Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 76, Jamaica Home sweet home

I can barely even remember what happened this week as it went by so fast! We were super busy! We have lots of people that are progressing and making steps towards baptism. We prepared a super cool "10 Commandment" slide shown with correlating pictures for each commandment. Mike really liked it and I think it helped him understand them better. Mike is really progressing! He is now in Mosiah and is taking notes of the things he learns. He is working on the word of wisdom, but otherwise is ready for baptism! Every meeting we have with him, he is remembering more and more. He will baptized May 11th on Mother's Day! Jeff is doing well too! He is 22 years old and is a stud of an athlete on the basketball court and is a role model for a lot of people. He knows the church is true and has set a date to be baptized June 8th! Michael and Tiffany are an amazing couple and area progressing as well! The are the most pure in heart people I have ever taught. I love them a lot! Tons of good things are going on here in Jamaica!

So here is a funny story. We were handing out Book of Mormons as an activity with our zone and I go up to this one man and ask him if I can give him a Book of Mormon , I explained to him that it is another testament of Christ and showed him a picture of Christ in the Book of Mormon. He then said "why is it that all of you who come around talking about Christ are all white? You guys are slave traders!" I didn't really know what to say to that one!

I know The Lord has given us the opportunity to have our own children to experience His joy. His precious spirits are given to us to take care of. I am sitting right behind a family that has a young boy named Ephraim who is really small for his age. He is the cutest little boy ever! He is a ball of light. It irritates me to see people judging his parents when he makes annoying little sounds and is a bit rowdy. He is a sweet boy loves to sing the hymns. When I finished my musical number, I came back to my seat and he was humming the song I played, My Heavenly Father Loves Me. It was the cutest thing! It was amazing to feel the spirit that was in the room after I played that song. I forgot how much I miss playing music and performing for others at church. It was a blessing to me.

So here is a picture of the awesome bulletin board we made for both the Spanish and English wards:

This is Mike!

This is Jeff!

I love serving here in Queens! There is no other place where I'd rather be then right here. The next 6 months are going to be a blast. I feel like I finally have a good idea how to do this whole missionary thing haha!

We are having our zone activity at Forest Park for some hiking, 3 legged races, and an egg toss! Wooh! It was nice to scape the brick forest and go to a real forest haha
Have a great week

Elder Hooper

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 75, Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! It was a great Easter here in Jamaica, Queens.

The weather was beautiful and church was awesome. Elder Joseph Nugent is my new companion. He is from Utah, and his father's side of the family from the island Jamaica! He is a very dedicated missionary and working very hard. He has almost been out on his mission for a year.

We will be going to our anniversary temple trips the same day in May :). He just got back from serving in Bermuda. It has been fun to learn about what it is like over there. Our zone did get moved around a bit. We previously had another part of Queens called Richmond Hill, but now we don't have them so it is just the Jamaica 1st and 2nd wards. Only 16 missionaries are in our zone. I am so excited about this though! I was bummed at first, but now we can really focus on these missionaries, go on exchanges with all the Elders, and just be more united with everyone so close together!

So, before Easter Sunday I hadn't had the opportunity to take the sacrament for 2 Sundays due to General and Stake conferences back to back. It was so nice to partake of the sacrament yesterday, renew my covenants, and feeling clean. It is the best feeling and I am so grateful for the priesthood and the saving ordinances and associated covenants that The Lord has revealed and given to us in this dispensation to get nearer to God and live with Him after this life #BecauseofHim.

We couldn't get a hold of one of our investigators so we went to his apartment and he was there and we brought him to the church to have a quick lesson with him. When we got to the church there was this lady that had he face against the glass doors with her hands cupping her eyes so she could see the painting of Jesus in the lobby. I asked her if she wanted to come inside. We invited her in and she was really excited and said the she has been trying to visit for days, but the church wasn't ever open. Unfortunately she was a bit crazy and wouldn't let us talk and then it dragged on to 30 min! We really needed to teach Mike who was there sitting down though all of this so I called the sisters and begged them to help us and they walked down stairs and took her with them so we could talk to Mike. We had a super good lesson with him. We helped him understand that we want him to develop a relationship with God. It was all just pretty funny!

