Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10,2014

Dear Family,

So I guess this is my last email? That's weird. Am I supposed to tell you people what time my flight gets there? Cause I didn't bring my boarding pass to the library (I think that might classify you as trunky if you carry it around with you...), but I'm pretty sure we leave Mississippi at 9AM ish, and get to Salt Lake around 1PM ish. You're welcome.

Cool story of the week award goes to the lesson we had this morning. Proselyting isn't supposed to begin until 6pm on P-days, right? Wrong. If you take an hour for dinner after 6 on P-day for a meal appointment, then you make up for it by beginning proselyting at 5. Mind you, I wasn't aware that was a thing until I came to Monroe. Also we aren't supposed to write letters except for during free P-day time. Mind you, I wasn't aware that was a thing until Monroe either. Communication of do's and don'ts in general is sometimes a problematic thing down South :) ANYWAYS when Elder Zwick came to our Mission he promised that if we were all able to get two lessons Monday evening, then the baptisms would double. President liked the sound of that, so we have a new key indicator tracking Monday night lessons.

On Tuesday we did our Thirsty Thursday (since MLC was Thursday and Friday, we needed to bike a different day), and tried following up with all the former investigators. A couple weeks ago Sister Parmenter had a bad migraine, so I had a date with the Area Books, and after getting them in order put all the former investigators in our GPS. None in the area we biked to were home, but we were able to meet N while in the process. We walked up to a house that someone had been taught at one time five years ago, and even though I figured they'd moved, we went up to their neighbor (N) who was sitting in a car, and asked if she knew the person. She said no, she and her family had just moved in a few weeks ago with her Mom. N said before she'd moved from the other side of Monroe, some Elders had taught her a little at the door. We asked N if she'd like to learn more, she pondered for a solid 5 mississippi's, and accepted our offer. She asked us to come back Monday at 10, and we were too excited to meet with her that we didn't push the P-day issue. At MLC I asked if Monday morning lessons fit the criteria for Monday night lessons despite you know, the sun still being up, and President said it fulfilled the purpose of starting the week off right, so ya. For your information, Monday morning lessons are now officially the best lessons.

Not only was N home in body (always a toughy), but she'd also just finished reading from the Bible so she was spiritually there too. She grew up Catholic, is currently going with her husband to a Baptist church (did you catch that she's married? Also a toughy), and is searching for a stronger relationship with God. We had a super spiritual/ still covered all the points in the Restoration/ still extended all the commitments/ still committed her to baptism next month/ still got out of there in only 45 minutes lesson. It was good stuff. She loved the Joseph Smith story, and said that she prays for the spirit of discernment, so believes that what he saw was possible, but also believes that Mohammad wasn't a prophet (proving that she doesn't just buy into everything, which sometimes I worry about). We're teaching her again on Wednesday, and she promised to find a time we could meet with the rest of the family too! Yay for the elect!

Lots of Love,
Sister Markle


Way too dark - but a beautiful sunset on the Mississippi River.



Sister Parmenter and Sister Markle

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Family!

Our stand at ULM was a success! Instead of lemonade or hot chocolate (messy messy messy) we went in favor of passing out candy on Halloween. I figured it hit two birds with one stone: 1. We were able to lure people in with an appropriate gimmick (who doesn't want candy on Halloween?!) 2. We were able to distance ourselves in people's brains from Jehovah's Witnesses (we were openly celebrating a holiday). Oh ya, and we wanted to share the gospel too... Anyone that came for candy got a pass-along card (we passed out infinite cards), those that stayed to chat usually accepted a pamphlet (we passed out over 10), and then also gave away four copies of the Book of Mormon (everyone that got one asked for one too, which was pretty cool). I kind of Bible-bashed with one of the people that ended up asking for a Book of Mormon, he was acting super weird, and then tried shooting us with his anti-Mormon-misinformation beams, which we deflected with the shield of faith of course AKA cold hard facts courtesy of the Book of Mormon. College kids are pretty weird. Some long-boarders wearing scary masks tried to creep us out a few times, and we learned that Draco Malfoy can talk for days. All in all, it was a really fun day.

