Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Week 3 Photos















  


Week 3 NYNYS

This week was very busy being Christmas and all! My Christmas was great! The four of us Elders in the pad got all of our studying done then immediately opened all the presents we were sent. I am very thankful for those who sent cards and gifts. It means a lot to me to have your love and support. After we ate lots of goodies and such, we made our way down to the Lorimer G subway and played some carols. We sounded so good because of the acoustics down in the tunnels! We had my violin and the guitar with everyone else singing. We handed out pass along cards. We definitely made many people's Christmas much more enjoyable. We ate a delicious Christmas Dinner at a members home and played an awesome game call Killer Bunnies. It is the funnest game ever! You all need to look it up. It is a fun family game. Calling home was great and lots of memories and reflection went on. I am so glad to be where I am now. This will be a Christmas I will always remember.

Saturday, I had the awesome opportunity to go to the temple with a recent convert! It was a blast! It is so peaceful and quite inside. It was nice to get away from all the noise and commotion outside! Manhattan is so much nicer than Bushwick. It is clean, and even quieter (Manhattan is still pretty noisy too). And to make it all better it even started snowing a little bit!

Last Sunday, the missionaries all spoke. I shared how Christmas to me is all about music centered on Christ and how music soothes the aching soul just like Christ does for us through the Atonement. I also saw the power of music in a family we caroled to on Christmas Eve. There was a family that was having some issues with other family and they said their Christmas wasn't feeling so Christmasy. They were so thankful for us to bring that spirit of Christmas to them. One lady who spoke mostly Spanish was crying and I could see that their countenances were much lighter! I am so grateful for my violin and the musical abilities I have to invite others to come unto Christ through music.

I had an awesome experience Christmas Eve as well. We were going to some referrals and delivering Joy to the World DVDs and we really didn't find any knew investigators. I really wanted to talk with someone and share the spirit of Christmas with them. I was on the subway and just felt that I needed to get up and tell the whole subway car Merry Christmas and let them know that Jesus Christ loves them. It took me a long time to build up the courage to do that, but I know that if I didn't do it I would be very disappointed in myself. So before we got off, I got up and told the people who I was and wished them a Merry Christmas and that the Savior loves and understands them. It was really cool and I felt that my Heavenly Father was pleased with me for doing that. It was truly an awesome experience.

It was a pretty busy week with lots of caroling so there aren't too many unique stories this time. This week should be great, however. We are meeting with a few different people and I hope that the spirit will be present and we can help them progress and learn of the true nature of Christ. Teaching is so much fun and is so much better than tracting!

I am sorry this letter is pretty short today. I am crunched on time this P-Day. There is no greater gift that I could have been given then to be serving a mission here in New York. This will be a Christmas I will always remember!

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Love,

Elder Hooper

P.S. it snowing like crazy outside right now! It is my first time actually being in snow that is falling! I love it :D

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 3 in Bushwick!


I am doing great! I sure love my mission and everything about it! It is getting colder each day and more wet. I have been wearing lots of layers and have been nice and warm. We are still trying to find people to teach. We have a lot of good potential investigators, just finding a time to meet with people out here is difficult. We have been caroling a lot again and have been to a few Christmas parties and block parties this week, so our missionary efforts have slowed down a little this week. We went to a party in Broadchannel where the missionaries spent 5 weeks cleaning up the neighborhoods. The people of this town were so grateful for our help. One lady was crying as she was thanking us. Everyone loves the Mormons in this area and treats us like royalty! I really can't wait for this area to be open for proselyting. Serving other people is so important! Lives were changed out here because of the selfless act of members and missionaries forgetting themselves and loving the Lord and the people over their needs.

The NYNYS Mission has a goal to bring 1 New Investigator to church a week. That will be a tough goal to meet, but I am excited for this because it makes us missionaries work even harder out here. With this mission goal, our District has set a goal to have 6 baptisms. I feel that is something that is definitely attainable. I feel that my companion and I may be able to have 3 baptisms soon. Elder McDonald and I have been praying and studying for our investigators and have had some true inspiration about what we should teach. I am so excited to teach them and bring the atonement and the gospel into these people's lives. I also will be going to the temple with a recent convert on Saturday!! I am way excited!

