Monday, June 30, 2014

Letter #50

Hey everyone,
This week has been a good wind down to the end of the tranfer.  We find out tonight if anyones leaving.  Odds are nobody is becuase I'm not done training Elder Chugg but we'll see.  I love Stroud so much though.  Lately just riding around I've thought about how beautiful this area is.  If you haven't already, go look at pictures of the Cotswolds, especially around Stroud area. 
Every week emailing I think about how boring it is to go through day by day but I don't really know of a better way to do it without missing things. 
Last Monday I said I'd tell you what we did and send a picture so I'll start from there.  Last Monday we went to a place called Avebury, near Swindon.  Avebury has a bunch of neolithic rocks in a circle formation.  It's kind of like Stonehenge but with a lot more rocks.  It was very cool.  Then after that we went to Sister Jacqui Webb's house for her birthday.  She really, really likes cheese so Elder Chugg and I bought her some Comte cheese (Taylor's mission affected mine in weird ways).  She loved it, and really that cheese is so good.  That was good fun.  That evening we had a neat experience.  We went to visit a less actives who's best friend had committed suicide the day before.  His name is Richard Y.  Richard has been going through an insanely rough time with all of that.  We talked to him for about an hour and at the end it didn't seem like we'd helped him at all.  We gave him a blessing though and he was immediately peaceful.  It was a neat experience especially for Elder Chugg being able to relate to someone who had lost such a close friend.
Tuesday we spent all day in Stonehouse.  That was nice I ate a nice kebab for lunch.  We knocked on door after door though with nothing.  It's amazing how many people just aren't interested at all.  We ended up seeing Jamie and Angie that night with Brother Naulls.  Brother Naulls is a cop, and I laughed so hard because the first thing Angie said when he walked in was,  "Recognize me?"  He said yep.  I thought they were talking about because he was a cop but he said he only recognized her from Church.  She said, "well, I'm a criminal".  It was hilarious, but really a great lesson.  We're still working on them getting married and preparing them for baptism.  It's just a process with different things we need to work on.  They are awesome.
Wednesday we had exchanges, so that was nice.  Elder Allred came with me in Stroud.  It's always nice to have a little change every now and then.  We unfortunately didn't have any miracles though like sometimes we do on exchange.
Thursday was a great district meeting.  It was Elder Keirs last.  He goes home this Wednesday.  He's been pretty excited for that but regardless he did a good district meeting about weekly planning.  After the meeting we went back, and I don't know if I mentioned this before but a couple of weeks ago we got a potential investigator named Carmella.  She's an old Italian lady who lost her husband a couple of months ago.  We gave her a Book of Mormon in Italian.  We really hadn't seen her since then though.  But on Thursday we stopped by and she has read all the way through second Nephi!  Isn't that insane!?  It was a miracle.  Hopefully we'll be able to officially teach her soon.  That night we saw Ana as well.  That went great.
Friday was of course the dreaded weekly planning, but it wasn't half bad this time because of our district meeting.  We had to split it in half because of a Dinner appointment with the Mansfields which also helps.  After that we just went finding.  A lot of people have been talking to us lately because BBC channel 4 had a program on Thursday night called Meet the Mormons.  You should watch it.  Maybe go to or something?  I've heard mixed reviews about it.  Regardless it gets us to be a little more familiar to people, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know. 
Saturday we were supposed to teach Tracy but she had to cancel.  We ended up going and see Jamie and Angie anyways though.  We had a good time with them and went to talk to a few more people in Stonehouse.  Like Beverly.  That evening I spent some extra time preparing for my talk for Sunday.  (I spoke Sunday)  I had to speak on Covenants so I hoping tons of investigators and nonmembers would be there and we had planned for quite a few.  Jamie and Angie and Beverly and Ana were all going to be there for sure.
Sunday morning comes, my talk was ready and not a single investigator came to church.  That was the first time my whole time in Stroud that we had nobody.  So that obviously sucked.  It was nice though.  Richard came and that was really good to see him.  Also Peter Beasor spoke so his whole family came to see him.   Something funny happened that morning.  So I gave a talk yesterday but before church even started a member of the bishopric came up to me and handed me a paper, with a talk assignment on the 27th of July.  I said '...I'm speaking today....'  I guess one of the bishopric does the assignments for the first half of the year and the other one does the next half.  So I'm speaking again in a month.  I'm okay with that though.  I gave my talk and it went well.  Sister Darracq said something nice, she said she thinks that's the best talk she's heard from a missionary the whole time they've been in Stroud.  So it must've been at least a little bearable.  I told the story about Darren and Elder Steel falling off of his bike from earlier in my mission.  (if you go back to maybe around October or November 2013 you could find it). 
Sunday night we went to the Markham's house.  They are really really cool.  Brother Markham is the best musician I've ever met.  He composed and wrote Faith: the musical.  Have you ever heard of that?  And also one in the 80's called Truth Will Prevail.  They told their conversion story and it really is amazing.   Sometime after the mission, we can sit down and talk about it. 
This week has been pretty good, and the mission has been amazing.  I keep noticing something more and more as my mission goes on, especially when I speak in church and things like that.  That is that my love for this gospel has grown so much.  I love testifying about the Atonement.  I love teaching people about the love the Lord has for us.  It's really been great.  About 25 days and I've been out for a year.  I can't believe it. 
I hope all of y'all are doing great.  I love y'all. 
PS:  There's a Sister Missionary in my zone named Sister Urbani.  The other week she said 'Elder Pogue.  Did you have a brother that served in the Toulouse Mission?'  I said yeah I did!  She doesn't really remember him but she remembered that an Elder Pogue served in her ward in Toulouse.  Maybe Taylor remembers some Urbani's from when he was in Toulouse. 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Letter #49


