Thursday, June 19, 2014

Well this has been a pretty crazy week...

Dear Yall,

Good Morning Utah, this is the Elder Soper from Louisiana. It sounds like Trek was a good experience and that people learned a lot and enjoyed it! It is hard to imagine dry winds and dusty trails right now when Louisiana has been raining like crazy and the humidity is rising. Haha very different. I am glad that it was a good experience though. It was fun to see all the pictures of the ward in pioneer clothes. It brings back a lot of memories from when we went to Martin's Cove. Do you rember that, it is pretty easy to remeber. :) I really liked the idea for your devotional, that our sacrifices on life's trail are not of temporal things, but leaving behind our natural man. That is a cool comparison. It sounds like you made a lot of fun memories and really in the end it was a very positive experience for everyone.



I am glad that you had a good Father's day! haha those slideshows are always mixed with a bit of nostalgia and embarrassment. Makes them extra fun.  It will be fun to put together a slide show of my mission and see the changes that happened. Maybe today I will send a picture from the start of my mission and then a recent one just for fun. Sorry I wasn't able to do anything too fun for Father's day.. I just want you to know that I love you and I you really are one of my best friends. 

Well this has been a pretty crazy week. It has been awesome to be able to focus on helping the missionaries in our zone and we are lucky to have really down to earth and for the most part easy going missionaries. We went down to Morgan City for their district meeting, went out to lunch with them and then had an exchange. I got to go on an exchange with Elder Herbert again and that was a lot of fun to be able to reconnect with him. It was almost a year from the last time that we went on exchange and it was just weird to think of all the time that passed by. In fact it is weird to think that I have almost exactly 6 months left. I am now an old fart in the mission. 

Things have been going well with R and D. We have been reading the Book of Mormon with them little by little and then we found out this week that Darrell has been reading it every night with his wife and kids. How cool is that?! We got to talk to his wife for a bit one day and she was just telling us how good the Book of Mormon makes her feel and that she loves being able to read it together as a family (she has never sat in on one of the lessons). That is a tender mercy. 

Two sundays ago a woman just randomly showed up to church and it turns out that had met with missionaries in Baton Rouge and she just moved to Carencro. The house that she had bought had some work done to it that looked really stinky and since that is President Shclosser's job to fix up houses like that we spent Friday over there. We sanded down about the bottom foot of all her walls, re-mudded it and then did an orange peel texture on the walls. It was fun to be able to just serve. She was so grateful and we are going to go back this Thursday to paint the walls. On Saturday after our Zone meeting we went up to Opelousas and we just spent a couple of hours mowing some lawns for people that couldn't do it. Being able to serve others really is a blessing, we may not be teaching them the lessons of the gospel, but I think that everyone involved can just feel Heavenly Father's love. It is worth it. 

I have definitely been blessed to be able to be companions with Elder Crane. He is just funny and easy to get a long with. He is a good example of being yourself and being a good Christlike leader. He really loves the missionaries a lot. It has been fun to be able to prepare some Zone meetings with him and just coming up with fun, creative and different ideas. 

President Wall only has two weeks left and so today was the last day to email him and so I will send my last email to him. 

For this last letter I just wanted to share my testimony. I know that Heavenly Father lives and that he really does love us. I know that, because you can see it everyday in the little tender mercies, you can see it because of the missionaries that have sacrificed so much for his children and you can feel it when you are loving, serving and teaching others. He knows us more than we even understand and everything that happens to us on our missions is to help us grow and develop to be more like him and his Son. He blesses us with the good times and he blesses us with the hard times. He blesses daily with opportunities to be pushed out of our comfort zone so that we can improve and be perfected a little at a time. The way that this is possible is through Christ's Atonement and that is a real power that we can access everyday of our lives. It is something tangible and something that can be felt, it is real. We aren't expected to do this alone and Christ promises us that we can have His help and He, His Angels and the Holy Ghost will be by our side at all times. We have more help than we realize. I know that our Savior loves us with the same love that Heavenly Father loves us and if we pray for it we can have that same love for others and for them. I know that we each have special and specific gifts that we have been given to bless the lives of others. I know that these gifts are powerful, unique and real. Sometimes we don't even realize that we are using them, but we are. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I think I have always known it was true. I have seen the principles it teaches being applied in my family all throughout my life and I know how happy you will be if you believe that book. It is the word of God and you will feel the spirit if you diligent seek for truth. I have seen it change lives and I have especially seen it change mine. And if that is true then I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. They are inspired and you will know that if you follow their words. I have seen that even though we are imperfect and we make mistakes, that this gospel is perfect and it contains everything we need to heal our souls. I know that every missionary is precious to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know how much they love us and are proud of the decisions that we have made to come and serve. I know that this is the work of God and how much of an honor it is to be a part of it. Thank you for helping me learn these lessons President Wall. I love you and Sister Wall a lot and I hope that we can stay in contact after our missions as well. You mean a lot to me and I am just so grateful for everything that you have done. I love yall.

I love you guys so much!

