Saturday, June 12, 2010

From Alec: June 8, 2010 It's in the 100's!

Hello from AZ,

Hope everything is going well. As always, thanks for the emails and letters. I like what you said about thoughts, Mom. I know for Christmas one year I got that book As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. It is a recommendation by President Kimball in a book. I really liked it and felt what it taught about thoughts is very true.

Well this last week was a very tiring one. Lots of service and activities. I don't remember any special things to speak of for last week except for: Wednesday we went with Patty to the Visitors' Center to watch the Joseph Smith movie. It is always good to go and watch that. They also have a very neat exhibit there with the original art of the ones that won the LDS competitions. They've featured all of them in the ensigns and I recognized many because of that.

We talked with this guy, Bro Kennedy that day too - and him sharing his experiences taught me two things; don't gossip, don't jump to conclusions. His story is a pretty sad one, he was in a car accident and some bad talk about him went around in his ward and really hurt him. He is not active because of that, which is not good because it was people, not the church that did that. It hasn't been easy for him though - he's got PTSD so it wears on him. It is wonderful to know, however, that the Savior can bring peace to his heart and heal his wounds.

Last week wasn't the best one but we do have lots to look forward to because of some promising leads. We just met a part-member family last night (a referral from the RS president in one of our wards - who actually served a mission in Idaho) who have been taught alot. Their names are J. & E., and they aren't married so perhaps that could have been the only thing keeping them from progressing - we'll see on Thursday. Also we are very excited to teach C., this other lady in a part member family. She is awesome and has never taken the missionary lessons we found out, even though the missionaries taught and baptized the 11 year old daughter last year.

It's a good thing this is the Lord's work and he watches over it/his children. I don't think there would be any other way you could get 19-25 year old kids to be successful trying to talk to people and get them to change the way they live their lives (which is many times a very difficult struggle), sacrifice time and money to enter a group that has such different vocabulary (we could probably make that list longer even). It truly is all such a miracle.

" beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men." (Moroni 7:29)

That is Mormon's testimony of miracles, and mine as well.

Elder A. Hoopes

From Alec: June 11, 2010


Glad to hear the exciting new things going on, glad it's all going well up there.

Things are going alright down here in hot Arizona. We had a pretty good last Wednesday - a couple lessons that went well, but it is frustrating because both of them (C. & L.) just won't commit to anything but reading material. We teach and testify and do everything we can to bring the Spirit, but for different reasons each (doesn't like to commit at all, and is shy/Sunday is day to sleep, respectively) they won't commit themselves to action. We'll see. We also had a lesson with a part-member family, the mom is not LDS and the dad told us to ask her to be taught by us. The lesson went well but for kid craziness (they have 5 all around the same ages) and another reason we felt to ask a different time.

Thursday we had a great lesson with D. (our RC 9 year old kid) that was very good. I don't think they've been to church in a while and it had a part about the sacrament and we committed Damian to come to church and partake of the sacrament. It was good.

Friday was good - just doing what we can to help the Hunts. J. is struggling with w.o.w. issues, and M. (their son) has been kind of a little bit of an attitude problem (at 4, almost 5 - so it's hard not to laugh sometimes). So we gave M. a blessing and taught him very simply about the plan of salvation. What a wonderful thing it is that we have a knowledge of this plan! It is so vital and so sweet.

Well I (and especially my companion) are out of time on the computer.

I am so grateful for this mission experience. I love you all soo much - just follow what is right even if it isn't advantageous for you, follow the Spirit of God and you will be led aright.

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: May 2, 1020

Hello everyone,

Thank you for the letters and emails. Things are going well here in County Island - the weather has been nice (we had a 75 day yesterday and today isn't too bad either), but will from now on probably just get hotter.

We had zone conference on Wednesday - it is always good to hear from President and Sister Bassett. Though the later day was a little upsetting - we had all of our appointments fall through, but we still got some good things done. One thing - the assistants were doing a training on planning and they had a name as a fellowshipper for one of their investigators as "Bro Drzayich". That of course rung a bell, so is there an LDS relative down here to the Drzayich's up in Eagle?