This is a short email today,  you can see it's later than usual.  Today we just had other things planned for P-day and are just now emailing at the Darracq's so we have very little time and only one computer.  

This week has been great.  It's weird that at the end of the week I can hardly remember the beginning of it.  Time is flying and so much is happening all the time.

On Monday we had a pretty usual P-day.  Just did some shopping and relaxed.  We had a dinner appointment at this amazing 80 year old woman's house named Diane J.  She was actually the English Olympic swimming coach.  She told us a hilarious story about how one time she got the mafia involved in a situation where a guy didn't pay her for something he was supposed to.  That was just a great time.

Tuesday I got to go to Wales!  We woke up early and got ready because we had zone conference in Rhiwbina Wales.  That was great, I got see see so many people from earlier in the mission like Elders Olivos, Steel, some Elders from my district in Sheldon and Sister Eldredge was there.  We had a nice Eastwood reunion.  President Rasmussen gave some good training and we had a great time.  I love zone conferences.  We taught Ana that night. 

Wednesday we had a full day in Stonehouse.  We taught Tracy, and Beverly then that night we taught Jamie and Angie with Brother Cole.  Good busy day.

Thursday was a nice change of pace for us.  We did garden work for two different families.  Ross and Reg, and Sister Evans.  It was fun.  Literally all day we did garden work.

Friday was weekly planning day and both Elder Chugg and I were pretty sick.  I ended up sleeping a lot of the day.  I hate wasting time like that on the mission, being sick is just the worst.  We ended up briefly seeing Ana that night.  She's planning on making quite a few big changes in her life so we're constantly praying for her. 

Saturday we taught Jamie in the morning and that night saw Kojo at the church.  

Sunday we unfortunately only had Beverly at church.  Next week I really really hope that everyone can come.  We had a good time at church though as always.  After church we went to the Darracqs and went with them to visit some people.  

I'm going to leave what we did today for next week so I can send a picture as well.

As for what you're telling me about the World Cup I pretty much hear about all of that anyways.  I'm so excited for the Netherlands!  USA is doing alright as well so that's good.  I'm actually right now wearing an England shirt.  

I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well.

Love y'all!
Elder Pogue

Letter #48

Hey!  So I did get your letter!  I opened it an it was blank but if you highlight over it you can see it.  You accidentally made the font white or something.    Glad to hear that Max is home and Alex is on his way.  I'm sure Max was a good, solid missionary.  I'd love to hear some of his stories.

