It feels so good to be emailing you :) I'm glad your procedures are all finished up! I've been praying that you'll recover quickly and not have much pain; I hope things can get back to normal quickly! I don't know if the word is "worried", but things like this lead my brain to think how hard it would be to not have a mom, and it reminded me just how grateful I am for you and for the love that you've always given me! I'm sorry it's been a rough process :/
You'll have to send me pictures of Russel - and Matt! :) That's so exciting! He's fought the good fight for sure; it's been a big example to me to see someone that's shy like him go and preach the gospel for 2 years. I'm sure he blessed so many lives! Tell him hi for me please!
It looks like it was a fun week for everyone! They're all looking so old! I'm glad things went well with the dates. Yah, I'd love to see some pictures of Makaeli at her date! The pictures you send make my day :) I'm sure Ethan is enjoying the braces off - that was such a weird but amazing week for me!
So, the week here went quite well! Transfers are next week, so we have a busy one coming up with working on the transfer board and such. I always enjoy working on transfers, but it's so mentally exhausting. I've wondered a hundred times how President Palmer manages his busy schedule (or Dad with his bishoping schedule for that matter!). We had two 3-hour long meetings on Wednesday, and my brain was about to shrivel! I'm not sure what the plan is for me this next transfer, which is super disconcerting! My last 3 companions have known exactly when they'll be done, but President hasn't told me a thing! I even asked him and he avoided the question. So.... I guess I'll let you know next week! The thing is, I'm starting to get kinda comfortable here, so that's not a good sign :) Whatever happens, I know it'll be best for me. I had a great exchange with Elder Feltman this week. Dang he's a good missionary - one of the best in this mission. He taught me a ton! It was fun to be with him. We had a great lesson with Kevin and our ward mission leader on Friday; we talked about prophets and priesthood authority, then watched the Restoration movie. We've been getting fed super well the last few weeks, which has been a huge blessing! I love this ward a lot! The work continues to be pretty slow. Thank you for your prayers in my behalf! I've been praying as well that we'll be able to find new investigators. A lot of the ward is returned missionaries, so I think they understand, but it's a little embarrassing to get straight 0's week after week. I was talking to my companions about it last night; I really don't care if I'm supposed to teach or baptize anyone else for the rest of my mission, as long as that's what God's plan is for me here. My concern is that I feel like God's plan is for us to help people get baptized! While we could always be better, I feel like we're doing pretty well in our diligence and obedience, so I'm just kinda waiting for the success to start being seen. Witness after the trial of faith right? I do feel like I'm being the most obedient I've been on my mission, and that feels really good! I've been trying to weed out the small things, you know? Anyways, I hope that was an ok update! Sorry that got a little long :)
All that being said, I had a really cool experience on Wednesday. Backstory first: Elder Stock and I were on exchanges last transfer, and we talked to this really cool lady. We had been biking around, not having tons of success, but there was a man standing in his garage, so we went to talk to him. He wasn't interested, but there was a lady there as well, that had been hidden by a car in the driveway. We started talking to her, and she was super interested! She asked lots of good questions, and we even got to teach her a bit of the Restoration and Plan of Salvation. We passed her off to the Elders that cover that area. On Wednesday, the Elder in the area told me that she has a scheduled baptismal date! Apparently she had read James 1:5 a month before we talked to her, and had prayed for wisdom. She hadn't connected the dots until those Elders re-taught her the Restoration and mentioned that scripture. It was a really nice reminder to me that all of us do more good than we usually see.
So I learned something this week! I had talked to an elder that's super knowledgeable of the gospel, and for some reason it made me start wondering if I knew enough, etc. I was a little worried for a couple days, but on Saturday the Spirit fixed my problem :) We had a super good lesson about the Atonement with a member, and she bore a very humble but sincere testimony of her experience with the Atonement. And as she talked, I felt something that I later put into words: "The width of your knowledge is less important than the depth of your testimony." While knowledge is a Christlike attribute, I want to make sure I don't fall into the trap of just trying to understand unimportant things that won't strengthen my commitment to the Savior. I don't remember if I shared this, but last transfer, Elder Griffin and I had started talking about deep doctrine stuff, and he said something like, "It's important to make sure our desire to learn is never stronger than our desire to act." I thought that was pretty profound! Anyways, just a couple thoughts I had this week!
Well, I can't think of anything specific for Christmas... I'll let you know if anything comes to mind! Thank you :) Thanks for your thoughts on the Priesthood! I find myself not remembering enough that I hold that authority - I want to get better at exercising it more consistently. Thank you so much for the email! I'm looking forward to Christmas time! That'll be 3/4 of the way done with calls home! Crazy! :) Please stay safe and get better soon! You're always in my prayers. I love you so much! Until next week :)
Elder Connor Hopkin
"Dinner with our incredible senior couple, the Neilsons. They've been such a blessing! They're going home to Kaysville in a couple weeks, so they had us over to dinner!"