Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Joy To the World!!

There was no email last week since Bronte was moving to Every! 

Hello Friends and Family!
So one way or another, you've found yourself included in this Christmas email because you are someone that has directly or indirectly blessed my life or the life of my family. Thank you.
If you do not already know it, it has been just over six months since I've been away from home and living in France as a full-time missionary and representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It has been one of the most fulfilling and remarkable things I have done in my life to serve others, teach them about the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite them to experience them for themselves. It's profoundly enliving.
Just a week ago, I was moved from the city of Tours (where I'd been serving for the past 6 months) to Evry, just outside of Paris. Once again, I found myself adjusting to the changes and the faster pace of life. New faces, new places, new companion, an area I don't know yet and a ward that is 3 times larger than the one I was last in. And the irony of it all is that it's Christmas week. No doubt, it's a lot different than what I would've pictured. And everything around me is so foreign to me. But the one thing that helps me to find my grounding is the fact that this is such a special moment and time of year that seems to dispel all of these differences and bring us to a stand still. In this moment there is peace.
<<For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto His people>> Mosiah 15:18, The Book of Mormon
Christ is that founder of peace. He is the good news. He is the Savior of the world who understands us personally and profoundly. God is our Father in Heaven who loves us and is aware of exactly where we stand.
In these past few weeks, I've seen this over and over again. The other day, we were on our way to visit a member and we stopped and talked to a woman named Ida. I asked her if she knew anything about our church and she hesitantly told us that she'd been there with her friends a couple of times. As we asked her about herself and bore our testimonies to her of Jesus Christ, her heart was so touched. Before we parted, we asked her if we could say a prayer with her. I asked her if we could pray for anyone that she knows and she asked, <<Please pray for my brother. He is sick with cancer and right now I'm on my way to see him in the hospital. .>> And so we did. And as we stood there praying together on behalf of Ida and her brother, I was filled with those feelings that can only come from Heavenly Father-- those feelings of peace, love and pure joy. And I know that she was too. As we parted, she stayed there for a moment and lingered long enough to smile at us and say, <<Que Dieu vous benisse.>> God bless you.
He is the good news. Through Him, we can experience the peace and power of His atonement in our lives. We can mend broken ties with a friend or family member, we can lift someone around us with words of love and encouragement, we can start over after we feel like we've made the same mistake over and over again. We can be filled with the kind of love that makes us want to share our testimony and faith in Jesus Christ with all those around us. We can become publishers of peace-- even disciples of Jesus Christ.
I wish you all the Best of Christmases full of the Spirit and Love of Christ. May God bless you this Christmas and always!

Soeur Bronte Hopkins 

Bronte sent her Christmas card, but it is a pdf so I can't upload it, but know that she loves all of you and is so very happy on her mission!

Lots of love,


Friday, December 12, 2014

I Am an Inch Worm

Some exciting news this week!!!

Drum roll please........I'm being moved to the city of Every! A city just outside of Paris. And my new companion will be Soeur Walker. Our address will be:

Les Soeurs Missionaires (just in case they haven't updated names)
11 Allée Boissy D'Anglas
91000 Every, France

So can I say that this week was absolutely incredible? Yes. Yes, I can.

Christmas is wonderful and beautiful here in France. This week, we just had a great week Christmas caroling, visiting members and setting a baptismal date with one of our amis. (See pictures for reactions..) Her name is Stephanie Moussa and if you could keep her in your prayers, that'd be awesome. She's making a huge step in her life to come unto Christ and be blessed eternally. 

I'm beginning to see that we often don't see the results of our efforts until we are getting ready to change or leave or transition. We keep thinking that because we can't see anything right away, that we are probably failing or just running on a wheel like a hamster--going no where. This week has taught me different. 

I was sitting on a park bench the other day (yes, I do that sometimes..) and Soeur Hansen and I were practice teaching our next lesson, when I saw this itty-bitty inch worm working its way along the side walk across from us. Somehow, it was the most eye-grabbing and attention-getting spectacle, so we kept looking at it. After a minute, I made the comment:"Is this how God sees us?" We just started laughing. I added,"I see a lot of parallels to this and my life. Heavenly Father's like, 'Keep Going!' and I'm thinking,'I have been!' " He sees the bigger picture. And for now, I'm the inch worm. haha.

