Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 77--18 months, 3/4 down, or the Sister Missionary Mark!!

On Sunday, January 29th, Connor hit is 18 month mark!! This is big!!--it means that he is 3/4 of the way through his 2-year mission. In his own words, "it has gone by fast in a weird, slow kind of way." There is no better way to describe it! It seems crazy that he ONLY has 6 months left. It also seems crazy that he STILL has 6 months left (after all, that is half of a year). We have been doing a lot of work recently trying to get him ready for the upcoming fall semester at BYU--that has made his return seem ever more real. I am sure this last quarter will have days, weeks and possibly even months that drag slowly and those that will seem to fly by. But, I do not wish the next six months away--for his sake. A mission is an adventure of a lifetime and I hope these last months will be his best ones yet, no matter how time seems to move or how real it begins to feel.

Here is his letter for the week.

I couldn't come up with anything clever, but maybe the subject line will at least help with your organization :)

So! Sorry it's SO early! We had a new schedule change, so preparation day now starts at 8:00. My new email time is 10:45-12:30, but the zone leader asked us to switch times today, so we came in earlier.

It feels so good to be writing you :) I hope your week went really well! I hope you're enjoying your new job! Keep me updated on how that's going - I've been praying that you like it!

A quick update for the week: We had a Worldwide Mission Broadcast on Wednesday - so many cool doctrines and insights! They also (as I hinted at) changed the schedule a little bit. We now plan in the morning, and have extra time to get ready in the morning and to wind down at night. It's fantastic :) I went on exchanges with Elder Gardner in my district, and he's so cool! It was a really good day! We ALMOST got to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead with Kevin, but he wasn't feeling very well that morning... but we had the opportunity to give a blessing to a couple missionaries in our district, and visit someone in the hospital, and have a lesson with Scottie - so it worked out pretty well. We had Stake Conference yesterday, and Saturday night, with Elder Zabellos visiting. I got to see all my old YSA friends (since we're in the same stake) which was so much fun! :) I've realized recently how much I need to improve in charity, so I'm working on that one.... it can't come fast enough! Why is progress so slow!? :)

We have a pretty good week lined up! Hopefully I'll have some good updates for you next week :) We have a couple investigators that are progressing pretty well, and some that aren't so much. We found a new investigator this week, that needs the gospel so bad! Hopefully she'll recognize how much this will help her. My companion is doing well; I've loved being with him! Can you believe we're already 4 weeks into the transfer?!?! Ah!!! Oh yah, I hit 18 months yesterday! Can you believe that?! I can't decide... is 6 months long or not? :) I've come to love my district so much lately - they're all such good missionaries, and it's such a blessing to be with them. And my zone leaders are stellar! :)

Well, I think that's it for today! The shoes are holding up well :) I'm wearing the Christmas tie you sent me today! It's so shiny!

I love you so much!!! Thank you so much for everything! I'll look forward to hearing from you next week! Sorry again for the time switch-up :/ Have a wonderful week! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

And, here is the letter he sent to Shon. Usually they are fairly short, but there are a few things this week, so I am adding it as well.

Hey Dad!!!

Thank you SOOO much for looking at all of that stuff and helping with it all! That's super good to know about the banking accounts. We can probably figure all this out in August... but I feel like I'm gonna owe you guys at least some for all the stuff you've sent me (clothes, hymnbook, etc)? Anyways, I have a better nest egg than I had thought, so I'm happy to hear that! Again, not a big deal for me to know right now, but does the mutual fund look like it's doing any good, or have I continued losing a little from it? Just curious :)

Thank you for getting me all ready for college! That's SO exciting about the half-tuition!!!! That's going to make life so much easier! Thanks for working at BYU!! :) And thank you for the books! And for persuading me to do those scholarships :)

That's cool about the immersions in the Old Testament. There are so many things that are so unclear and unanswered from the Bible - it's pretty frustrating! I want to really be able to delve into that stuff more when I get home, but then I have to remind myself how busy I'll be! I have so many goals for when I get home that I'm gonna have no time to sleep! And I'm sure I'll be much more lazy than I'm expecting :)