Have I ever told y'all about the Mustache Man? Well, his real name is R, but he has a mustache that thoroughly covers his mouth, and sometimes makes communication with him rather difficult, as we don't speak mustache. Anyways, a couple weeks before the end of last transfer we had about twenty minutes before a dinner appointment, and decided to tract in a neighborhood called Treasure Island, because it was exciting sounding, and the Spirit said to. At the last house we met R, who's from Georgia, but is in Monroe staying with a friend so he can sell Mona Vie (this health drink that heals you). Apparently the company is owned by Mormons, so he knew some stuff already, and asked for a Mormon Bible. We obliged, he didn't seem too keen on letting us teach him, so I gave him the Resto, Plan, and Gospel pamphlets too (he said he liked to read...). We called to follow-up a week later, and found that he had read all the pamphlets, was pleasantly surprised that we also believed in pre-Earth life as well as multiple levels of heaven, and was in 2 Nephi. Say whaaaat. Taught him the first week of this transfer while we still had Baby, and he was still super cool, but expressed that he doesn't want to come to church until he finishes the book, because he's been seriously burned by churches in the past. Our return teaching/meal appointment got rescheduled for this past week due to the tornado and his busy schedule, but we were on exchanges, so I didn't get to go. Essentially he made them the hugest huge sauce meal of deliciousness (I DID get some leftovers :), and accepted their baptismal invite. He said that if he got baptized right now it'd be because he liked us, so he still plans on waiting until after he's done with the Book of Mormon. The Mustache was in Alma 3 last week though, so it's just a matter of time! He also said he hasn't found anything about polygamy in the Book yet, so that's a good sign too ;)

Love y'all bunches!
Sister Markle
Draco Malfoy asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon!

We set up a stand on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

Family!

This week our item of bucket list business was tracting double digit hours AKA 10. While generally speaking my tracting aspirations plateau at 7.5 hours tops, this week we were pioneer children and knocked and knocked and knocked. Sadly our lesson count was still rather low, but it was made up for in the fact that we found someone really awesome! On Wednesday I pulled out the GPS to triangulate our street of attack, but felt like Sister Parmenter should do the honors instead. As she looked at the map, we then thought to pray, which we did, and she selected a little nub street in the middle of a neighborhood. The thing about that particular neighborhood is that it was my old focus area with Sister Newman, and by the time Sister Parmenter had come along I was SO done with it. There weren't any real potentials over there, and I thought we'd completed our purpose in finding the daughter of a less-active (the daughter lead us to Sister R whose records weren't here yet, but she immediately started coming back and was able to have her eight year old son baptized). Needless to say, after a whole transfer in that neighborhood I was done and never looked back; didn't bring Sister Parmenter over there, and didn't care to. And thus we see that Sister Parmenter was the one that needed to pick our nub street, because I was too far done. It's funny, a few days before I'd even looked at our map, saw the nub, and thought to myself that I think we'd accidentally skipped over it when we worked our way through that neighborhood, so when Sister Parmenter asked about it, I already knew it was free game. The first door we knocked was one of those where you think they're elect and will be baptized....all the way up until they Revelation 22:18 you insistently and call Joseph Smith a liar for not liking guns then "dying in a gun fight" and then finally reject your pass-along card for having a graven image on it (AKA a picture of Christ). You win some, you lose some. We tracted for two hours on our nub, and were eventually able to talk to a really nice young mom (named A) unloading pumpkins from her car. Searching for a stronger relationship with God, and a church home? You bet. She saw us as an answer to prayer, and we thought the same of her. When we left her to knock on the house across the street, we spied A sitting on her porch reading the Restoration pamphlet intently. The elect are out there!

Next week's items of business:
-Proselyting on the bus (we never ever take it because it has maybe one stop in our area)
-Proselyting at ULM (University of Lousiana at Monroe is half in our area, and this week we want to maybe set up a lemonade stand or something with a member. We'll see if the Man approves :)

Love y'all!
Sister Markle

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

Dear Family,

This week was pretty weird. Basically we had one day of normal proselyting, and that day was yesterday. Here's how it all went down:

