Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Phone Call and Email

I made an Angel Moroni from the Playdoh in my Christmas Box! I had to play with it a little before I gave it to some child.  
(I like his Guatemalan shirt, he is looking like a local) ha ha
December 27, 2011

Hey Fammmm.

It was good talking to you the other day, as weird as it was haha.
I Loved everything you gave me, thanks so much. Ive been eating candy everyday for breakfast, and at night, and at every other time of the day. To tell you the truth, I already had one of those gospel art books that i carry around with me wherever i go haha. but you put so much work into that little book, thank you so much! im for sure going to use a bunch of the little laminated pictures though. Well what did on christmas, was, well like i said, i gave a talk in sacrament meeting, i came back some, ate candy, phoned you guys, and then went back out to work. of coarse we ate a few tamales along the way too, cuz everyone gives them to you around Christmas. we still have like 6 Tamales and a big pitcher of Ponche (a christmas warm drink with fruit in it) in the fridge, i think they'll get thrown in the garbage, I'm so sick of tamales.

Thats cool that Tyson is back already.  Whenever people ask me where I'm from in this time of year, i just tell them I'm Santas Neighbor, up north in Canada. the little kids think its funny.

Awesome that Claire got engaged... one less girl for me... haha jk, tell her i wish her all the best.
I liked how you sent me the year old cookies that i never did eat hahaha. we ate them as a district. and i like the canadian tire money sam sent me. and i like everything else i got!
Yesterday for Pday we went to antigua, and some members fed the whole zone, and there was so much food a deserts. It was a family that lives int he states, but have a vacation home down here, so they wanted to feed us while theyre down on vacation. it was really weird cuz one of the guys is going to Utah Valley University. It was a super super nice house, the nicest i have been in in Guatemala. and the best part, was when i washed my hands, it was hot water!! i was freakin out. it was awesome.

Ummmm i dont know what else to say, cuz we just talked basically.

Well basically thats all i have to say for now, i love you guys tons!
have a great week, hasta luego. (see you later)
From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder Hopkins
 The streets were littered with little burnt papers on Christmas morning from all the firecrackers the night before
Beautiful Guatemala-just a little river littered with garbage just like every other stream, ravine, and corner, haha

December 25, 2011

40 minute Christmas Phone Call – Tanner's comments are in RED - here is some of our  conversation 
As a side note - Tanner definitely has a little spanish accent when he talks.. He rolls some "r's" without realizing and definitely has a mexican (or spanish) accent.   It was neat to hear!
We called him
Hola Is this Elder Hopkins??

Feliz Navidad
So good to hear your voice! How are you doing?
I'm good, thank you, how are you?
What did you do for your Christmas morning?
We went to church and I gave a talk, and then opened some presents – I thought that I would get less stuff now that I am on a mission!
Was it hard to carry it all back ? It was a little bit hard, we went to the City called Chimaltenango cause the Zone leader is there and we went there to get our Christmas boxes, and you know how on movies and stuff you see tons of people in the streets downtown in foreign countries where its crazy crowded, like in India, well it was like that here yesterday, it was crazy, there were tons of people on the streets. The buses here are just school buses, and they cram pack them, 3 people to a seat and people all standing and of course we had to take the bus.

Loved getting your memory card this past week.

What did you speak on this morning in church?
I basically spoke on Missionary work but tied it into Christmas in that the best gift is the gospel and Eternal Life.

Do you and your companion get along great?
Yes, he's a good guy, we are getting a long good.
Do you have fun together? Yes, we have fun.

How far away is your district leaders house? We are the only ones in our town, we go to our District leaders in another town every week for district meeting, we aren't too spread out. About 15 mins.

How far away is your zone Leaders house?
It is in Chimaltenango, which is about 15 mins in bus also. There are other places in the zone which is about an hour away, Antigua is about 45 mins away in bus.
Sometimes we have a district meeting in Antigua, we do grocery shopping in Antigua. There are only little corner stores here for pop and chips but no real grocery stores.

What kinds of stuff do you make when you cook at home? We always eat lunch at that restaurant, because in our area we don't have a cocina (a cook), and we don't have time to make a lot of food, we don't have dinner, we have our big meal at lunch and then a snack when we get home at night.
There are corner stores here and I can get a bag of chips for a quetz = 12 cents.

The money is called Quetzel (after the bird Quetzel), the short term for money is Quetz. (similar to Canada's loony – also after a bird) Tanner says “exactly”.

Their national bird is the Quetzel, but they are endangered and aren't really around, I haven't met anyone who has seen one in unless they go to a reservation to see one. You know in the pictures of the church, the picture with Abinadhi and Noah, there is a Quetzel in the picture. (it has a very long tail)

Do you think and dream in spanish or mostly english. Both. I think in both for sure, but it depends on what I'm doing but I dream in Spanish too.

Then he says “one second someone is calling us, not on our phone, but at the door, its some members bringing some tamales to us”
(nice to know someone is thinking of the missionaries on Christmas Day)

Do you like Tamales? Tamales are their Christmas food and there are tamales everywhere! Yesterday, we ate so many we felt sick! Some of them are pretty good.
A typical meal is a piece of chicken, some rice, a little bit of salad, and a sauce with the chicken and a corn tortilla. Basically, just a piece of meat and sauce and rice”

What is your favorite food there? My favorite food is probably just the chicken with some sauce and rice and tortillas.. its pretty good (that's good cause that is their typical meal)

Before my mission, I didn't really like fried chicken, like KFC, I didn't really like that, but now I like it.

Something that we eat all the time here and that everyone makes cause its fast and easy, is scrambled eggs and black beans wrapped in a tortilla.

Just like a breakfast burrito from McDonalds here! You always liked the Breakfast Burritos from McDonalds! Yes, but the corn tortillas here are so different, there is nothing like them in Canada. They are so much better here.

Typical food for around Halloween here, is a plate of squash and brown sugar.
The Christmas drink here is called “ponche” like punch, but its a hot drink full of fruit.

Are you hungry right now? Not really, I've been eating candy all morning!

Lots of the things in your christmas box were for the rainy season, so I guess you will use them when it rains again. Yes, I will for sure use them.

Does it rain anymore? No, I don't have to carry my umbrella anymore. (when he says umbrella, he rolls the “r”).

