Australian rugby star Will Hopoate has already hit the six-month mark of his two-year Latter-day Saint mission and the local media was there to document it.
“Perhaps if William Hopoate dressed in one of his old rugby league jerseys – and not a crisp, white, short-sleeved shirt, distinctive black name tag and tie – the man who responded with such unbridled hostility toward him after he offered a polite ‘hello’ at the local shopping centre might have stopped to shake his hand and talk,” wrote Daniel Lane, a writer for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Lane’s article catches rugby fans up on the first months of Hopoate’s mission in Brisbane. Many still marvel and question the wisdom of Hopoate’s decision to put his career on hold and walk away from a 2-year deal for $1.7 million. But Hopoate is happy with no regrets.
“I feel very fulfilled. I’m definitely enjoying what I’m doing. I wouldn’t be out here doing it if I didn’t. It is such a blessing to see people who come from different walks of life and to get an understanding of other cultures and religions,” Hopoate told Lane. “It’s such an enjoyable and joyous time and (It’s) one I’ll never forget.”
In another Australian article, posted by rleague.com, Hopoate encouraged Paramatta Eels fans to “keep the faith” during the club’s rebuilding phase.
“One big thing out here on the mission is things don’t always go perfectly, as how we’d plan to, and we can be disappointed, but never be discouraged,” Hopoate said.
The Herald Sun also reported that Jamil Hopoate, Will’s 17-year-old brother, is focused on making Paramatta’s squad and playing alongside his brother in 2014.
When asked about serving a mission, Jamil said the idea hadn’t crossed his mind yet, but will consider the possibility later on.
On an unrelated note, a 4×100-meter relay team of Mormon young men won the gold medal in its debut at the Coca-Cola games competition in Suva, Fiji over the weekend. Their victory is featured in this Fiji Times article. Sprinters Kaveni Balenacagi, Solomoni Namalo, Niumaia Vitinavulagi and Tevita Qaga, sporting shirts with the Angel Moroni and his trumpet, were thrilled with their performance and gave all the credit to the Lord.
“We know God gave us strength and power to compete and He will continue to do so in the upcoming competitions,” Vitinavulagi said.