Transfers are coming up in just a couple of weeks.  I have no idea if I'll stay or go.  Trainers usually stay with their boys for two transfers but sometimes that doesn't happen.  We'll just have to wait and see. Elder Chugg is a really good missionary and we get along well.  We balance each other out in a lot of ways.  We always end up having really funny conversations about weird things.  I can't think of an example right now though.  

I actually was feeling like it was such an unproductive week but there have been a couple of cool things.  P-day was alright, I ended up buying some shoes from (mom this should make you happy) Clarks.  I like them a lot.  The shoes I had are barely hanging on.  We did some shopping and then went to the flat.  Monday was mainly a day of cleaning.  I missed Stanley!  That guy's the man.  I wonder how he would do against one of Sister Darracq's flat inspections. 

Tuesday we had one of our favorite DA's with a member named Mike C.  He brings us to Tesco to get sandwiches then to a place called Stratford park where we eat and feed the ducks.  We had a good time with him and while we were there we saw a potential investigator named Jake.  I went and talked to him and we ended up teaching him the Restoration in the park.  He didn't seem actually interested unfortunately, but we're hoping.  We went and saw Ana and Tony that night with the Darracqs and showed Tony that video called Earthly Father, Heavenly Father.  It's a really good one.

Wednesday we had to spend a lot of it cleaning for flat inspections.  She likes everything to be spotless and our flat is not easily made spotless.  Just because it's so old and falling apart.  The paint is falling off and we are constantly fighting mold in the bathroom.  It's crazy, we need a new flat, but that went alright.  We went to Choir that night and Joe P. came with us to teach Jamie and Angie and answer some questions from Church.  We had a good lesson and set goals for their marriage.  They're super excited about that and so are we!  

Thursday was the start of the slowness of the week.  We had district meeting in the morning and after district meeting ate at this amazing Italian place.  That was very good and very filling.  We then had flat inspection where the reckoning comes out.  It's almost like final judgement.  Sister Darracq pulls out her magic glasses and her face changes, and for a moment, she isn't the Sister Darracq we're used to!  I'm actually just kidding, we love flat inspection, she is strict but she always brings us cupcakes. Just a couple hours later though we had a dinner appointment and we were stuffed.  We could barely make it up the hills to our flat!  That night we went and checked on some members nobodies heard of in years and years but none of them are interested.  

Friday we got up early and caught a train to Birmingham.  It's nice to train through Birmingham and see places I'm so familiar with from serving there.  We had our follow up trainers meeting with President Rasmussen.  It was a good meeting, I'd heard the stuff before but all good reminders.  I got to talk with Elder Martin from Sheldon ward and he's doing well.  I also got the shaver which is good, thank you!  The meeting was fine but by the time we got home it was so late.  Then we had to prepare the flat because Elder Henry and Faricci (who's from Albania) were staying the night.  Elder Henry was taking the ACT at  a college here in Stroud.  Sister Darracq made us ribs that night and it was great!  

It was fun having them over, they left by 7.30 the next morning.  We had a Dinner appointment that afternoon with Ross and Reg who I can never forget.  Reg is 80 and 20 years ago he was hit by a car that was going 60 mph.  He can't hear and things and he's just so funny.  If I tried to explain him it would not do it justice. 

Sunday was good, unfortunately Jamie and Angie and Tracy weren't able to make it ):  Jamie and Angie's little girl Jay-Cee has been sick the past few days so they couldn't come and Tracy's granddaughter was getting Christened so she couldn't come either.  They should be there next week though.  It was so great having them there last week.  Ana and Tony came, and so did Beverly.  We taught the Gospel Principles class so that was fun.  Reminded me of Eastwood when Elder Harris (I miss that guy like crazy) and I would always teach the classes.  It's weird because I know how he felt now because I know I didn't say too much in those lessons as a new missionary.  We went to a DA at the Langmeads house way out in Berkley.  (UC Berkley is named after this place).  His sons are in Bahrain actually playing a gig for the military base there.  They're called Boomin' and also Bite the Shark.  Then we went with the Darracqs to teach Garreth M. who is such a cool guy.  His only hold up is tithing unfortunately.  He'll get past that one day though.  

