Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Family!
I hit my halfway mark! I did not burn a shirt; I'm pretty sure a shirt is just for six months, there's something else you burn at nine months, but I didn't know what it was. All I could remember was that Katie said sisters in her mission would take a pregnancy picture... Haha so I did! That's the last of the weird traditions I know about, so it looks like this is the home stretch!
Yay for CC! It's lame that I won't be able to know where she's going until the Monday after, but I guess I will just be patient I guess maybe. Boo. Still so exciting. That would be way cool if she gets called somewhere remote and foreign, because then I'll get foreign mail! Oh wait... also she'll be somewhere remote and foreign! So cool!
My talk in church isn't until next week, at which point maybe I'll give the lady some pointed looks. It turns out that everyone in ward council thought she was a out of line, but they're also too fearful of her wrath to poke the sleeping dragon. This is also the woman who barred the sister's recent convert from Young Womans on account of the fact that she's 16 and pregnant, and she doesn't want her to be a bad example. The girl has only been back to church once since then. Relief Society is too boring for a 16 year old (no offense mom... :) so hopefully when she has her baby in the next week or two that rule can be changed. I don't think it would really be helpful to poke the sleeping dragon either, so hopefully we can make friends with her, and influence her to better opinions in a sneakier manner. We'll see how that goes.
I finally met our investigator with a baptismal date this week! Her name is Ashley, and she has three kids (a 12 year old and 9 year old twins) that are all working towards baptism too. They are.... um... rambunctious. Plus Ashley takes her time to learn each principle, so it takes us a few times stressing each concept before she understands. Plus we're like her only friends here, so she's hard to focus on gospel stuff because there's other things that she cares more about. She wants her kids to grow up in church though, so we're running with that. I think Ashley will probably cause my premature death at some point. As in my brain will overheat and explode if I ever think too long about how her brain works. Yup. Also I learned a new word from her. She dropped out of the beauty school here because it was "ratchet." The ward member we were with showed me a YouTube video clip so that I could learn the meaning of the word. I've gathered that it's a cross between "hot mess" and trashy and ghetto. Essentially you don't ever want to be called ratchet. So ya. Bless Ashley's heart she sure does try.
We pray really really specifically as of late. As in, prayers always get answered, but God has a sense of humor, so you should be really specific otherwise you will get exactly what you asked for. Like, we had prayed that we would be able to see the aforementioned pregnant recent convert (I still hadn't met her, and she's been kind of avoidy), and then we saw her... except she was asleep on the couch, so the more appropriate prayer would have been "see her while conscious and have a meaningful conversation with her." Another example. It snowed here, and we decided that since neither of us had ever tracted while it was snowing, we should go. I made Welch turn down the street that I'd dubbed "sandwich street" (it's name is "Italian Club" which sounds like a sandwich) even though there were only two houses on it. One house said "No Trespassing," which I learned from Welch means they might pull a gun on you if you knock (she served in Hattiesburg so she is the authority on ghetto), so we went to the other little house after praying that they would let us in, and that they would be interested, and that we could teach them. They let us in, they were interested, and we taught them. What we SHOULD have prayed was that they would let us in, that they would be interested, that we could teach them, and that they would answer the door/phone when we had a return appointment. Our bad. Being avoided is becoming a familiar theme. Haters gonna hate. Mormons gonna morm.

For my nine month mark we spent the morning volunteering at the Greenville marathon. I temporarily turned into a human sized ice cube. It was fun. We went with Amy and Amanda, and helped the ward at our aid station AKA mile marker 17's water booth. We were informed of the proper way to give a cup to the runners: hold your arm completely outstretched with the cup resting lightly on your flat palm, while you yell repeatedly whether you have water or gatorade. This is the only approved method for liquid delivery. Any other method will result in a prompt correction. We stood in the icy-death-cold for five hours until my toes were amputated and we had to go home. Don't worry, my toes have since grown back.
Despite all the cold, this transfer has had a great start, so I think it will be a good one. We'll do all the things. I love you all, and hope you have a great week too!

