Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 50, With a new transfer and a new companion comes a great responsibility! plus pics

Happy Monday everyone! We had a really good week here in Staten Island. I will be staying here for at least another 6 weeks, but Elder Tuiaki is leaving me! Nooo! I am going to miss him so much. We have had a lot of fun together these past 4 months. So on Wednesday, the week before transfers, the mission president makes calls if you will be a trainer. That whole day we both were freaking out whenever the phone would ring since we both felt that one of us was getting a call. So as we both were freaking out, Elder Tuiaki starts playing ring tones and pretending to answer the phone and say "Hello this is Elder Tuiaki. Oh, President, I am doing good how are you? Oh you want Elder Hooper?" kind of stuff all day! It was pretty funny. Then at 8:30pm that night as we were driving home, the phone rings and Elder Tuiaki is like, "uh oh". He shows me the phone and it says President Calderwood. We both just start freaking out. He answers it and puts it on speaker phone and President says "The Lord wants you to be a trainer!" and Elder Tuiaki says "Wait you mean for Elder Hooper?" and President is all like, no for you! and Elder Tuiaki was going crazy and screaming since he was so excited and President and myself were busting up laughing! It was fun. He then told elder Tuiaki to come to the meeting the next morning and he says to make sure to bring Elder Hooper with you too. So that hinted that I was going to be told something as well, but I didn't really think much of it until at the meeting President Calderwood says that he wants to meet with me. He called me to be the district leader here! I am very excited for this opportunity to learn and help my district! it is going to be a blast!

So we had a really cool experience with prayer a few days ago. There was a man pulled over on the freeway taking up a lane and we pulled in front of him to see if he needed some help. His car broke down so we agreed to help him get it off the freeway. We took out car off the freeway and walked back on to help push Ramos' car off the freeway. We were unsuccessful unfortunately since this huge hill we were attempting to go up was too much for me and my Tongan buddy haha! I told Ramos that the only thing that we could do now, is to pray. So we hopped in his car and I prayed with all the faith I could get out of myself. Immediately after I said "please just help us get the car off the freeway so we can diagnose the problem safer" we hear a knock on the window and it is a police officer that said, put your car in neutral and I will push you off the freeway! He took his car and pushed us off! It was so cool! Ramos also was just feeling so blessed that day and it was just an amazing experience.

Donald, the awesome Sri Lankan man we met a while ago is doing really well. He has a baptismal date for November 17th! He came to our Ward's primary program (which was so good!) and he loved it. We taught him again this morning, yes on our P-Day so Elder Tuiaki could see him one last time. I met a man from Turkey at the ferry earlier last week and we were able to teach him at the church with a member and the other Elders in my district set us up a member present lesson with an awesome young man too! It was a good week!

We will be adjusting our lemonade stand to some hot chocolate stand at the ferry this week as it is super cold! Having a car is nice since we can turn on the heater :D. We are going to be at Stop&Shop this week to promote our blood drive we are doing on November 9th. It is going to be a good activity we hope. We also will be promoting Family History some more and Bishop wants to put an add for our FH center since we are going to be there and open it up in the mornings now as well! There are lots of fun activities happening!

I am sorry there isn't a whole lots of details in this letter. The computers in the library are cutting our time short! Gotta go carve come pumpkins!

Elder Hooper

Happy Halloween!

Holding hands at the rockaways ( an area hit hard from Sandy)

Donald is in the tan jacket and the others are the Sri Lankan families in our ward who are awesome! 
 Creepy girl we saw

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 49, Facebook is not all....

Hey everyone! Another really good week for Elder Tuiaki and I. We had many blessings and unplanned teaching opportunities come. But first off, we are getting iPads and iPhones November 11-13! Each missionary will get their own iPad mini for their entire mission, therefore, they are expected to take good care of it. Our Area Book, Planner, Progress Records, etc, will now all be digital and be updated in the iCloud and all of that info in certain areas will transfer over to our iPad wherever we go! Facebook and all the online proselyting stuff will be with us at all times and we can now have Skype lessons much easier. It is super exciting! I can already see myself walking up to someone and talking with them about General Conference and be like hey do you want to see a highlight from this talk? and whip out the iPad and show them! It is going to be so cool.

