Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Song from the Elders of Alaska

video

His first Christmas in Alaska!

He actually sent this email on December 26, 2016


Dang...this week went by so fast!

We had a lot of lessons and we had a lot of fun.  My companion and I are getting really close with the Hmong elders. We go teaching with them a lot and it's really fun!  I'm going to try and get my Hmong name this week. I'll have to keep you guys posted on that.

I'm starting to get fat, which totally sucks but is kinda fun.  Turns out caribou and a reindeer are the same animal. Totally threw me for a loop when I figured that out.  Life out here is pretty good.  A lot of people to teach.  It’s finding the ones that are elect that is the hard part.  Dropping people really sucks too because I don't want to give up on them.  They just aren't ready to receive the gospel yet and I hate it. I know the happiness and joy that it can bring them.  This transfer is almost over, which means Elder Brock only has one more transfer before he goes home. 😱 Then, I get a new companion and get to show him the ways of the YSA 😳 

I love you all and remember…

He who kneels before God, can stand before anyone.

-Elder Poppleton




Monday, December 12, 2016

Hmong Elders

This week has been totally insane.  Yesterday, my companion and I went caroling with the Hmong elders, Elder Frey and Elder Vue.  They are awesome. We visited some of our less actives and some of theirs as well. The native Hmong people are amazing. They know how to speak English...but just to be funny…they refused to do it. So Elder Frey and Elder Vue were just chatting away in Hmong, and my companion and I were just like.....yeah, what they said.....but super fun.

On the side I’m trying to learn Samoan and its going really well....kinda...I don't ever get to speak it because I’m in an English speaking ward...so it’s hard. I see Elder Malala (one of my pals from the MTC) every once in a while and he practices with me. I can bear my testimony in samoan (granted a very simple one) but it’s a beautiful language. I love it.

Baptisms don't happen often in Alaska. The people are stubborn and don't like us coming to their door.  A lot of the Elders are discouraged....but lo and behold, the Lord has been preparing people to receive the Gospel. We stalked a man named Steve at his work to just meet him and see how he was doing. Turns out the last time he even saw a missionary was in June…and he's been waiting for us. So we get to teach him on Wednesday! I’m super excited.

Many are cold, and few are frozen.

Here's some Samoan for all of you

i iloa o loo soifua lo tatou Tama Faalelagi. i iloa e alofa o ia ia i
tatou ma silafia i tatou e atoatoa. i iloa o ia o le silafia o tatou
manaoga ma o le a tausia i tatou pe afai tatou te faamaoni.
faalagolago ia te ia. faalagolago ia te ia. ma alolofa ia te ia. i
alolofa ia te outou uma.

I’m not sure how correct that is. But just role with it.

I love you all and have a wonderful Christmas season.


-Elder Poppleton


Additional Notes - 

It sounds like he has had multiple trainings this week, zone conferences, etc.  His companion put up a few Christmas lights in their apartment and he seems really happy and engaged in the work!  He said Anchorage reminds him of Salt Lake City (kind of)!  He said that Hmong is pronounced without the H and the language is Chinese-based.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Chugach Stake, North Anchorage (YSA)



I have been called to serve in the North Anchorage Chugach Stake, in the YSA ward.

My companion and I (Elder Brock) are white washing the area.  Which
means, the missionaries basically know nothing about the area. So it's super hard and its not a super common thing, but its so much fun.  We go OYMing all the time (open your mouth) and that is basically our version of street contacting...but so much better.

Our first morning in our apartment we got  a call from the APs saying that we are going to host missionaries for our zone conference, which was on Friday. These elders were coming from Bethel, Elders Hansen and Contrarez. They are amazing. We got to spend two days with them before we dropped them back off at the airport.

Strangely, President LaVoie assigned me as the designated driver....but that's because my companion never got his license. But that's ok, because there is a ton of snow... and they don't really plow the roads in our area...so its kinda sketchy.  We drive a Subaru Legacy and its really nice....and my area is like twice the size of Cache Valley...so we drive all over the place. There is about 750k people in Alaska total and 300k of them are from Anchorage.

Also, another cool thing you may want to know...is I'm learning Samoan. I honestly don't know why, but President asked me to learn Samoan. There is huge population of Samoans here...but few to none of the english speaking missionaries learn it. So I'm super excited to learn...I can already introduce myself and pray in Samoan...but I'm no where near ready to teach.

Anyway that has kind of been my week.

Many are called, and few are frozen.

I love you all.


-Elder Poppleton








Additional information from other emails -  



So I met one of Jake's companions yesterday and that was way cool.  He
got home like a month ago. That was cool. 

...but, I need a ton of stuff. Mainly for survival like a coat!

So if I could get like $300 on my card that would be awesome! Because
stuff here is so stinking expensive

...And I need to get all of that stuff today or I'm going to die this

week. Wind chills of negative 25 right now. And its only getting
colder

I have a few videos that he sent that are fun.  Email me or comment if you want me to forward them to you!



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Alaska!


I made it to Alaska. We got picked up by the Presidency and went straight to the mission home. It was a super long flight, and I had to reset my watch to 8 o'clock three times today.  So, technically I was going back in time.  Anyways, I love you all and will keep you updated on how it goes. 

The Final MTC Evening

It's my last night in the MTC, I'll call in the morning, anytime between 4 am and noon.  Also, this is my teacher from my first priest retreat when I was 16 and he has been my MTC instructor for the last three weeks.  It was super cool. 
Anyways, I'll talk to you tomorrow.  Love you


-- 
Party on, 
Elder Cody Poppleton

Cody sent me this email last night.  I believe he left for the SL airport at 3 AM this morning.  I had his flight itinerary thanks to a secret weapon we have at the church office buildings!  



