Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week 13: Getting more acclimatized

Ruins in his area

July 26, 2011

hey family.

This week was good, more lessons, more contacting, more Spanish. the usual ya know.

That is kinda funny that you went and had lunch together with Elder Davis' mom. I haven't seen him for almost a month since we're not in the same zone, but next time i see him am sure well have a little laugh over it.

oooohhh three new envelopes in the mail?? thats awesome. letters are the best. I got a bunch this week actually cuz we had interviews with the president so the assistants brought us a bunch of mail. it was great to hear from some friends that are on missions, Danny and Brett. Also heard from Jesse and his family and Laura Payne, the Bishop and a bunch from Grandparents haha. Grandma sent me a few pictures of my friends from grad that she found and printed out for me. looks like fun. i have a bunch of really good looking friends. My comp said that Parker looks like he could be my brother, i said thats because he is my brother. It was hard to read the return address on Danny Kearl's letter haha, but I think i got it right. Brett sent me some pictures that were super sweet and funny haha. and i got a little photo of what the Calgary temple is going to look like. its the best when you receive something you didn't know you really wanted until you actually receive it.

To answer your questions, I'm fine at night, sometimes I'm a little warm, but thats cuz i always sleep with my sleeping bag as a blanket. The days are different everyday, alot of the time it will rain in the afternoon, but the days usually start out hot and sunny. its the best when its cloudy, no rain, and a nice cool breeze. I have been in a few big rainstorms, where the roads up the mountain are literally a rushing river. its kinda cool. My shoes are fine, although i wish i got more waterproof shoes. not just the boots i have, which are awesome by the way. I'm sure within a year some of my shoes will be torn to pieces, that's kinda the norm here i think. My comp has some shoes that are just completely destroyed. but I'll be fine for a while. my Spanish is doing alright, a little more everyday. its hard to see it in myself because its just a little bit more everyday. My comp says that I've more than doubled my Spanish abilities since I've been in the field though, so that's good. i still have a long way to go of coarse though.

Still no packages have arrived, if there are FOUR coming my way now, its going to be fun for whoever has to carry those to me, or if i have to carry them all home walking, haha, but thanks

oh mannn. i was looking so forward to hearing where Brendon is going to go this week. it better get there by next week! and that's so crazy still that Kianna is getting married, and so soon! all the best to her though. This week we had an activity in the ward, and its true about latinos and the activities here. we got there like maybe ten minutes early with a bunch of investigators, and there was no one really there yet, nothing set up. so we had to wait a little bit and then it ended up going fine. it was called day of the market, where everyone got tickets that they could trade for things and then at the end, depending on if you got spiritual things you went to the different kingdoms. it reminded me of the one youth activity we had where they said it was a Hawaiian luau and we all got dressed up and went all out, and were really excited, then they tricked us and said our "plane crashed" and then went through all the kingdoms. But they had candy apples after, and they looked to good even though im kinda allergic to apples I decided to risk it and have one and i was fine, so that was good haha.

Still planning to have a baptism on august 7th for the family Ajkikji, and we're working with another guy to get him baptized the same day. He was a really quite kind of a strange man, like he was super depressed, really quiet and stuff, but he's opened up more to us and he seems more happy in his life now, so that's really good. At first he seemed like it wasn't going to be worth teaching him, cuz he was quiet and didn't really respond and seemed like he just agreed to things cuz he didn't think he had much self worth or something, but he has changed quite a bit. His name is Mauro and he has a little boy that's mentally challenged, and we don't know what happened to his wife or family yet, i don't know if she abandoned them cuz she had a mentally challenged kid or just divorced or what, we haven't found out quite yet. we will see.

the fam Ajkikji are bread makers and they sometimes make bread for us. It's funny how things change to you on the misison, cuz whenever we teach them, in their kitchen area, there's cockroaches, and mice running around everywhere, but i still always look forward to eating their bread that's made in this kitchen. Anyways, i took some money out of my credit card account today so you might want to pay the bill soon, i might have to take out more next week though, so maybe wait a little bit.

well i love you all so much! stay cool. keep it classy.

love your son, brother, and friend

Elder Hopkins

oh the photos,

well one is just my breakfast one day. some fried plantains. yum,

the others, the ruins, are just some random ruins of some old church in my area. they're just in a random field, and there a soccer field they made right beside it. its nothing cool to them i don't think but it was cool to me. there a bunch of big empty tombs outside of it too. pretty cool

well love you! bye!!