-Monday, as mentioned in last email, was MLC in Jackson. After that was over we picked up Sister Martyn's new companion in Wesson, and made it home to West Monroe sometime around 9:30-10pm, so stayed the night with those sisters.
-Tuesday we drove the sisters to their breakfast teaching appointment at IHOP, and sat awkwardly in the booth behind them while they did their missionary thing (they had a return missionary with them, so it would've been 5 missionaries against one poor soul if we ate/taught with them...). The rest of the day involved running around trying to find an open library (apparently library's are afraid of the big bad tornado), and then after dropping the West Monroe sisters off at their home right as P-day time ended, we were able to see our couple of evening appointments.
-Wednesday was entirely spent in Shreveport for Zone Conference with Elder Zwick and then a ward council/ full-time missionary meeting for the Shreveport and Monroe stakes. Due to a mix-up of times, rather than being seated at 10 that morning for the meeting to start at 10:30, we were seated at 10:30...after walking past a chapel-full of judge-y missionary peers. We were saved from any added embarrassment, as Elder and Sister Zwick/President and Sister McDonough entered the chapel at 10:45. Phewf! At the evening meeting I was able to say hi to some old Texarkana friends (Jason and Weezee!), which was very fun. The current Wake Village sisters updated me on people, and I found out that their three children that got baptized were from the S clan, which was a family we'd worked a bunch with a year ago (R was a returning member we focused on a lot my 3rd and 4th transfers there, the kids were her sister's). So cool how the Lord prepares families over time! We ended up getting home at 12:30am.... Should've stayed the night, because that 6:30am comes bright and early ;)
-Thursday morning we helped a less-active with laundry, and that afternoon we helped with tornado clean-up.
-Friday was Weekly Planning, Meet the Mormons movie party/ Zone Conference review with the McDonoughs. After all that was through we only had time for one evening appointment.
-Saturday we spent half the day in Bastrop handing out movie coupons again. President asked us after the movie on Friday what our plans were the next day, which was code for, whatever you were planning on doing, how about you do this instead. Mission Presidents have power.
-Sunday we finally had a normal day! Yay! :)

Cool story of the week:
-While in Bastrop I went with Sister Shallbetter (MTC companion!), and we tracted for three hours straight handing out coupons. Near the end of our marathon we met the miracle lady. Yulanda was taught by Elders while she lived in Texas, loved the church, moved to Bastrop and lost contact, has a brother currently being taught in Virginia (who's a miracle himself as the Elders showed up on a day he was contemplating suicide), and had just told her boyfriend the night before that she wanted to go find the missionaries. Her boyfriend had laughed telling her she'd have to drive all around town, but God is really loving and just sent us to her door instead. She cried when we gave her a new copy of the Book of Mormon, and readily committed to go to church and have a lesson Sunday (haven't heard yet if that all worked out). Because Meet the Mormons isn't supposed to be a proselyting movie, the missionaries aren't supposed to get contact info from those they give coupons to, or try follow-ing up with people to get them to see it. Our running joke was that someone would ask to be taught and/or baptized after we gave them the coupon, and that we'd vehemently refuse on account of the fact we "weren't proselyting." Miracle Lady proved that our joke was in fact just a joke ;)

Excluding two exchanges, this week should be back to business as usual. Hopefully I didn't just jinx it...

Love y'all oodles and boodles!
Sister Markle

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014

Dear Family,

Two full circle moments this week:

-While waiting for sisters to pile out of the transfer van this past Tuesday, we quickly realized they were one short. Sister Martin is serving in West Monroe and was waiting for a sister to come be her companion, but instead that poor sister went home due to health problems. Too bad nobody informed any of us, but to all of our surprise it wasn't too weird and we just rolled with it. Sister Martin was our temporary companion for the week and we worked the combined Monroe/West Monroe super-area, and just left the combined numbers as the West Monroe sister's proselyting area because it was too confusing and we were over there most of the time (we got a lovely phone call from one of the Assistants to the President yesterday asking nicely for our area's numbers because all he had was zeros... haha we told him that he did in fact have our numbers ;). Funny thing was that Sister Parmenter and I had been joking last transfer that we wanted an STL baby (AKA we wanted to train together), so we joked that Sister Martyn was our baby, and she just came pre-trained. Literally, she's been out for like fifteen months. Despite the fact that she's been out longer than Sister Parmenter, we called Sister Martin Baby all week, and she called us Mom. It was pretty tender, and not demeaning in the slightest. Full circle moment because when my companion went home early due to back problems I hung with the STLs for a week too.

-Next up we went to MLC on Sunday and Monday, with Elder Zwick of the Seventy there to teach us cool things. We were allowed to bring Baby with us, and on the way back last night we swung by Wesson MS and picked up her new companion from the trio there. Full circle moment because the sister had just been transferred there, it was going to be her second area, and she's been out six months, which was my same situation when I was ET-ed, I mean "moved," from Purvis to Oak Grove. What what? Also Sister McMurtry was part of that sister-trio so it was all sorts of nostalgic.

