Tuesday, May 27, 2014

45th Letter from England (Stroud)

Hey everyone!  Sorry this email is a day late, it's the season of bank holiday Mondays...  which I see no purpose of other than to not have to go to work.  So the libraries were closed yesterday, but in all seriousness, I'm happy they were!  And I'll tell you why in a bit.  I'm also a bit rushed this week.  It's always the week that I have no time that I get the most emails!  Anyways, I'll jump right into it. 
Last Monday was dodge night, as you know.  It wasn't anything too big though, I knew I was training and Elder Olivos assumed he was leaving.  That day we had zone p-day in Cheltnum and had a good time playing sports and all of that kind of stuff.  That night we got the call at 10:30.  I'm still here in Stroud and Elder Olivos went to a place called Evesham which is actually in the same Zone.  Not too far. 
Tuesday we spent a good chunk of time packing his bags and going to see people like Jamie and Angie and Ana before he left.  That night was extremely good!  We were supposed to have a dinner appointment but she forgot so the Darracqs bought us some  Fat Toni's pizza, which turns out is the best pizza in the world!  It was a great time and delicious!
Wednesday morning we had to wake up early and get to Cheltnum train station to head to Birmingham.  We met up with Sister Heikki and Brown, sister Heikki is actually serving in Eastwood!  I'm so excited for her!  We got to the home and went and had pizza.  Then we went into our training meeting and there were only 4 elders coming in!  It shocked me, Me and Elder Holman are the only ones from my group training this time.  I was looking at the 4 elders the whole time thinking, which one is mine?  I got Elder Chugg, from 'Las Vegas' but really he's from Boulder City.  We got the coach back, and got to work!  We were all pretty excited, but I remember my first coach ride to our flat and I hated it!  It was hot and I didn't know anyone.  Hopefully Elder Chugg didn't feel that way!  We had dinner with the Darracqs and then headed to meet Ana.
Thursday we went on a bike hunt and had a dinner appointment with the Mansfields.  We didn't get a bike that time.  It started storming while we were in our dinner!  We ended up walking like 5 miles to Stonehouse and by the time we got back we were both extremely tired.  We just needed a bike. 
Friday Morning we got a bike from the same store I got mine and then did our weekly planning.  We ended up seeing Beverly that day and teaching her a quick lesson.  Elder Chugg is a very clean guy so that'll take some getting used to!  Maybe I need it...  He also is doing a great job at talking to people.  Much better than I was. 
We had to go and find a gift for a member named Peter on Saturday morning then we headed off and did some finding.  Nobody really took though.  Elder Chugg was saying how shocked he was how mean people were and I have been shocked at how nice they are here in Stroud!  At 5 we had a dinner with the Hines family who actually live in a cottage owned by a famous jazz singer named ch... something. I don't remember.  Sister Hines is her house cleaner.  It was an amazing little cottage.  I took Elder Chugg to meet Jamie and Angie after that.  I'm not sure what he thinks about them yet!  They're going to laugh when they read this on the blog but they take some getting used to.  They're so awesome though.
Sunday Morning we woke up and got ready for church, then headed off ready to meet everyone.  Unfortunately Jamie and Angie didn't come again and Beverly wasn't there either.  We were really counting on Jamie and Angie being there this week!  They said how much they wanted to come.  I know they will be there next week though.  After church we headed to the Darracqs and had meat loaf and Benoffe pie in celebration for Peter's birthday.  It was so so good. 
That was all great but the highlight of this past week has been, the Cheese Roll!  Yesterday for P-day we went to an event (that was actually blocked off by the police) called the cheese roll.  It was crazy!  Basically, there's a cliff face, with some grass on it, and someone rolls cheese down the hill and a group of people chase it.  They end up rolling and it's such a dangerous event!  We got pictures and videos but I'll have to send them next week!  Look it up on youtube or something!  There were only a couple broken arms this year, but I thought one girl was dead by the way she was rolling down this hill!  The videos don't give the hill justice though.  It's SO steep, It's hard to stand on the sides to watch!  After that we went to see the Gloucester cathedral where parts of Harry Potter were filmed.  It was a beautiful place and the best p-day I've had!  Look up the cheese roll online!
Other information is that Claire Sanderson from Eastwood ward got her mission call!  She's going to the China Hong Kong Mission!  I think that's so crazy!  Also on the way to Birmingham I took out some money because the lady told us that the train ticket were 40 pounds but they were only 20.  So I have personal funds in my wallet now and not in the bank. 
Love you all!
Elder Pogue

44th Letter from England (Stroud)

Hey everyone!!  

