Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Spirit = Happy Heart

Daddy-O


It has been an interesting week here in the CDNM! It seemed like people were either totally chill for us to come share a message with them or they were totally NOT okay with it. Christmas is a strange and wonderful time of year! Sister Packer and I did Christmas very much our own way this year. We decided to start opening packages as soon as we got them so we could really feel the spirit of Christmas on Christmas day. The first one I opened was from Gma and Gpa Harward. They gave me the DVD of the Bible Videos, SOOOOOO COOOL! When I opened it, Sister Packer and I were flippin' stoked. After planning we popped it into the teeny tiny DVD player we have and explored and watched a ton of them and it was really cool because it brought the spirit of Christmas. We started to understand more and more of who Christ really was, what He taught and what He sacrificed for every one of us, His humble beginning and glorious Resurrection. We decided to watch one of the nativity scenes every night before bed and it really did bring a lot of peace. 
We were able to spend a lot of time with Ruth this week teaching her and preparing her for her baptism. Being with her was special for this time of year because she too doesn't have any family nearby or even in her life anymore and so when we would teach her and be with her, it felt like we were a little family for Christmas. Ruth was the highlight of our week this week. We saw her every day and on Saturday she was baptized. It was a small baptism, only about 10 people were there. Most of which was the Matayle, Fifita and Tuinukuafe families, Siale Tuinukuafe baptized Ruth. He is the only priest in the ward and is preparing to serve his mission. He is one of my favorite people in the ward. The night before the baptism he practiced with Ruth and it reminded me of when Kenyon performed his first baptism. He was scared out of his mind and even when he was in the water with Desiree he looked like a ghost #WalkingDeadStatus So it was like watching a Tongan version of my brother. It was awesome! So at the baptism instead of playing music or watching Mormon messages while Ruth was changing, she wanted people to bear their testimonies. Man, that was cool! Because there were so few people there almost everyone bore testimony. Siale's mother, Lovey, bore her testimony and thanked Ruth for allowing her son to baptize her. Lovey told us how she married a non-member and had to wait a long time to have the priesthood in her home. She said she was thankful for the times she has been able to see it used by those she loves. It was really powerful. Ruth will be confirmed by Brother Matayle this coming Sunday! :) 

One of my favorite things about this week was a service opportunity sister packer and I had. So earlier this week we taught Trish and Ginger, a set of identical twins that have had a really hard life. We asked them how their Christmas was and they said they didn't get anything, they weren't upset but we could tell they were in need. So after the lesson we went and looked through all the stuff we have accumulated over the course of our missions and decided to take some of the nice stuff we had and box it up and give it to them. We took sweaters, shirts, skirts, dresses, scarves, hats, gloves, food, lots of candy that we didn't use or weren't going to use and we turned our bedroom into Santa's workshop! We scratched our names off of post office boxes we had gotten and somehow fit all of the gifts into them. We even made them stockings! IT WAS A FLIPPIN BLAST! Then we put all the boxes that looked oh so nice and loaded them into the car and took them over there. We arranged them really nicely on their doorstep, snapped a few pics, knocked on the door and swiftly and pretty un-gracefully made it down the icy steps to watch them open the door. We hid behind a dumpster.... Yeah.... And it was awesome! Trish opened the door and from what we could see she couldn't believe it. I think that's when we really felt the Christmas spirit. I am thankful for the opportunities I have as a missionary to serve those around me in many different capacities. I am excited for this new year and the next 6 months I have to truly be a servant of the Lord. I have set personal goals that I hope to reach before August and I am excited for the miracles that will continue to happen in the mission as we strive to baptize 1001 of God's children. 


Ruth on her baptism/birthday day :)

"The Stash"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Merry Christmas From Snowy CO!

Merry Christmas Ya'll!!


Um, Good Morning Sunshine!

Can you tell Sis G is estatic this is her last planning session?!? ( poor girl)


































Daddy-O

This week has been INSANE! It was Sister Grenfell's last week as a missionary so it was interesting to be a part of that. Did you ever have to "kill" off a missionary? Well, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but it sure did teach me a lot. I'm sure on the mission you found that there were some times when you thought of home and wanted to be there, well, being with Sister Grenfell and going through things with her, taught me that I am in no way shape or form ready to be home or want to be. There was so much sadness in her that came from knowing that she wouldn't me a missionary anymore and it made me really thankful for the time I still have to serve diligently. We had zone meeting this week which was fabulous! We had all three of us train the missionaries, the two zone leaders trained and then the district leaders did the role plays. I learned A LOT. One of the role plays talked about what we want to become while we are here.  We thought about who we were before, who we are now, and who we want to become. We wrote down what we wanted our older selves to tell us and this is what I wrote: "ALWAYS remember the covenants you've made at baptism and in the temple. STAY TRUE TO YOUR COVENANTS." That really is what I always want to remind myself of, because that is what I am accountable to God for. Elder Rusick (ZL) taught us about spiritual maturity and how through living the gospel of Jesus Christ, we become spiritually mature. One thing he said really stuck out to me, "If the heart is sincere, the change is immediate. Deep repentance is a lot shorter than we think it is." COOL RIGHT?!? Ugh, I am still thinking that one over in my mind! One of the other things I learned, and the last one I will share was in the training Sister Grenfell gave. She explained that in order to become what we want to become, we need to do what is expected and will turn us into what we want to become. She used this analogy: If you want to be a soccer player, you better not spend all your time studying to become a doctor, it won't lead you to your desire. If you want to become a doctor, you better not spend your time playing soccer, it won't lead you to what you want to become. So it is with all of us, we have to do the things that will lead you to what you want to become. 

