Monday, March 28, 2016

Seek His Love and Guidance

Hey everybody! Another week gone??
      This week flew right on by! This week I was traveling all over Korea it seemed like. Midway through the week I was able to get my trainee. His name is Elder Snyder from California! Crazy he was the only American in all the trainees, and I was lucky to get him, despite my lack of Korean speaking abilities. What a blessing and opportunity it is to "be a dad" to a new missionary. I hope I can set his foundation like all of you have in my life. Despite the feelings of inadequacy, I know the Lord magnifies who He calls.
      This week we have basically no investigators. They keep canceling appointments in everything. We are working with nothing, but we are full of faith, and hope and willing to work and find those who are prepared. I know miracles will come to pass here soon as we work hard.
      As this first week has passed, I remember when I was training and I remember how stinking hard it was! It was like a flashback to me all over again. As I've adapted and found so much joy and happiness in missionary work, I learned a lesson when I was training due to my lack of faith and hope in Christ. A person once said in my life, "Tys, I don't want to read the Book of Mormon, because I know the answer I'm looking for is in there." Looking at this week, I realize that most of the problems I've always had in my life came because I knew exactly where to go, but was too scared to find the answer because I knew it would be difficult. It's never going to be easy to have enough faith, or to pray when life is hard, or to read scriptures when life gets hectic. However, we know that answers are waiting for us when we follow Jesus Christ. We all have to act on the knowledge that we have. We must act on our testimonies that we've developed. Our knowledge of the gospel does us no good unless we act upon what we know is true. I'm so grateful that I learned that lesson, even though I learned it later than I wanted. Seek those answers from Heavenly Father. Seek His love. Seek His guidance. It may not be the easiest path, or the most common to do what's right, but I know it's the path that leads to that of eternal worth.
      I'm so grateful for missionary work. I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the strength that it gives me to always keep going and pressing forward. I'm grateful that Christ is with us every single step of the way. He knows us personally, and loves us more than we can ever comprehend. I've felt that love, and I know it's true and eternal.  I love Jesus Christ with all my heart. I adore Him, and I'm so grateful to serve Him.
      I love you all and send my love to you on this Easter weekend. There's no greater words than, “He is risen." May we declare it full-heartedly. I love you all and miss you all dearly. Thanks from all that I have.

Elder Roper

Monday, March 21, 2016

Black, White and Grey

Hey Everybody!!!
      What a crazy week this week! Saw so many miracles and survived transfers... well sorta. I don't have a companion yet because I've been called as a trainer! Ahhh! So excited! I'll be getting my companion here in a few days. I'll be staying in the same area for at least three more months. This week we also got to hear from a General Authority in Stake Conference and it was so incredible. No less, we've picked up some incredible investigators that have some great potential. Such an incredible week here in Korea. There's so much going on right now that I have to look forward to. 
      When I was a little boy, on Christmas Eve, in hopes of Santa coming and delivering gifts, I would get down on my knees and pray forgiveness for being a "bad boy." I didn't want to get coal so I knew if I would get down on my knees and pray, I could expect presents under the tree the next morning. Well, I never got coal, and the presents were always there. At times, I knew that prayer saved me from getting a lump of coal. However, looking back now, I see a lesson that stands out so clear to me. 
      I understand the concept of free agency out here more than I ever have before. As a little boy, I felt like I was able to skirt by on little decisions, and not choose what was right, knowing I could say that "Christmas Eve" prayer to save me. As I've been serving here lately, I've understood that Satan is really good at creating the color grey. He is good at making things bland and boring. God gives us commandments that are black and white, and simple to follow. However, when we start mixing black and white, we get that dull grey that can truly burden our lives. If we aren't completely happy, we might be mixing a little too much black and white.
      Like when I was a little boy, I felt I could mix black and white. I've realized out here that we must keep it all separate. We must use our agency to follow Christ and His teachings. Everything that's set up for us is all based on if we follow. I promise that if we don't mix our colors, and constantly exercise our faith, we won't be saying last minute "Christmas Eve prayers" in desperate times when we realize we haven't quite reached our potential. I know that keeping the commandments brings greater joy that we can imagine.
      I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the strength that it gives us. I love this work and get so much joy from it. Even though it's hard, there's no greater thing than serving the Savior. It truly brings all joy. 
      I love you all and appreciate your support. You're all family to me and I'm so grateful for all of you. Love you guys can't wait to write again!

