Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 22: Transferred to the Mountains: houses made of dirt

My new companion, Elder Martinez, from Honduras

September 26, 2011  - Transferred to 2nd Area


Well the habits that I have developed like Dad is his morning routine. Like squishing things to put in the garbage, I don't know, stuff like that haha. Thats exciting so many people are all going on missions! and its exciting that Brendon and Zach leave so soon. The next change in my mission is the day that Brendon and Zach enter the MTC. How exciting! That's nice that dad is going to take Lincoln out for wings after the general Priesthood session next weekend, I wish I could come haha. But yeah I'm not too sure whats going to happen for General Conference, I'm excited though. We get to go to this place the church owns here that its like a big building and big fields that the church uses for youth camps and stuff. Hopefully well get to watch it in English and buy lots of food for it haha. well see.

Well.... You guessed it, I got transferred. I'm now in the Zone Chimaltenango, in a town called San Andres Itzapa. Its kind of up in the mountains, and everyone wears the typical native dress called Corte. A lot of people here speak cachiquel also, but luckily they speak spanish too. It's a little colder than my last area, more hilly, and there are absolutely no addresses! NO house numbers, NO street numbers. NADA! So its kinda hard to remember where someone lives. Also street contacting is very difficult cuz they just say "Yeah, I live over there, by a big pila (sink/fountain/clothes washing thing) and my house is made of dirt".

There's a lot of houses here made out of dirt but generally its more wealthy than my last area, there's some nice houses too.

My district leader told me that I'm sent here to help motivate my new companion, so we are going to work hard and have success. The people are different up here in the mountains, and it seems that they have a a little bit harder of heart, but we just gotta look for the chosen sheep here.

Oh also i got all those envelopes you sent me! whoohoo! The Taylor Swift t-shirt is my only prized possession I own here now. I wear it every morning and night. And I loved the card from Madison! Fantastic. and I haven't used the flea collars because in this area, there's no fleas! whoo hoo. But i will hang onto them in case I will need them in the future. Thanks so much for all!

hhmmmm what else to say. i feel like I'm relying a lot more on the Lord in this area, and growing for that. This area is hard, when i feel like we didn't have much success in a day, my comp says it was a very successful day for this area, but we are going to raise the standards here.

An experience I had yesterday, we were contacting all day, not having too much success. I was just thinking about what we can do different, and was carrying a prayer in my heart. As we passed a house, my companion told me that they contacted it before, and they didn't want to have anything to do with the missionaries, but all of a sudden, without even thinking, just following a feeling I had, I knocked on the door and a lady came by and immediately let us in. She has a boy that can't walk, his legs are like noodles, and he was pushing himself along the floor with his hands. We left a message about the resurrection, and how we will receive perfect bodies. It was the only lesson we had the whole day. Any little prompting from the Holy Ghost, we NEED to act on. Only with that we will be able to recognize the spirit of God with more clarity in our lives.

Well, i am well, and healthy. I love you all so much. keep it classy.
From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins

YESSS! i got my Taylor Swift tshirt!! and I love it more than you can imagine.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 21: Becoming more and more like his Dad

Too bad I can't ride this bike!

another hill to walk up??!!

My area - Villa Canales

Elder Varela and I

Every change we get a newsletter and I got my name in it cause we had Family Baptism


Thank you for the information on fleas! still can feel them crawling on my body sometimes.

We still haven't had our house inspection from the Mission President's wife, but we keep our house clean anyways. and about changes, yes this Wednesday is transfer day / changes again. We find out tonight if one of us is going, but I think I'm going to be here at least another change. We'll see. I'll let you know where I am next week.

Anyways, I was thinking, for christmas, it would be sweet to have some waterproof bags, like from MEC, that would fit just my scriptures, and maybe a smaller one for my camera too. you have a set of Spanish scriptures so big enough that I could put those in it, PLUS another Spanish bible, just that size would be great. and maybe some tiny mesh bags. Those are handy. Only if you can, I can make do without them. I made a little waterproof box for my scriptures, out of cardboard and alot of packing tape.

Also I'll just throw this out there, but as I've been sitting here there has been 2 mini earthquakes, which are really cool I think, its like I'm on a ride at a theme park, with everything shaking. they aren't too rare here.

The picture frames I buy, I put a picture of the person we baptize in it and give it them. It's for them, but I do print out a photo of each one and put it in a little album I have.

