Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A fun and pretty easy going week...

Merry Holidays,

Thank you for your prayers, thoughts and letters this week, it really helped to make it a fun and pretty easy going week. Things seem to slow down a little bit with the Holiday season, well I guess in terms of missionary work. Everything else seems to speed up because eddybody wants gifts and schtuff. And since there were sales Elder Bennett and I took advantage. I got a missionary/ sweater to wear for chilly days 10 dollas off (15 rather than 25) and then a new moleskine journal for 13 dollars rather than 20. I don't need a new one for awhile, but might as well get it when it's cheap. Target is the bomb. Haha I'm sure you love to hear about our purchases, I am also planning on getting some toilet paper today...just kidding.

I am so glad that you guys had so much fun together as a family. These holidays really are such a great way to bring families together and closer. We went to the Dikets for Thanksgiving and they made this stuffing that reminded me a ton of what we used to make. It was homemade with sausage, bread and other stuff, anyways it made me feel right at home. We also  had tons of turkey, ham, sweet potatoes etc. etc. Before we ate we made some paper snowflakes and I made an origami angel for the top of our tree. It was nice to just hang out, take it easy and enjoy the slow roll of Thanksgiving. It was a nice change. We then went home and decorated for Christmas. We had a 6 foot tree stashed up in our closet so we broke it out, turned on some music and felt the Christmas spirit. We had the little angel and a picture of Christ at the top of the tree, but when you turned the lights out you really couldn't see we got creative. We took all of the flashlights that we could find and we pinned them to the ceiling all pointed to the top of the tree. Haha it actually looks really good, I will send some pictures. I just really love this time of year and guess what I hit my year mark in 17 days... weird to think huh? It was a good Thanksgiving and I am so glad yours was too. I am also grateful that you sent me all the deets, because I know you would want me to do the same. And man...Bombay house how I miss you, along with Cafe Rio, El Gallo Giro and Thai food... haha and Khan's. Those were some really fun memories and something I will remember my whole life.

That is cool that Stan and Gwen's barn is coming a long so well. I am excited to see how it looks! I am glad that we will still be able to spend time down there in Spring City, that would be sad if we had no more connections down there. And by the way I really like that painting of the leaves on the water. It is pretty different than what you have done before, but you can almost imagine the water just spilling off the edge of the painting. I like how the cool blues give it an almost calming effect and the tan oranges make it warm and happy, it is awesome. I really like that one...maybe keep it for my future home? Just kidding, but you really did do a good job. I just have to say it is fun that you guys have iphones now, because you can send quality pictures a lot easier now. Are you guys enjoying them quite a bit? I enjoy you having them because I get to see your lives in kind of an everyday way.

I've learned recently that if when we're working with people who are slow to accept the Gospel we can just do little things and build up the relationship to a point where you really want nothing more than for them to be happy. That is the point where the spirit can lead you and The spirit will really enter their hearts. Baby Steps. It is funny to see how that works. Your attitude changes from "This is what I am supposed to do." to "This is what I really want for them." And I am not saying the missionaries didn't have that, it actually sounds like you had a great set of missionaries in the ward. It just takes time. (And I have had a lot of time down here haha and we are still working on creating friendships).

Transfers are coming up next week and so we will see what will happen. It really is up in the air but since I have been here so long and Elder Bennett is finishing up his training, it is almost prime time for a transfer. And so that makes me think that we will stay one more haha because President Wall never does the expected thing. We'll see. 

We had dinner with the Pattens on Friday night and he told us to tell you that we are being taken care of. In my weekly email I give you kind of a summary of what happens but you don't get all the nitty gritty or the everyday things. But we get fed quite a bit, we are great friends with the members and they really do take care of us. We are especially blessed here in the Thibodaux ward. They are my family. When we were leaving the Pattens one of the daughters, Joy, ran up to me and gave me a drawing that said "Thank you for coming Elder Soper." and that meant the world to me. I put it in my journal so I can look back to it when I am having a tough day.  And if you ever have any questions about anything we are doing I would love to answer them. I want my emails to be a fun and satisfying for you guys.

