Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Week Three

Connor's letter from his third week is following. No pictures this week, although he does keep promising he'll try harder to take some. He passed his 1-month milestone this week on August 29th. Looking back that month did seem to go pretty quickly, although to him I think it seemed much longer. I felt like he was starting to have a little less homesickness this week, which I've been praying for. Sounds like he's keeping busy and working hard to find people to teach. 

Hi Mom!! It's always so good to hear from you!! I got your package a couple days ago! We got home and it was such an amazing surprise! Thank you so much! I loved reading the letters from you and Bryn and Ethan. It's really nice of them to write me! And the stuff was so helpful! I was out of milk but I'm so excited for those Carnations :) And the nuts and Subway gift cards were perfect. I was actually gonna ask you today if you could send more snacky foods or gift cards in any packages you want to send, so that was perfect! I've got a really good stash of candy but I've started to need things like granola bars and crackers and stuff like that to get me through the day. We're scheduled for dinner every night so we haven't had to worry about that, but we have to make or buy breakfast and lunch, so stuff like that would be perfect whenever you send a package! Like the Subway gift card was awesome. Elder Dixon really likes Jamba Juice so a gift card to there would be helpful if you want to send one! And I'll let you know when I run out of candy :) Oh, and we're not allowed to chew gum, so I don't need anymore of that but mints are always welcome! :) Anyways, sorry I'm just asking for things! Don't feel like you need to send any of that! I can manage! But it has been and would be helpful. Thank you!! :)
This week went pretty well. I'm tired. Elder Dixon and I are both kinda frustrated with the slow progress we've had. We're having a really hard time finding people to teach. He especially is not used to that! We're kinda trying to figure out if we're doing something wrong or if God is just testing us with a little drought. It's all good though! We stay plenty busy, there's lots to do! Just not much teaching investigators. We're still trying to figure out how to balance our two wards and deal with the big area it covers - just driving from one place to another can take more than 20 minutes! I'm holding up ok though. I'm probably sounding pretty pessimistic, but the week hasn't been bad! It is crazy that I've been out a month! It honestly feels like a lot longer. But still, it's a month! I really am trying to think less of it as "Ugh 23 months left" and more of "23 months left to give it my all and work!" you know? I still miss home quite a bit but I felt a lot better this week. I think as time moves on that'll come naturally. I just wish it would come faster you know? :)
I'm still trying to be patient with myself. Haha you say to be patient with myself and let myself adapt....but Elder Dixon is pushing me along pretty fast. So I'm trying to counteract that with being more patient with myself :) He's a super good trainer though, he's teaching me so much! We're getting more used to each other, and I think he's working on being more patient with me, and I'm working on trying harder and learning quickly, so we're figuring it out!
I'm glad you got the picture of the baptism! I haven't really been able to take any other pictures....I'm sorry! I'll try to be better at that. It's just an extra thing you know? But I'll do it when I think of it :)
That's so exciting/scary for Morgan! I bet she'll love it though! She's gonna have a blast in college! I'm soooo glad I don't have to worry about that all. I doubt a mission is much easier than college...but still :) It is a nice change :) I'm so glad Makaeli beat Mountain View!! Yes! I'm sure there are some interesting evenings though with soccer going on! I read a couple of Katy's emails and she said Makaeli got asked to Homecoming! That's super exciting! Remind her to be good for me ;)  (By the way, I read everyone's emails before sending any. I promise you're the first one I email every time!) :) That's so fun that the Ashfords stopped by! Thanks for keeping me up-to-date with everything!
Let's see...oh, so one of my long-sleeved shirts has two buttons missing! So maybe if you get the chance do you think you could send me another? Or should I just find someone to put them back on? I feel so lost with that kind of stuff, I know nothing about clothes or food or anything! I should have payed more attention :) Anyways, if it's ok, that would be helpful. Or if you want me to buy one out here I can make that work too! Just whatever you think would be most convenient :)
Thank you so much for always sending such perfect emails! You always give me such good advice! I printed your last one out and read it a couple times throughout the week. It's so good to hear from you! :) You're such a perfect Mom! I've been learning and thinking a lot about the family, as I've read Preach My Gospel and visited other families and stuff. And I've realized how perfect of parents you two are! You raised me exactly the way I needed! You have always been so diligent in teaching us the Gospel and making sure we understand it, but still letting us develop our own testimonies. I'm realizing how daunting a task parenting will be, and just how good my parents are at it! So thank you!!!! :)
Please don't shorten up the emails :) I love reading every word! It's so good to hear from you and get as close as possible to talking with you! I miss you a ton!! I can't wait for 23 months from now so I can give you an enormous hug!! :) Right now I'm just holding on till Christmas when we can Skype! That's the first milestone! And the weekly emails will get us through those couple months :) Well, I hope I said everything I need in this email! I allllways worry that I'm missing something! Just like whenever I'd leave the house and worry about forgetting something...except now I'd be missing it for a week! I love love love email time but it stresses me out too cause I can't fit a whole week into one email! Oh well :) I miss you and love you so much! You're such an incredible mom! I really look up to you! You're such an incredible example!! Thanks for everything!!!!! You're my favorite :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

