Monday, December 19, 2016

Season of Christ

Hey everybody!
     It's been another great week here as Christmas just keeps coming closer and closer! Only a week left! Holy cow, can't believe it. This week has been full of the Christmas spirit, and the power of the Holy Ghost has been so strong as we've been talking with everyone about the Savior. This week I've been thinking a lot about recognizing the hand of God in my life, and how small and simple a touch of His hand can be. I would like to tell you about a few of the experiences I had of how the Savior has touched my life this week, and throughout this Christmas season. 
     This past week I had the opportunity to travel to my previous area, and do a companion exchange. It was a great opportunity for me to see the members, to see my recent converts, and to see people who I've dearly come to love. I got to meet a young man named Bryan who is from the Philippines. He took us to lunch, and spent the day with us. He's preparing to go to the temple, and his wonderful example of faith, despite hard circumstances was a touch of God's hand in my life this week, realizing how the gospel truly changes us. On that same exchange, another recent convert of mine, seventy years old, walked into the church and started yelling my name as loud as he could in his broken english. "Roper, Roper... where are you Roper??" We met in a big hug and got to spend the night teaching him, and preparing him for the priesthood. What a blessing it was for me.
One of the greatest examples I had this week of God touching my life was yesterday in sacrament meeting. I had to give a talk and was astounded as three of our investigators showed up to the meeting. I came down from my talk, and sat down, and just looked around the chapel. On my left, a young man, very poor, very humble, listening intently to the talks. His parents separated, no job, just praying to get into college, and has found his way into the LDS chapel. On my right, another of my investigators who is a rapper. At first glance many would wonder who he is, where he comes from, and why he's there, but as I looked at him, I saw a man willing to change, grow and try to be better. Yesterday it was a tender mercy from the Lord as he turned to me and said in his broken english, and like a rapper, "I love ya man." And lastly, my third investigator sitting with my companion on the other side of the room. I was speechless. How the gospel has changed their lives, opened their hearts, and changed who they are.
I know this Christmas season as we look for the small tender mercies of the Lord, we'll find them. Maybe it's in receiving, or maybe in giving. Maybe it's in things you've never recognized. But I know the only way to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas is to search for the hand of God in service to others. I know that as we do our best, He will manifest Himself to us. Not physically, but in feelings of peace, warmth, and comfort. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of God. I bear His name on my chest, right next to my heart. It is my humble prayer that we will let Him in during this final week. I know that as we do, the satisfaction of the Holy Ghost will enlighten our minds and souls with the pure and perfect love of God. May we always to drop the last syllable of Christmas, and make it the season for Christ. 
I love you all, and I am eternally grateful for all of you. With all my sincerity and love, I say thank you. Have a wonderful week, and I'll talk to you on Christmas Day.

Elder Roper

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Light Of The World

Hey everyone!
     It was another great week here in the Korea Busan Mission. The time is just flying by it seems like. It just won't slow down. This week was really simple and basic for the most part, not to say I'm complaining! The weather is starting to get a little bit cooler, and it will finally hit about thirty degrees this week. This week we continued to do a lot of tracting, and teaching. We committed another investigator to baptism for the first of January. He's a rapper, and he's definitely struggling a little bit, but his desire and his faith are so strong. He's hoping that he can progress and get to where he needs to be. Our other investigator who is set for Christmas Day has a couple little issues, so we're praying that we'll be able to have that follow through. It's been a great week overall, and the spirit of Christmas is in full swing here. 
     As a little boy, Christmas was the highlight off the year. The presents, the lights, the food, everything. I loved Christmas. However, as a little boy, I never really understood the importance of Christ in the Christmas season. I knew it was His birthday, and all that surrounded that, but I never took that to heart.
     Every Christmas Eve, in anticipation of Santa coming the next day, and not wanting to get coal in my stocking, I would pray for forgiveness for all my entire year's worth of sins and mistakes. Sometimes, because I was such a bad kid, I feared that I would wake up to nothing. However, as I grew up, there were always presents under the tree, and I came to believe that God was forgiving. That was one of the first understandings I had of the Savior and of who He was.
     Years later, I stand here as a missionary, His personal witness, and His disciple. I bear His name on my chest. I serve Him, I follow Him, and I hope to be like Him. This Christmas Season my own personal goal has been to come to know Him personally. I've taken it upon myself to start reading the New Testament in hopes to know Him even greater. As I've studied His life, I've come to know Him a lot more fully. As a little boy, I didn't know who He was, why He was important, and how He could apply to my life. As I've taken the time to apply my heart to understanding, and face the effectual struggle of gaining a testimony, I love to bear witness of Him as the Light of the World. It may have started in an attempt to receive those temporary gifts, but how clear it is to me that He is the gift of this time of year. 
     I leave you with my witness of Jesus Christ. He is the Savior, and Redeemer of the world. He is the Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings. He was born of Mary, and lived a perfect life and Atoned for my own personal mistakes and sins as well as yours. I know that through Him and by Him we can receive all that the Father has. I know that as we open our hearts to Him this time of year, we can strengthen those around us, we can come to know Him more, and we can truly become His witness. I know He's there, in easy and in hard times. I know His love is perfect if we'll only seek it. May we seek it and become His personal witness and disciple during this Christmas Season is my humble and simple prayer.
     I love you all and thank you for the love and support. Thanks for everything. I know that at times these letters can be repetitious, and although you may forgot many of the things I say in these, please never forget the love that I have for all of you. Thanks again for everything I'm so grateful talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Roper