Elder Roper

Monday, March 14, 2016

Staying on Our Side of the Road

Hey Everybody! Hope ya'll are doing great!
      This week was just like it sounds... another week in Korea (; This week we continued working and taught a ton, but didn't find any investigators to teach. This week we receive transfer calls so no matter what happens this week, I just have to work through and try to keep finding investigators. On the bright side though, I did get to teach a bunch of young kids baseball. Sooo much fun. Nothing like a small pick-up game in Korea.
      This week I was thinking so much about choosing what's right in our lives. In missionary work we're faced with decisions every single day to do what's right, or choose otherwise. As I sat there thinking about it, I was reminded of an experience I had back home that I'd like to share.
      Me and a good friend of mine were riding on the south side of Ferron Mountain one day in the RZR. He was visiting and I wanted to show him some of my favorite areas. We had been driving for maybe five minutes from camp, and I had a spiritual prompting that I'll never forget. As clear as one man speaking to another, I heard a voice in my head say, "Stay on your side of the road." We continued driving and came around a corner to see a man coming at us at a high rate of speed, out of control, riding in the middle of the road on his wheeler. He turned to miss us, and in doing so, rolled his wheeler. I sent my friend back for help, and I stayed with the man. To say it was one of the most traumatizing moments of my life would be an understatement. I knew the man was seriously injured. I was terrified, as the man lay unconscious, shaking. All of a sudden, the man went still. I thought he had parted this life. In despair, not knowing what to do, I got down on my knees. I don't exactly remember what I said, but I distinctly remember saying, "Please bless that this man will be okay." I closed my prayer, and a few minutes later, the man drew a breath. Soon after, we were able to get him the help provided and all turned out good. However, to this day, I'll never forget that prompting I received to, "Stay on my side of the road." 
      In our lives, we must stay on our side of the road. Whenever we cross that line, it opens us up to colliding with the adversary. As we stay true to our core beliefs and who we are, we can guarantee that we can be safe in Jesus Christ. I know that as we live worthy of the spirit, we can receive the spiritual promptings that we need to keep us where we want to be. Symbolically, in our lives, one day the adversary will come at us faster than we can imagine, but as we stay on our sides of the road, the adversary will always crash behind us. May we forever follow Jesus Christ and stay within the boundaries that He's set for us.
      I'm so grateful for the promptings of the spirit and the love of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the power of prayer. I know that Christ hears and answers our prayers. I'm so grateful for that. I'm grateful that He's always there for us, and travels the road with us. I know He lives, and that He loves us beyond comprehension.
     Thanks for the love and support I love you all and I'm so grateful for every one of you. Thanks so much for all the support it means the world. Talk to ya'll next week. Keep your fingers crossed for where I could be headed!

Elder Roper

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Are You the Mormons?"

