Saturday, August 6, 2016

Week 51--Half Way Done, People!!

Well, here we are. Half Way!! Connor entered the MTC on July 29, 2015. On Friday of this week an entire year had passed. One year to go! We sent him a "hump day" package this week. In it we had a pair of pants, a white shirt, and a tie that we had cut off half way. We also sent one shoe and one sock. I've requested a picture of him wearing his "new" clothes. Hopefully we'll get one we can post next week. We also sent a half a can of Pringles, a half of a package of Oreos, half a dozen donuts, half of a bag of chips, and one half of a Reese's PB Cup, Twix, and Almond Joy. Here are some pics of all of this. It was fun putting it all together. We are officially on the downhill--which is supposed to be faster, right?  :)

Here is Connor's email.

MOM!!!!!! :)

Hi!!! Thank you so much for that letter and those thoughts! That's such a cool quote from the Primary: "Because He misses us." I love that! Our mission president just sent out a letter saying that it's so incredible that Heavenly Father allowed this plan to take place, where He receives so much heart-break from those that distance themselves from Him and choose to not follow Him. But it's the plan of happiness, and He knew it's what we all need for our own salvation. He and truly does miss us so much, and that helps me remember to share the gospel with everyone; so He can see His children again. That's a really cool thought, about our covenants allowing us to be closer to Him.

Also, thanks for the pep talk! :) I loved that! It's a bit scary, that I only have one more year to give it all I have. And I forget the urgency of it so quickly! I hope I can continue to grow and be a better missionary, and really be able to bless the lives of others... Thank you so much for reminding me about talents, and I loved how you said "Heavenly Father has made you who you are"; I've come to a better understanding of the fact that everyone has their own unique talents that God can use for the benefit of others. And, by the way, I know its hard to be like Jesus, but you're pretty dang good at it :) I've always been impressed with your faith and the incredible testimony you have. And, going back to covenants, I've always seen you keep your promises with the Lord and I can see that you have a strong relationship with Him from that.

Hahahahaha that package!!! Somehow, my candy seemed to disappear twice as fast as usual :) It was really funny; I was going on exchanges the day I got it, so I wasn't going to have the chance to open it that night. But I thought there might be a tie in there, and I wanted to wear it for my year mark. So I opened it and got distracted with the fact there was only one shoe...and one sock... and then I got it! Suffice it to say, I didn't wear that tie for my year mark :) All the office staff and a couple missionaries were there and they thought it was pretty dang funny! I haven't taken a picture yet, but I promise I'll send one next week! Thank you so much for sending me that!!! :)

On a more spiritual note... :) I was on exchanges with a zone leader, and we studied "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and I got the chance to think about it a bit more. I thought about how every time we serve or help others, we're doing it to our Savior. He suffered so much for us, and the way we can "give back" is by following Him, particularly by serving others. The zone leader said that whenever he sings that hymn, he wonders if he would die for Christ, and I had to think about it too. He died for us, but would we die for Him? Afte the man in the song says he will die for Christ, He shows Himself to him. I realized that almost always, we aren't asked to give everything away for Him. If we can be like Abraham, and be willing to give all we are for Him, He will accept it - and won't actually make us give it. King Lamoni's father was willing to give his whole kingdom, but all that God asked of him was to repent. When we're so converted and have so much faith that we're just willing to do all He asks, then He shows Himself to us. I want to get to that point eventually.

Life's going good! :) The work here is going well. We're having a hard time finding investigators, but we're getting our feet under us. We have an investigator that committed to be baptized, and we're now working with her to set a date. She's a super cool girl! The branch combination was cool to be at. They took from both branch presidencies to create the new bishopbric. It'll be super nice to just work with one unit.

Thank you so much for the email and update! I love you so much! I miss you too!! Thanks for all of your love and all you do for me! I'm so lucky to be your son! I hope you have a great week and a fun time at girl's camp!! I LOVE YOU!! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

So, this last paragraph I hesitate to share a little bit, mostly because Connor didn't really want me to. But, I thought it would be good for all of us to remember that these missionaries do come across difficult situations and aren't always treated the way we would hope. It reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 5:10-12 which says, 

10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

And, of course, we know that the Savior was the MOST persecuted of all. These young men and women truly do represent Him and preach His gospel. At times they may have to experience even a little bit of what He went through so that they can understand His mission a little better. It was a good reminder to me to pray for them all that they can have the courage and strength to react well and respond appropriately when those difficult moments come. Here is the paragraph (and, maybe, don't mention it to Connor--ok?)

"On Saturday, Elder Griffin and I were walking down the street and saw a a bra. We try to talk to everyone, so we said hi and she got super upset and said "Man, you guys know you can't solicit here, come on!!" As I pondered everything wrong with that accusation, I adjusted my tie, and she yelled, "What? See, you're just grabbing your (blank) right in front of me!! You're both (n-word)s!" At that point we decided to walk away, but she kept yelling for about a straight minute, "You dirty n...s, you n....s, you dirty filthy n....s" :) I would have been pretty upset except she clearly wasn't in control of herself :) About 20 minutes later, we were walking down another street and this lady was riding her bike on the sidewalk towards us, and moved out onto the street to avoid us. She said "Fine, I'll (blank) move into the road for you gay-lords!" I said, "Excuse us!" and she said "(Blank) off". SUPER nice people :) That's a pretty rare occurrence though, and it was funny they happened so close together."

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