Monday, April 24, 2017


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