Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Missionary work is the BOMB.COM!

(I love Sis. G's straw placement)

A nice day of bike riding :)


Just wanted to tell you that you're the best dad.... ever! WOW! Dad, your encouragement means so much to me! I feel like Sister Grenfell and I have been working harder than ever before especially because President Toombs pretty much promised we will get split... SO SAD! However, a lot can happen in between now and transfers in two weeks... hahaha I HOPE AT LEAST. So this week was SUPER awesome! On Wednesday we got to go to the temple! I have been focused on what filling the measure of my creation means at this point in my life. I am starting to understand more and more every day that filling the measure of what I am right now is to bring others unto Christ, when I am doing that, I am fulfilling my purpose. That same night we taught the Haney's! We picked up Shon, their 12 year old brother, as a new investigator and set all 5 of them on date for baptism! June 28th is their date. Then all four of the girls came to mutual with us in the same night! CRAZY RIGHT! IT WAS SO AWESOME! Within the East Lake ward right now, between both us and the elders we have 10 people with baptismal dates. We got to teach the law of chastity to a less active lady who has been struggling to live it. It was an incredible lesson! We helped her realize that the law of chastity is really a law of love. It helps us to develop healthy and meaningful relationships with those we love. It allows us to see others as what they are, children of god! It was a wonderful lesson. On Thursday we got to be in Sister Ose's home while it was being dedicated by Elder Bushman. It was the first time he had ever dedicated a home or seen a home dedicated. The spirit was so strong and it reminded me of the same feelings I had when you would dedicated our homes. On Saturday we biked! IT WAS SO FUN! I will attach pictures! We got to have a lesson with the Martin family! We had it outside in hammocks... it was awesome. We were able to teach them about who our Heavenly Father is, who our Savior Jesus Christ is and about why families are so important. It's interesting to teach those principles to people who haven't ever heard them. It makes you really grateful that you know you have a father in heaven who watches over you. Then they all agreed to come to church! Sunday morning came and their whole family came! It was a wonderful Sunday! The chapel was so full that we almost had to open it up into the gym! I love Sunday's! Anyways, I hope you know I love you so much! I am thankful for your prayers, for your happy emails, and that you are so diligent about emailing! It means so much to me! I have some good pictures attached this week! One is of Sister Grenfell and I after service, we got big gulps... I did it Daddy-Style and got a double big gulp! It was so wonderful! Then one of us biking. Another of us at the Lloyd's house for dinner, they showed us their tree house! :) I also got my scriptures engraved this week! Holllllllla!!!! :) LOVE YOU!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Another day in Paradise

***I'm going to put the captions that McKenzie did when she sent these pics***
3 generation missionary pic (mom, grandma, daughter)

On our way to Kohls for a p-day trip

Sis G in a future Vogue snapshot

This is me saying "I love you mom!"

Well, this week was pretty awesome! I learned a lot of valuable lessons, one being that no matter what happens in life, if Heavenly Father is your number one, you can't go wrong or fall away. The times when I am the happiest and most confident is when I know I'm doing exactly what God wants me to be doing. I've seen so many people on my mission that have fallen away because they haven't truly found the JOY that comes from living and keeping the commandments. This week at Zone Conference we learned about the importance of teaching the principle of how the gospel blesses families. President Toombs KILLED IT! I never realized how blessed I really am to have an eternal family. Being away from y'all has really made me grateful for what I have. COOL STORY OF THE WEEK HERE WE GO: The mission office sent us a referral so we went over to contact them, the guy didn't live there anymore but as we were walking back to our (suuuuuuuuper clean and waxed) car, we saw this lady and her daughter so we went and talked to them. The mom had just got back from the dentist so she wasn't too interested in talking right then, but the daughter was REALLY excited to see us. We asked if there was a time to come back and see her and her daughter, Shaylyn (the 11 year old) said "MONDAY! Come back Monday." Christy (the mom) said that was fine. Monday came and we had some other things get in the way but we dropped off a sticky note that said we'd try back on Wednesday. Wednesday comes around and its about 7, we stopped in and Selena (the oldest daughter, 15) answered. She said her mom wasn't there so we asked if we could come back another time to share a message. She said we could just come in right then and teach them... SO we did. She gathered all her sisters around which ended up being 3 other sisters, Mariah, Shaylyn, and Allya. So they all kind of huddled around us and we started teaching them. We asked them how they thought God felt about them and Selena said "Well I know I have made some mistakes in my life but it can be okay if I repent right? That's what you said I had to do?" SO COOL! So we explained that a little more. Then later in the lesson Mariah said "Well I was baptized once but it was by a lady in a hot tub... Is that the right way to be baptized? It seemed a little weird, so what's the right way?" GOLDEN QUESTIONS! The mom and dad came home right before we could get to Joseph Smith so we had to just set up another time to come finish but then the mom welcomed us and was really kind and the dad introduced himself and shook our hands. Before we left we asked if we could say a prayer with them and we all kneeled down around their coffee table (it felt like how we would do it with the missionaries when they'd come over) there were 9 of us there so it was pretty crowded but the spirit was so strong! We also were able to teach two younger boys this week, their parents are members but they are divorced so Arthur is 11 and unbaptized, Troy is 8 and unbaptized. So we taught them and challenged them to read their scriptures and say their prayers every day. We even made them charts to mark their progress. The boys have an older brother who is 14, baptized, but ordained so we are working with the young mens president and the elders to fix that. But we gave Austin (the oldest brother) the responsibility to make sure he helps his brothers read and pray. We saw them several days later and Troy said "Austin and us have been reading every day and praying too. And yesterday we read 10 verses instead of 5!" IT MELTED MY HEART! It's amazing the dedication they have to wanting to learn and know and such a young age! A fun experience we had this week, Sister G and I had a few openings in our Saturday schedule and the city was throwing a big festival so we decided to go and hand out a ton of commissary including books or mormon, cards, and the family proclamation brochures! We calculated that we talked to over 100 people and handed out over 100 cards! FINDING IDEAS FOR THE WIN! We haven't gotten any new investigators because of it yet, but maybe missionaries in other area will benefit from it! So this week was really awesome and we are now heading into the 4th week of the transfer... I will also hit my 4 month mark this week.... ITS CRAZY HOW FAST TIME FLIES! I love you so much pops, thank you for all your prayers and all your love! I LOVE YOU! <3 

