Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Spirit = Happy Heart


It has been an interesting week here in the CDNM! It seemed like people were either totally chill for us to come share a message with them or they were totally NOT okay with it. Christmas is a strange and wonderful time of year! Sister Packer and I did Christmas very much our own way this year. We decided to start opening packages as soon as we got them so we could really feel the spirit of Christmas on Christmas day. The first one I opened was from Gma and Gpa Harward. They gave me the DVD of the Bible Videos, SOOOOOO COOOL! When I opened it, Sister Packer and I were flippin' stoked. After planning we popped it into the teeny tiny DVD player we have and explored and watched a ton of them and it was really cool because it brought the spirit of Christmas. We started to understand more and more of who Christ really was, what He taught and what He sacrificed for every one of us, His humble beginning and glorious Resurrection. We decided to watch one of the nativity scenes every night before bed and it really did bring a lot of peace. 
We were able to spend a lot of time with Ruth this week teaching her and preparing her for her baptism. Being with her was special for this time of year because she too doesn't have any family nearby or even in her life anymore and so when we would teach her and be with her, it felt like we were a little family for Christmas. Ruth was the highlight of our week this week. We saw her every day and on Saturday she was baptized. It was a small baptism, only about 10 people were there. Most of which was the Matayle, Fifita and Tuinukuafe families, Siale Tuinukuafe baptized Ruth. He is the only priest in the ward and is preparing to serve his mission. He is one of my favorite people in the ward. The night before the baptism he practiced with Ruth and it reminded me of when Kenyon performed his first baptism. He was scared out of his mind and even when he was in the water with Desiree he looked like a ghost #WalkingDeadStatus So it was like watching a Tongan version of my brother. It was awesome! So at the baptism instead of playing music or watching Mormon messages while Ruth was changing, she wanted people to bear their testimonies. Man, that was cool! Because there were so few people there almost everyone bore testimony. Siale's mother, Lovey, bore her testimony and thanked Ruth for allowing her son to baptize her. Lovey told us how she married a non-member and had to wait a long time to have the priesthood in her home. She said she was thankful for the times she has been able to see it used by those she loves. It was really powerful. Ruth will be confirmed by Brother Matayle this coming Sunday! :) 

One of my favorite things about this week was a service opportunity sister packer and I had. So earlier this week we taught Trish and Ginger, a set of identical twins that have had a really hard life. We asked them how their Christmas was and they said they didn't get anything, they weren't upset but we could tell they were in need. So after the lesson we went and looked through all the stuff we have accumulated over the course of our missions and decided to take some of the nice stuff we had and box it up and give it to them. We took sweaters, shirts, skirts, dresses, scarves, hats, gloves, food, lots of candy that we didn't use or weren't going to use and we turned our bedroom into Santa's workshop! We scratched our names off of post office boxes we had gotten and somehow fit all of the gifts into them. We even made them stockings! IT WAS A FLIPPIN BLAST! Then we put all the boxes that looked oh so nice and loaded them into the car and took them over there. We arranged them really nicely on their doorstep, snapped a few pics, knocked on the door and swiftly and pretty un-gracefully made it down the icy steps to watch them open the door. We hid behind a dumpster.... Yeah.... And it was awesome! Trish opened the door and from what we could see she couldn't believe it. I think that's when we really felt the Christmas spirit. I am thankful for the opportunities I have as a missionary to serve those around me in many different capacities. I am excited for this new year and the next 6 months I have to truly be a servant of the Lord. I have set personal goals that I hope to reach before August and I am excited for the miracles that will continue to happen in the mission as we strive to baptize 1001 of God's children. 

Ruth on her baptism/birthday day :)

"The Stash"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Merry Christmas From Snowy CO!

Merry Christmas Ya'll!!

Um, Good Morning Sunshine!

Can you tell Sis G is estatic this is her last planning session?!? ( poor girl)


This week has been INSANE! It was Sister Grenfell's last week as a missionary so it was interesting to be a part of that. Did you ever have to "kill" off a missionary? Well, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but it sure did teach me a lot. I'm sure on the mission you found that there were some times when you thought of home and wanted to be there, well, being with Sister Grenfell and going through things with her, taught me that I am in no way shape or form ready to be home or want to be. There was so much sadness in her that came from knowing that she wouldn't me a missionary anymore and it made me really thankful for the time I still have to serve diligently. We had zone meeting this week which was fabulous! We had all three of us train the missionaries, the two zone leaders trained and then the district leaders did the role plays. I learned A LOT. One of the role plays talked about what we want to become while we are here.  We thought about who we were before, who we are now, and who we want to become. We wrote down what we wanted our older selves to tell us and this is what I wrote: "ALWAYS remember the covenants you've made at baptism and in the temple. STAY TRUE TO YOUR COVENANTS." That really is what I always want to remind myself of, because that is what I am accountable to God for. Elder Rusick (ZL) taught us about spiritual maturity and how through living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we become spiritually mature. One thing he said really stuck out to me, "If the heart is sincere, the change is immediate. Deep repentance is a lot shorter than we think it is." COOL RIGHT?!? Ugh, I am still thinking that one over in my mind! One of the other things I learned, and the last one I will share was in the training Sister Grenfell gave. She explained that in order to become what we want to become, we need to do what is expected and will turn us into what we want to become. She used this analogy: If you want to be a soccer player, you better not spend all your time studying to become a doctor, it won't lead you to your desire. If you want to become a doctor, you better not spend your time playing soccer, it won't lead you to what you want to become. So it is with all of us, we have to do the things that will lead you to what you want to become. 

