Monday, June 24, 2013


Transfer number 6 here I come. I am being transferred! I have no clue where yet, but I will find out who my companion is and where I will be going tomorrow in our big transfer meeting. All the missionaries who are being involved in transfers will gather at the mission office and start listing off new companionships and areas. It is a very intense meeting full of laughter and excitement. It is especially fun to see the reactions of everyone. There are always "ooooohs" and "ohhs"! Its fun. Next Monday I will let you know where I will be.

I was really hard to say goodbyes to so many people I love in the Bushwick 1st Branch. There are so many members that I grew close too. I took lots of pictures, but I forgot my camera cord so I will have to send them next Monday. I also had a really cool opportunity to interpret for a deaf lady that came to our sacrament meeting. She is trying to decide whether or not to go to our branch or the deaf branch due to commute issues. I did an alright job, but she said that I did pretty good job for my first time. I also had the chance to bear my testimony on last time and I even added some sign language in there for her too! The branch had no idea that I knew sign language. They saw me interpreting and came up to me and said "you play the violin, you are awesome, and you know sign language! What else can you do that we don't know about?" I got a kick out of that.

Although I won't be in this area to continue this event, I contacted the New York Blood Center and started a blood drive at the church in our area. I was really excited about doing this! I think it will bring people into the church building that would never have come any other way. People are quite interested in donating blood and the NYBC is so excited to work with us since they have hardly any people to sponsor blood drives in Brooklyn. They also are going to give us two free Mets tickets for everyone that comes to donate blood for a summer 2013 game. Hopefully Elder Lewis will be able to take over this event now that I won't be there for it.

So a few days ago, we helped a family move to Seattle (that is going to be a long drive!). Their daughter was being so funny. She had a squirt gun and was shooting us and then soon the water fight began. Once the daughter got pretty wet, she came out with a cup of water and just threw it and Elder Finlinson and soaked him! It only escalated soon to everyone getting wet except me and Elder Lewis. We hid next to Grandma which was the safe zone, until she launched a cup of water at me which I used my ninja, jedi, matrix skills to dodge and it partially hit the Grandma! It finally came to an end with the daughter completely soaked head to toe and then the daughter with a full cup of water saying "we aren't finished yet, he isn't wet yet" then immediately splashed Elder Kang totally soaking him! It was hilarious!

Ahh! So Crazy-Ann found me the other day. She is a lady that all the missionaries try to avoid because she is a little crazy. I saw her in the bodega and I just dropped my head and walked away, but she chased me down and kissed me on the cheek and tried to make me give her a blessing right there on the street. She scares me man! Don't worry, I survived.

Well I have to get going and start packing and stuff. I love you all so much! If you plan on sending any mail this week just send it to the mission office address and they will get it to me. Thanks for all your support and the package Uncle Kirk!


Elder Hooper
NYNYS Mission Office
85-69 60th Dr.
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 31 NYNYS, The end of transfer number 5

Hello from NYC!

It has been a trying week for me! Williamsburg and Greenpoint where I proselyte is probably one of the more difficult areas to work in. Everyone is young and into the ways of the world, fashion, "hipsterism", etc. We have been coming across lots of false doctrine and other things from people that are just confusing my mind! There is however one thing I am sure on, and that is that Joseph Smith really was a true prophet and through him the church, the priesthood keys, and another witness of Jesus Christ was restored. I know that the Savior lives as well. I have felt his redeeming and forgiving power of the Atonement multiple times in my life and I cannot deny it.

Last week, I had an awesome opportunity to go to the family history center in downtown Brooklyn to learn some of the basics of beginning on family history. I learned a lot about how to get started and once you have gotten the basics filled out how to move on after that. I felt really close to my family members as I was doing some research on the Pollmann side of my family. I sure do love family history.