Do you have some people you are working with right now?
Yes, we have a few people, we have some kids we will probably baptize in January. The parents are inactive members and the kids are 14, 12 and 10 and they come all the time and love it, but the parents haven't come back to church yet.

Is it cold at night? It gets a little chilly (he sounded so spanish when he said that)

Sam asks “Are there lots of cute Chicas there?”
It is very very rare that I see someone that I would think is attractive. Especially in the area I am in, its all the Indian Guatemalans from the mountains, where a lot of people speak a different native language. In Antigua there are always white people because it is a very touristy town. It's almost strange to see white people but I do in Antigua.
How well are you staying on your budget?
I'm using it well, I try not to use the whole amount each month, unless I need a USB stick or something. But I could be better.

When you go out onto your street, are all the apartments above stores? no there are a few stores, and a few houses too. We are near a main park. In all the towns there is a big catholic church, which has a main square and we are close to that.

What do people do there for a living?
Good question, a lot of people work in the mountains, they have a little piece of land that they grow corn and beans on, so they work on it most of the day. Its super super poor here, and the people will work all day to be able to eat, there are a lot of horses in our town, that walk around the street carrying bundles of corn, or beans or firewood.

What does your bishop do for a living? He works for a chip company and delivers chips and its a fairly good job because its an actual job. And our ward mission leader has only been home from his mission for a year, so he works in a little pharmacy.

How many people are in your ward? That come to church, about 120. Its a ward not a branch.

OK I've got 10 minutes left before I have to go!

What are your plans for the rest of the day?
Go out and work.

Any dinner or lunch plans? We always go to these one members house on Sunday for lunch, so we will go there.

Do you catch buses very often? No, not in our area, we only walk. There are these little 3 wheel taxis called Tuks Tuks and we can catch those if we are going to a farther area, but we usually just walk cause it may seem cheap but we use that money for 3 bags of chips for that, or a pop and a bag of chips, so I think its kind of expensive to catch them.

Do your legs get tired at the end of the day? They did at the beginning of the mission, but not so much anymore. But our area is basically on a mountain so we walk up and down big hills each day.

Do you do your own laundry? No, we take our laundry to a member to wash, but they don't have machines, they wash everything by hand and use crappy soap, and so my socks are always crusty when I get them back. So do you give your suit to them also to wash? Yes, I would have no idea where to even find a drycleaner, I've never seen one.

Any heat in your apartment? No, no heat, and no air, just a room made of cement blocks.

Do you have a good relationship with the people that own the store below you? Are they members? They are not members but we get a long well and they are friendly. We are never really here, cause we leave in the morning and get back at night.

Do you feel safe where you are? Yes, in our area, its super safe, I can take my camera out and take a picture and not worry. Its the Capital is where its dangerous, where you don't want to carry valuables.

How far away are you from the Mission Home? I have no idea, I have never been to the mission home, but the mission office, if I wanted to go there, its about 2.5 hours in bus.. Take a few different buses and then walk as well.

Well, I almost gotta go. Thanks for being awesome parents, for raising me good.

We sure look forward to your emails each week, they are a highlight for us. We are so proud of you!

Keep working hard, you are doing great! You have been out 8 months already, does it feel like the time is going quickly for you? I feel like I have been a missionary for a long time, but it feels like it has gone by quickly as well. Don't wish the time away, you are being blessed and are having such a wonderful experience. Find joy in all that you do and in helping people. We are all being blessed at home because of your service.

Do you want to have a quick family prayer before I leave in Spanish? Then you can hear my spanish, and I think its my turn for family prayer. Yes!
Tanner then gave a wonderful lengthy prayer which of course we couldn't understand but felt the spirit of it strongly.

Tell all the family members and all my friends that I love them!    And tell my friends to send in their mission papers right away!  
We love you, Bye love ya

Talk to you at mothers day!

Bye  No one wanted to hang up and Tanner hung up first, being obedient as his time was up!

Side note: I'm glad I sent a lot of extra things, a full stocking etc. in his box to give to his companion in case his companion didn't get much, and turns out his companion didn't get a package from home, but rather a package from the mission where people could send less fortunate missionaries a gift. So I'm glad he could get some extras from Tanner.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Flea bites, Can I still speak English?

 I bought this little Christmas Tree for our house, and I decorated it.  I tried to match my tie with the ornaments for a nice picture, no homo.  Also, I spent a good half an hour of my pday yesterday making these popcorn string decorations, by myself, how depressing ha ha, joking, it was awesome!

A ward Activity we had, this is the cast of the Nativity

December 20, 2011
Chat between us today by email:
Tanner - I will call you Sunday morning, or you can try to call me. My phone number is XXXXXX, If the phones are really busy because of the holiday and we can't connect, I will try again Sunday night. We are one hour ahead of you guys in time.

Mom – ok, since I know you aren't home, I will try your home phone right now to see if I can connect. Yes, I just tried your phone, to see if I got through, and I got some ladies voice on a message, of course I couldn't understand any of it cause it was all in spanish, so I just hung up. Is that your phone?

Tanner - yeah that woman's voice is just a robot, but thats my phone. ha. cool

Letter to us:
Hey heyy. ill try to write a quick one today.

Its going to be so weird to talk to you guys on sunday! i had a dream the other night that i was trying to say something at the counter at Mcdonalds, and i was trying to saying it in english, but i just couldn't, then the lady was like, okay, just say it in spanish, and then i could say it easily haha. hopefully our conversation won't be like that.

Thats awesome that my friends got their wisdom teeth out, also it sucks cuz the week or so after i got mine out suckeddd. awesome that there close to getting their papers in. think about it, a year ago right now we we waiting for my call to arrive in the mail box!

i didn't get your packages yet, but i get all of them on Christmas Eve, when santa clause comes, or at least when i go to the zone leaders house to pick them up.

My health is good, nothing wrong there. but i do have a couple flee bites right now which sucks!! so itchy!

We had a ward activity the other day for Christmas, and a bunch of investigators came. also a thing you should know, is that a lot of people think its really bad to Dance, cuz it says it somewhere in the bible, so a lot of people think its super bad because they don't listen to the living prophets. but after we had a little nativity presentation, the relief society started to do this really weird dance thing, and they were calling everyone up to come dance with them. Basically it was really awkward with this investigator family there. we were just like oh crap oh crap... we still havn't had a lesson with them since the activity, so we're just hoping they're going to want to continue to listen to us... ha.

