Sunday, August 30, 2015


Connor entered the MTC on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. He was only there for 12 days before he flew out to the mission field. We didn't really hear from him the first few days, which I had sort of expected. The first thing we heard was actually from one of our ward members. Sister Marilyn Whiting called me to say that her grandson was Connor's teacher and that Connor was doing great. Then I got this picture from her in a text.

Elder Hopkin with Brother Whiting, one of his MTC teachers

A couple of days later we received this first letter from him.

Hi Mom!!! They're letting us send a quick message this morning to let our mommies know that everything is ok!! I'm alive and well! My first day was emotionally stressful, my second day was emotionally better but mentally stressful, and today I'm kinda getting the hang of things.... I think :) My companion is Elder Elliot, he's kinda quiet but super cool! He's so normal....I was so relieved! We didn't necessarily click, but we get along well!

A couple items of business :)  1) I don't know much about it, but they mentioned, it's supposed to be really good for sending things to missionaries. Katy sent me a letter through it, so if you don't know about it you might want to look at it? I don't know :) 2) I got allllll of the letters last night! They were perfect and comforting and I loved them! I read yours, and my siblings' and Katy's, and I'm saving the rest for later, cause there's not lots of time at night. I was wondering, if you send any more letters, if you could date them? I kinda want to keep track of them chronologically (you know me) :) So that would be fantastic! 3) I don't think they really like us wearing tanktops to workout in, so I might send all of them home when I can and I was wondering if at some time you could send me a few other workout shirts that I could wear with my garments. Whenever it's convenient! 4) I need my line of authority, so if Dad could send that soon, that would be great! 5) If you could just make sure I have a good amount of money in my checking account, that would be helpful!

That's all! I hope that wasn't too much to ask for. I'm doing pretty good overall. I miss you all, and those letters were seriously sooo perfect! I know that Christ will help me through all of this! Thank you for all of your work helping me prepare for all of this, and all of the support and love! I love you so much!! I think my P Day is Tuesday, so I'll send a more thorough email then! And let me know if you want real letters, or if emails suffice :)

Love, Elder Connor Hopkin :)

The following Tuesday we got a longer letter. I will share parts of it here:

Hi Mom!!!! So, I just need to start out saying...I feel like there's soooo much to say and I know I'll forget about half of it! Just so you know :) I got your letter a few days ago and the package yesterday. Thank you so much!!! Those shirts were perfect, the snacks are incredible, and that letter meant so much to me. Thank you for always supporting and loving me and doing so much for me! I love you so much :)

So the days are starting to blend together, and it feels like I've been here for at least 3 weeks....but it's great! It's honestly kinda been an emotional rollercoaster. Every day there are times when I get homesick or worried or feel inadequate but always within a few hours I'm feeling better! I did get to go to the temple today, and it was incredible! I always felt like I had a clear perspective of my mission when I was at the temple, so I was so excited to go today! On Sunday we did a couple temple walks so we were able to get out of the MTC and walk around for a bit!

I'm still trying to get used to living away from home - in such a cramped area - but I'm getting there! My companion is awesome! His name is Elder Elliott, he's from Farmington, he's a year out of school (he worked for a year), and he's great! Like I said earlier, I was so relieved at how normal he was :) He's kinda quiet, especially when we're preparing lessons, so I worry that we're only using my ideas, but he says that he agrees with everything. My teachers are Brother Whiting and Sister Wrubell, and Sister Stegelmeier subs sometimes. I think Bro Whiting sent a picture of us to his parents and Bryn said you guys saw it. The teachers are great! I learn soooo much every day! My brain is usually fried by the end of our study times. The worst thing is that they'll never answer a question directly, they just refer to the scriptures or tell us to pray about it...ugh :) I've had a lot of incredible experiences though. Yesterday I was feeling kinda bad about a lesson that didn't go too well, and then we were practicing teaching from a chapter in the scriptures; I was teaching a Sister in my district from 1 Nephi 1, and after a bit she left for a while and cried in the that didn't make me feel better. But later I asked and she said that she had received some really important answers during then I did fell lots better :) 

My companion and I have... 2 and a half... investigators. Our first is Dreazo. He's someone that Bro Whiting knows, so Bro Whiting role-plays as him...but they take the role playing so seriously! Maybe you know this, but they take it as kinda a sacred responsibility, and it's incredible how good they are at it. All of a sudden they turn into the world's best actor - they seem like completely different people! It's amazing! Anyways, we had a lesson with Dreazo (that didn't go great) and we were gonna have another on Monday but he was sick. So we got to prepare a lesson in 15 minutes for Liz, who's being role played by Sis Stegelmeier. That didn't go too well either. It's so hard to be concise and still answer questions but not confuse them! I hope it comes with practice. However, we did have a TRC investigator, Jenny, who might be a member or an investigator...we have no idea! Her story is that she moved here from Korea and is going to BYU and is getting married to a member in a couple weeks. She really wants to be LDS so she can go to church with him, but she doesn't want to change her lifestyle. So I felt prompted to turn to Alma 32, and we taught her how to build a testimony from a small desire. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray, and told her that if she builds that faith then it'll be easier for her to want to change her life. It went really well, and we were really pleased with it :)

