Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Split in the Road

Hey everybody!
      Another week has already flown by?? This week was to say the least... a pretty dang tough week out here as far as missionary work goes. This week we started out with over ten investigators! But after calls, meeting a few, a realizing the true intent of some, we're down to about two or three, and they're really struggling to progress. To make matters worse, our investigator won't receive baptism this Saturday because he doesn't have permission from his parents. It's been a frustrating week, but hey... things always work out as we do our part right?? Haha
      This week I kept thinking a lot about the "paths" in our lives. In our lives, it seems like we all have these decisions placed before us and we have to choose. We have to make a decision not exactly knowing where either will go. In missionary work, it seems like all these paths are placed before us. For our investigators, for ourselves, for others. I never know with a surety of where I'm going, but I know that as we rely on Christ He'll direct the path.
      This last year I was fortunate to draw a cougar tag and was excited one day as my dad called me and said to leave school so I could come chase a lion they were chasing. I hurriedly left school and headed for the mountains. I reached the placed and took off on my snowmobile alone, knowing my dad would meet me along the road as I traveled to the place. I had only traveled this place once, and didn't know the area too well, and was a little nervous as I traveled. My fear was realized as I came to a split in the road. Both were well traveled and I didn't know which one to take. I decided that I would just sit there and wait until my dad showed up. However, with me being impatient, wanting to hunt, and with time running out, I said a simple prayer to Heavenly Father. "Heavenly Father, please help me to take the right path. Help me to choose the right way so I can find my dad." As I closed I sat there for a minute or two, and had a feeling that I was to go to the right... so I did.
      Traveling for what seemed like forever, in unfamiliar territory I felt a great sigh of relief when I saw my dad traveling my way on his snowmobile. I can't tell you of the fear I had in making that decision, but I trusted my heart, trusted the spirit, and it led me to my dad, who had been trying to find me.
      In our lives we're given paths, and we have no idea where we're suppose to go. Sometimes we're afraid to make decisions, and follow a path. However, as we turn to the Lord, and listen to the promptings of the spirit, trusting in what we know, we'll find our Father in Heaven who is diligently looking for us. As the relief I felt when I found my dad that day was true, I can only imagine what we'll feel when our Heavenly Father meets us along the way. All we have to do is choose the path that we think we should. God doesn't tell us every little thing to do. Instead, He lets us act, and then guides us based on our decisions, letting us know if it's right or not. He's always searching for us. Even for those of us who have taken wrong paths, He's always searching for us and will not stop until we are found.
      I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and all that He gives us. I'm grateful for agency and the opportunity to choose for myself my path, knowing He'll guide my decisions, both good and bad. He lives and loves us. He knows us personally. I'm so grateful that He's always found me in my life, along good paths and bad.
      I'm grateful for the support and love as always. I feel the prayers. I pray for you all and am truly so grateful to have such incredible people in my life. Thanks so much for everything.

