Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

Feliz ano novo!!! Quase!!

Here in about 13 hours, everyone here will be celebrating the new year! And I'll be sleeping! At least trying to. They already have started off the day with a couple of loud fireworks, and it appears that it will only continue. Tons of people are driving around buying tons of fireworks today, so tonight should be a hard night to sleep. But that means that we are entering into the year that I come home!! Wooo!!! Only like 11 more months! Next Christmas will be the biggest party the Hopper house has ever seen. (Sorry, Drew. And perhaps Brad. Although Brad has more of a chance of making it there.)

This week was Christmas week.... Already told the family about that on the Google+... But it was pretty awesome. And this next week is New Years... So these couple of weeks are hard to work. But we will find people to teach and baptize!

I made cookies this week! We went to a member's house and I made cookies there. She said that there had already been Elders who have made cookies there, but the ones that I made were by far the best that she had ever tasted. Mom's recipe is the best one ever! They turned out pretty well, though it was a bit hard to cook them, since the ovens here are heated by gas, so the bottoms almost had to get burnt for the rest of the cookie to turn out good. 

So on Saturday morning, I opened the door to go outside and run for a bit, and in comes a little kitten!
So we're trying to figure out what to do with it, cause we keep trying to put it outside, but it keeps coming in. And the Elders of Ala 3 decide to feed it. They gave it some pasta. And it ate it. And now the cat is never leaving. And it needs to leave. We aren't allowed to have pets! But what do we do now?! It is a pretty cute cat, but it has to leave... Plus, cats have the nasty habit of peeing on everything soft. And we have a couch sitting outside in front of our house... It'll probably be full of cat pee here in a little bit. But we'll try to figure out something to do with the cat. Maybe it'll just leave one day. I doubt it, but we can all hope, right?

That's about all that happened this week. Teaching lessons, meeting new people, helping less active members, trying to have meetings with the bishopric....... All the typical things. We won't have any baptisms this week, but hopefully on the 12th we will have a couple. We're planning a few, but people need to start coming to church first! There were a lot of people missing from church this week. But it might have just been because of the holidays and all. Next week should be better.

Anyways, I hope you all have a good week and a fantastic new year! Love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Just got done with our Google Hangout with Elder Adam Hopper. Lost connection a lot and his host family lost power at two points and he had to change houses and then change back, but it was so good to spend a great part of our day with him! Before that, we got to talk with Elder Drew Hopper for a while. So good to hear their voices and just shoot the breeze for a bit. They both sound good and happy. Now, only 138 days until Mothers Day calls!

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012

Merrrrryy Christmas Eve everyone!

This is definitely the weirdest Christmas I ever had, and will ever have, seeing as it's the only Christmas I'll spend on the mission. It's hot! And humid! And weird! And they don't decorate nearly as much in this town as they do back home. It's a rare sight to see a Christmas tree or Christmas lights, or things like that. And it's hot. Really hot. I successfully found the upper limit of the thermometer on my clock that Mom gave me. It's 122 degrees. And it was hotter than that. Yaaaay!!!

This week was terribly difficult for the work here in Araraquara. But let's start off with Tuesday. We had the mission Christmas conference. Which was alright. We had a training from President Prieto, and the secretaries, and all that junk. We had a talent show thing as well, but it was rather disappointing. Really nothing to write home about. But I got to see my old companions and talk about our old areas and all that jazz. So that was fun. 

After that, we got home and a new missionary joined us in our house. Elder Santos was living with us, but he went home. Now we have Elder Schleider. He actually already served in this area, but is now returning. He's from somewhere here in Brasil, and he's got a year and 7 months on the mission or something like that. It's good to have him here and he seems like a pretty cool guy.

I have been very much enjoying the presents for Christmas! And thanks, Fields family, for the ties and everyone else who sent little cards and helped out! It's very much appreciated and it keeps me happy. Only one more to open up tomorrow! I think I'll wait until the Google+ call to open in so it can be almost like a normal Christmas!
Christmas Jammies!

Well, that's all I got for this week. Hopefully in the next couple of days we'll have a baptism, but nothing confirmed yet. Fingers crossed and many prayers! Hope you all have a great Christmas! I'll talk to some of you tomorrow!

Love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012

Hellloooo family!

This week we had a baptism! Only one because the family of the little girl we were going to baptize started talking to her about how she's young and doesn't understand what baptism is... And basically while I was there talking to her family I felt much of the influence of the devil in their lives. They were about to start gambling, drinking, smoking, and listening to some rather dirty music. I really noticed how you lose your spirituality completely after a bit of time away from spiritual things. Their whole family has already been baptized into the church, by the way. All 14 of them. And all of them left the church already.

But the baptism was good! And here's a picture of the kid! His name is Felipe.

On Monday and Tuesday this week we went to the funeral services for the member of our ward. It was a pretty solemn place. And there were probably close to 300 people there. That man was a truly loved man. Turns out that he had had a dream the night before that he was working in the spirit world and his wife had a dream that he was in the spirit world as well. It's interesting how the Lord prepares us for what's coming up in our lives sometimes like that.

Tomorrow we have our mission Christmas conference! It should be pretty exciting. We'll be in Ribeirão Preto the whole day. All the missionaries in the whole mission are coming to it. I'm looking forward to it!

If all goes right, we'll have one more baptism this week. A woman who has been coming to church for some time now, but never has gotten the courage to be baptized. She watched the baptism that we had this week and it seems that she's more open to her own baptism now. We'll see! Hopefully she will accept to be baptized this week!

 Well, that's all I got! Oh! And apparently Oregon is famous in Brasil for it's 4x4 off-roading! Just look at the picture!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Hopper #1

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

One year from today, Adam will be home!!!!!!

Hellllloooo family! 

This week was my first week in my new area! It was quite enjoyable, though quite hot. Do you guys remember a few years ago when I was all impressed because it was still 80 degrees outside at 10:00 PM? Well, it's a bit different here. When I wake up at 6:00AM it's still 85 usually. And then it just gets hotter the whole day. Oh how I love the heat here! (Can you sense the sarcasm?) But really, this area is awesome. I already love being here and can tell that I will enjoy working here a lot. 

On Saturday we had a ward activity where the ward went to a Chácara. Basically it's a place that you rent out that generally has a place for a barbecue, a soccer field, and a pool. Then there's just an area to sit and talk to people. Sadly, we could not go in the pool. Or play soccer. So we brought a couple of investigators and while they were out having fun, we talked with members of the ward and got to know them a little bit better. But our investigators liked it!

