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,