Monday, March 24, 2014

I love missionaries (Yes, I'm a little biased tee hee)



Daddy-O, 

                Yay for the temple! What is with the matching skirts? Can someone enlighten me?  LOL>                                         
The note left on the sisters car.
Guess this week the saying "When it rains, it storms" really came into affect. I'm really sorry to hear about all the car problems... That seems so crazy that they'd all go at once like that. Wow. Well, I know there's not a whole lot I can do to help (which is hard sometimes) but I DO want you to know that you are the best dad ever! And that even when you might not feel like it, you really do a more than spectacular job at being a worthy and wonderful priesthood holder, father and husband. You are such a hard worker and great example of what a disciple of Christ is. I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU POPS! We had a great week, SO much better than last week! Which is a miracle in and of itself. I think the thing that has really stuck out to me this week was the importance and blessing of eternal families. Here's a couple reasons why. Every Tuesday we see Sister Torgerson, a less active lady due to her health, and we teach her the gospel principles lessons. She loves her family so much and a few of her grandkids and son have been going through a lot in their marriages or have been divorced. It's been really hard on her but one thing she always tells us is how thankful she is that she was able to do her and her husbands temple work. She is so loving and always gives us these hugs that are to die for. She lives in an old folks home and doesn't have much contact with others, which is so sad, but every time we are there she always says how loved she feels and always makes sure we are going to come back the next week. I am thankful that even though Im far from you like Sister Torgerson is far from her family, that I can still feel your love and support. After we see Sister Torgerson we see Linda Sue Carroll (I always say her full name or at least Linda Sue because I think it's adorable). She usually teaches us how to crochet and we teach her the lessons. This past Tuesday we talked a lot about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. She is starting to gain her testimony again. She told us that for her and her husband it was only a matter of time before they starting coming back. She has started to realize that she wants and needs the gospel in her life again. We love her so much and are thrilled at the progress she is making. She hasn't let missionaries in for the last 5 years or so and hasn't been to church in 20.. This past Friday her brother in law passed away, the relief society called and offered to take her meals, she was so touched and thankful for the support of the church. I am thankful that I have a FOREVER family and that I know we will be together even after death. Carissa Fisher (our most progressing investigator) has been doing SO well. We have taught her every day this week and on Tuesday we taught chastity. We had a less-active come with us, whom we also teach, and she was able to relate so well with her. She was able to share her testimony of changing to become better and doing what the Lord has asked because it leads to happiness. It has been a little challenging for Carissa to WANT to live the law of chastity. She has been recently divorced (officially as of four months ago) and has been dating Larry (her current boyfriend) for about two months. She said that it would be really hard for her but that she's had experiences where she has felt really used and really heartbroken because of decisions she's made related to chastity. It was hard for us to necessarily relate to her situation from a missionary standpoint, much less two teenage girls who obviously haven't lived very long. But our focus was how you could either have instant gratification now or you could have someone who loves you so much that he wants to spend forever with you and will work with you to becoming better every day. We explained how doing it the Lords way bring so much more happiness, and happiness that will LAST, not just diminish the next morning. It was a really great experience and helped me to realize how grateful I was to have parents that did it the right way, the eternal way, Gods way. And after we were done with the lesson I felt like I had an even stronger desire to do it that same way, that I want someone who wants to do things the Lord's way and will love me enough to want to be together for eternity, not just a night, or a year, or a couple years or till death do us part. A couple days later she was feeling kind of overwhelmed with living the commandments and so we offered for the Elders to come give her a blessing. She said she would really love that and so two sets of Elders came and gave her a blessing. In the blessing it talked a lot about her family and how the gospel could strengthen and uplift her and her three children who were all looking to her to set the example. After the blessing she was very much so at peace and she felt like she could handle it. After the Elders left we were sitting on her couch with her and her 8 year old son came over and said "Mommy I want one of those.." and put his hands on his head and said "Ryan Fisher I want you to know that I love you and you're an awesome boy." It was really cute and funny, not in a blasphemous way but an innocent and adorable way. So we sat and talked to Ryan about the priesthood a little bit and about how he could be a missionary one day. (This was the first time we ever met Ryan) And he said he wanted to be a missionary and wanted to be baptized like his mom. We were both kind of taken back by that and since he was really serious about it, we moved Carissa's baptism date to April 5th and she and her son Ryan will now be baptized together. I LOVE FAMILIES AND SEEING THEM PROGRESS TOGETHER. That was certainly a highlight of the week. Wednesday we were able to go to the temple and that was a really great experience and when I was sitting in the celestial room I was able to read my Patriarchal blessing. I kind of felt overwhelmed with how much love I felt from my Heavenly Father. It was a really powerful experience and one that I'm thankful I had.  Friday was a little rough, we had weekly planning and for whatever reason Sister Grenfell and I were just struggling. We were feeling kind of homesick and so we talked for a good hour and a half just about things we missed, people we missed. I probably talked about Kenyon for a good 45 minutes, I missed him a LOT this week. But by the end of it we just decided that it was okay to just cry it out because it just meant that we had really great families who love us and pray for us and do so much for us. So we pulled ourselves together and got back to work! Later that night, after a really great lesson with a family of investigators (the lopez's, WHO ARE COMING TO CHURCH THIS SUNDAY, BOOYAH) We saw a letter on our car. It was from the Elders in our ward and it was really encouraging and made us feel so much better! (I'll attach a pic) It's a great feeling to know others are watching out for you and want you to be happy! I celebrated 2 months of being out this past week and its just FLYING by! WAY to fast! I am loving every minute, even the ones that are hard to love, and am so thankful for all your love and prayers! I LOVE YOU DAD! I will be praying for you especially this week and I hope you can feel the Lord helping you through this next week. You're the MANTIS!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Daddy,
 
