Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7-26-10 Birmingham, Alabama!!


Jon called us from the airport at 6:30 a.m. All of us got a chance to talk to him--he sounded good! He flew to Birmingham, Alabama--all by himself, and arrived safely. The following is an email we received from his new mission president:

We have Elder Hooke safe and sound! He is pictured with President and Sister Holzapfel and with the two assistants, Elder Cooley and Canevari (he will be working with them for a few days).

Best wishes, President Holzapfel

Here is the Alabama Birmingham Mission's blog:

Jon's pictures are featured :)

We can't wait to hear from Elder Hooke on P-day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

7-23-10 Last email from the MTC!

Hello family!

So as you heard (before me apparently) I did not receive my visa yet and will be going to Birmingham Alabama. That's cool you talked to the mission president, and that will be awesome to have an assistant to the president as a companion! No one else in the MTC is going there that day, so I will travel in my own travel group, as my own "travel group leader", as the itinerary says. I am allowed to call from the airport, so I likely will call sometime Monday morning. And yes I would like someone to pick up some leftover stuff please, I'll leave a box Sunday night at the front desk, and Libby/Chris could pick it up I guess please. They could probably come Monday morning.

Yeah so anyways I'm a little disappointed I don't have my visa (54 people received them yesterday, many of whom have been out less time than me) but I'm still happy to finally leave here and go to the field where there are people who actually can benefit from our message! My companion and 2 other roommates are coincidentally the only ones in our district who didn't receive our visas. The 3 of them are going together to McAllen Texas, and they are all also [eventually] going to the same mission in Brazil (Joao Pessoa). The Sister going to Recife didn't receive her visa, and is being reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia. It should be interesting in the south, I will definitely have to change my planned teaching style and the way I respond to questions. Alabama's part of the Bible belt right? I think so. And yeah it will probably be similarly hot and humid to Recife, so I'll be used to it when I get to Brazil. It's going to be hard to keep up the language. I don't know if I will even get time for language study there, and I'll have no one to talk to. I'll probably be the only person in all of Alabama that speaks any Portuguese.

I've seen Elder Juker several times already, so that is nice. And I'm actually sitting by Elder Winslow right now (he has P-day today also). Hopefully we can get a picture with the three of us together by the temple Sunday.

This week hasn't been too exciting other than that. We had a few really good teaching appointments, along with one of my all-time worsts. We haven't heard from General authorities lately because apparently they all get the month of July off.

Dad- Thanks for the email. Yes I have totally found that the Spirit helps us teach. Sometimes I don't know where I'm going when I start talking but it works out, and other times I'll feel like I should go one direction with the lesson and my companion is talking and he leads into that same direction. We invite people to get baptized in every lesson we teach, after telling them why it is important. Sometimes it's a direct commitment, and sometimes more like, "If/when you come to know these things are true by the power of prayer and the Holy Ghost, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by proper authority for forgiveness of your sins?" Or something like that.

Alright well goodbye!
Elder Hooke

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7-22-10 Jon's leaving the MTC!!

Last night about 6:30, we received a call from Jon's new mission president, President Richard Jon's not heading to Brazil--he hasn't received his visa yet. Don't you dare scroll or look ahead to see where he's going! :) So where on earth, do you think he will go?? Yes, he will be staying in the states. Not the east coast, as he previously surmised. Try deep south... What do you guess? No, not Florida. Not Georgia. Not Louisiana. Not Mississippi. What's that one right in the middle? Oh yes! It's the very first state in an alphabetical list of states: ALABAMA! He will be leaving Monday, July 26 (his "estimated date of departure" has become his actual date of departure:) to go to the Alabama Birmingham mission.

President Holzapfel is a rather well-known BYU professor and author of many books (specifically dealing with Middle Eastern Studies, Jewish History, Ancient History, American History, and Nineteenth Century American Religious History--got that from Wikipedia:). President Holzapfel and his wife Jeni have just begun serving as mission presidents in the Birmingham mission as of July 1, 2010. According to Chris' conversation with President Holzapfel, Jon's first companion will be one of the assistants to the president, and they will be working in the Birmingham area. Jon will likely be in Birmingham for about a month (hopefully his visa will come before too long!), and then he will go to Recife Brazil.

