November 7, 2016
Here's the letter for this week.
Well, I'm glad the kidney stone is out, and I'm sorry it's not been a fun process :/ You're still in my prayers! I'm very glad though that he was able to get it all done in one surgery! I love that hymn that you reminded me of, and I think it's a great reminder that the Atonement is there for every single trial and struggle we go through - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. "When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine." I'm so grateful for the 4th, 5th, and 7th verses as well! (And once I'm old, I'm sure the 6th verse will ring true :) ). That's one of my favorite hymns too, and I think part of the reason is because you like it and share it so much! Maybe it can be our hymn, unless you want to keep it for yourself :) Anyways, I hope the recovery goes better over the next week!
So I'm kind of freaking out that Makaeli has applied to college and Bryn is going on her first date. Can they just stop please? Time is moving so fast! I'm glad the week went well for them and that they had some great experiences! Youth conference was always such a great time!
My week here has been pretty exciting! Monday night, President and Sister Palmer had us over for a Halloween dinner, and we planned some upcoming meetings. It's such a blessing to get to be with them as much as do! Tuesday, we had an incredible mission leadership council from 9-12, then a new missionary meeting from 1-3. It was a busy day! On Thursday we went to pick up a couple of mid-transfer missionaries; one had been waiting in the Philippines for his visa, and the other had gone home for surgery and was reassigned to our mission (he had been serving in Guatemala, and he said the name Elder Hopkin sounded kind of familiar!). Both of them are incredible and will make big contributions to the mission! On Friday we did a service project assembling office furniture for a non-profit refugee program, which was lots of fun! We got to work with Elders Stock and Smith, and we got several desks and chairs assembled; the representative from the program was so nice and appreciative, and the project was a really great experience! Probably the highlight of the week was yesterday. There's a less-active man that's been coming back to church; Elders Elliott and Feltman started teaching him, then Elder Griffin and I came in, and we've continued teaching him with my new companions. He got up to bear his testimony yesterday and shared how he had had a dream several months ago that elders had stopped by his house and invited him back to church; he had accepted and became active in the church. That next day, his sister told him that some elders had biked past the house, but he missed them; a few minutes later though, they came back, and he called them over. They referred him to Elders Elliott and Feltman for YSA, and ever since he has started strengthening his testimony and coming back to church. He got pretty emotional as he bore his testimony of the Atonement and how much happier he is, now that he's back in church and living the gospel. It was the kind of stuff you read about, you know? It was pretty incredible!
I've been seeing more and more how much Heavenly Father is blessing me for being here. I get kind of impatient with my weaknesses sometimes, and I wish I was a lot better, but I've seen how he's helped me change and be better and love the people I'm around and the situation I'm in. It's been such a huge blessing so far!
I found something cool in Preach My Gospel yesterday that I thought I'd put. It's in the first lesson, The Restoration; to put it in context, it's the part that explains prophets and dispensations. I'm going to add numbers in. It says "By revelation, Adam learned of 1) Mankind's proper relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; 2) of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; and 3) of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel." I thought about how beautiful just those basic truths are and how blessed we are to have a prophet that teaches those things today. That is the core of the gospel, the things we need to learn, live, and teach.
Something else that came to my mind: I've been using that awesome new hymnbook :) to study Hymn #221 - Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd. It has some amazing lines: "Dear to the heart of the Shepherd, dear are the lambs of His fold. Some from the pastures are straying, hungry and helpless and cold. See the Good Shepherd is seeking, seeking the lambs that are lost, bringing them in with rejoicing, saved at such infinite cost... Hark He is earnestly calling, tenderly pleading today, 'Will you not seek for my lost ones, off from my shelter astray?'... Lord, we will answer thee gladly, 'Yes, blessed Mater, we will! Make us thy true undershepherds; give us a love that is deep; send us out into the desert, after thy wandering sheep!'... Off to the rescue we'll hasten, bringing them back to the fold." Christ hastens to find and help us when we have wandered, and He asks us to do the same for others. I'm so grateful for the love that He has for each of us, and how often He shows it to us!
I'm realizing I sound pretty serious....and I forgot to tell you a funny story from a couple weeks ago. :) We were driving in the car, and Elder Eagar started laughing at something random, super hard, and his laugh was so weird and funny that me and Elder Grover started laughing super hard, which made Elder Eagar laugh harder... I had to pull over and we just sat there laughing for a straight 2 minutes for no reason....it was pretty weird... but a really good memory! :)
Anyways, sorry this was such a long email! I actually had some good time today! :) I hope and pray you'll get better soon! I love you so much! Thank you for the love and support and example you give me! You're such an incredible and loving Mom, and I'm so grateful for you! Thank you for loving and teaching me so much :) Have a wonderful week! I miss and love you!
Elder Connor Hopkin :)