Monday, October 28, 2013

15th Letter from England (Eastwood)

I was sure to read Megans email first! (Note:  His friend Meg get her mission call to Helsinki, Finland)  So she told me herself where she was going!  I'm so stoked for her!  I hope she read that story I shared a couple weeks ago about how hard that Finnish is (:  She's going to love it!
That's interesting about your Friday.  I wish I could have been there.  Like you I had a really, really good Sabbath but I'll tell you about that when its time for me to talk about Sunday! 
I knew Taylor would be laughing about my bike! Honestly, I was laughing a bit.  Elder Harris was more cross about it than I was! 
This is probably going to be the most boring, uninteresting email because I look back on the week and nothing too big really happened with us, but lots of little blessings. On Monday we just hung out.  We went to a less active couple's house for tea and had a great time.  They're the Ellis' (the people lending me their bike).  We had a ton of fun.  We're going back tonight actually.  They're awesome.
On Tuesday we had an amazing lesson with Amy.  Amy is so fun to teach.  She's been reading the Book of Mormon and asking us questions and is wanting to know more and all of that.  It's just so much fun to have an investigator that's so excited to learn more.  We taught her on her back porch which overlooks hills and stuff and it's really just a beautiful view.  Unfortunately we weren't able to meet with her sister Rachael this week but we will soon.  They're just so awesome. 
I'm not going to lie, I have no idea what we did Wednesday.  We just did regular work.  That May have been when we  taught our investigator Jason.  He's cool, we're just not too sure about how interested he is.  But he said he read the Book of Mormon and if he likes it he'll probably 'just read it again!' 
On Thursday we had district meeting!  I always love district meeting.  Elder Patton is our district leader and he really is such a great guy and awesome missionary.  I look up to him a lot.  After district meeting we had a dinner appointment with the Leach's.  Brother Leach is the funniest man I've ever met.  His humour is the dryest and quickest I've ever heard and he just always says the most comical things. 
Friday was a fun day.  Elder Harris had to go to Nottingham with Elder Akebrand so I was with Elder Taylor for a couple of hours and we went to Heanor to talk to people on the street. (GQ)  We got really lucky and got two pretty good potentials.  They seemed to be coming to us and asking us what we were doing.  It usually doesn't happen like that!  After Elder Harris got back we weekly planned and just sat around. We did some garden work for the Evan's family so that was good.
Friday night we got a text saying that Sister Wengert (from our district) was hit by a car!  That was extremely scary but she's perfectly fine.  She's awesome. 
Saturday was a fun day.  We went and did some more finding in Heanor then went to Luis' house.  He's Spanish and has an awesome family.  He taught Elder Harris how to make rice and we ate this amazing rice meal.  It was great, we then helped his son Andy write his talk for sacrament meeting because he doesn't speak too much English.  Guess what!  I'm totally picking up Spanish... Luis' wife, Rocio (I dont know how to spell it) asked me a question in Spanish and without thinking about it I said before is fine.  After Luis' we had to go straight to Ilkeston to Claire and Shaun and they had a huge meal for us too!  We were so stuffed by the end of that day! 
Yesterday was probably one of the best Sundays of my life.  It was very bitter sweet.  The spirit was so strong all day but it was also extremely sad.  It was so sad because Elder Harris is most likely leaving this week.  Transfers are Wednesday and we find out tonight what happens.  He's been in Eastwood for 7 months now, and it's practically unheard of that anyone would stay in an area for longer than that.  At church he and lots of members were crying saying goodbye to each other.  We then went to Bill Marina's house for dinner and had Paella and Lasagna and the pudding was three different types of cake and ice cream.  We then played a game and then everyone shared their testimony about when they first k
new the church was true.  The spirit was so strong in there.  After that Ruby asked Elder Harris to say what he'd miss the most about everyone.  He was hestitant but he did.  He said, I'm not going to talk about Elder Pogue or else I'd just lose it immediately.  He talked about everyone and we were all crying by the end of it.
Right now I want to tell you all about how awesome Elder Harris has been.  I know when I first came out on my mission I was talking to President in our first interview together.  This was when he was assigning companionships.  I told President I wanted the best he had and someone who loved the work and would work hard.  President gave me that and so much more.  I know this is way cheesy to write about him like this but he really has been a huge blessing to me.  Elder Harris and I have grown so close and we just laugh and have fun all the time.  We work really well together and we probably get along better than any set of missionaries ever in history of missionary work.  In our whole time together we have not gotten in a single argument or even had cross feelings towards each other.  I know he'll be a really great friend for the rest of my life.  There's a quote from the best two years and it's Elder Rogers looking at pictures of his companions and Elder Calhoun asks him about one of the pictures.  Elder Rogers says that that was his 'first companion and [his] favorite too.'  I would not be surprised at all if at the end of my mission I'll be saying that about Elder Harris.  I'm going to miss him like crazy.
Now watch the call tonight we will find out that he's actually staying... I wouldn't be complaining.
So overall its been a really great week and I'm excited and nervous for this coming week.  I'll probably have a new companion next time I email.  I love you all.
Elder Pogue


