Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The people here (in Opelousas) are really friendly and loving...


That is so cool that you already got in touch with Elder Bracken's family. We both thought that was really cool that Adrian texted y'all and it ended up getting you guys in touch. I was excited to hear all of the cool things about Opelousas that you guys looked up too. Opelousas is about the same size as Thibodaux, but it feels different, it is a lot more country. But the people there are really friendly and loving. Also like you said, they love music and I guess we are really good friends with a couple local rappers that do Christian rap. I am going to get some CD's soon. We serve in a Branch here, but pretty soon it is going to become a ward. I think we have about 70+ members that attend each Sunday and it is a melting pot of people. It is already so much fun! It is interesting because there are some very wealthy people here in this area, but at the same time Opelousas itself is quite poor. It is an interesting dynamic and it causes each day to be drastically different than the one before. It is also a challenge since our area is so large. The whole thing is about 1600 square miles and we live at the bottom of it in Lafayette. We do have a lot of work here in the Carencro area, but we will go up to Opelousas about 2 or 3 times a week. It is definitely different and I am still learning a lot more about the people and the area. In reality I really don't know anything haha. Baby steps while learning. 

I had to give a talk yesterday on the benefits of adhering to the prophet and it actually went really well. It was the least nervous I ever have been to give a talk and I only wrote down a few bullet points. I think the difference between this one and my train wreck talk as a youth...was I prepared for this one. I took a lot of time to ponder and think about what it meant to me and what I could say. That gave something for the spirit to work with. It was fun though and I got a couple good laughs (making fun of yourself does wonders.) I shared that story of when we went to moon lake for scouts and I we had to take that huge detour hike to get back to the camp after fishing and I did the whole thing barefoot since I brought a bad pair of shoes. All of the scouts had to take the same path and go over the same bumps and thorns, but they were protected because they listened to the counsel of our leaders. I, on the other hand, didn't listen as well and my feet ended up hurting a lot haha. I am looking forward to hearing about Taylor's talk as well. 

This has definitely been a big learning curve and it has been a little bit stressful. I still haven't been able to unpack yet because we are just always moving haha. I am sure it will happen soon though. The week really has been a whirlwind though, with trying to meet new people, getting to know the area, preparing district meeting, getting to know the district, preparing my talk etc. the easiest thing though has been adjusting to a new companion. I feel really lucky and blessed to have another good companion. Elder Bracken is a super nice guy and has a gift to be able to love people unconditionally. He sincerely loves everyone around him. He came on his mission right out of high school and so he is still 18 years old.  He isn't super confident in his abilities as a missionary (in the past he hasn't been able to have an active role in his companionship) but he knows and has a testimony of the simple and precious truths of the gospel. We are quickly becoming good friends and I hope that we get to stay companions for awhile. I think it would be good for the both of us to serve together for awhile. He is very different form Elder Bennett, but it is cool to see how Heavenly Father will put you with people that will help you grow and that you can learn from. I have been extremely blessed to have to awesome companions in a row. 

Speaking of Elder Bennett and Thibodaux, C. got baptized this week! He called me on Saturday to talk to me for a little bit and I was able to catch up with L. and Elder Bennett as well. He sounded really happy and excited to have taken that step in his life. Elder Bennett is doing well. His new companion is one of the missionaries in his district from the MTC, so they are both youngins. They will do a good job though, Thibodaux has been left in good hands. 

 Haha that is so funny about the whole thing that happened with Adrian. I was laughing pretty hard when he had told us what happened and I wrote it down in my journal. The funniest part I think is that I knew that I probably would have done the same thing. They are a really cool family. They have two sons, Dominic and Jullian. They are 14 and 10 I think, I could be wrong though. They are both really athletic and Dominic loves soccer. They actually have a full sized soccer goal in their yard, so we are going to go over and play with them soon. 

We have a new branch mission leader and he is awesome. His name is Brother Freebairn (pronounced freebarin), he is from Hawaii and went to Provo on his mission. He isn't Polynesian, but you can tell that he grew up in Hawaii cause he is super laid back. He and his wife have tons and tons of faith though. They moved to Louisiana 6 months ago and how they ended up getting here is pretty crazy. They felt like they need to leave hawaii and so they prayed about where they needed to go and they felt like they needed to come to Louisiana where sister Freebairn's family lives. So they packed 6 suitcases, got a ticket and came. They didn't have a house, he didn't have a job set up and they had no mode of transportation. Well in a matter of 6 months, they were able to find a house, he got a really good job working offshore as an electrician and the mission was able to sell them a car. Isn't that amazing. They came with nothing and the Lord blessed them with everything that they needed. They also have two little kids, Esak who is about 3 and then a new born baby. They are so cute and funny though. Esak ( I am not sure how to spell his name) is learning both spanish and english (Sister Freebairn is hispanic) and so right now he just makes funny little grunting noises. They are such a cool family though and we are going to be able to spend a lot of time with them now that he is our branch mission leader. 