Yesterday was my last sunday with the branch. I am so grateful for them, for their faith, for their love and for their friendship. I just can't say enough to explain how full my heart is. I'm grateful to know them individually, by name, and by their own stories and backgrounds. They are shining examples. 

Also, Soeur Bradley came for church too! She finished her mission three weeks ago and was visiting with her parents and seeing the areas where she served. I was so happy to see her! It just felt like it completed my experience here in Tours. I can look back with gratitude and look forward with excitement and faith for the future. 

I'll have to update you more this coming week and update you on the area. Until then, have a wonderful week! 


Soeur Hopkins

Last District Meeting for the transfer!!

And a picture with the branch here in Tours-- does anyone spy Soeur Autumn Bradley photobombing?( Bronte's first companion and trainer) Yes, she finished the mission and came back to France for 2 weeks with her parents--how crazy is that? And I'm not even joking!!

Bronte's Words: "Family Djemi! They are the best! I can't even begin to describe/explain all of the wonderful members in this picture. They. Are. Remarkable. And I love them"

Well until next week
Lots of love,

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fun Fact: Ebou's are the only creature that can turn its head 180 degrees...That's one big headache

Another email!!! 

Bonjour Tout le monde! 

J'espère que vous avez passés une bonne semaine et un bon THANKSGIVING! (I hope that you had a great week and a good Thanksgiving). We had a fun celebration at our district meeting on Tuesday and again on Thursday teaching little kids how to make hand-made Thanksgiving Turkeys (where you write on the "feathers" what you're grateful for). Apparently this is one of the most original things anyone has heard of here. We were a hit!

I hope that you took the time this week to thank those around you for how they've blessed you! "Thank you" from the mouth is "I love you" from the heart. :) So, thank you.

I don't have anything too life-changing to share this week, but I hope that these pictures will make you smile. This week has been a blessing--as is every week and opportunity we have to love, strengthen, uplift and serve those around us. 

Check out the video if you haven't yet!
Discover the Gift. Embrace the Gift. Share the Gift. The gift is the Savior, Jesus Christ and we can embrace it when we embrace His atonement and draw close to him. We share it when we serve and invite. 

What gift can we give Him this Christmas season?

I'm still worries.

Avec amour, 

Soeur Hopkins

P.S. Feedback is welcome

Bronte and her companion went over to a member's home for a suprise birthday party!
When Anya found out that Ebou's are the only creature that can turn its head 180 degrees, she went wild with the idea! Here she is sitting on her mom with her jacket on backwards.

Soeur Taylor is the bottom left girl-- Bronte is so thrilled to be in her family photo...haha

Pictures of Bronte and the other missionaries taking pictures of their Thanksgiving FEAST at District Meeting!

Such a sweet yet silly girl!

Lots of love,

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Early Christmas?!

Let's see what the cutest red head we know is up to!!

Hellooooo!! Howdy and Bonjour!

So, this week we had an amazing, once-in-a-mission-life-time experience to go into Paris for a conference to hear one of the apostles, Elder Cook, speak to us. We had all 280 missionaries there and it was incredible! We filled up an entire stake center. 

Elder Cook made a point of having everyone of us come up and shake his and his wife's hands. It was so incredible to have him, Elder and Sister Teixera (area president) and President and Soeur Babin there! I love the Babins so much. The meeting was in the first one I've had in English for a while and I was so touched to hear Soeur Babin speak to us in a language that is not her native tongue. I can't even begin to explain all that happened and was said in that meeting, but one of the things I absolutely loved that Elder Cook said was to, "Push your doubts into a corner for a while and one by one they will be delt with." He left us with a blessing that we would come to know just how "sentinal" our work is here. He said, "You are where you need to be. You will come to understand. All those that you love and will ever love are being blessed by your service." It was absolutely beautiful.

