Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Last Letter

Hey there everyone!
     I'm so grateful to be with you again this last week and to write you my last letter as I'm preparing to finish my last week as a missionary. This week has been full of love, and miracles. We're seeing little things each and every day that make it worth it. I've seen old friends, and made new ones. I've seen the work move forward each and every day. For over seven hundred days, I've watched the sun go up and down on my mission and seen my life change along with all of those close by me. How grateful I am for this opportunity to have been a missionary for this church.
     This week I had a really special experience that blessed my life. We had an "emergency drill" that took our whole mission to headquarters, where we had a final meeting. Our mission president will return home a couple days after me, so it was his farewell meeting. On our way to the meeting, I was asked if I would speak for just a few minutes on my mission. Of course, I gladly accepted and was grateful for the opportunity. 
     As the meeting began, President Barrow saw me sit down and asked me to come up and sit with him. I sat in a seat so familiar when I served alongside my President just a few months ago. We would get to give our last testimonies together. As I prepared to speak, I really didn't know what to say. Looking at all the missionaries who I love with all my heart, I bore my testimony of the reality of this gospel, and of the power of missionary work. It was a powerful moment for me as I expressed my love, my appreciation, and my gratitude for this two years that has changed my life forever. And like that special moment for me to give my last testimony on that special day this week, to end my mission with all of you, I leave with you my testimony.
     I know and I witness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in these latter-days. I know that on a spring morning in the year of 1820, that young Joseph Smith walked into a grove of trees to pray. What followed changed the world. I testify that he saw God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. They did in reality speak to him. And through this remarkable vision, the priesthood was restored to the earth, and through that power we have unlocked the keys of the restoration. Because of that, we can live with our families forever. We can go beyond the veil and experience the blessings of eternity. I know that through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I witness with all my heart that it is true. It is God's word. I have read it, studied it, pondered it, and testified of it. The Holy Ghost has confirmed it to me over and over and over again. I leave you with my witness that it is true. 
     I witness that God hears and answers every sincere prayer. He knows us perfectly, and knows how to succor His people. He is a being of perfect love, and will always be there to lift us up. Because of His perfect love, He sent His Son to the earth and gave us a perfect example, and provided us with the Plan of Salvation. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and the Savior of the world. He was born of Mary in Bethlehem, and lived a perfect and sinless life. He set the example, lifted all those around Him, and then suffered unspeakable and incomprehensible pain in the Garden of Gethsemane where He suffered for the sins of the world. He suffered for each one of us. He was mocked, crucified, died, and rose again on the third day. Because of that, we too will be resurrected and perfected in Him.  He is the light of my world, my Savior, and Redeemer. I love Him. I want to be like Him. And as I moved forward in my life, I give my heart to Him. 
     I love this gospel with all my heart. The hardest week of my mission will be this week as I prepare to say last goodbyes. With each day I'll put my name-tag on knowing that it's nearly coming to an end. With each day I'll proudly bear the cross of my Lord. And with each step I take forward, I put my trust in the Lord knowing He'll always be there. This mission has changed my life. I'm grateful for every trial, every pain, every happy and down moment. I'm grateful that I made this decision. As we move forward together, may these words that keep ringing in my heart guide our path that say, "Trusting my all to thy loving care, and knowing thou lovest me, I'll do thy will with a heart sincere, I'll be what you want me to be."
     I love you all. Thank you so so much. With all the sincerity of my heart and soul I say thank you. I wouldn't be here without your love and support. I'll see you here in a few short days. I love you all, and thank you sincerely.

With all love and gratitude,

Elder Tyson Dale Roper

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I Believe In Christ

Hey everybody!
     Great to be writing to ya'll again this week! This week was a crazy week, super special. This week we were really busy with meetings and a lot of other things. This week our mission was fortunate to hear from Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Choi Yoon Hwan from the Seventy. What a special experience it was to meet an Apostle of the Lord, and meet other church authorities. Being able to listen to their testimony, hear their strength, and to learn at their feet was an incredible opportunity that I'll never forget. I absolutely know they are ordained of the Lord.
     We were also blessed this week with a baptism of a man named Eem Sung Day. After meeting with the missionaries off and on for two  years, he was able to walk into the waters of baptism, and I was asked to perform the baptism. 
     I've been able to gain a great relationship with man while teaching him. It was very natural from the first time we met. As we've been teaching him, he's been up, down, wanted to give up, and had other times where he never wanted to do another bad thing. But after two years of waiting, pushing, fighting, and moving forward, this wonderful man received a remission of his sins. 
     During the baptism, the spirit was strong. A testimony from his wife, from other members who have helped, and we even had our Stake President and an Area Seventy also present. The spirit was so strong to confirm the truths of the gospel. 
     After we walked out of the font together, the look on his face was that of pure joy. He was so happy, and I could feel it all in my heart again. Why we serve missions, why we follow Christ, and why we sacrifice for others. I remember walking out of the font at eight years old, and walking out of the font at twenty, I only have a deeper appreciation of the gospel and His Atonement. Tears came to my eyes as he looked at me soaking wet and simply said, "Elder Roper, the Lord will always bless you for doing this." 
     I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It unlocks the Atonement unto us through ordinances and covenants, and allows us to grow close to our Savior. I know that He lived a perfect life, died, and rose again so we could wash our sins, move forward, and be perfected. My heart was filled with unspeakable joy when me and this wonderful investigator sang these heartfelt words with the others right before walking in the font. And they read, "I believe in Christ...my Lord, my God! My feet he plants on gospel sod. I'll worship him with all my might; He is the source of truth and light. I believe in Christ; he ransoms me. From Satan's grasp he sets me free, And I shall live with joy and love In his eternal courts above." 
     May we seek to live with Him forever is my humble and sincere prayer. May we seek to do His will. May we seek to be as He is. I love you all, I appreciate you, and with each passing day I become more grateful. Thanks for everything.


