Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Okay, sorry. So the first two pictures were from our temple walk on the first Sunday at the MTC, the next is from the plane, then a picture outside of the Shreveport apartment that we stayed the night due to the tornado warnings (I was trying to show you how rainy it was, but instead it just looks really wet...), and the last picture is of the collage I made on the wall above my desk in our apartment. I was going to take a picture of the actual apartment and Sister Harker, but I forgot to this morning... Haha maybe next email? ALSO I keep forgetting to ask about certain things, so this email will be mostly business. Sorry. Still love you.
First matter of business: I don't know my social security number, and need a background check for the apartment sometime this week, so let mom know to expect a phone call from the office couple sometime soon.
Second matter of business: Is my list of online passwords and log-ins still missing? I most definitely don't have it, it wasn't in my room last I checked, last time I saw it was on the table then mom moved my stuff, and hopefully it is not in the garbage. That would be really bad, because I think my new online password for my bank account might be on there, but possibly I didn't change it.
Thirdly: Along the same lines of the bank account, I am worried my card might think it's stolen at some point because I don't think I ever called them. Do I need to try to get permission to call, or is there some way they'll let you let them know I'm in Texas? I don't have the account number here if it has to be me...
Fourthly: I do need a bike, and I checked Walmart and their bike selection is pretty blah. Like the one I like is green with lots of fun colors, but is a boy bike and has no gear shifts, they have a lot of beach cruisers which are nice looking but some don't have shifters, or are price-y, and they have a lot of mountain bikes which I don't really need... I don't know. Sister Harker said her family ordered hers online through Walmart and she was able to just pick hers up at the Walmart here, which might be better than just picking up some random bike? I'm not exactly sure, so help with that would be nice.
Fifth: Warn CC that I saw Elder Bruderer (Conner's cousin) and accidently informed him about the giant Care Bear, which may or may not find its way back to haunt Conner. So.... oops.
Sixth: Let mom know the first lady from our ward that we had dinner with is big into doTerra and gave us some stuff for mosquitos. Random.
Seventh: At some point if you all want to send me a package, I would like the Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat soundtrack for P-days (if you could burn a new one that would be nice, because the actual one skips, if it skips on iTunes let me know and I can give you my iTunes password to buy it to burn) and my curling wand. These things aren't super pressing, just things I would like eventually, and can totally wait until like Christmas.
Let's see.. I gave a talk on Sunday, it went well, and I even talked nice and slow! There's a TON to do here, lots of less actives to visit, lots of referrals, and lots of people to see, so I'm going to keep really busy. I don't have time to write any more, but my P-days are Monday, the library was just closed yesterday so we got to email today. Sorry this was mostly business, I promise next week will be better! I love you dad, and love the whole family, thank you for everything!
-Sister Markle

Friday May 24, 2013 - Email from Sister McDonough (Mission Pres.'s wife)

Dear Family of Sister Markle,

We are so glad to have your daughter and sister in the Mississippi Jackson Mission! She arrived with twenty-six other shiny new missionaries. This is our largest group so far. We are impressed with their goodness and their excitement to get to the work at hand.

She is being trained by an excellent and experienced missionary Sister Harker in the Wake Village, Texas, area. They will learn a lot from each other as they both continue to progress in missionary work.

We know Sister Markle will be blessed for her service to the Lord and that you, her family, will also enjoy the blessings of her service. We love her already!

Please let me know if you receive this email. Thank you!
Sweet is the Work!