Holy hot dang! Sounds like its been a rough week, glad it got better towards the end though. It was a rough week here too. Last P-day was pretty awesome, we got to go fishing and relax with the other sisters in the zone. None of us caught anything but it was still fun. I was able to go on exchanges with Sister Moore, it was a really great experience. She taught me a lot and it was the first time since I've been out that I really felt like I knew what I was doing in a lesson... That's a miracle in and of itself. Sister Grenfell and I had some really great lessons with less active families. Linda Sue Carroll being one. She is the nicest older lady ever! She's been less active for 20 years and we got in because we asked her to teach us how to crochette. It started as that and the last couple of times we've gone over there we've shared lessons with her. Its amazing the change you can see in people and the way the look at the gospel when they really feel like you love them. This past week she was asking a lot of questions about death because she has had several friends and family members die recently or about to. Her husband also joined in on the lesson, which never happens, so that was cool. But we were able to ease her fears and just talk about how God is our LOVING heavenly father. We were also about to help Carissa officially move into our ward and she is still set to be baptized on the 29th!! SO EXCITED! We were able to attend womens conference with some less actives this past Saturday and it was pretty good. Saturday night we had transfer doctrine.... THAT was scary. At the beginning of the meeting they give out zone awards. I got the award for the missionary most likely to open a clothing line after the mission... Sister Grenfell and I didn't understand that one fully. (***** Her mother does, lol *****) Hers was the missionary most likely to wrestle an alligator! BAHAHAHA, SO FITTING! So anyways, after that, they read the transfer doctrine. We lost our ZL, Elder Fleming, a couple other elders in surrounding wards, and towards the end they said, "we have two more sister companionships and an elder companionship leaving us." Sister Grenfell and I looked around the room and we thought for sure we would get split. My heart was RACING!!! And we turned out to be the only sister companionship that stayed the same in our whole zone! IT WAS CRAZY... AND REALLY INTENSE. Luckily, the East Lake elders will be staying as well. We are excited because our ward is headed in a great direction and has already grown so much! This past Sunday our chapel was FULL. Us missionaries barely found a place to sit, it was the best! I am so thankful that the Lord has given me more time to learn and grow here in East Lake with Sister Grenfell. We both think that there are lots of things the Lord still wants us to learn and accomplish here in this ward. On Sunday we sang the EFY medley. We had almost all the young men and young women singing along with the two sets of missionaries. Wow, was the spirit strong. There were tons of people crying and it was just a really powerful experience. I also saw Wayne Hirshbrunner and his wife and church.. from our Roy Ward. Their son lives in my ward so I went and talked to them, it was pretty cool. And I was talking to a set of Elders and guess who they talked to the other day, John Bubb!! CRAZY WORLD! It was pretty cool, they asked me if I knew him because he had asked them to say hi to me if they ever saw me. It was nifty! Anyways, today was a crazy p-day because of transfers. We were able to see everyone off and then play in the gym afterwards. I really love being a missionary. Even when the weeks are hard. Your quote was one I really needed this week. Sister Grenfell and I have a good week planned, so hopefully the next e-mail will be a little more uplifting/inspiring than this one. But hey, miracles still happened. I am attaching a pic of our district in our shirts, EVERYONE LOVED THEM! THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH DADDY!
On Transfer Day, some of the Elders that were leaving

