Tuesday, October 28, 2008
sorry this is on tuesday - the reason is is because yesterday was a Zone development meeting where we all got our interviews with president Bassett and so Prep day was pushed to today (also because the temple isn't open on monday). so to answer your question, mom; yes i have gone to the Mesa temple! i did so at the 5:30 am session this morning (man was that early). it was great to go to the temple again - and I like that temple a lot. i would be very pleased with it if i lived here - but i probably won't so boise is still good!
that is nice of the frosts - they are really a great family: Salt of the earth. that could describe alot of the families in the 5th ward. and i can say that about most of my friends - especially The Quorum. (notice in caps, hehe)
i saw in the pictures how much our house seems to have changed. it will be very "wheird" (weird) to come home and have it that different. and funny you mention that Jon married above himself ( i agree - no offense jon [you did too dad]) but it just brings to mind the Oscar wilde quote from the Ideal husband:
"you don't deserve her" sighs the father
"well, father, if every man married the woman he deserved, they would have a very bad time of it"
so true,and hilarious (i think i did a pretty good quote job too)
sounds like some great questions, mom - i'd be interested in those too. we got a good one too from a guy: what does it really mean that the priesthood will "never again be taken off the earth until the sons of levi do offer up and offering unto righteousness"? i don't know! we'll see then i guess
that's great grandma ruth is visiting - i hope she's enjoying it and especially the temple. if you're reading this: love you Grandma, and thanks for being open to the missionaries! you've changed more lives than your own that is certain.
dang that grandpa bob! lucky duck gets to go off to see real football games in jerry ol' England. i bet he's loving it though.
well i'm here without my planner so i'm only going off memory as to what has happened this last week - oh and sorry no pictures. we came straight from excercising from 8:30 am to here so no camera nor cord.
what am i thinking: we had a baptism on saturday. This lady on the apartment street that we have so much work on (about 55% of our work). she's single and has 2 funny kids (elder Howell and I are the "church guys" ; "hey mom, the church guys are here!" as he answers the door - he's like 4 or 5) but anyways she has been feeling the spirit and happiness from the gospel and so she got baptized. it was great.
we also played basketball last night as a finding activity, because on the apt street is this black family of really cool and nice kids but they've been passively resistant about taking lessons (ok with getting and apparently reading the book of mormon but oh well). so we played basketball with some of them and also this guy who's wife is LDS and another guy who's wife just left him yesterday so we were trying to see if we could help him out. one of the black guys though is married to a daughter of the black family, and he says he straight from compton, CA and he is a pretty quick flashy moves guy. wears a do-rag. it was pretty fun and also good.
well i really hope i don't get transferred. transfers are this next tuesday and the one of the zone leaders who live with us is going home! yeah he's pretty trunky (not really, elder olsen is a great elder). but it seems our relationship as a companionship is really starting to go well, and by that i mean that we're understanding each other really well and teaching together better. i've started to get over my shyness that was keeping me back from street contacting. better late than never, but i should have had the little sitdown with heavenly father in my nightly prayer earlier. but it helped. ha - i mean it did it all, as in it started it all so that i could let heavenly father help me do what i needed to.
i love the "The Village" quote by the guy character about why he can be so brave: "i only think about what must be done, not about what might happen." which reminds me - i've been having the feelings that we as a family (and i mean the Hoopes family) are not as good (that's being a little kind) at missionary work. it's very simple things that we can all to do affect positively the lives of everyone around us, and if we're not doing that, then we're not following the example that the savior has set for us. don't feel like i'm being preachy or getting down on you for this or that, but we all NEED encouragement. do your best to help the missionaries - i know it's hard for dad because he's so busy, and mom is busy too and it's hard sometimes to involve the sisters. and rachel, i know how hard it is to talk to people in general let alone about something like the church. but it can be done i know you all can do your little parts. and you all will see what those are if you have faith. love you all, you are the best!
well i love you all and before i go i have a quick question for caitlyn: do you like scorpions? there are lots here i just want to know if you think they're cool. (and don't worry i wont send you one, and they're all not that big - only about as big as a normal zip USB drive.) well, i still have to write Ben and Jon/Nicole - so i love you all and talk to you next week!