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Coming To Know Our Savior

Hey everybody!
     This week has been the craziest, most stressful week of my mission. It's been nonstop all week long. This week we had Mark Peterson, an old mission president visit our mission, received new missionaries, tons of meetings, and Elder Scott D. Whiting came to our mission as well.  Our investigators are starting to make more progress, and our area is getting strong. It's been great to see these miracles throughout our mission taking place.
     This week I got to spend time with Elder Whiting in meetings and planning, and a few other things. There's one experience that I've been thinking a lot about that I'd like to share.
     We had a mission leadership council meeting where our leaders gathered and discussed challenges in the mission. We came up with a large list, and President Whiting was going to talk to the mission based on the needs. So the next day we had a meeting, and Elder Whiting began addressing the concerns and gave a powerful talk. As the first meeting ended, and I was walking off the stand, he called me over and said, "Elder Roper, what did you think? What did I miss? What do I need to talk about the second half?" My first initial thought was, "Why in the world are you doing asking me??" 
     I turned to him and I didn't really know what to say. I had a thought come to mind and I told him that Elder Bednar had just visited, we've talked a lot about that experience, and all of those things. But nobody has yet addressed his conference talk in coming to know the Savior. I told him for the time of year, I thought it would be good if he focused on helping the missionaries come to know Jesus Christ. I thought it was a bad answer, just on the spot, but I was amazed that his whole second half of the meeting was exactly that... coming to know the Savior. He was humble enough to ask me what I thought, and then use it for our entire mission. It was a great learning experience for me.
     He told of the parable of the ten virgins. He said that it is a parable of members. Ten members, and only five will be accepted through the door. They all had lamps, or a testimony, but only a couple had oil, a conversion. He said that conversion comes in coming to know the Savior. It won't be because He didn't know us, but because we didn't know Him. So there's my question for us all today... Do we really know the Savior personally, with no doubts, and unwavering? He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord, our King... do we really, truly know Him? 
     I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. This week has been a little tougher.  Not only was it stressful, but I just received some devastating news from home.  I know that in these hard times my faith grows and I come to know Him more personally. I know He lives. I don't believe it, but I know it. I love Him, and I love serving Him. I would be nothing without Him.
     I love you all and thank you sincerely for everything you do for me. I love you all so deeply and am so grateful for you all. Thanks for everything.

Elder Roper

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I Am Grateful To Be A Missionary

