Elder Nathan Pope

Week 102 – See you in 2!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, the time has come! This is the last email that I send on my mission. It is so crazy to think that two years have already gone by. I have loved every minute of it. Modesto, California is now my second home. I will always have a sweet spot in my heart for this place. I have learned so much from being here and will be forever grateful to the Lord for sending me here to this wonderful place. I was really nervous coming here because I had no idea what it was going to be like but I have come to love the fresh fruit and nuts that come from here. I have gained such a love for the people that are here. Even though some of them, not all of them, but some of them are really crazy I still love this place and always will.

This week was a great week! It was Christmas! We were able to do a lot of finding yesterday during Christmas, which was pretty interesting. There were a lot of people who opened the door but not very many people were interested. It was really neat to see how many people were grateful for us sharing Christ’s gospel and really reminding everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. I have definitely gained a deeper love for Christmas this past couple of weeks. Celebrating Christmas on a mission is totally different from celebrating it at home. Even though it was my second Christmas on my mission I learned so much. Most people are with their families enjoying family time. It is fun to explain to people when they ask why we aren’t with our families enjoying Christmas. It is a great teaching opportunity to tell them about what we do as missionaries.

We also had a wonderful Christmas Eve with a family in our ward. Their name is the Colao family. We had a great meal and then played board games with them! We played a game called Scotland Yard that was a blast. On Thursday we had our Christmas Mission Party! It was great. It was pretty sad having to say goodbye to some of my closest friends that I have made on my mission. I will be looking forward to the time when they come home so we can hang out!

I know without a doubt that God has a plan for each and every one of us. Only a couple of years ago I would have never thought that I would be in Modesto, California at the end of my mission. It is too surreal to think of. There are so many people here who have touched my life. I know that God places people in your path for a reason. I have gained a deeper relationship with the Savior of the World. Jesus Christ lives and loves each and every one of us. He is the head of this church, He is God’s Only Begotten Son. So many people don’t know the love that He has and the plan that He has for each and every one of us. That is why I am here. I love you all so much and am beyond grateful for all of the love that you have given to me during these past two years. I will see you all in two days!

Also, for those who don’t know – my welcome home will be next Sunday, December 31st at 1pm. It will be held at the Stake Center by the roundabout in Alpine.

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

Love,
Elder Pope

Some of the fam!
SAM_2476
SAM_2479
SAM_2480
Playing Scotland Yard. I was Mr. X!
SAM_2489

Advertisements

Week 101 – Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you! This is the last email I will be sending out before it is Christmas so I hope you all have a wonderful day next Monday. Our preparation day is going to be next Tuesday! Then two days later I will be coming home to Utah! It is so crazy to think that I only have ten more days here on my mission. I love doing this work so much!

Things are going great in the Almond Grove Ward. Being in a tri companionship is still really weird. Having to stay within sight and hearing of two other missionaries at all times is crazy! This week we had the opportunity to go out with a member on “exchanges.” Elder Gross and Marble went together and I went with Brother Stapley. It was great because we were able to visit some less active Melchizedek Priesthood Holders. In our ward we have so many and we were able to invite them to church this upcoming Sunday for Christmas Eve! It was a lot of fun going with Brother Stapley!

I also was able to go on exchanges with Elder Raymond from Ogden, Utah. He is a cool missionary! He is here waiting for his Visa to arrive. He is going to Taiwan on his mission speaking Mandarin Chinese. It was awesome to be able to talk with him. We were able to teach a lesson to a lady who is actually in our area. We taught her the restoration alongside her boyfriend, who is recently home from his mission. You know what they say about Chapter 14 in Preach My Gospel – “Flirt to Convert!” It was a great lesson and we always joke about flirting to convert with him!

“Because our Father in Heaven loves us, His plan included the role of a Savior.” — Allen D. Haynie. I love this quote. It is so wonderful that we have such a loving Heavenly Father who cares for us each and every day. I know that if it weren’t for a Savior we would have no purpose for being here. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven again!

Love,
Elder Pope

So we ate dinner with a really cool family this week. They have a wicked pool and house. We walked into their downstairs and saw the movie theater. There are three windows from the pool so you can look into the movie theater. He also told us there are speakers in the pool so you can hear the movie or just listen to music in the pool.
SAM_2463
IMG_9304
IMG_9305
I didn’t take any other pictures this week. Sorry! So I decided to take a picture of the missionaries who are emailing by me. Hope this makes you happy mom!
SAM_2473

Week 100 – Hey Fam!

