Monday, November 25, 2013

19th Letter from England

Hey everyone!
   Good week..... My bike has been great but I haven't ridden it much because Elder Steel's bike is broken... just aftermath from the miraculous fall.  Yeah for some reason we both still think we'll only be together one transfer.  I'd really love to train but I think the chances of that are low because I'm still a 'young' missionary and there aren't a huge amount of new Elders coming in.  But we'll see.  I just don't want to leave Eastwood right before Christmas.  Transfers are in a couple weeks.  Okay here's my week.
Monday was P-day obviously so we just did some grocery shopping and hung around the flat.
On Tuesday we had a normal day, just full of regular missionary work.  That night we went to the Birch's (Claire Sanderson's family) for tea and guess what we ate... Faggots!  That's what they're called.  We were all kind of giggling at that.  They're like meatloaf, in giant meat ball form.  They're really good!  It was so funny to tell people that we had faggots for dinner though.  That night we did the young men activity.  It went really well, what we did was got the leaders to get behind a door and come up with a scenario and we split the young men into companionships and had them tract these doors.  The leaders and the boys were great!  It was awesome to see some of the people the leaders were and even more awesome to see the way some of the young men handled the situation.  E. S. really surprised me with his descriptions he came up with for the spirit, and repentance!  To describe the spirit he said, 'imagine you're trying to go to sleep and a small cat climbed up onto your chest and curled up in a ball.  That warmth and pressure on your chest with the love from the cat is kind of how the spirit feels!'  And about repentance, 'okay so if you stick your hands in mud then was them, then stick your hands in mud again and wash them again, you can do that over and over again and eventually it will get boring!  But to truly repent you was your hands and never stick them in mud again!.'  I thought both of those were quite genius. 
On Wednesday morning we had the Motivation class again by Sister Rigby.  That always seems to go really well.  Then we went to Ilkeston to do those AUF files which I'm pretty sure I explained in previous emails.  We met a guy named Steve though who is a history teacher and we had a really good conversation!  He is interested in learning more and we went back to him on Saturday, I'll say more about him then. 
On Thursday, we had district meeting, that went pretty well.  We were late getting started though after district meeting, so we didn't have time to do the plans we wanted to do.  We ended up visiting Niel (the sister's investigator) and then walking to our dinner appointment at the Dolphin-Rowlands house. 
Friday was a pretty good day!  We had weekly planning which I hate because it means we're in the flat for a lot of the day!  We also had to do a lot of cleaning because we had flat inspection on Saturday and our flat was a mess!  But we weekly planned and got done relatively early, we went and did some finding in Heanor and talked to this Polish guy, we need to drop off a Polish Book of Mormon at his house and hopefully teach him.  It'll be hard though because he understands little English.  We went to Betty B.'s house that night for a 'thanksgiving meal'  It was really good!  We had Turkey and Potatoes, Yorkshire Puddings, carrots, and other veg, and to finish it off we had a nice apple pie!  It was really nice of Betty to do that for us!  We went around the table and talked about what we were thankful for. 
Saturday we spent all morning cleaning, and did really well on our flat inspection!  We then went up to Heanor and then towards Ilkeston.  In Heanor I got to speak to a guy named Kamal in Arabic!  I always love when I get to use what I know!  He told me that my Arabic was really good!  We then wen to Ilkeston and went to see Steve, he openned the door really excited saying 'I'm a grandpa now!!!!'  He had told us last time we saw him that his daughter was expecting.  So that was really exciting.  He told us that he would be busy most of the week though but we should stop by Friday morning because he had read some of 'the testament' that we had given him and he really wanted to learn more!  We then went all around Ilkeston and met this cool guy named Alex (who strangely reminded me a lot like Alex Zachary) and got a return appointment with him, and he referred us to his parents who we had a really good meeting with and a return appointment! 