So in district meeting we took most of the time to just get to know each other. We did best, worst and weirdest and then we all shared our most embarrassing moments. That was so much fun and everybody was laughing pretty hard. I was able to pull out my choo choo buns story and I was immediately nicknamed "Train Tracks" Haha the Sisters in our area actually made Elder Bracken and I T-shirts and on the back mine says "Train Tracks" His says " Dirty Brock" in purple cursive letters on a bright pink shirt. The Sisters like to tease him haha. But my main goal for being a district leader is to help people feel of the love that Heavenly Father loves for them. I want them to feel loved, appreciated and most of all happy. I know that if we are happy, that if we love our missions, and if we love the people, essentially if we understand the why of the things we do, the what and how we do it will fall into place by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. So our goal is to be happy. I already love them a lot. Do you have any advice or ideas for being a new district leader Dad, or Jordan, or anybody else? It takes up a lot of your time, but it is good because love is spelled T. I. M. E. 

I am still learning a lot more about the area and I am excited to let you guys know more about what is going on down here. I already love it a lot and I feel very blessed to be in a good area, with a good companion and a fun district. I am happy.

I have heard that before about the 10,000 hours to master something before. I think that is definitely true. The more time you spend with some the more natural it becomes and there are probably  spiritual, psychological and physical things going on there. The more time we spend on something the synapses in our brain naturally form links and our ability to do it increases. As we take time to refine a skill our body and our muscles become accustomed to certain movements and motions and it becomes muscle memory. And then just like the parable of the talents, as we develop them and seek for Heavenly Father's help, he will bless us with more. So with 10,000 hours of doing all of that will really pay off. I bet you have done more than 4000 hours. I have probably done not even close to 2000 with the guitar in the last couple of years and so I have a lot of ground to make up. But it is kind of fun to think about being able to focus on a hobby and get better at doing it. 

I am still a little jealous of Haley and Jordan in Hawaii... but I am gald that they are having a lot of fun. They sent me some cool pictures and I am looking forward to seeing some more. Haha that is funny that they saw Ethan... it is a good thing they weren't Charlie, or he might have tried to kill them... That is cool that Emma was able to take her boots off. Is she doing better? And that was fun to see the pictures of the things going on with yall. Taylor has got some good hair going right now and emma is getting really tall... 

Well I will end with a little exerpt from my President Letter,

This last week I was thinking a lot about the love that Heavenly Father has for us and how much he really does know us. In Alma 26 Ammon is reminiscing about the great success and the blessings they had as missionaries to the Lamanites. He explains the love of God to his brothers this way in verse 37:

Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

He tells us that God understands us, that he knows each of us by name, it doesn't matter who we are, where were from or what our background is, He loves us. President Monson said in the past General Relief Society meeting : "Heavenly Father loves you--each of you. That love never changes." I know that is true. That is the first thing that we teach to people, God is our loving Heavenly Father. It is a simple doctrine with so much meaning and power, but everything can be traced back to it. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and we can see it everyday as we love, serve and teach those around us.

Let me know if you want me to include anymore stuff in the emails. Oh and here is the address. 

1300 Pont Des Mouton Rd. Apt. D 107
Lafayette, LA 70507

 I love you guys! Have a great week.

Prayers and thoughts always,


Elder Devin Soper

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Well I got the news last night that I will be leaving Thibodaux...

