Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

It's so crazy that it's already May! It's so crazy that I've almost been out for a year! The time has flown by in such a ridiculously long-short way. Craziness. We hitched a ride with the Elders down to T-point since one of them had finished his two years, and guess who else was going home?! Sister Harker. My trainer has officially gone the way of all the Earth. Weird. I also got to see Sister Borja, so that was really fun to catch up with both of them. Sister Borja just barely left Wake Village (she was there for 7.5 months aka 5 transfers), since President has been telling us that he's leaving people in places longer (she was with her last companion three transfers, which is happening a lot in the mission right now, including to me!). Sister Borja is now serving in Madison, which is where Sister Harker was trained, and where she left to go to Texas with me. We have officially come full circle. Say whaaaat.

Random "how'd I get here" moment of the week:
Once upon a Friday we heard about a parade that was going to happen the next day. We got all excited, and figured we could meet lots of people. The next morning we drove around for like an hour, and see nothing. No parade. We were so confused, and figured that only in Greenville do they have parades that you can't find. As it turned out, the Elders were misinformed about the start time, and were instead given the time that the people in the parade were supposed to show up, and in true Southern fashion basically everyone was late. Also, we were expecting a normal parade. We were misinformed. Instead, it was a parade to get all the kids pumped about testing, so each school had people go and march. It was weird. Every school here has a cheer-leading squad, including Elementary schools. It's a big deal. We were only able to meet a couple people, and were about to give up and do something else, but then we saw this lady we'd met before. Did I ever tell y'all about Sister S's friend Cynthia that we gave a Book of Mormon to who immediately started flipping through and freaking out because the names weren't from the Bible? ("Nephi?!...Alma?!...MORONI?! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!"). Good ole Cynthia. We talked with her for a bit, then she told us we should walk with her in her school's section. Join a parade? Booyah. She gave us signs, and we jumped right in. We met lots more people, and hopefully the badge got some attention from onlookers. It was good stuff, but the course was way too long for the kiddos, and everyone was dying by the end. And then someone fell out of a truck and broke their leg. The end.
Random phone call of the week:
The Assistants to the President in the Temple Square Mission called this week, so I had a very interesting conversation with them while we walked on the side of the road. Our mission office secretary was well meaning when she put in her request for us to be able to talk to the sisters teaching Georgetta, but in the end it was in vain. The APs essentially told me that we can't coordinate our teaching, and that their sisters have been calling Georgetta since September, and have taught her all the lessons now. Say whaaaaat. Not what I was expecting at all. Also it was Sister APs, which totally makes sense because there's only sisters there, but I'd never actually thought about it. We weren't even able to see Georgetta this week, so our make or break it lesson was scheduled for next week... but then we called her yesterday, and she told us she's been working double shifts at work, and is just too pooped. We asked if she would like for us to keep meeting with her, and she said she'll call when she's ready. She'll have her day! Eventually!
Happy story of the week:
When we followed up with L about her reading this past week, she said she'd read the whole Plan of Salvation pamphlet, PLUS Alma 40-42 (normally she just reads about chapter a week), and she said she's starting to believe it could be true! HALLELUJAH! She's so close, she just needs to get/recognize her answer now :)
We'll be able to Skype, I'll get you the address next week. Good luck to Katie and Kami! Love you all!
Sister Markle

P.S. For Mom's Relief Society lesson: In Oak Grove we had a really interesting conversation about discernment with a recentish convert who couldn't come to church due to work. She said that she was blessed with the ability to recognize when people were struggling around her, but when she was struggling spiritually, then it became harder for her to discern others needs. We compared it to when you're on an airplane and you're supposed to put the air mask on yourself before attempting to help those around you; we have to get to a spiritual point where our own needs are met first before we can begin to help others. Maybe that's helpful for your lesson, maybe not, but it was a cool experience :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

You guys are really stalker-y. I was going to tell you that someone broke into my package at the post office, but not to worry, I made sure to tape it back shut so I could open it for reals on Easter. It wouldn't have even been lying either because I did break into it at the post office. I figured you would only have written "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL EASTER" if you wanted me to surprise you by opening it early, you know, reverse psychology. Really you have to be more specific next time.