I am learning so much out here! I am increasing my understanding of the gospel and am learning more about myself as I study and help other people. I love my mission. So, now for this weeks funny stories!

First off, I got shot in the head on the subway the other day. This scary looking guy dressed in heavy clothes and covered in sweat was begging for money from people. He put his hat next to me trying to get me to put some money in and I told him that I didn't have any. He then took his hand, shaped it like a gun and put it next to my head and said BANG! It seriously scared me to death! We were teaching a lady who is from Turkey and doesn't speak the best English and we were teaching her about Christmas. We were saying that Christ was born in a manger. She didn't know what that was and we were saying how it was place where animals were kept like sheep. She thought we were talking about a ship (sheep sounded like ship to her). Then she was like oh you mean a Noof! So we said yes a Noof. Later we checked her understanding of what was being taught and found out that Noof is actually Noah in her language and she thought that Jesus was born on a boat! It was soooo funny! were cracking up.

We had a cool experience on the subway again. A man named Michael asked us for a bible. He was referring to the Book of Mormon and we gave him a copy. He was saying how he wants to meet with the missionaries so bad and really needs God in his life. Unfortunately he is not in our area but isn't too far away. We gave him to some other missionaries to teach. Last night, we met an older woman who grew up Catholic. She first opened the door and knew exactly who we were because she read about missionaries recently. She has cancer and is really starting to lose faith in Christ and is getting upset since she has lived her religion to the best she could and doesn't understand why God would do this to her. She is such a great lady! I felt the spirit guide our conversation. I felt how much God loved her. She wasn't quite ready to hear our message, but I feel that the Lord is preparing her to hear us in the near future.

That is week 3! I wish I could write more, but we are going to see the Brooklyn Bridge and eat at world famous NY pizza restaurant. I sure love New York and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I got a package from the ward loved all the letters! Thank you to all who wrote to me! Merry Christmas everyone!

Love,

Elder Hooper
This is my District minus Elder Finlinson, and with Brother Frandsen, a member of the Branch Presidency. We are all in purple ties in honor of feminist mormons haha! My companion and I met with the Frandsens for dinner and was saying how some women in the church were going to wear pants and men would wear purple ties for feminists in the church. We all decided to wear purple for fun :).


This my districts Christmas picture in our wonderful not mission approved sweaters!

Elder McDonald and I and our Christmas tree that actually had a lot of presents underneath it, thanks to Elder Broadbent's mom.



Monday, December 10, 2012

Jon doing Service for Mormon Helping Hands 
 Cool street sign
MTC Friends 
More MTC 
MTC 
Jon's Apartment with 4 Elders 
 Apt
 Hurricane Cleanup..


Hey Everyone,

I am officially in New York, currently in the Brooklyn Public Library writing this email! All my flights went smoothly and I arrived safely! Once we arrived The Assistants to the President and President and Sister Calderwood greeted us. They are all really cool people and made us feel very welcomed. They drove us straight to an apartment building and took us too the 9th floor then to the roof where we could look out over our entire mission. I had a lot of spiritual impressions thinking of the people I will be serving here. I felt God's strong love for them and wanted to help them understand the true nature of God and the Savior. It was truly a beautiful sight. We had an awesome view of Manhattan and all of Queens and Brooklyn. I also met with President Calderwood briefly and we discussed why I wanted to be here and such and just to get to know me. We stayed the night in the mission home that night and had a quick fireside (they had me play my violin too). I was getting very anxious to know where I would serve and who my trainer would be.

