Monday, July 25, 2016

The Three "Rs"

Hey everybody! Another week right on by!
     I've survived transfer calls and will be staying in the area with the same companion. Super excited for the next transfer that we'll get to have. This week the temperatures are continuing to rise and we're just getting hotter and hotter. The nickname for my area is "Deprica" because they consider it the Africa of Korea! This week we saw miracles, disappointments, and everything in between. This week we had a man who said we can't come back to teach him because his boss said he'd lose his job if he saw him talking to us again. We also had an experience with a few people from Africa who were really interested. One man said his uncle was the first one to bring the church to Africa a long time ago. And no less, I had the joy of having a drunk guy trying to hug me while tracting because in his words, "He really loved Americans!" Haha! It was a crazy week and one that has brought a lot of miracles and disappointments. But we know as we continue to work, God will provide.
     Staying in areas with the same companion is always a blessing. But along with a "lack of change”, we always have to continue to progress and move forward. As missionaries, we face the "three R's." We face routine, rejection, and restriction. Along with those, we often find ourselves in a routine of lack of progress, or lack of motivation. This week I've been thinking  a lot about progress and how we can always keep pushing forward despite the routine, rejection, or restrictions that life throws at us.
     Years ago I remember driving the RZR up on the mountain by myself in mid-October. It was extremely cold and snow had already fallen. Taking a back trail, I found myself riding in the snow and even though I was a little nervous, I had to keep going to get to a certain area, and soon found myself stuck in a snow drift. I remember being really nervous, being a little younger, and knowing I was alone. Although people knew exactly where I was, it didn't change the fact that it was freezing and I couldn't get out. I stood around and started to dig out around the tires, and got to where the RZR could get enough traction before hopping in and being able to back out. Although I wasn't the smartest, I knew I could go no further, and I had to find another way. At that point, I turned the RZR around and got it back it back to a safer place before walking the extra few miles in.
     As I've thought about this a few years ago, I feel like there's time in missionary work where I'm flat out stuck. I can't progress, I can't figure things out. It's in those moments where we have to dig out of the hole by turning to God and let Him lift us. Then, through that strength He gives us, we can find the traction to get to a safer place before moving forward. Sometimes we can find another way, sometimes we need to walk knee deep in snow. However, there's always a way to push forward if we will simply rely on our Father in Heaven. 
     I love my Savior, and how grateful I am for His love. Despite the ups and downs that missionary work brings, His love is always constant in our lives. I'm so grateful that I get to feel and share it with everyone around me. How grateful I am to share the gospel with the people of Korea. 
Thanks for all the support, letters, emails, and love. I'm so grateful. Can't wait for next week! Talk to ya'll soon!

Elder Roper

Monday, July 18, 2016


Hey everyone!!! 
     This week was crazy! We just barely got back from visiting the biggest Buddhist temple in Korea. What an incredible experience and something I'll never forget. It's incredible to see the culture and to see the differences in lifestyle. This week has been hotter than hot. We are dying in the heat. You can literally see the humidity in the air it's so bad. This week we've been able to confirm our convert a member of the church and give the gift of the Holy Ghost, find a couple more, and get others closer to Christ. It's been an incredible week full of ups and downs that has resulted in some incredible things. 
     This week I've been thinking about countenance. It seems that it's extremely easy to tell who is living the gospel, who is full of the spirit, and who is following Christ. This week I had the opportunity to interview a man for baptism from another set of missionaries, and it was a very tender experience for me. I walked into the room, and the spirit was there as I shook the man's hand. His eyes glowed, and his heart was open to Christ. He passed the interview with an enthusiasm that I'll never forget. I’ll also never forget getting to witness his baptism, and see the eternal ordinance take place. His countenance was truly that of Christ.
     Last night we finished planning, and a missionary who will return home next week, called and wanted to talk to me one last time before he left. This missionary helped me through some difficult times earlier in my mission, and called and asked me a very simple question last night. He said, "Elder Roper, what do you think of missionary work now?" He knew my answer from a long time before, and knew of my trials and struggles early on. I told him how NOW, I loved the work, I loved the people, and I was lost in serving my mission. With simpleness in his voice he said, "Elder Roper, even through your voice on the phone, I can tell you truly mean that." 
     The countenance of how we look, how we speak, and how we live, is a direct result of how we follow our Savior Jesus Christ. When we follow Him, we're happy, we're full of light, and like Him, we too become the light of the world. We can help sooo many people by simply having the spirit. We've received more investigators through our countenance and because "they just feel good when they're around us" than we have by speaking a language, or even by our teachings. Remember that in our lives, we're seen more than we're heard. May we have the light of Christ in our eyes, and may we glow with His pure love as we strive to help everyone around us. 
     I love my Savior Jesus Christ. He is a being of perfect love. He loves us more than we will ever comprehend, and how grateful I am to be receiving that love through this service. I love this gospel, I love the Korean people, and I love my mission. 
     Thanks for all the support and love. I am amazed by the support I receive and am left speechless through the love I get. With all the love that I possess I sincerely say thank you. 