Sister McDonough
Mississippi Jackson Mission

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I get to email today! Yay! We got to Mississippi safe and sound on Monday, and headed over to a church for a while, then were off to the mission home. It was just like Christmas, we went to bed with an empty transfer board, and woke up to a filled one. As you have probably guessed by this email's title, I was assigned to Texas!!!! The area is called Texarkana and sits right on the boarder of Texas and Arkansas. The drive out to Texarkana was supposed to take us six-ish hours, but the weather turned sour on Tuesday so we had to stay the night at the Shreveport Sister's place. No big deal, there was just like a tornado warning, and they didn't want us to die or something. It's like whatever.
My companion's name is Sister Harker, and has been out for almost eight months, but has only served in Madison Mississippi until now.  I like her. We're actually opening the Wake Village area (a city within Texarkana), which is really cool, but will be a lot of work, because I have no clue how to do anything, and she's never opened an area before. It'll be one big learning experience I guess. Nobody was quite sure what area we were actually taking over, and it didn't really seem like the president had decided either.  Some sort of consensus was met by the Elders, and we now have quite the chunk of land. I don't really know what's going on half the time, but I'm told we'll be doing a lot of tracting because the area hasn't had much work done in a long time. Idk. We have some referrals to work with as well, but there's just a lot that needs to get done. Sister Harker says she wouldn't be surprised if we had two transfers together, but with another big group of Sisters coming out next transfer, she said we could very well have our area split and both be training. Either way it looks like I'm here to stay! Pretty crazy, huh? You send me off to Mississippi, and I find my way over to Texas. I'm just trying to keep you on your toes.
Did you get my long letter from the MTC yet? I'd be most upset if it never made it to y'all (I'm practically southern now so I am allowed to say things like that), because it has way more information than my journal. ALSO I finally sent off the Mother's day package, and a response for Kam from the mission home on Tuesday, so let me know in your next email if all those find their way home. I ended up getting four packages in the MTC, so I felt real loved: one from family, one from the Dodsons, one from mis amigas, and one from the BYU bookstore with cookies from mi amiga Emily. We had TONS of food in our residence, because the other girls got stuff too. On Saturday night we had a little fiesta to try to eat all of our stuff. Thanks for everything, I was a very loved missionary in training. I promise I'm working on responses for everybody, but I have like ten letters left to write, so it's going to be awhile... The plane ride didn't turn out as fruitful as I was hoping, I only got like three done... I was sitting by some guy who was getting chatty, so totally not my fault (he was already a member too, so my pass-along card from the MTC sadly went untouched). Sorry about the super quick phone calls! We were in and out of the airports pretty quick, otherwise I would have made better use of the phone card!
Our address is 523 Redwater Rd Wake Village, TX 75501. Our apartment is way cute, I'll try to send out all my pictures next week. Love you all!! BYE!
-Sister Markle

Monday, May 20, 2013

 (Hand written letter)

Dear Family,

Hello! I'm starting this letter on the very first day here, but time is short so this will be a work in progress. It definitely feels good to be here, but today was mostly just overwhelming. My companion is Sister Shallbetter, who is from Magna, Utah. We are very different, but she is interesting and fun to talk to.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not have a difficult time waking up at the crack of dawn, nor a difficult time being in bed at 10:30. (It's just the whole "sleeping" business that happens in between that still alludes me!)

I have found that my chocolate milk consumption has grown exponentially! I don't just drink a glass at every meal, instead I have to fill two glasses up when I get my food, otherwise I would not make it through. It's a good thing I didn't live in Helaman Halls, because I kind of eat a heap of food.

Sorry it has taken so long to finish my letter, our teachers really like letting us out late which means we have less time to get ready for bed, and I end up with like fifteen minutes to write in my journal / write this letter.

Also, mom's special "home-made" Mother's day gift was taking up a lot of my time on P-day. So I haven't been able to send any letters besides the email to you, and two short emails to Erin and Sadie, who emailed me last week. So when you get the Mother's Day gift, even though you might want to throw it away, don't.

We have three companionships in our room, all going to Mississippi, all in the same district/class. Also in our district are three companionships of elders who are going to California. There will be 22 missionaries on my same plane flying out to Mississippi on Monday, so I think there are a couple other districts with people going to my mission. I really like all of the girls I am rooming with, which is probably another reason why I have so little time to write, because everybody likes to TALK!

Each of our classes are really good, but sometimes the schedule puts us in the classroom for huge blocks of time - plus we have personal study / companionship study / class / and then sometimes planning meeting . . . so we get a little stir crazy. Our classroom is on the second floor of 4M, and we live in 17M (just like Katie did!). We are on the basement floor though.

Let's see, what have I done in the past week besides the usual MTC stuff . . . Oh! I joined choir. Weird, huh? We went with Sister Rosenaur and Sister Orth (she's from Canada, so I ask her a lot about the weather, and tell her "that's how they do/say it in her country" - just to tease her. I like making it sound like she is really foreign, but in reality, she lives right near the border, so it's kind of like a running joke. (Also, she shared Ketchup chips with us, which were good-ish, but supposedly Canadians are obsessed with them?) Back to choir . . . Even though I'm a mediocre singer it was actually super fun. The director was really funny, so that was good, but there were also some parts of the song he discussed in like a mini spiritual thought that I really liked. We sang "Blessings" which was an arrangement of "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing". With the line "here I raise mine Ebeneezer" he talked about making our mission our Ebeneezer. So, like the Israelites who looked on their boulder to remember the battle/reliance on the Lord / need to be good, we can look back on this time to remind us of some of those same things / give us the strength necessary to continue on.  I thought that was really cool.

