Monday, March 23, 2009

From Alec: March 19, 2009

Hello everyone,

I was pretty dang sad about leaving the Mesa East Stake because I felt the Lord made some promises to me that weren't fulfilled but then again - I'm only 6 months into my mission so I haven't lost faith! But I will be totally OK - moving to a new area never slowed me down. People keep saying to me it must be hard to have family (Grandpa, and when you guys came down for the weekend and went to Tia Rosas) so close but it isn't. I think it is because I've always taken Gordon B. Hinckley's father's advice to heart. "Gordon...forget yourself and go to work." I can honestly say I haven't felt homesick - heck there's NO TIME to be homesick on a mission! There's people you have to help! I don't want you guys to think I don't love you though, I'm not a heartless person who doesn't care for his family - I'll see you in two years, who cares about now (hehe that sounds funny) when there's the Lord's sheep to feed.

It seems like a year that I've been in this area; the first week of a transfer (with a new comp) always go super duper slow, but then Sunday rolls along and it is just ridiculous how fast it passes.

We weren't able to get very many people to church on Sunday, it just so happened - but Saturday was a great day. We had two new investigators - both member referrals. One guy we taught a high counselor's friend who he invited to his BBQ and then had us sit with him. It was mostly him asking questions and it went well - though I do think his friend (the member) might have been a little pushy - I'm not judging because it was motivated by sincere concern and love for the person, but I think too often as members we do not respect other peoples' ideas or agency. You cannot push someone to be baptized - they have to make the decision themselves. It's that old cowboy saying: "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". Hopefully he takes seriously our challenge to him to pray about it sincerely and ignores any feelings of getting pushed.

That day we had a lesson with this guy who in prison read the BOM 4 times and knows it's true. He is awesome and he's the only investigator who made it to church. He needs to he knows everything about the church is true. He also is a totally legit magic trick guy - he did a really sweet card trick really quick for us - and he said he'd teach me some!

Well this email is already long but I'd like to leave something more spiritual - I've come to find (and I think I wrote an email with kind of the same idea, but Jon just reminded me of it) that this life is all about sifting through choices to find out which ones bring true happiness (lasting happiness - the type that brings peace and love). All too often I think we just go through life doing things and not trying to improve ourselves by finding out what is not just good, better, but what is best and also strenthening ourselves to avoid the temptations of the devil and continue choosing righteousness/happiness. I'm so grateful for our Savior, because without Him we would never be able to completely do either - because our good choices would not be able to bring as much happiness, because of our past bad choices and mistakes that would forever drag us down - and of course it is only through Him that we get the strength to overcome the world! Love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

Elder Hoopes

p.s. I think I'll be sending some pictures soon

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