Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ups and Downs of Mission Life

April 24, 2012

Hola Fammmmm

Its good to hear from you each week, this week had its ups and downs, but right now we are in the up part, so thats all good.

Well, this man named “A”, who we contacted on the street and came to church two times, we went back to his house after teaching about the book of mormon, and said that he can't accept it, and told us to never come back. i started teaching and testifying mad about the book, and the mood kinda changed, but then he started bringing up the topic about how he believed saturday should be the holy day, and bla bla bla, and basically, its one less family that we are teaching now. It made me sad to see them reject this message, but i gotta be like Ammon in Alma 26:27-30. at least I did my part. and in the Doctrine and Covenants it says that at the judgement I will be one of the people who judge them, and I will tell them, I told you so.

Well, that was the bad part, but here's the good part:
We contacted a family on the street, went to their house a few days later, taught them lesson one, and invited them to church. On sunday we went to their house before church to bring them to church, but they weren't home, we left a little sad, but when we got to church, the wife and her son were there waiting for us, the husband was working. Last night we went to their house for another appointment, the wife said she really liked the church, and that she read the restoration pamphlet, and said she truly believes that God used Joseph smith to restore His Gospel. We challenged her to baptism, and before I could even finish the question she said yes. We have the goal for the 12th of May. It was a blessing that come out of the sky from nowhere. I feel so blessed to have this happen. The only problem is that we have to marry them first, and the woman doesn't have all of her papers, and apparently it takes at least 15 days to get the papers, but it sometimes takes even longer. but we are praying. This family is called The family “R”, and their son “A” . It was a great day yesterday.

Also the Lord really does guide this work, we were looking for an address that a woman gave us when we contacted her in the street. the address turned out being fake, but there was a woman standing outside of her house so we decided to ask her if she knew where it was, she didn't but we started talking and her husband is a less active member that was baptized 2 or 3 years ago, and nobody else in the family is a member. she said we could come back and visit them, so we did, and ended up finding 3 new investigators, and also a family that was visiting them that don't live in our area that were going to be baptized but they moved and lost contact with the missionaries. But they all said they want to come to church this sunday. We just happened to be looking for this fake address when this woman just happened to be outside her house when we just happened to ask her where it was. God lead us to this family. We'll see what happens with them, they seem fairly positive.

Also the big envelope came with the smart wool socks. and I LOVE THEM. I would tell Parker that thats all that he should bring on his mission if he can. its like I'm walking on a cloud and after washing them and drying them they don't get all crusty like the stiff crusty socks that I put on this morning. Just gotta wait till my feet start sweating until they aren't as crusty anymore. ewe gross. ha

Also i don't know what time you want me to call, cuz my house is kinda far away from church, and its kinda inconvenient for me to come back after church to call. The best times for me would be at like 8:30 ish, maybe 9:30 ish at night or at 7:30, or eight in the morning before church. Right now my time is 1 o'clock, i don't know what time you guys have. I don't know, let me know next week when you want me to call exactly. my number is xxxx xxx . I don't know what the area code is, but the answering machine will be just some spanish lady saying the phone number I'm pretty sure, the same as last time.

Well, this week i have no photos, cuz i didn't even take any this week, but next week i will as i complete a year on friday.

Also theres a new missionary named Sister Steed thats from Raymond that just came in. I haven't met her yet, but I bet shes related to my friend Tanner Steed form Calgary, I'm excited to meet another Canadian here in Guatemala.

Thats all for this week,
Love you guys so much! see you all in 2 years. (note from me – uh, that would be ONE year Tanner)
Love Elder Hopkins

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

English Grammar getting worse!

Just a random ladder at the church

Sending Letters to family and friends back home

Just fooling around

April 17, 2012
As a side note from his Mom:
It will be Tanner's hump day in just over a week, and as he has been on his mission for a full year now, his english grammar has gotten worse and worse in each letter.  His only English speaking companion was for the first 3 weeks in the field.  Ever since that time, he has had companions from Honduras that speak little or no English.  It is apparent in his emails that he is forgetting how to spell, and although some of his poor typing is a result of lack of time on the computer, he was always a pretty good speller and had pretty good grammar, so I can really see how its deteriorated!  He probably has no idea!   I decided to post this last email from him without "tweaking" it like I usually do.  You can still make sense of it, it just takes a little more work!  He also is staying put again this change, with the same companion since Jan. 25.. that is a long time in the same place with the same person, another 6 weeks for sure, which will be over 4 months together.

