Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving, a Baptism and Transfer Calls‏ 11/29/10

Hello Everyone,

I think I will start with Thanksgiving, Thursday the 25th. WOW, so the missionaries were able to play in the turkey bowl this year and we got to play 2 hand touch. We played the married people vs. the not married people, haha, they picked the teams. Here are my stats: 5 interceptions (1 returned for a TD) and 7 touchdown passes!!! haha, it was a lot of fun, we ended up winning, but it was getting a little intense, old people who love people get really heated then it gets a little competitive... :) All in all it was a lot of fun. :) After that we got to relax the whole day until Thanksgiving dinner, Elder Justice and I went to our ward mission leaders home, it was really great! Here are some scriptures that I looked up for the lesson afterwards: *D&C 78:19, *Alma 37:37, *Alma 7:23, *2 Corinthians 9:15 cross reference to James 1:17. Those ones are my favorite! :)
Now I'll skip ahead to Saturday... MARIO'S BAPTISM!!! We weren't able to see him at all the past week until Saturday morning, it was pretty rough but it went good. :) After we talked with him we went and got everything ready at the church. Mario allowed me to be the one to baptize him... what an AMAZING experience! I took some pictures that I can send home some time. After we do the baptism we go into the bathroom to change, he just tells me how good he feels and how much he enjoyed it! Oh it was so great! The spirit was so strong, Elder Justice gave a talk on the baptism and Elder Carpenter gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, it was so amazing and he just loved it all! :) Sunday, we were able to confirm him, someone from the ward did that while the missionaries stood in, confirming someone is such an amazing feeling as well, when they receive the Holy Ghost you can feel it, and they can feel it as well!!! Sundays are the greatest, and Sundays like that are even better! Amazing stuff. :)
Now for some more big news... We received transfer calls last night... Oh man, they are so intense, we were all playing LIFE and the phone calls start happening! Elder Carpenter got the 1st one, he is going to be a Zone Leader in Richmond, it's so cool, he is such a great missionary! Elder Caldwell is staying here (he was trained by Elder Carpenter). Then we got the next phone call. President Perry talks to Elder Justice for a little while, he is going to Virginia Beach! Then I get the phone... President tells me about trainers, in the Leadership meeting he said how training is the highest thing you can do as a missionary... Then he says that I am going to train!!!! Also, I'm staying in Harrisonburg and I'm going to be the District Leader! It's crazy, I'm excited to stay here because there is so much that is happening right now! So that is the news on that.
I hope everyone is doing good, I hope and pray that you will all have a great week and enjoy the winter season. I love you all, thank you for all that you do.

With love,

Elder Hopkins

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leadership Training Mtg 11/22/10


Wow, this week was absolutely amazing!!! Of course I forgot all of my notes and things like that, but... I went to the leadership training meeting this last week. It started early Tuesday and went till Friday! All of the Zone Leaders and the District Leaders, then the Assistants to the President and President Perry and his wife were there, it was so amazing! I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn or anything, but I'm one of the future leaders in the mission!!! :) That is a direct quote from President Perry. haha, who would have thought that. The leadership meetings started at 10:00 am and went till about 5:00 pm everyday that week. All that it is, is we learn how to better ourselves, our companions, our districts, and our zones. Pretty much just improving the mission all around. We learned so much stuff, and I'll include that in my letter home. (all the details and things like that) It was so great to go there and see what happens and learn and receive revelation and inspiration for my area and what I can do to help it improve. The Assistants and President Perry trained all of us and they are so amazing! We role played a bunch, which I'm beginning to love because being there I realized how much it actually helps. haha. One way sweet story... After the first meeting we go out and do work. I went out with Elder Duke, Carpenter, and Gill in Downtown Richmond and we had an appointment to go to, a referral to go see. Turns out she needs devils to be cast out of her!!! Really!? We go into her house and it is just all foggy (they had the oven open trying to heat up the house) and it just felt like a scary movie. She starts talking to us about all of these crazy things that are happening and how there is a devil or something inside of her. It was really creepy, she was so serious about all of this. We end up saying a prayer and talking to her about it, then Elder Duke gives her a blessing. (all of us standing up because she has no chairs in her house) After the blessing she falls to the floor. She gets scared asking if that was really supposed to happen, and starts talking to us about this vision that she sees when she closes her eyes. The fog starts to go away and we start to talk to her about the gospel. Talking to her and realizing she is beginning to change her kids come out, we start talking to all of them now. After talking to her about Jesus Christ and how her Father in Heaven loves her, her whole countenance changes. We end up setting her and her daughter for baptism, and we went in a circle and all took turns saying prayers. Whatever evil spirit was there left, and the good spirit, the Holy Ghost just filled the room. It was an amazing experience, miracles happen and the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it will change peoples lives. Applying everything that we learned at this meeting will change my mission, it is such a good thing I learned about it all so early in. That week was just full of miracles, everyone sharing stories about what happened the last night, all of the missionaries applying what they learned and seeing the blessings that come from it. I loved that experience! I truly can't wait to step it up, I know that Lord trusts me, and He is calling me to help other missionaries and to help bring His children closer to Him. This work is divine... I know it is true. I love you all so much! Thank you for everything that you do for me, I pray for you always and I hope the best for all of you! I hope you all have a great week!