Saturday was a great day - we had R. get baptized. It went very smoothly and was a good Spirit-filled service. We couldn't get any investigators there but we did have the H. come - they really liked it.

Sunday was the amazing day, and the reason for my subject title. The Gila Valley Temple dedications were being broadcast to all of the Arizona stake centers for the saints to watch in the place of church meetings. The stake presidency asked us to help with the doors and so we were there for the whole day almost. It was neat though - because we got to hear the first and last session of dedication (they were all live and not rebroadcasted) and watch the 12:00 middle session. President Monson is a wonderful man, and also inspired. President Eyring was there too as well as Elder Holland and other general authorities. You got to hear some amazing talks, stories, testimonies and also to see the brethren as human beings who like to laugh and joke and be with children. Of course there was a wonderful spirit there as well.

Well that night we were scrambling at 6:40 to get someone to be able to give a less-active (N.) a ride a musical fireside at 7:00 at the stakecenter. I REALLY wanted to go because it was Clyde Bawden (pianist) and Freddy Ashby (singer) doing it. They have been touring around the U.S. and Canada doing these firesides (partially as missionaries, I think the church was helping it happen). They are two of the performers who have done the Reflections of Christ music that goes with the photography of actors portraying Christ and His ministry. I love those CDs and everything about Reflections of Christ, and so I naturally wanted to go as I said. We had been unable to find a ride for N. and she was the only one who had held through on saying she would go. So we decided to put faith forward, and we were able to get someone to pick her up. She wasn't ready when we got there but Elder Hadley didn't give her a chance to say no - when she opened the door wearing PJ bottoms he said "Come on, get ready - throw on some jeans, hurry!" so we eventually got there and it was such an amazing event. I don't think I have ever felt the Spirit so much and so constantly as I did when they were singing and playing. Music is wonderful, and so is the Lord - He just asks that we put our Faith in him and don't worry about our fears and concerns. I'm grateful for this church so that I can have the Faith necessary.

17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
18 And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20 But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21 That faith also might increase in the earth;
22 That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed...
(D&C 1)

Elder A. Hoopes

From Alec: May 11, 2010

May 11 Hey,

This will be a shorter one most likely because I just talked to you'all on Sunday. I wasn't super talkative I do know - partially because we woke up at 5:40 to be able to make it to mission prep in the morning and we had been in church for a long time. You get kinda tired, but it was good to hear everyone just for a little while.

Just a few things to mention - Elder Hadley and I are both excited about this thing that we are doing - I might have mentioned it, I got the idea in Heber - to make some special pass-along cards of our own. Mine is on President Monson/a living prophet - Elder Hadley's is on temples. We've got a member here working on getting them made for us, so we'll see how that goes.

Monday was a great day - we got to talk to a lot of people. Something not cool was the fact that D. & T. weren't home for our set up lesson with them, they're the couple we taught last week. But we'll catch them later. Later that night though we did have a lesson with this not-active convert named Jim. He's a funny guy, and has been working at this T-shirt thing at a swap meet on weekends, so he has not been to church in a long time. But at the end of this lesson with him he announced he stopped that job and will be coming to church this Sunday! We were both very excited, because he really really needs it (we all do but you know what I am saying).

At this point we'll just have to see who are the pure in heart and ready to accept the gospel - especially that they'll be willing to come to church.

This is God's work, and we're excited to step it up a notch and endure (triumph) to the end.

Elder A. Hoopes

From Alec: May 4, 2010

Hello everyone,

Hope everything is going well - thank you for the emails, and also the package, Mom.

I am pretty tired again - we tried to hike Scarface Mtn today - which is the one just behind our trailer. You can see it in the background of the pictures I sent home - the vulture ones. The score is 3 to 1 because I've hiked Superstition twice, and now this time we did get to a part of the mountain - a sort of peak. You could still see pretty dang far around, but we decided to not go all the way up - so I gave the mountain a point too.