Crazy Zone

Crazy Zone in Neon
Kenz and Sister G, still comps :)

Elder Fleming, ZL, getting transferred




Wow, That looks good!  Kenz says this lady is an amazing cook!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dad,

Last week when we left the library Sister Grenfell and I always talk about what our families are up to and things we are thankful for and love about you all. Last week I was able to kind of reflect and I told her about how you said you'd still be so proud of me even if I was the only person that was truly converted from my mission. I told her that this has been our chance to just really bond and genuinely talk to each other. I told her I was thankful for the opportunity to strengthen our relationship and just really talk. I think that the relationship we'll gain from this will be one of the miracles of my mission. I love you Daddy. Thanks for all your love and all your prayers.
This week was pretty cool. Last P-day we got to go to the Aquarium, I attached some pictures for ya! It was a blast! We went with Sister Heut and Sister Anderson (a sister from my MTC district, i love her so much!) It was really a blast. We got to pet sting rays and everything! Today we are fishing in a members pond :) Sister Grenfell and I set a goal for the past week to have more charity and love, we studied in the Christlike Attributes section of Preach My Gospel,one of the best books ever, and set ourselves some goals. Nothing too crazy happened until Thursday, there's just something about Thursdays that are really special. We had a really great district meeting, Elder Fleming (the same one that gave me the blessing) gave the training about the MIT and applying it to the third lesson. I LOVE THE THIRD LESSON (the gospel of Jesus Christ). He explained how every person has a "most critical issue" which is the thing that holds them back from progressing, for some its WOW issues, for others its not having a testimony of the BoM. But he explained how we should be able to identify the most critical issue, be able to teach the lesson and apply it to that issue and then teach the MIT. Help them to understand what they need to DO (they have to act or they wont progress, just like you said in your email, pops.) and help them get there. My explanation of the training doesn't really do it justice, but there were some things that just went way over my head. Anyways, it definitely have Sister Grenfell and I the pick-me-up we needed. We left district meeting and sang at the old folks home with a bunch of other missionaries. Then we went to contact referrals,all the referrals we contacted pleasantly declined our invitation to learn more but we kept tracting in between houses. We tracted into a lady who was playing outside with her kids, we talked to her and she said that she had several LDS friends who never invited her to church but that she didn't really ask them to go either. We invited her to come to church, she accepted and immediately after we contacted her friends who were in our ward. She didn't end up coming but when we talked to the members and they said that was the door that needed to be open so they could talk to her about it, we'll see how it goes. So after we met Beth, we went to see the Fishers, I think I've mentioned them before.Bailey and Hannah are young women age and they have SO MANY QUESTIONS. However, they don't keep commitments, so Thursday when we were there we were bold and basically told them that if they don't keep commitments, they won't find the answers they are looking for.We recommitted them to pray and read the Book of Mormon, they said they would and we are seeing them on Wednesday! We taught Jennifer Goodman on that same night and she absolutely understood everything we taught her. We taught her lesson #2, the plan of salvation, and we all really felt the spirit. We were able to have a member present at every lesson we taught to investigators this week, THAT IS SO IMPORTANT.So everything went super well with Jennifer and she was really progressing. Friday though,we were at a dinner appointment and she texted us and basically said that she wanted no further contact with us, she did "extensive research" and didn't think this was the right path for her. We both felt like we'd been hit by a train... The elders, Elder Bushman and Elder Olson were also at the dinner appointment and were also the ones that gave us Jennifer to start teaching. We finished dinner and all counselled on what we should do, we said a prayer and Sister Grenfell and I felt that we needed to cancel our next appointment and go talk to her, if we didn't we'd regret not even trying. So