Elder Roper

A Change Of Heart

Hey there everybody!
     It's another week that has just seemed to fly by! The days go by quickly and the weeks are going by even faster. This week has been a great start to my last transfer and we're seeing miracles that keep popping up. Today I'd like to tell you about the miracle that I feel like I've been waiting months for.
     When I came to this area, investigators seemed to be easy to find, and the potential seemed to high. Baptismal dates came, dropped, came again, dropped again, and we've been sitting here scratching our heads wondering what to do. For weeks, investigators have been rare, lessons nearly impossible, and that pestering voice of failure constantly lingering in my head. The question of "what more could I possibly be doing" was ringing in my ears. So like missionaries do, we just kept going, and we finally caught a break and huge miracle from our loving Heavenly Father. 
     An old investigator showed up to church this last Sunday. We hadn't seen him for over a month. The last time we had seen him, he was chest high in addictions, particularly drinking and smoking. He couldn't seem to break the habit. The habit had lasted for fifteen years, and he had been trying to get baptized for nearly two years. He wouldn't answer texts, calls, or any sense of communication.
     At church, he asked to meet with me and my companion. He had a new appearance. He looked happy, and peaceful. He told us of what had been going on since we had last seen him. It turns out that during the month, he told us the change of heart that he had experienced, and that he had drank or smoked for over a month. I was astounded. 
     We started talking to him and asking questions. "What had changed? What made this mighty change?" He looked at us and he told us what had been taking place. For years, he had been fighting to overcome this habit. He realized how difficult it was when his little daughter was born a year ago. Despite a new daughter, he found himself partying every day with friends after week, leaving his wife and daughter home alone nearly every day. He saw his wife's countenance, and saw the tensions slowly building in his life, and his heart crushed in disappointment in himself. In his words he said, "I've been slowly breaking the heart of my wife for years." The change of heart came from his desire to be a better husband and father, and he knew he could wait no longer.
     This man has committed to be baptized this following Sunday and we're praying that this one will follow through. He has had two years worth of missionaries, a life's worth of heartbreaks, but now, he has an eternity of unimaginable blessings that will follow his decision to follow Jesus Christ. 
     The more I serve my mission, the more I realize how infinite and perfect the plan of Jesus Christ is. As a fallen people who make mistakes, who are weak, and who need lots of help, He provided us with His son. He provided us with the Savior Jesus Christ, and allows us to learn, to grow, to be cleansed, and to be perfected. No matter how hard the struggle, how dark the nights, and how long the unwinding road seems to go, there is always a home for each of us in the Atonement. It is the power to become, to change, and to fulfill the deepest desires of our heart. When the times are difficult, remember my dear Brothers and Sister... He loves you, He died for you, and He is always with you. I know this with a certain knowledge. I am a witness that He lives, and that He is always sufficient. 
     I love you all, and sincerely thank you for everything. Thanks for the prayers, the pleadings, and the love. I'm always grateful beyond words. Love you all talk to ya'll next week!


Elder Roper

Blessed Be Their Name

Hey there everybody! Happy Mother's Day!
     It's always a special day to have Mother's Day here in Korea as a missionary. Skype, talking with family, and other blessings are indescribable. In Korea, Mother's Day is not celebrated really at all, so it's always a special day for me to think about , to look on, and to think about how grateful I am for the wonderful women in my life.
     Yesterday in church I was blessed to hear a talk from an American man who served in Japan, and to hear his testimony of how women have influenced his life. It brought me back home a little bit to listen to the testimony of another in english of how grateful he was for his mom. 
     Like others around the world, today I just am so grateful for all the wonderful women in my life, especially my mom. As I look at how my mission has influenced me, I can see how much my mom truly has done for me in my life. There are so many things that come into my mind that I could speak about, but some of the most memorable came in the last six months or so of when I was back in Utah, preparing to leave. Those six months were so memorable as I remember how much my mom did for me in preparing to send off her only son. 
     I think of long late nights, when I come home after curfew and tell my mom all the things that I had done that night. Always so simple, but such a blessing. But I remember one night in particular when I came home late one night in tears, and told my mom that prayers had been answered, and I was going to serve a mission.
     Paper work, doctor visits, interviews, and an endless shopping list filled our schedules. With mom by my side, all was done one by one. I'll never forget the day when me and my family made a long awaited trip to get all my clothes. One by one, shirts were tested, and suit colors matched, while mom inspected to make sure it was perfect for her missionary. In the back of my mind, it always broke my heart as I knew that my mom would never see me wearing them. 
     The days went by, the day grew near, and tears were always flowing as I continued to prepare. It all led up to the day I left, where the hardest goodbye I've ever said happened. A long last hug, and tear-filled "I love you's" took us half a world away, where my mom has done everything for me. Long late nights, tear-filled prayers, and worries unending has took us down to only six weeks, where my gratitude is only growing each and every day. 
     As I look back, I could go on forever, with so many people in my life. But on this Mother's Day, half a world away, I come to know more every day that throughout my life, my mom has been my everything, continues to be, and will always be to me. The heart grows fonder in distance, and love only grows in time, and I know that I've been blessed beyond measure for the wonderful mom that I have. How grateful I am for her, for two loving and beautiful sisters, for two wonderful grandma', aunts, great aunt's and more. I will forever be grateful for their love, their sacrifice. I stand with the scriptures in this simple phrase that says, "Blessed be their name."
     I love you all and I'm so grateful. May we all strive for grateful love in our lives. A love that is pure and true, and guides us to learn, do, and become. I love this gospel, this work, and am so grateful to express the smallest part of my feelings with you guys today. Love you all, and I'll talk to you here soon!


