Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 72, #ldsconf

Hey there everybody! It's one day from April and it is snowing right now! It is so weird. Elder Busby and I have had a great week! Lots of miracles. We were all over NY this week. We first had a doctor appointment in Manhattan, 2 visits to Brooklyn for a music concert I played my violin in, and then to northern part of Queens. It has been crazy. I am stoked for another busy week. We have our transfer apartment deep clean, a 6 hour leader council, and 10 hours of general conference! It is going to be awesome.

On Sunday we had 4 people at church! It was awesome! 2 people came that we haven't seen before and met for the first time. Mike was given a card and visited the site and chatted with a missionary online. We asked him to read the intro to the BoM and he did that and said, is that it? He kept reading and asked when he could be baptized #toogoodtobetrue? Chris was fearlessed by the sisters and he came, but he has some slight handicaps. We will see how it plays out. He also asked when he could be baptized as well.

So after church, we taught the Keslin family and found out that Bro Keslin goes to church every Sunday when he is not in Queens for work. He will attend the ward in NJ where he drives taxis. He has read some of the BoM and is progressing a lot more than we thought! We stopped by one of my favorite member's house to pick up my gps they updated for me and then had a quick chat with The husband. We asked if there was anything we could do for him and he of course said they were fine. Then after the prayer he said "you know, there is one thing you could do for me. You could give my wife a blessing". They have been having some fertility issues for 10 years and finally have been given some good news from the doctor to be able to have a child. It was a cool experience as I was giving the blessing. I felt certain things come to mind that she needed and I also pictured two little kids that I knew would be theirs. I then told her that she would have a child and that there was a future family in store for her. It was really cool! I can't wait to see the results from the doctor. I love the priesthood and being able to be a tool in God's hand! As you listen for the spirit during a blessing the Lord speaks.

Well these next few weeks are going to be great. The Queens NY Stake is splitting and the Lynbrook District is becoming a stake and the area that I am in is going to be put in the new stake! Elder Busby and I aren't sure what will happen to us or if we will be moving areas or what since there are already zone leaders where our Area will be added to, so it is going to be a fun change!

We are having our zone activity today! Elder Busby and I just bought 72 hot dogs and buns and the dogs are boiling now! We got chili, cheese, onions, relish, etc. It's gonna be way, I love you guys! Have a wonderful week and get ready for General Conference!

Elder Hooper

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 71, Another week in JamRock!

Hey there everyone! !  I am doing good! Just stuffed my face at a Pizza Hut buffet! It is freezing cold at the end of March... What is this place? Where is my AZ sun!? I'm just kidding, but really.

We had an awesome Zone Conference on Tuesday. During one of the workshops that the Sister Training Leaders gave, they used a fun analogy with basketball. Elder Adams, Busby, Hart, and myself were playing and Elder Hart and I teamed up against them. The object of the game, of course, was to shoot as many points as possible. Each team had their own ball. There were no rules, so I was jumping on top of Elder Busby, bear hugging him, stealing their ball and holding it. At one point, they forgot I was there and I grabbed a ball and just started shooting and scoring, but then I got jumped by my companion shortly after I scored 4 points! 
The worst part though, is at the end, both Elder Busby and
Adams made buzzer shots at the same time!

After the conference was over, Lovern Smith, an investigator of the sisters, was going to be interviewed by President Calderwood. I saw her and for some reason, I wanted to go say hi. I really love this lady, She has had such real growth! I walk over, said hi, laughed with her little daughter and begin to walk away, and then Sister Hopkins says "go ahead, ask him." Curious, I stopped and waited for her question. Lovern said she wanted to give me the honor to baptize her! I was getting emotional at first! I was just so honored to do that. I told her that I just want to start crying and bore a quick testimony about the happiness the gospel brings. I walked away and was pretty emotional. I was so happy! I was just feeling a little inadequate, but once she asked me to perform that ordinance for her that all turned

Hope you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Hooper

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 70, Weird weather!

I can't wait for it to finally warm up here. It has been really cold and extremely windy!

