Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 63, You're Jamaican me hungry!

I am in Jamaica, Queens! I am still a city boy! I have been in every
borough in our mission now- Brooklyn, Staten Island, now Queens. I
have been to Manhattan and now I have to figure out how to get to the
Bronx! My new companion is Elder Busby and like my last companion, he
is also from Las Vegas, NV. He is a very strong missionary and works
hard and gets the job done right. I have enjoyed being with him and we
also have some fun things planned for our zone to help them increase
their faith to find new people to teach. We are in the process of
making a video of recent converts sharing their testimonies, how
missionaries found them, giving a few words of encouragement. Our zone
is having a difficult time finding people to teach and we have a SoE
of 20 new investigators per companionship per transfer. So that is 280
new investigators at the end of the transfer for our zone so we are
doing our best to hit that! Videos, graphs and more!

I have also been seeing some miracles of my own on Facebook! I have
joined a few bible study groups and I post some inspirational
scriptures or quotes and people have enjoyed them and comment on them!
I then respond to them and if they continue to reply I message them
personally and invite them to skype. So far in just a week I have
found 2 new investigators over online proselyting! I went on my first
zone leader exchange with District Leader Elder Bush, a Spanish
speaking Elder in Jamaica. We had an awesome miracle this evening too!
So we got back home at 8:50pm and since we knew that we must be
obedient and be home at 9pm and not before, we prayed and asked God
through our faith that we would find someone to teach during the next
ten minutes. We went out and knocked on a few doors and the first one
was a nice lady who wasn't too interested and the second was the
miracle. We noticed that Elder Bush's neighbor didn't shovel their
snow so we offered our services. Later on during the snow shoveling,
the man comes out of his house and says that he would like to learn
more about our theology! I was just like, wow, God truly did hear our
prayer and because we were obedient, we found someone to teach.

I remember when I was back in Bushwick and I was hungry all the time.
I went to Staten Island and I wasn't hungry very often. Now I am back
in a walking area and I am starving all the time again! All the
smells, walking all day, it is killing me.

My apartment is smaller than my previous one, but it is still pretty
nice. We have a balcony! Unfortunately, is soooo cold that I can
survive for on,y 10seconds out there. It has been snowing all week
basically and it is be 10 degrees frequently with strong wind. It is
not fun.

I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be- right here in
Queens. I have a great company. I love the missionaries that I preside
over and I love my mission. I love being a missionary!


Elder Hooper!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week 62, 7 months-Bushwick, 7 months-Staten, ? months-??

So funny story first. Immediately after getting on the Statue of Liberty ferry, I went quickly to the bathroom and went upstairs to join everyone else. This guy gives me a weird look and then is like "hey, come here". I come and then he beckons me to come closer to whisper to me, so I do. He says "check your zip". I was just like, oh my gosh thank you! It was funny. The sisters were like what was he saying and I just said oh nothing and then when they looked away I zipped up my zipper hahaha. The Statue of Liberty was a lot of fun. We weren't able to go to Ellis Island, due to time issues. Manhattan is so nice.

So today we went to the TEMPLE with Donald! It was a blast! The Novaks graciously drove us. It was just great to be inside the temple. Elder Legere baptized him like 25 times! He was baptized for family names so then we confirmed them immediately afterwards. He was freezing and shaking. I felt so bad for him. Then one of the most precious experiences I have had was when Elder Legere and I were able to baptized each other! I just felt the spirit and was so happy I almost couldn't even talk because I was just like, dude this is so cool. I felt that the Lord was pleased with our efforts. When we were changing, Donald was talking about how he was feeling and he said "I just can't describe how I feel" and the did his little oooohh sound. It was wonderful. I knew the Lord was pleased.

So, I am getting transferred! I will know where I will be going on Tuesday. I have also been called to be a Zone Leader. I am really excited for this opportunity to learn and also to help the other missionaries in my zone in this capacity. It is going to be great. I am also excited to see a new area as well. I will miss Staten Island so much. I really love the ward members, Donald, especially all the Sri Lankans and Bishop Glick's family. I love it here, but I have been having many impressions in the last few weeks that this was coming so I was prepared!

So we have had a few miracles lately. We seem to continue to find these unidentified less-active members :). We were looking up some Former Investigators and we saw a man names Rudolf. We called him and he was like I am still interested in having you guys over, come Friday. We went and a good lesson and then we said goodbye to his wife who was busy taking care of the baby and making dinner and she said, your church is on Rockland Ave right? Elder Legere and I were thinking, wait.. how do you know? She then said she was baptized in Ghana a few years ago and such! We were totally shocked. Hopefully we can unite this family in the Gospel! Eugene, a young man we have been teaching, has been thinking about baptism and he is praying about it! He is progressing quickly. I hope he will make the decision to be baptized. Elder Legere will take good care of him!

