Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week One! (In California)

P day is Monday now. I can Email for an hour on Pday and write letters on Pday only.

Okay so first before I go into the California stuff I'll see what I can remember from my last few days at the MTC.
So first off the Speaker at the Sunday Devotional was Jenny Oaks Baker, she is the daughter of Dallin H. Oaks and she is a world famous violinist. Her talking was pretty good, but here violin performance was absolutely amazing. She started off by playing Nearer My God to thee and I just wept. I felt dumb cause no one around me cried... awkward.

The next few days were pretty fast, I said goodbye to all of my friends at the MTC and then we woke up at 3:30 AM on Wednesday, got on a Bus, headed to the airport and flew to San Jose, California.
Elder Finder, Teacher - Brother Flinders and Elder Hopkins

Elder Whiting's Selfie

Teacher - Brother Belliston with the district

Nate Mella and Elder Hopkins

Elder Hopkins and Elder Lundgreen and many Elders sleeping

Insert from Nate's mom:  Nate called me from the airport.  He sounded really good and was excited to fly to California.  This was his first time flying.  A kind LDS member traveling through SLC sent me this picture of Nate waiting to board the plane.
Elder Hopkins at the SLC Airport
Back to Nate's letter

The first thing we all did was street contacting, they sent us in groups onto a nearby College campus with some stuff to pass out and then they were like "go for it, be back in an hour." I thought it would be really freaky, but I will tell you it was a blast. I got paired up with an old buddy of mine from High School, Nate Mella. He is not called here, but his Dad is the Mission President here. We had so much fun. He was serving a "mini mission" before he headed out to BYU.

Anyway we then went to the Mission Home where we had Dinner and spent the night, or at least the Elders did. We all just found spots on the ground in the Front room and then fell asleep. The sisters got to go stay in apartments that night. We woke up and went to the mission Office and waited in the Chapel to be assigned our training companions. My Companion is named Elder Harper, I have included a photo. He is really awesome, he is a really good missionary.

Oh and by the way the address I gave you to send me letters is actually the mission Office, if anyone sent letters there I may not get them for another six weeks, sorry. My real mailing address is

Elder Nathan Hopkins
548 E Crescent Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94301

We live in a hmm... what's the right word? I'd say a cottage. Its a small little place in the backyard of the Stake President's yard. It is small and messy, but what are you going to do. Our area we cover is actually pretty big. We cover three distinct areas.

Palo Alto 1st ward is very very wealthy. Steve Young is in our ward, I met him yesterday. The third chair of Google, one of the lead programmers for Apple. Also Mark Zuckerburg is not Mormon but he lives a street away from us in a very secure house. I haven't seen him, but maybe I will get the chance. Also we have the richest member in the world in our ward, he owns the land that Google is on and the bishop is his son.

Palo Alto 2nd ward is a pretty normal ward its kind of middle class I'd say. They are very friendly.

We also cover East Palo Alto. In East Palo Alto the members there go to the first ward, but East Palo Alto is very ghetto. Elder Harper told me that it used to be the murder capitol of the country. The people there are very humble.

Since we cover two wards we pretty much have 7 straight hours of church on Sunday. That's pretty fun.

Lets see what else... The members feed us Dinner every night. Oh! My third day here we had a baptism, I only helped teach her the last lesson, but since we have set 2 more baptismal dates and we might set a third one tonight at our appointment.

Also I thought the culture would be the same here, but boy was I wrong. There are a lot of Polynesians here. The woman we baptized, Pelenaise, she is Tongan and she invited us over for a Tongan feast. Some of the food was really weird and some was really good. They were all so friendly.

Sorry I hope this super long update didn't scare anyone off, I just had a lot to say. I think that is all for now. 

The pictures I have attached (in no particular order) are of me and Nate Mella at the airport. Elder Lundgreen driving back from the airport and everyone was asleep, a picture of me and Elder Finder with our teacher Brother Flinders, Another picture with my teacher Brother Belliston and my district, a selfie Elder Whiting took with my camera, and me and Elder Harper in our cottage.
Elder Harper and Elder Hopkins

Added by Nate's mom again.  The Ward Mission leader for one of the wards Nate is serving in, sent me this picture taken at the baptism.  
Elder Hopkins, Elder Harper, Brother Mann and Pelenaise

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Well... 1 full length week down :)

The MTC is amazing as always. This week has been jam packed with so many events I honestly do not even know where to start.

First up, last Sunday, Elder Finder and I were made Zone Leaders, which is a lot of work but its really fun too. I will attach a picture of our whole zone if I can. Some of the extra responsibilities that come with being zone leaders is we greeted two international missionaries that came to the MTC a day earlier than everyone else. We helped them get comfortable and took care of them for the night until their real orientation. On Wednesday Evening we trained the new district of Missionaries, that was really awesome and fun. For me at least... Elder Finder is slightly socially awkward so he didn't really know what to say.

We decided to get our whole zone to eat every meal together which is a lot of fun and it is really unifying. Also I have gotten much more comfortable here. For example after Elder Finder and I switched over to Elder McArthur's room they switched my key, but not Elder Finder's. He still had a key to Elder Larsen and Elder Cormier's room. So the other day we got back to residence early so we hid in their room and freaked them out.