Our week went quite well! We had a great Stake Conference, with Elder Zabellos of the Seventy attending. He talked about the strength of unity, in marriage, in wards, etc. It was very interesting because in a mission broadcast on Wednesday, Elder Bednar talked about the power that comes from the unity of the gospel. Not just faith, or repentance, or baptism; but faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, all as one gospel that is centered together in Christ. I've always found it interesting, too, about the unity of the Godhead. I feel like there's something there that I don't quite understand, but this helped me better realize the importance and strength that comes from complete unity. That's why we need to be one with our Savior.

Thanks again for everything you always do for me! I love you so much! I hope the week goes well for you! Please continue to be safe :)

Elder Connor Hopkin

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

week 76

Hello Mom!!!! :)

Well, this week went quite well! I'm sure I have plenty of stories to share, but I can't remember them! We'll see if they pop up as I type :)

Business first: Thank you for working on the housing for me! And thank you for explaining that all to me - that's very helpful! My initial thought would be towards chemical engineering, but if you could get some info for biochemistry as well, that would be great! (By the way.... what do you mean "get info" from them? :) ). That's good I can change my majors, cause I'm about as indecisive as ever! :) Question: It seemed to me that when my friends a couple years ago were getting ready for college, they didn't do all this "major" stuff. Are there other ways to do it, or were they just choosing majors without me knowing? Are there overall general eds (math, science, english, history) that should be completed at some point, or are the general eds determined by the major? Does that make sense? I'll definitely think and pray more about it! And I'll let you know for my shoes! These don't say a normal size - all they say is 44. I'd guess a 10 1/2, or 11 would be right.

That stake plan is awesome!!! I really like that! I totally agree that those simple things are going to make the biggest difference! I like how it focuses in on our personal growth and conversion, using the basics. And thank you for sharing those quotes; I loved them!

Congrats on the new job! That sounds like you're going to be really good at that!! I'm guessing it might take a little patience from time to time, but you're such a charitable person; I'm sure you're going to be a HUGE blessing to her! God definitely put you and her in each other's paths for a reason, so I'm guessing you'll both be blessings to each other!

I went on exchanges with Elder Nettesheim this week, which was lots of fun! And yes, it POURED! Maybe I already said this, but I've found that once you just commit to being wet, it becomes fun (except for the cold) :) There hasn't been any bad flooding in our area, but the rain has been nasty. Sorry it's snowing so much up there - I know you don't like it too much :) We had some great progress with lots of our investigators - we had 4 come to church, which I think is a record for me :) Each of them are progressing in their own ways, and are super great! I'm really loving the people here! Some crazies around...yes. But so many good people! :) We had a zone meeting this week, where they reminded us about 8 finding ideas that no one really uses (family history, helping members use social media and family home evening to share the gospel, etc). There's a reason we haven't been using them - they're hard! :) So we committed to focusing more on them. I had to remind myself it's like being a new missionary - hard at first, but I'll get used to it! My companion is doing great, and we're getting along really well!

So no stories that came to mind... sorry! And sorry I have no pictures this week! I'll do better :)

I love you so much!!!!!! THANK YOU for helping with college, and my life in general :) I miss you lots - but only 3 1/2 months till Mother's Day ;) Have an awesome week! I'll keep your job in my prayers :) LOVE YOU!!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 75

Hi Mom!!!!!! :)

First of all, yes that struck a chord!! Thank you so much! :) I had a much better week and felt better about everything, and that just topped it off! I love especially how you related doubts to anxious thoughts - they come, it doesn't mean we're weak, and they'll go away after some time - you just have to push through them. And I really like the part of that talk you sent me!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to think about that and send me those thoughts :) And thank you for all the kind compliments!!!

President Palmer did submit my endorsement a couple weeks ago, so we should be all good! Thank you for the garments! All my other clothes are looking pretty good! As far as shoes go.... What do you mean by inexpensive? And when would you need to know by? I have a few more months left on them, I think. I'm just wondering if that means 3 months or 6.5 months, you know? :) It's just the ball of the shoes that's wearing a little thin.

