Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ministering Angels

Another fantastic week for Bronte!!


Hey you all! Thank you so much for getting back with me and confirming addresses, etc. It's great to hear how you're doing. No, I'm not actually going to have a car while I'm here in Tours. But here's for hoping!

This past week, we had some Happenings. For one, yes, I tried my first escargot at district meeting. It was awful....ly interesting and I really would prefer to forget it happened. We were talking to Stephanie and Prisca about it during our last visit about the random things the french people consume! (They're African). She used one of my most recent favorite french sayings, "The French eat n'importe quoi!"   

It means "whatever."

On Saturday we had a beautiful baptism in our branch for an englishman named Juliann who's been staying with his grandmother for the past several months in France. We were pretty stoked. And I got to give a talk on baptism! Soeur Kehli translated while I spoke in English. (So Juliann and the our french speaking branch could understand). It's really hard thinking in two sentence phrases and then pausing for translation.

When Frere Kehli got up to speak, he started in french and his wife translated into english. But after about ten seconds, he accidently switched to english for a phrase or two. As soon as he realized it, he just stopped, rolled his eyes and used my favorite saying, "N'importe quoi!" 

It's a lot harder than it seems... :)

This week was really interesting and filled with lots of suprises. All I can say is that Heavenly Father sets up some of the most seemingly uncorrelated experiences for a reason. 

We were on a certain street, looking at map to find an ami's apartment to passby when this older lady came walking past us. We said, "Bonjour," but she just ignored us as she slowly walked on (she may've been hard of hearing). Her back was hunched over with age and her face looked down at the pavement. But something didn't look right. As she walked past us, we saw a gash on her right forearm and a pool of blood dripping down her and onto her bags she was carrying. It was pretty bad and scary. And she didn't seem to notice! We tried to stop her, but she ignored us (yes, the tags...) She walked down the street just sort of wandering. And as she began to cross the street, a woman sitting at the intersection in her car had a huge gasp on her face. We ran across the street, got her attention and with just a few tissues and things we had, helped to bandage her arm and make sure she got home safely. It was a very shocking, but I'm glad we were there when we were.

Another day this week, we took a trip out to an area further north in Tours to visit an older ami of ours. She was so super sweet and we sat with her and listened to her talk about her family for nearly an hour. I admit, I was doing a lot of head nodding and confirming "oui's." She'd experienced some difficult hardships in her life and lost many of her family members to cancer and other health problems. When we had the opportunity, we read in Romans 8:16-18 with her. As she began reading the first verse outloud, she came to, "We are children of God" and then stopped. Looking up at us from across the table, she then reread the same phrase, "We are children of God." As I looked over at her, I could see something within her change. I don't think she'd ever known this before in her ENTIRE life. It was so neat to be sitting with her and experiencing that with her.

As we were heading home on the Trax, I started thinking about "ministering angels." Friends, family, neighbors, strangers--those who come to us in our times of need to remind us that we are watched over. 

I know that as a person, I am far from angelic. (not fishing for compliments either). But in those moments on the street and with our ami, I realized that we have a calling as missionaries to be those ministering angels who help others when we are needed. Heavenly Father sometimes sends us out of our way to go and visit with the ONE who needs to know they are a child of God or the ONE that needs someone to make sure they're safe. It's amazing. And so worth. 

Long email. But I just wanted to share it ALL so you could experience the miracles too! Take care!


Soeur Hopkins

Bronte and her companion walked down this street for 35 minutes and once they reached the end they had to take victory pictures!

Bronte trying escargot at a district meeting!! She didn't really like the texture, but good for her for trying new things!

Going to church!!!

Bronte's first baptism with Jullian and his grandmother Sister Taylor who lives in their branch.

Her favorite "ami" (which I am not sure what that means) Mr. Maurissot.

Take 2 with Stephanie and Pisca!

FHE at the church and Bronte was so excited because she got to wear pants!! With Sister Kehli and their YSA friend Anaella.

Lots of love,


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Miracle of the Week and some Porting Stories

Another week! I always love hearing from our French girl!

Dear Family!

Funny Porting/Street Contacting Stories:

The other day, we went porting through this specific batiment. 

When I was on exchanges with Soeur Hensen, we ported the apartment of a young Muslim man. From what I could gather, he was not interested but he was friendly and seemed pretty normal. He gave us his number and then we left. I was pretty sure I missed some contextual clues, because Soeur Hensen had the funniest look on her face. Turns out....

Yes, he was interested, but not in our message. Whenever we talk to Muslim people, we end up just sharing our common value of families. So she gave him a Family Proclomation pamphlet to read about. He, in turn, talked about a need to feel peace in life. He told Soeur Hensen that if she ever needed peace in her life, to just call him. (When she told me THAT part of the story, I was Dying of laughter). He rummaged around his apartment to find a peace of paper to write his name and number. It sounded like he was remodeling his apartment! And when I looked at the name, I noticed that he spelled it wrong the first time. Sooooo funny. Soeur Bradley and I decided to leave that floor alone. hahaha The story's aaaaall in the Context.

