Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Well we have had a pretty good week...

Dear Family,

I bet the title of my email threw you off a little might be thinking it is about me coming home soon, but it is actually referencing that LSU had there homecoming this week. "Broo!! Gotcha." :)

I told you guys the wrong thing and it is next week that we have transfers. But I guess one good thing is this email will come a day before it was expected haha I am interested to see what happens this next transfer too. I am not really sure what I would prefer, but I am happy to be where ever I am needed. I wouldn't be too surprised if I stayed here though and train somebody new here. I am excited to see! 

That is weird to think that fall is coming to a close. It is strange to me that the leaves turned orange and are actually falling off there. Here we still have weather up into the 70's and 80's and it is green as could be. Were you able to get some good reference photos for paintings this fall? I guess you guys have been able to make it to Spring City a couple times and I bet that is fun to get away for a little while and take some cool fall pictures. 

Well we have had a pretty good week. It has been slow in terms of teaching lessons, but we have still had the opportunity to talk to quite a few people with Free Speech Alley and getting involved with some of the activities on campus for Homecoming (I guess mostly we just wanted some of the free food haha). Free Speech alley was pretty successful and we are finding that we are seeing a lot of the same faces that we see each week. That can work to our advantage or our disadvantage depending on if they might want to talk to us, or have made the decision that they really don't want to talk to us. I am not sure if that made sense or not. Haha but I guess I am just saying that things are going pretty well and we are starting to create some new friendships. We made new posters too and hopefully they are a little more inviting and happy.

We had another lesson with S. this week and it was awesome. We took the time to just catch up with each other and all get in the same page. He has read past 2 Nephi now and he said that all of his intellectual concerns are gone now. He said that he has a broken heart right now and he is vulnerable to the spirit. He said it is a little stressful being at this point of change and confusion, but he is happy that he is making progress. He told us the only thing that he has to get past now is just making sure that he isn't being deceived. That gave Elder White and I an opportunity to bear our testimonies of the Restoration. It was a really good visit and we talked a lot about how Mormonism just makes sense. That is so true. 

The last part of the week we took it easy because Elder White sprained his ankle. He is doing really good now though. We had Zone Conference and got to watch Meet the Mormons. I don't know if you guys have been able to see it yet, but they did a really good job with it. I loved the start of it because they did a really good job of being informative, but poking fun at us as well with clips from different movies and tv shows (a cilp from southpark, one from the simpsons etc.) That day we went to the doctor for Elder White's ankle and then afterwards President and Sister Hansen took us out to dinner at a Greek restaurant. The food was awesome, but we really enjoyed being able to spend so much time with them. It was a lot of fun. 

Hey I know that I don't have much longer left, but I was wondering if you guys would want me to send more personalized emails to each of you along with the more informative one for the blog? 

I love you guys!!!

Elder Devin Soper

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Things have definitely picked up compared to a couple of weeks ago...

Dear Family,

Yeah I think things have definitely picked up compared to a couple of weeks ago. It is nice to see a progression in the area; no matter how small it is it feels like a success. I think it will continue to get better, although this week was tough because it was mid terms. So that means that there were a lot of stressed out students using all of their time cramming for tests haha. Yeah we are definitely lucky here on campus because they have a solid institute program established and so we are able to go to institute each Tuesday. We also have FHE with the ward every Monday and so we are able to have some fun and positive interactions with the members. This transfer is a little different, it is only 5 weeks long and we are on week 4 right now. And so my final transfer is coming up really soon. It is weird to think that it is starting to wrap up so quickly... It will be interesting to see what happens and how I will spend my final months out here in Louisiana. 

Elder White and I make a point to take a little Sunday nap every week during our break to just  unwind from the week. It feels so good to be able to relax for just a little while in the midst of being out working, talking and sharing our testimonies. Got to find a good balance. 