Moving on from those two fun things, this week was pretty rocking. Our temporary trio was all sorts of fun, and we taught some pretty powerful lessons together. Best moment came from teaching a nonmember in the member home he's living in right now (West Monroe area), and teaching a really great lesson only to have my baptismal invite taken over by the nine year old member that then told a random story when the guy was about to respond. When I re-extended the invitation he gave a lame maybe answer, but we all agreed it seemed like he was going to say something different the first time. Kids will be kids, and it was probably one of the funniest fail moments I've experienced in a while :)

A cute kid named U was baptized this week, but he's only 8 and his whole family are members, so we didn't really teach him, but still taught him. I don't know if I told y'all about Sister R, but Sister Newman and I tracted into her adult daughter, who wasn't interested in learning, but told us that her mom was a member, so we should visit her. Sister R has been coming back ever since, and was really only inactive for.... I actually don't know how long but they moved from Texas like 5 months ago, so at least that long. Not too bad by Southern standards, plus they're really great. Yay for U!

Another random occurrence: there was a tornado that blew through Monroe and West Monroe yesterday, but we were in Jackson during it, so were safe and sound. There's some random trees blown over, but besides lots of power outages, the damage isn't too bad.

Last random thing: President called us Wednesday night and asked us to spend Thursday in Bastrop handing out half price movie tickets, because it was one of the only theaters in the mission to be showing "Meet the Mormon's". It was pretty fun stuff, and our Zone gets to see it Friday when President brings a copy to show :) should be great! We also have Zone Conference tomorrow in Shreveport with Elder Zwick, so this week will be pretty different, but maybe not quite as different as this past week. Different = fun though so life is good.

Love y'all a bunch!
Sister Markle

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014

Family,

This week we went on exchanges with the Winnsboro Sisters, and I had the pleasure of bringing the trainee Sister Thompson back to Monroe (it was her first STL exchange!). The one lesson we got to teach was probably one of the weirder/funny lessons I've taught, but it was awesome because it forced her to take the lead which is what our district leader wanted us to work on with her. Our teaching appointment had fallen through, so the member that came out with us agreed to try some less-actives. One of the women we caught is married to a member, but isn't a member herself. While her husband wasn't home, she let us in to talk, and we found out she doesn't know much about the church. Keep in mind she was also crazy old, just woke up from a nap, and can't hear very well. Sister Thompson had happened to sit in the one chair within easy hearing distance, so when she asked me what we should teach, I told her the Restoration and asked her to take the reigns. She was pretty unsure of the whole semi solo teaching situation, but I think it was great practice; the Lord knows our needs, and provides situations specific to helping each of us learn what we need to! While the lady maaay have dozed off a little on us, it just added to the funniness of the situation :)

Transfers threw off our groove today, so I don't have much time to write a real weekly email, but there wasn't too much to report on anyways, so I'll just be sure to make next week's extra juicy ;)
K was only able to watch the Saturday morning session of conference, but Elder Christofferson had a really good talk on grace, justice, and mercy so hopefully that helped things click a little better! We won't be able to teach them this week because they're going to be out of town the whole time, so it'll be a couple weeks before there's a good update on them.
We've found a few cool people, but we're just working on trying to meet with them now so we can help them progress! No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing!

-Sister Markle

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 29, 2014

Family,
A did in fact get baptized and confirmed yesterday by her husband after church (so sometimes the South is sketchy and people don't get confirmed in a Sacrament meeting...). YAY FOR A!!! Probably the only hitch was on Wednesday when she texted and told us none of the suits in Monroe or West Monroe fit her or R (R played football in high school and basically he's a pretty big dude), and they were worried they'd have to postpone until some could be ordered. I was just surprised they'd thought to try on the suits ahead of time, and her concern was swallowed up in my excitement over the fact that R would be able to baptize her. We made some calls, and luckily we were on exchanges in Magnolia at the time, so the next day we just swung back through El Dorado and borrowed some of their suits. Much to A's chagrin she had to get baptized in a dress with ruffly sleeves, and a bow-tie. This fact was not made any better when she tried it on right after we'd had like a four hour car drive, lots of sugar, two exchanges, and were slap-happy (justifying...) so I might've cried I was laughing so hard. She just looked so mortified, and you all know how much I enjoy bothering people... We repented by wearing bow-tie shirts in support ;) I also made a little Sister Newman doll, so that she wouldn't have to be sad for not being able to be there. People may have thought I was creepy, but really they were just jealous that they don't have a little doll made of themselves. Wait in line people, wait in line.
In other news the work was kind of slow this week. Granted I was out of our area for two days, but alas. We could possibly blame it on one of the sisters we went on exchanges with in Magnolia; at some point during dinner, she stood on her chair and pronounced what sounded like an African curse on us (she's from, you guessed it, Africa). She claimed to have said something nice, but we guessed she was cursing our hair to fall out. Who knows, maybe she was cursing our finding efforts ;)

Love y'all bunches!
Sister Markle