Monday, February 24, 2014

Makin' goals and kickin' booty!

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Beautiful Denver Temple.  Kenz Got to go last Wednesday :)
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Not sure what the significance of the kites are..............I'll ask and post next week.  

Dad,

your quote was great and goes right along with how this past week has been! 
***The Quote was:  "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."  Henry Ford***
Im sure you remember on your mission when you would weekly plan and set goals for your coming week, well when Sister G. and I did that this past week our goal was to expand our pool of investigators. We were doing really well with teaching lessons but we wanted to start finding investigators. So... We prayed about it and at first we felt really good about finding 7 new investigators in our week, then as we moved on to other goals I had the promting that said "you really think thats the best that you can do? The Lord is preparing people that only you sisters can reach.. Have some faith... Try 10." So of course in my head im saying, what in the world, yeah right! We've had a max of 3-4 for the past two weeks, we are brand new in this area... blah blah blah. So I speak up and tell Sister G. that the Lord wants us to find 10 this week. She kind of goes through the same process of yeah right, the most I've ever found is 4 on my whole mission. But FINALLY, we decide to pray again and we felt good about 10. We then talked about how we could actually reach our goal, so we decided to give up all sweets (still haven't eaten valentines day candy), fast on Sunday, only talk about missionary work from 6:30 AM to 9:00PM, call president so he can hold us accountable,and pray pray and pray some more. And so the fun began! EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON OUT WAS MIRACLE AFTER MIRACLE! So on Monday, right after studies we are saying the closing prayer and we get a text message from the MTC Referral Center that gives us the name of a girl in our area who was referred by another missionary. It felt like the text came straight out of Heaven! What a way to start the week! Then onTuesday, we finally got to teach a lesson to this family who were former investigators and we are giving them a church tour today, they are a family of four. We also got a less active lady, named Linda Sue Caroll, to come to a relief society activity. She hasn't been active for 20 years! Wednesday, we got to go to the temple. It was an incredible experience, there is nothing cooler than being in the celestial room with about 30 other missionaries... There was just something so special about all being able to be there and recieve guidance and comfort from the Lord who has watched over us and his work the whole time we've been serving. It definitely gave me the reassurance and power that I needed to finish out this week. After the temple we helped Carissa move from the Thornton ward into our ward. The Thornton Elders were teaching her but gave her to us because she had moved out of their boundaries. She has just recently been divorced and that's why she's moving. We were able to help her with the move but also uplift her spiritually. She is now one of our new investigators and came to church this past Sunday and already has so many friends! Later Wednesday night we decided to contact a referral we recieved from a brother in our ward. He didn't give us an address or a name, he just said his neighbor across the street. So we pull up and there are two houses across the street, one is pretty lit up and the other was pretty dark, so we always pray before we get out of the car so Sister G. gave the prayer and we got out. I started walking towards one house and she started walking towards the other that was kinda dark. So I follow her and we end up meeting Nick, a sophomore in high school who is technically Catholic but pretty much tells us that he has no reason why besides the fact that his parents are Catholic. We talk for a good while and it was amazing. We were able to teach him about who God is and how he can have a stronger relationship with him. Sister G. hands him a book of mormon and the next thing he says is "I feel like this is exactly what I need." IT WAS AMAZING! We weren't able to set up a return appointment but we are seeing him this week. Friday, we were planning and right before we finished the elders called us with another referral! Her name is Maxine and she's the sweetest old black lady I ever have met! We have a return appointment this week with her. As we were driving to service that afternoon, the elders called again with ANOTHER referral. Her name is Jennifer Goodman and we didn't get to meet her this week but we have an appointment with her on Wednesday! Satruday was kind of a rough start, I was getting really frustrated with myself because I felt like my contribution to the lessons were very little and I wasn't helping anyone feel the spirit or progress. So Sister G. showed me this video about how even Jesus Christ, the most perfectperson and teacher was rejected, spit on, mocked, and scorned. So even in the hardest times, my Savior has stooped lower, felt worse, and been rejected so much more than I ever will. So I sucked it up, wiped my tears and we went to work. We got to meet with Helle Hill, an excommunicated member who hasn't been back in FOREVER. Apparently missionaries have tried for years to get in and she has always shut them down. So we talked with her and got to know her and then asked her to take the lessons. She agreed and now we meet with her every Sunday. This next one is the one that meant the most to us. There's a single sister in our ward named Suzy Ose, coolest lady ever! She lives with some nonmembers. We went over to her house for dinner on Saturday night and us three were sitting around the table and Jenny, the home owner, grabs a piece of pizza and joins right into the conversation. We start talking to Jenny reallly casually about what she believes about God and she exaplains how she was raised Catholic and starts talking about her family. Tears fill her eyes and she starts telling us about all the hard things she's gone through recently, like her father choking and passing away right in front of her, her sister basically disowning her because of what happened with her dad and how she's been struggling through her marriage. Sister G and I just looked at each other and knew right away that we came to Suzy's house that night because Jenny needed to know that God loved her. We have a return appointment with Jenny on Wednesday. Then Sunday night, we had an hour before the day was over and so we knew we needed two more investigators. So we were driving down the street and I was prompted to stop and knock on this door so we do, and it ends up being a member. We explain the situation and he gives us two referrals. We contact the one, they aren't home. Then we contact the other, her name was Cathy. We started talking to her about God and she explains how her faith in God has got her through so many things. She told us about how she lost her only daughter in a car accident when she was 18 and how even 13 years later she's still having a hard time with it but she's happy she knows that she's with God. We were able to have a prayer with her and set a soft return date. So even though we only got 8 new investigators this week, we have seen so many miracles. This week was proof that Heavenly Father makes miracles happen when we show our faith. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I love seeing people's lives change through their struggles, and seeing the light that turns on as soon as they hold a book or mormon for the first time. I love being able to see people turn to God when life seems to hard to handle. ITS AMAZING. I love you Dad, thank you for loving me and supporting me always! <3 Sister Hoopes

