Monday, August 25, 2014

58th letter....from Loughborough

Hey everyone!

This week has been amazing.  I'm loving every second of my mission right now.  It's really nice serving with Elder Harris again.  We're getting on just the same as we did before.  It's cool to see how much we've changed in actual missionary work though too.  I bet it's nice for him that I rely less on him.  I am in love with the Chinese culture.  We've been hanging out with tons of Chinese people.  

Last monday we just had a normal p-day.  We shopped around, ate a kebab, and then took a nap.  We ended up having to drive half way to the mission home because the Assistants needed to give us some supplies for one of the teams in our zone.  After that we went to teach Stacy.  I actually met Stacy while I was serving with Elder Steel because she really really loved him and chased him down in Eastwood.  After Stacy we went and taught Frankie, Dannie, and Yong.  Frankie and Dannie are really only interested in learning English but Yong is way interested.  

Tuesday morning we did the service for Bob, laying down the patio.  That's almost done and we are excited for that to be over soon.  It's just taking so much time out of our days. It's been fun, though. We just have to finish the edges now though.  After the service we went down to Evington for exchange.  Exchange is probably my favorite thing about being a zone leader already.  I went with Elder Kezele who is from my MTC group.  We had a great time and were able to find some really cool people.  

Wednesday we went to the Demontfort district's district meeting, and exchanged back.  When we got back we taught a lady named Gabriela which was a referral from Reece.  Reece has given the missionaries 14 referrals in one week.  That's just crazy.  We taught her and that went well.  Then we went finding and I talked to a Chinese guy that reminded me so much of Daniel L.  It was great.  I talked to him and said I was from America. (by the way,I've been working on saying a few phrases in Mandarin....)  When I said I was from America he made a funny face and in his chinese accent said 'ooooooooooh!  That is why I understand every word that you say!!!'  Elder Harris and I laughed so hard about that.  It was that guy's first day in the UK.  That night we made Spaghetti for Barry, Ivy, Alex and Ariel.  They all loved it and had never had it before.  Then we went and saw Michael B., another investigator.  It's so great to have so many people to teach and share the gospel with.

Thursday we had our own district meeting, and then we went on a little split.  I went with Elder Hunter because his recent convert from Gloucester was coming to visit him.  They took us to Pizza hut for a couple of hours and it was great to see how happy they all were to see each other.  After pizza hut we went to Bob's house and sang happy birthday to Gillian (bob's wife) and all had some cake.  Her candles were so funny, they said 21ish.  She thought that was funny.  We worked a little more on the patio then had to head of to ward coordination which was a great meeting.  We have a great ward mission leader here.  It's Brother Ford (Camerons mission president's son).

Friday I went on exchange with Elder McCray.  He is from Snowflake Arizona and wants to be the worlds strongest man.  He's massive.  He is serving here in Loughborough.  In high school he bench pressed 415 pounds and right after high school benched 435 lbs.  We went and taught 3 of their investigators and had really good lessons.  At 5.30 we went and played basketball for a couple of hours and met a few new people.  That's been really fun, but it makes me wish that I had stuck with it in high school because I could have been a lot better!  

