Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Alec: December 22, 2009

Ho ho ho!
It is a wonderful time to labor with all your might in the Lord's Vineyard.

Thanks for the emails and letters and packages - I've received them from most everybody I think (still waiting for the one from Eagle). We appreciate the love. I send a package home and to Logan for Nicole and Jon, hopefully you get it before Christmas. Dusting of snow? We were getting some falling down as we were walking in to do emails - but it's too warm right now to stick so we'll have to see.

Regardless, we will have a white Christmas. A. is all set (had her interview Saturday) for her baptism Saturday night, the day after Christmas. It is neat to see her make such good choices in her life, even against opposition. I will have the responsibility of speaking on the Holy Ghost at her baptism, and we trust all will go well.

Last week was an interesting week. Something not cool happened, we got out late Tuesday night out of a lesson and got into the truck to pull forward and go home, and the back of our truck grazed their 78 Malibu. It was so dark we didn't even see it when we went to leave. Luckily, it is a 78 and all we did to it was buff up the chrome bumper. (They were really nice about it too - joking about it as well). It did scratch our hupcap and bend some of the metal under our back passenger door. So not very cool at all - especially considering all mission rules were being kept. Still annoying... but that was one of the only no-fun things this week.

Thursday we helped do and deliver some Christmas boxes (our district leader came on exchanges with us that day too). I forwarded you the pictures.
We also had some fun tracting. Elder Moa and this guy were talking for like an hour... not quite bible bashing but more like doctrine preaching.
You have to love those interesting people you meet.

Saturday was a great day - A. had her interview, and we went to teach R. and L.. It went very well; we taught about fasting and the beginning of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ (faith then repentance). We are going to fast for her on Sunday so that she will get her answer from God about the truth of our message. She is slightly frustrated she has not gotten it yet - but it might be because prayers are still a little awkward for her and she is not quite sure about God listening/answering prayers. (hence we taught fasting and faith) She really is trying, she asked how she could get faith [that is essentially what she lacks we feel] and we mentioned Alma 32 and talked about the blessings they've been receiving since we've been meeting with them and they've been coming to church. During different parts in the lesson they both were brought to tears, the Spirit was there. So she would be somebody who needs prayers on her behalf.

Mom will be proud of me - last minute I sang in the Heber 1st ward choir for their Christmas program. I noticed there were only 3 men and a normal (14 or so) amount of women, so I told the choir director's husband I would be willing and possibly able. It was fun trying to follow along/sight read "Prince of Peace" and "No Room, No Room". (I don't think I've sung either before).

Yesterday was a great day - we taught A. and talked to/taught this lady named K.. A. is still not getting that there is one true church and that we need to pray to find out which. We'll probably watch a conference talk about it that cannot be misunderstood. K. is a nice young lady who has two little kids. She has been befriended by some of the great sisters in the wards and she really needs the message we share. She has been put off by religion recently and said she wanted to work some things out herself about God. But she said after the new year we could come and teach.

Oh and we got roped into doing a 12 days of Christmas type thing, mom. We had to drop off 3 boxes of food at this family's back porch. We did not hum the "Mission Impossible" theme (Did I do that when we did it back home?) but we did it well anyways.

One last item of business (hehe, I sound like a second counselor in the bishopric or something), we will be calling at 10:00 am AZ time (which is the same right now I think as mtn western time) from T. verizon cell phone. I'll call Mom's, T. said that it is free if it is two verizon phones.

Phew - you guys don't have anything to complain about your missionary not writing enough - my last emails have been genuine epistles. Hopefully I have not bored anybody.

But I wish you all who read this a very Merry Christmas and hope you will ponder (Luke 2:19) upon the meaning of Christmas in each of our lives. The more we remember our Savior the more we will have the Spirit in our lives and receive remission of sins. Love you,

Elder Hoopes

Friday, December 18, 2009

From Alec: December 15, 2009

Hello everyone

Thank you for the letters/cards/packages/emails. This year's Christmas will definitely be a memorable one.

Rachel sounds very busy - when will she have time to read books? that's what I am wondering - that is crazy she did the economic summit already, I remember that in senior year. That doesn't seem that long ago, and yet Rachel just did it. Time goes by quickly, and I almost just quoted Ferris Bueller...

Well, we did not get any new investigators last week - still working with the ones we were before. We taught L. and R. again on Wednesday. It was a good lesson - partly because of a heart-to-heart talk they had. L. was trying to keep the commitments we left with them but R. was holding back still a little. So they had a talk (slightly awkward for us to be there when they did) but whatever happened we know that L. is very interested in the message - and also R's hangup (fear of slipping/messing up again). And when we went by on Sunday they had kept their commitments, so we'll see what happens!

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night were our three ward's Christmas parties, so that was our dinner appointment each night. A. came of course to 3rd wards, but also A. and H., a friend of his. They both liked the party, H. has a baby and I think he especially liked the little Primary kids doing the entertainment. B. came to 2nd ward's party and liked it. It was interesting though, he's like a 50 year old guy (single) and most of the young women in the ward came and sat at his table. So it was us, him, and the Laurels. Slightly interesting/awkward but it actually turned out fine - the girls were outgoing enough Brock felt welcomed (maybe because one of them is our ward mission leader's daughter so she would've got whipped if she didn't, hehe) Of course the rest of the ward welcomed him too. At that party too I got a call from Ty (a recent convert from my last area) he's doing good back at home for Christmas. He also went to 3 of the recent conference sessions! Saturday was 1st ward's party. Only J. and family and a less-active we teach every week came.

Last night we had a district activity/slumber party at the Tenney ranch. Had a good breakfast in the morning so that was good. Yesterday we had ZDM so that was good to talk with President Bassett.

It has been interesting these past few weeks - I have really received quite a bit of revelation through the scriptures recently. The neat thing is that the communication was effectively conveyed - I knew exactly the message that our Father in Heaven wanted me to receive. I think sometimes we can doubt that line of communication and it's effectiveness. But as President B.K. Packer taught us in October: "Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil." We can, if we have the faith in Christ necessary, the sincerity of heart, integrity of purpose or real intent, receive direction and guidance as easily as if we were conversing with our Father face to face. What a wonderful truth that is! We have a line that is free, always open wherever/whenever you are, straight to an omniscient and loving Father. What more could you ask for in a relationship short of personal presence 24/7? Love you all and hope you will take advantage of that ability.

Elder Hoopes

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From Alec: December 10, 2009

Howdy everyone,

Thanks for the emails, and sorry you got this one late - the library was closed all yesterday because of the blizzard on Monday. It started snowing at like 9 a.m. and started sticking at 12 and didn't slow down until some time during the night. We had some evidences of strong wind in the night too - a tree partially blown over behind our duplex, also an armchair thrown into our driveway (I don't know how that happened... that would be some wind to do that). So now we have 4-6 inches on the ground!!!! It is so great to have all of it - I was hoping it would continue but it didn't. All the roads are clear too, so no problem there.

Well P. got baptized on Saturday! It went very well - the Spirit was definitely present and she was so so ready to do it (though nervous she said). And her confirmation went well as well. She is a neat lady - I sure hope she keeps the fire going that she felt start; if she does she will do so well.

Wednesday we taught some new people too - this couple R. and L.. They aren't married yet, but are planning on getting that fixed - though we will have to commit them to set a date for it. She is investigating, he was excommunicated in '93. He seems to be a good guy (he believes it all - the testimony is all there), just need to have him be converted and work his way back finally.

We also taught a girl named A., she is a RM's old girlfriend that lives here. She seems very set on joining the church - A. (the RM) said she mentioned she wanted to be baptized/join the church. She said that in the lesson after I asked her a question - so we set a date for her to be baptized to the 26th. What a good Christmas present! She is a great person, really seems to want to do whats right. She has family that has sworn they would disown her if she 'became Mormon' but she has decided to follow the yearnings of her heart she has had for the restored gospel since childhood (as she basically put it). What a white Christmas and December this will be!

On Thursday we showed "Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration" movie at the church building (that's the one you can watch at the visitors' centers). It went very well - we had about half non-members in attendance (there was just over 20 people there to watch it). A lady we haven't even taught [she came to church one week as a I-go-to-your-church-if-you-come-to-mine deal] was there and Elder Moore said she was teary eyed. But it was great, there is so much we can learn and be inspired from from the Prophet's life and ministry. You can feel it when you watch that movie.

Friday we had a quick Zone conference, as in President and Sister Bassett giving talks, and then we attended the temple with them. That was good.

On Sunday we taught these two girls: Sh. and M.. Sh. is the granddaughter of this very gung-ho missionary work sister, Sister D., and had recent experiences that has softened her somewhat. She decided to take the missionary lessons (she's baptized, but never active) and invited her friend, M., to take them too. They are both very nice people - and during parts of the lesson the Spirit was most definitely there. They felt it too - the only thing was that when I was going to testify of the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith and then probably point out the Spirit being here, Sister D. started talking - she barged in a lot during the whole lesson. The Spirit was there though - we did our most important duty.

This work is real - I have felt so much guidance from our Father in Heaven while I have been on my mission. I have received so much revelation that I will have 4 journals, a study journal, and 17 planners with it in them. Never doubt the ability of our Father in Heaven to speak to us directly. I haven't heard a voice, but I have received revelatory messages to me about either me or the people we are teaching that I knew exactly what was supposed to change. Love you all!

