Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Great Way to End

Hello Family.

Well, it was a great last week. we had 7 baptisms on Sunday. it was a great way to end the mission. Sunday night it really hit me that I was finishing, and I couldn't sleep well. but I'm good now. 

Yesterday was a great 2nd last day, I challenged everyone to baptism. 3 accepted, and of these three, I truly believe that at least 2 of them will be baptised very soon. the third, ya never know.

I'm not done yet, I still have a whole afternoon to work and challenge people to take the step of baptism.

I'm not too sure what else to tell you. I'll see you tomorrow. We had a zone training this morning, me and Elder Barahone talked about how to use our agendas better. it was good. Of course they all picked God be with you till we meet again as the last hymn, and then they all stood up to sing it, and that they all surrounded me during the last verse. It was funny, but it almost made me cry ha.

The 3D map is called el mapa de relievo. or in English, the relief map. It's in Zona 2 in the Hipodromo. It's right beside the church dental office, so people should know where it is.

About carrying cameras and stuff, it all depends on where you are at really, and what time of day. you never know. The zoo is just a normal little zoo, nothing too too special. the only cool thing is that they do have a bunch of animals that are in Central America, and they have a lot of tropical birds which is cool. It's apparently the best zoo in all of Central America. It's pretty good. and safe.

Well, these 2 last years have been great. They have been fantastic. They have been the best 2 years for my life, and the best 2 of my life thus far. I look forward to have many years that are better, they have to be, because of they aren't, I'm not progressing. But with that said, I will always look back on these two years 2 weeks and 4 days with much fondness. I've Learned a lot, I've changed a lot, and I plan on learning and changing lots more.

The church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. And in acting in accordance with this knowledge, and these facts, I, along with everyone else, will live in the presence of a very living and loving God for all time and eternity in everlasting happiness.

We´ll see each other tomorrow. you can count on that tap on the back mom.

From Guatemala (one last time), with love,

Elder Hopkins

Monday, May 6, 2013

Last email before we (his parents and sister) arrive in Guatemala!!

Baptism of 9 year old Nancy

May 6, 2013


This week was good. Nancy was baptized. I had never seen a little girl so excited for her baptism. It was great. we were going to baptize her last week but she had drinken coffee that her mom gave her, so we had to postpone it. but it was a good little service after church. We had other investigators that were in the service that felt the spirit there, and will be baptized next week. One new thing that I love to do is challenge people to baptism during church meetings, baptismal services, church activities, not only my investigators, but other investigators of other missionaries. It has helped a lot to do it in a more relaxed situation, and it has helped others investigators get a third opinion so to speak, get them to realize that its what they need to do.

We found a young lady named “M” a few weeks ago and yesterday was her second time attending. She quickly made friends with a recent convert thats about her age and they have been able to talk about baptism and everything, which has helped a ton. At the end of the baptismal service she was asking us when her baptism was going to be, what she needed to bring, and when her interview was going to be. all thanks to this friend that she made in church. it was great. so she will be baptized on sunday.

Another family was in the service, and the young boy was sitting in front of me, and I was talking to his and I was just like, what do you think, how about we baptize you next week? and he wanted to, then we had a lesson with the whole family at night, and we challenged them to baptism, and they accepted. We are going to have to marry them first, which we will do on saturday. There are 4 of them.

Also... ya know “MG” that we married and baptized like 2 weeks ago. Well, the husband was already baptized, but when he was like 14 or something. but I thought I needed to talk to the church offices to see if he really showed up on the system, and he doesn’t. He has no evidence, documents, pictures or anything of his baptism, so we are going to baptize him on Sunday as well hopefully. We still haven’t talked with him, but I just got the call from the offices this morning. Whats not written on earth, is not written in heaven, and we cant write it on earth unless we actually are sure that it happened, so he'll receive the remission of his sins again.

hopefully we'll end my last week with 6 Baptisms.

so since we are having the baptisms right after church, we probably wont be able to talk for mothers day until 5 00 pm. so lets set it at that. At 5:00 pm we will talk for 40 minutes.

oh ya, so for the stake president FHE thing we were on divisions, cuz Elder Jaramillo is still in the zone, and the pres. wanted to do it with the two of us but couldn’t when we were together so he asked us to do divisions.