Saturday... was the worse day of my life.  It was awful and hilarious.  I just don't even know how to put my experience into words.  Elder McCray had agreed to do some service for some guy that lives in the another ward but has a warehouse in our area.  So he said the service would take 6 hours and would be heavy lifting.  So, at 8 in the morning we get picked up in this van with 3 seats.  Elder McCray is massive so we barely fit in the seats, I was being squeezed up against a plastic bit and it was very uncomfortable.  Then we went to the warehouse and literally spent 7 hours shuffling paper around.  My job was to stack 3 papers then put them on a bigger sheet of paper, then he would roll up the paper and elder mccray would put it in a tube and close the tube. It was some sort of planner for sheep herders about how to take care of their sheep.  We were standing on concrete and a little slouched over the whole time.  The worse part was that this guy just could not stop talking about lambs!  I know far to much about lambs!  Like if 'a ewe is lambing, and the head comes out first it's very bad!  You actually have to cut off the head of the lamb and shove the rest of the body back up into the ewe.'  Elder McCray said he didn't see me smile a single time the whole time we were there and I didn't see him smile either.  We probably said about 20 words between the both of us because this man was talking so much.  Poor guy just has all these ideas that never sell.  Like a tool to feed a dog a pill.  When he was talking about that I was thinking that you just put the pill in a piece of cheese and the dog eats it!  Why do you need a tool?  Then, when we were finally done with the service, he just drove us to an obscure city and gave us a tour of the place, still talking about lambs.  And when we left, he gave us.... 3000 pens.  I'm serious.  He was like, well I'm sure you could use some pens, hand them out to the other missionaries.  So we now own 3000 pens that.  On the pen, it says something about... sheep.  I was terrified that night that I'd dream about lambs.  Elder McCray and I got back to their flat and just laid down and started busting out laughing at how ridiculous the day was.  Elder Harris and Hunter came over very curious about what had happened because we hadn't had service the whole day and as we told them, they were busting out laughing too at how ridiculous our time was.  I felt like I was in shock for the rest of the day.

Sunday we had a good day.  We went in the morning to walk with Ivy Barry, and a couple of investigators named Jessica and Amber to church.  After church we did some weekly planning then came to Ivy and Barry's for dinner.  They taught us a sick chinese song on the guitar.  It's a really cool song, and we're kind of obsessed with it.  Then Sunday night we had our call-ins with all of the district leaders.  Our zone this week did amazing.  We set a record for new investigators found, so we're very excited about that.  

I love it here in Loughborough.  The ward is great and the investigators are great.  I am booked to take my theory test this Friday and then my practical driving test probably in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully I'll do fine.  I haven't bought a suit yet because I haven't had time!  Just be patient!

I hope y'all are having a great week.
Elder Pogue

Thursday, August 21, 2014


August 19

This week has been insanely great.  I'll start by saying last week was transfers, so there have been a lot of changes.  Last monday we went up to the Worcester cathedral with the darracqs so that was very nice.  I always loved hanging out with them on p-day.  While we were at the whole foods store I got a call from President to be a zone leader.  I was actually a little surprised but excited for the change.  Monday night the way we get transfer calls is the zone leaders call the district leaders and the district leaders call the district.  I answered the phone and we were all in a conference call and Elder Packer said, Elder Pogue, you are going to be the happiest missionary in the mission.  So I was called to serve with Elder Harris again!!! This time in Loughborough.  (Luff-beruh is how you pronounce it).  Can you believe it?!?!

Tuesday we were supposed to do some service but we got rained out so we went and spent time with Ana and helped her pack her bags to move.  Tony made us some pasta and we had a good last day in Stroud.  I'm going to miss that place so much.  I'm sure it's the most beautiful area in the mission.  I worked on getting my bags packed also.

Wednesday was transfers in the morning and that was kind of stressful because all of the bikes and luggage would not fit under the coach.  We eventually figured everything out and got people there.  I met up with Elder Harris and helped people get to where they needed to be then got in the car (which I'm excited to be in) and left.

Thursday we went and met all of the investigators and recent converts.  I love Loughborough so much so far.  Most of our investigators are chinese students.  And we have a couple of recent converts that are chinese students as well.  We are just teaching all the time too.  I love these chinese people so much already.  They are very very cool.  The chinese students also just always invite their friends to learn about the gospel.  They have no fears.  Barry is one of the recent converts we see the most.  He is incredible.

Friday we started a service project for this guy named Bob.  We are making a new porch for him. It's really a huge job and none of us are completely sure about what we're doing but so far it looks really nice.  We'll finish that tomorrow hopefully.  Bob is great guy too, just one of the members named Reece's neighbor.  That night we got a call from Reece and a pipe had burst in between the top and bottom story of the house he lives in and his house was flooding.  IT was not good at all.  We helped him get that all under control.  We also played basketball with a bunch of the students on Friday night.  That was really fun.