So overall this week hasn't been bad, just not as effective as I'd like.  There was one really cool moment for me which is actually very ridiculous.  We were in our flat about to start planning on Saturday and our windows were opened.  I hear from across the road 'Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.'  I kind of went crazy.  That's the first time I've heard any Avetts since being in England and I've never met anyone who have heard of them. That line reminded me of my first email from home on the mission Mum wrote that line at the bottom of the email.  I actually went outside to see what house was playing it so next time I see them I can talk to them!  

I hope all of y'all are doing great.  I can't believe it's been almost a year already either.  It's flown by.  I love my mission so much though, it makes me sad to think that I'm halfway done.  I was looking over an email from Kenny in Sheldon and he said he's almost been out for 6 months.  I remember when he left and it does not seem near like six months!  It's been great out here.

Love y'all
-Elder Pogue

Here's another one just for his dad:
Ey Op me Duck!
Do you know what language that is?  English.  I still don't understand that phrase. 

Happy fathers day!  Did you have a good day?  I hear you had a big dinner with a bunch of people.  That sounds like fun.  Basically I don't have a lot of time to tell you all the things I want to but you should know that you're the best.  I was sitting in church the other day and thinking about the Father's day talks and what I would say if I was speaking and I was just thinking about a lot of memories with you.  Some are funny, some are stupid and I don't know why I remember them.  Like in Colorado once you told me I used too much toilet paper.  What quality advice from father to son.  I was just kind of laughing at that.  But other things are going fishing when I was young and all the camp outs.  Your leadership during the hurricane and moving to Saudi.  Your patience when we were bad, and all the sacrifices you make so we can have what we want.  In all seriousness, President Eyring gave a talk in Priesthood session that talks about our 'heroes' and how we will all be an example to someone, we'll all be someone's 'hero'. You should know that you've done a good job.  A great job.  Because I look up to you so much for everything you do.  I think about the way you taught be to do what's right.  The things that have lasted.  Like when you used to say the who's a smart man!? and all of those. I never realized how good I had it until being out here.  I hear stories now about fathers (and mothers) and the way they raised their families, or I see the bad examples they set and I realize now that I am so so so lucky.  

I keep telling my companions that I'm turning into you when I do something. But I'm actually pretty happy about that.  For example, the way I weigh everything before I spend money and a lot of other things. 

I hope you had a good fathers day.  
I love you dad.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Letter #47

Hey Everyone!  This week has been a week of tons of finding.  Not much else, and not much success but at the end of the week we were very, very blessed.  I really don't have much to say about the individual days.  It's weird because we do a lot and we try to make effective use of all of our time but sometimes things just don't seem to come. 
We had a regular p-day on Monday and that was good, Tuesday we spent the whole day in Stonehouse knocking on doors.  I really hate tracting, I prefer street contacting but we felt good about tracting that day.  We knocked on lots of doors but nobody was interested.  We saw Ana and Tony with the Darracqs after though.  That was really good because we were able to show Tony a video in Italian about receiving revelation.  He recently quit his job and is job searching.  Ana doesn't want to move or anything so it's kind of a tough situation for them.  We were able to share D&C 8 and 9 with Ana about receiving and acting on revelation.  Hopefully that helps, and they'll find something soon.  They bought a car though so that's good.
Wednesday we thought we'd try something new so we went to an area called Cashes Green and tracted all day.  We met a few cool people and got a couple of potentials but really nothing that seems too solid.  It was pouring down rain all day.  We had ward council that night which went really well.  When we got home I took of my shoes and only my two pinky toes were very bruised.  It was really weird.  That went away after a couple of days though. 
Thursday morning we had a zone meeting in Gloucester.  It was a really good meeting about working with members.  It was nice to see all the missionaries in the zone.  Elder Olivos was happy to see us too.  I think he's doing alright in Evesham though.  Sister Stapley and Dodds were visiting from Birmingham and told us something Sister Rasmussen had shared with them.  She said that when Nephi got back after a hard day of slaying Laban he never told his wife awh I'm too tired to pick up the chisel and write about what I did today.  That was a little bit of a rebuke about the missionary area book but it made me think about how much I suck at being consistent in writing in a journal.  I've written every day since then though.  We had a dinner appointment with the Cole's that night.  We tracted on some doors but one guy in particular was especially harsh.  He was saying that we were a cult and we were deceived.  He was just very hard- hearted and close minded.  I feel bad for people like that.
Friday was of course the dreaded weekly planning day.  We got about half of it done then went to teach Tracy. 

