Saturday, May 16, 2015

16 May 2015

Today is Grandpa Hoopes' birthday!  Something we would probably not think of other than I think about it every year.

I am starting off this week with a little lesson. Sister Hoopes was asked if she would demonstrate making BBQ Pork sandwiches for the Relief Society Sisters last Saturday evening. There were about 18 Sisters there along with some children to hear how the BBQ is made and also to have a taste.  The activity was promoted by our Bishop who had sampled the BBQ Pork sandwiches during the previous week.  The picture to the right is of his wife and youngest of three girls.  This little one is just over 2 years old.  The little girl wanted me to hold her which I am not supposed to do, so I just lifted her by her arms and then sat her down again.  I probably did this twice.  Then I held the door open for them to leave and shook hands as they were leaving and this little girl said out loud in ENGLISH "I love you". I was absolutely stunned!!  I know the family speaks English at home and the older sister is taking piano lessons and speaks English very well.  It was not just the English but the thought that she would say that to me (or us) after only a few minutes of interaction.  It was one of the sweetest and most special moments I have had while here on this mission.  We have had our own children say that now and then and have had grandkids say it but this was somehow different.  I have thought a lot about why she might say that and what it meant.  Perhaps she says it to everyone and they probably do it in the home and, if so, what a special thing.
I was talking with Elder Gardner before he left a couple of weeks ago and he said to me, "We love you" and I looked at him somewhat stunned and asked him why he would say that.  He said back to me, "I know we don't know each other that well but I can feel your spirit and I love you".  I wonder if this little girl felt the spirit that night.  I know I did.  It was a wonderfull feeling for me and I will treasure this little girls simple statement of love to me.  I know I had the same feeling for her.

Sister next to Sister Hoopes is Relief Society President and the other is her daughter.
This was after the BBQ activity.
This past week has been really slow for me as we hardly went anywhere and I did very little.  Sister Hoopes is now officially assigned as the English Tester for the Mission.  The mission provides an English language course for all non English speaking missionaries which they are to study throughout their mission. Then when they go home, they take a computerized test which is graded and returned with a certificate of English proficiency.  The church has found that the better these missionaries speak English, the better the jobs they can get.  In fact, they estimate that they can earn up to 4 times more if they speak English well.  There is a large group of missionaries going home next week and so this week has been completely taken up with the English testing nearly every day.  

We did not have any tests on Thursday so we decided to run to Libmanan for District Meeting and check on their progress with the records.  The missionaries there are really making a difference both in finding information but in also putting it into the computer.  This is probably the most progress we have seen yet in getting membership records updated.

Dinner guests on Sunday.  A young couple from the US was in church and Sister Hoopes invited them along with a friend of theirs and the 4 missionaries who had already been invited.  We were 9 for dinner and had to really stretch to fit everyone in.  The sister from the US had served in this mission about 4 years ago and she and her husband had come back for a visit.
Elders going home this next week.  Couldn't believe they had their suits
coats on all morning for Zone training.  I made them go outside to get their picture.
Absolutely great young men.  We will miss them.

I have missed our sunsets at home so when I saw this, I had to get a picture.

We spent several hours with Pres and Sister Reeder on Tuesday afternoon.  We had time to visit and relax a little.  It is always great to be with them.  We also worked on our presentation for the Career Workshop which is coming up again on Tuesday.  We have 23 in the class this time and don't know how we are going to do it.  More than double last time.  The Reeders have asked us to help that evening and also again on Wednesday with the next missionaries coming in as it is also a large group. So, even though I say it was a slow week, we had a lot going on and I am grateful for that.

Have a great week.


  1. I love you, Jon.
    And Kathlene, too :)

  2. Oh, you made me cry with this one. What a sweet little girl.
    I don't think you two will be the same after this whole experience. You are being stretched (it seems like) and doing so willingly, and learning so much in the process.