I miss Garrett so much, especially as I think more about him leaving. I am so beyond proud of him though, and happy for him. That’s nice that y’all will recreate Provo as close as possible for Garrett. That will be quite the experience, dropping him at the airport tomorrow. He will love Guatemala, and the people, and his whole mission. I’m so proud of him! It will be so weird for y’all to be empty nesters now, officially. At least Kylie still lives close. And when she leaves, I’ll be home! So don’t get too used to it. It sounds like you had a good little shindig for Garrett. Everyone here calls American Tacos “Frido pie”. Isn’t that weird? I just call them “quesadilla with fridos”.
Man, sometimes I wonder what impact the Marks family alone has had in the world. It makes me proud to be a Marks, and very humbled at the same time. To think that I can try to do a bit of that here in Texas is awesome. And Garrett will get to in Guatemala. And William in a new family, and Kylie saving lives in Peru! Dang, we’re good! but really, I’m so happy.
Our winter here is over. We’re in spring now. Thank goodness! One week of cold weather with these crazies on the road was enough for this Idaho girl! Texans can’t drive! Seriously though, I’ve heard it called “Winter whiplash” and that’s pretty much what it is. Comes out of nowhere, and leaves just as sudden. But it sounds like y’all’s snow needs to: Calm. Down. I’m sure it’s beautiful though. I miss snow.
Four months till I’m home. Then, I’ll join in on the “eat right, be active” thing because heaven knows I have some weight to lose after the Texas incident I’m excited to be back in full control of my eating and activity level. I’m excited to go hiking and swimming and biking and just be active again. We’re really not that active here, we don’t walk too much because no Tongans live by each other (we cover 4 stakes...) so it’ll be good.
President Whitney reminds me a lot of Grandpa. Just in having a simple faith. I remember I tried to engage him in a conversation on faith a while back, since I couldn’t have it with you dad, and he pretty much was just like, “a God wants to bless us. Be faithful.” It’s been such a blessing for me to have him as my president. It’s helped me become more true to my simple faith for the last 18 months, so that I think moving forward, I can deepen and expand that. I’m excited.
As far as how I’ve been this week, not too hot. It’s been a rough week. I was sick Tuesday night, and threw up five times between 12:30-4:30. Then all day Wednesday I was out of it. Luckily, sis Mapa was able to go out and work with an RM, and I went with a mom in the ward, and just slept all afternoon. It was a rough day, but luckily it was just a 24 hour flu bug. Then Friday and Saturday we had exchanges with some sisters, who are struggling. My exchange with one of them was not good. She seemed to dislike me before the exchange even started, and it just got worse as the day went on. I don’t feel like rehashing it, but pretty much it was very emotionally draining, and really made me question my value as an STL, and even a missionary. I just felt like no matter what I did, it wasn’t right. I just feel like over and over this week it was shoved in my face. All of my weaknesses and shortcomings that I have been trying so hard, since long before my mission, to overcome, were thrown in my face this week, and rubbed in, and used against me. It hurts to know that even though I felt like I was doing better, my growth wasn’t far enough, fast enough. But hey, that’s life, right? I guess I just have to keep on keepin on. Trusting God and working hard. And I really am working. I really am trying. For all my shortcomings, I really, really try. I can honestly say right now that my whole desire is just to do the Lord's will. I think that’s why it hurt so much this week. Because I so clearly fell so far short of where God's will for me is. But I’ll keep working.
So, thank you for your loving words and support today. Sometimes it helps to just hear from home. And I’m doing better now. The sacrament is such a blessing and miracle. As I had the opportunity to partake of those emblems, I had a deeper understanding of how Christ's atonement doesn’t only cover our sins and weaknesses, but also any hurt or feelings of pain and inadequacy. I’m so grateful for my savior.
Well, I’ve already written a novel. And I still need to write Mariam to try to find out more of their engagement I love you all so much!
I am so so so happy for Garrett! I’m so proud of him! And this experience y’all are having right now. I wish I could be there. It’s so happy, and sad to. It’s amazing. I love it.
All my love,
Sister Erika Marks
P.s. love you more!