Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Great Way to End



Hello Family.

Well, it was a great last week. we had 7 baptisms on Sunday. it was a great way to end the mission. Sunday night it really hit me that I was finishing, and I couldn't sleep well. but I'm good now. 

Yesterday was a great 2nd last day, I challenged everyone to baptism. 3 accepted, and of these three, I truly believe that at least 2 of them will be baptised very soon. the third, ya never know.

I'm not done yet, I still have a whole afternoon to work and challenge people to take the step of baptism.

I'm not too sure what else to tell you. I'll see you tomorrow. We had a zone training this morning, me and Elder Barahone talked about how to use our agendas better. it was good. Of course they all picked God be with you till we meet again as the last hymn, and then they all stood up to sing it, and that they all surrounded me during the last verse. It was funny, but it almost made me cry ha.

The 3D map is called el mapa de relievo. or in English, the relief map. It's in Zona 2 in the Hipodromo. It's right beside the church dental office, so people should know where it is.

About carrying cameras and stuff, it all depends on where you are at really, and what time of day. you never know. The zoo is just a normal little zoo, nothing too too special. the only cool thing is that they do have a bunch of animals that are in Central America, and they have a lot of tropical birds which is cool. It's apparently the best zoo in all of Central America. It's pretty good. and safe.

Well, these 2 last years have been great. They have been fantastic. They have been the best 2 years for my life, and the best 2 of my life thus far. I look forward to have many years that are better, they have to be, because of they aren't, I'm not progressing. But with that said, I will always look back on these two years 2 weeks and 4 days with much fondness. I've Learned a lot, I've changed a lot, and I plan on learning and changing lots more.

The church is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. And in acting in accordance with this knowledge, and these facts, I, along with everyone else, will live in the presence of a very living and loving God for all time and eternity in everlasting happiness.

We´ll see each other tomorrow. you can count on that tap on the back mom.

From Guatemala (one last time), with love,

Elder Hopkins



Monday, May 6, 2013

Last email before we (his parents and sister) arrive in Guatemala!!

Baptism of 9 year old Nancy
 

May 6, 2013

BUEN DIA!!!

This week was good. Nancy was baptized. I had never seen a little girl so excited for her baptism. It was great. we were going to baptize her last week but she had drinken coffee that her mom gave her, so we had to postpone it. but it was a good little service after church. We had other investigators that were in the service that felt the spirit there, and will be baptized next week. One new thing that I love to do is challenge people to baptism during church meetings, baptismal services, church activities, not only my investigators, but other investigators of other missionaries. It has helped a lot to do it in a more relaxed situation, and it has helped others investigators get a third opinion so to speak, get them to realize that its what they need to do.

We found a young lady named “M” a few weeks ago and yesterday was her second time attending. She quickly made friends with a recent convert thats about her age and they have been able to talk about baptism and everything, which has helped a ton. At the end of the baptismal service she was asking us when her baptism was going to be, what she needed to bring, and when her interview was going to be. all thanks to this friend that she made in church. it was great. so she will be baptized on sunday.

Another family was in the service, and the young boy was sitting in front of me, and I was talking to his and I was just like, what do you think, how about we baptize you next week? and he wanted to, then we had a lesson with the whole family at night, and we challenged them to baptism, and they accepted. We are going to have to marry them first, which we will do on saturday. There are 4 of them.

Also... ya know “MG” that we married and baptized like 2 weeks ago. Well, the husband was already baptized, but when he was like 14 or something. but I thought I needed to talk to the church offices to see if he really showed up on the system, and he doesn’t. He has no evidence, documents, pictures or anything of his baptism, so we are going to baptize him on Sunday as well hopefully. We still haven’t talked with him, but I just got the call from the offices this morning. Whats not written on earth, is not written in heaven, and we cant write it on earth unless we actually are sure that it happened, so he'll receive the remission of his sins again.

hopefully we'll end my last week with 6 Baptisms.

so since we are having the baptisms right after church, we probably wont be able to talk for mothers day until 5 00 pm. so lets set it at that. At 5:00 pm we will talk for 40 minutes.

oh ya, so for the stake president FHE thing we were on divisions, cuz Elder Jaramillo is still in the zone, and the pres. wanted to do it with the two of us but couldn’t when we were together so he asked us to do divisions.

Yeah we aren’t emailing tomorrow because we are going to go to the zoo as a zone. it should be fun.

so I'm thinking that if there are no baptisms here in El Lago on the 19th, we'll just go to Guajitos ward in the capital. I love the people there, and then we wont have to go around that area to visit many people in their houses, cuz that area is a little dangerous you could say.

so I'm thinking that when we go to the temple on thursday we should try to go really early. try to talk to the temple guys cuz there are sessions that start really really early. I think that the latest session we should go to would be the 7:00 am session. Then we can go for breakfast, and then I wanna go to a mall with you guys here, its called oakland mall. its like the most americanized area here, and then maybe drive through villa canales or something there's a big market with cool souvenirs in zone one in the capital, and then we can heard out to Antigua. Plan to get up fairly early each morning, ie 6:30 am. this ain’t no sleep in holiday. lo siento.

