Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 83

Hi Mom!!!!!! :)

The week went great! I am good, my companion is good, etc :) I'm glad things are going well at home! Thanks for the reassurance :) I haven't been too worried or anxious, luckily, but it came up every once in a while, especially last week for some reason. I'm so excited for you and your paid vacation!! That's going to be so fun I'm sure! Where are you going again? That's way cool about Dad and the Rabbis too - and one speaking in sacrament meeting! I'm sure that will be fascinating! I'm still so happy about Makaeli getting accepted to BYU, whether she chooses to go or not. Is there a big tuition difference? I'm guessing she got some kind of scholarship to SUU, but has half tuition to BYU? That's great that Bryn is enjoying work - she's so solid :) And Ethan continues to be more well-rounded than the rest of us combined, huh? :)

That's so nice of you to throw that shower for Angie! I'm glad she's getting married, cause I get an extra tie now! Plus it will be nice for her to have a husband :) I continue to pray that all goes smoothly with all the planning, etc. And I didn't know Ashley's pregnancy is high risk...but that makes sense. I'll be sure to pray!!

Not too much to report this week. We had a great zone conference, and the assistants drove us - Elders Grover and Baird. It's so fun seeing Elder Grover around, and Elder Baird is such a good missionary, so it was fun to be with them for a little! Hm...oh, we were told about this bike trail that's in a park in the middle of our area! We had no idea it was so accessible, but the sisters told us about it, and now we're using it a ton! It certainly beats driving on the road, uphill :) It's so gorgeous too! And it cuts our biking time by about 5 minutes! So that's been putting me in a good mood :) We had a couple lessons with some of our incredible investigators, and I just love them so much!! There are a ton of members that have been such a big help to us too, and I'm growing to love them more and more! I better not be transferred in a couple weeks!! :)

For our zone conference, we were supposed to find our favorite parable; I couldn't decide so I chose two :) The first was the Parable of the Prodigal son. I love the way the father reacts: "But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him" and said, "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." I think of how the Savior feels and reacts when we, constant sinners, repent and return to Him. Nothing makes Him happier. I think, like the father, He doesn't wait for us to come all the way to Him; but as soon as we start towards Him, He runs to us. I also chose the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls; Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." There are so many pearls of great price to be had in the Church and the gospel. When we are willing to sacrifice whatever the Lord requires, we will find the joy that can come. Anyways, just a couple thoughts for the week!

As far as the moles go, I'll send you some pictures next week if that's ok. I'm not overly concerned, but 5 months can be a while for that kind of stuff, so it might be good at least for Angie and Alisha to check them out! Thank you so much for being willing to help with that!!

Thank you for your thoughts and reassurance and help! Thanks for always sending such wonderful emails!! I love you so much!!! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

1) A member in our ward made us MINIONARIES! :)

2) Elder Carling, right at the end of last transfer
Elder Carling and Elder Hopkin

3) Valentines Day ties! :)
Elder Hopkin and Elder Tiatia

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 82--19 Months And Counting....

Well, it sounds a bit crazy, but this last week Connor hit 19 months served with 5 to go. I will admit that last month went by pretty fast for me. Don't know what the next 5 will do, but I will take it! I am torn between wanting him to return and being able to see him again and not wishing away his last few months. Although 24 months is long, and believe me, it has seemed long, it is only 24 months. And, you can't ever get them back. A mission is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and I want it to be the very best it can be for him because I know once it is over it eventually becomes just a wonderful memory. Hopefully the lessons, the testimony and personal conversion, the experiences, and the friendships gained while serving stay with you forever. But, you never get to go back and do it again. So, I will try to contain my excitement. I will try not to mention it too often--especially to him. I will hope that these next 5 months are his very best yet--and who am I to stand in the way of that?