Sounds like the wedding went well - i saw a few of the pictures that mom sent me. Karene sent me a picasso thing i'll open up afterwards. but so you know i can only go on the church websites.
well the week went ok. we had 7 member lessons last week and that is really solid. definitely happy about that. though our street contacting has been really bad - a lot for me because i am not an outside of comfort zone or talk to strangers person. but i've learned a lot this week (i hope). had quite a few realizations and i hope i really learned from them. We got one new investigator this week - a graduated kid, he seemed pretty receptive, and has a couple friends really helping him (one was there at the lesson) who are LDS (or about to be baptized).
Thanks for the letter, Caitlyn. yes it is pretty hot here! but not too much more than in boise - it gets up to the 100s sometimes. it's just a normal temp at 100. luckily we are at the time where it is cooling down now. the nights/mornings feel so nice.
sorry mom, we were in a hurry out the door and i forgot to bring my camera and someone else's computer cord so that i could email some pictures. i sent some a few days ago in the mail so you'll get a hardcopy of some pictures. i hope that will be enough if you need them before next week. i didn't want to have to deal with sending a CD either so i guess you'll just have to use the scanner.
this might be a short email though because i'm a little lazy today. i think i'm starting to have a cold - my throat doesn't feel quite 100%
oh thanks for the package though mom - we already ate almost all of the cookies. and the pumpkinbread just has escaped attention i think they'res still half of it left.
well it is going well on bikes. tell you what with our 7 wards we cover, the farthest one out (avalon) is our 3rd busiest so i sleep pretty well at night, i'll just say that.
had a good experience i'd like to share before i close: (which reminds me, thanks for all of the forwarding of the other eagle guys!)
We were visiting this family on wednesday. and the WML (ward mission leader) is a great guy, really been helping get a hold of this family. anyways the father was baptized and knows a lot but hasn't been in a long time to church. i think he was baptized by foster parents or something - just a temporary family and then was taken in by some catholics (just some background). anyways he has the nicest wife and some kids. we were there and not to sure (elder howell and I) what we were going to teach. i was a little out of it and wasn't thinking too much really. elder howell did this lesson with ether 12:6 and faith called the faith-o-meter. it involves a tea bag lit on fire and it's pretty cool, we do it with a lot of less-active, recent converts, or part member families. so he did that and then i just shared 3 BOM stories (nephi & brass plates, Ammon, 2 thou stripling) and how they used their faith in action, to actually do something. their faith was active. and i used that to teach that point and then the WML closed it off pretty well and we left them 2 ne31 and i felt like that was exactly what they needed (whether they listened or not) and done in a great way. Elder howell didn't know what was going to happen in the discussion. and when i was looking up the scriptures i had no clue about how this would tie in(i was a little out of it) and then WML just capped it off. great lesson on how if we're led by the spirit even if we can't see the end from the beginning, things can work together better than so much planning would have. once again 2 ne 4 nephi led by the spirit not knowing what he'd do (that's the scrip i shared about the story). it's funny how that idea (faith will = action) was taught to everyone there - it was for the family but i learned something about/from it too. cool beans! well i love you all!
Monday, October 20, 2008
thank you everyone for your letters and email - i love hearing from everyone individually, and i'm sorry i cant reply to you all individually as well. just know i love you! And we're pretty pressed for time this Prep Day so i'll just send this one email - so please forward to Jon/Karene/Ben that would be so appreciated.
i know what you mean and it's been something i've learned before my mission, but especially in the MTC and i guess from you that the mission, just like the gospel, is not to make someone different temporarily, In order to become like God we go through these things to change our hearts and selves. If i'm not able to be changed from my mission then what will change me? two intense years of spirituality should change everybody - but of course Heavenly father won't force anybody to do anything. I learned to love my MTC teacher Bro. Shelton because i could tell he was a fundamentally changed person from his mission - i could tell he loved soo so much more, he listened so much more, and he felt the spirit so much more. he was off his mission, but still a full-time missionary. I love that phrase; it doesn't say "full-time missionary for just 2 years" it's Full-Time period. i hope i'm always a missionary. and i'd like to thank you too jon, I could tell you were different after your mission, just like bro S I can feel that you love more and more sincerely - and you understand much better about God's will and ours - something i hope to be able to do as well. the mission to me changes people in that they understand that knowing and saying is not enough. we have to KNOW it in our very soul - and when we do that we actually DO those things, and that radiates from you, i felt it from dad & Mom and Ben and Jon and Karene and Bro Shelton and Sister Wellington (the other MTC teacher). thanks for your words and example!