Saturday we were meant to meet a lady at the chapel for a lesson, and have a barbecue but the bbq was cancelled and the lesson flogged unfortunately.  I was excited to teach that lady too.  She needs the gospel; everyone needs the gospel.   We ended up doing some service for a family called the Hawes.  We were doing hedging.  I started laughing so hard because Elder Chugg was trying to save all of these snails and put them safely somewhere the whole time then Sister Hawes comes out and picks up a couple of the snails and says, awh gross, snails!  And throws them off a ledge onto the ground.  Elder Chugg's face was horrified!  It was so funny.  That evening one man just went crazy on us.  He was acting out of love though.  He was saying how sorry he felt for us being so deceived that we'd follow this cult.  He was telling us that we weren't Christians and that our Jesus was a different Jesus than his.  He just wouldn't even listen to us at all.  At one point we showed him the Book of Mormon and he said 'that book belongs in the bin.'  Then I asked if he had read it and he said that he doesn't need to.  It was just an interesting conversation.  He was very, very, very against us though.
Sunday was a miracle day.  I just couldn't even believe everything that went down on Sunday.  The big thing is we had 8 investigators at church!  Yes, 8!  That was a new record I'm sure.  So shout-out to Angie and Jamie and Tracy who all came!  I was so happy when I saw the cars pull up with them in it.  We also had Ana and her partner Tony.  Beverly, a girl named Hannah who is a friend of a member we'll hopefully teach this week.  Then a former investigator named Thomas.  I never imagined we'd have 8 at church.  It was just an insane miracle.  I really hope they all enjoyed it.  I know 3 hours is a long, long time to people who are new to it.  It just takes some getting used to.  So Sunday was just a really good day.  We had the BBQ thing right after church then had a Dinner Appointment with the McArthur's.   Then had more food at Sister Jacqui W's house!  We were full up by the end of the day.  At Jacqui's we gave her the Sacrament and the spirit was very strong during that time.  I love going to her house because we always have delicious food and the spirit is always strong.  Those two are probably closely related :P 
This week isn't looking too eventful yet, but hopefully some cool stuff will happen.  Elder Chugg is doing amazing.  He's adapted really fast to missionary life and is doing great talking to people.  Sister Darracq said that he's the quickest changing new Elder she's seen.  I don't know if we'll stay together again after this transfer, we'll just have to wait and see. 
I am loving my mission so far, I can't believe I've almost been out an entire year.  Time has just flown.  There's a quote in the Best Two Years where Elder Rogers says something like, 'Gosh, time just passes you by so fast, don't let one moment pass you by.'  I feel that way.  Time is just going like crazy.  I love my mission so it makes me sad to think I'm nearly half way done.  I've met so many cool people, and learned so much.   Most of all my testimony has grown so much.  I heard something from Brother Cherrington before my mission about Mosiah 18:30 about how the 'Waters of Mormon' are so beautiful to the eyes of those who came to the knowledge of their Redeemer there.  England is beginning to be that way to me, and hopefully I'm helping it be that way for those I teach. 

Love y'all,
Elder Pogue

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Letter #46 from Stroud

Hey y'all!

I watched Piper's graduation videos and was crying I was laughing so hard.  Ballerina moves in the middle of the stage, it was so funny.  I didn't watch all of the 11 minute one though.  I can't believe how tall she looks now.  It seems like she's grown a ton!  I guess I really haven't seen her in about a year though.  

To answer your question, if you want to send me something, send it to the mission home.  

