Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Dear Family,

So funny story. STLs (Sister Training Leaders) have unlimited miles, and a beautiful new car. We also get some extra money on our BOA cards each month, cause we travel. It's kind of ridiculous. Silly STLs.

Other than the silly perks of being here, Monroe is awesome. Not to jump the gun or anything, but this might be the part of my mission I've been waiting for; we've already seen miracles, and it feels like there's more to come.
-First up is A. The sisters started teaching her last transfer, and she is mega prepared. She married a member a few weeks ago, read the entire Book of Mormon in like two months, and is currently halfway through the Doctrine and Covenants. She's super sweet, and is working towards a baptismal date of August 2, but has to overcome smoking first. She's leery of starting our Stop Smoking Workshop, and told us she wanted to give fasting on Sunday and prayer one more shot first. If that didn't kick the habit, then we'll do the workshop and possibly readjust her baptismal date this week. They live just over twenty miles away from us in the country, and are actually technically in the West Monroe ward boundaries, but have permission to come here, because it's where her husband joined the church. We're working on getting her name in the temple, so hopefully she'll be able to quit smoking soon!
-The week before I got here the sisters started teaching a young couple named CJ and Sha (pronounced "Shay" real name is "Shaquarius"). They were a referral from a long-time investigator (she knows the church is true, but is stuck living with some dude, until she can move her and her three kids to some other state), and came to church the Sunday before I got here. Due to their work schedules our appointment got cancelled this week, BUT they randomly called us on Saturday and told us they were in Ruston looking for the Stake Pioneer Day activity. Say whaaat?! So even though we couldn't teach them, and they couldn't come to church this week, they got to fellowship with members for a few hours. The Elders told us they're going to make great members, so I'm pumped to meet them this week.
-There's a couple other investigators, but we only met with them once this week, so I'll let you know when I know more about them. Yesterday we had the coolest experience though. We had called a ward member that lives in our area, and set up a time Sunday afternoon to go by and get to know her better. Sister O was really sweet, but what started out as "get to know your members" ended up as "teach the whole family two-less-active-children-with-nonmember-spouses included." Such a great lesson, it flowed effortlessly from get to know you, to Mom's conversion story, to a restoration lesson. Not too forced, not too casual, but it was a Goldilocks lesson all the way. Sister O's son had actually brought his wife of two weeks (named A, but different A from earlier in the email because the letters that follow the As are different making them entirely different people), to church for the first time yesterday and they stayed for all three hours. The final hour was taught by one of the counselors in the Mission Presidency, and it was all about answering common questions about the church. A said it was weird, but she had all her questions answered. She readily accepted our invitations to learn more, to pray about what we taught, and to read from the Book of Mormon, and we have a return meal/dinner appointment set for this Wednesday. Happy happy day. It was an awesome lesson, but even awesome lessons include a few laughs. Sister O was talking about how the native Americans have Jewish descent (Lamanite blood), and her daughter shouted to her husband (he was standing in the doorway trying to not be a part of the lesson while still being a part of the lesson) that he was actually a Jew since he's half Cherokee. He said, "I'm Baptist," and then she said she thought he was non-denominational, and he said he was both. You probably had to be there. Later the daughter said that even Christopher Columbus is in the Book of Mormon, and A got the funniest look on her face, so we had to assure her that there wasn't a Book of Columbus. The best feeling ever came when Sister O texted last night and said, "Perfect timing sisters!! Thank you so much for coming today. Just the fact they listened and were interested is an answer to my prayers!" So humbling.

As per request, here's the skinny on Sister Newman, the new companion. She's from a small town in Idaho called Monteview, and went to Utah State for two semesters before coming out last July. She runs. She was trained in Greenville, so we sometimes accidentally stay up late reminiscing on the ghetto. Any more questions?

Love y'all!
Sister Markle
Me with C+C

Our apartment complex in Greenville!

Living out of suitcase at new apartment in Louisiana!

L and I :)

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