We also learned (thanks to Brinnan Schill) how to turn our name tags into Kazoos.  It’s really awesome. Whenever we are bored we are always blowing into our name tags different hymns.

Also another Elder in our zone left Sunday morning, Elder Marchant. He was the other district's leader. Our Branch Presidency was in awe that two missionaries in the same zone left the MTC, they'd never seen something like that happen before.

Yesterday we had something called In-Field Orientation. It was 10 straight hours of class. Needless to say it was very long and somewhat boring but it was also really cool. They taught us how to find people, make goals, and work with ward members and stuff. We have now officially had all of our missionary training. Honestly I just want to get to California now. But I don't leave until Wednesday.

I just want everyone to know how much I love it here, I still get a little homesick off and on, but it is amazing to see my testimony and my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ keep growing day by day.

Oh! One last thing.  My teacher, Brother Belliston is so awesome, we teach him and he pretends to be an investigator. He is really weird though. He asked us, "So Moses parted the Red Sea with a staff and the Priesthood, right?"
We said "yes."

So he walked out of the room and came back with a broom that had been broken in half and he handed it to us and said, "well, let’s see it."

We tried to keep straight faces but it was really hard.

Well that’s all for now

Thanks for all the Love and Support,
Elder Hopkins

Saturday, August 9, 2014

1/2 of a Week Done

Wow I have got some stories to tell you guys.

Okay so the MTC has been amazing, I am loving every minute of it. The spirit of Missionary work is so strong here. There are a few down sides. The beds are really creaky. If anyone moves even an inch at night, its loud enough to wake up everyone else in the room. The showers are packed if you wake up on time so my district always wakes up thirty minutes early and we are the first in the showers. The showers here have two temperatures. Volcano Hot and Arctic Cold. I am not even exaggerating when I say there is no middle ground on the temperature. Most of the Elders at my residence walk all around the floor in their garments, like all the time.

I love my Zone Leaders and my teacher Brother Belliston has such a sweet, unique spirit about him.
My first day was crazy. My host (a missionary from New Zealand who will be serving in Paris, France), was really cool, he helped me get everything I needed and he showed me around. I forgot his name and I have not seen him since. But as soon as I got into the MTC everything went so fast. They handed me stuff gave me schedules and keys and sent me off to class.

I usually spend around 6 hours in the classroom a day sometimes more. Today is my P Day so I'll only be in class for about 3 hours cause we are going off to the temple soon.

Let's see, I have a lot to say but I am not sure I remember everything.
I met my district, which consists of three companionships: I have attached a picture of my district as well. Going from Left to Right, their names are Elder Larsen (our district leader), Elder Cormier (Who snores very loud and kept me up, also I met Elder Cormier at Mr. Mac before leaving on my mission), Elder Adams, Elder McArthur, Me, and Elder Finder (My companion).

Elder Finder is a convert and has only been a member for about a year, he is really shaky on the doctrine and he is not very confident in teaching. On my second day here he opened up to me and shared a lot about himself; it was cool to see the trust we had for each other.

On our third day in the middle of class with our district I got an overwhelming spirit tell me to ask Elder Adams if he needed a blessing. It was so overwhelming I stopped writing a lesson mid sentence. Elder Adams said he really did need a blessing and the 5 of us gathered around and his companion gave him a blessing.

It turns out that he was suffering from some serious homesickness and had already scheduled a meeting with the branch president to talk about going home. He went to the clinic and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He went home yesterday and Elder Finder and I were moved from our room with Elder Larsen and Elder Cormier to Elder McArthur's room. The district took it really hard especially Elder McArthur. He blamed himself, he kept saying maybe there was something he could have done.

Now I have two companions and I was just got used to having one companion all the time. But I love my companions and Elder McArthur understands my sense of humor a little better than Elder Finder. Also it is kind of nice moving to a room where Elder Cormier's snoring will not keep me up all night.

Overall I am loving my experience here and I love teaching people the gospel, the experience is amazing.
Just so everyone knows I can only write letters on P day while I am here, but I can read them any day that I get them. If you want to email me directly to not respond to this address. Send an Email to nathan.hopkins@myldsmail.net.

I have also attached pictures I took this morning with Elder Finder and with Elder McArthur
I want you to know I am doing very well, I have never feasted after the word of Christ of felt the spirit so strong as I have at the MTC 

That's all for today, love all you.

Elder Larsen, Elder Cormier, Elder Adams, Elder McArthur, Elder Hopkins and Elder Finder

Elder Hopkins and companion, Elder Finder

Elder Hopkins and 2nd companion, Elder McArthur

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nate is now a missionary!

Elder Nathan Hopkins was set apart as a missionary on August 5th, 2014

Jess, Lisa, Nate, James and Kim

Grandpa Naylor, Nate and Grandma Naylor

Elder Hopkins and Daniel

Elder Hopkins entered the Provo MTC on August 6th, 2014

Pictures at the Provo Temple

Elder Hopkins
Kim, Elder Hopkins & Jess

Elder Hopkins

 Saying "Goodbye" at the Provo MTC

Elder Hopkins (and Kim)

Elder Hopkins heading to the MTC