I think the coolest thing from the week is the realization of how many people we have created friendships and personal relationships with out here. Just walking around campus we are always seeing people that we know and are able to catch up with them a little bit. There are definitely some that have a lot of potential of being able to turn into sharing our beliefs. We met a girl on campus too whose family lives in Lafayette and we used to play dodge ball with her little brother on P-days (they are all investigators) That was cool to make that connection. We have also been meeting with another investigator, J. and we had a good lesson with her this last week. We went in planning on teaching the Restoration, but based on all the questions she asked we ended up teaching what I like to call a shot gun lesson. I am pretty sure we touched on every single lesson and commandment that we teach. It was awesome to see how interested she was. We were a little disappointed this last week because we weren't able meet with S., but we are hoping it is going to work out tomorrow. 

I just wanted to bear my testimony on the Atonement. It is real and although I don't know exactly how it works, I know that can fill you with peace and improves your character. The more rely on it the more we can understand who we and others are, because we begin to understand more fully who our Savior is. I know that it can work on the big things, but it is just as powerful and relevant on the little mistakes that we make in our life. It is only through Christ's sacrifice that we can repent and go from "bad" to good and good to better. I have always struggle a little bit with understanding who I am, but I realized that maybe I should just work on being more like the Savior, because that would be a perfect person to emulate. So maybe I don't know exactly who I am, but I know who I want to be like. I feel like that is a good first step! I love you guys so much and I hope that you have a great week and everything goes well. Love you!

Prayers and thoughts always, 


Elder Soper

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This week has been awesome...

Dear Family,

It is hard to believe to that registration for BYU comes up soon, but it is kind of exciting to think about that as well! I joke about being trunky, but in reality I going to really miss being able to do this. I have found a lot of happiness in dedicating my life to the Lord and I hope that I can continue to do that in some type back home. My mission has definitely impacted my life in a positive way that I will never forget. It will always be a part of me. 

This week has been awesome in terms of being able to share the gospel. We have finally been able to set up Free Speech Alley and that has been a miracle finding tool. We get to set up a table in the middle of campus and we can freely proselyte from 10 to 2. We get to do that on Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week. We pass out candy and just try to talk to people. It really requires you to get out of your shell and it is uncomfortable at first, but it becomes really fun. YOu can just go up to people and ask them, "Hey man, have you ever heard about the Restoration?" They will look at you funny and then say  "No I haven't." Then you just go into teaching them a little bit about it. Or it can go like this, you ask them the same question and then they say....Nothing haha A lot of people ignore you, but it is kinda funny to laugh about later. Elder Barbeau and I were able to teach a girl about the entire plan of salvation and we now have a lesson set up with her on Tuesday. They are definitely people prepared and it is just awesome to be able to share these precious truths with people. It makes you feel really good to share your testimony. We probably had over 20 people sign up to be contacted from those two days and we consider that a great success! 

While we were doing Free Speech Alley, S. walked by and so we were able to catch up with him a little bit too. He has been continuing to read the Book of Mormon and he is through 2 nephi. We kinda got the vibe that he had just been studying on his own just to understand for himself. But he later told us with a smile on his face, "Elders, I am pretty convinced." Elder White and I were so excited when he said that, the spirit was there and all I wanted to do was do a little jig. We have a lesson set up with him tomorrow and we are really looking forward to seeing him again.

I definitely know that the Atonement is real and that it really was the greatest act of kindness and charity that was ever performed. I been able to feel its power or recognize its power on my mission than any other time in my life. That has been tender mercy in my life. I know that I am not perfect and I have a lot of weaknesses that I need to work on. But I am happy that I know and understand those weaknesses because now I can work with my Savior and Heavenly Father on those so I can become better. They love so much and that is something that I know for sure. 

I love you guys so much too and I am getting excited to see you guys again. I love you!

Prayers and thoughts always,


Elder Devin Soper

Monday, October 6, 2014

One of the most fun and memorable conference weekends for me...

