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.












video

Friday, November 9, 2012

This is the official page to read news, updates, and see photos of Jons mission.