Bad news first (as always): I have a sad Georgetta update. We went by on Saturday to see her, and it was not the best of times. We asked if her telephone missionaries had called her, and she said that they had, and had tried to get her to be baptized sometime in May. Those weasels tried to set our investigator with a date. She once again reminded us that she did not plan on converting, and is pretty content sitting on the back row at her church with her mouth shut, and not knowing her bible very well, and that you can just go to the church that fits you best. We basically had to go back and teach the Restoration again, and assure her that we weren't there to force her to do anything, but that what we've been teaching is true, and can bring her the most lasting happiness. She then informed us that she's been doing her research, and we practice polygamy, and she wants us to meet her preacher next time. Booooo. She doesn't even touch the computer (it reminds her of her daughter), so this polygamy business came from her preacher and the stupid show Sister Wives. She's really just trying to find any fault that she can, and now that she can't accuse us of not having black people at our church, it's polygamy. We thoroughly explained it to her, but if she's not ready then she's just not ready. I really really hate writing people off, but hopefully she gets another shot at the truth.
On a happier note, Georgetta did talk to someone about us, and gave us a referral all of her own volition. So even though she's not converting, she's still a missionary. What a keeper.
Good news: We taught L all of the after death Plan of Salvation stuff, and it went so well. She is really just so open. After we got through, she asked if she would keep learning more about all of it as she keeps reading the Book of Mormon. I explained to her that the Bible and the Book of Mormon all have pieces from different prophets, but for the full understanding that's where a modern-day prophet steps in. I explained to her what the Doctrine and Covenants is, and she said that she would like a copy so she can continue her study. We printed off D&C 76 to give her next week, and we're ordering her a triple combination. So fun. She's absorbing everything we teach her, she's just taking her time with it all. Due to her schedule (she's really active in her church...) we can only see her every Wednesday at 3:00, but she reads through a chapter or two from the Book of Mormon between each of our visits. Slow and steady wins the race!

More good news: Last week a less-active walked over to the Turley's (the family we eat dinner with every Sunday), and they set up an appointment for us to go over and have dinner this week. His name is C, and he was converted in like 2010 in a different state while he was finishing his doctorate in etymology. He moved to Greenville for work, and was active for a short time, but then was diagnosed with leukemia and fell off the map; after he had recovered, he got really busy at work, and started working Sundays, then moved, so the ward lost track of him.  His girlfriend C lives with him now, and they are a super cute couple. He's from Ecuador and she's from the Philippians. When they first started dating she was taught by missionaries in Texas, but the Elders were really pushy with baptism I guess, so C wants us to start teaching her again, but be more discreet this time. Lots of potential! We're going back to see them again this week, so hopefully we can get something rolling :)

All in all, it was quite the week. Some good times, some bad times, some meh times. Being a missionary is like living a whole life in the space of 18 months. It never stops being weird--in a good way of course :)
Love y'all! Thanks for everything (especially my pre-Easter package)!
-Sister Markle

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hey all y'all,

Last week I promised to tell you about the Prayer Breakfast, but there wasn't much to report on. Rats. It was held at Alma's church this week (apparently they do it every week at different churches to build inter-faith unity), and she helped with the breakfast, which is why she wanted all the missionaries to come. There was a quick sermon by her preacher which involved lots of repeating by the congregation, and ended with him randomly breaking out into loud singing. It didn't make much sense, but was agreed by all to have been a great heart-sermon. I think Bible Study was more fun. When we taught Alma this week she said she's still praying about baptism, but that her answer is coming soon. So that's probably good.

We got to see Georgetta this week! She is so ready. When we got there she was outside gardening, but immediately jumped into lesson mode with some really good questions. Apparently the Temple Square sisters are still calling her pretty frequently, which is a little weird. It's like Terry all over again, but hopefully these ones quit before they lose our investigator for us. I'm going to have a bone to pick with Temple Square Sisters one of these days, they best beware. Anyways, Georgetta was going to come to church but had to cancel since she needed the gas money to get to work this next week. Good thing she did since there was a gas-leak in the church building, and we evacuated ourselves after the sacrament was passed. She should be coming next week though, so we're very excited.

