Dear Elder Hoopes,
Well I hope you are using your camel back to keep hydrated this week! I'm afraid that you are going to be having a pretty hot summer. Heat strokes can kill so be cautious. (I'm a Mom, so I have to say things like that:) Actually today will be in the 90s here. Last week our high was in the 50s, so we are feeling we somehow missed Spring. A few weeks of 60s and 70s would have been nice. President McCauley asked us all to grow some of our own food this year, so I went to a Master gardening class last Tuesday, learned all kinds of good stuff, and Dad and I planted our garden on
Saturday. Hopefully we will have an abundant harvest this year.
We are all doing great. Rachel can sing again, so her pneumonia is gone. Dad had a cancerous spot removed from his forehead last Tuesday. The good news is that they got it all, the bad news is that he has a 2 inch incision with about 15 stitches on the outside and I don't know how many on the inside. He also has 2 black eyes because blood seeped down his face. He was a pretty scary bishop at church yesterday. Dee Hines moved to South Dakota to live with her son, so that is great for her to be with her family, but we do miss her and her fun sense of humor. She asked me to send her love to you.
I am so excited about this weekend because Jon and Nicole are coming on Thursday to catch Rachel's Choir Concert and staying for the long weekend, then Ben flies in on Sunday to start his month-long internship with Brother Zarian's law firm. Laurie and Elliott won't be able to join him for 2 more weeks. But that gives me more time to buy more toys for Elliott before they come! He is one spoiled little guy; the world's most loving parents, and grandparents, aunts and uncles who all think he is the cutest kid in the world.
We had the sister missionaries over for dinner this week. They are just the sweetest young women. One is from Peru. She looks like a Mayan princess with high cheekbones and almond eyes. The other sister is from Mexico, via Utah and she looks like a Spaniard. They both speak with accents and have such wonderful testimonies of the gospel, it was a delight to be with them. By the way, Justin Zarian got his call to the London, England Mission and he will be leaving in July.
I have been enjoying my study of Revelation. It is an amazing book, with some pretty bizarre symbolism, but overall is a powerful testimony of the magnificent plan of happiness for God's children, and a peek to what lies in reward for God's children who desire that happiness. It is also a harrowing look into the hearts of Satan and those who give him their power and become his minions. In the false security of our lives, we can forget that the War in Heaven still rages on. And while we do see in Revelation what the final outcome of this war will be, we can't be assured of our position in it, whether we will be a collaborator, a casualty, or a
conqueror. The little, every day choices do matter, because out of those we "become". While it is necessary to experience evil here in mortality, it is essential that we do no evil, and/or repent as fast as we can, so we can be healed and made whole and be armored against further injury. And true to the war metaphor, this is not a battle that can be fought alone, because our hearts must be bound to each other and our Savior to succeed. A war can't be considered victorious if too many are lost.
God bless you in your daily battles for the souls of men! We love you so much,