Elder Hoopes

Friday, December 4, 2009

From Alec: December 1, 2009

In the mission field, every day is Christmas!

Hello everyone,

Sorry my last email cut short - I looked over at my time and realized I had 8 seconds left. So I scrambled to figure out what to do - there was no save button, so I just sent it as was. You got most of what I wanted to send though.

Well Thanksgiving was good - we went out to Tenney Ranch to have it, and we stuffed ourselves into a stupor (not really, we helped clean up afterward). It also snowed Sunday morning, and it stuck less than an inch outside - but it was still neat to see our second snowfall (that stuck) this year.

Well, last week was a pretty good week. We taught the Hoopes family, and H. said she wasn't sure what was keeping her from being baptized - probably just not sure in general. On account of illness they didn't make it to church, but we are showing a movie on the Prophet Joseph Smith on Thursday at the church and they have promised to come, as well as most of the others we've invited (we're hoping to have close to 30 people there - of all sorts, investigators/LA/RC/fellowshippers). We are pretty close to being all set for it so we are very excited about it.

We watched 'The Testaments' with the M. family (LA) and it was our last one with them before they went down to the valley for the winter. It was very good for Sister M. (the more LA one), I have always felt that that movie is best for less-actives. I just love the church movies - we hear people surprised and say it's no fun for us that we cannot watch TV, non-church movies, or listen to non-church music. But I love the church movies that are out - every time I watch them. And there is some really good music out there that we can listen to as well.

Saturday was a very good day (even though number wise it might appear otherwise). We helped with a child of record's baptism (though no one we invited to come too showed up), and that was neat. Then we did exchanges so that Elder Moa (our district leader) and Moore could go down to Young to interview P.. She passed, easily I am sure, and so we are getting excited to go down there on Saturday and spend the night so we can attend the branch for her confirmation. She is just on fire. That night too we had a great dinner appointment with the S., an active family - the parents are both the only members in their family (within the last 11 years converts) and we talked about their conversion and the Spirit was there very strong. There is still hope for the rest of the S. family - because of these two awesome people who listened to the Good Shepherd's voice.

It has been very rewarding recently to be out on my mission - I have felt in a very real way that we are being directed where to go and what to say to bring all of God's children unto him through his restored gospel. We had a lesson yesterday morning with an older couple (our RC J's mom & stepdad - K. and R.) who like to talk ALOT. They'll both talk about different topics to us at the same time, and so it is hard to really answer questions and help them understand everything. He is very OK with most religions but has no interest in becoming religious - and she said she would be baptized but she had two things keeping her from it - she smokes and is not married to Richard. And it has been hard to teach them why and mostly they have just said how they don't feel it's a "sin" or something that will "keep them out of heaven". But yesterday morning, the Spirit was there as we answered one of R.'s questions with Alma 34 and used verses 32 & 34 - it was exactly what they needed, as the Spirit bore very powerful testimony to everyone in the room. They might not change, but K. did, in passing, mention "I guess I could stop smoking" at one point later in their conversation. The warning voice has been raised - all we can do now is love and pray!

I pray that everyone who reads my email may have an added determination to keep all of God's commandments and hearken to his Spirit - Because it is what our Father in Heaven so wants us to do because he knows that there lies happiness. Follow Jesus Christ, and listen to his prophets words:
"Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day..." (Alma 7:15)

Love you,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: November 25, 2009

I saw a real live turkey the other day

Hello from Heber/Overgaard, AZ,

I trust everyone is doing well - I know Mom is at least. That was such a neat missionary story mom, you would make a great full-time missionary. Isn't it amazing how the Lord uses us as an instrument sometimes when we don't expect it? That reminds me of one of our Alma Academy scriptures, Alma 26:3, how the sons of Mosiah had been made "instruments in the hands of God" to bring about his great work.

Well we have been doing very well up here. This last week were able to get 3 investigators to sacrament meeting. One is P.a - a very neat lady down in Young. She forgot about our appointment this last Friday and called to apologize. She called us again on Saturday and apologized and also told us of an experience she had this past week. At that time she was having trouble with something in her life and had already been praying and reading the Book of Mormon and asking if it was true. After some prayer she decided to open the Book of Mormon and she said right there as plain as could be stated was the answer to her problem. "I knew it was an answer from God" she said "and he answered both of my questions." So she knows the Book of Mormon is the word of God and we went down to Young (impromptu) to teach her on Monday and we set her baptismal date for the 5th of December. She is so awesome, at the moment she is really on fire. Unfortunately, as she is in Young (1hr drive) we are unable to stop by her except for scheduled events, but she will be watched over according to our prayers and faith, and we have some amazing members in the branch down there.

The Hoopes family was in church too, but stayed only for sacrament meeting. The ward most definitely welcomed them in (they might have even felt a little overwhelmed as lots of people wanted to talk to them - it is a big ward). We'll be teaching them tonight about priesthood authority, hoping to address Heather's concern about baptism and also to commit J. to work with bishop to worthily use his priesthood (and become a priest for now).

B. was the other investigator at church, and it sure was another good sacrament meeting for him. The Spirit was there and the speakers spoke for him (if you know what I mean). We just hope that he can catch the vision that this is not just any church you attend to "congregate" and be religious, This is Christ's church. He's only been to the Baptist church and

(This is where Alec's letter ends, so he must have run out of time:(\

From Alec: November 23, 2009

I'm...dreaming...of a white...Christmas!!!

Hello everyone,

You might guess from my subject title that I didn't get transferred. Both Elder Moore and I are staying in Heber at least until a few days after Christmas (we learn transfer news the day after) so we are both very excited. Hopefully it snows and we have many people dressed in white to make it a white Christmas!

Thanks for the contacts package, Mom - you are the best, oh and thanks, Dad for finishing the family line. I'm not sure which site you were referring to about the family tree, but either way it is neat to learn all of that. I think I will have to sit you two down after my mission and go over your histories and then our family histories.

Well, the work is progressing up here (or down here depending on where you live...) We had P. come to church again (in Young) for the second week in a row since we taught her and also this guy named B. came too and it was a very powerful experience for him (I felt - after the last speaker both him and me didn't want to move or say anything because of the Spirit that was present from the speaker's words). It was actually John Taylor who of the high counselors in the stake. He did say something funny and so we're going to tell president Bassett this: "John Taylor said that a home teacher is more important than a mission president". (He he I understand his message but it is just funny.)

We also were able to teach the Hoopes last night, but at least two (maybe 3) times when we were about to give a firm baptismal commitment we got interrupted, very frustrating. When we finally did get it out she said "no" for now, but they did both commit themselves to come to church which is exactly what they need.

We were able to teach D. on Monday (and by the way I was feeling better from my stomach flu by Wednesday/Thursday), but we think he lost his phone because we haven't been able to get a hold of him (he told us he misplaced it on Friday and that's the last we've heard) so that is frustrating. Satan's favorite tool against generally righteous or good people is procrastination or time to forget.

I hope you got and enjoyed my letter - I had no time to email anymore, but I enjoyed writing it.

One thing I'd like to talk about before I send this off is the steps to repentance. We teach them every time we teach the 3rd lesson and they are great and awesome - they have helped me immensely in the past. But I realized last week that I had not really been using them and was just going about my days without doing much to change my weaknesses and sins. So I decided to use those steps of repentance in my every day little things and they helped so much! When you really consciously repent you can see very instant results (if you're not dealing with addictions or well worn habits) and an outpouring of the Spirit as you strive to change yourself. Elder Eyring's talk at conference about striving to be better - to be like Jesus really struck me. We're here on earth (and still here now) to become better than we are, through the atonement. And as he said - it is not a wish but a commandment, and therefore the lord will help us accomplish it.

I love you all and this glorious restored gospel,

Elder A. Hoopes

From Alec: November 4, 2009

Hi from Heber

Hello everyone,

(Hopefully this works, I'm writing the email after the displayed previous emails that I'm replying to)

Thanks for the package, Mom. I love those newsletters from Sister Burningham. I think I read the whole thing in two days I liked it so much, and yes, those were the right shoes, thank you!

Sounds like everyone is doing just great. This last week since I last emailed has been a relatively uneventful week. Both D. and the Hoopes were out of town so we didn't get any investigators to church - though we did get less-actives and recent converts there. It is still slightly frustrating because we haven't been able to set a date this transfer nor get an investigator to church. So in many ways that can feel like we are making no progress but I do feel that we have been, and if the Lord wills it we can even improve in those areas as well.

Coach S. also "canceled" his lesson with us, by "canceled" I mean "was sleeping so deeply after getting home from school that he didn't wake up when we came by". But when we talked with him later HE actually set up the next lesson and said that he wanted to meet with us again. So hopefully he has some questions and felt something as he kept the commitments (we didn't have time to follow up yet when we talked with him). Unfortunately he had to set the next lesson to next week because this week he will be busy because basketball is starting. But we can't blame him for that.

Saturday we helped the Jones cut some more wood, and had some lunch with the zone leaders and went to the thrift shop here in Heber with them - it was sweet because Elder Pebley tried on a suit and suggested it might fit me. So I tried it on and it fits almost perfectly. It is this sweet (barely worn) Sears suit (light grey with white stripes) I think from the 70's. Man is it awesome! I'm wearing it right now actually. Halloween night was relatively uneventful - we were going to go to the trunk-or-treats (maybe even put on sunglasses and act like CIA agents) but that didn't pan out, so we mostly just made visits - some to our WML's and a less-active.