Early in the week while teaching Kenel Charles, I had my testimony reconfirmed that Joseph Smith really was called of a God to be the first prophet in this dispensation and to restore the gospel! I felt it as I watched the Restoration video. I have watched that video 100 times, but this time it was special to me. I feel like I also looked at my 1.5 years of my mission in retrospect and seen how much I have grown! I am so grateful the Lord was willing to, figuratively, cut me down so I can grow into the man He wants me to be. I truly have changed! I love the gospel and my Heavenly Father.

I went on an exchange with an Elder who is training and been on his mission for one week! I remember my first Zone Leader exchange when I was training and I learned a lot. We had a miracle on the exchange! It was 3:40pm and we needed to get dinner so we could have our exchange interview before we ended the exchange. We had some time before 4, so I suggested we pray that the Lord would lead us to someone in these last few minutes. We prayed and began walking around the park looking for someone that we felt would be interested and this girl spotted us and said "Hey, are you guys Mormon?" I was just like yes! Thank you Heavenly Father for answering our prayer. She was taught by missionaries and her brother is a member. We got her info and passed it on to the sisters. It was cool! Elder Knight thought it was cool as well.

One of my favorite things to do as a Zone Leader is holding Zone Training Meetings. I know the Lord loves the missionaries that I am serving with as He always sends ideas and topics that the missionaries need by the spirit. Throughout the week I was having thoughts about the sacrament tying into faith which President Calderwood talked about in his workshop in a meeting. My companion and I put our ideas together and gave a powerful workshop that many missionaries came and said they needed. Knowing that the things I learned and prepared for the meeting really helped certain missionaries makes me so happy!

There is nothing that makes me happier seeing these missionaries be successful.

So here is kind of a funny story! So I was trying to find someone who had their wifi unprotected so I could use it and we noticed that the church below us has wifi and we helped them out once and knew the pastor there so we thought we would ask. We decided that we would be willing to pay $10 in case he asks us to pay a little. We ask, and the man we asked says he had to ask the Senior Pastor, so we went back the next day and the guy says, " Ok, I talked to the pastor. How much are you offering? "$10 my comp says". The man replies "$25 no less". I didn't say this, but I was just like yo, we aren't going to pay your entire bill, haha! No wifi for us :D.

Everything is great! Our zone had 2 baptisms last week and we will have 4 this week with a few temple trips as well!

Until next week,
Elder Hooper

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 69, Tired? Wait for Daylight Savings time, then you will be tired!

Here is one reason I always want to live in Arizona; we always have enough sunlight to never have to go on Daylight Savings Time! For some reason I was so exhausted all week. It was probably due to transfers, lots of meetings, and not being able to take dinner hours all week.
Taking one hour off my normal sleeping schedule just destroyed me yesterday!

So enough with the bad! Here are some funny stories this week! While my companion, Elder Busby, and I were walking to our church building, we saw a huge semi-truck trying to squeeze into this tight one-way street with cars parked on both sides of the street. He was maneuvering quote well between the cars, but we couldn't help, but watch how close he was getting to hitting one of the cars. We are basically rubbernecking and when the truck driver pulled through clearly we turn back around and immediately I yell "watch out" as my companion walked right into a tree hahaha! We couldn't stop laughing after that.

The other super funny story was Saturday while waiting for a bus. We were talking to two ladies that were also waiting for the bus when a caravan driver pulled up next to us trying to get us to get in his van instead of the bus (for some background, there is a company of vans that drive along the bus routes picking people up and dropping them off along the bus route at anytime for 50 cents cheaper then the bus itself so it is faster and cheaper). The driver says "get in, it is only $2" so I start thinking of the movie "Better Off Dead" and think to myself "sorry Jimmy, I don't got a dime" and my companion then says we will go for free! And the driver says "well I need money for gas.
Do you have free gas?" Elder Busby says "well I have plenty of 'gas'".
Which was definitely a true statement that day after some large Chipotle burritos hahaha!