I'm so thankful for this opportunity that I've had to be a missionary, and yes, i am sad that its coming to an end.  But just as some investigators think that the end of things is baptism, when really its just the start,
I'm still going to be a missionary, I just wont wear a plaque.
In two years I've had many wonderful experiences, and I hope they wont start to lack.
I'm starting another journey, that doesn’t have an expiration date.
During the one I am now finishing, I always knew that it had a 2 year fate.
Maybe my english is weak, and these rhymes are making so sense.
But before you can say ¨Chimaltenango,¨ when we speak about being together it will no longer be in future tense.

Yeah I really don’t know what else to say to your guys. I'll actually SEE ya next week.

From Guatemala with love,
Elder Hopkins

I asked him:
How come you are always the lucky one that gets to do the baptism? Do the other missionaries not want to?
well with these ones I've known them longer so they normally want me to do it, plus I gotta be in the water as much as possible in these last weeks haha.

Note from Elder Hopkins' Mom:

We will get to talk to Elder Hopkins on Mothers Day.  Then his next email day is Tuesday May 14th, but we (his mom, dad and sister) are leaving on a plane that day for Guatemala, as he gets released Wednesday May 15th and we will be there to greet him and tour around with him for a week to meet all the special people that have had an influence on him, and him on them.    I will blog about our experience when we get home.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Working Overtime, Miracles, 36th Baptism, and starting to be at Peace about ending


Working Overtime.  (2 year mission has ended but now a 2 week extension - and he DOES look exhausted!)

Dinner with the Stake President's family

His Area - Lake Amatitlan

His companions got him a cake celebrating his 2 years on his mission!


Baptism
May 1, 2013

Hey hey,

sorry that I started to write the other day but i couldn’t finish, I had to take an Elder to the hospital, we left at like 11:30 and didn’t get back till 9 at night, so that's why I'm not writing until today. (he's fine, it was just a long day)

**Also before I forget to tell you, next week we will be writing on MONDAY, so please send emails before monday morning.

This last week was absolutely great. We had a small miracle happen. So I might have told you that we were trying to get papers for an investigator so that she could get married to her less active husband that is now active. Well we tried to get the papers a while ago, and they told us that the books they were in were destroyed, and it would be like a 4 month process to get them. Well on tuesday last week we visited this lady, and she had gone to try to get her papers too, and to our surprise she was able to get them, so we quickly got a wedding planned, married them and baptized her on the Saturday 27th. It was a good way to spend the day on my 2 year mark. Yes, I've already been a missionary for more than 2 years, I'm on overtime right now.

But it was really fantastic, when she handed us the document that she needed, I just held it in my hands and just stared at it for a few minutes. They are one of the poorest families I have ever visited and baptized, but they were so ready for the gospel, teaching them was not a struggle, they accepted everything easily.

Also we put a fecha with Marisols little cousin, nancy, so she should be baptized on sunday. Shes 9 years old and is so excited for her baptism.

Also there was a girl we found, a 20 year old named "M", that we found cuz we were teaching her grandparents, and she was there for a lesson, we started talking about missions and how she could go help people by serving a mission, and then we said somewhat jokingly "look, come to church with us three times, we'll teach you, and baptize you on the 12th of May, and then in a year from now, you can go on a mission." and shes like oh cool, so we started teaching her, she came to church, and she absolutely loved it, and so we have a baptismal date for her on the 12th of may. we need at least 2 more than we have planned to be baptized these last 2 weeks to complete the goal that I have, but I feel good cuz if these baptisms happen, and they will, I will have baptized every weekend for 7 weeks in a row which is great.

For your question of what ward I want to go to on sunday when you are here, it depends, if we are going to have baptisms here in my area right now, we'll come here, and go to the baptismal service, if not, I was thinking that we would go to Guajitos, in the capital. well see. I'll have it planned out.

So that you know what will happen when you get here, we wont get any private time until wednesday night. After the change meeting, I'll be in the Presidents house waiting for my interview, and then you'll be in the downstairs lobby where we have the dinner, and then all the missionaries whose parents aren’t picking them up will come down, and then they'll all watch when the missionaries whose parents are there come down, then well hug blah blah blah, and eat dinner all together. Then we'll have a testimony meeting all together, all the missionaries, and the parents will be there to watch, and then we'll leave there and go to the hotel together. that's all I really know, I don't know toooo much detail.

On monday I went to the stake presidents house for dinner, and we had a great lasagna, and cake, and we were there for his family home evening, he's a great church leader, this stake is recognized throughout all of central america for being a great missionary stake. He also gave me two ties as a gift. President Denis Pineda is his name, great guy, great family.

Also something really really great happened on Saturday, the three people I just baptized a very short time ago,  all went to the temple to do  Vicarious Baptisms, and they loved it! what a great way to strengthen their testimony right off the bat. Fantastic.

Also I believe that The Elders in the office just called Dad, to ask him information about how to contact President Miller. They just called me to ask me his phone number.

Ps. I did get the package with all that good stuff in it.