On Sunday we went to church but no investigators showed up so that sucked.  Church was really good though.  After church we went to Eats n Treats to help them decorate for Christmas!  I'm so excited for this Christmas season!  I can't believe it's already December and I've already been here for 4 months!  We went to visit some less actives after that and we ended up staying there for about half an hour.  They were really nice and we'll have to visit them more often!  It was a relatively good week especially towards the end. 
Good news, Darren, the guy from the dentist is getting baptised on Saturday!!!!  We're extremely excited about that, especially because he asked Elder Steel to baptize him!  I can't wait to do that, I wish we had a batpism here though!
Okay, so I thought this email was going to be short but it ended up being pretty long!  I love all of you guys and hope you're doing great!
Elder Evan Pogue


Monday, November 18, 2013

18th Letter from England (Eastwood)

Hey everyone!
I'm glad to hear that everything sounds like it's going great!  When is Khobar going to get a new place?  Yeah, I'm not too concerned about Christmas gifts or anything.  You know how I am, I never really need or want very much.  I got the triple combination on Friday so that was really good!  Maybe you could send some good music?  Maybe some of the good MoTab CD's and stuff like that.  Not necessarily their hymns but their special events.  I don't know what there is.  Even if you get it off iTunes and send it to me on a usb.  Other than that, the bike and the coat are good enough! 
Does the LuLu's commissary look like it's going to be good?  I bet the cheese bread won't be as good.  I miss that stuff!  Friday for some reason was a day that made me miss Saudi in a weird way.  I'll talk about that as I go through my week though... it was a crazy week.  We were tried very hard this week.
So MONDAY, we went to Derby to buy me some rain trousers and to just hang around in a bigger city, but I ate a Kebab and I started feeling extremely sick.  Nothing too bad though.  We got my rain
trousers then went back to Eastwood.  We ended up cancelling our dinner appointment that night and I called Sister Rasmussen and got permission to stay in.  I just went to sleep early and was feeling better the next day.
So on TUESDAY we taught Amy in the morning and had a really good lesson.  That night is when the awful things started to happen.  We had an dinner appointment at the Rawson's house.  They're so great. (That's definitely not the awful part!) They always feed us curry and for pudding we have a chocolate cake and blueberries with blueberry yoghurt. On the way over there we went through the fields and it was extremely muddy and almost impossible to go through.  We miraculously made it on time.  After the DA we start biking to our ward coordination meeting and Elder Steel gets a flat.  The walk is probably over an hour and a half.  We called Allen Stinson to pick us up and we got to the meeting but we had to leave our bikes in Jacksdale. 
On WEDNESDAY we had the MotivateU class, I'm pretty sure I've spoken about it before.  Amy came so that was great.  Then immediately after that we had to start walking to Jacksdale.  We got there over an hour later, fixed the bike.  Thankfully Nancy, Bill Marina's wife, made us some lunch!  I'm glad she did because otherwise we would not of had time.  We then started cycling back, and we find out that Elder Steel's bike still isn't fixed so we have to walk back!  We barely made it to Eats n Treats for a lesson with Rachael and Amy at 3.  We did some work in Langley Mill that night and almost got in a fight with a couple of chavs.  They were punks who were too afraid to hit us.  It was really funny because they were yelling that they were going to 'knock us out' and Elder Steel and I just kind of laughed.  Eventually one of them went inside and got his dad to come out to yell at us.  It was pathetic.  We happened to run into Ruby and talked to her for a few minutes.  It got extremely cold that night. 
On THURSDAY we walked down to a store called Decathelon to buy me a bike.  I got a nicer one than I had before.  It's really nice except I haven't been able to ride it much since then, I'll get to that in a second.  We ate lunch at Ikea!  Ikea hotdogs are only 60P each so we each got a few and started up with the bike.  We went to Heanor to talk to a less active and she was great!  Hopefully we'll be able to teach her!  On our way towards our DA though we were going down a hill, rounded a corner and Elder Steel's bike just catches an edge somehow and he slams into the ground and slides.  He had a glove on that was completely shredded and his face was on the ground the same amount as his hand!  It's a miracle he wasn't more hurt!  He did chip his tooth though, which has a follow up story on Friday.  We went to Luis' house to get him cleaned up, and left our bikes there because President Rasmussen told us to get him to drive us home and to stay in for the night. 
