Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

So here in Las Vegas we have lots of different types of areas and with that come a lot of different types of people..
So sometimes I get super distracted by things (like most of you know) and we were walking down this hallway and I realized that the walls were super close together! So without saying anything I started to try and climb them! Sister Perkins turned around wondering why I kept falling and just started laughing and pulled out her camera. 
I spend a lot of my time trying to understand people.. Between the people who speak Spanish (about 75% of the people we talk to) and the drunk people on the streets it's really hard to understand them! It's pretty entertaining sometimes and they are usually really nice. Sadly those people that we talk to that are under some kind of influence usually have families and you can see children close by.. That has been the most heart breaking thing about my mission. I have seen so many small children just wondering around by themselves with no one watching them. It's a scary thing to see because in some of these places you really should be watching your kids carefully. It's sad that I've gotten used to this kind of thing. We pass by little kids all the time wondering where their parents are. 
This is Capri! She is one of our members dogs and she is so sweet! We get to have dinner over there about once every week so Capri and I have made a special bond.
If you were wondering how hot it gets here... My peach rings melted...
Last night we had a different kind of experience when I knew we were at the right place at the right time.. We were walking through an apartment complex on our way back to our car to go home and we came across two little kids. A brother and a sister who were about 5 and 3.. We said hi to them and kinda walked slowly to see if there were any parents around because we really didn't want to leave them there alone in that dark apartment complex. The little girl looked at me and said "can you watch us?" My heart dropped. I didn't know what to do so we just started asking questions trying to figure out if they knew where their parents were.
This is from a potentials home who will never answer the door! But they love our cards!
They said they didn't know and then started walking down the side walk and I said "okay let's go find them" they seemed to kinda know their way around so we let them lead us there. They said their car was just a little bit away from us so we walked towards it. They had walked all the way across the apartment complex without anyone knowing where they were. We saw their mom by a car and she started coming toward us acting like nothing was wrong. We started to walk away not wanting to look like the creepy people who took their kids away and the lady yelled thank you to us as we walked away. Anything could have happened to those two little kids.. We were just thankful that it was us that walked by and not someone else. Something told us to go a different direction than we would have and it lead us to them. 
After we started walking away I had this feeling that we could have done more. So when we got back to the car we decided to drive over to where their mom was and just give her a card. We stopped the car next to her and a couple other people that she was talking to and I got out and started talking to them. I just told her that her kids were so sweet and that we were missionaries and if they ever needed anything to give us a call. They mostly just loved the fact that I had just handed them a picture of Jesus and said thank you and then we were on our way. 
This is one of the reasons that I am here. To bring families together not just when the little kids get lost but through eternity. We never have to be without our families because of this gospel and I love being able to bring families together and help them realize that they can be together forever. Right now in a YSA ward it's been a little different because we don't teach families but I know that as we teach the people in our area we are helping them make their own eternal families some day. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to bring families together!
Just a little reminder from one of our members!
We found a little mouse friend this week hanging out by our bikes!
In other news all of our investigators decided to move this week... So that's fun! Ibrum moved to Montana for a few weeks so he is going to miss his baptismal date.. And everyone else just told us they were moving to other places.. So this week will be full of finding new people to teach! Which is actually one of my favorite things to do! So it will be a busy week.

I love you all!! Have a great week!