Ummm....what else? Gym time is pretty good, I played basketball on Friday, ran on Saturday, and lifted weights yesterday! Oh! On Sunday we watched a video of a talk from Elder Bednar called "The Character of Christ" that's only shown in the MTC! It was so incredible - probably the best talk I've ever heard. He talked about how Jesus's character was to turn outward whenever the natural man would turn inward, like during trials. And he talked about the importance of being converted and not just having a testimony. It was so inspiring! The food here is decent...maybe I should just drive home for meals! :)

Anyways, I'm sorry that was kinda long. Tell Makaeli congrats! I hope Bryn has an awesome time at EFY! Thanks again for all the things you sent me. The family letters, your letters, the really made me feel loved and I really really appreciated it.  I don't really have any requests for stuff, I think I have everything I need. Thanks for helping me be so prepared!! :) I really wish I could email everyday, it seems like there's just too much to say after a whole week! But at least we get one a week :) I miss you so much!!!! And I love you so much!!! Thanks for everything you do and have done for me! I'm pretty I sure I leave for the mission field around 7 or 8 on Monday, just so you know :) So I won't get another email in before that :/ Let me know if you want any written letters! That would be quicker contact than email for most of the week! So just send me a letter if you want one or need any info or anything! I love you so much! I'll talk to you later :)

Connor :)

We also got a couple of pictures of him with his companion and his district at the Provo Temple.

And, that was about it from the MTC. He let us know that he would be leaving on Monday, August 10 for the mission field. A couple of days later I got a written letter in the mail from him. Here are exerts from that letter:

Dear Mom and Everyone Else :) ,

Thank you so much for the package!! I loved it! I love your letters so much! And, all the food! I keep getting packages from you, and Katy has sent me a ton, so everyone hates me. :) And I've got way too much food! I don't think I can finish it before I leave! I might try to pack a bit of it. I'm worried about my luggage being overweight though, hopefully it'll work out. Sorry, I'm just ranting about my travel worries. :) So, I leave early Monday morning! I leave the MTC around 4am and I think my flight leaves around 9-ish. I bought a calling card. I'm planning on calling unless I find out it's not allowed. So maybe be expecting it but don't worry if it doesn't happen. :)
The MTC has continued to be crazy busy and up and down everywhere but I'm getting used to it. I've learned some dang cool things! Brother Whiting (our teacher that is the Whiting's grandson) taught us some stuff today that blew our mind! He said that EVERYTHING in Preach My Gospel lessons can be categorized by either: 1) The Atonement, 2) the Gospel of Christ, which is how we access the Atonement, or 3) Blessings from the Atonement, particularly eternal life, which is the goal of everything. Maybe that is obvious, but it blew our minds! We're all convinced he's gonna be a General Authority. :)  Anyway, we've learned a ton and I feel like my teaching abilities are really improving. I'm learning how to tailor the lessons to the needs of the investigators. I still have a ton of room to improve but I'm getting it. :)
Thank you for the blessing notes and all the motivation, advice, and love! I can't imagine a more supporting family! You're all so amazing! I keep realizing how much I miss you all! You're such INCREDIBLE examples to me! Thank you for all your letters and testimonies. I'm guessing everyone is getting along better with me gone. :) Oh! So, don't tell Bryn this...I didn't think about Misty for about 4 days until a Sister mentioned her dog! It thought it was so funny!
My companion and I are really getting along well! We're learning to plan and teach together better! My district is awesome! Our Branch 1st Counselor said we're one of the best districts he knows, and he doesn't say that much! Everyone's pretty impressed with the scripture references I've memorized...that's kinda nice. :) Anyway, I hope this letter was ok. Tell all the extended family family hi and I love them! Oh, by the way, my new 3rd favorite scripture is Mosiah 24;12-15. Just thought I'd let you know. :) I love and miss you all so much! Hopefully I can call on Monday! I love you! Thanks for everything!
Love, Elder Connor ;)

All in all, I think he had a good experience at the MTC, which I am so glad for. He did get to call from the airport on that Monday morning and we talked for about 1/2 an hour. It was so good to hear his voice. He was in good spirits...a little nervous, but excited, about the next steps ahead. 

This video is a bit long, but if you are curious about what missionaries do at the MTC it is informative and interesting:

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