Thanks for matt's letter - i'll cherish that one for sure, i really do any words from the quorum guys that i get. which reminds me - if you somehow can tell Matt and Jordan or Harry that i Love them and their examples that would be great!
Brendan is a stud - i've loved seeing him grow up just under the older guys, he really has matured into a great man of God.
thanks for sending the things anyways - i know life is busy and i love you for everything you do (i guess to mom mostly, but true of everyone)
oh and sorry, i forgot to send that picture earlier! i'll send it today - karene did say she posted one of me in the MTC from a girl in my district... weird. i don't know how that happened but whatever! :)
i'm glad Caitlyn had fun, birthday parties are always the best - it's probably late but Happy Birthday Caitlyn! keep on going and having fun and true happiness - which doesn't always mean what makes you happy right away, that's something we'll all have to learn and i figured i'd rather learn it on my own (the easy way) than be forced (the hard way) with something bad happening to me. but with that that doesn't mean bad things always happen to us because we're bad, but we can always learn something from almost everything. and i've realized that if you don't learn something from a trial, then that trial was a waste of time and you'll just have to have a similar one again to learn what you were supposed to learn the first time! sooo much easier to learn and love the first time. oh and learn to laugh, as Elder Wirthlin said!
I'm excited for Jon & Nicole! they are great, i love them both and i've always wanted another sister in the family - i felt like the girls were outnumbered in our 5 kid fam. so with Laurie coming and then Nicole, i'm "so stoked", as elder Hinckley said in my MTC devotional.
i hope Dee is doing better - tell that young lady that she is The Best, i'd rather sit and talk with dee than many girls my age, she is just a firecracker; the world's a more enjoyable place when she and her wittyness are around.
and Dad, thanks for the individual mail - i do love to hear from you.
i know what you mean with people dealing with poor decisions. i have this guy we're teaching who i think might have quite a few nervous disorders and possibly mild schizophrenia - he's interesting to say the least. but he also is dealing with those and so is everybody in this world to some degree. thats why i love the Savior!
My teaching is going well and getting better - practice and more practice! and i just want to say i love you, Dad with all of my heart! I'm glad i have you to think of when i relate the words "heavenly father" to someone - I can say i love my Earthly father and i can feel his love almost as much.
which reminds me: prayers we need, please pray for my companion and I for help with what do do with the above mentioned investigator for us to do what Heavenly Father wants us to do, please pray for us to always have the spirit so we know what to do.
we have a lady we will be baptizing on the 25th. she is the nicest lady and has two kids who are just the bomb. she came to church yesterday and loved it, and her kids said they did too.
we have a couple others who had dates for baptism but they've been past because of complications like the woman has to move out of the house (away from the boyfriend) and the other man is having trouble keeping commitments, but also wants to bring his daughter in now too.
well i love you all and i know the church is true - you can see it change people, their very souls and inner selves. there is this investigator with a member wife, who both my companion and I agree he just belongs at church, he has the light in his eyes as well - so we'll ask him to be baptized and i think he just might ask why we didn't ask him sooner. he's a stud - also a really funny guy too.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Well i arrived in the phoenix airport on tuesday and the mission president met us at the airport (with sister Bassett). we went to the mesa Temple's visitor's center, and then over to the mission home for a bit where we learned some stuff and eventually were assigned (after interviews with President Bassett) companions. my companion is Elder Howell, from Rexburg. He's a great elder and trainer and so i am excited. funny though, after we went to our house - which is very nice, i'll explain it later - we started driving to a "referral". i kept asking Elder Howell how we got it but he didn't answer me really anything. so we got there, started teaching this family (the Bennetts) and then about halfway through after some funny questions and elder Howell saying about two sentences and turning it over to me right away (at least 4 times), Brother Bennett revealed they were members and i was duped. it was kind of good - got out the wiggles (some) about teaching right away.
