I knew that a mission would be way hard and all my friends told me it would be the hardest thing that I would ever do. I didn't realize how hard it actually is the be a missionary. It is the best calling to have but also the hardest. The first day we got here I got my first kasama(companion) Sister Calder. The moment she walked in the room, I felt so much love for her. It was a weird feeling. It was weird to have a companion at first but now we feel so weird if not with each other. she is from Utah and is a 19 year old missionary. Most of the missionaries here are that age. Our first night we taught an investigator names Sarah in a large group of new missionaries. She couldn't understand why if God loved all of us so much that some people had harder lives than others. We were taught to focus on her and what she needed to hear at that time. A lot of elders were telling her sob stories about how hard their lives had been and more talking at her about the gospel instead of what she needed to hear from God. The spirit was so strong and I knew she needed to hear 1Cor 10:13. At the time i didn't know where that was so I turned to my kasama to ask her. She was able to find it, and I took her the bible and asked her to read it. I asked her what that scripture ment to her and she said that god wont give us anything we cant handle and she started to tear up. She loved that and I saw the light in her eyes change from sad about life to hopeful. The spirit was so strong and that was what she needed to hear, I know that, she knew that, and everyone else in the room knew that. That is a a moment I will always cherish. I came out here for those moments and what a blessing it was for me to be there along the way as she comes closer to Christ.
The first day we also were in class learning tagalog. Man is it a weird, hard language to learn. I had no idea what our teacher Brother Nordstrom was saying. But after about 3 hours we were able to say hello, how are you, where are you from, and where you will be serving your mission, and how to reply to those questions. It is not a lot yet but it is more than I came in here with so i will call that a success. The second day was rough and hard to focus. I was really tired and thinking about home and wondering why i was here. Then after a class, I walked out and say Sarah, who we taught the night before. She waved at me with a great smile and I waved back. That was a tender mercy from the lord that I needed to give me strength to get through the day. That day we also learned how to pray in tagalog. Wow, so so cool. I am not very good yet, but I am getting better and can say that I am able to pray in Tagalog with some english along with it. I have been frustrated with the language but I can tell that already I have been blessed with the gift of tongues to learn what I have so far.
I have seen Elder Jenkins everyday at either lunch or dinner and that has been great. It is fun to chat with him a little each day. And I also see Sister Goates each day(Hannah) which is also a blessing.
Yesterday was the hardest for me. I didn't know what I was here, I wanted to just go home and go back to school. It was rough. But after thinking about it, I can do this. I am supposed to be here at this time going to serve in San Pablo. There is a reason. It may be hard but I keep telling myself that I can do this or I would have been called someplace else. It has been a key thing for me to really rely on Heavenly Father.
We taught our first tagalog speaking investigator last night. What an experience to teach a lesson in a language you know very very little about. Our lesson was in Tagalish with mostly english. As soon as we went in the room, I forgot all my tagalog because I was so nervous. It was very rough. His name is Ignacio. we taught him about God and that he loves us. we have another appointment with him tonight so hopefully that goes better than last nights.
Today is pday though and I am so grateful for that. We are going to the temple today at 2 which I really need.
We meet our branch president the other day, his name is President Howard, he used to be the mission president over the Manila mission. Super cool huh? He is very nice and so is his wife. I look forward to getting to know them better.
Sometimes life can be hard. I know the last 2 days have been some of the hardest I have ever experienced. But I have really learned the importance of turning to my father in heaven and relying on him and not others. Sure it is good to be there for my kasama and I know she is there for me, but my greatest strength will come from him. He loves me and he loves you. I know this to be true. If we do what he asks of us and rely on the promptings we receive from him, we will be happy and can endure anything that comes our way. The spirit is so real and have felt it so strong here, stronger that I have ever felt him before. I love and and so grateful that I can feeling his presence and love everyday here on my mission because I wouldn't have much of a successful mission with out him. I love my father in heaven and I love my Savior so much.
Sorry this is so long but there is a lot to tell because I have learned so much each day. Thank you for your love and support. Letters are a good thing too. I hope to get some soon.
I love you guys soooo much!! You are such great examples to me. I can do hard things and so can you!
Love, Sister Hopkins