Yours Truly, 

Sister Hoopes

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day= I get to see your sweet mug!! YAY!!

Kenyon getting to see his big sis after a while.  This made my Mother's Day the happiest ever!!

Brother Brigham ;),  (****She called Blaine this after seeing how impossibly long his beard had gotten**)

My heart is so full today! All night I was just reflecting the whole conversation we had. I never knew how beautiful it could be just to hear y'alls voices again, to see your faces and to know you're all still there and doing well. Its amazing the little things you miss. My heart just leaped out of my chest when I saw Kenyon's face! I don't know if it was divine inspiration or what but I needed to see him and just hear his voice and just have that time with him to reconnect. On the really hard days where I just feel like I need to talk to someone he's the one I think of, sometimes I'll just talk to him in my head and think of what he might say to me. On the mission sometimes its hard to remember that you're still you, that you have a family and that you're more than just a missionary to someone. Being able to talk to y'all yesterday made me realize that I am still an individual and that I'm so loved and cared for. Its so easy to fall into the routine of the mission and a couple months pass and you feel like you don't really know who you are anymore but there's nothing better than having your family to help you understand who you are to them and to our Heavenly Father. It really was just what I needed. Something else that also really helped me was when you told me a couple weeks ago about my plaque and how it was different from all the others. Its nice to be reminded that I'm still unique and individual. I love you all so much and I'm glad you hung up first because I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Sister Pitts was right there for me when I said bye she hugged me and told me it was all going to be okay. Something she said that I really thought was true was she said, "One day you'll marry someone just like your dad." Ya know dad, its true. I look up to you so much and hope that one day my own family will be blessed to have someone just like you leading us. I am so lucky to have a family who loves me so much and even with all the miles in between I still feel that love every day. It was such a blessing to be able to have you all in one place and not have to be worried about not seeing one of you. You are all so individually important to me. Even in your hello's they were all uniquely YOU! Kenyon was as mellow as ever, in his true surfer dude form but filled with so much love. Calvin, even though toothless, was still as sweet as ever! Hailey, still shy and quiet but becoming more confident. Shelby, still SO spunky and funny :) and then you and mom, together! Mom talking and you tearing up in the corner ;) just kidding. I just felt so whole. And was thankful for the reminder that I have an eternal family who will love me no matter where I am or where we all end up. I AM SO THANKFUL!

 So I didn't get to talk to you about my week so here it goes. We had a really great zone meeting this past week. We were taught how to extend powerful invitations, the importance of follow up, how to utilize members more fully and in order to not be discouraged don't allow yourself to tune into "K-Crap Radio" -Sister Toombs After that meeting we went to teach the Olsons, members in our ward, she is a brilliant single mother of three of the most beautiful daughters ever! We taught them about the priesthood and it was amazing the spirit I felt when I was able to testify of the divinity and power of the priesthood. I was able to show them a picture of you and kenyon and calvin (one of the family pictures taken by mindy). When I was done we were all in tears and how I felt was so much bigger than I was, it couldn't all fit inside. Another thing I've learned about myself is how much I love setting goals. We also had district meeting this week so we could set some goals for our district. I'm convinced that goal setting is one of the best parts of missionary work. "A goal not written down is just a wish." We were able to set goals and we decided our district motto would be "Faster, Higher, Stronger." We have set some pretty high standards but we also decided that there is no reason why we can't strive to be the best missionaries we can be. Our goals cover every aspect of ourselves, including emotionally, physically and spiritually. Every time we set goals I always think to myself that I chose the right major, business has a lot to do with goal setting. Missions teach you life skills ;). 

