Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Baptism ! 1/24/11

Hello from Virginia!

The baptism...!!!!!!!! WOW, it was absolutely amazing!!! The whole thing was just awesome, she had like 30 or more of her friends from JMU and even some from Jersey come to see it. Robert is right, these are the greatest things ever, seeing them dressed in white ready to make this covenant with their Father in Heaven is absolutely amazing and something you will never forget. The fact that she wanted me to baptize her is also amazing, and I couldn't have been happier. Going into the water and performing this ordinance is amazing, there aren't really enough words to describe the way you feel. After the whole baptism we were able to mingle and talk with people. Talking to some of her friends they all loved it, we were able to talk to a few of them who are even interested in learning more about it!!! Kat is going to be a great missionary, and she loves sharing the gospel with people so while we aren't there she will always be around her friends being an example and helping them feel the same way she feels. :) There are so many things happening here and we are just being so blessed. Now the time comes for me to leave my area of Harrisonburg... Right now I am in Charlottesville, and then I will be traveling to Richmond for a leadership meeting. The meeting goes all week, until Friday night, and these are just the greatest things ever. We get to learn and hear from the AP's and the President on how we can help others, help ourselves, and help our investigators and our areas! This week is going to be a spiritual high and there are so many amazing things that happen during this week, like last leadership meeting there was so many amazing miracles and blessings that happened, so I'm really excited. What will be really good as well is the fact that when I get back there will be a baptism on Saturday again!!! Ed and Judy Young are going to be baptized and they are just amazing... I seem to be saying amazing a lot... anyways! They are!!! ;) Like I said we are just being so blessed right now and I hope and pray that we will continue to have the opportunities that we are having now. Sounds like things back home are... good. With everyone away, people enjoying cruises and dad in Arizona. Utah and Virginia sure are cold, haha. It's been below 0 some days in Harrisonburg thanks to the wind chill, other than that it's alright, haha. So going with the whole out of shape thing, yes we have our 30 minutes of work out in the morning, haha, consisting of sit-ups and push-ups, but that doesn't help much with the conditioning side of things which I was talking about. Yes, it would be possible to go outside and run in the mornings, the only down side to that would be freezing before we even get out the door. haha, but no things are great and I'll just get to run when it gets warmer! Basketball that day was a lot of fun, I held my own, just when we got to the post he tore me up!!! (that is the player from UVU) he's a beast, but we have our differences which will happen any where we go. What's awesome is these meetings we get to play basketball every morning with the other missionaries!!! Wow, it is going to be such a blast!!! :) That is really all I have to say today, I hope you all have a great week and you continue to be blessed. Heavenly Father loves you very much and so do I. Never forget to put your trust in God. I love you.

Much love,

Elder Hopkins

Snow Reports and Martin Lurther King - 1/18/11

Dear mother, ;)

Well we were definitely one of the 49 states with snow. I'm guessing Hawaii didn't? haha, a lot of stuff does stop when there is snow but this one wasn't even that bad. There might have been an inch? Sorry, not much of an update on the area, yes I am still with Elder Van Wagoner, and I haven't even been training this whole time. haha, he's doing great and just a stud. You said you weren't sure if you were going to get an e-mail this week... well SURPRISE!!! haha, we still get to e-mail just when we have some time. Kat is a student at JMU, I wrote a lot about that in my letter so I will let you have that. Pretty amazing stuff. :) Sounds like having the Palfreymans over sure was fun, yes it is always fun when that happens! Tell them I say hi and that I love them. Talking about the Palfreymans I was always wondering how they were doing, I have been wanting to write them but lately there hasn't been time to write much letters with other stuff going on. It's too bad that Aubrey had a bad experience at Snow, I know she was excited for that. College has a lot of things happening there and a lot of rough stuff goes on. Like my first roommate at Northwest before he got kicked out. Not good. I think that was amazing of her to be able to come back home because she knows that it will be better for her to stay on the right path and keep her standards. Wow, what an example that is. :) Aubs is awesome! :) Also hearing that she is thinking about a mission put the biggest smile on my face!!! That would be so sweet, and let her know that if she has any questions about anything she can let me know. :) haha mom, it sounds like you are in the loop for everything! Chantz, Aubrey, Megan, haha it's just funny hearing all of these things from you. There it comes back to that stripling warrior story, they did not doubt for their mothers knew it. I know you know everything, that is just what moms do. haha :D I'm glad you are excited to study the new testament. The Saviors earthly ministry is absolutely amazing!!! You will be able to learn so much from the things that you read and pray about from that. Maybe I'll include some of my favorite new testament scriptures in my next letter if I remember. haha, but anyways I want you to know how much I love you mom. You are so great and I want you to know that you are the greatest blessing in my life I never asked for. :) Thank you for all that you have done, do and continue to do. I love you. I hope you have a great week and good luck in school and everything else you do!