Yeah we aren’t emailing tomorrow because we are going to go to the zoo as a zone. it should be fun.

so I'm thinking that if there are no baptisms here in El Lago on the 19th, we'll just go to Guajitos ward in the capital. I love the people there, and then we wont have to go around that area to visit many people in their houses, cuz that area is a little dangerous you could say.

so I'm thinking that when we go to the temple on thursday we should try to go really early. try to talk to the temple guys cuz there are sessions that start really really early. I think that the latest session we should go to would be the 7:00 am session. Then we can go for breakfast, and then I wanna go to a mall with you guys here, its called oakland mall. its like the most americanized area here, and then maybe drive through villa canales or something there's a big market with cool souvenirs in zone one in the capital, and then we can heard out to Antigua. Plan to get up fairly early each morning, ie 6:30 am. this ain’t no sleep in holiday. lo siento.

I'm so thankful for this opportunity that I've had to be a missionary, and yes, i am sad that its coming to an end.  But just as some investigators think that the end of things is baptism, when really its just the start,
I'm still going to be a missionary, I just wont wear a plaque.
In two years I've had many wonderful experiences, and I hope they wont start to lack.
I'm starting another journey, that doesn’t have an expiration date.
During the one I am now finishing, I always knew that it had a 2 year fate.
Maybe my english is weak, and these rhymes are making so sense.
But before you can say ¨Chimaltenango,¨ when we speak about being together it will no longer be in future tense.

Yeah I really don’t know what else to say to your guys. I'll actually SEE ya next week.

From Guatemala with love,
Elder Hopkins

I asked him:
How come you are always the lucky one that gets to do the baptism? Do the other missionaries not want to?
well with these ones I've known them longer so they normally want me to do it, plus I gotta be in the water as much as possible in these last weeks haha.

Note from Elder Hopkins' Mom:

We will get to talk to Elder Hopkins on Mothers Day.  Then his next email day is Tuesday May 14th, but we (his mom, dad and sister) are leaving on a plane that day for Guatemala, as he gets released Wednesday May 15th and we will be there to greet him and tour around with him for a week to meet all the special people that have had an influence on him, and him on them.    I will blog about our experience when we get home.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Working Overtime, Miracles, 36th Baptism, and starting to be at Peace about ending

Working Overtime.  (2 year mission has ended but now a 2 week extension - and he DOES look exhausted!)

Dinner with the Stake President's family

His Area - Lake Amatitlan

His companions got him a cake celebrating his 2 years on his mission!

May 1, 2013

Hey hey,

sorry that I started to write the other day but i couldn’t finish, I had to take an Elder to the hospital, we left at like 11:30 and didn’t get back till 9 at night, so that's why I'm not writing until today. (he's fine, it was just a long day)

**Also before I forget to tell you, next week we will be writing on MONDAY, so please send emails before monday morning.

This last week was absolutely great. We had a small miracle happen. So I might have told you that we were trying to get papers for an investigator so that she could get married to her less active husband that is now active. Well we tried to get the papers a while ago, and they told us that the books they were in were destroyed, and it would be like a 4 month process to get them. Well on tuesday last week we visited this lady, and she had gone to try to get her papers too, and to our surprise she was able to get them, so we quickly got a wedding planned, married them and baptized her on the Saturday 27th. It was a good way to spend the day on my 2 year mark. Yes, I've already been a missionary for more than 2 years, I'm on overtime right now.

But it was really fantastic, when she handed us the document that she needed, I just held it in my hands and just stared at it for a few minutes. They are one of the poorest families I have ever visited and baptized, but they were so ready for the gospel, teaching them was not a struggle, they accepted everything easily.

Also we put a fecha with Marisols little cousin, nancy, so she should be baptized on sunday. Shes 9 years old and is so excited for her baptism.

Also there was a girl we found, a 20 year old named "M", that we found cuz we were teaching her grandparents, and she was there for a lesson, we started talking about missions and how she could go help people by serving a mission, and then we said somewhat jokingly "look, come to church with us three times, we'll teach you, and baptize you on the 12th of May, and then in a year from now, you can go on a mission." and shes like oh cool, so we started teaching her, she came to church, and she absolutely loved it, and so we have a baptismal date for her on the 12th of may. we need at least 2 more than we have planned to be baptized these last 2 weeks to complete the goal that I have, but I feel good cuz if these baptisms happen, and they will, I will have baptized every weekend for 7 weeks in a row which is great.

