Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
|Her and Sis Harvey taught the sunbeams last week on how to be kind to animals :)|
|Sister Hoopes, contemplating her 8 months on the mission lol|
I cannot express how much happiness is in my heart today.... Really. It just makes me soooooo happy when I can come in on Monday mornings and read about all the happy and successful moments that have happened to y'all this week. At first I would want to get emails "over with" because I would see the things I was missing out on but I have found in more recent months that hearing from you all helps motivate me throughout the week. Knowing that y'all are happy helps me to be and stay happy. I don't think I will ever have a day on my mission that I don't think about every single one of you, you all are still the best part of my life, and despite what other missionaries tend to think or feel, I will never feel bad about thinking and talking about you all. :D I love ya with all my heart and more. I AM SOOOOO BLESSED.
In answer to your questions, we've had a great week. Sister Harvey and I have been working really well together, we enjoy learning together, teaching together and thinking of ways we can improve ourselves and our area. She has a brilliant and creative mind which opens up a lot of pathways for us to work through. She also has a lot of dedication and conviction for what she learns from the Spirit. She expressed to me that this week the "newness" of being a missionary has worn out and she's finally starting to feel tired and a bit more frustrated with things than normal but she doesn't let it hold her down. We've worked through it together and have talked and counselled about the changes that missionary work brings. I know change is hard for her but she has SO MUCH FAITH IN THE LORD that she makes it through like a champ.
The Jung family is doing really really well. We taught them the gospel of jesus christ this week. I love this lesson because it really puts what Christ taught in a simple way. When Christ was on the Earth he taught faith, how to gain it, why it's important and why we can put our faith in him. He showed us through his actions that we could put our faith in him and be made whole and return to Heavenly Father through him and only through him. He taught that because of his sacrifice we would be able to repent and overcome our sin, weakness and imperfections. He showed us the way when he was baptized my immersion by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. He also helped us to learn about the Spirit which a loving Heavenly Father has given us to guide our lives and our choices every day. He taught and showed us the importance of enduring to the end, and doing what it takes to make it home to Him. Yun and Soo learned a lot from this message and are both still progressing really well towards baptism. They are gaining personal experiences of these things. This week Soo told us that at first when we asked her to be baptized she was scared and said yes because of Yun, but when she thought about baptism after that she felt peace and knew that she wanted to do it to improve her family. She also prayed for the first time out loud at our lesson this week. She did it on Korean but the spirit was there and it was beautiful.
8 months... DANG. What does it feel like? Well it feels surreal to be honest. When I actually look back and think about it, I can see how its been that long, especially in the hard times but its gone so fast and I've learned so much. I feel like a different person, but in a better way than I thought. I've learned more about my own personal testimony and faith in the last 8 months than I have in probably my whole life. My faith has never been tested so much but I've never had such a great ability to endure and understand God's purposes behind those moments. I have a greater love for my family and for my Heavenly Father and especially for the Savior. His Atonement is SO REAL, so far reaching that we will never be able to perfectly understand it in this life. But I have felt it in the moments I've needed it, its brought more peace and reassurance than any worldly thing or person could. So... That's kind of how I feel about it all. Its strange to think how close all the holidays are and its crazy to think that I'm almost halfway through... However, I know when the time comes, I will be ready to go home. I will be ready to hug you all and catch up and laugh with you all again and have dinner together and have our family night movies. I will be happy with what I've spent the last 18 months doing, and it will be a part of my life forever, I will have changed permanently because of it, but Heavenly Father never intended it to replace a crucial part of his plan of salvation, the family.
We've had a lot of experiences this week where the spirit has told us we are heading in the right direction with this area. Sister Harvey and I have both felt a strong pull to make family history a major part of our finding and teaching opportunities. Last week we brought up in ward council that we wanted to start teaching family history since we have a center in our building, etc. It, in one way or another got shot down and we were devastated and rather frustrated. So we went throughout the week thinking of approaches we could take and ways that we could make it work. The spirit told us over and over that it was what we needed to do. I reflected on your story about the dinner you had at your bishops house when you told him there would be a baptismal service held in the LORDS church building. That's how I've felt this whole week and in one way or another I followed your example. Sister Harvey and I counselled and we decided we would do it with or without the support of the ward. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, BUT THE TRUTH WILL GO FORTH, BOLDLY, NOBLY AND INDEPENDANT. Till it has penetrated every continent, swept every climb, visited every country and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." -Joseph Smith.