Dear Family,

Well I got the news last night that I will be leaving Thibodaux. I won't find out til tomorrow where I am going...but President Wall did extend the invitation to me to be a District leader. That much I do know. Haha it is all kind of scary because there is sort of a mystery and anticipation involved. But I have full faith that I will be put where I need to be put. We have already started saying goodbye and so I have quite a few pictures to send to you guys. It has been tough, it kinda feels like you are leaving your family in a way. Elder Bennett will be staying here and we are pretty sure that he is going to be follow up training another missionary, so that will be cool for him. He really is a good leader and I know that he is going to have some cool miracles happen here in Thibodaux while he is here. The area will be left in good hands! I will say that I am pretty sad that I won't be serving with him anymore. It has been so much fun, really some of the best months of my life. There is nothing better than sharing the gospel, but it is the best thing in the world when you do it with one of your best friends...that must be why marriage is so awesome haha. I am so grateful that I have been able to serve in this area, with some awesome companions. I would be lying if I said I wasn't sad that I was leaving, but change isn't always a bad thing. Being in Thibodaux really has changed my life and helped me decide the kind of friend, son, Husband, Father and person that I want to be. I guess it has helped me figure out who Heavenly Father wants me to be and all of those things fall under that. It is has been hard, it has been fun, it has been scary, it has been sad, it has been stressful, very stressful at times haha, but it has been awesome, I've loved it.  

This has been a good week. Some days were really hectic and others were pretty laid back. I feel bad because I have gotten pretty behind in my journal. I haven't missed a day yet though haha I go back and write something for everyday that has happened, but that makes it hard to catch up. I am going to do it though cause that is one thing that I want to have for the future. Wish me luck!
We finished teaching C. the lessons and he has committed to do everything that he needs. He was sad that he wouldn't be able to drink coffee, but he he said that he would do it. We also committed K. to keep the word of Wisdom by trying one new type of food every week. Her diet consists of: cheetos, ramen noodles and pudding packs... So we went into their kitchen and opened a can of fruit cocktail. We all ate little cherry halves with her and it was slightly funny and sad to see the look on her face and the tears well up in her eyes while she ate this "foreign" object. But things are going really well with C. We have become really good friends with him, sometimes we will just go outside and shoot a few hoops with him before we leave. All that playing of squares and tip in have paid off Taylor.. thank you haha. It is been amazing to see his testimony grow in the past months that we have been working with him and it has been the small and simple things that have helped it grow. That scripture in Alma has never become so real for me than on my mission. 

Alma 37:6-7
6 Now ye may suppose that this is afoolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by bsmall and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
 7 And the Lord God doth work by ameans to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very bsmall means the Lord dothcconfound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
Like you said in your letter Mom, the greatest spiritual protection comes from reading scriptures. If we do that everyday, if we read the Book of Mormon everyday and treasure its words, we will become better people.  Elder Bennett and I came up with a song about that it goes: READ THE BOOK OF MORMON AND COME TO CHURCH...I SAID READ THE BOOK OF MORMON AND COME TO CHURCH. We do this while waving our arms in the air. We are going to add another verse soon that says AND ALSO PRAY HEY HEY HEY. If we are consistent in doing the small things everyday in our lives, we will live with our Father in Heaven again. The small things compel us to act on our faith and we will do what is necessary to receive happiness. 

We had really good lessons with the Pixton family where we talked about the importance of music. Brother Pixton writes his own songs on the guitar and he let me play his Taylor guitar for a little bit. That was a spirit filled lesson. We met with W. this week. I think I have mention him. He is in his 30's and he loves sci fi. He has signatures from Mark Hammell and Cary Fisher on his wall from star wars and has a folder of signatures from many of the other characters. He is a really shy guy, but he opened up to us this week. He is less-active, but I think he is close to coming back. We had zone conference this week and a member of the 70 come and speak to us. His name is Elder Perkins. I actually got to go early and have a personal  interview with him before the whole thing started. He is a really nice guy and you can tell that he loves serving the Lord. He called on Elder Bennett and I to do a 10 minute teaching role play in front of two zones of missionares. That was pretty scary haha, but it went well and the spirit definitely helped us. I learned a lot from Zone Conference but I think my favorite thing was when he talked about being enthusiastic. He talked about the difference between enthusiasm and apathy. The greek roots for apathy are A Pathos, which means without emotion. The greek roots for enthusiasm are En Theos, which means with God or God in you. He told us to be enthusiastic. He told us story about Elder Perry to prove his point. He said that whenever Elder Perry gets up he jumps, he is just so excited to be alive and to share the gospel. He said that on one assignment he was with Elder Perry and they were having dinner. The waitress came up to them and asked them if they wanted any pre-dinner drinks. Elder Perry replied," We are Mormons, we don't drink that stuff and we are the happiest people on earth! Would you like to learn more?" He said the waitress politely declined and Elder Perry said "That is okay, we are always ready to share." After the meal she came up to them and asked if they wanted any coffee or drinks and Elder Perry replied " Hey, I already told you, We are Mormons, we don't drink that, and we are the happiest people on earth! Would you like to learn more?" I can just imagine Elder Perry saying that in such a loving and happy way. I thought that was cool. The week has been good though and thank you for your prayers.