Elder Roper

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pieces Of The Puzzle

Hey there everybody!
     It's another P-Day and it's so great to be writing again to you. The time is just rolling right on by as this week I'll prepare to start my last transfer in the mission field. I'm excited to see what the Lord would have me do to finish out my last month and a half as a missionary. So grateful for all these little miracles that keep happening all along the way.
     As I'm preparing for my last transfer, not knowing if I'm staying, going, or what, I've really been reflecting a lot on my mission, in particular the last six months. I've been pushing so hard to get people baptized, and confirmed in the church. I've seen miracles that words can't describe, and seen people change, but still, no baptisms. Over the last six months, I've seen eight baptismal dates but only one baptism. It's not a sense of frustration, but as I've looked back, there's so many lessons that continue to pop up that are changing my life, and I'm so grateful for it. And sometimes in our lives, when we're chasing something so diligently and it doesn't work out, we want to ask the question "why", but instead, I've learned to be grateful, to look at the big picture, and see how, like a puzzle, each piece falls in place. 
     I've learned that with each area, each ward, and each area I go to, there are things being established in the big eternal picture of everything. Without us knowing it, we're establishing our own "puzzle" of testimony, conversion, and becoming like the Savior. 
     A few of my puzzle pieces in the last few months have come in a variety of ways. They have come in miracles, they have came in grand ways, and they've also came in ways as simple as heartfelt prayer. They've come from simple glances of hope, like the investigator who had the hope to give up smoking and came to know the Savior. They've come from the faith of others, such as the young man I taught who at nearly being thrown out of the country, stood up for being a Mormon. They've came from investigators saying, "I can't be baptized because I need a lot more time." They've come in so many ways that I cannot express appreciation for, and as I look back, I see a complete picture that has slowly been built up little by little for me to become just a little better, and to become more like the Savior.
     We all have a picture we're building in our life. Sometimes the end picture is not visible, and we find ourselves in the vast pessimistic view of the question "why", but we need to recognize our blessings, recognize our growth, and like my parents have always taught me, "to see the big picture." I promise it's there. As I've asked the Savior to show me how I'm doing, He's given me small glimpses to let me know that I'm enough and doing enough, despite lack of results. And sometimes lack of results, doubts, and even fears, may be the greatest force to push us to the pure love of Christ. May we all keep going, take a second to step back, recognize the good we do, and keep laying it all piece by piece. I know that as we do, a complete and perfect picture of true Christlike countenance will shine through who you are. 
     I testify that the gospel is true, and is a place for growth and to test our faith. I know that it is place where we can learn, do, and become. I testify that a loving Savior knows us all and loves us more than any words that surpass our imagination. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and is true. I love being a missionary, and understand with a deep knowledge that the hardest day of my mission will be the day I have to take this name tag off of my chest, and engrave it even deeper into my heart. I love this country and people, and couldn't truly imagine being anywhere else in the world.
     I love you all and thank you for all your support. It truly means more than you'll ever know. Talk to you soon next week!