So the next morning we were taken to the mission office and we had a quick orientation and then we met our trainers and found out where our assignment to serve was! My companion is Elder McDonald. He has been here for 5 months and is a really cool guy. We seem to get along very well and he works very hard. He is doing a great job training me. This transfer, I am serving in Bushwick in Brooklyn. My companion and I focus on an area called Williamsburg. It is a litte ghettoish but I love it! There are buildings everywhere and people too! I love the subways and other public transportation. We use the subways a lot. They are so efficient! The area is quite filthy. Trash is everywhere. My apartment is pretty nice. Really small however. Its about the length of the living room/piano room in my house back home and the width cut in half. Its really long and skinny, but its perfect for what we need.

The weather is fun. Its like super cold every other day and its been rainy all week. When it rains its like a mist- this constant wave of mist just hitting you. It is very humid too! I am used to putting my clothes in the drier and putting the temperature on low and having all my stuff dry in like 10 minutes. Here, if you dont crank the temperature up to high and leave it in for atleast 20min, it wont dry. Nothing dries haha. We do our laundry at a laundromat a block a way.

Anyway, tracting is basically all we do here. We walk the streets and ring all the buzzers at every apartment building and hope that someone will let us is. Most people reject us. My very first door that I knocked on on my first day, this really tall hairy man with some short shorts opens the door, looks at us, and says "I am a satanist" and slammed the door in my face! It was actually pretty comical! Another lady started walking down the stairs and screamed "There are some guys in white shirts and ties. I don't know them!' and ran back up to her apartment haha! Having the door slammed is something that I am already getting used to, but no big deal. President Calderwood said something very profound that helped me deal with these rejections. He said that these people are not rejecting me. They don't even know who I am. They aren't rejecting me, they are rejecting the Savior. The past few days have been a little rough for me thinking about this. I want to share the message that we have because I know that it can bring peace abnd happiness in the lives of the people here! They need it! Some people say they are Christian have very strong relationships with God. They just don't understand that these relationships people say they have can be so much better if they would simply here our message. It has made me really sad to see these people reject the Savior. I so desperately want to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with these people.

I have seen the spirit work through me in many ways that I have never before seen. It prompts me to say what a specific person needs to hear. It bears testimony of Savior when I bear my testimony to other people (this is what is so hard because there are times where I know the person at the door is feeling the spirit, yet they still reject you). In planning sessions I have come to understand our investigators who I haven't even met yet! It is incredible and I am so thankful for these blessings I am receiving, and that the Lord trusts me enough to allow me to have these promptings. My hour of personal studya nd my 2 hours of companionshop study are the key to success everday. As I prepare myself spiritually, I am able to overcome my personal weaknesses and most importantly, receive revelation for those I teach. Study the scriptures!

We have a few people we are teaching, but arranging times to meet is difficult because everyone here is super busy! I have only taught in two lessons so far, but we are hoping to find some new investigators tonight and throughout the weeks. One of our Recent Converts, Floretta, just got her temple recommend and wants my companion and I to go with her! I wasn't one of the missionaries that taught her but I still get to go to the temple. I'm really lucky. That will probably happen later this week.

I have used my violin a lot out here! My first two days, my district and I went caroling on a street corner and they sang while I played my violin. It was pretty successful. There was few people that stopped and clapped (that is really rare for people out here). The next time we went was with our whole zone and we sang in the subway cars and I played my violin again too. This time it was tricky because of bumpy ride on the subway, but I manage to keep my violin in one piece. This time was also very successful. They went again with out my companion and I and they said it was lame because nobody really listened haha. They missed the violin. We do basically everything we can to get the public familiar with us missionaries and what we do everyday.

Last Saturday I had the chance to do some Hurricane Sandy clean up. We cleaned out a hoarders house. It took all day long. This was out in Broadchannel. This area was hit hard and was a mess. The people here were very nice to all of us because the missionaries have been down there for 5 weeks straight working. We were fed and taken care of by the neighbors. It was hard to see the destruction of the hurricane. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but the clean up is basically over.

Serving in this area is really tough and exhausting, but I love it. I am looking forward to what this next week has instore for me! I hope I covered everything I wanted to in this email!