Hey everybody! 
     This week has been maybe one of the craziest weeks of my mission to say the least. By far one of the busiest, and this week will get even busier. It was transfers this week, and I will continue to stay where I'm at. This week two of my former investigators from my last area were able to receive baptism. I made the decision not to attend, but was able to call them both. They were so excited about their baptisms, and told me of the spirit that they felt. We were also able to commit an investigator of ours to baptism for Christmas Day. It's a little ten-year-old girl, and we're looking forward to that day. It's been a week of little miracles, and spiritual enlightenment. I love the gospel, and love seeing the changes that it makes in people's lives.
      This week will be probably one of the busiest of my mission. This afternoon we have a former mission president speaking to us, Elder Scott D. Whiting of the seventy coming, and we'll be traveling to meetings all week along with everybody transferring in the mission. It'll be a crazy week, and lots of planning,but lots of great things coming up this week. 
     This last week for Thanksgiving, we were invited to eat with our mission president and his wife in their home. It was a wonderful experience for me. We had us and our housemates, our senior couple, and a few of our church members. As we finished eating, we each went around the table, and expressed thanks for one thing. There was tears shed from a few people as people talked about family, health, the Savior, the Atonement, missionary work, and more. It was super spiritual and there was an obvious spirit present that was so powerful.
     It came to me, and I really didn't know what to say exactly. I sat there for a second. I said that my family was my greatest blessing and how grateful I was for a loving and supporting family. That will always be my priority and my greatest blessing. But outside of my wonderful family, I expressed my thanks to be a missionary. Never in my life did I see myself serving a mission. I never grew up singing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission", or had hopes of wearing a missionary name tag. I never did. And as I looked around the people, I thought of my life, and the course that I've taken over nearly the last year and a half. My life has been changed because I followed the spirit and answered the call to serve. My testimony has been strengthened, my heart changed. My life has been touched, and I know that although how small, I've helped others. I've felt Christ's love, and had small glimpses of what eternal happiness truly feels like. I've seen the light of the gospel shine within the lives of others that I thought had no hope. And as I looked at my life, how it's changed, I was able to look at those around me on my Thanksgiving night in Korea, and say with a heart full of gratitude... "I am grateful to be a missionary." 
     On this special week of thanks, I am grateful for the true and everlasting gospel. I am grateful for my loving Savior who atoned for me and my sins, and my mistakes. I am grateful that He's never given up on me. I am grateful for a loving family, who's been there for me through everything. I am grateful for the loving support of a community, and friends, and everyone who has pushed me. Without you all, I would not be here. I am grateful for little miracles, and blessings, for I know they truly are the most important in life. I'm so blessed, and I'm so grateful beyond words that I've been so fortunate. I love you all and express my deepest thanks with all the love that I truly possess. Thanks for everything, and I can't wait for next week!

Elder Roper

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Light Of The World

Hello everybody! Happy Thanksgiving to ya'll this week!
     This week was a week of traveling everywhere, and small little miracles in between. This week for zone conferences, my companion and I traveled to every area within our mission and had an opportunity to speak and help train others. I love learning from other missionaries, hearing their testimonies, and being strengthened by others. This week I also received the great news that three of my investigators from my last area will be getting baptized this upcoming week. What a miracle and blessing! I most likely can't attend their baptisms, but how grateful I am that the Lord is always carrying on His work. My last area is at a high, and in my new area we're still just praying to find one investigator (; that's about how missionary work goes at times right?? Gotta love those little surprises that keep you humble, and keep you relying on the Lord. Although we're at a little bit of a down, I know we'll find those people we need to.
     This week I got to fly to the famous island of Jeju for a zone conference. It was the first time I had ever been there. It's a beautiful island and it's considered the "Hawaii of Korea." We had a late night flight back to Busan on Saturday night, and by some chance, I got the window seat on the plane. We made it to the airport, and got ready, and the plane took off down the runway and up into the air. The plane was pitch black at this time, and as we got higher, for the first time in over fifteen months, I saw the stars shining. I looked down below me at all the lights of Jeju, the ocean below me, and I could even see the dirtiness of the pollution. It was beautiful, and a moment I cherished. I looked at the stars, and marveled at how I hadn't seen them in well over a year. Because of the bright lights of the city, pollution, and large buildings, you can't see them. As I rode that plane home I was reminded of the small and simple fact that a certain darkness is needed to see the stars.
     In our lives, we are surrounded by bright lights, by worldly "pollution" so to say, that keep us from seeing those things that shine so brightly in our lives. Like riding in a plane, when we rise above all of that, we can then see the stars shining so brightly. When we get above that of the world, we can see the miracles that God has intended us to see.
The sign of Christ's birth was light. His death, darkness. Christ intends for us to see His lights, His creations, His love. Only when we rise above those simple things of the world can we see all that we're suppose to.
     As the plane landed late that night, the hymn, "How Great Thou Art", popped clearly into my mind. "I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, How great thou art.... How great thou art."
     I testify of Christ, of His lights, and of His brightness. He is the light of the world, the first and last, alpha and omega. I love serving Him, and feeling of His divine love, and seeing His hand through small and simple things. I love this gospel, I love this plan, and testify of its reality.
     I love you all and am so grateful for all of you. Thanks for the love, support, and everything else. I can't wait for next week. Thanks again!