Much much love,

Elder Neil Hopkins

Transfers 1/10/11


Don't worry about the title or subject or whatever, I'M STAYING IN HARRISONBURG!!! I'm soooo excited, there are so many amazing things happening here, the work here is just on fire, especially now that the college students are back it will pick up even more! Some exciting news is that Kat is going to be baptized on the 22nd and she has asked me to baptize her! Also the week after that Ed and Judy Young will be baptized on the 29th!!! Missionary work is the greatest thing ever! The people here are just so great, some quick insight... If you pray for charity, YOU WILL receive charity! The Lord will answer our prayers and He has helped me love these people. Without charity we are nothing, 1 Corinthians 13 is a great example of that. Without love it is so much harder to serve, without love it is harder to help. When it is hard to serve these people it makes it hard to serve God, because when we are in the service of our fellow being we are only in the service of our God. I love the life of a missionary! This is the greatest experience any young man, young woman, or elderly couple or anyone could ever experience. President Monson has made a huge push and emphasis on people to go on missions, because of the things that you will do for the Lord, and for yourself and for those around you. This work is divine, it is led by our Father in Heaven and it will go on. Joseph Smith in the Prophet of the Restoration asks this question: "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Following him I ask you the same question. Really think about it, how do we go on? How do we endure to the end? We trust in God, and we go on. I think of Alma 38:5, this is Alma addressing his son Shiblon. I ask you to read that, apply it to yourself, put your name in place, and then look at what happens when we trust God. We preach and teach and help people to have a trust in God, so that we can open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom to His children who are seeking for the truth. We are the only ones who can do this. Baptism is the first step, a step we have taken, now we must endure, we will push on in this great cause! Following Jacob in the Book of Mormon... I make an end of my writing upon this page, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu! Jacob 7:27 :) I love you.

Much love friends,

Elder Hopkins

2011!!! 01/03/11

Hello everyone!!! Happy New Year!

Wow, this past week has been an amazing experience!!! Not just the start of a new year, but the amazing miracles that we were able to see and be a part of. I guess I'll go back and start with Tuesday... The gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, and we get to see it happen every single day. We went to a members home, was baptized last year, and met with him. He has a lot of challenges, a lot of mental, and emotional problems. He has a soft heart and he loves God and Jesus, he just has a lot of depression and bad thoughts. Anyways, talking to him about the atonement of our Savior and sharing some scriptures with him and inviting him to read some chapters are changing him yet again. In PMG pg 19 I believe it is there is a quote on the side, it says something along the lines of... "true doctrine understood will change attitude and behavior better than a study of behavior." How true! The doctrine, the scriptures, the things that the Prophets say will change us for the better, always for the better. Mario, we met with him that night wants to go on a mission so bad! :) It is the coolest thing, he has the strongest desire to go out and share this that has made him so happy! :) Wednesday, another thing about the gospel is that it makes sense to people! Erol, a former investigator that we visited told us how everything makes sense. I told him that if he would continue to meet with us that we can show him how more of it makes sense and that he will be able to know if it is true. He accepted, then I challenged him to baptized when he came to know it is true, and he said yes! All that we have to do now is be the mouth piece for the great member of the God Head: The Holy Ghost, who will testify the truth to him and prick his heart! :) Then for the amazing part of that night... Ed and Judy, we go to see them at 7:30 and we talk to them about how the gospel blesses families. Brother Larsen, our ward mission leader, let us talk this time (he likes to talk a lot). Again, I was led by the spirit at the end of the lesson, Judy knows it is true, she feels the spirit and she felt it that night again, and they both accepted baptism. They will be baptized on the 29th of January, I ask that you will keep them in your prayers. We are 19, 20, 21 year old boys. Yes, boys. haha. There is something greater in this work, and it is our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Gods, at our side and in all that we do. What an amazing feeling and blessing, and you don't have to be a missionary, set apart, with a nametag to experience that. Every member is a missionary! You are all powerful disciples of Christ, be the example, strive to be like Christ, and you will always find joy in whatever you do. I love this gospel with all of my heart, and I am so blessed that I am trusted with this amazing calling from our Father in Heaven. This work is divine, we as members of the church are building the kingdom of Heaven. I want to say D&C 64:33 and 34. I found that scripture recently and it really helped, enjoy the doctrine and the gospel of Christ, it WILL change your attitude and it WILL change your behavior. I can promise you that as a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I hope you all have a great new year! I hope you all stay safe. Also I hope that you will all enjoy the blessings we receive from this wonderful gospel and from being members of the true church here on Earth. I love you all and thank you all so much!

