Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"I made it alive!!"

Dear Fambly,

I made it alive!! I can't believe I have only been here a week in Plaquemine, it feels like forever. It feels like there was no life before missionary life haha. But it sounds like yall had a pretty good week.  Sorry I am emailing today (P-day was yesterday). It was Martin Luter King day, so all the libraries are closed. Luckily I can do it today!

It is fun to hear about the missionaries coming over, and it is a lot like what I am doing. We actually have dinner appointments for the rest of the week and 2 today haha. My companion calls it "greenie magic." I really really hope I don't gain too much weight. Actually I have lost weight since I got here from being so anxious. And I think if I continue to work out combined with my metabolism I will be fine.

This letter is going to be pretty honest...  I have only been here a week and it really has been the hardest and most stressful time of my life. It was already a little stressful because of the plane situation [delayed for one day] and when I got here I found out that my companion is red dotted, so he can't drive. He got in a crash early last year, so he isn't allowed to drive anymore. So I got to drive the freeway, and the busy, little, crazy streets of Baton Rouge and Plaquemine, I was dying. My trainer has been out here almost 19 months, he is about 6 foot 1 and is a really big guy. He was really into hard rock and heavy metal before his mission. He is a good missionary and a good guy.

                                           The city is right on the Mississippi River

Like I said earlier, this has been the hardest thing that I have ever done. I am praying every minute that we will be safe in the car going to and from places. And MTC life to mission life is a bit of a rough transition. It is just taking a bit to get used to. I am serving in Plaquemine, which is about 15 or 30 minutes away from Baton Rouge. We cover about 3 cities, Plaquemine, Port Allen and White Castle. This area is very poor and a lot of people live in tough neighborhoods.  It is hard to see a lot of run down houses and less than desirable interiors. But there are parts of town that a pretty quaint and cozy too.  Our apartment is alright, nothing to special, but livable. Although, when the water gets hot smells like boiled eggs haha. Everything is very different down here and it is taking some getting used to. I heard that I am the first missionary in 2 years to be trained in Plaquemine, I'm not sure what to think of that haha. But it is just different and just not the same as many other areas in the mission. I've only been here a week though and I think it is beginning to grow on me. I love the branch though! There were 26 people there on sunday and the building is smaller than our chapel, a lot smaller. The Branch Pres. name is Pres. Hebert (french pronunciation, like Colbert) and he is a really nice man. He is bald with a goatee. 

The coolest guy I have met so far is Johnell. He is about 28 and has been a member for a few years. He has got 3 little kids and lives in a tough neighborhood. He is a little taller than me, has got skinny dreadlocks to his shoulder, is ripped and plays street ball. But most of all he is a super active member and is starting to show interest in going to the temple. He passes the sacrament every week and it is awesome. He came to a lesson with us and he was wearing light khaki pants (low down) a white shirt and a flat brim Miami heat hat with a red tie to match haha. New missionary attire? By the way that lesson was a bit awkward, but Johnell texted us later and told us that the woman we taught loved it! We have a return appointment. We went to see Johnell on Saturday to see if he had a ride to church and his uncle was there. He was nice and wacky, but wanted us to teach him scripture. We ended up getting on the subject of Church and we challenged him to come and he gave us his word he would. And he came!! It was awesome and he enjoyed it, so we are going to go back and teach him soon. All of the members down here are really nice and I think they think that I am really innocent, which I am haha. But every single one has asked me how old I am and nobody can believe that I am 19. One of the members, Sis Johnson, nicknamed me Elder Babyface. I think that it is pretty funny and I joke about it with people a lot.  The members here wear awesome clothes.  One guy wore a brown suit coat with a black shirt and a orange tie. But his pants... soft, burnt orange, flare church pants. Cool Biens.

                                          Bayou near Plaquemine

Well I have to get off soon and I will share some of the scriptures that have brought me real comfort at this time:

Alma 34:41, D and C 121 I think it is 7 and 9 and D & C 122 7. Or something like that. They talk about how our afflictions will be but a short moment and that these experiences are given to us so we might learn. It is hard to see that when the times are tough, but this has really pushed me to put all my faith in hope in Heavenly Father and his plans for me. He knows what he is doing and doesn't give us anything that we can't handle.  And we need to be cut down before we can grow to be better, just like a tree. I am going to push through, and in D and C 121 it talks about how our friends and family are there right with us with with open arms. You may not be here with me, but I am going through this like you are, cause I know that you are. Things are always easier said than done and so I am trying to convince myself of the fact that everything is going to be alright and that really Christ is right here with me cause he has already gone through this. I miss you guys a lot and my feelings are like a roller coaster.  And I am not homesick for home, but homesick for family. I knew that I was very blessed to have an amazing family, but I have realized that we are SOOO blessed with our family. We have what a lot of people dream of, so thank you and I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for that. I hope that I can share a little bit of what I have got. I think a lot of this will come with time and I just need to keep swimming. Dad I don't know how you did it with your trainer haha cause it is already hard enough. You are stronger than me haha. Thank y'all for your examples, I love you so much, keep me updated. I will keep you updated, don't worry about me cause I know the Lord is looking out for me and I am nervous but excited to see what he has in store for me. Love you all!

Salutations from the South,

Elder Soper

1 comment:

  1. What a treat to read this first letter from the mission field. I'm glad he's such a great writer...he gives an honest and clear picture of his experience which makes me not only feel excited for him, but it makes me miss him even more. What a gem he is. How can you read his letters without crying a little.
    He already said "y'all". He's really in the south.