This 6 week transfer is coming to an end and Saturday we will get the call to whether or not we are leaving or staying. I most likely will be staying, but Elder Tuiaki will be probably leave since he has been here for 9 months! He has been my favorite companion. He is so funny. We laugh at everything and have a good time and always crack jokes and people who are crazy.

Madeline is doing very well! She finally went a day without smoking and she was so happy about it. We have a new baptismal date for her on November 17. She knows this church is true and loves it. She has a very strong testimony of Christ and knows we were the answer to her prayer as we knocked on her door the very day she was praying to know what she should do. 

We have also been able to run into people along the way as well. I definitely feel that it is inspiration as we pick people to go visit the night before as we plan or even just at the moment. We were going to visit and friend named Luis, and we stated walking up to his apartment when we saw him walking up the hill from the ferry terminal. It was perfect timing. He also agreed that it was perfect that we came when we did. We also went to visit a lady we haven't ever seen. We have met her husband many times, but never her. We went to her house, knocked on the door, and again she wasn't home, but right as we turned to leave, there she walked, right up the stairs to her home and we taught them! Lots of cool things like that happened. 

We also had the funnest Sunday ever! The Mud Lane Society, a community group to help keep the historic homes... well... historic, put on a haunted house tour of the historic houses. Our bishop's house is historic so he had us help out with that. The neighbors got out the make-up and latex and made all of our faces look like zombies so we were dead missionaries! It was soooo fun! I have a few pictures of it, but the Elder that took the pics, forgot his camera today so I will get those next week. We helped out by making sure the tourists payed and marked off which house they came too. It was a blast. We got to know the neighborhood well too and they are such good people. One of the families that Elder Tuiaki and I helped are going to come with us to a FHE/ game night at the Bishop's house on Monday. It is going to be a lot of fun. Oh and everyone thought we were awesome and looked super cool.

Everything is going well in Staten Island. Elder Tuiaki and I are going to be fearlessing (street contacting) people around the ferry instead of knocking on doors. It is more fun and successful too! It is getting cold too and that is why I am spending the rest of my P-Day going shopping with some Birthday money :). 


Elder Hooper

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 48, Social Media, Birthday, 11 months! Pics!

Hey there everybody! Sorry this is late. Yesterday was Columbus Day so all of the NY libraries were closed. Elder Tuiaki and I had a pretty good week.

“Why would 18- and 19-year-olds be willing to put their lives on hold for up to two years,” he asks, “at a time when their peers are working through college or starting careers?”

The answer, Otterson says, is that Mormons learn from their youngest years to follow Jesus Christ by serving all people everywhere. Across the globe, such service brings missionaries in contact with people in “every conceivable kind of trial and circumstance,” Otterson says. “From opulence and selfishness to chronic, spirit-numbing poverty. From the effects of drugs and alcohol to the invidious addictions of pornography and gambling. From broken homes and battered wives to neglected children and debilitating illness. Missionaries encounter it all. But along with the bad,” Otterson continues, “missionaries also see the redemptive power of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it transforms lives.” I just wanted to share this quote from because I encountered this question this week and the answer that was given is so true! There was a Catholic woman that was saying she wishes the young people in her church would even have the desire to do something like we do. She asked me what gives the young men and women in our church the desire to do this for 2 years? I responded in a more amusing way and said "maybe it is because we have the truth!" and we laughed. I have experienced many of the challenges the world faces in this statement and quite a few more as well!

Using Facebook has been such a great tool for us out here. When we are talking with people on the street, we can just ask for their email, search it in Facebook and then their profile pops up and then we can chat with them where they can control the situation and get more comfortable with having us in their own home in person. It has been a marvelous blessing to us out here. Not only to investigators, but also to members! It has made the missionary work come to life!

My birthday was great! I had a fun day. I made a lemon cake that my mom sent me and we partied! It was fun. Aunt Leslie, thank you so much for the cake balls. They are delicious. They were all gone in two days and maybe even sooner. I appreciated all the birthday cards and I am working on responding to all of them! The star wars package was pretty cool too Mom and Dad. My companion and I took the blow-up light-sabers and dueled.