Gas-leak craziness:
-We're supposed to have back-up plans for all our plans, but it never occurred to me to have a back-up for church. Silly, silly me. Expect the unexpected.
-A less-active from far-out-ish that we've visited a few times showed up for church yesterday. She's been promising to surprise us one Sunday, but it would seem that God had a surprise in store for her as well.
-There was a cool couple visiting that apparently has a video about them on The husband has a prosthetic leg, and is running a marathon in every state, which is what brought them through our neck of the woods. He said that the short sacrament meeting was quite the treat, since they usually tend to drag on and on. We are nothing if not good hosts.
-An Elder was supposed to speak since he's going home next week, so I accused him of planning to call the ward to repentance, which is what lead to the gas-leak. God had to stop-up his mouth somehow or another.
-Everyone socialized outside for a good long while, and was in a really good mood. Everyone that is, except for the member who called the Stake President, and the fire department, and tried to take over the ward (Dr. Doofenshmirtz?). Just let the Bishop be Bishop.
All in all a pretty standard week in Greenville. We had our different religion adventure, cool investigator moment, and church drama. Who could ask for more. Word on the street is that Sister Welch and I should be staying together another transfer, so we've got some more fun times ahead of us. Our source is quite reliable, but if the decision changes between now and our official transfer call this weekend, I'll let you know next week.
Love you!
Sister Markle

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dear Family,
Conference was so so good :) I had jokingly told Sister Welch on Saturday that they can't stack sessions of conference, and instead they try to spread all of our favorite speakers out. After the Sunday morning session I totally think they stacked conference. Elder Uchtdorf, Elder Bednar, and President Monson all in one session? Too good. I even got to see a little of Elder Oak's talk, because we were helping Sister Turley make sugar Easter Eggs to give to people she/we visit, and we thought watching the Priesthood session from the night before was probably more appropriate than the random show that came on after the last session of conference. What I saw of Elder Oak's talk was really good though :) Yes, church gossip finds it's way even to the Delta, so I've heard plenty about the women's group. So sad, but hopefully some of them have had a change of heart.
I don't know what Katie's talking about, the white handbook simply says "funds from the mission." Everyone here calls it our BOA card, because it just looks like a normal card from Bank of America. She needs to get over differences between rules and doctrine it would seem. Oooooh snap!
I will admit, the colon picture was pretty gross. Silly Daddy. Nobody wants to see a picture from inside their Mom, they already spent 9 months looking around in there, and have had their fill. Haha but I am glad that you have a clean bill of health :)

We figured out that we could drive ourselves to Glen Allan once this month, so we'd set up an appointment with Georgetta for Friday. Luckily we called her right before we left, because she ended up having to cancel since she wasn't home, and had thought that when I said "come tomorrow evening" I had actually meant "come tonight," so she waited on us. Lame sauce. We're going back out this Wednesday with Amy again, so we'll (hopefully) get to see her this week.
It would seem that church hopping is becoming a normal part of the week here. This week it was Baptist bible study. I actually liked this one. The Elders had tracted into a guy named Reverend Ray, and it turned out that he had investigated our church like 15 years ago, and almost joined, until there was some mix-up about being baptized in the name of the Joseph Smith. Random. Anyways, he was still really appreciate towards our church for helping him to rebuild his faith, and had never met sister missionaries before, so we got volunteered to tag along to his Wednesday night study at their church. There was maybe like twenty people there (Sister Welch, Amy our member-friend, and I were the only white people), and everybody was really nice, and welcoming. Reverend Ray lead the study, which was mostly a sermon, on the Gifts of the Spirit, and there were only a few small things he was off on. He even let the Elders have some time at the end to speak, so they read a Book of Mormon verse that tied in. Overall, really fun. Tune in next week for the Kingdom Altar Prayer Breakfast.
Cool story of the week award goes to Thursday morning. First, the back-story: Like a month ago we were with Sister Welch's cousin Amanda, when all our plans for the evening fell through. We literally called everyone in our phone, and then the one appointment we scrapped together fell through too. Trying to be a team sport Amanda suggested that we could go tracting, she's a returned missionary, and is familiar with days like that day. Tracting lasted all of three houses before she remembered how much she hated it, and we had to quit. The last house we knocked that night said we could come back when they weren't sick, so when we were in their area this Wednesday, we figured we'd try to stop by. Met the wife who said she was busy cooking, but that we could come back the next morning at 10:30. Happy day, right? Not when you show up the next morning, and some random lady chilling in their driveway says that their family is never home in the mornings. Shoot. Before we had got out of the car though, I had spied the across the street neighbor on her way to her garbage can, and had the thought that she looked nice, and we should go talk to her if there was time. Once our appointment fell through, I remembered the nice looking lady, and told Sister Welch about her. We went on over, knocked on her door, and she let us right in. Best lesson I've had in a while! She was really nice, and open, and was really appreciative that we had caught her home, since she works, but had taken the day to do some spring cleaning. Yay for being lead by the Spirit! Keisha said that she would watch general conference, and even wants us to go talk to the youth group at her church soon to get them excited about spreading the word :) She seems really active in her Baptist church, but hopefully she'll stay open to receiving more truth!
Love y'all, and I hope you had an awesome Conference weekend!
-Sister Markle