Monday, February 17, 2014

Missionary Work, I'm lovin' it!

Hey Fam!

So this week was another crazy one, we had a ton of meetings! but P-day was really cool! We do "zone P-day" once every transfer, and this transfer we played volleyball, hunger games dodgeball and got to eat panda express. PRETTY AWESOME! Its just so cool to see all these missionaries as normal people that actually did things besides missionary work before they got here. But in a different sense it was nice to feel like we were all there having fun, but at the end of the day, focused on the same purpose. I just really felt complete like i knew there was no place else I rather be and that God would have me be than right here, right now. just a cool feeling. Wednesday was our first Zone Conference! SO AWESOME! Sister Toombs talked about the rules a little bit but a couple things she said that I really liked were: "we don't aspire to callings, we aspire to be the best person we can be." "From the beginning of time, your spirit has been prepared to come forth to do this work." and of course she always says, "Have i told you lately that I love you? Well, I really do." Then we got to be taught by President. The whole theme of the conference was about God, knowing who he is, his nature, his attributes, and how we can have a relationship with him. We talked about the fact that if you know God, all the other principles of the gospel make sense. President said "if someone isn't progressing, go back to the beginning. and if you start right, you'll end right." I love President Toombs, he's the bomb.com. But the thing that really struck me the most from conference was a quote by Ezra Taft Benson. "Nothing will startle us more when we pass through the veil than how much we know our Father, and how familiar his face is to us." I LOVE THAT! Just because sometimes Heavenly Father feels so far, but in reality he's as close as we let him come. When I feel him the most is when I'm begin as obedient as I can be. Sister Toombs says that "if you're 90% obedient you get less than half the blessings, as you sacrifice that last 10% you receive more than half. Thats a cool concept! Sister G. and i are working on that this week. We've set some pretty high goals for ourselves and we are really going to try to reach them. We have a new investigator this week, her name is Lynne. She's an elderly lady and she's awesome! She's a friend of a lady in our ward and has already been to church once and we have a return appointment with her this week. I'll let you know how that goes. unfortunately, mckayla doesn't want to meet with us anymore.. But we have hope that sometime down the line she'll find that the gospel can really change her life. We got to teach a scripture study class this week, that was legit! I love that no matter where in the Book of Mormon you read, you always find the answers you're looking for! sister G. and i had a great valentines day together! We went to a training meeting for all the new missionaries and their trainers. It was awesome to see my MTC peeps and hear all about how the work is going for them! We had a couple appointments and then we took each other to dinner :P IT WAS AWESOME HAHAH. Sister G's baptism was great! Sister Higby and her husband already have a date that they are working towards for when they go to the temple to get sealed! She was so happy! Sunday I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting and it was probably the first time ever that i barely looked at notes or actually felt semi-comfortable speaking! MISSIONS CHANGE LIVES! Sister G and i ended up teaching 21 lessons this week, which for us is still pretty high. It was a really productive week and we are hoping that after tonight we will have 4 new people set with a baptismal date. Pray for us! I am attaching pictures this week so I hope they work!!  I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! IM WRITTING LETTERS TODAY SO YA'LL WILL GET ONE! I HOPE ALL IS WELL BACK HOME! IVE FELT SO MUCH LOVE AND SUPPORT FROM YOU GUYS AND I CANT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THAT! 
Sister Hoopes and her awesome companion