Well, I now have my new companions. The first is Elder Gross. I think I talked about him last week. He is from Springfield, Missouri and has been on his mission for just over 12 weeks now. My second companion, since we are in a trio, is Elder Marble. He is from a little town called Tullahoma, Tennessee. He just finished his first week in the mission. Let me just start off by saying that it is pretty weird being in a trio. Not only having one person that you always have to be in sight and hearing of but now two. Please… We have a lot of fun together. I forgot how much fun training really is. It is really hard but it is also really fun! I have scared both of them countless times already so that is pretty funny.

We were able to pick up a new investigator this week. His name is Sebastian. We actually went by to visit his dad who is a potential investigator but he wasn’t home and the son wanted to talk with us. It truly was amazing. He is a junior in high school who is really polite. He asked us different questions about our missions because he has a couple of friends who are serving missions right now. He told us that he doesn’t understand why so many people are so mean to us because we are spreading the word of God. We have another appointment with him soon so we are excited for that!

The quote for today is “Not only did our Savior love all, he served all.” – Mary N. Cook. I love this quote. It is a perfect quote especially for this time of the year. We need to serve all of our brothers and sisters that are around. I love my Savior and the service that He has given to me. He has given me so many different opportunities from His service towards me.

Sorry, I don’t have much time today. We have been having too much fun talking with one another. Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! Only 17 more days!

Love,
Elder Pope

Here is the new district!
SAM_2459
Here are my two new companions. Left is Elder Marble and next to me is Elder Gross.
SAM_2462
We were biking and ran into this nice McClaren. So, new car?
SAM_2456
Here is the man himself – Elder Marble.
SAM_2458

Week 99 – Happy December!

Hey, Hey, Hey! What is going on everybody?

Things out here in Modesto are going great! We just got our transfer calls last night and I will be headed off to the Almond Grove Ward. Since I only have three weeks left on my mission I am going to be in a trio! My new companion’s name is Elder Gross. He has been on his mission for 12 weeks now and just got done being trained. We will be training a new missionary that is coming in today so it will be fun! Round two of training! I am sad to leave one of my favorite areas that I have served in to go to a new area for only three weeks. It will be a great three weeks though! I have so many great memories in the Riverbank Ward as well as with my companion Elder Silva. We have been together for 6 months now all together and it was great!

I am going to miss all of the wonderful members and friends that I have made in the Riverbank Ward! I am looking forward to coming back and visiting everybody! I am so grateful to have met so many people in that ward who are so kind and always willing to lend a hand. I think the Riverbank Ward is the Celestial Ward, right behind the Alpine 11th Ward! Haha! It is a joke that has been going on throughout the ward. I tell them all Zion is in Utah and they say it is here – just to fill everybody in on the joke!

There were so many different miracles that happened this week and every week! Sometimes you just don’t know where to start. I will share one miracle that happened this week. We were out biking around visiting people. We got a list of people that the ward would like us to go see. We don’t hardly know any of them. All of our plans fell through and we weren’t exactly sure what to do. We went down the list of people and felt prompted that we needed to go and visit this particular sister. She lived fairly close so we stopped by. She opened the door and said hello but said she was super sick so she couldn’t shake our hands. Well, our first instinct was to ask if she would like a blessing. She thought about it then said, “Yes.” We walked in and met her two little daughters who were both super cute. She has a four year old daughter who has down syndrome and a little two year old. They are super cute kids! Before we gave her the blessing she said she had to tell us something. I guess earlier that day she had just lost a child. She was pregnant and had a miscarriage and found out a couple hours before we knocked at her door. We gave her a blessing and after she said she felt so good. Her parents are active up in Sonora but she hasn’t been active in “the longest time.” It truly was amazing. I am grateful for God guiding us and directing us to where we needed to go. I have truly been able to see the Lord’s hand in my life as I have been here on my mission.

The quote for today is from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Hope is never lost!” I know I have talked a lot about hope but that truly is what gets us through things. Having hope and having faith. I know I have had to have a lot of hope and faith throughout my mission. It has paid off. I hope that I can make it to the celestial kingdom! Hope is such a big word. Alma 32:21 is the best way to describe it. Have a wonderful week! We are off to play some pickleball with members in our ward!

Love,
Elder Pope

We ate at a pretty good all-you-can-eat sushi buffet last week! It was pretty good!
SAM_2440
So after district meeting we had the great idea to see how many people Elder Schultz could hold. Elder Silva jumped on then I jumped on top of Elder Silva. They couldn’t catch the picture fast enough so there is a before and after!
SAM_2446
SAM_2447
This is how we #LightTheWorld! Haha!
SAM_2450

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