Sister Hopper

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday, May 23

Beautiful Vegas Sunset! 
We had such an amazing week and we are meeting some amazing people!
Last Monday 5 minutes after P-Day ended we found someone named Ibrum!
We walked outside of the institute building and he came walking around the corner so we started to talk to him! He told us that he had lived with an LDS family when he was younger so he knows lot about the church! Unfortunately he moved out of that home and the home he was living in was completely opposite of the LDS home. Sister Perkins asked him if he had ever thought about being baptized and he said he had! And he was interested in meeting with us and learning about it again! So we set an appointment to see him a couple days later. 
The next day he said he would go to institute and about an 30 minutes before we got a phone call from a random number and picked it up and it was Ibrum! He told us he was stuck on the other side of town and he was going to try his best to get back so he could go to at least part of institute. Institute went on and we didn't see him and didn't get any texts or calls or anything. When we walked out to say goodbye to the investigator that came we saw someone talking to one of the teachers. It was Ibrum!! He had already introduced himself to everyone in the room and made friends with the person we had planned to fellowship him with! It was awesome! We planned to meet with him a couple times this week but each time he rescheduled and we were starting to get nervous. But we finally got to meet with him on Saturday! We talked to him a little bit about the restoration and we just were kinda trying to figure out what he remembered from what he was taught when he was younger. Whenever we would say something like atonement or Joseph Smith he would be able to fill in the gaps and tell us all about it! He told us a little more about him and we found out that he almost got baptized once but it didn't end up happening and then he moved away. So I asked him if he still had a desire to get baptized and he said yes! So we set him with a baptism date and he is so excited! This guy is so ready for the gospel in his life and he has such a strong testimony and it's just going to get stronger as he learns more and as he continues on this path. We are so excited to see the amazing things he does in the church! 
So yesterday was his first day at church and it just showed even more how ready he is! He fit right in! He was introducing himself to everyone and going up and talking to the bishopric and he has made so many friends already! In class he was answering the questions and he even offered to say the closing prayer in Sunday school. It's amazing when we are put in the path of people that are so ready to be baptized! This is the second time that I was in the right place at the right time and was able to help someone progress towards baptism and it's such an amazing thing to see! I love watching people change and grow!
That was the most exciting thing this week and it really was a huge miracle and an answer to my prayer this week! 
We also found someone named Mario and he has a very... Interesting past.. He is ready to move on from it and to become better! He is having a hard time getting over some of the things he has been through and I know that through the message that we share and through him coming to church he will be able to overcome those things. 
I have gained a strong testimony that living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best way to be happy! It helps us overcome any hard thing and I know that it brings anyone that will accept it happiness. I've seen that a few times while being on my mission. People who have been through so much and have struggled with depression or with PTSD or many other anxieties and trials that have been able to overcome them because they know that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them and that through Jesus Christ's Atonement they can feel relief from those hard things in their lives. 
Being a missionary is an amazing thing and I get to meet so many amazing people! I love it! Especially in Vegas! Even when we don't get to teach a lot of the people we meet its amazing to meet them because there are so many different people here and so many people who have had the influence of the spirit in their lives and share their experiences with us and it really is amazing.
Just in case you were ever wondering how Ghetto some of the parts of our area are... This is just a small little taste. I thought it was funny that all of the parking spaces at this complex were labeled with spray paint.. 

I went on exchanges with Sister Jane this week and apparently parking spaces aren't just for cars!

We went to go have breakfast with one of our members this week and we came across this! One of the Elders cars! Someone broke into their car last night but they didn't take anything..
Sister Perkins and I found Dutch Brothers! I was so excited! There is only one in Vegas and it just so happens to be in our area! A little taste of home!

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

Sister Hopper

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

I have never been so tired in my life. You know when you go to the beach or something and you come home and you're super tired because you sat in the hot sun all day but you're really happy because of the great memories you made? That's my life right now. Mixed with wonderful spiritual moments and random times when you think you're going insane because of the heat. It's starting to get up to 100 degrees and it's only May.. What in the world is supposed to happen in August?! Do we all just bake on the sidewalk?! I'm pretty sure that's what's going to happen..

Anyways Sister Perkins and I have been doing great. I love her! We have been learning so much together and she always has a scripture for every random thought or question I have. Unfortunately we both have very short attention spans and start talking about the most random things. One day we decided to look at our family history and we found where our family trees crossed and from there were able to go all the way back to Adam and Eve... It took us a while... But we got there..

On Thursday we got to go to the temple with our recent convert Aaron!
He was having a hard day and decided that it wasn't a good day to go to the temple. We didn't get in contact with the person that was giving him a ride in time and he called us telling us that Aaron wouldn't answer the door and that he yelled at him to go away! So Sister Perkins and I of course we're really worried so we went over to his apartment with one of our members (Jocelyn who is absolutely
amazing) to try and figure out what was wrong. He told us he had a bad day so we sat and talked to him for a minute and then we got him to come to the temple with us. So he got in Jocelyn's car and we followed them over there. Come to find out that when we got to the temple we talked to the member that was supposed to give Aaron a ride and he had gone to the wrong apartment! It wasn't even Aaron that yelled at him!