This week we should have two baptisms. One is a kid named Felipe, who is 14 and has been going to church for a while. His mom is already a member, but his dad isn't. He's actually a member of the Congregation of Brasil. And is very against his son getting baptized. Good thing he doesn't live here! So the first day I got here, we went and talked to Felipe and he finally accepted a date for baptism. It's interesting how some people are just waiting for the right person to come along and say something. Felipe had been taught by the missionaries for a couple months already, but never wanted to accept a baptism date. First day I get here, bam! He accepts. We all have people waiting for us specifically! The other baptism will be a girl named Bruna who is 8. She's the little sister of a young man who's visiting people with us on a regular basis now. So we should have two good baptisms this week! The first two of my new companion! He's only been on the mission for one transfer, so he's still pretty new altogether.

Only one other thing really happened this week. We got a call from the second counselor in the ward this morning saying that the old stake president, who is in our ward, died on his way home from an indexing training that he gave last night. He was driving late at night and got in an accident. His wife was with him, but she is doing well. She's in the hospital today, but it seems like she wasn't hurt too bad. Pray for her and her family! They'll need all the prayers they can get.

That's about all that happened this week. I love you all! Have a good week and enjoy the pictures!

This first picture is Anderson. Who will be my roommate at BYU-I when I get back.

The second is Jonas and Shirley the day I left Cidade Aracy.

The third Is me and Elder Kuster,
and so is the fourth.

Some apostasy that's going on across the street from our church.


-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012


This week we had transfers, and I got sent away from Cidade Aracy. It was a pretty sad parting from our Bishop. He actually cried a little bit. I almost did. But not quite. We found out only on Saturday night that I was leaving, so it didn't really give me any time to say goodbye to anyone, but I guess that's alright. It was cool because the transfer fell right on a fast Sunday so I was able to bear my testimony one last time in that ward and tell everyone that was there that I was leaving. 

Soooo today we left São Carlos at 6:00 AM and when we got to Ribeirão Preto, I found out I was going to Araraquara! So now I'm here with my new companion, Elder Kuster! And I became senior companion this transfer. So now I get all the responsibility and if anything goes wrong, it's my fault! Yaaaay! 

The new area that I'm in is quite a bit better off than Cidade Aracy. It's not quite the favela that my last area was. But it should be good! I'm pretty excited to get to work here. We met the Bishop here already today and he seems like a really cool guy and seems really excited to work. This transfer should be a good one!

Not much really happened this week. But I was talking to Jonas and Shirley (the couple that'll get married here in a little bit) and we were talking about Jonas going through the temple. They'll be married on the 10th, which means he could be baptized on the 10th. Which means that on December 10th, 2013 he could go through the temple. And guess who will be at the Campinas temple on that exact day? I will!! So if everything goes right and we get President to approve the baptism and confirmation done on the same day, I could go through the temple with him on the last day of my mission. I just thought that would be pretty cool. We'll have to see how all that works out. Now it's all up to Elder Guerra to get them through and baptize Jonas!

Also, Sônia might be baptized this week. But I guess I won't really know about that for a while. I hope it happens! Though it might be devastating to her and Beneditos' relationship... Benedito still isn't ready and it seems that Sônia's willing to get rid of him to be able to be baptized.

Anyways, that's all for this week. Next week I'll send some pictures! I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

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Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

Helloooo!! Another week gone by, 2 more rain storms gone through, and quite a bit of good happening here! I'll start with Monday. Last Monday, anyways.

After I got off the computer, we went home, made lunch, and then I laid down to take a nap. As I was trying to sleep, there was a huge BANG and flash of light as lightning struck less than a mile away from our house. And then the rain started. I rushed outside and grabbed all my clothes from outside, and the rain started pouring harder and harder. So I was sitting in our doorway, bewildered with the hard rain and random hail, waiting for a motorcycle on the side of the road to be washed away, when Elder Guerra told me it was raining inside the house. Which makes no sense, considering our house is.... a house, right? Well, I was wrong. Water was coming down from almost all of the light fixtures, in all but one of the rooms in our house. And it started leaking down the walls and through the roof. Our house got SOAKED. Luckily, the rain didn't get my bed wet, but the water falling from the ceiling got Elder Guerra's bed wet. Most of our other stuff was relatively untouched by the rain, but our floors were covered in water. At some point you will all see the video that we made when it was raining. It was a lot of rain. So the first picture is the water coming down our wall, and the second is the rain falling from our ceiling.

Then, on Wednesday we went to the registry office where Elder Guerra and I were witnesses for a marriage that will take place on the 10th, and then we will baptize the husband on the 15th and possibly rebaptize the wife. We'll see! Should be fun!

The other day, Elder Guerra and I were talking about what we wanted in investigators. We wanted an investigator that would say, "I want to know if this church is true. I want to follow Christ and I will do everything I have to in order to get there." Then, the very next day, we went to a new investigators house where she said pretty much exactly that. She had gotten in an argument with her grandmother, who told her that she was already baptized as a baby and didn't need to be baptized again, but the girl told her grandma that it was now her turn to make the decision and that she wanted this for herself. Soooo we were blessed with exactly what we wanted! I don't think there is anything that compares to the feeling that you get when you hear those words come out of the mouth of an investigator. It's pretty fantastic. She'll be baptized here in a couple of weeks.

Well, that's about all that happened this week. This is the last week of the transfer so who knows what will happen next week! 

I love you all! Hope you all have a fantastic week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012

Hello Family!

Happy Thanksgiving in a couple of days! That's definitely a holiday that I miss, if not for the food, just for spending time with the family. But That means that I only have one more on the mission! 

This week was a pretty good week. Not too much exciting happened, but we did mark with Shirley and Jonas to go to the marriage registry place to be the witnesses for their marriage, which will happen on Wednesday this week! So a couple weeks into the future we should have the baptism of Jonas and re-baptism of Shirley! Yaaaay! Also today Sônia and Benedito were going to Leme to talk to their marriage papers dude to get that all figured out. Hopefully they'll get everything sorted out today and they'll get married here in a couple weeks as well! I just fear that they will have to wait until after the transfer (which is on the 3rd of December) to get baptized and maybe I'll leave this area.... I hope that doesn't happen, but it's all the will of the Lord!

I'm getting over my cold, so that's good. But it seems that I've passed it to my companion and another Elder in our zone. But that's alright. At least I'm not sick anymore!

I don't have much news this week, but I hope you're all doing well! I included a couple of pictures; the first one is of a wall of a school here (all the schools look like prisons and are completely enclosed here) where it looks like they're paying someone to do a cool mural. I'll try to take pictures of other parts of the wall as it is really cool. The other two pictures are puzzles. You guys get to figure out what's wrong in them! I'll try to remember next week to tell you guys. Just funny little things in Brasil.


I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Oh, and Donald, if you read this, I hope all is well with you and that you stay excited to get back out there! It's totally worth it and you'll be incredibly blessed for your sacrifice and work!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

Good morning family and everyone else to happens to stumble upon this email and read it!