So this bike accident is actually a miracle.  On FRIDAY we had Zone Conference.  Elder Timothy Dyches of the 70 was there to talk to us.  So President and Sister Rasmussen, then Sister and Elder Dyches spoke to us and it was extremely good.  It was sad to hear some of the departing missionary testimonies, especially Elder Patten's (my old district leader).  So we would be in Leicester that whole day so we figured we'd get a dentist appointment for Elder Steel while we were there.  After calling several dentists we finally got an appointment at 3:00.  We leave Elder Dyches a little bit early and get to the dentist office.  Now let me give you a little backstory about Elder Steel.  Elder Steel's last area was Loughborough.  While he was there his mom had a feeling they should go to the nearest cemetery, they did and found this guy in the cemetery who was praying for the right path to go.  They started teaching him and his name is Darren.  So Darren was a miracle find to start out with.  After Elder Steel was transferred Darren kind of lost contact with the missionaries.  So back to the dentist office.  We're sitting in the lobby of this dentist office in Leicester, which is a couple hours away from Eastwood, and about 1 hour away from Loughborough and this man walks in and him and Elder Steel stare at each other then after a few strange seconds from my perspective Elder Steel says 'DARREN!'  We were able to teach Darren at the dentists office that he recognizes he was led to.  Darren went to church for the first time yesterday and we just got a text from him that says :
'Thank you my dear friend.  The righteous path is the rocky road I choose to walk.  No more hanging on the side of doing right, pretending I might have a slight inclination. I know what God intends.  I must follow the signs, that led me back to you when I was crying out for the chance to speak with you.  Wish granted.  I now surrender my self to the divine and ask,  What do you want of me oh Lord?  Show me so I may do what you will, and no longer what I want.'  (This is a picture of us teaching Darren in the dentist's office.)
THAT WAS A MIRICLE AT ITS FINEST!!  That was such a testimony builder that we are put where we need to be, even if it causes us a little bit of pain along the way. 
On SATURDAY we did our weekly planning, went to Heanor with no success and went to get our bikes. 
SUNDAY was great because Amy came!  Amy really loved church and had a great time.  She has now not smoked for over 35 hours!  We called President Rasmussen last night to try to schedule a baptismal interview for this Wednesday, there is a possibility that she will be baptized on Thursday, or maybe next Tuesday.  I am so excited for that.
It's starting to get really cold these days.  Sister Rasmussen said that below freezing temperatures with snow and ice is predicted for this week. D: 
Well I hope everything is going great for all of y'all!  I love and miss you all!
-Elder Evan Pogue
A lot of times at night we'll tract doors with lights on so we'll be walking along the roads where all the lights are off with just one or two houses with their lights on and we'll hurry over to those houses.  This week Elder Steel said that we're just like a couple of bugs chasing around the lights.  I thought that was pretty funny. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

17th Letter from Eastwood

Hey everyone! 
I can't believe it's only been a week when I look at what I did last week, but also it feels like just a few days ago I was here emailing.  The way time goes by on a mission is extremely bizzarre.  First to address the questions mom asked me.  Yeah for some reason we both think we'll only be together one transfer, the problem is I DON'T want to leave Eastwood right now, especially right before Christmas!  But we'll see.  Glad to hear Dad and Taylor are working out everyday.  I'm slowly working on getting back in shape.  The biking has helped my legs for sure but I just need to do some more exercise in the morning.  This lady named Betty is making us a Thanksgiving meal, but no they don't have Thanksgiving.  It's a very American holiday, of course. 
Okay so here's the start of the real email I guess.
We had a pretty good time on Monday, we spent wayyy to long at the library though.  We had no idea what to do so we just decided to be very rash and hop on a bus to Nottingham.  It took a long time and we weren't there for long but we had a great time.  I got myself a coat.  It's very warm and dry, it was definitely a good purchase.  They're pretty popular over here.  They're called Superdry jackets.  I couldn't have gotten it at a better time because this week the weather went nowhere but down.  It's FREEZING.
