Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The thing that never changes is that there is change........

Longboarding fun. 

Some Random adorable boys :)
Some more random adorable kids :) :)

The Lopez Family?? (I'll have to ask her)

I'm really not even sure how to start this letter. I am so happy all is well at home. SO MANY ADVENTURES! That's so great. I can't wait to hear more about the branch. Sounds like Trek went swimmingly! I loved all the pictures mom sent! Good for the Berg's, true pioneers right there! :) 

East Lake has become my home, its true that home is where the people you love are. I love the people here. I love the members, the non-members, the less active members, I just love everyone here. This week has been really good. On Monday Sister Reynolds and I got to go longbaording, NO CASUALTIES! We had a blast! We also got to see Elder Matheson (my first zone leader), who is now brother matheson. He came back to baptize someone he taught here. We saw him at the library and we all got to talking and ended up walking to get taco bell. He gave us great mission advice and just talked about how much he loved his mission and all the things he learned. It was really neat. He gave us great advice on how to work better with members. He said that people will want to do missionary work when they are taught the gospel by the spirit. So he showed us a great section in PMG right after the How to Begin Teaching section. It gives a great outline as to how to teach active members the gospel and how to make it powerful. You do the 6 steps in 10 minutes so you practically go in, bring the spirit,teach testify and leave. So we tried it and it really does work! COOOOOOL COOL COOOL!

 On Thursday we went on a blitz with the Thornton missionaries in their area to find more people for them to teach, sister reynolds and I found a couple. It was really cool to help out in another area! On Saturday we got a call from Sister Brown (Jimmy's wife), she was really upset. She and her son had gotten into a really big argument about the church and she had to make him leave. She had kind of hit rock bottom and had called to find someone who could give her and Jimmy a blessing of comfort. Within 5 minutes of getting her call we were able to find 3 priesthood holders that could do it. IT WAS AMAZING. As we were driving over there sister reynolds and I were talking about the fact that we may be the only church that can reach out that powerfully and that fast to members and nonmembers alike. It was a powerful experience. Jimmy and Carol both received a blessing and the spirit was so strong. Anyone who meets Jimmy and Carol are changed completely. It's amazing the things  that happen. Being able to be involved in Jimmy's life has changed me as well, he is truly inspirational! He embodies the truth that its never too late to change and know the Savior more. 

Another cool thing that happened this week was on Friday, we were driving over to the Lopez's.... oh yeah we got our car back by the way, its a corolla that we named Jimmy Jerry McJones (JJ for short). That's a whole different story.... So we were driving and we see this lady walking down the street, we drove past her and the spirit quite forcefully told me to turn the car around, so I did. I asked sister reynolds to roll down the window and ask the lady if she was lost. She in fact was very lost! She was trying to get somewhere that took 15 minutes in a car. She had been walking all day and was getting really discouraged and tired. We parked the car and told her we knew someone who could give her a ride. I called sister Lopez as sister Reynolds told her about the restoration and the book of mormon! Sister Lopez picked us up and we took Diane to her destination! We got her number and gave her the number of the elders in her area. It was so cool to be able to help Diane and sister reynolds and i were both thankful we listened to the spirit. 

On Saturday we had transfer doctrine. Most everyone thought that nothing would really change, BOY WERE WE WRONG. Over half of our district was transferred. They shut down an area in our district and opened several others. I have been transferred to the Northridge YSA BRANCH!!!! I will cover the Denver North and Brighton Stakes and I am also in a tripanionship with Sister Claros (been out for 4 months) and Hermana Durphee (been out a year and four months). ITS INSANE! I have doubled the number of companions I've had on the mission in ONE transfer. It's also strange being transferred. We will live in an apartment now, most times we don't have dinner appointments, our apartment has bed bugs apparently and I will go to FHE and Institute... Since I didn't even do that at home I'm really not too sure what to expect! I am excited for the change, nervous and a little saddened to leave East Lake but now I can influence a different group of people. I still want to baptize, even though YSA's have a reputation to focus only on retention. I know miracles will continue to happen no matter where my Heavenly Father wants me as long as I'm obedient and listen to the spirit. I love you a lot dad! Thanks for inspiring me to accept and love change.  I believe my Heavenly Father is giving me this to help me feel closer to home and to you all. I know he loves us both so much! YOU NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME DAD! I LOVE YOU! HAVE A GREAT WEEK! 

<3/ Sister Hoopes

****I received another email from Sister Hoopes later in the day in which she told me that she had just received a phone call from her AP's.  They told her that due to an unforeseen change, she was now going to be transferred to the Brawlins Ward in the West Minster Stake instead.  More details to come next week. :)*****

Monday, July 14, 2014

Missionary Work can be "Shocking" sometimes!