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sooooo your package was the most perfect package. I've been dreaming of good chocolate chips for weeks, my paper stash had gotten a little low, I had a hunger for caramel popcorn and didn't even know it, and I had forgotten all about my subtle hints from forever ago that I wanted you to send me Harry Potter stamps, so they were the most perfect surprise. All in all, a most perfect package. Thank you!
Dad sent me some Color Festival pictures, but he didn't tell me that everyone thought Kami was me. I did have to double-take at her pictures though, because upon first look in one she looked like CC, and in the other she looked like Taylor Skelton. Weird. Brandon got a job?!! So exciting!!!! I read through your story a few times, because it was just so perfectly Brandon and Josh, that it made me really happy. Brandon will likely revolutionize the company for the better, but it will probably entail Josh losing it (losing both the company, and his marbles). Too fun. The colonoscopy on the other hand sounds like no fun. Is it just because the billboards say to once you reach 50 (I don't actually know if they say that, but that sounded better than saying "routine check-up," so what the hay), or does it have to do with the weird diets that you had to go on a while back? Regardless, it still sounds like no fun. St. George on the other hand, sounds like lots of fun. Oh wait, that's three hands I've mentioned (unless all the fun is being carried in the same hand..), so things just got weird. Want to know something else weird? Some people were filling out March Madness brackets a few weeks ago, and based off of no background information, I said that Florida was going to take it all. Sister Welch just told me that her Dad says that Florida is in the Final Four. That's right. If they end up taking it, then I am totally proclaiming myself a psychic, right up there with that octopus that guesses the Super Bowl.

I realized this morning that tomorrow was April Fools Day, and my companion just stared at me, trying to gauge how much of an all-out prankster I was. I had to assure her that I am simply the carrier of pranking-genes, but that it must be a recessive trait, because I'm not an actual prankster. I just like to think I'm one... Which might just maybe mean that tomorrow I'll have to actually be one. We shall see.
The STL's came on Tuesday, and I went on an exchange with Sister Devenport. We spent the bulk of our day with our Relief Society President driving here there and everywhere, so it wasn't much of an exchange, but was still fun. We tracked down this lady that steals everyone's wallets when she comes to church, and do you know what we did? We invited her to church. Haha actually she invited herself, but still. The address we had on the roster for her was in the hood in Leland and looked vacant, but we got some very obscure directions from a random passing dude as to her new abode, and somehow we found it even though it wasn't the house after the brown house across town, but was the brown house itself. Silly mistaken random passing dude. But ya, she said she was planning on coming to church on Easter, so we made sure she still had the address and meeting time. Luckily we have plenty of time to warn the ward of her arrival.
Our Catholic friends from the service thing invited us to an inter-faith luncheon at the Methodist church, so we went and represented. We were also the youngest people in attendance, by half a century or so. Haha just kidding, there was a handful of middle-aged people, I'm sure. They had a roll-call of a ton of churches, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wasn't on the list, so they had to add us on at the end. Like I said, we represented. While we ate they had a Lutheran preacher preach to us, and he was all sorts of wrong. He just needs to brush up on his Plan of Salvation doctrine, and also quit throwing in sympathy cards of randomly talking about children being molested in Africa, and he'll be set. Bless his heart.
We were finally able to go visit a media referral named Georgetta that lives in this place called Glen Allen, which is a little town that is even more in the middle of nowhere than Greenville is. We were in the middle of a field, and on Georgetta's dirt road we passed this scary run-down house that I was sure glad wasn't hers, and then we passed a half fallen in shack that I was sure glad wasn't hers, and then finally got to the very end, and saw this cute little house that was thankfully hers. Georgetta met the Elders outside her sister's house in Greenville last summer, and they gave her a card. In January Georgetta's daughter died, and I guess at some point she called the number on the card, and got in contact with some sister missionaries serving at a temple somewhere. Not sure about all the details, but they taught her a little, and we got her as a referral two-ish weeks ago. Because she lived so far, we had to wait until we could catch her on the phone, before making a member drive out there for us. She was such a sweet lady, and was in disbelief over how nice we were. She said the missionaries on the phone were nice, but that's probably because they didn't believe her when she said she was black. Say whaaaat? I mean, I knew racism was alive and well, but this was definitely my biggest run-in with it. Georgetta said that she's not planning on converting, but I think she'll be singing a different tune pretty soon. We shall see. She's just going to be really hard to meet with because she has a weird schedule, and oh ya, lives out in the middle of nowhere, but she's still really cool.
The work is still pretty slow-ish investigator wise, but never fear-o. We know there are people out there that are being prepared to hear our message, and eventually we'll like find them or something. Or better yet, they'll find us :) hahaha love y'all!
-Sister Markle

