Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 46

Hi Mom!!!!! :)

Ah I feel like there's lots to say this week but I'll probably forget half of it! So forgive me :)

First of all, thank you for those thoughts!! I can hear so much of your testimony of God's love for us and the truth of the gospel. Thank you for always sharing your testimony with me, as I've grown up and now. My patriarchal blessing talks about how my testimony was planted by my parents, and I definitely know that's true. The testimony that you have has given me such an example and helped me find for myself that the gospel is true. I'm starting to think that bearing your testimony to your kids is one of the most important duties of a parent, and you and Dad have always been so good at that! Haha I always feel like I should add my little thoughts or input when people share theirs with me (to show I pay attention), but I don't really have anything to add to that - they were so well said :) That's so crazy that Marissa is taking off on her mission! Do you know if she's been able to overcome some of her social anxiety? If so, that's amazing; if not, that's super impressive what she's doing! Those thoughts that she shared are awesome!

I'm glad you liked St Louis! It seems like it was an awesome trip! And that's SUPER exciting about Ethan's tournament! Thanks for those pictures!

So let's see... this week, I got to go on exchanges with a couple of the zone leaders - one was Elder Feltman, who was in my MTC district, and that was lots of fun! The other was Elder Aburto - he came out a couple transfers after me, and he's awesome! He works in Spanish, so it was fun for me to practice. Story time: :) We went to this investigator's house for a lesson, but he was working on fixing his truck. So Elder Aburto offered our help, and we piled in the investigator's car to go fix his truck. He left a tool at his house, so we had to turn around; on the way back, he stopped the truck - he had seen some trigo (wheat) in the parking lot, and grabbed it to feed to his rooster! Before going to his house, he stopped by his rooster's home, the backyard of a neighbor. This neighbor had recently moved, and the new people there told him to get his rooster out! He tried to get it, but it escaped out the fence! So for the next half hour we tried to help him catch his rooster! We ran all over the streets, got some neighborhood kids to help corner it, and we could NOT catch it! Finally we got it, after lots of running and my getting rooster blood all over my shirt! It was quite the experience in Spanish work in Lodi :)

On Tuesday, we had a special zone conference, to follow up on the meeting we had had with Elder Evans. It was super cool! President Palmer shared an impression he had received 2 years ago about our mission baptism goal; he had kept it to himself this last year as we were working on building the foundation for the mission, but now felt it was time to work toward that goal. It's a little less than double what we've done this last year. He shared it with Elder Maxwell and me before the meetings, then I heard it at the leadership meeting, and both zone conferences, and each time I heard the goal, I could feel the Spirit confirming that it was inspired. So our mission is trying to really elevate our work and especially become more unified in accomplishing our mission goal.

Hmm...oh, I wanted to share one of my new favorite hymns with you! It's #217 Come Let Us Anew. I especially love verses 1 and 3, which say,
"Come let us anew, our journey pursue;
roll round with the year and never stand still till the Master appear.
His adorable will let us gladly fulfill, and our talents improve -
by the patience of hope and the labor of love.

Oh that each in the day of His coming may say,
'I have fought my way thru; I have finished the work thou didst give me to do'
Oh that each from His Lord may receive the glad word, 'Well and faithfully done;
'Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne'"

It makes me realize that the most important thing we can do is to fulfill God's will. We need to do the things He has asked us to do, because we love Him. And His promise (relating to your thoughts about the law of the harvest) is that we will receive His joy as we do His work. As we have hope and patience, and charity and diligence, we can accomplish those things He gives us to do, and eventually become like Him.

We were able to find a couple new investigators this week! One of them is especially solid! We talked to her on the street, and were able to teach her the same day. We went back again, and she had read past her reading assignment. She's SUPER funny and sassy, but has a huge heart and seems to be open to the gospel; she really needs it too. So we're excited about that!

Sorry this got to be so long! Ah! Thank you so much for everything you do for me! I love your emails so much! I love you even more! :) I'll be looking forward to next week! Thank you for your love and support and prayers - they mean the world to me!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Week 45

Here is Connor's letter and a couple of pictures from this week. He is having some really great experiences serving in the office. I am happy for all of the opportunities he is having. 

