Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

Dear Family,
Looking back, I probably should have told you about the mission blog. That would've been a good idea. We're authorized to peruse it during email time, so while I don't frequent the site, I've known of it's existence/ utilized it to stalk other missionaries (it's hard to keep up with a mission that's so big, with no Facebook you see). Next time I leave y'all for an 18 month mission I'll be sure to direct you to all related sites :)
I went on exchanges with some old faces this week! We double-worked the Magnolia, Arkansas sister's area on Tuesday, and I was companions-for-the-day with the Canadian Sister Orth from my MTC district. We've been pen-pals since forever, so she's a good friend. Next up was El Dorado (pronounced El Door-aye-do because this is the South), Arkansas and I had the lovely opportunity of taking my MTC companion Sister Shallbetter back to Monroe to work with me. Our exchange was cut short by a random phone mishap (they were using our phone to transfer their old phone to their new phone, except their new phone somehow absorbed our phone number instead. Weird) that morning, and Ward Correlation that night, but even though it was short, it was sweet. It was nice to catch-up, and talk about how much she's grown over her mission. Missions are definitely good for that! Zone Conference was the next day so Magnolia spent the night with us, and Sister Newman was returned to me safe and sound the next day at the meeting (she had to wake up at 4:30 AM to come, so she really pulled the short straw).

Oh ya! Here's my rant for the week. On exchanges I challenged someone to create a family mission plan, and they laughed at us. Then told us their mission plan is to be an example. Not cool, man, not cool. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, thus the work of salvation won't hasten until we change it. Members and missionaries working together is the only way. Rant over.
Ready for the crazy awesome miracle story of the week? Prepare yourselves. It's a good one.
Even though we're technically dubbed the "Monroe Sisters" a more appropriate title for our area would be "Swartz and Stuff Sisters," because we have little or none of the actual city of Monroe. Swartz is right up snug next to Monroe, and is where we live, so it's basically Monroe's slightly more country conjoined twin. While our area isn't as ridiculously big as Greenville's, we still have a lot of country and random cities (Fun Fact: Tim McGraw was born in Start, LA which is in my area, and we visit a part member family that lives on the street that Tim McGraw St grows off of. Sad Fact: the Tim McGraw St sign got stole). Background information aside, on Friday this week we went out to Rayville (just past Start, 30 minutes from Monroe, like I said, nothing compared to Greenville standards, and yet neither of us had been out there to work) to visit less-actives, with a less-active from Rayville that showed up to church the past couple weeks in tow. Cause that's how we roll.
The last person we went to contact was Ann Marie J. From the roster we could tell that she and her husband were in their 30s and were both members. We drove up to the appropriate address, but the dude washing his car out front said that Ann Marie actually lives next door. We walked next door, and a 30-something woman with curly red hair came outside, so we asked if that was her name. She said yes, and let us in. We started to get to know her, AKA pump her for information. She was really interested as to how we knew her name, so we felt a little like the big time stalkers we are. She was super sweet though, and I wondered why she hadn't been contacted before. There was a big family picture on the wall (Mom, Dad, daughter, young son, new baby), and from what she was saying I began to wonder if their 12 year old daughter hadn't been baptized. Yet. Part-member-families are good stuff; the convert brings the incentive/fire to get them going, and the less-active brings the knowledge. Then things got weird. She asked us what denomination we were from, we cleared up polygamy, and she was really curious about random well-known missionary details, as well as prophets. Cue restoration lesson. For the whole lesson we sat there wondering if she was lying to us, had amnesia, or there had been a crazy mistake and someone with very limited knowledge about the church was mistakenly put on church records (weird stuff happens sometimes often). I kept thinking, "Do we invite her to be baptized, even though she's already a member?" We were really confused, but the Spirit was strong, so we just kept rolling with it. Ann Marie was really interested, and at the end told us she felt so special that we came to teach her these things. So weird. But so good. In my closing prayer I prayed for the J family, and after "Amen," she told us that she thinks we had the wrong family, because they are the Cs. HA! The Ann Marie we were looking for was a few houses away. Coincidence? I think not! Return appointment for this week, so I'll let you know how it goes :)

Love y'all bunches!
Sister Markle

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