Reece actually shares a house with a few members of one of the best female cricket teams in the world.  We teach them sometimes but they've been on tour since I've gotten here so I haven't met them yet.  One of them is the best bowler in the world though, so that's really cool.

Saturday we had another great day of just going and teaching all day.  We went and picked up a recent convert named Ivy that just got back from China.  She is so cool.  Elder Harris was really happy to see her and I was really happy to meet her.  We also spent a lot of time working on Bob's porch and then there was a ward bbq.  I'm actually serving in Elder Price's mission presidents ward.  I was able to meet them on Saturday.  Sister Ford freaked out and talked about how much she loves all of her missionaries.  They're really cool.

Sunday was great at church.  I love this ward.  Everyone here is very good at missionary work.  Always so welcoming and inviting.  Barry actually bore his testimony and at one point in it, invited all who had not been baptised to be baptised!  It was great.    We had a great DA right after church and then later that night went over to Barry's house to teach a couple of investigators named Alex and Ariel.  After that, another investigator named Anthia made us a huge proper chinese meal.  It was great!  I'm actually pretty good at using chop sticks too.  I can tell that by the time I leave this area, I will be in love with the chinese culture.  I actually already am.

So this week has been pretty great to say the least.

So I'm going to start taking my driving tests.  Dad is right, everyone talks about how hard it is, but we'll see.  If you hit a curb even a little bit when parking, you fail.  If you forget to signal once, you fail.  It's insane.  But it should be fine.  I'm going to book my theory test right now though, so some money is going to be withdrawn but I actually found out that it will be reimbursed.  So what I'm going to do is book it with your money, get it reimbursed in cash, then buy a suit with it or something okay?

I forgot to mention, at transfers Elder Eunice who is the other missionary that elder harris trained was so jealous.  He said 'President, I see that you have a father son companionship going.  I think it is in order that a second father son companionship happens in the near future.'  President responded 'Elder Eunice, do you really think that lightning would strike a third time??'  It was so funny.

Hope y'all have a great week!

Love you,
Elder Pogue

#56 (Last from Stroud)

Aug 12, 2014


I am so jealous that y'all are all having such a good time in Louisiana!  I was craving some steamboat bills and sausage link all week.  Also, fishing would be so great right now.  That's exciting that you are all up at the Zachary's.  That place seems like a lot of fun.

I've had a pretty good week. I know last week we didn't have much time to email and this week we really don't have too much time either.  We're planning on going to Worcester Cathedral today.

Last Monday we had a great time with the Darracqs, we went to whats called British Camp up in the Melvern Hills.  I'll send pictures when I have more time but for now you should look it up on the internet.  Then after that we all went to TGIFridays and had a little taste of America.  We then all went to the Gadfield Elm chapel.  I had been there with the mission before but it was nice to be there when no one else was.  And we went to see what's called the Painswick Beacon.  There are tons of great views around Stroud, that are nice to go and visit.

On Tuesday morning Peter came out teaching with us to see Angie.  We showed her the Restoration DVD and she loved it.  Peter is such a great guy, he works 3pm to midnight but still always volunteers to come teaching with us at 11 AM.  After Angie we went and stopped by Beverly.  On Tuesday night we went and taught Ana with the Darracqs.  She's still going through some trials but we're working with her.

Wednesday we went on exchanges early in the morning and Elder Retzer came to Stroud with me.  We had a great time, he really wanted to go and see Angie so we went on a walk and taught her the plan of salvation.  We were supposed to teach that Amy girl but she flogged us and we're going to just drop her.  We had a really nice dinner apppointment that night, we had lamb.  Wednesday night was so funny because Elder REtzer and I ended up playing a game kind of like tennis inside of our flat.  We had a great time ahahaha.

Thursday morning we had District meeting and before it we ate at a pub called the Hungry Horse.  I had the best nicest burger I've had my whole mission.  It was called the smokey cowboy smokin' double stack bacon burger or something.   We had a good district meeting and exchanged back.  Elder Chugg and I then went and started cooking because we cooked a dinner for the Darracqs!  Then at half 6 we had a dinner with Diane J.  She is 80 and very cool and nice.  She made us a great dinner and we had a great time.  She introduced me to a musician that I think it just incredible.  Go look her up, her name is Eva Cassidy.  Her story is very interesting too.