Monday, March 24, 2014

Family Dear,
Glad you liked the package :) The best part about it was that I only had to actually pay for like two things. SPEAKING of which, in the little orange draw string pouch, I put a spoon  from Virginia. I've been looking for a Mississippi one for Kami, but at a thrift store I saw one from Katie's state, and I couldn't remember if she brought one home for Kami. If so, she'll just have to mark the one from me so that she remembers that it's actually her Mississippi spoon in disguise. There was another dress that I really wanted to send home for Katie (it's actually the one I was wearing in my Kermit the Frog museum), but it wouldn't fit :( Haha I'm excited for my package, even though the snake oils will take some getting used to. I really liked having my purple pouch of snake oils to tote around and show off, but one day I didn't double check how tight the lids were before I put it back on my purse, so some oil escaped. I'll have to get some refills when I come home, but I should be good for now :)
Oh my golly goodness, Aubrey is pregnant? Say whaaaaat? How far along is she? That's exciting that Lila had her baby blessing, I think she's the last baby I held. Yay for Kami! She'll just have to show off her mad skills when I get back, I guess. The ride to the Johanson's seems way longer than 20 miles in my memory, but I guess with all the driving I do now that perspective is a little off. Still, very cool. Hopefully Katie gets some awards, but if not at least she'll still have an awesome portfolio to show for her work.
It's been another interesting week for sure. We might have decided that JaNautica got kidnapped by her crazy Jehovah Witness twin aunts. The verdict is still out on that one though. We had an appointment with her Wednesday, and when we showed up with Amy our member-friend, we happened upon quite the scene. JaNautica is really reliable, and had confirmed with us the appointment that morning, but rather than having the door open, and just the screen door closed like always, both doors were closed and locked. On the rocking chair beside the door there was a bowl from Baskin Robbins filled with uneaten melted ice cream. Suspicious? Exceedingly so considering there is no Baskin Robbins in Greenville (according to Amy). All that factored in with silence in the airwaves from JaNautica, and what do you get? A kidnapped investigator, duh. Alright, alright, we let our imaginations get the best of us. Well, maybe not, but we'll find out for sure tomorrow since we have an appointment with Dreamer. Plus, if my child was kidnapped, I probably wouldn't agree to have the missionaries back over since they were the cause of the event. BUT MAYBE it's just another extreme case of Southern hospitality. Dun, dun, DUN. Keep you posted.
As for the rest of the week, we had interviews with President. Always a party. Met some cool people through the potential section of our Area Book, and tracting. We dropped by this lady that the Sisters met once like five months ago, and found out that she still reads the Book of Mormon at work. So cool. Too bad she doesn't think we have more to share with her, but we're going to work on changing that :)  We tracted into this really nice lady who was cleaning her house, but made time to listen to a quick lesson. And oh ya, she's due to give birth any day now. I have this running theory that the veil is thinner for those that are pregnant, because they are generally elect. Hence why when we ask for referrals we're supposed to ask if they know anyone who just had a baby. The Church is on top of things. We're also supposed to ask if they know anyone who just moved in, which I could never think of a reason behind until I got to Mississippi. People who just moved in theoretically don't have a church home yet, but by golly they find them quick.

