Saturday, April 12, 2014

This week has been pretty hard...

Dear Family,

The babes love me

The process of revelation, stage 1

stage 2

stage 3

 I was wondering if you guys might have gone to a session of Conference this week and you did! That is really cool. I really enjoyed the Saturday Afternoon session and that would have been cool to be there in person. I guess it would be cool to be at any of them in person. It is definitely A spiritual recharge and it applies to everybody as a whole and individually at the same time. It is awesome. We watched it at the Church building and one of the members provided lunch for us and then we just brought some food up for the other meals. It all worked good. There were the 4 missionaries there and then probably 4 members. So we had a little party haha. Not quite the 21,00 that fit into the conference center, but still the same spirit. IT is true that General Conference as a missionary means just that much more. It is something that you look forward to and just can't wait to receive the guidance that Heavenly Father has prepared specifically for the time that you are here serving him full-time.  

I think some of my favorite talks were by President Uchtdorf on Gratitude and then also his on Not Sleeping through the Restoration. That was exactly what I needed to hear. I love how he said that "We can be grateful no matter what." It is no that we should be grateful for things, but be grateful in our circumstances. It is a way of life and a choice that we make. As always it is a treat to hear from Holland and especially because he came right out the gate. The very first one and it set a good tone for the whole conference. The one by Elder Zwick was really good as well and is very applicable to the situation that I am in right now. I am definitely learning how essential it is to communicate with love. It is hard but it makes a big difference. 

I also thought that Elder Bednar's talk on the load that we carry and how it helps us create spiritual traction was awesome. I feel like I have been trying to carry a heavy load this transfer and it was comforting to be reminded that I don't have to carry it alone and not only that, but that burden is helping me progress in the way that Heavenly Father wants me to. Pretty cool! Haha all of the talks were really good and I liked the common theme of loving God and your neighbor and striving to be a disciple of Christ. I am excited to hear about some of your insights.  Is a talk that you would like to discuss over a few emails or something? 

I am happy to hear that life is just moving along smoothly. It is always nice to know that everyone is happy. 

This week has been pretty hard and I guess in general this whole transfer has been a challenge. It has been a humbling experience, but I am grateful for it. Haha like President Uchtdorf said being grateful doesn't always mean enjoying it, but understanding the why behind it. It is so easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated and tired. It is so easy to get caught up with the little things of the world and of pride. It is easy to be complacent and self-centered. But like we learned from Elder Holland this conference, living the Gospel isn't meant to be "comfortable". It is easy to do those things because it doesn't take much effort. This transfer we haven't had the greatest numbers, but we have put in our effort, it hasn't been easy been easy to do that and so that means it has been worth it. This being the hardest transfer of my mission does not mean it was the worst (I don't think I have ever had a worst and I don't plan on it!), but it means the opposite, being the hardest means that it has promoted the most growth in both Elder Allred and I. I have been really stressed out the past couple days and it has had some negative effects on me physically and emotionally, but this morning made it all worth it. Elder Allred and I are good friends now. We were able to talk and figure out a situation with humor, humility and patience. The thing that made me the most happy is that he was the one helping me be humble and more patient. I feel like we have come a long way and maybe I had the thoughts that this transfer I was here to simply help him, but I was wrong, we are here to help each other. It has been a blessing. We still have a long way to go, but I feel like we are on the right path.  (That was sort of a hybrid of something from my presidents letter.)

This week has been pretty good though, we have been able to do a lot of service for people and just be outside. We had to say bye to brother Freebairn this week again as he went off shore and so we took some pictures with him just because the transfer is almost over. Hard to believe that it came that fast, this is the last week. We also had a cool experience on Friday. Our zone meeting that we were supposed to have got canceled because of weather warnings and so we had no real plans for that day. Luckily the Spirit took over and prompted Elder Allred that we should go see a Less-active member, Sarah Deville. I have met her before, but didn't know her too well. We got to her house and she came right out and we had an awesome visit with her for about an hour. She is a photographer and she loves taking pictures of the things around her. She got this cool one of a country landscape near her house and it reminds of something that you might paint Dad. I'll try to get it to you sometime. I am glad that we were able to meet with her. Well I will end with a little expert from my Presidents letter.

This month I want to work on Charity and that was just reaffirmed in this last Conference. There were so many talks that told about how Love is what this world needs, that sometimes all the saints need is Prayer, Love and praise or that an act of charity can be as simple as listening or showing interest in someone elses activities. Elder Holland said, "Pure Christlike love will change the world." We know that great things come by small things added upon each other and so this makes me think that it first starts with the pure love of Christ changing us, then through us, changing those around us and then through them changing those around them and so on. Pure Christlike love changes individuals, it will change our districts, it will change our zones , it will change our Mission and  it really will change the world. Elder Bennett shared a quote with me about integrity and it goes like this "Without integrity, nothing else matters. With integrity, nothing else matters."  I really like that and I think that it can be used to describe Charity and so does Moroni. 

Moroni 7 :46-47

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

"Without charity nothing else matters. With charity nothing else matters." It sounds really dramatic, but it does make a difference and it makes sense. When we love God and love our neighbor, the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion. It will lead us and purify us. We will begin to become true disciples of Christ and that is really cool. But like President Uchtdorf said "Gratitude is the catalyst to all Christlike attributes." I am grateful for my mission and the lessons that I am learning and I hope that I can continue to learn.

I love yall so much.

Prayers and thoughts always,

Elder Devin Soper

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