Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Letter #5 (First Area)

       Imagine my surprise when I just finished updating Steven's blog having to use his Mission President's blog info because he hadn't written yet and realize that I have a new email from him! Our first letter from Jackson Mississippi, where the Mission Home is (the hub of this mission, his mission takes in 4 states). He was there just long enough for his interview, a hot meal and a comfy bed and then off to his first area...but I will let him tell you about that!

Greetings from Shreveport, Louisiana!!

Wow what a crazy few days the last few days have turned out to be!! From the M.T.C. in Provo Utah to Jackson, Mississippi, to now being in Shreveport, Louisiana, the last few days have been nothing short of amazing, but lets start at the beginning! So Monday morning at 3 in the A.M. district 3A, headed to to the Jackson, Mississippi Mission, awoke to start the adventure of a life time! In order to make our 7:50 flight we had to leave the M.T.C. by 4, thus the early waking up time. So at 4, we boarded a bus bound for S.L.C International airport and quickly boarded our flight with Atlanta, Georgia as the destination. We arrived in Atlanta at about 2 o'clock local time and had about a 2 hour layover where we all got to try out our new found missionary skills. Unfortunately none of us had any luck do to our "greeniess", but with spirits high, we jumped on our final plane to Jackson Mississippi! Upon arriving in Jackson we were greeted by our A.P.'s Elder Spangler and Elder Garrett. After getting our bags, President and Sister Tucker met us with the mission van and trailer. After a brief hug, with the President, we're not allowed to hug sisters;), and yes Mom, a picture, we jumped in the van and drove to the Brandon Stake Center, about 10 minutes away from the airport. Upon arriving, we had our first real meal since leaving home that was prepared by Sister Tucker, and went through a pretty in depth orientation on how the mission operates! During that time, the president took each Elder and Sister out and did our welcome interview, you know, the one where he looks on your soul to see who should be your trainer? Ya, it made me feel like he was trying to know everything about me in a matter of minutes, which of coarse he was!! Haha awesome right? Anyway, back to the story! Shortly after my interview, I was companioned off to one of the local missionaries, Elder Burt, who took me on my first real tracting session ever! No one cared to hear the message we had to share, so we went home with nothing to show for the day... But the day wasn't over. After my failed attempt at knocking doors, we loaded up in one of the mission cars and headed to the mission home that's located in a little suburb of Jackson. The home was BEAUTIFUL, and we got to sleep on real bed's, not the cardboard they make you sleep on in the M.T.C. But before bed time, one very important event had to take place. The placement of the new missionaries with their respectable trainers. So they had name cards of all the new missionaries, and of all the trainers, and we had to try to guess who our trainer would be. I guessed Elder Spangler, who was being released as A.P. for his final 3 months of his mission, and I was dead on! Now is where it gets crazy. Elder Spangler and I were tasked with opening a new area of the mission, that hadn't been established. Shreveport Downtown! Talk about feelings of inadequicy, knowing that I had just stepped off the airplane, and now was being asked to help open up a new area for the Mission. And that was just Monday! Tuesday was nothing too crazy just driving out to our area, about 5 hours away from Jackson, and getting set up in our new apartment. We did however have a few hours to go and tract, and Elder Spangler showed me how to do it! He placed a Book of Mormon on just our second door answered, and not only placed it, but got a return date for Thursday night, and yes, they will be feeding us! This place is amazing, and the people are even more so! I'm sitting in the library right now, and there are some of the most amazing, old, church's here, and yes once again mother, pictures will come. But today,Wednesday Elder Spangler gave me the reins, and I placed my first Book Of Mormon, and yes, I too got a return appointment for Monday so we will see how that goes! I can't tell you how excited I am to be in this new area. People here are all so willing to listen to our message, no matter their faith! The next 6 months that I will be here will be absolutely amazing, I have no doubt of that. I finally have an address which is:

Elder Steven Maddox
3644 Beckham Drive
Shreveport Louisiana 71104

I don't know that Dear Elder works out here, so anyone wishing to write to me had better do it the old fashioned way, by a stamp and envelope! Love to hear from everyone, and I will do my best to respond, but my number one priority now is to help the work go forward, so forgive me if it takes a while for a response. This area is truly hand picked by the Lord, and Shreveport Downtown is "white ready to harvest!" It is becoming weirder and weirder to hear  myself called by any name other than Elder. I am so thankful to be here in this area right now. I love the State, I love the people, and I love my area. I can not wait for both my friends and family who have their calls to experience the overwhelming joy I have as I write this. The church is true, and the Lord is truly my Shepard!

~Elder Maddox

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