Hey so thats all I'll write this week. I Love you all!! I'll talk to you soon! crazy! i can actually say that and have it actually mean TALK and not just WRITE.

Explanation of pictures:  (put under each one)

Les amo con todo mi corazon. ya lo saben.
Nos hablaremos domingo! Hasta entonces! (I love you with all my heart you know, we will talk on Sunday, until then!)

From Guatemala, With love,
Elder Tanner Hopkins
A really really nice Guatemalan house that I came across with such nice lights, so I had to take a picture!

Devil Pinatas from December 7th, Quema del diablo day, or burn the devil day.. Basically people blow up these devils with fireworks and this night all you could hear were firecrackers, and there were fires in the streets everywhere, and smoke everywhere!  Crazy Guatemalans!

A really cool Christmas tree that a member family has in their house here.  I hadn't ever seen a christmas tree like that before.
There is a big parade here numerous times a week, of people carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary.  It happens very very often here, and I have to pass one of these parades all the time, cause it happens like 3 times a week, by different church groups.  Someone needs to read them the 10 commandments.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy to be Staying Put!

The house of an investigator all decked out!

Hey FAmmm
(I sent Tanner a picture of the progress on the Calgary Temple)
The temple is looking great! On sunday we went and watched a broadcast of the Quetzaltenango Temple dedication. It was great. It made me kinda sad that i wont get to see the Calgary Temple dedication, but at least I'll get to go in it!

Awesome that Johno is getting married, that crazyyy. tell him i say way to go! yeah i kinda know the sister of his fiance, I've actually been to their house in Raymond a couple times ha.

So thank goodness, cuz im not getting changed! I wanted to stay in this area a little longer, and with my comp Elder Mejia. So we are staying together for another change. My first comp for more than a change. Also still don't know anything about the Christmas phone call. sorry. Its going to be weird to talk to you guyss. It'll make me baggy ha, theres mixed feelings in the mission about phone calls home.

Crazy that Tyson is almost home, and same with Brett. CRAZY.

well i don't really know what to tell ya, cuz i just emailed you a few days ago. on the way to Antigua this morning i heard a new Katy Perry song on the bus, friday night or something, so that was kinda cool. But things are going good, I found some egg nogg in the store here yesterday, on pday. I drank 2 big glassees before going back out to work. let me just say, bad decision. We shortly had to wave down a tuctuc and tuctuced it back to the house. But i was safe. and everythings fine now. ha.

Until Next week Family!
love you all!
God Bless!
Love, Elder Hopkins
hey i was wondering if you could send me some missionaries addresses, maybe you can find them on facebook.
Tanner Steed.
Carson Steward
and anyone else you can see that is on a mission, i donno, i forget who else of my friends have left, and some have left and I don't know where they are.
i don't know, see what you can do haha
Love ya! -Tanner
                                                                     At the Temple
Having some fun in the bamboo

Friday, December 9, 2011

An English Lesson ends with a challenge for Baptism

December 9, 2011
Hey Familyyyy

My old Comps first name was Samuel. No we do not have a cleaning lady. thats kinda sweet that those missionaries do. i think i heard about that too. I think they're the only ones in the mission that do haha. They must not like cleaning and searched for a cleaning lady instead. Its hard to find time to actually do a good cleaning. yeah at that store i bought a little christmas banner, a few christmas lights, and a hat. ha.
haha thats funny that Zachs way up in northern Saskatchewan in the middle of nowhere. He'll be great. I love that guy. I got a letter from Parker the other day and i was laughing almost the whole time i read it ha. i love that guy too. Awesome that him and Jesse are getting their wisdom teeth out in preparation for the mish. I hope all these guys get on it asap and send in their paper THE DAY that they can.

So i was completely wrong.... nobody special came to visit us at our Christmas activity, nonetheless, it was extremely spiritual and motivating. We watched the movie 17 Miracles, and then President Brough spoke to us about Jesus Christ, the things he went through. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. We have a Goal of baptizing 204 people as a mission in January, which if you look at the mission stats from a while ago, its a very high number. But i know that the Lord can perform miracles. And I know if we work hard we can do it. He motivated us for completing this goal. After Dinner yesterday we started a fast, and this morning we entered the temple, while fasting for this goal. It was a great time, and a great experience. ps we woke up at 4 in the morning to be able to go to the temple. aka im tired and hungry ha. But if you have not seen the movie 17 miracles, on saturday go and buy it, and watch it together on sunday or something. its such a great movie, i love the history of the church! and even if you have seen it, go buy it, cuz i want to have this movie when i come home ha.

But as for me, my companion, and my area, we are looking fairly good right now, better than we have in the past. we have found some people that are PILAS! i guess you could say pilas means awesome or something like that. One Lady Told us she was going to do all she can to be able to come to church with us next weekend, we didn't even have to ask her! but this week there is no church, because its the temple dedication, woohoo! One family we found from some members, but this girl is studying english, so she can be a secretary for an english company, so I've been helping a member, help her with english.(HA, me an english teacher, pfffft. i hope i don't make her fail her english tests.) but we went to her house the other day and taught her for the first time. it was kinda funny, cuz at the end of the lesson we challenged her to baptism (as we do with every first lesson, so they know our purpose) and she was like, well, when i was a baby i was baptized in the catholic church of my dad, and when i was nine i was baptized in the evangelical church of my mom, but i don't think i had any idea what i was doing back then. The member has talked with the rest of her family too and they have agreed to listen to us too, or to take the discussions, as the member said, but they aren't specific discussions anymore, like i think he still thinks they are. ha.
Also i got some Christmas Cards from the Gedlamans, the Harkers, the Mcphersons, Glenda Tagg and the beehives(i didn't know they moved into our ward. cool.) The Bishop, and the young men and women. I send out my Gratitude to all of them! make sure you tell them thank you for me! I think we get our packages and gifts on December 19.