we went over there and prayed really hard before we knocked on her door. She was more gracious than she sounded in the text, she let us in and we asked her what was going on.She then said that she felt like it was all just happening too fast and she knew she couldn't be ask committed as she felt we were and that she wanted to start out with a nondenominational church before trying to be a member. We were really lost as to what to say so we just bore testimony that the things we had taught her were true, that we came to know by our own prayers and faith that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the only way to have lasting happiness and peace was through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. We asked her if we could still keep teaching her and helping her learn about the plan God has for her. She said she knew that what we had taught weren't lies and that we could call her on Friday to see how she felt about it. We sang Nearer My God to Thee in her doorway before we left and said a prayer. We left still feeling pretty awful, but somehow hopeful just knowing that we'd done everything we could. We got back in our car and just kind of processed what happened, next thing we know the Elders pull up and get out of their car. Elder Olson felt prompted to come to Jennifer's house, they had cancelled their appointment and Sister Grenfell and I both agree that they didn't come because the Lord wanted them to see Jennifer, He wanted them to come help us out. We stood on the sidewalk for a while and just vented and talked about what our next step needed to be. Elder Bushman made a really good point. He said, "The Lord doesn't do anything by accident, he's known this would happen since before we even met her. He knows the purpose behind this. He knows that ever ripple in the water needed or needs to happen to bring his work forward. Maybe this isn't necessarily Jennifer's time. Maybe this is our time to learn something from this and to come closer to him and to be better missionaries." I still feel like that might have been the purpose. But all four of us had a mini testimony meeting right there, we sang Ill Go Where You Want Me To Go and said a prayer and bore our testimonies, all while standing outside in the snow on the sidewalk a couple houses down from Jennifer. We then decided that we'd all start fasting for her,so we started our fast and then left. Looking back, the Lord knew before we set the goal to be more loving and charitable, he knew before district meeting, before Jennifer sent the text, and before we showed up at her house. If that wasn't an opportunity to love Jennifer, or realize how much I did love her, I dont know what would've been. It was an opportunity to unify more with the Elders in the work thats happening in East Lake, it was a chance to strengthen our testimonies of missionary work and the atonement. We had a killer lesson with the Lopez family on Thursday night and really felt the spirit. That night Sister Grenfell and I watched "Missionary work and the atonement" by Jeffrey R. Holland. Wow, if that wasn't powerful! GREAT VIDEO CLIP! We both received blessings of comfort so we could focus on the things we needed to and by Sunday big miracles started happening again.We had a less active lady that we met with on Saturday come to church with her son Ivan. Carissa, one of our investigators with a baptismal date, came to church without even telling us and went straight to a member and loved it. It's the best feeling ever when your investigator doesn't need you. She is planning on being baptized on the 29th. Then we were able to meet with some other "less active" members, they are coming back into activity, we've been meeting with them every Sunday for a couple weeks and they met with the Bishop yesterday and are working on going to the temple to be sealed. Kozelle, the wife, has a beautiful testimony of the atonement and is working so hard, serving so much, and really just coming back with a fire in her. Between both sets of missionaries in East Lake this week, we taught 45 lessons, six months ago this area was getting 5 a week. We have set a goal this coming week to teach 50 lessons. We are all trying to have faith enough to see miracles this week and work super hard. I am so thankful for all of your prayers, they are definitely what pulls me through the rough patches. I pray for you guys too every time I pray. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DAD! XOXO :)






Monday, March 3, 2014

Pic of the Week

Yay for the top finders of the mission!!



Wow, dad that quote was great! It pretty much sums up our past week! 


