Friday, December 25, 2015

Week 20--Christmas Skype No. 1

It was so good talking to Connor on Christmas Day! He looked and sounded so good--and happy. We talked for about 40 minutes and then said a family prayer and an extra-long goodbye.  Here are a few pics from our Skype.

Christmas Day Skype December 25, 2015

Here was his letter and two pictures he sent on the following Monday.

Hi Mom!!!!!
It was SOOO good to talk to you on Christmas! I loved seeing everybody and hearing your voices and just getting to talk! It was so weird cause I got really nervous at times, like I wasn't saying the right, it's my family so who cares, but I still got scared, you know? I'm so weird :) It was really weird getting off though. It was like an hour of going back to home, then I had to go back to real life and socialize and think about all the work and it just was so weird for me :) But I loved it so much and I'm so grateful that we get at least a few chances to see each other! It was funny, after I was done skyping, we had dinner at our Bishop's house....and I ate a ton. Then we went to this investigator's house that Elder Jones and I had found but passed off to the Spanish missionaries. And we had another dinner there! I was so dumb - I loaded my plate up, then realized I was at a Latino family's house....and I had to eat ALL of it! So I was pretty dang stuffed by the end of the day! :)

I'm glad Christmas was so great for everyone! That all sounds like lots of fun! So, my companion's parents are Terry and Brent Ashcraft. That would be hilarious if we were related! I think we look just a little similar, so that would be really cool! :) He really is such an awesome companion! It's gonna be a pretty good transfer I think! I realized though, that I have SO much to improve on...ugh! I just keep seeing more things to improve on. So it might be a kinda hard transfer as I try to be better... I think every transfer's just gonna be wonderful and super hard at the same time, don't you think? :)

Holy cow, thank you so much for sharing that compliment from Nate with me! You don't know how good that made me feel! That's definitely something that's helped add to my motivation to be as good as I can - I know there are people that I'm trying to set a good example for, like my siblings and my friends. And I want my friends and ward and family to be proud of me and I just hope I can do good for them, you know? But I should probably just care about what God thinks.... that's so hard though :)

Thank you for the other compliments! Ahh I get so worried about whether I'm doing good enough....I've probably said that exact sentence in every email I've sent, huh? :) There's just so much for me to work on, and I can barely remember what I did yesterday, so I do I judge my thoughts and words and actions and desires over the last week/month/year, you know? I hate having to look inside and figure myself out....but it's so important as I try to improve. Sorry, that was probably kinda random...but I think that's where a lot of my stress comes from - trying to judge myself and figure out where I should improve and how and etc. K.... I'll stop rambling now :)

So the work has been pretty slow. I think I told you this on the Skype, but so many people invited us to stop by again - after the holidays. So once January 2 hits, we're gonna be going hard, but it's rough finding things to do and people to teach right now. We had a couple investigators drop us this week....and (while numbers don't reallllly matter) our report didn't look great. But I'm really hopeful that it'll pick up again soon! We have a lot of young families that seem interested, so I'm hoping at least one of them will let us teach them happiness :)

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm complaining....things are going pretty good! I love my district and my zone and my companion and my ward and I think I'm learning to enjoy the work more. Haha Katy and other people keep saying things like "It seems like you love it out there and your heart is there and you'll get to the point where you're only excited for the rest and don't want to come home" and I just wish I was more like that. I love it...but it's hard and I probably don't love it as much as I should, and I wonder what's wrong with me that I'm not just so excited to wake up every day and work! I hope that'll improve as well.

Thank you for your thoughts on obedience!! That's been a focus of the last couple weeks, because the very most important thing for a trainer to teach his companion is strict obedience. So as I've tried to help him understand the importance of it, I've noticed little things I've been slipping up on and had to work hard to re-up my effort to be completely obedient. I had a really funny/cool experience a few nights ago. One thing I kinda have a hard time with is lights-out at 10:30. Sometimes I get busy in my journal or whatever, and I end up a few minutes late. But a few nights ago, I was so determined to be done at exactly 10:30! So I hurried and got ready for bed, and quickly wrote in my journal, and finished right as the alarm rang, and got the lights out in perfect time! And I knelt down to pray and I was SO excited that I did it and I could just feel God so close to me, and He was even more excited than me that I had been obedient! I just felt His love for me and His joy when we choose to do what's right. It really meant a lot to me! So I thought that was relevant to your ideas! I love that we need to be obedient out of love, not out of fear or duty. I think duty is my motivation a lot of times, so I need to improve that! And I think it's SO important to remember that we have rules and commandments for OUR happiness! God doesn't give them just cause - He knows that will make us happy! It's like, we're all looking for greater why not just do what an all-knowing God has said will give us that joy?! It's so simple but so hard to remember!

Thank you so much for all of your love to me! It means so much and I don't know where I'd be without you! I love you so so so much! I only have to hold on till Mother's Day now! ;) I remember, my first transfer, I was basically counting down the days till Christmas and I could Skype! Then before I realized it, it showed up! I was SOOO excited of course, but I hadn't felt the "need" for it, like I had in my first few weeks! Maybe I am progressing :) I'm still looking forward to the next time though, and I absolutely love getting to email you! I miss you so much and love you so much and I'll talk to you next week!! Good luck with everything you're doing! I pray for you all the time!!

Elder Connor Hopkin

Me with my awesome Christmas tree!! :) And this is Elder Lopez. He was one of my Zone Leaders. He was my District Leader when Elder Jones and I first came to Tracy, so we've been around each other for a while and have become really good friends! I look super weird in both pictures but whatever :)

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