My address currently is:This address will be good for about 6 weeks
Elder Jonathan Hooper
243 Harman St. Apt. 3L
Brooklyn, NY 11237

This address is the mission office and what ever mail is sent here will be forwarded to me (send any packages here):
Elder Jonathan Hooper
85 - 69 60th Dr.
Elmhurst, NY 11373-5547

I hope to hear from you all soon. Mail is so uplifting and the end of a really tough day!

Talk to you next week.

Love,

Elder Hooper

Thursday, November 29, 2012

 Me and Elder Miller

 Me and Elder Nording

Hey Everyone,

My second week has gone very well in the MTC. Most of you are probably wondering how Thanksgiving was. We started the morning off with a continental breakfast followed by a devotional given by ELder Jeffery R. Holland. I know, Elder Holland! It was really cool. The spirit was definitely present while he was in the meeting. His family gave a lot of musical numbers and said that he will "adopt" all of us missionaries this holiday. There a few things that I really loved that he said. He told us that we mus always be engaged in the working of saving the human soul. I must always be worthy and ready to teach and bring the spirit into someones home. Thanksgiving dinner wasn't too bad. I did miss the food at home though. We also put together some care packages for Mali, Africa which was fun! There were a few other devotionals throughout the day the consisted of music and giving thanks. But then, the MTC Presidency starting handing out popcorn and said we are going to spend the rest of the night watching a movie, 17 Miracles! All the missionaries in the room were like Oh My Gosh! a we get to watch a real movie! It was so funny how all of us were freaking out. It was a really fun night and it will be a Thanksgiving that I will always remember.

I finished the Book of Mormon for the second time on Friday! I took Moroni's promise and prayed about it. As I was pondering on the truthfulness of the book, I remembered how much I have grown closer to my Savior as I read it and how much I truly love and cherish its teachings. I just felt a strong love for the Book of Mormon and I knew that it was true. I also know the Joseph Smith was a true prophet and how much I look up to him and respect him for all that he has done. My companion and I had a chance to be taught by some other missionaries in our zone. They were didn't that great of a job. I feel really bad saying that, but it helped my companion and I realize how well were are actually doing for only have been here for a week and a half at that time. I have definitely seen a growth in my teaching abilities and how to bring the spirit into a lesson. In Preach My Gospel, "How to Begin Teaching" is the key to success in any lesson.

Remember Daniel from my last email? Well my companion and I finally had a major break through with him! We were asking around to anyone else that has taught him or who knows him a little better than we did. The TRC instructor told us that he wont share anything until he is loved. My companion and I didn't teach him anything accept talk about his relationship with God and we shared lots of personal experience that helped him with a lot of personal/family struggled he is faced with. We simply listened. We also apologized for anyway the we may have offended him and for our lack of care. I loved Daniel with all of my heart and did all that I could to listen to his concerns and just love him. We asked if we could have a prayer with him before we left. My companion and I both knelt and I offered the prayer. I prayed to bless himwith strength and help throughout these struggles and afterwards I could tell he was really touched by our love for him! It was a major success for us. My comp and I high fived after that lesson haha!

I have been playing my violin almost every night before we go to bed. All the other missionaries will gather around and listen and name songs for me to play. It is so much fun and everyone else says that they love hearing me play because it helps them relax after a hard day. I have been playing Lord of the Rings, Halo, and whole bunch of other random theme songs that they will sing to me and I will play it back to them. They all love it. I will trying out to play on Sunday at our big Mission Conference and will also probably play on Sunday during Sacrament meeting.

My Preparation Days consist of me writing emails, taking a nap, going to the temple, and doing lots of laundry. At the end of the day we have a General Authority devotional which are very uplifting!

I leave December 3rd next Monday! I will fly out from SLC at 6:55, I have to report to the travel office in the MTC at 3AM! I am going to be dead tired.