Yesterday we went to the Temple in Snowflake - man that was great. The Temple is most definitely a place where one can feel the Spirit and the peace that is needed in our lives. Things are so simple in the Temple. Keep the commandments of God given through his prophets and you can be lead to the celestial kingdom. The reason we're emailing on Wednesday is because we were stuck in Snowflake with truck problems until about 5:30.

This week for me has been a tester for me, and I feel like almost all of it (some still was) was not necessarily my own fault, it just happened. But through that I still was helped a few different times by the Lord. That help came from a few different sources; a member's FHE lesson to her children, my Patriarchal blessing, and the Temple.

There is absolutely no possible way that I would be out here on a mission without the total watchful care and loving grace from the Savior, and there is just the same impossibility of me staying out on a mission without those same two things. As much as I knew it was true before and had dedicated myself to serve two whole years, I don't believe that would have been enough to get me through half of my mission. I testify to that truth and with the same conviction I testify that we won't be able "endure to the end" without the constant care of Jesus Christ and his atonement. Some of the saints who crossed the plains said that they wouldn't have survived that hardship without the blessings of the temple that they received in Nauvoo before they left. I feel much the same way with my life and my mission. Love you all very much,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: October, 28, 2009

Hello from snowy Heber

Hey to everybody,

Everything is just great down here in northern Arizona. We just had a snowfall and it stuck on the vegetation and on cars - so we are listening to Christmas music in the truck. Thanks for that genealogy on the Hoopes, dad. I've wondered lots of it because there are many Hoopes down in Arizona and I've always wondered how they were related - and I love family history stories. (Besides I have some wranglers and a straw hat and soon to have a belt buckle so it's good to know that Hoopes is a "western" name) Thank you, Mom, for the package - there must have been at least 12 big cookies in there. You are the best!

Well we weren't able to get any investigators to church this recent Sunday - but we still have been doing very well, Elder Moore and I work together pretty well and we are seeing it in the success we're having.

Last Tuesday we taught a kid named D. (he graduated last year) over at a member's house (who set up the lesson even) and it went pretty well. Just yesterday we had the second lesson with him and it went fantastic. He kept all of the commitments and said he had been praying every night since the lesson - and he liked the things we've taught and accepted more commitments to read (and go on and the soft baptismal commitment without much hesitation. (For those not PMG savvy, the soft commitment: "As you come to know that these things are true, will you follow Christ's example and be baptized?" - usually done in the first lesson) He is a great kid, but if he lets it out that he is meeting with us he might get some flak from family/friends - so we'll keep praying for him. After the lesson last night we went outside to head home and it was snowing!!! Pretty neat to finally see snow again, and it sprinkled all last night. (You can still see some here and there today.)

Last week we also taught Coach S., he is a really good guy - we didn't get to finish the first lesson, but have a return appointment set. He is a social studies teacher so he probably is more interested for the sake of knowledge and curiosity, not necessarily to live a new lifestyle, but he is very open-minded so hopefully he will hearken to the Spirit of God!

On Friday we had zone conference, and was it awesome - by far my favorite ZC of my mission. Many prayers and wishes of mine were answered and the Spirit was very present there - and when we ended the meeting with hymn #2 it was very appropriate. We were taught a lot about finding - the why and who and how, and also how to use baptisms as great finding and conversion activities. President also talked about how to use as a missionary. It was all very very good

Saturday was a great day. We spent the morning in Heber - and went to eat lunch at Bulk Foods (they love us coming there) and there was this other man eating there who struck up a conversation with us, and as it turns out he wants to come to church and us to teach him - pretty neat experience. We'll have to wait a couple weeks because he left the next day (that's what he told us he would do) to South Dakota to go hunting. But that was an answer to prayers and we're both excited for him to come back to Arizona. We also traveled down to young for Saturday night and spent the night down there, and attended the branch on Sunday - it was the Primary Program, always good to watch.

On Monday we were able to teach the Hoopes again (J. and H.), and it went pretty well - they were both very attentive and answered the questions with good understanding. They are both great, just hope that they can really start attending church regularly. J. has a job for at least until spring so they'll be here for a while, which was an answer to another prayer - I personally feel that they are prepared to hear the restored gospel at this time, and pray that we can help them accept it.

So things are going very well, and we can really see the hand of the Lord in our lives and just as much so in the lives of those we come in contact with. This really is his church on the earth, and what a wonderful thing that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to give us this church, so that we can know where to go for salvation and happiness - instead of the free-for-all of opinions and beliefs that most others believe is the way God works.

We need never fear, but have love for all and be faithful to the Lord.

Elder Hoopes

From Dad: October 27, 2009 - A Little Genealogy Lesson

It's exciting that you are teaching some of our cousins! He is undoubtedly related to us through Jonathan Hoopes, jr, who had 6 sons. Here's a bit about him:

Jonathan Hoopes, Jr. and Mary Ann Baldwin's family were living near St. David by 1880 on the "Hill Ranch," having moved from Wyoming. Their 24 year old, "most eligible bachelor" son, George Arthur, fell in love with Charlotte Iris Curtis, whose parents, Joseph Nahum Curtis and Sarah Diantha Gardner, had migrated from Salem, Utah in 1877. Called by Brigham Young to move to Arizona, just before Brigham's death, Dode and Sadie Curtis, as they were known, owned a 160 acre ranch on the San Pedro River, six miles north of Tombstone. (When Tombstone is depicted during its heyday in western movies, we generally don't see the faithful Mormon farmers, like Dode and Sadie, who grew the beans and steaks the gunslingers ate-the whiskey came from Bisbee.)

Apostle Erastus Snow visited St. David and learned that the Saints who settled there wanted to return to Utah because the swampy land was infested with mosquitos, which caused disease. He counseled them that if they would remain faithful to their mission calls, the Lord would make their part of His vineyard more inhabitable. This He did in an unusual way during May 1887. Following a great earthquake, which caused the walls of the adobe school house to cave in while the Curtis children were outside at recess-none were hurt, the swamps dried up. There was no more malaria to plague the faithful Saints who "stuck it out."

Jonathan Hoopes, Jr., took his plural wife, Arthusa Elmer, to the St. George Temple during the fall of 1888 over the "Honeymoon Trail" and came back south to settle in Colonia Juarez, Mexico in 1889, to escape federal marshals looking for "Mormon Poligs." However, Jonathan had moved his family from Mexico to Thatcher on the Gila River by 1892, after which he and Arthusa had 6 more children. Here Jonathan, born in Ohio to Quaker-turned-Mormon parents, lived the rest of his life, died and is buried. His first wife, Mary Ann Baldwin, grand daughter of the Prophet Joseph's dear friend, Caleb Baldwin, (who was imprisoned with Joseph at Liberty Jail) also died and is buried at the Thatcher Cemetery. Mormons founded other towns along the Gila River called Eden, Smithville (later named Pima), and Hubbard. (from "Mormon Coloniztion of Arizona" at www.

Jonathan had 6 sons by Mary Ann Baldwin of whom one was Bert, your great, great grandfather.

We are wonderfully blessed to have you serving in Arizona where so much was sacrifice by our ancestors for the Gospel.

Have a wonderful week!


From Alec: October 21, 2009

Hello from north AZ

Hi everyone,

It has been a good enough week so far, the weather down here has been nice (though a little warm in Elder Moore's and mine opinions - whew that's bad English!) We are just soaking up the cooler temperatures after suffering through the valley summer. Nothing specifically new or exciting happened this week, mainly it was me trying to cope with losing my planner. I didn't lose too much info but it was still annoying.

Thursday was a great day - we did some service for this less-active couple. We helped the brother hang up some drywall in his second story that he's been working on. Then after lunch we headed down to Pleasant Valley to do some work for our Young Branch. We did some service (wood-gettin') to start and made a couple visits. It was good because we were able to share just a couple verses and thoughts, and that is were you get the Spirit as a missionary: teaching. It felt so good just to share those very simple and short things, and I think it helped them to bring the Spirit in. All the Spirit needs is an invitation, and a worthy audience, and the sweet feelings of the presence of the Holy Ghost can be there.

We had a great Sunday - R. (we taught him a couple of weeks ago) came to church to listen to one of his friend's farewell talks. But, like many people new to the church, he skidaddled right after the closing prayer. It was a very missionary-oriented Sunday though (the meetings that we were able to attend), and that always feels good because as a missionary you can feel very ineffective to motivate members to help. Of course there are many that do so so much, and you really grow close to them, but many in the church are a little unsure and shy (I was one of them) and some feel like all they need to do is be an example. Of course our example is the most important thing, our actions speak louder than words, and as PMG puts it in the Christlike attributes section- what you teach and how you teach are important, but just as important is who you are. But at the same time we must be prayerfully seeking opportunities to open our mouths or to serve or to invite. We cannot put our candlestick under a bushel. But enough of my preaching -

I liked your comment, mom, about helping others at church. I was struck in the April 09 conference by something said in a talk, I'm not sure which - I believe it's Elder Oaks one about self-less service. But what he said was that there was a brother he knew who said he no longer went to church to be passive, he was active - basically he went to church for others, he went to be a friendly smile and a handshake, and to always be looking for ways he could serve the people he saw there. That's good advice, I think - and if that were the case for all members I think that no person would ever walk away from an LDS church meeting without feeling better than before. (which is the goal, right?) I think I still need to work on that - but of course as a missionary it is easier to apply that by getting investigators to church.