On Tuesday we went to the Spanish member named Luis to help him make phone calls because his English isn't the best.  We helped him out and they made us hot chocolate so that was nice.  We then had a lesson with A. in her back garden with the beautiful view.  It was a really good lesson on the Atonement.  We don't typically teach a lesson on just the atonement but we felt prompted to do that and it went great.  The spirit was very strong during the lesson.  Hopefully it helps A. with quitting smoking.  She's already doing so well but is still struggling to give up those last few 'fags' a day.  (by fags i of course mean cigarrettes) I bet you will all get a little laugh out of me using the word fag properly.  That was the even of our Tuesday. 
Wednesday KILLED me.  I don't know why but I had a really really tough day on Wednesday.  It started off great, we went to a motivation class that Sister Rigby is holding at the church and A. came along.  Also the Sisters' investigators went.  Then we had lunch and went to Ilkeston.  We had no luck at all all day, it was cold and rainy.  Then we went to Shaun's to have dinner and watch a few fire works for bonfire night.  We had been planning for Louise to get baptized this Saturday so I was super pumped about that but she really really wants her dad to baptize her.  I was bummed that it wasn't going to be this week but I also see that Shaun baptizing Louise could be such a pivotol moment in their conversion to the Gospel.  It'll be a good memory for the rest of their lives.  Then we had to cycle extremely hard to ward council in the rain and cold.  By the time we got there we were both soaked, and freezing.  Told them the news about the baptism then did some tracting after that.  I don't know why it was so hard, but I was really discouraged that night for the first time my whole mission.  I got over it extremely quickly though and as I'm typing this email I maybe the most excited for the work that I've ever been.  I'll talk more about that later.
Thursday is when the week started picking up, we went to district meeting and the zone leaders were there but they didn't bring post.... >:|  so that sucked but it was a great meeting.  We then went on exchange so Elder Taylor and I were here in Eastwood while Elder Steel went to Nottingham.  We taught A. a really fun lesson on the Anti-Nephi-Lehis who buried their weapons which were their main temptation.  So with that we literally dug a hole and buried all of her smoking stuff!  Lighters, fags, nicotene gum, everything.  Then we went to Heanor to follow up with some potentials with no luck.  We spoke to a lot of chavs that night so that was pretty fun.  They're all teenage punks who think they're the coolest people on the planet.  It's really quite sad to see how little hope they have...
Friday morning we exchanged back and did some planning.  Then we had a great dinner appointment at Rubys. 
Saturday was awesome.  We had a couple of miracles.  We first went to Heanor and had basically no luck at all with our potential investigators so we were bummed about that and headed off to Ilkeston.  In Ilkeston we started doing this thing called AUF and it's a thing the church is doing to find 'lost-sheep'  It's Address Unknown Files so basically we go around and knock on doors that have records of a member living there and seeing what happened to them.  So we did that with one lady and she was very uninterested.  The thing about AUF's though is basically a promise that some type of miracle will happen while doing it.  So on the way to our next area we stopped this guy and literally talked to him for 30 minutes in the freezing cold.  He had his 10 year old son Harvey with him too.  We were both testifying to him about the church then I felt really prompted to talk about the 'journey he was on.'  It was very weird but as I was telling him that we were the next part of his journey he started crying and thanking us!  We have an appointment with him tonight so we'll see.
Sunday we had a really good day at church then went to Heanor again to see some former investigators and more AUFs.  We knocked on one AUF door and a 12 year old girl named Lauren answered and said her mom (the unactive member) wasn't home so we came back a couple hours later and still Lauren answered but said that her mom talks about the church sometimes.  Lauren also said that she really wanted to learn more about it and said her mom would love for us to come around sometime.  We have an appointment Wednesday with them.  Then we went to another part of town and knocked on a door and met a guy Ruby works with.  Her example has been amazing to those people she works around.  He didn't want to learn more at this time but that was definitely a seed planted. 
