Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's Fall in the "Badlands" of CO!

Apparently Sis. C didn't believe Kenz when she told her if she didn't do her hair after a night shower, she'd look like Kesha in the morning........guess this proves it.  :)  (Like the pants, sis)

Thanks for all those really great training ideas! I hope I get the chance to use those soon!  I thought on the mission holidays and winter would be the hardest but so far I think fall is. The weather is really great here as well, its starting to cool down and the breeze feels really great. SWEATER WEATHER, FINALLY!!! BOOOYAH! 
Anyways, this week was really really awesome. Lots of funny things happened and miracles as well. On Tuesday we had a funny experience. We were contacting a referral and when we pulled up there were some young kids riding bikes and playing. We got out and I said "Hello! Are y'all having a fun time?" The little girls closest to me said, "Yeah, who are you?" I said, "My name is Sister Hoopes." She responded, "Oh, what are you doing over here?" I told her, "We're missionaries so we are trying to come talk to your neighbor over here." She looked a little confused and said, "So you knock on doors and try to sell stuff?" I laughed and said, "No, we teach people about Jesus." She kind of just shook her head and just to note, this whole conversation happened while we were walking toward the house of this woman. So we get up to her house and right after we knocked on the door, the little girl rides her bike up the driveway of the lady's house and says, "Hey, what's your name again?" After which Elizabeth answers the door so I couldn't talk to this little girl, so we talked to Elizabeth, she was on a long distance call so she asked for our number and we gave it to her and then as we were walking back the little girl was still in the driveway. I told her my name again and she said, "Oh, well my friend Mitchell has a crush on you!" SAY WAAAAAH? She rode away really fast, toward Mitchell, and yells, "I'M GONNA TELL HER YOU WANNA MARRY HER!" BAHAHAHAHAHA SO FUNNY! Then the other little girl playing with them says, "No, that's so mean!" As if we can't hear any of this conversation... It was really really funny. 
On Thursday Sister Courtney and I were giving trainings in district meeting. Our district is really small, we have us and the district leader and his companion. SUPER LITTLE. Usually the zone leaders come though, which makes it a lot better. We were able to train on how to HELP investigators resolve their concerns and how to help them to progress. Sister Courtney took the first topic and did a really great job. She emphasized that we should allow the investigator to learn to find their own answers and resolve their own concerns through prayer and scripture study. Then I trained on how to help and investigator to progress. I loved studying this topic. I was able to learn a lot from the spirit. My emphasis on this topic was that in everything we do, including helping others come closer to Christ, we should be using the spirit. I focused a lot on the scriptures, especially the conversion stories of the Book of Mormon prophets, who were ALL converted by the power of the spirit and used that spirit to convert others. In Doctrine and Covenants it says that the spirit is the only thing that can convert and if we try to convert by any other way, its not of God. (D&C 50) So that went really well and everyone that was there learned a lot about how to help their specific investigators and themselves. 
The next day we taught Ginny, an investigator that we have only been able to meet with one other time this transfer. She has been investigating for 8 months and still hasn't committed to baptism. Sister Courtney has spent her whole 4.5 months here trying to figure it out. When we met with Ginny this week we followed up on how her reading went and she told us that she was reading in the pearl of great price and that she was learning a lot. We then read with her Moroni 7, which talks about baptism. At the end we asked what she had learned. She expressed that she knew we wanted her to get baptized but she felt like God hadn't given her an answer yet and that if she prayed about a day that it would be "bribing" God. We explained that her Heavenly Father loved her and would answer her prayers, that baptism is the way he wants us to go.... yati yati... But then her REAL concern came out. Ginny is a PRO at asking hard questions, so she brought up the fact that because she was the newbie and wasn't a member, people were okay with her asking questions. She was afraid that once she was a member she wouldn't be able to ask questions anymore. We had a HOLD THE PHONE moment. We explained that if we never asked questions we wouldn't be able to progress in the gospel or gain testimonies. We explained that by asking questions it allows the spirit to tell us things are true and for Heavenly Father to answer our prayers. We also explained though that we can't let doubts effect the faith that we have already. We took pieces from President Uchtdorf's talk when he said, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." It was a really great lesson and Ginny came to church this week for the first time in a month and a half. We are hoping to set her on date for baptism this week. 
We are singing with the youth this coming Sunday, the last Sunday of the transfer, we are having three youth of the ward play musical instruments. On Friday we helped Cole Hardy (piano) and Kyle Bodine (cello) practice. Cole hadn't played with the whole group yet and hasn't ever performed with a group of singers. Sister Courtney and I sang while they played so they could get used to practicing with voices. Throughout the practice they became more and more comfortable with the music. At the end we were able to read the scripture that the song was made from and relate it to them. We helped them to know that the enabling power of the Atonement would help them with their nerves or with their self doubt. It was a really encouraging experience for them and even if its a little bit harder to get the adults on board, from that, we have two really great young men on board who are coming closer to Christ. It was really neat. 
We were able to go to the temple this week. It was awesome. Sister Pitts and Sister Reynolds were there so I got to hug them both and talk with them briefly, it was amazing. We are anticipating another great week, with it being the last week of the transfer. This Friday our district is being trained on how to do family history, we're excited about that. We also have a few good appointments set. THINGS ARE GOING GREAT IN THE BADLANDS!!! :) Thank you so much for all your prayers and all your love. I feel more strength from the family than you could even imagine! I LOVE YOU.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Time flies when you're busy in CO!


