Thursday, December 26, 2013



I am glad to hear that everything went well with Emma's surgery. I was thinking about it a lot this last week and it makes me so happy to hear that it was such a success. There are definitely prayers coming your way from way down the bayou Emma. I hope that the recovery goes smoothly and you can just enjoy lounging around this Christmas break. It sounds like you were really brave Emma and you are having such a good attitude about it. I am really proud of you and I know that Heavenly Father is really proud of you too.

I also have to thank you for the Christmas package. I haven't opened up anything yet, but I can thank you in advance for everything. Also it is just fun to have presents under the tree, fills me with nostalgia. I feel like I have been so blessed my entire life, I have never really gone with out and so it has been fun this Christmas to give to others. It makes you feel really good. I don't have a whole lot, but I give what I can. I hope you guys got my little Christmas letter, I hope you like it too. People are so generous down here too and it makes you feel kinda spoiled haha so hopefully we can give just as much as we have received.

I am really excited to see you guys over skype on Christmas day. I can't believe it has been like 7 months since I last saw you guys and even crazier I can't believe that after this I will only be able to call you one more time until I come home....AYE AYE AYE ZORDON!!!!! Time is going a little too fast. 

It does feel a little odd that there is no snow. You can feel the Christmas spirit for sure, but it sure is different when it is still 80 degrees outside with 70 percent humidity. It is a strange feeling haha. But today it got a little colder and so that is nice. I love it when it gets cold down here, (in the 40's or 50's) Because people bundle up like we are in Antarctica. We also had this insane lightning storm last night where you could see streaks of lightning just flash across the sky and it lit up everything around you. The thunder also just shook the earth. Those storms are pretty cool to witness, but I still miss the snow a little bit. 

This has been a pretty crazy week with Christmas devotionals and Christmas parties, it has been pretty non-stop. This last week we had a really good lesson with L., C. and K. where we had them be the missionaries and they taught us the Restoration. K. asked us to make them tags, but I totally forgot and so when I got there I drew them on some Mcdonalds napkin, she seemed satisfied haha. They each got to choose their name and they were pretty silly. K. was Sister Lemonjello pronounced La-mon-ja-low and C. was Elder Alfalfa. Although it was pretty silly it turned out to be a really good experience. We had them study the pamphlet before we came and that was actually our main reason for doing it. They really dug into it because they knew that they had to teach it. We had a really good discussion and it was just a lot of fun. 

Speaking of humor I studied a lot about that this week and I shared some of my thoughts with President Wall. Here is a little exerpt:

I was reading in Alma this week where Alma is giving advice to all of his sons. Alma is talking to his son Shiblon and he tells him to "Be Sober." That stuck out to me and so I looked it up and it brought me to the word levity. This jump started a mini-study on humor. I know that humor can be such a great tool, in fact a great spiritual gift. Richard G Scott said "A good sense of humor helps revelation...A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life." I have seen humor really work miracles in the sense of helping others to feel comfortable and also come closer to our Savior. But although it can be used for great good, it can also detract from the spirit when used inappropriately or incorrectly. There are a couple really good talks on humor that I found on : 
A Good Sense of Humor by Chris Crowe and
A Serious Look at Humor by Peter B Rawlins
Both of these articles do a good job of comparing the great good that can come from a good sense of humor and then also the don'ts of malicious humor. Another good talk is by Elder Wirthlin called "Come What may and Love it." He gives a piece of advice that will increase the happiness and fun in your life, he says "Learn to Laugh." When we can learn to laugh, it will ease tension, make the tough days fun, and increase our ability to work effectively and work hard. Proverbs 17:22 says

22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Missions are hard physically, emotionally, mentally etc. But Heavenly Father has given us a great tool to make it bearable. There is a quote from the Family Home Evening resource book that says this," When people see the funny side of of what they are doing they aren't afraid to make a mistake. They think more clearly and they like themselves a lot better." Good humor is humble, not full of pride. Good humor builds relationships, it doesn't tear them down. Good humor is full of fun , not filth. Good humor is ironic, not sarcastic. Good humor invites the spirit. I am striving to refine my humor. I know it is not perfect and I know there are a lot of kinks that I have to work out. But in the mean time I will enjoy life, I will enjoy my mission and rely on the Savior to help strengthen me in all things. 

Well I guess it wasn't too little haha but that is okay. What are your guys thoughts on humor? 

A couple other things that happened this week. We had the Zone Christmas Devotional on tuesday and that was a lot of fun. We all had lunch and just were able to relax and talk. We had the little play presentation and I got to play "O come all ye faithful" on the guitar. I put a little Jack Johnson spin on it and it was a lot of fun to play. Christmas is just such a good time of year and it is fun to spend in good company. After the devotional we went out with Bro. Bybee and the Elder's Quorum to go caroling to some of the members of the ward. It was awesome to see their faces light up as the spirit was invited into their hearts. We spent most of our time at a rest home singing to some of the members there and you could tell that it just made their day. We also so B. with Bro. Bybee and that was kind of a miracle. Elder Bennett and I had been thinking about him for awhile but we just couldn't get down there because it is so far away and he doesn't have a phone. But when Bro. Bybee picked he must of had the same feeling because he took us to go see B. Tender Mercy. B. is such a good kid and he just has the biggest heart, but he has little support at home and it must be hard to develop good standards when they are continually being pulled down by your surroundings. I am glad that we were able to go see him. We had the Ward Christmas party this last friday and that was also a lot of fun. They had tons of food, decorations, they had Santa come, we sang Christmas songs and had an ugly sweater contest. Luckily Elder Bennett and I have connections at the Salvation Army, so we had some pretty ugly sweaters. And guess who got 2nd place? was I. I will send some pictures haha. Jimmy, one of our investigators came as well and he loved it. He loved how kind everybody was and he expressed to us that he would love to come back. Pretty cool.

 Yesterday was the Ward Christmas program with Choir. About 30 min before church started Elder Bennett and I got recruited to sing. We were 2 of the 3 male singers in the choir. But luckily the spirit helped us and we were able to pick up quick. It was so fun to be part of the choir and it just made me grateful for all of those years we had to go to youth really paid off!! Music brings such a great spirit and you can see it in peoples eyes as you are singing on the stand. Christmas is the best time of the year. Everybody is happier, a little bit more kind and a smidgen more generous. I love what Elder Bennett says " Everybody is happier during Christmas because they have the light of Christ more in their lives...even if they don't know it!" That is so true. Although the real meaning of Christmas sometimes gets overshadowed by the commercial and consumeristic side of it, the influence of birth and life of our Savior can be found every where...even if people don't know it! The reason for the season is Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Redeemer and our best friend. He knows us, he loves us and he cares for us. And the best gift we can give him this season is the gift of our hearts. I love this gospel. I love everything about it. And I can't think of any other place that I would rather be this Christmas season than devoting my life to serving my Savior.

 I love you guys so much and I am looking forward to talking to you this Christmas!


Elder Devin Soper

Elder Bennett and I posing with our Ugly Sweaters

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