In the April General Conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband (of the Quorum of Seventy) explained the process of how missionaries are called, and bore this strong witness of that process: "...every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants [one of the Twelve Apostles]." We feel assured that Jon is going where the Lord wants him to be, and we're very excited for him to serve the Lord as a missionary in Alabama!

Friday, July 16, 2010

7-16-10--Elders Winslow and Juker

July 16, 2010
Hello again,
It seems like I just emailed you and have nothing new to tell you, mas Eu vou tentar pensar sobre algumas coisas que eu nao ja disse [I think that means "but I'm going to try to think about some things that I haven't already said"--let me know Tom if I'm right.]

I went to the ophthalmologist again and he basically said "why'd you come back?" and i said "IDK the doctor told me I should" and he called the doctor, while I fell asleep in the exam room, then he came in and woke me up and said "ok you can go have your co-pay back, don't worry about your eyes, the symptoms won't last long and it is nothing serious" then I left. So don't worry about me, mamae.

My new comp E. Kennedy and I have been working hard together, and we're getting to be pretty good at teaching together. Today we taught some sister missionaries about the plan of Salvation using the Parable of the Good Samaritan. You should check it out, Luke 10, everything in there symbolizes something (Christ is the Good Samaritan).

E. Kennedy is hilarious, and the room I live in is really fun. We all have pretty similar humor so it works well. I'm in the same district as before.

Thanks for that Brasil joy-z [jersey] Muym [mom] and toym [Tom]! Everyone in my district was jealous of it. Haha and I liked how you sent me a pack of gum that you had already eaten out of! [Tom's great idea!] good gum, I'd say.

Mom, I'm glad you're still able to help the sister missionaries out.

Yesterday I got a whole bunch of letters from Beehives [12-13-year-old young women in the church] and their leaders. It was nice, and I let other missionaries read them too since they were all pretty much to any missionary (except they kept saying how great my family is).

We are getting a lot more comfortable speaking the language and teaching people in it, although I hear people in the Brasil MTC are much better at this point. (there's a twin in my district who has a twin in the Brazil MTC, left the same day and everything. Oh and that twin in Brazil is in the same district as a sister of one of the other elders in my district here. They also both left at the same time, but one got a visa and one didn't. Pretty weird how that worked out.) Still no word more on my visa except what you told me Mom...[It has been applied for by the folks at Missionary Travel] If I don't get it within the next week and a half I will probably go somewhere on the East coast for a transfer till it comes. I guess I'd be alright with that, but I definitely just want my visa to come!

Well the MTC overall has been... pretty much what I expected I guess. I'm definitely ready to get out of here (not sure if I'm ready for the [mission] field though!)

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I see Rex [friend from Ventura singles ward] every couple days, and I'll get to be a new missionary host person this wednesday when Juker [another friend from Ventura singles ward] comes in, so maybe I will take him to his room and stuff! that would be cool. [Photos: Rex, Juker, Jon at LA temple before their missions; Jon with Elder Rex Winslow; Jon with Elder Steven Juker]
Entao... Ciao
Elder Hooke

Friday, July 9, 2010

7-9-10 New MTC companion AND District

Hello minha familia [my family],
So how's it going?

Well Elder Ludlow left on Tuesday for Sao Paulo, and my new companion is Elder Kennedy. He's really funny and nerdy(he told me I could put that), but we get along well. We've been pretty productive and I feel like within a few days we'll be able to teach like I did with Elder Ludlow again. Elder Kennedy is yet another Utah missionary, from Sandy. So I actually had to switch rooms and stuff and I live with different elders in my district, but yeah I guess that's not important.

Thanks mom for cleaning out my kiosk! [Jon's Eagle project was building a kiosk in a local park, and someone had thrown sticks and trash inside it!] And that's good you get to go out with the sister missionaries. You're helping with more missionary work than I am and you're not even on a mission.

And I hope the youth conference is going well! Sounds like Em and Syd are having fun together, so that's cool. Em did Tom tell you to make me write him? I guess I'll just have to do that. I guess I'll write you back to, and Seal it with a Kantakerous Kikk or something. [Emily had sealed her last letter with a Karate Chop...]

