I have to say I really enjoyed hearing about Taylor's soccer tournament this week and although I haven't received your hard copy letter yet dad, I am looking forward to hearing a little more about that game. That is cool that they got second place and it was fun to see the picture of his team and how each of them has changed. How tall is Taylor now? Yeah that will be good to start school again and have some more routine and schedule in daily life. That is weird to think that Taylor is a Junior and Emma is in 7th grade... Fun to hear about, but strange to imagine haha. I am glad that Emma has a cool new room as well. Emma will ou take a picture of it and send it to me so I can see it? Weird to think how long I have been out too... I think today is my 8 month mark. Getting pretty close to a year and I am sure that from that time it is just all down hill time wise. But I hope that school goes well for Emma and Taylor and I am excited to hear about how they are doing and everythang.
That package was awesome! I have really loved that book (The Power of Everyday Missionaries) a lot and is helping me understand more of the kind of missionary and member of the Church that I want to be. I loved his insight on how some people don't want to hear about how they need the church, but they feel accepted when they realize that the church needs them. I think that both are true, we need the church and the church needs us. I think that is why this church works! Essentially we all need Christ in our lives, he is the only way back to the Father, but at the same time the organization and Heavenly Father needs all of us and our individual and unique talents to build up his kingdom and bless his children. Pretty cool. I love that book and I am probably near half wa done just reading during breaks and stuff. I realy enjoy it a lot.
(This is part of m presidents letter and it just makes it easier to copy and paste what happened:) "Made it through another week and despite the stress (good stress) and general chaos, there were a lot of miracles and things fell right into place. Brad's baptism was this week and it took a lot of of time energy and resources to make sure that everything was lined up. Like normal I neglected a few things accidentally; treats, towels etc... but Heavenly Father definitely stepped in and we had everything that we needed at the baptism and it went very smoothly. I had to remind myself that all the nitty gritty details were unimportant compared to the outstanding fact that Brad was getting baptized. I had the spirit comfort me in knowing that all that matters is that Brad was taking to steps to come closer to Christ and like it says in Moroni: "[being] perfected in Him." It taught me a good lesson on the plain and simple truths of the gospel that Brad has such a good testimony of. In the grand scheme of things coming closer to Christ is our goal. I am really happy for Brad and am looking forward to continue working with him as a new member of our ward." But his baptism really was a great experience and he was so excited and you could physically see it because after he was baptized he was kinda bouncing up and down with enthusiasm. A young man in the ward, Steven Harker, a priest, is one of Brad's good friends at school and Brad asked him to baptize him. It was really cool to see to young men take those steps to come closer to our Savior, one through righteously using his priesthood and the other through participating in an essential ordinance. Brad asked me to give a talk on Baptism and also to do a musical number haha. But he asked me to play that nigtmare song and I shared the words of the Primary song "When I am Baptized." I really love that song and more and more I am learning to love the plain and simple truths of the Gospel and what says it better than a primary song. "I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away, And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day....I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain. I want to be the best I can and live with God again."
Brad also was confirmed yesterday during Sacrament meeting and was given the Aaronic priesthood and ordained to the office of Priest after church. It has been a really cool experience to be a part of and I am just really happy for Brad. Also his mom was able to come and it looks like she is going to start taking the missionary lessons from the sisters down in Houma. How cool would it be if Brad was able to baptize his mom?! The answer...pretty cool. Haha. Also E. was able to come to church this week and we got to talk to him for awhile. His mom is letting him come to church, but won't let him get baptized. We set up and appointment for this wednesday and we will be going over to see him and his brothers again.
This week has been a week full of miracles and ups and downs. I fell like my testimony has grown a lot and I feel more converted to our Savior. We worked really hard this week and we were able to get our lessons back up. Heavenly Father definitely can see your efforts and he blesses you for trying, even if you do think ou fail. Like it says in that book, we succed as we invite, or we succeed when we try. The secret to missionary work really is work! We went to the L's this week and for some reason I really felt like we should finish the lesson at 2, that would give us about 20 minutes. Mrs. Lafont is a really sweet lady but she talks a lot a lot haha and so we really had to work hard to keep it short. We were able to have a really good lesson on the Book of Mormon and we were able to finish right about 2. Right as we walked outside S., their next door neighbor the one who owns that little Bakery walked outside too. She said hi to us and we were able to go over, catch up with her and share the song with her. That was a miracle because we were able to mend a broken relationship and I think that Heavenly Father put us in the right place at the right time, 2 oclock. It worked out perfectly. That same day we were able to see a less active member that Brother Bybee actually baptized on his mission while he was here. Her name is L. and she has two kids, C. who is 14 and another daughter who is 11. Both of the kids aren't members. We had a really good visit with them and we were able to set up a ride so they could come to church this last sunday. And they came! That was really cool to see them there. Lets see, haha one funny thing that happened this week is that we went to visit Bro Polkey and as we were leaving we remembered we had some treats that we were going to give him. So I ran back up to the door and knocked. I guess he was expecting his wife because he said through the door "Coming baby..." As he opened the door he realized that I wasn't his wife and we both kindof awkwardly pretended nothing happened and exchanged the treats. haha it was pretty funny.
We helped a single sister move this last weekend and that was a nice change of pace. Good to get out and do some physical labor. Like most moves it took longer than expected, but I still really enjoyed it. We also had dinner with this new family in the ward and they are really cool. The Smith's, the wife is actually one of the Stocks and they moved down here for the Bro Smith's work. They are just easy going and down to earth and it was fun to see how much fun they had as parents. I was able to imagine a little bit that their family is what ours was like years ago.
I have loved doing the 60 day challenge for the Book of Mormon and I love the fact that I know that so many more are doing it with me. I made a goal this week to focus on the basics and fundamentals of the gospel that are found in the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel and reading the Book of Mormon more quickly is helping me to see and recognize he simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true that the gospel at its core is having Faith in Christ, changing our hearts and our actions through repentance, being baptized and partaking of the Sacrament each week, following and understanding the language of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. The Gospel just makes a lot of sense.
Well I better get going, but I love you guys a lot. I am really happy to be out on my mission sharing something that has blessed my life so much. Thank you for being such great missionaries to us your kids and I hope we can do the same for ours someday. Lub ya.
Elder Debun Soper
1: Me, Brad and Elder Stratford
2: Elder Stratford, me, Steven, Brad, his Mom, Hayden