Monday, October 21, 2013


Guess what guys!?  This email I have NO BIKE! 
Okay, so I just want to express the irony of this.  My last email started saying how excited I was and how miraculous it was that I had no bike problems.  Anyways, Tuesday morning Elder Harris and I walk down our stairs, open the door, and find laying on the ground two helmets, one bike, and a heavy bike lock which has been cut by someone who must have been 400 pounds of pure muscle because that could have been no easy feat.  Anyways my bike was gone, I guess they didn't want Elder Harris'.  We went to the police station, got them on it.  We talked to our neighbor, he was ticked and he said he'd already called all his mates and they are on it, and Elder Harris and I got the Eastwood Chavs looking out for it too.  But in short.  Say goodbye to my bike.
Thats okay though, Elder Harris is much more upset about it than I am.  It's just sad that someone felt like they had to steal a bike. 
So that was pretty much my Tuesday morning.  After that we went to a carvery with Peter Morrison.  I'm sure I've mentioned it before.  Its called Hole-in-the-wall and its all you can eat of deliciousness.  It's pretty much you eat that at lunch time and you don't eat for the rest of the day.  We then went and taught a lesson with Amy (one of the Eats and Treats girls) and that went awesome.  She is so excited to learn more and really change her life.  She wants to quit smoking and she LOVES the book of mormon.  She calls and texts us all the time with questions about the book of mormon!  I'm excited for her to be baptized.  We put her on a date!  The 23 of November. 
We had Zone Meeting on Wednesday so that's where we all go to Nottingham and listen to the Zone Leaders.  I learned a lot there.  They gave us some good finding methods that I'm excited to use.  That takes up a lot of time though.  We also borrowed a bike from a sick family called the Ellis'.  They're extremely nice and fun.  She's 24 and he's 29 so they're young and stuff. 
On Thursday we went on exchange.  I was with Elder Shipp in Eastwood.  I'm glad I stayed here this time around.  We went to Ilkeston and went to check on a few potentials but none of them really were interested.  Then we were going up to Ilkeston town center to talk to people and when we got there, there was a huge fair!  It was packed and crowded.  By the time we got through the people it was time to go to the store and buy food because we volunteered  to make tea for Claire and Shaun!  Ahaha We ended up just getting frozen pizza and told them we were going to make them a real American thing next time when Elder Harris was in town.  We had fun and taught Louise.  Louise by the way is getting baptized this Saturday!!  I'm extremely excited for that! 
Friday was an interesting day, so we woke up at half 5.  We went to Nottingham and the whole Zone rode a coach to Benbow Farms!  That was pretty cool.  Tons of people were baptized there a whole long time ago.  We took picturese there and President Rasmussen talked to us a bit.  Then we went to The Gadfield Elm Chapel which is the oldest LDS chapel in the world.  It was pretty cool!  There have been many prophets and apostles who have spoken there.  We didn't get home till very late.  It was a nice break from the usual missionary schedule. 
On Saturday we couldn't teach English because we had a meeting at 2 that got flogged so that sucked.  We went and talked to a lot of people though and one was VERY interesting and VERY funny.  So we talked to a former investigator named Edward.  He's 72 years old and frankly, a little senile.  So we get to talking and he was talking about how he is going with his family to the States.  He said, 'I really want to go to Florida but my family wants to go to Miami!  So thats kind of awkward.'  He said they got in arguments about it!  So Elder Harris and I are chuckling already then Elder Harris says to Edward in the same way he'd like give a promise about living the Gospel and how it would improve his life. 'Edward, I have a really strong feeling that you'll be able to go to Florida.'  We both died laughing!  Poor man.  Then later this meeting we were talking to him about baptism and he said well I was baptized in the 60's and we were like oh really!?  And he say yeah!  Into your guys' church!  And he said after he was baptized three men stood around him and put their hands on his head.  We were so confused and we think we may have found a very, very lost sheep.  It was a good day.
This week has been a downpour.  Literally every day its rained a lot.  It's not too bad though.  The pictures attached are me eating a Kebab, which we have all the time.  They are delicious, then a blurry one of Elder Harris and I at Benbow Farm, then a picture of the 'crime scene.'
So I've been studying the Atonement of Jesus Christ a lot this week.  Its amazing what has been done for us.  Because of the Atonement, no matter where we are in our lives we can change.  We can be forgiven, and have eternal joy.  That is such an amazing gift.  There is a book (that I have not read) called the Continuous Atonement and in it it talks about a young priest blessing the sacrament.  As he says the prayer he messes up, and the bishop looks at him smiles and says with love, 'do it again.'  Once again the priest starts to pray, but doesn't quite get it right.  The bishop once again smiles and says 'do it again.'  One more time the priest starts to pray and messes up and one more time the bishop encourages him to give it another go.  The priest starts the prayer and does it correctly.  Never once did the bishop get upset at or embarrased for the boy.  The bishop did not say move over let some one else do it.  Every time he encouraged him to back up, slow down, and try it one more time.  This is comparable to the way the Lord is with us.  We aren't expected to be perfect.  We will make mistakes but every time the Lord will smile, and say 'try it again.'  As we really incorporate the atonement in our lives, as we 'try it again' and really refine ourselves and strive towards self mastery we will grow, we will gradually see ourselves come closer to Christ and we will better recognize the blessings we gain as we strive for these worthy goals.  What a great gift we have been given.
I really miss all of you guys and love all of y'all!
-Elder Evan Pogue
 The crime scene:
Elder Pogue and Elder Harris

