Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

So this week was super good. We are super busy and my mind is everywhere right now because Thanksgiving is this week, but I will try to give you a recap of last week.

So last P-Day after emailing we went to this place called "Great Shakes" and we had some pretty great shakes. Ha. We were able to talk to this super cute couple there about Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, they weren't Mormon but they loved what we had to say and they said that they know a lot of people from Utah as well. It was a really good conversation and I am so glad that we got to meet them. There are so many good people in this world. We were also able to run into an Australian couple on the street and they talked to us for only a minute, but I loved their accents.. so cool. Oh man I just remembered a story from that day! So funny! So Hermana Stuber was driving and in California there are those streets that are only 1 way... well there was two of them right next to eachother heading different ways (one North and one South). We turned onto the one Heading South (because that was the road that the shake place was on) and realized that we were too far down, so we told Hermana Stuber to turn down the road heading North. She did.. and we started heading down but then she was like "we're on the wrong road" and turned onto the one heading south and we were screaming and were like you can't turn right on this road!! And at the last second she was like OH MY BAD! so we had to go down that road again.. then we flipped around and started heading back and she must of been somewhere else because guess what? She did it AGAIN! Oh man by that time we were laughing so hard! It probably isn't funny written out like this, but it was funny in the moment.

So this week our bathroom light went out. And it isn't a normal light bulb.. it's a special one. So we had to shower in the dark and had to leave the door open if we wanted light for about two days. Then we said enough is enough and we went to the apartment office and asked for them to change it and she said she would have someone on it by the end of the day. Then we got home and the other sisters in our apartment had tracked one down and gave it to us! It was so sweet! but then later that night while we were all out the guy came to change the bulbs and when we got home he had taken the ones that the sisters had bought and replaced them all... Hermana Stuber was so mad.. she just said, "dang we walked all the way to Albertsons for those!" They will be blessed. The Lord honors effort.

On Wednesday we had a wonderfully spiritual Zone Conference with President Van Cott (our mission president) and we talked about conversion and the Book of Mormon. We were able to share our favorite conversion stories and talk about the steps that the people and the missionaries went through. My favorite conversion story is the one of King Lamoni's father in Alma chapters 20 and 22. I love how his first interest in the Gospel is sparked by how much Ammon loves the people and how he SERVES the people. And then later once Aaron is let out of prison he can go in and teach the king because Ammon had softened his heart. The scriptures are so powerful. They teach you everything. We also did a fun role-play where we chose to be one of our parents (except make them non-members) and just go around and run into each other and try to learn all we could about that person. It was so fun. It made our street contacts so much easier.

We also did exchanges this week. I stayed in my area and Hermana Granado was my companion for the day. She reminds me of Jessica Fowler. THEY ARE TWINS. It is so weird but I love her she is so cute. We had a lot of fun and were able to catch up and the theme of conversations this week has kind of been about the Second Coming. I used to think it is going to be a few hundred years from now, but there was a prophesy given by the prophet in the early 1900's and he said that some of the people at that time would be alive for the Second Coming... we did the math. If someone was just born on that day and lived to be 100 years old, the Second Coming would be in 2030. And we actually have a girl out here whose Patriarchal Blessing tells her that she will be alive for the Second Coming.. so I am guessing it is close. I hope I am alive... that would be so cool.

This week we had to teach Gospel Principles class at church and we will probably have to continue teaching it for a bit. The teacher for that class moved and President Parks (our branch president) told us to pray about who should be the new teacher and get back to him, but until then we are the new teachers... yeah I don't mind. It is fun to teach the class but I never know what people say to me... that is why we have companions. She answers the questions most of the time. I just keep it simple and testify. That is the basis of what I know how to do in Spanish. I can't say English prayers anymore and it is so much easier to give my testimony in Spanish than English. I love Spanish. It is so much easier than English.