This week has been great and my mission is just as good, if not better, than ever.  There is a quote from the notes after Joseph Smith-History that I think describe this time perfectly Oliver Cowdery says 'These were days never to be forgotten.'  and that is so true about this time on my mission.  And one of my favorite quotes from the Best Two Years is from the song.  It says 'I may not be kissing the one who will be my wife, but these two lips with thank the Lord for the best two years of my whole life.'  I can't imagine being anywhere else but here right now.  I was reading a story about an elder that served in the England Coventry Mission back in the day and in it he talks about why we come on missions as 18-21 year olds. He was saying that the ages 18-21 are the most eventful of our lives in shaping the way the rest of our lives will be.  For example this is when we pursue higher education, search for a carreer, start a family, leave home etc.  The Lord is so smart in sending us on a mission now, to start these 10 years with an experience that will improve who we are for the rest of our lives, and theoretically completely convert us to the Gospel.
I hope all of you are doing great, I love and miss you all.
-Elder Evan Pogue

Monday, November 4, 2013

16th Letter from Eastwood

This week has really been quite eventful so I can't wait to tell you guys all about it!  To answer your questions first: I have not gotten my triple combination yet because I actually didn't go to the mission home this week ):  But I was blessed for it!  Ruby loves her quilt.  She even spoke about it in our gospel principles class and spoke about how happy it made her and how great of a missionary opportunity it opened up for her with the facebook comments.  You're the best, Mom. That's sick that Ivy's next door neighbor's brother is the lead singer of Panic! at the Disco.  They're alright, but Imagine Dragons is way good.  I think Ivy knows of two members of that band, or maybe it's the same guy?  This week has been pretty fun and I emailed dad about my bike, or current lack of one...  (Hey Dad,   My new companion had a pretty good idea.  He got his parents to order his bike off of amazon and get it shipped to the mission home.  Along with it he got a huge lock that has like a £2500 warranty.  Maybe I'll do some shopping for a bike and send you guys a link of it?) 
Okay, so this week.  On Monday Elder Harris and I went to Derby and ate kebabs, and hung out in Derby.  We went and bought Sister Wenghert and Perronet some groceries because Sister Wengert was in quite a bit of pain from being hit by the car.  It's really a miracle that she didn't break any bones.  To answer mom, I got my jumper (sweater??) at Primark in Derby for £12, Primark is pretty much the best store in the world.  Everything there is dead cheap.  We got back to Eastwood and Elder Harris was feeling really sick so we went in early and waited for 'dodge night' which is the night we get the call telling us what is happening at transfers.  We found out that Elder Harris was going to Coventry.  He's doing great there and loves it so far.  It's a way different environment than here.  We also found out that Elder Steel is my new comp.  He came from Loughborough and he is the man!  We're having a lot of fun together and of course I miss Elder Harris but it's all good.  I've been very fortunate with new companions lately.
On Tuesday we woke up, went down to Eats and Treats to let them know the news, then we went to Hole in the Wall (the carvery with all you can eat) with Peter Morrison.  That was really good because a non-member and a less active where with us.  We had a good time.  We spent most of the time packing that day and cleaning up.  We also got to teach Amy and Rachael again.  We had a really good lesson then a Dinner Appointment at the Birch's.  After the Birchs we had ward coordination meeting then we went to visit Susan Matthews.  She is the lady that Elder Harris baptized before I came on my mission.  All in all it was a great day.  It was weird having that last night with Elder Harris.
