Thursday, August 5, 2010

Elder Hopkins with his New Mission President

"We were pleased to welcome your son, Elder Neil Hopkins, to the Virginia Richmond Mission. We love him already and are aware of his great potential to be an excellent missionary. He spent one day with us receiving orientation and he is in good health and good spirits. His drive and determination will be of tremendous help as he joins a wonderful group of missionaries already serving the Lord in this area.
We are thankful for the part you played in preparing Elder Hopkins to serve this mission and we are honored to serve with him. Enclosed is a photo we took upon his arrival at the Mission Home. May the Lord abundantly bless you as you support him in his call"
President and Sister James C. Perry
Neils group of missionaries were the first to stay at the Mission Home with Pres and Sister Perry as they had just been in the Mission since the first week of July.

Monday, August 2, 2010

First Email from Virginia

"WOW, WOW, WOW Virginia is awesome! Virginia is sweet. My first area is Charlottesville. It is super pretty and of course there are a bunch of trees. I have two companions, Elder Brockbank, who is my trainer and Elder Comer. They are awesome. For those of you who know Courtney Comer, Elder Comer is her cousin. Pretty small world. Elder Brockbank is from Draper and Elder Comer is from Springville. Utah is sending an army over here to Virginia. We have 200 some missionaries here in Virginia it is the most missionaries on the East Coast, the others have like 80 to 100, we make them look small.
Alright so my companions are the greatest, I', learning a bunch, we're teaching people and we're having a great time being servants of the Lord! Can't really get much better than that!
My first appointment ever is Sarah Richardson, she is engaged to Thomas Vance who is a member, an RM and things are great. She had a date to be baptized but cancelled that because of her parents, there are a lot of things going on with that so she needs more time to figure out if this is really what she wants. She has a testimony, she knows it is true and she goes to church, all 3 hours, she is soooo close. Then we met a lady named Nan Mosely who has been having the missionaries over for 25 years!!! You'd think that she'd be a member after that but it just isn't her time I guess. She goes to church sometimes but not to Sacrament because she hates the noise and she really doesn't reach out to members so we are trying to get members involved with her. Then we met a man named Marcus Thompson who is a less active member who we are trying to get him back to church but while there we met another family member. She came out with her bible and we talked with her alot. Her name is Lisa White and she doesn't have a church and I think that we could really help her. She broke down with Elder Brockbank who is totally amazing by the way.
Yesterday was my first Sunday, it was really cool, a lot of stuff goes on. There are a lot of meetings that we go to and we have two wards to cover so meetings for both wards. It's crazy how I can come to a new place and express love for the members and investigators, I thought that was going to be a problem on my mission, I don't normally just express love to everyone I see and really care for them but I really do love the people here, talking to them about the gospel is amazing. Clearly I have a lot to learn, but so far everything has been great!!
Please pray for all of our investigators. Prayer is important. I want all of you to know that you are in my prayers. I know God will look after you and will keep you safe. Do everything you can to live the commandments, study the scriptures, pray and if you need to repent of any sins, the atonement is amazing. Lets endure to the end and live for eternity with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Keep the commandments and you will have eternal life. He is bound by his word, His promise will never be broken, how amazing! Missionary work is amazing, the life of a missionary is amazing, but you don't have to be called a missionary to be a missionary, remember that members of the church are a huge influence on everything that happens.
I love you all, thank you for your support and being a part of my life, it means so much and you have all had an impact on my life and I am so grateful for that. Always remember our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father love you dearly, never forget that.
With much much love,
Elder Hopkins

Last Email from MTC

"Leaving the MTC will be a little difficult, not really hard, just the fact that I'm leaving. Elder Lyons, one of the companions in our trio left early this morning along with the rest of our district going to Baltimore, Maryland. I am super excited for them , but sad that this is pretty much the end. Sad day but I know it's all for the better. I know we can't stay in our "bubble" forever. Ha Ha. I really am so excited to go out into the field though, super excited.
To all of you reading these letters, thanks you so much for your support and your love. I love all of you so much and I can truly say that and mean it. Family, friends and whoever else reads this .
I know that I have grown so much by being here, by studying day in and day out about the gospel, this true gospel! It is amazing what can happen in just 3 weeks, so I can see 2 years flying by the same way this has.
I know this church is true with all of my heart, every fiber in my being. I KNOW it is true! I know so much more now, so much truth about this gospel, so much that happens that testifies of our living Heavenly Father and how he touches and influences lives. He loves each and every single one of his children, and that means you. He wants to help you and I know that he does.... He's helped me so much in ways I didn't think I would be able to grow in. But faith and hope in Jesus Christ he does help everyone! I know with 100% assiduity that Joseph Smith was called of God to bring back this church on the Earth and to be able to translate the Book of Mormon. I know that book is true, I know it was translated thru the power of God and I know that it is true. I've never studied it like this, I've never asked sincerely it it is true but studying it everyday, reading it every free time I have and truly wanting to learn from it I have grown to know of its truthfulness and it is AMAZING!!
You can all be missionaries, being a member of this church people watch you and want to know how you act and why you are so happy. Always act as if someone is watching you, because truth is.... Heavenly Father is always watching you. He is there for you and wants you to do what is right so badly so you can live with him again. You can go on and on about the truthfulness of this gospel, unfortunately I don't have forever.... so I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. Bearing testimony is amazing, read D&C 62:3, I have already shared it with you but read it again, you can never have enough scriptures... ha ha . I love it, I love this gospel and I'm so excited to go to Virginia!
I love you all, I thank you all for your support and I love to hear from you.
Love you all,
Elder Hopkins

Last Day at MTC

I'm going to Virginia!!!