First night of tracting last week :)

large dictionary from an old folks home :)  Guess she was impressed by it's shear size


Go Broncos!  (luckily Kenz didn't have to watch the major defeat)

<3/ Sister Hoopes

Monday, February 10, 2014

Missionary Stories from the field........

This week was awesome, but before I start there I'll answer questions.
So where is your companion from? She's from Versailles, Kentucky!!! Her sister just got her mission call to Madrid Spain this week!!! SO COOL HUH??
  How long has she been out? She's been out for 7 months :) And we actually get to attend the baptism of one of her investigators this Saturday, cool right?
  Are you in the same zone with the sisters you came out with from the MTC? No, they are another Zone but we have Zone conference this Wednesday so three different zones will be there. I hope I see them then.  
Is she a widow? Yes, she is. But she is so sweet :)
Is your neighborhood nice, is it in the city or more rural? Yeah its really nice! We are more in the suburbs. I live in Thorton, CO right now.
 
You guys have had so much happy news and crazy weather, I LOVE IT! Cal, keep kickin booty dude! You're a FAB missionary already and have made me cry just through reading about you, talk about power ;)
 
So this week was AWESOME! On the 5th we were knocking s some doors and we found McKayla, shes about 17 and we shared the principle of faith with her and gave her a BOM, she told us about her grandmother passing away and how it made her want to get back into religion. She has been going to church for the past year but wanted us to come back. We have an appointment with her this Wednesday, FIRST NEW INVESTIGATOR! On the 6th I had my first District meeting, all the missionaries in my district are LEGIT!! I love it! We had a really powerful role play with Sister Makasini (acting as McKayla), we taught her the restoration and I was able to recite the first vision. It was a really spiritual experience, I hope when we meet with McKayla this week it will be just as powerful. We also found Olivia while tracting, she doesn't technically count as a new investigator because we didn't have a set return appointment but she was receptive to what we talked about. We've also visited a lot of old less active members. They aren't active mostly for health reasons, but we are trying to do all we can to help them out. We usually go and have a lesson then sing hymns to them, they LOVE IT! We've also been able to have AML (Active Member lessons) to practice teaching and also for them to be able to invite their friends over to hear the lessons. There are so many supportive and loving people in this ward that open their homes for us to come in and teach. Its awesome! People take good care of us here, we have dinners every night and sometimes even lunch appointments. We often share dinner appointments with Elder Bushman and Elder Olson because the members like both sets in their home, its fun! But best experience of the week..... READY?!? So this may not seem like a really big deal, but it was amazing to me. So we were tracting Saturday night, after some members took us to olive garden for dinner, and we tried to see a less active member who wasn't home, as we were walking back to the car I had this impression that we should try the house across the street. So we walked over there, waited for a little while for someone to answer. When the guy answered we explained who we were and said that we share messages about Christ, he said kindly but firmly that he wasn't interested so we left and as we were walking back to the car I was telling Sister G that whether it was me just thinking that or the spirit, it didn't really matter, God doesn't make mistakes and everything happens for a reason. She agreed and we decided just to keep visiting former investigators. We knocked a few of their doors to which they either didn't answer or said they weren't interested. We decided to do one more before quitting time. We drove to the Fishers house, former investigators, who's daughter was very receptive to missionaries who taught them previously. Bailey would read in between lessons and prayed and was able to feel the spirit, the parents were kind of doing it just for their daughters and their dad was kind of distracting, he'd make comments and just be antiproductive. So anyways, we knock on their door and no one answered. As we were walking down their front steps they pull into the driveway! She rolls down her window and automatically knows who we are. Her daughter in the back seat rolls down her window too and just kind of stares at us. They were going to a going away party and the dad came back to change his shirt. We were able to talk to the mom and her two daughters, both of which were asking if we could come back and talk to them. The youngest girl, Hannah, was out of her seat and half way out the window and Bailey was asking every possible open time when we could come back. We set up a time to come back and see them and then they were gone again. Like I said, it may not seem like a big deal, but I know the Lord doesn't make mistakes. We were prompted to visit that man who wasn't interested so we could be at the Fishers right when they came home. There are people being prepared to hear the gospel, and as missionaries its our responsibility to be directed by the spirit and to be exactly where the Lord needs us to be, at the time He needs us to be there. The Lord, we are hoping, has finally prepared the Fishers to receive the message of the gospel. We are teaching them this Thursday and we couldn't be more excited! My first Sunday was pretty awesome too, Sister G. and I were able to introduce ourselves and I have been assigned to speak on faith next Sunday. We were able to meet lots of young women eager to go out with us. Oh, and we had an investigator, Lynne come to church. AWESOME! We taught 17 lessons this week, have about 5 potential investigators, and also have a potential 28 lessons for this coming week! THE WORK HERE IN EAST LAKE JUST KEEPS COMING! #winning And to my awesome family, here is a great quote that we recite every morning, I want you guys to remember it and to truly apply it to you when you are feeling down or think that maybe sharing the gospel with your friends is hard or scary. Ready?
 