What a great e-mail! Seems like the Branch is allowing you to grow in so many different ways! Its amazing! I had a funny realization the other day during companionship study. We read the white handbook every day and we were reading in the section that says "If your home ward or stake changes, contact the mission office immediately and make them aware of the change." After I read that sentence I said, "Oh..... Oh crap..... I have been a part of a different ward for almost a month now and I didn't even know I needed to contact the mission office..... I should probably do that." So after studies I called Sister Hollingsworth and I think she got it figured out, so if you get something in the mail from the Colorado Denver North Mission Office, just know that I haven't totalled a car or done anything to make me come home early.... :) 

I am happy to know you are busy with work, it's an answer to my prayers. Now I will just pray that you will be able to handle all of your responsibilities... HAHA :) You're such a hard worker, Dad! Dad, Heavenly Father has blessed us so much this week! We are seeing tiny miracles happening! Zone conference was this week, it was really wonderful! President trained us on how we need to look at ourselves and others. He said that we are in the HAPPY BUSINESS, we are not to look downtrodden or depressed when knocking doors or in a members home. He also said that we should never doubt who we are. He taught us that we are the Moses of 2014, that we are duly called and ordained to preach the gospel and that because of that we are able to receive revelation as we are obedient. Elder Brennan, an AP, taught us "Don't be afraid to bloody your nose." He said that we can't be afraid of rejection or discouragement that may come from putting ourselves out there. I needed to hear that. We also had missionaries, who would be leaving the mission before next zone conference, give departing testimonies. I knew more than half the missionaries that spoke. It was weird to realize that I am as far into my mission now as Sister G was when she trained me... TIME FLIES TOO FAST! 

We had several teaching opportunities this week but the neatest one was with Rebecca, she recently moved into our ward and is living with her fiance. She got divorced a little while ago and has 2 kids, her ex has custody of one and she has custody of the other. A few months ago she has a brain aneurysm and is in the latter stages of recovery. We were able to testify that by coming to church, reading her scriptures, and praying she would have greater happiness in her family life and personal life and that the Savior would be there to help her along her way. She said that she wanted to start coming to church with her daughter and nonmember fiance. 