Old pic of Kenzie's G-ma and her lil sis Hailey.....missionary work can be "shocking!" lol.


This week was pretty awesome! Sooooo much more productive than the week before! We now live with the Powers Family! Brother and sister Powers have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. All of their children no longer live at home and are either married and have children or they are attending college and working. They are a wonderful family, they are strong in the gospel and are so loving and supportive. WE LOVE LIVING WITH THEM. 

The Lord has wanted to bless us this week so he set up an opportunity for us to sacrifice. A couple weeks ago our zone was having car issues, miles were high in the month of June and so the STLs asked if we'd be willing to lend our car to the APs so that the bigger area could make it work. They ended up not needing our car for that week. On Tuesday we got a call from the APs and they told us that there were 26 mission cars in the shop getting oil changes and repairs made. They asked if we'd be willing to be on bike/foot. Without hesitation we both agreed and we asked when they would need our car. "Today!".... OH SNAP. We hung up and started making calls and things to make the rest of the day work out and the first parts of the following day. Once we had time to think about it we got a little nervous, we usually have hourly appointments every day and so we werent exactly sure how we would make it work. However, I have come to learn this week that sacrifice is what really bring the blessings of heaven. We have become better at planning for our day and looking at the small and seemingly insignificant details. That same day we got 3 new investigators, a mother and her two daughters. We were able to have a gospel conversation at a Wendy's where we were having a lesson with a less active member. She saw my name tag and said "Oh hey I have a friend that just left for BYU that's a latter day saint." NO WAY. We chatted. Haha. 

We taught the Jones boys about the temple and doing baptisms for the dead, they were eating it up! We are setting them up with an ancestry.org  account and they are excited to find a name to take to the temple for their first time. They just keep getting stronger and stronger in the gospel. I love it. 

Experience of the week.... ready? SO. On Friday we went over to see a potential investigator that we had set up and appointment with and it was raining cats and dogs, it was hailing, thundering, lightining, ALL that jazz. So we had an umbrella and we were running to her porch, we made it and we both turned away from the door to ring out this umbrella. All the sudden we see all this light around us and BOOM, thunder too. We both looked at each other and did kind of the "did you see that too?" face. Sister Reynolds said "We just got struck by lightning".... Which we did.  Heavenly Father looks out for his missionaries. It was like a force field had been right over us. So we shook it off and walked into the lesson. We taught Gail about the restoration of the gospel and she became a new investigator. We will be seeing her and her children again on Friday. MIRACLE.

 On Sunday I had a little missionary helper, Jayden Pipkin. SHE IS SO DARLING. She helped me pass out programs and greet people. I sat with their family later and Sister R sat with an investigator. Jayden sat right next to me and put her head on my shoulder and eventually fell asleep with her head on my lap and I dont know why this experience had such a great impact on me but it did. Jayden is going through a really hard time right now, she is 7- so the same age as Cal. Her parents are in the final stages of divorce and her and her 4 brothers live with their dad- who is an amazing father. She truly craves any attention from "mother figures". I thought about this and reflected on the experience I had with her at church. I came to realize that in order to be the missionary I need to be,  love is a requirement. Not just love, but Christlike love. This morning in my personal study I focused on what Christlike love is. I came to this conclusion. Christ was able to love deeply and perfectly because he understood the person he was trying to love and serve. Christ didn't love others in a way that was convenient for him, on a timetable that he himself made, or generically. Christ was able to change others with love because he loved the person in a unique way, a way that was specifically for that individual. Love is not something that comes in a one-size-fits-all. As a person who represents Christ, this is important to remember. Every single person needs to be shown love in a way specifically tailored to them. Sweet 7 year old Jayden needs something different than my companion needs. The way we have and show this love is by letting the spirit guide our words, hearts and actions.  This probably seems like an obvious thing to realize but the spirit has taught me about that a lot this week and so I thought I would share it. I really love loving people. Its my thing... 

Anyways, this may or may not be my last week in East Lake. I don't feel ready to leave East Lake but then again, I dont know that I ever will. However, I am excited for new adventures whether they be here or somewhere else. I feel that that should be a life motto, bloom where you're planted right? Thank you for teaching me that Dad, I can attribute that to you. You have taught me how to make the best of things even when it seems really awful. Thank you for teaching me that change is good and allows me to grow. YOU'RE THE BEST DAD EVER! I LOVE YOU! XOXO 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy July everyone, from Sunny CO!

Pappa Bear, 

 This week was rough because of the holiday, members and nonmembers were nowhere to be found! I guess here there are a lot of places to go camping and hiking so people are really into doing that on holidays and such. But not every week can be epic, sometimes we have to have our "off weeks" to humble us and help us rely on the savior. There were a few highlights though that I wanted to share with you. 
On Tuesday we went on exchanges, I got to go with Sister Mall to the Malley ward. I LOVE SISTER MALL. She is leaving at the end of this transfer and she is just so full of love and never wants to waste a minute, she's my kind of missionary. We have made it a goal to never leave an area without talking to someone whether by street contacting, tracting or a potential in the area we can go see. It's a really effective thing to do and you talk to a ton of people you wouldn't have thought to talk to, I really like it.