That is so crazy that Matt is getting home today. I imagine he (as we all will) will be a very different person that when he left. That will probably be the neatest thing - is to see how much we all have changed.

This last week was an alright one. The last week of the transfer you’re always on edge because you don't know what will become of either of you for the next while. This time Elder Hadley and I felt we could both easily leave - my guess was staying, his guess was that I left. It turned out we are both staying, which we're both perfectly alright with. There are some good things going on - we got two new investigators last week. One is a guy named Bob - and that's even in the ward that has never had anything in it while Elder Hadley has been here. I didn't teach Bob, we were on splits and Elder Hadley got to ride in the fellowshippers’ white '09 Camaro to and from the lesson.

We also taught C. on Wednesday morning again. She actually asked us a question to start. She basically asked what the difference was between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, besides the names of the books in them. My first thought was "and how long have you been meeting with missionaries...?" (I think over 6 months easy, fall of '09, I think) but we taught her briefly what the Bible is (because truly almost everyone we talk to really doesn't know the background to the Bible) and then the Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson - the Spirit was there testifying very powerfully, then we were able to give her the BOM on CD so she can listen to it (she says she can't read for long at all). We're hoping that will make a big difference in her very slow progression.

Saturday we helped with the groundbreaking ceremony at a new church building in our area. Pretty neat because they spraypainted everyone's shovels gold. We got one of the cans and had some fun making things gold. I have two gold pens - a golden soccerball, my last journal is gold and part of my planner for this transfer.

Yesterday was neat - we taught this guy named D. and the lesson was very different, but we did feel like we were teaching a person more than a 'lesson', which is the whole goal of PMG. He's a cool guy - and even invited us to his BBQ on Saturday! Hehe I love being a missionary.

Well, yesterday I hit my 20 month mark. That makes me feel so old - mission time goes by pretty fast, if you don't stop and ponder once and a while - you could miss it.

I can't wait for the Conference Ensign to come out...Love you all and I'll talk with you soon! We're thinking that we will call at 6:00 pm our time, 7:00 pm Idaho time. I know Elder Hadley is planning to do it then, and if we can I'll do it at the same time, but if not probably the next hour. So hopefully that will work. (I'm talking about Mother's Day, of course) I look forward to hearing your voices again. Oh by the way, President Bassett says to limit our calls to 5 minutes.

Just kidding - 1 hour still.

love you,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: April 27, 2010

Hello everyone,

It is springtime in the Phoenix Valley so it is a good time to live here. It's pretty much like the Boise summers right now. We just went to the temple this morning - I was feeling it had been definitely long enough, not having been in a while.

We had zone development meeting on Wednesday - that was a good meeting. Also we had interviews with President - it was good to speak to him again, he definitely is a great and faithful man. I've been lucky to have most of my mission spent under his reign and ministry (hehe,1 Nephi heading).

Nothing too special happened during the week - Friday night we did splits with a couple priests in a ward. The one (well really both) that went with me got a real taste of being a missionary. We spent time going to a no-show appointment and then street contacting people. It was good - we saw some miracles, though I might have messed up in my dealing with one of them - but I did what I thought was best.

Saturday was a good day - had a few canceled lessons, but we did meet with this one convert and he shared a NDE that he had many years ago. As we talked about it I felt the comforting and confirming Spirit of the Lord testify to me of life after this. It is so wonderful that we all can have perfect faith and knowledge about things to come.

Nothing else truly different happened that I can remember, just reinforced principles that I had been taught already. Although that reminds me; I believe many times, especially as lifetime members, we can have the attitude "Oh, we've already heard this" or "I've learned this principle already". That attitude can keep us from being open to receive revelation - which can even sometimes have nothing to do with the subject that is being taught. There are two things that I think we need to remember and observe in order to counteract this ill of getting too comfortable (aka coasting): remember that we may know the principle, but do we really live it completely. We know what we should do but then do we in turn do it? if not, then we need to listen. If we still need to learn we still need to listen, and you never know when you might learn a very precious piece of your eternal puzzle (I made listen bold because I don't mean just hear with your ears, but also with your heart. (I wonder if that is what “hearken” means, to hear with your heart?).