It's been a pretty good week this week.  Mom, I don't think I know any of those people who sent me friend requests so deny them all.  This week hasn't been the most eventful but it's been alright.  I did get your package with the Tony's and all of the stuff Piper wrote for me.  The pictures of Mollie were really nice and I was so happy when I read 'decide what to be and go be it' from Piper. Y'all are teaching her well.  Elder Harris also got the Tony's I think he's going to email you sometime.  Maybe next week.   

Last Monday after we emailed we went and had a lot of lunch with the Darracqs and played some quibbler.  After that we went to play pool again.  I got a call from President on Monday.... he asked me to train again.  I'm excited.  I don't know Stroud too well, and I just know how hard training was the first time.  But it'll be really cool and fun. You always have a special relationship with those you train and your trainer so I'm happy for that.  

Tuesday morning we had a zone meeting that was pretty good, we talked a lot about how we have to have love for our wards and our investigators.  How it's more than just going through the motions, it's sincerely having a desire to help these people and do this work.  After Zone Meeting we went to teach an investigator named Norman, he's a way cool guy and have taught him twice but we can only see him once a week unfortunately.  We had a dinner with the Bishop after that which was really nice and then visited some people with the Darracqs. 

Wednesday was one of the better days, we ended up teaching T, which is Jamie's mum, then B, then Jamie and Angie.  We've been working with B for quite a while.  She has  taught me that you have to have a desire to grow, and progress, and learn to grow, progress, and learn.  It's all about desire.  You can pray but if you don't want to know God is there, you won't.  I guess that's part of what Moroni meant when he said 'with real intent.'  

Thursday was a quieter day, we did a lot of cleaning because we had flat inspections this day.  Sister Darracq says 'I'm part dutch!  So I'm very strict!'  She's very strict!  Right after flat inspections we had a dinner with the Hawes family then went to see a former investigator named GM.  He's a way cool guy, Elder Chardon actually taught him a while back!  I had a great time out there.

Friday we went to see all our investigators again and had lessons with each of them.  It went well just like before.  I don't know what to do with B anymore though.  She comes to church every week, she reads the scriptures but she doesn't believe in God and doesn't really seem to want to.  Jamie and Angie are cool as always.  

Saturday morning we woke up then put on service clothes and ran to Stonehouse where Jamie and Angie live, which is a few miles and it was extremely hot!  We taught T again, but this time at Angie's house.  We helped them with their garden and left after dinner.  We went to visit Ana after that, because she just got back from Portugal.  She went to church there in Portugal and had a great time.  We're happy to have her back though!  

Sunday was good, Jamie and Angie didn't come to church .  I really thought they would this time.  I'm not sure what happened.  A was there though, and b too.  We had a great surprise because GM showed up!  (the man we visited this week).  Hopefully he'll start coming more.  We had a DA with the McArthurs after church.  He's our Ward Mission Leader from Scotland but his wife is from Salt Lake City.  She made Enchilada's and it reminded me of when Mom and Grandma would make them!  We went and visited JW with the Darracqs after.  She's old but so full of energy and loves the missionaries.  She can't make it out to church because of health but we go visit her every now and then.  She said a prayer and the spirit was so strong during it.  

One thing I came across in my studies this week was a quote by President Kimball.  He said 'I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.'  
He's says that when God isn't talking to us, or we don't feel his help, it is us that is far, not him.  We must immerse ourselves in the scriptures, get closer to him, and then wait for our answers.  Also, that when we immerse ourselves in the scriptures, it can get us through any problem.  D and C 18 says
 34 These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;

 35 For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;

 36 Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.

I love how it says that when we read the scriptures we can testify that he have heard his voice.  My testimony of the power of the scriptures has grown enormously throughout my mission.  The Scriptures are literally the voice of the Lord guiding us.  

