Miller, in our area! Talk about a good time together! The boys are back in town. It was so great just being with him and catching up on old times. We got a few laughs from the things we did before the mission! Man do I love Elder Miller! He is a character. It was a ton of fun getting back together.

On Wednesday we had a leadership meeting. It was awesome! The first thing we were able to do was watch the new Christmas initiative video. It was a great video and I am excited to be able to share it when it comes out. Nope, not saying anything else about it or giving you any hints. You are just going to have to wait and see! We also talked about teaching the youth. We have been encouraged to teach the youth again. The youth are the future leaders of the church. He also encouraged us to help them use social media to spread the gospel. The funniest part was at the end when President Palmer got up and said, “Maybe some of you might be future leaders of the church. Maybe even Elder Pope or Elder Sitani.” We all started laughing a little bit and then he said, “I am not prophesying though.” Haha! It was super funny that he called us out. We both got a lot of crap for it after. You better believe I would go by Elder N. Karl Pope! I love President Palmer so much and am grateful for the wonderful and loving example he sets. When I think of someone living like the Savior I think of President and Sister Palmer. They are both truly amazing!

Thursday we had District Meeting and that was pretty good. We talked and counseled about how we can become better companions. We also talked about how we can work with our companions in unity. I know that is something Elder Silva and I are great at–working together in unity. On Friday we had President’s interviews for most of the day. We were at the church the whole time directing missionaries where to go and all that fun jazz. In the interviews we talked about spiritual gifts that we are working on. We all have spiritual gifts that we need to work on and make them strengths! It makes me think of what we heard yesterday in church. One of the speakers talked about getting patriarchal blessings. If you haven’t yet received your patriarchal blessing you should pray about it. I love reading my patriarchal blessing and the things that I am able to learn from it.

If you haven’t heard, there is a crazy fire a little way away from here. We have a couple of members in our ward who are paramedics up helping out. The Central Valley is pretty smokey right now so that is pretty fun! They are also shaking the almond and walnut trees right now so the dust just adds right to it. I didn’t have allergies but of course I do now. That is what the Central Valley will do to you!

The quote for today is from Neal A. Maxwell, “Daily HOPE is VITAL.” I know that if it weren’t for hope then I wouldn’t be here. I know that if it weren’t for hope then we would have no reason to be here on the earth. Hope is such a key word here. The definition of hope is a desire for a certain thing to happen. We need to continue to have hope every day in order to return to our Heavenly Father one day.

Love,
Elder Pope

This is Elder Sitani, my boy who President Palmer talked about!
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This is my other boy, Elder Miller! I love this guy!
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I found the plates everyone. They are true!
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I think that Utah needs cooler names for the streets. I like these street names the best!SAM_2313

Week 91 – Pinecrest, Yeeett!

This week was a fantastic week. Elder Silva and I are doing so great and all is going well! We have been working hard and trying to find new investigators. Unfortunately, we had some investigators drop us this week which was a bummer! It is all okay because we will just find new ones! I also wanted to let you all know that I dunked it on Elder Miller. I heard he said he dunked it on me but that was false! I love that guy!

Last Monday we had the opportunity to go up to Pinecrest and do a hike up to a place called Cleo’s bath. It was amazing and really made me miss the mountains. The hike we did was 3 1/2 miles in and then 3 1/2 miles back out. We went with Elder Wade, Elder Yazzie, and Elder Nichols.

We had Mission Leadership Council this week. I love going to Mission Leadership Council and feeling the spirit super strong. We talked a lot about General Conference and the things that touched our hearts. We also came up with a list of things that we are going to do better and how. I chose to have more faith in miracles. There are so many miracles that are happening all around us each and every day. I have seen so many miracles on my mission and just need to have a little more faith in them. I would invite all of you to have greater faith as well in miracles. Something else that touched my heart from our meeting was when we talked about the dog who walked all the way home halfway across the country. We talked about keeping our eye set on home. Just as the dog was determined to get back to his home, we need to be determined to get back to our home which is heaven. Don’t ever let your eye stray from the prize. Focus and finish!

We had a great lesson with a part member family this week! We were able to teach them about Alma 32 on how faith is like a seed. We need to continue to nourish it. The dad and the son haven’t received their answers but the daughter received part of her answer which was great! We are going to continue to work with them and help them build their faith. The members here are awesome. The Bishop in our ward is their fellowship and he is great at it! Something that I love about teaching people is just bearing a simple testimony of what you know to be true. It really helps bring the spirit.

Sorry for not the longest email. We have just been doing a lot of finding now. We are able to find lots of people that want us to come back but they lack the real intent. We were able to have an amazing experience this week while finding. We were able to give a brother a Spanish Book of Mormon and the Spanish missionaries came to visit him two days later because we sent them the referral. He knew the Book of Mormon was true and wanted to come to church with them. It was something just so simple. As we follow the prophet’s guidance he won’t lead us astray. We were counseled to be out from 10 to 12 every morning finding. We have had so many amazing experiences from doing so.

I love the daily quote for today. “Reaching out to rescue one another, under any condition, is an eternal measure of LOVE.” -Ronald A. Rasband. I know that God loves each and every one of us. No doubt about it! He wants each and every one of us to return to His presence one day. I know that if we won’t be there to help rescue one another then we won’t all make it back home. I love all of my brothers and sisters and want to see all of them enjoying heaven. We need to continue to perfect the saints and help each other to keep growing. If we are not progressing we are degressing. That is why it is so important that we are there for one another! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Keep pressing on!

Love,
Elder Pope

Here are some pictures of us at Pinecrest last Monday. We also ran into the Sonora Elders up there so we had to grab a picture with them! If you look closely at the picture of the valley you can see Pinecrest at the very end. That is where we started our hike. It was amazing!
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Happy Halloween! Some people just couldn’t understand what we were wearing. Haha!
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Week 90 – The Book is True!

The church is true! It is all dependent on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. If you have any questions about the Book of Mormon, listen to Elder Tad R. Callister’s talk from yesterday in General Conference.

Conference was amazing! We were joking around with a member in our ward and he said Conference is like Christmas for a missionary. Well, that is an understatement! I think the worst thing about conference is sitting for so long. I am not complaining but when you are a tired missionary and you sit for awhile you start to nod off a little bit! I loved Elder Tad R. Callister’s talk on The Book of Mormon! I don’t think anyone could have said it any better than he did! The Book of Mormon is true! It teaches us so many truths and so much about the Savior! I also loved the talk by Russell M. Nelson. He talked about what our lives would be like without the Book of Mormon. Before my mission I took for granted reading The Book of Mormon. It has made such an impact on my mission. He also asked the question if we would rather have diamonds and rubies or the Book of Mormon. Before my mission I would have said diamonds and rubies, of course. I have changed, now that I know the power of the Book of Mormon. I would choose the Book of Mormon hands down! I love the Book of Mormon!

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t have a whole lot of time to email today because we are going to Pinecrest on a hike but I do know the Book of Mormon is true. It truly does hold the fullness of the everlasting gospel. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Pope

We had some fun at our investigator’s house. Yeee Hawwww!
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We got to go on exchanges with the Assistants this week! I love Elder Wray and Elder Cook! They are both super awesome! I went with Elder Cook. He is from Manti. He is originally from Alaska.
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While on exchanges you better believe we had to stop at Cummins Road! Best engine made!
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Other pictures sent or posted by members and friends.
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