And, on our way back to our Gare, Soeur Hansen and I had the chance to see the Tour Eiffel! It was her three month mark that day and almost my six month mark. I still can't believe just how beautiful it is for Heavenly Father to have, figuratively, taken me by the hand and led me to this beautiful place of the world where I get to learn to love these people, serve these people and see some of the most breath-takingly gorgeous things that they've made. "A Whole New World" as Aladin would say. As I stood under the base, I looked up and it seemed as if I was standing at the center of the world. Thank you God. Thank you. 

We're so excited for this coming year's churchwide Christmas initiation! If you haven't heard about it yet, there's a website and a 30 second video that will be all over YouTube the 7th of December. "He is The Gift" is the title. (A preview is available November 25th at Check. It. Out!) I challenge you to share it with your friends and family on facebook, twitter email or whatever it is that you use! It will be awesome. And that means.....CHRISTMAS CAROLLING!!! I never thought I'd be so blessed to go christmas carolling for an entire month. Yes! I'm sooo excited to go house to house singing and sharing the wonderful message of the Savior this Christmas season. We are so, so blessed.

Last story for the week. We met this really neat lady named Patricia who's from Gabon. (Africa, if that's easier to find first). And we shared a Book of Mormon with her the first time we met with her. We invited her to read and when we came back, she DID! But not, like, just the intro. We asked her to tell us what she read and she started off with, "There was the prophet named Lehi who was commanded to leave Jerusalem...And his sons, Laman and, What's his name? (My reply, "Lemuel."), Yes, they began to complain about leaving..." About a minute later of her reccounting the exact storyline, my mouth was gaping wide open like a cod-fish (or whatever kind of fish that does that) and I asked her, "How Many Chapters did you READ??" She had just started and kept going! It was sooo cool to see her reading and to talk with her more about what she learned. She has such a beautiful story of healing and faith from an accident she'd been in several years ago. She knows that God loves her and that she is a walking miracle. 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving this week! There's so much to be grateful for--family, life, the opportunities we have to serve each other, and the blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Meanwhile, we're already listening to Christmas :) Remember: "He is the Gift!"

Much love,
Soeur Hopkins

Bronte and her companions at the Tour Eiffel and on one of their adventures to pass-by a member who lives totally and completely out in the countryside!
Look what they found on the way home from church? A wagon parked out from of someone's home! Sleighride?

Bronte at the conference. Best picture she could get! There were so many people there!
And here's a picture with one of her most favorite people in the world--Soeur Taylor who's from England.

Well that's it for this week!
Lots of love,

You Have Sinned!!

Emails are the greatest!!!

Hey Familia,

So imagine one of the most awkward door contacts that's ever been made in the history of missionary work--because I just lived it. Soeur Hansen and I went out on Monday night to go "coeur a coeur"-ing in a close by apartment complex. We made it to the top floor and started making our way down to the next floor. The first person we talked to was this older french lady. As soon as we began talking to her and asked her if we could pray with her, she straight up just closed the door on us. Soo, we went to the next apartment. Nothing. Except a small dog yapping from behind the door. And then we knocked on the last door on the floor and a sweet elderly woman named Blanche opened the door.

She was absolutely the sweetest lady. And while I'm not sure how well she understood us, but she saw our smiles and placks and was soo happy to talk with us. She told us to hang on a moment while she went to go get something. Meanwhile, older lady #1 is looking out of the peep hole in her door at us and we can hear her. After 2 to 3 minutes of waiting for Blanche to get back, we hear her door lock turn and she opens the door to ask us if we "have her neighbor." Yes...I think she's alright. And then the neighbor closes her door again.

Blanche comes back and tells us to come in just as neighbor #2 comes back-- a young family who's dog may or may not still be barking. They wave hi to her as we're standing in their hallway-- total strangers. Then we go in to talk with her while her door is open. Blanche tries to offer us 20 euros to help us in our efforts to serve. We tell her we can't take it. Meanwhile, door's still open and neighbors can hear us as this lady insists that we take her money. I tell her again, "On peux pas prendre votre monnaie." And then she insistantly looks us straight in the eyes and said,

"Vous avez peché!" Yes, I just had this lady tell me that I've sinned by not taking her money. 

