Woot Woot I get to stay here another transfer! It is transfer week (that is why I wasn't able to email yesterday) and almost the whole district is staying. I am looking forward to this transfer and I think it is going to be full of miracles.
Thank you for that advice about sarcasm and cynicism. I really liked how you talked about the difference between and being a sarcastic person and an ironic person. Both use sarcasm as a form of humor or as a tool for catharsis, but one, the sarcastic person puts himself above, but the ironic puts himself level. I think it is really important to have humor, have a sense of sarcasm but the key is to be able to laugh at yourself. I guess one person has pride and one has humility. Interesting how it is similar but your attitude and intentions make a huge difference. Thank you again, that really helped me to understand the kind of person that I would like to be. For example I was really tired this week and I went to say a prayer at somebodies house and it went a little like this "Dear Heavenly Father, we say these things in the name of...uh...we thank thee for...etc" haha it was nice to be able to laugh about that and use it to strengthen not only my relationship with my companion, but also Heavenly Father. I also use some funny examples in lessons and then end up being a little joke that builds trust and friendship. I guess it just makes life more fun to not take it too seriously. (the computer just used auto correct on "seriously" and changed it to "sensually" haha again a funny mishap that you can laugh about haha) But thank you so much for being good examples of healthy humor.
It sounds like you guys had a pretty eventful and sports filled week. Is Alex a senior this year? I think he is right? That is crazy, I just had one of those am I really this old moments... I guess I am not that old but older than I realize. That is cool that he is thriving and enjoying life so much here now. I am really happy for him and I hope that he has a good end of his senior year. Do you know when he is planning to go on his mission? (We might not see each other for about 4 years... crazy)
I think sometimes in the past I imagined the church to be this perfectly run organization where its members had minimal problems, but I could have not been further from the truth. "God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes." quote from Pres.Uchtdorf given in this last conference. That quote not only goes for the leaders of this church, but everyone. We make mistakes, we all do. My perspectives have changed a lot from my somewhat naive and innocent outlook before that this church allowed members to be free from many troubles, to this gospel allows and gives the wonderful opportunity to receive strength in Christ when trials, challenges, transgressions and mistakes do come. Missions are good for giving you a new view on life haha.
I think you are definitely right mom, when you are able to start off your day with a prayer and the scriptures it makes a huge difference in every aspect of your life. Not only does it increase your knowledge, but increases your capacity to be more Christlike. I think that is because we are inviting the spirit to be present and show Heavenly Father that we want his companionship. We are always blessed immensely for little acts of faith.
I am glad that you were able to use those stories in your lesson, it is cool to see God move in your life. We were able to follow up with both B. and L. yesterday and it went pretty good. B works at nicholls and the conversation ended up turning into trying to recruit Elder Bennett and I to their school haha, thats okay. But we were able to stop by and see L., we found out she had been in Florida for the last little bit and so that is why we hadn't seen her there. She told us that she hasn't read any yet but she is looking forward to and she wanted our number so she could call us to come by sometime. She asked us about Christmas and then told us that she used to love going to the plays the church put on by the Mesa Arizona temple during Christmas time. She is really prepared. I think there is a good quote that goes with this from the last Ensign from Pres Hinckley, “Do your best, your very, very best. Say your prayers and work hard and leave the harvest to the Lord.”
We also have been working really closely with a Less-Active Member right now, K. and it has been cool to see his desire grow as he just had a new baby. This last week he and his girlfriend had their 3rd child and he had a pretty rough week. He called Elder bennett and I and asked for a blessing. We weren't able to go over that day, but we made an appointment to go over the next day. That next day was a pretty rough day, nothing was really working out and both Elder bennett and I felt a little discouraged. We were able to meet with K. and that visit really turned our day around. We had a great gospel discussion and were able to give him a blessing. The spirit was definitely there and it lifted all our spirits. Another cool thing that happened is J. came with us to the Pattens daughters baptism. He didn't make it to church, but it is a start. We have also been working closely with the Tarrs and we are becoming good friends with them. I think we are really blessed to have awesome members and families down here. There are a few places down here that really feel like home.
To end I will share one more cool miralce and then an exerpt from my presidents letter.
There was one day where I was feeling pretty anxious to get out and work, but I decided in my mind that we are going to do 12-week and since we were doing it anyways, to enjoy it. So we did. That decision helped us to have a really productive and meaningful study, rather than a disgruntled and resentful one. That was a miracle within itself, but then another miracle happened right after that and I choose to believe that correlation does prove causation. We decided to walk to the library rather than ride our bikes and that resulted in us taking a different route. As we were walking a young couple was sitting on their porch, we waved to them and they waved back. As we walked a little further the husband called back to us and asked us "who we work for." We went back and explained that we were missionaries for our church. They began to explain to us that they had each belonged to other churches previous but they had run into some complications (getting offended it sounds like) and in their words they were looking for " a family friendly religion" they could bring their family to. We talked to them about the Book of Mormon and shared our testimonies about how it has strengthened our faith in Christ and blessed our families in so many ways. They each accepted a copy and invited us to come back. We have a return appointment with them today and we are looking forward to getting to know them better. I believe that that miracle was a blessing for acting in faith, receiving the guidance of the spirit and following that prompting. Needless to say we have been walking to the library since then because it is much easier to approach people when you aren't zooming by on a bike. Pretty cool tender mercy though.
I have read a couple talks and have also been reading in the scriptures about consecrating ourselves as missionaries or in other words, giving our hearts to the Lord. I found a cool couple of scriptures in 2 Nephi today that I think display the blessings that come from giving our heart to Heavenly Father (the only gift we can truly give to him.)
2 Nephi 32 :9 pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
When we give our heart to God, we will become better, because he makes us better, it will be for the "welfare of [our] souls." And when we don't, our efforts "profiteth us nothing." Or since we are holding back we aren't allowing the Lord to change us. Nephi in the next chapter then explains one of the blessings that he received for submitting his will to the Lord
2 Nephi 33:
7 I have charity for my people...
8 I have charity for the Jew...
9 I also have charity for the Gentiles...
Nephi's capacity to love was magnified. He loved everyone around him, the way Christ would. The Lord can do more with us than we can with ourselves. A talk that Elder Bennett let me borrow said this " We can create an ordinary man. [Heavenly Father] can create a God." Consecrating ourselves, giving our whole self, giving our heart to God is the way to happiness while on your mission and during your life, in the end it is the easy way.
I love you guys so much! Thank you for everything that you do. And short letters or long letters, I love to hear from you guys and I just want you to do what ever is easiest. I know you guys care, I know you guys are busy and I am just grateful for your prayers and support. Tank you tank you.
Prayers and thoughts always,
Elder Devin Soper