Some other wonderful things happened this week. We taught an investigator named Lisa this week, she wasn't really progressing before but when we taught her last we watched the Restoration DVD with her and it really touched her, she identified with Joseph Smith because, she too, is trying to find out what is right. This time when we went to go see her we talked to her about prayer and the Book of Mormon, we invited her to read and pray and that when she did that, Heavenly Father would answer her prayers and help her receive answers. Then we invited her to be baptized on January 17th and she accepted the baptism date without hardly thinking about it. As we walked out, we reflected on the prayer we said before we went and taught her. We specifically prayed that she would progress towards January 17th for her baptism. OUR PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED! Later on in the week, we were texting people to remind them about church. Ruth, preparing for baptism on December 27th, responded and said she just had her work schedule changed so she couldn't come. We told her that if she didn't come to church she couldn't be baptized on December 27th. (**Investigators have to come to church a few mandatory times before they can be baptized.**) She responded within an hour and said she would be at church, she found someone to cover her shift. MIRACLE. Ruth was at church yesterday and has been smoke free for a week, I have never seen anyone that has wanted to change so much in my life! BLESSINGS. 

We also had some fun times this week, we got to Christmas carol with the YSA sisters to some of our investigators which was a blast and a half.  We ate at subway 3 days in a row.... ew. The things we do to see investigators and less actives... We burnt a skirt for sister g right before church, it went a lot better than Sister Packer and I's last skirt burning experience. BAHAHAHAHA anyways, I love you so much and I love being a missionary. I thought the Christmas season would be really hard not being with you all but as I was reading through a blessing I got last transfer from Elder Bambo, I came across this part, it said that as I work hard and serve the Lord, the blessings and promises in D&C 31 that my family will live, shall be upon me and that as I work hard they will receive safety and comfort. I hope you all are finding that and I hope I can continue to work hard so that you all can also receive those blessings. XOXO 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

He is the Gift!

Crazy comps

Sister Harvey (the 2 transfer missionary is being re-assinged to the Seattle, WA mission! :) 

Sister Harvey's mom and grandparents(?) picking her up :)

Pappa Bear, 

 I am really glad the family is doing well, I know there are some challenges happening but I know they are just minor setbacks so that they can learn and decide which way they want their lives to go. In the end, it'll all work out. I'm glad your giving was full of thanks!! BAHAHAHA I crack myself up. Honestly though, I'm glad it went well. The turkey must have been DELISH! I'm so stoked the kids will have a good and hopefully long boarding season ahead. I loved the family pics of the Christmas tree! HOW FUN! 

To answer your questions about the area, it is THRIVING. We have 3 people with a baptism date and a couple more to set on date this week. We taught 26 lessons this week and found 2 new gators. It's CRAZY. I love going to bed at night exhausted in every way possible. At this point I am trying to take all the things I learned last transfer and apply them to this transfer so I can get a good balance of loving and caring about the sisters we are over, the area,  and my own companions. BALANCE, man. It's a hard principle to master. I'm trying to get it down though. The trio has been really interesting, there have been a few times where there has been a third wheel but I think for the most part its going well. It's always a little weird when you have a companion who is so close to the end but you have a long way to go. There are just different things that you think about, and I have found recently that it's hard to separate things in my mind so that I don't feel trunky or whatever. For the most part, its going well. We are all trying to figure out how to work together and teach together especially. It'll all work out though. I want to tell you about Ruth, we picked her up as a new investigator this week. She was a former investigator and we stopped by her house later one night. She lived in ID and had taken all the lessons there. She has read all of the D&C and has wanted to be baptized for a while. For whatever reason the sisters before never really stopped by or when they did she wasn't there. We met with her for the first time this past Wednesday and she told us that she wanted to be baptized on her birthday which is December 27th (also just so happens to be a Saturday).... She smokes but she told us she wants to quit that asap. I have never met someone so prepared to receive the gospel. Her biggest inspiration is her mom. She passed away earlier this year and she was the one that read the whole D&C with Ruth. Ruth loves her mom so much and wants to be baptized for her in the temple. None of her other family members are living and she knows she needs to be baptized so that she can do their work. AMAZING. We are meeting with her tonight and we are so excited. Yesterday at church we got to be in ALL of ward correlation. Our Bishop is amazing. We talked a lot about leadership and one of the stake high counselors made a comment that really stuck with me. It is about leadership and what kind of leaders church members need to be. He said, "A leader CANNOT push, because they are in front."  I have pondered on that a lot and that's really the kind of leader I want to be. I don't want to push people mostly because it feels awkward and hypocritical a lot of the time but when I really thought about it, that's how the prophet and apostles lead, that's how fathers lead, how mothers lead and ultimately that's how Christ led. Really cool. I want to lead by example and I want my example to emulate Christ. I am thankful for the opportunities I have to grow and learn, even when they can be unpleasant learning opportunities. I am thankful to be a missionary, especially at this point in time when so many people are prepared to come unto Christ. I am loving the holiday season already and loving the chance I have to represent the reason for the season. We have had the unique chance this year to share a video with people called He is the Gift. It's so touching and really has helped me to understand why we do what we do around the holiday season. I am excited to share the gift this Christmas. If you all have time as a family maybe y'all can watch this video together, the link ischristmas.mormon.org #ShareTheGift 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Here she is, Miss America. I mean, Sis Hoopes :)

