Sunday, January 6, 2013

2nd letter from Elder Soper on Jan. 2, 2013...

Elder Soper got sick with the flu last week, so he had some extra time while recovering to write this second letter on his P-day...

Dear Familia,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  It is weird that it is 2013, hard to believe.  But things are crazy right now.  I got a touch of the flu yesterday and I am fine today.  But a lot of other missionaries got it too and they have cracked down.  It is not a terrible bug, but since it is the MTC, they are pretty scared.  Nothing to worry about, just letting you know. 

It has been a crazy week.  I’m not even sure where to start.  Days are like weeks and weeks are like days.  Things are flying by, but I am learning a lot.  I may not have a lot of confidence in myself, but I have 100% confidence in the Lord and the doctrine.   We have to teach the doctrine plain and simple.  I am learning now to really listen to the investigator through what they are saying and what the Spirit is saying.  Heavenly Father has prepared our investigators.  I’ve got to be calm and listen to the Spirit.  I don’t need to beat myself up too much, I’ve only been a missionary for two weeks.  I “won’t find peace in my heart until I give my whole heart.”  (Quote from my teacher.)  Good scripture: Alma 32: 28-34 (faith).  Don’t be afraid of silence.  Give the Spirit time to speak.  It’s not about what we say, but the feeling that is there.  We can stay within the rules, and have fun.  We need to act on the revelation we get.  Don’t teach just to teach, teach to apply.  We need to be effective in our planning, so we may best work with the Holy Ghost.  Listen with your heart and your ears.  Sorry that was pretty choppy.  I was just going through my notes and writing down my favorite things.  Maybe I’ll go through my journal now.

This food is rough on the insides, or some of it.  I had some chili…  [the following lines were removed by Devin’s father to respect the feelings of more sensitive readers]  … but I am so grateful they feed us and I am trying to eat healthy.  No soda, and a salad and fruit every meal.  I have gained…0 lbs.  I’m the exact same weight.  Maybe less after being sick.  So no worries.

I’m learning a lot with my companion, Elder Black.  We do a lot of Role Play and we don’t know if we are teaching an actor or a real investigator.  We got asked to do it with no notice.  We some down time, so they asked us if we wanted to and we said yes.  We taught a girl named Heather and I don’t know if she was an investigator or not, but that doesn’t matter.  I really felt how much Heavenly Father loved her.  I is hard to explain what happened, but it was really cool.  And we were not the teachers, it really is the Holy Ghost. 

My companion and I were made zone leaders this Sunday and that is exciting, but scary.  We have to enforce some rules and people don’t really like rules.  So I want to be loving, but not annoying.  And I am scared I may end up too lax.  But I will do my best. 

My branch president gave me this little stone from the Sea of Galilee and he told me it was a little boulder and it will remind me to be a little bolder.  I needed that and I will keep that on my mission.  Things have been up and down like a roller coaster.  But one of my teachers said, “If roller coasters didn’t have ups and downs, it would be a train and that is boring.” 

When I was sick I went to the front desk to get medicine and the lady was very vocal about my symptoms and there were many missionaries around, haha.  She said… “You have DIAHERREA?”  and I said, “yup,” and then she said “Here is some medicine for your DIAHERREA!”  and I said…. “Awesome!”  It was a good interaction.  But they also gave me a mask and I drew lips on it. 

Elder Soper's sister's dog, Olive as a missionary in Portlan

Excerpts from some individual notes:

Dear Mother,
            I love getting your letters.  Fun with the puns!  I can’t wait to send you pictures.  It was fun to see Sister Despain [a ward member who volunteers in the MTC].  Even though I am close I still feel so far away and seeing her was surreal.  Haha, Christmas sounds fun and pretty normal.  But still sounded super fun!  That snow shoeing sounds so fun!  I’m gonna miss that kind of stuff.  Keep waving when you go by the MTC because I am waving back.  And that is exactly it.  I love knowing what I am doing each day and I am really beginning to love what I am doing.  I love you mom and I am keeping you in my prayers.  Good luck and have fun with everything.

PS  I’ve been washing my clothes but I just want to make sure I am doing it right, with my white shirts and pants and stuff.  Maybe you could send some instructions?  Haha, sorry and thanks.

Dear Father,

I will send some pictures when I figure out how to here.  I also made some Elder Grylls videos [hand-held, first person, like Bear Grylls on “Man vs. Wild”].  It sounds like things are going good at home.  I miss indoor soccer, but I have been playing volleyball and running a lot.  The cafeteria food is average and getting old, but there is a lot of it…  [more editing of material for sensitive souls].  … I really look forward to the gym though.  I don’t really work out with weights, but I try to run and do push up and sit ups.  Thanks and good luck for this semester.

To Taylor:

I enjoyed your letter young one.  And I am glad you wrote me and your jokes pleased me.  The humor throughout graced my vocal chords with a throaty chortle. 

You are probably ahead of me when I was your age and if you keep reading scriptures and studying Preach My Gospel, you will be so prepared.  I have learned so much from that book and it really was written and prepared on the other side of the veil (my teach told me that).  You gonna be good.

My fav food is bananas… and water.  No it is essentially Cannon Center food.  So that is the stuff I have every meal.  But the juice is good.  Our days are busy.  We usually have 2-3 hour classes, lots of study time, role play teaching, meals and gym.  It keeps us busy.  But that is a normal day.  Sometimes we have service stuff (I got to semi-clean a clogged, poopy toilet) and some days are just different. 

I’m also trying to be like you by finding humor in everything and making people feel comfortable.  Use your time wisely.  We all get 24 hours but we can choose how to use it.

Elder Soper's depiction of himself after a week of MTC food and gym time

Dear Emma,

Hey, I hope everything is going good.  Are you excited for school, the play?  Are you eating your vegetables?  Well I am doing awesome and I love the picture that you gave me.  The food is good but not as good as mom and dad’s. 

I know Heavenly Father loves you.  And I also know that Jesus loves you and knows everything about you.  They want you to be happy more than anything else.  I know you can be a good example to the family and be a peacemaker.  Mom and dad love you and so does Taylor.  If you ever need anything Emma, let me know.  I love you.

Emmy in her upcoming role as the feather duster, Babette, in Beauty and the Beast at Scera Park Elementary

1 comment:

  1. His mission president is going to be SO excited to have him serve in his mission! He's so prepared. The "To Louisana Away" pic of Elder Soper made me laugh out loud. MTC chili. That's great.