Fried Plantains for breakfast

Ruins in Tanner's area

Added note from Tanner's Mom
I told Tanner its supposed to rain 50 mm in Guatemala City on Thursday (except i accidentally told him tomorrow) (he is just outside Guatemala City) and he said:

haha yeah? well I'll wear my boots, but the weather is so different in every little place here. like sometimes it will rain like crazy just on the other side of the mountain from us and none in our area, but I'll watch out. thanks! love you!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moms of MTC Companions - Elder Davis and Elder Hopkins

Note from Tanner's Mom:

While in Phoenix I was able to meet Elder Davis' mom for lunch.  Elder Davis was Tanner's first companion in the Provo MTC.  They went into the MTC on  the same day and are in the same mission in Guatemala so will see lots of each other at Conferences and meetings.  We had a nice time sharing stories about our boys. We both said we think our boys will have a bit of a laugh seeing us together!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 12: Giant Teddy Bears and the Bat Cave

With Volcan de Agua in the distance
July 18, 2011

first off I'd like to say that this has been a great email time so far haha. So much news! I guess the world really doesn't stay still while I'm gone haha. That'sweet about Zach getting his call and how he's positive about it. I wish he was going Spanish speaking haha but I know he will do great and have great experiences. Tell him I love him so so much! and that we need to write each other, now and when we are both in the field. And thats crazy about Kiki. tell her congratulations for me! That's so weird that people my age and that i grew up with are starting to get married! I don't know Claire's bf but we talked about him before I left. That's great though, shes a great girl, hopefully she's super happy. and i  kinda giggled when I read about Jesse and Cassidy y ¡como ellos chupan la piña en frente de personas! Tell Cassidy that I say she better not impede Jesse from going on a mission! haha
oh yes i know that boy that died. He lived beside Bishop Jones i think and we used to be good friends in elementary, but he got into drugs and bad stuff. that's too bad about his passing.  Oh, and lucky for Emily Kearl cause Logan's little brother is a cool guy, ha ha.

ummm I heard a ton of the missionaries here sleep in on p-day, but i never have, and i don't know if i will, it kinda seems like breaking the rules to me. oh also Mondays aren't actually my p-days, but we have district meeting and then email with our district right after, that's how this mission works, real p-days are on Tuesday. and by the way next week i think i will be emailing on Tuesday, not Monday cuz i have a meeting. yeah I'm happy, sure i have my sad moments but i need to be better on focusing completely on the work and not thinking about back home. Yes i pay the cocinera, our cook, Q.15 for each meal. one dollar is roughly Q.8.  The drink is a hot fake coffee drink that everyone here drinks and that they serve us, we are allowed to drink it.  For money, I get like Q.1470 a month and thats for transportation, food, emergency fund, fast offering, and things like that, so i try not to use my own card unless i really need to, cuz i might as well learn how to manage my money while im here.