So we have reached out to less active members, investigators and potential investigators and have found a lot of success. We already have 3 set appointments to start teaching people to do their family history, we have found one potential investigator this week from using family history pass along cards and we are pretty darn convinced that this will be the means by which a lot of miracles start to happen.
I have also had a lot of cool experiences this week personally. We have all been asked to sacrifice something meaningful for the last 3 weeks of the transfer. I pondered, studied and prayed a lot about it and I have decided to sacrifice my fears. At first I didn't want to set that as a goal because its not something that can really be measured in numbers or key indicators but I have found that it will be a sacrifice that I will have the opportunity to work very closely with the Lord. I have found a lot of comfort recently in the scripture that says doubt not, fear not. And "perfect love casteth out all fear". Please pray for me to be able to overcome my fears. I know this will be a sacrifice which will require concentration and focus every day and I am excited to do it. I love how the Lord reassures us every time we do something right and take one step closer to Him. I know its very real and He walks with me every day.
We had a trainers meeting on Saturday, where we go with our new missionary and the mission president and his wife along with the assistants talk to us about our experiences. At the beginning of the meeting we split off, the trainers and their missionaries went into different rooms to talk. Us trainers went with the assistants and talked about what we were enjoying and what was really hard about training a new missionary. I am convinced I have the best new missionary known to the service. All these missionaries were talking about how they couldn't get their missionaries to help them plan, they could sleep on the couch or just zone out, other missionaries had problems with their missionary thinking they already knew everything and didn't have to improve, other trainers just thought they couldn't go another day from how much stress they were under. I know Sister Harvey and I aren't anywhere near perfect but I sure am thankful we have let the Lord lead our companionship. We have had no issues working together in unity, in teaching together in unity, in having a vision for our area or loving each other. I am thankful for her every day and I learn so much from her words and example.
I love you Dad, thank you for all the pictures this week and for your experiences you've shared with me. I also loved your starfish story. Sister Grenfell would tell that one all the time. I am so happy and thankful for you and for the family every day. YOU ALL ARE THE LIGHT IN MY LIFE, Along with the Savior of course. Thank you for being great examples to me and for loving me no matter the miles in between. I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!
Monday, September 15, 2014
|Kenzie, in her natural state :) :)|
|Aren't they so cute?|
This week has been pretty incredible. Sister Harvey and I have been working SO hard. We set a goal to find quite a few people this week. We felt good about the goal, we had a plan, we knew how to be accountable for our plans and we really did see miracles happen. It wasn't in the form of new investigators but we still saw God's hand in our lives this week. We were able to talk to so many more people this week than we would have otherwise. We taught 8 lessons this week which almost doubled, in some cases tripled, compared to the number of lessons taught on average per week in Broadlands since before I was even here. MIRAAAAAAACLE...... Seriously. It was incredible. Yun and Soo are progressing SO well. We taught them this week, the rest of the plan of salvation. Brother Moon asked them towards the end of the lesson how they were feeling about baptism. He asked them if they remember the day that would be on. They both responded enthusiastically, "OCTOBER 11th." We invited them to start praying as a family, so they could know the truth of what we were teaching them. Yun asked about temple marriage and we were able to teach and testify about that. Its amazing to see the light in their eyes when we teach them, THEY HAVE BEEN PREPARED FOR SO LONG. It always feels like we are learning and growing together when we teach them.
On Friday we had a mission tour, Elder and Sister Lawrence came and spoke to us. Elder Lawrence is a member of the seventy. Sister Lawrence started off the meeting, she talked all about the House of Israel. Most of it was too deep to actually teach anyone but it helped us as missionaries understand who truly is "elect" and how we can find them. She taught us that "the House of Israel receives more blessings from Heavenly Father because of premortal obedience" We talked about that a lot and she said something that really hit me. She said "You are all here on missions because when you were in Heaven you said you would. You said you would gather Israel and find your brothers and sisters that might be lost. You signed those binding documents in Heaven and promised. Since you are here on earth you have forgotten but the spirit is able to witness to you those things. So when you think about why you're here, tell yourself, I am here because I am a child of the House of Israel and I promised long before this life that I would." It was pretty deep. I will send you my notes because trying to express everything I learned in an email just isn't good enough. Elder Lawrence taught us the importance of STRIVING. At first I thought at the mission tour, we would just get railed for disobedience and what awful teachers we were so on and so forth.. But I was amazed when he just very simply said that yes, our mission claimed to be disobedient, but how were we viewing obedience? He taught us that striving to live by the mission rules and letting our hearts accept the rules and always STRIVING was what true obedience was. It was just really great!
