Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

Thats crazy that the Broncos have Manning now! How does Dad feel about losing Tebow and gaining Manning?
 That Relief Society thing sounds like it was good. The Relief Society definitely is a great help out here in the mission field when it comes to fellowshipping investigators and making them feel welcome.

 Speaking of North Bend, how are both sets of grandparents doing? I should probably send them something. When are their birthdays again? I might try to send them something when it comes around.

 This week has been good. We had a ton of work to do, and we were running around everywhere all week. We had 7 baptism interviews planned for this week, but 2 of them backed out, and the other 5 ended up going out of town for the weekend so it didnt happen. But! They called us today and asked us if we could come over and teach them today. It's amazing how prepared that family is! They are definitely willing to listen and follow the example of Christ.

We have a man here in the ward that is less active that we have been talking to almost every day now for the last 2 weeks. His name is Paulo and he has a drinking problem. His whole family is active, and they are having a had time with knowing how to help them. It is really sad to see a family affected like that and not knowing how to help or what they can do to make things better. But Paulo really seems like he wants to change and has actually been going to AA meetings the past few days. This area that we are in has a really big problem with drugs, so that's been kinda hard for us.

 So how are Lainey and Annie and Dad doing?! I've heard all about Mom's life and nothing about theirs! Except for Dad passing a kidney stone. But I want to know how they are doing! Send me letters or emails or something!

 But I love you all, and the work here is hard, but great. I'm sweating a ton every day (the temperature has not dropped below 70 here yet, and during the day hovers around 90) yet I haven't lost any weight. Still sitting around 150 lbs. But I feel better and I think I'm starting to gain a bit of muscle in my legs from walking so much so that's probably why the weight is staying on.

 This week I was flipping through my BoM and I happened upon the part about the Stripling Warriors. I remember when we were in the MTC talking about this part, and the first counselor in the branch presidency was teaching about it. The reason why the Stripling Warriors were so successful was because of the way that their mothers and fathers had taught them. They say specifically that their mothers taught them the way of the Lord and to be strong in the faith. But they don't talk about their fathers. Their fathers were the Anti-Nephi-Lehis that had buried their swords in the ground and had made a covenant to not fight ever again.

Now for the connection. You guys as my parents have taught me so well, and because of you I am here right now in Brazil serving the people that the Lord prepared. You taught me to keep the convenants which I have made and to always follow the way of the Lord. I am so grateful to have come from a family where I have a mom and dad who love each other as well as the Lord and were so willing to do anything they could for me whenever the occasion arose. Thank you guys so much for everything you have done and continue to do for me. I love you so much.

 Well, I gotta go do some more work. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Oh! And I found the apostraphe button!

 -Elder Hopper

 P.S. Any news with the Miata?

Monday, March 19, 2012

From left to right is Elder Leandro,
Elder Henrique (my companion), Me, and Elder Ferrington

Sounds like a lot is happening back home!
So, here has been really good. The food is weird (I had chicken hearts yesterday), it is hot and humid, I cant fully understand the language, and the keyboards dont have apostrophes! But! I love it here.
I am going to tell you about a family here now. They had been looking for about 2 years for a church they could go to, but didnt feel right in any of the ones they went to, so they asked God for help. They prayed to be able to find the right church to go to. They prayed on last Wednesday. On Thursday, my companion and I prayed to find more young women for the ward here because theyre lacking severly. On Friday afternoon, we met the Barbosa family who have 3 girls, one is 12, one 14, and the other is 16. Plus the mom and dad (though the dad might have problems of his own). The mom and two of the girls went to church on Sunday, and have a baptismal date for the 25, but it will probably get pushed back a week so they can be baptized with the other girl and the father, but we will see how that all goes down.

The language is coming pretty good now. My companion, Elder Henrique, can speak English pretty well, but he is trying to force me to speak Portuguese when ever I can so that I learn as fast as possible. Which is perfectly fine. I am learning it really fast and in our lessons and talking with other people I can say almost everything I want to.
The weekends around here are crazy. Everyone is outside, tons of people are driving around blasting music in their cars, and theres a bus thing that drives around blasting music (mostly American music that no one here can understand) that is pretty much Sodom and Gomorrah. It is pretty cool.
Last P-day we went to a zoo type thing (we had P-day on Wednesday because they had something else on Monday) and then to a mall. Here they call malls shopping. So the place was called Novo Shopping. I dont understand why they name the places so blandly here. Today I think we are going to go to a marketplace and then go to a waterfall somewhere for a while. It should be fun!