The sister missionaries had a baptism last Sunday and it went well even after the small crisis before hand. I was in charge of filling the baptismal font and I some how didn't get the drain completely plugged. After checking on it multiple times and not noticing the drain, there was definitely not enough water for the baptism to be performed. One of the sisters even decided to go all the way into what water was present to try and fix the drain. It was pretty funny. Six of us members/missionaries grabbed some pitchers and were frantically filling them up with warm water and trying to assist the water faucet. It helped just enough to complete the baptism. All was well!

So while we were singing at the ferry again last week, we had a few drunk people come up to us and started dancing and trying to conduct our group and such. It was quite hysterical and I played along with them to make them happy so they wouldn't get mad so they would leave. It was pretty funny until they approached our table and started arguing with my companion about something. This always happens to my poor companion. I don't know why all the mean people approach him. He got really upset after that, so we went to Rite Aid and bought some awesome Halloween masks and play around with to cheer us up. Yes, we have scared some people already! Don't worry they were just other missionaries :D. I will post some pictures we took.

So yesterday was my 11 month mark. I can't believe I have already been out for almost a year. It has gone by so fast. Time flies when you are having fun and finding, teaching, and baptizing!

Madeline is still progressing! She has a strong desire to follow Christ and has actually been apart of many churches prior to meeting with us. She has been searching for the truth in it's entirety and she says she feels that she has finally found it. She is determined to be baptized next month. We also have a few other families we are trying to work with and teach, but it has been hard to get in contact with some of them.

I am sorry there aren't very many details in this letter. I forgot my journal and have to get going! Thank you for all your support. My love and prayers go to all of you.

Elder Hooper
Birthday Cake, Happy 20th!

Masks they bought to scare the other missionaries and have fun with.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Week 47 -#ldsconf #so-old, and Pics. Happy Birthday Elder Hooper

I hope everyone had a wonderful General Conference weekend! I really enjoyed conference. it is definitely a holiday to me on a mission! I wish all of Staten Island, could have been watching this. If people would come watch, there is no way they could deny this church! The weather is getting chilly and it was super foggy yesterday. The leaves on the trees are changing colors which is so cool to watch.

So Elder Tuiaki and I's favorite thing to do while we are knocking on doors is to make funny missionary rap songs. I beat-box and he raps! Its pretty fun. Elder Tuiaki knows the "missionary purpose" in Chinese and it is the coolest sounding rap ever!

During our music street sweep at the ferry a few days ago, there was a woman that came to our table and said she was Muslim and was getting so offended that we were here sharing Book of Mormons and such saying that Mohammed is who we should be following. Then she sternly said "you know what, I am just going to sit over here and listen to your music and not talk to you guys". As she listened, the spirit worked within her and the words we sang touched her heart and then she re-approached the table and asked if she could read and pray about one of those Book of Mormons. It was awesome! And during our lemonade street sweep at the ferry, Elder Liston a Chinese speaking Elder who is serving in the English program now talk to a bunch of Chinese people and one of them came to General Conference yesterday and is now being taught by the sisters! It was awesome!

We taught quite a few lessons this week with members and are now preparing a few less-actives to go to the temple. We met a young man across the street from us and we have taught him. He is a very good young man and that is a big deal for living in NY and truly wants to follow Christ. He is pure in heart and I know that if he chooses to accept this path he will be so much stronger to handle the stresses of his life and will be a great missionary. One of the young men in the ward happens to be friends with him too!

I will be using Facebook starting tomorrow! Isn't that an awesome birthday present. Once the mission gets settled in with Facebook, then we will get iPads to use. It is going to be awesome. I am so excited to use social media. Lately people have been asking me if I am on Facebook and now I can tell them I am. Our Ward Mission Leader has made us labels with our media info on them to give to people to looks us up on Facebook and He also put my blog on it too, which I am not so sure if I like, but we will see.

Everything is going well in Staten Island. We have a few new families we have on the radar hoping we can teach. We are working hard and trying to take the advice that were given in conference to be more successful in the mission field. Sorry this is so short. We are going into Brooklyn for our Zone Activity and are late :O! I still can't believe I am 20 years old- so old.

Elder Hooper

Sammy Jr and Sammy Rosa. They are the coolest guys every. Brother Rosa goes teaching with us a lot.