Now as I'm finalizing my mission, I'm starting to be at peace with the fact, even though I'm going to miss the mission like crazy, I no longer have much of a fear about finishing. I know that I've worked hard, and I've become the missionary the Lord wants me to be in these last few months, and I keep working. The only thing that I wish, is that I could do it all over again with the knowledge and diligence and faith that I now have. But the mission is not the end of things, its a start, a start to a new mission, with different challenges and different rewards. I'm not quite ready, but in a few weeks, I will be ready to get it started, for the mean time, I've still got 2 weeks left to make a difference.

For mothers day, we'll have to call on the sunday, on the 12th. I have Church from 8 am until 11 am. I might possibly have a meeting after church but I doubt it, next week well confirm the time, sounds good?

ps, I'm so down to hit up a lake on a boat. we'll just need derek to shave his chest before hand.

Well, I love you all, take care.

From Guatemala, with Love,
Elder Hopkins


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

35th Baptism this week, Starting to get Baggy!

We colored our door with chalk
 Elder Hopkins must be starting to get a little "baggy" there isn't too much in his email about what actually happened in his mission last week! 


 
Mouse in the Pila!


Hey Family.

I'm good. 

We Baptised Sofia Yolanda Salazar de Molina on saturday. The Mother of Jorge that we recently baptized.

You will be coming soon, to pick me up!  Don't worry about getting the trip all planned out, I'll do most of it, I know Guatemala better than you guys. About the Tikal Ruins, I guess we just wont do that, cuz it will take up a ton of time, and its expensive, it would be a whole day, but you guys can look up on it, and if you wanna go its cool.

My suitcases are still in decent shape, I could continue to use them for sure. I don't want you guys to bring much stuff in your suitcases, cuz for a week, you don't really need much, and you'll buy stuff here, so we can just bring souvenirs home mainly.  I would recommend not bringing anything too valuable, unless you consider it necessary, like a phone or camera, etc.

I finally bought a blender now that my last companion took his with him.    

I'm happy about the dentist and doctor appointments you have booked for me when I get home, but I think you forgot to tell me what time my massage is going to be.  :)

So that sucks that madi's ankle got broken, I guess that means......... LOTS OF TUC TUC rides! whooo haha. I loved them the first time I was here. the only bad thing is that in Antigua there is a lot of walking required, and the streets are stone, not just flat, and the tuc tucs in Antigua are a little more expensive, like a dollar each ride or so, but we'll make it work, and she can tough it out.

one plan that I have, is go to a corte chop and all buy corte outfits!  haha, well at least the women. It'll be sweet and then you can wear them at my homecoming! (Corte is the traditional native dress like this)

Guatemalan Mother & Daughter
photo from amslerPIX

I had a dream the other night, and this is what it was--
I was at home, in Calgary, and i had nothing to do. i was complaining cuz i didn't have any phone numbers of my friends, i was really sad so i went to the computer and went onto Google maps, and just looked at Guatemala on the satellite mode.
then I woke up and I was sad. ha.

there's for sure always mixed feelings while finishing the mission.

but I am really excited for you to come and see this wonderful country, from the busy capital, to the hidden mountains, to the easy going coast. it will be a good time. it will be really chill, and easy going I think since we have a whole week. so are you going to rent a vehicle or what after all. Try not to get one that's super nice looking, but get one that has tinted windows.

Well, i don't know what else to say.  Also try to see how much it costs to make phone calls here. it might be cheaper to just buy a cheap phone and buy minutes here to do the phone calls, cuz you don't have to buy a plan or anything here, its really easy to get a cell phone. 

Thanks for sending Madi's rugby pictures - madison is the one that get picked up? - I think the one that get picked up might be called the hooker. so maybe keep an eye on that one haha.

Hey, not to be baggy or anything, but you should get madi to do the following, get together all the cool music that I missed out on the last two years, all the cool rap and hip hop songs, and also like the folk and alternative stuff and put them on my phone so I can listen to them when I'm at my dentist appointments ect. that would be soooo greatly appreciated. also get the cool good movies together so we can watch them when i get back. It'll be like a movie a night for like 3 months. haha jk, but there's alot.

Well, adios.
From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We did Zone Leader training today for our Zone of 32 missionaries


Me with my Companions
 
Our Zone Roster

Baptism of Edgar Vasquez

Our House - Entrance

Study Area
 before we got it set up to house all 4 of us

Washing White Shirts by hand

April 16, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia....

i heard it snowed up there, i might freeze when i get home, but thats okay.

Hey so this week was good, Fechas Metas, or goals for baptismal dates have been falling, but we are also putting alot more goals each week. "Y", "J's"  mom will be baptized this next saturday. Also her son  Juan has a fecha meta for the 28th of this month, and he already said yes. Also a couple named "R" and "E" are going to get married on the 27th, and at least "R" will be baptized, we are still working with "E". but yeah, we've been finding positive people.

We were going to have a wedding and another baptism this next weekend, but can't because of document issues. This woman is not yet in the system of people in Guatemala, she was only written in the physical books where she was born, like 4 hours away. Anyways, these books were destroyed, I don’t know if it was by mold, or a fire, but yeah, that sometimes happens here. So she almost doesn’t exist here in Guatemala, so shes gotta start a process to get her identification. It makes me mad that the poor government system is going to impede her baptism. 
It was a trial of my patience, which maybe I needed, but we keep on working.

