Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 5--One Month In The Field (Already)

Well, so this week Connor hit a milestone. One month in the mission field--on September 10th. I am not sure if he's keeping track, so I am doing it for him...hahaha. We received an unexpected call from President Palmer this week. Apparently the fires in Northern California were getting a little too close to Connor's area. So, to be on the safe side, they transferred him and Elder Dixon from their area and put them into another--doing splits with other Elders in that area. We are not sure exactly where he is or who he is with, but President Palmer said they were safe and doing well. We are not sure how long this situation will last. For now we are just anxious to hear from Connor on Monday with more of the details. I can imagine this was not easy for him. I think he was just starting to feel a little settled. But, change is the only thing we can really count on in life, and the mission is no different. Learning how to cope with unexpected changes is a good lesson that hopefully Connor will learn over the two years he serves. It's a good lesson for all of us to learn, really.

President Palmer was very complimentary of Connor in his phone call. He said that he had recently heard him teach and that he was very impressed with his abilities. He told Shon that Connor taught like he had been in the mission field for a year already. He said he was really happy to have Connor in his mission. This was good to hear. Connor has been so critical of his teaching abilities. I guess it's good that he feels the need to improve, but hopefully he can also find some confidence in himself and what he already has to offer.

Shon received this text from President Warnick about the same situation.

This week we also sent a package to Connor. It was nothing earth-shattering, just some stuff he had asked for. But, I want to document everything on here, so this is a picture of some of the stuff we put in his package. I forgot to take a picture of it before I taped it this is the best I've got. Connor had asked for some snack items, a jump drive with some church music and his post-workout protein powder. We packed it all in, along with Shon's book that was just recently published. Hopefully he'll be happy with it all--if not, hopefully he will at least be happy that he doesn't have to buy those things for himself. I love Post Net, by the way. It is so close to home and quite convenient. I can run in, pick up one of these flat rate boxes (free of charge), pack it as full as possible and then send it off for $20! While I was there this week, I happened to notice the price to send it internationally--$96. Boy, am I grateful Connor is in California. It should reach him by Tuesday or Wednesday of the next week. Can't beat that!!

Package sent on September 12, 2015

Here are the letters that Connor sent to both Shon and me this week. Mine is first:

Hi Mom :):)
Things have been pretty exciting around here! On Wednesday I think, we saw the start of a fire, then woke up on Thursday smelling smoke. The fire was insane, it's been spreading like crazy! It's nothing to worry about though, it wasn't really even close to where we stay. President Palmer has been so careful with us though, so we're staying about 40 minutes away in a city called Lodi with the Zone Leaders. We've been going up for appointments from time to time, and we went up for church yesterday. There's basically no concern about the fire hitting our city, but the air quality is terrible. So we're spending most of our time in Lodi. That's kinda the details on that stuff! We're living out of a suitcase, which only adds to my stress, but I'm handling it all ok :) The hardest part is that we kinda feel like we're abandoning/letting down our area. We've had to cancel tons of appointments. We were feeling like things were starting to gain momentum, and then this happened and it's kinda falling apart again. And we can barely even do work! It's kinda frustrating.

Thank you for praying for my change of heart! Everything you said there is completely inspired I think! You definitely explained your thoughts well :) I've been able to let go of home a lot more this last week. I actually felt pretty good about it, but then my companion yesterday brought it up again and said I need to be even more focused...oh well. I'm trying to figure it all out. Because I still care so much about you all, and I'm not supposed to forget about my family or anything! But I need to focus. So I'm trying to balance it all. Thank you for praying for me. I know all of your prayers help me so much. That paragraph about being a missionary to everyone...that is so good too! The missionary purpose that the Prophets have given us is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel". Others means everyone! However we can, we need to increase others' faith in Jesus Christ and do what we can to help them receive/remember the happiness that comes from living the Gospel. Keep it up being a good member missionary! That's something that my companion and I have focused on: inviting the members to find those that are ready to hear the Gospel. And as we've been inviting the members in our area, I've thought about if I ever did that at home. I didn't super well. But I know that member involvement is key to bringing others the happiness that comes from the Gospel!
Do you mind letting the Browns know that I got their package and that I loved it? That was so nice of them! Thanks :)

Ok, so my companion has some songs that are sooo good and I think you'll love them....cause they're David Osmond :):) So I just wanted to let you know about them. There's "He Hears Me", "The Loneliest Walk", and several others from that album that are just so good. I recommend them :) And it's David Osmond, so I thought you'd appreciate them regardless :) Also, I wanted to let you know that I've been eating oatmeal a lot actually! It's cheap and filling and so I'm walking in your footsteps! :)

