Sunday, April 17, 2016

Week 35

Three letters I am posting this week. First one was what Connor sent to me. Second was his letter to Shon, and the last is a group email he sent out to those on his email list. If anyone is interested in being included in his group emails, send him your address and he will put you on. He doesn't write very often, but who knows??? that could change at some point. :)

Hi Mom!!!!! :)

I'm glad the week went by pretty quickly! That's always really nice! That's so crazy that Ethan was ordained! Melissa emailed me and reminded me that Katelyn is turning 12 too! Ahh it's nuts! Dad also told me about Ethan's testimony - that's really cool! I wish I could be there to see everyone growing, but I guess I'll just get the end result after 2 years - that'll be awesome! :) I'm happy the week was so good for everyone! Spring Break sounds really nice :)
So, the picture with President Palmer (I think that was the first) was from Sister Baker, and the one at Golden Corral was from Sister Case. They are both SO incredible and helpful and just wonderful women! I've been so blessed by both of them and their husbands! So President Palmer actually came out with my companion and I for the night! Last Friday (a week and a half ago) he asked us to choose a day, so we chose Thursday and he came out with us from 4 to 8. We were able to teach a 10 year old boy the Restoration, have dinner with the Bakers, talk to a lady about family history, and then read Alma 7 with a less active lady that's going through a really hard time. It was a great night, and such a privilege to spend some time with him! And the less active woman came to church for the first time yesterday!!! :) I've gotten the chance to be around him a lot more lately because of my assignment, and I'm learning lots from him - I definitely couldn't have asked for a better mission president.

Our new investigator from last Sunday came to a baptism in another ward, and then came to church yesterday. He's super prepared and we're really excited to teach him! He's a really nice guy and loves so many things about the Church. He's searched out a lot of different religions and likes this one the most - probably because it's true :) Also, while trying to find a less-active woman, we came across a family that just randomly asked us to pray for their relatives - and then after the prayer asked if they could come to our church! They attended yesterday, and in Relief Society, the mom "coincidentally" learned about Joseph Smith and the Restoration! We'll hopefully be teaching them soon!

I'm so excited to see you all again on Mother's Day! It doesn't seem all that long ago that I called on Christmas!! For my I've actually managed to tear my pinkie toe through the mesh on my running shoes again - imagine that! So a new pair might be nice. I know those aren't exactly cheap, plus shipping too, so no worries if that's too much! Or if you find something else you'd rather get me! Just throwing ideas out :) I'll keep thinking about it too! Thank you so much!

I love that scripture you shared! We actually have been thinking about sharing that chapter with an investigator! I've never really focused on that verse though - that's super good! I've studied a little bit lately about the Doctrine of Christ and the fact that He makes it possible for us to be cleansed from our sins. It's His part (already accomplished) to provide the means by which we all can be cleansed and resurrected - something we could NEVER do on our own. But we ourselves need to follow Him to the best of our ability; and then He mercifully forgives our sins out of love for us. I've come to think of it sometimes as if the Plan of Salvation applies to each one of us individually. We have our own little Plan that God gave us. If we don't accept and follow Christ, then that Plan is destroyed and broken. It's up to us to make sure that Plan hold true for us - and Christ has allowed it to work for us! I don't know if that makes sense at all....? :)

With my assignment as a zone leader, I've had the chance to attend some meetings with different church leaders, and it's been really cool to see them do their best in administering and ministering to others. I've started to realize more and more that every little action within the church is meant to bring someone (ourselves or others) closer to Christ. We get caught up in all the details, but little things like planning mutual, or bringing bread to church, or going to a meeting on Sunday, are all supposed to help God's children find temporary and eternal happiness. It's pretty cool how important we all are :)

Thank you for all your encouragement and love and compliments! :) You don't know how much I appreciate them! I'm learning to accept that I'll never be perfect in this life...ugh! No worries though, it'll come eventually :) I love you so much! I hope my email made sense and wasn't too long :) Thank you for everything! You're my favorite :) I love you!!!!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Hi Dad!!! :)

Sounds like a busy week! I know I shouldn't be jealous of Makaeli and everyone else - cause I've already been those places - but I want to go SOO bad!!! It's probably good I can't, or else I'd be even more upset :) That's so cool about Ethan!! I saw his testimony start to grow a little bit before I came out, but I feel like he was still a little kid... But I'm realizing now how much he's probably growing up so much right now! It's crazy! I doubt I'll recognize him when I get home! :) I'm so interested to see how those different parts of his personality develop as he gets older!