Hey Fammmmm!!
hows it going? good i hope.
thats fantastichearing about all these people getting ready for their missions! they wont want to come home! especially if thier mom,like mine, is telling them about all the engagements of everyone they know and reminding them that when they get back their next goal wll be finding a wife. I do not ever want to think of that. maybe i can get my mission extended to three years...

if you could send me the mission adress of kyl christionson that would be great. hes my friend from efyfrom some timesago, iwent to hishouse in edmonton and stayed the night there when i took my friend Pamela Anderson to her grad a fewyears ago.

Well the clean chicken killin teqniqe is holding thierbody down, get your comp to pull on the head, and just cut it off quickwith a knife whileholding thier jerking bodydown for like 3 minutes. and thats how its done.

Oh yes, they phoned us for changes the other day, we call tranfers changes down here in this mission, butme and my companion are both staying, that will be 3 changes together withhim, the longest so far. im alrightabout it, we are doing good together, and we have some people we got to baptise together before we get changed.

unfortunately i was not home when you discovered the sweetpotatoe fries and sauce from coscto, which iam sad about right now, cuz i love them! They do not exist here, ive mentioned them to my companions and other latinos a few imes, and whent hey hear freanch fries out of yams, they think im LOCO. they dont even sell yams anywhere here, ive looked to make my own, but no luck haha.

This week we had a great activity, where we ¨were on an airplane¨then we die and go on a tour of the plan of salvation. it was great. They didnt tell us that we were going to have a hawaian lua like they did at that one youth activity we had, so i didnt get mad. im still a little sour about that activity we had so long ago, but this activity was a sucess, so it healed my feelings about this kinf od acivity. We actually Broguht 16 investigators to the activity, it was fantastic, the bishop was so happy asnd impressed that we brought 16 people ourselves. We broght more people than all of the people the members brought combined. i sent some pictures of the activity.

We did find a bunch of people this week that seemreally positive, thathave come to church 2 times already, so we should be baptising some people in may or maybe the end of april if were lucky.

We had ward conference this sunday, and the stake president shared alesson afterwars,wherewe watched a few videos from the church website. the church is coming out with a bunch of really cool videos. we watched one of a black man in england abouthis testimony of the book of mormon, which was super sper cool. i cant wait till i can spand the day loooking at allof these coolv ideos of the church in two years when i end mymission.

I was thinking the other day as some recent converts werebearing their testimony about family home evengings, and i was thinking, i don't know if your guys are doing them right now, but i have seen the great power o them thoughoutmy mission, and i ask that youguys do them with madison, and grandma maybe, and if samewould ever want to come i yooa fun activity, i donno, it was ust something i was thinking about.

also if you could send me my line of Authority of the melquesdiqpriesthood, its something i dont havehere that i would like.

Wehad a greatlesson last night with the 2nd counselor of the bishopric present,whois also thedad ofthe stake president. This man is amazing, he basically has thebible mamorized, and also hes a phycologist, so the way he talks and teaches people,the way he ust plays withthier mindis amazing haha, it was so great. we taught the plan of savation to a man who attends adifferent church,who didnt believe in alot of the true doctine  Christ, but we taught thelesson really well, an were able to answer all his questions and doubts really well with this man present. The investigatoris a friend of a member so we had alittle family ome evening lesson in his house all together. Staticwise, having lessons with investigators in the houses of members increases baptismpossibilities to 1 in 3, while finding an investigator byknocking on doors and teaching them by yourself that will be baptised, is about 1 person in every 1000 doors thatyouknok o or something wewere toldby one of the 70s here.

well my pictes that i sent are of the activity we had, we went around and explained everything dressed in white like angles. just a wheel chair wewere playing with, my district my zone, some ladder thing thatwas atthe church, ad a whole bunchf letters i wrotein response to letters ive recieved haha, its an investment of time really, but it didnt take too long.

