So, first off, Dad: I’m sorry I didn’t respond to any of your email last week! It didn’t come through until Tuesday, even though it was time stamped as Monday morning! I was so annoyed that it didn’t come in time to respond. Anyway, I think you’re so right about astronomy! lol. Seriously though, people just need to remember a bit more about how big everything really is, and it makes it so easy to see how silly our human foibles are. And God sees the BIG picture, way more than we ever can, and so some of our things must seem so trivial. And yet, he still cares. That’s crazy to me. And honestly, your email was a good reminder to me. Sometimes, especially as a missionary, it gets too easy to have blinders (of a sort) on. Life just gets so wrapped up around these people we’re teaching, the sisters I’m trying to serve, and everything else, that sometimes just taking a step back is needed. To realize that this is only a year and a half, and life is much bigger. I mean, I think it’s good to be purely focused on what I mentioned, since I do only have a year and a half, and I don’t want to shortchange me or the Lord. But I guess an “eternal perspective” always helps.
This week was good. Jake passed his interview yesterday with President, so he’s officially good to go for this Saturday!! And his family wasn’t able to come in from Tonga last week the way they were supposed to. So, they’re supposed to be here by Friday. I sooo hope and pray so! Because if they don’t, I don’t think Jake will move forward with his baptism. He might, but I think he would want his wife and kids to be there, just as I’m sure they want to be. And yeah, his wife is a member. His three kids are 4 and under. And he has 3 older kids that live with his ex, I don’t know their status...
Jai ended up not being baptized on Saturday. She decided to push her date back so that she can wait for her less active husband to get worthy to baptize her. It breaks my heart that she’s stopping her progression. But I also see where she’s coming from, and it will help the family moving forward. ... anyway, we’re still working with her, and will be trying to set another date soon.
Not much really happened this week. It was good to hear from Garrett, and I’ll be writing back to him. I am so happy that he seems to be doing well. I’m not surprised at all that he is the district leader. He’s so good! I hope we get pictures this week.
Also, big news for us out in Texas: we’re getting smartphones! Can you believe it! Apparently they’re going to start rolling them out beginning of Feb. The mission leaders (me) will be getting them on Feb 2nd. I will still get to keep and have my iPad, but the Samsung smart phone will be replacing our current flip phone, and missionaries will start to come out with phones instead of tablets within the next transfer or two. Apparently all US missions will have smartphones by the end of June. So, I’m sure your sisters are being affected by this also. I’m excited for the change. It’s cool to see the church moving forward in this way.
I love that y’all are always coming up with new ideas and pushing forward with them. It sounds like you have some cool things planned! That should help with being Empty Nesters. And hey, at least one of your kids is married, so you could be getting some grandkids finally! Lol
And I’m so excited for Kylie to be able to go to Peru. We’re scheming to have me come down for a week and volunteer and maybe hike Machu Picchu... lol. We’ll see what happens.
I hope y’all have a great week! I love you.
All my love,
Sister Erika Marks
P.s. here’s another poem I wrote last week, also not titled, but I hope you like it!
The night is dark and windy now
The rain does never cease
I need thy refuge from the storm
Lest I lose this earthly lease
The arrows and the slander flies
The soldiers in array
Where is thy fortress to protect
To keep these swords at bay?
The world in mocking posture, points
To crush the seed of faith
In thy haven I would rest
For strength in every case
Though storms and armies, faceless hand
All try to intercede
There’s only One to whom I will turn,
Fall on my face and plead
The One who is my refuge
The One who is my strength
The One who is my fortress
The One who goes great lengths
He is my redeeming Savior
My haven from the pain
He heals all wounded heartaches
For peace at last reign
He asks of you, he seeks from me
To come and be perfected
He only wants our hearts, our wills
To rise with the elected
So will you follow faithfully?
Will you serve both man and beast?
Will you surrender all your sins,
To know the PRINCE OF PEACE?
My voice will praise forever!
His acts will become mine
For what else have I to offer
My Brother, pure and kind?
~Sister Erika Marks