I hope those pictures were good! They cover the last 2 weeks. My companion is doing great! Still adjusting, but doing wonderfully! I'm learning a lot from him. He's been a blessing to me, so I sure hope I've been one to him! Our investigators are doing quite well! We got to teach a couple investigators that had been taught in the past. My man Scottie is doing awesome! He came to a baptism on Thursday! He's still hilarious :) Yesterday we had a lesson with him, and his grandparents started kinda talking to each other. He looked at me and started to say something, but got embarrassed and was like, "Never mind." I pressed him to say it, and he said "I love you guys as family!" That was a pretty dang good moment :) I got to conduct the baptismal interview for the girl that got baptized on Thursday, and it was another super nice experience - she was so cute and already so pure, and it was a blessing to interview her and be at her baptism. On Sunday she got confirmed; we were invited to go up, and this time Elder Tiatia got ambushed! :) Our ward mission leader asked her (as we're just about to confirm her) and asked her who she wanted to do the confirmation, and she pointed at my companion :) He was SO scared but did a super good job! We've had lots of opportunities to give blessings, to members and to people at the hospital. I've now given two blessings to people in the ICU, which is a different experience than I'm used to. It's been really good to have the opportunities to exercise the priesthood, though, and it always is a testimony strengthener.

Oh! We were biking the other night, and there was a lady talking to... no one! She yelled, "Can you imagine... if a vampire!... flew across your motorcycle... and ripped your neck out?!?!" I didn't hear the rest of her story, unfortunately :)

Thank you for the prayers, for me and others!! Thank you for updating the blog :) I've praying for your job search, so I hope that works out well! Thank you so much for everything! Thanks again for the thoughts and help and support you gave me today - it helped a ton!! I love you so much, and I'm so blessed to be your son! :) I hope your week goes well! I love you!!!!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

 Elder Lopiano, Elder Hopkin
Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017

Elder Griffin, Elder Hopkin
Wednesday Jan 4, 2017

Elder Hopkin and Elder Tiatia

 Elder Hopkin, Elder Tiatia
"My man downtown! He makes my day every time we bike by!" :)

 Elder Hopkin and Elder Tiatia
Modesto, California

 Best tag picture ever!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 74

Hi Mom!!!! :)

Your email made me so happy!!! :) So many good things happening it sounds like! That's too bad about Cooper though - I continue to pray for him and hope everything is ok. If at all possible, you should send me a picture of him and his girlfriend. I need to give my approval first :) And that's crazy about Kelsey! I'm sure she'll be able to return back pretty quick! YAAAAAAY ANGIE!!!!!!! :) Holy cow, I'm so excited for her!!!! I don't really know how else to say that...I'm just SO excited!! That's awesome Makaeli got a scholarship to SUU, and I hope it goes well with the U and BYU. And all those pictures were so fun! It's so good to see you, at least through picture! :) I'm so glad the trip went well and the kids at least kind of enjoyed themselves! As far as ecclesiastical endorsement goes, I'll talk to my mission president to make sure. Thank you for setting that up with Brian and Margaret! That's such a huge help!

My new companion is great! His name is Elder Tiatia; he's half Samoan, fresh from Manti Utah! :) He did live in Hawaii till he was 3 though, so that counts! He's very different from Elder Lopiano, so I've been adjusting :) He has such a good heart and I'm trying to help him be more confident in himself. But dang, I've been so impatient recently - I'm really annoying myself! So I'm working on that. Also, for some reason, my testimony has been kinda shaky lately, which really frustrates me! I want my testimony to be "unshaken" but people just keep shaking it! So that's been annoying. I've had a couple of really good studies and prayers recently, though, that have helped a lot. Training has always kinda stressed me out, so that's been a little hard this week too, but overall I'm doing pretty good! I like to think of it as spiritual growing pains :) It was weird sending Elders Griffin and Lopiano home, but I've seen lots of missionaries go home so it wasn't too overwhelming!