We ended up having to officially drop our one investigator with a baptismal date yesterday (Sheila), because she's still lost. It's ok though, the Lord blesses his work in his own time. I'm constantly re-balancing the scales of faith and reason. In missionary work we just hear about those missionaries going to hard areas, working them diligently, and creating miracles through faith, so sometimes I have to take a step back and re-adjust my expectations. Faith isn't just some magic pixie dust we tap into at our will to make the work fly, it's something that powers us each step of the way, and at God's will the work flies. It would appear that it's not God's will quite yet, but I'm sure He has His reasons. Despite this, there are little miracles each day, and His hand is still very much apparent in His work. The promised blessings of obedience always come, it's just the when and the how that we have to accept. Ours is not to question why, ours is just to do.... well the rest of the poem is to "do and die," but instead I'll just leave it at do :)

Love y'all!
Sister Markle

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I'm glad the bike training is going well, and that fun stuff is happening. Yay for Big Maddie! You'll need to send me a picture of her and her beau together for sure :) Fun fact: Sister Welch's cousin informed us that at the elementary she Teach for Americas at here in Greenville, the kids call other kids who have significant others as being "beau-ed up real deep." No good. Babies need to stop having babies.

As far as your questions go, the Elders went and saw Kevin and said that he's moving to go get help. That's really for the best, but I'm glad that we got to help him even if just a little, and I know that someday he'll get back in contact with the church and remember those awesome sister missionaries he met while he was in need. I probably didn't explain myself very well last week, but Dreamer is JaNautica's mother. This week we haven't been able to meet with Dreamer at all, but we've been able to teach JaNautica twice, and she's still really awesome. She hasn't been able to come to church yet, but during our last lesson Sister Welch had the impression to invite her to be baptized, but wasn't able to follow through because it's been months and months since she's ever felt that way during a lesson. Next lesson she's going to invite JaNautica, but some extra prayers sent our way couldn't hurt :)
I've got good news, and bad news about Sheila. You want the good news first? Well, if you insist. Last Monday we had just hopped in to the car with Sister Turley, when all our plans fell through. Dreamer had to bail, and all the people Sister Turley wanted to visit teach in Greenville had excuses. She decided we'd snag her husband and drive to Hollandale to see two less-actives there, BUT Sister Welch convinced her that we should stop by Sheila first, and see if we could catch her. Catch her we did. Sheila let us right in, and let us know that she's been in Toogalow(?) or Tugaloo(?), let's just say somewhere that sounds funny and starts with a T, for the past two weeks with her daughter, and had forgotten her phone. YAY! She wasn't avoiding us! Happy, happy day. We were able to teach her the Stop Smoking Workshop with our Ward Mission Leader and his wife on Wednesday, and it went so well. We also found out that she has two younger children living in Yemen. Sheila is quite the globe trotter. Ready for the bad news? Well, Sheila had to cancel on our appointment Thursday because her daughter from the T-city randomly showed up, and wanted to go to Jackson. Not TOO bad, but we haven't been able to continue support for her week of the Stop Smoking Workshop, and even though she said she took her stuff, we don't know if she's picked back up the cigarettes. She texted today, and said due to crazy family stuff she doesn't know when/maybe if she'll be coming back to Greenville. Noooooooooooo. Sometimes your investigator with a baptismal date disappears for weeks, appears for a few days, disappears, appears, then disappears again. Her time will come. Eventually!
Also here's a random missionary fact: just as bad, or perhaps more so, than going over miles in your car is going under. Truth. Last month we only drove like 700 miles (even with a 100 mile single day venture to Indianola in an effort to boost our number), and our allotment is 1,150. At Zone Conference two weeks ago one of the Zone Leaders made a comment about it to me, and I tried to hurry fast and let him know it was only because we didn't have to ever drive to Jackson, and only had to go to Greenwood for district meeting once. He let the subject die. This morning we got a call from his companion asking us what our thoughts were on cutting our miles. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Remember earlier this month how we thought we'd only have 10 miles a day since we were going to Jackson twice and once to Greenwood, and the Elders were throwing in an extra trip to Jackson for Transfer point fun? Not a fun time in our lives, I'll admit. We thought their 300 mile decision to not go, had saved us, but it would seem that there are still vultures circling over head. At least I know that if that day happens, I will be able to accurately express my feelings through extra dramatic writing. For all y'alls sake, I hope that day never comes.
Love you oodles and boodles!
Sister Markle