President Wall has put a new focus for the mission, he wants us to become spirit-led. I think Elder Bennett and I did a good job of striving to be spirit led this week. On Monday we were struggling to fill in about an hour of extra time before an appointment so we decided to stop by a members house. On our way there Elder Bennett said he felt like we should turn around and try a part member family that we see occasionally. They have a busy schedule and have two small kids, so usually it is hard to meet with them. But we decided to go anyway. When we knocked on the door they invited us right in and asked us to stay and eat dinner with them. We got to know them a ton better and they are just a really cute family. Their two kids E. and L. are super cute and funny. I am so grateful for the spirit that guides us to where we need to be each day. After that we went to the Tabors and had a good lesson on the plan of Salvation. I bought a nice sketch pad so when we teach it we could all participate in drawing it. They seemed to like it and I think it made it easier to understand as well. I also learned that questions are the key. The Holy Ghost really made that lesson and we ended up doing a couple things that we hadn't planned on that turned out to be exactly what needed to happen. Pretty cool.

We have a new investigator named J. who just stopped us on the street one day asking to learn more. He has a ton of questions and he will just ask them out of the blue. Haha it ends up taking to visit all over the place, but maybe that is what he needs, just a ton of information that he will be able to soak in. I am looking forward to working with him more. Wednesday was actually a really good day and surprisingly went close to what we planned. We had a little visit with K. and C. and they want us to come back on Tuesday, we met with B. and then we met with a really funny and irreverent man name J. B. He is about 80, he is really witty but also kinda dirty. It was super funny and Elder Bennett actually got the majority of the conversation on film. I think you guys will laugh pretty hard. We then went to have dinner with the Tarrs and they always give us our daily dose of mexican food. WE had these yummy, spicy pork tacos. You know they are good when they clear your sinuses. I will send another picture from Kiana's baptism. Then Thursday was Thanksgiving and that was a lot of fun. The next day we went to see L., C. and K. They always seem to like it when we come over and it made me feel really good when K. kept asking when we were coming over next. She kept pushing the return appointment sooner and sooner. That's a pretty good sign, don't you think? I think we are going to ask L. if we can start teaching her the lessons. We met with a less-active member this week named W. and it made me really grateful for my geeky/nerdy side. He was watching Doctor Who when we got there and so we began talking about that and the conversation expanded to an analysis of Sherlock (The last episode), Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, The Office, the British Office, Superman and superheroes. It was cool to see how he opened up through out the conversation and it ended up building a good foundation for a friendship. We were able to have a really good lesson with him afterwards and tie it into the previous conversation. Who knew Elder Bennett and my childhood interests would come in handy. I am just waiting for the time when I can start busting out some Mighty Morphin Power Rangers references. It made me really grateful for those simple interests and hobbies that Heavenly Father helped me develop over the years so I would be able to relate to people. I am very grateful for you guys because you guys were the ones that helped all of us and encouraged all of us to pursue those things. We were able to learn from you and adopt it into our lives.  It is a fulfillment of a blessing in my patriarchal blessing.

I will end with some things that I am grateful for:
-The Thibodaux ward
-Being a missionary
-Being able to change and become better
- My district
-Elder Bennett
- President Wall
- Spiritual gifts and talents
- The Sacrament
- Promptings from the Holy Ghost
- laughter
- Funny mishaps that make life enjoyable
- Mi Familia and how we have so much fun together
- food (brings people close together)
- the gospel
- The Book of Mormon
- Our Savior and his Atonement
- The love that our Heavenly Father has for us
-Etc etc.

I love you guys a lot, a lot, a lot. Thank you for everything that you do and your support.

Prayers and thoughts always

Elder Debun Soper

PS I got your package and my camera is awesome now! Thank you for the treats too, that trail mix is super good. I love you guys!

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