A quick spiritual thought (I've been really bad about putting those in my emails! Sorry!) : I studied on charity this morning! It's the key to everything! In 1 Corinthians, it says that if we have the faith to move mountains, but have not charity, we are nothing. I thought it was really interesting. It's so important that we develop the kind of love that God has for us. That's how we truly become like Him. God is love, so if we want to become as He is, we need to be love and have pure love for others. I think we do that as we develop our love for God by keeping the commandments. And as we pray for charity and follow Christ (Moroni 7:48) then God will give us that true love. Then we can do anything, we will "be like him" and "be purified as he is pure". I'd recommend a study on charity, if you can get around to it :) Anyways, I just really liked that, so I thought I'd share!

You're in my prayers always! I love you so much! I'm sorry if this email is all over the place - they usually are :) Thank you for all you do for me! Just know how much I love and care about you! I'll be looking forward to your email next week! Let me know if there's anything more you want me to include in my emails! Thanks for everything!!

Elder Connor Hopkin

Here is Shon's:

Hey Dad!

I was pretty excited when President Palmer said he was going to call you and let you know! It made me feel a little more connected to you guys, knowing that he talked to you! I'm so glad he thinks I'm doing well. Thanks for letting me know that! I hope I'm doing ok. The mission makes you so stinking aware of your weaknesses....I've honestly had a hard time seeing my strengths. That helps to know that President Palmer is at least a little impressed though :) And thanks for sharing President Warnick's email too. I got a letter from the Stake Presidency earlier this week. Do you mind letting them know that I really appreciated it? It was great!

I gave Mom a few of the details on the fire. We live in Ione, which is about 15 minutes away from Jackson, which is kinda the edge of where the fire was. We saw the fire on Wednesday, then drove about 40 minutes away to Lodi on Thursday for a District Meeting, then when we came back we realized how bad it was. There really isn't any danger at all of it hitting Ione - it's basically gone from even Jackson already. So no worries there! The air quality is pretty bad though, so we've been staying in Lodi with the Zone Leaders for the last few days. It's hard cause we've tried to keep up with our area and go to a few appointments, but President Palmer is being so careful with us, so we've had to cancel appointments and basically abandon the area. It's pretty frustrating. It's been cool to spend some time with the Zone Leaders though, and we got to talk to President Palmer and the Assistants the other day. I love them all, they're so kind and loving!

Thank you so much for sending the package! That'll be so nice to have around! Thanks for spending the time on that...I know you're busy and it means a lot to me. Thank you so much! I'll be excited for those songs :) And that book sounds so cool! I'll be looking forward to that as well :)

That quote is so good! I've been kinda down on myself the last few days. And my brain does that annoying thing where it gets overwhelmed cause it's trying to take everything in, then I just get confused and shut down. I hate it!! And it's been happening a lot lately. But it's basically completely explained by that Facsimile 2. I've thought about that a lot over the last few weeks. I seriously feel at times like that that I'm completely upside down, I have no idea what's going on, and I just feel anxious and lost. But the things that you've taught me about the Hero's Journey always help. Thank you for teaching me that. It's helped me get through tough times. And the Lord really does always help you. Not immediately always, but it does come.

I wanted to share a quick thought with you. I mentioned to Mom that I studied on charity this morning. I told her kinda the main idea of my study, but there was something else that I noticed. (It's not like I'm trying to hide this from her, I just thought I'd mention it to you specifically because we talked about something similar one time. But if she reads it, I'd love it.) I just studied it this morning, so my thoughts aren't completely put together on it. But I thought you'd maybe appreciate it and maybe even study it and see if I'm on the right track :) So in Moroni 7, it talks a lot about charity. In verse 48 it says "pray unto the Father...that ye may be filled with this love....for we shall see him as he is". And in 1 Corinthians 13:12 it says "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known". The footnote for the word "glass" refers to "veil". So I thought about all of this in context with Ether 3, and the temple, and coming into the Lord's presence. I think that charity is the key to all of it. Our whole goal, the end all experience, is being worthy to see God and be in His presence. And I'm starting to understand that charity is the thing that ties it all together. That's how we truly become like God, and then we'll be able to see Him as He truly is, and understand and be with Him. Anyways, like I said, my thoughts aren't really developed on it all. I just thought maybe you had already thought about it or maybe you could look into it or something. And if it's just random thoughts, then sorry :) Summary: charity is good :)

Well, I gotta go. Thanks for everything you do for me! I love you so much!

Elder Connor Hopkin

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