Well...... Hi Mom!!!! :)
Thank you for your email and the updates! That schedule sounds perfect :) Thank you!!!
Ah... So basically sometimes I'm SO happy and sometimes SO sad! Whichever I choose, is what I feel! Mostly I just don't really even know what to think or do or feel....it's surreal, like you said :) I'm just trying to focus on how happy I am to see everyone!
So, it was a pretty amazing week.... We had a BAPTISM!!! :) Her name is Melika. I'll send you pictures soon! She was so excited for so long for it, and cried when she shared her testimony after the baptism. She said, "I've been needing this change" and talked about how she's going to follow God and keep His commandments. SO GOOD! :) I got to confirm her yesterday, which was another huge blessing. I was so nervous, but once it was time, I felt so calm. It was such a good journey with her, and we got close to some members during the whole process (some that are moving to Idaho in just a week) :) It's pretty crazy - the day we met her, we had talked to a lot of pretty rude people, and almost passed her up cause we didn't want another bad talk. But, we decided to cross the street and go talk to her... and she was SO prepared!
Also, I got a nice joyride in a sweet Mustang and got to sit in a Corvette... literally my dream car. Pictures coming soon :) We were on exchanges at the time, which was also a fun part of the week! This week went SO fast!!!
So, Elder Hong is staying here with Elder Powell (who was our district leader this transfer!). It should be good! They'll be great for the ward! Our schedule the next couple days will be lots of fun. Tomorrow we head to Modesto and proselyte downtown for a little bit (my old area!!!), then have dinner and a testimony meeting at President's house. All the elders will go sleep at the assistants' house, and we fly the next morning! :) I'm excited! All the elders, of course, that I came out with will be there - Elders Feltman, Grover, Elliott, Anderson, etc. And a couple really cool sisters! It's looking like it will be 14 missionaries coming home, and a lot probably have their final destination in Salt Lake!
Here's a good story from the week! There's a lady that walks the same road we live on pretty frequently; there have been a couple times when we've passed her but felt prompted to go back and talk to her, and have had a couple good conversations. Anyways, on Friday my tire got a slow leak and was unfixable, so we got a new tube and I fixed it. We left the apartment from that around 8:20. We were going to go left but felt like we should go right. And about 15 seconds later, I got a flat in the brand new tube!!! I was so annoyed and frustrated! So we dropped off the bike at the apartment and decided to just walk the last half hour. We were talking about how maybe it wasn't just a coincidence when we ran into that same lady! She saw us and laughed and said, "OK! This is the 3rd time! God wants me to go to church!" :) We had a good talk with her, and hopefully more will come!
Kenny says hi :)
Ah, the biggest things I've learned? It's so hard to put it into specific thoughts and words! :) In district meeting, Elder Hacking last transfer asked me to share the same thing, so I got a couple thoughts at least. I would say one of them is that we can choose so much more than we think. We can choose to be happy despite our circumstances. We can choose to love people even if it's hard. When we purposefully look at the positive, we can find happiness even when we may have trials. I found this quote that I LOVED on Saturday in a restaurant, and it said, "Success is getting what we want; Happiness is wanting what we get." I feel that sums it all up pretty well :) Another thing is how important it is to follow the Spirit. Sometimes we get promptings that don't even make sense, but we need to trust it's right and from God. I've found that instead of wondering if something is the Spirit or my own thought, I'll just do it anyways (unless it's bad :) ) and even if 50% of them are just my own thoughts, at least I responded to the 50% that was the Spirit! I've seen miracles come from responding to random promptings. Another: I'm really glad that my sacrament talk is about sacrifice, because I've come to LOVE the scripture in Matthew (16?) where Christ says that those that lose their lives for His sake will find it. We need to pay the price, no matter how hard, to do God's will, and He will bless us more than anything we can give! Also, I've learned more about how much God loves us. We are His greatest creation, and EVERYTHING He does (and everything we should do) is centered around His children and their eternal happiness. Lastly, I've come to just appreciate the Savior's Atonement more and more. I've felt His love in my life SO many times! He's given me peace when things are hard, and I've felt His forgiveness for mistakes, and He gives me so much hope! That's just a few things, but they're the first that come to mind :) Sorry if that was too long!
Ah, I gotta go, but I'm excited to talk your ear off in a couple days :) As I said, I'm so excited for those plans! Perfect! :) Thank you for your thoughts and quotes and all your help and love! :) I'll try to send pictures soon! I love you SO much and I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU SOON!!!!!! :)
Elder Connor Hopkin :)
I got a final picture from Sister Palmer on Tuesday night of all the Elders and Sisters returning home with Connor.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
California Modesto Returning Missionaries