Another thing you can do to counteract this is to do missionary work - because the ill I was describing above can be described as being content with what you have/have done/know, being comfortable. For almost everyone, most of missionary work is outside of their comfort zone - and for everyone, it brings the revitalizing Spirit of God.

Really, now that I think about it - the Spirit really is the answer to that ill, but those two things (also add remembering the Savior) are the best things you can do to bring the Spirit. (of course temple work too, but that is the same thing as missionary work - just for dead people). There are others, but these relate directly to the salvation of souls - yours, and everyone's, and that is God's purpose and innermost desire (Moses 1:39) so you'll feel His love as you assist Him in His work.

Hopefully that all made sense - I know parts of it did...

Mom, thanks for the wonderful email! and you/dad for the line of authority. It will be neat for you to come with me to Arizona sometime to meet my brothers and sisters I was sent to find

Love you all,

Elder A. Hoopes

From Alec: April 20, 2010

Hello everyone,

Things are going alright here in County Island/East Mesa. Glad to hear everyone is doing well - how are my niece and nephew, and Elliott too?

Oh Dad - that must've been Mr. Gural, he was my pre-calc and AP Calculus teacher - I can easily say he is one of the best teachers I've ever had. Great guy, good to hear about him - if you see him again tell him 'hi' and 'thanks'.

We had a lesson on Wednesday with L. She is a funny lady - we found her and her brother (who is older, she is 66) my first week in the area and we did some service for them. We just recently started to teach her - the lesson on Wednesday was a follow up on the two previous lessons on the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. This time we watched "The Restoration" (a short, 20 min movie on the prophet Joseph Smith) and it was great - she said watching it made her want to be closer to God. So we testified of the Spirit's calling and it was great. She definitely felt the Spirit, but she is shy and unsure about coming to church - so we're hoping to get a nice RS sister there to help her feel more comfortable about the idea.

Also had a lesson with this lady named P. - she moved from our ZL's area to ours. She likes the missionaries coming over (so undoubtedly has felt the Spirit's presence while missionaries have taught her), but she has a law of chastity problem - mainly because she doesn't have the money to get a divorce to her previous husband.

Friday was a cool day except for the fact we had all four lessons cancel on us. Three of them would have been new investigators.

Yesterday was a different day because I went with our district leader's companion in their area. They are the Spanish missionaries so I tagged along with Elder Reid and sat there praying for him (all I could contribute) in the investigator lesson. That was pretty neat; it would be so humbling to have to speak a different language on your mission - I know I don't even know half of it, as Jon, Ben, and Dad will likely tell me.

I am so glad to be on my mission for the Lord, This is his work and his glory - and he desires everything for all of his children. I am grateful for the opportunity to be 'His hands', if you remember that reference to President Uchtdorf's talk. So much that is good and pure in me comes directly from His restored gospel and church - and of course everything good in me comes from Him period. Love you all and wish the best,

Elder A. Hoopes

From Alec: April 14, 2010

Hello everyone!

God is good and life is good.

We have had many miracles occur in the last week. We finally met this less-active on Tuesday morning and even got to sit and share testimony and scripture with her. We gave her the info to check out General Conference on the internet and said she would. We were supposed to be there to be a loving reminder. Also, in trying to contact a former investigator, we came across some members who might attend church sometimes in a different city. We were also led on that occasion. We had two new investigators, one seemed to like it when we shared the Restoration, and said she was open to it. She also said she'd be at church but she didn't.

Also on Thursday we had an amazing zone conference. It was good and I am reminded I need to look at the notes again. That day we decided to contact our referrals we had been unsuccesful in reaching or setting up lessons. One of them we got to meet her member grandmother she lives with, the other we met and she is a girl I talked to at the Easter pageant! When I did she said she had already given her info to have missionaries over. It's a pretty cool thing - none of it just 'coincidence' of course!

