Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 33--Easter 2016

We sent Connor an Easter package this week. It's fun to put these together and I love that he gets them within a couple of days. Here are a few photos of that package.

Easter Package 2016

I am also posting one thing we added especially for the Easter season. In 12 of the eggs that we sent we had a scripture that fit into the first Easter story with one small token to go with each scripture passage. And, before anyone thinks I'm creative, it comes from Pinterest, of course.

(Coins) - 1
Matthew 26: 14-16
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

(Bread) - 2
Matthew 26: 26-28
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

(Sacrament cup) – 3
Matthew 26: 36 & 39
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

(Twine) - 4
Matthew 27:1-2
1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

(Soap Chip) - 5
Matthew 27:24-26
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he has scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

) – 6
Mark 15:17-20
17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

(Nail) – 7
Matthew 27:31-32
31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

(Dice) – 8
Matthew 27:35-36
35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

(Sponge) – 9
Matthew 27:48
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

(White linen) – 10
Matthew 27:57-59
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimath├Ža, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

(Rock) – 11
Matthew 28: 1-4
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

(Empty) - 12
Matthew 28: 5-7
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Here is his letter and a few pictures we received on Sunday night from their dinner appointment. The members in Tracy have been so good to him. I know he loves them a lot! And we love them too for taking such good care of him while he is there. If you'll notice, they are wearing their new Easter ties that we sent in the package. :)

Hi Mom!!!!!!!!! :)

1/3 done! That seems so crazy! And yah, who's counting? :) I have so much left to learn and improve on, and I'm glad I still have 16 months to do so! :)

This week went well! I got to go on exchanges with Elder Robinson (the blond one in that picture I sent last week) and it was a blast! I love the chance to spend time with all these other missionaries! This week, I'm going on exchanges with Elder Lopez, who is an Assistant right now. He's going to be coming into my area, and I'm going to have crazy flashbacks to when he was my district leader here! :) We found a super cool investigator the other day! There's a less-active lady that we found, and a member of the bishopric went to visit her; she didn't answer, and he being the awesome missionary he is, he talked to a guy down the street. He told us about this guy, and while Elder Roudabush and I were visiting that less-active lady, we decided to knock on his door. It's of course still in the early stages, but he seems to be truly searching for the right church! We also found a man that will probably be moved to the YSA ward, but he told us that "there has to be one right church, and as far as [he] can tell, Mormons are the right one" :) Pretty prepared if you ask me! :) It's incredible how even when things don't seem to be going perfectly, God is still working with His children and leading them to the truth. Even if it doesn't seem like it at times, there are people that will listen and accept this true message of the restored gospel.

I studied about the resurrection the other day for Easter, and it continues to amaze me how much we can learn from the scriptures. As I studied about our need for and Jesus Christ's sacrifice to offer a resurrection, I realized how important it is for us to do good works here and accept Christ's grace to make us better. The glory of our bodies and the happiness we enjoy after this life are dependent on how we've accepted the Atonement and let it purify and sanctify our spirits. I also gained a greater love and appreciation for my Redeemer Jesus Christ; if it wasn't for His resurrection, we would be lost and have no hope to live with our Father again. He made it possible for us to fulfill this Plan and have complete joy and happiness. He did it out of love for us - He suffered more than we can even imagine, so that we could be cleansed and so He could know how we feel and how to help us.

Thanks for your insights on the enabling power of the Atonement! That's the part of the Atonement I'm most grateful for, but the one I don't understand or recognize as much, if that makes sense. But yah, thank you for that! I'm always so grateful for your emails and spiritual thoughts - they always amaze me :) I've heard just a little about the situation in Belgium, and it really is incredible how they and God are turning that bad situation into an incredible opportunity.

I got your Easter package and loved it!!!! Thank you so much for sending all of that! I love the slacks especially - they're so comfortable :) And the eggs with the Easter story in them were so cool! I read through those and really felt the Spirit - so thank you for that as well! I have so much stinking junk food in my apartment - but I always love those packages :) Oh, and did you see our brand new ties in that picture? They look pretty good on us I think :)

I love you so much!! Thank you so so so much for everything! I hope you feel and understand how much I miss and love you! You're such an incredible Mom, and I'm so blessed to be your son! I hope you have a good and safe week! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin

Easter Sunday
March 27, 2016
"It is a blessing having them in our home. You have very stalwart sons."

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