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

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