You can pick a picture for my missionary plaque, doesn't really matter too much to me. and yes i am getting along perfectly fine with my companion. he is a good guy. ummm we do have a bunch of families that are progressing. we had 4 of those families at church. the familia Akijai is probably going to be baptized in August. We found them like a week ago I think. the dad is already a member, but has been completely inactive for 30 years. they are from the mountains, and  are native here so they're really short and round. kind of like giant teddy bears. They're a really nice family, and the mom speaks really slow which is awesome cuz i can understand mostly everything that she says.

oh and last week for p-day we went on a hike to a waterfall... turns out there was no waterfall, but there was this really big cave and there was thousands of bats flying around in it, it was cool. and there was a vine that we swung on that was cool. it was a pretty sweet p-day. There are some pictures I'll send to you of the cave. and and maybe of the vine if i have time. But i ended buying that mesh tank that reminds me of Jesse Kearl, that's why i got it haha, i wear it over my garments at night for pajamas haha but heres a picture of it, give jesse a copy of it haha, and the fruit I'm holding is liche. its like the stuff you can get at the bottom of bubble tea instead of tapioca balls.

well that's all the time i have for writing if i want to send you pictures.
love you all so so much, BASTANTE in fact.
love you
-Elder Hopkins

Note with pictures email.
here are some more pictures for you. there's a volcano that i can see form my area. volcano of water its called. or Volcan de Agua. and there the cave from p-day. and just a view of the town of Villa Hermosa from the top of the zone leaders house, cuz i went on splits with them. Elder Park, from Utah, he's a pretty cool guy. and i don't have time to send you anymore, but someday I'll send you the memory card maybe, or make copies of them all and put them on a disc. who knows, but that won't be for a while.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Week 11: Completely forgetting about the Calgary Stampede

July 11, 2011
I'm going to start by answering a few of those questions. the only thing that i really need is sharpie FINE TIP markers. they don't have those anywhere here, and they're really nice for writing really small on little tabs inn my scriptures. and Grandma Hopkins was wondering about the references that we have. We've gotten the number down to 40 from 87. but we still have a lot of them to do. It's hard though cuz we would have to travel to little towns that are still in our area just to contact references, and we have a lot of people to teach, because this area used to have 4 missionaries in it, now only two, so we have a lot to do.

This week at a little paca, aka a little store that sells clothing, new and used. i saw a white mesh tank top that says Noah's Ark on it. it reminded me of Jesse Kearl and his mesh tank top. i think i might go back and see if they still have it and buy it. I don't know when I'd wear it, but you can't just not get something like that.

Also we have security guards at the little community we live in with guns and all that, its pretty normal here. but one started talking to me in English and it turns out he used to live in Calgary, and he plans to go back in a few months. pretty crazy. and then this morning as I was walking out he asked me if i wanted to go to the stampede it was pretty funny. i completely forgot about the stampede.
it's cool that everyone is hanging out with brendon again. Seems like i haven't seen him in two years already. Miss that boy, and all my bois back home. i look forward to those letters! That sucks about Bishop Steele. it seems like he's always getting hurt ha. Hopefully he gets better soon. I hope Elder Pearson is right about the mustaches, I plan to grow a nice one when i get back. oh about the phones, we just have one phone that is in our apartment, the only people with cell phones are the people who work in the office, Assistants, and Zone Leaders.

The conditions aren't too bad to get used to. Yesterday we went to teach some new guy we found, and we went into a little mud and garbage filled lot and kinda sat on these little rocks on the ground for the lesson. but don't worry, it's not bad. and don't worry, i haven't shed one tear. oh and about the food. we have someone that cooks us lunch a lot of the time, we make our own breakfast. and sometimes, the more well off people give us food to eat, but pretty rarely. They usually just give us fake coffee to drink Morcaf it's called, which is okay here i guess, all the members drink it and the mission president says it's okay to drink it. and we don't really have dinner here in this mission. I don't know why, i think its a rule to just eat when you get back home for the night. we grab a little snack during the day quite often and get something to eat when we get home. when we go to buy stuff it's funny cuz sometimes things seem so expensive when they're like 10 quetz, which is really like 1.25 dollars. For example, a can of super cola, a pop that tastes like coke but has no caffeine,so they're okay, costs about 30 cents in Canadian dollars. Things are pretty cheap here. I can get a bunch of breads at all the little bread stores here for like 12 cents. and no i haven't been sick yet. i just gotta be smart about what i eat.