Soon, she began to understand. We really couldn't take her money. But she prayed with us and she suggested we visit her neighbor, older lady #1 on the way out. And she watched as we retried neighbor #2 who's dog began barking when we knocked. After that, we decided that we'd best leave that floor alone for the evening. But I'm still grinning from ear to ear about how hilariously comical it all was...

This week was week one of the transfer and Soeur Hansen and I spent much of the week going out and passing by old amis. We ended up in the countryside one day and I couldn't resist snatching some pictures because it was sooo beautiful. One benefit at this time of year, with the cold and all is being able to walk down the neighborhoods and smell the fires burning in everyone's chimney--there's nothing like the smell of campfire!

When Soeur Huckstep came to Tours for the Halloween Finding Day, she gave us a call the day before to asked about an ami she had while she was here. Her name is Bertine. We looked her up and let her know her address. She had the chance to drop by her apartment the day she and talked to her. She told us, "You should stop by her sometime in the next couple of weeks!"

So went planned on passing-by, but somehow it just was not working out. One day we were in the right neighborhood, wrong street. The other day, we were in the opposite side of town and had mixed up the bus stop name. It was totally beside us why, for the life of us, we couldn't seem to find her. And then Saturday Afternoon we found her complex, knocked on the door and her husband said she'd be back that night.

So, I prepared myself mentally that night to go back out into the cold and try her one last time. When we got her apartment, we knocked on the door and her daughter (in her mid-20's) answered. They invited us in and as soon as we were invited in, Bertine looked at us and asked, "Did you come to pray with us?" I said, "Yes, we did." To that reply, she told us that it was just the night before that her mother had passed away. She'd gotten our phone call, but hadn't responded yet because she'd just found out about her mother.

So we sat down in her living room in a circle and offered a prayer for peace, comfort and strength. We asked the spirit to be there in their home. And the spirit came. It really did. Then we shared a scripture from Mosiah 15:18 about Christ being the founder of peace and talked about how we can have peace knowing that we can be reunited with our families again and live with them forever.

When we told them about the circumstances it took to get us there, they were so so grateful for our efforts. As we left, Bertine and her daughter gave us each a hug and thanked us for being there. It's so wonderfully when you watched Heavenly Father place people in your path and orchestrate His grand work. Que Dieu vous benit.

Have a wonderful week and if any of you "have sinned!" I'd highly recommend repenting and not taking money from sweet grandmothers. :) I love you all!

Soeur Hopkins

So happy that Bronte is doing good!
Lots of love,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pile of Rocks

Our favorite missionary cut her hair!!!

So the news for the week is.....

I'm staying in Tours!!!! And I totally pulled a Mulan this past week and cut my hair-- suprise mom! And then Soeur Hansen walked into the room the other day smiling at me and said, "I gave in and finally cut my hair too." Trend setters. I don't recommend doing it all the time though because sometimes your hair ends up looking miss-shapen.

This Wednesday, Soeur Hansen and I went into Paris for her legality and then had exchanges with our STLs Thursday and Friday here in Tours. And on top of that, the Fitts missionary couple came the morning on Friday for a cleaning check. I'm not quite sure how we managed to schedule that all as closely as we did.

I must admit that after being in this area for 4 1/2 months, I'm really coming to love our branch so much. They all have names, stories, faces, and a lot of personality. I count myself among the blessed to have spent as much time as I have with them already. 

On Tuesday night, we had FHE at the church and it ended up being us, the Elders, Soeur Taylor, her grandson and another ward member. And the other member was the only native french speaker there, but we gave the spiritual thought in french while the elders translated. It's kind of funny hearing yourself be translated to someone else.

We shared our message from Ether 2 and 3 about the Brother of Jared making their way to the promised land. As they are making their way through the wildnerness, the Lord leads them along the whole way. Then they get to the ocean and are wondering, "Ok, what next? Any brilliant ideas?"