On Saturday I was able to go on exchanges with Sister Openshaw. We were in the Hidden Lake ward for the day. It was exactly what I needed! We worked so hard ALL DAY! We talked to almost every single person we saw and had some interesting experiences. We had mexican food for lunch, after lunch we taught Nicola, a daughter of a less active father and nonmember mother. Her family is Filipino and so her mom had made us lunch. She said that they didn't use utensils so we could eat with our hands.... FUNNEST THING I HAVE DONE IN A LOOOOOONG TIME. The food was sooooo goood and then we had an amazing lesson with Nicola, we were able to answer her deep seeded question like how the spirit felt and what that even meant. IT WAS AMAZING. We also were able to go see an investigator Cassie, she wasn't there when we got there but her mom, who was a former investigator, opened the door and started talking to us. She admitted to us that she had a drinking problem and that she was also taking serious medication and that if she didn't stop drinking, she would die. So we were able to set up a time to go talk to her and help her through the addiction recovery program. Then we had a huge mexican food dinner, afterwards we went to go contact some people and we were walking. We saw this Asian woman water her plants on the second story of an apartment building. We walked past and then we decided to talk to her, we asked her about her plants and she invited us up to come see them. We walked up and had us sit and she brought us out some kind of hot drink... Sister Openshaw and I looked at each other and as soon as she walked out of the room we asked each other what it was. We were kind of horrified.... Didn't really know what to do so we asked her what it was and she said it was some kind of soy bean drink. It was interesting, so every time she would walk out, we would add a spoonful of sugar... Not only does that help medicine go down... it helped that stuff go down too. Anyways, it was SUCH a great day and helped me feel like a real missionary again. Besides eating a TON of food............that was really gross. 

So this was our big miracle from the week, yesterday we got a text from a member family. Their son had been working with one of his friends and brought him to church three weeks in a row, we talked to the father about it and he said they would continue to work with him and let us know when they were ready for the lessons, we respected their space. Yesterday they texted and said that Yun and his whole family (father, less active. mother, nonmember. sister, nonmember.) were over for lunch that day and the family invited them to take the discussions, they all agreed and the member family set up and appointment for us. We will be teaching their whole family next week! IT WAS AMAZING!!! Sister Courtney told me yesterday that for the first time in four months she feels a change in the members and in the ward. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENIN' HERE IN THE BADLANDS! :) Thank you so much for all your love and all your prayers, they strengthen me and help me every day! I love you so much Dad! XOXO 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Moving onward and upward! :)


Your letter this week is my favorite letter yet. Hearing of your miracles and recent experiences with the spirit has given me hope that no challenge is so great that faithful servants can't overcome them with the help of the Lord.
 1 Nephi 7:12 is one of my favorites as well. I am so amazed and impressed with how many miracles y'all have seen already in the Branch. I also learned from your letter that you truly cannot go wrong when you follow the spirit, even if it seems to be leading you somewhere that might seem uncomfortable. You are a great example to me of following the spirit, Dad. Thank you.
 My heart is just so full of love right now, this morning I was nervous about e-mailing you because I didn't know what I would say. In the white handbook it says that we should avoid talking negatively of our areas and companions. The spirit told me that if I wasn't obedient to the laws of the Lord I wouldn't receive the promised blessings He wants to give me. I didn't know how I would be able to stop myself from complaining or talking badly but your email is what did it. There is no reason whatsoever that we can't find, teach and baptize people here in the Broadlands Ward. It might take EVERYTHING we have, it probably will take everything we have, but it will be worth it. I have never prayed so hard in my life than I have this week for myself, for my companion and for this ward. I have come to realize the fruits of our efforts might not show as quickly as we want them to, or as I want them to but NO effort is wasted. This week has been a successful week. 
We had Zone meeting this past week and MAN, DID I NEED THAT. We were taught how to be HAPPY missionaries. Everyone who trained us talked about work, the key to missionary work is WORK. Another thing that really hit me was a training that was given on key indicators. In this mission we have a tendency to focus too much on the number and not enough on the people. We were given a whole training on how much the numbers DON'T MATTER. What a refreshing doctrine. At first I thought, "No. Numbers matter a ton! The only reason people say numbers don't matter is because they use it as an excuse to be lazy." So I continued to mull over it and I came to the conclusion that numbers still do matter, but the people matter more. We shouldn't use the numbers to reflect how awesome of a missionary we think are, but we should use them to record the progress of how others are doing at coming closer to the Savior. In the end, we know how hard we worked and how dedicated we are to doing the Lord's work. That's what matters. 