***Mom's note**** Sorry I didn't have time to post last week's letter....but here is this week's :)  


 This week was pretty RADDDD! We taught more investigators this week than we have the whole time I've been here. We also had more meetings this week than we've had since I've been here. On Tuesday I was on exchanges with Sister Francis, she came out a transfer before me so she's coming up on a year here in no time. She is a wonderful missionary who had a really hard time last transfer with her companion. She was very manipulative and not very kind so this transfer has kind of been her recoup time. We had a GREAT day. We found a new investigator, Lexi, who is a friend of a recent convert. We were able to teach her the plan of salvation and help her know what the purpose of her life here on earth was. It was AMAZING. Later on, we had time to talk about things that were going well with her, the companionship and the area along with things that were less than fabulous and things she could do to improve all three. It was incredible how the spirit filled my mouth and put ideas into my head that I know I couldn't think up on my own. I was able to testify to her that her Heavenly Father knows her personally, he understands all of her struggles perfectly because he was there. It was really powerful and I loved it. 

On Wednesday, we taught David and Katie, the one that has the case of bugs. They really really love to talk but we were able to simply testify of the plan of salvation and invited them to read 2 Nephi 2. The theme in District Meetings this week, was unintentionally, to make it personal. We talked about how we can "bring ourselves" to every lesson and to everything we do in a mission because that's what God has commanded of us. It was really powerful. 

On Thursday I was on exchanges with Sister Bush. She is Sister Harvey's follow-up trainer. She has been struggling with recouping from a hard companion last transfer as well and is realizing some new struggles this transfer. The night before we were able to talk for a long time about some of the challenges that she's facing. The next day we woke up with the attitude to go out and baptize! BOOYAH! Later in the day we taught Betsy, a woman who has had a really hard life and feels that God doesn't love her. Sister Bush and I brought OURSELVES to the lesson. We explained to Betsy that we had no idea what she was truly going through but that because Christ has already been through it with her, He can help. We taught and testified of the importance of prayer, not only thanking God, which is important, but also just pouring out your whole heart to Him and letting Him change her. 

On Friday we had MLC's (Mission Leadership Council) all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders get together with President, the AP's and Sister Mendenhall and we counsel. We talk about struggles in the mission and we decide as a council what needs to be done. We are trained by the AP's, President and Sister Mendenhall. It was a really great experience. It kind of felt like a piece of what the prophet and apostles do when problems or programs arise in the church, they discuss different ways they could go about it, sometimes, most times probably, it gets heated and whatnot but as soon as the prophet speaks it feels right and they move forward. I know President Mendenhall holds the keys to the Colorado Denver North Mission and as he seeks inspiration and answers from the Lord and we all follow it, we are blessed and miracles happen. He puts a lot of emphasis on counselling with councils, BRILLIANT I KNOW. 

Anyways... on Sunday we met a less active woman, Sister Packer. She's only less active because of her health. So we went over and got to know her better and shared with her how much her Heavenly Father loves her. It was super cool and then she opened up and told us that she had come to the united states when she was 22 to marry to missionary that taught her and baptized her. They were happily married for 25 years and have 4 sons. After 25 years he got involved with another woman from the Philippines and they got divorced. She is extremely lonely and only one of her four sons lives near her. She said it was a blessing for us to come visit her. She also told us that her testimony is all she needs to get through her challenges. While I was listening to her it made me reflect on how I feel about my testimony. Would my testimony be such a treasure through hard times like hers now? That was a lot of food for thought. We are seeing her weekly now and part of what we are going to start doing with her is recording her stories on our cameras then writing them for her to keep and pass on since they aren't written anywhere. We are excited and it means so much to her and I know it will mean a lot to her family as well. I am thankful to be a representative of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the opportunities He gives me every day to lift and inspire those around me to believe more fully in Him and in his Atonement. Its a privilege. :) I love you! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Holy Guacamole Batman, She's 1/2 way done!! :)

Pappa Bear, 

This week was really good. I am starting to get into the routine but also realizing that my responsibilities take a lot more out of me than I anticipated but in a good way. I am finding that I am giving more of my heart, more of my time to praying for these sisters and more effort in the work. In bible park we meet so many interesting and different people, I love it. 