And so God instructs them on how to build barges.Problem. They don't know how to get there. Then he tells them that he will direct their barges in the right direction. Problem. No air. Then he tells them to cut a hole for air in the top. Problem. No light. And, interestingly enough, Heavenly Father turns around the question to the brother of Jared and asks in Ether 2:23, "What will ye that I should do?" 

We talked about how, sometimes, there are those moments when we just don't know the next step and want Heavenly Father to reveal it to us. What do I do for work? Where should I go to school? Where should we move? Where should we go to teach people? What's next?

Yeah, at this point in the lesson, we were still working on translating what was going on and listening to everyone share their personal experiences.

"What will ye that I should do?"

And so the Brother of Jared decides to go into a mountain, mold some rocks and give them to the Lord to touch them so that they light. And I love how the Lord just accepts his idea and helps the Brother of Jared to fulfill it. 

So, I reached into my bag and placed on the table a huge pile of rocks I'd collected from earlier in the day. (I don't usually do things like that, but we needed a little bit more of an object lesson to get the point across). Like many of my efforts, they are somewhat comparable to a pile of rocks. Heavenly Father looks at my desires to serve, to lift and do His work of sharing His blessed gospel and he accepts them. He accepts every offering and makes something more of it. Of that, I am confident!

Another day this week, we were visiting a less active member in our ward who's from Tahiti!! She was teaching us some tahitian dancing and pulled up a couple of videos online. Knowing that I'm a dancer, she said to me, "I wish I could see YOU dance." And I thought to myself, "Yeah, me too." And then I thought that maybe I'd give it a slim chance and try finding her a video or something of BYU dancEnsemble. 

First search. "Byu dance ensemble" and there it was. The only video posted on youtube under the search was of me in Mikayla's dance this past year. What??? I didn't even have an actual copy of the dance for myself and there it was. So, of course we watched it!

And I might've cried a little. Inside and in my eyes too. It was so beautiful to see that and share that personal, unique side of me with our sweet friend. And it was a beautiful reminder to me how much God loves us. You can try looking it up if you like too, but may I remind you that it's never easy watching yourself perform so BE NICE!!

Here's some pictures of what the week looked like. I hope you all know that I love you and as Clarence, the angel, would say in the classic Frank Capra film, "It Really is a Wonderful Life." 

Avec Tout Mon Coeur,

Soeur Bronte Hopkins

Sacre Coeur in Paris and the view from the top! While their bleus were doing legality, they went out and saw the Arc de Triomphe as well as Sacre Couer. Breathtakingly beautiful!

Service at Rachel and David's (their California raised member). They ended up helping out with a couple other small projects too! They are the cutest family!

It's kind of really, really cold sometimes and so they do their studies wrapped up in their comforters. 

Mother/Daughter photo! So precious!! 

Lots of love,


Emails are the best!

Hey y'all. How's it going?

If I could summize this week into one experience, I'd have to center it around around Halloween Finding Day in Tours. President knew that we were in need of a little bit of help, so he gave us the go to bring the entire zone in for the day. Just imagine 10 sets of missionaries walking around for the day-- it was awesome to have all of that power here for the day. I also had the chance to go on exchanges with two other Soeurs in the zone. Their love, support and encouragement was Life-Saving! I can't express enough love for Soeur Lusty who forced me to sing outloud with her as we walked through the streets talking to people. 

This week I admit to feeding Soeur Hansen flour cakes. Yes, I am the best trainer in the world, right? It's what the pilgrim's did! We have been laughing off and embracing some of the experiences that have just been occuring time and time again. This week, we had a member come with us to teach at an ami's house. This ami is very artistic and has portraits hanging all over her house-- even of her 'au natural.' She was so excited to show the member all around her house and I was somewhat hesitant of walking into that room. But as soon as I walked in, our ami smiled at Soeur Hansen and I because in place of the portrait she normally had hanging up was a lovely painting of a desert camel. 

Miracles happen. 

Also, miracles happen when you are just going about looking to do good. Soeur Hansen and I took a day this week to explore a bus line that we hadn't yet taken.  We rode it all the way to the end and then got off to look around for a minute. Imagine the cute little french houses in the countryside that you see in Disney's Ratatouille. Except, no one is ever home or outside. So, we were getting ready to find the next bus time when a large white gate caught my attention. I thought, "I REALLY want to go ring their gate bell." So, I did. 

