Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!! - 05/31/11

Hello Hello,

Alright, so this was a cool e-mail, even though there wasn't that much, no worries because I'm not expecting huge e-mails, this was great! Josh Sharp!!! That is awesome news, to bad he's done with his mission, I know how he feels, there are mixed emotions... Playing for BYU is so cool! Elder Gill is a the biggest BYU fan I know, he'll be pumped to watch them play, Josh is amazing and plus with Tyler Haws, they will tear it up! I'm sure the Sharps are happy, and I know Elder Sharp is too, I'll bet he was an awesome representative of our Savior! :) I'm sorry about all of the weather... We left our apartment this morning and it was 89 degrees at 10:00 so it'll be a hot one, haha. Tell Eric trek is super sweet, I loved it and now I wish I could have gone more than once, but it's way sweet, even though you do walk a ton, haha. Here is some of my studies today, I am reading in Ether and I read chapters 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, now Ether is an exciting book, there are so many crazy things that go on in this book. While reading these chapters there were a few things that stood out to me (I love chapter 12 but I won't go into that one, all about faith and also hope and charity) Throughout these chapters it always talks about the people starting up the wicked lifestyle, robbing, murdering, things like that, and then the prophets come prophecying and the people reject them everytime! The end of Chapter 9, and the beginning of 11, it talks about the prophets coming. Chapter 9 they come, they prophecy and the people reject them. The prophecy is then fulfilled and it talks about how they begin to repent because they realize they are going to perish... How many times are we like this? I know I have been, waiting to the last second to turn to God, and the interesting thing, or the amazing thing that I got out of it was that He still helped them because he saw that they "humble themselves SUFFICIENTLY..." God always has His arm of mercy extended towards us so that we may turn to him for strength. He loves us. Chapter 11:6-8 is along the same lines as that. The scriptures apply to us so much today it's amazing to really think about, things written thousands of years ago that we can read and study and ponder about and see how it applies to us, and we can learn, we must remember what they did, what they went through, and we can learn from that. Like these scriptures we must listen to the prophets, we must do what they tell us to do and we will be blessed. I am so grateful for the scriptures and what they have done for me, and what they do for the people that we talk to. Hearts are changed and questions are answered because this is a true book, it is the word of God, it fills our hearts, minds, and spirits with the Holy Spirit. Read it and you will come to know of your Savior Jesus Christ, you will have peace in your lives, and you will be happy, and I can make you that promise! I love you, I care about you, and I want what's best for all of you. Have a great week and enjoy the many blessings God has given and continues to give to us!

Much love from Virginia,

Elder Hopkins

I'm not good at coming up with Clever Titles - 05/23/11

Hello and good morning one and all!

Thank you for the e-mail mom, I loved it, it sounds like it was a fun sabbath, spending time with family always makes it fun! It sure sounds like there are some great things going on at home, that is so exciting to hear! Kelly is awesome, it's so cool that he is teaching primary, that's a calling that I would want, little kids are amazing, it can be hard to teach them sometimes, haha. Our Stake President (President Dudley) went from being a primary teacher to Stake President, so tell him to stay on his toes! ;) Also, I'm so glad to hear that Afton is doing well, it really just sounds like she is loving things, the church and the spirit and the fellowship really just work at people, it's true, the church is true and if we go we'll be happy, it really is that simple. Bishop Nickerson, he likes to be called brother Nickerson now, haha, he is an amazing man... I have never met someone with so much charity, he just has so much love for everyone and he is always sincere about everything. I have learned so much from him and I really look up to him, he can see the good inside anyone and will kill people with love, haha, it was really sad when he got released. That is so cool that one of Aubreys friends is coming here, he's lucky, he gets to come to the best mission, there are a lot of amazing things going on right now, also, I think that when he comes into the mission there will be the new style to train, there is going to be a new section of Preach My Gospel for trainers and trainees, it's amazing! Also with this last transfer there is another Elder Hopkins!! What are the chances of that? Not only that but he is also in our zone so I'll get to see him next Friday at zone meeting, it was really fun to hear that there will be another Hopkins. I'm glad to hear that Eric is getting into basketball, who would've thought that... haha. It always makes me sad to hear about his knee, Eric is such a trooper for fighting through that it's amazing, I really look up to him because of that. Golf sounds like it will be awesome, it's such a fun game, Elder Gill and I have been thinking about getting an investigator to go golfing with us on p-day. :) For Eric I say try out for the team, why not!? It's fun, you get to play basketball, and if you don't make it you don't make it. I wish I would have tried out my senior year, it wasn't very likely that I would have made it, but now I look back on it and wonder what would have happened, but oh well, it's not a big deal. Just go in there with a good attitude and have fun, that's what it is for. ;) Like I was saying earlier, there are exciting things going on in the mission, in our zone, the Chesapeake zone, there are 23 people set for baptism! That is the most that it has ever been, missionaries are absolutely amazing, people think it's the zone leaders that make it so good... We have nothing to do with that, missionaries are incredible and we have amazing missionaries in our zone. This last transfer there were a few changes, especially with a lot of the new missionaries coming in. The great thing is, those missionaries always carry this fire! They are so excited to get to work no matter how nervous they are. All of their trainers are awesome too, it's exciting to see things explode! Our area is really improving, we've got to do a lot of finding (knocking on doors), it's not always the greatest thing to do, but we are being blessed. Russell Brownley is doing amazing! He is now in the book of Jarom, just moving right along and understanding the things that he is reading, he is praying and he is getting work off so he can come to church every other week, maybe more in the future. The spirit of God has not only pricked his heart like it says in Acts, but it has pierced his soul to the very center and caused it to quake! Missionary work is the greatest most fulfilling thing anyone can do in their life, I love the life of a missionary. This church is true, this is the Church of Jesus Christ, it is His. This is His work, and He leads it, I know that it is what He does and what the Spirit does that truly converts people, we are just blessed to be His mouth piece. The Book of Mormon is true, it changes hearts, and it does testify of our Savior. The gospel has been restored, it is here, and we have it, in its fulness, and it is up to us to share it with everyone. I thank each and every single one of you for being a part of my life, it is no accident or coincidence that we have met, God has a plan, and you were a part of mine. Thank you for helping me become who I am today... A representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let your light shine, be an example each day of your lives, we are too blessed to be stressed! ;) I love you, I pray for you, and I hope you have a fantastic week. :)