We had a BAPTISM!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOO!!! Julia was baptized this week! It was really cool. That whole family is getting more excited now. Benedito is getting more responsible and will... run behind? Correr atrás... the marriage papers and him and Sônia will get marrried here pretty soon then be baptized! Yay! So many good things happening! We don't have a baptism marked for this week, but that's alright. It's so good to have a baptism! And I confirmed someone for the first time in my life! Yaaaaay!

I've got a couple of pictures on here, first of the baptism then of me in Benedito's truck. This is his job and his life and his love! Well, besides Sônia, of course. But we all know how boys are with their trucks. And no, I didn't get to drive it... Stupid rules...

We had a lady this week who actually wanted to "discuss" religion with our bishop this week. We knocked on her door out of the blue (we weren't even knocking doors), and she got all offended and asked us who sent us. But nobody, besides God of course, had! So she got a little bit angry with us, but then we just said a prayer at her house, marked a day to come back with the bishop and left. We went back with bishop, and he pretty much shot down everything that she said. It was kind of funny. She really had no knowledge but thought that she did until bishop came in and destroyed every point that she brought up. But her son came to church on Sunday! We're going to go back and teach her son, whose name is Alessandro, with bishop again and it should be good. 

It's kind of scary to hear about those earthquakes in Guatemala! I hope everything's alright with Drew! I'm sure he'll get a lot of service opportunities now. Should be fun!

That's all I got for this week! I love you all! Have a great week!


Elder Hopper #1

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

Bom dia família!

Well, first things first, I got a new companion. Elder Guerra. The brother of Lainey's new friend, Antonio. He's been out here for a little over 1 year and 2 months, so he's got a bit more time than me. He just came from the mission office where he was working as executive secretary for 6 months. So it was a little bit of adapting for him when he got here - it's a bit different working out here in the field! But we're getting along really well. He's a cool guy and it's good to be out here with him. Maybe in the next couple weeks I'll send a picture if I can get a cable for my camera.

So last week I talked a little about Julia and how she went to church for the first time and loved it, right? Well on Friday she went with the youth to the temple. Obviously she couldn't enter, but she helped take care of the garden outside a little bit with them, and then waited outside the temple for them while they were doing the ordinances inside. She came back, and said she absolutely loved it. She's super excited, already doing Personal Progress, she has tons of friends in the Young Womens organization, and is just having a great time. Her baptism is scheduled for this Saturday night! We're all really excited for her. 

Oh, and Sônia has decided that she's going to be baptized. She got a new job where she is out of the house the whole week, and she actually sleeps at the house of a lady that she is taking care of. She has started not even sleeping here in Aracy. So she can be baptized at any point now. We'll see how that goes!

There's a sister in our zone that might be going home this week as well. Her name is Sister José. She's been having some health problems and is not doing well at all. It's really sad to see her going through this as she's a really nice person and a really good missionary. It's been really good to have her here in this zone. Pray for her that she'll get better!

I think that's about all that happened this week. We ended up working a lot in different areas this week, so not much happened here. Next week should be more exciting with a baptism and with more good stuff! And we're gonna eat esfihas this weekend as well! Wooooo!!!!

Love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012

Good morning people back home!

So today we had transfers. Elder Stewart is no longer my companion, and left Cidade Aracy after 6 months of being there. He was pretty sad. But it was a good week! As I said last week, this transfer was extended a week, and Elder Stewart and I saw various reasons why it's good that he stayed for this last week. There were still a couple of things that he needed to do here before he left. And thus we see the Lord's hand in our work one more time! (The last part of that phrase translated into Portuguese sounds better than it does in English...) But now he's gone, and I'm with............... I have no idea yet. I'm actually here at the LAN house with the Elder's from Ala 3A and Ala 3B. Both of their companions got transferred as well, so we're all just waiting because nobody has told us who our new companions are yet! But here in about an hour they should be here and we will know. Almost our whole zone got changed. Only one companionship stayed the same.

Remember Sônia and Benedito? Remember their daughter, Júlia? And how she was working at the Mundial Church? (Which is an ironic name considering it isn't worldwide..) Well, a couple of weeks ago there was a fight between a few of the people that worked there and the pastor... I don't remember if I told you guys about that. But there was. And Júlia decided that she wasn't gonna go to that church anymore. So what did we do? Invited her to church, of course! Yesterday was the first time that Sônia came to church in 3 weeks, Benedito in 4 or 5, and the first time ever for Júlia! And she loved it! When she got home from church, Sônia said that Júlia wouldn't stop talking about it! She really liked it, and actually said that if she had known that our church is like it is earlier, she would've already gone a long time ago. Funny how people keep saying that our church is something it's not when they haven't ever gone... So now we're working with her, and planning on setting a baptismal date for the 10th of November!

Speaking of November, that came super fast. I hit 10 months yesterday! And Drew hits 8 here in a week or so! 

Oh, and Guilherme, our baptism last week, received the Aaronic priesthood yesterday as well. His brother went and talked to our Bishop and is working on going on a mission. Jonas is working really hard to stop drinking, and has found quite a liking to beer without alcohol. So it's all going great in that family! Just gotta wait for the marriage papers to come through and we'll have a baptism and a re-baptism!

That's about it for this week. I love you all and hope you have a good week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012

Baptism this week! Wooooo!!!! We finally had a baptism that we've been working so hard to get! His name is Guilherme, and I'll go ahead and tell the story of him and his family right off the bat. So he is 12 years old, and he had been practically raised in the church. His mom, Shirley, had taught seminary for 7 years, taught institute for a couple more, and had been a huge power in this area. Theeeeen she made a little mistake and got excommunicated. Or I guess we could say that it was a pretty big mistake. But we won't get into the details there. A while ago, Elder Stewart and I were by her house and we were pretty thirsty, and so we decided to drop by and see if she had a bit of water that we could drink. So  we went in, she gave us some water and talked to Shirley for a while. Turns out that she has a pretty big desire to return to church! And bring her new husband with her who knows nothing about the church! His name is Jonas, by the way. The next week, Shirley went to church, and brought Jonas, Guilherme, and her other son, Gustavo with her. So the whole family was there! From that point, we started teaching Jonas the lessons, and we ended up finding out that Guilherme was never baptized! When he turned 8, Shirley and her husband were in the process of separating, so he never got around to getting baptized. So we started teaching them both, but Guilherme already knew everything. And by everything, I mean everything. Down to all the stories in the Book of Mormon. He practically taught us the story of Amon (I have no idea if that's how you spell his name in English anymore...). So we baptized him this week! Jonas has a baptism date set for the 3rd of November, but the marriage papers are still processing, so he might have to wait a little bit longer. And Gustavo is going to talk to Bishop Fabiano this week to talk about preparing to go on a mission, and Shirley is returning! Oh my goodness it is an awesome feeling to have a lost sheep come back into the fold. 

