|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!