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.
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