Elder Roper

Monday, February 15, 2016


     Hey everybody! The first week of the transfer is gone so crazy already! Hope everyone had a Happy Valentines Day! Sending my love from well.... half a world away (;
      This week we were able to pick up some new investigators. Even picked up a man from Uzbekistan! So crazy how it all works out. We were seeing these awesome little miracles as we keep working. This week was definitely up and down with everything! It seemed like nothing worked, but everything worked at the same time. We're hoping to have some solid investigators by the end of the week. We have one with a baptismal date on the 27th, but needs parent permission. Pray that we can get it (;
      All throughout my years of playing baseball, my Grandpa DeLoy would scout everything for me. He would watch my games, my opponents, and everything else just so he could help me to how to approach the situation. One piece of advice I felt like I always heard from my Grandpa DeLoy was, "This kid throws a lot of curveballs. Take it to right field, don't try to pull it." It seemed like I was always seeing them curveballs thrown my way, and I had to learn to go with the pitch. To fight em off, and take the pitch where it was thrown. It was when I tried to pull the pitch, it resulted in an out.
      This week it seems like nothing went our way. It seems like it never does. It was as if I was seeing nothing but curveballs this week. One investigator would cancel, another would call. An investigator would drop us, and we'd find another. But we simply had to "take the ball the other way" and keep doing what we could.
      It seems like in our lives we're always getting little bumps in the road, or little obstacles that keep us from progressing, from being happy, from following Jesus Christ. We seem to think we can "force" our ways out of the situation by working a little harder, or doing this, or that. In missionary work, I've learned that all we can do is simply react to what's thrown at us. We can learn to laugh, and instead of getting down we can smile and keep going. We can look at an eternal perspective of things and know that Heavenly Father is there for us at each and every turn we make. We can simply say to ourselves, "Come what may and love it." As we simply in the words of my Grandpa DeLoy, "Take the pitch the other way," we can truly learn to realize the big picture. God loves us, and He hears and answers our prayers. He does everything for our good, and we can trust Him knowing that all works together for our good.
      I know Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. He truly hears every single word and answers them according to our faith in Him. As we turn to Him we'll always be able to come off a little stronger than before. I love my Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ. They know us personally. I've felt that love that they so fully offer every single one of us.
      Thanks everyone for the love and support as always. Soooo grateful. Hope ya'll had a good holiday. Can't wait to write again. Talk to ya'll soon!

Elder Roper

Monday, February 8, 2016

He Took My "Lickens" For Me

Hey everybody!
      What a crazy week! We got transfer calls this week and I'll be staying in Gumi for another transfer! This week we were able to find some new investigators and have some really good potentials for this next one. I'll be getting my new companion here really quick and he's another native Korean that speaks very little english so my Korean speaking ability is gonna be a tested a bit! Wish me luck! Haha
      When I was a little boy I remember reading a book called "He took my Lickens for Me." As I've been studying Christ and His life, this book kept popping into my mind. I'd like to share it with you from what I could remember!
      There was an all boys school that was known to be extremely loud and rough. It was said that no teachers could handle this group of young boys. Teacher and teacher went in and got scared out, until one young man decided to take the class. The first thing the new teacher decided to do was set new class rules. He asked the class what the rules should be. One kid yelled, "No cheating," another yelled, "No Stealing!" The list went on and on until there was a good list of rules. The teacher looked at them and then said, "Alright, now we need a punishment if any of these rules are broken." The young men yelled out different rules, but the one that stayed was, if any rule was broken, the young man would get ten lickens across his back with a rod with no shirt on.
      A few days went by and a rule was broken. The biggest, toughest kid in class one day was upset because his lunch was gone. They looked for the suspect and found that the smallest young man in the class had stolen his lunch. "I'm sorry, but I was mighty hungry," said the young man. Everybody knew the young man was so poor, and all felt bad for the young man. However, the teacher, knowing he had to keep punishment, told the young man that he would have to get the lickens. The young man, frail, and fragile said, "I'll do it but please don't make me take off my shirt." The teacher, although sympathetic said, "I'm sorry, but that's the rule." The young man took his shirt off and everyone's fears were realized. He had no shirt on underneath. "Why aren't you wearing a shirt," the teacher asked. The young boy then responded, "My momma is doing laundry today, and I only have two shirts." Feeling awful the teacher knew he had to carry out the punishment still. Just as he was preparing to beat the young man, a yell came from the back of the room. "I'll take his lickens for him."
      The man who had his lunch stolen stood up and said he'd do it. Everyone looked around wondering if he could do that. The teacher said there was no rule against it. And so the man took off his top shirt and began to be beaten with the rod. However, after a few strokes, the rod broke across his back. The young man stood up from the beating to find the small, frail young man in tears saying, "I will be forever grateful for you because you took my lickens for me."
      As I've served my mission I've felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that Christ took my lickens for me. Despite me always failing, struggling, and "breaking the rules", He still sacrifices Himself for me. Despite me always falling short, He's there. He took on all our pains, our sorrows, our struggles. He took on every inadequacy we have. He took the rod to His back for us by taking upon Him the agony in Gethsemane and by carrying His own cross to Golgotha. He took our lickens as the nails were pounded in His hands, wrists, and feet. On days when I forever fall short, all I have to remember is that He took my lickens for me.
      I love my Savior. I feel His presence so greatly in my life. I've never felt so loved. I know He lives and that He knows us. He overcame the consequences of justice through the mercy which He has so fully offered us all. Like the young man in the story, "I will be forever grateful because He took my lickens for me."
      I love you all and miss you greatly. Thanks everybody for everything. I have the best support and can't thank you enough. Talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Roper 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Choose Him