Love you guys. Thanks for all your love and support! I loved that package you sent me Mom. It really brightened my day a ton!

Love,

Elder Hooper

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hey Family and Friends!

I am still alive and kicking here in the MTC! The first few days are extremely tough. Every missionary goes through many trials and wants to go home their first few days. Your life in the MTC changes in an instance and it hits everyone in different ways. For me personally, I struggled up until Saturday and Sunday. I am so much happier now than I have been! All the older missionaries say just stick it out until Sunday and you will be totally fine afterwards and they are totally right. I am really starting to love it here. The spirit is everywhere and I am growing in my knowledge of the gospel everyday. My companion's name is Elder Miller. He is from Lehi, Utah. There are 4 Elders and 1 Sister in my district all going to the NYNYS Mission. The other 2 Elders are going to Bangalore India and the other 2 sisters are going to Chicago. My district and I are becoming very close and feel like I have known them my entire life. On my arrival, all the new missionaries got together for a New Missionary Orientation. As we were singing in the very beginning, the spirit hit me so hard that I was unable to sing. I knew that being on this mission is what I am supposed to do. I have been growing a lot spiritually and learning how to always have the spirit with me. I have memorized my purpose as a missionary and it explains everything that we are supposed to do as missionaries. My purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end".

Yesterday in my Teaching Resource Center (TRC) activity, we taught a referrals we got (not sure if he is not a member, or is really a member and acting). It was the hardest investigator ever! He is Catholic and really didn't care what we had to say. I was trying to get to know him and develop a relationship of trust, and he got so offended me trying to ask him questions. He even called my racist! Mainly because I am from Arizona where all the SB1070 and Sheriff Joe. We didn't get much teaching in, but we will try and teach him again Wednesday this week.

I have been called as the Senior Companion and also as our wards Music Coordinator. I choose all the hymns we sing in sacrament meeting and find a piano player and a conductor for the music. Its pretty simple, but now we get to sing good "recognizable" hymns since I get to pick them. Sundays are seriously the best days in the MTC. We have our priesthood meeting, Sunday school, sacrament, and then an awesome fireside afterward. My comp and I blessed the sacrament. The fireside was awesome! President Mciff of the MTC presidency gave a great talk. He showed a video of my mission and all the service they were doing out there. It was truly inspiring. The people in the New York called the Mormons out there angels because there was no one out there helping them accept the missionaries. They were all so happy for their help. I cant wait to get out of here and get into the mission field and bless the other people's lives of New York. My district was all freaking out after that since they were talking about our missionaries the entire fireside!

Just a little FYI. My P-Days will be on Tuesday and these are my only days to write letters here in the MTC so I wont be able to respond until then. Dear Elder is the best way to communicate with me. I get those letters the next day and it is seriously the best part of my day when we all get letters. We check our boxes twice a day. I will be here in the MTC until December 3rd.I could really use a clothes hamper to put my dirty clothes in. I don't like tossing my dirty clothes in the bottom of my closet. I love having our gym time. I really kick some butt at volleyball! I know this letter is all over the place. There is so much going on through my mind I just don't know what to write. I am doing much better here and the homesickness is finally fading to a point where I can focus and work now. I am overcoming a lot of challenges I face in life and am becoming a stronger more spiritual missionary, but most importantly a stronger priesthood holder. I gave a sister in our district a blessing and it was beautiful. I felt so excited to use my priesthood to bless others. She is doing much better now (she had a massive migraine that she needed a shot to help with the pain). I am learning how to love and to turn outwards during times of trial and well during all times. This work is not about me. It is about those who have gone without the gospel in their lives. Turn out, don't turn in. Prospective missionaries, learn to love. The church is true! I am doing well and love all of you so much! I will continue to respond to everyone in personal letters today to. I am out of time! Talk to you next week.

I love you!

Elder Hooper

Thursday, November 15, 2012

MTC Day

Jon flew out on Wed the 14th to report to the MTC. Here are a few pics from that day.












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