Monday, October 14, 2013

13th letter from England (Eastwood)

Guess what?! This email does NOT consist of bike problems!  Miracles man, miracles.

Okay, so Monday was obviously, P-Day.  We had district P-Day in Derby so that was a lot of fun!  My district consists of Elder Patten from St. George Utah, Elder Shipp from Arkansas/Texas, Elder Harris and I, Sister Wengert from Arizona, Sister Perronet from Switzerland, Sister Stapley from Arizona/Utah and Sister Eldredge from Utah.  We all had a great time eating Kebabs, then we went and played frizbee and football at a park.  We ended with a game of signs and went home.  We then went to visit Shaun and Claire.  I love being in their houses.  Its amazing the way the spirit of the houses has changed since we've started teaching them.  That night we got a text from a lady we taught one lesson to that said 'so when do you baptize.'  What a crazy text to get as a missionary!  Her name is Sarah and she is super funny.

On Tuesday we just basically had a normal missionary day, we went to a town called Heanor to find people to teach with little success.  There are several spanish families in Eastwood ward so we ended up going to Luis' house and talking to them in English for practice.  We had dinner that night with the Birch's and had Ward coordination that night.

On Wednesday we had interviews with President Rasmussen!  Our district was supposed to go at 3 to Nottingham but Elder Harris and I went at 11 because we had 3 teaching appointments set up for that night!  That's not a very common occurance, especially because we had members present for all 3 of them.  It's always a great experience meeting with President and Sister Rasmussen.  They're so supportive and loving. Our investigators Rachael, and Amy who are the sisters that work at Eats n Treats were the first of our appointments.  They made us like a home made paella that was really just a bunch of random things thrown into the rice.  It was extremely delicious!  We then ate Crepes for pudding and I definitely had too many (:  Immediately after that we had to cycle to Ilkeston to teach Sarah.  We brought Shaun with us and taught a great lesson.  Everything we teach seems to make sense to her.  It's also a great experience for Shaun to hear the lessons again.  Unfortunately by the time we were done with Sarah, it was too late to teach Louise.  As we cycled home that night, it was pitch black and we had no lights.  The stars were beautiful though and Elder Harris and I took a few minutes to admire them.  That's a memory I'll always have.

On Thursday we went on exchange so I went to Derby with the district leader Elder Patten, we had such a great time together!  We didn't have much time to find but we had an amazing dinner appointment with a really awesome family.  Guess what Dad!  The guy in that family's job is to climb those big radio tower things like that video you showed me a long time ago!  I couldn't believe I actually met someone with that job!  He says it terrified him when he first started but by now he's used to the heights.  I just thought it was crazy.  Then Elder Patten had a baptismal interview for a kid named Jack.  He's extremely funny and energetic.  He's baptized now.