Anyways - I love you all and hope that you always remember Jesus Christ and what he has done for us all specifically. He is real and leads his church on the earth today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he especially leads his servants that he has chosen to accomplish his latter-day work.

"see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word..." (Alma 37:47)

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: October 14, 2009

Heber-Overgaard says hello

Hello to everyone,

I hear that Boise is getting lots of snow - I think a few people mentioned that to me, is that true? Snow in October is pretty rare, so maybe they heard somewhere in Idaho and assumed all of Idaho got it - after all, there's only like 200 people in Idaho, right? What I hear more often is, "You're from Idaho? Oh, I know someone who lives in Idaho Falls, You must know so and so." And I think, "That's cool, I live on the other side of the state." I guess that hasn't happened up here in Heber much - but city folk do it lots.

Anyways - things are going pretty well. Elder Moore and I are getting along fine. It is lots cooler up here but we both love it - we were just out last night and it was 63 outside and it felt so nice. Though there have been a couple times where it feels a little like home (because of the weather) and so I got the closest I have to feeling homesick, but it's so slight it didn't bother me.

We had a good week last week - got 3 new investigators, which is nice considering D. S. went back to Globe for the winter. I already talked about H. and J. Hoopes, I think, but then we taught (Tuesday night) a woman named K. and this kid named R. They were both there and the lesson went pretty well (it was the first lesson Elder Moore and I taught together). R. is 17 and so seemed to just want to learn - though he did accept the commitments. K. seemed to just eat up the lesson, and totally accepted everything enthusiastically. We just hope that her husband can have the same desire too - he used to not like 'church' at all but has expressed some interest. K. said that she was concerned whether or not his interest was for the right reasons, and they aren't living together for a little while at the moment - so I could see what she might possibly mean. If he was gung-ho, I think she would be baptized for sure.

Well, I would have more to tell you about last week probably but I lost my planner yesterday (despite our many efforts to find it) so I don't remember anything that is too interesting, except for General Conference!

It was great - the only not cool thing was that we were doing service on Saturday so we missed the two sessions. Luckily they record on VHS the sessions at the church so a couple times so far we just take our lunch to the church and watch the General Conference we missed. There were some amazing talks, and I can't wait to get the Ensign and CD's when they come out. I sincerely believe that if all the members of the church obeyed with exactness, and with the Spirit, the advice that we are given at General Conference, that the city of Zion like Enoch's would again be established.
Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Hoopes

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From Alec: October 26, 2009

Hello everyone!

Things are going well here in Heber-Overgaard. We just had transfers yesterday and Elder Dursteler was sent down to be in the same district I used to be in, Maricopa North Stake. I got Elder Moore from Kaysville, UT and he has been out for 11 months now. He is (as far as I've been able to tell!) a good missionary and we should have some fun and success here in north AZ.

Last week we talked to lots of people, which was our zone leader's goal and desire. Though we didn't get to teach much, so last week was relatively uneventful, except for Thursday when we helped M. H. (our WML) out on his ranch doing shipping. That is when they sort, weigh, and ship their calves off. Man that was fun - I helped at the end after they were weighed to help keep the heifers and steers separated. D. S., our investigator who helps out at the Hancock Ranch (that's how he was introduced to the church) said that we can call me a real cowboy now (his qualification was that I had stepped in "that guacamole", if you know what I mean). But it was dern fun.

Then conference weekend, man I love conference! The only not-cool thing is that we were doing service all morning for a less-active family on Saturday so we virtually missed both sessions. We'll get them on CD and listen to them in the car as soon as we can. But we made the Sunday sessions and it just reaffirmed how truly awesome conference is. That is the time in which we can hear from our Prophet and his counselors and the twelve apostles! Now you might be saying "no duh, elder" but the fact that we have a living prophet on the earth is such a blessing, and it was so important that Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ personally came to start this new dispensation when they called the boy Joseph Smith to be the first prophet of the Restoration.

This Monday we helped paint a less-active's house all day pretty much, but then we went and taught the Hoopes family, yep - J. and H. Hoopes, this younger couple. It's pretty weird when I write them down in our plans because when I see "Hoopes" I think "hey, that's me!". J. is a less-active member who wants to get into the church, and his wife, H. was at church and had no problem with J's grandfather (Bro W.) blessing their new baby. So she is willing to listen and we'll see if she's willing so seek, ask, and knock! Afterward we went to hear the Elk 'bugle' with M. H. That was very neat - we just drove out into the wilderness area and stopped to listen. We saw some pretty close and some were no further than 100 feet when they were bugling. (be-u-gle is how you say it, I think I spelled it right...)

Then after transfers on Tuesday, we had a lesson at the Carroll's house (they're way cool) and taught K. and also taught a kid named R. K. really took hold of the things we were teaching and we're just hoping her husband can be interested and want to join (she said he is, but she's not sure if for the right reason). Hopefully R. can receive faith in Christ as we teach and he keeps commitments!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Hoopes

Thursday, October 1, 2009

From Alec: September 22, 2009

Hello Everyone,
It's almost General Conference!!! We are way excited for that to come - it is such an amazing time that we have to listen to what really makes our religion Christ's true and living restored church. Even with the Book of Mormon we're not too different from most Christianity (the BOM and Bible are very similar, considering they originate from the same time period) except the fact that we claim, rightly, that we have a Prophet (and others) who has the authority to run the church directly from Jesus Christ himself. By the way - it is a great thing to invite people to, a very good missionary tool. You can rely on the fact that there are people who would be curious to hear what our prophet has to say.

Anyways, things are going pretty well here - last week was the first normal week that we had since the 2nd week of the transfer (weeks 3 & 4 were crazy). We also had two exchanges. On Monday we had our district leader, Elder Harrison come - that was a good day, he is a great missionary. Then on Thursday we had one of our Zone leaders, Elder Coffman, come with us. That was very awesome too. Then Friday was ZDM (zone development mtg). That was great - had some good instruction and it is always good to have an interview with President Bassett, he is just a great person.

Saturday consisted of getting ready for J's baptism. It went great too - J got baptized and everything went just smoothly. It was all her decision too, as was her coming to church 3 weeks in a row now. Her confirmation was great as well. Now that whole family (two sons and J) is baptized, which is a very good thing.

We had a great opportunity on Sunday as well - in 1st ward we got to pass the sacrament, and that was the first time since I was a deacon (I don't think I ever passed as a teacher) to do so. I loved it, you really gain an appreciation for the sacrament as a missionary. You try to bring investigators to it and it is directly linked to the main thing we are focused on - the covenant of baptism.

I also had an increase in testimony on the principle of fasting. This last Sunday I fasted for D. - because we don't really know (not that we don't have faith it can or will - we do) how to help him have the faith to make the right decisions in his life (i.e. baptism). We trust it will happen as we teach with the Spirit and are led by it, but at the moment we don't know. So 3rd ward fast and testimony meeting this Sunday was probably the most powerful one I have been in. I didn't even think about it until halfway through that it was an answer to my fast and prayer for him. He then stayed for Gospel Doctrine and that class was a very Spirit-filled class as well. One of the better ones I've ever attended. It was on the saving of souls (as taught by President Young in SLC) in relation to the pioneers and their story (so the handcart companies' story was part of it). If there's something that needs the extra help, for example something that you have need help overcoming in your personal life, then fasting is a great option. It has helped me quite a bit along the journey of my life.

Well, Love you guys and hope that you have a great week preceding and following General Conference!

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: September 15, 2009

Well, these last couple weeks have been interesting. I think I mentioned how last week was busy and crazy (not missionary work wise, just crazy)
We were down in Snowflake to go to the Temple on Tuesday, then got back to Heber. Our vehicle coordinator told us we had to take our truck in (our brakes were no bueno) to Snowflake, so we traveled back Tuesday night to stay in Snowflake and take her in the next morning. Well, yada yada our car is not ready until Thursday morning at 8:30 am. So we had to stay with the Elders in Snowflake (I was in Taylor) the whole Wednesday. We didn't even get out proselyting until Thursday late afternoon (We HAD to do laundry before we could do anything else).
But it was an ok week because:

J., this eternal investigator (her kids were baptized) set her own baptismal date! We went over on Saturday night to talk with her and asked her what she wanted out of the church/us coming over and she went off about how she really needed to come to church and be baptized. Elder Dursteler and I were like "ok....!" Then the next morning she was at church and that was the first time Elder D ever saw her at church. Then on Tuesday we went and met with her (our WML Bro Crandell came too) and she set her date herself; we said these are the open days and she picked. So September 26th (yes, this Saturday - this meeting was last week) should be her big day. It had been difficult to set the time because there is lots going on on Saturdays at the church, but with the Lord's help it will work out! She is awesome and we have seen a change in her since she decided to come to church (twice now!) and be baptized. She just seems happier and more at peace with herself.

A not too happy note - S. and J. had to move to Show Low. The forest ranger came out and said they'd have to leave - they were camping out. So they left yesterday/today. He'll most definitely get baptized over there though, so we're not worried. It really was for the best because there are no spare jobs in Heber. Not one. So for them to get anywhere they'd have to move to a bigger city. Yesterday was great - our district leader, Elder Harrison, came out on exchanges with us. It was a very good day - we only taught one recent-convert lesson, but we talked to everyone we saw and plus (tracting) and did what we could the whole day.

