Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 2012

The garage door broke again? I remember the first time that happened... It was super loud and scared the junk out of me. Sounds like you don't need Drew aroud to break stuff for you; it just breaks itself!

So many good things happening at home. It's great to hear that even though it's hard back there, that everyone is happy and you're all safe and things are still going well. It's amazing to see how blessed we are these days. No matter how hard it gets, we need to just keep on trucking (that was for you, Annie) and endure! We will be blessed so much for enduring and continuing to do the things that we know we need to do.

So this week we had two baptisms. One was a boy that's friends with an inactive family, and the other was a man who was the last person in his family to not be baptized. He married his wife (who is a returned missionary) almost 20 years ago, and they've been trying to get him baptized ever since. Last Monday he called us and said, "I want to be baptized this week. Can I meet with you tonight?" So we met with him, taught him a bunch this week, and baptized him on Saturday! No one believed that he was actually getting baptized. The cool thing about all this, is that in a year they can be sealed in the temple. Their son, José, was sitting in the room waiting for the baptism to start and I was talking to him, and he just started choking up all the sudden, and it hit him suddenly that his family can be sealed in the temple now. Before this, José was having problems with smoking and drinking and partying and all that junk that teenagers do, but now the thought of his family being sealed makes him bawl like a baby and he's been talking to me about going on a mission. It's pretty amazing how that stuff happens. Also, since I will still be on the mission when they can be sealed, I can travel to the São Paulo Temple with them for the sealing.

Another thing reeeeaaallly cool happened this week. You know how when we were little and there was a thunderstorm, we would count the seconds between the flash and the noise? Well, we had a rather big storm come through on... I think it was Thursday. We were standing in front of a house of a member, about to enter, when suddenly there was a HUGE flash of light and a crack louder than any noise I have ever heard. Lightning struck one of the telephone poles about 20 feet in front of us. I thought that a bomb had gone off in the street or something. It was CRAZY. But awesome at the same time. It was funny because when it happened, we had no idea what we should do. We just stood there for a second looking around at all the people who had ran back into their houses.

Only one more thing. You should definitely start a "Elder Hopper Trombone Fund" so I can buy one. I already have $150 in my account, right? So only like... $150 more? I'm sure I have plenty of willing donors out there to help me buy a trombone on the mission. ;D

But! I love you all! Thanks for everything you do for me and Elder Hopper #2!
-Elder Hopper #1

I forgot one thing! On Mother's Day I want to try and use Google+. I guess we already had missionaries use it, so it should be fine for me to use. I will ask the mission president still. That way, maybe the whole family can talk. Brad, Drew, and the rest of us! When I call, it will probably be around 7 or 8 my time, so 2 or 3 your time. I know that you'll be in church, but I'm sure that you can make the sacrifice. I have an hour to talk as well. I will probably call on the Saturday before to confirm everything with you guys, so expect a call Saturday Afternoon, also.
I think that's all....
I love you all!
Elder Hopper #1

I lied! Only 4 hours behind me! 3 or 4 your time!

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012

Family with the girls! We baptized the other daughter on Saturday! The Dad is having problems... He can't quit smoking and drinking coffee, and he started drinking again this last week. He still hasn't come to church at all, but hopefully that will change in the next few weeks.

 Dad, I have a question about the sacrament and I don't have the resources here to figure this out. If you aren't there for the sacrament prayers, can you still take the sacrament? I thought that if you weren't, you can't, and also when the bread and water are covered back up, the are no longer blessed. It makes sense to me that way because we wouldn't throw away blessed bread and water, as it is a pretty sacred thing.

I found out something horrifyingly sad the other day. For a thing of deodorant like I use but half the size, I have to pay almost R$20. Waaaaay too much. So I guess I'll have to find a good kind here to use... But oh well! Just more of the Brazilian life for me!

I am actually in the city of Riberão Preto. We're serving the area of Ipiranga, if you look up Ipiranga it should pretty accurately show where I am. Our chapel is on Rua Paraná. And my companion is Elder Henrique.

The food... I ate a chicken heart a while back. That was interesting. But I really haven't eaten much weird food. Most of it is really just rice and beans. And guaraná. I think every house that I've eaten at, we've had soda of some sort, and it's almost always guaraná or Fanta. We have lunch every day in the house of a member here, so we really don't eat at all in our house. For breakfast (which my companion decided we're not eating from now on... long story), we usually go down to the store on the corner and buy some bread and cookies, and I eat the bread for breakfast and the cookies for dinner when we get back home. 

Speaking of Lainey going to Rexburg, my dream when Drew and I get back would be to have Lainey, Annie, Drew, and I all going to BYU-I, all living in the La Jolla apartments. How fantastic would that be? That is depending of course on if Drew and Annie aren't married by then.

Well, I think that's all for this week. I hope you all are doing well! Oh! And I got two letters from the Dunlop's today! It was good to hear from them. I'll have to write them back soon. Still haven't recieved any of the other letters, like the ones that Madi said she sent... Ah well. Probably next week.

I love you all!