Another port we came across kind of took me back for a moment. Outside the apartment was 2 fake trees, ivory taped onto and along the wall and portraits of the local chateauxs. Woah.

I wrote this one in my planner. "This young kid answers the door and informs us that he's too busy right now, because he's 'Going Out.' Oh yeah, I forgot it's Friday night..."

We contacted this young french girl in Centre Ville the other day, expecting her to be busy or running off to do something else. But instead, she stops and talks to us. After getting through our usual introduction and conversational questions, I just kind of looked at Soeur Bradley as we awkwardly stood there. A flashback scene from The Best Two Years came to me after Elder Calhoun and his companion commit their friend to baptism. They get so excited and then the moment dies down awkwardly as they stare at each other. Elder Calhoun asks, "What are we supposed to do Now?? His companion: "I don't know. I've never gotten this far!" Oh la looooow...

This past week, we started teaching two sisters named Stephanie and Prisca. We actually didn't contact them first. The Elders called us up and told us to meet them and then go to their home. 

Stephanie and Priscas' sister is a member in Metz. The other day  they were spending the day with her and while they were together, she just started bearing her testimony to them about the blessings of the gospel in her life. She said they needed to meet with the missionaries.

But Stephanie said she hadn't seen any before. Her sister informed her that was impossible, because they Are EVERYWHERE (true). Then she spotted our Elders at a bus stop and ran off to talk to them. 
There are no such things as coincidences.

We've been teaching them for a week now and they are wonderful. Our rendez-vous have been so good and they are so curious and open to the gospel. Prisca offered her first prayer the other day and it was so sincere and heartfelt. She just thanked God for allowing her to wake up that day and enjoy it. I wish I did that Every Day. 

It's such a miracle and I feel so blessed to be even a little part of it. All we really do as missionaries is show others the way, help them along and then let them experience the Gospel in their lives. We just want them to be BLESSED and feel the LOVE of GOD in their lives. Who doesn't want that?

The french is coming along so much better than I've even realized. There's a lot to go, I know. But when you have something important or meaningful to say, it gets communicated.

Hope you're having a wonderful week! And here's the new address for where we're at now. It's a lot faster direct vs. through the mission home. But if its ever getting close to the end of a transfer, I'll give you a heads up.

Grosses Bisous,

Soeur Hopkins

4 Rue Horizon Vert
37170 Chambray Les Tours

Since we are California girls she wanted to show that we are represented everywhere! 

The doorway she was talking about in her email!

Bronte and some super cute street art that just happens to look like her.

Bronte and her two investigators Stephanie and Prisca! 

Public transport and her cute companion!

The Kehli family in her ward. 

Bronte and her sweet ride that she is privileged to drive in the mission hehe! 

It really is a beautiful automobile! 

A beautiful picture of Bronte touring the city!

Well it looks like our girl is doing absolutely fine!! I can't wait to see what her next email will hold!
Lot of love,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mom, We Live in a Forest

Finally after all of her traveling Bronte is finally in France!!  Yeah so exciting!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you all had a great 4th of July! We had some fun at the MTC watching fireworks, eating ice cream, staying up later and still getting up early :) It's a good thing we've got a great sense of humor...
This past week or so has been a solid bluuuuuuuuurr...Yes, even some of my pictures are blurry too! We had our last weekend at the MTC and it was fantastic. I'm so grateful for everyone that I met there and for all of the growth and experiences that happened while I was there. Monday, we left the MTC and walked out into the big bad world. Wow, it's something else now...
Here's some highlights:
-Took the trax to salt lake and while I was getting my luggage on, the door starting closing. Stopped it with my foot and back (no worries, it was a flimsy door)
-Ran into my Dance Professor at the airport flying to Paris! Whaaa?
-Lost my passport in Paris. Really, it was embarrassing. But we found it in the glove compartment on the flight we came in on.
-Got stuck in the door going back into the luggage retreival area
-Met my new companion! And my first area is in TOUR in the South of my mission
-Realized that everyone in France smokes
-No car. But that's ok..we ride the bus systems around here
-Everyone dresses like a punk out of the 90's...really.
-It is absolutely gorgeous here. So Beautiful.
-Our branch is about 30 members. Il est petit.
-I don't speak nearly as much french yet. But that's no suprise. I can get by pretty well.
-There's about a million and 1 cats here. I've started taking pictures just to keep count.
Mom, we live in a Forest! There are so many trees here. And weeds. I just wanna take out a weed wacker and buzz the entire property.We live in what the Sisters refer to as "The Tower of Tours." Just some tall apartment complexes outside the main city. And not too far from us in the Chateau De La Branchoire. It looks like Pemberely in France. Gorgeous.
My trainer (aka "mom") is Soeur Bradley and she's from Victorville, California. I'm so blessed to have her as my trainer and we get along very well. Which is just an added plus. We've had a great week of firsts and I'm absolutely loving it. We taught lessons, contacted, went "bati-ing" (batiment is french for a building. so we just go door to door contacting). And yes, we've had good lessons, bad lessons and even someone tell us we were brainwashed. So french...
Today is what the French call "La Jour De Bastille" or Bastille Day. It's their independence day.I got a wee bit excited so I sported my red, white and blue to the ex-treme today. And it's been great. I was thinking about all of the things I've learned this week to tie into the FHE lesson we're teaching tonight. 
As we celebrate the Freedom we enjoy in our countries--United States, France and, I think, Canada this month, I think about our spiritual freedom. Jesus Christ is the ultimate liberator that enables us to move forward, embrace the future and be freed of what is holding us back. It's really So beautiful.
Please visit link: http://easter.mormon.org/
Je sais que mon redempteur vie. Et je vous aime aussi. J'espere que vous sauvez ca.
My world has suddenly gotten so much bigger for me and I'm working on taking it in. Kind of like drinking from a fire hydrant. You can only drink a little and the rest just blasts right past you (not talking from experience haha). I will tell you more about our zone and area next week. Meanwhile, stay groovy and write me. And yes, I will write you back. :)
Soeur Hopkins
P.s. Thank the Barlow sisters for sending the Plan de Salut puzzle. It was the best suprise I've had yet! And I sat on the floor in my apartment reassembling it maybe 5 times because it was So. Much. Fun.