But because of the phone call we had gotten from him telling us that he was worried about Aaron, we were able to go to his house and be there for him when he needed someone. We were able to walk around the temple while the rest of the ward was inside doing baptisms for the dead. I had one of the most spiritual moments I have had on my mission so far. I was able to testify of the peace and happiness that I feel when I go to the temple. The temple is the one place on earth that I know I will always feel joy. I love going to the temple and I miss looking out my window every day and seeing it. But this area is amazing! Even though I don't get to see the temple every day I still have it in my heart always!

Kinley got baptized on Saturday! It was awesome! I have never seen so many family and friends at a baptism before but this girl is special and she has a lot of people that love her and that we're so excited to see her make this decision! Words can't describe how happy I was to be able to go back to my old area and see her. I love that girl so much!
I'm so proud of her and I am so happy that I was able to be there to teach her and to help her make this big step in her life. I will be forever thankful for her in my life and the influence she has had on my mission. It's people like her that make me want to be here and to work hard.

Other than that it's been pretty calm this week. My birthday was on Friday and Sister Perkins made me a cake and French toast for breakfast. I had one box from my mom for my birthday because that was all that came in the mail the Monday before so I might be getting some more birthday stuff today! Birthdays are great!

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! My mom sent me the messages that I got on Facebook. You are all amazing and I love you so much!

Hope everyone is doing well! Have a great week!

Sister Eliza Hopper

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

So this week it rained again! And there was a beautiful rainbow! 

My new Companion, Sister Perkins, and I have been having lots of fun and finding lots of amazing people to teach! 

I'm loving this new area and the people in it. It's a little interesting because we are right next to the strip so we have some interesting experiences.. Haha But it's been a lot of fun!
Aaron and his grandma are in the middle
We had a baptism this week for someone named Aaron! I didn't get to teach him much but he is awesome and has such a strong testimony! His grandparents came to support him and his grandma started to tear up during the baptism. It's really amazing to hear from his grandma how much he has changed and how his life has become so much better since he met the missionaries.
The new ward is great and is super supportive of missionary work so I'm excited to be working in this area!
I hope everyone is doing well! I love you all!

Sister Hopper

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

So turns out I'm getting transferred! I thought I would be staying another transfer but it looks like I'm going to a YSA ward in Paradise! My new companion will be sister Perkins. I have never met her but I've heard a lot of great things about her so I'm excited!
We got to take a picture with Elder Holland!

So the most exciting thing that happened this week was getting to meet Elder Holland! He is amazing! He talked to us a lot about being happy and he said he knew that some of the missionaries who shook his hand where having a hard time. He said everything will be okay and that those missionaries would get through this hard time. I thought it was amazing that by him just shaking our hand and looking into our eyes he was able to have an interview with each of us! 

On our way home from Seeing Elder Holland!
He carries such a strong spirit! He pounded the pulpit and talked loudly like normal and I'm pretty sure he broke the pulpit.. Haha it was awesome! He talked to us about being good missionaries and something that was really powerful that he said really got to all of us. He said "You do not have the right to abuse the image of a missionary in this church" In his loud powerful Elder Holland voice. It was such an amazing experience to be able to learn from him!

Sadly we had to say goodbye to the Petersen's.. But we will get to see them again on the 14th for Kinley's baptism! I'm so proud of that girl!! She is amazing!
This next week should be fun! I'm sad to be leaving the family ward and all of the amazing families here! I love this ward so much! But YSA will be fun and I'm sure I will love them just as much!

Hope every one is doing well!! Love you all!

Sister Hopper
So most of the members in our ward are firemen! Including the member that we live with! They have a big Firepole that is in the middle of their house and they said that before we left we had to go down it. So we did!