Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week 52

Here is Connor's email home this week. He also wrote a group email that will follow. Pictures are at the end. He finally got around to sending one in his half-way clothes. And, another with his companion, Elder Griffin. They seem to be getting along great!

Hi Mom!!! :)

My week went great! I got the chance to go on exchanges with Elder Feltman again, and with another zone leader named Elder Brough, who's awesome too! Let's see.... so we had dinner with our new bishop on Thursday, which was super great, and then we took his wife to a lesson with our investigator, and that went well too! She might not be able to come to church anytime soon though, which will be hard. We'll keep working with her! I'm trying to think of the highlights of the week and I'm blanking. I got some great answers to my prayers this week, which is always a wonderful testimony builder. I had a district meeting on Thursday that was super great, but I didn't get a whole lot out of it; then two days later, I looked back at my notes and it was EXACTLY what I needed that day. So my district leader is very inspired! (It's Elder Petersen, by the way, who was in my district when I was first a district leader - so that's been lots of fun!) Oh, yesterday was pretty good! We went up to Riverbank for a little bit to bike around and visit a few people, and I got pretty discouraged because people weren't interested, and we haven't been finding lots of investigators recently. But I remembered the counsel that our mission president gives to all the missionaries: whenever you're upset, or angry, or sad, or tempted, etc, sing your favorite hymn! So I started singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" and a few of my other favorites, and we were able to talk to a lot of people on the street. As we were finishing up the night and putting our bikes on our car, this man yelled from the next house over "Good job guys!!" We went over to talk to him, and his wife happened to be a less active member, and they were super nice to us! They weren't interested, but they gave us 3 referrals for the Riverbank elders. Then that night we were on the phone with President Palmer, and he was reading us his weekly email that he sends, and it was exactly what I needed! So, in short, Heavenly Father watches out for us! The end :)

I'm not exactly sure how long I'll be here. Elder Griffin only has 3 transfers left after this, and President wants him training for his last two. So I might be staying for a few more! It's possible I could be done this transfer, but it isn't looking like that will be the case. I think we're mostly getting used to it all, but the great thing about being an assistant is that you never know what's gonna come up. So we've had more than enough situations where we have no idea what to do :)

That sounds like a pretty busy week! I'm glad things are going well. I hope you have a wonderful time at EFY! Those sessions I did have been such a help to me and my testimony as I look back on them. I'm able to share my testimony in part because of the wonderful directors and teachers I learned from at EFY. That's crazy that school starts so soon! It seems just a little ago that it was starting LAST year! I remember that being so weird for me - school starting and me not being part of it. I think I'm used to it by now though :)

Dang that's so exciting about Jared!!! He's going to do such a good job! Keep me updated on him if you can! He's such a good guy. And I was wondering about Russell!! It's funny thinking about my friends on their missions about to go home, and comparing them to the missionaries about to go home here. Crazy stuff!

Thank you so much for working on the debit card for me! I think it'll get here today or tomorrow probably. That will be super helpful! :)

I think I'm gonna send a group email today, so my spiritual thought will come through that. Something you taught me at the beginning of my mission has been brought back to my mind a lot lately - the fact that Heavenly Father changes us, that our Savior's grace is what changes our hearts; nothing we do will be enough, but with Him and His power, it can be. He changes our hearts, and we need to ask Him to do so. Thank you for teaching me that!

I love you so much! Thank you for the wonderful example you are to me and the love you have for me. Your love and your efforts in my behalf have provided me the best possible chance to be happy and make good choices, so thank you for all that you've done for me :) You're the best and I love you so so so much!! Have a wonderful week and throw some good wisdom at those immature EFY boys, yah? :)

Elder Connor Hopkin

Hello family and friends!!!

I hope everyone is doing well! I wanted to send a quick update and a couple things I've learned recently! My thoughts are pretty all over the place, so hopefully they'll make a little sense :)

A few weeks ago I got a new companion, Elder Griffin. He and I, along with our companions, shared an apartment in Tracy about 10 months ago, when I was in my second transfer and he was about 7 months out. We became really good friends there and always joked that we would be companions. He's a Spanish missionary, and I'm obviously English, so we were pretty surprised and happy when we found out we would be companions. There was an odd number of English and Spanish elders, so he was moved to English for a little bit! He's teaching me a lot, and he's one of the most humble and obedient missionaries here, and I'm loving the chance to be his companion!! Along with the transfer, I got moved from the Riverbank ward to the Modesto YSA ward. I had told my mission president that I was intimidated of YSA wards, and I'm pretty convinced that ensured my being assigned to one! It's been super fun though! The members and investigators are so humble and teachable, and we've made some really good friends!

We've had some fun experiences with people shouting profanities at us, and some great times with people so nice we could barely believe it! I continue to see the huge blessings that Heavenly Father is giving me. I wish sometimes that I was better at not taking them so much for granted. The missionaries in my district and zone are incredible. My mission president is so inspired. I'm loving my mission more and more!

I've been reminded this week about something my mom helped me realize early in my mission. While I was homesick and struggling in my first transfer, she told me that she was praying for my heart to be changed in a way that would help me enjoy myself more and find more happiness in my mission. Last week, we were in a zone training and the question was brought up asking how we can become more diligent. I remembered this lesson from my mom and thought about how it's truly Heavenly Father's power and our Savior's grace that can change who we are. As it says in Moroni 7:48, we must "pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that (we) may be filled with this love", and if I might add, any other virtue or Christ-like attribute. Throughout the mission, and throughout our lives, we're constantly striving to become more and more like our Savior. As we strive to be obedient and do the very best we can and pray for help and grace, Heavenly Father will help change us and make us more like the Savior. As we partake of the sacrament, that symbolic representation of Christ's body and blood become literally a part of us; we become one with our Savior and more like Him. Like Nephi, we can bring our lives in line with God's will through repentance and pray "Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?" (2 Nephi 4:31). I know that if we have faith in God and Christ, and ask for Their help, we will receive it. I've seen so many times in my life where my Heavenly Father has answered my prayers. It's a slow process, but I know that Jesus Christ died so that He can make us more pure and holy, and change our hearts and very selves to be more like He is. I find myself sometimes taking for granted the immeasurable blessing of His Atonement, but I hope He can help me be more grateful. He died for every one of our sins and pains and is there with us when we allow Him to be.

Thank you all so much for the things you've done to bless my life! I'm so grateful for each one of you and the love and support you've given me. I hope all is going well, and I always love to hear life-updates! I love you all!

Elder Connor Hopkin

Hump Day or Half-Way Clothes
August 8, 2016

Elder Hopkin and Elder Griffin
August 8, 2016

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