Some other wonderful things happened this week. We taught an investigator named Lisa this week, she wasn't really progressing before but when we taught her last we watched the Restoration DVD with her and it really touched her, she identified with Joseph Smith because, she too, is trying to find out what is right. This time when we went to go see her we talked to her about prayer and the Book of Mormon, we invited her to read and pray and that when she did that, Heavenly Father would answer her prayers and help her receive answers. Then we invited her to be baptized on January 17th and she accepted the baptism date without hardly thinking about it. As we walked out, we reflected on the prayer we said before we went and taught her. We specifically prayed that she would progress towards January 17th for her baptism. OUR PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED! Later on in the week, we were texting people to remind them about church. Ruth, preparing for baptism on December 27th, responded and said she just had her work schedule changed so she couldn't come. We told her that if she didn't come to church she couldn't be baptized on December 27th. (**Investigators have to come to church a few mandatory times before they can be baptized.**) She responded within an hour and said she would be at church, she found someone to cover her shift. MIRACLE. Ruth was at church yesterday and has been smoke free for a week, I have never seen anyone that has wanted to change so much in my life! BLESSINGS. 

We also had some fun times this week, we got to Christmas carol with the YSA sisters to some of our investigators which was a blast and a half.  We ate at subway 3 days in a row.... ew. The things we do to see investigators and less actives... We burnt a skirt for sister g right before church, it went a lot better than Sister Packer and I's last skirt burning experience. BAHAHAHAHA anyways, I love you so much and I love being a missionary. I thought the Christmas season would be really hard not being with you all but as I was reading through a blessing I got last transfer from Elder Bambo, I came across this part, it said that as I work hard and serve the Lord, the blessings and promises in D&C 31 that my family will live, shall be upon me and that as I work hard they will receive safety and comfort. I hope you all are finding that and I hope I can continue to work hard so that you all can also receive those blessings. XOXO 

<3 SISTER HOOPES

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

He is the Gift!





Crazy comps

Sister Harvey (the 2 transfer missionary is being re-assinged to the Seattle, WA mission! :) 

Sister Harvey's mom and grandparents(?) picking her up :)









































Pappa Bear, 

 I am really glad the family is doing well, I know there are some challenges happening but I know they are just minor setbacks so that they can learn and decide which way they want their lives to go. In the end, it'll all work out. I'm glad your giving was full of thanks!! BAHAHAHA I crack myself up. Honestly though, I'm glad it went well. The turkey must have been DELISH! I'm so stoked the kids will have a good and hopefully long boarding season ahead. I loved the family pics of the Christmas tree! HOW FUN! 

To answer your questions about the area, it is THRIVING. We have 3 people with a baptism date and a couple more to set on date this week. We taught 26 lessons this week and found 2 new gators. It's CRAZY. I love going to bed at night exhausted in every way possible. At this point I am trying to take all the things I learned last transfer and apply them to this transfer so I can get a good balance of loving and caring about the sisters we are over, the area,  and my own companions. BALANCE, man. It's a hard principle to master. I'm trying to get it down though. The trio has been really interesting, there have been a few times where there has been a third wheel but I think for the most part its going well. It's always a little weird when you have a companion who is so close to the end but you have a long way to go. There are just different things that you think about, and I have found recently that it's hard to separate things in my mind so that I don't feel trunky or whatever. For the most part, its going well. We are all trying to figure out how to work together and teach together especially. It'll all work out though. I want to tell you about Ruth, we picked her up as a new investigator this week. She was a former investigator and we stopped by her house later one night. She lived in ID and had taken all the lessons there. She has read all of the D&C and has wanted to be baptized for a while. For whatever reason the sisters before never really stopped by or when they did she wasn't there. We met with her for the first time this past Wednesday and she told us that she wanted to be baptized on her birthday which is December 27th (also just so happens to be a Saturday).... She smokes but she told us she wants to quit that asap. I have never met someone so prepared to receive the gospel. Her biggest inspiration is her mom. She passed away earlier this year and she was the one that read the whole D&C with Ruth. Ruth loves her mom so much and wants to be baptized for her in the temple. None of her other family members are living and she knows she needs to be baptized so that she can do their work. AMAZING. We are meeting with her tonight and we are so excited. Yesterday at church we got to be in ALL of ward correlation. Our Bishop is amazing. We talked a lot about leadership and one of the stake high counselors made a comment that really stuck with me. It is about leadership and what kind of leaders church members need to be. He said, "A leader CANNOT push, because they are in front."  I have pondered on that a lot and that's really the kind of leader I want to be. I don't want to push people mostly because it feels awkward and hypocritical a lot of the time but when I really thought about it, that's how the prophet and apostles lead, that's how fathers lead, how mothers lead and ultimately that's how Christ led. Really cool. I want to lead by example and I want my example to emulate Christ. I am thankful for the opportunities I have to grow and learn, even when they can be unpleasant learning opportunities. I am thankful to be a missionary, especially at this point in time when so many people are prepared to come unto Christ. I am loving the holiday season already and loving the chance I have to represent the reason for the season. We have had the unique chance this year to share a video with people called He is the Gift. It's so touching and really has helped me to understand why we do what we do around the holiday season. I am excited to share the gift this Christmas. If you all have time as a family maybe y'all can watch this video together, the link ischristmas.mormon.org #ShareTheGift 

I LOVE YOU POPPA BEAR! XOXOXO 
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