Elder Hopkins

One more thing...‏

haha, Kinda forgot a big thing that is happening this Saturday!!! Mario Martinez is getting baptized!!! It's a single adult who was baptized in Florida, but he never received the Holy Ghost. He hadn't gone to church for a really long time and he found his back awhile ago. We've been teaching him, he had his interview on Sunday and he's all good to go! I get to baptize him at 11:00 on Saturday! This area is so good! Things just keep happening and we are being so blessed! I love it. So that was all, I love you mom, I love you family!!!

Elder Hopkins :)

Stepping It Up!! 11/15/10

Hello and good morning from Virginia!!!!

This last week was so amazing! I'll start off with Tuesday, the bad day, Every lesson except for the one at 6 at night canceled! It was really rough, but the day still went alright, a lot of tracting and talking to people everywhere so it was good. That lesson at 6 we went on exchanges and Elder Caldwell came with me and we taught this less-active about patience and being patient through all kinds of trials and rough times in life. That lesson was so amazing, she went out after that and talked to a lot of her friends about it and started doing some missionary work because of it, it was way sweet to hear about that. Wednesday was the start of our "car fast" where we can't use our cars until 5:00. Lucky thing is we have a member, Alex, who drives us around everywhere anyways so it worked out real good. We had 3 lessons in a row in the exact same spot too so it worked out really well! :) Later that night we went to see Ed and Judy at 7, we watched Finding Faith in Christ, it such an amazing and powerful movie. After we watch it the spirit was so strong... but... (aren't buts awful) Our ward mission leader is really smart, he knows a lot about the gospel, and he went off for such a long time talking about who knows what, some book he brought for them to read. Elder Justice and I got to say a little bit right after the movie but then he just took over! It was pretty rough. Now for a story... Driving home from the lesson we're running a little late... the second stop sign I see a car coming so I do a little stop and go because we're in a hurry... Turns out it's a cop!!! Alex was telling us how the cops in Virginia are awful and will give you tickets for the littlest thing and find more reasons to give you tickets. I pull out the license and registration and give it to him and he asks who owns the car, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!" That's what I said not knowing if it'll help or not. haha (in Utah it would) ;) He comes back and points out that my license says VOID on it!!! Are you kidding me, when I went to get my Virginia license they stamped that in there, real good... I told him my license was in the mail, or at least it should be, and he just gives me a warning!!!!!!!!!!! I was freaking out, so I pulled over and now Elder Justice drives until I get my license. hahaha. Mom, don't freak out to much, I'm good. Driving will improve I promise. :) So ya, that was pretty intense. Now for Thursday, this is when things start getting really good! We have a district meeting and the Elder Comer and Elder Dyer come up for it. After the district meeting Elder Carpenter and myself are told we're going to ZLC!!! (Zone Leader Conference) How cool is that!? So we drive down to C-Ville right after that and do our stuff then drive to Richmond that night for the meeting! Friday we get to play basketball at 5:30 in the morning, haha it was a lot of fun! Then we went to ZLC from 9 am to 3 pm. It was such an amazing meeting, we were there with all of the leaders of the mission, the zone leaders, the mission president and his wife, and two guys from the mission board or something big like that! Amazing!!! That was my Friday! :) :) Oh ya, also there was a baptism, I missed it because the meeting went to long. Her name is Logan Douglas and she was investigating the church for 2 years before she finally got baptized, but I heard it was a great meeting. Kat, an investigator got up and bore her testimony there!!! Next time we meet with her we're planning on setting her for baptism! :) Saturday we got to play ultimate frisbee with the singles here, we're setting that up here it's real cool! :) Then we have a bunch of lessons. Sunday we have 6 investigators at church!!!!!!!!!!! That is sooooo cool! Then we had 2 non-members who we aren't even teaching! Harrisonburg is being blessed and we get to witness it first hand! After church we went to meet Mario, who is set to be baptized on the 27th of this month! His friend, one of the people who were at church sat down after the lesson and asked us some questions. She goes to a satanic church... scary! But we answered all of her questions and she is going to read the book of mormon. We find out later that night from Mario that she wants to be baptized! The spirit worked at her, it's so sweet! So ya, we also had dinner at the Alvords, they are a great family so that was really good too. After dinner we go to an old folks home and sing hymns with the single adults, it was really good and the people there loved it! More big news... I get to go to leadership training this week!!!!!!! Most of the leaders are leaving either this next transfer, or the one after that, so it looks like President is getting more ready. Elder Carpenter, Elder Harris, Elder Dyer, and myself are going to have to step up it looks like. haha, it's pretty scary but I'm so excited! (there is a good but) hahaha, so ya that is what is happening. Prayers are answered, I can see it and I can feel them, thank you so much for all that you do. Stay close to the Lord and he will bless you, read the scriptures because they are the word of God and they are true! I love you all, continue to be an example and follow the Savior. I hope you all have a good week and stay safe!