Oh the letters I received were from Carly Ruiz, Jessica Bachinsky, and Erin Harker. and all three have cards in the mail coming back to them!

Sometimes I feel like I'm becoming more and more like dad, and I wonder if all the little habits he has he developed on his mission. who knows.

Well I sent a lot of photos to you and don't have too much time to write. Just been working like usual, trying to have lessons IN the homes of members. There is a statistic of 1 in every 3 investigator that goes to church and has lessons in the houses of members get baptized. So we managed to have three this week which was great.

I sent Tanner some pictures of his brother's mustache and beard – his comment
I am jealous. I want that beard ha ha.

well I'm gonna end now so maybe I can chat with you!

until next week!

Elder Hopkins

Just some hill in my area that we were walking up

We had a family home evening with a family in our ward, and i love their kids, so fun  (glad to see him sharing the glow in the dark bracelets, pencils and other items his family is sending for just this purpose)

It was raining and no one had umbrellas with them so our district leader sheltered us.

We played capture the flag in the rain with our zone and took a photo after

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 20: "Doing good, Better than Yesterday, not as Good as Tomorrow"

Hola Mammy y familia.

Well I'll start out answering your questions, so i don't forget to do that later. The flea bites don't hurt or anything, they are just itchy. I have cream and stuff that I put on them, but I'm pullin through, they aren't too too bad. It was just that one night where an entire family of fleas decided to have a royal feast.

We go to the house of our cook whenever we eat with her. It's like 2 streets over from where we live.
Yes I've gotten the envelopes with stickers and such, but i haven't gotten those other ones yet.
That's great that my letters have gotten to you guys, I feels like just yesterday when I sent them. and I'm glad Kent got his before he left the MTC, I was thinking it wasn't going to make it, I sent it like 3 weeks ago I think. Writing letters is kind of like an investment of time. If I put in a little effort, I'll get back a little, in the forms of cards, and it is well worth the time.
I never knew Brendan Day moved to New Zealand??? haha what the heck, I'll miss that guy, but that's great that he got his call and that he's going to go on a mission!

pffffft PUCHICAS. Madison got her license, AND is driving around in a convertible. You better keep an eye on those boys... they're gonna be chasing her ha. That sounds like a super fun party too. People would always tell me that i should have a dance party in the garage, but i never wanted to cuz of all the work there would be ha. but I'm glad it has now been done, and was a success it sounds like. ooooh yes go to Zach and Brendon's farewells, if i can't make it at least I need a representative there for me haha. wish them luck and tell them i love them TONS. I know they will be great missionaries but don't tell them that from me because when I was just leaving on my mission, EVERYBODY would say that and it got so annoying haha.

I'm glad to hear that Sam went to the corn bust, and had some nice conversations with those guys. I've been praying for him y que el vaya a parar de vegar en la oscuridad y que el regrese al camino estrecho y angosto, por que yo se que su vida puede ser mejor en esta forma. But that brings a smile to my face that he went.

(I told him how dirty the water was off the California coast near LA)
Yes that does sound like Guatemalan water haha. We'll have to find someplace where I can surf, maybe in a Spanish speaking country ha. but yeah the rivers in my town, there's dead dogs often in them, and sometimes there's dead bodies left in them cuz they can't afford a grave, i haven't seen any of the dead bodies luckily, but that's what I've been told.

Yea i don't know about Christmas presents either. I'm sure you can think of something that I'll like. Cards and a few pictures would be nice ha ha i don't know, but yeah i do know of the place here where you can get suits custom made for cheap.

I'm glad Kianna has found someone that makes her happy and has settled down. Tell her I say congratulations, and that's awesome that Dad made a cut out of Brett hahaha. That's awesome.

But yeah, I'm doing good, better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow. we had a lot of success this week, as we had 16 people in church, even with the election being yesterday. Lots of members didn't even go. There were a lot of riots in my city that we had to avoid with the elections, HA JUST KIDDING. Don't worry. It was like a normal day. I am safe, and healthy.

We are continuing to meet the family "H" I spoke of, the parents, and the grandparents, they are both very positive still. The other day we were teaching them, and then more members of their family arrived and listened in too, and at the end of it I think we were teaching 11 people in a little tin house living room. Just passing by their house often and building a relationship with them has helped us build a trust. We challenged them to baptism and have a goal of the 24th. We're not counting it as a set date yet, but its a goal. They have kids that like the youth programs, I mean why wouldn't they, they are amazing. I love all the things I did with the church as a youth.

well time just flew by and I am out of time. LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!
Elder Hopkins

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 19: Prayers are answered.