I love you all! And thanks for the birthday wishes!
-Elder Hopper

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012

I made it here safely! I am living with 3 other missionaries, two natives and one from Utah. They all speak fluently, so I should pick it up quickly.

Here is my address for the whole time I will be out here. It is the address of our mission home, but they want everything sent there because it is easier just in case emergency transfers happen or something else that makes it hard to get the letters to me.

Rua São Sebastião 1003 Centro

Riberão Preto , São Paulo Brazil 14015-040

I met my mission president, and he is really nice. He only speaks Portuguese, so there will be some translating for a while when I talk to him, but that is okay. I will learn quick out here with so many people around me speaking Portuguese. I like it here already! It is hot and humid, but I can deal with that. Anyways, I gotta go and do more stuff with my companion.

I love you all and will talk to you later!

-Elder Hopper

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

That's awesome that you got to go to the gate with Drew! Sounds like it was a good day for all of you. Sounds like typical Drew, but it sounds like he's really enjoying the MTC. They actually give you two pieces of luggage for free when you travel with the Church. But if they're overweight, they charge you a hefty fee.
Not much happened this week... Just a lot of knocking doors and talking to people that are already saved and already have a church and already have a bible and need no more bible (I think that's somewhere in 2 Nephi 29). But there are a lot of really nice people here. No more crazy weather, no more really crazy people, we met a bit more of the ward and have really just been getting to know the place just in time for all of us to leave. Transfers are on Wednesday, and since I'm leaving on Tuesday, they all have to come up to Birmingham with me. I'm pretty excited to go to Brazil! It's going to be a huge learning curve, but I'll love it. More language, more gospel, and more nice people! It'll be a good time.
Well, I'm sure I'll have more to email about on my next P-day; more stuff about Brazil. But for now, I have nothing!
I love you all and I hope your days go fantastically!

Elder Hopper

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 5, 2012

Hello family!
Yeah, Brother Memory came and talked to my companion and me yesterday after church while we were studying. He was a really nice guy. It's too bad you missed his call, though!
The weather didn't affect us at all. It was all to the North of us. So we don't get to do any service. We just get to keep on teaching like normal!
I'm so excited for Drew! Just one more day!
Tell Lainey to suck it up and stop being sick! Being sick is for the weak and down-trodden!
Dad is going without you to DC? That's like the first time in what, 5 or 6 years? Well I hope he has a fun time with his traveling and such!
Everything is going great here. I've never seen so many people that go to church or that believe in God. I've come to a realization that I do not know the Bible nearly as well as I need to in order to teach these people. So I've started studying the New Testament in hopes that I can familiarize myself with that a bit more. We've already had some good teaching experiences and found some really good people. I have the same companion here that I had in the last little bit of the MTC, so it's been interesting with that. We both expected to have a companion who was much more experienced and could kind of show us the ropes, but we're out here by ourselves learning how to do it the best way we can. It's difficult, but we're learning a ton and becoming better missionaries every day.
I've never realized how much of a concentration of LDS people we have back home until we came out here. Here in Prattville, they just had a new ward made (the second in the area) and both wards have about 150 active members. And the ward area is pretty massive, too. The town of Prattville itself has about 30,000 people in it, so with 150 members, that's a pretty slim percentage of members (the other ward is technically in Millbrook). I never realized how blessed we were to grow up with so many good friends in the church and so many people right around us that had the same beliefs as we do. There's a lot of areas out here that just have a branch of 30-50 members even though the towns they are in aren't even very small. There is definitely plenty of work to do out here for us. The people aren't always receptive, but a lot of them are still willing to take a bit of time to just talk about God for a bit and the amazing things he has done and continues to do for us.
Well the two elders that we are living with are Elder Hortin and Elder Sorensen. They're both from Utah and they're actually our zone leaders. Elder Sorensen was actually originally called to Londrina, Brazil, but after a year he had some medical problems and had to come home for a bit. After that he was permanently reassigned to here, and I am definitely glad he is with us. These two missionaries are a great example to us and are amazing teachers. Elder Brown and I still have a ton more to learn from them.

Well, I hope all is going well and you are all staying happy! Tell everyone I love them!