I hiked the Superstitions again today - this time we went to the very top! That was sweet. Got some great pictures I'll send.
Well I need to get going about 15 minutes ago so this will have to do.

This is the Lord's Church, and we will be divinely directed as we follow the counsel of God's chosen leaders and teachers. He loves us

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: April 5, 2010

Picture from D.'s Baptism
Hello everyone,

I am writing this on Monday because it worked better for Elder Hadley and I to do our preparations today rather than tomorrow. Normally it will still be on Tuesday.

We had a lesson this week with R. - this slightly autistic 12 year old kid. Our Bishop had an interview and said he feels he's mature enough to be baptized, so it'll probably happen in May. We went to the Easter pageant every night Wednesday through Saturday. Pretty crazy; either we were there bringing somebody or we were greeting people. I liked the Easter pageant just as much as last year - you can just feel the Spirit there so much as the Savior's life and victory is celebrated with so much love. We've gotten 3 referrals from it, none have we taught yet but it is still possible.

General conference was amazing too - We were able to watch all of it except for the last half of Priesthood session (we had to run to the Easter Pageant). The messages shared were all so inspired. President Monson's talk was EXACTLY what this recent convert in our area needed. She got baptized last September, and after a little bit got a job working on Sundays and has not been to church since. She is very awesome, but also her husband died and it has been hard on her and her kids (he was in his 40's). She talked with Elder Hadley Thursday and expressed a couple concerns that President Monson hit right on the head - we hope she watched it, and if not we are going to look it up on the internet and watch it with her.

Also this weekend, because of some words said in conference, I received some priceless, almost crazily specific revelation that will be a great strength to me if I am obedient and keep it in remembrance. The Lord loves us all so much - I have felt his love, understanding, and deep desire to bless me and all of his children many times. I think I have come to know the Savior and our Father in Heaven more on my mission than at any other time. My guess as to why is because I am a participant in His work and glory. I am called to do what He would do if He was here - and so he blesses us missionaries with the spiritual knowledge of His desires for all of His children. In that way we come to know Him and who He really is. Satan tries so hard to convince everyone that because we cannot see God, or hear His physical voice, that He is not really there. You see that so much in the world today. But He lives.

Here's a great quote by President Ezra Taft Benson, quoted by Brother Eyring, May 1991 Ensign:
"Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar his face is to us.”

Love you all,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: March 30, 2010

Hello from Mesa/AJ

Thanks for the letters and emails. Mom thanks for the Easter package, I am really loving all of it. You would have liked to see my reaction to getting that package here - lifting it up over my head triumphantly as I came down the porch of our member/landlord's house. Hopefully everything goes well over in Minnesota.

Here we had D.'s baptism go well on Saturday. Everything dealing with him went smoothly. The actual Stake Baptism was not the best organized, and 7 people were set to get baptized that day. But as I said, for D. it all went very well.

Thursday we went to the Easter Pageant with the reactivated family and the Hargraves (our WML's fam). It was great. I remembered how much I loved it - though they didn't change it too much from last year so that was a little disappointing in a way, not that I thought any of it needed to be changed (just one voice over part the voice is a little funny in my opinion). But it was good.

I was reminded of Elder Holland's talk a few conferences ago about how the Savior completed his mission alone. In the Easter Pageant they have Christ over on this little hill part of the stage with an olive tree, representing the garden of Gethsemane. He's there praying and you can see the 11 over in the main part of the stage laying down asleep. He suffered for all of our sins and pains, and he did it alone. Nonetheless he drunk the bitter cup and overcame for all of us. I hope we can all remember Him this Easter season. I know that as we do we will feel an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord, especially as General conference is coming up

I love you all and wish you a good Easter week,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: March 22, 2010

Elder Hoopes
Hello from Redmountain MCC computer lab. (We usually go to the library but this was closer today.) Transfer news - Elder Hadley and I both staying - the only one in our district leaving actually is one of our zone leaders.