This week we met with Princess, she is 18 and has been struggling because she is trying to get into college. She has studied and worked really hard but hasn't been able to pass a few entry tests. We were able to teach her how prayer and her relationship with Heavenly Father will help her to achieve all the righteous desires she has but only when she does her part. The spirit was there and she kept her commitment to come to church and she stayed for all 3 hours. MIRACLE. We also taught Bernard, he is a recent convert, he's probably 60-ish and has been through a lot in his life. We were able to invite him to come to church to partake of the sacrament instead of having it be brought to him, guess who also came to church? BERNARD. MIRACLE. On Saturday we met Betsy, an investigator, and a mother of a 10 year old daughter, Savi. Betsy had just had surgery on her bottom teeth and was in a lot of pain. We offered for her to receive a priesthood blessing, she accepted. In the past, the sisters have had a really hard time teaching Betsy so it was nice to have a fresh start with Sister Packer and I. When the Elders were giving her a blessing, afterwards she said that the whole time the blessing was happening she couldn't feel any pain. It was a testament to me of just how powerful the priesthood is and that its here on the earth to bless ALL of God's children. MIRACLE. Bruce is a convert as well, probably in his 50's, he has a learning disability but his heart is made of PURE GOLD. He has made a goal for himself to read 7 pages of the book of Mormon every day. As he has he's been able to understand more and more. We were able to teach him this week about how faith in Christ leads to repentance and how we need both faith and repentance to return to Heavenly Father. The spirit testified to me that the things we taught were true and it reaffirmed the things I knew were true. MIRACLE. Last night we taught a woman named Katie. She is a Muslim and has lived in the U.S. for 8 years. We taught her our purpose as missionaries and testified and taught her about the nature of God, how he is our loving father in heaven who wants the best for us. We taught her that we can pray whenever we want to, that the relationship we have with God is founded on prayer and that its the way we talk to him and feel his love. When we started she was a little shut off because she only believed in Muhammad but as we taught and testified to her she started to ask questions and her heart got softer. We will be teaching her again this week. MIRACLE. 

We also had a lot of fun things happen this week. We go to 4 different district meetings and its such a spiritual boost! WE LOVE IT. Its so fun to see how all the missionaries in the zone are doing, how their testimonies are growing and all the miracles they are seeing in their areas. Its such a treat. This week we went on a blitz with the Spanish sisters that cover our zones, I got to go with Sister King, a new missionary and try to find people for them and for us to teach. As we were contacting, these two guys were standing on the balcony of an apartment complex. We approach them and since they looked Hispanic sister king was speaking in Spanish, they looked SO confused. So I talked to them in English.. Still confused. Turns out they were Arabian and the one guy looked like he was Aladdin in real life... Its gets better. As we are trying to talk to them about the plan of salvation we had to speak suuuuuuper slow so they could understand. They kept saying "slow English, slow English" so we were speaking really slow, trying to show them the pamphlet in English.  Turns out they meant small English or in other words, they couldn't speak or understand English very well. Then Aladdin started hitting on us saying "Oh, so beautiful" and kissing his fingers like an Italian chef that was super proud of the pizza he just made... HILARIOUS!

 Since I hit my 9 month mark this week, its tradition among missionaries to burn something. Elders generally burn one of there 12 white shirts that all look the same and sisters burn their least favorite skirt. I decided to burn a skirt that was left in the apartment since I like my clothing. This skirt was hideous. It was orange and long and fluffy, just no... So it got burnt. We have a fireplace in our apartment so we balled up the skirt and threw it in, we made sure the vents were open and all that jazz and we lit it. It was all good at first but then the smoke was starting to fill the room and the alarms were going off and we were kinda freaking out. so we got a broom and sister packer got her planner and stood on the table waving the alarm. Then we realized it would take a long time for the smoke to clear so we needed to recruit some help so we ran over to the YSA sisters apartment (which is two doors down) and told them to come over so all four of us run back to the apartment with a bucket and a dustpan so we can scoop the skirt out and put it on the patio. So two of us are waving the smoke away from the alarms and the other two are scooping this burning skirt out of the fireplace. It was super funny! Eventually we just took the batteries out of the alarms... should have thought of that earlier.... goodness me! But in the end we all just laughed and had a lot of fun and somehow still made it to bed on time. MIRACLE. 

All around its been an interesting and fun week! I've learned a lot and am loving the time I'm spending serving the Lord. :) 

The nine month skirt!  1/2 way through!