Elder Martino, the area president of central america came to our ward here on sunday, just to do some business with the stake, so I got to know him again. on saturday we went with the ward missionary leader to buy white shirts from used clothes stores called paca, (you will see that they are everywhere), and then we had to wash them by hand and all that so that the recent converts we have could wear white shirts at church.

Today we had a Zone training, me and Elder Barahona prepared it for the zone, of 32 missionaries, a big zone. I feel that it went really well. it was about prayer.
But it went really well.

I think your list is wrong, I've baptized 33, 34 when you count Edgar on saturday.

GREAT WORK ON MAKING UP FOR SEMINARY MADI!! WAY TO GO! KEEP IT UP!

There's tons of little things I need to do that friday and saturday when I get back, like renew my licence, buy clothes, eat good food, go to the doctor to get the bomb, get all the little things done. maybe I'll just wait to see friends until the sunday at my homecoming talk.

yeah i think i am gaining weight again, hopefully its muscle weight, cuz i had lost 15 pounds of that.

Those are super sweet jerseys that Madi's rugby team has. I like em alot. those are some nasty bruises though, keep fighting! But don’t get too hurt cuz you gotta walk here in Guatemala. love ya'll.

Well, i don’t know what else to say. time is going by real fast.

From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Feels like I'm in a race to the finish!

My new companions, from left to right: Barahona, Hopkins, Rittscher, Morales
                                          Baptism of Giovano Barreintos - April 7, 2013


April 10, 2013

Hey fammmmm.

things are all well with me. im now with Elder Barahona from Honduras as my zone leader companion, and Elder Morales from Guatemala as the one that im training. Elder Barahona is also training Elder Rittscher.  Elder Rittscher is from Guatemala but his grandparents are from Germany, so he looks gringo, they came here in WW2 so they wouldn’t have to fight. Its a crowded house but we make it work.

This week was good, we had a baptism, after the general conference, which was as great as ever by the way. We baptized Giovano Barreintos,  a man I contacted on a bus about 5 weeks ago. We are now working with his catholic mother to get baptized, along with many others. We put a set baptismal date with the mother of Jorge last night, the one that was baptized the previous week,  but we're not gonna baptize her until the 20th we decided. We are working with many others to make this covenant with God, things are exciting. The clock is ticking, and there's still work to do. It's as if I were in the last moments of a close basketball game, not much time left, but still so much that I want to do, but I know that I've worked hard up to the moment so its just a matter of keeping it up.

So I think I would like still to go down to Snowflake for Elder Tanner's wedding, end of June. go down to chill with some good friends ha.  Elder Jaramillo might come too so it would be me just going down to chill with some good friends.

Hey I had a question, does Bishop Fibke want me to speak about anything specific at my homecoming talk? let me know so I can get thoughts together, and stories from the mish together. thanks.

oh yea, so i didn’t write yesterday cuz i was in the coast at a zone conference. sorry i didn’t tell you. next week will be normal.

well i gotta go, sorry i thought I had more time, I'll send more pictures next week!

Love you!
Elder Hopkins




When I told him about his Uncle Dwight's finger and sent him a picture

wow thats nuts, im glad only a finger was lost though, thats a blessing. i hope he keeps getting better. I'll put polysporin on me next time i get a cut ha.
love ya!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Best week I've had in the Mission! And Getting THREE new companions tomorrow


Baptism of Lety

Baptism of Luis & Marisol

Baptism of Jorge


Our Whole Zone


April 2, 2013

Hey Familyyyy!

I'm doing fantastic, this week was the best week I think I've had in the mission, lots of fun, lots of miracles, and lots of success.

Jorge and Lety did get baptized, and it was great, they are super pilas, they are going to be future leaders in the church, I am for sure of it. We went out with the stake president to visit some people, and we visited Jorge between his baptism and confirmation, and the stake president was shocked, and he said that he knows that Jorge will be a great leader too, and then Jorge started to cry, it was really spiritual. This man used to maintain himself outside passed out on the sidewalks from drinking so much, and he almost dies from it. Sometimes you just gotta hit rock bottom until you can shoot back up.

Also we had 2 other baptisms we weren’t expecting,  Luis & Marisol. We've been teaching them for like 5 weeks and they have always been really positive. well, on Sunday morning and church they told us that they would be baptized. we did divisions, my comp went to look for clothes, I finished teaching them some things, and then we got the interviews done, and they were baptized right after church. it was great.

Tomorrow we have changes, my companion is leaving, and I'm receiving three more haha. its kinda a different situation. So I'm going to receive a new zone leader companion, and I'm also going to receive a new companion who I am going to train, also my zone leader companion will have his companion that he's training. There just so many newbies coming in, and so many problems with the visas that even the Zone leaders have to train while being Zone leaders so that should help me stay really focused these last 6 weeks too.

Also this morning I talked to a man from my old area in Guajitos. It looks like old Alberto is almost ready to go to the temple and be sealed to his deceased wife. Hopefully I'll get to go with him for it in a couple of weeks.

I thought it was the iphone 4 that you all had, not the i-phone5.... it seems like the iphone 5 just came out here, maybe Guatemala is a little behind.
Is there flying cars, hoverboards, or teleporting up there in north america yet? saberrrrrrr

sucks that I won't be there for Mumford and Sons, I didn't even know they had a new album, well of coarse i didn’t, I'm here in Guatemala without technology.