Elder Roper

Monday, May 1, 2017

Coming Back

Hey there everybody!
Can't believe it's already P-Day here again... This week was a little different as we had a few more meetings. Got to travel this week to Busan and go hiking which took me right to my own happy place. Was great to be in the outdoors and get out a little bit. The work in our area is going pretty good but our investigators are continuing to struggle a lot right now. Our investigator that committed to be baptized last week decided that he wants to wait until at least June. I'm really understanding the difference between faith and patience in this area as little things like this keep popping up. But I know that the Lord is aware, and that all will be for their good and for ours as their missionaries. I know that good things are in store.
Four years ago this Wednesday on May 3rd, my family was sealed for time and all eternity in the Manti Temple. By far the happiest and most influential day in my life. It would be a day that Elder Holland would call a "song that cannot be sung" because there are no words, no feelings, and no other things that can ever describe such an experience.
My family wasn't that strong in the gospel when I was growing up, but we had so many people that would lovingly push us to do more, and to strive to become more. I think a common question that I often asked as people continually tried to push us forward towards the gospel was the simple question, "Why do you keep coming back?"
We thought we were comfortable, happy, and had everything that we needed. We know now that of course we were wrong, but we thought we had all that we needed. A little while ago while proselyting, I had an experience that made it all so clear.
We were proselyting and I saw this man far off out of the way, sitting on a bench, cigarette smoke blowing, and alcohol in his other hand.  Being out of the way, we continued walking within his sight, attempted to talk to a few other people, to which they wouldn't acknowledge us, and kept walking. As we kept moving forward, I knew we had to go back to the man on the bench. The feeling was so strong. I grabbed my companion, turned around and walked up to the man.
He looked at us through his cloud of smoke and arrogantly retorted, "I just saw what you were doing trying to talk to those people. I saw them ignore you." I looked at him with a big grin and responded, "Great, a better reason for you to talk to us then right??" I sat down with the man and began to speak with him about his life, and saw the trials began to show in his face. I could tell he was hurting a lot. No wife, no kids, and facing the consequences of sin. As we kept talking, the tears filled his eyes and started to fall in between swigs of his alcohol. He finally looked at me and asked that question that I'm sure we've all asked the Savior when we too have been lost in sin, hopeless, or feeling unworthy of God's love. He asked me in between deep breaths... "Why did you come back? You didn't have to." I looked at him and lovingly responded, "I knew I had to."
Whether my family four years ago, this very morning, or any other day, the Savior always comes back. Whether we have sinned, feel unworthy, useless, or hopeless, He always comes back to us. Like the sun we sometimes we can't see, but know is there, or the air that we don't think about, but just expect... it's all the same. Christ is near us, beside us, with us, and most importantly, He is going with us to where we are going. And when we asked that same question in the deepest depths of despair, "Father, why do you keep coming back to me? I don't deserve this." He will calmly, and with great love respond, "You knew I would." 
I testify of the Savior, His perfect love and compassion. He understands our hearts, and our desires. Remember that He works from the inside out. He starts with our heart, and moves that to who we are. He doesn't care who we are right now, but He does care where we are going, and where we want to be. I know He's there, and I know He's walking with us each step of the way. I testify of His divine calling to be our Redeemer.
        I love you all, and I'm always so grateful. Thanks for everything you do. I'll be seeing you here next month. Until next week!


Elder Roper










Monday, April 24, 2017

Gifts

Hey everyone!
Another week has just rolled on by and it was another great one. The weather is about perfect over here. It is warming up, spring is in full bloom, and the work is blooming within our area as well.
This week we were able to commit one of our investigators to a baptismal date. He's a car salesman for Chevy, and has been progressing so well. He's been to church three weeks in a row, and we finally decided he was prepared to received the commitment. We're praying that he'll stay true to his desires. He's been progressing well. Pray with us that he continues to move forward in faith. 
Yesterday in church, we had just finished sacrament meeting and went to our second hour class with a few members. We had a recent convert, my companion, and one other member. To start the class, our bishop pulled out three little bundles. He opened one bundle and revealed a book that looked like a bible. Leather, gold rimmed pages, very beautiful book. He asked if we knew what it was. We all suggested it was a bible. He then took off the wrapper, and opened the book, to which there was nothing inside. It's literally a bible of blank pages. 
He went on to explain that these "journals" were very very difficult to find, and very expensive to buy in Korea. He said he was giving them to specific people. Missionaries leaving, and other members who he thought could use them to great value. He first looked at the recent convert, baptized only three months ago, and handed him a book, and said, ”I want you to keep this, and record your life, just as if it were your own personal scripture."  
Happy for this young man to start recording his own history, I felt so grateful. But then, the bishop moved to my companion, and handed him his own journal as well. He said the same thing nearly as the first. "Use this as if it were your own personal scripture." I was so happy for my companion too. So happy for both of them, that they got this book that's super hard to find. Not thinking about myself at all, in pure gratitude just looking at the smile on their faces, the bishop then turned and handed me my own book. 
I was surprised, as I felt that I didn't need it. However, he looked at me, and said something similar to the first two. "Elder Roper, use this to record your own personal scripture." I was astounded at the pure love of this wonderful priesthood leader. No doubt in my mind that he had thought about this and planned it out in his mind. I was thinking about it last night as I was eating my soup with clams, kimchi, and spam, and I thought about what he was really saying to me.
Our bishop offered us this journal for what reason?? He wants to see it used.... 
In our lives, we are offered gifts from all angles. From people we love, strangers, and sometimes by pure luck. In other words, I'd like to call it the grace of God. We're all offered the gift of grace from a loving Heavenly Father, who only wants one thing to be done. And that is, to see it be used for our benefit of becoming better than what we are. 
What good do gifts do if they are left unused?? A mother who cooks dinner only to not have it eaten? A child learning piano because their parents pay for lessons but they don't want to practice? A person extending service to another who doesn't want to accept? But none of these would be so sad as a Savior, who offered a perfect Atonement that can make us whole, but we decide not to use it... 
The cool thing of this gift that I received isn't the fact that I just got this nice new journal, but the exciting thing is that if I use it, I can truly use the gift to what it's been meant for. And like the Atonement, we must use it everyday, exhaust the Atonement in such a way to we receive all the strength beyond our own that we can. I know that as we use the gifts that are offered, as we understand why these gifts are given, we will come to truly understand and receive the Lord's perfect grace.
        I love the gospel, and tell you with a certainty that it is true. The Savior lives today, this very moment, and is with you, walking the race with you. What a blessing for each of us. 
I love you all, and I miss you all so dearly. Keep going, keep pushing, keep loving, and keep looking for those blessings of grace. I promise they are there. Talk to you all next week.