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sounds like everyone has a lot of exciting stuff going on, so that's really cool :) I was sending Katie a congratulations email, but then I realized that all the siblings had cool stuff, so to not leave anyone out they all got "good job" emails. Haha they were really lame emails, plus all basically the same, but it's the thought that counts, right?
We had Zone P-day on Monday which was lots of fun. We started out in the gym, but no one could get the nets lowered, and there were too many people to keep tossing around a football all day, so we all ended up going to these soccer fields, and playing you guessed it, soccer. It was just frigid-death-cold outside, so no big deal. One day I'll find a new way to describe the cold, but today is not that day. We slept at the STL's apartment, and went on a quick exchange with them since P-Day ends at 6, and we had no where to proselyte... I went with Sister Devenport who looks kind of like Katie, so if I squinted my eyes, it was almost like serving with my sister :)
Zone Conference basically took all day Tuesday, but it was really really good. They had both the Clinton and Jackson Zone Leaders teach, as well as the Assistants, one of the Senior couples, Sister McDonough, and President. Loooooong,  but good stuff. We didn't get home until 9:00 that night, so sometimes living off in the boonies just equals being able to work your area less.
With all the traveling we have to do this month, we did the math, and it only left 10 miles a day. Cue freak out, and two days completely on foot. The Elders have since decided that they wouldn't go down to Jackson tomorrow for transfer-point fun, which means that we are back in the clear. BUT because we walked a crazy ton, we actually met some random dude who randomly showed up to church yesterday! Good, right? Uhhh... sure! While walking Thursday Sister Welch asked which route I wanted to take. My head said the second option she proposed (I wanted to creep on Sheila, because she's still avoiding us, which is dumb since now we can't help her quit smoking and get baptized by correct authority, and such. People these days), but the first option felt right so we went with it. 2 miles into our 3 mile journey, I look up and see this dude ahead standing on the side of the road, and immediately I had the thought pop in my head "he's waiting you." Weird. I looked back down. Looked back up, same result. Rinse and repeat. He was a little rough looking, so I was kind of hoping that my "hello" would suffice my duty to talk to everyone, but then he said, "Are y'all Christians?" Cue us actually talking to him. He's an addict, but we assured him that Christ can help, and left him with a pamphlet that had the church's address/ meeting time in it after Sister Welch had the prompting to scratch our number off it, and put the Elder's on it. Cool experience, but I figured that Kevin would just forget about our meeting, and maybe one day find the pamphlet again. Wrong. While the Sacrament was being passed Sister Welch peeked down the hall (we sit on the back pew) and her eyes got all big, and she said I would never guess who showed up. I got all excited thinking it was one of the other like 10 people we invited that always bail. Nope. It was Kevin. Our ward mission leader was really nice and sat with him and listened to all his ramblings, and the Elders have a return appointment with him this week. Bless those Elders hearts.

Yesterday was Ward Conference which equalled another really funny Ward Council. The Young Men's President of the non-existent Young Men's group argued with the Stake President over his metaphor about missionary work, even though they were both essentially saying the same thing, it's just the Stake President is not a native English speaker, and the Young Men's President was feeling rather uppity. The meeting ended up going twenty minutes into Sacrament meeting's time, on account of the fact that the Young Women's leader had a meltdown about being sick of hearing about missionary work, when hypothetically speaking an active member may be struggling and nobody knows it. Solution? Home and visiting teachers that actually visit her. I think some of the ward may eventually revolt against missionary work altogether, but yesterday thankfully wasn't that day :)

I've decided that our teaching pool changes a lot more frequently here than anywhere else I've served, probably on account of the fact that it's ghetto. Even though some people filter through quickly, those that stay are great. We're teaching two old black Baptist ladies, and they're my favorite. We can only see both of them once a week, so that's a little lame, but they're chugging along slowly but steadily. I just realized that my description makes it sound like we're teaching them at the same time, but we aren't. They live across town from each other, one in the hood, the other in a middle class neighborhood. All you really need to know is that old black ladies are the greatest people on the face of the planet.

Sister Welch likes making a big deal out of month marks, so on Saturday for my 10 months, she really tried to make it special. We had ice cream and everything, BUT the happiest thing that day was when we FINALLY saw a car home at a house we had tracted into like two weeks ago. We zipped right on over, and were able to teach Dreamer and JaNautica again. Great names, right? They're really awesome. JaNautica is 17, and is looking for a stronger relationship with God before she heads off to college in a year and a half, and her mom is really just struggling right now. We're seeing them again tonight, so hopefully we can keep meeting with them, and then they'll progress, and then they'll get baptized, and then they'll stay active in the church, and then they'll go to the temple, and then they'll just progress for eternity, and they'll live happily forever after. The End.
Love all y'all!
Sister Markle