Quick story, then I have to go! We have this investigator named Scottie. He's 12, SUPER sharp, and very energetic :) We taught him the other day and invited him to pray about the Book of Mormon and the church. He said, "Can I do it right now?" and we weren't about to say no, so he closed his eyes and prayed for about a minute. He looked up and said, "God just told me the Book of Mormon is true and the church I'm learning about is the right one." So matter-of-fact-ly! At church yesterday, we had testimony meeting. He asked if he could go up, so we said yes :) He got up and stood super close to the microphone, making it squeal. He just stood there for about a minute with his eyes closed, then, eyes still covered, gave the most incredible testimony about how much God loves us and how He sent His Son to die on the cross for us, etc. Ah it was so cool! :) He's hopefully getting baptized in February!

Well, I hope that was an ok update! I'm looking forward to this week! I'm also looking forward to your next email already :) Thank you SO much for all your prayers and all your help! I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful week! Stay safe! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Week 73

Hi Mom!!!!!!! :)

I'm so glad your trip is going so well! Sounds like you're having tons of fun! Send me some pictures/videos of Dad surfing if you can :) Hahaha I'm so glad you still got to take the sacrament - as apostate as it may be ;) Still, Catholic church is better than nothing, right? I'll definitely keep you in my prayers for your job!! Good luck with that! And with your Relief Society lesson - I doubt you need much help, but I'll still pray for you :)

Ah it's SO crazy it's 2017! I remember in 2015, thinking that going home in 2017 was so far away! And now, I have 5 transfers left! I really hope I can make them my best ones yet; I can feel the temptation of laziness creeping in, but I'm trying to fight it :) Elder Griffin goes home this Wednesday! Ah it's all insane! For the New Year, we actually stayed inside most of the day cause Elder Lopiano wasn't feeling well. So, pretty exciting! :)

As far as transfers go, it's a little bit of a twist from what I had been expecting. Elder Lopiano has decided to go home, so I'm going to stay here and train a new missionary! I've known I'm getting a new companion for about a week now, but I didn't find out I'd be training until last night. I'm excited for the opportunity; but I haven't done this for a while, so I'm a little nervous! I'm going to miss Elder Lopiano a lot; he's taught me a ton, and has been a huge help in this area; but we're going to keep in touch, and he has some good plans for when he gets home!

This week, I had a lot of opportunities to give people blessings, and I had the chance yesterday to take the sacrament to a man in the hospital. I've noticed that each time I see the priesthood at work, or participate in it, the Spirit always testifies to me of the truth. There have been times when my testimony was a little weaker, but after hearing someone receive the Holy Ghost, or participating in a blessing, my testimony is strengthened. Also, I wanted to share about our lesson we had with our investigator last night! First of all, we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation; I explained the Celestial Kingdom, and she said "Oh! How do I get there?" Solid, right? :) Then at the end, she prayed in front of us for the first time - and prayer for 5 minutes! One of the most sincere prayers I've heard! Afterwards, she told us that during the prayer, and still afterwards, she had an intense feeling in her chest, that felt so good and gave her feelings of relief. She said it felt so beautiful! We kept talking, and she expressed how much she has seen herself and her boyfriend change as we've been teaching them! It was one of those moments that we as missionaries come on our missions for! As we were biking home, I felt so much joy, and realized that's the happiness that the Prophet promises us for serving missions. Such a cool experience!! :)
Well, I should probably go :/ Thank you so much for those comments at the end of your email - that meant so much to me! You're the best Mom I could ever imagine :) Please continue to stay safe on your trip, and good luck with your lesson and your job search! I love you so much!!! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Week 72--Happy New Year!! Onto 2017...

Hello!!!! :)

It was so good seeing you yesterday too!! :) I'm glad we get to email every week, but it's a lot different when I can see and hear you! Ah, I hope I wasn't acting weird at all... I felt like I wasn't answering your questions very well. It was so weird; it seemed like I was going from one reality to another when I was done! I wouldn't say homesick is the right word, but just weird :) Everyone looked so good; they're all the same but like 17 months older! Thanks for letting me meet Jimmie and Dan; they both seem SUPER cool! I'm excited to spend some time with them when I get back. And it was good to see Grandma and Grandpa too :)

That's a cool thought from church! :) I was just thinking this morning that I haven't really thought about the Savior quite enough lately. I studied "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" and "I Stand All Amazed", and I just felt the truth of the message as I read them.