Well I better get going. I will end with a presidents letter blurb and with some pictures. I love you guys so much and I will let you know next week where I end up. Thank you for your love and support!!

This week I came across one of my favorite scriptures and it was exactly what I needed this week. I love when the gospel is put into simple and concise terms. It makes it easy to understand and helpful to apply into our lives. In Helaman 5, both Nephi and Lehi were put in prison and not soon after a pretty amazing miracle took place; they were encircled about by a pillar of fire. During the moments after this many of the people there had a change of heart and the Holy Ghost spoke to their minds and their hearts. But one thing really sticks out to me, it says the Holy Ghost whispered these words to them in verse 47: Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.

What powerful and comforting words. We are promised peace, lasting peace because we have faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This doesn't mean it will be easy, peace isn't complacence. It means that throughout our lives, during the good times and during the bad, we will have a hope or an assurance that everything will be alright. Our responsibility to receive this peace is to have faith, to act on that faith and continue on in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It all starts with faith.

I love you!

Prayers and Thoughts always


Elder Devin Soper

Monday, January 13, 2014

This week has been really amazing...

Hey there,

This week has been really amazing. We still had 7 days, and there were still 24 hours each day, but we seemed to use each hour of every day to its fullest. On Tuesday almost everything in Thibodaux was closed so we had a lot of time on our hands. We were a little nervous how we were going to fill up our time with out wasting it. The Lord makes a way. We ended having 6 lessons that day and build some great relationships. We got to talk to Mr. L., he is an 80 year old Cajun man that has a lot of wisdom. He said something that I am trying to take to heart. He said "I like to listen. I learn more when I am listen than when I am talking." I thought to myself that that was pretty profound but simple. It is definitel true haha. We have more to learn from others than we do from our self. That night we tried to apply that in our lesson with C. We watched the Prophet of the Restoration movie with them and then Elder Bennett felt inspired to invite C. to be baptized. At first he said "I don't know." The next 30 minutes was full of the spirit, while he pondered and we listened. He had a couple concerns about changing who he was and then he wanted to talk to his Mom privately. He came out and told us that he feels like it is the right thing to do, that he wants to get baptized! It was such an amazing experience and the spirit is what made the whole thing possible. He decided he wanted to get baptized on the 11 of January and that is pretty quick, but we went for it. That jump started the whole teaching process and we have been able to have some awesome lessons with him and it has really blessed us and that entire family. He probably won't get baptized this week, but we think the reason we felt inspired to suggest the 11 is so we could get the ball rolling and it is moving quickly now. It has been such an amazing experience so far. I love that family and I think they are the ones that Elder Bennett and I are here for. L., C. and K. are like our Louisiana family.

On January 1 we got permission from President Wall to watch football with members and so we spent a couple hours at the Stocks watching the LSU game. That was a lot of fun and we were able to build trust and share a little message with them. We had a good visit with J. that night and he made us dinner. I really do appreciate him and I look up to his Christlike sense of charity. I love him a lot. 

So we were able to teach 25 lessons this week and we were also able to have 22 service hours between Elder Bennett and I. On Saturday we went up to help Bro Smith put floors in their house that they just bought. It was wood laminate and you pounded each piece together. It was really fun to work with my hands and just spend the day doing manual labor. Measuring, cutting and piecing it together. It was fun to hang out with Bro Smith too. He is super laid back, humble and down to earth. He is just a genuinely nice guy. He also took us to this little hamburger place and they had a pretty good fresh strawberry shake. Speaking of food we went to this restaurant in Houma called Boudreau's and Thibodeau's as a district. It is a Cajun restaraunt and it is definitely somewhere we need to go together. I got the crawfish half and half. It came with crawfish etoufee and fried crawfish tails. It was dang good haha. This was just a really good week. President Wall has also challenged us to do a 40 day fast from the things that keep us from feeling the spirit. It has been hard but it has been worth it. I will include a little part of my presidents letter :

The 40 day fast is refining us and helping us to understand Heavenly Father's will for us. I had a hard time at first because I kept slipping up on doing my 40 day fast. I was a little irritated with myself that I couldn't do it, but then I read the new First Presidency message by Pres Uchtdorf called "The Best Time to plant a Tree" and he says, "Another thing we need to remember when it comes to setting goals is this: We almost certainly will fail—at least in the short term. But rather than be discouraged, we can be empowered because this understanding removes the pressure of being perfect right now...When we approach our goals this way, failure doesn’t have to limit us. Remember, even if we fail to reach our ultimate, desired destination right away, we will have made progress along the road that will lead to it." I may not be perfect at it right now. But if I am better than I was before I started, then I think that is a success. And I can already feel that I am better than before. Baby steps on the path to perfection. 