Well, it's Thanksgiving this week. So I was thinking about what I could say to everyone and I came across this scripture:
1 Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you
You are all so special to me. I truly can't imagine my life without every single one of you. For me this Thanksgiving is so special because I have the opportunity to touch lives here in California. We will be passing out notes and little door messages this Thanksgiving to all of our members and inactives. I am so excited the best days are the ones when we do service because you can feel the love of Christ and you get to share it with everyone you come in contact with. I love teaching lessons and watching as people come to know Christ and understand His gospel, but there is something about service that just gives you a taste of what Christ did while He was here. He taught many things, but mostly He served the people. I love service. Especially when you know that the people you are serving feel the spirit and the pure love of Christ.

I am so thankful to be here in this area and to have the opportunity to brighten lives during these holiday seasons. There is nothing I love more that seeing someone smile and I am so glad that we are able to share the light of Christ during these winter months... even though it isn't winter here.

I am so thankful for you all and for the love and support that you have given me. I truly thank my God upon every remembrance of you. I hope that your Thanksgiving is full of love.

Hermana Eardley
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hola familia! Como estan?

Last week we went to the Dino Museum for a P-Day adventure. It was so much fun.. there really wasn't anything there... just a bunch of fake dinosaurs.. but we took a lot of pictures and just made it really fun. It was out of our area so we had to have a member drive us, and she took pictures too and posted them on Facebook.. I am tagged in them I know, so if you want to look they are there.

So I have a story, and it is a good one, but before I tell it, just know that as a companionship everything we do we do together... that includes taking responsibility for our mistakes..
Okay, now that you are slightly interested, here is my story:

One lovely Tuesday night (the day before exchanges so Hermana Magnusson was still my companion) we went to the church and the Branch threw my companion a farewell party. BUT! There was no ice cream.. and everyone wanted some ice cream. SO President Parks gave us his debit card and told us to go buy some ice cream.. he also gave us his PIN. It was a big moment, he is so rich. So we drive to Albertsons and bought everyone Klondike bars... it was like 40 dollars worth of ice cream... he had told us to go all out... so we did. Then as we were purchasing this super expensive ice cream Hermana Magnusson says, "no! let me put in the pin.. it's a pride thing" So, I let her put in the pin. Then we happily got back into the car and started heading back to the church. Then Hermana Magnusson starts talking about how she is going to set up one of the Elders who just went home with one of her friends.. she got so excited she missed the road we were supposed to take. So she quick turned into the closest parking lot right next to the road. She wanted to find an outlet so we could get on the right road. I pointed and told her, "you can turn right there" then she said, "but it says right turn only" then I said, remembering all of the times my parents had done this and even once my father saying exactly these words, "those signs are just for traffic control".... Yeah I said that... get your laughs out now because here comes the best part... don't worry mom... she said, "you're right my parents do that all the time too" and she pulled up to the street. There was a break in the cars so we headed out into the street turning left... The median was invisible until about 1/2 a second before we hit it. Then we went flying. It was really a Hot Rod moment... super fun. We caught air, and a lot of it. BUT! We ended up on the side of the road we wanted to be on. We pulled over to look at the car. We lost a hub cap (like it's gone we went back to look for it and couldn't find it), bent three rims (popping two tires) and put a crack straight through the middle of our sensor. Of course, we weren't very observant at first. One tire was so obviously popped, but the rest we couldn't see, so we said a prayer and headed back to the church. We made it fine and finished our party and everyone loved the ice cream. There were left overs so we put them in the freezer to pick up Sunday after church. Then after we had to put our spare on the car... got that done and headed out. As we were heading back home we felt something funny and we heard something funny so we pulled over to re-check the car and sure enough, the other tire was popped. We didn't have another spare so we made some calls and that night we did planning in the car waiting for the Elders to come and bring us another spare. We got home at 10:30... so late. Since then we have been into PepBoys twice, and we have to take it to a body shop as well, BUT THE WORST PART!! Sunday we went to grab the ice cream... and someone had stolen it. That is what we get I guess. Anyways, like I said earlier, mom, don't worry. We are fine. I feel awful that they have to spend so much money to fix it, but we are fine.