Elder Roper

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Have Learned For Myself

Hey everybody!
     This week literally flew by... it went so fast! This week was definitely a really special week. I spent a ton of time traveling this week all over the mission for training meetings. This week, I also got to go to one of the most beautiful places in the mission. It's nothing but islands. The missionaries literally will go island island riding boats, and driving across bridges extended in the ocean. It was really a beautiful place to be for a day. Also, another one of the highlights of my week was going back to the place where I trained for a meeting, and seeing the stake president after a year. He recognized me, and even remembered my name. He welcomed me back with a great big hug, and it just made me realize the love of the Korean people, and just how lucky I truly am to be surrounded by such incredible people. 
     Right now we have no investigators, and all we do is tract and teach and talk to people. We're meeting some great people but they just won't commit fully to the message that we're sharing. We'll continue to work hard, and pray for us that we'll start finding those we need to.
     This transfer we've made a goal as a mission to read the entire Book of Mormon. It requires about 13 pages a day, and has been a great experience. My testimony has been strengthened so much as I've read, and applied the things that I've been learning. There's been a new light and spirit in my life as I've been reading. This week as part of our mission conferences, me and my companion will be traveling around the mission giving talks and I've chosen to speak on the Book of Mormon. 
     Since I'm short on time I want to leave you with my testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in these latter days. I know that without a doubt. Like Joseph Smith, I too can say, “I have learned for myself.” I leave you with my sure witness that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that as we apply it, we can become the people the Lord wants us to be. May we always remember that true happiness is not made in getting something. A testimony, baptisms, success…Remember that true happiness is becoming something through what we are receiving. Through the Book of Mormon, we can become something as we use it and apply it into our individual lives. I testify that the Savior lives. He is our Savior and divine Redeemer. He lived a perfect life, and atoned for our sins. It is all within each of us to become His witness. It is by Him, and through Him, we can receive all that the Father has. 
     I love you all and miss you dearly. Thanks for all the continual love and support it truly means the world to me. Hope ya'll have a perfect week, and I'll talk to you here soon!

Elder Roper

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Love And Patience

Hey everybody!
     Great to be writing ya'll again this week, it’s been another crazy week like always. This week has been just another normal week. Lots of walking, lots of tracting, lots of a little bit of everything to say the least. Right now we basically have no investigators and we've been contacting all week long just hoping to find someone. We find potentials, set up appointments, and they continue to cancel over and over. Hoping we'll find some here quickly. This week I also got to receive my Korean driver's license. Crazy right?? It's not like Emery County though... there's actually cars on the road. So it's been a week of learning to "re-drive" again. It's been fun to pick it up again. This week has been really simple, but really enjoyable. Me and my companion travel all over the mission a lot visiting other missionaries and meetings. It's been such a great learning experience. I'm learning so much from all of those around me.This week I was on exchanges with another missionary, and had an experience that I'd like to share.
     Growing up, I always struggled being around kids. It was something that I never really learned how to do, or really understood. Growing up they annoyed me at times. It was hilarious for the people around to see how I reacted around kids because it was just hard for me. As I grew older, I got a little better, but still had a lot to learn about it. This week we had to teach two young little kids in another area. One was 8, and the other was 7. We went in there and sat down and the kids would not behave. They were yelling, and screaming, and throwing food, and wrestling, and wiping food all over us. We were trying to teach one of them, to prepare him for baptism, but he just wouldn't behave. I was trying the best I could to relax and teach, but inside I had had enough. I was ready to get out.
     My companion, who was a Korean, handled the situation soooo well. As the kid tried kicking him again, he lightly, and lovingly chastised him, and told him that he needed to act better than that if we were to teach him. We left the appointment, and I asked my temporary companion how he handled the situation so well. He told me, "Elder Roper, when I was little, I was abused by my parents, and I made a goal that I would never treat other kids like I was treated."
     I've thought a lot about that statement, and what that means. It's been on my mind a lot. Not only are we supposed to love kids with a perfect and Christlike love, but to treat others as would like to be treated, or more importantly, as the Savior would treat us. Even though I was able to make it through the meeting with the young kids and keep my patience, I learned that treating others and loving others comes in thought just as well as deed. In that appointment, I can guarantee that my companion had perfect love while I was anxious to leave. It was a great moment of learning for me. 
     I know that Christ has a perfect love, and a perfect patience for us as well. He loves us so perfectly that He's willing to work with us, love us, and push us forward, despite our challenges and our weakness. I'm so grateful for that. I'm grateful for the examples of other missionaries, and how I can grow closer to Christ through other people. I love this gospel, and I love the concept of change that we get to go through as we grow closer to Christ. I know He lives, and He's always near us. I bear my witness of that.
     I love you all, and I'm so grateful for the letters, love, and support. I love and miss you all so dearly. Thanks for everything talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Roper