We were listening to a General Conference CD the other day (We got a few of them - they are great for long drives). Elder Eyring gave a talk about gratitude and remembering what the Lord had done for us. He made a commitment to himself (it was a commandment from the Lord actually) to write down in his journal what the Lord did for him and his family that day. He mentioned an interesting thing happened - over and over when trying to think of what he should write down he would realize a blessing from the Lord that in his busy frame of mind had gone unnoticed as a tender mercy. An increased sense of gratitude and love happened as he saw truly how much Heavenly Father's hand was in his every day. That is something that I think would be the same for everyone if they sincerely did the same thing. I know that in nightly prayers I have thought about how we were helped in our teaching and finding that I didn't really think about in the moment. Another amazing thing is that I have received revelation as to what we needed to do better as I asked a question and then pondered and listened. Revelation is a real thing, and all we need to is ask, seek, knock and especially: listen. Our Father in Heaven loves us soo, soo much and is constantly doing everything he can to get us to do what is right.

I just started reading the Book of Mormon again and in 1 Nephi 7:12 I was struck by something. Nephi here is chastening his hardhearted brothers, and he teaches something very tender:

"Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him."

I never caught how it is the lord's will that we are faithful - and if we follow his will and are faithful and righteous, then he is able to bless us according to his will. He just wants us to do what is right so we can be happy.

"Wherefore, let us be faithful to him..."

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: September 8, 2009


We just got back from Snowflake after staying there the night, attending the temple, and then doing a zone activity. So I am tired - this might be a short email. Elder Dursteler and I and two other missionaries actually did baptisms for the dead this time. It was very neat - you can feel that some of the people who's names were read were either present in the room or full of joy up in the Spirit World.

Well, this last week in Heber was a very interesting one. We had very low numbers because we were busy running around to service, S. & J., weekly planning, zone conference in Payson, or other craziness. S. & J. were really having a hard time - very frustrated with life in general and how they were trying so hard to make it but just not doing well. So we spent lots of time with them this week.

We did also meet with an investigator named D. - he is a very neat guy. he's a ranch-hand who has been coming to church for a while. He grew up and went to Catholic school and has not had a very good experience with organized church nor church leaders, so he is having trouble with faith in anything at all. But he does love the members and the way he feels at church, so we'll be praying for his heart to soften and that he will come to know Christ through his restored Gospel - because that can heal up his wounded heart like nothing else could even compare.

It's an interesting thing to think that I reached my year mark recently - it hasn't weirded me out at all. I'm like Jon in that I won't really get nervous or feel any emotion about anything until it comes, so that is how it is right now. But it is good to look back and think if my mission has been what I desired it to be, if it was what I desire now, and most importantly if it has been what the Lord wanted out of me. I feel like there are many things to be changed, much repenting to be done, much like the prophet Joseph Smith talked about "Search your heart to see if it is like God's; I have searched mine and feel the need to repent."

I love this Gospel and I know that it is the fullness of Jesus Christ's Gospel because only he could have done what has been worked in my life and in my heart. His servant, Thomas S. Monson has truly been called to be the prophet - and by hearkening to his words we can come closer to the Kingdom of Heaven and its happiness. This has been revealed unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost. I still cannot believe that I have such an amazing gift. I just hope that I can live up to its standards and be the servant the Lord desires of me.

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: September 1, 2009

Hello everyone,

Well - the reason I am sending emails today is because yesterday was very crazy. Not only the preparation day part of it but even afterwards. I won't send any details because we have to be quick - we have lots we have to do today. Thank you for all of the love, sending emails and also everything for my birthday too. Next year I'm going to be a twice-uncle, eh? I'll send an email next week to you guys, but congrats Jon & Nicole!

Well, Heber is still a beautiful place. You'll get a picture CD soon (I'm making it tomorrow when we're in Payson) and about half of the pictures I have taken here are of the sky - it is almost always stormy here and it makes for some beautiful pictures.

We are working hard to teach and find new people, as our investigator pool is alot shallower here. We are working with this couple, S and J. They are great people, J is a less-active member who has started coming back while S is meeting with us. We have a baptismal date set for him for September 30th, and the only thing keeping him from it is smoking. They are really having a hard time right now though - they are "residentially challenged" as S puts it. Basically they are camping out in the woods because they do not have a home. They have a tent and a truck (though the truck is really giving them problems) but it is very difficult for them. Luckily, the people in the ward are amazing and have been helping so much. Just keep them in your prayers.

We're heading down to Young today, which should be fun - I love going down there, there are such great people down in that little valley. We won't be able to visit J (our new investigator down there - he is awesome!) because he will be out of town, but we should be able to teach some recent converts and do some good hopefully!

We'll also be meeting with this investigator I have only met so far - D. He lives in Globe but comes and works on a member's ranch out here. He has been coming to church very regularily, and he just feels (this is what Elder Dursteler told me) that baptism is a very big step, and he seems very nervous about himself. But he is a great guy, and we'll try to help him understand that he can do it, with Heavenly Father's help.

Well, you would be very jealous, Dad - we met with this great couple and visited with them (They are very nice, but we're not to where we can teach them yet). The neat thing was though, that before we left, M. gave us a ride in his truck - a restored '48 chevy pickup. Man that was neat - he had me start it actually. You'll see the pictures.

Well I'll just close with my testimony - our Father in Heaven is mindful of all of us, and all he wants us to do is to have joy in this life, but even more so to have joy with him in Eternal Life. I am reminded of how much He loves us when I read Jacob 5. There is a verse in which the master of the vineyard, when he sees his trees becoming wild and bringing forth bad fruit, even after all of his struggling, weeps and says "What more could I have done for my vineyard?" He has given us this gospel, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have a living prophet today so that we are not left alone to our own intelligence to try and figure out how to be happy, and what the purpose of life really is. Jesus Christ lives, and this is his church today - that is why it is so important that we share it! love you all,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: August 25, 2009

Hello everyone,

Things are going well in Heber - it is a very much different place than Mesa. No huge city-ness. The temperature is like 50's-80's at this time of year. It was 86 when we were driving up to do emails. Lots of hills and pine trees too. It is a nice place - we cover three wards, Heber 1, 2, 3rd Wards- and then also a branch in a little valley community called Young. (We have to travel about 1 hour to Young from Heber - though it isn't as far as that sounds distance-wise because about half of that is dirt road that is windy and sometimes rough. We wouldn't have been able to do some of the work we've already done with a car - it would have died. Our White Chevy Colorado is exactly what we need. We had to use 4 wheel drive on the way down and when we were in Young. The branch is great though, we spoke at sacrament meeting on missionary work. It was great too because we went down on Saturday and had a lesson with this guy named J. who is staying with a convert of a few years. He is great - the Lord knows exactly what we all need and knows his children, especially those who are ready that they will receive the guidance and truth they can handle/desire. We'll be heading back down to Young on Wednesday - I'm excited to teach J. again. We don't really cover any reservation, though we do cover Heber and to the little valley community called Young and everything in between so we could technically cover some. But we have no reservation wards or anything.

It has been a little bit of a shock to be up here - I didn't think it would be because I was just excited to have a change of scenery and go up north, but it is very different up here - the people are different to a degree (of course the church and love is the same) and being in a truck the whole time is very different. Our teaching pool isn't necessarily smaller, but for some reason it feels like it - I think it is because new investigators are harder to come by as we just don't get as much of a chance to do street contacts, and there are no apartments - everyone is lots more spread out, the only thing close to an apartment is trailer parks, and those are few too. I'm greenie-breaking Elder Dursteler, he's been out for about 2 transfers, and he is a good missionary who loves the people - which is all that really matters.

We have this couple named S. and J. - J. is a member but has never been active. We have a baptismal date for S., though we'll probably have to push it back to be sure he is keeping the word of wisdom (he is trying to quit smoking). They are actually homeless in a way - they are basically camping out the whole time (they have a tent and a truck and stuff - but no home or anything). But we have already seen the Lord bless them spiritually and temporally as they have obeyed the gospel. We have a few others but I haven't got to know them well yet - as there are a few out of town at the moment and the others we haven't been able to teach yet.

I have realized this week how important it is to be positive. Fear and doubt are negative and do nothing good, and attitudes change the courses of people's lives. Getting down on oneself or dwelling too much on our weaknesses (we should try to identify and remember them - they are there to keep us humble) without the focus that with Christ's help those things can be made strong. That is such a key thing, because the only way we can change or make weaknesses strong is to let Christ change us as we exercise faith in him and do what he asks of us. If we want to be happy we must to things that bring us happiness. Love you guys - thanks for all the love, packages and messages!

Elder Hoopes

Rachel - block schedule? Whats that mean? I can't believe you have Ms. Taylor - that is one crazy woman. She is awesome and a good teacher - and I enjoyed that class even though I disliked about 95% of the literature we read (not counting the ones where we got to choose what we read - I liked all of those ;) Didn't you do the outline for Siddhartha for me? I remember asking you to help me outline because you could do it faster and I read so slow when I outline. I bet that will come in handy!

From Alec: August 11, 2009


Thanks for the packages!!
Rachel a senior? weird, very weird. Time flies. p.s. Rachel - if you wanted to get me a birthday present you could burn me a copy of the Best Two Years movie soundtrack - I cannot find that anywhere and it is awesome.

soooo I got transferred to a little place called Heber, Arizona - if you want to look on a map it is central/north(ish) Arizona close to Snowflake and Show Low. I just got here about 3 hours ago so I don't know much yet. My new companion is Elder Dursteler from Kuna, ID. (yep) I think he lived in Wyoming before that too. So it's about 70 degrees up here in Heber - and raining right now. It's a very pretty area and I wouldn't be surprised if I got snow while I am here. We are in a truck! and our apartment/duplex thingy is very nice.

