Author: Elder Nathan Pope

Week 89 – The City of Action

Where do I start this week? It was a pretty crazy week with a lot of excitement!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a kid named Jose, who we met, but he was YSA age. Well, he was just baptized on Saturday! It is so amazing to see someone who is just 18 years old have such a strong desire to come to know his Savior Jesus Christ. He has such an amazing story! Someone not knowing anything of God to now, two months later, knowing so much and coming unto the waters of baptism. I just love this gospel and the joy it brings into my life and the lives of so many others around the world.

Something else that was super exciting was Jordi receiving the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday! So now we can help him progress towards getting a temple recommend and hopefully get him to the temple to do baptisms for deceased ancestors. Jordi has been doing so great and we are so excited for him to be able to perform ordinances with the Priesthood now.

Yesterday our ward had the primary program and it was super awesome. There are so many awesome kids in this ward. I have to write about what one girl said in her little “talk.” She talked about a time when the missionaries came over. We immediately paid more attention to what she was saying. She talked about a time when Elder Wray and I came over and talked with their family about building ourselves on Jesus Christ. He is the rock. It really made me think of how sharing just a little message can go so far. We didn’t think much about a message we shared with an active family and here is this little nine year old girl who still remembers the message we shared almost six months ago. It was pretty crazy!

We also had the opportunity to do service at President and Sister Palmer’s house! It was so great to be able to do service at their house. I love doing service! We helped them remove a fence with a couple other missionaries. There are pictures below.

I am all out of time for today. We are up in Sonora hanging out with the missionaries there. I am about to show Elder Miller how to play some basketball! It is so awesome having a friend in your mission! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,
Elder Pope

Service at President Palmer’s house!
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This is the coolest guy on the block. His name is Paul and he is super awesome!
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We went on exchanges with the Sylvan elders this week and had dinner with the Prasad family. He is the Indian guy in our ward who makes killer curry. Well, we ate a little too much so he told us to lay on his floor for a little while. It was super funny but hey, it was awesome!
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We helped paint an older couple’s trailer in our ward.
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Week 88 – Another Day in Paradise

How is everyone doing? Man, it is so crazy that it is already past the middle of September. Time is flying by like crazy out here in Modesto, California! I love being here in the Riverbank Ward. It feels like I am at home in this ward. The bishop here is super awesome and the whole ward council is amazing. I think I have had the most fun serving in this ward and getting to know everyone a little bit better. The members here are amazing. The bishop here calls me the Utah boy – Haha! I am proud to be from Utah, what can I say! The Riverbank Ward is awesome! I have also really come to love President and Sister Marshall. He is the stake president here in the Modesto North Stake. We get to have dinner with them every Tuesday night and they are amazing people!

We had a pretty funny lesson this week. We knocked on the door of a less active member and he came and opened the door naked. He was holding this tiny towel but it was super awkward. He told us to come back another day. So we decided to try stopping by his neighbor’s house, who is a less active member as well. When we were leaving his neighbor’s house, the naked guy, now clothed, came out and started talking with us. It was amazing. He was a little drunk but we were able to talk about the plan of salvation. He has been struggling with some things but we are going to start visiting him more often. The spirit was so strong as we were talking about repenting and becoming better. It brought him to tears and it was awesome!

I wanted to write about a great experience we had this week. Recently, within the last couple of months, we have been invited by the prophet to be out from ten o’clock until twelve in the afternoon each and every day trying to find God’s lost children. Well, we haven’t been finding much success while doing it but this week we had a special experience because of it. We had been out from 10 until about 11:50. Only three people had opened the door and we were just ready to go home and get some lunch. Well, we were deciding on whether or not to keep going or to just stop and go home. We were right by the car at that point or we could finish knocking the doors on the road. We decided to keep knocking. Sure enough, we were able to meet a lady! We gave her a Book of Mormon and were able to testify of its truthfulness and how it has blessed our lives. We left her to read 3 Nephi 11 when Christ appears to the people in the Americas. We are going to meet with her again this week, so we will see how it goes! We were super excited and by this time it is after 12 but we still wanted to keep knocking and finish the doors on the block. The next door we knocked on another lady answered the door. We asked how Christ has played a role in her life and she said He hasn’t lately. I guess within the past couple of months she has lost her dad and two brothers. We hurried and pulled out the plan of salvation pamphlet and handed it to her. She had to go but told us we could come back next Friday, so we are hoping things will go great with her as well! It is so amazing to look at the different ways that God blesses us. We really were trying to work as hard as we could in the mornings to find people but when no one wants to talk with you it gets tough. Too many times in my life I know I have thought to myself that because I am doing this or that, that I would receive blessings right away. I have gained a strong testimony that God has so many blessings in store for each and every one of us. I have also gained a stronger testimony of how He will bless us in His timing. It is just not when we want it but when He knows we need it.