We also had some fun times this week. Here are a few. On Friday we do weekly planning, ITS AWESOME! I LOVE LOVE LOVE WEEKLY PLANNING. So in order to make it more enjoyable for Sister C, we put on facials while we planned. Pretty epic. Then on Saturday morning I loaded the dishwasher and we didn't have any dish detergent so I thought dish soap would work just as well. FALSE. A little while later I come back out to the kitchen and the dishwasher is exploding with bubbles. Like everywhere. So I stopped the dishwasher, grabbed my only two bath towels and frantically started collecting the mess of bubbles. It was so fun and my companion and I were laughing the whole time. Needless to say, I have become wiser when it comes to what can and cannot be put in dishwashers. On Friday our dinner appointment said she couldn't be there so she just gave us cash to eat out somewhere. We went to a really good pizza place and had lots of leftovers. On the way out we saw this homeless family, we parked our car, grabbed the leftovers and a book of mormon and went to talk to them. The man had apparently been offered a job here so he moved him, his wife and their three kids out to CO and then they told him the job had already been filled. We talked with him a little bit more and told him about the Book of Mormon, they seemed very thankful. He asked where they church was, we gave him the address and told him services started at 9 and anyone was welcome to come. He said he would be there along with his family. Unfortunately they didn't show up but it was cool being able to help them in any way we could. 

We also were able to have our first song practice with the youth. We had ALL of the young men show up and almost all of the young women as well. They were ecstatic about the song and are excited to perform it. The practice went really well and afterwards the young women leader came up to us and thanked us so much. She said that she'd been wanting to do this with the youth since she was put in the organization but just didn't have the confidence to actually do it. We are excited to have the support from the auxiliary leaders! This week we will be speaking at a relief society activity and I am really excited. We share the ward with a an older couple and Sister Hollingsworth will be attending with us. We have several set appointments this week with investigators or potentials so we are pretty happy about that as well. Things are looking up here in Broadlands! I hope you are doing well and that miracles continue to happen in the branch, I pray for you and the family and the branch! LOVE YOU SO MUCH DADDY! 

P.S. Thought you would be happy to know that Sister C and I have found comp unity over talking about the farm and some cow stories. It's been really nice to reflect on all the good times at the farm and some of the adventures that we had. I also didn't realize how much I knew about farm animals until she started asking me questions. hahahahaha anyways, love you! Ya taught me well.

Apparently this is what Kenz would look like if she were an alien. lol. 

Don't worry, these aliens come in Peace! haha.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Look out, this girl is getting out the elbow grease! Gonna make it shine!

That's one hard workin' girl!! :) 


Well Dad, this week has been MUCH better. We were able to meet with several auxiliary leaders, all of which have responded extremely well to our invitation to let us help and to be of use and service to them. The young women's leader is the most on board! We have implemented several things with her that will help her young women to grow and the be more involved in the gospel. We have started preparing a musical number we are singing with the youth, we introduced the song Come Unto Christ, to the girls yesterday by watching the video of it. THE SPIRIT WAS SO STRONG, and even though we had a couple girls that weren't too enthused the majority were really excited! We are going to have Cole Hardy (ym, age 14) play the piano, Kyle Bodine (ym, age 13) play the cello and Anna Jensen (yw, age 15) play the violin. WE ARE TOO EXCITED! The youth are stoked to use their talents and be involved! We also talked to Sister Eames (yw president) about how much the girls are teaching in their yw classes (like the new curriculum outlines). She said they weren't doing that. We asked her if that was something she thought her yw could benefit from, she said of course. So we are starting to meet with the young woman assigned to teach on Sunday, during the week, to help her prepare her lesson in young women's! We are seeing a massive change already in how the ward responds to us and accepts our help. We are seeing the benefits from being close to the ward already. Its amazing how much changes in one week, especially when you act the way that Heavenly Father has instructed!