The evidence of the pyro activity 

Whala!  This is what you get with leftovers in the fridge :) 
Sending out thoughts for the day to all the sisters in her zone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bible Park Ward, Denver Stake. Sis Hoopes New Home :)

Kenz and her companion for a week, Sister Harker :)

MOM's Note **this is a separate thought Mckenzie was having that I decided to include in the beginning of this letter...that's why it seems out of place***

I  know its also important to remember that Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to fit into this "perfect member missionary" mold. In D&C60:13 it tells us otherwise. We have the talents we have for a reason and that is to bring our friends and neighbors closer to Christ. I think it can be applied to missionaries and wards by using it as the foundation to an effective ward mission plan that involves the members and missionaries. It's definitely time to work smarter AND harder, as missionaries we can't do it alone. We need the members to know their neighbors so they CAN warn them, we need the missionaries to truly love the members and do everything they can to earn their trust so that the members feel comfortable referring their neighbors to hear the gospel... etc. I could go on for days. But its so true that NOW is the time for members and missionaries to work together to hasten the work of salvation.

 This week has been MIGHTY strange. I spent the majority of the week in the Aurora Zone in the Sable ward with Sister Harker as my companion. In Bible Park we live in an apartment and the apartment got bed bugs so they didn't want anyone carrying them to another area so they kept Sister Hardy and Sister Packer as companions for a few days. The whole week it just did not feel right, I couldn't unpack my things because I knew I would be leaving later in the week so there wasn't much point and it was kinda sad not being able to settle in. Sister Harker was awesome though! Sister Grenfell got to be my Sister Training Leader for the week so it was cool to see her at district meeting and stuff. Sister Harker and I worked hard for the couple days we were together. We picked up a few formers despite all of our set appointments cancelling, it was like they knew I wasn't supposed to be there ;) jk! Anyways, on Saturday I got to go to my assigned area, Bible Park, in the Denver Stake. I have only been in the area 2 days but I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Sister Packer is amazing and I love her to bits. We cover two different zones as sister training leaders and go to about 6 missionary meetings a week versus 1. We have wonderful missionaries in these two zones. A few of them either came out the same time as me or after, aside from Sister Harvey, so that is interesting. I never knew how much disobedience was a problem until I got here though. Some of our sisters, sisters i know very well, are having a lot of struggles,  much bigger than waking up on time, going to bed on time etc. Its scary man! But it will be alright! On Saturday I was able to go to a new leadership meeting where the new leaders of the mission, which was at least one new zone leader in every zone, got to meet to talk about what it means to be a leader and what the Lord expects of us. What I got from the meeting in essence was 
1. Just LOVE the missionaries, when they feel your love and sincerity for them and the work, they will want to improve. 
2. As a leader, I do not plead the case of the missionary to the Lord, I represent the Lord and stand with him to help the missionary. 
3. I am no different than any other missionary, my purpose is the same, I just go to more meetings and have more responsibilities that the Lord has asked me to do. 
I am excited for this new challenge and have found that my prayers have become a lot more sincere and much longer as well. Leadership is definitely a call to repentance and I'm happy I've been asked to change. I will start going on exchanges with the sisters next week so that'll be an adventure too! Sister Packer and I had a few interesting experiences yesterday. We went to go visit a less active member and she was literally insane. She kept us for an hour and 15 minutes but every time we would tell her we had to leave she would get mad and tell us we couldn't leave because she never got visitors and that she was going to die soon and needed someone with her and that she was being punished because in the womb she was a boy and ate her twin brother and that her dad was like her spouse because she hadn't ever been married and when he died she died as well and has been dead ever since. Holy cow, it was just crazy and we couldn't feel the spirit and we were late to our dinner appointment. But then later that night we tried to go see a former investigator who wasn't home but we were able to teach his new roommate, Jeremy, on the doorstep. He accepted to be baptized and we are meeting with him again on Tuesday! MIRACLE! I am really loving it here. I'm sorry there's not more to share yet but next week will be a lot better! :) I will also have more pictures! The only one I have is the one of Sister Harker and I. But I hope all is well back home! I pray for you and everyone else in the family by name every day! XOXO 

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Area, New Responsibilities, and A Random Cow :)

New Mission Goal:  1001 Baby!
The 1001 Stripling Warriors :) 

Yun Soo's Baptism

Awesome family that Kenz has been able to meet
Add caption

Kenz gearing up for Halloween by trying on the cow suit from the consignment shop they volunteer at. :)  Said she was going to a "Mask-Cow-Rade"  lol, silly girl.

Okay this week has been INSANE! On Wednesday we had our zone meeting and they made an announcement that has been the most amazing thing. Little preface: In Broadlands I started to feel pretty stagnant and had been really praying for ways to get out of the "funk" I was in. It'd been weeks and I kind of just gave up. So at zone meeting they announced that the baptism goal for next year would be 1001... WOOOOOOAH! On average over the last two years we have baptized 350... I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO STOKED ABOUT SOMETHING IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! The spirit in the room completely changed, some missionaries were horrified, some uneasy and others were just as excited as I was. Elder Blackwell, Zone Leader, explained that this goal is not meant to be a number, its meant to signify a change in the mission. The goal has been set to change the missionaries and the attitude of the mission. The number 1000 represents being whole or complete. The 1 represents that no one will be left behind and that we will search for the one lost sheep. After they announced this we all knelt in prayer to have the spirit tell us this was right. IT WAS A VERY POWERFUL EXPERIENCE. My heart was so happy and I could feel light just coming into every part of me! I am so excited for this goal and I know we can do it. 