Helloooo everybody!
      What a week of miracles! This week was a huge push to try and get new investigators to teach and testify to. Me and my companion worked our guts teaching and talking with everyone. It really paid off this week. One experience really sticks out in particular that I'd like to share this week that taught me a lesson of missionary work, and how we can always improve in our lives as we strive to continually follow Jesus Christ.
      This week we received a ton of rain in the town that we were serving in. It rained for three or four days straight. One night during weekly planning we had three hours of free time and I suggested that we should go tracting during that time. My companion looked at me and said, "But it's suppose to rain tomorrow." Koreans have a little "fear" of rain. They hate the rain. First things first, they believe that the pollution in the rain makes you bald! I really wanted to tract and find people, and I felt that was the right thing to do. Boldly, but lovingly I said, "I don't care if it's raining tomorrow. We're going to tract it's what we need to do."
      The next day arrived and sure enough, it was raining.... way hard. So keeping my word, we went out and started to tract. We walked for about an hour, were soaked from head to foot and were having no luck at all talking to people. It was really hard. We were soaked, wet, and trying our best, but it wasn't working. We took a break, and were siting there standing in the rain, wondering what we were suppose to do. I was ready to go home to be honest. Just as I was about to say that, a voice yelled at us, "Are you the Mormons?" I turned around and there stood this tiny little lady from the Philippines, speaking in English. I was astounded. She explained to us her situation and told us that she was a member and had been looking for the church for seven years in Korea, and had never been able to find it. She was a convert from the Philippines, despite going against her family, and had been hoping to find the missionaries or find the church. The excitement shown in her eyes because she finally found it. She took us to grab a quick bite to eat before we ran home in the rain for the night.
      As I've pondered on this experience, there's no doubt that the spirit is the thing that guides our lives. This week we were desperate for people to teach and no matter what it took, we knew we needed to tract. I knew that the spirit told me to go out in the rain and try to find people. Despite getting soaked, it was an experience I will never forget.
      In our lives, if we simply have faith, hope, and love, we can truly do anything. If we have faith in Jesus Christ, and hope in Him and all that He is, that will turn into the love that we need for those around us. This week was so much fun as I had the greatest experience in finding people and teaching. I felt an instant love for them. I know that as we push forward despite the circumstances we can't control in faith, hope, and love, we'll receive all that the Savior is willing to give us. Even though it's hard, I'm learning that the Lord strengthens us in order to help ourselves, in order to turn outward to others. I'm so grateful for His love.
      I know the spirit guides this work. I know that Christ loves us, and all the people around us. I'm so grateful to be a missionary serving in this eternal work. This week I've experienced that perfect joy that spreading the gospel brings. So grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
      Thanks for the support I love and miss you guys. I'm so grateful for every single one of you. I pray for you daily and am always thinking about you guys. Have a great week!

Elder Roper

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Look At the Big Picture

Hey everybody!
      What a crazy week! This week had a couple of neat experiences. First, I had to sing a solo this week in a stake choir meeting. And if any of you know me at all... I can't sing. But it was quite the experience (; Second, all the Korean people think I look like Liam Neeson... although he's like sixty (; Yesterday a member got up, and translated to english said, "I'm grateful to have Elder Liam Neeson in the crowd today to listen to my talk." It seems like my new name is Elder Neeson! Haha
      This week it seemed like the missionary work took a tumble. We have lots of investigators that just won't progress and won't have that change of heart. It seems that the harder we try, the harder it's getting. But I know that as we keep working, we'll find those who are ready to accept the gospel. We simply have to keep the faith and hope that we can find and baptize.
      This week I couldn't help but have a "one year ago today" memory. One year ago I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity to play in the state championship basketball game. I remember the atmosphere, the excitement, the ups, and downs. I remember it so distinctly. I remember the enthusiasm thinking we were going to win, and the heartbreak that came as we lost. Words can’t describe the emotions of playing in that one basketball game that ended my career. However, as I look back at the loss, I see a bigger picture that I've had to realize.
      Last year, before the championship game, amidst all the excitement, I recognized the importance of those things that are eternal. As I sat before the game last year, a nervous wreck, I remember a few instances. One, I remember little Broc Jacobsen coming and sitting at my side before the game, happy as could be, without a care in the world, except for the basketball game. Just happy that he was there. I remember my Grandpa DeLoy coming down and telling me where he'd be sitting, and that him and my Grandma LaNae would be up there supporting me. I remember looking at my dad, anxious that his only son was playing in the state championship game.
      The game ended in a loss, and I remember going to greet my parents. I remember the tears came to my eyes as I embranced em all. My parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, coaches, support, and everyone else. It was that moment that I realize that this life is more important than points scored, games won, home runs hits, and trophies on the shelf. This life is about those things that are eternal. It's about the people around us, and the things we're doing to better ourselves. It's about always progressing and seeing a greater view. My dad has always said to me, "Tys, look at the big picture." That night as I walked off the court, the big picture was that we all have eternity surrounding us in all that we do. The big picture is that we have so much to be grateful for if we'll simply look for it. I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've had that have allowed me to see that.
      This gospel is eternal. This life is nothing but a stepping stone into a eternity that's too great for us to even comprehend. Everything we do, and everything we learn goes into eternity with us. I know that as we look at "the big picture" our faith, our hopes, our dreams, and the trials we face will carry us into the next life a bigger, stronger, and better person, to be as Christ would have us. I love this gospel and testify of its reality. It's true. I testify of that.
      I love you all and miss you dearly. I'm so grateful for all that you guys do for me. Thanks so much from the sincerity of my heart. Talk to ya soon!

Elder Roper