The next morning was Friday and we made our way back to Eastwood to meet up with Elder Harris and Shipp.  I got the package from Saudi with the shirts in it!  We really like them and will be sure to wear them!  That reminded me though!  One thing I think I'd really like is one of those ties like Rusty Mosley has of the ghutra fabric!  If you find one send it to me!  Also, Mom, did you look at the triple combination unindexed thing.  I really could use that!
That day Elder Harris and I just weekly planned then went to Ilkeston.  We got flogged 3 times that day.  We had a dinner at Claire and Shaun's that night and enjoyed ourselves there.  Cycling back was freezing cold.  The weather here has taken a dramatic turn south and it's been extremely cold and windy and rainy every day.

Saturday was an interesting day, all of our morning plans got cancelled for one reason or another.  Basically the first thing we did all day was go to Luis' house for dinner.  That was at 2 o'clock and then after that we tracted in Heanor.  Elder Harris and I split up and were knocking house after house on opposite sides of the road.  It was pouring down rain and extremely cold.  We got one pretty solid person though.  Elder Harris practically taught him the whole Restoration while I was knocking on door after door.  It would have been the perfect day for a nice hot chocolate when we got back from our flat except it was fast Sunday...

Sunday came and church was fine.  We had three investigators at church so that was awesome.  Elder Harris and I watched the rest of conference that night.

This spiritual thought is for anyone who is deciding whether or not they should go on a mission.  It's from the June 2013 Ensign and I just want to share one portion of this article.

The Roundabout of Deciding to Serve a Mission
The prophets and apostles have made it clear that every able, worthy young man should serve an honorable, full-time mission. President Thomas S. Monson has also welcomed young women to serve a mission if they choose.  The Savior’s call is clear: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).  My mission in Finland changed my life. Because Finland is on the top of the world, it is often dark. It is also extremely cold; the snow melts in May and comes again in September. My first winter there I spent in Rovaniemi, a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. When the sun went down the first part of December, we rarely saw it again until February. The temperature was often below zero (-18°C).
We were asked to find people to teach. I would wear two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, a shirt, a sweater, my suit, a heavy coat, a hat, and a scarf. As we would leave our apartment, my eyes were the only part of my body not covered. After walking just 100 yards (90 m) from our apartment, I would be freezing cold. We would be out working from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night. We had little success.
The Finnish people thought we had lost our minds; I wondered the same thing. All I could do was ask the Lord if the work really was true. He often answered me in no uncertain terms. It was in the icy winter of Finland that the fire of the Spirit bore witness to me of the truthfulness of the gospel. Had I not gone there, been pushed to those extremes, and had cause to truly find out for myself, I might have never received the confirming witness that came—the kind of witness that goes deep down inside and never leaves you.
During my time in Finland, I taught and baptized three people. Up to that time I had never experienced the great joy I felt as I watched someone accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the truth is, there was a fourth convert—me. Had I labored all my days and converted only myself, the experience would still have been worth it to me.
The Lord needs you on a mission, but perhaps even more important, you need a mission for yourself. It is there you will feel and understand the sweet whisperings of the Spirit and learn the lessons you need to know to be a good husband or wife, a good parent, and an outstanding member of the Church.
If you are worried about serving a mission, follow the Savior’s call. You will need to exercise both faith and courage to leave the roundabout of indecision, but choosing to serve a mission will be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.

Me again:
Okay, so I just want to testify of the truthfulness of this article.  Especially this week, it has been cold and rainy.  Not very many people are listening to us.  Some days it seems like we are doing nothing to help the English people.  But regardless of what success I have everyday, I grow as a person.  If you are not sure if you should go on a mission or maybe you don't think you want to, I promise you that going will be the best decision you ever make.  I'm only 3 months in and I can't believe how much more prepared I already am for the future.  My testimony of this gospel grows every day, and I can say now more than I ever could before that I recognize the blessings that come from it and I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church.

I hope you are all doing great, I love you all and miss you all.
-Elder Evan Pogue

Monday, October 7, 2013

12th Letter (Eastwood)

