Monday, April 21, 2014

I feel optimistic about the future...

Dear Family, 

First I have to apologize about this last transfer. Everything got really busy and I wasn't able to get back to a lot of the questions that you guys had from letters past.  But I want you to know how much I appreciate your letters, they mean a lot to me and I want to answer all of your questions, so I am going to do a better job of that!  

You asked if we have had any eating strange experiences...and I have! Most are pretty good actually, but Louisiana hasn't gotten mexican food right. We went to this one place and I got a pork buritto and it was about 75 % was fat and the other 25% was dry shreds of meat...mmm haha I guess we are spoiled in Utah. But then on Friday we went to a Thai restaurant and the food was awesome! I got massuman and they did a really good job with it. The only bad thing was the price haha, Because our group was large they add the tip themselves and my bill was about 17 bucks. Some others were about 20; Haha oh well you live and you learn. But for the most part the food is awesome and the best experiences are at peoples homes. So I have restaurants I want to take yall to...but also some homes to get a good food experience when we come down. 

 Oh yeah, so this transfer Elder Allred and I will be staying together in Opelousas. I will admit that was pretty nervous and scared cause I knew that it is going to be hard with all of the different things added together.  I feel really good about staying now though. There is this new Easter video called Because of Him and it is awesome! Christ's sacrifice changed the world and gave us a way to become better, to improve everyday. His atonement is what makes it possible for us to be happy in the life and enjoy happiness in the eternities. He knew that it was going to be hard, but He did it because he loves us and that gives me a lot of courage. I also had a really cool experience praying last night and I know that Heavenly Father needs me here and I just feel really happy. I feel optimistic about the future and I know that everything is going to work out in such a way that we will all learn and grow. It is going to be awesome. I am really looking forward to this transfer!

It really helped to have all of your insights from your last letters about those talks. I reread both of them and I printed off the "Are you Sleeping through the Restoration?" just to dig a little deeper into it. I am so grateful that I had your letter about being grateful mom, because it helped me to be more grateful IN my circumstances. I love that line by James Taylor. We really do need to enjoy the little things. We have so much to be grateful and happy about that in the end we don't need to worry about the things that go wrong. Maybe it will slow things down, but it will not end. There are no ends, "we are not made for endings because we are made of the stuff for eternity."\

 I really liked in President Ucthdorf's other talk where he gives the remedy for selfishness. He says that we need to give our lives to God in service and acts of Charity can be as simple as a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement or even time spent listening. That is really cool. I think he is definitely right in saying that Selfishness, Addiction and competing priorities will make you "sleepy." There are the extremes of each of those and they are a shocking reality not only in life but within the church. But then within each of them are the more subtle parts that will make you "sleepy" too. I like how he says that if we remember to first and formost love God and our Neighbor as our self, that  our priorities will be in the right place. 

A couple other highlights from the week. We did a bike day on Saturday and we didn't drive one mile in our car. We ended up biking about 16 miles and we saw a ton of miracles. We got into R. and K's house, a part member family that we haven't been able to see. We just got to know them better and create a good foundation. We also were able to teach a few other lessons and one member ever made us PB and J sandwiches. It was so much fun. I finally got the new parts for my guitar and everything is in working order so that is good. The branch is really picking up on the work and we are starting to see some cool miracles from that as well. This sunday we are going on a rescue to visit some of the less-actives. We have about 70 active members and almost 400 on the roster. We got some work to do! And we were able to meet with S. and her family again and we came just at the right time...dinner time haha. They invited us right in. We had fried fish and crawfish etouffee. It was really good. We had a fun week and to top it off yesterday we did some service in the pouring Louisiana rain. Making mission memories. Well I will end with a little expert from my presidents letter

I just finished the Bednar challenge, studying the Book of Mormon looking for instances of the enabling power of the Atonement, this week and I wanted to share my thoughts about the whole thing. The Atonement influences and strengthens us beyond our natural capacity everyday and in everything that we do. When we are living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are striving to keep the commandments we have access to the power and grace that Christ's Atonement offers. It won't perfect us immediately, but it does perfect us little by little. That progression by small and simple things is through the grace of Christ. If we are improving day by day then naturally the Atonement is helping us become something we wouldn't be able to become on our own. Thus Christ's Atonement, the enabling power of the Atonement, "strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity" every moment of our lives if we allow it to. We have a loving Heavenly Father that wants us to be happy and he gave us His Son so that we can be.

I love yall!

Prayers and thoughts always,


Elder Devin Soper 

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