So last week was another classic case of, "I read through all my emails
first, then wind up responding to them in a disorganized way, usually
resulting in emailing home last, when I have like five minutes left,
thus typing like a madwoman, and sending off very little by means of
actual information or commentary on received emails." Yup. I am bad at
budgeting time. I did in fact receive your email, but as aforementioned did
not comment on anything because I was short on time. Also, the most
exciting things to comment on were sworn to secrecy, so there's that. As
far as Halloween costumes, we figured for actual Halloween we'd do
something blasé like dress like twins, but then for the ward Halloween
party we ended up getting a little carried away... Mind you, we had not yet
receive the email from the president saying that we were not to dress up
in any way for the ward parties, so I figure we sinned in ignorance?
Ya. We even wore all of our normal missionary clothes, alls we did was
paint our faces to look like zombies... It was cool. I'll send pictures
when we've passed the appropriate amount of "sorrow for my actions"
It's so fun teaching H, she is seriously the sweetest 12 year
old. It's super easy to forget how young she is, because she looks
older, and always has really good questions. She's a smart cookie, that
H. This week we taught her the Plan of Salvation, and she asked why
so many bad things happened if God just wanted us to be happy. We
talked about agency, and why we need opposition in all things. She had
this "light bulb moment" look on her face. She describes the Spirit as
that "warm cozy feeling" which I think is adorable. Her momma just needs
to start taking her to church now. True story.
The power went out at the library in the middle of my email time, so
we are finishing at Best Buy real quick. Lame sauce. I got your email
though, and really appreciated the sister missionary story, yay for
helping the work! Go mommy! :) I love you all so much, have a great
Monday, October 21, 2013
It's really cool to see the difference in how I teach lessons from the beginning of the mission to now; before we were very conscious of the lesson we were teaching, employed visuals, and tried to cover the material. Now it's not so simple. I feel the Spirit much more during lessons, and am more focused on the individual, than the material we had planned to cover. It means that teaching records look more interesting, but people are taught more to their needs. The coolest moments for me are the analogies that pop into my head during a lesson, they help me recognize that I am teaching by the Spirit. I love similes, and I think the Spirit does too, after all the scriptures are filled with parables and such.
Two recent examples:
-During our lesson with H this week we were reviewing prophets and leading up to watching the Restoration movie with her. In the middle of talking about their role, I got the idea to compare them to band directors. Each of us is capable of beautiful music, but through the help of the band we can work together. We have the sheet music (scriptures), but with someone to lead us, we can reach our full potential. The apostasy was compared to a story she told us about people goofing off during class. It was all totally unplanned, and really cool
-During gospel principles this week we were talking about tithing. An analogy popped into my head "Imagine your mom spent a ton of time making you an amazing cake for your birthday (bless her heart). Would you eat the entire cake in front of her, or would you give her back a slice to eat with you? Sure the cake is technically yours at this point, but the classy thing to do is share. The Lord gives you all things, and as a sign of gratitude we give a small portion back. We call it tithing."
Basically the Spirit is the coolest. End of story.
Thank you so much for the package, I love you all and hope life is great!
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Last Tuesday I hit my 5 month mark, holy guacamole where has the time gone! The end of this transfer will mark 6 months, so it's for sure that I spent at least 1/3 of my mission in Texas. Of all the states in my mission, I never would have guessed it. It's a good place to be.
I sent you guys some pictures from Saturday; we had interviews with the President which always equals for some exciting times. Our exciting times came from the fact that when we walked out of our apartment that morning we found ourselves a new Halloween decoration. AKA a gigantic spider sitting pretty in her intricate web. There might've been some screams, and a call to maintenance. Sister Borja told us that it was nothing compared to the spiders in Paraguay, this one was bigger than a quarter, but she held her hands to the size of a grapefruit for the ones at home. She loves spiders, and is terrified of cats (the McClellons have four cats, so that was some fun times ;) She decided that she wanted to catch the spider so I punched a hole in the lid of a jar, and that's exactly what she did. I dubbed the spider Saffronia--Sophie for short--then brought her along with us to interviews at the church. After showing off our prize, we set her free in front of the church. The next day as we were walking in to church we saw that Sophie had spun a huge web in front of the church, and was sitting there waiting for us. Talk about creeper. We then proceeded to throw bugs into her web, which she captured and wrapped in her web. By we, I mean not me, my bug hatred has remained unchanged. Sophie was alright though when she was in her jar.