Also, on Sunday, the sisters all went and saw a broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word which is where I found my inspiration for your special gift (which I guess could "technically" also be a birthday gift, because it will get to you closer to your birthday, but I'm not exactly sure if that's OK with this particular tradition). After which we had basically the best Relief Society ever.  Two missionaries told their conversion stories and then Janice Kapp Perry spoke and had us sing a medley of her songs, including a brand spanking new song of hers.  So cool!  The song was to the tune of "As Sisters in Zion", but is called "The Sisters of Zion" and is a really good missionary song.  Plus we were the first group to ever sing it, so that made it even more fun.  You should think about booking her for your next Relief Society meeting, Mom :)  Ha, ha.  Plus for our devotional on Tuesday Elder Russel M. Nelson came to speak; they really spoil us with great speakers here.

I really wanted my letter to be longer than it took to actually be here in the MTC, in remembrance of my story telling prime in kindergarten, but regrettably there just is not the time.  Hopefully this is better than my pathetic email though.  I got the package from the family on Wednesday night, but I also received a package of cookies from the BYU candy counter from my friend Emily (plus with notes from some of my co-workers) and a package of snacks from the Dodson's.  I was feeling seriously loved.  And I got another package slip yesterday and need to go pick that up.  With so many packages, I feel so special, though I am really happy about all of the letters I have been getting too.  They are the best, plus you all write me a lot, while I've only gotten two emails from non-family, so clearly family is the best.  Ha, ha.  That really went without saying, but you all didn't like how I was spending some of my precious last few days at home with my friends.  Even though I tried to keep it short, I just want you all to know that I still love family best and always have!  (I play favorites)

Oh! I just remembered that I also went and worked out at the 6 am sisters only aerobics class, as suggested by Katie.  I'm pretty sure it gave me shin splints.  Like for real.  The first day of gym I spent the time running/jogging on the track for an hour and nothing.  Then I do aerobics for half an hour and two days later my shins still hate me.  Unfair!

Let's see, I remember you asked me about my flute.  There were two problems with bringing it:
  1.  The mission call packet specifically forbade it.  I think they were worried about missionaries carrying around expensive instruments and being mugged.
  2.  My flute is kind of still slightly injured if I remember correctly, so it needs a little TLC.  I also don't know how we would ship it nicely.
If these qualms could be reconciled, I would happily love to be reunited with my precious.  Otherwise I can easily get along without it.

Thanks again for all the love and letters.  I'm going to use my flight time to write responses for everyone.  They will just have to be sent from Mississippi, so sorry everyone.  Katie gets a gold star for sheer quantity, Mom & Dad & Kami are currently tied for silver and CC gets the bronze medal for not missing me.  Brandon gets tin for forgetting about me.  Don't worry, there are still eighteen months to write me, so you all have the opportunity to either continue enduring to the end or repent and start writing or start writing more meaningful letters (cough, cough, CC).

Love you all!  Loving it here!  Excited to serve!

Lots of doubles,
Sister Markle

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day! I'm still working on a card for you, plus a reallly heart felt homemade craft so be excited for that one :) (I'm getting practice typing smiley faces so that I can become as expert at it as Katie, so that one day I too can achieve the level of punctuating my sentances with them). I've also been slowly writing you a letter about how this first week has been, so most of my information will probably be in that one and not here? Probably. Oh wait, actually definately because the computers are chugging along at snail pace with all the missionaries using them right now. It keeps freezing up, and it's not recognizing my camera's SD card so the couple of pictures I took will have to wait until next email to be sent. Speaking of which, I will be flying out at 7:28 AM next Monday, and I think I can buy a card thing so I can call you! Maybe. They have us meeting at the travel office at 4 AM, so it really depends on what time we get there and how much time we have, but I will try!
Thanks for all the mail! I loved it! Sorry for how short this letter is, but I promise the hand-written letter will be ridiculously long to make up for it, this computer is really quite unhappy with me! I will send all the letters soon, because I'm not sure when my next emailing day will be since I might have missed it because we fly on Monday? I'm actually getting used to the MTC now, and even though the schedule gets kind of crazy at times, I'm really happy to be here and I'm super excited to go to Mississippi. The Spirit is so strong here! Learning tons, and excited to hear from you all.
Love you tons!
Sister Markle