Thursday night we taught Yun his last lesson. Sister Harvey had to be recorded teaching so they could send the tape to Salt Lake and they can evaluate and make sure she can teach like a normal missionary would. She was nervous but she did GREAT. I was so impressed. We taught about Eternal Marriage and Family History work. We prepared to teach them in our companion study earlier that morning and we talked about how we wanted to teach eternal marriage. We both got out pictures of our families and we decided we would talk about the blessings that come to us individually because of temple marriage. I had the picture of all seven of us lined up along the lake last fall. As I thought about how we would teach it, Sister Harvey and I role played. She was Yun and I was the missionary. I explained that because of eternal marriage we can have our families forever in heaven and here on earth. I explained how much I loved my family and wanted to be with them forever. Then I talked about how we are each on the covenant path back to our Heavenly Father. I told her that because we are on that path our family picture would look like that forever and even bigger because of all the other people we will have there with us. Then I told her that I would hate to have my family picture look like this... and I covered up half of the picture. I explained how when we don't enter into the path, the blessings of the temple cannot be ours. It really hit Sister Harvey and I both after that. It was a really powerful experience and I really have a testimony that families are forever when they are sealed in the temple.

 A few days later, October 11, Yun was baptized a member of the church. WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY! He has been SO prepared by the Lord! After he was baptized he gave his testimony. He talked about his conversion story and how he was so thankful Christian, his best friend, never gave up on him even after he declined his first few invitations to come to church. He said, "Christian, thank you for never giving up on me." IT WAS SOOOO TOUCHING. The next day Yun was confirmed in church. Brother Moon, Christian's dad, confirmed him. In his blessing he alluded to Yun serving the Lord very often. Many of us felt that Yun is going to do a great work in his home country of South Korea. He is only 14, and like Joseph Smith, Yun has a great work to do for the Lord. I cannot wait to see how much Yun's testimony and opportunities to serve in the church will grow. He is such a great example. Sister Harvey and I were able to sing in that sacrament meeting, I am a Child of God and we sang the last verse in Korean. There wasn't a dry eye... The spirit was really strong and it was just a really neat experience. I am sad to leave Yun and his family behind but I know the elders taking our place will do great things with that family. 

Sister Harvey and I have both been transferred out of Broadlands. WE WERE SHOCKED. I got a call Friday night from Sister Mendenhall asking me to serve as a Sister Training Leader, an equivalent to a zone leader. I will be serving in the Denver South and Denver Stakes. Sister Packer is my new companion, she has been out for a year. I got to rub shoulders with her some when I was in East Lake. I am stoked to be her companion. Sister Harvey is a sister in my zone so I will have the opportunity to go on exchanges with her and I will be able to take her to the mission office when she leaves the mission. I am excited for this new change and responsibility. I am excited to be more intimately involved with this new goal of 1001. I will be able to be in the meetings where we will plan for it and brainstorm. HOW EXCITING. I am also really excited to serve and love the sisters here. Great things are in store. IT'S A WONDERFUL TIME TO BE A MISSIONARY IN THE COLORADO DENVER NORTH MISSION! :) 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet the Dynamic Duo.....AKA Hoopes and Harvey

 Apparently the girls had a "campout" in their apartment, wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and they made smores over the stove...the fire alarm went off, so when they do this again, it may have to be without the smores :)
Here is your tour guide along the sidewalks of gospel doctrine lol.

And here is the first stop on the tour.  Nice artwork girls!
#templechallenge.  Accepted sis! :) 