The quote for today is from L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy. “Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection.” This is the truth. I love the gospel and I love having burdens to be able to practice my virtues and to eventually be perfected in Christ. I know this is Christ’s true church and that if we will be a great example to others we will be blessed.

Love,
Elder Pope

​​We went bowling as a district with a member last Monday. We had to end the transfer on a great note! Three of the missionaries in our district went home so we had some fun!
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Elder Wade and I on exchanges last week!
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Here is a picture of our district this transfer!
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Just another cool sunset from Riverbank, California!
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Week 87 – Elder Silva is My New Companion!

So, as most of you know, this week is transfers. My companion, Elder Ramsay, will be heading back home to Kentucky and I will be receiving a new companion. Elder Silva is my new companion! We were companions in Manteca for two transfers and will be together again! Elder Silva is super awesome and I am super excited to be with him again! But, let’s take a step back. So yesterday morning we had a stake meeting with the stake presidency, President Palmer, and us. It was awesome talking about the work in the stake/zone and how we can further it. President Palmer was there a little early so right before the meeting we sat and talked with him. The first thing he asked me was, “Are you ready for a challenge?” When your mission president asks if you are ready for a challenge, I did not know what to think. Come to find out he was just messing with me. All day yesterday during church and until we received our phone call I was freaking out. I love President Palmer and how he has such a great sense of humor. He was just messing with me! So that is my story from yesterday and how President Palmer is such a great mission president. He knew that Elder Silva and I had been together before. I am excited to continue to serve in the Riverbank Ward!

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Sylvan elders this week. I went with Elder Wade and Elder Ramsay went with Elder Jarvis. Elder Wade is a super awesome missionary. We had a lot of fun and were able to teach a few lessons that went great. For exercise we rode our bikes to the doughnut shop down the road and got doughnuts. Ha! The doughnut shop is called Mr. T’s Donuts. It is a famous doughnut shop!

We had a less active member come to church this week! I have talked about the Dancy family a little bit but they are a great family! We got Sister Dancy’s son, Ryan, to church on Sunday and it seemed like he loved it. They are a family that we have been working with for a little while now and it is so amazing the progress that they have made. I love being able to see how much people change with the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives and fully accepting it. The Dancy family is a miracle! They are great and we will continue to help and to learn and to grow together!

On Saturday morning we had the opportunity to go and do service. We helped at a End Alzheimer’s walk. It was awesome! They gave us Home Depot aprons with wristbands in it and paper that people could fill out if they wanted to learn more about AIM! AIM is Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. It was awesome to learn about Alzheimer’s. It was amazing to be at the walk!

The quote for today is a quote from President Monson. It says, “It is in the doing – not just the dreaming – that lives are blessed, others are guided, and souls are saved.” I love this quote. We need to be doers and not dreamers. I really feel like this applies to missionary work. Sometimes we are too scared to let people know what religion we are. Sometimes we aren’t sure how they would accept it. I know that if we will just open our mouths and stop dreaming about how amazing it would be if someone would join the church, that doing something about it will bless lives. We need to be good examples to others and let them know who we are and what we stand for! I love this gospel and am so grateful for the opportunity I have each and every day to serve. I wouldn’t change this amazing experience for anything else. Sometimes we just need to do hard things! Have an awesome week!

Love,
Elder Pope

Elder Ramsay and I helped a potential investigator with some service. It was great!
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At the Alzheimer’s walk. Sorry for the weird face. The sun was pretty bright!
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This is my homie, Elder Black! He was friends with Elder Wray before his mission.
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We get some pretty cool sunsets out here!
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Week 86 – New Glasses

What is up family and friends? Things are going great out here in Modesto, California! This past week we had a massive heat wave and the past couple of days it has been between 108 to 110 with a decent amount of humidity. It is so crazy because when you walk outside you just start dripping with sweat because it is so hot and humid. We did a lot of finding/tracting this past week. Well, at least it felt like it was a lot because it was so hot outside. Between 10 and 12 we usually are out and about knocking doors and trying to find people to teach. Before my mission I thought knocking doors was going to be super hard and not fun at all but come to find out it is great! It is so awesome to be able to talk with a bunch of people – no matter how hot it is.

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Miller and Elder Spencer! We were in a trio for the day and it was so awesome. It was especially funny to be with Elder Miller. He is a character. We did a lot of finding while we were on exchanges and were able to only talk with a couple of people. It was just so awesome being with him! Elder Spencer is also super awesome. He races dirt bikes and lives in Payson. I told him we will have to go riding when we get home. It is so awesome serving a mission because you get to meet so many new people and make so many new friends!

