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 :)