I love y'all and hope all of y'all are doing well! 
Elder Pogue

43rd Letter from England (Stroud)

Hey! :D  I loved the Skype too!  It always go way too fast though.  It's weird to think that we only have 2 Skype sessions left.  I think it's so amazing that we have so many missionaries from our ward.  It'll be cool for us to meet up sometime and all talk about our experiences. 
Tell Kiara to email me!  I do know Elder Greaves, he actually took my place in Eastwood and was trained by Elder Steel.  He's a great missionary.  I didn't know that he had lived in St George.  He's a way cool guy.  Elder Steel said that he couldn't stand to be anywhere late. 
I got the pictures of Mollie, and Taylor!  It looks like Taylor's just having a great time. 
This week has been a bit harder than the past few, but that's okay!  Last Monday was bank holiday Monday so I think we emailed on Tuesday
On Tuesday most of our lessons got cancelled.  We had a dinner appointment with a guy named Mike C. who bought us sandwiches and we fed some ducks while we ate them.  That was kind of fun and a nice change.  He told us a funny story about a companion he had who got Dear Johned on his mission.  He was really sad so Bro C opened up to Matthew 19:28 where it says everyone who has forsaken something for the Lord's sake will receive a hundred fold.  Bro C was telling him not to worry, when he got home he'd have 100 girlfriends. 
Wednesday Morning we went to see Stephanie with a member named Peter.  Peter is amazing, he was recently reactivated and was just ordained an Elder.  He works nights but is still always so willing to help us.  Not much else happened that day unfortunately though.  This whole week we've had a lot of things planned but not much has happened. 
Thursday was a pretty good day, we had district meeting in the morning so we went to Yate and had a good lunch and a good meeting.  We went on exchange after that so Elder Allred came with me to Stroud.  We stopped by an investigator named Norman to schedule an appointment with him and had a nice short conversation with him then headed to our flat.  It was about 5 or 6 by the time we got there though.  That night we went and taught Beverly a lesson at her doorstep because we hadn't planned for it so we didn't have a member.  The spirit was really strong in that lesson.  We were guided to focus on desire and I learned a lot teaching her.  I learned that if you don't have the desire to learn about the gospel, or the desire to improve, or the desire to do anything for that matter, than it's not going to happen.  If you don't want to know if God is there, you won't know.  If you don't want to make goals to become a better person, than you won't become a better person.  Now the struggle is getting that desire.  I guess that's where prayer, and humbling experiences come in.  Some good scriptures on desire and faith are in Alma 32.  But really, when people hear and reject the gospel it's like being offered millions of pounds and just turning it down.  Saying nooo I don't want or need that.  I wish people just realized how big of an offer it is that the missionaries give.    That evening we saw Jamie and Angie for a bit and just talked to them about fasting.  They call Elder Allred, Barney after the guy from How I Met Your Mother.  They're seriously so funny. 
Friday morning we woke up, and had to exchange back first thing.  The Darracqs drove us to Yate, we exchanged back (and Elder Allred gave me a pillow so I don't have to sleep using my duvet as a pillow!) and they drove Elder Olivos and me back.  We went to do some garden work for a lady named Sister Hawes, that was a lot of fun.  Elder Olivos was kind of crazy with the knife and stuff though!  He accidently stabbed me at one point.  That night we met up with Peter again and taught Beverly.  We had another powerful lesson.  The spirit is always present in those lessons but she's not seeing it.  Heavenly Father is being very patient with her though, so so are we.  We had a great dinner appointment with the Cole family where we had nice Chili.  It kind of reminded me of Dad's chili he used to make at Halloween.  
Saturday we woke up and had to do our weekly planning really quick.  We had a dinner appointment with Ross and Reg at 2.  Reg is 80 and was hit by a car when he was 59.  He can't hear and he is so funny.  He heard I was from Louisiana and got all excited because of a Southern Comfort drink he used to drink and jazz music.  He kept saying, I want to be your friend!  He kisses Sister Darracq every time he sees her.  I can't even describe Reg he's so entertaining.  Unfortunately he's not a member and doesn't want to be.  He enjoys smoking and drinking and football too much.  We went to visit Jamie and Angie.  They made us Spaghetti Bolognaise.  However you spell it.  That was really nice, and then it was time to go home. 
Sunday was a good day at church except we were really sad that Jamie and Angie weren't able to come.  We were really hoping they'd be able to this week.  They've committed to come next week though so we're excited for that.  We had munch and mingle right after church and then went to the Darracqs.  Sister Darracq really made everything but was getting us to prepare it for mothers day, which was nice.  We had Cafe Rio (home made)  It was so delicious.  Right after that we started Skyping home which was really really really good!  (: 
On Skype we were talking about things and before we left we were saying how there's always something we forget to say!  And there was something!  I started laughing about 5 minutes after I hung up at this.  I forgot to say HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!  The sole reason I was skyping home, I forgot to do.  Happy Mothers day mum(: 
I was reading a talk this morning for studies by Elder Holland called The Miracle of a Mission.  In it he kind of made me realize something.  He said something along the lines of everything on his mission, as in his missionary skills, his testimony, his work ethics, everything that influenced his missionary work and his mission is directly attributed to his home he grew up in.  I feel the exact same.  Everything I'm good at now, and everything I'm doing now is all because of the way you (Mum and Dad) raised me.  Because of your example, and love.  Because of your testimonies.  President Packer said 'The shield of Faith is best fabricated in a cottage industry,'  I'm so happy that I had the best 'cottage industry' the best home to build that shield of faith on me.  I can never be thankful enough for your influence on my life.  Maybe this little message is in the spirit of mothers day but I mean it all the time.  I love y'all(:
Elder Pogue