We had mission leadership council this week and it was fantastic! We talked about why it is so important that we teach doctrine from the scriptures and then promise blessings using the scriptures. The scriptures are truly the word of God. It is amazing what we can read about in the scriptures on how we can become better and the blessings that will come from obeying what we read. It is just so amazing to have such a wonderful mission president and his wife. They both always have such amazing comments that really touch your heart.

We also had the opportunity to have presidents interviews this week! It was so awesome to be able to sit down with President Palmer and talk about life. He is such a fun and loving mission president! We got to be there for most of the day so it was pretty great. We had two days this last week that we hardly did any proselyting. It was a great week all around!

The quote for today is, “A useful way to think of the commandments is they are loving counsel from a wise, all-knowing Heavenly Father.” – L. Tom Perry. The commandments are here to help us so that we can return to live with God again. I know that sometimes they might seem like burdens but they are truly here for our benefit and our growth. I love the gospel and am grateful for the commandments!

Love,
Elder Pope

P.S. I forgot to wish my brother in law a happy birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Chad! Thanks for being so great and I hope you enjoyed moving on your birthday!

Exchanges with Elder Miller and Elder Spencer!
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Elder Wade and I got new glasses!
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Week 85 – Knights Ferry

This week has been a great week! Elder Ramsay and I are still hanging in there. He has been sending things home because he goes home in two weeks! We are still just trying to find a bunch of people to teach. Tracting is a lot of fun because you get to meet so many different kinds of people. You just have to have fun with it and laugh a little!

So this week we found out that Jose, the 18 year old we met a while back, is on date to be baptized in the YSA ward now! That is so awesome. Jose is such a great person! Someone who knows nothing about God and sees people reading their scriptures at school so he gets interested in what they talk about. We met him about a month ago and he is almost done with reading the Book of Mormon, has read a bunch of the New Testament, and is just in love with the teachings of Jesus Christ. He truly is a miracle story. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and its teachings. I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have the gospel in my life or where I would be at. I think too many times in my life I have taken for granted that I do know what is true. I do know who Jesus Christ is and I do know that I can live with my Father in Heaven again. Too many people are dwelling in unbelief and that is what makes me what to serve. I have seen so many different blessings from the gospel of Jesus Christ and I want other people to see and feel those special blessings He has in store for them.

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants this week! I got to go with Elder Wray! It was so awesome to be back with my old companion and to find people in the YSA ward. It is great because I still get to see him every week. We were able to pick up some new potential investigators for them in the YSA ward and send some referrals out to other missionaries. It was just great to be with him again!

Elder Ramsay and I had a great lesson with one of our investigators, Robert. We were able to bring a member with us and talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It went really well. He is also studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and just really trying to figure out what is true. He is just trying to quench his thirst. Robert is a great guy! He is in his 60’s and retired so we can visit him anytime, which is great as a missionary. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He said he will make more of an effort to read from it because he hadn’t since the last time we had met with him.

We met a super awesome less active member this week who we are going to start working with! His name is Brother Brown. He has been less active for quite a while now and has gone through multiple sets of missionaries but you just never know when it is the right time. We can never give up! I just got word this week that a less active member in my last area is going back to church. I am not sure if you remember the people where I took pictures with their lizards but he is going back to church now! I love Brother Robbins and am so happy for him and his decision to come back to church. It truly is amazing!

The quote for this week is from President Thomas S. Monson. “So much in life depends on our attitude.” I absolutely love this quote. If we will just have a good attitude about things then we will have a good life. A good attitude will get you far in life if you just stay happy and keep pushing on, even when the times are tough. The best example of having a good attitude is our Savior, Jesus Christ. He had such a willing attitude about everything and was always selfless. One of the many things I have learned on my mission is that if we will look outward and not inward we will be happier. That is what helps us have a good attitude and keep a good attitude! I am so grateful for all of the prayers that are offered on my behalf. I feel them and am ever so grateful for them. Have a fantastic week!

Love,
Elder Pope

So Knights Ferry is a pretty awesome place! We did a bunch of rock climbing and a lot of rock jumping. We were just hoping and praying that we wouldn’t fall into the river! Thankfully, we didn’t fall into the river but we had a couple of close calls!
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Picture of the assistants and I after our exchange!
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Week 84 – Jesus Loves You!

This week went by super fast! It is so hard to think of what we did this week because it seems like just yesterday I wrote my last “long” email home and now I am doing it again!