With love,

Elder Hopkins

A New Transfer - 05/16/11

Hello Family and Friends,

This last week has been pretty interesting, but I'll start with just this last night. Transfer calls happened and there are a lot of new things going on within the zone. Elder Gill and I are staying which is awesome news!! This month and a half is Elder Gills last little bit on the mission, which means that I'm going to kill him (missionary terms) also it means I'll probably be in this area for another 3 months at the least. There are a bunch of missionaries going to train this transfer which is awesome, training is the only time on a mission when missionaries really step up, it's a huge task and it's amazing as well. We have some more sisters in the zone, 2 of them are sisters that I came out with so I know them pretty well. :) That's really it on transfers. This last week there was a lot of traveling going on, to different areas running some errands and things like that, oh the life of a missionary! Gotta love it! :D We were able to meet with Russell Brownley this week and things went great, he is still loving everything that we share aaaaaaand HE CAME TO CHURCH!!! It was soooo exciting, it was the first investigator at church that we've had since I got here, so it was really exciting to see him there. This Sunday was a little different though, they let go of the bishopric, called a new one and had them and their wives say some things, it was really good, just different for someone new. Even though that happened he still loved the feel of church, which is awesome, the spirit was really strong and a lot of people introduced themselves to him which was way good. :) Other than that we met with Al and Steve after church and set up a time to go see them tomorrow, hopefully they will be there, but they are both really cool and really smart too, Al has loved reading the Book of Mormon and prays for understanding, it's way awesome! Those are really the only people we're meeting with, others are just off and on, so hopefully things will continue to go well. Today has been fun, we got to go play basketball which is always a blast, then some shopping had lunch and now we're e-mailing, so ya, exciting stuff, haha. How are things going at home, school for Eric has got to be coming to close soon here right? I'll bet he's excited for that. :) I'll share a little bit of my study that I had this morning, I really enjoyed it... So I made a goal to study the Christlike attributes each day so I can learn to be more like Christ, today I was on Charity and love. Reading some things in there was good, but I wasn't getting anything new, so I went to the scripture study and read 1 Peter 4:8, I invite all of you to read that and think about it (something important to look at would be the footnote to JST) from this scripture is where most of my study came from. Can we have charity towards others if we don't have charity towards ourselves? In Preach My Gospel on Charity and Love the 3rd paragraph talks a lot about the things that YOU WILL do or have when you have charity, charity towards others, service, and thoughts, things like that. Really good stuff, but then look at it towards yourself. I really enjoyed it and really enjoyed that translation from Joseph Smith which really changes the scripture. Being like Christ is a life long process, and to be honest, we can never achieve that while on Earth, Christ was perfect, Christ is perfect, and studying these attributes of our perfect Savior will help us come closer to being like Him, and put us closer to Him. Charity is an amazing attribute and one that we should all strive for daily, in 1 Corinthians 13 we read that without charity... we are nothing. Also we read in Moroni that if we pray with all of our might for that kind of love (the pure love of Christ) we will get it. God is just waiting for us to ask for blessings, for growth, for knowledge, and He will give it to us, prayer is the means in which we obtain the highest of all blessings. I love the scriptures, I know that they are true, and I know that we can receive revelation upon revelation and knowledge upon knowledge if we read and study the words of the prophets, the scriptures, the Ensign, Preach My Gospel, are all tools to use to help us come closer to our Father in Heaven. I know that this church is true and that is has been restored by a modern day prophet, we are so blessed to have this knowledge. I know Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ love me, and they love you, they know who we are, and they know how to help us... so let them. I'm grateful for all of you, for all that you do, and I thank you for all that you have done for me. I hope ya'll have a great day, and a great week! Until next time...

Much Love,

Elder Hopkins

The Day After Mother's Day Calls - 05/09/11

Good afternoon!!!

Late e-mails, we actually played basketball this morning instead of later. Anyways... Mom, again I hope you had a great day, it sounds like you and the family were having a great time being together. It is always good to talk to all of you and just see how things are going. I really don't have much to say in this e-mail, especially since I just talked to you yesterday. You have no need to worry about me not knowing how to cook, we learn while we're out here, we learn the easy things to put together and try all kinds of weird mixtures of things, haha, not too weird though. Also, as for dad buying a new mower... That is no surprise to me!!! Haha, I just think it's funny because I knew that it was going to happen. It's alright though, I'm happy that he did because it was much needed. ;) Well I just want to thank you all for your support, it is great to know that I have such a great support, it's hard to see some missionaries who don't have that. They are absolutely amazing, and it is just a testimony builder to me to know that what we are doing, no matter what our backgrounds, that it's true! Why not come out here and do this? There are so many times when I feel like I'm being selfish because I know that this is changing me so much, and I can't share it with everyone! We can sure try though! haha :D I wish you all the best with all that you do, that you enjoy your summer and that you all stay safe! Remember that you are all sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. Be the example of the believers like it says in Timothy, Let your light so shine before the world, don't hide it because it might not be the cool thing to do, because the other kids or people might think you look funny. Thank ya'll for being an example to me, and helping me progress and grow, I am forever grateful for every single one of you. I love you.

With much love,

Elder Hopkins