This week was so crazy! So we had transfers and this is how it all laid out: Me and my new companion Hermana Howe live with Hermana Stuber and someone else. Her companion doesn't fly in until tonight... so for the last week we have been a trio. Covering two very large areas. It was so hectic. Our miles for this week have flown out the window and we still have to drive all the way up to Redlands tomorrow in order to pick up her new companion. (That is a lie, while I was typing our President called us and told us he was bringing her down tonight... good thing we cleaned the apartment today) Craziness but hey, we are flexible. We only saw about 20 of our people this week and 20 of Hermana Stuber's people.. but once we are back in our area we should be able to get a lot more done.

We had a baptism on Sunday! Her name is Ana Melendez and she is the sweetest 13 year old. She has been wanting to be baptized since she turned 8 (her mom is a member) but her dad wouldn't give his permission because he wanted her to stay Catholic. As missionaries we need written permission from both parents to baptize someone over 8 and under 18... so she has been taught by the missionaries for years, but no one could baptize her. I get here and start teaching her and I love her so much! So finally me and my companion said enough is enough, and we got her baptized. Keep praying for her and her family. It was so infuriating that her dad didn't come to her baptism. I never realized how lucky I was that my dad was worthy to baptize me. During her baptism it just hit me and I started crying because, Dad, thank you so much for being worthy to baptize me, you will never know how precious that is to me.

We got to volunteer at the Braille Institute again this week and I was able to finish painting by birdhouse that I made! I love it so much it is so cute. I love serving the people there. They are so fun.

Last Friday we were able to go to a Branch Family Home Evening and it was so fun! We got to play a game called fruit basket and I couldn't believe how long it had been since I got to play a game... wow it was so so much fun!

This week has been so much fun! I am loving it here and I love the people here. I also have a deep respect for the Spanish culture and the language as well. My new companion isn't fluent like Hermana Magnusson was, so I have a feeling we are going to be learning a lot of Spanish these next 4 weeks... I can feel it in my bones.

The Spirit is so strong right now. I feel it all the time and I come home mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted which is good because then I know I am working hard. We are doing a lot of work here in this area and I can see the hand of the Lord in everything we do. There is no place I would rather be and I am just so excited to be here and to have this opportunity. I love my mission. Thank you so much for all of your support.. It means the world to me!

Love Hermana Eardley

P.S. I got a possible update on my visa... sort of. My mission President from Panama emailed me and said welcome to the mission and told me to be prepared because the mission is awesome... they haven't told me anything yet, but maybe they know something that I don't. Who knows.

from left to right: Hermana Stuber, me, and my new companion Hermana Howe

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nov 10th more pictures

So this week is transfers... we got the call this morning and Hermana Magnusson is headed out to Fontana and I am staying here in Palm Desert and I am getting a new trainer named Hermana Howe. I don't know her, but we are crossing our fingers that she is cool. I could use some prayers.

So I learned last week that the library has these really cool things called books where you can learn ANYTHING. Ha we were cleaning in the childrens section WWAAYY in the back corner and found these SUPER COOL books about how things are made and science projects and all this science stuff... yeah I don't need to go to school, I could learn everything at the library.

So this week was good, but hard at the same time, but definitely good. First, with Ana we finally got her dad to give vocal consent, but he hasn't given written consent... but we decided that as long as it wasn't going to break up the family, we were going to get her baptized. SO she is going to be getting baptized this Sunday!!! I am SOSOSOSO excited for her! I will send pictures.. this is a big deal.

The rest of our investigators are taking their time progressing. They are progressing, they read and pray, but getting them to church is a real struggle. We have 3 on a baptismal date right now, but I don't know if they will be ready by then or not.. It is just a matter of helping them learn about the gospel and inviting them to come unto Christ. They decide how much they progress. We are trying so hard to help them out and we know we will get them there, it's just a matter of time.

Not that much happened this week... okay that's a lie. So much happened this week, but nothing super cool or note-worthy.. well okay, so we went on exchanges this week so I had an English sister come into our area with me... It was so much fun. Granted, I was the only one out of the two of us who knew even a little Spanish, so that was hard when talking to people on the street or in lessons with our investigators, but her and I clicked so well. Like I love her. She was so cool, but she is English and I am Spanish... so it could never really work out for us...