Well, we got no easter dinner, that doesn't really exist here, its just the semana santa, where everyone goes to the pools and beach, get drunk, and kill more people. but everythings fairly normal now. as normal as Guatemala gets.

Yesterday I met an old crazy man that goes up to cement poles and sucks on them. yea, no joke, thats what he does all day. we think that he pretends they are a woman and that he's kissing them. but if you talk to the guy he seems like a fairly normal old man. crazy.

Have you looked at Guatemalan tourism and found something that you wanna do yet, wanna go up in a plane for a day to the big ruins in coban, I think that would be sweet. It would be like 250-300 each I think, for food and everything too. I'm just thinking that its not gonna be too much fun for you guys to just visit people in their homes that you can't even communicate with. Let me know what you wanna do!

well, i don’t know what else to say, I'll send some pictures now and tell you what they are. I'm not gonna send you all the pictures of the house that i took cuz i can only send one at a time and its takes a long time.

love you all, thanks for all the pictures you sent me, your all looking great.
Ps now i can respond to anybody’s email, of ANYONE.

From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder Hopkins

ps. at the end of june i wanna go down to Arizona cuz my good friend former Elder Tanner is getting married! I think its like June 26th or something




Friday, March 29, 2013

The Holy Week, turns into the Least Holy Week

It's semana Santa! A lot of processions carrying idols

Some fun with chalk in our house

a big pollo campero chicken

A nice restaurant I will take you to

this is a tree called a ceiba, they are huge!
March 26, 2013

Hey Famm.

thanks for all the pictures, i always love them.
this week was a good week, we put some more fechas, and got a great weekend lined up, really the next 3 weekends should be great.

We took Jorge to a baptismal service, and he brought his mom and niece. we basically challenged the niece to be baptized in the service, and she said yes. the next day in primary she had an awesome time. her name is Martina and is 9, she says she wants to be baptized now. also Jorge's mom wants to be baptized, but we're still working on that, cuz shes attending a different church on thursdays because they pay for her grandaughters schooling, and they them to,  also she works on sunday so she leaves sacrament meeting right after the sacrament to get to work on time. but we'll be focusing more on her after these next baptisms.

also we have investigators named Luis & Marisol and they are on track for baptism, it should happen soon. Marisol brought her niece to church too, and she absolutely loved it, she telling everybody that she going to be going to the mormon church now. its great cuz now we can open up to her family and teach them all.

This last week i saw a group of canadians, from vancouver. its always funny talking to people from other churches that come down here for one week after graduation mission trips. they always are shocked that we walk all over the place alone, and their spanish is always very minimal. it makes us feel pretty cool haha.

So this week is the semana santa, all week long of vacations, and all week long of processions, of people carrying idols through the streets, and putting idols outside their houses. also lots of drunks and other sins as well. its sad how the ´holy week´ turns into the least holy week there is.

This next wednesday are changes, or ´tomorrow in 8´as they say here. april 3. My companion is for sure leaving, and im going to be getting a new comp, a latino i think, which is good, it will help me to stay more focused.

Today we are having a missionary activity throughout the stake, in which we are going to watch the movie, 17 miracles. it should be fantastic, we have a lot of investigators that are going to come. and this movie is going to touch their hearts.

about the emailing my friends thing, im not allowed to respond to any yet, until we discuss the subject in zone leader council this thursday, so hopefully next week i'll be able to respond to them.

thats sweet that dads going skiing, again. ha, ill be there for opening day next year!

Me and my comp saw the new iphone 5 the other day, it looks sooooo sweet, i cant wait to have technology in my hands again ha.

i finished the book of mormon today in english, so that was cool, yeah i'd say its true!

well, i don't really know what else to write. i ate a cotton candy flavoured ice cream cone yesterday, that was sweet too.

oh, we have an investigator named Lety that needs to be married before baptized, but cant get married until the 6th of april, so what she did to be able to be baptized sooner was that she moved out of her own house and shes going to live with her aunt until she gets married. now thats commitment. so she'll be baptized on saturday. along with Jorge and his niece.

well. i think thats it.

from guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins xoxo


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

All is Well in Amatitlan

Me and My Comp at Lake Amatitlan, the lake in our area, its super dirty though, no one swims in it




My birthday - me and my comp eating my cake at our cocineras house
some wood I chopped and the house in the background, yes that's a house, its where some recent converts live
me and an old man, with his hat and his cane. he's 87 but always so positive and happy, it was his birthday on sunday., he's a recent convert.

me at the area offices with some elders

me and the bus we hired when we went to Antigua, I was collecting all the money

 March 19, 2013
Hey fammm.

All is well in Amatitlán. This past week was really good. A lot of miracles happening. That man named "J" has made a lot of progress. I attached my journal entry about it, so i wont mention tons of it here. also we found a lot of really positive new investigators this week, who came to church also. awesome.
My birthday was good, my comp bought a cake, it was delicious, but i didn't really tell anyone about my birthday, it was just nice to work in the Lords vineyard without making a deal out of MY birthday. but yeah, good week.