Well, there is alot going on in my head right now, and I can't remember any stuff from last week - so this will be a short email.

This life is such a short span of time, and the thing that I've found in life that is of the most value is your personal health (spiritual, emotional, and physical) and your relationships. There are some amazing people out there. A good thing to do is to try and cultivate love in all of your relationships. Shakespeare once said "They do not love that do not show their love". I thought that was profound.
Well, I love you all,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: August 4, 2009

Hello everyone!

Well mom, I am glad you got to do some service for Danna and J. When you really serve someone when they just really need the help it feels very rewarding. Not that that should be the reason you serve, but it is a natural byproduct.

Well, it is still hot in Arizona. And it isn't very cool when your Camelbak starts leaking, so I have to use this cheap other one that doesn't let you get enough water when you try to drink it until I can contact the warranty department for my other resevoir. At least I still have one though.

Well, L. had a hard time again - her baptism was cancelled last minute and she will be trying to move out of the bad apartments she is living in. But she is still very willing to meet with us (she actually just called us a few minutes ago) and keep coming to church. She is a strong lady to keep pushing through despite bipolar disorder, seizures, and Satan (and his angels) working against her. She still has alot to learn and apply but she's trying, which is all that is important. I guess that before sentence applies to everyone on the earth - so we just need to be patient/diligent and loving.

We had a huge 3 lesson meeting (in one block) with J. and R.. I think it might be one of the only lessons ever to begin with watching the movie Johnny Lingo. Oh man that was hilarious, Johnny was cracking up with the quotes like ("Mohanna you ugly!" and "Mohanna's face will crack the glass!"), though R. wasn't. It wasn't our idea - Wayne Taylor our WML there, who is their fellowshipper, threw it in. Elder Morgan and I have been quoting it every day since then. That day we set a baptismal date with them too - they are so awesome and responding to the Spirit. The date is all the way into September - hopefully even if I get transferred (transfers are next week) I'll be able to come. President should let me because they want me to give a talk in their baptismal service.

Kind of a sad/scary thing - we haven't heard anything from A. since her passed baptismal interview. This same thing did happen early on in teaching her though - so I won't be surprised to see her call us one day asking if we've forgotten her... We've either called or stopped by like every day so far.

Anyways, we also had a handful of people that might be potentially awesome investigators - two of them we met when they were at church on Sunday. That is always a good sign!

This last week I have remembered the importance of being close to and worthy of the Spirit. I felt a little good feeling about going back into this apartment complex square to talk to this guy and we said hi and he asked us a question. It ended up being a very good thing for this guy who didn't know very much about our faith (he is from TN) including the people he was visiting who aren't LDS, but seemed on our side as they told him how much respect they had for us because they know we would help them move if they needed it. Just a cool thing - the Spirit, prayer, and covenants are the only things that connect us directly to our Father in Heaven at this stage of our eternities. Thus it is so so important to be close to the Spirit - because it is through the Holy Ghost that prayer and covenants come alive into real things that have the power to change eternities. I love you all - hold tight to those three things. (I guess scriptures/word of God are a link as well - I forgot that, but they're none the less important!) Love all of you,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: July 28, 2009


Thanks for the updates, Dad. I love to hear what is happening up there. Glad Bishop Stewart is doing so well, he really is a great man.
Mom is busy? that's abnormal...
If you remember right, Dad, I did like you reading to me - it's just I got too busy when I was in high school and Rachel was always against it.

I'm emailing early because we'll be having a zone activity at 1:00 today. which is a huge homemade slip-n-slide. It will be fun...but for about 15 minutes. Elder Morgan and I will probably spend the rest napping because of the 5:30 am temple session - it still was great. I do love the temple, wish we had more time to be there - but I guess that's for after the mish.

Well, things are going very well here. We had two baptismal interviews this last week - one for L. and one for A. They both passed (they are both awesome, both gave up smoking the same month we taught them about it). The only thing is, L. stayed with her Dad over the weekend because her window got smashed in, and she didn't make it to church for some reason. We haven't been able to get a hold of her either, so we can easily assume Satan is predictably doing his best to spread unhappiness.
Also A. wasn't at church either - I think it was because she was helping her mom move on Sunday. So if that is the case it's a legit reason but we haven't had contact again since Saturday. I think the most annoying thing in missionary work is when you lose contact with people. Because you just don't know what is going on in the least - and there is nothing you can do (besides keep attempting contact) except wait for them to contact you.

There was a cool thing at church - R. and J. came to all three hours (usually they can only come to the last two - sacrament meeting is hard with the grandkids they bring). And after Sacrament meeting they talked with Bishop Clanton and they kept talking for about 20 minutes. Bishop definitely talked with them about baptism (he asked me as I passed if we had told them it is a beginning not an end) and it seemed like an awesome conversation. At the end of Sunday school, R. told me they want us to come over and teach them everything again in one day. Like a huge lesson. We'll see what happens! They are so awesome, we both want the best for them.

We had a cool experience with J. and S. We've been trying to get them to read the Book of Mormon for the whole time I've been here, and also tried getting them to church. If you had a vision, like the tree of life one Nephi had, about us teaching them, it would consist of Elder Morgan and I beating them over the head with the Gold Plates. Why does it seem so hard to get someone to do something that will make them happy? But of course, it doesn't matter what we do, the only thing that will compel souls to do good is the Spirit sent by our Father in Heaven. It's not us. That fact is comforting, as well, for the missionaries. It doesn't matter how skilled or smart we are; what really matters is if we are humble and faith-full so that the Spirit can work through us. That is the beautiful thing about this earth experience - I love you all,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: August 7, 2009

Hello everyone,

Things are going well here in Mesa. Thanks for the email, Dad. By the way - I met someone a while back who was related to Terry Hoopes, and I remember dad mentioning something about an Uncle Terry. It is a small world (especially when you're LDS). Oh and thanks Dad too for the advice. With all of those campouts, I bet you're not only happy to be back at home in a nice bed but also able to get some good rest.

We are doing well - Elder Morgan is a great missionary, it has been so awesome to serve with him. It makes you feel good to see a missionary you've served with teach with the Spirit.

Some heavy/tough things - L. had the devil trying everything to keep her from baptism [long story, ask when I'm home] (Elder Morgan and I think that with how hard Satan is trying to thwart her conversion that her son must be destined to be a general authority or something). Also M. isn't doing well, he's putting a little too much emphasis on the human intellect and not on the heart, he needs prayers right now.

Happier things;
D. called us to say he was safe in Texas, and that while he was speaking to us, two sister missionaries were walking up to the house. He is awesome, hopefully his wife's heart can be softened.

We've been trying to get this guy, A., to let us teach him and his family - and that should happen tomorrow (even though I'll be on exchanges, not cool) and then he promised that just for us he would come to church this sunday. He said he never goes to any church but he'll come at least this once. He is a great guy.

A. is doing great - though she was was sick so she missed church.

This last week we taught some great people. On Saturday, we taught T. He has come to church two weeks in a row now, and I love being in lessons with him. He seems so open and really ready to do things. All the ward members that introduce themselves to him all come back to us and say how nice of a person he is. Hopefully he can hearken to the Spirit as he keeps commitments. This gospel is really what he needs in life, of course as everyone does.

We also were able to sit down with J. and R., we watched the movie "Together Forever" with them. That movie brings such a good spirit to the home where it is playing, you could just tell their house felt different. The grandkids quieted down quite a bit too, but that probably was helped by all of the coloring books I whipped out. Still, there is peace in the Spirit. And it is kinda sad to see the things/beliefs that people are unwilling to give up, when in reality it would make them so much happier to accept the advice of our loving Heavenly Father through his ordained prophet. Doing that is the only way anything will last, even those good things in life (such as family relationships, the good feeling from accomplishing something, etc...) cannot last unless they are done according to the ways our Father in Heaven has chosen (that's why he's chosen them). But how much more amazing is it to see the penitent sacrifice their will for a higher cause, and choose happiness and eternal life. Never fear or doubt, only have faith in what Heavenly Father has revealed unto us.

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: August 7, 2009


It is hot down here, but it really isn't too bad when you have such modern things as sunscreen, sunglasses, camelbaks, AC houses of people when you teach them. How are things going up there? I know the weather is beautiful.

Things are alright down here - T. got the priesthood and he gave a short talk in sacrament meeting two days ago, and apparently it was really good. (We had to be to our other ward).

D. finally came to church!! A big reason was because he is moving to Texas and he felt it was something he had to do for us. It was great, the people at the ward were awesome and he participated in Gospel Doctrine class (we had someone ask us if he was a member) and it was, as he said, a great experience for him. Hopefully he will start going to church regularily with his LDS in-laws.

We had some big downers on Friday and Saturday as we had like 10 lessons fall through. So lots of wasted time and really very little to show for it, but that is alright. A. and D. (her BF or husband, we still can't figure out which - next lesson = law of chastity to figure out once and for all) came to church. Apparently D. liked it so hopefully they can both keep coming. It is so awesome - they used to be fighting alot but A. said that now that she's been coming to church she just doesn't care about the little things or getting the last word in anymore, and so the arguements have slowed down. They are awesome, A. and her two kids came with us to FHE with one of our ward missionaries. It was great.