What else have all of y'all been up to?  Happy that you saw Andrew. I miss Andrew tons!  Hopefully he's doing well.  It seems like a lot of my friends are in Aramco at this time so that's really weird not being there.  
I talked about last Monday in last weeks email because we emailed on Tuesday.  Did any of you look up cheese-rolling?  Make sure Taylor looks it up because I think he'd really enjoy watching that!  It was crazy!  Go watch some videos.  

Tuesday after we emailed we were supposed to teach a lesson to a lady named Stephanie with Peter, but we knocked on her door and she wasn't there.  I felt really bad that Peter had come all that way but she wasn't even home.  That's okay though because we ended up teaching Tracy (Jamie's Mum) Beverly and Ana that day.  We saw all of them with Elder Darracq.  Tracy is way cool, and seems to really enjoy us coming around.  Beverly is the same as always... and Ana is doing well as always.  The Darracqs 9 year old granddaughter had a spiritual experience that was a basis for all of the lessons we had that day.  It's a neat story about the Holy Ghost helping her leave behind something she looked to for comfort to go more to Heavenly Father for the comfort.  

Wednesday we had a lot of time to go around and talk to people, this whole week we've had a lot of finding time.  Wednesday we didn't end up finding anyone to teach.  We gave one guy a Book of Mormon but he wouldn't give us his number or address.  We went to see GM again on Wednesday.  He is really cool.  Our job was to keep the kids busy while Sister Darracq taught a lesson.  

Thursday we had a district meeting in Yate.  That was the same as always, just going and eating lunch then having a meeting then coming back to Stroud.  After that we went to Stonehouse where Jamie and Angie and Tracy and Beverly live.  We talked with Jamie and Angie and one of their cousins.  

Friday was our hated weekly planning day, we actually only got half of planning done until we went to see Tracy with Elder Darracq and Sister Darracq this time.  That night we taught Kojo (a recent convert) about temples and talked about our favourite scriptures.  

Saturday was an interesting day, we spent all morning in Stroud talking to people because there is a Stroud market.  It was a fun environment.  I heard a guy playing the Banjo, and you know how much I love banjos.  There were just tons of people but it seemed like everyone was too enthralled in their market to talk to us.  That's okay though, after lunch we headed off to Stonehouse when Elder Chugg got a nail in his bike tyre (english spelling for tire).  We headed back bought some tools and went to the flat so I could teach him how to fix it.  It ended up us having to go back and forth from the store to get new things because they kept selling us the wrong size of bike tubes and things like that!  We probably went back to the store 5 times and it took forever to fix the bike.  That was pretty much the whole of that day.

Sunday we had a really good meeting, Jamie and Angie had said before that they couldn't come on this Sunday because her dad was going to be visiting them that afternoon.  We missed them but they'll come next week.  They promised that they, and Tracy will all be coming next week so we're extremely excited for that!  Testimony meeting was especially nice.  After that we had pulled pork roast at the Darracqs and it was so good.  She's the best cook.  Then Sunday evening was funny.  We decided we wanted to adventure off to do missionary work in a town called Bussage so we cycled to this path which ended up being a narrow, steep, horse path.  We spent ages walking up a hill, then got to a huge steep road and walked up that.  We noticed we were on top of one of the commons and were no where close to Bussage.  We asked a guy how to get there and he basically told us the path we were going takes us straight down a huge steep valley, then straight up the next one, and that it's very dangerous.  After a couple of hours we decided to cycle down that steep hill we walked up.  We got to the bottom extremely fast, and maybe a bit dangerously.  Then we realized we never even made it out of Stroud.  I felt kind of pathetic.  It was a fun adventure though and I got a few good pictures.

One of the pictures is when I cooked us dinner last night, and it was the hottest thing I've ever eaten.  It was just crazy, and delicious, but my stomach has been on fire all morning!  It was mince, egg, chopped up chips, corn, garlic sauce, hot chilli sauce, tonys, it was very good.

Elder Chugg is a really good missionary and we're getting along great!

I hope everything is going well with y'all.  I'll try to finally get a few pictures sent today.