Friday morning we of course had to weekly plan and that sucks.  Elder Chugg and I finished preparing for the Darracq's dinner.  We made one of his mums old recipes called Tangoloni.  It was really good.  We went over to the darracqs and ate then all went out to visit Jacqui Webb.

My birthday Saturday and it was good.  We just went on as usual. I got a call from Sister Darracq saying she had packages for us, and she brought us the stuff y'all sent.  I got a package from Kelcy, and from the Huntingtons and I got the rain jacket you sent.  It was a great addition to my birthday to open a few packages!  Then we went and got some Kebabs.

Sunday morning we went to church but unfortunately neither Angie or Ana came.  We were sad about that.  We had a good church service though.  Right after church, Peter was asked to move a members car and he's really never driven before, especially not a manual and on a hill and it was the funniest thing I've ever seen.  He looked terrified and he just about ran into a chinese family's house and into the church.  We were laughing that the family would be sitting there eating noodles when a big red devil car drove through the wall.  In a chinese accent 'this is unusual, hard to enjoy noodles with car.'  It was hilarious, and Chris was really taking the mick out of peter all day for it.  After that we went to the Darracqs and they made me 'Cafe Rio' for my birthday.  It was so great.  She also made me... a butter cake!  It was really good.  Very very rich.  She had never made it before and shre was kind of disappointed because she thought it was undercooked.  It was so, so good though.

Last night we had a funny experience.  I wasn't feeling too well so I got up to go splash some water on my face so i pulled the string to turn on the bathroom light.  About 5 inches away from my hand was a massive spider.  We spent a few minutes trying to catch it, and it was probably funny to watch us jumping around and trying to catch this thing without it getting too close.  We got a pretty funny video of it.

So transfers are this week, I'll find out very late tonight what's happening but I'm pretty positive I'll be leaving.  I'm excited for a change.

One thing I want from y'all is for you to send me loads of physical pictures.  Just of different things from family trips to just out wake boarding or out in Saudi, anything.  Specifically of me and us though.

I hope y'all have a great week.

Love y'all,
-Elder Pogue

Monday, August 4, 2014

#55 from Stroud

Hey Everyone,

I really don't have much time this week to write, we're at the Darracqs flat at the end of p-day.
I am really jealous about everything y'all have done!  I really can't believe that y'all went on a Breaking Bad tour.... That's hilarious.  It seems like y'all had so much fun so that's good.

This week has been good, we've done a lot of service and just working with what we already have. I really can't believe it's Monday already.

Last p-day we had a pretty good day, we went to Gloucester and saw the Cathedral again and did some shopping.  We ended up having to do our planning at the end of the day so nothing really happened.

Tuesday we had a really nice change of pace. We did service all day.  We helped a member named Sister Evans do her garden, then Angie, then Beverly.  Beverly actually only had a push mower so that was a new experience for me.  It was a great day full of just service.

Wednesday morning we went to teach Beverly and that was great.  Always enjoy that. We stopped by Angie's after. She's doing really good.  We later were supposed to go see Amy with Chris C. but she basically flogged us.  Sad..

Thursday morning we had district meeting which went well.  We later had a dinner appointment with the Mansfields and we were going to help them build a shed but they called earlier and said there was supposed to be bad rain so we had to cancel that.  We just ate dinner then went to see Jacqui Webb.

Friday we were supposed to see Angie with Peter but Angie wasn't home and then we just went to do service for the McArthurs.  We did all of their weeding but it started to pour rain.

Saturday we had a ward BBQ and we did a sack race.  It was the second race and one of the members ran into the wall at the end and dislocated her shoulder and gashed her head open.  That was a not so great start but the activity ended up going pretty well.

Sunday was good, Angie made it to church again so we're proud of that!  After church we came to the Darracqs with Diane Jameson and had an amazing meal.  I was so full afterwards i just felt sick.