That's fun that you saw Maddie! She's such a great girl! I'm so excited for her! She's going to be incredible out there! You're right, I've been so blessed with amazing friends!!

That's a cool and interesting analogy with the carcass :) I've completely found that too though! Whenever we're at a dinner appointment, as soon as the scriptures come out and testimonies of Jesus are borne, the Spirit enters the room. It's been really cool to experience that. As a leader and a missionary, I'm finding more and more that I can't fix anything for anyone - bad moods, disobedience, trials - the only thing I can do is try to point them to Christ. He's the one that changes and fixes and brings good. That's why our whole purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ.

The transfer changes in exactly 2 weeks! I'm pretty anxious - I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen! I'll keep you posted! Thank you for everything, Dad! You're the best and I love you so much!! Good luck with everything this week! Please be safe and have lots of fun! :) I love you!!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Hello family and friends!!!

I'm officially the worst group-emailer! I looked at my sentbox and realized I haven't sent an email in months! My last update was that I would be training another missionary - his name was Elder Ashcraft, and he was a fantastic companion!! I absolutely loved the opportunity to serve with him - I learned a lot during that time! He was my companion for two transfers, and 5 weeks ago, Elder Roudabush became my new companion! He's about as opposite as you can get from Elder Ashcraft, but we get along great as well, and I've really enjoyed working with him. He's been out over 18 months, so I've been able to learn a lot from him! I'm still at home in Tracy ward; I've grown to love these people so much, and I now feel so comfortable around them that I wouldn't be surprised if I got moved in the near future. It's all in the Lord's hands though - we'll see what happens! Last month, I had the privilege of teaching a couple named Abraham and Martha and helping them make the covenant of baptism. They're so wonderful and were so proactive in learning about the gospel! We hadn't even invited them to be baptized before he asked what the steps were for him to join the church! We've been blessed with several other investigators right now; the work fluctuates quite a bit, but it's all been so incredible!! I've gotten to play basketball quite a bit lately, so that makes me pretty happy too :)

I've learned a lot recently about the love that our Heavenly Father has for every single one of us. We are his entire work and glory - he's so completely invested in us and our happiness. He cries when we do, and he loves every single little good choice we make. He's so proud of us, and He just wants us to come closer to Him. This has helped me realize how His love applies to and helps me personally, and it's helped me learn to love others for who they are. I've also come to know more and more that He is always there to help us, to comfort us, and to answer our questions. When we put in the effort to ask, then do our best to find the answer, He ALWAYS answers! I promise :) Something that our mission president has been focusing on is how we need to individually and personally apply the Atonement to our lives. Christ sacrificed to heal and help us; but if we don't allow Him to, His sacrifice meant nothing. We need to learn how to find comfort and peace in Him, and allow ourselves to feel forgiveness when He has given it. And when we can feel that for ourselves, we know how to better share that happiness with others. I know He loves us and will help us, and I love Him so much!

I hope all is going well with everyone! Again, thank you all for your love and support and help! I'm so blessed by each one of you!

Elder Hopkin :)

We also got a couple of pictures from the stalwart members that are so good to keep in touch.

Sister Baker, Elder Roudabush, Elder Hopkin, President Palmer
Thursday, April 7, 2016

"And, we have a soaking wet set of Elders filling up at Golden Corral before Fast Sunday."
Saturday, April 9, 2016

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