Wednesday was nothing short of a crazy day.  We got up early to travel to Nottingham and Elder Harris got on a coach and headed off to Coventry.  I was with the Zone Leaders all day, Elder Akebran and Elder Taylor.  We had a crazy hour of GQing, which is just talking to people on the street.  So Elder Akebrand and I just start talking to this one lady name Shannon and she starts crying!  We were both like did we say something wrong???  But she said 'I'm sorry!  I just had a premonition earlier today that two guys were going to talk to me about God and that I should listen to them!'  We both felt like freaking out because that NEVER happens!  We set up a return appointment and she gave us both hugs.  Then not 5 minutes later we talked to another lady on the street and we ended up teaching her the full restoration lesson right there on the street and committed her to be baptized!  Then a little later we talked to a kid named Drew that was pretty solid.  Since then both Shannon and Drew have been committed to baptism and put on a date!  I wish they were in my area but it's nice to know that I had a hand in finding them!  It was really a miracle.  That night me and the Zone Leaders went to Subway but they wouldn't take our cards so we had to go to Burger King.  We had a ton of fun there and got crowns.  I know you don't care about that but I'm writing it mainly so I remember it when I read these emails in a few years.  Elder Steel got in really late and we just unpacked that night.
On Thursday it was Halloween.  We had to be in by 6 PM because of Halloween which kind of sucked but we had a good day!  All morning we went to Heanor and GQed.  We talked to a few good people.  At 2 we went to Eats and Treats and spent two hours helping them decorate the Cafe and garden for a Halloween event they were having.  Then at 4 we went to meet Ruby and that's when I gave her the quilt. 
On Friday we went back to Eats and Treats to help take down decorations!  I love hanging out in there.  We got paid with free breakfast cobs so there's no complaining there (:  After that we went to weekly plan and have lunch.  We taught Amy the 15 step program to stop smoking on Friday.  It went really well, she's still struggling to quit smoking but she's trying and I know that she can do it.  It's just a matter of time.  Rachael sat in on that lesson.  In the middle of the lesson Rachael was on her phone and she said... 'I just got a chat from one of your friends Elder Pogue, her name is Kelcy.'  Elder Steel started laughing so hard.  It was so weird that she chatted Rachael right as I was sitting across from her!  I sent a picture message and she sent one back.  It was nice and very funny to hear from her in such an unexpected time.  After that we went to Betty Breen's house for a nice dinner.  We ended up staying there for a really long time!  The conversations where very interesting and they were just getting to know Elder Steel. 
Saturday was a pretty good day.  We woke up and went to Heanor, then back for lunch and went to Ilkeston.  Taylor will think this is cool, we take a path along a canal and on Saturday they were having a winter fishing league tournament.  They were boring fishermen though, they're poles were extremely long, with no reel.  But it was cool because one guy had a sling shot and he was shooting fish food in areas he wanted them to go.  That seemed like fun.  There were loads of fireworks and bonfires on Saturday because on this coming Thursday is bonfire night.  It's a holiday based around this guy named Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up parliament a long time ago but failed... really its just an excuse for a holiday.  They were doing it on Saturday just because Thursday is such an inconvenient time for bonfires and fireworks.  We GQ'd a guy named Lesean from Bermuda!  He was in England for a football tryout and he was extremely interested.  I also got to speak to a couple of Arabs in Arabic!  They kept telling me Islam was the best religion and he asked if I ever tried converting, I replied 'no, have you ever tried converting to Christianity?'  Ha, we both laughed.  It was really just fun to talk in Arabic to him! 
Sunday was a very good but also strange day.  It was fast and testimony meeting and let's just say there was a little too much talk about 'angels and visions' for my comfort.  Oddly it was a very spiritual meeting.  I did find out that one of my favorite members of the ward has cancer again.  It's so sad to see him going through it, but he bore such a strong testimony then his wife did as well. 
Sorry this email is so long!  It's just been a very eventful week!  I've been spending all week trying to think of quotes to go on my planner for this transfer.  I found in Joseph Smith history notes at the very end, Oliver Cowdery says, 'These were days never to be forgotten.'  That's what I'm feeling about my mission!  These are days I will never forget!  It's been absolutely great so far and Elder Steel and I are getting along great and having a great time doing the work!
This week I want to encourage everyone to look for a missionary experience and to try to spread the gospel!  Alma 13:24 says 'For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.'
There are people all around us who have been prepared to recieve the message of the restored gospel!  Pray and seek for these people!  Share the message with them. 
I love you all so much!  And miss you!
Elder Evan Pogue