Hi Mom!!! :):)

It's so good to hear from you and get to email you!! I hope your trip to St Lois is going super well! Isn't the main landmark there the Arch or Gate or something like that? You'll have to send pictures if you get any! :)

So let's see.... This week was great! The first part of the week, we got to spend most of the days proselyting and that was nice! Lots of biking! There was one day, where we passed this lady on the opposite side of a decently busy road, but we felt prompted to stop, turn around, and talk to her, and she was actually quite interested (which isn't a super common thing)! Later that day, we were still biking, and I had this random thought to turn down a road to the side; I looked around, and saw a couple sitting in their garage, and we talked to them and had a super good conversation - they weren't interested, but we were able to provide one of those "touchpoints" that President likes to talk about. It was really cool to see how the Spirit can lead us and give us promptings. I just wish I responded to all of them :) Our investigator came to church this Sunday with his less-active family!! It was so great to see them there, and the ward welcomed them so well. That less active man I talked about in my group email also came (he didn't get to last week because of complications) and that was wonderful! We're still really trying to find find find, but it's kinda slow. I think we have some things picking up though!

So our investigator's family consists of his wife and three girls between the ages of 2 and 8. I think on Monday, we were there and the 8-yr-old came in and had a background conversation with her mom. The mom later told us that the 4-yr-old had sworn at her sister, so she had asked the 4-yr-old why she would say something like that, and she said "My body wanted me to say it! I didn't want to say it, but my body made me!!" :) Regardless, she spent some time in the corner :)

On Thursday and Friday, we had our zone conferences with Elder Evans, from the Seventy. Oh man, they were incredible!! Elder Maxwell and I were lucky enough to be at both of them, and I learned SO much! He focused on the importance of repentance - for us and especially our investigators. He said that really our whole job is to help people repent, then be baptized when they are converted. He made the distinction that we don't just invite people to "stop smoking", but we really need to invite them to "repent" because not smoking is a commandment. When they focus on the principle of repentance, they become truly converted. When they're only worrying about the specific action, they likely haven't had that true change of heart. He invited us all to be more diligent in our repentance so we can have that change of heart and therefore more effectively teach repentance. We talked about effective finding, and President read "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" (#335) and talked about how we're the lower lights and must be aligned with our Father (the lighthouse) to help rescue those that are "watching, longing, for the lights along the shore". It was so good! He also felt prompted that our mission has been together long enough and has set a good foundation to where a lot of success will start coming soon, if we pay the price. It was really motivational and super exciting... and scary :)

I completely agree about my dad! :) I couldn't have said it better myself - he's pretty incredible! Makes sense that he would deserve someone like you ;) I'm so blessed to have the parents I do! Thank you so much for the compliments and advice and everything! They really mean a lot!

The story of the sons of Mosiah was actually our "prepare to learn" for the zone conference! I thought it's so cool how faithful and diligent they are through everything. They do the things that allow them to have the Spirit, and they follow it. They pass through so much affliction, but on the other side, they have incredible success. It's a super good reminder - about how to be a better missionary, and how to have patience in trial. I hadn't noticed though, their humility and gratitude at the end! That's super cool! And I love how you linked that with the redemptive power of the Atonement! Thank you so much for that! Have you found any new favorite scriptures recently? Or are your classics still the best? :)

Well, thank you so much for everything!! I love you so so much! You're such an incredible mother!! Thank you for the email! I miss you! I'll look forward to hearing from you next week! Stay safe and happy pleeeease :) I love you!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

As you may know, Connor's mission is close to Oakland, California, where the Golden State Warriors play at home. Connor has always been a huge Steph Curry fan, and now he lives right in the Golden State close to where they play. Too bad they didn't win the championship again this year--I am sure there were a lot of disappointed Warriors fans in his area/mission.

Elder Lopez, Elder Hopkin, Elder Maxwell

"Golden State!!!! We're the real dream team (at least at morning basketball)! :)"

I am part of a Facebook group for Missionary Moms and many of them have posted nametag pics that their missionary has taken that would identify their mission or area or something iconic from where they are serving. I loved the idea and asked Connor to take one for me. Here is his picture. I love it!

Modesto, CA
  June 20, 2016

"​Alright, I tried my best! :) So all around in this area, there are TONS of orchards like this - so I chose the best looking / most convenient one and took a picture :) How's that?"

This week I also received a surprise email from Sister Palmer, Connor's Mission President's wife. It is here below. How grateful I was and am to her for her thoughtfulness in sending it to me.

Dear Sister Hopkin,

Just a note to say how much we love and respect your son, Elder Hopkin
He is kind, respectful, and gets along with everyone.
He has a lovely smile.
He is President Palmer’s assistant and has continued to impress us.
He speaks so highly of the two of you. You must have a very close family. As a grandmother, I wish I could live so close to my grandkids. He told us he learned how to play the piano from his grandma. How wonderful.
We love and admire him.
Thanks for raising such a great young man.