Elder Roper





Monday, April 17, 2017

He Is Risen

Hey Everyone!
     This week was a great week. Lots of tracting, finding, and teaching. Right now our investigator pool is starting to narrow down a bit as we're having to drop some investigators and refocus on the ones that we currently have. Our investigators are struggling a bit right now, not wanting to act, struggling to overcome habits, or not making enough time for the Lord. We're working with them hoping that their faith will increase enough to act more fervently and diligently to the goals they're setting. 
     This week I had a neat little experience while proselyting. It was pretty late at night, walking home when we saw another white man a ways up in front of us (which is rare). He was trying to wave down a taxi, and the taxi completely ignored him. Mustering up my courage to talk with another foreigner, which is always so weird, we made eye contact, and started talking to each other. He recognized us instantly as missionaries, and began opening up his heart to me and my companion. He was heading to another town to party for the night. He expressed his guilt, his pain, his struggles, and his addictions. My heart was breaking as I listened to this man speak. He asked the question that all of us at one point or another has asked before in our lives. "Elder, with all the horrible things I've done... can I really truly be forgiven for my sins?"
     I looked at this man, and expressed my heart to him that we could. That we can truly receive forgiveness, be cleansed, purified, and sanctified from all that we've done. No matter how bad, how long, or how many times repeated, we can become clean once again. He had a gleam in his eye and I could see the thoughts turning in his heart and a glimmer of hope starting to form. With him having to leave, we exchanged phone numbers, and he left. This has been on my mind all week long. Is it true? Can we truly receive forgiveness for our sins??? The answer is absolutely, positively, yes!
     In America it is Easter Sunday. What a blessing that is. This week I've thought of the Atonement in new and profound ways. I've thought about the perfect Atonement wrought for us by the Savior. A loving Savior, walking nigh unto death in the Garden of Gethsemane under bright shining stars. I can't imagine the agony that began as He began to Atone for the world. Every wrenching moment, every single drop of blood for every single person. I can only picture the love of a perfect Savior when He then proclaimed, "Not my will, but thine be done." From the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was beaten, and scourged. I can hear the cries of the crowd yelling, "Crucify Him," and can see in my mind His disciples all fleeing in fear. I can only imagine the weight on His back and His cross was borne through the dusty streets to Calvary, where the pounding thud of nails going into His hands and feet give me chills, and break my heart. From the depths of sorrow and pain, willing giving up His life for us.
     The greatest words in history, "He is risen", is the greatest testimony that yes, we can move forward, we can keep going, we can be clean, live with our families forever, be perfected, be happy, live with no doubts or fears, and so many other things. And yes, it even means that we can be forgiven of our sins. The perfect Atonement. What a blessing on this Easter Sunday. 
      I know the Resurrection of the Savior is true. He lives. I know it with no doubts, no questions, no worries. He is our Savior, our Divine Redeemer, our Loving Friend, Alpha and Omega. May we keep Him close to heart always and remember those words spoken so long ago. "He is risen."
     I love you all and thank you all for everything. Miss you all dearly. Have a wonderful Easter, and I'll talk to you next week.


Elder Roper











Monday, April 3, 2017

Acting In Faith

Hey everybody!
     Another transfer has come and went! Like always, it flew by, and I'll be fortunate and grateful to stay in my area and receive a new companion named Elder Sung Jisoo. I know that it will be a great transfer filled with a ton of miracles and so much happening. Right now we have a very large investigator pool but they just won't seem to act on anything. Keep your fingers crossed that they'll start acting on their faith.
     Despite the normal week of proselyting, meetings, and transfers, I saw a huge miracle of someone who exercised their faith. Throughout my mission I've often sent letters of a great friend of mine by the name of Bryan. He's from the Philippines. Originally going to college, dropped out so his brother could go because his family didn't have enough money to support both of them. After he left college, he came to Korea, where he's been supporting his entire family through his paycheck. Each paycheck he sends home all the money to support a very large and poor family.  
     A few months back, Bryan, physically struggling due to the huge workload he was carrying in work, had to quit his job. Spending six days a week carrying and loading heavy metals, the job was literally killing Bryan. Knowing he couldn't do it, he took a leap of faith and quit his job. Whenever foreigners quit their jobs, they have three months to find a new job before they are immediately sent back to their country.
     Bryan, having no job, no money, very few friends, has struggled since he quit his job. He has been homeless, he has eaten nothing for most of that time. He has been sleeping in public bath houses, the only warm place he could find. But never once did I hear him complain, whine, or say anything negative. He has always told me that it would work out. 
     This week has signified that Bryan only has one week left to find a job. He's has countless interviews hoping to find one. With only a few days remaining, and having been in contact with Bryan, I got home one night to see I had a missed call from him. I had also had a text. I read the text which simply stated, "Hey Elder Roper, I found the perfect job. Thanks for all of your prayers."
     With days remaining, Bryan has continued to act in faith, trust in God, and face all his trials head on. He knew it would work out. And I know that because of his faith, he has found a job that is physically good for him, will give him everything he needs, and will even continue to help him support his poor family.
     The gospel of Jesus Christ is centered on faith. Like fuel in a car, we can't go anywhere without it. We could have the nicest car, but if there's no fuel, you'll never move or get where you're going. Even when the times are hard, the questions many, and tears unending, may we cleave to the first principle of the gospel by acting in faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. May we all remember the simple request of the Savior who said, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." May we never doubt and push forward in all that we do like my friend Bryan, knowing that the Lord will deliver us and put us exactly where he needs us to be.
     I love you guys. I miss you tons. Thanks for the letters, love, and support. I'm always so grateful. Can't wait to write again next week!