I Hope Everyones great! i hope sam had an awesome 22nd Birthday. Maybe in 2 years we can get him those alligator boots he's always wanted for his birthday. there's people here that make em ha. I hope Madison is lovin life, keepin busy and havin fun. don't let boys give you problems! or girls for that matter. hey, why don't my siblings ever write me? ha. Hope Dad has a great skiing season, ill have to sit this one out, but I hope he rips it up without me this year. Hope your business is going good and your keepin on top of things.

well, i believe thats all for this week, i believe i will be writing you on tuesdays from now on, so don't be waiting by your computer on monday for my letter, cuz you'll get nothin. also i think i will be able to tell you if i have changes or not next week.
Also, no i havent gotten the packages yet, yeah i know you love me haha.
ill get it when i get it, don't you worry.
also no photos this week cuz i forgot my cord. ha. tell me when you get my memory card I sent.
Love you all tons, keep strong, keep yo heads up.
From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder T A N N E R  H O P K I N S

Monday, November 28, 2011

Never make a deal with the Devil

 Elder Hopkins with his companion Elder Mejia from Honduras
November 28, 2011
Hey famm.

So first of all I'd like to wish Sam a feliz cumpleaños this week. Have a great one! and i think it was ricky´s birthday this past seek, so a shout out to him too.

Elder Hopkins shared an experience this week, that I am not putting on the blog, as it was quite personal and gave him a testimony of how the spirit can tell you when something or someone is not a follower of God but rather the opposite.   Ask me about it if you want to know.    (his mom) 

On a positive note, this week we found a whole bunch of new investigators, and people that are married!! Don't need a divorce, and don't need to get married! My prayers are answered!! We are trying to get members involved with these people as soon as possible, and we are hoping and praying for some results.
Also there is a big fair in our little town right now, so its super noisy at night, its cool until you have to sleep. There is like 2 feet and a pane of glass in between my head and the street where the fair is when I sleep, but luckily I've been able to sleep through most of it all .

Now I'll try to answer your questions

do you think you are losing weight?
I think im mas o menos (more or less) the same as I was when I left. Yes, I only got the tailor to slim the legs of my pants, cuz you know me, I like it like that. He did nothing with the waist.
Do you ever get dinner appointments with members?  No we don't. We have a rule that we can only eat with our leaders aka the bishops, priesthood quorum presidents, ect. The work is urgent so we don't take time to eat haha. besides, most of the people here work until like 8 or 9 anyways.  
What do you cook for Sundays when you are just at home if you don't go to anyone's house? well we usually go to this one families house for lunch on sundays, but we still eat a little at home before going because they don't have tons of food, kinda poor, so we don't want to eat a lot of their food. but this sunday i ate spaghetti with some sausage things.
Did they have a "Thanksgiving" type day there? nope
Do you still go to that restaurant to eat your lunch meal? yes we do.
Do you have a lady there that does your laundry? yea
What time do you have to be in your apartment at night?its the same as every other mission. at 9 at night, unless you are teaching a lesson, then you can get home by 9 30
What's your favorite thing to eat when in your apartment and you are hungry? i like to eat yogurt and granola when i have enough money to buy it, ummm i dont know, whatever else i can find thats cheap and tasty.
Have you seen Elder Moon or Elder Davis since you got into the field?  Are they ever at any of your meetings?  (maybe next week at your special event for all the missionaries)! yeah I've seen them both a few times, but its not that often. and this special even is just going to be two zones at a time, i don't know whose in the other zone that we are having it with, so i don't know who i will see
Have you had much contact with Pres. Brough and his wife besides your weekly email to him? we have either a zone conference or interviews every change, so i see him at those.
Any more sicknesses come upon you? not really. i have a little bit of a cold, but its nothing much.

the photos i sent are of the turkeys, a pday we has as a district where we had a barbeque, and i bought a little tiny bible that i carry around now instead of having to carry around my giant other one. its great. and i just right now took a picture of me and my companion here in this iternet place cuz you wanted to see who he is ha.

oh also the next time I'm going to email you is december 9th. not next monday. and starting later in december i will be emailing every Tuesday, NOT monday. the president changed the days of pday and email and stuff.

Okay, times up.
Love you all so much!
From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder Hopkins
 Elder Hopkins holding baby turkeys - Happy American Thanksgiving!
Our district had a BBQ (love their make shift bbq from an old cement sink)

A tiny bible he bought to carry

Monday, November 21, 2011


I found a Guatemalan Peewee!!  (like Parker's cat I used in my Grad Photos)
a little dog belonging to a family
Hey FAM, hows it going??
Just to let you know i got the letter you sent with your talk in it and picture of my friends. they´re all lookin great. so i never know what to say in these cuz wierd stuff seems normal to me now, and also i never want to say anything that might worry you haha, but I'm fine and safe always. i did have a funny experience this week, while teaching a man. i wrote about it in my journal so i just took photos of my journal that im sending to you so i don't have to repeat it all.

We were contacting the other night and a man passed by, and we were pretty sure he was drunk, like half the Guatemalans at night. he yelled out. you guys are mormons! and kind of lifted up his shirt to show he had a machete, and pulled it half way out. at first I'm kinda like, wow buddy, you have a machete, half the people in this town half a machete strapped to their belt at all times (because they all work in farmers fields basically) and i said what do you want, with my arms out kinda confronting him, but then i thought no thats stupid, lets just go. he followed for a little but we lost him. but i mean he's not gonna do anything, there are people around that would stop him, so don't worry!
also twice now we have been walking to this guys house at night for an appointment, but there has been people shooting in the corn fields we have to walk by, because people steal the corn, so we haven't been able to go over there for a little bit.
I tell you things not so you worry, but because you always want to know what its like down here. but we always feel safe, and always are safe. the Lord protects us.
The other day we were on this street, where they was just a ton of little little kids. Of coarse they always shout out all the english words they know, and ask us to give them something. My companion pulled out a pamphlet and started showing them pictures of Jesus and teaching them a little about baptism. There was like 15 kids all crowded around us, it was really funny. they all wanted pamphlets, so we gave them some, one for each family, and told them to show them to their parents and that we are going to come to their houses and teach them more. There was even some adults that came up after asking for a pamphlet. and now whenever we come to this street the kids come and give us awkward leg hugs cuz theyre all so tiny ha.
Yesterday for church there was a broadcast for all the stakes in Guatemala, where president Uchdorf and Elder Holland spoke. it was really good. Elder Holland said a few sentences in really horrible sounding spanish, it was funny. Also they said something interesting about tithing (because there are so many poor people here so they don't pay their tithes) they said if the situation comes down to either paying your tithing, or being able to feed your family, Pay your tithing, and talk to the bishop for help with feeding your family after. This really shows the importance of this commandment. Dios dice, probadme ahora. y abrire las ventanas de los cielsos y derramare bandiciones sobre vosotros. or something like that. ha.
thats cool that some kids are up north for the week because of thanksgiving. i held some baby turkeys the other day. its so crazy that hardly any of my friends are even in calgary. i guess the world really does keep moving as I'm here in Guatemala. crazyyy. im glad I'm here and don't have to adapt to the changes back home for now ha.
So the photos i sent this week... one with some cute little dog of a family, nothing really to explain ha.  two of a place called cerro de la cruz, or hill of the cross in english, overlooking the city of Antigua, and the big volcano covered by clouds in the back. in one of the photos you gotta search for where i am. its a game called 'Wheres Elder Hopkins.' And in one of the photos i think i found Peewee, the cat of the Steeles that i used for my grad photos. and then there is the photos of my journal so i don't have to write that stuff all over again.
also theres a tailor that lives next door that is taking in some of my pants and shirts. he only charges 10 Quetz. or only like a dollar twenty five to tighten a pair of pants. how sweet is that! so i got a few pairs taken in so they're slimmer.