Love, Sister Palmer

Week 44

Hi Mom!!!!!! :)

Yah, that talk from General Conference was SUPER good!! I need to go back and read that. Thanks for reminding me about that... I definitely need the leadership help :)

That's fun that everyone's doing well with their sports! I just got to play some basketball for about 2 and a half hours with everyone, and it was SO fun! We've been playing in the morning a couple times a week too for exercise. Hopefully I won't be too bad by the time I get home! That's super fun you're going to St. Lois! You'll have to tell me all about it!

So updates.... hm. There was a ton of stuff to do for transfers this week. On Monday we picked up the new missionaries and street contacted with them for a little. Then we had dinner and a testimony meeting at President's house. The next day we had more meetings and trainings with them and assigned them to their companions. Then we had a testimony meeting and dinner with the departing missionaries. On Wednesday, we took them to the airport, then came straight back for a new leadership meeting. Wednesday night we had another meeting with President; Thursday we had our typical district meeting. And then we got to proselyte! :) We've gotten to bike a lot more lately though, and it feels so good!! We've talked to lots of people - some interested, most not! We've had some good contacts and hopefully new investigators soon. Our investigator is doing well; he's still interested and we're working quite a bit with him!

So I shared some thoughts in my group email; I don't have much else right now :) Just, I've been reading Alma 17-34 lately in preparation for Elder Evans coming this week. It's incredible the faith that they have and the miraculous answers to their prayers. They go through so much, but they push through in faith and find success. It showed me a lot I need to improve on as a missionary! That fits pretty well with President Warnick's thought! I didn't quite catch that as I read it! That's super cool!

I feel like I have more to say this week but I'm drawing a blank...ugh! Things have been going really well. Elder Maxwell is great! I've gotten to see basically all of my past companions and they're doing great. Oh! Elder Dixon is engaged! Pretty crazy! :) And that reminds me too.... Alisha is getting married?!?! What the heck?? That's so exciting!!! Dang I'm not even gonna be there :( If you have any pictures of them, I'd love to see them!

Well, you're the best!! I love you so much! You're always in my prayers! Thank you for the email and for everything you do! Thanks for your prayers and support! You're the best mom ever :) I miss you and love you so much!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

P.s. Oh! Dang I keep remembering things! So...that's pretty funny you requested a picture of my nametag with something iconic. A few weeks ago, Elder Maxwell's mom asked him the same thing and he was like "I can't think of anything special about Modesto except all the people tripping on meth!" So a day later, we saw a guy that was obviously doing meth, and he took a picture of his nametag with him from the car!! :) So....I'm not brave enough to do that. And I'm not super creative...but I'll try to find something! Maybe like an orchard or fruit or something? I don't know :) I'll work on it! Love you!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Week 43--First Transfers From the Office Side Of Things

Hi Mom!!!! :)

I got a little time!! :) Thank you so much for your email! It's good to hear from you this week - I don't know why but this time especially it just felt good to read your words!

So updates: I'm actually staying with Elder Maxwell this transfer. Elder Lopez is leaving to be a district leader in Modesto for his last 2 transfers. Then next transfer, Elder Maxwell will probably leave to train and I'll get a new companion! I think Elder Maxwell and I will work well together as a companionship (even though I love Elder Lopez to death!!) So transfers were actually pretty interesting to be a part of. Last Saturday we started discussing things, then on Wednesday we met for a while to start moving people around. We met for several hours every day since that to make sure everything was exactly right. It was pretty intense! It was a good chance for me though, to speak up and voice my opinions, even though I was a little scared to at times :) On Sunday we sent out all of the calls. This morning we went to Oakland to pick up 5 out of the 6 incoming new missionaries, and we're spending most of today and tomorrow with them. They're super cool!! So that's kinda the deal! I got to go on exchanges with a great missionary that's going home this transfer, and that was lots of fun! We found a new investigator and set our other investigator to a baptismal date; hopefully that will hold! There's a less active man that we were told about that's super ready to come back to church, and it's been great to work with him!

I'm pretty low on time so I'm gonna wrap it up. Sorry it's short today! I LOVE that thought! I've never thought about how personal those ordinances are!! That's super cool; thanks for sharing that! I love you so much!! I hope you have a great week!! Thank you so much for everything you do for me!!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Morning exercise b-ball :) (Elders Elliott, Feltman, me, Lopez, Jones (my previous companion), 
Bell, and Maxwell)!

Elder Lopez and Elder Hopkin
Monday, June 5, 2016

Week 42

We got some great pictures from Connor this week. 

