Monday, May 30, 2016

Eating Dog

Hey everybody! So glad that school's over right?? So crazy...
            This week was way interesting to say the least... To start the week, I got to eat dog. Weird to say, but it was pretty good. A little tough, but hey... gotta try it (; Also this week we had some really neat experiences with our investigators. We had investigators who said they didn't want to be taught, which is always hard, but potentials that we invited to baptism on the street and wanted to know more. That was so neat. And lastly, we met a man who finally asked, "How many wives he could have if he joined our church." It was a crazy week filled with so many miracles. Although we're not reaping anything from these miracles, I know good things will come from them. So grateful to be teaching these wonderful people.
            This past week I've been thinking a lot about "bondage." I've been reading about all the prophets, and people being in bondage and recognized that in our lives, we've all been in bondage. As a missionary, I see investigators trapped in addictions, missionaries trapped in struggle, and in the lives of members, I've seen heartaches that leave them hopeless and trapped with no faith. I've had people experience death, hopelessness, guilt, and shame. Reading this week in Mosiah chapter 16:8-9, I was comforted by these scriptures.
            "But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death."
            Life takes a toll on each of us, and we feel as though we are in bondage. We experience sicknesses, trials, heartaches, and things that leave us in bondage, in which we feel there is no way to escape. In the words of my investigator who said, "I can't take life right now because I'm going through death," or the other man I met who said, "I've lost all faith in the churches," there is hope in the fact that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
            The word death can be replaced with any single affliction or trial that we face. Everything is swallowed up in Christ. Despite the darkness that has been in our lives, and will be, Christ is the light that is common to all if we will all just seek it. As I told my companion this week. "I have no idea how people can even go day to day in this life without the hope that all can be swallowed up in Jesus Christ." I testify that with Christ, all will be swallowed up in the eternal hope and comfort that we are seeking. This is why I am a missionary. This is why I go out each day to talk to people. Because I know how badly every single person needs this gospel. It is the thing that motivates me, drives me, and propels me to push forward, knowing that one small thing I can do for someone can create an eternal and lasting change for someone else.
            I've learned in this gospel that it seems like there's a lot of goodbyes. Goodbyes to "who we used to be", to people who have departed this life, to the trials that we face, to everything we hope to leave behind. However, I've learned that every goodbye opens a new hello to who we're wanting to be. Even in the hardest times, we can look up at a loving Heavenly Father and surely say. "I know how this story ends already. There is brighter day ahead of us tomorrow." There is no bondage that we won't be delivered from. And I know that as I walk the streets each day, I hope to deliver all those around me who are seeking the eternal.
            I love this gospel and I have a love for my Savior. He lives, and He answers prayers. He is aware of us in every way. I know that He will guide and direct every part of our lives as we allow Him to. I'm so grateful for the perfect example that He has set.
            I love you all and miss you all dearly. Thanks for everything I'm so grateful for the support it truly means the world. I'm eternally grateful.

Elder Roper

Monday, May 16, 2016

"I Don't Remember That"

Helllooo everybody!!! Hope ya'll had a wonderful week!
      This week definitely seemed to lack in the investigator column... again it seems like (; but we're working hard and seeing so many miracles while out tracting. Despite not having anybody progressing, we're seeing things that are planting so many seeds. We've talked to so many people in the area that every day we get the response, "We've already talked to you guys." It's super fun to teach about our Savior and there's such a powerful spirit to it. This week I even met a man who shoots the same brand as bow as I did! Needless to say, he got a lesson, and we had a good conversation about our archery skills (;
      This week I've been thinking about an investigator I had a short time ago who felt as though he had fallen from grace. He was caught in drinking and smoking, and felt that God was punishing him for his sins. We were able to teach this man about the Atonement and how like freshly driven winter snow, we too can become pure. Although he didn't keep his commitment, I've been thinking a lot about the process of when we have fallen from grace, and we feel like our mistakes can't be forgiven.
      All people in their will make mistakes. Despite our wants to be perfect, we make mistakes that cause our grief, guilt, shame, and every other emotion. As this guy stated, sometimes we feel though we have fallen too low to be carried out of that dark abyss in which we're in. This week I read a scripture that gave me a whole new perspective of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that I'd like to share.
      When I think of judgement, I picture Elder Roper standing at the feet of the Savior, in tears, speechless, and without words. I know that I will feel inadequate kneeling at the feet of my Savior. In this personal interview, I will be saying, "Father, I've made so many mistakes in my life." I can imagine myself recounting my mistakes to Him. I then can picture my Savior simply saying, with love, mercy, and tender care... "I don't remember that."
      There is no greater words in my opinion in all of scriptures than the words, "He who repents, I will remember their sins no more." What a beautiful thought to me, to my investigator, and to the world. This is why we are missionaries. This is why we teach and testify. We testify of the great joy that comes through the growth of the Atonement. As I told my investigator that we can repent, and overcome our sins, I testify that we can also overcome our inadequacies and weaknesses. There is no such thing as falling from grace. We can never fall far enough from the love of our Savior Jesus Christ in all that we do. How grateful I am to be teaching people who have seemingly lost hope, and to see that little gleam of love and hope for better to come into their eyes. I love what I do. I love being a missionary, and experiencing the changes that come along with the call. It truly is the greatest calling.
      I testify of my Savior, and His love. He loves us. He loves us so dearly, and I can feel that love each and every day as I teach others who don't know about Him. We truly are all children of God, and every soul in truly great in His eyes. I'm grateful to be teaching to the Korean people. How I love them, and how I desire their salvation, and for them to feel the love of God.
      I thank you all for the love and support. I love you all so much and I am continually amazed at the support I receive each and every week. I thank you for everything. I'm so grateful. Can't wait to talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Roper

Monday, May 9, 2016


Hey everybody!
     Hope ya'll are having a wonderful Mother's Day. How grateful I am for the women in my life and the influence that they have on me. I would not be where I am without the influence of righteous women to guide and direct me in every step I've taken. So grateful for all you women that are in our lives.
      This week the missionary work has been up and down. We've been teaching, testifying, and working extremely hard. We have a couple investigators who we are working with but aren't progressing. I'd like to share with you a part from one of our meetings with this week.
      We've been meeting with this man who had an older brother, who attended the church in Seoul before he passed away. Tracting one day, we started talking with him and he really opened up to us. This week we met with him and found a major concern that has been blocking his progress. He talked of his family, and how they're all Buddhist, and how if he attends the church, he wants to do it with his family. He talked about how he and his wife have been fighting over the religious differences due to the fact that he wants to start attending our church. He's torn between the choice of choosing his family, or religion. In sum, he said that he needed time. However, he said something that has stuck with me since the meeting. He told us, "I'm a Mormon, and this is my church. You are my brothers, but I just need some time."
      I've been thinking a lot about this thing he said. Despite his very difficult circumstances and the decisions he's torn between, he wants to be a member. It got me thinking of how sometimes in my life I've been a Mormon in heart but not in action. Where I knew everything to be true, but I wasn't willing to follow the knowledge that I knew to be right. We may not have to choose religion over family like our investigator, but in other circumstances, we can prove to be faithful to our religion not only in heart, but in action. In Mosiah, we read of putting off the natural man through the Atonement. We progress to acting on our knowledge, making small, every day decisions to choose God over that of the adversary. To choose faith before doubts, and that of eternal worth instead of that of temporary worth. Through the small and simple things we truly become as God intends us to be. I'm grateful for the people I meet, and the small lessons that I get to learn from them. We're all people with real life problems, but through this gospel, we can truly overcome everything that holds us back.
      I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the faith and outlook that it gives me. It opens all gates if we will simply follow it, no matter how hard it may be. It opens up the world to us. Another name for this gospel is opportunity. I love my Savior, and know He lives. He knows us and loves us. I feel that love every single day, and I'm so grateful to be doing His work in these latter days.
      Today when I had the opportunity to skype I was again filled with the testimony of eternal families. How grateful I am for the eternalness of this gospel. I know that this life is a stepping stone to that of eternity. I love my family. Although I miss them more than words can describe, I know they are always behind me. And on this Mother's Day I want to tell my mom how much I love her, and how much I appreciate her. She is the light of my world, and I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with my mom. Like Christ, I truly "Behold my mother" in every thing. For without her, I truly would be nothing.
      Thanks for the support I love you all so dearly and am so grateful for the support that I get out here. I am so grateful for the help, love, support, and prayers. It truly means the world to me. Talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Roper

Monday, May 2, 2016

Focus On What We Can Do

Hey everybody?? Another week already flown by??
     Well me and my trainee survived our first transfer and we'll be serving in Gumi again for the next six weeks. Most likely to be my last so I have to see what miracles we get (: This week it was a little slow on missionary work. We had some struggles, some investigators bailed on appointments, and a few others things, but all in all, we still have a couple investigators with some great potential. It's been a great week.
     This week I get to reflect back on the happiest day of my life as well. Three years ago today my family was sealed for time and all eternity in the Manti temple. A day that I will never forget, and truly the happiest day of my life. I bear you my witness that families are eternal and the core of this gospel. I'm so grateful for the gospel and that through it, we can experience the joys of eternity. This life is nothing more than a stepping stone to that of eternal worth. I know it's true and so grateful that my family got that eternal experience.
     I've been thinking a lot about some things that my investigator told me this past week. He's a man from New York who's lived in seven different countries teaching english, has overcome cancer, and is still in the service of his Heavenly Father. He's originally a catholic, but has a strong devotion to serve Jesus Christ. This week he told us, "If it wasn't for Jesus Christ, there would be no hope. No chances. No chance of progress. I live for Jesus Christ, because I know that in Him lies my only and greatest hope." As I've pondered and reflected upon that, I couldn't help but think, what if we didn't have a Savior. There would be no hope. There would be no chances. We would be living to simply pass the time. But luckily for us, we have a greater view of the eternal to come.
     Another experience that entered my heart this week was that when our new Elders Quorum President gave us a call and requested a meeting. He speaks no Korean, and works over five days a week. He sat down and looked at us and simply said, "Elders... I can't do this. There's nothing I can do to help this ward out."  As I looked at this man, I could see the stress but I knew that he was the right man. The advice we gave him was that as easy as it is to focus on the things that we can't do, we need to learn to look on the things that we can do. When we look negative, we find negative. We look positive, we find positive. Even as missionaries, we can do very little. However, we can simply testify of Jesus Christ and that is enough to touch the lives of others. May we forever focus on what we can do, instead of what we can't do. As we do so, our lives will be filled with more happiness and less disappointments, for I know that Christ is anxious to help us to magnify our callings and the things we have to do.
     I'm grateful for this gospel. I know that the gospel has been restored to the church. I'm grateful for the wonderful people I get to meet every day. They have places in my heart that will never be replaced. Missionary work is more than simply teaching but strengthening those who are in need of it. I'm grateful that these wonderful people have been placed in my path. I love this work, and I love this gospel. I testify that it is true. Thanks for all the love and support you all give me. I'm so blessed. I love you all and can't thank you enough.

Elder Roper