Then we've got Vanderlei and his family. He was another member that made a tiny mistake and got excommunicated (I guess these people really aren't making tiny mistakes, but that's alright) but wants to return. His daughter had a baby last week, so he's been pretty crazy running around helping her out with all that. We haven't visited his daughter in quite a while (she doesn't live with him), but we're going to try later today.
So this first picture is one of Guilherme, right before the baptism, which was crazy, by the way. There was a special someone who realllly did not want that baptism to happen. A special someone who doesn't like it when another person is baptized, especially when it's helping a super powerful family return to the church.

The second picture is a water balloon that we filled up a couple weeks ago. It was quite fun. Also, shortly after this picture was taken, the balloon exploded inside that tank. It was a very sad moment.

Well, I think that's all I got this week. We're currently on the 7th week of this transfer (weird, huh?) and we should find out at the end of this week what's happening with us!

Love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ocotober 15, 2012

Hello family!

This week was a pretty good week. A bit difficult, but still really good. We are starting a new program here in our mission, which includes saying prayers in peoples' houses to help them with whatever difficulty they are having. But to start it off really, we did a fast. And before the fast, we took a whole day off of work to clean our house intensely. And even after a whole day of cleaning, we didn't have enough time to clean everything. It was rather tiring. On Thursday we had interviews with President Prieto, so that was good. Then later that day we had a training with the assistants. We spent a lot of time that day not working, so we basically lost two days of work last week. But we still managed to work a lot! 

So after the fast that we did, we said a prayer that basically was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. Elder Stewart and I both had things in mind that we had written down that we were praying and fasting for, and we switched lists, and prayed for these things for one another. I won't tell you guys what I asked for, but I'll just let you know that I got the biggest spiritual confirmation of my life after Elder Stewart said one of the things that I asked. I know with certainty that that thing will happen. I'll let you guys know what it was later, after it happens ;)


Also, our ward got a second counselor yesterday! The ward had been without one for about 6 months since they got a new bishop, but a less active that my companion helped reactivate was called as the second counselor! It was great to see him receive that calling. He's definitely someone that will help this ward a lot.


One last thing - we just got an email from the mission secretaries saying that this transfer (which was supposed to end after this week) will be extended another week. We'll have a 7 week transfer! One more week with Elder Stewart! Woooo!!!


Well, I love you all and hope you all have a fantastic week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012

Conference!!!! Wooooo!!!!

So this week was pretty much lost... We had 7 lessons on Tuesday, and then I woke up sick on Wednesday morning and was still sick pretty much until yesterday. So we didn't work for the rest of the week due to me and conference. But conference was really good! So many changes! So who from back home is planning on going on a mission sooner now that the age requirement changed? And Lainey, you better get yourself ready! You're going to one year of school with me at BYU-I and then you're going on a mission! Woooo! 

Conference was reallly good this time. I loved all of it! I don't even know where to start... One of the scriptures that they cited a lot was Isaiah 40:31, which I actually have memorized in Portuguese. It's a really good scripture that promises strength to those that put their trust in the Lord. Really, that's all we have to do in this life. Trust in the Lord, do our part, and know that everything will turn out alright. And while our part may not be too easy, it's still made very possible by the help of the Lord. As it says in 1 Nephi 3:7, the Lord never gives us commandments without preparing a way that they can be fulfilled. Many time in the Book of Mormon it says that those who keep the commandments of God will prosper on the Earth. So we need to fulfill the commandments of God so that he can bless us! He loves us and wants to give us everything we stand in need of. We just have to be willing to accept his help and ask!

I forgot my conference notes at home so I kind of forgot the other things I wanted to say... But go read the talks as soon as they get up on! It's worth it! They were all super good. Especially Elder Utchdorf's talk on Saturday morning. That one was suuuper good. And Elder Holland's talk, too. Go read and educate yourselves! It's good for you!

Anyways, that's all for this week. Hopefully we'll have a couple of baptisms here pretty soon! We have one marked for this week - we'll see if it goes through!

I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

We've made it into October! September passed by super fast... I didn't even get to stop and smell the roses! 

So this week we started doing something quite different in our mission. You know how missionaries walk around knocking on doors and contacting random people a lot? Well we've changed how we do that quite a bit. We have started offering blessings at people's houses to cure the sick and help out with whatever difficulty they are having. It's something that Jesus told his 70 disciples to do in Luke 10:5-9. So we have been doing that and have been having a lot of success with that lately. The last couple of weeks we've had real problems finding new people (and by that I mean last week we had 0 and the week before that we had 2...), but this week we had 11! That's a 550% improvement from two weeks ago and an infinite number times the ones that we had last week! Needless to say, it was a pretty good week. 

Also, while we're in the business of blessing people, why not curse people at the same time, right? Well, that's not exactly what we were trying to do, but it just kind of happened. A couple of weeks ago we were working with Sônia and Benedito, and Benedito was really working a lot more than he should have been. So we told him that he needed to stop working so much, stop smoking, and start living the commandments or his life would be destroyed. We specifically mentioned his family, his work, and his salvation. Salvation's just a small part of that. Buuuut guess what he did! He went right back to work the next day as if we hadn't said anything. And the next couple of weeks went really downhill for him. He sells oranges out of his house, and normally Sônia sits and sells them all day. Usually they sell in the range of R$100 per day. Since two weeks ago when we told this to Benedito, they've sold maaaaybe R$50. In two weeks. And the papers for the marriage have gotten even more messed up than they were before. And they've been fighting a lot with their daughter, Julia. 

We were really worried about Sônia, because she's doing everything that she needs to and following all the commandments, but she's kind of being hurt by all this that's happening. So on Friday we went over there and offered Benedito one more chance to fix everything. We told him that if he started living all the commandments and stopped working on Sundays and did everything right from that day on, the blessings that he was receiving would be restored. But if he didn't, that it would get a lot worse. The last time that we said this stuff, Elder Stewart said it, but this time I said everything. When I said that things would get a lot worse if he didn't stop, I felt this power that really kind of scared me. As if there was no doubt at all that he would be much worse of a little bit later. And Elder Stewart said that he felt it, too. The good news about all this? Benedito went back to work on Saturday. And didn't come to church on Sunday because he was working. We saw him pull into his house (he lives across the street from the church) at about 12:10 PM on Sunday. 10 minutes after  church ended. I'm really kind of scared about what will happen to him. Sônia has been talking about leaving him so that she can finally get baptized, which, sadly, might be the best thing for her right now.

Hopefully we'll have a baptism here pretty soon! We've got a couple of men that we're working with as well. Manuel and Cleomar, who are trying really hard to get themselves ready to be baptized. They actually set their own baptism date for the 13th of this month. We'll see how that goes! And they said they'd come to General Conference!

