I love hearing from both of you so much! Thank you for your awesome letters and those pictures! It's true, Texas BBQ is NOT done in the snow. I think if I even suggested that to them, they would shudder at the cold. That's awesome though, and very classic for our family, I feel. It cracks me up they were out there in tee shirts. I'm wearing tee shirts here, but it's in the 70s/80s... grandma wrote me, and was super grateful for all your help with the snow. It's crazy you had so much snow you had to cancel church! It must have been in honor of the day I received my baby blessing:)
I had a cool experience this week. Before I came out, Dad, you gave me the advice to never allow anyone to engage me in an argument about the facts of the church history. We were out at a part member's home, and the non-member husband tried to do just that. I remembered your advice to remember that if I did engage, I could win the "bash" but that it really wouldn't do any good. So I bore testimony, and knew that it wasn't worth it. It actually took a lot of self control, especially since he was being very careless in the language, and I could have so easily caught him in his own words. It was a very cool experience though, because it strengthened my testimony, and made me so grateful for the way you raised us to be able to think for ourselves! I've actually seen that a lot out here, as I talk with people that really cannot stand for themselves, but just cave to your words and ideas. "That's what I meant..." no it wasn't! Anyway, it was cool. And thank you for that!
Also, I found out I like Texas chili! That would be because apparently, though they eat beans with everything, in chili they don't! They always have no-bean chili. So, go figure, but it tastes really good! Also, I've seen rats for the first time here, but they're HUGE! Probably about 3 feel long, and I'd guess almost 20 pounds! Ew!! Makes me think of ROUS's from The Princess Bride. It's gross. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas. [Parental note: Really Erika? We need to see a picture! At first we thought more likely an armadillo, but you would know that. So how about a nutria? Just thinking!]
The other cool thing we had was we set a baptismal date for Denise and John! They're the ones that wanted to drop us a bit ago, and then decided not to. They still have a long way to go (law of chastity) but I think they're sincere, and can be ready for February.
I can feel the angels here buoy me up. And I definitely believe that Brian is one of them. I feel so blessed to walk in the footsteps of so many valiant missionaries, pioneers, and saints who have gone before me! It makes it so even the hardest days seem wonderful as I feel myself maybe making a small dent in the history of some of these families, or maybe just the sidewalk... but seriously, I love my opportunity to serve. This week Sis Poulton and I were thinking a lot about New Years resolutions because we've been talking about goal setting with the ward members, and the main thing that's stood out to me is the need to decide every day what you want to do. It's not enough just to decide on New Years, but you have to make the conscience choice each day to be successful in your goals. For instance, I decide every day to be happy. I pray every day to be more consecrated in my performance, and to have an increase of love. As I ,are that choice each morning in my prayers, it gives me something to rely on throughout the day, rather than just something I said on January 1st. There's a lot of apostolic quotes and scriptures about that, but I'll let you research them yourself. I just want to bear my testimony of he power of daily choice. God really does help you through even the hardest of trials or life-changes as we allow his atonement to take full affect in our lives, and even just try to trust him. Alma 32:27. All we really need is desire.
I love you so much! I hope your next week and year is wonderful! I believe that you can do it!
All my love,
Sister Erika Marks ️