For your question of what ward I want to go to on sunday when you are here, it depends, if we are going to have baptisms here in my area right now, we'll come here, and go to the baptismal service, if not, I was thinking that we would go to Guajitos, in the capital. well see. I'll have it planned out.

So that you know what will happen when you get here, we wont get any private time until wednesday night. After the change meeting, I'll be in the Presidents house waiting for my interview, and then you'll be in the downstairs lobby where we have the dinner, and then all the missionaries whose parents aren’t picking them up will come down, and then they'll all watch when the missionaries whose parents are there come down, then well hug blah blah blah, and eat dinner all together. Then we'll have a testimony meeting all together, all the missionaries, and the parents will be there to watch, and then we'll leave there and go to the hotel together. that's all I really know, I don't know toooo much detail.

On monday I went to the stake presidents house for dinner, and we had a great lasagna, and cake, and we were there for his family home evening, he's a great church leader, this stake is recognized throughout all of central america for being a great missionary stake. He also gave me two ties as a gift. President Denis Pineda is his name, great guy, great family.

Also something really really great happened on Saturday, the three people I just baptized a very short time ago,  all went to the temple to do  Vicarious Baptisms, and they loved it! what a great way to strengthen their testimony right off the bat. Fantastic.

Also I believe that The Elders in the office just called Dad, to ask him information about how to contact President Miller. They just called me to ask me his phone number.

Ps. I did get the package with all that good stuff in it.

Now as I'm finalizing my mission, I'm starting to be at peace with the fact, even though I'm going to miss the mission like crazy, I no longer have much of a fear about finishing. I know that I've worked hard, and I've become the missionary the Lord wants me to be in these last few months, and I keep working. The only thing that I wish, is that I could do it all over again with the knowledge and diligence and faith that I now have. But the mission is not the end of things, its a start, a start to a new mission, with different challenges and different rewards. I'm not quite ready, but in a few weeks, I will be ready to get it started, for the mean time, I've still got 2 weeks left to make a difference.

For mothers day, we'll have to call on the sunday, on the 12th. I have Church from 8 am until 11 am. I might possibly have a meeting after church but I doubt it, next week well confirm the time, sounds good?

ps, I'm so down to hit up a lake on a boat. we'll just need derek to shave his chest before hand.

Well, I love you all, take care.

From Guatemala, with Love,
Elder Hopkins

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

35th Baptism this week, Starting to get Baggy!

We colored our door with chalk
 Elder Hopkins must be starting to get a little "baggy" there isn't too much in his email about what actually happened in his mission last week! 

Mouse in the Pila!

Hey Family.

I'm good. 

We Baptised Sofia Yolanda Salazar de Molina on saturday. The Mother of Jorge that we recently baptized.

You will be coming soon, to pick me up!  Don't worry about getting the trip all planned out, I'll do most of it, I know Guatemala better than you guys. About the Tikal Ruins, I guess we just wont do that, cuz it will take up a ton of time, and its expensive, it would be a whole day, but you guys can look up on it, and if you wanna go its cool.

My suitcases are still in decent shape, I could continue to use them for sure. I don't want you guys to bring much stuff in your suitcases, cuz for a week, you don't really need much, and you'll buy stuff here, so we can just bring souvenirs home mainly.  I would recommend not bringing anything too valuable, unless you consider it necessary, like a phone or camera, etc.

I finally bought a blender now that my last companion took his with him.    

I'm happy about the dentist and doctor appointments you have booked for me when I get home, but I think you forgot to tell me what time my massage is going to be.  :)

So that sucks that madi's ankle got broken, I guess that means......... LOTS OF TUC TUC rides! whooo haha. I loved them the first time I was here. the only bad thing is that in Antigua there is a lot of walking required, and the streets are stone, not just flat, and the tuc tucs in Antigua are a little more expensive, like a dollar each ride or so, but we'll make it work, and she can tough it out.

one plan that I have, is go to a corte chop and all buy corte outfits!  haha, well at least the women. It'll be sweet and then you can wear them at my homecoming! (Corte is the traditional native dress like this)

Guatemalan Mother & Daughter
photo from amslerPIX

I had a dream the other night, and this is what it was--
I was at home, in Calgary, and i had nothing to do. i was complaining cuz i didn't have any phone numbers of my friends, i was really sad so i went to the computer and went onto Google maps, and just looked at Guatemala on the satellite mode.
then I woke up and I was sad. ha.

there's for sure always mixed feelings while finishing the mission.

but I am really excited for you to come and see this wonderful country, from the busy capital, to the hidden mountains, to the easy going coast. it will be a good time. it will be really chill, and easy going I think since we have a whole week. so are you going to rent a vehicle or what after all. Try not to get one that's super nice looking, but get one that has tinted windows.

