Monday, March 23, 2015

Like My New Wig?

Finally! We are all caught up on the life of Bronte!!

The Fele family. Awesome family. Angelina wants to serve a mission!

And yes, I'm actually turning African and now own a booboo and head wrap.Me and Soeur Ntmag!

My new companion, Soeur Dionne. She's from Virginia, goes to BYU as well and is majoring in studio art and minoring in ballroom dance. Yes, another dancer!

Hey look! There's Elder Jordan Brown from my freshmen ward at BYU!

 Stephanie and her daughter Vivi who got ahold of a wig. It's really a thing here in France for Africans to wear wigs and do all kinds of other cool things with their hair.

And the Renaud family that we met way back in January and visited another time! Such a loving and incredibly kind family. Lord of the rings fans. No joke. They have a map of middle earth hanging up on one of their walls. They grew up in Nantes, met and married there. They have two kids.

 And just because I love pictures...Soeur Tehoiri who introduced us to Candida (she's from Tahiti and the real question is who DOESN'T know her?haha)

Last selfie with Soeur Walker. I love her so much! She's going to do an awesome job in Le Mans!

Dear Family,

And now for the actual email...this week has been pretty fantastic. There have been so many miracles (unexplicabley wonderful events that have transpired that I have no other reason to explain them save that they were put into action by diety).
Soeur Walker left for Le Mans and she has two new compaions! One is a francophone who is waiting for her visa and will then be serving at temple square in salt lake city. And my new companion, Soeur Renee Dionne, is from Virginia and she just finished serving the first 6 months of her mission in Toule (by Nancy, it's pretty tiny). They actually had a car up there, so this past week, I've been acquainting her to Paris, the super fast RER and the crazy bus systems. But she has been such a good sport about it all and is loving Evry. (Because let's face it, Evry is pretty awesome.) And she's teaching me how to knit! And so much more about missionary work.
And for the super exciting news of the week. Drum roll please......Stephanie accepted a baptismal date!!!!!! She is preparing herself to be baptized the 18th of April. So keep her in your prayers because this is a big decision and she'll need lots of loving support along the way.
We went over on Saturday to help her clean up around her apartment and Vivi found a wig and started sporting it around. I turned into such a mom and ran to grab my camera, take pictures and videos. I've never seen her smile like that before. She's just the cutest. 
This week, we've literally been running around and going to almost every corner of our area boundary. Longemeau to Moissy and everywhere in between! While on the train, Soeur Dionne and I sat down not far from this young, Algerian man. He saw our tags and he started asking us in english who we were and what we were doing in France. We started talking to him and I asked him if he was someone religious. His answer totally caught me off guard. He said, "I'm a christian convert refugee. My wife and I are living here with our 2 kids. And I just got my titre de sejour to stay here." Wow. Do you know how hard it is to get a green card to stay here in France?

We talked for about 20 more minutes, he showed us pictures of his family, we talked to her on the phone, he told us about his conversion to christianity and we exchanged phone numbers to talk more. One thing he said that struck me was,"Jesus Christ isn't just a prophet and example to us. He is the Savior of the World." There was so much power and conviction behind his testimony.
We also taught the Renaud family again this week! They are one of the most loving exemplary families I have met before. They are Catholic and very happy with their religion, but pretty open to hearing our message and reading the Book of Mormon. They said that they wanted to read it because they knew how important it was to us. I hope we get to see them again sometime soon!
I've been learning so much about sincere compliment giving. Sometimes we think that if we were to sincerely compliment someone that it might be something "too obvious" or maybe that someone's already told them or we don't want to "give someone a big head." But I think you'd be suprised how much people need to hear it. They need to hear from someone that they are a "good mother" or that they have a specific gift or that they "did that very well." Sincere compliments can help people realize just how valuable they are in the eyes of their Father in Heaven. Never hesitate to say a kind word!
Donc, je vous aime et je vous souhaite une bonne semaine! If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I'd love to hear them at
Soeur Hopkins

Lots of love,


Go Home Broke

Here's another email!!!