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Gospel Is A Choice

Hello everybody! Happy Halloween!
     Another week has come and gone and this week just seemed to fly by. It's seems as if the time is only getting quicker and quicker. It was a week of lots of proselyting, planning, and just the normal typical week. We don't have a ton of investigators so right now we're walking our shoes out talking to everybody we possibly can. It's been fun, and I'm really enjoying the ward that I'm in right now and I'm really happy and content with the work. Another thing that's been great is the fact that our mission is reading the Book of Mormon collectively, striving to strengthen our testimonies. It's been great, and the things I've been learning about the Atonement, and the love of Christ has been influential on the work that I've been doing.
     I'd like to share one experience with you from this week that has really been weighing on my mind. The last two weeks, I've had a missionary who has been training me in my new position. He went home on Friday morning and I've really enjoyed serving with him for a few weeks. We went out tracting for his very last time, and on our very last person. I was amazed at the power of this young man's testimony. We taught this young high school student on the street, and everything was going smoothly when my companion asked for his number. The kid said he didn't want to. My companion asked him what was difficult about doing that. The kid simply responded, "I just don't want to give it to you."
     My companion paused for a few minutes, and dug a little deeper into the kid. The kid felt the spirit strongly. After that small pause, my companion said, "We're not here to force you to believe, or to do what we're asking. We are here to invite you to partake of what we're offering. You know what you've felt, and you know this will help you if you'll allow it. If you don't want to accept it, it won't hurt us, or upset us, but you will know in your heart what you are passing up. It's up to you..."
     We asked again for the kid's number, and again... he said no.
     The gospel is a choice. It is our choice to partake, or to turn away. It is our choice to be happy, or to not to be. It is our choice if we want to follow the Savior, or walk the way of the world. Like this young man who denied us, it is up to us if we accept or deny our Savior.
     I declare my witness unto you of agency. In the end, it's up to our desires, our hearts, and our motivation to be who we need to. That's all it comes down to in the end. Will we stand tall, do what's right, and follow Christ, or will we shy away and falter. It is my humble prayer that we will follow Christ in all we do, magnifying our service and striving to be like Him. I love Him, I serve Him, and I want to be just like Him. 
     I love you all and am so grateful for all of you. Thanks for everything I'm so grateful for the kind love and support. Love you all, and miss you dearly. From the sincerity of my heart thanks for everything. Talk to ya'll soon.

Elder Roper

Monday, October 24, 2016

Me + Christ = More

Hey everybody!
     It's been a crazy, crazy week over here in Korea! This week consisted of tons of meetings, picking up twenty five new missionaries, talks with Elder Bednar, and a baptism. It's been one of the most hectic weeks of my mission, but one where I've learned so much. 
     Elder Bednar was incredible to listen to. A prophet, seer, and revelator who speaks with power and authority. Everything he said we had already heard before, but as he expounded the doctrine, gave examples, and taught us through questions, my mind was enlightened through the Holy Ghost. I also got to ask him a question concerning the power of the Atonement (I might have been shaking a little bit) and how to apply it into our lives. We talked together about being acted on by the Atonement only comes after we've received power through our actions. Really neat moment for me to talk with an apostle of the Lord and hear his testimony. It's safe to say there is a light that shines within their eyes. It can't be explained, but the light shines brightly.
     This week we also experienced another baptism. The Lord has blessed us sooo much this last month. This young man had been taught the lessons, and had been delayed a couple times on his baptismal date. We taught him on Saturday, and extended the date for Sunday. He accepted the date, we prepared the baptism in less than twenty-four hours, and baptized the young man yesterday. He got to watch Elder Bednar speak, and was baptized immediately after. What an incredible experience it was. It was a spirit that can't be described. There's a new light, and a change of heart in every investigator that takes on baptism. Another wonderful and special memory for me in my new ward. 
     In all the meetings this week, I've found myself really overwhelmed by the things I've had to do. There's been a lot of late nights, a lot of stress, and a lot of questions that have been on my mind. I feel as though as my weaknesses have been even more exposed personally. This week due to just being plain exhausted, I found that my prayers haven't been as sincere as they could have been, or scripture study not as crisp as it could of been.. I've been focused on the action aspects of everything, but found that the spiritual enlightenment and nourishment was missing a little bit. I thought that if I just worked harder, did more, I would find that which I needed. I learned however, that that's not always the case. I've been using the formula me+more=Christlike, when in reality this week I learned that me+Christ=more. In the nitty gritty parts of my life, I found that if I just worked harder things would work out. I learned, however, that it's with Christ that we can do all things. It was a great lesson for me. It was humbling and made me realize that I can better partake of the blessings of the Atonement to give me the strength that I'm in need of. 
     I love this gospel. I declare my witness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He's always there. May we be humble and turn to Him in our trials, and in our doubts and fears. As we do so a new light will come into our lives and a new motivation will come to serve others. I'm grateful to be here. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm so blessed with a wonderful family, great support, and loving people around me. Thanks for everything. Love you all, and miss you so dearly. Thanks again for everything I'm eternally grateful.