Elder Roper


Monday, March 27, 2017

Called To Serve

Hey everybody!
     Good to be writing again. I know I say this every week, but it flew by. This week we continued to find some new investigators who are progressing really well. We're seeing a lot of great success right now, and the Lord is really blessing our area. We have three investigators with a baptismal date and we're hoping that they can continue towards their set dates. We're seeing a lot of wonderful things as we're exercising faith and trusting in the Lord.
     On this day two years ago, I opened a letter that changed my life forever. I opened a letter with nervous hands and pulled out a letter that stated, "you have been called to labor in the Korea Busan Mission." It will a call that I didn't expect, but I knew that it was where I was suppose to be, and over the time I've been here, the Holy Ghost has confirmed it to me over and over again. 
     At this time of year, I know that mission calls are coming, and missionaries are preparing to serve their missions. Each week I hear of the new calls that are coming in to great friends of mine and I'm so excited for all of them. This week, looking back on that memory two years ago, I went snooping into all my papers to find my mission call. I went snooping through all my papers, and found it near the bottom. Along with my call, there was a small piece of paper that sat on top it. Not recalling what it was, I opened it and found tears in my eyes as I remembered exactly what it was. This is what it says:

Dear 타이슨
I think that is Tyson in Korean, but if not you will get a good laugh. How is Korea? I bet it's great. I am very jealous. We miss you back home. I miss your example that was great. I hope I can be the kind of man you are. Life is great soccer just started and I'm pretty excited it's going to be a good year for us.

Ethan Winter

      The tears welled in my eyes, as I thought of this great friend of mine. It was a handwritten letter from him from a few months ago before he killed in an accident. He's been on my mind, and in my heart for months. To me, it's no coincidence either that Ethan too, has received his mission call to serve with a loving Heavenly Father. I sat down this week, with gratitude in my heart, and thought of a friend I dearly miss, wrote down a few of my thoughts that I'd like to share with you today. 

Called To Serve
Out driving with a friend on a cold winter's night,
Under bright moonlit stars that were shining so bright,
Pushing through ice and snow as far as my eyes could see,
I lost all control and my truck slipped suddenly.

Off I went and down we fell, through all worldly sorrow and earthly travail,
No pain, no concern, no worry, no sound,
When I broke the mortal chains to which I was bound.
Upward my soul traveled leaving earth's thorn-laid trail,
Where quickly I passed through the heavenly veil.

I saw my life pass before me in the blink of an eye,
As I continued moving forward into God's paradise.
My friends, family, and all left behind,
As I was called to serve in God's kingdom on high.

Time seemed to stop and I found myself on my knees,
I looked upward to see the Savior standing above me.
He gently reached down and wrapped His hands in mine,
The nail prints in His hands still undaunted by time.

He lifted me up off my weak, feeble knees,
Where questions and concerns began to overcome me.
I looked in His eyes and started to weep,
And through question-filled sobs asked, "Lord, why me?"

"I'm leaving all my good close friends there behind,
Where I was never given a chance to say last goodbyes.

And what about soccer, my team needed me,
My dad even needed me to captain the team. 

And Father, oh my mission, I was starting to prepare.
You know to get ready I even cut my long hair.

And what about my siblings, I was the oldest you know,
What will they do when I don't come home?

And lastly, mom and dad, oh the fear in their heart,
When they find out the veil has split us apart.

I'm sorry to question, I'm wondering you see,
I just want to know... Lord, why me?"

With light in His eyes, His gaze met mine,
And lovingly asked, "You want to know why?

My son, I love you, and because I love thee,
You have been called to serve on this side with me.

your friends will miss you during this time,
But forever grateful that you blessed their life.
Their tears will run free and so will their fears,
But no need to worry, we both will be near.

And as for soccer you can hang up your cleats,
For you have been called to captain my team.
I know that your dad made you a deal,
But now you've been called to lead even holier fields.

And your mission, my son, don't worry you see,
Because you've already served so valiantly,
There's no need to wait, pack, travel, or prepare,
For I could wait no longer for you to be here.
You've been called to serve beyond the heavenly veil,
Where with me together, forever we'll dwell. 

As for your siblings, the times may be hard,
But heaven won't ever seem to be far.
They will face all of earth's great troubles and frights,
But they're never alone with you on their left and their right.
An angel to bear them up in their times of need,
Where in you they will find all heavenly peace.