Hi Mom!!!! :)

HAHAHA those pictures are so funny! And Bryn's quote! :) I'm glad the surgery is all over, and I will definitely pray for a more speedy recovery! Ah, I half-way want the time to fly by too...but kinda not at the same time! Last week, I got to see Elder Feltman at a zone conference; he's probably one of the most focused missionaries that exists - and even he said that he thinks about going home every once in a while! So that made me feel a little better :)

That's SO exciting about Makaeli's acceptance!!!!! That would be so fun to have her there at school with me! But, SUU is a great place too, I'm sure :) Either way, I'm sure it feels good to be accepted there! That's fun with Ethan's play too, and him growing up so much! I'm so excited/scared to see how much older everyone is :)

Good luck with the bridal shower! That's so much fun!! I'm so glad Angie is doing well and is so happy - I keep that in my prayers from time to time, to make sure things go smoothly :) Ashley emailed me today with a very funny and descriptive narrative on pregnancy - I now know just a little bit more of the pain and awkwardness.... :) Thanks for passing the message on from Katy! If you get the chance, tell her hi for me too; and sorry for not sending any group emails or pictures and also I'm the worst.... and I'll be sure to email her in less than 5 months :)

Thank you so much for those thoughts! I copied and pasted and printed, cause I'm going to be sure to study those again soon :) I love that one from Elder Ballard - sometimes we're on top of everything and sometimes we just gotta hold on and trust that things will work out. I found and really appreciated that one a few months ago when I had some questions! And I love the reminder - basically about how God cares more about our growth than our comfort. He knows best, huh? :)

Quick medical thingy: I've noticed a couple moles that to me (it being remembered I'm not a doctor) seem slightly irregular. None of them hurt or anything, but they're just not perfect circles. What brings this up, is that a few days ago I woke up and there seemed to be some kind of scab on a mole that's on my neck, and when I looked closer it almost seemed to be a discolored skin tag or something - I couldn't see it all that well though. Luckily, I saw Sister Palmer the next day and asked her about it. The thing is, yesterday it disappeared! So maybe I just made it bleed during the night and it was really just a scab? ANYWAYS! Sister Palmer said that the mission doesn't deal with any dermatology, but what we can do is this: I can send pictures to you, and if you're worried you can find a dermatologist in this area and set an appointment for a Monday; then tell President Palmer, and he'll approve it and I can get them checked. We would need to use our own insurance. Or, we can just wait the 5 months. Any preferences? Sorry to add that to your have-to-worry-about list! I'm not too worried about it, but I wanted to ask you!

Everything is going well here! Good progress in some ways, and some regress in other ways. Normal missionary life :) I've felt a weird anxiety the past couple days, though, about everything at home... everything's ok right? Just want to make sure :) My companion is great, my ward is great, my district is great! We're teaching some REALLY cool investigators right now! I love them so much! :)

Well, I hope the week goes well! You're such a blessing to me! Thank you so much for everything!! I love you so much and miss you so much and can't wait to hear from you next week, and talk to you in May, and see you in August! Fun stuff coming up :) LOVE YOU!!!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Week 81

Hi Mom!!!! :)

Those are fun updates, thank you!! Haha basketball season is always the worst for me - it's so hard to keep your eyes away :) Any updates on Makaeli's college plans? I've been really curious! And that's awesome for Ashley! She's gonna have her hands full! :) I'll plan on sending some stuff with Sister Fraze, then - it'll be nice to get rid of some stuff. There is a lot of junk, though, that I'll probably just drop off somewhere :)

As far as the weather goes: There's a river called the Tuolumne that basically forms the bottom boundary of our area. With them releasing some water from the Don Pedro dam, there was a little bit of flooding in some of the lower areas that are close to the river. On Tuesday, we actually helped a less-active member dig out trenches and put some metal sheets to protect his house, and I think he ended up needing it. I don't think the flooding has been as bad as a lot of people were worried it might be. I've seen the river nice and big, but I haven't even encountered the flooded housing areas at all. It's been so crazy with the rain! I think I'm starting to get used to biking wet :) It's been really nice the last few days though, luckily! Let's see... as far as the work goes, we found a new investigator that is so awesome! We street contacted him a couple weeks ago, and he loves what he's hearing and learning! He's such a cool guy! A couple of our investigators made some good progress, some didn't. Regular missionary work :) I've been trying to come up with some exciting stuff from the last week, but can't really think of anything! Just a typical week :) We did have exchanges this week, which was fun. We're doing exchanges different now, though, where both sets work in our area. It made for a fun evening :)

Those are really cool thoughts about the creation!! I've never really thought anything about actually applying that doctrine, you know? I always just looked at it as a bit of information - but those are really good points that we can actually apply into our lives! I've been studying quite a bit about the Fall, just trying to understand it more. I love in Jesus the Christ, how he explains so well the need that we have for our Savior, because of the Fall. Because of the physical and spiritual death that came into the world, we could never come back to our Father. That's why Christ chose to, out of love, sacrifice Himself and die for each of us. It makes me that much more grateful for what He did.