And much to my suprise, a young french girl in her 20's came to the gate and we started talking. As soon as we told her we were from american and we wanted to talk to pray with her, she broke into english and said, "Sure! Why not?" Coolest experience in my life. Her name is Julie. She is studying engineering and climate change. She went to Australia for 4 months and learned English (I've been in France for how long and am still not as fluent as she is in another language??) She is passionate about acting and making a difference in the environment. So cool.

The other experience Soeur Hansen and I had this week where we were just going about doing our best was on Saturday. We'd just come from a lesson that we'd had to reschedule. So were walking around figuring out what we could do for the time we had before lunch. We decided to just start talking to whoever we passed by. But seeing that we were in a Muslim neighborhood, I kind of figured we might not have anything "too crazy" happen. But who knows until you try?

Right then, there was a young girl in her 20's that was walking towards us wearing her earbuds. I started to talk to her and she took out her earbuds. As soon as she heard that we were american she said, "You can speak English if you want to." Haha. Ok!!

We introduced ourselves to her and then, for reasons I'm still not sure, I asked her, "What do you like to do? What's your passion?" Turns out that she's a dancer too. She french, but loves english and spent 6 months in India. (Once again, how do people pick up a second language that easily?...) After a moment, she just looked us, smiled and said, "You know, right now I feel a little bit lost." I've never felt like I could connect with someone so instantaneously. We shared EVERYTHING with her about our identity as children of God, the plan he has for us. As soon as we started talking to her about the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, she looked at us and said, "I want this." 

No words can express my utter happiness sharing my testimony with her.

We prayed with her right there on the street. We prayed for her and asked that she be blessed with God's love, light and direction in her life. Her eyes welded up with tears. As we were exchanging phone numbers and contact info, she told us, "You don't have to say anything it's all in your eyes." Nafissa lives in Reignes and so we are anxious to hear from the Soeurs who will be contacting her this week. 

Even if I was only here for 18 months just so I could run into Nafissa, I think it would all have been worth it.

I found this awesome, fantastic quote this morning. (Ok, so Soeur Hansen found it and I stole it.) The imagery is what stays in my mind.

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.'...Hope sweetens the memory of experiences well loved. It tempers our troubles to our growth and our strength. It befriends us in dark hours, excites us in bright ones. It lends promise to the future and purpose to the past. It turns discouragement to determination." 

This past week, the song, "This little light of mine" has been playing over and over in my mind. "This little light of mine, I'm gonna LET IT SHINE." A little light makes a lot of difference in a dark room. So too do each of us in a world of craziness around us. Let your light "shine, shine, shine, Let it shine!!!"

I love you all! Have a fantastic week.

Soeur Hopkins

Bronte's words: "FHE sports night. We took the opportunity to get our sport on and wear pants. Later that night, as I we were taking timed pictures, Soeur Hansen asked me what we should do. I told her, "JUMP!" And somehow we caught this perfect mid-air photo. Nevermind our faces. haha"

Bronte with one of herr amis, Phillipe and her daughter, Yakina. And her daughter is holding a Plan of Salvation pamphlet! Pretty perfect! 

Lots of love,

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Happy Halloween week and we got a treat...AN EMAIL

Hey Family,
I hope you are all doing very very well. Thanks for the emails and love. And thanks Melissa for the sweeet package. I love, love, loved it. (I'd like to make a special shoutout! ;)

"Transpiration"-- the very words that came out of my mouth last night as Soeur Hansen and I were summing up the week to our District Leader. I was trying to say that we'd felt very inspired this week while we've been on public tranportation. Voila. Transportation + Inspiration = Transpiration.
This week Soeur Hansen and I adventured out to Azay-le-Rideau and saw the castle there! How cool was it to visit the very castle I'd done a research project for in the 10th grade?! I don't think I could've seen that one coming! It was absolutely beautiful and just the cutest chateau tucked away in a ville about an hour from Tours. We had some fun taking pictures and getting a pastry there. 