This week has been full of wonderful things! We've tracked just as much as we normally do, possibly more, we taught, but the thing that's made the difference has been that we've felt the spirit more as we've worked this week. On Monday we taught a lady named Joyce Lawson. She is a catholic and a very very kind woman. We found her in our potentials section of the area book and decided a couple weeks ago to see her and Monday we had a return appointment. We taught her about the restoration and especially the apostasy. She could not believe we thought that the authority of God was taken from the earth. We just seemed to go in an endless circle with that one... After the lesson we just knew that we couldn't go back to see her. As we walked out and got in the car Sister Harvey told me that the Book of Mormon she had in her bag fell out and the spirit told her not to pick it up. So at least Joyce has a Book of Mormon in her home. :) On Wednesday we taught a woman named Ramsee, she is a Presbyterian Christian. She is also very kind and welcoming. We found her in our formers section. Ramsee has been meeting with missionaries for 11 years... CRAZY. After we met with her we were both baffled as to how that even happened. Last week when we met with Ramsee, we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon, that it is the word of God and that its true. We invited her to read it and when we met with her this week we got there and she had her bible open with a list. I asked her what the list was, if she had questions etc. She said the list was scriptures she found in the bible about how we should only rely on the bible and the bible is all you need to know god and all of this stuff. We were both crushed. We really felt the spirit last week when we testified and we thought it might change her. However, we also came to the conclusion that Ramsee was not "elect" at this point in time. We have both learned that Heavenly Father knows and understands each of his children and just because we stop working with someone doesn't mean that God gives up on them. He continues to work and work and work on them, on us. Sister Harvey taught me what real compassion looks like. I have been let down enough by now to not take it too hard when someone is uninterested or we can't keep teaching them but Sister Harvey's heart is so tender and when we got back in the car from talking with Ramsee she just cried for a little while. It broke my heart, but it taught me a lot. We taught the Jungs, Yun is doing really well. Su has requested to push back her date. She said she still wants to be baptized but she doesnt feel prepared right now. We are hoping to set her back on date tonight when we meet with them. We have been practicing I am a Child of God in Korean to sing in church the day Yun is confirmed. We recorded it so I will try and send it today. On Thursday morning at district meeting Sister Harvey and I have a training on how to find people to teach. As I was studying I came across a scripture, D&C60:13 which talks about how we should share the gospel. WHat I learned from it is that we need to use our individual gifts and talents to invite others to come unto christ. We are not meant to fit into this predetermined "perfect missionary" mold. Heavenly Father has given me, you, Sister Harvey, mom all these amazing talents that we learned to use before the life even began. He fully intends we use them to help people accept the gospel. We made this the base of our training and gave missionaries the chance to look at their talents and come up with ideas as to how they could use them to find people to teach. Sister Harvey and I used ours this week and WOW, was the spirit strong. "Finding" took on a new meaning for us, we didnt feel like it was hopeless or meaningless.  We really felt that we were being lead by the Lord. Did we find anyone to teach, no, not YET. But we certainly are on the right path. We got to attend the womens broadcast on Saturday night, I loved it. I love contuning to learn about the temple, especially since my temple going life has been quite short, there is SO much to learn and I love it. I love the temple. On Sunday, we had the best Sunday since I've been here. We had a great spirit in ward correlation and just felt very.... just awesome really. We were able to meet with the Bishop and MAN, was it great. For... well ever... since I've been in Broadlands, we've felt a disconnect from the ward and especially the Bishop. We had prepared several days before of things we would say and talk about with him. Before we went in we prayed and I felt SO peaceful. We were able to go in, talk about the STRENGTHS of the ward and how we could utilize that in bringing more people into the gospel. It went sooo well. I am so thankful for the spirit leading us in what to say and helping our words be peaceful and powerful. We now have more direction in the way we want to go and more confidence that we have the support of the ward and the bishop. MIRACLE. 

On another note, Sister Harvey and I have been doing a lot of family history work, with less actives non members, just everyone basically and the other day I had the chance to find a name... serveral names. I have printed them off and I am sending them your way. There is a female name and a male name. I dont know if it'd be possible, but for the female name it would be awesome if Hailey could be baptized and confirmed for her and if y'all could send it back so I could do the endowment? Its Tresee Mae's daughters' daughter. I'm pretty sure... Her name is Solomia Lucas. I have really felt the spirit of Elijah! #TEMPLECHALLENGE. 

Love you all to the moon and back!  Sister Hoopes

Friday, September 26, 2014

Her and Sis Harvey taught the sunbeams last week on how to be kind to animals :) 

Sister Hoopes, contemplating her 8 months on the mission lol


I cannot express how much happiness is in my heart today.... Really. It just makes me soooooo happy when I can come in on Monday mornings and read about all the happy and successful moments that have happened to y'all this week. At first I would want to get emails "over with" because I would see the things I was missing out on but I have found in more recent months that hearing from you all helps motivate me throughout the week. Knowing that y'all are happy helps me to be and stay happy. I don't think I will ever have a day on my mission that I don't think about every single one of you, you all are still the best part of my life, and despite what other missionaries tend to think or feel, I will never feel bad about thinking and talking about you all. :D I love ya with all my heart and more. I AM SOOOOO BLESSED.

In answer to your questions, we've had a great week. Sister Harvey and I have been working really well together, we enjoy learning together, teaching together and thinking of ways we can improve ourselves and our area. She has a brilliant and creative mind which opens up a lot of pathways for us to work through. She also has a lot of dedication and conviction for what she learns from the Spirit. She expressed to me that this week the "newness" of being a missionary has worn out and she's finally starting to feel tired and a bit more frustrated with things than normal but she doesn't let it hold her down. We've worked through it together and have talked and counselled about the changes that missionary work brings. I know change is hard for her but she has SO MUCH FAITH IN THE LORD that she makes it through like a champ. 
The Jung family is doing really really well. We taught them the gospel of jesus christ this week. I love this lesson because it really puts what Christ taught in a simple way. When Christ was on the Earth he taught faith, how to gain it, why it's important and why we can put our faith in him. He showed us through his actions that we could put our faith in him and be made whole and return to Heavenly Father through him and only through him. He taught that because of his sacrifice we would be able to repent and overcome our sin, weakness and imperfections. He showed us the way when he was baptized my immersion by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. He also helped us to learn about the Spirit which a loving Heavenly Father has given us to guide our lives and our choices every day. He taught and showed us the importance of enduring to the end, and doing what it takes to make it home to Him. Yun and Soo learned a lot from this message and are both still progressing really well towards baptism. They are gaining personal experiences of these things. This week Soo told us that at first when we asked her to be baptized she was scared and said yes because of Yun, but when she thought about baptism after that she felt peace and knew that she wanted to do it to improve her family. She also prayed for the first time out loud at our lesson this week. She did it on Korean but the spirit was there and it was beautiful. 