Well thats all thats new here basically.
love you all so much, have a great week.
from guatemala, with love,
Elder Tanner Hopkins
Story from his Journal:           November 18, 2011
Today we had a real interesting lesson.  Basically it ended up being a guy trying to prove us wrong.  At first the lesson was going well, then we asked him if he had any questions so far.  We hadn't even taught about Joseph Smith yet and he asked us the dumb question that many people ask, "why isn't Joseph Smith in the Bible?".  He ended up having a sheet of paper with questions written down, like do we believe in other scriptures besides the Bible.  I answered, "absolutely yes".  He asked us a really dumb other question too, "do you believe Jesus had a wife and kids?"  of course no one knows, maybe like the Prophet, but us no.  Basically he just kept arguing with us and trying to fight with us.  He said he had read the Book of Mormon, then we asked him if he prayed about it, he kind of hesitated, obvious that he hadn't, but then lied and said he did and that God told him it was false.  He said a lot of other dumb stuff, like God changed, He is really blinded from the truth.  It was funny, he was saying anything that is not written in the Bib is not true, and that he would only believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet if it was written in the Bible.  Then I asked him if he knew what faith was.  HE said things that are hoped for, but are not seen, and was mad that I asked that question.  My companion then asked him "But if you could see it and read it in the Bible, then you would believe it?"  Then he held up his bible and yelled out "This is faith!!, the Bible is faith!".  So the people in ancient times that didn't have the Bible didn't have faith?"  The Bible was put together many years after the lives of Christ and his apostles.  We stumped him on a lot of things, but the time came when we had to go to our next appointment.  We asked if we could leave with a prayer, and he said only if he could offer it. He prayed that God might open our eyes and that we might stop preaching false doctrine and teaching about Joseph Smith amongst other things.  After the prayer, I turned to him, shook his hand and said "Just so you know, I already know that what I teach is true, and I hope that some day you can know it too.
It was a pretty funny little lesson, and this guy did not want to learn at all, it was as if the time between we contacted him and the lesson (a week ago we contacted him) he spent all his efforts to find things he could argue about to us, to try and shake our faith.  But what I know, I know is true, and no one can change that.  He'll be sorry when he finds himself at the  Judgement seat of Christ.  Crazy Guatemala, Feliz Noche!
A place called Cerro De La Cruz, or hill of the Cross overlooking the city of Antigua and the big famous Volcano covered by clouds in the back.
this picture is a game called "Where's Elder Hopkins" ha ha

Monday, November 14, 2011

Up A Mountain, Down A Mountain, Up A Mountain, Down A Mountain / Touched through Prayer

 just how everyone carries their babies here. kinda funny.
November 14, 2011
 hoooooooola. ¿que tal?
Well ill answer your questions first like always.
My companion and I are getting along great. He's actually a really sweet guy. He is obedient. Works hard and there is nothing frustrating about him. And yeah I'm happy too be in this area still. Even though its sometimes real tiring to walk up a mountain, down a mountain, up a mountain, down a mountain to get to an appointment, its good. ill get in shape from it ha.
Have I met nice people you ask? Yes I have. Most of the people are pretty nice. theres a really poor family that can hardly afford a new pair of shoes, (in fact that was his excuse for not coming to church this week, that he's embarrassed about his shoes, and hell wait till next week when he buys a new pair, I offered him a pair of mine to wear, but still no.) but anyways, even though they're poor they insisted on going and buying us some crackers and some juice after we taught them the other day. They are a family that need to get a divorce, and then get married to be able to be baptized, but want to do it. So well have to wait along time for them.
I also found and taught a guy that speaks worse spanish then i do. His first language in Kakchiquel i assume. but as he was telling us a story he was saying stuff like -i believe before- and -i live in the street before- (which is probably another factor of his bad spanish) but i was sitting there thinking, wow, i speak better spanish than this guy. haha.

It was also cool when we taught a guy that is inactive, and his non member family for the first time. After a long mas o menos day we went to their house and taught them for the first time.  After the lesson we asked him to say the closing prayer, and he started to cry while saying it, thanking The Lord for letting him feel the spirit once again in his life, and that he has desperately been wanting to feel it again. his whole family started to cry as well. The thing with him is that his ex wife is also an inactive here, and they kinda still have issues, so they never want to encounter each other in the chapel, so neither of them really go to church anymore. The new wife of this guy though said that she wants to go to church, so hopefully they'll come some day soon.

Also I made a copy of all the photos that i have taken so far, and im gonna send you a memory card with all of them. I dont want to loose them all so i thought id make a copy of them to have safe at home.

Also check this out, on the 8 and 9 of December we're having an activity as a mission for christmas. On the 9th we get to go to the temple, and on the 8th, we are doing service, playing sports and stuff, eating tons, and then President Brough said that in the night we are going to have a really spiritual night, one we will never forget. but he said he was going to keep it a secret. but look at this, 2 days later the Quetzaltenango temple is being dedicated by Pres. Ukedorf (or however you spell it) so could it be that he is going to come and speak to us? I HOPE SO.

Well thats just about all i have to say for this week. the works still moving, and were still workin.