We had some wonderful experiences this week visiting our amis, teaching and lifting them. Antonia came to church again this week and had such a great time with the members. She speaks seven languages, or should I say, it's more like a mix of seven languages. She has a heavy italien accent that mixes into her french and english. But luckily Soeur Hansen has got the "gift of tongues" and we can always manage to figure out what she's telling us. Haha.

While we were out, we ran into a woman that we'd talked to last week and exchanged numbers with. Her name is Promise and she's from the Congo. She is absolutely the nicest woman and she has five daughters and one son! We got onto the bus the other day and started walking to the back of the bus when we saw each other. She just grinned and yelled out a "HEllo!!" Yes, she's also an english speaker. We're going to go visit her later this week!

On Wednesday, we went to go visit a recent convert member named Anne-Marie. Soeur Hansen and I had heard that her mother had just passed away the week before and we wanted to check up on her. After we'd helped her carry her groceries upstairs and sat down in the living room, we asked if maybe we could sing a hymn with her. We started into "How Great Thou Art" and the second verse into it, Anne-Marie just let her tears flow. But she insisted that we keep going. So we all just sat together singing. And after that we sang some more.

I think I'd forgotten just what it meant to minister to others. I'd been so focused on just working hard, keeping to a tight schedule and teaching inspired lessons, that I'd forgotten the importance of just simply being there for a friend. "Mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort..." Mosiah 18. We are all called to minister to those around us, to love them and lift them up. As we sat there sharing scriptures of comfort with each other, singing and crying together, I realized that I never want to let the routine of the work keep me from remembering the spirit of it. Each person is a beloved Child of God that needs to be loved and appreciated and recognized for who they are. In Heavenly Father's eyes, it's not the checklist of things we've done, but the individuals we have touched that matters more.

I really love this mormon message that talks about the meaning of what we do. Check it out!

I love you all. I hope you are having a wonderful week. They are always angels round about you!


Soeur Hopkins

This is the castle at Azay-le-Rideau that Bronte did a project on when she was in 10th grade!

A Plandid Candid, a Hansen tradition! 

Bronte with my package!!! 

So, they splurged and got the infamous Kebabs there. It's an algerian food.

Lots of love,

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"II y a Toujours I'aide pour quelqu'un qui demander..." HP

Dear Family,

This week has been so so super exciting! 

Monday Soeur Hansen and I were running around seeing all of the sights we could in Tours. We stopped by a zoo, a birthday party for a member's daughter and had two lessons with our amis. Part of those lessons included another performance of Ava Maria by our singer/performer ami, Antonia. Yes, yes, yes!...

Tuesday we went into Nantes for exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders and it was the best experience spending the day with them and asking all of the dumb questions I had about how this or that works. Soeur Barton and Soeur Richards are awesome!

Friday we had mission conference with President and Soeur Babin where we had a lesson on teaching and it was paralleled to making the perfect cookie (yes, a food analogy is goood). The Babins gave an unconventional lesson on using the scriptures by having us circle up for a scripture chase! Every team of four is given a ball and if we knew the reference to the scripture being read off, we had to make a basket into the bin in the middle to shout it out. It was so fun watching all of us just turn into kids and get competitive. Missionary work can be so fun...

We've seen so many wonderful miracles in the past couple of days. I can't even begin to say how much divine help has been poured out on behalf of us, the members and the people here in Tours. One of our amis, Arlette, gave us her card the first time we met with her name, number and address on it. I flipped it over and read this quote, "Il y a toujours l'aide pour quelqu'un qui demander." (Ok, so I didn't have it on me but I hope the grammer is good!) And then she had the initials "HP" next to it.
Yes, that stands for Harry Potter. I just laughed when I saw that. But the message was sooo true and applicable! 

There is always help for him who asks.

There is always people around you who are waiting and want to know how to help you learn how to do something and have success. Don't ever hold out on the blessings! 

I love you all. Have a wonderful week. 

Soeur Hopkins
(Pictures of Chateaus to follow next week!)

Birthday Party!

