Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 67, It was warm!

Hallelujah, it was finally warm this weekend. Unfortunately it is cold
again today, but to have 50 degrees and the snow melting was a tender
mercy. This week went by so fast and I can hardly remember anything.

We have been working with two families that are making preparations to
go to the temple! It is so exciting to help other families preparing
for an eternal marriage.

Well here was our week: Stake Mission Correlation, Stake Priesthood
Leadership meeting, exchanges, zone leaders meeting, district meeting,
weekly planning, deep clean of our apartment, and another district
meeting. I don't even know what to write about! We were in lots of
meetings and trainings. It is really cool how unified all the stakes
in this mission are in the "Work of Salvation".

So to make this email interesting here is a list of the crazy things I
saw this week: I walked down into the subway and there was this dense
smell of B.O., manure, and sewage. It was so bad. Then this big guy
with long gray hair with a long gray beard walked by and there was the
smell! It was the worst smell ever. I felt so bad for this man. He was
homeless and wherever he walked he cleared a big path through all the
people. It was so sad! The next was the guy scamming people for money.
He had this blue board with three cups and a ball and if you gave him
money and guessed where the ball was he would double your money. I
walk by and this lady gives him $100! I don't know if she lost or not.
I got rejected hardcore on the street haha! I go up this guy and
seemed like a sporty type so I was like hey do you play basketball? He
just gives me a dirty look and said don't talk to me then he hopped in
a taxi. A manhole blew up on Jamaica Avenue and flames were scorching
out of it so the cops surrounded to and the NYFD got it all taken care

Well that was a summary of my week! Sorry there wasn't a lot of details!


Elder Hooper

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 66, 15 Months :O

It has been so snowy and cold out here! So, super funny story to add to all the weather. On our way home Elder Busby and I came across a HUGE puddle on all sides of us on the sidewalk and street to our apartment. The only way around it was to just go through it and get soaked. I was like, nope, ain't nobody got time for dat. So I saw a gate on someone's driveway and I jumped onto it and started Prince of
Persia-ing across it to get around the water and Elder Busby follows, then I grab onto one of the decorative heads on the fence to pull me across and it snaps off, flies out of my hand, and I almost go down with it since I had all of my body weight on it! and yes I am fat. So I then just give up and let go and fall into the water, but then I caught my jacket on the fence and got stuck for a minute. I am just dangling there with my feet sopping on the water. We both got a pretty good laugh out of that.

I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the temple with Honey Rose Mendoza to receive her endowment with her mom, the senior couple, the Scukanecs, and Sister Hopkins and Seely. It was a really neat
experience. It was great! I learned so much more and the new presentations are great! Just remember the covenants I have made inside helped me to recommit to serve my mission as I promised to dedicate my life to my Heavenly Father there! I also realized the importance of making covenants with God. Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, we were cut off from the presence of God and would never be able to return to Him. But God, knowing all things, provided away for us to get around this, and that is our Savior, Jesus Christ!

We held a zone flash mob on the J train at Jamaica Center. It was so much fun! I got on the train and just started playing random things on the violin to get everyone's attention on me. While I was trying to distract everyone from seeing all these similar-looking-young-people load up on the train, I was trying to make sure I didn't go down when the train was moving! Once the last person would get on, I would play the intro to I Feel My Savior's Love. And 2 sisters would start singing and then everyone else would gradually join in! It was a blast!

During another singing activity, there was a couple people who signed up for church DVDs. We went to deliver the requested movie, talked to her and set up a time to go back and talk about it. We went on to our
next appointment and that fell through so we were like, well we could just go back to that one family and see if we can teach them now. We did and they let us in! We even prayed before hand that it wouldn't be awkward haha! They are so great. It is a family of four and the 2 kids are twins! They were very active in the lesson and had tons of questions. We are so excited to have found them!

So here is a picture of the fence and also a zone activity we are doing right now- paintball style dart wars.
Love, Elder Hooper

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 65 - More Snow, Purple Hair, and Being a zone leader is a lot of fun!

This week was crazy! We taught a lot of lessons this week which was awesome. For half of them I was on exchanges with other missionaries. It felt like the week went by so fast. We got some more snow again last night it doesn't stop coming!