Elder Roper

Monday, October 17, 2016


Hey everybody! 
     Been a crazy, crazy week filled with so many miracles. This week I was at the midpoint of training my companion, and was surprisingly transferred to a place called Oncheon, where I'll be serving with our mission president as his assistant. My companion is a former companion of mine that I had in my fourth transfer, whose name in Park Jong Min. It'll be great to work alongside him again. It'll be a amazing opportunity to serve alongside my mission president and I'm really excited to see what miracles will be there waiting. This last week we were able to baptize our investigator as well. It was the most incredible feeling to see the young man receive a remission of sins. It was again another memory that I'll forever cherish. Also, this past week we were able to commit another young man to baptism and he accepted. Although I won't be able to see it, what a privilege it was to teach him and learn from him. 
     As I prepared to transfer, I had to say goodbye to my last ward, and it was soooo difficult to do. The tears filled my eyes as I said goodbye for the last time to my investigators, recent coverts, and other members. A tender moment for me and one that I'll always remember. I'll be grateful for the time I spent in Jungri.
     My time is short, but I love this gospel, and as I serve, it's incredible to see the changes that come as we follow the gospel. I love the gospel, and love the Savior. I know He lives. I know it with certainty. I love you all and am so grateful for the support. Can't wait to talk again here soon! Thanks again!

Elder Roper

Monday, October 10, 2016

How To Measure Love

Hey everybody!
     This week was a crazy week! It started off with a massive typhoon warning that came through our mission. We were on typhoon watch early in the week and weren't allowed to leave our houses. The typhoon missed the area we're in, just sending a ton of rain our way. However, the typhoon massively hit the area of Busan. Also this week small earthquakes have continued to slowly make their way around our area. Super crazy with all this weather and new stuff. Stuff I've never experienced before. This week was also General Conference, and like always, it was just the best. So much revelation and inspiration to help us be better in our lives. It was a great week. We're also hoping this week to prepare our investigator for baptism this coming Sunday. Pray that he'll progress and make it through the interview, and continue to experience a change of heart as he prepares. 
     A few weeks ago, a missionary walked up to me and said, "Elder Roper, how do you measure love?" I looked at the missionary and said, "No idea, what do you think?" He too had nothing. So we looked at each other and laughingly said the next time we saw each other, we would have an answer. Although asked jokingly, it's been a question that has been weighing on my mind that I'd like to share with you all today of what I've come up with. 
     In the summers, it was common that my dad would ask me to do some chores around the house. In particular, there were things like washing the cars, mowing the lawn, taking care of weeds, and a few more. Right before my mission, my dad asked if during some free time in the day, I could go out and chop some weeds in front of the house. My lazy response was, "I'll try to find time," or "Maybe I'll do it." My dad didn't force me to do it, but asked me, knowing it would help him out. The day would pass, and I would choose to not chop the weeds. Maybe it was arrogance, or my laziness, or something different. I'm not sure, but I chose not to do it when I knew I could have. 
     My dad came home from work on one particular day after I hadn't chopped the weeds. He didn't say anything to me. He didn't treat me any differently. But, instead, he went in the house, changed, and went and chopped weeds. He had worked for twelve hours, and because of my laziness, he had to work more. He was always so loving, and always asked me to do these little favors, to which I never did.
     I never understood why. I never understood why my dad would lovingly, and without a word, go and do the things which he asked me to do. Likewise, I remember in high school when I would purposely come home late. My mom would lovingly and gently ask me to come home at a certain time. Like a normal teenager, I would respond, "I'll be home sometime around midnight." My mom would then lovingly respond, "I would love if you could make it home by then." One day I had gotten a little sick of these curfew lectures, and I told her, "Mom, you can go to bed. I'll make it home just fine. You don't need to worry." What my mom said has always stayed with me. "Tys, I can't go to bed until I know you're home and safe."
     So... how do you measure love? Like my parents taught me in so many various ways, love is measured in words, thoughts, and deeds. We show how much we love someone by the things we say, the things we think about them, and by those things that we purposefully and meaningfully do for them. Love is not a number. It is not a statistic. It is a living thing, nurtured by those things that only we can offer through our own personal choices. Like my dad, he would chop the weeds out of love. He was never upset with me, nor chastened me. He taught me love through his words, said and unsaid, his thoughts, and his deeds. So like my mom, who stayed up late with me night after night, knowing that she couldn't sleep with her young son not home, safe and sound.
     Because we love our Savior, we must show Him in our words, our thoughts, and our deeds. Although I lacked some things with my parents, I love them more than anything. However, I could have shown it more, and look forward to the day when I get to again. We all love our Savior, and Divine Redeemer. Now is the time to realign our lives, and to show our love for Him by everything we do, even in everything we say, think, and do, is my humble and sacred prayer.
     I'm so grateful for the gospel. I am grateful for loving parents who guided and directed me, and taught me through their love. I'm grateful for my Savior who loves us all without end. May we feel His love as we turn to Him is my sincere hope and desire.
     I love you all, I miss you dearly. I am grateful to be supported in your loving hands. Thanks for everything. Can't wait for next week! 

