Sunday, March 6, 2016

Week 29--THE Magic Number

This week marks week 29--which I call Connor's magic number because he left on the 29th of July. The 29th of each month marks one more month that he has been serving. This year is an actual leap year, so there are 29 days in February--which marks 7 months as a missionary. He had a pretty good week, with a baptism on Saturday, the 27th. Here are some pictures we received throughout this week and then his letter follows.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016
"We love your sons!"

Baptism Day of Abraham and Martha!
Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Abraham and Martha!!!!! :) Their son is Sebastian - we didn't baptize him yet"  :)

Hi Mom!!!!! :)

So yah, that's Abraham and Martha!! They're absolutely the best! Elder Jones and I street contacted him forever ago, then after a couple months because of his health, Elder Ashcraft and I finally got to teach him and his wife! His sister came from Mexico several months ago to stay with them, and she's being taught by the Spanish Elders and is getting baptized this Saturday! It's been incredible teaching them and seeing them learn and love the gospel. They have such ready, believing hearts. He's hilarious and so down to earth, and she's the sweetest lady ever! Aahhh I love them! :) Anyways, the baptism was great! His boss (who introduced him to the gospel) came from the Bay area to confirm them, his boss's son flew from Utah to baptize them, and some past co-workers flew from Maryland to be there too! It was great! :) Thank you so much for praying for them! It was an enormous help!!! I'll let them know you did!

So that was basically the highlight of our week; not a whole lot else happened. One of our investigators that we weren't too sure about did seem to regain a little fire though! She said she was really considering truly searching to know about this Church, so that was exciting! She didn't keep her commitment to come to the baptism, or church, though...We'll have to figure that one out soon :) I also got to go on an exchange with another Elder in my district, and absolutely loved it. He was so interesting and fun to talk to, and we did some great work together. He came in 3 transfers after me and we've been in the same zone the whole time, and I've seen him change and grow a lot in the few short months (haha I sound like a wise, old missionary) and it was great to spend some time with him! I'm starting to realize how sad I'm going to be to leave this area when the time comes. I think I'll enjoy the change in the work, but this ward has become my home, and I'm going to miss all the members, and Rita and Abraham and Martha... it'll be interesting to find out next week what happens! All the members are telling me I'm outta here (most say it sadly I think :) ) and I think they might be right. I've heard of plenty of missionaries staying for 9 to 12 months in an area though! Who knows? :)

Haha I love the update about the family!! I'm SO excited for Ethan! Abraham is getting ordained to the priesthood tomorrow, so I've been appreciating more that authority and power that God gives us. And cool that Ethan will get to hold that! We just had a boy in our ward turn 12 and become the only deacon too! Quorum President and everything :) Ethan's gonna do awesome! I'm glad about his basketball season too! I hope Bryn's ok with the friends and crazy schedule. I'm so happy about her talk though - I wish I could have heard it!!! And Makaeli - I LOVE being reminded of my last couple years, but in Makaeli version! It's pretty funny :) I hope everything goes well for her too! What's going on with your work?? Same job but different schedule? That's great that you'll get to be home for the afternoons!!

So with the pants...I'm sorry, do you mind grabbing 34 waists? I think I've grown just a little and I HATE tight-waisted pants - they stress me out :):) Sorry....the 34 length should be great though, if that's a thing? If not, I should be able to fit into the 32's. Thank you so much for taking the time to get those for me!!! I can't think of anything else.