well so our house is way nice - we're with the zone leaders Elder Olsen and Elder Erikson. it's a member's house that they turned over to the missionaries. we have two bathrooms and a sweet backyard with a bball hoop. also chickens (the roosters are way annoying, we have like 7 for some reason so 24/7 crowing) oh and a bunny named thumper (he's the only cool animal). elder Howell and I would normally ride bikes but he hurt his ankle a little while ago so we have the Zone Leaders' car (hehe) for at least one or two more weeks.
well this week was awesome. I'm in the Citrus heights and a little of the Mountain View stake in Mesa. I've got 7 wards in my area and so we are ALWAYS busy with referrals and investigators.
It is great to be on a mission, at dinner last night there was one of the kids who (at the member's house) after finding out i had been out for 5 days said "well you'd better start counting down, two years to go!" in the meaning that like, dang you have that long until you can go home - that stinks. that is not at all why i am here. i wouldn't be anywhere else, if i could be a missionary for longer than two years i would be, and i will be because i know already i'll be forever a missionary after i get back unless i lose track of what's important. this is such important work, and if i felt like i was here because i "have to be" i wouldn't be effective. i can't put in words, i've been trying this whole paragraph but it isn't doing it well enough, how important this work is and how much i am so grateful that i can be here doing it. is there better than being a missionary for the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints? in the words of Brother taylor at the MTC "i don't think so.." and in my own words "I KNOW so". I've only been here a week so i don't know if what we've been doing has been changing our investigators' lives, but i can feel as i'm teaching them and loving them that the spirit is telling me (to everyone so far i've felt it) that they NEED the gospel and they will be happier and all of their problems and trials (that are many with a lot of our investigators) can and WILL be made better/easier to bear with the gospel of Jesus Christ through his atonement. gosh i feel like nephi in 2 ne 33 i think, where he says his writing feels weak and i can't say what i'd like to. well, enough of my preaching to the choir.
so i'm out here for a reason, and you'll understand why if you do what i've done, which is read the scriptures every day for 2+ years, and try to every day learn what i can to better and how i can be a better person. everyone reading this - NEVER let an opportunity to grow or become a better person (which is, if you are having trouble figuring it out: anything relating to the Church and prompted by the spirit. so church every week, scriptures daily, every dumb little meeting or "fireside" or devotional or seminary. what are you doing if you're not doing those things? hmmm.. how should i say this? you are making yourself and your life worthless, meaningless, and less happy. so why do those things? you're right! good you know why - they're dumb so you won't do them.
well i couldn't end on that because that is a little bit of a frustrating part of this life and we're not here to get tired or frustrated either. we're here to be happy. I'm so thankful that heavenly father and Jesus Christ love us - and they do. if you don't think so read the before sentence . and if you still don't read it until you realize that truth, because whether we know it or not they DO love us, and so do I, and this church is so true - the Book of Mormon does bring a man/woman closer to god, more so than any other book. and it might sound funny but were here separated from god so we can get back to him - and i'm so glad we can, i almost can't wait. imagine seeing him and feeling his love. that's why we have to be clean, i couldn't imagine the guilt and anguish if we saw him face to face and remembered all of those things we did that he warned us not to do. i think i would explode. good thing we'll be transfigured! ah once again the church is true. live it, love it.
well after my bantering ( i think i need to write in my journal a little more/better so that i'm not venting so much on email...), i am not feeling that you should pray for any investigators in particular. definitely pray for them though, that their minds and hearts will be opened and know God's plan for them. but i would like to be specific and selfish and ask for prayers for my companion and I. I am the lords servant, but so imperfect. even though the spirit is there at every lesson i am always seeing how i could do better and it's just so much i need to get better at. and i know what you mean dad by the spirit is all that's important. it is true, but it is needful that i feel my weaknesses and also try to get better at saying with more boldness and clarity and also addressing my investigator's needs better with just the lesson (less tangents) and asking questions (better questions) better so that i can get to know my investigators better. so much to do but i know that with the lord's help and your prayers i can do it. ( i could do it with just the lord's help, but your prayers would really speed up and help my process of learning, i know it would).