8 months... DANG. What does it feel like? Well it feels surreal to be honest. When I actually look back and think about it, I can see how its been that long, especially in the hard times but its gone so fast and I've learned so much. I feel like a different person, but in a better way than I thought. I've learned more about my own personal testimony and faith in the last 8 months than I have in probably my whole life. My faith has never been tested so much but I've never had such a great ability to endure and understand God's purposes behind those moments. I have a greater love for my family and for my Heavenly Father and especially for the Savior. His Atonement is SO REAL, so far reaching that we will never be able to perfectly understand it in this life. But I have felt it in the moments I've needed it, its brought more peace and reassurance than any worldly thing or person could. So... That's kind of how I feel about it all. Its strange to think how close all the holidays are and its crazy to think that I'm almost halfway through... However, I know when the time comes, I will be ready to go home. I will be ready to hug you all and catch up and laugh with you all again and have dinner together and have our family night movies. I will be happy with what I've spent the last 18 months doing, and it will be a part of my life forever, I will have changed permanently because of it, but Heavenly Father never intended it to replace a crucial part of his plan of salvation, the family. 

We've had a lot of experiences this week where the spirit has told us we are heading in the right direction with this area. Sister Harvey and I have both felt a strong pull to make family history a major part of our finding and teaching opportunities. Last week we brought up in ward council that we wanted to start teaching family history since we have a center in our building, etc. It, in one way or another got shot down and we were devastated and rather frustrated. So we went throughout the week thinking of approaches we could take and ways that we could make it work. The spirit told us over and over that it was what we needed to do. I reflected on your story about the dinner you had at your bishops house when you told him there would be a baptismal service held in the LORDS church building. That's how I've felt this whole week and in one way or another I followed your example. Sister Harvey and I counselled and we decided we would do it with or without the support of the ward. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, BUT THE TRUTH WILL GO FORTH, BOLDLY, NOBLY AND INDEPENDANT. Till it has penetrated every continent, swept every climb, visited every country and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." -Joseph Smith.

 So we have reached out to less active members, investigators and potential investigators and have found a lot of success. We already have 3 set appointments to start teaching people to do their family history, we have found one potential investigator this week from using family history pass along cards and we are pretty darn convinced that this will be the means by which a lot of miracles start to happen. 

I have also had a lot of cool experiences this week personally. We have all been asked to sacrifice something meaningful for the last 3 weeks of the transfer. I pondered, studied and prayed a lot about it and I have decided to sacrifice my fears. At first I didn't want to set that as a goal because its not something that can really be measured in numbers or key indicators but I have found that it will be a sacrifice that I will have the opportunity to work very closely with the Lord. I have found a lot of comfort recently in the scripture that says doubt not, fear not. And "perfect love casteth out all fear". Please pray for me to be able to overcome my fears. I know this will be a sacrifice which will require concentration and focus every day and I am excited to do it. I love how the Lord reassures us every time we do something right and take one step closer to Him. I know its very real and He walks with me every day. 

We had a trainers meeting on Saturday, where we go with our new missionary and the mission president and his wife along with the assistants talk to us about our experiences. At the beginning of the meeting we split off, the trainers and their missionaries went into different rooms to talk. Us trainers went with the assistants and talked about what we were enjoying and what was really hard about training a new missionary. I am convinced I have the best new missionary known to the service. All these missionaries were talking about how they couldn't get their missionaries to help them plan, they could sleep on the couch or just zone out, other missionaries had problems with their missionary thinking they already knew everything and didn't have to improve, other trainers just thought they couldn't go another day from how much stress they were under. I know Sister Harvey and I aren't anywhere near perfect but I sure am thankful we have let the Lord lead our companionship. We have had no issues working together in unity, in teaching together in unity, in having a vision for our area or loving each other. I am thankful for her every day and I learn so much from her words and example. 

I love you Dad, thank you for all the pictures this week and for your experiences you've shared with me. I also loved your starfish story. Sister Grenfell would tell that one all the time. I am so happy and thankful for you and for the family every day. YOU ALL ARE THE LIGHT IN MY LIFE, Along with the Savior of course. Thank you for being great examples to me and for loving me no matter the miles in between. I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU! 
There was an error in this gadget