July 21,2010

"The MTC has been great! I love everyone so much. The support and the letters and the packages are great! Really all of the missionaries crowd around every time someone gets a package or a letter, its like Christmas, you don't' know what you are going to get but you are still excited.
It's weird to think I've been here for two weeks, it seems like it has gone by so fast but at the same time it's gone so slow, but I've learned so much it's amazing. Its getting closer and closer though and its gonna be weird to leave here but I am really excited, nervous, anxious, scared just all these mixed emotions inside of me. I am really excited to go out and teach the people in Virginia, " the field is white all ready to harvest...". There are so many scriptures talking about that, we get to go out and invite people to come unto Christ!
It is so cool here at the MTC, you meet so many new and different people, you make so many friends and everyone is so nice. I've seem so many kids from school, Lone Peak has a huge amount of kids that go on a mission. Its so cool to see everyone!
I love this, I love being a missionary. I love serving the Lord and I love learning so much about this gospel! I know it is true, I know with all of my heart that this gospel is true, I know Christ knows and loves each one of us so much! He sacrificed himself for us, he took all of our sins upon himself, why?? Because he really does love us, everything he does is for us, our trials, our blessings, they are for you personally, they will strengthen you and make your faith increase. I know our prophet receives revelation and that I was called to go to Virginia for a reason and I can't wait t find out why!
Missionary doesn't just work when you are called to be one. Everyone at home, you can all be doing something, just your example alone is missionary work and how you act in public, you are a member of the Lords church, don't be afraid to show it and to let people know, act as if others are watching, because they are. You should always let your light shine, we all have the light of Christ and we should all let it shine. I love this gospel. I love my Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer.
I can't wait to hear from all of you. I would love for you all to share sweet experiences you are having, scriptures or thoughts, just write them down and send them to me and I will do the same. As I said in the beginning I LOVE YOU ALL, really and sincerely. Most of all don't forget, don't ever forget that Christ loves you, that is what is most important, He loves YOU..... I know that to be true.
With Love, '
Elder Hopkins

Temple Walk

The District
Elders Hopkins, Motes, Henninger, Johnson, Goud, Young, Lyons
Sisters Palmer and Shaffer

June 16,2010

"I really can't believe it's been a week already! One of the Sisters said how the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days.... I totally feel that exact way! I absolutely love it!! I've settled in and just soaking it all in as much as I can.
On Tuesday we had our first real missionary experience with teaching someone. It is called the TEC where we go and teach people who are pretending to be investigators. We taught about the restoration and the history of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. It was such a great learning experience and we all felt that we did amazing, the spirit was so unbelievably strong. It left a huge impact on me and my companions and on Colleen Richardson, who is the lady that we taught. That whole day was like a spiritual bomb went off around us!!
Learning about the gospel is amazing, it makes me feel happy and at peace and I know that that feeling is the Holy Ghost at work.
I love all of you and I know that where I am right now is where I need to be. I know that missionary work is such a powerful work and that it does bless peoples lives. I know that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel onto the earth and that he did see God and the Father in the grove of trees. I know prayer works. I know that Christ hears and answers our prayers and that he can do so because he knows each and every single one of us personally. How great is that!? Christ knows me.... he knows you and he loves all of his children so much that he would die for us! I know this gospel is true with all of my heart, I love my Heavenly Father and this is the best way I can think of to show it right now.
I love you all "

Elder Hopkins


What is it about Missionaries and cameras? You can take perfectly intelligent spiritual giants and it seems the minute you point a camera at they them they become ganstas and thugs??? Anyone know the reason for this phenomenon??

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First MTC letter

"I have already learned so much being here from teachers, companions, other elders and the sisters. I've already had several spiritual experiences where Heavenly Father has shown how much he works unto me. I know now more than ever that your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you very much it is unbelievable. I know God hears and answers our prayers. He answered mine the very first night. The first day at the MTC i felt rushed, kind of overwhelmed. It was still great don't' get me wrong, but I was feeling inadequate and very homesick. I didn't think it would be so bad, but that first night I knelt down and offered up a sincere prayer, one of the most true, honest and sincere prayer I've ever said. Right after I said my prayer about giving me strength, about not being homesick, our Zone Leaders came and knocked on our door and gave me a letter. Today was much better not as crazy and rushed. I feel the spirit all the time!
I know the Lord knows you personally and answers prayers in his time. I know this gospel is true and I know there are people out there for me to invite to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. That is my purpose as a missionary. I know that it is the right thing. I love my Savior and I know that he loves me."

Love Elder Hopkins

Entering the MTC - JULY 7, 2010

Ok this new just drop the missionary at the curb thing is strange to say the least. Eric and I gave Neil a hug and I turned to get my camera to take a picture of him leaving and when I turned back he was lost in a sea of dark suits.
I was glad when he sent this picture showing he really did make it!!

First official picture of the MTC companionship.
Elder Johnson, Elder Hopkins and Elder Lyons.
If you look closely you can see the cute little "dork dots" that signal your first day at the MTC

Set Apart As A Missionary

Elder Neil Hopkins
July 6, 2010

Thanks Grandma for always being there !! Your prayers have been answered
by having your Grandson sent to Virginia the land of your birth to teach the
gospel there.

I want my sister and her sweet family to know how much it means to us to have
your support in everything that our family does. Mena said on the way home her
children were crying all the way and that shows what amazing loving hearts you have.
Thanks for all of your love!

President Bangerter and Bishop Ward after setting Neil apart as a
Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
"Power of Faith Missionary"

More of the Farewell

Thanks to Aunt Mena, Grandma Q, Tricia and Cindi for helping with the great food.

My heart was especially thankful to Rob, Afton and Jess who made the
financial sacrifice to come from Texas to support Neil at his farewell.
They showed by their actions that
"Families Are Forever"