Well, that's all I got today! I love you guys! Have a good week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012

Hello everyone!

This week was pretty alright. We probably knocked like 5000 doors. It was a bit difficult, but it was fun. This week we had the first real rain since I've been in this area. It was pretty great. It got a bit colder for a couple of days and we got pretty dang soaked. Turns out that umbrellas don't really do a whole lot all the time... And you know how I have those waterproof shoes? Well, they're only waterproof if there aren't rivers in the streets up to your ankles. In that case, the water just enters right into the top and your feet still get soaked. And because the shoes are waterproof, that not only means that water can't enter, but if it gets in, the water can't get out. So I was walking around with a lake in my shoes for a good majority of the day. Much like Elder Hopper #2 over there in Guatemala, I decided it'd be fun to go jump in some puddles. And my companion joined me. It was quite fun.

The work this week was a bit difficult. We found a couple of new families last week, but this week they ended up telling us that they didn't want to learn any more because they already had their religions and churches. So that was pretty sad. But we also found a family that has been less active for about 6 years now, and we are now working with them. The mom and dad are actually divorced, which is quite a sad story that I probably shouldn't divulge here... but the dad is remarried and living with the family of the other woman now. It seems that they all want to return to church, they just have had a hard time actually coming back. Both the mom and the dad have come to church recently one or two times, but they didn't stay for more than one week. So we'll work with them starting later today and see where that goes! Oh, and the dad is actually one of the candidates for governor or something here in São Carlos.

On Saturday night we went to the Open House of one of the chapels here in São Carlos, the chapel of Ala 1. It was pretty cool because they talked about the history of Ala 1 here in this city and how it was the beginning of all of the other wards here. President Prieto was there and he talked about the pioneers of the church a little bit and about the luck that we have to be here in these days partaking of the blessings promised to their posterity. We really are lucky to have the truth and to have the luxuries that we do here in this gospel. Then the missionaries here in São Carlos all came and sang "The Spirit of God" (in Portuguese, of course) at the end. It was a pretty good little open house.

When they went to sing the opening hymn for the open house, the normal conductor said that she didn't know the song, and then they asked a second guy to do it, but he didn't know it either... So I raised my hand and said I'd do it! So I directed the music at the open house. We sang two songs that I have actually never heard before... But it went well. I didn't mess up, so it's all good. 

But that's about how my week went. A little bit of rain, a lot of sun, a lot of knocking doors, and directing some music! Oh, and some stupid little bug decided to sting me on the eyelid yesterday afternoon... But it didn't hurt too bad or really swell. It was just super annoying for like an hour or two.

I love you all! Hope you have a good week!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

Hello everyone!

This week was pretty interesting. I think here on the mission I have had some of the most bi-polar happenings ever. Coming into this week we had 9 baptism dates marked for the upcoming weeks, and as of today we have 1. That's good, right? Elder Stewart and I have been working really hard to keep the work going in this area, but it's super hard when the people have their free agency. We should just take that away from them and force them to be baptized. That's how it's supposed to work, right? Oh, wait... I think that was Satan's plan. Yeah, I guess we'll not do that. We'll just keep working in the way that we have been.

Sônia and Benedito have been contributing a bit to the difficulties as well. Their relationship is a bit crazy. They have gone between hating each other and not wanting to be married at all to being super happy and joking around about 15 times this week. They are still together at this point, but we'll see how things are going tomorrow when we go over to their house. It might end up being that Sônia stays here in São Carlos and Benedito moves over to Leme for a while. If that happens, Sônia will be baptized here really soon, and then we'll have to wait a bit for Benedito. 

Other than that, not much has happened this week. A lot of our investigators are falling, and it's a bit difficult to stay excited for the work here, but we're doing our best. At least I've got a good companion to be going through these things with. 

Oh! I forgot! Our Stake had some boundary changes this week. Here in São Carlos there are 6 wards. 1st ward, 2nd ward, 3rd ward, 4th ward, 5th ward, and Cidade Aracy. Cidade Aracy is our area. So the 4th ward was done away with and split up into the 2nd and 5th wards. The 3rd ward was also split almost in half and gave some to 5th ward and a little bit to 2nd ward. And the big changes in Cidade Aracy: Nothing! We stay the same. Pretty lame for us, but it makes sense since our area is really off the side of the city down a cliff, so it's not too logical to have any other part of the city with us.

Well that's all I got. Cameron Johnson, if you read this, write me a letter, man! It'd be great to hear from you!

I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

Hello family!

This week was the end of our transfer! Aaaaaand nothing happened! In our whole zone! We actually only had one elder leave, Elder Edwards (he's from Oregon, about an hour North of Coos Bay). His companion, Elder Teuscher (he's from Vancouver), is receiving a new elder and will be training!

So first off, so that I don't forget later on, I just want to say happy birthday to my wonderful mother! Happy Birthday on Wednesday, Mom! I love you! Thanks for everything that you do for me and for being such an awesome mother to me! I really don't know where I'd be without you! Especially considering that without you I wouldn't have been born...

This week in church Elder Stewart and I gave talks along with one of the members of our ward, Irmão Franz. I talked about tithing, Elder Stewart talked about Joseph Smith, and Franz talked about missionary work. Kind of unrelated topics, but it's what the ward needed. I was given 5 minutes to talk, but I got up there and started talking about the tithing thing, and ended up not stopping until 15 minutes later... My bad. My companion had to cut his talk a little short because of me. Oh well! Later, the bishop talked about how this was the first sacrament meeting of the whole year that he felt the spirit from the beginning to the end. It's awesome how we can bring the spirit into the lives of the people here. And like it says in 2 Nephi 33:1, when we speak with the spirit, the spirit will lift our words to the hearts of the people! It then goes on to talk about the people that will still reject the message... But that's beside the point. 

So today I was studying with Elder Stewart about America. I'm not entirely sure how we stumbled onto this topic, but it was good. We read in Doctrine and Covenants 101:80 where it talks about the Constitution of the United States. It says that God himself wrote the Constitution through the hands of the creators of the USA. It's interesting how they were inspired so much to write exactly what they did, and it makes me think of the constitution almost as scripture. We are so blessed to be able to live in a country with so many freedoms and with so much pride for our country. On Friday Brasil had their independence day, but nobody really celebrated. It made me miss the 4th of Julys that we have had back home and the pride that the American people has. We are so blessed with our country!

Well that's pretty much my week. I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

Semana 6 dessa transferência!

Hello family and friends! What a wonderful week we had here! Nice and hot! And we actually got some rain this week! That's the first time it's rained since I've been in São Carlos. Quê bom!