(I mentioned that his friend Tyler Henry who is in Argentina on his mission is able to wear a hat to keep him from getting sunburnt and sunstroke), his response was:
thats awesome, we cant wear hats, plus right now its rainy haha, and i always try to walk in the shade. id like to see a picture with him and his hat haha. you just gotta drink lots of water and wear sunscreen. well the rainy season starts at the beginning of may basically, but it has raned a coupletimes already and there have been lots of clouds.

well,thats all for this week, love you guys!!
tu hijo, y hermano, (your son and brother)
Elder Hopkins

The activity he talks about

My District

My Zone

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting to be a Pro Chicken Killer, and another Baptism!

This week's Baptism

This is the chicken we killed.  We were passing by a members house quickly and they had a chicken and asked us to kill it, so we took about one minute and had a nice quick clean kill, took a picture and left. kinda funny. I'm quite the pro at killing chickens now.

April 10

Muy Buenas Dias Querida familia mia.

Well i did have a good easter down here, its not really easter though, just semana santa, (easter week) no rabbits, no chocolate eggs, just a lot of apostasy.
Despite it being `the hardest week in the mission¨ i had a fantastic week, 1 baptism, 1 confirmation, 17 new investigators, 20 lessons... The Lord blessed us.

That Easter dinner that you had looks so so good! also im starving right now so it made my mouth water a bit. Sams new dew is lookin pretty sharp. im due for a haircut about now.

I did get the Hump day box ya, and it was great!! soo soo much candy, wow, im gonna get fat, and i love the pants that you got me, they fit great, im wearing them now. It was great to see a bunch of pictures of my friends that you sent me as well, even though i didn't recognize a few of them until i read who it was. It's  almost as if I haven't seem them for a year.
I also got a package from my friend Vickie which was fantastic! i was super surprised and happy when i saw that there was a package from someone thats not a family member. just great! im glad she emailed you her new address cuz i wrote a card that i was about to send her.
Transfers, or changes as we call them hear, are on the 18th. i will know next week to tell you if I'm going or staying. im almost 100 percent sure that im staying and my comps going, but ill let you know as always.

Thats fantastic that Madison knows what shes probably going to do after high school, shes ahead of me at least, cuz i have no idea. Also fantastic that shes going to Rapport. Shes just gotta know that its one of those things that during it you kinda wanna kill yourself, but afterwards your glad you did it. YA Madi you da best! just submerged yourself into it and make a fool out of yourself, don't worry that people are watching you, just be humble and do your best! cuz you da best! love ya!

Great that Brett is good, i just got a great letter from him too, that he sent when he was still a missionary ha. did he come home fat? or buff? send me a picture of that guy! i love him!

So yeah, this week we did Baptize "E", it was kinda a story like the "M" kids in my last area. We went to her house the last week,and she wanted to be baptized, but the parents said no. That she's not ready, and only curious. We taught them some stuff, left them a chapter of the Book of Mormon to read, and left them to pray and talk about it. On Thursday we went back to her house, had a short lesson, and they said that she could be baptized. YEAAHH! , We them baptized her on sunday night, the bishop baptized her cuz she said she thought we would drown her, and the bishop has more experience, alright we said. When she got baptized she didnt plug her nose and when she came up she was coughing and choking on the water haha, fun baptism experience, but yeah, shes now baptized, we just gotta confirm her next sunday.
"E", her aunt, came to church and was confirmed, but "P", the husband of "E" had to work, so we have to wait till this sunday thats coming to confirm him, we are praying that he can get work off.   Darn Walmart down here is so strict with their employees.

Also i was thinking it would be great if you can send me a picture of MY baptism, when I was baptized, to show investigators and such. you can just send it as an attachment on next weeks email.

I sent a picture of the chicken we killed.  We were passing by a members house quickly and they had a chicken and asked us to kill it, so we took about one minute and had a nice quick clean kill, took a picture and left. kinda funny. I'm quite the pro at killing chickens now.

Thats sad that it was the LAST youth temple trip to Cardston, those were always good times. i think ill still go down when i get back though so i can eat some of that delicious claresholm chicken, MMMM MMM.

Also this week the flees were back for a bit, but i took protective action and now they are gone. I got them from the house of my recent convert, "A", I even saw one in his house. He's really poor and animals and mice are always running around his house. Also hes having trouble with cigarettes again, which is really disappointing, we're working with him on that.

Well, I love you all so much, one month and we will talk, and i don't have an accent, you're crazy!