I hope you have fun on your trip!! Please stay safe :) And please send tons of pictures! I have no idea what that part of the world is like! I hope the kids survive at home :) I'll make sure to not worry if you don't get to send an email, if you don't worry about it :) Thanks for the pictures by the way! That's fun! :)

 Thank you SO much again for those presents! I loved them so much! I got some good compliments on that tie! :)

Hm... I think that's all for this week. Oh, I was going to tell you yesterday but didn't want to take the time! We were at a less active member's house, and they have 3 pitbulls, and 2 literally started trying to kill each other! Everyone (except me :) ) got in on it, and after a couple minutes they pulled them apart. It was so crazy! Just thought I'd let you know my exciting story for the week :)

I love you so much! Have fun this week! Thanks again for everything! You don't know how much I appreciate all you do for me! I love and miss you! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin

 "Brother Fraze at church in a kilt. That's all " :)
Brother Fraze and Elder Hopkin
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Modesto, California 6th Ward

 "Right before we opened them!"
Elder Hopkin
December 25, 2016

 "We literally swept a lawn! :) There must have been thousands of acorns in that pile!"
Elder Hopkin and Elder Lopiano
December 2016

Week 71--Christmas 2016...Last One Away!!

This week it is Christmas. It's hard to believe that it's the second one we've had without Connor here at home. I've said it many times, but the time has passed so slowly in the day-to-day living and from week to week. But, looking back I am amazed that it's almost been 17 months since he has been gone. We have talked to him twice and will talk to him again on Christmas Day. That will be 3 of the 4 phone calls (or Skypes, in our case) that we will get to have with him while he is gone. Mother's Day will be the last before he returns. I will not lie, I am very excited to see his face, his smile and hear his voice. Email is great and all, and I am grateful for it, but to talk back and forth will be WAY better! We did manage to get his Christmas package sent off this week. Here are a few pictures of what we sent to him and his companion, Elder Lopiano. Hope it helps them know that we love them and helps them to have a merry Christmas.

 I found these giant stocking at Sam's Club and decided it would be fun to send one to Connor and one to his companion for Christmas. So we bought and wrapped a bunch of stuff to fill them up with.

 The bunch of stuff that went into the stockings. They were so big, I was sure we wouldn't be able to fill them completely. But, after we got all of it in, they were VERY full and some of it almost didn't fit. Lorraine had a huge box that we stuffed them into and then we sent them off. Hope they like it all!

This is what we fit into Connor's stocking. We had mostly the same for his companion, minus a few unmentionables Connor had said he needed. :)

Here is his letter for this week and a few pictures too.

Hi Mom!!!!!! :)

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Wednesday!! And, MERRY CHRISTMAS on Sunday! :) I remember exactly one year ago, when I was sending you an email right before your birthday and Christmas, and I almost ran out of time! Those were much more stressful days back then :)

I feel like I had tons to'll come back to me :) As far as Sunday goes, I think 5-6 will be just right! Ah I'm so excited, you don't even know! The first time, I was homesick for a couple hours after. Second time, about half an hour. I think it'll only be about 10 minutes this time! :) It'll be good to see and hear you all! It sounds like a pretty fun start to the week... and an even better ending! I didn't know Grandpa is 70!! Do you mind reminding me when his real birthday is so I can email him? I hope things go well as you decide on another job; I'll keep that in my prayers! Dang it sounds like New Year's time is going to be tons of fun for you!!! Take tons of pictures for me :)