So we had a pretty good week. Not much really exciting happened, to be honest. Except for the desert night! Oh my goodness that was amazing! A bunch of people brought cake, and we actually had a couple of investigators, Cássia and Giovanni, come and bring some food as well! There was this cake-type-thing that a member brought that was chocolate with maracujá... oh my goodness it was sooooo goood! I'm definitely going to miss maracujá when I get home. I'll have to find some way to get some there.

Everything is going well with our investigators for the most part. Sônia and Benedito are doing really well. They're both really happy right now and learning a lot. Sônia already knows more about the gospel than half of the members in the ward. She's definitely going to be president of the relief society here someday. 

So I've been studying up on tithing a bit lately because that appears to be a problem here in this area. I found an article today on that talks about it that I felt I should share. 

"We can combat fears by strengthening our faith. Let your faith be focused on our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God will heed your sincere and heartfelt prayers.
Keep all the commandments of God. Pay your tithing faithfully. Obedience to all the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection.
Remember, God’s holy angels are ever on call to help us. When we are faithful, God and His angels will help us.
Many blessings will be yours in this life.
God is our Father. Jesus is the Christ. His truth, covenants, and ordinances enable us to overcome fear and face the future with faith!"

Tithing is one thing that God has given us so that we can keep ourselves safe. It's a way to secure the blessings of heaven that God has prepared for us. He has promised us that he will bless us with everything that we need and that the windows of heaven will be opened to us if we pay a full tithe.

And in D&C 64 God says that if we pay our tithing we won't be burned! I don't want to be burned by God, and neither should you!

Anyways, that's all I got for now. I love you guys!

-Elder Hopper #1 (Two weeks in a row!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 26, 2012

Soooooo this week was pretty... Interesting? It seems that everything is against us in this area. Almost all of our appointments are still falling through, and the people that we have been teaching are telling us that they don't want to learn anymore. So we lost a couple of investigators this week, and not many others have been joining the ranks. But! This week we have an activity in the ward which should be super fun. It's a dessert night. So all the members will come and bring desserts for everyone to eat! And the missionaries get to go as well! So we'll get super fat that night! Yayyy!
But a little bit did happen this week at the beginning. On Monday night we went to an investigator's house, Sônia and Benedito, who we have been teaching for a long time. When we got there, the daughter, Julia, was outside with a bunch of kids from her church that were pretty much all crying. So we say hi to everyone, walk in, and see Benedito throwing a bunch of stuff into the back of his semi (he owns two semi-trucks). He starts saying something about Sônia and Julia going to Leme (where Sônia's family lives) for a few days and says that they'll be back. But he's throwing all of their stuff in the truck. Including their beds, sewing machines, and all of their clothes. Sônia showed up at this point, and told us that she's moving to Leme with her parents and taking Julia with her, and that Benedito would stay here in São Carlos. They decided that they were going to separate. We talked to them for a while, and found out some very personal things about them.... But in the end, Sônia still left to go to Leme. The next day, I visited Benedito with Anderson (the one that sent the invites on the face place and Skype) and we talked about things that he needed to do to fix all of this. So he went to Leme the next day, asked for them to come back and took them out to lunch. Sônia and Julia ended up coming back on Wednesday, and now everything is good! Sônia has been talking about wanting to go to the temple and get sealed with her family there, but they still need to get legally married in order to be baptized! Hopefully this week we'll know more about the marriage and all the papers that have to be done. And this week Sônia and Benedito are going to the dessert night at the church and we're going to make a cake with them to take there! Should be fun!

So my memory card for my camera is almost completely full... I've got about 15 more pictures that I can take. But there's something wrong with the card and you can only get the pictures off of it with some programs.. Windows isn't letting me take them off. Sooooo Dad can figure that out when I send the card home! I just need another one to take it's place!

Today we're going to make Torta Paulista again! It's sooooooo goood! I'll have to try and make some when I get home for you guys because it is AMAZING!

Well that's about all for this week! I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1 (It works this week!)

P.S. Send me letters! And remember that you have to put more than one stamp on it for it to get to me!
 Reply Forward

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012

Mais uma semana!

So I appear to be really concentrating on music lately... I'm not sure why. Last night we got to watch the celebration for President Monson's 85th birthday. The music... Oh my goodness. I LOVE the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra. It was so good to be able to go and listen and feel the spirit. Plus I know two people who were in the orchestra! That was pretty cool.

This week was really kinda hard for us. We had a really hard time finding people to teach... Everything was falling through. And I mean EVERYTHING. We had a multi-zone conference on Thursday, so that was pretty cool. They talked a lot about health and things that we need to be doing to make sure that we stay able to work and do everything that we have to here. So me and my companion have decided to start exercising more and to take our health more seriously. So we're starting to try and eat more healthily and be more clean! I guess the sour patch kids for breakfast today wasn't too great of an idea... But we're eating more fruits and everything! 

I had a couple of scriptures that I wanted to share with you guys, but I don't remember what they say... So I'll give you guys the references and hope that you can receive your own personal revelation from them!

Mosiah 2:41 -
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and ahappy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are bblessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

 and D&C 130:20-21 -
20 There is a alaw, irrevocably decreed in bheaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all cblessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any ablessing from God, it is by bobedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Looks like all is well at home. It's good to see that the car made it safely and that it's still in good running order more or less! I think it might just be a problem with the gas, but that's just my thoughts... Try running it on premium for a while and the problem might just solve itself. Between switching the gas and that part that I showed Dad, it shouldn't give you guys too much work. Aside from the aesthetics that I wanted to fix up on it... That little spot with the paint, put a new top on it, new tires, replace the antennae, a couple new speakers, new headlights, maybe a hard top.... And while we're at it, we'll just go ahead and throw a turbo in there. Or maybe just go for the V8 LS6 swap. I think that might be the best course of action.

Anyways, I love you all! It's so good to see that life at home is fantastic. Good luck with band and the new freshman! And thanks for the DCI results! I'll be waiting restlessly for a letter from Tim about what happened. I hope he got the one I sent him... 

Love you!

-Elder Hopper 1 (Curse these keyboards....)

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012

Hellllooooo family! 

This week was pretty good. Elder Stewart and I are starting to work even better together. It's awesome to be super good friends with your companion. We had quite a few really good lessons this week and have been able to feel the spirit a lot. We aren't really having much success here in the way of baptisms, but we're still having a good time and doing what we're supposed to be doing.

We've been working a lot with less active members in this area. We were talking to the bishop of this ward the other day, and we've pretty much decided that our work in this area isn't finding new converts, but rather bringing back the lost sheep. Through working with less actives, you usually get some baptisms at the same time as well. But we're trying to help the bishop with his goal: an average frequency of 150 by the end of the year. When the bishop became bishop, the frequency was 80-90, but it's already up around 120. We had a meeting with the stake president yesterday, and we talked about it being reasonable to have a frequency of 250 in this ward at some point in the near future. This area that we are in has a huge amount of potential. 

