Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rain Finally Stops; New President to Arrive

30 June 2009

Hey Dad,

I loved reading your email! Thanks for emailing me before today. We should be back to p-day on Wednesday next week. Our new President came in yesterday I believe. We will meet him tomorrow. We are very excited to meet President Colton and found out more about him. It is pretty cool being here at this time of transition.

By the way, Elder Poppleton's dad loves your blog! It sounds as if he checks it quite often. E. Poppleton had forgotten to tell his family that p-day was today. But Brother Poppleton read it on the blog and made sure to email sooner this week.

It finally quit raining so much. It rained at least once a day for 3 weeks straight. Now Idaho is going back to its normal dusty self.

That is exciting that Bro. & Sis. Brumble are preparing to go on a mission. They will love it and will do a great job. Let me know where they are going. Pres. Evans emailed me and said that there are 11 missionaries that entered the MTC since March from our stake. Then there were the few who left before and he said there are 2 scheduled to enter in August. That is way cool to think there are so many missionaries from our stake. Do you know who they are and where they are going?

I am also very excited to hear that you will be doing work for Nauvoo University! That is so cool. You will have to keep me updated on the university's plans. I was wondering where they will hold classes? Is there already a building, or do they have to build one?

That is cool that you and Rachel will be in Idaho for the Wheeler Family Reunion. When is that? Transfers are 15 July. Who knows I might get transferred to Ririe! Wouldn't that be crazy?

Keep me posted and thank you for all that you do for me.

Elder Call

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Elders, Bishop are Inspired; Changing of the Guard an Emotional Experience

Next week Elder Call will experience what only some missionaries get to experience: the transition to a new mission president. As I read his email this week, I thought back upon my own experience of seeing my first mission president, President David H.H. Chen, be replace by my second mission president, President Garry P. Mitchell. I couldn't help but pick up my journal and read from it. . .

July 2, 1980.

Today was a special mission conference --President Mitchell and his wife were there. First Sister Chahn spoke--she was so emotional she could barely speak. She just bore a quick testimony and sat down. Then President Chahn got up--he is so sai-leih [amazing]! I respect him so much! He just got up and built up President Mitchell--he talked about how great he is, and how much good he's done, and all that kind of stuff. He didn't say a thing about himself. I really love and respect President Chahn.

At the end of the conference, President Chahn stood at the door and we all walked by and shook his hand. I was the first elder to shake his hand--I said, "Thank you, President Chahn." He said, "Elder Call"--and he just looked at me for a second and said, "be successful." It hit my heart and soul so hard. "Be successful," was the last thing President Chahn said to me--the last advice he gave -- and I will follow it.

24 June 2009

Hi Dad,

Thanks for the email and don't worry about getting it to me after I already checked my email.

Last night we had another appointment with one of our investigators. This time she invited 3 friends of hers. They are all younger and RMs who served in the same mission. She has always wanted Bishop Sparrow to be there, but he was never able to make it until last night.

She still had some concerns about when she would be baptized and if it was what she really needed. We were answering her concerns and sharing scriptures with her and Elder Poppleton promised her that if we all prayed together then she would receive the "sign" that she was looking for. We all knelt down and she prayed. The Spirit was very strong. By the way she worded her prayer it was evident that she already believed the Church is true and she believed she needed to be baptized.

After a few minutes and a few more scriptures that she shared, she said that she will be baptized on 11 July! We were all very happy and all grins. She told the Bishop that he could put it on his calendar for 11 July definitely. Her husband said, "Did you watch him writing it down before when you told him the possible dates?"

"No?" she said. "What do you mean?"

"He didn't just pencil you in," her husband replied.

Bishop Sparrow said, "I wrote it in pen on the 11."

"How did you know?" she asked.

"I just knew," the bishop said.

It was pretty funny and cool.

Another of our investigators picked up smoking again. The poor man has tried so hard to quit. He is hoping to be baptized on 13 July when his other children will be up here. We are praying for him really hard.

One of the Elders in our district got here late because of the swine flu. He said that they stuck everybody in 4M on the second floor and quarantined it. Nobody was allowed up there. If you had to go there you wore masks and everybody had this breathalizer type stuff they had to take twice a day. Food was slid into the quarantined floor real quickly and the doors shut. His MTC district leader got sick and was in there for 5 days. Apparently it was just chaos and anarchy. No order whatsoever and no one in charge. They could do whatever they wanted.