So by now I've remembered some of my week :) I went on exchanges with one of our zone leaders; he's so good at being a leader, yet being personable at the same time. He blessed my life a lot in just that one day! On Wednesday, I conducted a baptismal interview with a woman being taught by some elders in the district. She is so cool! Literally, my testimony was strengthened by her excitement about the gospel and the light she already had. On Thursday, I did two more baptismal interviews for a couple the sisters in our ward were teaching. They were just as prepared and ready. It was incredible to see the certainty and resolution they each had as they answered that, yes, they believed the Church has been restored, and yes, they were ready to follow and serve Jesus Christ! On Saturday we had a Christmas party, which was tons of fun! We're getting to know some of the members in the ward really well. Cool story: at the party, a recent convert that we work with gave us some gloves for the cold; on our way back home that night it was probably the coldest it's been; we saw a homeless lady just sitting by a store and had the thought to give her some gloves; Elder Lopiano doesn't even use gloves, so he gave her his; and literally right after we did that, neither of us were even cold for the rest of the ride! Yesterday, we were called up to help with the confirmations of that couple that was baptized, and when the woman came up, Bishop looked at me and said "You confirm her!" So... I did my first confirmation in front of the whole sacrament meeting yesterday! Dang that was a scary moment! On Saturday, we also had interviews with President and Sister Palmer! Ah it was so good to talk to them again for a while!

Well, I think those are the highlights for the week! Thank you for sharing those thoughts on enduring to the end... those helped me more than you know! Omni 1:26 is actually the scripture that President Palmer shares with all the new missionaries when they come into the mission; it's so good! On Thursday we had a district meeting about the importance of the Spirit in conversion. As I was studying for it, I remembered the importance of doing all that we can to bring the Spirit into our lives. Because of our baptismal covenants, we can have the Spirit with us at all times if we keep the commandments. Those little things we do to keep the commandments allow the Spirit to touch our hearts, and when the Spirit touches our hearts, our hearts are changed. I think that is part of how we can endure to the end; by doing the things that will allow the Spirit to be with us.\

Ah it's time to go! I'm so excited for the package! Really I should be sending YOU a package! :) I want you to know how much I love you! Your example and your diligence and love in being my mom have made a bigger difference than you will ever know! I was thinking the other day about how I hope I can be a good father; and there would never be any hope of me being a good one if you hadn't been such an amazing mother that taught me to live the gospel. You do both the big acts of sacrifice for us, and millions of little acts that make the biggest change. I feel like you've done all that you ever could in being a parent. If it doesn't sound weird coming from your son, I think that God is so proud of the things that you've done in your life to serve others and follow Him. I can always look to you as an example of faith and love. So thank you SO MUCH!!! :)

I love you tons! I'm so excited for Sunday!!!!!! :) Have a wonderful week! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

"This was Thursday. It was POURING, so we came back and dressed warm for planning...then had some fun" :)
Elder Hopkin and Elder Lopiano
Thursday, December 15. 2016 

We got about 45 minutes to talk to Connor on Christmas Day. It was so, so good to see him and hear his voice. Just like last year, we all agreed that it was the best present of the day! He is doing well and is happy--that is the best thing a Mom can hear! He also got to meet Alisha's husband Jimmie for the first time and Angie's boyfriend Dan. My parents, his Grandpa and Grandma LeCheminant, were staying with us and got a few minutes to talk to him as well. Of course, it was hard to say goodbye, but hey, it's only 5 months until Mother's Day, right?

 Christmas Day Skype
Sunday, December 25, 2016

 We hooked the computer up to the TV so that we could see him in giant form on the big screen.

 2016 Family Photo

2016 full Family Photo--including the dog....hahaha!

We also received a mission Christmas email from President and Sister Palmer. Here that is, with a picture of them too.

Christmas 2016

At this special time of year when we celebrate the birth of the Savior, we are mindful of His great love for us and His atoning sacrifice that makes us whole. Indeed, we have an urgency to share this message with everyone we meet so each of God’s children may feel of His tender mercy.

During this past year, I have seen the profound change in the lives of investigators who have embraced the Atonement and began to offer their whole souls to Him. They have been converted to living their lives in accordance with the example of the Savior. Even people with very troubled pasts have and are being made clean and pure. The Atonement is the greatest gift offered to us and our obedience to His commandments can be our greatest gift of love to Him.

I am so grateful for our missionaries serving in the California Modesto Mission. By their righteous examples and faithful obedience, others have witnessed of their goodness and have chosen to seek for the truth. We have missionaries from many countries and numerous states serving the Lord with one purpose and one heart. Our mission vision is “We are one with the Savior in doing the will of the Father.” I believe our missionaries- your missionaries- are the righteous examples of this vision.

It is my deepest desire that we may all embrace the Savior a little more this Christmas season by showing our love for Him and for all mankind by sharing the gift that we hold most precious, even the Atonement, with every one we meet.

With much love and gratitude,

Sister Palmer

President and  Sister Palmer
California Modesto Mission
December 2016

Week 70--That's Right--S.E.V.E.N.T.Y!! Or 500 Days!!

Hi Mom!!!! :)

An elder in my district came out with me and told me we just passed our 500 day mark - crazy!! :) So just so you know, our email time this transfer is 12:20 - 1:30. Sorry, I should have told you that earlier! Sometimes I might get lucky and get extra time, or swap times with someone, but that's almost for sure when I'll be on usually! Sorry I don't really get to respond to your email! I'll probably get to jump on at the end of the day and look at it though!

So this week turned out pretty good! It was different, but not bad! We got to bike a ton in the rain, which would be a blast except for our church clothes and bags full of Book of Mormons :) A couple transfers ago, Elder Griffin and I met a lady that we referred to 6th ward - and now Elder Lopiano and I are here, and we're teaching her! She's so humble and needs the gospel so bad! Dang it's a big eye-opener to see some of the things people deal with here. We had a funny lesson with a guy, where he told us he didn't want to be baptized, then 5 minutes later, a roommate came in and started talking our ear off about nothing for 15 minutes... so we just said a prayer and left :) I've gained a renewed appreciation for prayer and scripture study; on Saturday and Sunday, we didn't really get the chance to do our studies, so I was feeling kinda bleh. Then I had some really good prayers the last couple nights and a great study this morning, and I feel great! I studied recently about the importance of the Holy Ghost in our lives and how we can gain it, and it made me want to try harder to do the things that bring it. The other night, we had a lesson with an investigator and felt prompted to invite a certain member to the lesson. And he totally helped answer a question that she had had forever! It was pretty cool! So now she's studying more and praying to make sure God wants her to be baptized. She's such a good lady - all she wants to do is follow God. She's just had a strong testimony of her other church, so it's hard for her to change. Also, this week, I went on exchanges with an awesome elder! He gave me so many stinking compliments, I felt like the best person ever by the time I was done. Such a good guy :)

I think that's all for this week. Thank you so much for everything! I love you so much!!! Thank you for your love and your help and your support! I'm SO excited for Christmas!!! :) P.s. The Frazes are taking such good care of us! I think I've eaten 20 cookies in the last 2 weeks...ugh! :)

I LOVE YOU!!!! Let me know if there's anything I can do for you!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Hey! I got extra time today! :)

Thank you for your thoughts about the Atonement and repentance! I heard a quote from someone saying that the reason they came on a mission was to repent. I've definitely seen that in my own life! I saw a picture the other day, of Jesus showing the Nephites the prints in his hands, and there was this woman that looked so shocked yet so grateful, and was crying, as she saw the marks of His sacrifice. I don't know why, but it hit me so hard! It made me really think of the incredible and infinite sacrifice He made for me, and everyone else.

I'm fine either way with Angie and Alisha and their men coming over! If they want to, that would be great! If it's a hassle, or if you'd rather them not, I don't mind either! As far as timing goes, I think Sister Fraze will be contacting you... I think probably around 4 or 5 our time is when we've kinda planned for. I'm SO excited :)

No requests for the package - you always know just what to send, so I'm just super excited for it! Thank you!! :)

Thank you for your last paragraph! That means a lot to me, and I needed it! I'm doing great; I've just had a couple days where I've lacked that confidence in the good I can do. So thanks :)

I love you so much! Thanks again for everything!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)