Dear Family,

Hey there! I hope you've all had a great week and that this one is coming along pretty well. For the news of the week...drum roll please. I'm staying in Evry!! Soeur Walker will be leaving her beloved Bleu ville and heading a little south to Le Mans (pronounced Le Moh). C'est pas grave, she's really excited and I am for the next chapter of her mission! And heading in my directioin, is my new companion, Soeur Dionne. We'll being going into Paris this Wednesday and I'm so excited to meet her and show her around this area!
Seriously, this is the best area to be in and there is so much work ahead of us here. Did I mention that the members are awesome? We hung out with Soeur Bailly this morning for prepartion day and got our craft on making some cards. These people are wonderful. And yes, a sister in our ward (Soeur Digbehi) made Soeur Walker and I our own legitimate African booboo dresses!
This week, we went and visited a member named Orlane and we had one of the best times visiting with her, uplifting her and encouraging her. She has been a member for several years now, but due to work and other circumstances in her life, has just been back and forth with the church. (Don't we all find ourselves in a position like this more or less at one point in our lives?) We talked about Christ's enabling power to help us change and heal.
When Peter saw Christ walking on the water, he called out to him, stepped out onto the water and immediately started walking towards him. It wasn't until he started to look down at himself that he began to sink. He was looking at all of his doubts, concerns and fears. He took His eyes off of the Savior. I can really say I understand what that's like.
But, thankfully, we know that the Savior came to his help, reach down to him and pulled him up out of the water.
Loving for and caring for people is really the only way to help them change. That's for certain. We just sat there with Orlane and she poured out her incredible testimony of the Savior. She said that the one thing that she was first touched by when she came to know the church was that it was the first time she was told that God loved her.
She also adores the missionaries and tells us that whenever she's with us, she feels like she's with Christ. And while I know that there's a lot I could say to argue against us being perfect people, I really love that she recognizes the ability the Savior has to make us into something more.
I have come to love these people so much more than I could've ever thought. I wish I could give them all the blessings of the gospel and then everything else that I own. I think I'd rather return home knowing that I gave them everything that I have and am. Yeah, I think I'd like to go home broke. (don't worry mom and dad. I didn't mean I'm giving money away.)
"Evry" thing is doing great and there's more to follow next week. 
Soeur Hopskeeens

And Irene. Oh Irene...

Lots of love,


The Craziness of Life in Evry

I'm sorry I've been slow on emails, but here is the first of 3!

Bonne Semaine ma famille! J'éspère que vous allez bien et il fait du soleil!
This week has been wonderful. We went and saw the Louvre and yes, the Mona Lisa. Which, to confirm all of your suspicions is very small and surrounded by bullet proof glass! I thought it was the funniest thing that you can turn around and look at an incredible painting 10 times larger than it and somehow, everyone's there is just to see the Mona.:)
We had some very wonderful happenings this week. You wouldn't believe it, but we were working in another ville in our area called Corbeil-Essonnes trying to find a couple of adresses for people we had contacted a week before, when I stopped this very chique, french women on the street. And it turns out that she spoke english, knew about our church and was able to help us find our way. We even prayed with her, gave her our card and parted to go look for something to eat for lunch.
We walked a couple streets away and rounded a corner to look at the least expensive crepery we could find. And just as we turned the corner, we ran into her again. Turns out she was waiting for a businesess interview and was also trying to find a bite to eat. So we had lunch together