Elder Roper

Monday, October 3, 2016

I Believe in You

Hey everybody!
     This week has been a crazy crazy week to say the least! This week we started off with a baptismal interview in which our investigator passed, and was able to prepare for baptism. He was struggling all week to overcome his trials and temptations, but he overcame and was able to be baptized this past Saturday, and I was very grateful to be able to baptize him. Definitely an experience that I truly will never forget. We found this young man, taught him all the lessons, and was able to baptize him. As we were walking into the font together, he looked at me and said in broken english, "Elder Roper, I believe in you." Simple, broken english, but a message that will forever stay in my heart.
      After he was baptized, he bore his testimony to everyone and I would like to share it with you. Translated from Korean, he said, "Christ came to me, He found me, and He brought me to where I am." May we always remember that Christ comes to where we are, and will never forsake us or forget us. No trial, temptation, or addiction is too high for us to overcome. I've seen the gospel change this young man's life in ways that even I can't comprehend, and I feel like the young man summed it up best in sacrament meeting when he again bore his testimony and said...."I'm happy." That's exactly what this gospel is all about.
      Another miracle that came our way this week was another investigator who has been coming to church for about three weeks. Yesterday, during fast and testimony meeting, he asked if he could bear his testimony. We told him he could, and he went up and bore a strong and powerful testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He left his other church, and told them he was never coming back because of what he felt in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After the meeting, we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ in a very strong and powerful spirit. The spirit was so strong as we invited him to be baptized, and he committed to be baptized on October 16th. What a miracle, and a day I will never forget.
      Right now there are so many miracles happening in our area. So many things are going on and I'm so grateful to be a missionary. Words can't describe how grateful I am for this gospel. It changes lives. That's what it's designed to do.
     I know this church is true, and was restored. I testify that by living the principles of the gospel, we will be able to  live with our loving Heavenly Father. How grateful I am for that pure and perfect knowledge. I love this gospel, I love you all, and I am eternally grateful for your love and support. It truly means more than you will ever know. Thanks again talk to ya'll soon!

Elder Roper

Monday, September 26, 2016

He Is Always Near

Hey everybody! Another week gone already???
     This week, like always, seemed to be crazy. The week started off again with a few more earthquakes. They were smaller, but we continue to get aftershocks. The weather is cooling down, and everything is going great. The investigator that we are currently working with committed to a new baptismal date for October 1st! Right now he's really struggling with a few addictions and we're praying that he'll be able to overcome the temptations. The meetings have been so spiritual with him this week. From him thinking that it wasn't possible to change, to a full change of heart, we pray that he can receive baptism this upcoming Saturday to help him on his journey to Christ. Pray that he'll be able to progress and make it. 
     This week I've been thinking a lot about an experience from high school that I feel like has been relating to my life and my investigators that I'd like to share with you.
     A few years ago on a cool summer night in the middle of the archery hunt, I decided that I wanted to go up on the mountain by myself and go hunting. My dad was working, and I had just barely gotten my license, but my dad trusted me to go up on my own. Being fairly young at the time, I prepared and got ready to go. I loaded the truck, and checked everything. I looked at the fuel gauge on the dashboard and saw what I thought was enough to get up to the top and back. I thought that I was all ready to go for the night.
     I was just getting in the truck to leave, and my Grandpa Dale pulled into the driveway. I told him of my plans to go up on the mountain that night to hunt. Always caring and loving, he asked if I needed anything. Food, equipment, gear, or fuel. I told him I had plenty of everything that I needed and that it should be okay. Always wanting to make sure I would be okay, he told me to stop by his house and he would have a few things ready for me. 
     A few minutes later, I stopped by his house, he gave me food, he gave me fuel, and just as I was getting ready to leave he asked if he could join with me. I knew that he wanted to be there to help me out, and I was sure glad to have him there with me.
     We drove up the mountain, and it soon became apparent that I hadn't packed as well as I thought. As we neared the place where I had planned to hunt, the truck was "running on fumes" as I nearly was out of gas. At the top, we were able to fuel the truck back up. I know had my grandpa not taken care of me, I wouldn't have gotten home that night because of my lack of preparation.
     Like that summer night for me, I realize that the Savior walks in the footsteps as my Grandpa Dale did on that very night. There are times in our lives when we think that we are prepared. That we can overcome trials, and temptations, and all the stuff that this world throws at us. But unfortunately, we're mistaken. Like my Grandpa Dale, the Savior steps in at the right moment, and not only gives us the means that we need to get there, but He comes with us and aids us, and makes sure we get there safe and sound. He never leaves us alone for His promise is sure. "I shall not fail thee, nor forsake thee." He gives us everything we need with the gifts of the gospel, and instead of leaving us on our own He simply says, "I'd like to come along to make sure you get there okay."  I'm so grateful for that example in my Grandpa Dale, my family, and all my grandparents. How truly and eternally grateful I am for their pure example of love and care.
     I testify of Christ's pure love for us. Because He loves us, He will always be near us. At times in our lives when the paths seem dark, the times seem hard or even far fetched, remember that He "promises angels on our right and left to bear us up," that "He is always near," and that "He will come to us." I testify of our Lord, our Savior, and our divine Redeemer.
     I love you all so dearly, and am continually amazed at the support. Again thank you this week for the birthday wishes. It was a perfect day and I'm so grateful to have had it in Korea. Love you all till next week!