Also!  I really hope y'all have had a great anniversary and dad has had a great birthday.  Talking to other missionaries and seeing the people I work with here, I realize how lucky I am to have y'all as my parents.  Hopefully y'all found the time to do something nice.  (:   I love y'all!

Hope y'all had a great week!  Love you,
-Elder Pogue

#54 (Still in Stroud)

What a week...  I actually feel like you might not even be able to put this email up on the blog because a lot of it is pretty private about these people.  It's been an interesting week, because it's been so full of trials but I'm just as happy as ever right now.  Probably one of the hardest weeks of my mission.  I'll let you decide what to post of the blog, if anything.  But make sure not to put anything about these investigators.
Monday was an average day, did some finding.  Had a great time, and cleaned our flat for flat inspections on Thursday.
Tuesday we had a nice full day in Nailsworth.  One lesson I keep being taught over and over again is that we're blessed for diligence.  We spent all day in the heat, knocking on doors, trying to visit people but nothing.  As soon as we got to our flat though, we received a referral.  It happens like that all the time but if we would have done nothing, no referral would come.
Wednesday was... hectic.  We cleaned a lot of the morning for Sister Darracqs flat inspections.  (lots of things happened today that are personal to people ....) We had a dinner appointment with Sister G that night and we went over and she had a little 4 year old son named Noah.  I played football and cricket with him and he was running around so happy, he even insisted that he sits next to his new friends at the dinner table.  It was great, and got my mind off of the troubles of the other people.
Thursday we had our flat inspections and did great on it.  Probably because I was cleaning all night to keep my head clear.  Then I had district meeting.  It was good, I talked a lot about our motivation and how we should be focused on the Saviour to convert us.  After that I went on exchange with Yate.  Elder Allred and I stayed there and Elder Retzer came to Stroud with Elder Chugg.  We had a good exchange, that night we played football and had a dinner appointment.  Easy day.
Friday we woke up and did some service for a member named Brother Locke.  He actually knows Brother Larsen from his mission!  I guess Brother Larsen was his first District Leader or something.  It was good service, we just tore up a deck.  After that service I went directly on Exchange with the Zone leaders.  I went with Elder Packer in Cheltnum.  We did some service for this man in his 70's who's building a huge add on to his house.  It was hilarious, he was just outside in his g's trying to do all this work he's too old for.  He's a great guy.  Then we had a lesson that went well.  We taught a guy about the book of mormon.  Oh yeah!  Friday was my year mark so we went and saw the Sisters in Cheltnum (Sister Brown's in my MTC group) and burned a pair of tights, and I burned a hat that was in the car.  That was fun.  Elder Packer and I then went to a chippy called.  The Codfather.  It lived up to that name too.  It was the biggest nicest fish and chips I've ever had.  It was so much food.
Saturday morning we had a district leader council in Cheltnum so that was good.  We went to see Beverly then Angie right when we got back, then I had to go to the flat and prepare for my talk on Sunday!
Sunday was good though, we went to church and Angie made it.  I was so happy she came.  Tons of members were great with her too.  I gave my talk and it went really well.  I spoke about the spirit and told a few stories about the dresser, moving to Saudi, seeing the church in Ghana, and that time I just stared at the Christus.   We went to a dinner at the McArthurs house in the afternoon and had tacos which were very good too.

I've learned some valuable lessons this week though.  I feel like the theme of the week was love.  Every aspect of missionary work is reliant on our love for the Saviour, and our love for those we work with.  We love the people, we'll do exactly what we're supposed to, to help them.  If we love the Lord, we'll do exactly what we're supposed to which will consequently help and bless us.  A lot of people get annoyed at missionaries that are the 'rebuking obedient robot types' and I know missionaries like that and I feel like it's because they are just going through the motions for the wrong reason.  If they were sincere and cared about others more than they could be themselves and still do what's right.  I guess it's like that phrase: 'lose yourself to find yourself.'  That's been my biggest lesson this week.
I hope y'all are all enjoying your awesome family holiday without me. (:
Love y'all!
Elder Pogue