Some elders got the janitors to smuggle in food from Wendy's. Well, that just made them worse and were throwing up all over the place. The janitors came very close to being fired. The sickies were staring out of the windows all day long.

I am certainly glad I wasn't there while all this was going on.

That is way cool that you will probably do the work for Nauvoo University! That is so exciting! That would be great if they ever got a family history or church history major.

Everything is going great here . President Somers leaves this weekend and President Colton comes in on July 1! We had our last Zone Conference with him last Thursday. "How Firm a Foundation" is his favorite hymn and we sing it at pretty much every meeting (all seven verses). I love that hymn too. So as the meeting was closing Pres. Somers said that we would sing "How Firm a Foundation" for the closing. He said that while we sang that at the Mission Conference with Elder Bednar, as we were transtioning from the 4th to 5th verse, Elder Bendar leaned over to Pres. Somers and asked, "Do they understand the doctrine behind these verses?"

"In full confidence I was able to tell him that you do," he said.

So we all stood up for President as we sang. It was extremely powerful. Sung with great earnestness, force, vigor, zeal , and spirit. Then as we got to the 7th verse it was sung with all that much more effort. It was astounding. Many, if not most or all, were in tears. President Somers is a man of God, a man we all love. It is sad and heart-wrenching to see him go, but exciting and anxious to have President Colton in.

Well, I think that is pretty much all from Poky West.

Thanks again for the update. Oh--next week we have P-Day on Tuesday, 30 June, because of President Colton coming in. So that is when I will be checking my email.

Elder Call

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Elders Call and Poppleton Find Joy in Sharing Gospel

17 June 2009

Hi Dad,

How's it going with you? Things here are going pretty good. One of our investigators decided he wants to be baptized on the 27th June. He told us that he had been thinking a lot the last couple of days and decided that quiting smoking was something that he couldn't do by himself, he needs God's help. He also wants to do it before his son is married on 3 July and before he is gone. This is the RM son who is going to baptize him.

We pray really hard to help him gain the strength to quit smoking.

I don't know if anything really exciting has happened this week. The missionaries that were quarantined at the MTC came in yesterday. They were quarantined for the swine flu. I've heard through the grapevine that the missionaries that were going to go to Mexico were either sent somewhere else or missions delayed. Have you heard anything? And didn't Dan Abbott get called to Mexico, do you know what happened to him?

How is the missionary work going in the Beloit Ward? Are they teaching a lot of people? How are the elders or sisters?

One exciting thing did happen last night. We had an appointment with an investigator and it was going pretty good. During the lesson Elder Poppleton and I both felt like we needed to set a baptism date with her. It seems as though what is holding her up now is just the Word of Wisdom. She doesn't have addictions to anything, she just likes to have coffee every once in a while. So we had previously committed her to stop for a week. She did it except for a day. Last night we committed her to stop for good. She accepted. Then we set a baptism date with her for the 11 July!!!!!!!! We are so excited. She says that is a goal she can work towards. When she said she would shoot for the 11th it made her husband cry.

I don't know if it has quite set in yet. We just need to help her make those last few steps to the font.

Well I'll write next week. Tell everyone "hi" for me and that things are going very well here in Pocatello West.


Elder Call.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Elder Call Loves the "Typical" Pocatello Family; Remains Well Fed

Well, Elder Call is really getting immersed with the people of Pocatello. And he's learning more and more about the "typical" Pocatello family. I remember having similar experiences in Hong Kong nearly 30 years ago. Seemed like every family in Hong Kong
  • Had a relative in America
  • Had a parent or grandparent who survived the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong
  • The dad worked either in "the factory" "making things" or "at the ocean" "fishing"
  • Everybody, including children, was "working hard"
  • Wanted to learn English
  • Didn't "believe in church"
  • Worshipped traditional Chinese gods
  • Couldn't understand you, no matter how good your Cantonese was

Here's the latest from Elder Call:

10 June 2009

Dear Family:

Thanks for your letters. It sounds like everyone is having a ton of fun this summer. I'm glad you had such a good time in Utah, Mom. It is good to see family every once in a while.

