Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thibodaux has a special place in my heart...

Hello Hello,

It sounds like you guys had a great week. That is cool about that girl named Bri Ray, I would love to hear some of her songs. I really love songs with a good message because that is a powerful way to invite the spirit into your life. Heavenly Father will always answer our prayers and more often than not it is through other people. That is cool that you got to go see those paintings of Christ at BYU. I have to say that Heinrich Hoffmann does my two of my favorite pictures of Christ. The one of Christ and the young merchant and also the portrait of Christ. He does a really good job of capturing the love and gentleness that our Savior possesses. I am a little bit jealous that you were able to go see all of those, haha but I think that is so cool. Pretty amazing to feel the spirit of Christ in some beautifully done paintings.

We have gotten pretty close to the Bishop down here and I am realizing how large of a calling that is. You have to deal with all of the personal issues and challenges of the ward and a whole area and there well being rests on your shoulders. It has made me gain a great respect and appreciation for how this church is organized because even though the Bishop is largely responsible, the Lord calls qualified and amazing people to assist him in the ward. It really is just like a big family. Hope everything is going well with that is well.

Crazy to think I have been out for 11 months tomorrow and I hit halfway in a month. Time flies. I really love being a missionary though, especially here in Thibodaux. Sometimes I feel like I was called to the Thibodaux, Louisiana mission.  I love it. Sounds cheesy, but Thibodaux has a special place in my heart.

Well this week has been really cool, we have seen a lot of cool miracles. On monday we went to the Tarr's to have dinner with the sisters and then we had a little campfire outside. We all roasted marshmallows, we also roasted some starbursts and just enjoyed our time together. It was a really memorable experience. They also asked me to baptize their 9 year old daughter Kiana and I had the special opportunity to do that yesterday. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous, but I felt really humbled and excited at the same time. That was the first time I have ever baptized someone, even for baptisms for the dead or anything. It was a really special experience, and I feel so grateful that they asked me to participate. They asked Elder Bennett to confirm her and that was also amazing to be a part of. The spirit was really strong and it is something that I will never forget. I love the Tarrs a lot.

This week I went on exchanges with our District leader Elder Billings down to Cut Off (hence the title.) I am pretty sure the reason they named that place Cut off is because it is literally cut off... it is way down the bayou. We were able to visit a lot of people and have a couple cool lessons with some members and less-active members. It was a really good experience and a lot of fun to get to know Elder billings a little better. After the exchange I went back to Thibodaux with Elder Bennett and he did a really good job taking it over. He was a little nervous to do it at first, but he k did better than I could really haha. It felt nice to be back.

I think probably our biggest miracles happened this weekend. First we went to lunch with Sister Voisin and she took us to this fancy Mexican place and it was really good. I got the chicken fajitas and it began to fill the void little hole in my soul for Mexican food. That was awesome to just be able to talk to her about the gospel and support her. She is pretty much our mission mom. Things were a little slow later that day but we decided to text C. and M. to see how they were doing. He ended up calling us a few minutes later to tell us that he had tonsillitis and that he wanted us to come over and pray with him. When we got over there we offered him a blessing and he accpeted. You could tell that he was a little apprehensive at first because for someone who hasn't experienced that before, it can be pretty different haha. But we gave him a blessing and the spirit was there. One of the coolest things though was that after we gave him one he asked us to give one to his wife for a chronic condition that she has in her hands that brings her a lot of pain...not arthritis, I'm not really sure. But we had the opportunity to give her one as well and my faith grew a lot from that experience. It was just cool to see C. ask us to give his wife a blessing, that is a huge act of faith in the priesthood and its power. We then talked to them for awhile and just talked to them. We shared a couple cool experiences about the priesthood and Elder Bennett shared a miraculous one.  I really love Elder Bennett, he is such a great missionary and a great friend. Haha we do some pretty crazy stuff though. I have a lot of respect for him, he is probably one of the best friends I have had. (I just wanted to let you guys know that story, I didn't ask his permission so maybe not put it on the blog.) But we just talked with C. and M., they gave us some shrimp and Crab bisque...super good and then he talked to me a lot about psychology. It was a cool experience. We are going to see them tonight.

On saturday we went to the Temple with Bro. P. He went through for the first time and he received his endowments. Man, I love the Temple and the new video is really cool. I learned a ton and I am excited to go with you guys when I get home. I love the temple and I always feel close to the Lord when I am there. I am also really happy for Bro P. because he has been through some hard stuff in the last couple months, but he was able to receive a great blessing. We went with the Bybees and then afterwards we went to this place called izzo's illegal burrito. Not quite Cafe Rio...far from it. But they did a pretty good job. When we got home we went to the Tabors and had a cool lesson on the love that Heavenly Father has for us. It almost turned into a mini testimony meeting, but we invited all of them to pray to ask Heavenly Father to help them see his love. He always answers and I did it that night as well and he answered me.  He loves us a lot.

Yesterday was super fun first because of the baptism but we were also able to go to the Andersons for dinner. They are such a cute family. They have 4 girls from 11 down to 4 and a little baby boy. They are all super smart, they love the gospel more than any other kids that I have ever met and they just love to have fun. There are a lot of places on my mission where I feel at home and the Anderson's made it on that list. We taught them the Restoration and Elder Bennett took the lead. All of the little girls were raising there hands, asking questions and giving answers. It was so much fun to teach them and it was probably the best Restoration lesson I have ever been a part of. I have a lot of respect for Bishop Anderson and his wife and they are doing such a great job in every aspect of their lives.

I love you guys so much and I just want you to know how grateful I am that I was able to grow up in such an amazing family. We have so much fun together and you guys really are my best friends. I hope you guys have a great week.

Prayers and thoughts always


Elder Devin Soper

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