[In response to his mom and dad's dressing up for the B-52s concert] BAHAHA you guys are so wierd. I didn't dare open those photos here, but I put them on my camera to enjoy later haha. Looks like you had a ton of fun. Oh i bet you are on hundreds of peoples facebooks because of that. That would have been so fun to do haha. Madi's comment is right though, FREAKS hahaha, but i love it.
Still haven't gotten flea collars, but I'll be sure to listen to your advice. I dont want to be sterile. or have rashes for that matter. I've heard of misisonaries here buying flea collars and putting them on their bedposts, there just isnt anywhere i can buy them in my area. only at the torreg, which is a store owned by walmart. but I did get some mail this week! Whoooo haha, and I got a few letter from girls! real live girls! haha I just got them this morning at district meeting, so I still haven't opened them yet. Oh also me and my companion put on a workshop for our district about extending commitments this morning, thought maybe you would like to know that, it went well, the zone leaders were there too, they said it went really good.
Any new investigators you ask? Well 20 last week, and 15 this week. but most of them don't show alot of progress. a new investigator just means someone who you have had one lesson with, and a return appointment that is set. According to the data that's what it is, but some of those new investigators are showing a lot of interest and progress.

I email in this little internet cafe that is in town. Nothing like the internet cafes in North America, but they do have computers that work so that's all we can ask for. How I print the photos is I put the photos on my camera and then take them to quick photo, just a place that prints photos, quickly. and that's how I do it. I could print them here, just on paper, but I like the real photos better. I have a member card for there that will save me money within these next two years, cuz whenever I baptise someone, I print a photo of us at their baptism, put it in a frame I buy there too, and write a note on the back. a nice little keepsake.
and I'm not in the mission office, or home, never been to the mission home yet, and the office is just where the office missionaries and president work all day. just an office, but I've been there for a few workshops when I was being trained.

That sucks about the missionaries being sent home for health problems, better than being sent home for another reason, but sucky still. at least they proved to be good missionarys and I guess they did enough work that the Lord allowed them to get sick and injuured? Bah, I dont know. I sure hope it doesn't happen to me.

Hmmmmm so what to tell you.....
Well The family Hernandez is still showing progress, they are doing good. He has been trying to quit smoking, and we've been praying for the Lord to help him with that, then BOOM, he gets a mouth infection and can't smoke. hallelujah! the Lord does answer prayers, sometimes in strange ways, but he hasn't smoked this week, so it's been awesome! They just are having trouble with the marriage things, the wife is from El Salvador, so she needs to get her papers from there, she needs to get in contact with her mom to do that, but the thing is they've got no money. hmmmmm. we are continuing to work with them with this problem, they want to be baptised and everything, but they said they need to work slow with the marriage things, we watched Together Forever with them, or rather, Juntos Para Siempre, and it gave them more of a desire to move forward with the marriage things. so we'll see what happens.

Also we ended up meeting with their family, basically cuz we asked to, and they are all really positive too, and all came to church yesterday. we had a family home evening with them at a members house this week and watched The Restoration. one of them is a little crazy, but none the less, after the movie he was like, wow! i never knew about this, the mormon church really is the only true church on the earth. also one lady, who is completely sane told us that she never thought about why there's so many churches in the world today, and that really only one can be true. We are continuing to work with them too. It really shows that all the principles in Preach My Gospel are inspired and true, and if you follow them, like asking for references from everyone, blessings will come. well, that's all from me this week.
Did madi pass her drivers exam??? Is she in school now? What classes is she taking? Is sam going to school again now? Is his beard still going strong? I hope so ha. Give a big kiss to ricky for me. I miss nice clean dogs. The dogs here all they do is chase the female dogs and do their little thing with them. Sometimes we throw rocks at them haha. but don't worry, we aren't being mean.
ha anyways my time is up.
Elder Hopkins

Here's some photos for the week. some flea bites I woke up with, a corny picture of me, over looking my area, the photo of sam I printed HA, and we have a contact named AMANDA RUIZ that we received, still haven't contacted her yet though, we'll see if it's really her ha.