Oh, the pictures I sent you. the one with the lake in the background isn't in my area, but in my zone, I went on a split this week. the city to the top right part of the picture if you can see it is where my area is. actually I'm going to a split today with the zone leader again. the other picture is just an area in my area. we had to find a place to pee and this just happened to be the place, so we decided to take a picture while we were at it.

well i love you all so much, more than i ever thought. hope you have great weeks, and I'll type to you again in a week. love Tanner
On splits
Here's a good spot ... for a picture.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 10 - Teaching in a barn, Living in a Castle

In his new area

July 5 – Tuesday – after one week in the Field
Hola. yes, yesterday we had a training meeting so we couldn't email. but here I am today. ummm the sinkhole wasn't here i don't think, its kind of just a little town that's a suburb of the capital. It does have a lot of poor areas. I've already taught lessons in houses with thousands of cockroaches crawling everywhere, or houses that are basically a barn, ducks, chickens, roosters, rabbits, dogs, cats, running around in front of me, pooping on the ground as we teach. When I go home at night i feel like I'm entering a castle, whereas when i first got here, houses like mine seemed not very nice. And yes I do have the shower head with exposed wires to heat up the water. Its nice though, it gets nice and warm. And yes there's still volcano ash everywhere in Guatemala. There are some piles of ash on my street, there's ash in the fountain in the capital, it's basically everywhere. But its mostly all cleaned up. Transfers are every six weeks, so you never know when you'll leave. You get the call on Monday if you're going to leave, and then you actually leave on the Wednesday, so i have no idea when I'll be leaving. That's so awesome that Zach and Brendan's missions calls are both in the mail. That's so exciting. You have to make sure to email me where they are going as soon as you know.
Yeah it does somewhat suck about those packages not arriving, my companion does have music though so that's good. I received a letter from Grandma Rhodes just yesterday actually though, but still no packages. I'll probably get them next change. That Elder Pearson you are talking about is a sweet guy, I like him. ummm about the internet rules, I can only use my lds mail, I can't go on my blog or any other people's blogs. just this email, the church website, and the actual mission blog. My companion is Elder Kody Euteneier and we normally speak English, even though i should really be trying to speak Spanish all the time, but we talk about Spanish all the time and  learn new words and grammar everyday still so that's good. He has been in the mission for 13 months. The walk to church isn't actually too too far, like 15 minutes maybe, but we go and pick up families to walk with us to church so it takes longer. We had 10 investigators over the age of 8 at church on Sunday, and then like 8 more that were younger kids. The chapel is pretty nice actually. I guess its only 4 years old. It's true how people here breastfeed wherever, without covering up. I bore my testimony in church and as I was looking out into the congregation and of course there was someone breastfeeding right there.
It rains pretty much everyday here. At least every evening. I kinda wish i got more than one pair of waterproof shoes, but I'll make due. Its been fine so far. I'm glad the strike is over, but now there is no excuse for me to not get letters ;) . the first few days in the field were pretty hard, but as time gets going things get better and better and I've been happier, I just gotta focus on what I'm doing, and things are fine. Anyway thanks for the emails! I'm gonna try to send some pictures in a new email.
I feel really bad for the missionaries that have to go right to the field from the Provo MTC. The Guatemala MTC President gave us a lesson about the language and on a scale from 1-10 people usually leave the Provo MTC at a three, and he said everyone at the Guatemala MTC was already at at least a 4 or 5 and that was when we still had three more weeks weeks left at the Guatemala MTC. But i still got a long way to go.
And yes, I'm going to be in shock at our nice house when i get home. and it seems like whenever these poor people join the church their lives change and they keep better care of themselves and their homes and they're cleaner happier people. Well my time is up for today. love you!
Love you all so much!-elder hopkins.
Cows that just walk around wherever they feel like
A really big tree with a trunk the size of a car in the middle of our area in a park
A cat sleeping on a dog at a house we were teaching at.
My sleeping area.