We have had some crazy rain storms out here lately. I bought a decently cheap umbrella and it lasted for a while until a gale force wind inverted it and snapped the metal pieces that hold the fabric together. It was still intact enough that it covered in my head, but than another gale force wind hit us and the umbrella shaft snapped. I just Hulk-smashed it on the ground a few times and tossed it in the garbage and got soaked :D. I went out and bought a fancy umbrella from staples that is made of fiber-glass and has a vented canopy for wind. Bring it on rain!

Elder Lewis and I are pro-status at handball right now. We have played a few nights with some younger guys out at the park and we basically rock. Two guys with shirt, ties, and dress shoes destroying people. It is fun. We are starting to become part of the handball community since we see and play a lot of the same people.

My companion and I taught Gospel Doctrine on Sunday. I think it went really well. People were very appreciative to what we discussed. We created a scenario of a person named "Jerry" who is active in the church, reads, prays, has a good family, etc and just feels like he is lacking spiritually. We discussed as a class what we could do to help Jerry, who is really all members of the church at times. We made this lesson as an opportunity to have the branch members help each other strengthen themselves without them really realizing it! Many people were taking notes and thanked us at the end. I love to teach classes!

This next week is looking pretty promising as we do have appointments with people to teach, which I am very excited for. Not teaching people is pretty disappointing!

Oh yea! We discovered that the roof of our apartment has an awesome view of Manhattan! I tried to take some pictures, but so far none of them turned out right. It has been so nice out at night that we will spend some time on our roof before we go to bed and look up at the 12 stars that we can see (kind of sad right? 12 stars is all I counted).

Transfer calls are this week, so next Monday I will let you all know if I am getting transfered or not.

Happy Fathers Day, Happy Birthday to Kaitlyn and Grandma Hooper, and Happy Birthday to my awesome Mom on the 18th! I love you guys so much!

Elder Hooper

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 30 NYNYS - 7 Months in good ol' NYC

Hey there everybody! Everything is going very well here in Brooklyn. Some exciting news for the church here in New York this week is that a new branch called the Belle Harbor English Branch has been organized by the First Presidency and President Calderwood. Right now the branch is meeting in a member's home until they get a building worked out. This is right where the Hurricane Sandy efforts were so we are excited to see the Lord's Kingdom progress in that area where our mission's efforts have been so focused.

Due to the Tropical Storm Andrea, we have had lots of rain here and much more to come this week unfortunately! Rain for missionaries is not so fun. I feel bad for the missionaries that have to ride bikes in the rain back home.

I have had a really good week. I have learned a lot, especially on Sunday. I had the chance to go on exchanges with my district leader, Elder Kang, and was able to pick through his dying(going home) 23 month old missionary brain for some tips and ideas for being a good leader and successful missionary. I also received some much needed revelation during our Branch Conference on Sunday. I have been feeling like I haven't been working as hard as I should be. I have been in this area for 7 months and I have been noticing that I am starting to get comfortable here. I was praying for some help to know what I can do to get back going and not be "compelled to obey" and be a "slothful servant". In sacrament prayer it talks about keeping all the commandments which "He has given them". A scripture that I recently memorized in Matthew 28:19-20 says to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you". I realized at that moment that the Missionary Handbook and its rules are commandments that I have received at this time, and I have been and will be for the rest of my mission promising every week that I will obey them. I have set a vision, some goals, and made plans to be more obedient than I have been. So far I am doing much better and proud of myself for the changes I am making.

I had another experience testifying to me that I have truly been called of God to serve in New York. It is a personal experience for someone that Elder Lewis and I have been visiting and I feel it would be inappropriate to write in this email, but you can ask my parents and they will tell you at their discretion.

Family History has been a huge tool for Elder Lewis and I! It is very effective in our area and I have drawn out a huge family tree on poster board and printed out my 9 generation fan chart and people are fascinated! Even my next door neighbor was very intrigued since she has been looking for her ancestors and found that we have ancestors that are related and she has been searching for names that are already in the computer! It is such a wonderful thing. I feel especially closer to my relatives that have passed on as I have been studying their history. Elder Lewis and I are going to the family history center in Parkslope to learn how to help people who are just starting on Thursday with our branch's family history consultant.

