Thanks for sending your ward conference talk Dad. It was down to earth and easy to understand which is something that people appreciate. It reminded me of a Conference talk in which they elaborate or a single scripture and help us to understand the deeper meaning behind the text by using personal stories and real life application.I also thought that was perfect how you added the repentance step in the conversion process. Hear, Remember, Understand, Repent, Act, Become. It was really cool how you talked about how becoming is not an end goal but a continuing process. I just like how the word becoming implies that it is a process, that it is something that you must work for and towards. I thought it was a great talk.
I have definitely felt the same thing with guitar that you have felt with painting. I have noticed that the times that it happens too seem to be very overwhelming and stressful times in my life. That sense of flow and satisfaction in a hobby or skill I think allows your mind to unwind and let go of a lot of unnecessary worrying (which I am prone to). There were times at BYU that the only thing I could think about and wanted to do was sit down on the guitar and just pluck out some tunes for a couple hours. There have also been times on my mission that I have wanted to do that too haha, and I have played my guitar during breaks and sometimes that is when I receive some good revelation. My mind seems to open up. I am very grateful that I have been able to play it on my mission. I think it is normal and that desire is pretty essential and increasing our ability in our talents. I guess the challenge is just not to be consumed haha.
I have been getting pretty sore lately with playing basketball in the hood, riding bikes on exchanges and doing a lot of service. I actually just rode the Elder's bike that was there. It worked really well. And on P-days we usually go to the Library, email for awhile and then get together with all of the missionaries in Lafayette and go play dodgeball, basketball and volleyball at the church in Lafayette. There are about 5 sets of missionaries so 20 of us and then sometimes New Iberia comes up. We have a lot of fun. We are really lucky cause we live right by a target and so when we need something we just go during one of our breaks and pick it up. This is a fun zone because it is a lot smaller and you get to know everybody.
We haven't met with that Spanish family again yet, they had to cancel this week, but they want us to come back. Sister Freebairn is actually from Mexico and so it is really helpful to have her there cause she can speak Spanish when we can't. Elder Bracken took Spanish through high school and he likes to joke that the only thing he remembers how to say is "Can I please go to the bathroom?" Pretty funny.
We have had a lot of cool finding miracles this week and they keep happening. Elder Jones and I went on an exchange and one night we wrote down about 25 names of former investigators and potential investigators...the next day we were blessed with two media referrals exactly where we were planning on working. We were able to contact both of them , C. and L., and we got return appointments with both. C. has two really cute little girls. We were also able to talk to 3 or 4 more people in one of the neighborhoods and pass out some Book of Mormons and Bibles. When I got back with Elder Bracken we made a goal to make 1 new friend everyday. The next day we made 5. We talked to a traveling fire performer named Billy from Massachusetts who had a couple Mormon friends and he gladly accepted a Book of Mormon. We walked around Opelousas and we met S., J. and K. (who stopped us cause they thought we were "two pretty cute white boys), they all want us to come back and teach them more about the Book of Mormon.They actually met with missionaries before and have a couple pamphlets. We then went to a little wing shack and we started talking to the owner named Mario. We got to know him and he actually gave us extra food for free. He got these homemade hot terriyaki wings and they were super good. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he told us to come back. We are definitely blessed when we simply open our mouth. We had another miracle this morning. Before we came off to email we stopped by the apartment office and the woman, V. , that works there started asking us a question and then she said "never mind." We told her she could ask us and then she said "well the more I read the Bible I am realizing to truly be saved we need to be baptized and I was wondering if you guys could help me." I think we had to stop ourselves from laughing because we just couldn't believe it. We set up an appointment and we are going to come talk to her at the office on Wednesday. We are being blessed!! And we even made a new friend today already.
We also had a really good lesson with T. about the Book of Mormon this week and he committed to reading it and praying about it. He is a good guy and he just has a natural desire to come closer to God. The transfer is coming to a close and I just hope that Elder Bracken and I can stay together for one more. We are becoming great friends and we are seeing a lot of miracles. I love being a district leader too because you get to talk to the other missionaries, get to know them and get strength and revelation from them. The missionaries in our district are doing really well right now and we are just all happy. It is so much fun.
I still have a lot to work on, but I found a cool scripture that brings me a lot of comfort. D & C 123 :17 says
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
It reminds me of that quote you sent me a long time ago Dad. We just have to do our best, even if it is imperfect and we can be happy, with "the utmost assurance" in knowing that Heavenly Father will take care of the rest. I know that is true. I also love how it says we should do it "cheerfully." Being happy is way better than sad, worried or stressed and Heavenly Father wants us to be happy in this life more than anything. We are pretty happy.
I love you guys so much and thank you for your support.
Prayers and Thoughts always
Elder Devin Soper