It's good to see that everyone at home is having a good time with the travels! And it's good to know that my car isn't giving you guys too many troubles! I definitely would like to see some pictures of it back home in the driveway! Were you guys able to drive it up onto the trailer, or did you have to push it?

I found another quote this week that I liked a lot. It doesn't have a lot to do with spiritual things specifically, but it had a ton of meaning for me. It is from the old Tabernacle Organist, John Longhurst. He said, "You come to a point where words finally are inadequate to say what you feel. I think that's the beauty of art. When it's all said and done, art can take the human spirit beyond the point where words fail." I think that's one of the reasons why I've always loved music so much. I do have quite a problem expressing myself with words, but there have been certain times where music has been able to express what I haven't been able to with words. I am reaaallly thankful for the role that music has played in my life, and the talents that I have been given.

That's all I got for this week. I love you all!

Oh! And I want to know what happened with DCI! What place did Crown come in?!

Love you!

Elder Hopper 1 (ainda sem uma butão por aquelle símbolo)

August 6, 2012

Mais uma semana na missão!
This week was a lot of getting to know people and the area. It was a pretty productive week. Elder Stewart and I are getting along really well and we're both super excited for the rest of this transfer. It should be a good one!

I found a quote the other day that I really liked and decided that I would share it with you guys. "Disappointment, sorrow, and affliction may be the expression of an all-wise Father's kindness." -Elder James E. Talmage.

Life is full of trials and tribulations, but we can always learn from them. Like we heard in the MTC, when we go through hard times, we shouldn't ask, "Why is this happening to me," but rather, "What can I learn from this?" There is always something that we can learn, in the good times or in the bad. Just remember that your Heavenly Father loves you and that he is always mindful of you and your needs! And when it seems hard to do what is right, just go and read 1 Nephi 3:7, and it will help you out.

We are currently working with a family here (kind of a family) that is planning on being baptized on the 18th of this month. It's a husband and wife that have been together for 15 years or so, but never got around to marrying. They have one kid who is 14 years old, but she works at another church so we still haven't really gotten a chance to teach her. The husband, Benedito, has problems with smoking, but he's been working really hard this week on that. He used to smoke 40 or 50 cigarettes per day, but as of yesterday he was down  to 5 or 6. And yesterday we gave him a blessing and took the rest of his cigarettes. We'll be talking to him later today, so we'll see what happens! The wife, Sônia, only really had problems with coffee, but she's been pretty good about that since I've been here. Today Benedito went to go get his papers so that they can be married, and we should have more on that subject next week! Looks like we'll being doing a joint wedding-baptism in a week or so!

Looks like the truck is coming along well! I'm so glad that everything is falling into place. Now you just need a transmission and maybe a new transfer case? Let me know how it all goes! I wanna know! 

Oh! And let me know what happens with my car, too. Take some pictures and send them to me so I can know what condition it's in! 

I love you all and good luck with EFY and the travels and all that fun stuff!

-Elder Hopper 1 (these computers don't have a number sign...)

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

Hello family!
This week we had transfers. I got transfered to an area called Cidade Aracy. It's in the city of São Carlos, which is about 2 hours away from Ribeirão Preto, so I got to go on a little bit of a bus ride. Before I got here while I was waiting in the bus station, everyone was telling me that the city is beautiful, the chapel is amazing, my new companion is awesome, the house was huge, and that everything here was good. But the area is a favela (translation: slum!).

So my new companion is Elder Stewart. He's from Fresno, California and has just over a year on the mission, but less time in Brasil than me. He was in Alabama for 8 months, and he was actually there at the mission office when I got there, and when I left. So I already had met him one time, but had really forgotten about that until he mentioned that he was there in 'bama! It's been pretty cool so far, even though I've only spent a few hours with him. And everyone was right. São Carlos is really a beautiful place, the chapel here is huge and beautiful as well, the house is big, Elder Stewart is really cool, but this area is pretty poor. It's a bit far off from the rest of the city, and it's pretty much just a hole off the side of the city that people settled in. But I should like it here. Sounds like they have pretty good success here and that the ward is pretty strong.

This last week in Ipiranga was pretty good. Elder Henrique and I got along really well this week and we had some pretty good lessons. We had been teaching a man that had some problems with drugs, and another lady that was having problems with depression and smoking. It was pretty sad to say goodbye to them, but they will be in good hands still. Two Sisters ended up replacing us there in our area, so I'm sure that they will take care of our investigators. 

That's all I got for this week. This upcoming week should be full of fun, exciting, new experiences!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

And Brad last week, too!

I love you all!

Elder Hopper #1

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012

Hello family!
This week we went back to work! It was a week of... interesting things happen. We have officially started working in both areas at the same time, which has proved incredibly hard. We have been walking A TON, but it's all good 'cause that means I'll start to lose this weight finally! We've had luck with finding investigators at the end of both areas, so when we want to work with everyone we spend at least an hour walking from one house to the next. But the people that we have are progressing well! On Thursday we worked a lot with an investigator that has some problems with some addictions, and we were able to clean up his house a bit and give him a blessing and then yesterday we dedicated his house. After our visit on Thursday he went through and took out all of the things that he shouldn't have in his house, and when we went back yesterday, you could feel a huge difference. The spirit was able to be there and we were able to teach more effectively. It's amazing how much of a difference it makes just to have certain music and films taken out of the house. And Paulo (the investigator) said that he has been able to feel a difference, too. He's gone to church 3 times now, but he's gotta wait a little bit longer to be baptized because of some other problems that he has. But he's progressing really well!

We spent a bit of time with another family this week too, who have been members for a while now. Last week the dad and one of the sons got in a big fight, and the dad ended up kicking the son out to live on his own. We were able to talk to the dad and he told us that he missed his son and wanted him back in the house after all that happened. So we called the son and talked to him for a while and he finally agreed to coming back and talking to his dad for a while. When he got there, the son and dad hugged for a while, and they both ended up crying. They talked for a while, just the two of them about what happened, and we all left them alone. It seems that everything was worked out and that everyone is happy now, but hopefully it stays that way! It was so good to be able to help them out and be a part of helping their family come back together. Never allow a little bit of anger overcome the love that you have for your family! The family is ordained of God and is here for a reason. Always be sure that your home is a place where the spirit can dwell and where everyone feels loved and like they belong. 

That's all I got for this week!

I hope all goes well with Girl's Camp! I look forward to hearing about it!

I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

This week!
We still didn't work much, between the baptismal interviews and me still being sick and the other meetings we had. There was plenty of stuff to do this week, though. We had a meeting with the Brazil Area President, and it was awesome. Elder Costa is his name. He's an amazing man and he had so much insight into the gospel.