Being a zone leader is a lot of fun, but lots of work! I had the opportunity to be able to attend a Mission Leader Council with all the other zone leaders and sister training leaders, with the assistants and President and Sister Calderwood. My mission president is a stud. He was a starting safety for Northwestern University and he showed us a video of him on the news when he was playing and some highlights of his football career. The video was him being interviewed how he endured through Hodgkin’s Lymphoma attending a university, being married, and having 2 kids, and how his faith got him through it. He was talking to us about enduring to the end so he used his experience. Something that I never thought about before is how much missionary work has changed and how Christ has basically given a higher law or a "more excellent way" for missionaries today. Instead of flip charts and memorized lessons, which were effective at that time, now a more excellent way has been given, Preach My Gospel, lessons taught more by the spirit and we can teach anything that a person needs, and now to iPad’s, and online proselyting. We have been given a lot more commandments to live so we can have the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. It's cool! #thehastening

Remember that zone meeting I was explaining last week? It went really well! The spirit was very strong and all the videos that we made were awesome. All the missionaries loved it and we were all pumped up to find new investigators.

So when I was on exchanges with Elder Marca in my zone (his companion is the district leader) we got lost! He is also slightly new to the area so he doesn't know the buses very well either so we ended up getting lost and walking a ton! We ended up walking a mile and a half the wrong direction at one point! My legs were dead that night!

Ok funny story! So I just got my haircut and the guy cutting my hair (who is a member of the church) jokingly said "do you want me to curl your eyebrows?" And he laughed and I said sure and why don't you just throw in some purple too! So he goes into a back room after he threaded my eyebrows and grabs this purple gel stuff which I thought was just gel and he rubs it all into my hair and he shows me the bottle and it says purple color and my hair was just purple! I was freaking out! I was just like oh...my...gosh... I am going to literally going to have to go bald (I thought I had a few years left before it got that bad, haha!) I was just like dude you have to wash this out like now! He starts washing my hair and Elder Busby my companion is like ooh that doesn't look too good and the hairdresser guy is like trying to laugh it all away and what not and I just wanted to start crying! He says make sure to get lots of pictures and if your mission president gets mad just tell him I made you do it. He finishes and Elder Busby says well it is just a light purple and I slowly approach the mirror and.... My hair was just fine!! I was like thank goodness and to the hairdresser, I hate you man! Then he just starts dying laughing. The awful purple hair solution that I thought was going to be the end of my hair just turned out to be a color enhancer that is good for your hair! I was just freaking out! My heart is still pounding and it was 30min ago.

So there is a member that is going to receive her endowments for the first time and we get to go with her, we are super stoked! And hopefully next week there is another who is going to the temple, not for the first time, but for the first in a while, next week!

Well I gotta go!
Elder Hooper

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 64, Popcorn popping right before...'wait, is that all snow'?"

On Sunday, the snow finally all melted and it was a warm again! It was so nice not to be all bundled up and having wet feet. I woke up this morning and "looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping right before...'wait, is that all snow'?" More snow and more cold! This was so 3 days ago. It is all good though.

On Friday we had interviews with President and it was cool having 2 interviews, one with myself and Elder Busby as we talked about our zone, and then the second with just me. We got a lot of president that day. He is really stressing the importance of priesthood keys and the importance of not crossing them. After president interviews we had the assistants give a quick workshop for iPad usage and they were using apple tv which is sweet! We all were mirroring our iPads with it during it. So Elder Busby and I went in the room above them to do weekly planning and I saw that the apple tv was still accessible to my iPad. I couldn't resist so I hijacked the assistants apple tv during their workshop and "took a picture of Elder Busby and I with crazy faces and put it up on the screen. The assistants enjoyed that haha!

My companion and I are doing really well. We have found many new investigators and are teaching lots if people. Two guys named Hassan and Jeff are progressing towards baptism! We have found 6 new investigators so far together which is really good for us. We are also having some fun putting together an awesome zone meeting on Wednesday. Our zone is struggling with finding new investigators so we are creating a Vision, Goals, and Plans chart, and a video clip I have been putting together of converts' testimonies, some words of encouragement and how missionaries found them. The assistants are also videoing themselves giving a quick work shop on some mission goals as well. We have been working on all this for about a week now. I am excited for the cake we are making too. We are trying to help the zone see how having a good study in the morning helps you have a stronger desire to share the gospel, especially when it is centered on the Restoration. Having an awesome studying makes you want to share it, just like eating a delicious piece of dessert and you want someone else to enjoy it with you!

Sorry this letter is short. I am running really low on time. We went mass clothes and food shopping so we are running super behind! Elder Busby and I have nice matching socks and ties now :P.

Elder Hooper
Me beating my compainon in a slide race!