Thursday, March 6, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

It seems like we spend most of our time driving here. That's what I get for serving in boonies again. Yesterday we had Stake Conference in Monroe (thankfully Sister Welch's cousin drove us, so our miles were spared), and today we're driving to Jackson for Zone Conference tomorrow morning. It'll be a grand total of like 10 hours in the car over three days. Crazy. This last week we were in the car a lot too, because we went out to visit less actives in Leland and Indianola on Friday, and also went with the Relief Society President on Tuesday to Leland. A week just wouldn't be complete here unless it involved some sort of road trip.
Haven't been able to see Sheila at all this week, so it would appear that she's back in avoiding mode. If she keeps up the pattern though, by the time we're able to follow-up with her again, she'll likely have read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon. At least that's what I'm telling myself :) We were supposed to start the Stop Smoking Workshop with her on Wednesday, but she pushed it back to this week, and we haven't been able to hear back from her to see if we're still on. Hopefully we are.
Haven't seen one of our investigators since we talked about Chastity with her. We planned our whole Tuesday around the time she said she could meet with us, but then she called while we were at our Catholic service project thing to try to reschedule. We couldn't reschedule. She was busy the rest of the week, and now they are out of town on Spring Break, so we'll have to see her next week. Hopefully the break from her wasn't just for the sake of our sanity, and that it'll help her take things a little more seriously. We'll see.
We've been trying to find new investigators, but so far just have some new people with potential. We did find two black Islamic guys with dreads (one of which was in a wheelchair because he was shot, and the bullet went through both legs), who told us all about how we were wrong, and that Jesus is actually black, and that his name actually isn't even Jesus. That was fun. We meet the most interesting people here every day.
I went to my very first non-Mormon church this week! Our Catholic friends really wanted us to come to their Healing Mass on Wednesday, because they wanted to introduce us to everyone, and feed us at the luncheon afterwards too. Food, people, and church? We were there. Plus, who can say no to a bunch of cute little old ladies. The service was pretty interesting. We didn't stand in line to get anointed, or get any of the eucharist, so even though that was a little awkward, I would've felt so much more awkward if we had. At the luncheon they had us introduce ourselves in front of everyone, and we got to talk to a lot of people. They were all really nice, and it was an interesting experience.
Yay for Kami and CC! Aww man for Brandon! You are so silly mom, but I'm glad you enjoy my dramatic emails :)

Love you all a billion million!
Sister Markle

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dear Family,
Yay for CC! I am so excited for her! Costa Rica sounds like heaven on Earth, that little stinker. Plus she's learned some Spanish before, so her brain is already primed for the language! It's a little weird that she's going to the Provo MTC, and not the one in Mexico. I thought all Spanish speakers got relocated there, but I guess not. You will only have five months of overlapping missionary blessings coming your way, so y'all better make good use of them! :)
It's been another crazy week in the Delta. This is seriously the place where all those Mississippi rumors originate from, because it feels like serving in the most Mississippi place in all of Mississippi. Ready for this week's drama?
So there's this active member that converted in New York and moved here with her like 9 year old son and nonmember 19 year old daughter, and they all live in her daughter's boyfriend's house. The daughter has a baby, but I recently discovered that it is not the boyfriend's baby. Nothing too weird so far. Every since I've got here there's been this truck driver staying there, and him and the active member have a not-so-secret but not-talked-about... erm... relationship. No good. Two days ago we saw a moving truck out front, and swung by to see if the family was moving out of the boyfriend's house, because they had recently broken up. Nope. In reality it's much worse. The truck driver's two children were moving in. It turns out his daughter is married to the ex-boyfriend, and has three small children of her own, including a baby with the ex-boyfriend. We're pretty sure the truck driver's son has this weird romantic relationship with the active member's daughter who broke up with the son's brother-in-law. Thus there are now 6 large persons, 5 small persons, and 3 dogs all living in this tiny house, with dog poop on the floor, and weird family ties. Welcome to the Delta.
I can't even send the next crazy thing, because it's just too crazy and I hope it's not true. There just may or may not be more to the Rosemary story than meets the eye. Will update you if suspicions are confirmed.
Remember when I told y'all about Sheila? The person we tracted into on Sandwich Road? Well she kind of fell of the face of the Earth for a bit, but she's back in the picture. We had tried texting, and knocking on the door, but to no avail; we got her son on day, and he said she wasn't home, but then when we left we saw her get into her car. We decided she was probably avoiding us, like lots of people like to do. WELL on Thursday we were on exchanges with the STL's and Sister McGrath and I were looking for a place to tract. As we were driving by her road, I had Sister McGrath turn on it, feeling like we should try and follow-up one last time. We ended up talking to her neighbor who was getting her garbage can, and she was really nice, so we figured that might be why we had to try Sheila. Wrong. We had to try Sheila because Sheila had prayed us there. Not only was Sheila home, but she also informed us that she had read the Restoration pamphlet three times since we met her, and had been praying last night that we would come bring her a Book of Mormon. Say whaaaaaaat. WE had a really good lesson, to say the least. My baptismal invitation skills have been growing quite rusty, but despite how garbled it came out, she accepted. When Welch and I went the next day we set her with the date of April 10, and we're going to do the Stop Smoking Workshop with her this week. Keep in mind that Sheila is still kind of a wild card, hence the semi-distant date. She's struggling financially, so we said she could counsel with bishop, but that our church is not too keen on handing out fishes, and would instead help her fish on her own. She understood, but we'd like to see her established in the ward prior to baptism so as to avoid a welfare baptism/ new less-active. Trying to tread cautiously. Still excited, just cautious.
As you can see, life in the Delta involves many ups and downs, but overall it is good stuff Maynard. Lots of growth.
Love y'all!
Sister Markle