Love you all, con todo mi corazon. (with all my heart)

Elder Hopkins

Planting A Seed, Day of the Dead, Giant Pig

Day of the Dead at the Cemetary, where everyone flies kites. Kites they made that were 3-4 meters in diameter, flying so so high, the myth is that their dead will be able to climb up their string to reach heaven

November 9, 2011 – 2 days later than usual!
Hey Family, yeah sorry that i didn't get to email on monday, there was a meeting some of the missionaries in the mish, so the president moved district meeting and email time to today, so that everyone would be getting their emails on the same day.

So I'm still in the same area, no surprise, but i do have a new companion. Elder Aaron Mejia from Honduras. my third honduran! but hes a pretty cool guy, were getting along great. hes been out for 19 months.

thanks for sending me the address of Zach and Brendon!

bahaha thats so funny that that happened to Kent. I cant believe they actually beat a guy up. yeaa they probably shouldn't have done that, especially over a cell phone. but yeah, its kents companion that decided to do that. I mean, we don't even have cells phones in my mission, only the zone leaders do. but yeah thats pretty sketchy what happened, you never know if a guys got a weapon. but im glad they're okay.

i don't really need anything as of right now, but a pair of shoe inserts, but not like the crappy massage gel ones, real ones that have real support and stuff. the soles of one pair of my shoes are kind of falling out, but i super glued them back in so they're fine for now. you can find super glue absolutely anywhere here, for like 12 cents a little tube. and the rain has stopped so its not as cold anymore, at least for now. don't bother sending me a warm wheatie, i'd just end up leaving it when i get transferred. i don't even use the one i made anymore.

Thats funny what you wrote about me saying pffft are you kiddin me, all the time. i forgot i used to say that so often. i haven't done that for like 6 months! And for our Christmas call, don't be hoping on skype. my mission is rather strict, but thats the way it should be. and we'll talk for 40 minutes, not three hours. the mission book says we get the chance to phone home 2 times a year, christmas, and mothers day, 30 to 40 minutes each time.

Oh yeah, i wanted to tell you. Almost all the investigators i left in villa canales, that were so close to baptism, got baptized!! 3 families! 13 people! in 6 weeks. The man that i contacted in the rain, the one that looks like chris rock, Mario is his name, well they still are working on getting married, but their parents that we were teaching too got baptized! and a family named the familia can, i don't know if i told you too much about them, but there were three families living in the same lot, with sooo many kids, they finally got married and baptized! it was so exciting to hear it.

but as for the people im teaching right now, alot of them need to get a divorce first, then get married to the people their living with before they can be baptized, so I probably wont be here to see it happen, and a couple catholics that have a problem with us not worshiping the virgin Mary. but well just see how things go.

So the pictures that i sent this week... the day of the dead, at the cemetery, where everyone was flying kits. kites they made that we like 3 to 4 meters in diameter, fling so so high. a little member boy that has grills. basically everyone here has grills, its just what the dentists do, a pig that is so so so HUGE, the picture doesn't do justice to how enormous it is. its the pig of a member family here. and a dog that you can hold up by the ears, like a rabbit. its not a dead dog like the picture looks, just real dirty, but the dog is fine with you doing this, its pretty funny.

And dad, you look great in your corte tie.

im doing great and all is well. LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
from guatemala with love, Elder Tanner Hopkins
Little boy with Grills, its just what the dentists do here, very common
A pig that is so so huge, the picture doesn't do justice to how enormous it is.  It's the pig of a member family here.
A dog you can hold up by the ears like a rabbit, its not a dead dog like the picture looks, he's just real dirty, but the dog is fine with you doing this, its pretty funny

Monday, October 31, 2011

The tie burning ceremony represents the 6 month mark! 

A Baptism and My 6 Month Tie Burning Ceremony

 Heyy Hey fammm.

Yea I really miss Parker too! he is my brother! tell him to send me a letter! i want to talk to him! through writing! ha. and Tyler Johnson too, i don't even know what hes doing with his life. but that's just part of the mission, really i don't know what most people are doing with their life ha. but i was lucky enough to get cards form Jamie Takahashi, Jess Bachynski, and Kent this week. always a pleasure.
But yes, yesterday we had a baptism! Lily "C" is her name. We have had a ton of help from the relief society with her, and i really feel like that was the key of her baptism. She is married, but her husband didn't get baptized, because he is  a bus driver, and is never home! leaves at 5 in the morning, and gets back at 10 30 at night. what a life... that would suck. would suck for her too, to never see her husband. but we'll see, maybe one day we will find him and he will be baptized too.

sounds like an awesome trip that you had, yes hopefully we will go do it as a family one day! ha. i bet you ate lots of macadamia nut chocolates. There is actually a macadamia nut tree outside our chapel, and whenever we are waiting there outside, for the key, we throw rocks up at it to knock the nuts out of the tree, then eat em.
Ya know how Sam would always say to buy him a pair of crocodile boots? well theres a guy here, well in the area of my district leader, that makes crocodile boots! haha, for only like 100 dollars too. im not gonna go ahead and buy some though haha. also he makes iguana skin boots, and normal leather as well. who knows, maybe if you guys come here one day we can pick out a pair.

Oh yeah, so that church did have a huge party this week. its a small little road kinda on the outskirt of the town, which we have to pass to get to our church. we passed by it the day before their party for the baptismal interview of Lily, and there were already people there. We never really went down there again until sunday, 2 days after the party, because we heard it was dangerous kinda. also just lots of alcohol and girls is what we are told. but there were lots of firecrackers, like there always is in guatemala, which are just super annoying, especially at 3 in the morning. but that was it for the party of san simon.