I have focused a lot this week on prayer. Making sure that I am relying on the Lord in everything that I am doing and focusing on telling him everything that happened during the day and what I want to happen for the next day.. Letting him know how I felt during lessons and what I need his help on and how grateful I am for all the help that he has given me. Prayers last forever. But they are detailed and I can see the difference it makes in my day. I make it a point to look for those miracles that he gives me each day and I know that he answers my prayers because I see his hand in everything I do.

This last week has been difficult, but I made it through! Thank you for everything and for the package (sue:)) and mom thank you for the letter and candy... I assumed last week when you said you sent me some candy that it would be in a little box or something... but, no. It was in an envelope... hey I am not complaining, I love chocolate letters. Mom, thanks:) it was a good story for my journal.

Oh and tell Stephanie that my companion is teaching me how to sing.. we can totally start a band when I come home!! Bucket List Check!

I love you all so much! Your letters and prayers mean the world to me. I love it here and I truly feel like I am so blessed to be in this area and meet these people. I know I am here for a reason and as soon as I have done what the Lord wants me to do (which will be when I am so reluctant to leave) he will send me to Panama. I got a notice today about my visa, I haven't gotten it yet, but they said that they are still trying to get it so at least they haven't forgotten about me. I am surely on the Lord's errand and His time as well, but that is what I promised Him. That for 18 months I would leave everything and do what he needed me to in order to bring people back to him. I also know that I have grown so much and I am going to continue to grow and be made stronger through living the way he has asked me to. I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father and I know that they have a great plan for me.

I am so blessed to have every single one of you in my life. Thank you for all you have done for me and tell grandpa HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! and tell grandma CONGRATS!!!! That is so cool. Keeping being great. Y'all are so awesome. I am truly one of the most blessed people on this earth to have y'all in my life. I can't wait to talk to everyone next week! Also, in 5 weeks I get to Skype for Christmas!! Everyone be ready:) I know it is on Christmas Day, but I don't know what time yet. I love y'all so much and I can't wait to talk to everyone. Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Eardley
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Hola Familia!

How are y'all doing? I hope everything is good.

This week I got to watch the Testaments. One of our recent converts hadn't seen it so we watched it with them, in Spanish. I love that movie so much and there are some super funny and cheesy parts, but it was different in Spanish... I didn't understand what they were saying most of the time and the funniest part wasn't even supposed to be funny. It was the part where they are accusing Jesus and asking him if he is the Son of God and he just says "I am". That is like a super serious part in English, but in Spanish... Oh my goodness it was awful... I didn't understand any of the words and then all of the sudden it was an old spanish man's voice and it just says "Yo Soy" and I just started laughing SO HARD. Everyone, it wasn't a funny part to the people who know Spanish... wow that was embarrassing.

We have had some really cool experiences this last week... We met two men on the street and started talking to them (just as friends not about the gospel) and they warmed up to us super fast and started telling us about how their lives haven't been that great and they just had a sister die and all these things and we were able to share with them the Plan of Salvation and they don't live in our area, but they asked us to send them some missionaries which was so cool!

We also had an amazing lesson with Octavio. I don't know if I told you about him, but we found him while looking for his roommate and he is so amazing! (We met his roommate outside the house one night while we were walking around and he was SO drunk but he invited us back) When we first met him he just started talking to us and telling us a bunch of stuff and we didn't really know how we felt about him, but we went back again looking for his roommate and the roommate wasn't there but Octavio was again. That time he asked us to teach him something.. and we were like.. uhh okay. He asked us how to pray (as I am typing this I swear I have already told y'all, but better safe then sorry I guess). We gave him a Restoration pamphlet and he read it.. like all of it, and when we came back he had questions! Like good questions about Joseph Smith. So we brought a member to our next lesson and it started off scatterbrained but ended on a really good note and then we invited him to come to church (that lesson was Saturday night) and he said sure why not so we had a member pick him up and he CAME TO CHURCH!! It was so cool and not only that, but him and President Parks (our branch president) got along so well.. they are going to be best friends. And everyone else loved him and they just clicked with him so well and he loved church and asked us for a Libro de Mormon and we gave him one and he said he was going to read it so I am so excited to see how much he read... Oh my goodness he is just SO AWESOME!!! We have him on date for November 22 so hopefully I get to stay in this area another transfer so we can continue to teach him.

