Friday, December 11, 2015

Week 17--It's December (Been Out 4 Months Now)

Hi Mom!!

My week was pretty crazy but good at the same time :) I got the chance to go on exchanges and splits with a couple other missionaries, and it was really cool to spend some time with them and learn from them as well! That kind of stuff stresses me out too though, so things got a little crazy at times, but overall they were good experiences! We have a couple of great investigators that we're working closely with and will hopefully be able to be baptized soon! If you could pray for Ken, Kenneth, and Rita, that would be so helpful! Especially Ken :) Neither Mary or Amelia are progressing anymore, sadly. Mary couldn't be baptized yet because of circumstances and we've had a hard time meeting with her since. She still has a testimony of this gospel I think, and hopefully when circumstances are better she'll still have that desire to be baptized, but for now things have slowed down with her. I'll keep you updated with that! We weren't able to meet with Amelia for about a month straight - it's so hard to keep appointments with her - and things slowed down there too. Again, I'm really hopeful that sometime in the future she'll still want to be baptized, but I don't think I'll be the one to do it :) We've continued to gain a couple investigators here and there though! We're "teaching" this one guy that's atheist; he's so funny! He's kinda rude to be honest - sometimes we'll share our testimony or something and he'll just role his eyes, or give us a weird look. He's really blunt. It doesn't really offend me though :) We're definitely being careful to not "cast our pearls among swine" and if he keeps up his attitude I think we'll stop teaching him. He keeps inviting us back though to teach him more, and he always listens, and I'm really hoping that the gospel and the spirit will soften his heart. It might be a long process :) That's kinda the update! Transfers are next week! I'm pretty sure we're gonna get changed around. President Palmer dropped a couple hints here and there, and typically trainers don't stay with their companions for more than two transfers. So I'm pretty nervous for what that holds in store for me, but excited to see what happens! I'll miss Elder Jones, but I think a change would be best for us both to keep progressing - he especially needs a chance to not be with his "trainer" anymore :) I'm worried though that I won't get another companion that I get along with as well!

I did get the Christmas package and HOLY COW!!!!!!! What the heck!? It is so incredible!!! The big card with people's notes made me feel soooo good! And those presents have been so fun! I LOVE my new tie, and that keychain is so cool, and the treats are so great! Last night I opened 20, and no joke, as I was unwrapping it, I thought " this maybe a chocolate orange?" And there it was! Inspiration! :) That's been so much fun for me, and it makes me feel so loved! Thank you so much! Elder Jones really really appreciates the gifts to him too! For 25, I only saw his stocking and gift cards at first, and thought "well, ok! Good to start out giving him something right?" Then about 5 minutes later I found mine :) I can't even tell you how grateful I am for that incredible present. It obviously took a lot of time and money and effort, and I love it SO SO SO much!!! :) Thank you for everything!!!!!

I'm so excited for the chance to talk to you on Christmas!!! I've been looking forward to that day since July! :) It's crazy it's almost here now...dang! Time is so quick, but so slow! It's weird I'm over 4 months in but at the same time, there's so much left! I've heard it just passes quicker and quicker though. And I think I'm getting better at not wanting it to pass too quick. I still have lots of stressful and hard times, to be honest (that's just me!) but I'm getting mostly used to it all. I hope I'll continue to do better :)

That's crazy that Skotie is getting married! What!? So weird! Tell her congrats though :) Thanks for passing on everyone's hello's! Whenever someone tells you to say hi, just go ahead and say hi back from me. Just tell them in advance that I love them :) Thank you for all of your prayers! I don't know where I'd be without them... things would probably be a million times harder :) Thank you too for that last paragraph. That helped me feel lots better. I need to remember that I'm out here to sometimes doesn't really feel that way :) I just always worry that maybe the reason I feel like I'm not succeeding is because I'm not doing my part. So I just hope that maybe I really am succeeding and I don't see it, or that I don't feel that way because it's a trial to help me grow....I don't know! :)

Really quick thought! We ate at the Bishop's last night, and shared that new Christmas video with the family. If you haven't seen it yet, WATCH IT! It's on We're using it a whole lot as a missionary initiative, and it's super good. And also, there's another video on that website that's animated. The first is called "A Savior Is Born" and I think the second is like, "Why We Need A Savior". Check them out if you haven't already :) Anyways, we were just having a good conversation and everything was great, then we watched that video and started talking about Jesus. After the discussion, Bishop pointed out how as soon as we watched that video, the Spirit entered the room. He also pointed out that at church yesterday, a lot of people bore their testimony of the Savior and His Atonement, and the Spirit was so strong. I thought about a time this week that we were talking to this inactive couple, and we were "discussing" the new gay marriage children policy, and things got a little tense, then I just bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and she was like "Woah. Things just got quiet and deep" and I just wanted to scream "Yah! That's the Spirit!!" It's so cool that whenever we all start talking about the gospel, bearing testimony, and discussing the Savior and His Atonement, the Spirit just enters the room. He's always there to witness and testify of the truth, and I've seen that influence so many times. He's present because Jesus Christ IS our Savior, and this gospel IS true! It's super cool :)

Anyways, those are my thoughts this week! I hadn't really put that together until I started writing it right now, so thanks! :) I love you so so so so so much!!! I miss you all and really wish I was there to spend this time with you, but I'm doing ok. Sister Palmer is so concerned about us getting homesick for the holidays - she's SO sweet - but I assured her that her love for us helps a ton :) I miss you and am SO grateful for everything you do for me, and the example you are! Thank you SO much!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!

Elder Hopkin

A picture of my incredible zone!! This was the Monday before Thanksgiving - we had a little missionary turkey bowl. Two of the Sisters weren't there :/

We also received a Christmas letter from the Mission Office this week. It is below.

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