They don't really celebrate halloween here, but i did dress up as harry potter for district meeting but tomorrow is the day of the dead. everyone goes to the cemetery and flies huge kites that they make, so that their dead can climb up the sting of the kite to heaven, is the myth. but tomorrow is pday so we are going to go to the cemetery as well with some of the members and investigators to fly kites and take pictures, it should be super cool. ill try to send some pictures of it.  But I dressed up as harry potter at district meeting, cause I just had to do something for halloween!  I plan on knocking on a lot of doors tonight too, but i probably won't be getting too much candy in return.

also i completed 6 months this week, so yes, i did burn a tie. also i made my own corn nuts, which i was really proud of. boiled the dried corn kernels they use for tortillas, then roasted them in the oven, and they turned out pretty good. also because i turned 6 months old, i bought a nice outfit of typical clothes, really comfortable, just like an outfit that a tourist would buy. but they are nice for wearing at night after a hard days work.

tonight we find out about changes. im kinda sad cuz our district is going to be completely changed, and i love our district right now. Elder Kahaunaele, from Hawaii is the district leader, and a super sweet guy, and also Elder Daily from salt lake city, is super awesome. He skis tons so after the mission I'm gonna go down to utah and ski with him we have it planned ha.

thats all for this week, im gonna try to send some pictures now
love you all so so much! take care.
Love Tanner
Email from and To his Dad this week:

Info from his Dad:                      
We got back from a week in Maui with the Steele’s today and had a real nice time.  One of the highlights was going to the top of the Volcano there and bike riding down.  It is 10,000 feet up which is actually much higher than I realized.  I got to thinking how cold it was and how elevation makes a real impact on temperature and then wondered how that was affecting you.  I looked up Calgary’s elevation and we are only around 3,400 feet.  Then I looked at Lake Louise ski area and the base is 5,400 and the top is 8,600 – not as high as the volcano we went up.  Then I looked at your area and your at around 6,200 feet so the elevation you are living at has a real effect on the cold you probably are dealing with.  Do you notice the elevation with breathing or anything else?  Did you realize how high you actually are?  I was quite surprised at how high you are and at how high the Volcano’s in Hawaii are.  The one on the Big Island is like 13,000 feet. Salt lake is 4,300 and Snowbird 7,800 base and 11,000 top.  Anyway just thought this may interest you. Hope I haven’t bored you to much.  

I just want you to know how proud and grateful I am to have you out serving an honorable mission.  It makes my week to get your emails and pictures to see how you are doing.  I hope the Baptism went through today and that your hard work to increase your teaching and reactivating is being successful.  Mom will fill you in on more of the details of our trip and everything else as she always does.  I love you so much and am so proud of you.  Talk to you soon.
Love always and eternally,

Hi Dad,
That is actually pretty interesting about elevation. i didn't realize how high i was, and i guess thats why its sometimes pretty cold. the sun has been out this week though, so i haven't been to cold. i haven't noticed anything on the breathing park of it.

love you tons and have a happy halloween!
oh also i was wondering if you ever got the birthday card i sent to you? i sent it like a month ago.. wh knows. i think i forgot to wish you a happy birthday on here also. so if you haven't gotten the card, I'll say happy late birthday on here ha.

Well love you tons!! oh, also i want you to send me your conversion story. in a letter. if you could write out everything you remember and what not, that would be awesome! i was giving a talk in sacrament, unplanned, but i shared how my grandparents and dad were converts, but i realized i don't know a ton about it.

well love ya tons!!
Love your hijo,
Elder Hopkins

Baptism of Lily on October 30, 2011

Dressed up as Harry Potter for District Meeting

Our District!  From left to right. elder Martinez (my comp), Ogden (zone leader), Guzman, Kahaunaele (district leader), Daily, Houston, ME

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 26: Lucky to get out the door in time

Tanner helping a member pick off the corn kernels so they can make tortillas.
Hey Fam. whats up?
The rain has come to a stop pretty much thank goodness.
I got pretty sick this week, but dont worry, I'm fine now. but the best part is when I got sick...
So Elder Martino, of the 70 came and had a conference with us. we had a nice lunch and then we were sitting in the chapel, in the 2nd row, while he taught us in the aftersoon. I wasn't feeling too good, but I didnt want to get up and leave while a general authority was speaking to me 2 feet away. but then all of I sudden I got really sick and got up and just ran out. lucky I got out the door in time to throw up everywhere, not in the chapel. and luckily everyone gets sick here so it wasnt anything that people were really super surprised by or anything. then I had to take a one hour bus ride home on the windy mountain roads. after a few unplanned stops we made it home, and I had some time to rest and to get better. but I'm fine now, so don't you even worry, cuz I know you are.

Oh and that couch and coffee table are at a member's house, we dont have a couch or anything. but I actually thought and still think their house is a pretty nice house for here.
and the photo that you were wondering about, i think we are just at some member's house eating lunch after church.

So this week we set a baptismal date! for our investigator Lily S. Her baptism is planned for next sunday after church! she super awesome, and receives everything so easily. after she gained a testimony of the book of mormon, and joseph smith, she recieves all the comandments easily. we have had alot of member help with her to make it possible. so if all things go well, next week you should receive a photo of us at her baptism.

We find out if we are getting transfered next Monday in the night, and the actually transfer day is the day Brendon and Zach enter the MTC, and you will found out if I got transfered in 2 weeks then. Kinda funny how basically my 6 month mark, Danny´s one year mark, and Zach and Brendons first day mark are all the same day, at least within a few days. Tyler Parker and Jesse should all be leaving in about 6 months so this 6 month gap trend keeps going. get your papers in boiss! love you all!

That's funny how all those friends of mine went and hung out at grandma and grandpa's. Would have been fun to be there too ha, and wierd and funny I guess that madison went and hung out with a bunch of my friends. She's just growing up so fast.

That's awesome that you guys are in Hawaii, that sounds like you are having a great time, and sounds like a cool bike ride down the volcano. We'll have to do that some day together ha.

Love you all tons! Keep it cool, like it sounds like you guys are,like I know you are is better to say. I tried to talk to a guy in my district about the gospel, in English, for an example of a door contact, but I just couldn't do it. I can not talk about the gospel in English anymore. I just speak about it in Spanish too darn much.
Keep it classy.
-Elder Hopkins

 some random kids that wanted a picture taken of them, cuz a camera is super cool technology
Sitting on some dirt with my area in the back
With Elder Martino of the Seventy

We ate at subway one day and it was super good.

A hat I found in the church. I guess they don't know Pilsner is beer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 25: Rain, Rain, Rain and Cold, Super High Kites, Dogs with Dreadlocks

With my area in the background

 October 17, 2011

Hey guys whats up??
That it some great news you sent me. so crazy.. Jeremy going Chinese speaking in France. Chinese in France. that would be hard ha. I was thinkin yesterday how it was Zach´s farewell. i love that boy so much. hes gonna be so great. same with Brendon, only 6 more days till his big farewell day. Tell them both I love them so much and I say felizidades. or happinesses, which is actually congratulations.