I am in the book of Helaman in the Book of Mormon, and in Chapter 12 someone (I think Mormon in his abridging) is lamenting about how quick to do evil are the children of men. He says it so well:

"Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. "

All he wants is to guide us through the mists of darkness and into his fullness of joy, one step at a time. But all to often we will not that "he should be [our] guide". We let things distract us and listen to the enticings of the evil one. Sometimes too we dig ourselves into a hole with complaining or feeling that we are entitled to an easy way if we do what is right. I can't remember which of the Brethren said it, but in this recent general conference (either Elder Hales or Oaks I think) a talk mentioned how dangerous and unsteady feelings of being entitled are.

But all we need do is be blessed ; (Hel 12:23)
"Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved."

As we go about this life, we will learn line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. We need to slowly learn what is lasting, what is good, what is true, and how to always act accordingly. That's why we're here, and that's why I'm here in Mesa.
Love you all very much,

Elder Hoopes

Monday, July 27, 2009

From Alec: July 20, 2009

Thank you for all of the emails and letters,

Things are going well here - we've been having some neat weather, the past few nights have been some major monsoons. I was woken up (Mom will understand from that that it must've been big to wake me up) at 4 this morning because of the thunder. It was pretty ridiculous, I didn't get back to sleep until 5 or so. There has been lots of rain. Personally, it think it is sweet - some awesome lightning and I have always liked rain, and today is sooo cool compared to what it used to be, so "I likes it".

Thanks for the updates, Dad - I love hearing about everyone and what is going on with them. For transfer news Elder Morgan and I finished up our first week of the transfer this Sunday - we will be together in the same area for at least 5 more weeks now, but judging how fast the past two transfers have gone I can imagine it will feel like tomorrow is when I'll be up for the boot again.

This last week was great - we taught so many lessons it was awesome. Met some amazing people and so hopefully we can help them understand how to "live after the manner of happiness which is according to the commandments and exhortings of our Heavenly Father". T. got baptized on Saturday. Everything went very smoothly, we had the water at the proper level this time, and the meeting was full of the Spirit of reverence and love. His confirmation went well and he is just a great kid. L. has her baptism date set for the 8th of august and A. has hers set for the 15th. They both are awesome so we'll be prayerful for their spirituality and progression towards becoming like Christ.

We helped some investigators move yesterday. They are so awesome and will totally get baptized and be amazing members - Elder Morgan and I love them they are cool people. But they moved out of our area so we spent 8-11 yesterday helping them move. It felt good to help though I was so tired afterwards!

Just one thing recently that I've been thinking about - it really makes so much sense that this is Christ's restored gospel. The more I read of the New Testament I am more fully converted that the Savior not only directed those first apostles, but he is the living head of the church today and he is, in fact, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Of course it is the same when I open the Book of Mormon and read of the plain and precious truths that are there before our eyes. What a treasure it is! Also as I read from the Old Testament and the Doctrine and Covenants, and all teachings of modern prophets. Especially, as I strive to represent our Savior in diligence and faith, I see him directing us. I am reminded of Isaiah's words in chapter 61:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."

It is so rewarding when we find those meek of the earth, who are willing to chose happiness over misery and the world. There is no reason for us to not have the peace and hope that the restored gospel brings, save for the pride we have in our hearts. I'll sign off with Romans 16:19 "I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil"

Be meek!

Elder Hoopes

From Dad, Mom and Rachel: July 20, 2009

Dear Alec,

Your mother is frantically getting ready for girl's camp. This year all the camps - girl's camp, scouts and high adventure - are the same week. Your mother and I are going up tomorrow to girl's camp and in the evening we will take part in the faith walk. It will be wonderful. We are to play the roles of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and charge the girls before they leave for their lives on earth. Your mother will talk to them about their gifts after I review the Plan of Salvation. Your mother, of course, will be great. Then I go to Scout Camp for a day and then on the High Adventure for 3 days. I won't sleep in a bed for 4 nights.

Do I recall correctly that this is transfer week? Let us know asap where you have been assigned. Leaving an area in which you have worked so long is hard, but moving and having a fresh start is very motivating as well.

The ward is doing well. During the summer things are a bit quiet (except for the camps) because so many people are going on vacations. It felt last winter like we had a real momentum in the ward, but then conference came, which was great, followed by several other activities and it feels like we have not gotten back into sync yet. Brother McDonald is the new Young Men's President and he is doing a great job. Brother Cowley is tearing up as the Elder's Quorum President and Bro. Zarian as the High Priest Group Leader. And you can't even think of anyone better as the Relief Society President than Sister Rasmussen. All the auxiliaries are doing great as well. My biggest job is to get out of the way because everyone is so dedicated. It makes me feel very regretful about all the years I was a slacker. The Lord forgives, however, and accepts even our smallest efforts.

Rachel went up to camp today as a YCL. The YCL's hiked and will camp out tonight. I'll be driving up tomorrow to set up camp for the rest of the girls which will be a great experience. The camps are potentially a huge force for good in the lives of the youth and we are so blessed in this Stake to have such an active youth program.
All the other kids are doing well. Your mother will be leaving for 10 day starting next week to visit Danna and Jay and to help them move to their new home. He will be starting the residency in Cleveland in anesthesiology which is exactly what he wanted to do, so we are very happy for them. Several weeks after she comes home your mother and I will be visiting Ben, Laurie and Elliott in Minnesota. Elliot is a hoot - last Sunday Ben asked him his name in French and Elliot replied in French with the proper accent. Then he asked him his name in English and Elliot replied with "Elliott" in an American accent. It was very cute. Anyway, he is quite the bilingual little guy.

Karene is very busy with her work. A pharmaceutical product she has been working for the last 2 years was approved by the FDA yesterday so she is going to be very busy, which is great in this economy. And Jon and Nicole are doing great. We are hoping to get down and visit them later this summer.

We love you and your mission. The guys you have been teaching will either come around on their own or not - you have done all you can do. The Lord loves them and He will guide them - but they have to listen.

Have a great week,

Love from Dad, Mom and Rachel

From Alec: July 16, 2009


This is Elder Hoopes reporting from 112-degrees-land. For transfer news - both Elder Morgan and I are staying. So this will be our third transfer together. That is really surprising considering that is the first time I've had a companion for more than one transfer...again. Also after this transfer I'll have been in this area for 4 transfers, which is as much as I've been anywhere else (this is the beginning of my 8th transfer). The people here are great and there is lots and lots of potential for people to teach. At the beginning of last transfer I got one of those odometers for my bike - and so we went 410.38 miles these 6 weeks. We biked about 15 miles in a normal day - sometimes more, lots less on Sunday and prep day.

So TY is set to be baptized this Saturday, he had his interview and the building is scheduled so all is well! It will be a great experience for Miles, a recent convert himself, to baptize him. We'll be trying to set a date with Lisa tomorrow, but we were able to set one with this girl named Amber. She is working at DI and is coming to church regularly, and really likes doing it. So we set hers for the 15 of August.

Good to hear that Gramps is doing good - I apologize to him because I didn't send him anything for Father's Day, but I didn't have his address. And I did get the package - thanks so much! Rachel: when I took out the French beret I thought to myself - "Oh man, I will never wear that". But then I put it on and that thing is legit wool, so it might become my skiing cap because it holds the heat in like a lid for my melon!

Well something has come up a few times recently that I feel good about - I think I've mentioned it but I'll talk about it again. Our Father in Heaven loves us sooo much and desires so much to bless us with everything he has - all of his love and goodness. But of course none of us are perfect and so we do not open ourselves up to blessings many times. But when we simply try our best to keep the commandments, He will immediately bless us with so much happiness/blessings that seem so great in comparison to the truly small amount of personal sacrifice we performed in the obeying of the commandment(s). The exchange really seems lopsided because of His tender mercies. One story as an example - Sunday night we were riding around just before we needed to head back home and there was this guy smoking, standing on his doorstep. I decided to stop and try and talk with him and he was awesome and seemed totally alright with us coming by and sharing a message - all that I needed was the right attitude (serve the Lord with all mind/might/strength and that I'd fear God more than man) and to just go and talk with everyone. Just a small example - well, I love you all

Elder Hoopes

From Mom: July 14, 2009

Dear Elder Hoopes,

We are excited to hear if you get transferred. We just got back from Canada last night and brought Gramps with us, and he will be staying with us for a couple of weeks until Lorne & Sirpa come through and pick him up. It will be wonderful to have him here. We had a great time in Sudden Valley and Canada. Rachel brought her friend, Emily Dubie, with her and we did the touristy things: Burnaby Heritage Museum park with the carousel, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Burnaby Mountain, Queen Elizabeth Park and the Conservatory, Skytrain and Metrotown. Then we spent a day in Washington driving along the Olympic Pennisula and taking two ferries along the Juan de Fuca Strait. It was awesome. This was probably the last year that Rachel will do the road trip to Canada, so I think she particularly enjoyed it. Pictures will come later.

On Sunday we went with Grandma to church. She still plays the organ every week. It was Emily's first time at a Mormon church, so I'll ask Rachel what she thought of it. It was great because people were very friendly and came and introduced themselves to us and a missionary also came and introduced himself, and I thought of you doing the same. I love going to church in Canada because it is a United Nations experience of people from all over the world, speaking with all different accents. The gospel is such a uniting, loving force, changing the world one heart at a time. It truly is the "good news".