And lastly, your mom and dad," He said with tears in His eyes,
"They know you're with me here in paradise.
The days will be long, the nights will be hard, 
But because of their faith, they know you're not far.
With full trust they'll let your eternity begin,
Knowing that they will be with you again.
So although the veil has split you apart,
Forever, and always, you're with them in heart.

My son, you know I will lead you and them through,
Knowing that now, will you accept this call given to you?"

The spirit filled my soul, and light filled my mind,
As I reflected on my short life one last time.
I looked at my Savior, my Lord, and my King,
Hands stretched out forth beckoning to me.
I gave one last glance and turned my back on it all,
And walked in with my Savior, to answer my call.


     I know the Savior lives. He has a plan, and has called each of us to be His disciples. On this side of the veil, or even on that side, every call is as real as we make it. I'm so grateful for His plan. I'm grateful for my great friend Ethan, who I dearly miss who truly taught me lessons of a lifetime. I'm grateful for a loving Savior who offers such a perfect plan for all of us.

     Love you all and miss you dearly. I can't wait for next week. Have a perfect week!


Elder Roper

Monday, March 13, 2017

Prince Of Peace

Hey there!
It's been another great week here in South Korea! This week was full of a lot of miracles and new things. The Lord is definitely blessing my area as we're finding investigators left and right and have the largest teaching pool that I've had in my mission. We're working with a few good investigators, in which two committed to be baptized this previous week. We're hoping to establish some specific dates and get them going to organize a specific day. 
This week I've been thinking a lot as I've been finding new investigators. Every time we meet a new investigator, they come from specific backgrounds and situations. Most are from very hard, difficult, backgrounds. My heart aches as I realize the severity of their situations. This week my heart was opened to the Prince of Peace and His healing powers that He truly offers to all of His children. 
The first man we met, 36 years old, not married, and chasing dreams that he can't seem to reach. Frustrated that he can't catch a break, invited us over to his house to help him with english and teach the gospel. After teaching a while, we began to go into his life where he began to open his fears, concerns, and hopes. He asked faith inspired questions such as "Can I really be forgiven?" or "Is there really any hope for me to do what I want to do?" As our discussion closed, and in the feeling of the spirit, we promised that through baptism he would find answers, hope, and the peace he needs. He accepted to be baptized hoping to find that peace of mind.
The second man, 37 years old, caught in severe addictions of drinking, smoking, and a few more things, wanted to meet with us because he hasn't been happy for years. He just needed someone to talk to, and someone to listen. With a broken heart, he told us his story and just listening broke mine. With sincerity and looking for answers, we promised him peace through our message, and gave him a Book of Mormon, knowing that in its pages he'd find what he was looking for. He committed to come to church this next week so he, too, could search for a greater peace of mind, having not been happy for years. 
Lastly, a recent convert of mine, 23 years old, came to see me and a few other missionaries this weekend. He has recently lost his job, his home, has no food, and no money. He sleeps every night in the public bath houses here in Korea. I had many sleepless nights thinking of this young man. We offered him help, and him saying he didn't need it, telling us that God is already helping him enough. He told us that he knows his peace of mind will come as he continues to rely on God and not others.
My heart has broke over and over this week seeing these things. There's so much sorrow in this world. It's heartbreaking. But the promise is the same for everyone who turns to the Savior in hope and humility. "My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you; Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid".... "the chastisement of His peace was upon us, and with His stripes we are healed"...."peace, be still"....
The gospel is that of peace. May we always seek the Prince of PEACE. His peace and love is only that of a prayer away. Never doubt, never fear. For in Christ, all things shall be made whole. As the lives of my investigators are changing, I leave you with my sure and unwavering witness that your life too, will change. I know that He lives. I don't simply believe it, but I know it with a certainty. Go to Him, and seek His pure and perfect peace and love, which is desirable above everything.
I love you all and am grateful. You all mean the world to me. Talk to you next week!


