Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This has been an interesting week to say the least...

Hey guys,

About the songs I recorded and sent: I didn't write the lyrics to either of those songs, but I did write the music. The second was actually kind of a miracle in my eyes. Elder Stratford wrote the lyrics one morning after he had a bad nightmare (by the way he is a really good writer) and after studies he pushed the lyrics over to me and asked "can you do anything with that." and I said "lemesee..." Somehow after about 5 minutes I had the thing down haha. Heavenly Father must have really wanted us to have that song, because I had divine help as I was practicing it. And like Ammon says, I am not saying this to boast of myself, but I say it to boast of God. Through him we really can do all things. But anyway I have loved being able to play guitar and it has become such a good release for me and to make it even better we have been able to share both of those songs with many many people. It opens a lot of doors. But I am glad that you liked them and that guitar that I got is perfect. It is a nice little beater guitar that I don't have to worry about too much and it sounds good.

So the next transfers are on the 18 of September, so about 2 weeks away. Crazy to think that I turn 20 next transfer and I still don't look a day over 16 haha. Maybe miraculously on the night of 9th of October I will grow a ton of facial hair, I will grow about 2 inches and bulk up about 20 pounds... Just kidding haha that would be really frightening , and I am actually pretty happy with where I am. I will do my best to stay in shape and just take care of my body. By the way I am on an exchange with Elder Herbert down in Houma for the next couple days and it is a bike area down here. I have never been so appreciative of a car in my life haha. It turns out that biking+heat+humidity= Elder Soper being really really really sweaty. It was about a 7 mile bike ride back from the church and Elder Herbert is in a lot better shape than I am. He is 26, originally from Mexico, is still learning english and is probably the most humble, charitable and genuine guy that I know. He was baptized 3 years ago and he just has such a strong and powerful testimony of the gospel.

I forgot your paper letters so I can't quite remember what to write about that I just know that I really liked them haha. But I really enjoyed looking at those pictures and that is cool about the plein air paintings. If somebody bought it for 200 dollars than it was probably really good and I would love to see the final pictures of all yalls paintings. And Stan and Gwen's barn looks like it is coming along really good. When will it be finished?

I recently learned about the difference of being light-hearted and light-minded and I think that is a good comparison. Being light-minded is being condescending and maybe a little harsh in your joking. I don't think people understand that sometimes and they think they are being funny, but sometimes it really does hurt. Light-hearted is a not taking yourself or life to seriously and being able to laugh at the inevitable foibles that life brings. I think it is the differences of laughing at someone rather than laughing with them. Haha sorry I elaborated on that so much, but that is something that I always want to look out for and thank you guys for being such a good example of being light-hearted and humble.

This has been an interesting week to say the least. I am not sure why I am going through so many up and down weeks recently, but in the moment sometimes it is hard to shake it off. I learned something about this in one of my personal studies, but I will share that a little later in the letter. Sorry to keep you waiting... We had a really cool opportunity to go to the Temple with a fellow who was recently baptized and that was a miracle in of itself. That whole day things were falling apart and people were dropping out of the temple trip left and right. For awhile the only people that we were sure were going was the Elders quorum president and us. About 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave a member in our ward said he was able to get off work early (This is a man who had been unemployed for about a month and had recently found this job) and he also told us that he would be able to go and pick up this new member. We couldn't believe that it worked out. We later came to find out that this man, Bro. T., hadn't been to the temple in 15 years. This was his first time going back since he was sealed to his wife. It is hard for me not to grin and get really excited when I talk about this because both the new member and Bro. T. have become some of my best friends. We have grown closer to the Savior with them and thus we have grown closer to them. It was just an awesome experience and you really can't beat the spirit that the Temple brings into your life. One cool thing too is that it was the new member's 19th birthday and what he wanted was to go to the temple. He said that he is thinking about serving a mission after high school as well. It is fun to see the growth and the changes that the gospel brings into our life.

It is strange since we had that amazing experience at the temple that for much of the week I was feeling somewhat lackluster and anxious. I am still not sure why I was feeling that way, but as I was reading in Alma and he is talking to the people of Ammonihah with Amulek about how much God truly loves us and he always reveals his gospel. There wasn't any specific verse that stood out to me, but I realized that even though Heavenly Father always prepares a way and always reveals it to us, sometimes we need to step a little ways into the darkness to exercise our faith. I began to think about my mission and especially this past week. I was reminded of the times that I did take those steps into the darkness and although I was hesitant, when I relied on Christ, I was never afraid. But I think for a little while I haven't been taking those leaps of faith and have settled into the "status quo." I have heard a quote once that says: "If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you've always got." This gospel is a gospel of change, growth and progress. Every major discovery has always started with someone taking a plunge into the unknown and that is where the progress has come from. Like Alma said to the people, The Lord will always prepare a way and he will always help us, but he also knows that as we exercise our faith we will grow the most. I have decided to work on diligence this month and follow President Benson's advice from Preach my Gospel, "work, work, work." I am grateful for the lessons that I am learning on my mission and I will do my best to make the short time I have here count.

If you didn't notice, this is an exerpt from my presidents letter. Haha I realized that I write a little differently to him, so I couldn't quite mask it. But going to the temple this week was awesome and made me really excited to do a lot of temple work later in my life. We have also been working really closely with E. and his brothers I. and F. They are really some of the most polite and insightful people I have met on my mission. We are also working with C. and L. L. is a returning member and C. is 14 and not a member. He is a really good kid and he is searching for the truth. We have become really good friends with them lately. Things are going pretty good I would say. I have a lot to work on, but I am happy with the progress that I am making and it really is satisfying in the long run. They say that you get more out of your missions than you end up giving and looking back I would say that is true. I will end by sending a picture of me and the Lafonts, an authentic French Cajun couple. I love you guys.

Prayers and thoughts always,

Also have a good week,

and have fun at school,

good luck fixing up the house Haley and Jordan,

Also I hope you are doing good Olive,

Love you guys,

Elder Devin Soper

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