Dear Family,

Well I don't have too much to report on this week. I know what you mean about the weeks starting to fly by. It has gotten to the point where I just don't know where the days are going. But we have had some success making friends with some of the ward members and even people that we met on campus. That has been especially cool making those relationships with students and ward members.  I haven't had to give any talks and so that has been nice haha. 

We were able to watch most of conference at the Mission Home with President and Sister Hansen. It was probably one of the most fun and memorable conference weekends for me because we were in such a comfortable setting with a lot of the people that really feel like family now. It was so fun, we all made cookies in between sessions and just had fun discussing conference and memories from our mission. It was Elder White, Elder Bracken, Elder Rothchild, Elder Bennett, Elder Barbeau, Elder Wittig and Elder Benson with Pres and Sister Hansen. I really enjoyed it. Oh yeah we got two new Elders here at LSU this transfer with us, Elder Bennett is training Elder Barbeau. He is from Montreal and although English is his second language he speaks really well. They are awesome to have around the apartment. 

I think my favorite talks were by President Uchtdorf as usual, Elder Klebingat and Elder Scott . I liked to how conversational Elder Klebingat was about plain truths of the gospel that can make such a difference in your life if you live by them. Those are 6 points that I want to apply especially now and when I get home. We are responsible for our own spiritual and physical well being. Haha it was funny as soon as he started talking about eating healthy and taking care of our bodies I was eating a big piece of white chocolate covered popcorn... the irony was unbearable. Elder Scott was cool as well because he just explained simple doctrines like prayer and scripture study and just reemphasized them. I need that continually reemphasized in my mind. Man I also like Brother Callisters talk about the power of parenthood and it just made me think how well you guys did with us. Elder Bednar's talk would be good to show the entire world as well... Conference was good this time around. Yeah that is cool how they may all have encountered the gospel in different ways and have had different experiences but their testimonies are all powerful and true. 

I gotta get going to let some other missionaries email. But I love you guys so much. God is great, life is good and people are crazy. ( That is a quote from a song that Elder White likes. haha) but life really is good. I love you!

Prayers and thoughts always,

Elder Soper

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

This next transfer is going to be full of blessings, miracles and memories...

Dear Family,

Elder White and I get to stay one more together! We worried for a little while that we might be getting split up, but we were relieved and excited to hear that we get to stay. It is nice to know that you are going to have a companion and a friend that you can get a long with and can get a lot of work done.   So we have a feeling that this next transfer is going to be full of blessings, miracles and memories. A lot to look forward to I think. 

I have really mixed feelings writing this email right now, I am not sure why haha. I think I am realizing how little time I have left and I can really feel and sense my mission winding down. It is bitter sweet mostly because it is sad thinking that this wont last, but also good looking back and seeing all the friends we have made, the experiences that we have had and how we have all come closer to our Father in Heaven. 

I will share one cool story that happened this week. We had a lesson yesterday with a potential investigator, H (investigator now) and he brought his friend, S. They are both from the Middle East and they grew in up Muslim but they now that want to simply follow God and find out what is best for them be it Islam or Christianity. They are both very intelligent and aren't afraid to ask good questions. As we were teaching about the where we came from S spoke up and said, "That makes sense that we are all Brothers and Sisters. Also I believe that after this life we will probably wait somewhere for a little and then God will judge us. That just sounds like something God would do." We kinda sat their shocked for a little bit and he asked us what was up and we just told him that he was spot on. It is just a testimony that people are prepared to hear this Gospel. They really are sincerely seeking for the truth and it is cool to see how it clicks with them as they learn it. A little update on D, we haven't been able to get in contact with him since we had that last lesson with him. That has been kind of sad, but we are hoping that he is still having a positive experience with the Book of Mormon. We aren't sure what is going on, but we are keeping him in our prayers. We are finally getting Free Speech Alley set up and so that should be an opportunity to meet a lot of new people as well. 

I love you guys so much and I hope that you guys have a great general conference as well! I can't wait to talk about some of the talks with yall. Have an awesome week.

Prayers and Thoughts always,

Elder Devin Soper

Elder White and I at Cajun Village