This week I have also learned something really important, its that when it seems like everything is going wrong and bad things are happening it really means that you are doing something right and getting so close to something brilliant that Satan is doing everything he can to stop you. We had a random person call us the other day and say, "The Book of Mormon sucks." and hung up the phone before we could say a word. At night, when its too late to knock doors but we still want to stay out, we will put sticky notes on doors that we feel prompted to put them on and they say at the top, YOU ARE LOVED. Underneath it has a link to mormon.org/becauseofhim and our number at the very bottom. We figured the people that called were ones who got sticky noted. A couple days later we did another sidewalk masterpiece. This one was probably the best of all! So we see this cop pull up and he gets out and walks over, all the while sister harvey and I are checking to make sure we have our ecclesiastical endorsement cards. He says, "I can't believe I got called out here for this but a neighbor said you all were probably drawing some kind of profanities on the sidewalk and I should come over here and check it out." We said, "Well sir, there aren't any profanities here. We are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are really sorry for the inconvenience of you having to come out here." He was really kind and said that it was all fine and wished us a good evening. We were kind of mad at ourselves for not at least giving him a mormon.org card but anyways... We just both felt like this week in particular Satan was working really hard on us to get us to stop doing what we were doing. But we both felt like we have done a lot of good in the world this week, even if its by leaving small sticky notes on a door, or having quality gospel conversations on the way to an appointment or when we are doing service. On Sunday a couple from the temple presidency spoke in our ward and Elder Pulson said something that made me think of our previous experiences. He said, "For every temple that is dedicated, it lessens the power of Satan and adds to the greatness of Gods power on the earth." I think this is true with every testimony borne, or every word that's said with the spirit, every act of kindness, and every time we avoid temptation. Satan cannot be in a place filled with the LIGHT OF CHRIST! :)
I love you so much, Dad.
<3 Sister Hoopes
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
In answer to your questions, I love the mission. It is the hardest thing I have ever done but when I take it one day at a time its amazing to see how much Heavenly Father is involved in my life. Sister Harvey and I are getting along really well. We have a lot of differences but she is here to WORK. That in and of itself is the only thing ya need to make a companionship gel. She has such a sincere desire to serve the Lord. She has shared with me her story about how she got here, this sister has been through heck and back to even get this far. She is a wonderful missionary. She is an inspiration to me and I really think she came pre-trained. She is able to bear testimony and plan a day really really well. We are still working on getting familiarized on rules, specific principles in lessons, and other missionary skills but because of her desire to be here, she picks it up really fast. It makes life so much easier. So she has aspergers (I still cant spell that to save my life), she explained it to me like this, "Its like an alien coming to earth and not understanding the body language, tone of voice, whats socially okay and what isn't and having to learn it all manually instead of instinctively." That really helped me understand a lot better. She gets really anxious when we are talking with someone over the phone, she usually won't speak because she can't see the persons face or body language so she can't get the whole picture. She doesn't want to offend someone so she just doesn't like to talk. She said that she doesn't even understand her own body language or tone of voice, she has to pretty much practice if she wants to sound/look happy or sad. Its really really fascinating and she handles it soooo well. We haven't had any slip ups with anyone being offended or whatever, the Lord provides for his missionaries.
