Hola mi Familia,
Mom I have to thank you for sending all that information about how Mrs. Long (or Allen now) does her personal scripture studies. You were definitely inspired in sending that because I have been looking for a more effective way of studying and learning. I have started to use some of her ideas and I have seen a difference in how much more meaningful and focused my studies are. I look forward to it even more each morning. It is really cool. So thank you!
Yes I am wearing a green tie today so I cannot be pinched. Can't wear my green underwear anymore so I can't be quite as tricky. .. And I just have to say that I just enjoy hearing about your guys life, it is a lot of fun. Things always change but our lives kind of continue in a similar fashion and so a lot of the events and things going on remind me of the things that went on last year. Student council stuff, soccer for Taylor and Emma and other things. It is hard to believe that was a year ago. It is also hard to believe how fast time is going . I hit my 15 month mark in two days and so I really only have about 9 months left on my mission. We get to call each other for the last time in about 2 months. We are on the downhill of this whole experience. It is exciting but a little sad too. I am so grateful for the things that I have learned so far and all of the experiences that I have had. If anything I have grown closer to my Heavenly Father and my love for this gospel has increased. It has been good.
This has been a good week. It has been hard and been kind of a slow roll, but I am already really grateful for it. Man has it been stressful haha, There have been days where I just feel completely overwhelmed and burnt out, but those days compel you to get on your knees, they push you to study a little harder and they make it essential to have a prayer in your heart. I do like being a district leader. There are parts of it that kind of feel like a chore, paper work and preparing for weekly meetings. But you really get to know the missionaries on a more personal level because you get to work with them, you hear about the miracles they are experiences, you hear about the struggles that they go through and then if you are lucky you get to hear about the off the wall crazy things that happen haha. It is hard and tiring, but rewarding. It makes realize how hard it must be to be a Bishop haha. It also makes me realize how much I enjoyed being a regular missionary... that sounds bad haha but it is kinda true. Your mission changes a lot and I think your life changes a lot depending on the responsibility that you receive. We are just really lucky to have a loving Heavenly Father that helps us through it all. I really do like it though, it is something that I needed.
Things are going well with Elder Allred. We are becoming better friends little by little and we have made the decision to just take our missions day by day. Sometimes that is just what you have to do, take baby steps. It is tricky to explain your feelings and it might just be impossible to let you know everything. I am going to do my best to let you guys know how I am feeling, but I just want to let you know that I can feel your support and your prayers.
This has been a good week though. We are trying to really build a foundation in this area for future missionaries. This is more of a long term goal and so much of the fruit that will come from it will be down the road. I definitely know that we are going to see miracles along the way, we already do everyday. We visited P. a couple of times and he is doing great. He is the one with Polio and is a recent member. He actually got permission straight from the First Presidency to go to the Temple and so we get to go with him this Saturday. That is going to be so awesome! A bunch of people from the branch are coming and then Elder Bracken is coming down as well. I will send you some pictures next week. We got a request to go give someone a blessing in a Behavioral Correction facility (Mental Hospital) and that ended up being a good story. These places have pretty heavy security and you are very limited on what you can bring in and so that already makes things kind of different from a regular missionary day. We went looking for a man named P. C. and we even had his Patient Number...well there was no P. C.. There was one guy with the same first name though and so they let us in to go see him. They used the Metal detector on us and then we went to go see P. M.. Well this wasn't the right P., but he still wanted to say a prayer with us and we actually got to teach a lesson to him and his nurse. And so in the end it had a really positive outcome. The interesting thing is that still nobody knows who this P. C. is...Twilight Zone? Other than that this week we have just really been working closely with the members and creating a more solid relationship with the Branch. I will send you a picture of one of the members, Bro. Morris who is actually leaving this week to Ohio. It was a successful week in my book. We did go to the Baudoin's last night and that is always good. They BBQ'd some steaks, chicken and sausage. There are those days in Louisiana where a missionary can be a little spoiled. I can't wait for you guys to meet them!
To end I will share a little exerpt from my Presidents Letter:
I have been studying a lot for this District meeting coming up and I have felt prompted to focus on our purpose. I was going really in depth in our purpose until my ideas just stopped and I couldn't move forward. I remembered that although I would love help missionaries gain confidence, that it is through experiencing the Atonement where we will gain that confidence and increased urgency in our purpose. We then experience the Atonement by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I think it has to be more complicated that, but I am always reminded that the Gospel is plain, simple and precious. I read something in Ether today that confirmed that to me. In Ether 1 Jared asks his Brother to inquire of the Lord on what they should do and where they should go. He then says in verse 38 : "And who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth? And if it so be, let us be faithful unto the Lord, that we may receive it for our inheritance." The key word is "faithfulness." He isn't sure the blessings that they Lord has in store, he isn't sure of the experiences that lie ahead, but he knows that for any of it to happen they need to be faithful, they need to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pretty cool. And as missionaries we don't always know what lies ahead of us, we don't know if we will be transferred or who our companion will be, but we can do one thing and that is stay faithful and obedient to the Lord. We can always do our part and the Lord promises he will help.
I love you guy!
Prayers and thoughts always,
Elder Devin Soper