So many cool things happened this week that I don't even know where to begin. H picked a baptismal date! They had a family reunion this weekend, so they couldn't come to church, but she will next week. We taught a strange lady in the ward's friend which basically meant we sat there and listened as they swapped crazy spiritual experiences (how you can tell if your baptism "takes" is if you lose your imagination). It was one of those things where we were all thinking "what the, we need to maybe teach something" but after we left we all said we kept thinking about the Preach My Gospel section on listening, so kept quiet. All of us where on the same page. Literally. The Spirit is cool.
Your story about Suki made me die laughing. That dog.
Hope you have an awesome week, love you all!
Monday, October 7, 2013
The weather here is actually really nice right now; it's not humid, and the temperature is what I would timidly call "Utah-esque." The world truly must be ending. One of the members reassured us that this is not normal, and that Christmas Day is still bathing suit weather. I have chosen not to believe her. I am telling myself that after a summer of sweat, I have finally earned my fall. We will see how far denial can take me.
Conference was so good! Not only did I stay awake for every session, but I also paid attention! Say whaaaaat?! Totally took notes, and everything--I only stopped to doodle once. I'm pretty sure I earned some serious brownie points with the big man upstairs this weekend ;) I'm sure there were a lot of the quotes that made it to pinterest, probably some nice versions of "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" and of course "close quote." We had to watch every session at the church in the chapel, so I have a serious case of pew-back.
We started teaching the daughter of a returning member in our area this week, and I am really excited. Her name is H, she's a little bit younger than Kami, and she really wants to be baptized. This week we're going to talk with them about coming to church, so wish us luck!
In last week's email I'm pretty sure I told you guys about the Spanish woman that we tracted into named Maria. On Tuesday when we came back, Sister Borja taught her the first lesson, and then Maria fed us pizza, and said that her home is our home. She was ridiculously nice. Super Catholic, but really nice. The Spanish missionaries went by at the end of the week, and met with her husband, so we might end up team teaching them? Kind of crazy at this point, but we'll see how this goes.
Love you all!Sister Markle
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Yup, I'm a grandma. Weird, right? I figured they'd let me raise a child on my own before making me a grandma, but oh well. Sister Borja is so great; she is 21, and speaks English really well, because she lived in Utah for a year studying the language at some school in Orem. She is tiny, and cute. Yesterday while we were tracting, at every door I told her "maybe someone Spanish lives here" just to be funny. Those kind of jokes only get funnier the more you abuse them, you see. At houses that had sign like "the Davids" I'd say the name with a Spanish accent, and tell her she would for sure get to speak Spanish at this house. Two hours later and no Spanish people. Right before we finished up, we get to literally the last house on the street, and what do you know? A woman opens the door, and with a heavy Spanish accent tells us she has company coming, and to come back on Tuesday. As soon as the door closed we started dancing around, because we found our Spanish person. Clearly I'm inspired, just saying.
One of Brandon's pieces of mission advice he told me was to never go tracting. He had me swear to it. He broke down all these numbers, and explained to me the inefficiency of it. Obviously I agreed. It is inefficient, and finding through members is a much better way. When I came out here it became readily apparent that without tracting, we would be doing substantially less. Member missionary work is still at it's beginning stages, and so in the meantime our mission president has asked us to tract 7 hours a week. Lots of reasons behind it, and with there not having been missionaries in my area for so long, it made sense that we wouldn't be re-tracting too many people. Finally found my first person who said they had been tracted into before, and told the missionaries to never come back. He was annoyed we came back. We assured him we would write his address down and make a note to not come back. As we were leaving he said, "see you later," which made me laugh so I said "you said 'see you later,' but really you meant 'hope to see you never.'" He did not understand, and repeated, "see you later." People.
Another funny tracting story just for kicks (if tracting is good for nothing else, it is good for funny stories). After saying a prayer with a retired detective, he pulled me aside to tell me something "potentially rather embarrassing." He said that I have... I can't remember what it was called, but essentially he said that during the prayer he noticed I was standing with my feet pointed inwards, which meant I have this this weird condition and need to get special braces for my feet. I laughed. I called over my shoulder to my companions and told them that evidently I have "(insert whatever foot condition he said)" which then made them laugh. I assured him that I am just an awkward lerp, who sometimes stands awkwardly. Lesson learned. Don't stand pigeon toed during a prayer.
It's definitely true that when you stay in an area for a long time, you get to know the people really well. I think my family has officially doubled since coming here; people keep adopting us as their own. M.L.'s husband has called us her "Mormon daughters," and Sister Eason has told us that she is our mother while we are away from our real ones. I won't even begin to mention all my new grandparents. I get to talk to tons of people a day, some nice, some not so nice, but it's been so good.
Love you all so much!