-Elder Hopper #1

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012

Óla, família! Como vocês estão?
Aqui no Brasil coisas são muito bem. Estamos ensinando muitas pessoas e aprendendo muito sobre o evangelho de Cristo e como nos podemos ser melhor cada dia. É maravilhosa que nos temos essa oportunidade para compartilhar uma coisa tão feliz e tão bom com as pessoas aqui.
Essa semana foi um poco devegar, mas acontece. Nos vamos ter um grande semana essa semana com muitos pessoas ensinado e talvés um batismo! Nossos pesquisadores não gostam muito de ir à igreja, mas eles estão progregindo ainda.
I can't express in Portuguese how excited I am about the work that we're doing! Even if we don't have success or we don't have baptisms or whatever, as long as we are doing our best, we will be blessed with people to teach and help.
This week we taught quite a few lessons to a group of kids that age from 12 to 19. I think it was a total of 9 kids that we taught. We met a kid name Luan who already had gone to church once before when he was much younger, but doesn't remember much about it, and we started teaching him. Him and his group of friends are a pretty rebellious bunch, but they are pretty accepting to the gospel and our teachings. They are all willing to make changes in their lives if it means they're following the right path. None of them went to church this week, but they said it was because there was a zombie walk in downtown Ribeirão Preto on Sunday morning. They said they'll go to church next week, though.
Sounds like things at home are still going well! Camp Yamhill was always a ton of fun, so I'm sure you guys had a blast there. Har-de-har, I've heard those jokes before. People are always so mean to the trombone players! Speaking of which, there's an elder here from the US that played trumpet at BYU-Provo before the mission, and he actually bought a trumpet to play while he's here. I'm considering doing the same thing with a trombone, but they're all terribly expensive here. Something like $750 for a valve trombone made in China... Way too expensive for me. Hopefully at some point I can find a trombone for less than that and buy one!
I think that's all for this week. Have a fantastic week and know that I love you all! Even those of you who have not written me letters yet! ;)

Elder Hopper #1

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

Mom! Stop getting yourself hurt! We can't afford to have you not able to be yourself! You should definitely get that taken care of, though. Funny how that works, because this week I had been feeling like something at home had happened and that you guys weren't doing so well, and I guess that must've been what it was. I'm glad to hear all is relatively well, though!

We have had sunshine every day still... It's actually quite annoying. 100* weather every day is not exactly what I enjoy... And it stays around 80 in our room while we're sleeping. It rarely drops below 80. But it's okay because that means that when it gets cold, I'll just enjoy it that much more!

That's great for Lainey! What position has she been playing?

President Uchtdorf's talk definitely was great! I remember him saying that and even though it's quite funny, it's so true. We shouldn't worry about things for no reason! Life is so good to us, and we should be grateful for every little thing we have. I agree that that talk was for Annie. I wish she would've listened to conference. Just like Drew, I was amazed at how much you can learn when you pay attention the whole time. My view on general conference has changed a ton this session!

That's great that Annie's happy, too! Does she have a job yet or has she been looking still? I want her to email me or something! It's been a while since I got to talk to her. And Lainey too! Speaking of siblings, what about Brad? Is he still doing alright? He hasn't emailed me in a while, so I don't really know what's going on with him.

This week was pretty much the same as the others, lots of working and walking and sweating. The family that we baptized last week was confirmed yesterday during sacrament meeting, and that was a good experience. We've been working a lot with a man who is the father of an active family, but he's inactive. He has a drinking problem, and has been trying to overcome that for a while now. It's difficult to see the struggle that his wife and the rest of his family is having to go through because of his choices that he has made, especially when he knows exactly what he needs to do and he already knows the truth about this gospel. My companion does most of the talking when we talk to this man because most of the time I don't know what they're saying... But this last time I was able to understand a lot more and contribute to the conversation. It's so hard to watch him sit back and ruin his own life as well as the life of his family. Every time we talk to him, I'm more and more thankful for the family that I was raised in and the great parents I had. I know that it wasn't always easy for you guys, but I am so grateful for everything that you taught me and the awesome example you guys were for us kids.

Drew wrote about President Packer's talk about his dad, and I feel the exact same way that Drew does! I hope the work that we're out here doing makes you guys proud and gives you a reason to be happy. This opportunity that we have is so amazing, even though it is hard to be away from family for so long. I hope at the end of it all, Drew and I can both return in the same manner that Pres. Packer talked about, after having done our best.

Well, I think that's everything. I love all of you!
-Elder Hopper

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Hello family!

That sounds like a nice break from this weather... We got some rain a couple days ago, but it was still way hot and didn't really feel good. It just soaked us and got my Book of Mormon and Bible all wet. But I guess it's supposed to start cooling down here pretty soon, so we all look forward to that. I was thinking about it, and I realized I'll only really be here for one whole summer. It's weird how fast it seems time is going to pass and how little time I actually have here!

Conference was so good! But I missed cinnamon rolls! One of the elders that I live with (he actually got transfered today so he doesn't live with us anymore) suggested that we make some cinnamon rolls, but it's so hard to get all the ingredients and everything that we didn't try at all. But I loved conference! And I loved hearing the Tabernacle Choir. It was all so good!

Sounds like everything is going good with the grandparents! I can't wait to see the remodeled kitchen when I get back. Grandpa always does such a good job on all the work he does around that house that I'm sure it will look fantastic.

So this week was pretty good. We got a bit of rain, a lot more sun, met a few new people, and I still haven't gotten sunburned! Plus we got to baptize part of a family yesterday between the two sessions of conference. Two girls and the mom, and then there's still another girl and the dad that weren't baptized. Hopefully they will follow suit shortly and be baptized, too! I got to baptize the youngest daughter, who is 12, and it was a pretty great experience. In all, we had 5 baptisms yesterday in that chapel. 3 in our ward, and 2 in another. What a great day!

So we had transfers today, and turns out that, as I said earlier, one of the elders in our house got transfered (Elder Farrington). He was our district leader, but now he's going to be a zone leader somewhere else. And now my companion will be district leader while still training me. Should be an interesting transfer!

I think that's everything.. I hope you all have a great week and I love you all!]
-Elder Hopper