I had the chance to go on exchanges with Elder Briles, one of the Assistants. It was fun and so nice to go running on the boardwalk along the beach! So relaxing! After making some phone calls and finishing up my 5-5-5 presentation, we went to get some Chinese food. This lady came in and said that she wanted an order of French Fries. My first thought was, "French Fries from a Chinese restaurant?". I initially felt like talking to her, so I used that as a conversation starter. I asked her, "are the FF better at Chinese places than McDonalds?" She laughed and said yes! She gave us a few to try and they were actually pretty good. She started to ask us who we were and we then got on to the topic of Easter. We bore short testimony and she shared with us the exhaustion she has been feeling as she has been trying her best to live the commandments. I asked if we could say a prayer with her and she gladly accepted, then she asked if she could say a prayer for us. There was a nice little spirit in that Chinese restaurant. She said she needed that experience. Coincidence that she just walked right in to a Chinese place for FF? No way haha! Her countenance changed after that. She doesn't work or live out by this restaurant, just happened to be in the area. God led her to us.

Have a great week everyone! It was great over here!

Elder Hooper
 Alex During our Skype lesson

 Mission Goals
Sleeping during Conference

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 74, Spring, and a new transfer!

Hey there! It is 63 degrees and I am sweating! It is the best. It is finally spring here and people are everywhere and a bit nicer :).

My companion, Elder Busby, is getting transferred, so I will be getting a new companion and will be the senior companion/zone leader which I am pretty nervous about haha. Elder Busby is a stud and it will take a ton to match up to him!

Mike, an awesome investigator that I wrote about last week, is scheduled to be baptized this Sunday on Easter! He is really excited and we are excited for him! Mike is awesome. He is really trying to change and follow Christ. On Sunday, the Spanish Elders passed off an English couple who is investigating the church and they are amazing!

They are so pure in heart and ready to receive the gospel. They get engaged because they felt they were not doing what God wanted them to by not being married. It is amazing to see The Lord preparing people to receive the gospel.

Elder Busby and I held a ZTM last Friday about weekly planning effectively and make sure to plan all aspects of finding in the week, as well as repentance. We had other missionaries present ideas and teach workshops. It was fun.

On Sunday, we had our stake conference and Elder Perkins and Olsen of the First and sixth quorum of the 70 were there to create the new Lynbrook Stake, which previously was a district. It was an exciting event! Many branches became wards, and it was amazing to see the a hastening of the work here. Another priesthood key holder is on the island and now we are just waiting for a temple :D.

This week went by so fast and I can hardly remember what happened!

Sorry this email is a little boring and no details. Next week will be good and I will make sure that I wrote in my journal so I can remember what happened.

Elder Hooper

P.S. The church is doing a new online outreach to those not of our faith! Visit and for details.
#becauseofhim #beapartofit!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 73, April Fools!!

I hope everyone enjoyed General Conference this weekend! I sure did.

This was a very difficult week for me. I fasted last Sunday that I would be able to learn from General Conference and that I could figure out what I was feeling. Because I was beating myself up and having lots of negative thoughts going on through my mind, it was hindering the Holy Ghost from telling me what I needed to change. During General Conference, the only thing that truly stuck out to me was President Monson's talk about being charitable. I needed to stop thinking about myself. I realized that all I was thinking about was my problems and my weaknesses. I lost the vision of the missionaries in my zone, all the families and individuals we are teaching and how to help them. I was focusing on all the negatives and not seeing how successful I have been. I have never been this successful until now and it gets better and better as I am finally understanding how to be a missionary, haha! Once I started to be charitable, more loving and selfless and looking for opportunities to serve, during the next few hours, I started to notice the spirit again and then was able to be taught by the Holy Ghost. With this, I learned another reason why Charity and Love is so important. It is not to just be more like Christ, but to also rid of negative feelings that hinder the Holy Ghost so we can be taught from on high. Charity and counting your blessings is so important! I also loved how much General Conference was focused on families and their eternal role! Eternal Life is family life!

So April Fools was all fun and games until the end of the night. So, my idea was to leave an alarm clock in the other elders' apartment. I took my super annoying alarm clock that I inherited from another missionary and put it in their closet set for 2am! I put a sticky note on the back that said ha ha April fools, Love you Zone Leaders. We also tried to play another trick on our district leader and change the sisters contact name to President Calderwood and had a good laugh after pulling our district leader out saying that there was some inappropriate behavior between an Elder and a sister and they were both being transferred out immediately. However when we got home that night we look at our apartment door and there is a joker card pinned up on it. We both were just like oh no, so we open the door and the apartment is trashed! Our ties were everywhere and our desk were moved, Pam spray was all over the floor, blue cheese on our towels in the oven, and the worst part was when they took our underwear, wet them down, and put them in the freezer! They all froze together! That was the only thing that upset me, haha. I was so frustrated, but it was actually funny.

So we have an investigator that came out of no where and is going to be baptized April 20th! He came to all sessions of General Conference and is really progressing. He is awesome! We are seeing a lot of miracles here in Jamaica. I am loving my mission. It is going by too fast!

Elder Hooper

Here is another April Fools trick! Enjoy.