Hey everyone!
I did get Piper's picture and loved it!  I opened it up in district meeting and all the Sisters were jealous of Piper and Rhett!  I loved all the things that I can tell Piper made you put in the box, like a roll of tape.... ha!    Oh, can you please thank Brother Dille for me or give me his email!  He sent me some root beer extract so we can make rootbeer here.  They don't have it.  It means a lot to me that he took the time to do that!  Ask him what areas he served in.  Also, if he knows anyone that I should look up or something. 
It has been a really, really fast, great week! 
On Monday after we emailed Elder Harris and I really just chilled out and did nothing.  We didn't have any plans and really nothing to do.  It was nice though. 
Tuesday was the funniest day of my mission.  It was not Elder Harris' day.  First off we fixed my bike PERMANANTLY.  There was a nail in my tire that was tiny and practically invisible.  We took it to Mick the bike guy and he hooked me up and there have been no problems since.  Then we were cycling down a path to a dinner appointment we had at Bill and Nancy Marinas.  On the way there Elder Harris half fell off his bike and his foot sunk deep into mud. Then!  We get to our dinner appointment where we had this seafood pasta dish which was amazing.  So there were shrimp in it and being from the south I knew how to peel them and stuff but Elder Harris had not seen shrimp like that before so he asks Bill how to eat them and Bill tells him to peel them.  It turns out Elder Harris had already eaten two shrimps with the shell, legs, head, eyes, everything!  Everyone laughed pretty hard at that!  It was a pretty good day.  We did have two teaching appointments scheduled but both of them flogged which means didnt show up or answer their doors.  Flogging is a common theme of this week.
Going back to the seafood dish.  Missionaries that learn a language get the gift of tongues to learn the new language and stuff.  I'm a firm believer that all missionaries get the gift of tongues to eat food that the might not have necessarily enjoyed back home and love it on their missions.  That's happened several times, the most strange for me being the squid and muscles in the pasta, and a few weeks ago, a mushroom filled meat pie thing.  I still hate mushrooms though. (:
On Wednesday we went to Ilkeston to visit Shaun and Claire.  They have been redecerating their houses and painting the rooms and stuff and they really look great!  We stayed for just a short while because we had to teach a lesson back in Eastwood.  This was one of the best lessons of my mission yet.  We taught the Law of Chastity and were pretty nervous about it.  Rachael is way awesome and already has such a big testimony.  We taugh them and it went great.  We ended up calling Elder Smith who was transferred last transfers and he gave a hilarious analogy for the Law of Chastity that I'll use for the rest of my mission!  We had a dinner appointment at the Evan's house that night (:
The next morning was Thursday so that means district meeting.  At district meeting I got 2 letters from Mom (which by the way, Cameron and I are in touch and are sending each other our emails so you have no need to do that, also remember that I am in England and anything JK Rowling does probably gets to me first (:  I am excited about the films though, and also The Avett Brothers are so sick.  You better buy that album the day it comes out.) 
I also got a letter from Kelcy, the package and letter from Piper and Rhett, and a package from the Dilles!  It was great!  After District meeting we went to teach Louise (Shaun's daughter who is getting baptized on the 26th.) and then we had a meeting with the girl named Ketty, who... flogged us. 
Friday was a pretty good day, except we have to weekly plan on Fridays at that takes all morning.  We generally dont leave our flat till the afternoon.  We had a lesson with a past investigator named Sarah.  She was so funny and as our member present we brought Shaun!  So that was awesome.  She's a new investigator so hopefully she keeps her commitments and all of that.  We were supposed to meet with Ketty again that night... once again... she flogged.  We held a drop in night at the church though and we played wii and pictionary and ping pong with some people from the ward.  Elder Harris has a video of me dancing to Just Dance on the Wii.  Can't have much more fun than that!
On Saturday we had a flat inspection... ugh.  We spent all morning cleaning our flat.  It looks nice though now!  We then taught english class which went well as always.  We finally got one non member there which is the point of the thing really.  He taught Elder Harris how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families in English it was so awesome!  So then we had service for about an hour and then Elder Harris and I stopped by McDonalds, and went to the chapel and watched Saturday Morning conference!  It was so sick!  Elder Uchtdorf is the man!  Everyone needs to go and watch that talk.  They were all so amazing though.  Everyone in the world needs to hear conference.  It has been the best one I've heard ever.  I've also paid much more attention this time around though (:  After that we treated ourselves to nice Kebabs.  Oh yeah.
On Sunday we went back to the chapel and watched Saturday Afternoon.  When I say the chapel, I just mean Elder Harris and I.  We sit in the Clerks office and watch it on the computer there.  The ward doesn't show it.  We then went to Shaun and Claire's and then to Ruby's to have a delicious Sunday dinner and watch Sunday Morning session.  It all has been so great. 
This week really has been awesome!  I can't wait for this coming week.  Elder Harris and I have plans to do tons and tons of finding!  Hopefully we have success!  Please pray for all of our investigators and stuff;  Ketty, Sarah, Rachael, Amy, Louise!
My spiritual thought this week is Watch General Conference!  It's so amazing that there is a prophet on the earth and apostles who speak with us!
I love and miss you all!
Elder Evan Pogue