Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

Family!

This week our item of bucket list business was tracting double digit hours AKA 10. While generally speaking my tracting aspirations plateau at 7.5 hours tops, this week we were pioneer children and knocked and knocked and knocked. Sadly our lesson count was still rather low, but it was made up for in the fact that we found someone really awesome! On Wednesday I pulled out the GPS to triangulate our street of attack, but felt like Sister Parmenter should do the honors instead. As she looked at the map, we then thought to pray, which we did, and she selected a little nub street in the middle of a neighborhood. The thing about that particular neighborhood is that it was my old focus area with Sister Newman, and by the time Sister Parmenter had come along I was SO done with it. There weren't any real potentials over there, and I thought we'd completed our purpose in finding the daughter of a less-active (the daughter lead us to Sister R whose records weren't here yet, but she immediately started coming back and was able to have her eight year old son baptized). Needless to say, after a whole transfer in that neighborhood I was done and never looked back; didn't bring Sister Parmenter over there, and didn't care to. And thus we see that Sister Parmenter was the one that needed to pick our nub street, because I was too far done. It's funny, a few days before I'd even looked at our map, saw the nub, and thought to myself that I think we'd accidentally skipped over it when we worked our way through that neighborhood, so when Sister Parmenter asked about it, I already knew it was free game. The first door we knocked was one of those where you think they're elect and will be baptized....all the way up until they Revelation 22:18 you insistently and call Joseph Smith a liar for not liking guns then "dying in a gun fight" and then finally reject your pass-along card for having a graven image on it (AKA a picture of Christ). You win some, you lose some. We tracted for two hours on our nub, and were eventually able to talk to a really nice young mom (named A) unloading pumpkins from her car. Searching for a stronger relationship with God, and a church home? You bet. She saw us as an answer to prayer, and we thought the same of her. When we left her to knock on the house across the street, we spied A sitting on her porch reading the Restoration pamphlet intently. The elect are out there!

Next week's items of business:
-Proselyting on the bus (we never ever take it because it has maybe one stop in our area)
-Proselyting at ULM (University of Lousiana at Monroe is half in our area, and this week we want to maybe set up a lemonade stand or something with a member. We'll see if the Man approves :)

Love y'all!
Sister Markle

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

Dear Family,

This week was pretty weird. Basically we had one day of normal proselyting, and that day was yesterday. Here's how it all went down:

-Monday, as mentioned in last email, was MLC in Jackson. After that was over we picked up Sister Martyn's new companion in Wesson, and made it home to West Monroe sometime around 9:30-10pm, so stayed the night with those sisters.
-Tuesday we drove the sisters to their breakfast teaching appointment at IHOP, and sat awkwardly in the booth behind them while they did their missionary thing (they had a return missionary with them, so it would've been 5 missionaries against one poor soul if we ate/taught with them...). The rest of the day involved running around trying to find an open library (apparently library's are afraid of the big bad tornado), and then after dropping the West Monroe sisters off at their home right as P-day time ended, we were able to see our couple of evening appointments.
-Wednesday was entirely spent in Shreveport for Zone Conference with Elder Zwick and then a ward council/ full-time missionary meeting for the Shreveport and Monroe stakes. Due to a mix-up of times, rather than being seated at 10 that morning for the meeting to start at 10:30, we were seated at 10:30...after walking past a chapel-full of judge-y missionary peers. We were saved from any added embarrassment, as Elder and Sister Zwick/President and Sister McDonough entered the chapel at 10:45. Phewf! At the evening meeting I was able to say hi to some old Texarkana friends (Jason and Weezee!), which was very fun. The current Wake Village sisters updated me on people, and I found out that their three children that got baptized were from the S clan, which was a family we'd worked a bunch with a year ago (R was a returning member we focused on a lot my 3rd and 4th transfers there, the kids were her sister's). So cool how the Lord prepares families over time! We ended up getting home at 12:30am.... Should've stayed the night, because that 6:30am comes bright and early ;)
-Thursday morning we helped a less-active with laundry, and that afternoon we helped with tornado clean-up.
-Friday was Weekly Planning, Meet the Mormons movie party/ Zone Conference review with the McDonoughs. After all that was through we only had time for one evening appointment.
-Saturday we spent half the day in Bastrop handing out movie coupons again. President asked us after the movie on Friday what our plans were the next day, which was code for, whatever you were planning on doing, how about you do this instead. Mission Presidents have power.
-Sunday we finally had a normal day! Yay! :)

Cool story of the week:
-While in Bastrop I went with Sister Shallbetter (MTC companion!), and we tracted for three hours straight handing out coupons. Near the end of our marathon we met the miracle lady. Yulanda was taught by Elders while she lived in Texas, loved the church, moved to Bastrop and lost contact, has a brother currently being taught in Virginia (who's a miracle himself as the Elders showed up on a day he was contemplating suicide), and had just told her boyfriend the night before that she wanted to go find the missionaries. Her boyfriend had laughed telling her she'd have to drive all around town, but God is really loving and just sent us to her door instead. She cried when we gave her a new copy of the Book of Mormon, and readily committed to go to church and have a lesson Sunday (haven't heard yet if that all worked out). Because Meet the Mormons isn't supposed to be a proselyting movie, the missionaries aren't supposed to get contact info from those they give coupons to, or try follow-ing up with people to get them to see it. Our running joke was that someone would ask to be taught and/or baptized after we gave them the coupon, and that we'd vehemently refuse on account of the fact we "weren't proselyting." Miracle Lady proved that our joke was in fact just a joke ;)

Excluding two exchanges, this week should be back to business as usual. Hopefully I didn't just jinx it...

