Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 58

Hi Mom!!!!!!! :)

It's so good to hear from you!!! Thank you for your thoughts on charity - those were very profound. I wrote in my study journal that part about how charity is the Atonement and our acceptance and application of it. I'm gonna have to ponder that one... thanks for that! And I'll make sure to read Moroni 7 soon :) I know, Christmas is coming up soon huh?? I realized how perfect the timing is for our phone calls home - my first was about 4 months into my mission, and my last will be about 3 months before I come home. I'm already excited for our next one :) The weather has been getting pretty nice. It's a little up and down right now, but it should be getting pretty good soon. I'll be thinking about a always send perfect stuff anyways....but I'll let you know if I think of anything! That is SO COOL about Tim and Jen coming up!!! Let me know how that goes! That's going to be such an incredible opportunity for them to feel the Spirit, and it will open so many chances for you guys to share your testimony. They would be such good Mormons :)

Let's see. We've had several lessons with our investigator, Kevin. He's progressing really well; it's been amazing to see the change in him recently. He was always such a good guy and wanted to do what's right, but he's become even more willing to listen and learn and act. He came to church and I realized I wasn't even worried if someone said something weird (which I tend to worry about) because he's so good. It's been fun to teach him because he's very smart and soaks things in pretty quick, so we go a little deeper with him than we typically would with others. We also found another investigator this week, a super cool girl that grew up Catholic and now relates more with Buddhism and now is very open to read the Book of Mormon and learn about the gospel! :) We had a couple of zone conferences this week, which are always fun opportunities to see other missionaries. President Palmer talked about how we as a missionary, as a companionship, and as a mission, need to have high love and high expectations - low measures of either or both of those attributes don't suffice. So I'm trying to love more and have higher expectations for myself and the Lord's work in this area. I got to go on exchanges with one of the Lodi zone leaders this week, which was lots of fun - he's very humble and loving and a super good teacher! Oh, this morning I figured the computers would be full for a while, so I brought my piano music with me and played for about an hour while Elder Griffin wrote letters - ah it felt so good! I started remembering how good it feels to just sit down and play for a couple hours. I get the chance to play here and there for meetings, but never real music like those books have. I also hopped on the organ for the first time in forever and that was fun too! So it's been a pretty good day! :)

Someone said something really cool about listening at church yesterday: "Don't listen to respond; listen to understand." So many times I listen just so I know what I should say next so I'm not overly awkward :) But when we really listen to someone, and strive to understand them in love, I think the Spirit helps us understand them better. And the Savior showed us by His perfect example that when we truly understand someone, we truly love them. So I'm going to try to be better at really loving people and genuinely listening to them so I can love them more.

Thank you SO much for everything!! I love you so much, and appreciate all you do more than you know. We had a lesson in church about the family and I remembered how well you exemplify being the mother that the Lord wants you to be. I miss you lots but I love getting your emails, and I'll talk to you in a few months :):) I hope you have a really good week, and I'll be looking forward to hearing from you next week! I LOVE YOU!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

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