-Elder Hopper

Email from Birmingham Mission President February 29, 2012

Dear Parents and Guardians,

All is well in our mission!

We have weather alerts in central and northern Alabama this evening until 9 pm. All missionaries are taking appropriate safety actions and have access to the weather situation in their specific area via their cell phones and weather radios in their apartments.

We will hold a roll call this evening to ensure everyone is safe and sound. Please check our blogs for weather updates through this evening.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly (205.789.0169 or

Blessings, President Holzapfel

President Richard Neitzel Holzapfel
Alabama Birmingham Mission

February 27, 2012

I made it here! Everything is cool, it's warm and not dry! I am companions with Elder Brown again (he was my last companion in the MTC) and we're living with the zone leaders of our area. We're going to Prattville. Here is our address:

100 McQueen Smith Rd. S
Apt P-8 Prattville, AL 36066

It was nice talking to everyone today and I hope you all continue to have a good day!

I love you all!

Elder Hopper

February 22, 2012

I am going to Birmingham, Alabama on Friday. I can't really think of anything else to say right now.... But I got the Martinelli's. Thank you! I will email more tomorrow while I'm preparing all of my stuff.
Love you all,

Elder Hopper

February 21, 2012

Of course I remember Brandond Halls! That's pretty awesome that he got his call. I think I'm actually friends with him on Facebook. I doubt I'll see him, but if he does happen to be in my mission, out of the 27 that are in Brazil, I will definitely talk to him a bit if I get a chance.
That's awesome for Donald, too! Is his mission English speaking? It's funny how it works here in the MTC, all the elders that are going foreign speaking wish that they could go English speaking and all of the English speaking wish they could go foreign speaking. I'm starting to really like Portuguese now, but that's definitely how it was the first few weeks. I can understand almost everything everyone says when they're speaking in  Portuguese, and I don't read out of my English Preach My Gospel anymore. I still study the scriptures in English just because it's completely different language than is commonly used.

Goodness, we seem to love having our ovens catch on fire. I hope you guys get it all figured out! Any news with the Explorer yet?

So many good things going on! A little bit sad to see everyone go, I'm sure, but everything is going well. All of the excitement seems to be concentrated into a week or so, I hope you can handle it!

I heard that the play was going well, but didn't hear anything besides that. I'm glad you guys liked it.

I encourage you to take notes! I have noticed a huge difference since I started doing that. At some point I'll send home some journals of notes from things and you guys can read over them. There's some pretty cool things that I've found out. A lot of really cool things through personal study, too. I've made pretty good friends with a couple of Elders here that are into the deeper side of the scriptures and the gospel, so we sit down and discuss things a couple times a week and discover new, cool things about the scriptures. You'll have to see some of the things we talk about.

I should really start writing later in the day so I can remember things that happened in the week better... Well, I should go and finish my laundry. I hope you all have a good week!

Love you all!

Elder Hopper

February 14, 2012 second email

Yes I got the packages! Thank you so much! The notebooks were perfect. They fit perfectly in my breast pocket and I already like them a lot. I might need more to carry through my mission, though!

My companions and I have decided to do laundry at 5:30 on P-days so that we have more time in the day to get other things done, so I'll probably be emailing you first then, then taking the rest of the time I have to email later in the day.

I did hear about the Dunlop's car! That's awesome that they were able to find a new one, though. Is it a brand new one or is it used?

I ended up finding my companions. They went to go get breakfast, and decided not to tell me. So I had a little word with them. They're both really bad at telling me where they go and everything. Hopefully that'll change for the last little bit that we're here. Only two weeks left here!

February 14, 2012

It's crazy how fast time goes here! It's weird to think I've been away from home for 7 weeks already. I'm almost 1/12 of the way through my mission! The language is good! Yesterday we got to teach a non-member about prayer (in Portuguese), and it was way awesome. I can't wait to be out in Brazil teaching people like that all the time.
The mission shoes are actually really good. And come with the best guarantee possible for shoes on the mission. 2 years replacement for free? Definitely the best deal. They don't look like the best quality, but they are super grippy, even in snow (we've been getting some this week), and the tread has barely worn at all. The tops get scuffed up pretty easily, and you can't make them look good again, but for the purposes of walking around all day in them, they're great. Also, they're waterproof. Which is awesome. Definitely worth it.