 One of the biggest highlights of the week was seeing Yovanne, she's the excommunicated member that wants to be re-baptized. We taught her the law of chastity this week and at first it was super rough, as soon as we brought it up she kind of hardened and so it was hard to teach her because she didn't really want to talk about it or answer any questions we asked her. It didn't go as we planned at all, but then something really cool happened. As she talked we both just listened and when we turned our focus from teaching to listening, the spirit told us what to say. We were able to come to the conclusion that she felt that she had not repented fully. She told us that the law of chastity was an awkward thing for her to talk about and she also said that she had been praying the night before and the spirit told her she needed to repent. She said she thought about it and she decided that she did need to do that so she prayed and talked to heavenly father about it. We told her that we were very proud of her for listening to the spirit and doing what she needed to to be closer to her heavenly father. She then continued to tell us that she was doubting that she'd be able to be baptized again because of her past and that she was feeling pretty hopeless. We were able to testify to her that her heavenly father loved her so much, that he was so proud of her and that he wouldn't deny her the blessings of salvation if she was repenting and doing all she could to get back on the pathway towards him. THE SPIRIT WAS SO STRONG and I knew we had taught Yovanne by the spirit. 

The other really neat experience happened yesterday. We didn't have any set appointments and so the night before we planned out a potential 
appointment every 30 minutes. It was about 3:30 and I had a prompting that we should go see a returning less active. We had seen her last week and we had already taught her the lessons but we decided to go over. When we got there she answered the door and she had tears streaming down her face. We had no idea what was going on and so we went in and she told us that right before we got there her ex-husband called and told her that he couldn't pay the mortgage anymore and he would have to file for bankruptcy which meant the mortgage would fall on her. Her current husband said that he wasn't willing to deal with that and said that she should decide what she wanted from their house and pack her things and go. She was in shock and both sister reynolds and i had no idea what to say. I had no idea what to do, this was a serious real life issue that I hadn't ever faced in my entire life but I knew God wanted us to be there. So after a couple minutes of her telling us what was going on and then silence, she asked us what we wanted to talk about. We told her we wanted to watch a video presentation of the restoration but that it didn't really seem fitting anymore. She said it was fine and so we watched it. It was amazing to feel the spirit of the room change as we watched all the struggles and trials of the early saints. By the end, all of us felt that our problems were so small and that there wasn't anything God couldn't help us with. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of the restored gospel can heal any wound, not matter how serious. When we are being taught those truths by the spirit we are made whole. It was an incredible experience and I know the lord is working through sister reynolds and I here in east lake. 

Transfers are in two weeks, everyone is voting me off the island since I seem to be well seasoned here in east lake but I'm just not ready to go. Sister Pitts and I were talking and she said "You really are sealed to the East Lake Ward aren't you?" I am.... its pretty pathetic. But I do know that its all up to Heavenly Father and I'll go wherever he sends me. We spent our fourth of july at home. All the missionaries had to be in by 6 so we watched the testaments and played harry potter trivia. We also discovered some really cool straws from 7/11 so we had fun with those too. Oh and just in case you were wondering, I made it through a whole tube of toothpaste in 6 months and I am pretty proud of it. So I have estimated that I will need about 2 more tubes before my time is up. HAHA! I love you Dad, I hope you have a great day and don't cry anymore... Just kidding. Its okay to cry, plus its not crying if your eyes are just a little sweaty. NO WORRIES! XOXOXOXO 
P.S. The last picture was us and our car full of all of our stuff since we are moving houses today.... ah!!!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kenzie's New Mission Pres. has some "Big Pants" to fill :)


Well this week was pretty CRAZY! President Toombs left on Saturday but the last time we saw him was on Tuesday. We all circled around him and sister toombs and pretty much had story time. We were able to ask him anything we wanted, and they talked about what their mission has meant to them. It was pretty surreal and a very unique experience. I've attached my last mission pic with President. WHAT A STUD. 