Cath how is you? (yes that was intentional). How is work, and what's going on in the ward? I still haven't got that package full of letters that I expect from the [singles] ward that they write during FHE.

Dad- so how's work going? Thanks again for the stories about Grandpa and stuff(thank you Grandpa H for writing those down too!). You've told me all about the scout trips and stuff but I guess I'm a little curious as to how everything is working with your new boss and what not and the like, if you will.

Lib and Chris so you should be in Walnut this week right? Sweet. Have fun. And moving there eventually sounds like quite the decent idea, if you will.

Tom- So have you spotted me playing soccer yet? Just go by and if someone scores a goal, well you know it's probably me. haha not really. But how is life not in school? I'll probably write you later today.

Grandma and Grandpa T- thanks for the letters and prayers! It must have been hard to part with those copper pipes! [Grandpa recently sold the pipes he'd had for awhile]

I have been doing the exact same thing every day for the most part, so I don't really have any events to write about. We've had two really good devotionals in the last week that both focused on the Book of Mormon, and logical/factual evidence that prove it is true. There is seriously no way Joseph Smith could've written that thing.

Let's see... Wednesday was Irmao Harward's birthday, so all the elders in our district sacked lunch and we built a big cake out of 48 twinkies and hostess cupcakes. Probably the fattiest cake ever!

For the 4th of July we had a special fireside (on the 3rd) that had some of the cheesiest costumes and acting ever, it was funny. But it had a good message, similar to that talk Mom sent me about our nation being prepared for the restoration (by the way, thanks for that talk, I liked it a lot). ["The Great Prologue", a devotional talk that Elder Mark E. Petersen gave at BYU in 1974--Google it! It's about how the Lord preserved and prepared America for the Restoration of the gospel. Then we went outside and watched the Stadium of Fire firework show from outside the MTC. So that was nice I guess. And on Sunday a member of the first quorum of the 70 (I think), the brother of my branch President Aidukaitis was in my ward and he bore his powerful testimony.

[Marcos A. Aidukaitis is a Brazilian general authority and has an interesting story: ]

Well my time is up, so I must go. Thanks for the support and letters and prayers
Love, Elder Hooke

Friday, July 2, 2010

7-2-10 Elder Ludlow is going to Sao Paulo Tuesday

Hey guys!
Hows it going in Ventura? Sounds like you have all been pretty busy recently. Glad you got my letters to cath and mom, you'll have to respond some time! Oh i already sent an email to dad.. And I'm still waiting to hear from you Omily about girl's camp and what not. Oh and about Syd being there, is it fun having a "sister" your age?

Well as you already know my companion is leaving this Tuesday, to Sao Paulo. I might be put in a 3-some or something after that, but no one knows yet. Anyways Mom thanks for calling the travel office, good to know my visa has made it to LA at least. I wish they would just stamp the dang thing and put it in the mail. If i don't get my visa within the next week and a half, I don't go to Sao Paulo at all.

MTC food is getting old, but it's still not too awful. Today we went to the Provo temple (which is closed for a month) and helped clean lockers.

Libby and Chris that's cool that you get to go to Walnut for a few days. Go to the beach or something for me, if you'd like.

Well we've been teaching lessons in Portuguese only for a few days now, and wednesday was our first complete "Portugues Solmente" day (poruguese only). So that's coming along well. In our district we've picked a few people to teach as a whole district, and yesterday the whole district taught me. A few days ago they asked me a lot of questions and concerns, my testimony, what I'm worried about, and what i want from my mission and stuff. Then they all prepared things for me, and taught me. It was a good experience for me because I found out that a lot of the missionaries here have the same concerns as me and are in the same boat. So elders in my district read me in Alma 32 [chapter in the Book of Mormon dealing with faith], and we talked about lots of other things too. Anyways it is nice to be here, lots of other guys in similar situations as me and we all want to do our best.

So Tom isn't taking any more classes from BYU anymore? What are you up to now? Working somewhere else or at the pharmacy?

And Cath do you ever work for sabina's place anymore? or full time with Salina now?

Hopefully next week when I call you I will have my visa and travel plans, but we'll see! Thanks for the prayers and helping me pay to be out here.
Elder Hooke