Helllloooo everybody!
      What a great week! This week we were able to get another baptism for one of our investigators. An experience that I still have no words to describe. This one was a young man, and seeing the joy in his life as he's progressed has been completely priceless. The gospel is truly about giving others the joy that we're so fortunate to have. This week, being a special holiday in Korea, we had to bow to our members in a "respect thing of pride" which totally baffled me. But hey, after we got done bowing, they all gave us money. Seems like food this week is on the members (; It was all in all such an incredible week. One I'll never forget.
      When I was young, I had the opportunity to go play baseball in Cooperstown, New York, where the Hall of Fame is located. It took so much time and effort to get prepared to go. I was so excited, but deep down, I was nervous to go. We had prepared so much. All the time, money, efforts and everything made me nervous that I might play bad and ruin the entire trip. Deep down I had this fear welling up inside of me.
      The first two games my fear was realized as I struggled. I had struck out multiple times, I was down on myself, and I was nervous that the entire week was going to be just like this. After the first two games, I remember expressing all my frustrations to my dad about how maybe my swing wasn't right, or I was doing this wrong, or that wrong. I'll never forget when my dad, in pure love, showing no frustration at how badly I was playing simply said, "Tys, we're here. You can either spend the week trying to think what you're doing wrong, or you can just go play. It's up to you." A true lesson of a lifetime from my dad whom I so dearly love. The rest of the week I took that to heart. It was up to me to have the right attitude, and to just go play. Following those two games, I played the rest of the week extremely well and created memories that will truly last me a lifetime.
      In my life, with me being a self perfectionistic freak, I always expected perfection. To say the least, I never get it (; But like with baseball and dwelling on what we think could be a bad swing, it can put us into a slump really quickly if we think about it too much. We create problems that weren't there. As I was in Cooperstown, we're all here on earth. We chose Heavenly Father's plan, and now we're playing. Sometimes we have these bad games that make us think bad, or get down. However, as I realized my dad's advice it's as simple as just going and playing the game. It's truly up to us. If we look at things in new and different ways, we truly can determine where we're going, what we're doing, and how "we're going to play" in this life. It's up to us to choose Jesus Christ, and His plan. As we choose Him, no matter how many times we strike out, pop out, miss a fly ball, or even how many times we lose, we'll always be successful as we choose as our Savior, Jesus Christ. "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me in "my life", I have chosen to serve the Lord." May we all choose Jesus Christ in all that we do is my humble prayer.
      I'm grateful for this wonderful gospel and to be a missionary. I'm learning sooo much that I can't even comprehend. I'm becoming sanctified each and every day as I allow Christ to take me to greater heights. I'm grateful for the incredible family I've been blessed with. The little life lessons they've taught me has served me in Korea as my greatest advice. I'm so grateful for my family, how much I love them, and how grateful I am that families are eternal. I know it's true. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He knows us, He loves us, and He's willing to help us through all. I'm so grateful for the chance to serve Him each and every day with all that I have.
      Love you all! Soooo grateful for the support I get. I feel your thoughts and prayers each and every day. I got the best support (: Thanks so much talk to ya'll soon can't wait!

Elder Roper