That sounds like an incredible Sacrament Meeting! The scriptures are SO INCREDIBLE!! I've been trying to take a little extra time and read the Book of Mormon during my lunch time when it works out (Preach My Gospel says that you teach better from the scriptures when you spend more time in them - makes sense so I thought what the heck? :) ) and I notice such a difference in my receptiveness to the Spirit when I just spend a few extra minutes reading. Not only do I feel good that I spent my time wisely, but the Book of Mormon teaches us about Jesus Christ and His gospel, and brings the Holy Ghost closer to us. I just realized, as part of our baptismal covenants, we promise to always remember Christ and keep His commandments; as we read the Book of Mormon, we fulfill BOTH! We keep the commandment to read the scriptures, and we read of and remember our Savior! So it just makes sense that the Spirit would enter our lives more, because that's God's end of the promise! Hm! I'd never thought of it that way before! :) I love your thought that the mark of our discipleship is how we treat others! That's so true!!! :) Thanks for the clarification on President Vaughn's talk! I like that a lot! I love especially that you said we are told line upon line.

Thank you for your constant prayers! You don't know how much they help! I've noticed SUCH a difference in the last couple of transfers; I just feel more relaxed (hopefully in an appropriate way) and less worried about everything and I'm better able to enjoy things. I still have my hard times and days of course, but it's been so much better for me lately - and I know that's from your prayers and faith. So thank you!!! You're always in my prayers as well! I love you so so so much and just appreciate your example of faith and sacrifice and love. Our incredible Elder's Quorum President gave a lesson on women's divine role and nature, and I just want you to know that you're a perfect example of what a Mom and a daughter of God should be. You're humble and loving, but not afraid to lead and give your thoughts. You sacrifice for and serve others and always treat them with kindness. You're constantly trying to improve and become more like our Savior. And I just really really really look up to you. You're quite pretty as well - I was looking at my little photo album the other day and was reminded of that :) Anyways, you're just the greatest and I hope you always know and remember that! And I know that God loves you so much and is SO pleased with ALL that you do!

I love you and I'll look forward to next week! Thank you for EVERYTHING!!! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin

Hi Dad!!!

Thanks for the email!!! Don't Abraham and Martha look so wonderful? They're the best!! :) I forgot to tell everyone in my email to Mom: after their baptismal interview at the church, Abraham looked at me and was like "you and me, one-on-one" and we played a game of basketball (and I destroyed him - shh) and it was one of the best times ever! :) And afterwards he and Elder Moreno (who interviewed him) were bantering and he said "yah we'll play next time and I'll kick your..." We still have a little to teach him :) They weren't the ones that had either question. They completely and readily accepted everything we taught them; literally the only time they brought up a concerned question was when we told them they couldn't drink tea. They are so believing and faithful! It's interesting, there are two different families that we're teaching, and they both brought up both of those concerns! It's like our lesson with one is preparing us for the other. They're both hard concerns to answer - especially because these investigators are so smart and faithful to their church. They truly are searching for truth, but they have very strong opinions from their other churches. These kind of people are hard, because they're so close to the truth that they think it is the truth - it brings them happiness so they're skeptical of everything else that doesn't line up. But they don't have the full truth or happiness! Luckily these investigators are humble enough to keep meeting with us, and I hope the Spirit will eventually convince them :)

I think I've seen the mission change me quite a bit. I've definitely learned a whole lot!! I hope that I myself, as a person, have also changed on the inside and become more Christ-like. It's super hard to measure those things. I really hope I've improved in those ways. But yes, I've seen the mission teach me so much!! And it goes by so quick! Slow, but quick! It's super weird :)

I love all of your thoughts!! I hadn't thought about how He shows us that glory every day! That's a beautiful idea! Often, I'll look up at the stars out here and remember you telling me that quote on several campouts when we were looking up at the stars - that thought that we're more glorious and eternal than them is so wonderful and I'm reminded of it all the time!

So an Elder here is showing me this webiste called I don't know if you know about that, or if you actually wrote some of those videos (some of them sound familiar) but it's super cool! :) Anyways, I'm glad the kids enjoy my emails! I do feel like they're short but I hope they help a little. Thank you so much for everything! I love you so much and really enjoy and appreciate your emails! Thanks for your love and incredible example! Good luck with work and bishop-ing and everything! :) Have an awesome week!!

Elder Connor Hopkin

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