Love always,
Sister Markle

P.S. I feel like I've addressed Thirsty Thursday with you before. It probably means all the above. We're supposed to set it aside for walking or biking, or basically being seen by more people while we're out working. Since I still don't have my bike this last Thursday we walked in the chilly-freezy-death to try and see a less-active who's deep in the neighborhood behind us. She wasn't home, plus doesn't answer the phone. Boo. We selectively tracted on the way back with the hopes of being let in to get warm. Prayers are always answered. We were let in twice by uninterested people, but one couple gave me gloves (which I've actually been needing since my two pairs got lost) and then invited us back to their daughter's wedding reception. We ended up not being able to go, but it's the thought that counts.
P.P.S We email every Monday at 10:00 here, and email until like noon or 1:00 since there's nothing else to do here on P-days. That's the routine if you ever forget to email Sunday, or have something you'd like to chat back and forth about. Despite nothing to do on Mondays, every other week we drive to Greenwood for DDM, and on the way back we use our lunch hour to visit a museum. I'm looking forward to that this week! Fun fact: the birthplace of Kermit the Frog is Leland which is in our area. They have a small ghetto museum dedicated to him. I will one day visit this small ghetto museum dedicated to him. That is all.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Family!
I think I've determined the cause of the luggage mix-up. I got to Transfer-point like 15 minutes late, due to not ever feeling like packing (I chalk it up to feeling sickly, thus not ever feeling like doing anything). The night before I hurried and filled my baby suitcase and one big one, but I still had all my clothes to pack that next morning, plus shower. I figured I'd have time. I did not have time. I have waaaay too many clothes at present. People keep leaving cute things behind that I just can't NOT take, plus I got all that winter stuff from y'all, plus I have the winter stuff that I had to go out and buy prior to getting stuff from y'all. Ridiculous, really.
So ya. Poor time-management, plus an excessive amount of things equaled late to T-point. Lucky for me the second van still wasn't there (and wasn't going to be there for another hour), but I was still feeling very frazzled so when an Elder started tagging my luggage with colored pipe cleaner, I didn't question his color-usage. Actually, that's a lie, I did question whether that color meant Jackson Zone, and he said yes, but that I could check the chart if I really wanted to. I checked the chart, and the chart said green was Jackson, and the color he put on seemed neon green so I let it slide. Lies. He put on yellow. Yellow meant Gulfport. There is an unnamed colorblind Elder in this mission that deserves my vengeance. Haha I guess it's a common mistake though, since the same thing happened to two other missionary's things. They either need a better system of tagging luggage, or need to put the similar colors in neighboring zones. Luckily we didn't miss any appointments, just a relief society function. All in all it was no big deal, just another ridiculous story to add to the ridiculous things that happen to me all the time.
My new companion is Sister Welch, she's from Pleasant View Utah which is just outside of Ogden. Her previous area was Hattiesburg, and she only left last transfer so that's why I had already met her. Sister Harker is actually follow-up training her kid Sister Hansen in Hattiesburg right now, so that's pretty cool. Sister Welch just hit her 6 month mark a few days ago, so we burned a shirt in an alleyway, ghetto style. She randomly has a cousin that lives here, so we planned to burn it at her house, but she said the alleyway would be safer. We got plenty of weird looks by passing locals. Dang Mormons. Why can't they just be normal.
The new apartment is nice, but I've been so babied in Oak Grove lately that it's a little hard to appreciate my new living situation ;) haha just kidding, there's just really weird light switches, and it's older, but overall in good condition. No critters, so that's good too (although it's still winter, so maybe we'll have some more friends come summer...).
Church was really interesting, this ward has got a whole lot more character than I've seen thus far. Welch blames it on the Delta. I really love it so much already, it's just I feel like I find it more humorous than I should... Lots of fun quotes though. During ward council the status of getting a calling for a recently reactivated ward member was brought up and a lady, with as much gusto as she could muster, said, "She will be receiving an assignment. Jane's (name changed to protect identity) attendance has been inconsistent. Giving her a calling would be foolhardy. She will be receiving an assignment." I died laughing (inside my head, don't worry, I kept my composure). It was just really unusual. I'll be speaking in church in two weeks, so maybe I'll study up on the importance of helping those that are weak become strong through trust and encouragement... and assignments ;) 
I'm feeling loads better Mom, so no worries :) No more left over sickliness, just a semi-chain-smoker sounding voice when it's late at night or early in the morning. We have a full time car, plus Welch has had reconstructive surgery on both her knees, so biking is painful for her. She bikes every Thursday for Thirsty Thursday (mission-wide day that we try to not drive, so that we're more "visible" in the community), but other than that we'll be sticking to the car for the most part. Also, my bike was left on the coast due to no bike rack on the T-van that brought back all the lost luggage, so I won't be biking for a couple weeks anyways. The Gulfport Zone Leaders will hand off my bike to the Jackson Zone Leaders at MLC (Missionary Leadership Council), at which point it will one day make the long trip to the boonies, and I'll get it eventually probably maybe.
Greenville seems really fun, really ghetto, so really fun. Due to the holidays and other things the work seems to have been slow here, but I'm sure it'll pick up this transfer. Our area covers tons of neighboring small towns so we eep into Arkansas a smidge. Lake Village, Cleveland, Rosedale, Hollandale, Indianola, Newland, etc. we've got it all. Sister Cottrell said we have the biggest area of the mission, but as far as actual proselyting goes we stick to Greenville mostly. Most of the ward lives about an hour away though so it's back to the frozen food for me :) Like I said, Oak Grove very much so babied me, and I've been due for a be-humblement ;)
Love you all oodles and boodles!
Sister Markle
P.S. I'm still super excited for CC :)
P.S.S - I forgot to tell y'all my funny story of the week! So were visiting a less-active named Latoya. She's awesome. She was braiding (and by braiding, I mean BRAIDING braiding, hard core braiding) this random girl's hair the whole time, and some other random young girl came in too. As we were leaving Latoya told me that I looked really familiar, and so I told her it was probably because I look somewhat like Sister Cottrell (who I was just serving with, and who opened Greenville for sisters like four months ago). Ever since I got here people have told me that I look just like here, and act like her too. Even missionaries on the transfer van said the same thing. We're twins I guess. Anyways, Latoya said that that must be it. She then said that even though all white people look alike, I look especially like Sister Cottrell. I informed them that I just have one of those faces, and that some kid I worked with once swore that I looked just like the girl from Good Luck Charlie, which I don't, but he'd always try to make me say Good Luck Charlie anyways. They readily agreed that I looked like that girl. They then started naming other random blonde white actresses that I also looked like. I called them rascist, and walked out while they laughed hysterically. Weirdest, funniest moment of my life.
That is all.
Love you!