Monday, February 17, 2014

Funny story. All of Ashley's kids started calling me Teddy Duncan after we first met, but I figured the joke would eventually die. It has not died. They even got a member we brought over last week converted too. She looked up pictures of Teddy online, and proclaimed us twins. I look nothing like Teddy. I am going to start a support group for blonde white people that do not look alike, but are harassed into thinking they look alike.

Most of the people we're trying to work with have very set schedules, so Ashley has been the focus because we can work with her more frequently than others. Her baptism date is not until mid March, but it's been hard to determine whether she is simply progressing slow, or whether she lacks desire, and honestly I think it's a little of both. It's been one of those tricky situations where we couldn't quite figure out if the Lord was teaching us patience and charity (which granted, he is), or whether we are actually being taught faith, and need to stop focusing on Ashley until she's ready, and allow the Lord to provide new people to teach. It's been quite the mixture, but we are willing to do whatever the Lord requires. At this point we're going to talk with Ashley tomorrow and see if she's willing to act in faith and make this a priority, and we'll trust that the Spirit will give us direction as to where we need to go from there.

I DO have a fun finding story for you this week, so clearly the Lord does provide, even when things seem a little impossible:
On Monday nights an awesome sister from the RS Presidency comes out with us to appointments, or to do her visiting teaching. Last Monday we asked if her husband (a member of the bishopric, did I mention this family is awesome?) could tag along. We wanted to teach this older gentleman and thought he good use some good ole male fellowship. They happily agreed, and we went on our merry way. To our chagrin the older gentleman is still very much Baptist, so rest assured that is not the finding story I had to tell. The magic happened AFTER this visit.

When we all got in the car, our upstanding priesthood holder announced that he would like to take us to visit a different older gentleman that he has been working on for years. The man was excommunicated long ago, is kind of deaf and blind, and has resisted many attempts to get him back in church. Sister Welch and I were obviously game. Old people are our favorite. His wife, on the other hand, got a little grumbly and defensive over her visiting teaching time. Nonetheless, she was a good sport, and we were off.

Before we went in, we were warned that the man has a non-member housekeeper that was uninterested in learning more. We went in, and had a really good visit. The older gentleman really enjoys the company of sister missionaries (in a non-creepy-we're-like-his-grandkids kind of way) so we were sitting over by him, having a shouting-conversation so that he could hear. Unbeknownst to us the RS sister, was talking with the Rosemary the housekeeper, and then had the overwhelming impression pop into her head about whether or not anyone had invited Rosemary to learn more. And so she did. And she said yes. Members for the win.

We've taught Rosemary three times already, and while she's currently not into organized religion we're acting in faith here. I know that the Lord will always provide, so even if nothing results of teaching Rosemary, we'll be fine.
Also, I probably need to confess something. I think it started two transfers ago, but President McDonough forwards good stories that are emailed to him to the whole mission after changing names. I really enjoy dramatic stories, and writing, so I've made it a game of seeing if I can write emails that President can't possibly not send out to the whole mission. I think so far I've had three of mine forwarded to everyone. Impure motives for writing good emails? Possibly. At least it entices me to write more than the couple sentences I generally write him. So ya. Any dramatic story y'all receive is either copied from my email to him, or gets copied into my email to him. Bad Madi.
Good luck with the race training! I'm happy you got to see Mongie, even if it was only for a little bit :)  AND I'M SO EXCITED FOR CC STILL! :)
Lots of Doubles!
Sister Markle