Monday, January 23, 2017


     Great to be writing another email. It's been another week that has just flown by. Our week started off with a broken water heater, and we're still without hot water. It's been an interesting week in a four man house without it. Carrying buckets, and boiling water right. But a little a work and cold water never hurt anybody right? (; This week has been cold (in Korean terms) as we're hitting just below freezing on most days. It's nothing compared to Utah, but at least for here it's been a lot colder. It's been a great week though. Lots of exchanges, and traveling around the mission. I love learning from all the missionaries.
     Yesterday, we had an investigator at church that I would like to talk about for just a few minutes. He has committed to a baptismal date in a few weeks, and yesterday as he walked into the church, I looked him over as he came up and shook my hand. Looking at his feet, his shoes didn't fit, and he had no socks. His feet revealed lots of wear and tear, and I could tell they hadn't been washed in quite a long time. Looking up, his pants were dirty, his jacket covered in dirt, and other stuff. Looking upward,  his hair going in every direction, and really dirty and greasy. It was obvious that he hadn't showered in days, his clothes hadn't been washed, and even the smell confirmed it. However, there he was, sitting in the church, coming to serve the Savior. 
     I have a great love for this man. He's humble, he loves the Savior, and he's learning to be more like him with each week. Yesterday while teaching him and preparing him for his baptism in a few weeks, we asked him the question, "What things are you grateful for that the Savior has given you??"
     The old man, who’s in his fifties, looked at us without hesitation and said, "I'm grateful for lots. But I'm most grateful that I got to have a wedding, and I'm grateful that I have a son." I almost came to tears as I realized how profound that statement was.... He is divorced, and he hasn't seen his son in a long time. But the thing he is most grateful for is "the opportunity to have been married, and the opportunity to have had a son and been a father." A humble man, no family, no money, no job, basically no home, yet so grateful for all that he's been given in his life.
     I've been thinking about this investigator and my heart was filled with the Holy Ghost. And my simple message today comes in a couple simple questions. What are you grateful for? What have you shown gratitude for? What do you look forward to knowing the Savior is by your side? I hope these simple questions will invite the spirit into your life as you recognize God's hand in your life. I know that blessed are the poor and meek, and humble in spirit. It all starts with the simple gift of gratitude.
     I love the Savior, and I'm grateful for not only his hand in my life, but in the lives of those around me. He touches those who let Him in. And it's always up to us to open the door. I love the gospel, and I testify with all my soul that it is true. I know that. I'm so grateful to be a member of it in these latter days.
     I love you all and am sincerely grateful as always. I have the greatest support and I'm grateful for your continuous love and support. Have a wonderful week and I'll talk to ya'll soon!

Elder Roper

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Not IF, But WHEN

Hey everybody!
     It's been a great week over here! It's been super busy with the start of a new transfer but it's been great. This week we were able to commit a man to be baptized, and he's preparing for baptism on February 12th. He's very poor, divorced, lost his kids, and we're hoping that his desire will continue to increase as we get closer. This week, I also had to send my companion of nearly five months home as he finished a faithful and successful mission. I'll sure miss him, but so grateful that I got to serve with him. It's been a really special, spiritual week for me.
     A few months ago, I helped a new sister unload her two large suitcases as she made her way off the train. She had just barely started her mission, and was going to be serving in the same area as me. Me and my companion grabbed her bags and took them home for her. She was quiet and didn't say much, overwhelmed by everything, as most new missionaries are. When missionaries start in Korea, it's really difficult, and it was no different for this young sister. A few weeks into her mission, the companionship asked if I would give them a blessing, so I did. I can't remember what I said, but I had a neat experience this week with that young sister missionary again.
     The sister missionary, having experienced medical problems on her mission, had to return home this week. Working in the office, we were there to help her with everything. The night before she left, we were in the office doing work and she turned to me and quietly asked, "Elder Roper, do you remember giving me that blessing?" I looked at her and said, "Of course I remember." She then looked at me, and again quietly said, "You foreshadowed me going home in your blessing." I didn't really know what to say, and asked her if she remembered what I had said. She said that I told her in that blessing that, "One day, she would have to make the decision if she would keep serving or not." 
     Right now, with the medical conditions, she will have a choice to return back to the mission, and she said that the blessing was true, and that she would now be faced with that decision of if she would keep serving. I stood there speechless for a minute, not exactly knowing what to say. As I've thought about the situation, I've realized in our lives, there is an everyday choice of "if we will continue to keep serving the Savior or not." 
     In Ether 12:27, the whole scripture depends on one word, and that word is IF.... And IF men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. And IF they humble themselves, I will make weak things strong. The word IF is a word of doubt, of skepticism, and lack of faith. IF is the deciding factor of this powerful, and life changing verse. So when we take out the word IF, and replace it will a word of certainty, and hope, and confidence, we can personally read. "And WHEN men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. And WHEN they humble themselves, I will make weak things strong." In the scriptures Christ always uses words of certainty. "I WILL not leave your comfortless".... "I WILL send angels on your right and left".... "I WILL come to you." 
     In our lives, each and every day, we are faced with the word IF... IF we will do this, or that. Instead of "when I do that," or "I will do that," we all find ourselves in the category of IF sometimes. I looked at this young sister, and I shared that verse with her. I've seen her progress, her faith grow, as well as her testimony, and with that, I looked at her and said, "It's not a matter of if you'll continue to serve, but when, and what you will accomplish." But of course, like her, it's all up to us in the end to replace our doubts and fears of the word "IF" with the certainty of the words "when and will" as we decide to continue to keep serving. 
     I leave you with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a miracle. Each day we decide to serve, to love, and to help others. It is my humble prayer, that as Jesus always has, we too like him will say with certainty when others are in need of it, "I will come to you." I know He lives. Our Savior, our Redeemer, our Teacher, our King. I love serving Him in Korea with His name on my chest, right next to my heart.
     I love you all, and miss you dearly. I pray for you and your families. Know always how grateful I truly am, and always will be. Till next week!

