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

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cozy Feet

We enjoyed watching General Conference in our slippers that Tanner had sent us from Guatemala in our Christmas package we received early.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 23: General Conference - being fed by the Spirit and fried chicken, tortillas, ice cream...

October 3, 2011


Well This week was Awesome, I remember hearing that Sam Tuner Absolutely loved conference when he watched  it his first time on his mission, after hating to watch it at home. And Basically, I absolutely loved it too! I was sad when it was over. It was a really fun time hanging out with a bunch of gringos too. We almost had to watch it in Spanish, but we ended up being able to travel about an hour to Patzacia to watch it. There were 8 of us from our zone that traveled there, and also 2  were there from the other zone.  We watched it in a small room, on the church TV, and the chairs were pretty comfortable actually. We went to many of the fried chicken places here and bought tortillas for lunch on Saturday, and then because everyone always goes out for food after the priesthood session, but we obviously had to travel back asap after, we went out for Ice cream before the priesthood session.  It was an awesome time.  Its weird to think that 6 months ago I was actually there in Salt Lake for conference, but yes, conference was awesome.

My new area is good, lots of hills to walk up and down in the mountains. We are starting to work differently which is starting to bring us success.  We found 15 new people this week, 3 families. There is a reward with the missionaries in this stake, that if we can baptize a family, or 3 people this month, we get to go eat dinner with the stake president, mission president, and all those who reached this goal. So that is what we are working on. It will be hard, because we literally had 0 progressing investigators when I got here, but we are working hard on finding people and getting them to the waters of baptism as soon as possible. So this is our goal. It will be very difficult in this area, but not impossible.  With the Lord it can happen.
Well, how transfers did work. we took our heavy bags to a chapel, and we have a meeting. we all find out our new companions, and head to our area. after much walking, and carrying my heavy suitcases up and down many large staircases, we arrived at our bus stop. From there we put my suitcases on the roof of the bus, and traveled for about 2 hours to my area. Got here, unpacked a little bit, and got to work. My house is smaller, but a little nicer. we don't have a backyard or anything, in fact, we live above a libreria, a little office supply store. We have the same electric shower, same desks, same beds as almost all the other mission  houses. Its a nice area. i feel safe. In fact when I tell people i was in Villa Canales, they say oh wow, its dangerous over there. so don't worry about me, I'm safe.

I googled the town he is living in and found this information:

San Andres Itzapa is a small town about 6 miles south of Chimaltenango, which is close to Antigua. It is very rare for tourists to visit there. Most have never even heard of it. But it does have some fame among the mayan followers of Ry Laj Man, better known by most as Maximon, the one true god in the Guatemalan Highland villages. The goings on every Sunday is a sight to behold. People lined up for hours around the church which is the permanent home for the awaiting their chance to make offerings and ask for blessings. Offerings are usually rum and cigarettes. The small Mayan ladies dressed in their colorful garb smoke fat cigars as they wait their turn. This is a bit like the Mayan counterpart to an audience with the Pope, except that Maximon is a higher ranking diety.

That's funny that you found some information about that church. We have to pass it to get to our church. It's a big lot fenced in by big cement walls. Outside they sell their little idols of a man wearing a suit with a big cigar.  They burn live hens and stuff for offerings.  Also there's a church here called the Canadian church. Its a catholic church i think. many years ago a bunch of Canadians came to this town and built a lot of houses is what I'm told. There's even a plaque about it with a maple leaf here.

Yes i did get all your packages that you have told me about,  besides this 6 month one from grandma.
Oh, yesterday we did something a little out of the ordinary, well we gave a blessing, which isn't out of the ordinary, but the person who received it was. Its was a super old lady, who was under an avocado tree, and it got hit by lightning, the two people beside her died, but she didn't. When we gave her the blessing, she was lying in bed, she already looked dead, wrinkly skin, coarse messy grey hair, closed eyes, and her breathing was more like gasping. She had been in bed for three days without eating anything hardly. Basically i think she's going to die, if shes not already dead. But we gave her a blessing, and her daughter a blessing of comfort. As a result of this, we have 4 new investigators, because this family are not members, but friends of members.
Well I wanted to ask you to send me some things, maybe just email me some files. two or three good family pictures, specifically some of the train pictures. and the picture of my snowboarding that i had as a profile picture, when I'm going of that jump in snowbird in Utah. dad will know what one.

That's awesome that you already got the Christmas package! I'm glad you like the stuff. Maybe I'll be able to send another before Christmas, since Antigua is close by.  but I'm not promising anything, its kinda expensive, well it is. ha. but yeah that jersey I sent, everyone in our zone bought.I'm really not going to wear it here on the mission, cuz I have other shirts, so I decided to send it home so its there when I get there.
Well, I love you all, so so much. Keep being the awesome people you are.

from Guatemala, With Love,
Elder Hopkins

Tanner's Grandma asks him about the native birds
Tanner says:
Quetzals are actually very rare, and hardly seen in the wild. but yes in the Book of Mormon, that picture of Abinadi in front of the king and with Alma, have Quetzals in them. The Book of Mormon was here!

Some pics! my area is near Antigua, well like a half hour in bus, but there;s a McDonald's there! yum! the most crazy fancy biggest McDonald's I've ever seen, with a big courtyard and fountains. I'm a fan of classy fast food. Also this man is a recent convert here that sells really cool jewelery in Antigua, and he gave me a wallet for free.(top picture) Also we made invitations to general conference. Here's some pictures of us during General Conference. Hope you loved it as much as I did. Dad now knows how to raise a girl. Love you all!