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

42nd Letter from England (Stroud)

Hey Everyone!
Sorry, this is obviously a day late.  Yesterday was a Bank Holiday Monday so the library was closed.  Right now I'm in a bit of a rush so this email probably won't be too long.  It has been a really good week though.  When I came to Stroud I had goals about what I would try to do in this area and so far all these goals are going very well.  
On Monday we went with the Darracqs again to see some sights. We went and ate at this place in Gloucester called Revolution that was pretty good.  Later, I spent a good amount of time chasing lambs around a field trying to catch one but they're fast!  Plus while you're running after one you have to jump over all the little sheep poop.  My mission goal to have a picture holding a lamb has not yet been accomplished but it will happen.  We had FHE with Ana and her family Monday night.  It was a really great activity and we had a good time.
Tuesday we got to go on exchange after our district meeting.   I went to Yate with Elder Keir.  Yate was very flat and they don't have much going on as far as missionary work goes so it was pretty boring.  It was good to have a bit of a change of pace though. 
We exchanged back early Wednesday evening. We saw some of our investigators that night.  I really don't remembered what we did though because I didn't write it down. 
Thursday was the interesting day!  We got to go to London!  We woke up and got ready then the Darracqs came to pick us up.  We headed off and drove a couple of hours to London.  It was weird driving by Heathrow and thinking about the amount of times I've sat there but never imagined the outside.  We went straight to the place where Elder O needed to go to take care of his business.  That didn't take long and turned out really well. After that we went  to eat at a Peruvian place in a part of London called Elephant and Castle.  It was really good food!  We didn't really get to see much of London but on the way back we drove through a couple really nice places.  We drove through Oxford and saw Oxford University.  That's a really cool area!  It was funny thinking about how all the students that were walking around were geniuses.  We then drove through a little town called Burford that was super cool.  It was a really nice drive anyways.  We got back and had a quick lesson with Ana.
Friday we were busy all day.  We had a lesson scheduled in the morning but got flogged.  We then went and taught B, J and A, and A.  We had planned for a lot more lessons but didn't have time. 
Saturday morning we weekly planned and taught three lessons again.  Just basic missionary work days. 
Sunday was good!  We were sad because J and A weren't able to make it to church that day. Ana also couldn't come.  We had been excited for J and A to come and experience church but they will next week I'm sure.  We went to the Darracqs after church and ate spaghetti that was really good. 
So this week was great.  J and A are reading my blog now haha. (HELLO J and A!) They call me Judas all the time (like after Judas Iscariot).  I'm not even sure how it started but it's funny.  They're awesome, and always say that we're like family to them.  I hope y'all get a chance to meet them someday! 

I'm really happy to hear that all of y'all are doing well!  I wish I had more time to email but I'll catch you up more next week! 
Love y'all!
Elder Pogue