Well, i don't know what else to say.  Also try to see how much it costs to make phone calls here. it might be cheaper to just buy a cheap phone and buy minutes here to do the phone calls, cuz you don't have to buy a plan or anything here, its really easy to get a cell phone. 

Thanks for sending Madi's rugby pictures - madison is the one that get picked up? - I think the one that get picked up might be called the hooker. so maybe keep an eye on that one haha.

Hey, not to be baggy or anything, but you should get madi to do the following, get together all the cool music that I missed out on the last two years, all the cool rap and hip hop songs, and also like the folk and alternative stuff and put them on my phone so I can listen to them when I'm at my dentist appointments ect. that would be soooo greatly appreciated. also get the cool good movies together so we can watch them when i get back. It'll be like a movie a night for like 3 months. haha jk, but there's alot.

Well, adios.
From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We did Zone Leader training today for our Zone of 32 missionaries

Me with my Companions
Our Zone Roster

Baptism of Edgar Vasquez

Our House - Entrance

Study Area
 before we got it set up to house all 4 of us

Washing White Shirts by hand

April 16, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia....

i heard it snowed up there, i might freeze when i get home, but thats okay.

Hey so this week was good, Fechas Metas, or goals for baptismal dates have been falling, but we are also putting alot more goals each week. "Y", "J's"  mom will be baptized this next saturday. Also her son  Juan has a fecha meta for the 28th of this month, and he already said yes. Also a couple named "R" and "E" are going to get married on the 27th, and at least "R" will be baptized, we are still working with "E". but yeah, we've been finding positive people.

We were going to have a wedding and another baptism this next weekend, but can't because of document issues. This woman is not yet in the system of people in Guatemala, she was only written in the physical books where she was born, like 4 hours away. Anyways, these books were destroyed, I don’t know if it was by mold, or a fire, but yeah, that sometimes happens here. So she almost doesn’t exist here in Guatemala, so shes gotta start a process to get her identification. It makes me mad that the poor government system is going to impede her baptism. 
It was a trial of my patience, which maybe I needed, but we keep on working.

Elder Martino, the area president of central america came to our ward here on sunday, just to do some business with the stake, so I got to know him again. on saturday we went with the ward missionary leader to buy white shirts from used clothes stores called paca, (you will see that they are everywhere), and then we had to wash them by hand and all that so that the recent converts we have could wear white shirts at church.

Today we had a Zone training, me and Elder Barahona prepared it for the zone, of 32 missionaries, a big zone. I feel that it went really well. it was about prayer.
But it went really well.

I think your list is wrong, I've baptized 33, 34 when you count Edgar on saturday.


There's tons of little things I need to do that friday and saturday when I get back, like renew my licence, buy clothes, eat good food, go to the doctor to get the bomb, get all the little things done. maybe I'll just wait to see friends until the sunday at my homecoming talk.

yeah i think i am gaining weight again, hopefully its muscle weight, cuz i had lost 15 pounds of that.

Those are super sweet jerseys that Madi's rugby team has. I like em alot. those are some nasty bruises though, keep fighting! But don’t get too hurt cuz you gotta walk here in Guatemala. love ya'll.

Well, i don’t know what else to say. time is going by real fast.

From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Feels like I'm in a race to the finish!

My new companions, from left to right: Barahona, Hopkins, Rittscher, Morales
                                          Baptism of Giovano Barreintos - April 7, 2013

April 10, 2013

Hey fammmmm.

things are all well with me. im now with Elder Barahona from Honduras as my zone leader companion, and Elder Morales from Guatemala as the one that im training. Elder Barahona is also training Elder Rittscher.  Elder Rittscher is from Guatemala but his grandparents are from Germany, so he looks gringo, they came here in WW2 so they wouldn’t have to fight. Its a crowded house but we make it work.

This week was good, we had a baptism, after the general conference, which was as great as ever by the way. We baptized Giovano Barreintos,  a man I contacted on a bus about 5 weeks ago. We are now working with his catholic mother to get baptized, along with many others. We put a set baptismal date with the mother of Jorge last night, the one that was baptized the previous week,  but we're not gonna baptize her until the 20th we decided. We are working with many others to make this covenant with God, things are exciting. The clock is ticking, and there's still work to do. It's as if I were in the last moments of a close basketball game, not much time left, but still so much that I want to do, but I know that I've worked hard up to the moment so its just a matter of keeping it up.