With much love,

Elder Hopkins

Hello Family!! 12/27/10

Dear family,

Wow, can I just start off saying how great it was to talk to all of you on Christmas... Ya it was GREAT!!! Sounds like things are going really well and that you are all enjoying yourselves, the way it should be. :) I don't really know what to say, not much has happened since we talked. haha. One thing, we only had a set amount of time to talk, I feel I didn't get to say as much as I would have liked. I want you all to know how grateful I am for all that you do and the love and support that you give to me. Being able to hear all of your voices and just to be able to talk and laugh with each one of you was soooo great! Thank you, thank you, thank you, I don't think it can ever be said enough. I love each and every single one of you so much that words can't even express. Thank you for your examples, your friendship, your love, your spirits, and your testimonies. I hope you have a very Happy New Year, I hope you enjoy the time you have with one another, and I hope you enjoy your new gifts. :) Whenever there is anything that you need, any help that you need with anything, I would love to do my best to help you. Although I'm not there with you, I am there for you... Always. I love the life of a missionary, and I am so grateful for the love that you have for me, for our Savior, for our Father in Heaven, to allow me and help me do this. You are always in my prayers and I hope you have a great time together. Again, I love you, nd I'll talk to you next week!!

Love your missionary,

Elder Hopkins
Well Hello! :)

This week was absolutely amazing!!! I don't have much time, we have a zone p-day, it's some of the missionaries last p-day so we're gonna go have some fun! haha. I just wanted to let you know that things are going great here in Virginia!!! SOOOO AMAZING!!! :) The work is exploding, we have 4 people set for baptism and we are planning on getting 2 more this week. Will you all pray for Ed and Judy Young? They are such an amazing couple and we are doing our best to help them. :) Christmas is coming up!!! I can't even believe it, time is going WAY to fast! I was thinking I would probably call around 1 my time. (so like 11 your time) Thinking in the past all the presents should be opened and all over the place by then. hahaha. I would love Afton to be there!!!! That would be sooooo great since I haven't heard from her yet. so sweet! Also since Christmas is on a Saturday we have free minutes, so we can just call you from our phone. I don't need calling cards, but if it comes down to it we can have you call the number. But it should be fine! :) I'm really excited.

Remember the true meaning of Christmas... Luke 2:1-14 and John 3:16, those are my favorites. After all the lights are gone, the tree is put away, the tinsel is packed up, the birth of the Savior is always there. Without Christ we have mas... God gave us the greatest gift, the birth of Jesus Christ. Without His birth, we wouldn't have His life, His death, or His resurrection. There would be no atonement, He is the way, the light, and the life. Remember why we really celebrate this year...

Merry Christmas!!!

Elder Hopkins

Finals -12/13/10


Mom... Good luck on your final! :) You'll do great, you are such a diligent person and you always work hard to do your best. Remember to include the Lord as well, He'll only help you! Yes, it is getting cold... Funny story, going to the zone meeting last Friday? I believe it was (forgot my planner today) we had to drive our car which destroyed our miles for the week. So we rode bikes all day on Saturday!!! It was actually a lot of fun and we found some good success! My legs are beat, but like I said it was a lot of fun. :) Training is a lot of fun, Elder Van Wagoner is such a stud! Really I don't even have to train him because he already knows what he is doing, maybe a little fine tuning on how we do things in the VRM but other then that he is so great! And tell Eric I am proud of him... hahaha, I remember doing that, sooo funny! :)
Now for the better part of this... MOM!!! That is sooooo cool that you have been called to be a temple worker!!! Mom, that is the greatest thing ever! Helping people do those ordinances... The blessings that you are going to receive, and more importantly the people that you are helping to receive those is going to be amazing! Try reading President Uchtdorfs talk in the first session again, talking about slowing down and putting the things that are more important first. Such an amazing talk, and I know that this calling is going to help you grow and learn and just love the Lord so much more! I am sooo excited for you! :) :)
About reading the scriptures... 2 Nephi 32:3 I believe it is... I don't have my scriptures on me right now so I will put more insight on the subject when I write my letter. :) A lot of reading the scriptures comes down to making it a habit, but a reminder on your cell phone or the computer to go off and put everything aside for that hour or 30 minutes and just read the scriptures. That will help you more than anything, just put away the world and read for that little bit and you will see that you will have a desire to "feast upon the words of Christ!"
I love you mom, I love family, It's a little early but I can't wait to talk to you on Christmas! Thank you all so much for your support and your examples, they are truly greatly appreciated! Carry on, endure to the end, you are in my prayers and the Holy Ghost can always be present to comfort and guide you. Invite the spirit into your lives and you will notice our father in heaven opening the windows of heaven and pouring you out blessings that you won't even have room to receive. Again I love you...

Until next time :)

Elder Hopkins