Oh, I did get both the bag and the package! THANK YOU! :) The bag is perfect, and I loved my package so much! Elder Tiatia told me to make sure to thank you. His candy is basically already gone! I've been a little more controlled, but I've eaten way too much sugar over the last few days :) And I'm already wearing my new tie for the 3rd time today! Plus, I'm SO excited for my Dairy Queen :)

Well, I think that's all! Sorry it was a little dry with the updates and stories this week! I'll be looking forward to the updates next week! I love you so so much, and I'm so grateful for you! Thank you for being such an incredible mother!! This week, I was just praying and thanking Heavenly Father for such good parents, and it helped me realize just a little bit more how lucky I am to have been raised by you! So thank you :) I love you!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Week 80

So, I finally got Connor's Valentine's package sent to him, but not in time for him to get it even this week. Now it will be REALLY late and I have learned my lesson about procrastinating (I hope). The other disappointing thing is that in my rush to get it sent off, I didn't get any pictures of it. While that may not matter to him or to anyone else reading the blog, it does matter to me. I will NEVER remember what I sent--I hardly can already as it is. That is why I take the pictures, to remind myself for the future packages I send. But, it is what it is and I will just have to try harder next time to be more organized. Anyway, I did get an awesome picture from Sister Fraze on Sunday night. Those always make me super happy. So, the picture follows the email.

Hi Mom!!!! :)

Ok, new email time with the transfer! 10:30-12:00. Just so you know :) Thank you for taking the time to email me in the morning so I have it when I get on - I really appreciate it! I really like hearing from you :)

Ah, that french toast was SO good! Please don't tell her this, but yours is a bit better.... but I'll take what I can get :) I've been trying to eat better recently - and I got totally messed up with that dinner. 6 pieces, full of nutella and syrup, with tons of salty, greasy bacon and at least 3 cookies.. it was bad. But so good :)

The mission actually gets our packages to us on Wednesdays now. So I'm guessing the package got there on Thursday, and the bag on Friday, and both are just sitting there :) But I'll have a very nice upcoming Thursday, and I'm very excited :) Thank you for taking care of that! The bag has been holding up quite well - but it will be nice to have a new one that can maybe even be used when I get home! Speaking of... I have a lot of random clothing that I don't use at all and will be excess weight in 6 months. Sister Fraze said she's going to Utah in April I think, and can bring a box or two from me. I'll be sending some things, but should I include the clothes? I was thinking about donating some of them, especially the useless ones, to places around here. Do you care at all?

That sounds like a super fun birthday for Makaeli! And I'm glad you enjoyed your Valentine's day! Valentine's day is definitely very different as a missionary :) I had a perfect one though - we were talking to this guy on the street, and a cute little girl that was with him looked up at us and said, "Happy Valentine's Day!" and gave us both a piece of candy... that was all I needed :)

No worries with the college stuff! It was good for me to get a slight idea of what's going to be going on. Thank you for taking the time to send that for me! I'm strangely excited to get back into school! I'm guessing that will change after about 24 hours of it though! And thanks for saying hi for Daniel and Russell - give them a hi from me if you get the chance!

I LOVE that quote you sent me! President Palmer just sent an email to the missionaries about how joy isn't found in fun or personal gratification but in the small moments when we see hearts change, or when we choose an act of obedience, etc. I've definitely had those moments in my mission where someone gives me a compliment, or I witness someone feeling the Spirit and finding the joy of the gospel, or I choose to talk to someone that isn't interested but is now one step closer to accepting it in the future. I think that kinda goes along with your quote and thought - it's the small and simple things that make a difference for those around us and for us. Thanks for sending me that!

Our area is doing great! We have two wonderful people that have committed to baptismal dates in March and April, and we've found a few new investigators. We had a lot of people at church yesterday, which is not very common

Well, I should probably go - I'm gonna send Makaeli an email! I love you so much! THANK YOU for everything you do for me! I pray for you constantly! I hope your next week goes well! I love you!!!! :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Sunday, February 19, 2017
Elder Tiatia and Elder Hopkin