The rumor is true, i can write, and anybody can write me emails now, to tanner.hopkins@myldsmail.net
I will gladly accept emails that anybody desires to write me. I'll even try to write back too! but land mail is always the best obviously. (I wouldn't mail anything past April 5, he will be home before it gets to him)

I'm safe, and well, I still have my camera, it didnt get stolen. don't you worry, but this week I got tons of pictures for you. enjoy.

Well that's a surprise that kati anne is leaving so soon on a mission, I can not say that that sucs, cuz that's so awesome that shes going to go out and serve the Lord, but i will miss seeing her when i get home. i guess 3.5 years isn't that long for not seeing an old friend ha but yeah, tell her i say congrats! and go baptize all of Mississippi!

I actually did write madison a card yesterday! but I didn't have time to send it off, but next monday it will be in the mail, we'll see what gets to Canada first, the card, or me.

Life is weird for both me and my comp right now. We're both super excited and super sad that we end the mission soooo soon.
Sometimes in the morning when I'm soo tired getting out of bed I think, how am I going to do this for another long day, but in the afternoon, after being with the people, seeing miracles, I don't want it to ever stop.
I had a dream that I came home, and there was a song on the radio, an english version of a spanish song that I really like, and I was like, what is this garbage!! and I was really sad and then I just missed Guatemala and started to cry in the dream. 
I have never once cried for missing home, or even when I left Canada I didn't cry, but I think the first real time I cry is when I get on that plane and leave this amazing country.  maybe i can get the mish extended even longer? haha.

well I dint know what else to write, I'm just thinking about how I'm super hungry right now. I'm on divisions with some elders in the zone so I hope that their cocinera makes good food, and a lot of it ha. if not, I can always fill up on tortillas.

thanks for sending me pictures!!! I loved them!
Well, send me more pictures next week, I am starting my one hundredth week this week. crazy.

From Guatemala, with Love, 
Elder Hopkins
Journal Entry:
March 12, 2013
Today was an amazing day!  We witnessed the miracle of a child of God receive the confirmation that this Church is true.  "JS", used to be a huge drinker.  He was evangelical, but a year ago he started drinking and he was basically always drunk.  A few weeks ago, he drank too much, was intoxicated and nearly died.  But now he cannot stand the taste or smell of Alcohol.  We started teaching him, he was willing to listen, but really didn't seem that positive.  We somehow touched his heart and convinced him to come to church.  We passed by at 7:30 am and he was all ready.  At church he was quiet, and stayed for all 3 hours.  We went back today, Tuesday, and watched the hour long video about Joseph Smith.  He got all ready, changed into Sunday clothes and had a note pad and took notes.  After the video he shared his thoughts.  He said that he loved church, he was inspired and started to study the Book of Mormon and to pray.  He wrote a journal of the things he felt.  He said he was asking God for a sign, to know if the church is true.  He asked that his 4 kids, that didn't visit him in a year, would come to visit them.  The next day they did.  He asked for another sign, He had no food but asked that he could eat his favorite food and the next day, God provided it.  Afterwards he felt bad for tempting God by asking for signs but that he has no doubt that this is the true church (I think God really wants him to be baptized from the signs that he gave him).  We then talked and I was going to challenge him to be baptized on the 24th, but as I said it, the words wouldn't come out, and I had to say on the 30th.  It was the strongest experience.  But he said that he is completely willing to be baptized on the 30th, as that is a date that we had mentioned before.  
In the short time that I've known this man, he has changed drastically.  He also wants to go help out with a service project this Saturday with the ward members.  I guess that sometimes you do have to hit rock bottom before coming to the surface.  This is God's work. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm content


My new area


March 12, 2013

Hey Famillyyyy

Thanks for all your wonderful emails always, and thank you for all the great pictures!
This week has been good, I'm content, we don't have any for sure baptismal dates that we've reported, but we have a lot of goals.

There's this one investigator named “J” that used to be a huge drunk, in fact, he drank so much a short time ago that he almost died, but what a great blessing in disguise, because he now cannot stand the taste or smell of alcohol. So he's stopped drinking, and he was listening to us, he wasn't that positive at first, but then we got him to church on Sunday, and yesterday we visited him and he absolutely loved it, it made him want to read a bunch of the book of mormon. He even started to write down all his feeling about God, like a journal, and he wants to go to a service project to help build a roof this saturday, he suddenly got super pilas! it was a great blessing.

The other family, “L & M” , “M” had to work, but “L” came to church, and he loved it as well, he's really positive. The two actually are just boyfriend/girlfriend, and live in separate houses, but they are almost always together during the day.

Yesterday we went to Antigua and I found some cool things that I got, we'll for sure hit up the market there when you're here.

To answer your questions, I do have a cook, and a laundry lady, haven’t gotten a blender cuz i just use Elder Jaramillos, but next change when he's not here, I'll probably get one.

I'm proud that Madi could give a good talk, great job! I really hope that she can make an extra effort and graduate seminary, I'd be really proud of her. And just a reminder, that beige jacket that shes wearing in the picture you sent me, yeahhh... im gonna want that back in 2 months. gracias. haha.