Well I am excited to be transferred. It will be bomb awesome!

Elder Hooper

Pics of my visit to The Statue of Liberty and Manhattan


 At the TEMPLE with Donald! It was a blast!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 61, 14 months!

Hey there everyone! I hope you have had a wonderful week. I know I have. Elder Legere and I didn't have our car for a few days as it need to have a few belts replaced. It was fun planning around that :P.

So after church we taught Walter again with Carlos. It was soooo good! He asked us who answers our prayers, God or Jesus. As I was trying to find scriptures and things to say I just felt I need to listen for the Holy Ghost. I stopped opened my mind and immediately Luke 11 came to mind, talking about God giving good gifts, James 1:5, and another scripture regarding the Holy Ghost answering our prayer came to my mind. I told him that God answers his prayers, but sometimes he uses His Son or the Holy Ghost or even another person around you to give the answer. It was cool to be taught by the spirit right there on the spot for me to teach that to Walter!

We had the chance to do some service for a neighbor down the street from us. We had a few members from the Elder's Quorum come help us as well. There was a lot of stuff and it was all going to a storage unit. After we unloaded the truck, we went back to help get the piano, which was so heavy! We get the piano up the ramp and instead of the ramp being secured level with the truck bed it was hanging below it and I was pulling the piano and trip backwards into the truck with my foot under the piano which got squished between the truck and the piano. I was just like aahhh! Stop! I was alright, but my toe was throbbing. It was a fun journal entry of course.

We taught Donald first about the importance of temple work and the ordinances that we preform there focusing more on baptism and confirmations since that is what we will be doing with him on Saturday!! He just totally understood it all. He was absolutely amazed and so excited to seal his parents. The Holy Ghost truly taught him about the Plan of Salvation. It was amazing to be apart of it. We then had planned to teach his family the same thing so we had Donald teach most of it, but, before we could really clarify anything, their internet got interrupted by some construction going on near their home so we just had to end it. From what we have heard, the Meehallage family is enjoying our discussions.

We had a young couple come to church yesterday! The wife is a member and the husband is not yet. We found her while she was working at a rehab center and she was like "hey, are you guys Mormon?" I was like you got it! We found out she was a member a baptized not too long ago in Brooklyn, but now lives here in Staten Island. She is so nice and her husband is really cool too! We are excited to visit with them this week.

Well I know that there is a ton of things in this letter as I have to go now! We are going to the Statue of Liberty! I will take lots of pictures!

Oh, so this a missionary parody of Ice Ice Baby that I am working on. This is what I have so far:

Alright Stop. Listen to our message. Sit down and read this passage.

All things, are gonna be restored.... and that is all I have so far. We are going to be making a missionary video with it :P
Gotta Go!

Elder Hooper
 Teaching Family History

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 60, Snow Storm Hercules, Less-Actives, and the Gas Station Story.

We have had some crazy weather! It has dropped into the single digits and snow storm Hercules brought lots of snow. We shoveled for lots of church members and then went around their neighborhoods and helped everyone else who was outside. It was a lot of fun. Everyone thought we were crazy for shoveling snow all day, but I just told them that I am from Arizona and I will never have an opportunity shovel snow ever again! My back was dead the next day though!

We seem to finding less-active members who are not even in the ward's records everywhere. One was a miracle! Walter was a media referral who wanted a bible. He came to church and enjoyed it and we gave him the requested materials. A few days later he says that he thinks he might actually be a member if this church. He said I either had a dream or I was baptized a long time ago. We this last Sunday we got his information and while we were teaching him, the other Elders walked in saying that the ward found his record! Walter was so happy that he was really was indeed a member of the church. He was baptized in 1979 at the age of 19. He does remember lots of random things about the church in Peru. We also located another at a rehab center we were at and she was baptized a few years ago in Parkslope, but lives on Staten Island and really misses church she says so we will contact her tonight. Then we got another lady's full name and date of birth to get records moved into the ward. They are just coming from everywhere! I think the Lord knows that there a few families that are moving out of the ward soon.

Donald Meehallage received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday! He was very excited and very well prepared for it as well. We has been taking it very seriously and is going to be such a huge help to the ward. We are taking him to the temple this week as well! We are very excited to take him of course! He is very excited as well. He attends every week, even if the roads are icy and it is 10 degrees and half the ward doesn't show up.