Elder Roper

Monday, January 9, 2017

Are You Really There?

Hey there everybody!
     It's been another great week here in Korea! It flew by like always. It was transfers this week, and we've been really busy with meetings, planning, and this upcoming transfer. With all the changes, I'll still continue to serve as an assistant to the President, but I'll be receiving a new companion. My companion will be returning home this week, and my companion now will be going home at the end of this transfer. My new companion is named Lee Sang Reem, and it will be a great transfer to serve alongside him. I'm greatly looking forward to it. 
     This week with all of the stuff going on, there was a lot of stress, a lack of sleep, we dropped a few investigators, and with everybody transferring in the mission, it was a crazy week. We've been busy non-stop. There was a point in this week where I was definitely feeling spiritually drained, tired, and a little worn out. I felt as though my prayers weren't getting answered, and although I was trying harder, I just wasn't feeling the spirit as strongly as I was wanting to. 
     This week we met with an investigator who is diligently seeking for answers from God. He initially didn't believe in Him, and had never prayed, or been to church. It's been a blessing to teach him. This week while meeting with this young man, we taught him how to pray. And although he had never prayed, he said a prayer that has been running through my head over and over this week. Translated to English he said...
     "God, I don't know if you're there. But until I do know, and I get an answer, I'll keep praying to you."
     Three years ago exactly, I lay in a hospital bed with a blood clot, feeling the same way. With questions, doubts, and fears, I humbly approached the seat of God where I, too, said, "Heavenly Father, I don't really know if you're there right now. Are you really going to help me?" 
     In our lives we face those times when we humbly approach the throne of God, and through our tears, our questions, our doubts, and fears, we muster up the courage to ask like the primary song, "Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do your hear and answer every child's prayer?" We have times in our lives where we are physically, spiritually, emotionally drained. We feel as thought no matter how hard we try, the farther we get from where we desire to be. We feel as though sometimes God has abandoned us, or is testing our patience. And even though we know there's a greater plan in store, we still have doubts and fears that sit in our heart. 
     Many times in my life, I have often felt that way. This week, I opened up the scriptures where I always find that peace I'm looking for. I opened up to the same scripture that I did in that hospital bed three years ago as I was preparing to go into ICU for the removal of the clot. And that favorite scripture of mine reads, "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."
     My favorite scripture spoke that peace I greatly desired this week. And like I always do, I realized that Heavenly Father is personally involved in our lives. He knows us personally. Just as the Atonement is personal for each and every single one of us, He comes to us personally in time of need. Like the Atonement is personal, I know the gift of prayer is personal for the humble seeker of truth. And although there are many times in our lives when we turn to God, and like my investigator say, "God I'm not sure if you're there," I know that as we pray humbly and sincerely, with real intent, we'll find peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  
     I love this gospel. This gospel has changed my life. I never saw myself out here. But I'm so glad that I listened to the spirit and served, because my life will never be the same. The easiest thing about my mission the past year and a half is that I know that a loving Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. Like picking up a phone, I can call Him and seek His help at any time. I'm so grateful for the certain knowledge that He lives, along with His son and our Savior. I'm grateful for that sustaining knowledge that guides and directs each step I take. 
     I love you all, and I thank you for your thoughts, and prayers. I'm so grateful for the wonderful support I receive each week. Thanks for everything. Talk to ya'll next week!

