Well hello once again. I really appreciated your letters and emails this week, I really needed the encouragement and a good laugh haha. This week has been crazy, different and pretty exciting. It has been a lot like a roller coaster...up and down, up and down. I heard somewhere that that is good, because from a medical standpoint when your life flat lines that means your dead... morbid but pretty true haha. But I am learning a lot and it's tough and its uncomfotable, but in the end it is for the best.
I like what you said about having to work slowly with people, or how the small gestures seem to mean more than the big efforts. I think that is very true and something that I love and have really come to understand is how it is the small and simple things that matter most. It is like baby steps off of What about Bob. "baby steps to helping people come back to church." Baby steps to taking the sacrament." Baby steps to becoming more Christlike." And then soon you will become a sailor...AHOY!! Just kidding. But it will make things much easier. It reminds me to just be a little better each day and that the Lord will help me as I strive to be more like him. That is why I love this scripture, Alma 37: 6-7
Now ye may suppose that this is afoolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that bybsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
And the Lord God doth work by ameans to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very bsmall means the Lord doth cconfound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
The small and simple things that we do everyday will directly effect our happiness and like it says in the scriptures our salvation. That is pretty awesome! If I would have to choose a theme to my entire mission it would be "The Small and Simple Things." Doesn't look quite cool enough maybe...ELDER SOPER AND THE SMALL AND SIMPLE THINGS. Kind of like a Harry Potter book. Haha that was really stupid, but I hope that was at least a little bit funny. I am really learning how important a sense of humor is as well and how you really can't take yourself too seriously. Since I have read your letters( heard about some of the things you are doing as bishop with those insane stories) and seen the things that I have on my mission so far, I have seen how crazy and how disturbing this world really is. Being able to laugh really keeps you sane and can make light of situations that would otherwise really take a toll on your spirits. I hope that I am becoming better with my sense of humor and my overall personality that I will be able to react respectfully and understandly to others situations like you guys are.
This week was pretty unexpected. We have been working alot with a member named Hayden Cardiff, he is a young guy and was married about a year ago. He is still super gung ho about missionary work and he has been awesome to work with. There is a young returning member family (T. wife B.) in our ward and they started to bring their niece and nephew to church with them. They wanted to learn more about the gospel and so it is our job to teach it to them. We went over there tuesday night and B's 18 year old brother, Br., was there hanging out, so we invited him to sit in on the lesson. We had an awesome discussion about the restoration and they were willing to learn. The spirit was really strong in that lesson and they all agreed to be baptized. We gave them august 3 as a goal to shoot for and I think by that time they will be ready to participate in that ordinance. We went back a few days later and had an awesome experience where we all read 1Nephi 1 together and talked about how it can apply to us in our day. Those guys are ready and they are excited to take this next step, I am very grateful to be able to be a part of this. By the way TJ is 13, Tr. is 15 and Brad is 18. This last sunday or yesterdya I guess, Hayden brought another young man to Church. His name is E. and he is 16 years old. He is this big black kid and he has his head shaved expect for a really short (almost buzzed) bleached mohawk. We were able to meet with him after and have a good discussion on the Restoration as well. The spirit was there guiding and directing that lesson for sure becasue it went so smooth. It wasn't even like a lesson because we were all participating and all learning as we were going. E is really smart, very spiritually in tune and just prepared to hear the gospel and help out his fellow man. After the lesson we asked him how he felt and he said it was like an "epiphany." He said it was like he knew it all along and as we talked about it, it just felt familiar to him. What What?! How cool is that. That is one of those stories that you hear about in missionary lore, but there really are those people out there that are prepared to hear it. He also agreed to be baptized and once again I am so grateful to have met him and be a part of his journey. I have loved how open and receptive the youth have been in this area. They seem to be much more open-minded and have the desire the learn more and come closer to Christ. I have loved hearing about Taylor and Emma as well as they have become such great discples and represantatives of Christ in their lives. That made me so excited to hear about how Taylor loves his scriptures. He is already so much better prepared and on track than I ever was.
I probably need to get going, we are hanging out with some other Elders today and we have a couple fun things planned. I promise I am going to send pictures next week haha. I have one of me with the guitar, a couple more from the area and a couple of me making red beans and rice from scratch while doing funny chef poses. So you have a lot to look forward too haha. I love you guys so much and thank you for all the support that you give to me. I love you!
Prayers and Thoughts always
Elder Devin Soper