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