Elder Roper

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Applying Faith

Hey everybody!
     As I start this email, I want to give a quick shoutout to my dad this week for his birthday. How grateful I am for my dad, and all he does for me. My greatest example, my greatest role model, and my greatest friend. He's been there through every little thing for me, and I want to express my appreciation for him. I would be nowhere without him, and as I look ahead, I hope to follow right in his footsteps and do for others what he has done for me. Have a great day dad, I love you tons.
     This week has been crazy, and busier than ever. This week President put me and my companion on a new schedule, trying to figure out how we can help the mission to be more productive. We've been getting up earlier in the morning, and proselyting before study time hoping to find more people. It's been an interesting change, and has brought a lot of success. Also, yesterday at church, we had four investigators attend, which was crazy. We didn't have enough people to help teach and take care of them most the meetings. It was incredible, and I'm so glad that people are starting to make some commitments to follow the Savior. 
     This week, I'm pretty sure that I received one of the biggest heartbreaks of my mission. The Christmas season can be very difficult on many people, and sometimes for missionaries, it's no different. We have been meeting with our investigator, M.C. Mickey, who is a rapper, for the course of about two months. He comes from a very difficult background. His family is Buddhist, he struggles with alcohol and smoking, has horrible family relationships, recently lost his job, and the girl he's dating is so sick that she struggles to move around. And for some reason, he meets the missionaries and his life began to change. 
     For two months, he has attended church in his pants that sag low, his flat brimmed cap, and his hoodie that's too big. But despite all the differences, he is so loved by the ward, and everyone. Over the past two months, everyone has come to love him. People, despite the smell of smoke, never questioning, never wondering, walk up to him, give him a fist pound, a half hug, and a broken "what's up man" or "what's up dog" just to make him feel comfortable. He truly felt at home.
     We set a baptismal date for him for Christmas Day this past week. We committed him to live the word of wisdom, and he's been trying sooo hard, but it's been hard. I was on exchanges in another place in the mission when I received word from my companion that he didn't pass his baptismal interview because he had smoked a cigarette during the day. I wasn't worried, and we decided to meet him the next day. 
     We met him the next day, and without a word he looked at us and said, "You guys, I just don't think I can do this. I just can’t, it's too hard." I didn't know what to think, and we started our meeting. So caught up in his addiction, he was losing hope. We went over the addiction recovery program with him, talked a ton, prayed together, and about everything in between... for three hours. It was a long, but spiritual meeting. 
     During the meeting, he committed to have another baptismal interview. Although he said he would do it, the spirit was just yelling at me in that small whisper... "Elder Roper, you can't let him do it." My natural instinct was to let him, keep pushing him, but the spirit so strong, completely undeniable, was telling me without a doubt, "Elder Roper, you can't put him through another interview."
     We stepped out of the room, my heart pounding, breaking, knowing what was right but not wanting to accept it. I told my companion I needed to speak to him personally. I walked with him and having done baptismal interviews, I asked him the question that I ask every single candidate. I turned to him and looked him dead in the eye and with love I said, "M.C. Mickey, why do you want to get baptized?" He looked at me and said, "Elder Roper, I'm not sure." I looked at him again and lovingly asked, "Mickey... do you even want to get baptized?" He looked at me and quietly said, "I'm not sure." The answer confirmed it, and I knew he couldn't do it. I looked at him, despite a broken heart, I said, "Mickey, you don't have to get baptized. I know this is true, and you know this is true. But if you aren't ready for it, you don't have to get baptized." He looked at me, and we started talking, and he began to cry, thanking me that I wasn't forcing him to get baptized.
     My heart broke throughout this whole meeting, as the spirit prompted me to invite, and not convince. It was hard, but I knew it was right. And as I've reflected, I know that it's our faith, too, we must apply in these hard times, these hard decisions. When we apply faith to a little bit of hope, all miracles happen. I know Mickey will accept the gospel. Maybe this week, or maybe not in this lifetime. I don't know. But I do know that he knows of God's pure love.  He felt it, and he knows that now. I know that one day he will apply his faith, and receive what he knows is right.
     I leave you with my testimony that I gave him during that meeting, when I told him, "Mickey, I know that this is true. You know that this true. You won't trust the Savior enough to give up a habit, but remember what others have given up. For example, I gave up my life, my family, my schooling, job opportunities, friends, and everything else. The Savior gave His life so you could find yours. Mickey, you need to trust in Him and move forward." And by that testimony I will forever stand. The Savior gave His life for ours, and I pray that we are finding it as we lose ourselves in His service. He lives. He is the Son of God, our Redeemer, the Messiah, and the King of Kings. I bear you my solemn witness of His ability to change your life and make you who you want and desire to be. I love Him, and I'm grateful to be serving Him, walking hand in hand as I serve the Korean people. I love this gospel.
I love you all. I miss you all dearly. With all my love, I say thank you. Can't wait for next week.

Elder Roper