"We found a super comfy sweater in the discard pile in the office and decided to try it on... I think it looks a little better on Elder Maxwell but I might keep it" :)​

Elder Hopkin, Elder Maxwell, Elder Lopez
May 30, 2016

Hi Mom!!!!!!! :)

Yes, my birthday was wonderful!! Your package arrived just in time! I opened it Thursday morning and used the basketball shoes to play for exercise, and I'm wearing the slacks right now, and the tie is awesome and I love the running shoes and the oreos are delicious and...what else? Was there a Subway card in there too? Anyways, it was perfect!!!! :) I got a lot of nice birthday wishes, and some treats from our office staff, and packages from other family and friends, and President and Sister Palmer came over with cake that night, and they had us over for dinner on Saturday night (Elder Maxwell's birthday was on the 25th). So it was pretty wonderful! Thank you so much for everything you did to make it a great day! And thank you for doing that service for my friends! Maddie said she really loved it, and Katy said "your sweet mom sent me cookies and it was the cutest thing" :) They really appreciated it, and so do I :)

Sorry it was a slow week :/ I don't even know if it was slow for me or not; it seems like an eternity somehow, but also like 2 seconds. Transfers seem to fly by, but months take forever. It's so weird! I hope your summer goes nice and slow though - it always seems to move a little too fast! Unless you're crazy and like being busy..which might describe you... So I hope whatever you want happens! How's that? :)

So I was at Alex's house last night - she was the girl. She's a YSA, a convert of a couple years, and she's going on her mission soon. She's super good friends with the Fraze's, so we know her from there, and she invited us for dinner. The Elder to my right is Elder Elliott, my MTC companion!!! :) His companion is Elder Feltman, who was our MTC district leader! They're our zone leaders right now, and they cover the YSA ward. Then Elder Maxwell and Elder Lopez of course, then a couple of Alex's YSA friends. It was super fun!

 Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happy Birthday to Elder Hopkin and Elder Maxwell
Sunday, May 29, 2016

My companions are great! Obviously they're not perfect (I'm the only perfect companion, you know! ;) ) but they're about as good as you can get. There have been a couple times over the last few weeks where we haven't agreed perfectly, but we get along pretty well! They're teaching me a lot and I'm super grateful for them! :)

It really was such a blessing to interact with those two men from the missionary department. I learned a lot! I'm definitely having plenty of situations where I'm being stretched a bit and don't feel so comfortable, but it's good too! I always remember (and constantly share) that quote you told me, about how God cares about our progress more than comfort. It's so true! :) Elder Maxwell likes to say that "There's no growth in a comfort zone and not comfort in a growth zone". And as far as you being the Bishop's wife... Don't tell Dad ;) but I've heard many times that Stake leaders find the strongest woman in the ward...and then call her husband as bishop :) And it makes total sense with you. Luckily, Dad's pretty great too :) But I know you do such a good job in that position you're in! And please don't worry about sounding preachy!! I love learning from you!!! :)

That thought from Lyndi's farewell is super cool! That helps a ton; I'm gonna write that down and look into it more, cause I need all the help I can get for being a leader. I like #3 especially; it shows that we ourselves need to have that personal testimony of the gospel and Atonement so we can bring others closer to it. That's something big we're talking about as a mission.

So, not much to update. We had a great lesson with our investigator though, and he committed to be baptized when he finds out the message is true! Hopefully he'll be able to stick to it! We had a great meeting with the trainers and new missionaries, which I conducted (there's that uncomfortable learning experience!). Oh yah! I almost forgot! I got to go back to Tracy on an exchange with Elder Grover, another zone leader that came out with me, and one of my best friends in the mission! We got to see some of the people I had worked with. And do you remember Tawney, the less-active woman we were working with? I wanted to see her, but they had just seen her the night before, so I didn't feel like we should go back just for me. So we were biking around, and I had a thought to take the long way around to a house so we could talk to people on the street. We got onto a pretty big road, and Elder Grover felt prompted to call someone in the zone. As soon as we were about to start biking again, Tawney pulled up next to us and was like "Is that Elder Hopkin? Come swing by my house!" It was so cool!!! And she's doing amazing, which is super good to see!

Well this turned into a super long email..sorry about that!! Something else real quick though; this morning I had to make a decision about something pretty inconsequential, but you know me :) So I studied it out in my mind and chose something, then told Heavenly Father to direct me otherwise if I was supposed to choose the other, then opened the scriptures to Alma 17 and it told me I had made the "wrong" choice. So I was able to change my decision and I can already see that I made the best one because I followed the promptings from the scriptures! It was a testimony builder for me, reminding me that God answers prayers, especially through the scriptures!

Thank you so much for everything!!! Don't share those pictures with toooo many people ;) I hope you have a wonderful week! I pray for you all the time I LOVE YOU!!!! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)