This morning I was reading in Alma 56 about the 2000 stripling warriors and I compared it to missionary work. It says that "they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them." They had a promise that if they trusted and obeyed that they would be okay. "When we are on the Lord's errand we can't fail." Our missions aren't easy and sometimes it feels like we are fighting a losing battle. But we can take comfort in knowing that we cannot fail. In Helaman 5:12 it says "that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation...a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." This doesn't mean it will be easy, it doesn't even mean that we won't be wounded spiritually or emotionally. These young men gave their lives to the Lord and gave it everything they had. Many of them were severely injured and completely fatigued, but the succeeded! Before they went to battle they said these words in verse 46, "Behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall... let us go forth." That is a great attitude. President Wall I know that Heavenly Father is with us and he will help us, so "let us go forth"

I love being on my mission. I may not have had spectacular and grand things happen, but small and simple miracles that are changing my life are happening everyday. I love you guys so much.

Prayers and thoughts always,

Elder Devin Soper

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I really loved talking to you guys...

Dear family,

I am having a tough time figuring out where to start... How bout with a TANK YOU!!!  I just wanted to thank you for the presents again. I really loved everything that you got and it was all so thoughtful.  

I really loved talking to you guys. It was so much to see your faces and just to hear your voices. That was enough to make me happy, but I got the bonus of having a lot of fun laughing, reflecting and spending time with you guys. Thanks so much for spending time with me on Christmas and just joking around with me. It was such a boost and it made me so happy. I love you guys so much and that will be a something that I always remember. 

I got your guys letters a day or two after that and those were awesome. I loved your insights on Maslows theory of "Self-Actualized" people Mom. I remember learning about that in my psychology class and we have to meet all of our other basic needs before we can become self-actualized. We have to take care of ourselves before we can learn to look outside ourselves. It makes me appreciate how Heavenly Father has set up the Missionary program. For 2 years we can devote all of our time, attention and energy to becoming better and helping those around us. I loved how you compared his idea about "Peak Experiences" with the Spirit. I think you are definitely right in saying that these peak experiences are when we are feeling the spirit. Galations 5 :22 and 23  "But the afruit ofthe bSpirit is clovedjoyepeacelongsuffering,gentleness, goodness, faithameeknessbtemperance: against such there is no law."  Those are all adjectives of peak experiences and you are right we can attain all of those things through the love that our Savior and our Heavenly Father. 

Hey Dad, could you send me the link to the churches announcement about the priesthood? I really enjoyed your insight on "faith unto repentance." It seems that today faith has a different meaning  and there is a wide spread attitude that faith is passive and requires little effort. I have heard the word "saved" a lot and I think your explanation of faith, repentance and hope describe the real meaning of being "saved." Conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ is what will lead us to eventually be saved in the Kingdom of God. Conversion is "faith unto repentance."

I also loved your views on this new announcement and I agree with you guys 100 percent. I remember when we had that long talk about it a couple days before my mission when we were waiting in the good old Geo prism outside the church to play soccer. That conversation helped to deepen my faith in God and I don't think I realized it. It helped to understand that we as humans, like President Uchtdorf said, make mistakes. We are not perfect, but God is. His work can not be stopped. He is perfectly loving and although sometimes we hinder our own progression, that will not stop Him from helping us move forward. Them disavowing any racists and  radical views about blacks and the priesthood answers many questions and clarifies misunderstandings. Now we can just simply say that it was a mistake, we aren't perfect, but we are moving forward unified and happy. You know I think that this will make a difference down here among the humble.There are going to be a couple tough cultural hurdles to jump over for many, but there are just as many people who are prepared and I think for them that this might be the thing will help. 