On Wednesday we got to meet with Jimmy Brown, an investigator of ours, his wife is a less active member and he is 68 years old and has stage 4 cancer. Our relief society has been taking them meals and that's how we got in with them. About a month ago Jimmy told a sister in the ward that he wanted to be baptized while she was taking dinner over to them. Sister Berry and Sister Brown were both floored. She called us right away and we taught Jimmy the first lesson a few days later. For several weeks we tried to set up an appointment to come see them and every time it would fall through because of Jimmy's illness. We had talked to President Toombs about the situation and he said that Jimmy wouldn't have to attend church before being baptized. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. This past Wednesday we invited Jimmy to be baptized this Saturday, he accepted. In that lesson we taught him all of lesson 2 and 3. Two days later we taught him the last lesson which were all the commandments and he had our district leader interview him for baptism.He passed with flying colors. June 28th, 2014 Jimmy Brown was baptized. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! Brother Warner, a member of the bishopric, baptized him. We got really worried because the Browns were running a little late to the baptism.... like 30 minutes late... and the font was draining so we had to try and fill it and shut the water off so we could all hear. When it was time for the actual baptism the water had drained again and it was only up to their knees. Brother Warner had to help Jimmy down the steps and help him kneel down, it made me cringe just because of how frail he is. He was baptized face down because the water was so low but it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. A MIRACLE FOR SURE. We had a group of about 12 missionaries sing come thou fount and it was beautiful. The spirit was so strong! Sunday morning Jimmy made it to church with his wife Carol so he could be confirmed. We helped them in and sat down in the front row with them. Brother Warner confirmed Jimmy and it was so powerful, everyone in the meeting felt the spirit and it was so touching the hear the words that were said to him. He was told that when those tender moments happened and he'd have to say his goodbye's his words would be filled with the spirit and be able to touch the hearts of the ones he loved. Jimmy and Carol were able to partake of the sacrament following his confirmation, jimmy for the first time and carol for the first time in a long time. She leaned over to me and asked "Should I take it? I haven't done it in a long time." I said that of course she should and she responded that that's the reason everyone was there, to take of the sacrament. I told her that was right and that her Heavenly Father was so proud of her and Jimmy. After the meeting Brother Warner thanked us for letting him be a part of the baptism, he said that he felt so blessed and he was excited for this new addition into our ward and would like to accompany us the next time we visited the Browns. I've learned a whole awful lot from this whole experience. First:  One is never too far in life to change themselves to be more in line with the Savior. Second, when people are involved in helping someone along their covenant path their testimony grows and they change as well as the person receiving the saving ordinances. And third, that the Lord knows the timing in which things need and must happen. 

***Jimmy Brown and his family on their
baptism day. ***

A couple other neat things happened this week, we were able to see Cienna. She was a potential from when sister grenfell and i first got to east lake. A couple months ago we stopped by to try and see her and her mom answered the door. She was frazzled and said it wasn't a good time because they were in the middle of a family emergency. We tried stopping by a couple weeks later and no one was home. Finally on wednesday we stopped by again because another appointment had fallen through. Her mom answered again and said she was so happy we came back. We asked is Cienna was home and she said she wasn't but that she would be back later that night. She asked if we could come back and we said of course. Her mom proceeded to tell us that the family emergency that occurred was that Cienna had run away and they couldn't find her. She had come back the day before we stopped by. She was happy we came because she wants Cienna to have God in her life. We were able to meet with her later that night and she told us that she wanted to change, she wanted better friends, wanted to go a different direction with her life and make better choices. We are meeting with her again tonight with a young woman in our ward. We hope to have Cienna at mutual this week, as well as church and set with a baptismal date. 

The Jones kids are doing as great as ever! This week we talked about missionary work! Austin has more recently decided to serve a mission and is excited every time we talk about it. Arthur's biggest concern was that he wouldn't be able to date.... we assured him that by the time he makes it to 18 he will think girls are gross anyways! HAHA! Troy's concern was that he didn't want to knock doors all day. We assured him that by the time he goes on his mission he will rarely if ever have to knock doors. It was a really great lesson and its been awesome to see this family grow. 

We had an interesting lesson with the Lopez girls this week. Sister Lopez put scriptures on the end of some roasting sticks and had all of us take a stick, read the scripture, discuss what it meant and why it was important and then we could roast a marshmallow. It was a really cute idea. After we roasted marshmallows we talked about how we knew God was our loving heavenly father. We all circled around and said what we thought, it was really powerful to hear the girls bear their testimonies of who their Heavenly Father was to them. It was a beautiful night and the spirit was felt.
The Lopez girls roasting marshmallows and reading scriptures.

Sorry this e-mail didn't discuss too much of the week but it hit the highlights for sure! I love being a missionary and its crazy how fast the time flies when you are doing the Lord's work. Sometimes it can be really stressful and frustrating but moments like the ones that have happened this week make all the difference and lift your spirits higher than they've ever been before. There's no substitute for missionary work than work. When you're working you're happy and when you're happy the work moves swiftly. I love you so much dad! Hope all is well and stays well. XOXO 


P.S. when we were setting up for the baptism we found some really huge pants... so of course we wore them...

 ****The pants that Kenzie's new Pres is going to have to fill.   Man those are huge!****

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