This week was another pretty uneventful week other than teaching the non-member. His name was Fillipe, by the way. We had our oldest district leave this morning. They're all going to Cape Verde off the West coast of Africa. They have soemthing like 39 hours of flight time total, along with a couple of two hour layovers and a 5 hour layover in Portugal. Pretty rough travel plans. One of them that left was Elder Clayton, who was our zone leader. Our new zone leaders are Elder Edwards and Haile. Elder Haile is the first missionary ever from Ethiopia to come to this MTC, and was the first member ever to recieve his Duty to God in Ethiopia and he was baptized when he was 17. He's an awesome guy and I'm really glad I got to meet him.

Well... I should probably go find where my companions went. They kind of disappear a lot. It's a bit frustrating, but I'm trying to work with them on being better with that. Oh, and I'm now the district leader. Which doesn't mean a whole lot since we only have a district of 3, but still.

Hope you have a good week and everything is good! Love you all!

-Elder Hopper

February 7, 2012

I've gained 15 pounds since I've been here. I'm up over 150 now. So I've decided to start running every time we have gym. Hopefully I can drop below 140 again. I'm sure I will lose it once I get out in the field!
I actually have started to hate the food here. I always feel like junk, so I've stopped eating as much. I think it was just the fact that I went from not having any food at school to having as much food as I wanted here. I don't need new clothes! I actually wish the clothes I had were smaller... The pants aren't huge, but I just like them to be closer to my legs when I'm walking around.

I'm not entirely sure how much longer I'll be here; I'm hoping to leave within the next couple of weeks.

I'm so excited for Drew! I can't wait to discuss mission stuff with him! Does he know how long he'll be in the MTC yet? I heard that with this new program, the Spanish and Portuguese programs are going to be shortened to 6 weeks sometime in March, but I don't know if that's just for the Provo MTC or what point change will actually take place.

So I saw off my companion today. I'm supposed to be companions with Elder Tonga and Brown now, but I'm been with Elder Clayton almost all day because both of our companions left. Clayton's not in my district, but he was one of our zone leaders. We just watched a couple of the Polynesian elders leave, and it was really cool. All the rest of the Poly elders and sisters did the Haka and then started singing and hugging and they were all crying. The brotherhood they have in their culture is amazing.

I saw Josh Cabrera again this morning! It's cool to get to talk to him a bit about his experience and how everything is going for him.

Anyways, I'll leave this for you and I might get on a bit later with the rest of my time I haven't used and respond if you get a chance to respond to this. Good luck with the shopping!

Love you guys!

-Elder Hopper

February 6, 2012

I have two p-days this week! My companion is leaving tomorrow, so I have to sit with him as he packs and does laundry today. I guess I've got the curse of two week companions. Which means that I have to leave this place in two weeks because my next two companions (I'll be in a trio) can't leave the states for a while. We'll see what happens, though. Last Tuesday we had Elder Nelson and Elder Holland come talk to us. It was pretty cool. It's early and I can't think of much, so that's prolly all I'll say for now. I'll try to think of more to say tomorrow.

Love you guys!

-Elder Hopper

January 31, 2012

Sounds like the car is fun to deal with! Working on my car is definitely something I miss. Any news with that, by the way? If the spark plug won't thread right, that could be a big fix... I would think that you would have to replace the whole head on that side. Before I left, Dad said there was a noise coming from the front left tire, too. Did he ever figure out what that was?
Do you mean that he still doesn't have his flight plans? If he for sure going to the Guatemala MTC? He's living with the missionaries for a week? That sounds like it would be cool. Would he be set apart as a missionary while he's doing that?

The Portuguese is going well! Not quite fluent, but I can say most of what I want when teaching things about the gospel that I want to. It's a lot of fun to speak in Portuguese to my companion and district and zone.

My foot is good. I haven't done much with it lately. I tore it apart initially (you'll get pictures with the first SD card), but I'm letting it heal so I can see what warts are still there.

 This week has been pretty uneventful, like always. Just more class and food that wrecks my stomach. No one else in my district is leaving yet, so it's still just the four of us. Our zone got 3 more districts last Wednesday, though. 11 Elders and 5 Sisters. One of the Elders already got his VISA, so he left today, so we're down to 15 total from last Wednesday. As we start to learn Portuguese more, we're able to talk with our teachers more and they make more jokes. One of our teachers, Brother Owens, I'm getting along with really well and it's cool to joke around in Portuguese. Our other teacher Brother Dodge, is still really cool, but he's more of a straightforward teacher and doesn't joke around as much. I guess we do learn more from him, but Brother Owens's classes are just more fun. Oh, and Annie, he's single! Just sayin'. Single, speaks Portuguese, from Florida, really funny, tall, and he's pretty spiritual, too. Anyways, that's all I have for now.