 WOW! Another miracle, we DOUBLED our lessons taught from last week! And we have planned to almost double it again this coming week. We had 5 less active members at church and we found 8 potential investigators! We spent 29 hours proselyting and 6.5 hours doing service. WE WORKED SO HARD! On Saturday, we didn't have any set appointments and man was it rough, we spent all but 2 hours on Saturday (for lunch and dinner) contacting people. By 4 we were running low on spirit and energy. We kind of hit a brick wall, if you will. We talked about it for a little while, discussed what we should do to feel better and we both decided we needed blessings and to get back to work. So we called our zone and district leaders and they gave us blessings. The spirit was so strong and something was said in my blessing that has been said in every single one of the blessings I've recieved on the mission. That was, that as I serve here it is to prepare me for what is to come which is to fulfill my purpose as a wife and mother. I don't know why, but I find a lot of comfort in that. It also been said that while I serve and love here Heavenly Father will show me who I really am in His eyes. After the blessing I was ready to go, my spirit was up and adam once again and I was ready to find, teach, and baptize! I have come to know more and more on my mission that the priesthood is the true and living power of God, given to us to aid us and help us to come closer to the Savior and to our Heavenly Father through saving ordinances but also through helping our spirits to know and understand who we truly are.

 As far as living conditions go, I love living in an apartment for the most part. Sometimes it gets a little lonely and I wish we had someone to come home to to talk about the day but I like the privacy. I don't have to worry about blow drying my hair at 7 in the morning or 10 at night, that's nice. But I have noticed that I am a tad of a clean freak since I have been out, I'm washing dishes ALL the time, wiping mirrors, vacuuming, organizing, decorating, rearranging.... ALL THAT JAZZ. I do like making it feel like our own though, it's just hard to do it alone. My comp doesn't care too much about cleanliness so that was something we addressed in our companionship inventory, it's gotten a little better! YAY! So for the first two weeks I was there we didn't have a table or chairs, just two church tables and metal chairs that we used for our study desks. So we would eat on our beds or just stand and eat from the kitchen counter, this week we got tired of it so we asked around to see if anyone had anything. We figured people here probably have 3 extra of everything and we were right! Now we have the cutest little dining room table, two chairs, and a rug even! I AM ONE SUUUUUPER HAPPY CAMPER! We wrote some thank you cards and we are just really happy about it! 

So pops, all around, life is good! I am doing my best, staying positive and trying to help out my companion. She is still pretty tired of this area and told me yesterday that she really has no motivation to stay on a mission besides the fact that there isn't anything else for her back home. Her boyfriend is serving a mission right now too and he's the only reason she came out. He left and she didn't really have anything back home so she decided to go. She said that he is the only thing that motivates her but he hasn't spoken to her in quite a while so it depresses her as well.... Any advice? Haha I feel that with any missionary it will never be enough to do it for someone else, the only thing that can be a true and CONSTANT motivator is Heavenly Father and being who He wants you to be and working hard every day to become who He sees. I have tried explaining that but she says even though she knows that God wants her to be here and that she wants to be who he wants her to be, its still not enough.... I was like.... WAHHHHHHHH! UH OH CHERRY-O! So at this point we are at a stand-still. She really is great, don't get me wrong. I just want to help and don't really know how. I guess for now we will just keeping working hard and maybe she will find her purpose in the work! :) I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, YOU'RE THE BEST! I AM PRAYING FOR YOU AND THINKING OF YOU! XOXO 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

In life, to see the Rainbows, we have to endure a little Rain :)

Beautiful CO Rainbow

"Stop. It's Rainbow Time."  K, that was cheesy, sorry

A view from Kenzie's front door.

