Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 86--An Awesome Temple Experience!!

Before I post the pictures and Connor's letters for the week, I have to tell of an email I received this morning. It was from Connor's mission office asking what airport we want him to fly into when he returns. It also said that his flight plans will be booked on May 2nd--3 months from his return date. They needed some information from us so that they could book his return flight!! Yep--that is what it said! It's starting to get real, people, and yet I have to remind myself that we still have 1/3 of a year to go. (But, I also remind myself frequently that compared to 2 full years, that is nothing!). Trying to keep calm....

Hi Mom!!! :)

Things are great! As you can see, the temple trip went well! I spent the whole ride up and back squished in the middle of the back seat between Brother Otto and my companion - but it was worth it :) Can I just say how amazing the temple is?? As soon as I walked in, it was just quiet and peaceful and so relieving. It was a pretty incredible trip - here's the details! Brother and Sister Otto are Scottie's great-grandparents, and they're probably some of the coolest people I've ever met! We got really close to them while teaching Scottie, so they wanted us to come along. Backstory: Sister Otto's sister, Tammi, found the church several years ago, and introduced Sister Otto a few years ago, who introduced her husband a couple years ago :) Tammi came with us on the trip. While we were there, she was baptized for her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and received initiatories and the endowment for her mother. Elder Tiatia received the endowment for her father. Brother and Sister Otto both received initiatories and their endowment, and were sealed afterwards! Then Tammi was sealed to her parents, and did a couple other sealings for family members! So basically, we got to witness this whole family receive their saving ordinances and be all sealed together for time and all eternity! It was SO incredible!! :) While I was there, I also saw a few people that I had known in my past wards; God has some good timing :) I learned a lot while I was there, and felt so uplifted and strengthened afterwards. I'm so grateful for that opportunity!

On top of that, we had several meetings this week. In one, we watched the newly released initiative video, Prince of Peace. If you haven't seen it already, it's just at - and it's worth the 2 minutes :) And, of course, General Conference topped it all off! I'll get back to that later. We don't have a ton of people we're teaching right now, unfortunately. But the one we are teaching makes up for that :) We also found a new investigator yesterday, so hopefully that will work out!

That's some exciting news from home!!!! :) That's so exciting for Bryn!! Yay! :) And I'm so excited to party hard with Makaeli - that's going to be awesome! Weird to be in the same grade as her, but I'll get over it :) Now we'll see who gets married first ;) Speaking of, on a side note.... I'd been thinking I want to get married soon - then in the sealing room on Tuesday, it hit me just how serious and real that commitment and covenant are... so I'm a little scared now :) Anyways, that'll be fun to be with Makaeli! I think that was a good choice! And that's great for Ethan - I hope his birthday went well!

So, General Conference! I loved it all, and I can barely remember any of it :) I really really liked President Uchtdorf's talk in the Priesthood session; he spoke about how our desire should be to serve quietly and humbly, with no thought of reward, rather than desiring the praise of men. Each calling is as important as the next, no matter how "high up" it is. It reminds me of D&C 121 - "Behold there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men... When we undertake to...gratify our pride, our vain ambition... behold, the heavens withdraw themselves... hence many are called, but few are chosen." I remember a talk several years ago, where someone commended Shiblon, Alma's son. He was just as righteous as Helaman, but didn't receive the same recognition. I realized I need to be a lot more humble from that talk :) There were also several talks about the importance of the small things - I think both President Clayton, and Elder Cook, hit on the subject. If I remember right, President Clayton said that doing the small acts of obedience brings more blessings than you would expect from the smallness of the action. Similarly, Elder Cook said that we don't truly understand the impact that taking the sacrament every week has on us. I think we tend to think that the small act of praying, studying the scriptures, and going to church, bring the small blessings - because they're small actions. But in a way that doesn't make sense and doesn't quite add up, those small actions bring an unexpectedly large amount of spiritual blessings and growth. I also loved President Eyring's concise and direct teaching of the Plan of Salvation - he just wrapped it all up so beautifully :) Also, I really appreciated Elder Rasband's and others' reminders of the importance of the Holy Ghost and responding diligently to the promptings we receive. And a lot more :)

PLEASE take tons of pictures of Angie's wedding! I'm so excited!! I'm looking forward to the tie, AND the allergy meds :) Thank you for sending those off!! I hope the coming week goes well for you! I love you so so much, and I'm so grateful for you and your love for me. It's such a blessing to get to email you! Whenever I'm stressed or anything, your emails always take it away :)

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

Hey Dad!!

That's nice to hear that Sister Fraze texted Mom, thanks for telling me that! :) It has been a little weird to stay the same (like I said to Mom, Elder Tiatia will be my longest companion - only 3 transfers), but I'm grateful for it too. I had kinda been feeling like my time with him and this area wasn't quite up, so I was prepared for it. I'm daily going through waves of feeling embarrassingly prideful to oddly inadequate - I can't make up my mind, and I can't seem to find a happy medium :) So I hope I can figure that one out! Thank you for what you said there - that helps a lot! I've been feeling a great need to really improve, and a little frustrated that it;s been happening so slowly :) All that said, though, I'm doing quite well - nothing to worry about!

Conference was incredible! I gave Mom some of my favorites. I agree that, as always, President Uchtdorf's were at the top. I noticed a lot of talks focusing on strengthening our individual testimonies and conversion, and especially becoming more like that Savior. I loved the talk (I can't remember who it was) that differentiated between sin and the sinner. It's a very Christlike approach and doctrine that I'm really grateful is so obvious in our Church. We love and appreciate everyone. But, no, that doesn't mean that sin is ok. But again, no, that doesn't mean that we hate you or look down on you for your mistakes, just as God doesn't. Nor does He do that to us. I think the biggest thing that I appreciated this conference was just the obvious power and Spirit that was there as they shared their talks and testimonies. It reaffirmed my testimony that these are truly prophets of God, and that this is His Church.

So, quick question. Nearer the beginning of my mission, I asked you to put a few dollars in tithing for me, since I had accepted some money from some people in my area (I didn't know it was disobedient at the time :) ). Did you ever get the chance to put that in? The reason I'm asking, is that while I was at the temple, I kept having these worrying thoughts about tithing, that maybe I haven't been as good as I could be. Along with that, I've been feeling that I should do what I can to tithe on the money I received from everyone before my mission, which I hadn't done since they weren't "income"... I talked to President about it, and he said it might be a good idea. So... I'm wondering... if you get the chance, could you maybe look on my "budgeting" excel spreadsheet and see if I made any records about how much I received? If you can't find it or something, I'll just make a guess. I think I can pay it online, though, once I know how much. Anyways, sorry to add one more thing to your to-do list! If you don't have time, don't worry! I've just been a little concerned about it recently.

Anyways, thank you so much for everything you do for me! Thank you for your email and your encouragement - it means a lot! I love you so much! Thank you for being such a good teacher, and especially example, of the gospel, and for all of your love and support. I hope your week goes well!

Elder Connor Hopkin :)

 Elder Tiatia, Brother Otto, Elder Hopkin, Sister Otto
Oakland, California Temple Grounds
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Oakland California LDS Temple
March 28, 2017

 Elder Hopkin, Brother Otto, Elder Tiatia
Oakland, California Temple

Oakland and San Francisco, California
Seen from the Oakland, California Temple Grounds
March 2017
 "If you look to the right, you can kinda see the Golden Gate Bridge!"

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