So I will answer the questions first. The weather.... rain, rain, rain, and cold! I sent some photos of some of the paths that we often walk. one in a muddy river, the other is a muddy lake with a waterfall pouring off the side. and it has been so so muddy. I've been wearing my boots basically everyday, and am so glad i have them. I've been wearing my long sleeved shirts with sweaters most of the time. who knew Guatemala could be so cold? I bought a nice cardigan from a pile of used clothes that was on the ground in the park in my town that a guy was selling. only 5 Quetz or about 60 cents. It was a good buy. Also i made a warm wheatie! haha. but there's not really any wheat here, so its just a cloth bag with rice in it that i warm up in the microwave to keep me warm. I'm glad i have it, ha.

No i haven't really been to sick yet on my mission. I mean my bowels and stomach were bothering me for like 3 days a couple weeks ago, but nothing too bad. Right now i kinda have a sore throat cough and cold, but luckily the people here eat halls like they're candy,(and i think a lot of them just think that it is candy) so absolutely everywhere sells them.
We don't have a cocinera in this area, or a cook i guess it is, but there's a place that sells good food, a meal, for 17 quetz, only 2 more then a cocinera charges, and the food is better i think, so its pretty good. we eat a lot of chicken. a meal at this place consists of a meat,(chicken or beef) with rice and a salad with a lime for the dressing, with tortillas of coarse and a drink. hmm for breakfasts, I either eat pancakes,(they have flavoured pancake mix here, i prefer banana), cereal, or eggs. i eat a lot of eggs... usually an egg sandwich with ketchup, mayo and hot sauce. and I drink a can of real juice fruit nectar stuff called del frutal. i usually have a small snack during the night and maybe some ramen at night.

OKAY. i think I'm good on the questions now.
Just some random stuff that i wanna mention is the kids here fly kites so so much, and they fly higher then I've ever seen a kite fly, like its incredible, and they're only made of like a few sticks and tissue paper. I'll take some picture of some one day, cuz on November first everyone flies kites in the cemetery, that's what they do for the day of the dead, their version of Hallowe'en.
Also a lot of dogs have actual dreadlocks, its kinda funny. just cuz their so dirty and live on the street, so dreadlocks form.
Well I'm alive and well, workin in the obra.(work) the one lady we are preparing for baptism wasn't home all week cuz she was away in the capital working, so we couldn't really do anything with her, but tonight we plan on setting a baptismal date and everything. Her name is Lily. S. The president set some new standards of excellence, one is to have 50 % of lessons with a member present, I'm glad to say we were able to do so this week, with our 20  lessons.
Well the time flew by and my time is almost up.
P.S. we are not allowed to chat on here anymore, only email. It's a new rule. just to let you know, mind you we never really catch each on the computer at the same time to email/chat back and forth anyhow.
I love you all so much, keep doing what you doing, if what you're doing is good.

This is one path that turned into a muddy river.
The path that turned into a river slash lake with a waterfall pouring off it.
Me pretending to make corte (their native dress) women do this for hours and hours, and take like 20 days to finish a top. sells for like 250 quetz, so like 30 dollarsish. one day you and madi are each going to buy a native dress outfit, and wear it for my homecoming talk.

Just some of me and my comp eating
Eating again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 24: Setting big goals!

October 10, 2011 (Thanksgiving Monday)
Hola Familiaaa!
(Tanner asked for us to send him some pictures, so I asked him if he was feeling homesick at all)
No, I just asked for the pictures cuz we always put pictures on our agenda so i wanted some to put on, so i can show off my family, maybe relate to people that I'm a real person. Thats what a lot of missionaries here do.

How I track my computer time is yes, there is a timer, at some places the computer turns off after an hour, and some places you just gotta get off.  We always email as a district, so theres not really a problem with being obedient.

and yeah, the lightning lady died. We went over there to give them a Resurrection pamphlet, and the dead lady was lying there, and they were prepping here for the funeral with preservatives, and they had like a big cross and weird incense burning. It was kinda weird.

yeah me and my companion get along, sometimes we'll argue about something dumb, but you just gotta let it go cuz its not worth it. but yeah you just gotta be humble, and yeah we are getting along. i am happy, yes, I am happy I am on my mission, its sometimes hard, but sometimes i think, what  would i be doing if i wasn't here, haaa something not as good as this for sure.

the gas detector thing is fine, i talked to the president about it when he came over for house inspections the other day. we just turn of the gas when we aren't using it to cook. they might be changing all the mission houses to electric stoves, so they just gotta figure it out.

thats cool about the new dr pepper thing. (Dr. Pepper 10 in the States) I'm in Antigua right now and they sell dr pepper here, too bad i cant drink it.

hmmm this goall..... honestly i don't know if we'll be able to do it. the thing is, when i got to this area, they only had one person they were teaching, and this person is looking like she will be baptized maybe at the end of this month. usually every area has people that are at least progressing a little bit, but ours had none. so its hard to find a person, teach them everything, bring them to church 3 times, and baptize them all in the same month. the rule is they have to come to church three times, so only the people we bring to church this next sunday have the possibility of being baptized this month.

hmmm so one thing that happened this week is that my companion and I decided to set a big goal for ourselves because the day before we only had one lesson and found only 2 new people.  That night I wasn't feeling very good about it so my companion and I talked and decided to set a goal that the next day we would contact 100 people in a day,  Basically we didn't come close to the goal, but we did contact 40 people, and ended up having 6 lessons, and 4 of them were with new people. Today other missionaries were asking me, "how did you have 40 contacts in one day???" and then when they found out we had 6 lessons too they were like wowww haha. we are together with a bunch of other missionaries today because we were practicing a song to sing in zone conference tomorrow, and then later this month when a member of the 70 comes to talk to us.

well im sure there are a ton of grammar and spelling mistakes in this email cuz im really rushed today, but i love you all so much!! (I fixed them, yes there were a lot)!
love Elder Hopkins
Email to Madison his sister today
That sucks that my tree is gone! oh poverty... like all the houses i teach in here! i didn't know what poverty was before, but now i do. i have no idea what i wrote my speech on in grade 11, i never did like social ha.
well love you whole bunches! as grandma would say. i sent you a card last week. maybe it will get there in a couple weeks.
love you! byee 
Email to Grandparents Hopkins today
Thanks for the pictures grandma and grandpa! sure are pretty, and alot different from the volcanos here. i don't have to much time to write today, but i am starting to run low on those pages for my journal you gave me. was wondering if you could send me a new package of them. thank you love you tons!
Elder hopkins