We had a KILLER week. On Wednesday Sister Harvey placed her first book of mormon! We went to contact a potential investigator and Sister Harvey just gave it to her and she thanked us and said she didn't have time to talk right then but that we could come back. I love remembering back to when I did things for the first time, you never forget things like that and being with a new missionary, that just fuels the fire so strongly and is so awesome because it relights your fire! On Thursday we taught the Jungs (Soo, the mother, and Yun, her 15 year old son). We studied that morning all about the plan of salvation. We study for 3 hours now, since Sister Harvey is a new missionary, so we role played and it went really really well. Sister Harvey felt like we should sing I am a Child of God for them. So we went with it, we sang it in the lesson and the spirit was sooooooo strong. Soo cried and we both knew she felt the spirit. At the end, Yun asked us if Heavenly Father felt emotions like happiness, sadness, etc. We were able to explain more about the nature of God. Sister Harvey set Yun and Soo on date for October 11th, just like we practiced that morning. She slipped on the wording a little but it was humbling because when she slipped she looked at me like "I messed up, what do i do?" I just nodded at her like "you're doing great, keep going." and she did, she killed it and they both agreed to be baptized on that day. IT WAS A MIRACLE! We were both sooooooooo happy!!!! We still are!!!
On Saturday night, we got to go to the ward picnic. The whole Jung family was there and we were able to play Frisbee with them and it was awesome to see them mingle with others in the ward, I think they really feel like a part of the family. On Sunday they all came to church. It was their first fast Sunday in the ward and guess what! YUN GOT UP AND BORE HIS TESTIMONY. HOLY COW. IT WAS SO POWERFUL. He got up and said, "I have been learning from the missionaries and I learned this week that Heavenly Father loves me and has a better life for me. My parents sacrificed for me by letting me come to America to have a better life. My dad has to work a lot to let us stay here. My Heavenly Father feels like that about me. He gave his son so that I could have a better life. So many people are unhappy because the don't take the changes Heavenly Father has given them to have a better life." This young man is feeling the power of the holy ghost in his life that is testifying to him and teaching him that his Heavenly Father is aware of him and loves him so much and that by taking this path, he is going to have a better life. It was so powerful. We are so elated to see Yun and his mother progress towards the better life Heavenly Father has had in store for them for many many years.
We also had some fun this week, for a finding idea we decided to draw a simplified version of the plan of salvation on the sidewalk. We also wrote each other funny notes on our enormous mirror and last night we told p-day eve secrets and hid each others snacks so that we could have a healthier week :P (its part of the stress management section for new missionaries....)
I love being a missionary, I have come to know very deeply that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that because of Him I can overcome my temptations and challenges. I know that Heavenly Father lives, that he is sooooo aware of me and that He loves me perfectly. I know the fullness of the gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and that through the Book of Mormon we can know of the truth of all of these things. I know there is a living prophet on the earth today that guides Christ's church. I know that I will be with you and mom and kenyon, hailey, shelby, and calvin forever. That all families can be together forever through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I LOVE YOU DAD! XOXO
<3 SISTER HOOPES
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Sister Hoopes and her new comp, Sister Harvey
|Kenzie's small district. Man, that's small!!|
This is what sisters look like after an hour and a half of
weekly planning. :)
THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES! I LOVED LOVED LOVED it. I was so happy to see Kenyon's football pictures, they warm my heart so much! The jersey's are looking really good too! SO many cool things are happening in the branch.
So this past week has been probably the most emotionally insane time of my mission. Last Monday Sister Courtney received a letter from her boyfriend, who is serving a mission in Indiana, that he no longer wanted to be in the relationship. It was so hard to see her struggle and not be able to really help her. We spent the rest of the p-day in our apartment just writing letters and trying to talk through it. We went out to work and around 7:30 I got a call from Sister Reynolds. She told me that Jimmy Brown passed away a couple hours earlier... I had anticipated it would probably happen within the next couple months but I had no idea that it was this close. At that point we were both kind of checked out and not really sure how to make sense of things in our heads. We continued to work for another hour or so after that and eventually we both came to the conclusion that we should call our district leader and get blessings. So we did, it was amazing. He counselled me to truly study, ponder and apply the Plan of Salvation into my studies and my life. Until that experience of Jimmy passing away, the Plan of Salvation never really stuck in my heart. Man, is it real. That night I pleaded and prayed with the Lord. I could feel Jimmy's spirit so close to me and I knew that he was okay, that he was free from pain and sorrow and that because he was on the right path when he passed, his earthly troubles were over. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL TRUTH. A couple district meetings ago, and Elder gave a training and in it he said "It doesn't matter what your numbers looked like as a missionary, the salvation of Sunday night is so insignificant compared to the salvation of the souls you will bring with you to heaven because you taught them and showed them to path back to the Savior." That is one of the greatest lessons I have learned since I have been here in Broadlands.