He also sent a group email out to his email list this week. I will post that here as well for history's sake.

Hey family and friends!! My Mom compiled all the emails and my Dad set up a group email so I can send one out now! I hope everything's going well with everyone! So, I'm not used to writing group emails, so if it's kinda awkward bear with me :)
First of all, my mom has been working really hard on a blog for me, and she wanted me to share the address with everyone. It's I'm not allowed to get on it, so I don't really know exactly what's on there, but my dad said it has some excerpts from my letters to them over the last month and some pictures and church website links. So if you're interested, check it out, and hopefully my parents didn't put anything too embarrassing on there!
Everything is going well out here! I've been out a month now, and it feels like it's been at least half a year! But it's been really good too! The MTC was an incredible, spiritual experience. I learned so much about the gospel and had so many spiritually uplifting experiences there. I was there for a week and a half, then I left for California. My first area covers two wards - Jackson and Ione. It's a pretty big area for two missionaries to cover, so driving between appointments can take more than half an hour! So we're still trying to figure out timing and how to schedule everything in. My companion is incredible! He's a super experienced, successful missionary, and he's taught me so much already! He's pushing me to learn really fast, and I feel pretty inadequate sometimes, but I'm getting the hang of it all! We got doubled-in to our area, which means that we're both new to the area. The previous missionaries didn't give us a ton to work with so we're basically starting from scratch. We're really trying to focus on working with members and finding people to teach through them. It's been kinda slow-going at times, but we're working really hard! We have had one baptism already though! The previous missionaries had been working with this one girl but she had never gotten baptized, so we went and taught her. She was moving really soon, and we really wanted her to be baptized and have the Holy Ghost before she made that transition, so we invited her to be baptized and she accepted and we taught her a couple lessons really close together and she was baptized last Sunday! It was really incredible. So that's kinda been the highlight of the month! The members here are so kind and welcoming. There are several families that remind me of my own, and that makes me miss them a lot. It's really nice to have people here that really care about us and take care of us.
I just want to share with everyone something that I've learned over the last little bit. Heavenly Father loves us and cares about us so much. I have a stronger testimony of that now than I ever have. We can really feel close to Him as we pray; we can express all of our problems and worries and He'll just listen. And He is always there to help us. Sometimes He tests us to help us grow, but He will ALWAYS strengthen us and help us get through whatever problems we have. His whole goal is for us to be happy. I know that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He has given it to us because He knows it'll make us happy in this life, and after we die. If we keep everything in an eternal perspective, we can find so much peace and hope, knowing that God will help us. Being out on a mission for the last month has strengthened my testimony of this so much. I'd invite you all to share your testimony at any opportunity. This gospel gives us happiness, so share it with others! And by doing that, your own testimony will grow!
I'm sorry if I haven't responded to some of you personally. I have a limited time on email, and I spend the majority of it sending ridiculously long emails to my mom! I love receiving your messages though. They're so helpful and they help me feel so loved! Thank you so much for all of your love and support!

Elder Hopkin

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