well we set a baptismal date with one investigator, hope things keep going well. have some other progressing ones too. Church was great and Sunday was great taught 3 lessons! taught like 3 others before that on Saturday - the week was rough, no lessons because of no show's, things happening, etc.
oh and i remembered, i'll close on a sweet experience. There is this less active man and his mother and sister died when he was 14 and his life took a lot of bad turns until he decided to get away from his old life in SLC and moved down here. he basically tears up every time we come over, but he feels so weighed down by his troubled past. we were talking with him and his friend about what ward they wanted/needed to go to, etc.. and elder Howell asked him if he wanted a blessing because he is in a tight situation and doesn't know what to do. he was going to ask us anyways, so you can see how my companion is in tune. he said that whoever needed more experience should do the sealing and blessing part. of course that meant me, which i was hoping wasn't going to be the case. but, because of a different great experience in the MTC i accepted totally. i gave him a blessing and my legs were shaking so much is was scary. but i feel i did well and the lord did get in at least a couple words to him. i feel like it was just what he needed. a very sweet experience like a day or two into my mission. thanks to a great example in the MTC. well i'll end with that - thanks so much mom for sending those letters from Matt, Jordan, and Landon. and i also got my bedding (on wed) so thanks! love you all and talk to you next preparation day (mondays)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
That is really exciting for Geoff, I'm glad to hear he'll be serving. tell you what i feel so much closer to a man but i definitely know i still have so much to learn. i do know by the end of my mission i will have grown so much spiritually and in every other way. which reminds me: Mom, i am getting fed PLENTY well here, i appreciate the love but i really didn't need those food care packages - we anyways got a box full of care package foodstuffs from the missionaries who left last week... whew. but i do appreciate the letters and love from everyone (except rachel who apparently doesn't love me - no wonder i almost didn't give her a hug before i left.) (jk...but only if she writes me). and i will still like the care packages when i get to Mesa i am sure of it. i got other package today, thanks mom. oh yeah back to "growing"
so before the MTC i was in the 158-165 lbs range (fluctuating weekly) and last week when i weighed myself i weighed 175 lbs so i guess 10 lbs? probably more this week, but i don't really look different. I don't i don't look any different. i've felt slow but that's probably because of a small sinus infection this week, luckily i'm on the tail end of it i think. probably be totally fine by tuesday.
i forgot to put them in the prayer roll but i bet you did for the boise temple. which reminds me, i once again went to the temple, and it is the best of course. i'm definitely looking forward to the AZ temples, it would rock if i went to both the Mesa AND the Snowflake ones.
glad to hear Rachel is doing well (indirectly from mom...) take good care of the Pathfinder/Unit-C. (it can be officially called that now because it's "yours" - note the quotation marks - for a while).
Hope Caitlyn is doing well - keep having fun but also remember the important things in life. I know i am SOOOO glad i read and studied the PMG and scriptures before i came here. it was easy to start teaching and focus on getting even better instead of getting better than no good at all. which reminds me: Everyone who reads this i commit (ha my teacher would be proud) you all to read your scriptures every day, at least every night and if you can (try hard) in the morning too. i can promise you from experience that it will make your life infinitely better and happier and what else could you ask for? NOTHING, thats right now read your scriptures.
i learned in mission prep that i actually was NO GOOD at teaching the gospel. i tried in the role plays and frankly i probably made someone go inactive (i'm kidding but i really sensed my inadequacy). i'm glad i learned that then too, so i didn't have to here. The spirit is SOOO much a better teacher, i can truly testify of that with all of my heart. If you're ever teaching without the spirit you should stop and say a prayer or something because without the spirit you are useless. well that's a little harsh: you're mostly useless.. hehe... mostly dead... anyways.
[in reply to dad's letter]
i bet it is busy there, and there isn't a jesse knight hall in the MTC so either they renamed it or you're talking about the JKH at BYU. mine is the addison Pratt hall (could you look up in George Cannon's mission thing and find out if he was a companion or fellow missionary? it said he went to hawaii as one of the first). ha i bet the chasm was a little much for 9th graders at 6 in the morning. oh well. Love you dad
and love you everyone who gets my letters or email - believe me i really do because the spirit allows people to love someone even if they don't even know them. i already love the people in Mesa, ask me how that's possible when i haven't even been there? The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and that is my testimony.