Greetings loved ones,
This week was another step in the mission. It was really great and full of new things. I’m going to start off answering some questions from my parents and such and I thought the rest of you might like to know as well.
Give us some information on Elder Soper like where is he from? ~ ~ Elder Soper is from Orem, Utah. He’s 20 years old and just a slick guy. He rock-climbed, played soccer, and debated before the mission. He’s incredibly talented at the piano and just an overall great guy with a hilarious out-going attitude. He’s not afraid to talk to everyone and it’s nice because our house isn’t as quiet as it usually is for 2 Elders. He wants to be a lawyer when he grow’s up and studied a semester at BYU before his mission. You’ll get some pictures in the next couple of weeks. He’s just an inch or two shorter than me.
How did Elder Soper get experience in delivering a baby, that is not something that many 19-20 year olds know much about. Was the doctor there? ~ ~ He took a human development class at BYU and he had to watch some videos of live births and he was taught how to deliver a baby just in case his wife might need that sort of assistance and he memorized how to do it. I don’t think he had any idea that he would be using that knowledge on his mission, but that it would be reserved for several years later. The doctor didn’t show up until about 15 minutes after the baby was delivered.
How is your new responsibility of zone leader coming along? ~ ~ It is great. I love it a bunch and you have a lot of time and opportunities to help train other missionaries and just strengthen the morale of those in your zones. Two weeks ago we had a special training meeting in which we focused on planning for the needs of investigators and being more organized missionaries in order to help the investigators progress better. I’ve also been on 3 splits in the past three weeks and have done 1 baptismal interview with plenty to come. I love the missionaries in my zone and they are great. It’s fun to be surrounded by so many great brethren of the priesthood.
Also, how are you and Elder Soper getting along? Sometimes it can be a little crazy in a companionship of zone leaders. ~ ~ We are getting along very well and our relationship strengthens each day. We both have somewhat similar personalities which limits the times of awkwardness to a minimum and the openness helps a lot. As we’ve been serving each other, we’ve been getting closer for sure.
Experiences of the week ~ ~ Well this question opens up really well into the rest of the email so I will make a long response and end it. This week we worked with one of our investigators that we found just two weeks ago. He’s a security guard of this nice building where we pass by frequently in our area and Elder Soper and Elder Bingham (the companion right before me) met him initially. He accepted the pamphlet, read it, and asked us to come and teach him and his wife. So he is from a beach city in the south of Madagascar called Manakara and the church hasn’t developed that far out of the capital to get there yet. Anyways, they first came into a member that was visiting some of their family down there and about 3 years ago told them the story of Joseph Smith, shared the ‘Restoration’ pamphlet and invited them to pray about it (great example of member missionary work). After 3 years, Victor’s work moved him to the capital and after being here for about a month the missionaries talked to him.
Two weeks ago we had our first lesson with him and his wife Hanitra and he bore record that he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He felt that his story and vision was true when he felt the Holy Ghost as that member purely testified to him in that small costal village. They accepted the commitment to be baptized on August 26th and have already started working on getting their birth certificates and the documents required for their marriage. Yesterday, Vincent came to church and I got to sit next to him and another one of our investigators during sacrament meeting as Elder Soper played the organ. He was incredibly particapative in the investigators class and really loved the gospel doctrine lesson about Fasting. A unique experience that also happened is there was a death in the ward and the whole ward went after church to go visit this brother in the ward that just lost his wife and Vincent went with the ward to visit. He didn’t get home until 4:30ish and is really loving the church. He said he felt the spirit unlike he has ever felt before and loves the hymns that we sing and the reverent power they bring.
This Wednesday I had a great time to reunite with one of my previous companions, Elder Wilson, during a split. I served with him in Ambolomadinika, Tamatave (my 1st area) for two transfers and they were incredible. We really bonded well back then and he’s one of my greatest friends that I’ve had. We are really open and build each other up and just a very funny, personal relationship that we have. We took some videos in the evening and built a fire in their fireplace at their house and relaxed as the split came to a close. Elder Soper and I met up with him, his companion, Elder Wolfgramm, and Elder Kruger for lunch today and we had a nice p-day. He forgot to send me the videos this afternoon so hopefully I will get them next week and you guys will be able to hear our voices and personalities.
The work here in Madagascar is going superb and we’ve been seeing an increase in our success and had 11 investigators at church and 3 of them came for the very first time. I love the members and the Manakambahiny ward is really strong with great men and woman leaders. I hope you all have a great week, sorry there are no pictures I still don’t have a camera yet.
Elder Jacob Stromberg
Antananarivo, Madagascar Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints