Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week 79

Connor's letter for the week and a few pictures at the end. Enjoy!

Hi Mom!!!! :)

Well, I'm pretty sure I finish and close my emails the exact same way too... So I know where you're coming from :) And every time you say them, it sounds very sincere and I love it! So no worries at all! :)

As far as transfers go, we are staying the same! I think this is the 1st transfer call I've ever gotten where something didn't change in my companionship, area, or assignments. The only other times it's happened were when I stayed with Elder Jones for another transfer... and the assistants forgot to call us that time; and then with Elder Griffin...and we didn't call ourselves. So this is a first! :) I'm really excited to keep serving with him, and in this area. I feel that there are several people here that we've built good relationships that we can keep teaching together. And Elder Tiatia is a great companion, so I was more than fine sticking with him! I was kinda thinking I might be done serving as a district leader, but I still have at least another transfer of that, which I'm glad about. This area is so great - so much work to do! The only problem is that sometimes there's too much to do... so it's kinda overwhelming. We had a pretty mixed week. On Wednesday, we committed an investigator to a baptismal date, and found 2 new investigators! Then for a couple days, basically nothing happened. We ran into some very interesting people here and there as well, so that was fun :) I've had different situations in this area that I have no experience with at all, so that's been a great opportunity to learn and grow, and to feel some anxiety :)

Thank you for the updates! I'll definitely pray! I'm glad Makaeli had fun, and that's too bad that boys aren't old/good enough for Bryn :) At least she's rich! I hope everything goes well for Makaeli with BYU! That would be really fun to have her around on campus! And it sounds like Ethan did super well at his bee! I was never brave enough to get into those! And yay for all the other exciting things going on!!!

So, my bag is broken. It's still usable, but it could give out at any time. Am I mistaken, or is there a 2-year warranty on it? I took some pictures that I'll send to you, in case that's necessary. Do you mind seeing if they'll send me another one? That would be very helpful! Thank you so much for the Valentine's box! I'm super excited!!

AHHH that college stuff was crazy! Is it bad that I didn't understand half of it? I guess it'll be like a mission huh? You're 100% lost at first, then after a while you kinda get used to it to where you're only 50% lost and can kinda figure things out? Is that just life? I feel like that's one of the mysteries that kids never figure out - you never quite know what's going on, huh? Or maybe I'm just dumb :) Thank you for getting the rooming all figured out! I really really appreciate all the work you're putting into that!

That's CRAZY that Kayla is home! Sister Neeley, who came out with me, goes home on Wednesday.... what?! One good thing is coming of my short time left though... I realized that I do not want to get home, and be thumbing through Preach My Gospel, and realize all the stuff I never read or appreciated! So I'm starting a very in-depth study of Preach My Gospel so I can make sure to get everything out of the missionary guide - while I'm still a missionary! I've gotten about 3 pages into it and already learned a ton! Thank you for your testimony about prophets! I LOVE what you said about how each of us is listening to someone... so why not listen to the people that tell us what God is saying!? :) I totally agree!

As far as the flooding and dam goes... I had no idea :) I did notice the river in our area was a little fuller than usual, but that wasn't too surprising because it's been pretty full this last month or so. So, no, we aren't having problems with it, as far as I'm aware! :)

Well, thank you again for everything you are always doing to bless my life!! I don't know how to thank you for all you do for me. It seriously feels so good to get some words from you and get a bit of communication going. I love you so so much, and I hope your week is wonderful and safe and happy! You're constantly in my prayers!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Here is an extra paragraph from his email to Shon that I thought was interesting and that he might want to remember later.

I had an interesting experience this week that I thought I'd mention. We were at dinner, and this lady's son came over, and started being very condescending, rude, and aggressively antagonistic to the church, and especially us as missionaries. I don't think I've done anything to lose the Spirit, and I prayed at that moment that I wouldn't be "confounded before men", but I was shaking and stuttering and lost the whole time! While thinking about it afterwards, I thought about how it was a good reminder from God that, no, I can't do this alone. He'll help me when He chooses to, and this time He let me all but fail so I would remember to rely on Him. Also, I noticed in the D&C that it says I will be given the portion that shall be "meted unto every man". Maybe there wasn't anything to be meted to him. It would just bring greater condemnation to him, and would have probably made him even angrier, and possibly even violent. So maybe in the grand scheme of things, it was best that he just ran his mouth, and I wasn't able to say anything back to him. Do you have any other thoughts on that?

"Our ride to church last week!!!!" :)

"Me and Elder Stewart on exchanges! On a very rainy day." :)

"My bag!"

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week 78--Scottie's baptism!!

On Saturday evening, the 4th of February, I received a couple of messages from Sister Fraze, who lives in the ward that Connor is serving in. She has been my contact and my informer. I love her for it! Because of her pictures and the short video she sent of Connor playing the piano I knew that Scottie had been baptized! Hurraaaahhhh!! I then loved hearing from Connor and getting the rest from his side. Here is his letter for the week--a really great one, I thought! I love hearing his testimony and his stories and being able to see how much he has grown and is learning. His service truly has blessed our family in so many ways--those that I can recognize and see and then countless others that I am sure I will never know of. Our entire extended family has also seen many blessings during the time he has been serving. "[The Lord is] seriously so good!"

Hi Mom!!!!! :):)

That was such a good email :) So many happy things going on, and such a strong testimony! Thanks for that!

Where to start... hm... First of all, that IS CRAZY that Makaeli is almost 18!!! And Grandpa 70? And Faith 16? And Lisa something? :) That's weirding me out pretty bad. I realized a few weeks ago that I'm closer to being 20 than I am to being 19 (if that makes sense). Time goes quick! That's super exciting for Angie! And Ashley!? That's so amazing! That'll be super fun :) Thank you for helping me notice that my mission is blessing the family as well... I really appreciated that. I was thinking the other day about the half tuition I'm receiving, and how I might not have gotten that 2 years ago. God is constantly blessing me for my measly and all-but-pathetic service to Him. I'll come back to that later! If you could tell Grace congrats for me, that would be great! I'm glad you're liking your job! That vacation sounds too good to be true! The testimony you shared with me seems to be a blessing you're already getting from her - one of the reasons you two have been put together. A strengthened testimony of the gospel for you, and I'm sure countless blessings for her that she's received from you.

I'm glad you got the pictures of Scottie's baptism!! It was so exciting! That family was being put under a lot of stress from the adversary as he prepared to be baptized, and there were some complications with scheduling the service, so I was very grateful it all worked out. Elder Tiatia was there to help Brother Otto (the great-grandfather) with the prayer and with getting Scottie back on his feet. As they were all drying off, Scottie yelled to me from the stall. "I feel like I could eat a million rainbows! If cupcakes were rainbows, and rainbows were cupcakes, I would definitely eat a million rainbows!... That would be a big cupcake in the sky!" That plus the picture should give you a pretty good idea of his personality. :) He was confirmed by Brother Otto yesterday, and I was able to confer the Aaronic priesthood on him. I also followed him around as he passed the sacrament for the first time, which was a great experience!

Story of the week: Elder Tiatia and I were trying to contact a referral that we've tried several times. She wasn't home... but her pit bull was! He started barking at us through the gate as we walked up, then after we had knocked a couple times, we heard a big clank and the gate was open... and the dog was out. We hurriedly grabbed our bikes and quickly walked about a house over, then stopped to figure out where to go next as the dog kinda roamed around his yard. But he started walking towards us - then running! Scariest moment of my life! We got on our bikes (helmets off), and he chased us for about a block! We rode to safety and texted the referral, and a few minutes later she asked us to look around a bit for him. We went back to the house, and her neighbors had gotten the dog and put him back. They told us he's really a nice dog... but I disagree :)

We had interviews with President and Sister Palmer as well this week, which was great! They're the best; I'm so grateful that I've gotten to serve with them! We had a few good lessons with a couple other investigators too. It was a pretty good week overall! As far as the schedule changes go, I'm really liking it! We plan in the morning, which is a little more logical. We have an extra half hour in the morning to get ready (I spent 18 months figuring out how to get ready in so little time!) and some extra time at night. Preparation days are a little different, but I like it overall. We get an extra 15 minutes of email time, which is nice :)

So, a couple thoughts from the week. Like I started mentioning earlier, I feel like I've been a little too needy towards Heavenly Father lately... just asking for tons of blessings and not really truly grateful for the countless blessings He's given me. I was reading in Mosiah 2, which explains that even if we served God with ALL that we are, and rendered Him thanks for ALL He has given us (which is impossible because we'll never truly know how much He has done for us) we would still be unprofitable servants. It really kind of put me in my place and helped me try to think about all the things He has done for me. He's seriously so good! I'm constantly asking Him for confirmations of my testimony, even though I've been given a million, and He continues to give them to me! He always gives me so much of what I ask for, and much more. So I've been trying to be a little more grateful. Another thing I learned this week was after Scottie's baptism. I was praying for confirmation that everything went well with the baptism, etc, and I had this overwhelming feeling of peace and joy. I could feel God's love for Scottie, and for all the people I've taught on my mission, and His infinite desire to have them and all of us back, and how grateful and eternally happy He was about Scottie being one step closer to Him. It was a reminder to me of the important work we're all doing as missionaries and member of His church, and of the infinite love He has for each one of us personally.

Thanks again for your thoughts and testimony, I really enjoyed them! So, question: In my interview with Sister Palmer, we talked about college and stuff, and she mentioned that there's a sister here that was planning on doing chemistry or something related, then saw the classes for biochemistry and thought they sounded much better. Any thoughts? Have you seen the classes for both Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry? I logically am leaning towards ChemE, but I have a weird feeling towards biochemistry. Anyways, thanks again for all the help and effort you're putting into getting me ready for college!

Don't ever worry about long emails, I love them! And I'm glad I got a little time today to write a little longer. It's nice to be able to think a little about what you're writing :) I love you so much! Thanks again for the updates! I hope you have a great, fun, safe, successful week :) LOVE YOU!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Pictures of the baptism and Connor playing the piano at the baptism. I sure miss hearing him play!!

 Scottie's baptism!!
Saturday, February 4, 2017

 Scottie, Elder Hopkin, Elder Tiatia
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Modesto, California 6th Ward

 Elder Hopkin
February 4, 2017