We have started teaching the sweetest lady ever! She is an excommunicated member but at this point in her life she is so ready and willing to give up everything to have the gospel back in her life. She is inspiring! We also had dinner this week with a nonmember family that was a referral from the Pitts! After we left Sister Pitts talked to Mrs. Martin and invited them to hear a message from us, and they accepted! SO COOL! This happened RIGHT after we had dropped someone... It was the coolest thing ever! This week we taught Carissa about the temple and she is currently preparing to go to the temple! :D She also signed up for LDS Singles today ;) #DOUBLESCORE So we had several funny experiences this week as well... here it goes... We did the prayer approach with someone and they asked us to pray for their bottom healed, never had that one happen before... luckily sister g was asked to say that prayer and it was so hard not to laugh through it... second one was also while praying.. We were saying the closing prayer at an active members house, we were all kneeling and they have this brown lab. So sister g is praying... again and the dog comes up and licks my forehead then goes over to her and licks the side of her face and she stops her prayer and says "EXCUSE ME!" oh my heck none of us could keep it together... SO FUNNY! The last one was pretty awkward. We went over to talk to one of our investigators parents about teaching them and about baptism and so we go to the door and the dad answers and tells us to go talk to his wife and daughter out back so we go around to the fence and open the fence and they're in the hot tub and it was one of those moments where we weren't sure if we should just turn around and not say anything or if we should talk to them. So all four of us just stop in our tracks for what felt like forever and then sister g says, "well this a bad time?" BAHAHAHAHAHA So anyways, those were some adventures from this week! I love you so much dad! And I loved your attachment too. THATS SO LEGIT! I can't believe you trained that many times... what a killer missionary you were/are! :) I am so thankful for your prayers and your support dad, sometimes its what really carries me through! I LOVE YOU! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco De Mayo and Missionary Monday!

Before the Baptism
After the Baptism

Great Pic of the "sisters" :)

Cute Letter From Candice

Kenz Extreme Close up :) taken by Carissa's daughter

The "Zone"

So this week was pretty awesome! I feel like it was the most hardworking week of my mission, nothing CRAZY awesome happened but physically and spiritually I feel pretty worn out. Monday we contacted referrals and it was pretty cold out that day so we knocked on this door and the sweetest hispanic man answered the door and his wife was there too. They said they were devout Catholics and weren't interested but we asked if we could pray with them and they let us. We all held hands, they insisted, and prayed together. When we were going to leave the man handed us 20 dollars and said "It's cold. Go get coffee to warm up." We said we couldn't accept his money but he shoved it into sister Grenfell's hand and insisted we take it. It was really neat to see that even though not all of us have the same beliefs there are still many people who believe in Christ and in our Heavenly Father. Oh and P.S. We didn't get coffee of course... We actually still haven't even thought of anything to use it for :P Another cool contacting story... We went to contact the Pitts neighbor and they let us in and we talked for quite some time and they actually invited us over for dinner with the Pitts this Friday! It'll be WAY cool! 

     Okay and crowning event of this week! Carissa and Ryan were confirmed yesterday! They had to wait a week because it was stake conference last week! So church started and carissa and Ryan still weren't there... WE GOT SO SCARED! We thought it was going to be another MIA incident so we went outside and walked around the whole church building looking for her car.... NOTHING! AHHHHHHHH so scary, we called, NOTHING. Luckily, she did show up! We hurried into the chapel and she was confirmed along with Ryan. A member of the ward confirmed Carissa and one of the Thornton ward Elders confirmed Ryan. The blessings were really neat and I was just beaming with HAPPINESS! Afterward we sat with her and she said "I felt it. I really felt it." SO COOL, but it gets better. To give you a little background, Carissa NEVER cries. We have only seen her cry one time and it was because she didn't think she's get the kids on Easter. And she always used to say "I don't know why people cry so much in this religion... Is a requirement to cry in this church?" Haha in true Carissa form! Anyways, so we are sitting in fast and testimony meeting and people are bearing their testimonies and we hear Carissa crying! We ask if she's okay and this is exactly what she says "I get it now, I understand why everyone cries. I just feel so happy that I am keeping my covenants and that I get the blessings from it." TALK ABOUT GETTING IT!! OH MY HECK IT WAS SO COOOOOOOL! AHHHHH! Man, all I can say is that its all worth it, all the tears that were shed at her non-baptism, all the manual labor that went into moving her into her new apartment, all the heart felt prayers that went into helping us know how to help her, just everything was so worth it! I am so happy and privileged to be a missionary for the Lord! In every journal entry I write without fail at the end, "I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY" and even on the hard days, the tired days and the AWESOME days, its never any less true. Of course I miss you and think about you often, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime and I'm so thankful every day for the example you've set for me and for all the love and support I feel from you! I love you so much Dad! :) 

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