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

From Mom: June 22, 2009

Dear Elder Hoopes,

We got your CDs yesterday and it was so fun to see them. We can really tell you have gained weight; you're still probably underweight for your height but you're not as thin. I'll send some pictures to Karene so she can add them to your blog. I hope that you got the card and pictures that we sent last week.

We had an awesome time with Laurie and Elliott the past two weeks. Yesterday Dad and Ben took them to the airport, and Ben said that he was carrying in their luggage and Laurie was bringing In a crying Elliott who was saying, "Grandpa,! Avec!" He wanted Grandpa to come "with". Dad and I drove from Utah until 1:30 in the morning so we could make it back to see them off yesterday morning.

President Bassett called and left a Father's Day message for Dad telling him what a great, powerful missionary you are and thanking him for sharing you with them. I think we will leave that message on the machine for a long time. Grandpa said that he introduced himself to Pres. Bassett at a stake conference and Pres. Bassett raved about you and said that your stake leads the mission in baptisms.

We had a wonderful weekend. Dad and I drove down to Utah on Friday and we had dinner and stayed overnight at Jon and Nicole's. Then the next day we went to the Provo Temple with them, and we drove around to show them the houses that we lived in while we were at BYU. Then we went to Dad's South African mission reunion. It was a surprise for President Thorn, whose health is failing. It was so sweet to see the overwhelming love that President and Sister thorn still have for all their missionaries. There were also 3 South African converts there who thanked the missionaries with all their hearts for bringing the gospel to their land. In the 35 years since these men have served, when there was just 1 stake, there are now 11 stakes and a temple. It was and evening filled with love and the Spirit, which, of course, is the same thing.

The Gospel is such a wonderful thing; what joy and peace and purpose it enlightens our mortal experience! How wonderful it is to share that with others. May God bless you and the people of Mesa!

Love, Mom