I never knew that my shelf had been falling down, I thought I did a good job putting that up. that sucks.

that's dope that costa vida is in canada now. Its true that one receives blessings from serving a mission.

well, what else to tell you, all is well in sión.

From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins xoxo

Madi says:

Happy Birthday, I can't believe you're 21 already, my little boy is growing up!!

Love Madi

Tanner's response:
madi your such a goof, thank you, love you!!
************************
Thank you mom and dad for the birthday wishes!! i sure love you guys, and I'm glad that I'm your son.
see you soon!

Elder Hopkisito

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Many members stay warm in bed instead of coming to church

March 5, 2013

hey fammmmm.
Not tooo much is knew here, just finished giving a zone training about the book of mormon, it went well, we've got a good zone, and there's energy and excitement in it. 

This week was tough cuz we had tons of meeting and we were doing divisions with the zone, so its was a little tough number wise, we didn't have the stats that we wanted, until the weekend. wow, the weekend was soo good! in two days we did what a lot of time is done in one week. we were really blessed.

Church attendance wasn't so hot though, only 2 came from our area, and let me tell you why, its cuz when its cold out, guatemalans do not get out of bed! It was quite chilly here on sunday morning. we had tons of people telling us that they wold come, and we left the house at 6:40 am to go pass by for them all, but we had no luck. but next week will be better.

Also the family that we found, the one i told you about when there was the shooting, yea, they are super super positive. I'm almost sure that they will be baptized, but maybe in like a month, cuz the lady works every second sunday, so we gotta get that resolved and then she has to come at least 3 times before being baptized.

That's so good to here that Parker is being blessed with baptisms in Mother Russia. God Bless him.

and yeah, telling me that dad had knee deep powder at lake louise does make me a little jealous and baggy, but don't you worry, I'll be back in no time, but I'll come back to summer.
haha, me and elder Jaramillo are so baggy together, we're both almost done and we like a lot of the same things, but its all good , and long as we keep working its alright to be baggy every once in a while.

Thats cool that madi got invited to go to victoria island. I lost track of where the Carters were, I thought they might be on a boat in the middle of the Indian sea or something, but cool. so is she going to go to victoria? i would think that would be sick.

and wow, putting a blender in the terms of dollars instead of quetzales makes it seem a lot cheaper. that's like how much someone makes in 2 hours of work, not what someone makes it a whole week and a half, like it is here.

well, we have a lot of really positive investigators, but still none with set baptismal dates, but they will come, we are praying. actually there's a super pilas lady named Leti that just needs to get married, but she should be getting all the papers this week, so that will be a quick one.

i don't know what else to say, i feel like this week has gone by really fast, i haven't taken any more pictures yet, which i will so don't worry.

This week we caught a small lizard and made  habitat for it is a dish, covered it with plastic and poked holes it in so it had air, but i thought lizards needed lots of sun, so i left it in the sun, and we came home to a shrivelled up lizard lying dead on its back. oh well, straight to the reino celestial.

I went to President Broughs house for the first time the other day, it was cool, we had a zone leader counsel there, he had alot of chocolate that we ate, and cheesecake.
heyy, thats something you gotta make me after the mish too, your homemade cheesecake, soo good!
cuz i remember one time we were in costco i think, and i wanted to buy cheesecake, but then you said that you would just make your cheesecake, but i don't think you ever did, so you owe me! haha

heyyy, you guys need to look on the internet about cool stuff and cool places to go here in Guatemala, and tell me about some stuff you want to do, so we can all have it planned, there a member who lives in front of me that knows a lot about tourism and is starting his tourism company and he could help us out, but i don't know if theres anything you would want to do.

and look us Santa Terisita spa, Guatemala, on google, its a cool tourist spa that's actually in my area, if only i could do that kinda stuff right now, but i just thought that that might be interesting to you to know.

well, im hungry, so im gonna go eat.
From Guatemala, with Love,
Elder Hopkinsss xoxo

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Lord protects his Servants! We were blessed!

February 26, 2013

Hey fammmm.

yeahhh we had a meeting about the mission splits, so we knew about it before it was officially announced. also the stuff about the pope and the meteoroids i knew about too haha, i think the meteoroids from another missionary, and the pope thing was being talked about everywhere, but yeah, crazzy hey.  Thomas is the man, he would never give it up for health problems.

well this week was great, tons of lessons, alot of new, we have tons of investigators right now that are showing alot of interest, we just gotta put some fechas with them and get them baptized, thats our focus in the zone this week. we gotta complete the goals for march and april, 204 confirmations in each month. Today we're starting a program of 2 day divisions with the rest of the missionaries in the zone, its going to be weird, cuz for most of the week, for like 4 weeks, we wont be together in our area. we'll see how it goes.

so i was talking to a member who works in tourism, and he was telling me that from the capital we can take a little plane up to coban in the morning, see all the ruins and things, eat lunch and stuff, and then get back at like 600 at night. he said that its 350 dollars a person, but just look into it you guys, see if that something that you want to do, go see the biggest ruins in Guatemala, I've heard that its really cool, but i donno.

also to answer your question, both my comps grandmas are mexican or something, so he has a little mexican in him. he studies a little spanish before the mission, but not much, but he speaks really well.