Thank you to all who have sent letters my way. It is great to hear from you all. I have to get going now, but everything is good in da hood!

Elder Hooper

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Week 29 NYNYS, Hipsters, weird people, and more!

We had a slower week, but lots of things went down! The Boyd family in our branch has a girl named Ava who turned 8 almost a year ago and due to family circumstances she wasn't able to be baptized right away. Her dad is not a member and they don't have any family here in New York. Just last week they finally had some family in time and they wanted to have Ava be baptized that Saturday. Earlier in the week we had a fun lesson with her and her family about baptism. We used an analogy that Elder Lewis used in the past with water and pepper symbolizing the world and sin, clean water representing baptism and soap representing the Holy Ghost. You dip your finger into the water and pepper and it comes out all covered in pepper, or sin, and then you rinse it all off in the other bowl of water and are cleansed from sin, and then you receive the Holy Ghost and put some soap on your finger and go back into the world and all the sin shoots away from you! They really thought it was cool.

We met with Matt Bronner for dinner as well and went over the basics for performing ordinances like blessings properly and we had him consecrate some oil as well. He is so excited to be able to hold this powerful priesthood!

We also had an interesting lesson with Dez last night. We might wait a little longer for his baptism since I think there was a little bit of misunderstanding about what happens after baptism. He really likes us and appreciates the hard work we put into teaching him and respects the members that have helped us teach him too. He asked if it was ok to be baptized here and then go to the another church that he has been attending. He wanted to be baptized with us because he wants to honor our efforts. We helped him understand that we do not want to him to be baptized for our sake or for the members, but for his Heavenly Father and himself. We talked about the priesthood a bit as well. We still aren't sure what we will share next with him. I will be doing a lot of prayer and thinking on his behalf to know what he needs. We also gave him a blessing to help understand what his Heavenly Father wants him to do. I sure do love Dez with all my heart. He is a dear friend of mine and I only want what is best for him.

Elder Lewis had this awesome idea for a finding activity to brighten up the dreadfully hot day. He wanted to do a scavenger hunt and take picture of people that met certain criteria we set up. I will send pictures of who we talked to. We got 11 out of the 15 categories and we destroyed the other companionships too.

There was also this skanky lady on the bus that was arguing with the bus driver since she couldn't the fare because she didn't have change. She was making thing big commotion and finally the bus driver was like yo, get off my bus. She goes to go through the front door, but he wouldn't open and told her to go out the back. She starting saying something about how the front door must have been broken and what not. We were laughing so hard at all of this. There was a teenager that was laughing about how she came on the bus through the front and now she was saying its broken. You had to be there to understand exactly what happened, but it was so funny. I see so many funny things out here.

We have been playing a lot of handball with the youth out here. At around 5pm they all crowd around in the parks and play handball. It is the funnest sport ever. I wish they had handball courts in Arizona. We always have to go back and change afterwards, because I swear I sweat my entire body's supply of water due to the humidity! It is so hot! McCarren Park is the nicest park in our area and it is really close to our apartment. There are hundreds of people playing baseball, kickball, soccer, handball, running, exercising, playing basketball, and even at the swimming pool. It is really fun to be around there and talking to people around there. They also have a big farmers market every Saturday too. The summers are really fun out here since everyone is outside doing things.

We did a Plan of Salvation/Family History activity out in Williamsburg with all the hipsters. We actually had some really good conversations that lasted for about 20 minutes each. I think we finally found what works well in this neighborhood in our area. There are so many different neighborhoods in our area. People tend to live in small communities and each one has their own personalities.

Everything out here is going well! I sure do love Brooklyn. It is such a fun area. It is however very challenging and discouraging at times. I feel like I am in a foreign country most of the time.

Mom and Dad, thank you so much for the awesome package! I loved it! Grandma Hooper: Happy Retirement! I loved your letters as well.

I have been here for almost 7 months. It is crazy how fast time flies by.

Love you guys,

Elder Hooper

Week 29 Pics, Hipsters, weird people, and Dez.