Sounds good, Mom, I'll talk to the new mission president when he comes in - it's really his call. (Alec’s release date is 1 week after BYU starts, so in July his new Mission President has to decide whether he should be released a few days early)

I don't have my old planner with me so I cannot remember everything that happened last week. It was an alright week - didn't really have many teaching opportunities. We did go to the visitors center with S. - she is great. She loved the Joseph Smith movie, of course. Needed lots of tissues.

We also stopped by J.’s (the not-active couple we've been teaching) and talked for a bit. S. (his wife) used to work every other Sunday at a haircutting place but J. told us that Saturday that she changed her work schedule so that she won't have to work Sundays anymore. As he put it, "Didn't you know she's all in? She's going the whole way..." (that's basically what he said jokingly) Their 4 year old son, M., is already loving Primary and telling them what he learns about and saying prayers at home. It's neat how fast they are coming back. I would consider them active members now - they just need some callings.

N. and F. are broken up now, and so we won't be teaching him anymore (she is not an active member who was mostly the one who wanted us to come by) but she does have a friend, A., who said she's thought about coming to a church. I think she hasn't had an attraction to any specific religion, but I think it's a good idea when you're looking for a church to start out investigating the Lord's true church and fulness of the gospel first. Saves time... we'll see how it goes.

It is still a little frustrating because we just don't have a teaching pool really - the ones in it are at a standstill on account of health or out of town or just no regular visits. We really haven't been having many investigator lessons, but as we prove to the Lord we want to find and we want to teach with the Spirit we'll get some. It has been difficult though - because I feel like I've been pulling most of the wagon with our two-animal yoke. It's not been all the time, there were a couple weeks last transfer where I wasn't having the best day and my companion made up for what % I couldn't give. But lately I think it's been me doing most of the laboring and striving. But it is ok.

I love the fact that we have so much given to us in that we have the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve and 70's and on down the line. I was thinking about me being the engine here and all my work was just spinning our wheels, but I was reminded of something President Eyring stated in his book, Because He First Loved Us. It really helped me to not worry and keep going, brought a warm happy spirit into my heart that relieved all of the stress and mental exhaustion. I can't wait until general conference. The Easter Pageant is coming up (starts tomorrow) but I can't help but to look past it in excitement for listening to prophets, seers, and revelators. (should those all be capitalized...?) They are called by God and given His Authority.

love you all,

Elder Hoopes

From Alec: March 18, 2010

Hello everyone

We got here at 9:00 am to the library so I guess it is before home has gotten a chance to write me.

Last week was a good week - on Thursday we had a meeting with Sh. and J. That went well again, they are really latching back on to the gospel. I don't remember very many cool stories in general - last week was just a hard-working-all-the-time week.

Yesterday was neat - had our Zone development meeting. The good part was having an interview with President Bassett. It will be sad when he and Sister Bassett leave, that is for sure.

All of our hard work has paid off - we were able to get two new investigators last week, D., the 9 year old who is pretty much all set for his interview and baptism. Then we also picked up a former investigator the previous missionaries dropped - F., and his LA girlfriend, N. They are very willing to meet with us so we'll see (tonight actually) how much they're willing to progress.

I'm kind of excited - we'll be meeting with the A.s for lunch today - that's the couple J. and R. in West Mesa that got baptized right after I left for Heber. Elder Morgan and I and many others will be going to lunch - it'll be good to see them again.

Continuous revelation is so important. We are here on earth separated from God who is the source of all truth and light - we need daily personal revelation as to the choices we should make and also prophetic revelation to guide us in principles of doctrine and eternal truth. Those are understandings that most people in the world just aren't aware of - there is so much we have been given that the world desperately needs, even if some deny at times that they do need it. Never forget to stop and to ponder, and especially, to listen. Love you all and wish you the best.