Elder Roper

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Hey everybody!
     First things first, thank you for all the birthday emails this week! So grateful for all of the wonderful support. I have such wonderful support and I'm so grateful. I love you all so dearly.  I'll get to back to you all, hopefully sooner than later! Thanks again it truly means the world!  I guess in Korea, I'm now 21...but I like the idea of being 20 a little more in America myself (; 
     This week was insane to say the least. It started off with two earthquakes! We were sitting in our church building when the entire building started to shake beneath us. We were all in shock and just stood there looking dumb as it passed on by. We were all shocked, and then about thirty minutes later, an even larger earthquake came and shook the church some more. It was big enough that it got us out of our seats and into a safer place. From what I heard, they were measured at 5.1 and 5.8, the largest ever in the history of Korea. Pretty crazy to say the least. 
     This week I've been thinking a lot about "personal earthquakes" that take place in our lives. As a missionary, I get to see people who struggle, who are heavy-hearted, and those who hurt. There are days too, when like them, my heart is heavy, especially this week with the passing of my great-grandma. For whatever reasons, there are times when we feel abandoned. This week I've had a lot on my mind, dealing with some trials, and I found myself praying sincerely to God for help. I found my investigators searching desperately for answers they couldn't seem to find. It seemed like this week, all in all, was a week of searching and relying on God the Father, and trusting in His plan. I know though, that at the end of it all, me and my investigators will all realize that Christ has been there right beside us the entire time. 
     This week I found a second of time, and I decided to put some of the my feelings into words and wrote a simple poem that I'd like to share. 

One night amidst pure trial and thought,
I lay awake in bed.
My heart filled with questions and doubts,
My life in need of mend.
My heart is heavy, my soul so weery,
I have no direction to take.
In exhaustion and pure triumph,
I close my eyes to sleep.
I begin to drift into a dream,
Bright light soon fills my eyes.
I don't know exactly where I am,
But it's that of paradise.

Love fills my heart, hope lights my mind,
I find myself at peace.
Away from trials and temptations,
That have been besetting me.
When on the horizon, a figure appears,
And I recognize my Savior.
Step by step, I start running to Him,
A journey that's of forever.

Out of breath, and tired, I reach the Son of God.
I fall at His feet and weeping say,
"Help me Lord, I'm lost."
He looks down upon me, and with pure love in His eyes,
Lifts me up with printed hands and says,
"I am Jesus Christ."

"I am your Savior, your Redeemer, and your closest friend,
It was in Gethsemane for you my son,
That my blood was freely shed.
I know the times are hard for you,
I know the weight you bear.
I see your tears, I hear your cries,
For I am always near.
My Son, I love you dearly,
I gave my life for you.
I know you will get through this,
For that's the path I have for you.
Do not worry, do not despair,
My peace I leave with you.
Though the trials may seem endless,
Together we will make it through."

I look up in His loving eyes,
My fear filled with peace,
Standing with my Savior, my Lord, my God, my King.
My doubts are gone, my fears all flee,
And a bright light fills my eyes.
A new morning has arisen, and it's that of paradise. 

     I testify of Christ and His plan. I testify that He is always with us no matter the circumstance. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, and the Light of the World. I am so grateful to be serving with Him at this time in my life. I testify that He lives. I know it, and I pray that the whole world may know it so they can partake of everything that He offers. "Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives... I know that my Redeemer lives."

Elder Roper