Elder Roper

Monday, February 27, 2017

Jinju

Hey everybody!
     It's been a great week here in my new area of Jinju. It's one of the most "country" areas in the mission, which of course is right up my alley. I have a wonderful companion who has been wonderful to work with. Right now the spirit is so strong in my life. It's so strong. This week we've been pushing forward in so much faith, hope, and high expectations. This week we've seen so many miracles. We have found a few new investigators and are working with four investigators at church right now, two of whom came for the first time this week after calling us randomly. I'm super excited to work in faith and move forward in this area. 
     This week I had a really hard time transitioning to my new area. Whenever I leave any area, it always seems to be very difficult for me. This last week as I said goodbye to my old companion, and left headquarters and everyone behind, it was so hard to say goodbye. There was a lot of tears and good memories as I packed my bags and headed for the bus to one of the farthest places away in the mission.
     It was different this week as my phone wasn't ringing every couple minutes, stress seemed to be all gone. However, being in a new area, with new people, it didn't feel like home yet. As I went to bed on my first night here in Jinju, I got down on my knees and said a very heartfelt prayer to Heavenly Father, pleading for His help, and His direction in my new area. The assurance of the Holy Ghost came into my mind and my heart and told me "that it would all work out" as I pushed forward with faith. I knew that in time, it would all work out just fine, and it has. This area is a place of miracles. I've been pushing forward with more desire than ever, to bring souls unto Christ. My faith unwavering, my heart set on the work, I put each foot in front of the other and walked as it just got easier and easier and easier. And today, I want to talk about the universal answer to all of our trials, questions, doubts, and fears. 
     The universal answer, the remedy to every little thing that we have, is "faith in the love of God." Sometimes in life, we are burdened by trials, by difficult times, by questions and concerns. However, with "faith in the love of God", there is nothing that we will not be able to get through. Faith in His promises, His will, and His way. Not ours. Did you know that when we struggle in life, it's normally always because we lack faith in God?? No wonder that faith is the first principle of the gospel, and the first law of Heaven.
     When we came to understand faith and love in God, ours will get easier. Our trust in Him will increase, and His trust in us will then increase. I want you to take a second and think of your best memories in your life... Your favorite memory? Your favorite song? Favorite scene? Favorite sound? Favorite picture? Think about them for a moment. They should put you into your own personal "happy place" and make you grateful for your many blessings. Although those are your "best memories”, there is a promise that I've been thinking about this week, and it comes in this simple scripture. 
     "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
     When we love God with all that we have, no trial, no hard time, no fears will ever stay there. When we push forward with faith in the love of God, knowing that we are His children, He is our Father, and that He loves us so immensely, there is nothing that we can't overcome. And when we think of our hardest times, but importantly our best times, they will be nothing compared to those things that God has prepared for those that love Him. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard...the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
     I love this gospel. I love the Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel His love in ways that words will never be able to explain. I know that He answers every earnest and sincere prayer that we mutter. I know that He's always there as we push forward in His love. He's there to lift, to strengthen, and to enable us to become who we want and need to be. He is Divine Redeemer, our Lord, and our King. It is my humble prayer that we come to know Him sincerely, and trust Him deeply, so we can always push forward in steadfast faith in His perfect love.
     I love you all and am so grateful for the support. I miss you all so much. I'm forever and eternally grateful for each and every one of you. Have a wonderful week!


Elder Roper



Monday, February 20, 2017

Sacrifices

Hey everybody!
     Another week has flown by here! They never seem to slow down. It was the last week of the transfer and we were busy with preparing transfers all week long and getting everything ready for the new transfer. This week I've been transferred and right now I'm in the process of packing and getting ready to leave. It's been a great blessing to serve in mission headquarters and although no transfer is easy, I look forward to new opportunities to apply the things I've learned from other great leaders. I've been transferred to the area of Jinju, and I’m serving with a great missionary named Elder Aurich. It'll be a great transfer and I'm really excited to move forward for my last few transfers here in Korea.
     This week amidst all the goodbyes, I got to meet with an old investigator of mine who I've often talked about. His name is M.C. Mickey. He's been my rapper investigator, and has really struggled with some addictions, lack of faith, and a lack of faith in the Atonement. Knowing I was leaving, he came to church yesterday to see me one last time.
     His problems have only gotten worse since he stopped meeting with the missionaries. His trials have gotten larger, relationships worse, and everything seems to be falling apart. Again,  yesterday, he told of us the same story of how he got there, and what he thought was going to fix it (becoming a famous rapper).  He will not make any commitments to do anything hard, and he won't desire to change. In particular, his drinking and smoking habits continue to hold him back. And he told us yesterday that they were habits that were impossible to give up. 
     To this man who I've thought about for months, and knowing this would be the very last time I saw him, I was very straight forward and bold with him. He told us again that he wasn't willing to try and overcome his addictions and that he just wouldn't do it. With great love, I looked at my rapper investigator, and confidently said. "M.C. Mickey, I want you to understand something. I've given up two years of my life. I gave up everything I had. I gave up family, friends, school, jobs, and put every little thing behind me so I could teach you this message. I gave up everything, and you won't give up anything." He looked at me as tears filled his eyes. The spirit told him that it was true.  I bore him my witness of the gospel in power and authority, and told him that it was true. I told him that I would probably never see him again, but from here on out it was his choice of whether to accept it, or to deny it. I told him it was up to him of what he would sacrifice from that point on. 
      In our lives, it's up to us what we'll sacrifice for the gospel. We all have weaknesses, trials, and challenges, but in the end we choose if we'll do what's right or not. When I chose to serve as a missionary, I gave my heart away, and I've never really gotten it back because I've trusted the Savior with it. When I gave my heart to him, he opened up new opportunities, new growth, and change. We only get where we're wanting to be by doing things that we've never done before. We must always push forward in faith with hope, trusting in the Savior and His plan for us. We must know that all sacrifices we make will be worth it if we continue in them. No matter how hard the trial, how dim the hope, or fade the pathway that we need to walk, I leave you with my witness of sacrifice for the Savior, and how it will change our lives if we only give it to Him. 
     I love the gospel, and I'm so grateful that it's changed my life in so many profound ways. It's a gospel of change but only if we allow it to change us. As move forward, use the Atonement, and do the best we can, I promise that Christ will magnify us in our lives. 
     I love you all and thank you for your support like always. I have the best support, and I'm always just so grateful for everything. Talk to you next week can't wait!


Elder Roper