Well I have to run and play catch up after being gone for a week,

Love you



PS Hope you got the package we sent

From Alec: July 16, 2009

Ola Ninos!

I hope all is well for all of you. Down here in Mesa, the missionaries are doing great - and sweaty. It's not too bad, the most not-cool thing is when the heat from the pavement radiates upwards and beats on your face. If I didn't have sunglasses my eyes would just hurt after riding around.

Well, some disappointment this week. T. didn't show up to our lesson (we waited at the member's house) and we were not able to contact him (house or phone) for the life of us. He did come to 25th ward with us because his friend, (our awesome recent convert) invited him to come to his ward. But we had to rush off to our other ward in a different building so we weren't able to talk with him for very long. We still can't contact him, it's really annoying. He'll get baptized eventually I am pretty sure, but I will be very...put...out if I can't come because I am transferred. Which reminds me - transfers are next Tuesday so I'll find out on Saturday where I am going. I mean..."if" I am going. I am relatively sure I will, but we'll see. D. still didn't come to church, neither did two new investigators who committed to do so. Still haven't been able to meet with the A. family - they'd better get baptized while I'm here.

So the zoo was awesome - I'm sending a picture cd home because I got so many pictures from the trip. Not too many missionary pictures on it, but still pretty cool stuff.

Yesterday was pretty sweet - we had some good lessons, very neat to see the Lord prepare people. It is also very frustrating to see people not even plant and nourish the seed (word). There are many we are trying to work with who just won't come to church. I understand being apprehensive about doing something new, you really can't tell if it will be beneficial or not. That's why we're here, to tell them from our sincere experience that it is the most worthwhile thing they could do. But still they won't even try it for a little while, that is all we ask - plant the seed and see it start to grow from diligence in: prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. Then they can know for themselves! I mean, if it is even half of what we say it is then it is totally worth it to at least try. But maybe I'll have that talk with a few of our investigators, of course with love ;)It is all about fear and doubt, which is the opposite to faith. They fear that they will be uncomfortable, they have doubts as to if it is true, but what they really need is faith in the Word, and the feelings that they can have if they listen with an open heart. Then comes meekness, and lowliness of heart that brings repentance and pure joy to the soul (Alma 36:20). And when you see that as a missionary, it makes all of the effort worth it. All WE can do is invite, support/help, and love.

Love you all - do some type of service for someone this week! It's even better (fun) if you try and do it without them knowing.

TTFN - Elder Hoopes

From Alec: June 30, 2009

Hello from Mesa Arizona,

Yeah, sorry about not telling you last week that my prep-days were switched to Tuesdays. I forgot. I'll keep a lookout for Elder V then.

Oh yeah - I sent Dad a Father's Day card. It had a picture of a little girl covering her eyes and it said "Oh he's dancing, I can't look" and the inside said "have a Father's Day that embarrasses all the kids". It was pretty funny, but I guess for some reason it wasn't liked by the machines.

Well things are going well down here. We just went to the Phoenix Zoo as a zone and so I am totally wiped out. So this email will most likely be short and not too spiritual. By the way, Rachel would have LOVED the gift shop there - there was so much Africa looking stuff for her room. I got some sweet pictures of zebra's there too, the lady was throwing hay for their breakfast right in front of us so we were no more than 10 feet away. Pretty fun stuff - but not missionary stuff so I'll get back to the area.

We set T's date to July 11th so that both Elder Morgan and I would for sure be there. We are way excited for him, he is an awesome kid. We met with D. and he said his wife is pregnant, so with a kid coming he is really pondering on what is important so hopefully he'll realize he just has to get baptized and COME TO CHURCH.

Church is just so awesome, we all need it every week. Whenever there are investigators who don't show I just feel so much how they're missing out on so much! We also got two new investigators yesterday after a dry-spell of none for a couple weeks. That was great, and the Spirit was present for the second one for sure. (The first lesson we only had a few minutes and weren't even able to teach all of the first lesson, but he wants us to come back to finish). The Lord is there to love and bless us along every step of the way. He of course cannot bless us when we are doing wrong, but as soon as we do good he blesses us so quickly and you can just feel how much he so wants us to do good and be happy!!

I've had some amazing learning experiences here on my mission, lots of things I have learned about myself and also I have felt the Lord's real influence - I can feel him now. I was so tired - but right now I feel like the Spirit is giving me energy to type spiritual things and focus. The Lord really is there and is constantly inviting us to come unto him, and also to bring others with us. I love that quote by the prophet Joseph Smith that goes like "a man filled with the love of God is not content to care for his family alone, but is anxious to bless all of the human race." (not a perfect quote, but pretty good from memory!). It is true, when we really realize the message we (everyone in the church) hold in our hands everytime we hold a triple combination, and when we sit in our meetings - we will have this amazing feeling that says: EVERYONE HAS TO KNOW THIS!!! I would be insane not to just share it with everyone. Of course as a missionary that is what I'm expected to do, talk with everyone only about the restored gospel. But as members back home, all we have to do is pray for the opportunity, the love, and the faith to share the gospel and the Lord will prepare the way. Oh yeah, and we have to be (this is a part of love) more concerned about (in this order) 1. the Lord and his will and, 2. Others. That is so important.

I love you all and hope you have a great week,

Elder Hoopes

From Mom: June 28, 2009

Dear Elder Hoopes,

Well its not technically June 30th yet, but that is the day you'll read this. Karene told us that your new P-day is on Tuesdays, so we will remember that. By the way, you're supposed to keep your eyes peeled for Elder Doug Valentine(sp?), who should have just arrived in Mesa after being held up in the MTC because of the Swine Flu quarantine. He is a good friend of Geoff Belnap's. Geoff is doing great on his mission in Mexico. Also, for Father's Day, Dad got a torn, empty envelope that looked like your handwriting on the address. Did you send something that the mail sorting machine ate?

Rachel got home from Europe this week and she had a wonderful time. She was showing me all the pictures and reading me her travel journal and about every new city she wrote, "This is my new favorite place!" She said that Sorrento, Italy on the Mediterranean coast was her favorite place, but I'm not sure if that is because she was there last. She says she is definitely into traveling. It's her new favorite thing.

I got to substitute teach for Relief Society today, and I had the wonderful opportunity to really study the talk by Elder Hale about being provident and not coveting. I really understood that anything we do that is not good for us, and we persist in doing even when we know it is not good for us, is an addiction of sorts. I love everything he taught:

"In seeking to overcome debt and addictive behaviors, we should remember that addiction is the craving of the natural man, and it can never be satisfied. It is an insatiable appetite. When we are addicted, we seek those worldly possessions or physical pleasures that seem to entice us. But as children of God, our deepest hunger and what we should be seeking is what the Lord alone can provide-His love, His sense of worth, His security, His confidence, His hope in the future, and assurance of His love, which brings us eternal joy.

With all the love I have in me and with the Savior's love through me, I invite you to come unto Him and hear His words: "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted" (2 Nephi 9:51)

I testify that the appetite to possess worldly things can only be overcome by turning to the Lord. The hunger of addiction can only be replaced by our love for Him. He stands ready to help each one of us. "Fear not," He said, "for you are mine, and I have overcome the world" (D&C 50:41)."

This talk is probably also a good one for investigators who need to make changes in their lives.

Well, next week Rachel and I, and Rachel's friend, Emily, are heading up to Canada for a week, so we may not be able to email you. I will try to send off a small package this week to you. Love you soooo much,


From Alec: June 22, 2009

Hello everyone,
greetings from AZ -

Sister Harris said that this summer has been the coolest summer in Arizona since 1913 (or maybe 1930, either way) and we truly are blessed. Still drinking water and using sunscreen, however.

President Bassett is an amazing Mission president - I'm glad Grandpa got to talk with him. He is definitely and inspired man.

Dad's mission reunion sounded like a very good experience, I always imagined mission reunions to be exciting and spiritual. I think I will have to sit down with Dad (and you too Mom) and have you go through your mission journals (Mom just journals) and tell me all of the stories and things that happened. That would be sweet.

Well, this week was alright. Our numbers were a little low, but I think everyone's was for some reason. We did have zone conference though, I always LOVE zone conference. Hearing from President and Sister Bassett is always so awesome, and the things we learn are always exactly what we need (in combination with what we feel and learn spiritually while we're there).

Sunday was soo great - though we only had two investigators who even came. There was a point in one of the sacrament meetings that I cried within myself "This is so AWESOME!!! So-and-so really needs this!!" Church is so energizing and amazing, and everyone we meet NEEDS so desperately (though they obviously don't know it - as they don't come) what is at church for three hours. Whew, it reminds me of what Ryan Burningham told me at the end of the sacrament meeting of my farewell talk - it was along these lines "Everyone you will meet will try and say 'no', but they NEED what you have to share. They don't know how much they need it; you are the only one who does." It struck me that he would say that to me - I wrote the more exact quote down in my journal next to where I wrote down what I remembered of the blessing when I got set apart.

Well I don't have way too much time left, but I'll finish with saying - it is easy to doubt sometimes when Satan really strives his hardest, but it is as easy to give heed to the words of Christ as it was for Lehi and Nephi to hearken to the Liahona (Alma 37) Love you all - have an amazing week,

Elder Hoopes