I knew when his flights would be coming and going so I could guess about when I might hear from him.  I kind of tricked Bella and asked if she had heard from him so I knew he called her first!  It had to be the Portland layover.  I anxiously awaited the call and just when I thought all was lost and he wasn't going to call I realized that there was a time difference!  Phew!  The emotions that came when I saw a number calling from Portland OR were very unexpected.  It was wonderful to hear his voice.  He is doing fantastic.  He is full of excitement and energy to teach the gospel and I am not sure there could be a more proud mother!   I could have used more time to visit with him and to hear about his experiences so far, but his flight was calling. He did say that he ran into so many friends from school and of course they couldn't hug if they were opposite gender so it looks like they finger touch instead. Snagged this picture from Shonee's Facebook page!   Until Christmas Elder Poppleton!






Saturday, November 26, 2016

Last Days of the MTC

Hello friends and family, and Happy (late) Thanksgiving! 
This is my last week here at the MTC, because I fly out Tuesday morning. I leave for the airport at 3:30 am.
Then, I'm off to Alaska. 
We got to hear from Neil L. Anderson on Thanksgiving morning.  He talked about how even in our hardest trials we still need to give thanks. It was super cool!
I also wanted to give him a hug, ya know because I love hugs, but I figured a handshake would suffice. 
My companion and I have two investigators this week. Josh Christensen and Jessica Parrot. They are amazing people! Josh is having some struggles, but Jessica committed to baptism on the first lesson! The Lord has been preparing her and she is ready!  It's awesome! 
Also, today the district decided to do a split for the day so for today Elder Nordgran is my companion and he is so legit! He is the one I get along with the most in the district. As a district, we have come a long way. We have had many trials and experiences that have brought us closer together and closer to our Heavenly Father.  It's going to be super sad to see them leave.

All of the Elders are now committed Missionaries/bodybuilders. When it's time to they ask a lot of question on what to lift and how to lift it, but it's super fun! We always need showers afterwards. 

I might not be learning a language, but I have definitely seen the work of the gift of tongues. My teaching has improved drastically over the last 2 1/2 weeks, and I know that it wasn't just me. Watching and listening, as the spirit takes over and becomes the teacher is outstanding. 

I would highly encourage you all to open your Books of Mormon, and read 2 Nephi chapter 31. It's a powerful chapter and one I've read a lot this week. 

I love you all, and have a wonderful weekend. 

-Elder Poppleton 






Thursday, November 17, 2016

The First Week

I have successfully made it through my first week here in the MTC. 
The first day was super easy, it was just an information overload. We got our companions, and we got to see everyone who was in our district. We have 6 elders including myself and 4 sisters. We also have a district leader. You'd think that there would be district leaders as a companionship. but no, there is just one district leader, and his companion isn't. 
Fortunately, and also unfortunately, that district leader is myself. I was called as the district leader the second night in the MTC after we met our branch presidency. 
It is so much fun, and so stressful at the same time. but I love it. 

I was super worried about the food, because everyone says its disgusting. I dont know if it's some kind of sick joke, but the food is AWESOME!
Three meals a day, and you can have as much as you want. It's great. The only mistake they made is one night they served Taco Bell to everyone.....some people cant stomach that. I could, but the rest of district was a mess. (super funny) 

I can testify of the importance of missionary work. It can change lives. I may have only been here a week. but in the MTC they bring in actual investigators for us to teach. It. Is. AMAZING. We have an investigator named Kristen, and she married a man who is LDS, and she knows the doctrine very well. She didn't agree with a lot of the church policies, and she was missing the spirit. We've been able to teach her this past week, and yesterday, she committed to baptism. We told the staff after the lesson, and they told us that she has been taking these lessons for over a year. and they were ecstatic to hear she committed. The spirit has the conversion power, and its amazing to see it in action. she gets baptized on December 17. AAHHH its makes me cry every time I talk about it. 

The scripture I've really been relying on is D&C 121:7-9

7.  My son, peace be unto they soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8.  And then, if though endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  
9.  Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.

Its a good one. 

My companion is a stud, Elder Gerber. The way his mind works is amazing. Our second day, he took a bunch of napkins from the cafeteria and he turned them into a rope. Like, what the deuce?  A rope!  We hung it over the pull up bar and I hung from it, out of napkins. That is just an example of how creative he is and his testimony is strong. I really like him a lot. 

The mission is an incredible experience and I'm looking forward to the next two years. 


--
Party on,
Elder Poppleton




Thursday, November 10, 2016

MTC

Wednesday morning, he slept better than expected which he was excited about!  Up and out the door by 9 with a quick stop at Wal-Mart for a razor, conditioner and a camera.  Grammy came along and we met Poppy and Justin in the Wal-Mart parking lot, ate a Carl's Jr breakfast (Cody's choice), and Cody said goodbye to Grammy and Poppy before the rest of us hit the road for Provo. I should mention that Cody didn't really eat anything for breakfast but made a trip to the bathroom to relieve some nerves with a little throwing up.



It was a nice ride with more communicating than usual since Cody was phone-less!  We stopped at the Provo City Center Temple for a few pictures, went across the street to Los Hermanos (won't go there again) for lunch, and then a FaceTime call with Aly on the 7 min ride to the MTC.

It was a busy day at the MTC with about 300 missionaries delivered that day per the nice lady that chatted with us while we were waiting our turn.  We pulled to the side of the curb, said our goodbyes which was as emotional as I expected and watched him walk off to serve our Heavenly Father and Savior for TWO years!






The drive home was still quite emotional, but 55 min after leaving the MTC (per Rylee) I got an EMAIL!  I was quite a bit giddy and then burst into tears!  Best email ever, or so it seemed at the time!