Much Love,

Elder Hopkins

Beur's Email From Charlottesville

To the Family of Elder Hopkins -

We just wanted to write a quick note and let you know how much we enjoyed getting to know your son during the weeks he was here in Charlottesville. We had such a great time during our first "date night" with the elders that we tried to have them over every week - - what a blessing it was to our family to have such dedicated missionaries in our home!

Elder Hopkins in particular brought such a happy spirit into our home. We miss his smile, his testimony and teasing him about his "hollow leg." We hope he is happy and well-fed in Harrisonburg!

Courtney & Troy Buer

Another Great Week 11/08/10

Good Morning,

This week was great, starting with Monday we went and played ultimate frisbee! It was a lot of fun and I got some good pictures on that. We went to see Melany who is less-active and her friend who had some questions. It is so cool to be able to answer peoples questions and to really clear up some confusion that they have had. Then we ended that night with FHE with the singles. Tuesday was such a great day! I love being a missionary so much... We have been so busy, we just keep finding people to teach, this area is so ripe I love it. We met with Jimmy who is agnostic, and we shared the Restoration with him, our unique message to the world. We talked with Tabitha and she had a bunch of questions about church and stuff like that so we were able to help her and we invited her to church. Ends up she couldn't make it, but she is totally planning on coming so that's really good. More lessons and stuff and then we went finding in a place we like to call Disney Land. There are so many apartments full of college students there, it wasn't one of our successful nights but we were able to talk to some people so that was good. :) Wednesday we went onto JMU and tried to hand out copies of the Book of Mormon to people and talk to them. The real highlight of that day was that night, when we met with Ed and Judy. They are amazing and I love them so much. We talked to them about eternal marriage and I just expressed my love for my family. How comforting it is to me that we can be together forever and I got all choked up, ya ya I'm a baby, but the spirit was so strong in that room and that lesson was just amazing. Ed is ready to be baptized, he is just waiting for Judy who still isn't quite ready, but she will be really soon I'm sure of it. :) Speaking by the spirit is soooo amazing, it is the greatest feeling ever and we get to experience that every single day! I love it so much! :) Thursday was good, we got to see Kat, she is doing amazing! She loves to read the Book of Mormon, she loves meeting with us, her goal in meeting with us is to be happy. That is what missionaries do!! haha, so things there are really good! :) Friday we had a zone meeting so I got to see all my friends in Charlottesville, it was great. Also President Perry was there which was great. :) We are going to be a pilot mission, here in about 2 weeks we get texting! Daily contact is gonna rock and the work is gonna explode it's gonna be sooo sweet! More lessons that night, just the usual missionary life, good stuff. :) Saturday we had a deep cleaning session of our apartment... It's gonna be the first Saturday of every month. WOW... Elder Justice cleaned the oven, and I cleaned the whole fridge area! Mom, you'd be impressed. :) It looks real good let me tell ya. haha, after that we had some following up to do, but not much until some lessons. So it was alright. Sunday, church was great (as always) we had 4 investigators there this week, and then after church... We had some following up, wasn't successful, then 2 HOURS OF FINDING!!!!!!! It was crazy, we had 3 good conversations and 1 return appointment so it was pretty good. Brace yourselves... I'm a talker!!!! hahaha, yup I love talking so there ya go. ;) Anyways that is pretty much my week in a nut shell. I thank you all for your support and your prayers. They are definitely being heard, answered, felt, and noticed. Thank you so much for all that you do. This church is true, the Book of Mormon is true, and Joseph Smith was able to translate it through the power of God. It is amazing, it is true, and it blesses peoples lives and brings happiness. We don't need the answers to every question, we just need to know that the scriptures are true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and we will know what it is that we need to know. This gospel is amazing... Follow the guidance of the prophets and hold fast to the iron rod, the word of God and you will be blessed. Sorry this e-mail is a little all over the place... I hope you all have a great week. Enjoy your own missionary work!! :)