She told us all about her work and her life growing up in Paris, living in Arkansas for a month as a teenager. Her name is Dominique and her and her family live in Stasbourg. Turns out she's already met other missionaries before.And then she asked us about ourselves and what we were doing here. We ended up teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel and sharing with her the story of Joseph Smith. It was a powerful and special experience sitting in the upper level of the cafe sharing this experience with her. Everytime I share the words of Jospeh Smith in the sacred grove, there is a power that just fills the room and its like everything becomes still. Dominique just sat there listening intently and made the remark, "Wow. That's powerful." :) Yes, it really is.
It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. She was so kind and told us that we were such good representatives of our church and country. (Seriously, that's the best compliment I've ever received on my mission. America + The Gospel = All the Best Things). We gave her our contact information so that if she was interested in having the missionnaires visit her, they could go to see her where she's at. And as we were leaving, she insisted on paying for us. We were telling her not to worry about it and we could pay for ourselves, but she insisted. "40 years from now, you're going to tell you're kids about this lady that you met in Corbeil-Essonnes and how she took you out to lunch."
We took a picture too!

And we also got Stephanie to church! 3 hours of trajet going out to get her and bring her back by the bus and with the train--but so worth it! She was really debating on going because of her three small kids. But somehow, when we arrived she looked at us and decided, "Well, you're already here, so we might as well go!" And it was so wonderful because as soon as we got into Evry, some members came and picked us up to go to the chapel and someeone offered to give her a ride all the way back. It really is all worth it and I know that she felt the spirit so strongly when she was there.
There is no way I could ever decide not to go to church everyweek after helping someone make that trip! 

Here are some of the wonderful members and people that we taught this week!

The other night we were in Corbeil-Essonne again and we stopped in this neighbor that surrounds the city's cathedral and I was like, "Soeur Walker, grab the camera! This is too beautiful!" Hence, me in a doorway, the motorcycle, the view....

And me using the map to navigate...that's an adventure!
I love you all, have a wonderful week! God loves you and He knows exactly where you stand. He will help you and place you in the path of others He wants you to meet!
Living and Loving the Gospel in Paris,
Soeur Hopkins

Have a great week! 

Lots of love,


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sweet Renunions

Another email, I am finally all caught up!

Dear Family,

Just a few beautiful happenings from the week. On Monday, Soeur Walker and I adventured into Paris and I took her to go see le Sacre Coeur cathedral. It is one of the best views of Paris from the top! And so well visited. I think I must've heard at least 8 different languages walking from the bottom of the hill to reach the top. Imagine the classic scene from Marie Poppins when she is on the roof top looking over the city and that would be a little bit of the image you could picture in your mind.

This last week was Stake Conference! The Adult Session was here in Evry and the general session was in a stadium seating performing arts center in a small ville just past Melun (not too far from here). And I was able to see my lovely branch from Tours! They had rented a huge bus and drove up earlier that morning to make it there. The Anthenou's (Rachel from California), the Kehli's, and, yes, the Taylors, our lovely Tahitian sister and all the rest of the branch. I love them! It was like no time had passed when we saw each other and I got a nice little run down on the news of the ward. 4 babies to be born this year!
Elder Kearon, one of the presiding general authorities for Europe, spoke to us at the conference. He's from England and grew up in Saudi-Arabia (is that cool or what). So it was kind of fun hearing british humor and, quite frankly, being able to hear his talk twice through! (English and French translations). He talked about changed and he shared two very powerful experiences from his life. One of them, he talked about vacationing in Saudi-Arabia next to an oasis. He learned that the oasis came from a natural pipe line leading to the source. When they drill in just the right spot, the water, under its own pressure, will come up out of the ground. He likened this to ourselves and how we can be sure, spiritually, we are drilling in the right spot.
The other, He shared about a weekly call he made home to his family while out for another meeting he was attending. His wife was telling them about their week and how they went out for a walk one day and his little daughter fell and scraped her knees. The first thing she did was cry out and say, " I want Daddy! He would be SO sad right now!" 
He said, that, one, he WAS so sad for her. But that, first, he was so happy that she cried out for him. Because she knew that her Daddy loved her.
The analogy was very clear and powerful. He talked about us, in our need, crying out for our Father in Heaven. And although, he is not physically right there for us right now, he feels what we feel with us. "We believe in a God that weeps." And he wants to heal us. Which is exactly why he has given us simple, clear, directions to guide us. Pray, reading our scriptures, going to church..."It has always been the simple things. But sometimes, we try to complicate it. Don't complicate it. Understand that you are a child of God."
That same day, Soeur Tehoiri and her companion came in and we met up with them to visit an old ami that she had met when she was first serving in Evry. Her name is Candida. She was actually the first person she contacted when she was here in France and she'd been taught for the sisters for a while, but when they took the sisters out for a few months after, she'd gotten a little lost between the cracks. And so we met up with and she was so so so happy to meet us and couldn't wait for us to start teaching her again. I still wonder just how that happens to work? I don't know! It's obviously divine intervention.
And she came with us to the conference! Both of them! She loved it! After the adult session, I went up with her to Elder Kearon to thank him for his talk and to help translate for her. He asked how she'd come to meet the sister missionaries and I explained to him that she was here because of a sister missionary that had remembered her.
Needless to say, the conference was pretty life-changing. Elder Kearon's also going to be speaking at a mission conference for us at the end of April-- yessssss!
Things are finally starting to warm up a little here and I'm praying for a no scarf day sometime in the future. I love you all! The Church is true. And time flies by-- 9 months out and 9 months to go! Try not to blink for too long!
Living and loving Paris! Soeur Hopkins