On Thursday we taught the Jung family. Yun, a 15 year old young man, started coming to church with his friend Christian Moon. Yun has LOVED it. We later found out that Yun's dad, Ju, is a less active member. He was converted when he lived in South Korea but the missionaries who taught him were Americans and their Korean wasn't the best so Ju didn't last too long after he was baptized. Soo, Yun's mother and Ju's wife, is not a member but is interested. We were able to teach them at the Moon's home. The spirit was SO STRONG as we taught very simply and testified of the things we were saying. We invited Soo and Yun to be baptized. THEY SAID YES. Both of them came to church this week and stayed for all 3 hours. We are teaching them again on Thursday and WE ARE SO EXCITED.
Sister Courtney, this past week, talked a lot about wanting to train and what it would be like. The AP's called us on Friday night while Sister Courtney was in the shower. I answered the phone and Elder Wipfler was just making some small talk and I said that we could call him back so that he could talk to Sister Courtney. They always call trainers or missionaries with special assignments on Friday nights so that they can be at meetings on Saturday. So he said, "Oh, well I actually wanted to talk to you Sister Hoopes." MY STOMACH DROPPED ALL THE WAY DOWN TO MY BIG TOE..... He asked if I would train a new missionary. Of course, I said yes. Sister Courtney got a call after she was out of the shower and she was extended the assignment to train a new missionary as well. We went to our trainers meeting on Saturday and I felt so sick to my stomach. I was so excited but still felt so new myself. I knew what was expected of me, but I was unsure of my abilities to actually do it. While Elder Brennan was training us, he asked us a question. He said, "Do any of you have younger siblings? Do they want to serve missions?" Then he asked us, "What kind of trainer would you want your younger brother or sister to have?" THAT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS. As I thought about the kind of trainer I would want Kenyon to have, or Hailey or Shelby, or Calvin, my anxiety started to fade. I came to realize that Heavenly Father knows each of the people I love more than I do. He knows this new sister I will train and he knows EXACTLY what she needs. He inspired President Mendenhall to choose me to start this missionary off right and in the way that she needs to go. After the meeting Sister Mendenhall came up and told me about this new sister. She said that she has asperger's and ADHD, she is on a 2 transfer mission and since Sister Mendenhall had never met her she expressed that if this sister didn't last all the 2 transfers that it was not my fault and I shouldn't worry. NO PRESSURE RIGHT??? On the way home, my anxiety started to come back. How was I going to be able to take care of this sister who would need so much extra care. Being a full time missionary is hard enough, but having physical and mental limits makes it even more so. As I kept reflecting, I thought about something that it states in my patriarchal blessing. "Heavenly Father has given you so many gifts, but one in particular, is the gift of deep and abiding love for others and a desire to serve them." I have been prepared to do this since before I was even set apart as a full time missionary. I have come to know that my Heavenly Father knows me to a tee, He knows this sweet sister as well. He knows that at this point in both of our lives, we need each other.
I picked up my new missionary yesterday, that's why I am emailing you today. Her name is Sister Harvey. She's from Colorado Springs and she is BRILLIANT. She was terrified, like all new missionaries AND their trainers are. She was concerned because she hadn't gone to the MTC prior to coming out. Apparently 2 transfer missionaries don't go to the MTC and they don't receive their endowments either. This created a little anxiety for me as well, but so far it's going great. This morning while we were studying I asked her how she felt the spirit and she explained and then she said later on, "I want to be here so badly, I have worked so hard and so long to even be here for 2 transfers. I want to do this." She started crying and I did too. THIS MISSIONARY WANTS TO BE HERE, SHE WANTS TO SERVE THE LORD! I am so grateful for the chance we will have to learn and love each other over the next 6 weeks. I think you were right when you said miracles are about to happen. Sister Harvey is EXACTLY what Broadlands needs right now, talk about an inspiration! I am so blessed and so excited!
Thank you so much for your prayers and your love. I pray for y'all too, every day. I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!
Sister Hoopes :)