To kick off the transfer we had a Zone-Get-Know-You meeting. I love the members of my zone. I feel it every time we have a zone meeting!
It isn't a love from me, but I know that it is a love that my Father in Heaven gives to me to help these missionaries. I felt my testimony reconfirmed again today that the Book of Mormon is true. I love it! I truly believe that if any man will read the BoM they will get nearer to God because I have experience it. I also have experienced a forgiveness of sins! I know that this church is THE church. I had this testimony reconfirmed to me during the street sweep we did afterwards.
We created 4 stations regarding different topics: Book of Mormon, Plan of Salvation pamphlets, Family Proc pamphlets, and Restoration pamphlets. While giving copies of the Book of Mormon to people along Jamaica Ave, I just felt the importance of this other witness of Christ that, with the Bible, confounds false doctrines. I know it is true and I love it! It is such an amazing book. I also know that Joseph Smith was truly called as a prophet of God to restore the truth that was lost back to the earth.

So I am not sure if I shared this experience or not, but I want to tell it again. During our president interviews back in January, the church doorbell rang while I was waiting for my companion. I went to answer the door and there was an older lady there who said that the spirit lead her to the church. I asked her why it lead her here and she told me that she had someone that she wanted us to teach and help.
I got the information from her and found out the background info on this person, and then asked if she had ever been to our church. She said she met with missionaries a long time ago, but hasn't for a while. She gave me her number and I called her the next day and scheduled a time to see them. She had us meet with the individual she wanted us to, but gradually it turned into us meeting with her! She is amazing! This lady follows the sprit to the 'T'. I want to be like her. She said the spirit told her to read the Book of Mormon and now she is almost done with 2nd Nephi and it has been two weeks! We have been teaching her and she believes all the things we are sharing. We are teaching her tonight and plan to help her set a baptismal date! It is such a miracle.

It is finally starting to warm up! Tomorrow the high is 57! I am sure that is probably cold for most of you on the west coast right now. The snow is almost all gone :). From most of the people that live here, have said that this was one of the rougher winters.

I hope all of you are doing well. Always remember that the Lord's love for you never changes!


Elder Hooper

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Week 68, Another transfer begins!

Hey there! I can't believe that it has already been 6 weeks being here in Queens. I really enjoy it out here. So, here is some awesome news. Our mission was given a new standard of excellence that we are to aim for and that is to get 20 new investigators each transfer! Elder Busby and I got the 20th new investigator at 8:45pm! We were pretty stoked. We worked so hard to get 20 new investigators.

We taught 3 member presents (a member present at lesson with investigator) the other night in like 2 hours! One with a man named Vincent, but I think the member we had scared him a bit so I don't know if we will see him again. The next one was with Sherrif's (one of the youth in the ward) girlfriend over skype which was really funny because he has actually never seen her before! They met over Facebook and started calling each other. He was our member present and we were his motivation to talk to her haha! The next one was with Sherrif again with their neighbor, Sister Linn. She is totally awesome
and very pure in heart. The Charles family is doing so awesome. During the lesson I had my testimony of the Book of a moron strengthened! I was showing how many verses in the BoM help clarify the Bible like The Fall of Adam and Eve. There were some other questions regarding things like would the people before Christ be able to repent that I answered from the BoM. I just realized how much of it I know and truly believe. I just felt that it is true. It answers so many questions that the Bible just can't.

During our basketball finding activity, I was on fire surprisingly! I made half my team's points that last game and everyone loved me after that, plus I did a little showboat with a Tim Tebow bow. That got a
pretty good laugh. I love the guys we play basketball with. They areall good individuals and they keep bringing their friends! :D

So last Saturday was transfer calls and the assistants called us to let us know who was leaving. It was interesting being on this end of the call. We then got on a conference call with our zone and then
missionary by missionary said "Elder so and so, you are.... out!" It is fun to make everyone freak out.

I have to get going now. We are hosting all the new missionaries for some street contacting for a bit. These missionaries just got here from the MTC so I am looking forward to helping them and seeing the

I am doing well! I love being out here in Queens.

Elder Hooper