We have also been teaching a cute girl named Ana. She loves the church. She is already a member she just hasn't been baptized yet and we had her on date for next Sunday but her dad said no. He is Catholic and she was already baptized as a baby into the Catholic church and because she isn't 18 we need the written permission of both of her parents in order to baptize her... so hopefully he will let her in the future or if not she can be baptized when she turns 18.. it's just sad. She even knows all 10 Commandments! I didn't even know all 10 until like a week ago. Go ahead, without looking name off all 10 Commandments right now. I dare you. She wants it so bad and she knows it is true, but she is over 8 and under 18 so there isn't anything we can do.

We also got to do service at the library this week and clean all of the childrens books since it is flue season.. it was great. I love childrens books.. they are my favorite. We just kept reading each other cute stories while cleaning books.. it is so relaxing.

Also, twice now President Parks has taken us and the Elders out to eat. The first time was Wednesday night. He took us to this place called "Richies" and I had ribs and it was so good and President Parks loves to talk.. he could talk for days and he loves us (his misioneros in the branch) so he spoils us a bit. But that time was super good. The second time was today.. like just barely. We were supposed to go to the temple today to clean it, but they called and cancelled so President took us out to lunch and Wow it was so good (that is when I started writing your letter mom) we even god blackberry pie and let me tell you it was so funny, like I said, he can talk for days. So while he was talking me and my companion pulled out some paper and started writing letters because P-Day time is precious and he didn't notice for like 15 minutes that we weren't even involved in his conversation.. It was great.

We also got to volunteer at the Braille Institute again this week. We ended up having to be the teachers because the actual teacher had car problems and wasn't going to be able to make it, but it was so fun and everyone was able to just get going on their projects and no one needed a ton of help so I sat down and made a cute small little bird house.. then once we got home I realized that if I get transferred next week I won't be able to get it back or even paint it... so I have been saying a lot of prayers saying Heavenly Father please let me stay here so I can keep teaching these people and loving these members and helping find people here and so that I can keep my birdhouse. yep...

Also, I had my first real Holiday on the mission! Halloween was so awesome! A member took us out to dinner and I had a super delicious burger and a shake.. so good and then we went to the stake's halloween trunk or treat and got to see the members and the kids dressed up ( my favorite was the ghost busters boys) then we went home and did weekly planning.. It was so fun. We just planned and ate candy. Holidays are different here, like they are fun and stuff, and it's great to get to do stuff for it, but it is also just a normal day. We had to be in by 6 that night for safety reasons, but it was like.. we are stuck in the house.. what do we do for 3 hours..?? So we weekly planned. It was great.

Oh my goodness there are so many things to share and not enough time!!!!

We knocked on a door of a referral and turns out it was the wrong address but the guy just started looking for religion (his name is Byron) and so we had a lesson with him right there about the Book of Mormon and it was super awesome!! He is a really good Potential.

Last story, so we have this less active family and they wont let us in their door, so we made them a little notita and gave it to them and they loved it so much they showed us all of their cats. They didn't let us in the door, but they brought each one out one by one and told us about every cat. They have 7. It was insane. I couldn't even believe it was actually happening.

I have learned a lot this week. I learned the importance of getting to know people so that you can actually apply the gospel to their lives. The gospel can help everyone and it applies to everyone because Heavenly Father made it for us. It was designed for us. I have gained such a strong testimony of that this week.

I hope everyone is doing good! I love you all and I love your letters and emails! I hope you have a good week!

Hermana Eardley
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