Believe in yourself, Believe in your capacity to do GOOD AND GREAT THINGS, Believe that NO mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that NO storm is so great that you cannot weather it. You are NOT destined to be a scrub. YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD, OF INFINITE CAPACITY. Believe that YOU CAN DO IT whatever it is that you set your heart on. OPPORTUNITIES WILL UNFOLD AND OPEN BEFORE YOU. The skies will clear when they have been dark with portent... He who is our Eternal Father has blessed you with MIRACULOUS powers of mind AND body. HE NEVER INTENDED THAT YOU SHOULD BE ANY LESS THAN THE CROWNING GLORY OF HIS CREATIONS! -Gordon B. Hinkley
 
I know you guys have it in you to work miracles back home in PA, there are people prepared for our family to teach and to have an influence on. Have courage that you can have a great impact on anyone the Lord puts in your place. Continue to pray and have faith in Christ. Also, tonight for family night, read Ether 12:15-19. By faith, miracles happen. I have seen that more in the last three weeks than I have in my entire life. Miracles don't have to be these big powerful things, small miracles happen every day. I love you all so much and know you are doing so much good, keep up the hard work. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!
 
Kenzie :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

**She's Off and Running In Denver**

**So glad to hear that my girl is doing great and getting to work!**

FAMILY,
 
Okay so Im officially in Colorado in my first area. We woke up at 2 A.M. yesterday to be to the travel office at 3:30. My suitcases were both 47 pounds and my carry-on duffel was full of all my shoes. :P IT WAS EPIC. I had to say see ya later to Sister Boone... That was rough. I love her so much.... We both wished each other luck and said we'd email. So then sister Sheurman, Sister Anderson and I headed out on the bus to the airport. We got through security and flew out by 8:10 Im pretty sure. We travelled with six elders and three other sisters, it was such a fun group! The elders helped every single one of us with our suitcases and things. One elder even carried my, previously mentioned, duffel bag of shoes. SO STUDLY! We landed in Colorado and President Toombs and his wife were there to greet us! HOW NICE ARE THEY! I felt right at home as soon as we met them! The AP's are really fun too! The one elder is 6'8" and his comp is 5'8", its a kick. So a bunch of us all had to pile into the mission van, of course we are trying to figure out how we can fit all these elders and sisters in without breaking any mission rules... Story of our lives.It was a hoot. We did a lot of paper work and training sessions once we got to the mission home. Eventually I got to meet with President and he assigned me to the Denver North Stake, serving in the East Lake ward! My companion is Sister Grenfell and she's AWESOME! We are the first sisters in this ward and there are a lot of youth who are so enthusiastic about missionary work and so is the whole ward in general.Oh and Im also driving.... yeah... my comps license expired so I get to drive and we have a brand new ford fusion 2014 model. It had 63 miles on it when we got it.... Im not even technically certified but we didnt really have any other options. Its been an adventure! :) So as soon as we left and helped some elders transport their luggage to their house we got busy. We decided to go get our area book and map and get tracting. So we saw a lady the elders referred to us, her name was Jennifer. She was busy and didnt really wanna meet with us when we showed up so we decided to just start placing some Books of Mormon (president issued a challenge to see how many we could place, how many baptismal invitations we could give, and how many different ways we coud find people to teach.) So we head over to her neighbors house.They have this big american flag in their window, very patriotic right, so I knock on the door and I was like "Hey we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We help others learn of Christ." the lady says "Oh... okay yeah." I said "So do you believe in God?" she says "Yeah, but Im right in the middle of something right now so I can't talk." then I say "Okay, well can I leave this Book of Mormon with you?" I give it to her and she's just like okay whatever. I tell her that it will bless her life and she can know that its true if she prays. So we leave her door and cross the street. Then this big truck comes down the road and parks outside her house, these two big huge latino men get out and walk into the house. We can hear some yelling and this man comes back out, Book of Mormon in hand and just flips nuggets on us. We are standing in the middle of the street and this guy basically says that he never wants us to come back again and that he doesnt want our book and wanted to know where the church was so he could come and do some damage and at this point he's