With much love,

Elder Hopkins

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween 11/01/10

Dear Mom....... and family,

To start on Sunday, with that guy who was there, I spoke in church... No one came up and said anything about meeting you, but if he was there he sure would have seen me. haha. So I spoke in church on..... missionary work.... haha who could have seen that one coming. I found out I was speaking on Thursday, and I was also giving a training on Friday for our district, so I was really packed up with things I needed to do, especially since we don't get to study on Sundays because we have meetings early in the morning. My training for the district was on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. I was able to use Elder Hollands talk on the divine companionship which was really nice. You should read that talk sometime. That went really well, then I guess my talk went pretty good, haha, a lot of people liked it. Guess what! We had 6 investigators at church yesterday!!! Sundays are always amazing, people were so excited and all of the investigators loved church. We met a girl on JMU, her name is Kat, and she absolutely loved church, she used to be Catholic and grew up and then fell away and didn't even believe in God. She has a missionary out in Argentina I think it is... She loves learning about the church and I am positive she will be baptized soon. A lot of things are happening here, before I came it was pretty slow, but things are changing, we're finding people to teach and we're focusing on their needs. It is sooo great! :) A college student is getting baptized next Friday which is way exciting and she has some non member friends that we've been meeting with. So ya, this place is exploding and progressing so well.
Justin is going to be great, I just know it, and I'm positive he's going to love being a missionary, as I'm sure all of the others do as well! :)
Sounds like a pretty sweet Halloween, a Jabbawoccee (however you spell it, mom- a jabberworky hahaha) and Eric as MC Hammer sounds way sweet. For us, we had to be inside at 6. We took some funny pictures with the stuff you sent us, and thank you so much for that I loved it! :) So ya, it wouldn't have been the most effective thing to go tracting on Halloween.
Yes, it is getting cold, haha. Every morning it's pretty much freezing and its not even winter yet! haha, but some sweaters would be cool, I was wearing Elder Comers sweaters in those pictures. Just black and maybe gray would be cool, but you don't really need to worry about those. Today we're gonna go golfing on a free par 3 course. It's gonna be a lot of fun, and no we don't play ball here. 1st reason, the court is carpet, no bueno. 2nd reason, there are only 4 of us, maybe some college students, but ya that's it.
My role is senior companion... I drive!!! :) and I make all of the final decisions. I have to be real decisive, which is what I wanted to work on the most, which makes it funny that I'm doing this now. But ya, that's all I do, the real senior companion is the Holy Ghost, so we're good. ;)
Thank you for everything that you all do, I love you all so much, Stay strong and read and pray and things will always get better. I love your letters and e-mails so much! I hope you have a great week.

I love the life of a missionary!!!

Elder Hopkins :)