Love y'all oodles and boodles!
Sister Markle

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014

Dear Family,

Two full circle moments this week:

-While waiting for sisters to pile out of the transfer van this past Tuesday, we quickly realized they were one short. Sister Martin is serving in West Monroe and was waiting for a sister to come be her companion, but instead that poor sister went home due to health problems. Too bad nobody informed any of us, but to all of our surprise it wasn't too weird and we just rolled with it. Sister Martin was our temporary companion for the week and we worked the combined Monroe/West Monroe super-area, and just left the combined numbers as the West Monroe sister's proselyting area because it was too confusing and we were over there most of the time (we got a lovely phone call from one of the Assistants to the President yesterday asking nicely for our area's numbers because all he had was zeros... haha we told him that he did in fact have our numbers ;). Funny thing was that Sister Parmenter and I had been joking last transfer that we wanted an STL baby (AKA we wanted to train together), so we joked that Sister Martyn was our baby, and she just came pre-trained. Literally, she's been out for like fifteen months. Despite the fact that she's been out longer than Sister Parmenter, we called Sister Martin Baby all week, and she called us Mom. It was pretty tender, and not demeaning in the slightest. Full circle moment because when my companion went home early due to back problems I hung with the STLs for a week too.

-Next up we went to MLC on Sunday and Monday, with Elder Zwick of the Seventy there to teach us cool things. We were allowed to bring Baby with us, and on the way back last night we swung by Wesson MS and picked up her new companion from the trio there. Full circle moment because the sister had just been transferred there, it was going to be her second area, and she's been out six months, which was my same situation when I was ET-ed, I mean "moved," from Purvis to Oak Grove. What what? Also Sister McMurtry was part of that sister-trio so it was all sorts of nostalgic.

Moving on from those two fun things, this week was pretty rocking. Our temporary trio was all sorts of fun, and we taught some pretty powerful lessons together. Best moment came from teaching a nonmember in the member home he's living in right now (West Monroe area), and teaching a really great lesson only to have my baptismal invite taken over by the nine year old member that then told a random story when the guy was about to respond. When I re-extended the invitation he gave a lame maybe answer, but we all agreed it seemed like he was going to say something different the first time. Kids will be kids, and it was probably one of the funniest fail moments I've experienced in a while :)

A cute kid named U was baptized this week, but he's only 8 and his whole family are members, so we didn't really teach him, but still taught him. I don't know if I told y'all about Sister R, but Sister Newman and I tracted into her adult daughter, who wasn't interested in learning, but told us that her mom was a member, so we should visit her. Sister R has been coming back ever since, and was really only inactive for.... I actually don't know how long but they moved from Texas like 5 months ago, so at least that long. Not too bad by Southern standards, plus they're really great. Yay for U!

Another random occurrence: there was a tornado that blew through Monroe and West Monroe yesterday, but we were in Jackson during it, so were safe and sound. There's some random trees blown over, but besides lots of power outages, the damage isn't too bad.

Last random thing: President called us Wednesday night and asked us to spend Thursday in Bastrop handing out half price movie tickets, because it was one of the only theaters in the mission to be showing "Meet the Mormon's". It was pretty fun stuff, and our Zone gets to see it Friday when President brings a copy to show :) should be great! We also have Zone Conference tomorrow in Shreveport with Elder Zwick, so this week will be pretty different, but maybe not quite as different as this past week. Different = fun though so life is good.

Love y'all a bunch!
Sister Markle

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014

Family,

This week we went on exchanges with the Winnsboro Sisters, and I had the pleasure of bringing the trainee Sister Thompson back to Monroe (it was her first STL exchange!). The one lesson we got to teach was probably one of the weirder/funny lessons I've taught, but it was awesome because it forced her to take the lead which is what our district leader wanted us to work on with her. Our teaching appointment had fallen through, so the member that came out with us agreed to try some less-actives. One of the women we caught is married to a member, but isn't a member herself. While her husband wasn't home, she let us in to talk, and we found out she doesn't know much about the church. Keep in mind she was also crazy old, just woke up from a nap, and can't hear very well. Sister Thompson had happened to sit in the one chair within easy hearing distance, so when she asked me what we should teach, I told her the Restoration and asked her to take the reigns. She was pretty unsure of the whole semi solo teaching situation, but I think it was great practice; the Lord knows our needs, and provides situations specific to helping each of us learn what we need to! While the lady maaay have dozed off a little on us, it just added to the funniness of the situation :)

Transfers threw off our groove today, so I don't have much time to write a real weekly email, but there wasn't too much to report on anyways, so I'll just be sure to make next week's extra juicy ;)
K was only able to watch the Saturday morning session of conference, but Elder Christofferson had a really good talk on grace, justice, and mercy so hopefully that helped things click a little better! We won't be able to teach them this week because they're going to be out of town the whole time, so it'll be a couple weeks before there's a good update on them.
We've found a few cool people, but we're just working on trying to meet with them now so we can help them progress! No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing!

-Sister Markle