I'm pretty excited to step off the plane and straight up wonder where all the oxygen went. I can't wait to hit the streets of Bangkok and go look for people who are looking for truth and light and happiness and direction. Which can all be found in the beautiful gospel and message that I can't wait to share, to stumble through, probably:).
Today I woke up and thought, "Really? This is the day? It's really here?" And I thought of how blessed I am with this opportunity to spend every second of my time thinking and breathing and teaching the gospel. I can't wait to meet my trainer (my first companion, who will have at least a few months of missionary and Thai experience). I've been praying for her all week and ever since I got my mission call, really. And I already love her so much because of how much she is going to help me learn. I'm going to try my hardest to be the dream companion that I want to have: which basically is just a crazy hard worker. I think that even if we are really different personality-wise, we can work anything out with the Savior's help. But if I had to pick, I would pick someone who wants to work. Who walks fast and prays hard and just works every second of everyday, 630 to 1030. I'm excited to bear my testimony to a real khon Thai (Thai person) and to realize how hard I'm going to have to work to understand what they're saying:).
Everyone asks if we're nervous. Hmmmm....in some ways, I guess. It's going to be such a different culture and climate and level of spice and flavor and color and humidity level and mindset and language and everything. But that's why I came on a mission. My companion told me last night something really nice. She said she seriously considered going home several times in the first few weeks. But that she stayed because she saw how much I loved being a missionary and how excited I was about it. And she wanted to have that same excitement. So we worked together and prayed and tried and struggled and grew and learned and now she is more excited than she has ever felt, and she is here, still a missionary, which is even more important.
This week was a great last week. First and foremost, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (one of the twelve apostles who leads the Church) came and spoke to the 2500 of us. He told a story about a sister missionary who had just been killed that morning in a car accident. It was so sad and so moving. It hit me just because I'm a sister and because I'm a missionary. But she was doing a great work and she and her family will be blessed for her service and her life. He went on to talk about how important our calling as missionaries is. It is a sacred calling and a special calling and we have a responsibility and an authority, even, to represent the Savior. He said that we always need to represent the Church and Christ and that nothing in our conduct or thoughts should ever detract from the name we bear on our chests. He also said that He prays for us. And that the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, prays for us. Isn't that neat? He said we were the most prayed-for group of people on the face of the earth. And I felt so loved and I think that it is true. So thank you for your prayers. I can feel them every day.
We got asked to be "hosts" this week, which means that we are the greeters for the missionaries that came in this week. We help them with luggage, pictures, finding class, getting books.
Every part of me, every ounce every cell every atom, is just burning, it feels like. I feel like I'm just burning inside with excitement and love for what the next 16 months has in store. I know this church is true. I know it and I love it. I know Christ is my Savior. I know that with His help and my efforts, we can all overcome weaknesses and sins and heartaches. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, a real one with real authority from Heavenly Father. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we can return to Heavenly Father someday. I can't wait to share this truth. It's what I love the very very most.
So I was the leader over the sisters in my branch, and when they released me or whatever, the branch presidency said, "Why did you come on a mission? You could be finishing school and happily married by now?" And I said, "Oh man! Because Heavenly Father let me! Because I love this gospel and all I want to do is share it and I am healthy and able and know He'll help me." And they thanked me and said, "We'll never get another Sister Roper." Isn't that sweet? I loved them so so much. (Momma don't send that part out to the mass forward.)
I can't wait to hear your voices