Elder Roper

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A True Disciple of Christ

Hey there everybody!
     Been just an incredible week in the Korea Busan Mission. This week I was sooo grateful to get to experience a baptism. Our investigator was able to receive baptism. Yesterday I woke up and went into my room to get changed and looked at the ties lined along the wall. One tie stood out. I went and grabbed the very tie that I baptized my younger sister in a few years earlier. At the time, I couldn't tie my own tie (imagine that right?? haha) and I pictured my dad carefully tying the knot for me on that special day. A reminder that like my family, I was partaking in the step to bring this family closer to eternity.
     We went to the baptism and words can't describe what you feel as a missionary to watch your investigator get baptized. The feelings are truly indescribable. As our investigator bore testimony following his baptism, he broke into tears and the spirit all touched our hearts. He told us how he was baptized for his family, knowing it would make him the father and husband that he needed to be to his wife, and his two young sons. Words can't describe what I felt yesterday as the baptism took place. What a miracle, and what a blessing it is to be apart of this eternal work for the Korean people. I truly love this work.
     Yesterday at church, I had an experience that I've been thinking about a lot. We have this man in church who is quite old, and really struggles to move. He can barely walk. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend a little time with this wonderful disciple of Jesus Christ. In Priesthood meeting, I watched as he was trying to take notes, his arms and legs shaking uncontrollably. I watched as he tried his very best to listen, and learn by the spirit. Following the meeting, he showed me his notes, and in particular, he showed me that he was trying to learn english. There on the page, I looked at simple english phrases such as "the dog ran", and "I went home", obviously written by someone other than him. To his best ability, he tried to copy the written english. It was not legible to me, but he was so proud of his efforts, and I told him it looked great. 
     After church, and after the baptism, a ward member came up to me and asked if I could do a favor for him. He pointed in the direction of the same man, and asked if I would be willing to take him to his car. At first, I didn't understand, but then I realized. He wanted me to place him on my back and carry him down a flight of stairs and out to his car, due to the fact that this man could not move very well. Understanding what was being asked, I got down and the man got onto my back, and I carried the man as if he was a small rag doll on my back down the stairs and placed him into his car. I couldn't help but want to weep for this man. A true disciple of Christ, who is giving everything that he has to follow His Savior. A true inspiration to me. 
     In this life, we have basic things to do like write "the dog ran" and "I went home." Despite the fact that it's clear and obvious before us, in our attempts to follow it, we sometimes write things that aren't legible. We try to follow Christ's perfect example, and we fall, and we stumble. Despite our best efforts, we can't seem to do it. But like this old man in my ward, I am reminded that Christ is our foundation and carries us wherever we need to go. He's there to magnify us and lift us to greater heights. Despite our "illegible" actions, He knows our hearts, our intents, and will be there for us when we can go no further. 
     I testify that Christ is the light and life of the world. He is our Savior, and Redeemer. And despite our earthly trials and challenges, one day we will see Him face to face in perfection because of the gift of the resurrection. Every trial, whether it be mental, physical, or emotional, will be repaid ten-fold in the life to come. I know He lives, and loves us more than we will every comprehend. I am so grateful for the wonderful plan that we're apart of. 
     I love you all and am always so grateful. I have the best support and can't thank you enough. It truly means the world. Thanks for everything and I can't wake for next week! Talk to ya'll soon!

Elder Roper

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Don't Be Foolish

Hey everybody!! How ya'll doing!
     This week was really crazy! But guess what?? We have a baptism here this week! If he continues to keep his commitments, we'll baptize him on July 10th. So excited and can't believe it. It's been just the craziest miracle to come into this area and find this man. Other than that, we have some really good investigators who are doing great and working towards baptism right now. It's been just an incredible and miracle-filled week. It's been insane! So many blessings. On the other hand, it's hot and won't stop raining. And I hear that Utah has been blazing! I can say it’s the same in Korea! We wake up sweaty, and we're sweaty all day long! Gotta love it right?? haha  
     This week, despite all the miracles, was one of great difficulty for me. Right after email I began having some medical issues that lasted throughout the week and caused me a lot of problems. Me being stubborn, I wanted to just keep going and doing the work. I finally had no choice but to call our "mission mom" and get an appointment set up with a doctor. I was trying to keep going forward and keep doing the work but I was struggling a lot, and was definitely trying to do everything on my own. I figured that I could just keep working through the pain. I didn't ask for a blessing, and I was using my sheer "willpower" in trying to move forward. It wasn't until a loving senior missionary couple simply told me that I needed to receive a blessing for what I was going through. 
     I received the blessing, and I received a lot of answers through it. However, one thing really stood out to me that I needed to hear. The blessing stated, "Elder Roper, the Lord knows how tough you are. He knows your strength. However, don't be foolish in that strength." 
     I received the blessing and realized that I've been foolish in thinking that I could do everything on my own. That if I could just keep going, I'd be fine. However, there's plenty of quotes of course that say, "Don't run faster than you have strength," or "Just do your best." I always saw those as somewhat of a challenge until I realized that I couldn't do it. I realized this week that there's a difference in following the Savior, and being led by Him, simply following His will, or doing His will. It's in the very same fact that we already know, that Christ's cross was carried by another man to Calvary. I realized that as we rely on Him and the powers of the Atonement, we truly can overcome everything. He welcomes us with open arms and is waiting to "carry our burdens" and be "yoked with us" through everything. I'm so grateful for little trials and setbacks because they make me love deeper and bring me closer to my Heavenly Father.
     I sure love this gospel. I'm grateful for the priesthood. I've received the power of the priesthood, and I've been able to give it. I'm so grateful that the priesthood can be called upon and we've been blessed with it. I'm grateful for a loving Savior who is always there to help and guide us through each and every thing that we will face. I love my Savior, and I know that He knows us. I'm so grateful for His love, and would be nowhere without it. 
     I love you all and am sooo grateful for your support. It truly means the world and I can't thank you enough. Can't wait to talk to you all again next week!

Elder Roper