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 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