Here is the crazy story for the week: We needed some gas so we went with the other Elders since we lost our gas card. Donald's gas station was crazy! ( Donald works at this gas station) There were people racing in front of each other to get their fuel. Donald had us pull up to another gas pump that he blocked off to keep the crowd under control. So I filled our car up and that started all the trouble. One guy was mad that I was able to go right up and another guy was yelling that I was filling up my own gas (there are some gas stations that you can't fill up your own tank, they are full serve pumps) then they started yelling at Donald. Donald then nicely yelled back that they are missionaries and it is OK (which I thought was awesome and I was just thinking "Yeah, what he said!". Then my conscience kicked in and I felt so bad. Donald told us to just come up while we were waiting in line, so I just did what he said! So then I was like - Donald go to the other pump and I will start filling people up on this pump. So I filled up a few gas tanks so Donald could refocus. I felt so bad for him! Tons of crazy stuff. I probably broke some rules there. I wasn't thinking right, haha! I told one guy that we were part of the company and stop freaking out, which worked! It was quite funny! I really am obedient don't worry!

So we met with all the Fernando families in one setting and we felt prompted to talk about scripture study for one of them in particular. It went really well and we also found out that it was that person's New Years resolution to have deeper scripture studies. We also had the chance to just talk with them about their culture and such. They taught us how to say lots of phrases and such. They told us said at times they accent Honedi (hone die=good) sounding like honediiiii. Then Elder Legere is like that is why Donald always says gooood. And good good good. It was just so funny to realize that, and it just started a whole hysterical conversation about pronunciation of both English and Sinhalese. It was so funny. I would try to pronounce words in Sinhalese and they would laugh at how bad I did and such. It was such a funny experience. When ever I see someone from Sri Lanka I hunt them down and say what Sinhalese I know to them :D.

Well I have to get going now! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Hooper
 This is what Snow Storm Hercules left for New York so far.
 The view out my apartment window.
 New Years Resolutions and Donald Meehallage.

Needs no explaining!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Week 59, Holiday Week.

Christmas was great! We had lots of fun being together as a district and also being so well taken care of and loved by the members in the Staten Island 1st Ward. We Christmas lunch at the Saulong's, and Christmas dinner at the Bishop's house where we also skyped home. It was great to see my family face to face/computer! We had a nice Christmas basketball tournament with the ward that night as well. That morning during our studies, we called up the other Elders below us and we studied from Luke 2 while watching the coordinating bible videos which was awesome! My favorite part though is when the angel comes says "Peace on Earth, good will toward men" because I read that in the tune of Far, Far Away on Judea's Plain :D.

Donald Meehallage is getting the priesthood next Sunday! We are so excited for him and I think he is way more excited than us. He also can't wait to go to the temple. Donald is an amazing man. I wish you all could meet him. He is so pure in heart, he loves everyone, and he always has a smile on his face. He is going to love going to the temple in 2 weeks.

While on an exchange, I had the opportunity to teach a young man in Denmark over Skype! It was awesome! This young man stayed at Elder Liston's home for a few months as an exchange student where he was introduced to the Gospel. He is very open and knows a lot about the church. In his closing prayer he ask God to bless us with a good evening, paused for a second and then said, morning, afternoon, or wherever we are! It was funny. We had people on Skype at that moment in Utah (8am), Staten Island (11am), and Denmark (6pm)!

Eugene, a man Elder Legere and I have been teaching, is doing really well. We talked about his relationship with God and how to develop it. We also committed him to ask his manager to have Sundays off. He was a bit hesitant as his manager is pretty mean. I explained that I once had a pretty crazy manager as well, but did it. He said he would do it. The next morning we got a text saying that he asked his manager and she agreed to allow him to have Sundays off! I was so happy to hear that! He is going to progress so much faster now. He is about 25 years old and is just a great guy. Eugene and I have many similar challenges so we help each other a lot.

Our Mission Christmas Eve Concert was awesome! It was so much fun listening to all the other missionaries give musical numbers. Our's got a lot of feedback. We have a pretty talented zone with lots of musicians. Elder Liston and I played a medley of a few Christmas songs,(which I am waiting to be sent the video of) at the Narrated part and it was great, thanks to my Grandma Hooper. There was a very strong spirit present during the whole concert. I was so pumped up after it- just wanted to baptize everyone! Just kidding, but really.

Well I have to get going now. We are going to do some late Christmas shopping. My watch broke so that is what I will be on the hunt for!

Happy New Years!


Elder Hooper