I hope sams interview goes well, I'm sure it will.
i hope madis talk goes well, and i hope she's doing well in the gospel, doing things that will help her progress.

When I think of the really special experiences I've had while in the Mission, I think of the one where the Lord provided a way for us to get home on time when 10 seconds to spare, a taxi shows up with the member driver who just had surgery on his foot and wasn't supposed to be driving, also, the one about the "M" kids, when I was in san andres itzapa, about the power of fasting.
The story of Barnie, just the way that the gospel can completely turn around someones life.

The other day something kind of cool happened.  We were working and we stopped near an intersection to think for like 5 minutes maybe, about who we could visit.   We then decided we would walk up this one street and we found a family that was really positive, and we taught them. During the lesson we hear something that sounded like firecrackers right, well, it was gunshots.  We finished a really good lesson, and leave. We turn the corner and right where were were previously standing, there were ambulances police officers, army men, and a huge crowd of people.  Someone had shot someone standing right where we were standing shortly before.   I know that the lord protects his servants, if we are obedient we have that promise. you don’t ever have to worry about me, the Lord has my back.

oh, what i really want you to send me, if we still have it. is the magic bullet. That little blender thing where you just have the little cups that fit on the tin base. that would be awesome. were starting to work out and drink protein shakes, so it would me nice to add fruit in there or something. i think its hidden away in the cupboards in the laundry room.
if we don’t have it anymore, don't worry, i can find a cheap blender here probably. let me know!
i bought protein, so if you take my debit money to pay off my credit card bill por favor.
Also if you could send me a little bit of lotion, like banana boat, just in a smaller container, i don't need a whole bottle. thanks!

oh yeah, this area is cool, we're on, or near by to the base of volcan pacaya, a very active volcano, the one that erupted before i got to guate. well, there's a river in my area, its so dirty, but on the other side of it, all the water that comes out of the taps and faucets is really hot, just from the volcano, its cool. there's also a big natural spa here that alot of tourists go to, too bad i cant go ha.

also i went to walmart yesterday, i felt like i was in the USA, its all the same stuff, it was cool. didnt buy too much though cuz its all pretty expensive, and i have food already ha. i had to go to the immigration office yesterday to sign a paper, so we had to get up at like 4 40 in the morning it sucked.

well, i havent really taken any pictures this week, so im not sending any today, sorryy.

well, all is good in Amatitlán, time is ticking, and there's lots of work to do in the short time that I'm left with.
Stay classy, stay on the path.
Love eternally, From Guatemala,
Elder Hopkins.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Busy and Happy


Older picture but shows his new Companion on the right



Hey fammmm.

I’m doing great, just workin here in my new area.I am in an area called El Lago. It’s in a town called Amatitlan, just out 
of the capital, its right on the lake. It’s in between the capital and the coast, so it’s kinda hot, but not as hot as the actual coast. the members here are super pilas, they work hard and are super willing. My companion in Elder Jaramillo, from Las Vegas, so were both super stoked about that, cuz we’ve been pretty good friends since the beginning of the mission, he came in 6 weeks after me. Actually I have sent some pictures home of me and him, there’s one where I am in my Calgary Flames sweater. I am now a zone leader in the zone and stake of Amatitlan. President Brough is using the zone for a pilot program for divisions. This change we have to do divisions with every elder in the zone, but each division will be two days. It’s going to be a little tough to do, especially with our investigators, because for like half the change we won’t even be together. Also about the mission split, I did not know, all I know is that President told us he had some news for us, and so on Friday we have a zone leader meeting. I imagine that he will talk to us about the split.

But yea, there are tons and tons of missionaries that are coming in, that’s why I was training two, cuz there are just too many!

About the malaria thing, I don’t think you'll need to worry about it, just wear bug spray, I’m pretty sure I never got any malaria shot, and I hardly even wore bug spray in the coast, only in the house, and I was fine.
 
I did get your package, it’s awesome, I just quickly went though it this morning, as I've had no time, also we are getting settled in to a new house, I'm still not unpacked and we have to do 5 phone calls every night to all the district leaders, so it’s a little tough, I’m very short on time ha.

But I am very happy with the changes, and I’m just loving life.

Also last weekend, RR was baptized, it was great, his wife still isn't sure on the whole baptism things, but she'll be baptized soon enough. It was a good service, a member baptized him, since we taught them in his house. The taller one is RR, the convert.

Also in my area, there is a Wal-Mart! I haven't been to a Wal-Mart in almost 2 years, so that will be nice, also me and Elder Jaramillo are planning on getting ripped this change, so I'm gonna buy some protein powder at a GNC that there is in this area, I gotta gain back the 15 pounds that I lost!!

I hope that dad’s hand gets better, it was nice to hear from him.

Sounds like you’re all doing great, I’m glad.
 
Just got the picture of the school, that sucks, I liked having the big open field.

The pictures I sent are of me and Elder tanner, who goes home today, me and my two last comps, the baptism, and a goofy picture of us with the familia G-.

Love you all so much, stay safe and stay classy.

From Guatemala, with love,
Elder Hopkins xoxoxo

Elder Tanner that goes home today

Me with my last 2 companions I trained

Baptism of RR, he is the taller one

Being Silly with the Familia G