Prayers and Thoughts always,

Love Elder Soper

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Things are going really good...


I will just write a short little note right now to update you while you are still on the computer and then I will send a more in depth one in a bit.

Well this last week has been crazy. So Elder Bennett and I got put together as zone leaders in Opelousas and it was going awesome! We set some really good goals and we were looking forward to working hard and seeing a lot of miracles. On Friday we got a call from the Assistants and it turns out that something happened and they had to do an emergency transfer and Elder Bennett was leaving... we were both pretty disappointed. So yesterday we met the assistants and we both got our new companions. So he went to Denham Springs to be a Zone Leader and then Elder Crane came here with me. It is kind of a shock and it will take a little while to get used to the change, but I am sure that it is all for the best. So just to let you know that everything is going pretty good, kinda crazy and stressful, but it is helping us grow. I'll update you more in a bit. Haha and it sounds like yall are having a good time. Wish I was there too. I am excited to hear more!


Elder Soper

Elder Bennett

Elder Crane


Things are going really good. President Uchtdorf once said "We never aspire to callings, but we always accept." And it hasn't been easy to be a Zone leader, in fact it really changes the flow of missionary work. But it is good, because it challenges you in different ways. So I am grateful.

It has been really fun to be with Elder Crane. Whenever you first get a new companion there is an awkward stage where you don't really know each other and you aren't sure how to act and we had that for the first couple days. But we just took the time to get to know each other better and it has been really fun. I am sure we are going to become a lot better friends over the course of our companionship too.  He loved his last area a lot and he really had a deep love for the people there. So that was hard to leave them, but he is a strong missionary and he is just excited to love the people here too. I have a lot of respect for Elder Crane and he is a perfect example of improving day by day. He loves to learn new things, so he will set daily goals to work on it and then he is diligent in carrying it out. For example on his mission he has learned how to knit and then he has spent the last couple months practicing his handwriting and calligraphy. (those are just a few of many) He just puts in the time and he gets good at it. He is the jack of all trades. He has been a zone leader for about the past 7 months and so he knows what he is doing. But even more than that he loves the missionaries a lot  and he would do anything to help them.  He only has 3 months left on his mission and so I wouldn't be surprised if we were companions up until he leaves. 

Isn't that cool that Elder Allred is now in Plaquemine? Haha there really is no better place to understand, experience first hand that culture shock. He is going to do good there. It was really good for me and I learned to love it a lot. One eternal round. Weird to think that I was there over a year ago. Time really flies. By the end of this transfer I will have spent about 6 months in Opelousas and I will only have about 5 months left on my mission... Scary to think about haha

I am looking forward to hearing more about Mexico. It sounds like from the little sneak peeks I got from the last email that it was an "explosive" adventure. Don't worry I have had some of those adventures on my mission too haha. But I do hope that it was relaxing and just a lot of fun. That is cool that you were that "angel" to that woman. It is funny that even on vacation Heavenly Father puts us in places to help others. There are tender mercies everywhere. You were definitely inspired by the spirit to talk to her.  So was it just yall and Grandma and Grandpa then?   I am glad you guys had so much fun! I bet it will be nice to get back into the swing of things and just start enjoying a relaxed summer after trek. And if your schedule is still hectic and stressful cut some of the unnecessary things out of it. You guys deserve some good easy-going time. There is a really good talk by President Uctdorf called "Of Things That Matter Most." and he just explains how sometimes we just need to slow down and get back to the basics. Here are three of my favorite quotes: 

"We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together."

" To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him."

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

I really like how in the end our happiness comes from the simple things that we do everyday to grow closer with God, with our Family and with others.  Oh yeah and that is fine about the letters. I understand how crazy it has been over there and it has been about the same over here, so it all works out. I can feel your guys prayers, love and support all the time. 

So this week has been different with meetings and stuff, but it has been really cool. We got to go to a meeting called MLC (Mission Leadership Council) at the mission home with all of the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders and President Wall. It was just a cool meeting and the spirit was really strong as we all discussed how we can help the mission be better and the missionaries be happier. It was cool. We also got to do some fun service for an investigator; we pressure washed their house. It turned out to be a lot bigger of a job than we thought haha, but we had fun doing it anyway. You get soaking wet and my shirt was almost completely bleached. 

But I think the coolest thing that happened this week was with R and D. We had gone over planning to teach them a little bit about Jospeh Smith and watching the Restoration with them. But after a little of just talking with them we felt inspired to read 1 Nephi 1 with them, so we did! I don't know how much they learned from the story itself, but I do know that we all learned a lot from the feeling we all felt. R is always a little nervous to read, but he read this time and D said that is the first time that he has ever seen him do that. It is just so cool how much the spirit can boost our confidence and make us feel good even when things seem too hard. I love those guys a lot and they are some of the most humble and patient people that I have ever met. I can't wait to introduce you guys to them. I will keep you posted on how they are doing. 

The church is true and it makes you happy.

I love yall!

Prayers and Thoughts always,

Elder Soper