At the beginning of the meeting he just answered questions from the missionaries that were there (it was a bunch of the zones in the mission, but not all of them) and it was awesome the way that he was able to answer every question. I was going to bring my notes with me to the LAN House today, but I ended up forgetting... Sorry! I'll try to remember stuff that he said. 

Elder Costa told us a story about when he was a mission president in Brazil. He had two elders call him up one day and said that they were teaching a family, and the family decided to bring in their pastor from their church to talk a bit with the missionaries, so the missionaries invited Elder Costa to come along. Elder Costa prayed about it and accepted, and also received a little bit of inspiration to ask one of the elders to bring a Bible in English. Which is kinda weird considering they're in Brazil, right? Where everyone speaks Portuguese and all. So the elder brought the Bible and they got to the family's house, and it turns out that the family had invited not just one, but 3 pastors from their church to come and talk with the missionaries. 3 vs 3 - Fight! So they got to talking about the training that these pastors had gotten, and one had a doctorate in theology and had 13 years of education, one had a masters in theology and 9 years of education, and one was almost finished with his masters in theology with 8 years of education, and all three of the spoke English. Then Elder Costa talked about the training that him and the missionaries had. One of the elders was Brazilian, so he had 19 days of training. The other was American, so he had 2 months of training. Elder Costa had 3.5 days of training. Seems like they were pretty outnumbered, huh? Well, they started talking and the biggest thing that these pastors had a problem with was about the day of rest, which happens to be Sunday for us, but Saturday for the pastors' church. In the Bible in Portuguese, it clearly says that "Sabado" is the day of rest, which is the word for Saturday. But Elder Costa grabbed the Bible in English, which the most educated pastor had said was correct and the word of God, and showed that it doesn't say "Saturday," but instead it says "Sabbath," which happens to mean a day of rest. Elder Costa then asked the main pastor what day was the day that he took off from work as a day of rest, and he answered that is was Sunday. After a little bit more of this banter, the pastors left and the family ended up being baptized. Moral of the story: Listen to promptings of the Holy Ghost! They might seem ridiculous in the moment, but there is always a reason. Never lose an opportunity to follow the guidance of our Heavenly Father. He always knows what is best for us, and will always help us down the right path as long as we seek out his guidance.

Well, that's all I got for this week.

I love you guys!
Elder Hopper #1

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012

Well, I seem to be pretty good at getting me and my companion stuck in the house. I came down with a pretty bad cold with fever and everything this week, so the mission doctor told me to stay in the house until it passes. That was on Tuesday night that he told me, so we've been in our house since then, except when we left to eat lunch on Saturday and go to church on Sunday. So we had a pretty uneventful week. I'm still a little bit sick, but for the most part I've gotten better. We spent a lot of time cleaning, studying, sleeping, listening to EFY music, and then doing it all over again. This week we're gonna go out and work a bit more and hope that my companion doesn't catch this cold. 
One good thing that has been happening lately is work with the members in this ward. The members have been helping us out a lot, and we've been having a lot of lessons where they come and help us teach. Which also was a little bit unfortunate for this week since we had marked a lot of ward members to come out with us and visit some people, but we had to cancel all of it. A little bit disappointing, mas faz parte. 

That's so awesome that Dad was able to get an engine! I know that he was looking for a 390, but a 460 is even better! Bigger and louder! And sucks more gas... But bigger and louder! I hope that everything goes well with the truck and that you can get it all put back together... I hope I didn't cause too many problems when I took it apart! 

Well, that's all I've really got for this week... Not much exciting happened. But next week I promise to have more exciting news! We have the area president coming to our mission to give us a little training meeting this Friday, so that should be good. Hope all is well at home, and get better, Mom!

Love you!

Elder Hopper #1

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012

This week was a bit crazy, and it's assured that the upcoming few weeks will be even crazier. So to start out, I don't know if I told you or not yet, but in the area that we're in, there's another companionship living in our house. Elder Henrique and I take care of the area Ipiranga, and the other two take care of Ala 1. Buuuuut a few things happened and we had a bit of a change this week. The two elders that were in Ala 1 were Elder Soares and Elder Hartung. Elder Hartung is from Pittsburgh, for all you Steeler fans. Elder Soares has been having health problems lately, and ended up passing out one time during personal study. He's been constantly physically weak and unable to really work. So he talked to President Prieto, and after doing tons of exams in local hospitals, no one could figure out what he had. On Thursday this week, Elder Soares went home. And Elder Hartung went to Birigui. So now Elder Henrique and I are here taking care of Ala 1 and Ipiranga, which is a pretty big area. And we don't really know anything about Ala 1. So it should be fun! It's been a bit lonely in our house the past couple days, but we're getting used to it. We get the bigger room now, each of us have our own bathroom, and it's a lot cleaner around the house. It's kind of nice, but at the same time it's weird only having two missionaries in the house.
 The problems with Elder Soares took up a lot of time this week, so our week wasn't terribly productive. But we still had a couple of really good days with one of the youth in our ward who has been visiting people with us lately. On Saturday, he was with us after our studies until 9 at night, so we had a really productive day. We went to the store to buy our lunch, and this kid, his name is Natanael, told us that he felt that we should make a contact with a lady and her daughter who were in the store. So we waited a bit and continued shopping around, until we needed to go and pay. We got up to the front, and guess who was in the line ahead of us? The lady and her daughter! So Natanael got the courage up to make the contact himself, and ended up carrying some bags out to this lady's scooter and talking with her. We went outside after paying and met up with them, and started talking about who we are and what we do and all that jazz. Turns out this lady has been searching for a church for a while, but didn't know where to look. She is Catholic right now, but she hasn't gone to church in a long while. We combined to meet her at her house later that day and share a message with her and went home to eat. After we got done eating and visited someone, we went to the house of this lady, her name is Maria, and guess what? She wasn't there! She told us she would be at home at 3:00 in the afternoon, but when we got there, no one was there! So we went and made a few more visits, talked to a couple of Natanael's friends (one that we met is the first person in Brazil that I've met that plays League of Legends), and around 8:00 at night we went back to Maria's house. And she was there! But, she ended up going to a friend's house and drinking a bit. She was still coherent and able to understand everything, so we taught her the first lesson and invited her to church. Everything was good, but then guess who didn't come to church the next day! Maria! So we'll have to return to her house this week and talk to her a bit more. 

Moral of the story: All of the members of this church have the power and spirit to know who needs to hear the gospel. When you feel like you should share the gospel with someone, don't be afraid to get out there and do it! The Spirit will guide all of you as you ask for the guidance that you need, and you will be blessed for listening and following those promptings. 

I've got a couple of pictures here that we took this week. One of our investigators has like 10 of these little birds, and they're pretty friendly. She has one that will just come up to you and start climbing up you leg sometimes. It's pretty cool.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

-Elder Hopper #1