One thing, could you get me Cameron Johnson's myldsmail email? I think it's on my Gmail account, but I can't get to that. The password is the same typical one I use.

Oh! And I've been here for just over a month now! Time goes so fast!

Thanks! I love you guys!

Elder Hopper

January 24, 2012

Well Drew didn't send me an email or anything, so I didn't skip your email. But that is awesome! So he's got what, 3 weeks before he leaves? I'm so excited for him!

I haven't used the new glasses yet because I just got them yesterday and haven't taken out my contacts since then. I'll probably take them out soon, though. I will let you know next week how they are definitely!

That's exciting! So many good things happening at the Hopper house!

I have a couple of things to share with you now:

First, my companion left this morning for Brazil. We found out on Friday that he was leaving, so it was a bit quick. Our district leader, Elder Maiava, also lost his companion to Brazil, so now I'm companions with Elder Maiava. I'm way excited cause he's a really cool guy and we're already pretty close. He's from Olympia too, so we share the love of the Northwest.

Second, I got my electronic Visa today, so it shouldn't be too long until I get my real Visa for Brazil. They've said that recently it's been taking somewhere between a month and three months for visas to come through after you get your electronic. So we never missed anything, it just never came!

Third, something I forgot to tell you a couple weeks ago. I was seeing my old companion off, Elder Welch, and we were standing outside the travel office when someone grabbed my arm, and pulled me around and gave me a hug. Apparently Josh Cabrera works here at the MTC doing custodial work and gets off at 8, which is the exact time that we had to bring Elder Welch. It was cool seeing him, we got to talk for a second before he had to leave.

And I think that's everything for this week. We've gotten a bit more snow, but nothing real bad. Only an inch or two.

January 17, 2012

It snowed here last Sunday, but we haven't had any since then. It's just been terribly cold. But it's terrible because our classroom has no AC and it just burns up in there. So we have to wear short sleeved shirts for our classroom, but want our sweaters when we're outside. It's a good thing we're not outside much.

I did think of a scripture! It's Alma 26:36 I believe. It's the one that says something about "For this is my life" in it. I think it's that one. But it's a scripture that our branch president said should define our missions. He shared it with us the first week we were here.

This week has been pretty uneventful. Nobody else has gotten their visas, so no one left today. We're hoping no one will get theirs this week so no one else leaves. Our whole district likes each other and we're all having a great time together. We've already planned to hang out after we all get back, possibly go on a camp out. We figured that Grandma and Grandpa's house is like exactly halfway between where we live and where most of the rest of our district lives. Except for Maiava, but he lives in Olympia, so he could come down and drive the rest with me. It'd be pretty awesome if that did happen.

That's all I've got!

Love you guys!

Elder Hopper

January 10, 2012

It's a good thing you sent me a package yesterday because I sent a letter on Friday that said I need my toothbrush charger! Turns out the visa thing is so random that some people in my district have gotten their actual visas already while I still haven't gotten my electronic. From when you get your electronic to when you get the actual one can vary from a week to a few months. Brazil is really dumb.

I really hope Drew gets his call soon! If he does get called to report any time before the end of February, I'll probably see him since I don't think I'll get my visa before my 9 weeks are done. So I'll probably get a reassignment for somewhere in America until my visa comes in. The food here is really bad still... It's getting worse and worse. I've started eating less since the first week, actually. I probably did gain a little bit, but I'm sure I'll start to lose it again.  

We had four of the people from our district leave today. My companion, Elder Welch, and Elder Lovell (the one from Summerfest), and Elder Hannah (our district leader), and Sister Larsen. So we're down to six left. Elder Cox is my companion now, and we have a whole room to ourselves. It's pretty nice because we can keep it really clean and nobody messes it up. Plus we both have a ton of space for our own stuff. Our district seems to like chilling in our room now since it's so open and clean and just feels good.

Anyways, that's all I have for now. I love you and I hope all is well with you!

Elder Hopper