****The quote was:  

 “We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf***


Last week we saw a lot of miracles with finding the new investigators, we worked really hard and were actually the top finders in the whole mission that week. With finding all those investigators though, we needed to take it to the next step with helping them to understand the gospel and accept baptism. In weekly planning we decided to set a goal for 6 investigators with a baptismal date by the end of the week. Monday was rough because I got the stomach flu, but I was able to get a blessing from the zone leaders (Elder Fleming and Matheson) and another set of elders (Elder Brown and Elder Swenson, I came out with Elder Swenson from the MTC). I have a strong testimony of the power of the priesthood. On my mission I've felt the power and the immense love Heavenly Father has for me and all his children through priesthood blessings. Easy to say that it was an experience I'll never forget. I was able to go back out and get down to business on Tuesday. Wednesday was the MIRACLE DAY of the week. We had district meeting and Sister G taught. She's the best! The meeting was centered on the MIT (most important thing). The MIT is pretty much summed up in this sentence: Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed from sin (through faith and repentance), receive power from on high (through baptism and receiving the gift of the holy ghost) and qualify for eternal life (when we endure to the end. IT WAS AMAZING. We role played teaching the MIT through the Plan of Salvation. I was the investigator, I played Candice, and Elder Ard and Sister Moore (our Sister Training Leader) taught me. I was able to really feel the spirit, not so much through the actually doctrine they taught, but through the testimonies they bore of the doctrine they were teaching and how much it's blessed them. WOW, it was a neat experience. Right after that, we met with Carissa, one of our investigators. She had recently been divorced and has moved into our ward. So we planned on teaching lesson one, which we did. I was able to recite the first vision and man, the spirit was strong. Sister G bore a strong testimony and then invited her to be baptized. Before she could even finish the sentence, Carissa said, "Yes, I want to, when are we doing this thing." We set her on date for March 15th. Right after Carissa, we taught Lynne. She's still struggling with health problems but she is staying strong. We taught lesson 3, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about how living the gospel could heal her, physically and spiritually. We asked her if she came to know the things we were teaching are true and if she came to know that her Heavenly Father wanted her to be baptized, would she do it. She agreed and we are working with her so she can be baptized on March 22. Later that night we met with Jennifer Goodman, it was the first time we ever met her and she had run into the Elders the week before. She made us peach cobbler and was the sweetest lady. We taught lesson one and she fully accepted every principle and already has a testimony of most of it. She will be adopting 3 small children within this month and told us that she wanted to raise them right and raise them in the right church because she never had that. She told us she felt at peace when she talked to us and that we carried a light with us wherever we went. We invited her to be baptized and she is planning on being baptized on March 22 as well. We had another investigator come to church this Sunday, her name is Maxine. She is the most amazing lady! She loved church and we are meeting with her this week, in hopes to set her on date, and plans to be at church again next week. Sunday night we met with Dave and Kozelle Harris, members who are being reactivated and working towards being sealed in the temple. They each have amazing stories and hardships they've gone through. Our goal this week is to help them create a plan and set a date that they can be sealed in the Denver Temple. After we met them, we went to see the Lopez (or Audet family) their mother is less active, single and wanting her daughters to be baptized. Marissa and Lissan are twins and their dad won't let them be baptized until they are 18, they want to get baptized so badly, they read their scriptures, say their prayers and now we are trying to work with them to get them to come to church. They are with their dad on weekends so its hard for them to make it, but we are working with them to help them get to church and experience taking the sacrament. Yesterday we fasted for their family. We decided to make them certificates for them to hang up with the day they can be baptized on it. We went over and read a scripture with them and explained that even if they can't be baptized now and have to wait to October, we still wanted to help them progress in any way they can. We set them on date for October 25th, 2014. They are looking forward to the day they can become "official followers of Jesus Christ". It was still a week of miracles. We have so many people who are ready and willing to accept and change their lives to become more like Christ and set themselves on the path that will lead them to eternal life. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Its hard work and some days can be a little discouraging, but its times like these that make every day worth it. Dave said yesterday to us that the way he's made it through is "By just making the next right choice", i loved that. I can see that in every person working towards baptism right now. They are all just wanting to make the next right choice. I have felt your prayers and your love this week as we've worked. There's not one day that goes by where I am not thankful that I have an eternal family and that we can all be together forever. It brings me such comfort and happiness, especially every time we teach the plan of salvation. I love you so much dad! <3 HAVE A GREAT WEEK, I AM PRAYING FOR YOU ALL TOO.

<3 Sister Hoopes

xoxoxoxo


P.S. the picture is of our "top finder certificates" and the paper with the 10 on it was our goal paper that we had hanging up all week. :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pics from Last week

 Sorry, I tried to post these last week, but I'm clearly challenged when it come to technology!! :)

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