​It's the shoe that makes the photo all the better....



Captain Moroni and Other Superheroes

Another email, emails are the best!!

Dear Family,

Ok, so this week I'm having a bit of some challenges uploading pictures, but I wanted to be sure that I wasn't neglecting to share all of the wonderful pictures of the week. 

Yes, I finally did get out to see the Jardin du Luxembourg--which is a cute hangout for all of the families in Paris. They had a massive park, with a huge playground, several games of soccer going on, tennis matches, older men playing the french version of the italian game of booles and, yes, several chess tournaments. It was so fun to walk around and see all the different groups of people gathering together focusing in on their game. That was a real taste of french culture at its finest.
And then, we decided to take a couple of stops down the metro line to see the Arc de Triomphe and we finally climbed to the top! Get this- its free with a passeport and visa! It was the most beautiful sight looking all around us at the rest of Paris and so worth it. We are so super blessed to being serving where we are!
And to explain the pictures. The Family Girard (who we spent Christmas with) is moving out of our ward this week to go to Nantes, so we took a couple of pictures with them and their girls. (Notice how their daughter Inos is sooo excited to smile for the picture...haha. We got her to warm up after a minute.)
This week we were so swamped with our schedule and found ourselves on trajet for most of the day taking a bus from one place to the next. And we had the chance to visit several families in our ward and get to know them better. One of the nights, we visited the Family Tchikaya. They have three kids and two of them are teenagers. We talked about heros and super-powers. (Yes, I promise that we weren't preaching false doctrine). And we talked about the story of Captain Moroni who was so strong and firm in his beliefs. I started elaborating on the story of him tearing off a peice of clothe to create the title of liberty. Soeur Walker will tell you that I was just getting so into telling the story, I'm not sure wear all of my elaborate french vocabulary words started formulating. Words like "drapeau", "vetement", "bataille" and others were just flying out of my mouth. It was so fun making the scriptures come to life for them.One of the kids even commented that he didn't know this story was in the Book of Mormon. Now, he does.
This week, we went and visited a few less active members. We invited Soeur Levrot to come along with us for the rdv and she met us at the church with her catholic friend to go teach! We walked through the rain and showed up to this member's apartment and I think she was so pleasantly suprised to see we'd brought a little company. We had a wonderful visit and it was so fun watching these three women just go on talking to each other. It goes to show that no matter what our religious denomination, activity in the church or current life situations may be, we are children of God. We have a lot more things in common than we have different.
It's a beautiful week in Paris. And it is such a wonderful blessing. I mean, who really gets to say that? I love this work and these people so much. They mean so much to me and I really feel like they are becoming a part of who I am and what I do. Heaven must be much like that.

Soeur Hopkins