"Hadiza, one of our ward members. She is Awesome! Pretty much one of our best friends" says Bronte! 

Lots of love,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Here Comes the Sun...Little Darling

 Another email from Bronte! Sorry it's a week late!

Dear Family and Friends,
So allow me to start off this week by explaining the kind of Sunday School experience I had yesterday.
It was Soeur Hansen's first week at church and so, while sitting in Sunday School watching her head explode from a french overload, I sat there trying my best to take notes and learn from the lesson Soeur Kehli was sharing. But then, catching me off guard, she asked me to read Isaiah 25:8 for her. Summoning up my best accent, I read off the very uncomprehensible verse in french. And then she asked me to share what I liked from it.
One second, I'm still translating..
And in my mind a certain phrase came off the page so I quickly responded that I really liked the phrase "l'armes des anges." And before I realized what came out of my mouth I figured out that the phrase meant "the tears of the angels." And then she asked me why.... Wow. Face palm. Isaiah in French. (The Elders were totally giggling their heads off from behind me).
This week was a week of firsts for Soeur Hansen! I took her to see the Cathedral in Tours and an organist was playing, she tried her first legitimate french pastry, drank fizzy water, ate french cheese and got an accidental bisous from a man (that happens more often than you realize). It was a beautiful week full of miracles and moments where the language barrier just seemed to dissolve.
We went and visited our ami Sonia. Soeur Bradley and I had visited her two other times and she is such an awesome girl who believes in healing. We shared with her the message of the restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon! Soeur Hansen shared the first vision and we talked about the promise in Moroni 10. She opened up to us about how prayer has deeply affected her in her life. Also music. One phrase she said stood out to me. She said, "La chanson louer Dieu." Song permits God. Sometimes there are things we cannot express with words that only music and song can.
In another one of our RDVs this week, we visited an ami of ours named Isabel. For a living, she runs a little day care in her apartment. Everywhere she has decorations, paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the kid's drawings posted on her fridge. She has so many questions about the nature of God and how we live our religion. Without hesitation, we jumped on the internet and took a look at and the "I'm a mormon" videos and she just loved it! As we were getting ready to leave, I mentioned how her apartment felt so full of light and warmth. She smiled and told us that she'd named her daughter "Luche" because it means light. Light.
It's funny sometimes how you can get a little bit lost and somehow end up in the right place. The other night Soeur Hansen and I got on one of our regular bus routes and I just started thinking and writing down notes in my pocket journal. Before realizing it, I'd lost track of time and we ended up in a neighborhood next to an ami and a member we knew. So, we took it as providence and visited our ami and the member, Hadiza, who'd just gotten out of the hospital.
It was so good. So so good to see her. She was so grateful for us coming by and seeing how she was doing. Soeur Hansen and I sang to her "How Great Thou Art" and her face just lit up. I didn't even realize it at the moment, but I had no problems speaking or understanding her. What a blessing!
This past week might've been one of the most difficult one's I've had yet. Soeur Hansen and I have been traversing through new experiences together and helping each other out. I'm not sure who's training who!! Thank you for your prayers-- they help so much more than you even realize. Every. Single. One. They give us so much power and heaven sent help.
This week, I took a look at Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, "The Hope of God's Light." And it was just what I needed to read. He talks about making the decision to face our fears and to look to God for light and hope.
"The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to AWAKEN, ENLIVEN and ENNOBLE your soul. The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but as surely as night always gives way to dawn, the light will come."
"He knows that you will stumble-- perhaps many times. This saddens Him, but He loves you. He does not wish to break your spirit. On the contrary, He desires that you RISE UP and become the person you were designed to be."
I love you all. The hope and sunlight of God's love can and will shine on each one of you as you allow yourself to receive it and BASK in it.
Grosses Bisous!
Soeur Hopkins

The Cathedral in Tours and a cute street they passed by!

Sonia making an African dish of chicken and peanut butter Bronte didn't stay long enough to try it, but she says it smelt fantastic. The Light reflecting off of the stained glass windows.

Smile! It's raining season!

Well it looks like Bronte is still having an awesome time! 
Lots of love,