So I think I would like still to go down to Snowflake for Elder Tanner's wedding, end of June. go down to chill with some good friends ha.  Elder Jaramillo might come too so it would be me just going down to chill with some good friends.

Hey I had a question, does Bishop Fibke want me to speak about anything specific at my homecoming talk? let me know so I can get thoughts together, and stories from the mish together. thanks.

oh yea, so i didn’t write yesterday cuz i was in the coast at a zone conference. sorry i didn’t tell you. next week will be normal.

well i gotta go, sorry i thought I had more time, I'll send more pictures next week!

Love you!
Elder Hopkins

When I told him about his Uncle Dwight's finger and sent him a picture

wow thats nuts, im glad only a finger was lost though, thats a blessing. i hope he keeps getting better. I'll put polysporin on me next time i get a cut ha.
love ya!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Best week I've had in the Mission! And Getting THREE new companions tomorrow

Baptism of Lety

Baptism of Luis & Marisol

Baptism of Jorge

Our Whole Zone

April 2, 2013

Hey Familyyyy!

I'm doing fantastic, this week was the best week I think I've had in the mission, lots of fun, lots of miracles, and lots of success.

Jorge and Lety did get baptized, and it was great, they are super pilas, they are going to be future leaders in the church, I am for sure of it. We went out with the stake president to visit some people, and we visited Jorge between his baptism and confirmation, and the stake president was shocked, and he said that he knows that Jorge will be a great leader too, and then Jorge started to cry, it was really spiritual. This man used to maintain himself outside passed out on the sidewalks from drinking so much, and he almost dies from it. Sometimes you just gotta hit rock bottom until you can shoot back up.

Also we had 2 other baptisms we weren’t expecting,  Luis & Marisol. We've been teaching them for like 5 weeks and they have always been really positive. well, on Sunday morning and church they told us that they would be baptized. we did divisions, my comp went to look for clothes, I finished teaching them some things, and then we got the interviews done, and they were baptized right after church. it was great.

Tomorrow we have changes, my companion is leaving, and I'm receiving three more haha. its kinda a different situation. So I'm going to receive a new zone leader companion, and I'm also going to receive a new companion who I am going to train, also my zone leader companion will have his companion that he's training. There just so many newbies coming in, and so many problems with the visas that even the Zone leaders have to train while being Zone leaders so that should help me stay really focused these last 6 weeks too.

Also this morning I talked to a man from my old area in Guajitos. It looks like old Alberto is almost ready to go to the temple and be sealed to his deceased wife. Hopefully I'll get to go with him for it in a couple of weeks.

I thought it was the iphone 4 that you all had, not the i-phone5.... it seems like the iphone 5 just came out here, maybe Guatemala is a little behind.
Is there flying cars, hoverboards, or teleporting up there in north america yet? saberrrrrrr

sucks that I won't be there for Mumford and Sons, I didn't even know they had a new album, well of coarse i didn’t, I'm here in Guatemala without technology.

Well, we got no easter dinner, that doesn't really exist here, its just the semana santa, where everyone goes to the pools and beach, get drunk, and kill more people. but everythings fairly normal now. as normal as Guatemala gets.

Yesterday I met an old crazy man that goes up to cement poles and sucks on them. yea, no joke, thats what he does all day. we think that he pretends they are a woman and that he's kissing them. but if you talk to the guy he seems like a fairly normal old man. crazy.

Have you looked at Guatemalan tourism and found something that you wanna do yet, wanna go up in a plane for a day to the big ruins in coban, I think that would be sweet. It would be like 250-300 each I think, for food and everything too. I'm just thinking that its not gonna be too much fun for you guys to just visit people in their homes that you can't even communicate with. Let me know what you wanna do!

well, i don’t know what else to say, I'll send some pictures now and tell you what they are. I'm not gonna send you all the pictures of the house that i took cuz i can only send one at a time and its takes a long time.

love you all, thanks for all the pictures you sent me, your all looking great.
Ps now i can respond to anybody’s email, of ANYONE.

From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder Hopkins

ps. at the end of june i wanna go down to Arizona cuz my good friend former Elder Tanner is getting married! I think its like June 26th or something