On Monday night Elder Poppleton and I were coming up with traits of the standard Pocatello family. These are just a few things that we have noticed. Every family pretty much fits a few of these descriptions:

  • Born or raised in or near Pocatello
  • Parents or older children went to Idaho State University
  • They hunt or fish and some animal head in their home
  • They know Calls or Poppletons
  • Usually related to the Calls
  • Usually went to school with the Poppletons
  • Someone in the family works or has worked at one of the following:
  • Drives a truck or school bus
  • Simplot or FMC
  • Heinz
  • Railroad
  • They have a son or nephew on a mission
  • The teenagers are going to ISU
Oh—and every time they have a teenage-to-twenty-something daughter, she is mysteriously absent from dinner (We’re missionaries—can’t they trust us?)

Most families usually fit several of these. Se,e we came up with that Monday after dinner because the family has a nephew in the ward who just left on a mission. Their teenage sons are going to go to ISU. Their 21-year-old daughter showed up right at the end. And the father drives a truck.

Then our dinner appointment on Tuesday night had a daughter who is about 19 or 20 who was going to come home for dinner (it sounded like she was going to ISU) but decided she couldn’t make it. Oh—and the mother of this family is Ruth call’s great-granddaughter. Ruth Call is an Indian girl who Anson Call adopted. So that makes this sister and me fourth cousins once removed. She and her husband went to school together (they grew up in Pocatello) and knew a guy named Gary Poppleton! We firmly believe our “Standard Pocatello Family” to be pretty true!

Well, things are going well here. I’m still in the Pocatello West Stake. We’re usually teaching about 10 lessons a week. Some weeks less, others more. Our nights get filled up pretty quick and are busy. We just wish more people would keep their appointments.

Tell me what is going on and what everyone is up to.

Love you all,
Elder Call

P.S. We just realized that we have six sirloins and six rib eyes and 15 hamburgers in our freezer! The Saurey’s give us way too much!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Elders Call and Poppleton Follow the Spirit, Become "Answer to Prayer"

3 June 2009

Hi Dad,

I got the SD cards on Monday and on Monday we found out that we are both staying here in the Pocatello West Stake! That will mean that I will be here in this area 4 1/2 months! That seems like a way long time. I really like it here and hope to see some of these people we are teaching get baptized this transfer.

This one investigator quite smoking for a week and picked it up again. So he won't be baptized this Saturday. I don't know if I told you, but his oldest son that is a RM is getting married a month from today and then 3 kids from a marriage in Texas are coming up at about that same time. He wants to be baptized while they are here. He also wants to be done smoking before then. His one daughter is a convert to the church and his son who is 11 will be living with him. He wants his son to be baptized also. So that is pretty cool.

Another investigator is inching closer and closer to baptism. This past week she told us that she is "leaning towards baptism"! And for her that pretty much means she knows she is going to be baptized and knows it is the right thing to do. We are way excited for her and so is her husband.

We have been helping a couple who are almost 90 years old . Their home teacher thinks that we can help get them to the temple. That would be really cool if that happened. We helped them weed about a week and a half ago. They have a huge garden (as in at least 20 very long rows, Elder Poppleton says maybe 1/2 an acre) that they put on for show and competitions. Then on Monday morning we decided to go over without any notice and weed. We got there and Sis. Erikson was so excited and happy we were there. She kept yelling back at her husband that the missionaries were there to weed! She starting clapping for joy. She told us, "You wouldn't believe it, but you are an answer to a prayer." She had been praying that someone would come and help her weed. She is practically blind and can only see a weed that is about 3 feet tall and has a yellow flower on the end.

I am way excited for the work that you have coming in and potentially will be doing. Maybe you could tell Nauvoo University to have a Family History Major and I might go there after BYU! That would be fun.

We had a dinner appointment with a family and the father's name was Spencer Stucki from the Bear Lake area. (Don't you have some Stucki cousins? He said there are 3 unrelated families that came from Switzerland, joined the Church and settled in Idaho. One in Bear Lake, Idaho Falls, and I can't remember the third.) Anyways, he said he knows Scott Kunz (spelling) quite well. I thought that was pretty amazing.

That is great that all those youth went to the Temple Baptisms. That is a crazy amount! Tell them all I wish them well and pray that they will continue to be strong in the faith.

Well, I'll get going. Thanks for the letters and the SD Cards.

Elder Call