Pappa Bear, 
Wow! What a great week you've had! SO many cool things going on! Im soooooo happy to hear how well the branch is doing already! THAT'S SO COOL! I have been praying for you and the branch all week, you've been in my thoughts too. Yesterday when we were in sacrament meeting I thought, hey its the branches first Sunday today! I am so excited for all the neat experiences you'll have and how much the family is going to grow! 

So I don't know if I told you already but I am NOT serving in the YSA ward. So.... this is what happened. So on Monday I was prepared to be transferred to the Northridge YSA branch, I showed up to the stake center, met my new companionS, Sister Durphee and Sister Claros and we decided to go out to lunch then e-mail. I was at the end of emailing and Elder Whipfler called and said that he was really sorry but that my assignment had been changed from the YSA to the Broadlands Ward in the Westminster Stake. A new missionary didn't make it out of the MTC due to health concerns and so Sister Courtney, who was supposed to train, didn't have a companion. Since we were the only Sister trio and Sister Claros had just left that area, I was assigned. Elder Whipfler told me how excited Sister Courtney was to train her new missionary and that she had taken the news really hard. So I needed to be very excited and very happy to be her companion and that we would make this transfer the best ever. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. So I went back to the stake center and met up with Sister Courtney. I told her I was very sorry that her trainee didn't show up but that I was excited to serve with her and that I knew it'd be great. So we loaded my stuff and headed to Broadlands. The last week has been quite the experience to say the least. 

This area is struggling A LOT. Apparently missionaries have been in and out of this ward like no other. Its hard for members to depend on the missionaries because there is no consistency. So.... In essence Sister Courtney and I are opening this area, maybe not according to the area book but with investigators, members and less actives... Its really difficult. I have been so humbled in the last week. In East Lake it was so easy to find people to teach, to reach the standard of excellence the President has set and to baptize. In this area the challenge will be the build this ward up enough to allow the previous things to happen. Sister Courtney and I were only able to teach 2 lessons this past week and we spent 30 hours of pure finding and contacting. I have never worked so hard and been so tired in my life and wanted to teach SO BADLY. In our weekly planning session we set goals and made plans to teach 10 lessons, in order to start building up our teaching pool, our member involvement and come closer to the standards of the mission president. We dont have the support of our bishop as much as I have experienced in the past so we have decided to meet with all the auxiliary leaders this week, ask them what their vision is for their auxiliary and what we can do as missionaries to help them accomplish this. We know that this is the first step the Lord wants us to take in this area and by doing this the rest will follow. Wards are as much investigators as an investigator is. Are they progressing? No. Why not? Lets fix that. I am still hopeful and enthusiastic about the upcoming things that we have planned and we know the Lord is backing us up 100%.  Thank you for your prayers, they have strengthened me for sure and at some points are the only thing that keeps me going.

 I have learned a lot about praying with FAITH this week and having an eye SINGLE to the glory of God. I know for sure that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with specific talents that allow us to touch and bless the lives of others. We were all able to have interviews with President this week, this was on Tuesday so I had only been here for a day, he told me about the situation from his point of view, he told me that he placed me in the YSA to help strengthen the companionship of the sisters that are there now and then when the ordeal happened that he knew I needed to be the one in Broadlands, that there was a lot more good that I needed to do here. At that point I really didn't understand what he meant, but as the week went on I caught on. It's been the hardest week of my mission but I think just knowing that Heavenly Father put me here for a reason is really comforting. I really hope this e-mail doesn't sound negative, I am really trying to be optimistic and hopeful. I just wanted you to know what the situation here is. Sister Courtney has been promised by President that she will train next transfer so I think I will probably be here a while so I am trying not to be discouraged or pessimistic. I have already learned a lot this week from the challenges, and I know Heavenly Father has great things in store. I love you so much Dad, thank you for your example of perseverance and selfless service. You mean the world to me. 
Yours Truly, 
Sister Hoopes.
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