trying to hand us the book back and Sister Grenfell pretty much says no,you keep it, itll bless your life.He got so mad he just throws it on the ground, cusses at us some more, says that he was shot three times in the war and that God doesnt care about him and walks back to his house. So we just stand there is second and try and comprehend what just happened, the man was drunk we think. But we just decided to try a couple more houses, we placed a book of mormon with a really nice family and then tried another house and the lady didnt want to hear anything we had to say, we left her with a mormon.org card and walked back to the car. Safe to say it was probably the worse yet best first tracting experiences ever... It was good in the sense that I rather start at the very bottom and just have it go better from there. I mainly just felt so bad for the man because he has obviously had a really hard life and just doesnt know where he can truly turn for peace. We then got to meet with the bishop, bishop Pitts. He has quite the vision for his ward and our part in it! I LOVE IT! He is like the golden bishop! Its their wards goal to have 24 baptisms by the end of the year, they have implemented this 5.5.5 program which means that each of the adult auxilaries finds 5 people to teach and they work with the missionaries to teach these 15 people. ITS AWESOME. We are also so involved with the youth, we meet with them on wednesdays, thrusdays for a scripture study class, and sundays we teach/ help THEM prepare to teach sunday school lessons. Today we got to meet with the Elders and they gave us a list of 20 plus families who are either less actives, part members, or non-members that we will be teaching.There is so much work that needs to be done here and Im so thankful Sister Grenfell and I get to be the ones who do it. She's a hard worker, I love that and I think these next six weeks will be amazing with her.We also live with a really neat lady! Her name is Sister Klepiz (spelling)....She was so nice and fed us last night and we live in her basement, its so nice! We have our own bathroom and living room down there that we study in. Some elders lived there before us and they said that we really lucked out being able to live with her. I feel really blessed that this will be my first area. Im meeting so many people and learning lots of new things. I was able to do an hour of personal study this morning and my head was still kind of clouded from tracting last night and the whole time I was studying things just became really clear. In one of the talks I have,its called the fourth missionary, it talks about adversity and how we will never be the people the Lord needs us to be if we dont pass through hard times. So I was able to really think about that and read my patriachal blessing and just feel like the Lord has given me these things to handle for a reason, and its my job to figure out what that is. He has also blessed me a lot with this amazing ward and companion. The Lord watches over this work and I know there are people here in the East Lake ward who need us to find them and bring them unto Christ. When we were meeting with the elders and discussing these people we are to teach this thought came into my head clear as day, "You're here to heal these people". So thats my goal, to invite these people to come unto Christ and be healed in every way through his atonement. I know the Lord loves me and is aware of me and all of His children. Hoorah for Isreal!  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

First Week in the MTC!

**This week's post is a little shorter than I had anticipated, although, I am excited to get this missionary's letter this week, so expect a mid week posting containing that letter's updates.  The Marchgladness picture she's referring to, is a picture of Kid President that we both love and adore. :)  If you haven't heard of Kid President, don't miss out any longer.  YouTube him.  You'll be glad you did. :)




Mom,
I loved the MARCHGLADNESS PIC! how cute is that!!!! I loved everything about your email! I sent out a letter today for you and dad that gave a little of my MTC experience. We arent allowed to write on any other day except p-day so it's hard to catch up and say everything I want to. THE MTC IS THE GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH! I WOULD STAY HERE IF I COULD! not really, but i really do love it here! The boiled peanuts were a hit and one of my teachers loves them to so I gave him a can because Sister Scheurman and I ate the other one and felt SO FAT afterwards! He was so excited to have his own can! Anyways, sharing is caring. I have felt all the prayers and faith of you guys back home, its amazing! I dont want to say too much because of the letter... but Just know that I love you to itsy bitsy pieces and couldn't be more thankful for you and love you any more! I HAVE THE BEST FAMILY AND FRIENDS EVER! 
















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