I think it is interesting about peoples testimonies being challenged and your guy's view on that. I agree wholeheartedly. I stay really quiet when people talk about politics, radical views about our theology and other things like that. I just can't imagine that Heavenly Father wants us to be extremist in any of our views. The thing I love so much about our gospel is like you put it "there is an inherent flexibility of Mormon theology." There is room for thought, there is room to ponder and wonder about the many mysteries of God. That is fun and it allows for many revelatory experiences. I mean wasn't President Joseph F. Smith pondering on the meaning and interpretations of some certain scriptures when he received the revelation and vision about the spirit world. We would have never had that information if he wasn't open minded. Take Joseph Smith too. The doctrine of the Restoration rests on a question that a young boy asked. If he wasn't open minded what might have happened. The ability to be open-minded and curious is helps us to progress. We talked to a lady this week and she was having such a hard time with the concept that we believe in continual revelation. She is having a hard time accepting that God could call more prophets and continue to give scripture. As members of the church we have all been blessed with the Holy Ghost and one of his jobs is to testify of truth. We have no need to worry about being open-minded  because the spirit will let us know if we are going the wrong way. As missionaries we ask people to be open-minded and so that wouldn't really be fair if once they get baptized to tell them that they now have to close that door of curiosity and quest for knowledge. Science and Religion makes so much sense together. Sorry I went on a bit of a rant too, but it is good to talk to somebody who shares similar views. I have had to keep it to myself for quite awhile haha. I am also glad that we have such great leaders of this church and their counsel continually strengthens my testimony. Also thank you Mom and Dad for your examples in the Gospel. It has been such a great experience and I have to attribute who I am to you guys and your Christlike example. 

We had a really good week today and despite it being the holiday season we were able to get a lot done! We had a great lesson with J. this week. We watched  The prophet of the Restoration with him and invited him to pray and ask if Joseph Smith really was a prophet. The spirit was invited into his home as we watch that movie and it made a big impact not only on Jimmy, but us as well. Jimmy has such a big heart and he really is a great guy. I am grateful for his humble, unconditionally loving example. And he came to church on yesterday! Are there some people that you would like for me to talk about a little bit more? or tell you more about them? A couple other things:

- We were able to share the Book of Mormon and bear our testimony to one of the workers at the Salvation Army. That was such a cool experience to see a relationship blossom in such an effortless way over time. 

- The bishop is having us focus on getting members to have family mission plans and so we have started doing that. We are starting to see some miracles from that as well.

I probably better get going, but I just want to let you guys know how much I love you...This is how much (Imagine my hands about 4 feet across). I am so grateful that I have such a fun family. I am also grateful that things are still going well with Emma's recovery. Emma you are a good sport and I am continually praying for you. I will leave you with an excerpt from my Presidents letter. Elder Bennett and I calculated a bunch of numbers and came up with some cool facts.

Prayers and thoughts Always :)

Elder Devin Soper

I came across my favorite scripture this week in my study (or I guess one of my favorites) in Alma 37. In verses 6 and 7 Alma is talking to his son Helaman and he says:

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." Baby steps. Line upon line. Here a little, there a little. Doing the little things everyday will really make the difference and I decided to look at our 2 years as a missionary and add up the small and simple things.

If we take advantage of our personal studies that adds up to 730 hours of meaningful, spirit-filled, uninterrupted studies of the scriptures.

If we are diligent in companion study that adds up to 850 more hours of gospel discussion and enlightenment with our companions over the two years. (including 12 week).

Add those together we have been blessed with the chance to have 1580 hours devoted to studying the gospel over the course of our two years.

If we read just only 1 chapter of the Book of Mormon each day...we will finish the Book of Mormon approximately 3 times on our mission. Now if we read two we will read it over 6 times. 

Now on average a missionary will say about 3 personal prayers a day and that adds up to 2190 personal conversations with our Heavenly Father on our mission. 

These are all things pertaining to us but this doesn't include the good that we do each day and the little acts of service that happen. We are each giving 17, 520 hours of our lives or (it sounds bigger when you put it in minutes) 1,051,200 minutes of devoted service to the Lord. If we add all the missionaries time together in our mission ( I am saying there is about 180 missionaries) over the course of all of our missions there are 189,216,000 minutes where we can make a difference every minute. Now lets take all 80,000 missionaries that are out right now. 84,096,000,000... that is a lot!!!! Imagine all the miracles that are being done! We can do small and simple acts of good every minute of our mission. Heavenly Father works through us, as his children and so when Alma says, "And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls" he is talking about us as instruments in the hands of the Lord. Now this scripture could be related to a multitude of other things as well, but pertaining to us as missionaries I now know that the small and simple things that we do make a difference. No effort is wasted and we can all make a difference in the lives of those around us. How cool is that?!