Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday December 17, 2013

Family!

Not sure exactly what time we'll be getting in contact with you guys, but we'll finalize our plans before next Monday, and I'll let you know in my email. It'll be in the afternoon sometime ish, probably. We're going to a member's house where we can both skype at the same time, but there's also a lot of members with apple technology, so maybe we can FaceTime instead? Also word on the street is that President has avoided placing an actual limit on the length of our calls, so long as they aren't "excessive." Obviously I don't want to take up too much of your Christmas (I'll likely run out of stories right quick like), but at least we don't have to stress out about time.
Amanda has back problems, and goes to Louisiana for treatment, which coupled with the fact that her family is there, equals we haven't been able to teach her since last email. Also no real news for R+L, we called them last Wednesday, and he said they wanted us to come over for dinner/ a Q&A, but our member dinner appointment that night turned out to be uncancellable. It was a wealthy older couple that was "quite looking forward to us coming by," and laid on the guilt quite thick when we tried to reschedule. Lame sauce. Instead R was thinking they could feed us on Monday, and he texted us two of his questions so that we could study them out. One was flat out false doctrine, which makes our life easy, the other involved a quotation from the teachings of Joseph Smith and D+C 130:22. That was a very legitimate question. It would appear that he has been researching us quite in depth, which is good and bad. Good, because it showed that he really was interested; bad-ish, because he was delving into deep doctrine before gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon first. It's really only bad-ish because I have a bunch of scriptures relating to his question to share with him, but he never got back to us about dinner so they have remained un-shared. I don't like leaving people with unanswered questions, so hopefully they let us come by again.

The German ladies are doing a lot better; T just got a job, and the ward helped out with their rent, and food. They are ridiculously grateful, and even came and helped clean the church with us yesterday for our day of service. We're going to start the lessons back up with them this week, and probably set them with another date for baptism sometime in January.

I don't think I've told y'all about F yet, but she's super great. My second week in Mississippi there was a baptism in Oak Grove for R2, who was the Zone Leader's investigator and F's ex-husband. R2 moved to Oloh (little town outside of Oak Grove) to be closer to their kids, and the Elders first met him while he was at work at a member's Christmas tree farm (no joke). He only investigated the church for like a month before joining, and then F started investigating because she was so impressed with the changes she saw in R2. The Sister Training Leaders (that's right, not only do the zone leaders serve in my ward, but so do the STLs. It's the only way that President could keep me in line ;) were teaching her when I got here, but about two weeks ago they passed her off to us, because they travel so much, and she needs more consistent teaching. We had the best lesson with her yesterday, and she's praying about getting baptized at the beginning of January. Their nine year old son also wants to be baptized, so at some point we're going to start teaching him too.

It's been great having more promising people to focus on, but all the people we teach are pretty far away, and we are seriously hurting for miles. ALSO on Sunday all six of the Oak Grove missionaries sat down for an "Area Book Correlation Meeting," where we discussed what to do about a few people being taught in other people's areas/ arranging new boundaries. The STL's live with us (did I ever mention that?), and their area used to be the further out parts of Oak Grove including Sumarall. They determined that their area needed to be worked more, so we basically swapped places. Kinda. I had the idea to give them the area surrounding our apartment, so that they could be a bike area. Now when sisters come for exchanges with them, they can be trained on bikes, which would be really beneficial. They are going to be full time finders in their area, and we'll be the follow-up visiters/ teachers. It's a little weird, but they deemed us "ghosts" for their area. Elders gave us a small chunk of their area as well. Hopefully all this will equal for a busy transfer ahead of me! (speaking of which, today is transfers, and as expected Sister Mongie and I are staying together for Christmas :)
As a fun alternative to normal tracting, now we can go caroling. Ideally we'd sing a song about Christ, then give the family a Book of Mormon as "our Christmas gift: a book that helps you draw closer to Christ." On Sunday we went out with our roommate-STLs to give it a shot, but accidentally went out too early. Talk about awkward.  We discovered that caroling-tracting is best done in the dark, as opposed to normal tracting which is best done in the light (it's weird, but people want to talk about Jesus and his restored church even less in the dark then in the light. Ridiculous). To our rescue came a herd of neighborhood boys that decided they wanted to tag along for the ride. Of course they had a small repertoire of Christmas songs, so we ended up singing Rudolph and Jingle Bells at doors, but it was a hoot. They lead us around to specific houses, and were really sad when we had to leave for our dinner appointment despite the frigidly cold weather. It was the most unexpectedly hilarious caroling experience ever.

Swants sound so cool! Can I have two pair? One ridiculously hideous-sauce one for around the apartment, and one tame pair (grey?) to keep me warm while tracting? They sound oh so fabulous. Do they reach all the way to your ankles--cause I've kinda got long legs... While I'm being outlandishly needy in the Swants category, could you possibly sent a pair for Sister Mongie too? Her mom sent her a Christmas package, and while we aren't allowed to open it yet, we're pretty sure she sent me a present too, so we could swap family gifts :) As for other package requests I'd be down for anything. I got sick of my wardrobe after week two of mission life, so really anything that allows me to mix it up, makes me happy. Also someone sent Sister Cottrell (one of my STL roommates), a really cute picture book version of the Plan of Happiness that could be fun. I'm pretty sure they sell it at Deseret Book, it's called "The Great Plan of Happiness" by David Bowman. I'm basically out of eye-makeup remover, so as for practical things a bottle of that, and mascara is always handy. Thanks so much for everything though :) I picked up a cute little Mississippi gift for y'all today, so hopefully that gets there lickedy split like.

Love you all oodles and boodles!
Sister Markle

P.S. Tell Katie good luck on her paper, and tell CC to stop being such a reverse version of ladies-man (mans-lady, not as catchy, I know).

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