Bronte and Sister Bradley!!

I am not sure what this is but it sure is pretty and Bronte likes it!

Our cutie!! 

The awesome duo again!

Bronte at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

Bronte at a castle gate! 

Her apartment building.

Lucky rainbow!!

Yummy, French chocolate! 

Eating true French dessert! 

Absolutely adorable!!

At the airport!! 

Blurly flying picture!! 

Bronte and her missionary presidents the Babins at the mission home.

Fourth of July at the MTC!!

And that's it for this week!! I am so glad she is safe and having fun already!!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

Big email this week!!! Yeah!!!
Dear Family, 

We flight out Monday! One direct flight from Salt Lake to Paris. What a change that'll be!

We're soo ready to go, but also so sad to be leaving our zone! Our little branch has grown from 12, to 18, to 25 and we love them sooo much! Our newest group of french speaking missionaries will be going to Canada and to New Hampshire (it never ceases to amaze me the places where people speak french...). Also, since being here, I've ran into some more friends from school, one of my co-workers going to India and a friend from my ward (Sister Lauren Davis) who's headed to Tampa, Florida. 

I think this week's going to go by pretty quick. Today, we spent our morning helping clean the Provo temple, tomorrow we get to host the new missionaries coming to the MTC (I'm really excited for this), all day Thursday is In-field Orientation (should be super fun) and Friday is the 4th. I'm so happy to be here, right now, to celebrate our Independence Day and then arrive in France just in time for their Bastille Day! How cool will that be?!

This week we've been learning a whole lot about teaching Revelation through The Book of Mormon. It'd never occurred to me how often I tell people about The Book of Mormon and say something to the effect of, "It's a great book. I love it. It's blessed me so much in my life." And then we hand our dear friends a copy and walk away. Ding-dong ditching the message...

We spent some time practicing how to share more about this wonderful book. Talk about it-- its origins and where it comes from. Open it-- flip through the pictures and explain more about its history. Read Moroni's promise or look at the Introduction on the front page. And if you have more time, explain how you've learn to apply its teachings into your life. Real simple. I loved it. Now go try doing that in French. haha...

I tried metro contacting the other day! That was a blast and actually pretty difficult. Our instructor that day, Frere Sybrowsky, had half of our district line up on the sidewalk (as if on the metro) and the other half be the missionaries. I got to be the missionary.

As I began to start a conversation with my ami, Frere Sybrowsky came along and tapped him on the shoulder and began counting down 10 seconds before they would 'get off at the next stop.' The pressure was on... I tried to find the words to ask for his contact information. But as Frere Sybrowsky began to count down lower, '5....4.....3....", I became frantic for the words and I couldn't find them. Just as my ami was about to leave, I let out a strange, wild, indian-like noise that I've never made before. 

Note to self: Try Not to do that in France. They will think you're strange.

I love you all and am so excited to send you pictures once we've arrived in Paris. If you're interested in receiving a postcard, please send me your addresses viadearelder.com pronto tonto. Have a fantastic week! And remember that God loves you!

Avec Tout Mon Coeur, 

Soeur Bronte Hopkins

Bronte with her flight plans!!

Such a long way across the world!

Her and her super cute companion.

All the sisters in her zone!!

Make sure to tell her if you want a postcard!! 
Lots of love,