Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We were able to keep the momentum that we had last week...


Well I think I am going to include excerpts from my President's letters now, just a cool way to involve you guys I think. 

"We were able to keep the momentum that we had last week and it resulted in another 22 lesson week! I remember at the start of my training here Elder Gentry told me that at the beginning it would be very tough to get 20 lessons and it was, but he told me also that if we were diligent that we could see ourselves getting there in the future. And now that future is here and it is awesome to see how the Lord really blesses you for striving to be diligent and obedient. It feels good that we were able to reach the mission goal, but feels even better that we were able to see people so often this week. Repeated visits and working with people and their needs has brought a lot of blessings to us and to them.

One example of this, L., an investigator that we have, has come a long way since I have been here and as I have heard since he has been being taught. He has been investigator for over a year and has always had a really hard time understand even the most simple of Gospel doctrines and concepts. When I began visiting him, we would go through the same 10 minute conversation maybe 4 times in one lesson. But we were able to get him a big Book of Mormon and began increasing the number of visits and it has helped so much. He recognizes that his back doesn't hurt as much, he can read with almost no difficulty, his memory has improved drastically and he is now really coherent. He lost much of his brain capacity with prolonged use of drugs for most of his life, but reading the Book of Mormon and his desire to come closer to Christ has restored a lot of what he lost. It has been awesome to be a part of his progression and I feel really blessed to know him. I am grateful that the mission vision motivated Elder Gentry and I to work harder and thus help Leonce more. It is so cool to see."
I really do feel like I can really relate to you dad, with the stories of your mission and through our similar experiences being a missionary and a bishop. It took me awhile to get comfortable in different situations and I think it is true that you just begin to get used to those situations and you are able to learn more of how to interact on a more personal and helpful level. That is something that I have learned from you guys (Mom and Dad). It is cool to hear a little bit of how your mission was and I think things have changed quite a bit. Our mission has put a big emphasis on Loving, serving and teaching.  So our 20 lessons a week goal goes into teaching investigators, helping less-active members return and strengthening  the members. I always pictured missionary work a lot like how you described it and but it is not at all like I imagined it being. I guess that the strong baptist and catholic roots here has made it hard to make an impression on a lot of people. I think that our missions in the way that they work are actually really similar.

And Mom I really liked your experience of becoming a full time mom. I have felt like that while I have been out here, not a full- time mom haha (sometimes maybe...) but in not gaining much recognition and being able to find satisfaction in your commitment and effort. We really do have the choice to be happy and it is as simple as making it. I am so grateful that you did such a good job raisin' little chilins'. And I like our little long distance therapy sessions haha it reminds me a lot of what we used to do back home. Things are getting easier though and it is a process. There are some days that you would like things to go your way, but most of the time you just have to be patient and take a few hits so everything goes smoothly. Everything usually works out for the best and I am also learning more (probably like you guys already have) that you can't take life to seriously. I am sure as a parent you just have to go along with things a lot to make your kids happy. But you live and you learn and you choose to be happy!

But this week has been pretty good. Looking back it was actually really crazy. So we went on exchanges again this week and this time with the Zone Leaders. I went up to North Baton Rouge and that was quite the experience. So the first day that I was there we had this crazy adventure trying to find this Hospital, but we finally got there and then had trouble trying to figure out how to park haha. But we gave a blessing to a boy named D. who had pneumonia and has lupus. That was a really cool experience to teach him a little bit about the priesthood. That same day we were able to go contacting a little bit by a media refferal in a pretty ghetto neighborhood. We gave out a couple book of Mormons, got some crawfish, some water and a couple really cool potential investigators. So the next day was even crazier. The first half of the day we were running around doing errands. But we then went to see this lady named B. She is super smart and graduated with her masters in education. She has gotten older now and has a problem with her jaw and is in constant pain. It was here brother who was legally blind and thought I looked super young haha. But there was another lady there that when we began teaching them about the priesthood she got up and started preaching and walking was crazy. We finally just bore our testimonies and that calmed her down, because she couldn't combat our testimonies. Everyone there were non-members (besides us) and Billy has a strong testimony of the priesthood from receiving blessings and I think that everyone's testimony of the priesthood was strengthened in that lesson as well. I also met the sassiest black girl ever and I had a hard time not laughing because I just couldn't believe the duck faces she was making, the stink eyes she was giving and her attitude haha. But besides that she is a faithful member of the church and has a desire to do good. It was a crazy exchange. We also met a woman named T. who is going through a really hard time in her life, but she has a strong determination to provide for her family and be a solid foundation for her family.
But last thing we finally saw E. this week and taught him the restoration and he was really accepting. We found out that he has already almost finished the Book of Mormon! Cool to see that he was progressing a lot even on his own.
Well I better get going. I love you guys so much and here is a goofy picture of me with some friends.  Remind me to send some more pictures next week. Love you!
Prayers and thoughts always :)
Elder Devin Soper

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