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Jarvis again this week. His companion is a district leader so we go on exchanges with them twice during a transfer. One time they come to our area for the day and the other we go to their area because his companion is our district leader. Elder Jarvis goes home this transfer so this is the last time I will go on exchanges with him. While we were on exchanges we stopped by a potential investigators house. He was home and let us in. We talked with him for a while then had the opportunity to read 3 Nephi 11 with him. He is praying about it and going to read it, so we will see when we meet with him tomorrow!

So we had dinner with the Prasad family last Monday night. I am not sure if I have written about the Prasad’s yet but they are a super awesome family! Brother Prasad was raised in Fiji and moved to California about 14 years ago. He makes the best food! Getting to the point, we had the normal chicken and rice. It is kind of like curry but that is not what they call it so I am not going to call it that. He also made chicken gizzards, which actually weren’t half bad but he also made chicken liver…that one is a little more interesting. If you have never eaten chicken gizzards or liver, you should really try them. It is something that you wouldn’t expect. I love going to the Prasad’s house because we don’t use utensils either. We eat the food with just our hands and that is pretty cool!

This week we also visited with a part member family. I think most of you have seen the pictures of us helping them “weed” their garden because the member posted it on Facebook but I will put one of the pictures at the bottom of the email. The Locklear family is super awesome! We love getting to help them in any way that we can. The mom and daughter are members but the dad isn’t. But guess what? He came to church yesterday and is hopefully going to start coming more often! That is a great sign. The missionaries a little while back were super pushy with him so we are just growing our relationship back with them. He is into making things go fast or just fast cars, dirt bikes, etc. so we get along pretty well!

We had the opportunity this week to help a great family move all of their belongings back into their home after their house flooded about a month ago. When her house flooded it was the one year mark of her husband passing away. She had prayed that she would have a distraction so she would keep her mind off of him. Well, she got a distraction alright. It comes to show that you need to be careful what you pray for. She learned her lesson and I think I learned my lesson. God does answer our prayers. No matter who you are or what you are praying about He answers each and every one of our prayers. It also shows that God has a sense of humor! Be careful what you pray for. We also had a great lesson with their family this week. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and how amazing it is. It is truly amazing that we have the knowledge we do of the Plan of Salvation!

The scripture for today is D&C 88:63. It says, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.” This is such a wonderful scripture that couldn’t be said any better. If we will search out the scriptures we will come closer to Christ. If we will do things that help us come closer to Christ we will receive blessings and feel the Spirit stronger and stronger in our lives. I love the gospel and I love my Savior. Have a great week! Love you all!

Love,
Elder Pope

Picking “Weeds”
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Elder Miller and I deep in our thoughts while writing in our journals. Monday night was a party! It was pretty awesome staying up late talking about all of the good memories before the mission!
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We went up to Sonora to give a baptismal interview so I decided to take some pictures.
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We didn’t have a dinner appointment so we grilled some steaks and corn. Good stuff!
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Week 83 – Zach Got Baptized!

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a great week this week! We had the opportunity to teach a non-member family this week. It went really well! We were able to sit down and talk with them about the Plan of Salvation. They were really receptive and it went great! They were not sure what their purpose is on earth and if there is an afterlife. The message we share is of hope. I love knowing that we do have a purpose here on earth and that we can live forever because of Jesus Christ. It is so amazing that we have this knowledge of the gospel and we have the opportunity to share it with all that are around!

Elder Ramsay and I had the opportunity to go up to Sonora this past Wednesday. I love going up to Sonora and getting lunch with the missionaries up there! We had lunch with Elder Miller, Elder Spencer, and Elder Jones. It was so fun to sit and talk with Elder Miller about our past times together! They are sleeping at our apartment tonight. It is going to be pretty wild tonight! We have a zone conference tomorrow morning and they are staying with us so they don’t have to leave super early.

So we were at dinner with a member this week and we asked him about his mission. He served in Florida. He asked me if I knew Marty Haws because I am from Alpine. Come to find out, he trained Marty Haws on his mission! It is such a small world! His name is Brother Horlacher. They are a super awesome family who is moving from Riverbank and looking at houses in Alpine! It was so awesome to talk with them about Alpine.

The quote for today is, “Remember, what you do, where you go, and what you see will shape who you become. What do you want to become?” – Gary E. Stevenson. I love this quote. It truly is amazing! What we do now, is what we will be. I love the gospel and I love Jesus Christ! He truly is amazing and I love serving Him! Have an awesome week!

Love,
Elder Pope

This is a cool cake that a member made for the ward party!
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For all of you that remember Zach Meredith. I taught him for six months when I was in Oakdale. Well, he just got baptized! He is the one I got the prayer rock for. I guess he used it too! He put it in his truck and every time he turned a corner it would bang and remind him to pray. He is so awesome and I am so grateful for him!
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Here is a picture of our district!
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