Until next week,
From Guatemala, With love,
Elder T Hoppity Hopkins
This is some cool graffiti by my house.  It's kind of in a ghetto area, but cool grafitti!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Baptism, and my Personal Progress

Married Last Week, Baptized this week, Pable Argueta and his wife

April 3, 2012
Hola Familia!!

Yes this conference weekend was great! Conference weekend is always such a great weekend. i cant believe that a year ago i was right there with all my cuates. (friends) And yes, to answer your question I did see David Archeleta there on screen. Only one other Elder here likes him, so we talked a little about it haha. no homo. On Saturday we went and I ate Little Ceasars in between the first two sessions, then before priesthood we went to some restaurant with some other elders but I wasn't ant really hungry, but I ordered a chicken drumstick and a chocolate milkshake. The chicken was so so small, and the milkshake was more like chocolate milk. (see picture) but in these situations you just gotta think about it as, the chicken was less than a dollar, so in north american terms it would be cheap, but here, a little expensive for so little food. ha. On sunday we went to a persons house to eat lunch, not a member, but her kids are members. It was super super hot in this tiny lamina house, with the fire right next to us, but it was super super nice for this super poor family to make us lunch. (see picture)

Yes, the man we were teaching was able to come to the priesthood session, hence forth, he was baptized on sunday night. It was a great service, we did it as a stake, and there was a lot of people there, so everyone was in the chapel, and we filmed and projected the baptisms to the chapel so everyone could see, a little different, but thats what the stake president wanted to do. The great thing is that their niece saw their baptisms, we have been teaching her family, that's actually how we found the family that we baptized, is that we were teaching her sister first, but anyways, apparently she wants to be baptized now, and she is all ready, so maybe we'll have another baptism this saturday. We're not too sure yet, its just what a member who went and visited them told us. well see...

So the picture of the dog I sent you (see below)  is a dog that has a very common disease here called keote, or something like that, i don't know how to spell it. but its like leprosy for dogs, but a lot of dogs have it here, this dog has it really bad, so i decided to take a picture of it.  not to make you sad... just so you know what its like here in Guatemala.

Well you want to know how I've changed, since my mission is nearly half over, and what things I've realized since I've been out on my mission. One of the biggest I'll say is the truthfulness of Mosiah 2:41, people are so much happier by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've seen it in so many instances, and in my own life. This country is a messed up country I'll say, so many drunks on the street, always, so much iniquity and so much sin, and sadness and poverty. But everyone who is living the gospel is set apart from these things, and has true happiness. Another this is that before the mission i don't think I would have been able to mention a scripture like that off my mind, maybe from a lack of effort in seminary, but my understanding of the gospel is increasing, but thats just something natural that happens through study and prayer. Also prayer is something that has changed, it is not only something to do now, but rather its a privilege, and I enjoy praying. There's a few tiny things that I hope quenched your thirst for knowing how I am doing in this aspect of my life, what i am working on is just being a great friend to everyone you might say, developing attributes of Christ.

Well, this upcoming week is known to be the hardest week of the year for the mission, and will also be the hottest. Its Semana Santa, or holy week, where everyone that has catholic backgrounds, decides they are catholic, for this one week. Its basically Spring break for the entire country, but with a catholic twist, but everyone goes to the beaches, travels, and has big parties, basically this week no one is going to want to listen to us.

We have a recent convert family that used to preach and teach in their old evangelical church, they are really awesome, they have 8 months of being baptized, and the hermana (sister) is already the R.S. president. anyways, while contacting we found a lady that goes to their old church, and my comp mentions her name, and she lets us in to share a message. She seems really positive, the only problem is her Husband. He doesn't even go to church very often, but says that they already have a church, and doesn't believe in double baptism, and he didn't let his wife come to church with us this week even though she really wanted to. We haven't actually ever met her husband yet, but today we might have this opportunity, well see what happens.

also tell Brett that i love him, and that his beard is good. and i hope he grows one out, cuz thats definitely something I'm going to do when i get back from my mission. At night sometimes people ask me if i shaved in the morning cuz i guess my 5 o'clock shadow is getting fairly thick ha.

well, that was a pretty long email this week, i hope you enjoy it,
Until next time,
from Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins
A poor dog with the disease "keote"