Monday, January 26, 2015

God Grants unto You Your Desires

Dear Family,
So remember last week? The young man we kept running into? Well, last Monday, after emailing we went to pick up our clothes and we ran into him AGAIN! Yep, God always grants unto your desires. We were able to talk with him some more and we found out he has a lot of questions about the Gospel. He asked us where we go after death, and, because we didnt have a lot of time, we made an appointment with him for the following day. We showed up, and he wasnt there... but we ran into him again and were able to stop by on Sunday. Then while we were talking he started asking us why there were so many churches on the Earth if there is just one God... yeah, Haldan is his name, he has so many questions! I love it! He really wants to learn and I am so glad God put us in his path. I will keep you updated.
We have had some amazing lessons this week! We have another young man who is about the same age as Haldan (both 19) named Oscar and he has this problem where he wants to know the truth, but he keeps saying that he doesnt want to go to church until after he knows the gospel is true... the last time we talked to him we told him that we dont "recieve a witness until after the trial of your faith" and we are hoping that he puts his faith to the test, because in reality, our actions stem from our desires, and our desires stem from our faith.
So Wednesday we spent the whole day helping paint a members house... yep. Service projects here are always really big because thats what the people need. Its always painting or building houses. So Wednesday we painted a house, and Saturday we spent the day helping build Hermano Abregos house... a lot of service this week, and I wore pants for the first time on my mission and I felt so weird.. Like I was self concience with pants on... it was so... I dont even know. I just felt weird, I didnt like it.
Today was exhausting. We have two Elders who are finishing their missions next week so we as a zone got permission to have a PDay together and we went up to a members house (He lives like on the border of Panama and Costa Rica) and made food, I was able to uproot a tree, cut off its roots with a machete and then we cooked the roots and ate them. It was so much fun and was really good too. We also had Papaya and Pineapple (it is the most delicious pineapple I have ever tasted) and coconut (straight from the tree) and we also made some pasta and cooked some steaks (of what type of meat I know not), anyways there was a lot of food. This Hermano that let us use his house is from Peru and he has so many cool things in his house from Peru! We were also able to hear some of his stories. One of the Elders in our zone is also from Peru and he doesnt know how to ride a bike (poor family, didnt have the chance) but there was a bike at the Hermanos house and so we tried to teach this Elder how to ride a bike.. It was going really good until he got scared, over corrected, and ended up in the river... yeah, It was pretty hilarious... buts thats all I have to say about that.
This last week was busy, and the next week is going to be even worse. We have a lot to do before transfers and we will be having a conference with President Carmack in David this week as well.
I love you all so much and I am so grateful for the support you give me! I feel your prayers and am so thankful for them. Remember that I am always praying for yall and I miss yall so much! You are in my heart always!
Love, Hermana Eardley

Monday, January 19, 2015

Just another week in. . .paradise?

Dear Family,

It is so hot here. One minute its raining, the next the sun is beating down. I got sunburned for the first time. Aparently this is normal until March or so, then its just straight rain... yeah, I love Panama, but really, I do, the wheather is just kind of bipolar.

Yall are going to have to forgive me, today was pretty packed and I totally forgot my planner! I am going to try my best to remember everything that happened this week, but I will just apologize right now... because I doubt it will have much of an order.

First, So our area is pretty slow right now, but we do have a couple who decided to get married and we have been working on their papers.. 2 days ago Hermano Abrego (the soon to be husband) called us and told us he wanted to be married and baptized before we have transfers... Transfers are the 3 of Feb... so we are going to get them married this week and baptized the next, but its twice as difficult because Hermano Abrego works for the police and will be gone this Wednesday to next Wednesday... yeah... we have asked them what they remember from the missionary lessons and they dont really remember much, so to be safe we have to teach everything over again.. we will be seeing them every-other day this next week to try to have them ready for baptism... normally I would say that it isnt good to rush through all this, but they have been together for 12 years, have 3 children, and have been taught for awhile.. they both have a super strong testimony and have been through trials but they are definitely ready for this. Hermano Abrego is trying to learn English too so its always fun to talk to him. 

This Saturday was.. well, scarring. So, we were walking to a Less Active members house to have a Family Home Evening and this young man stopped us and started talking to us. He asked us about the church and we were having a great discussion and about to get his information when we hear this woman scream, we were right next to the street and we turned to the sound just in time to see a car hit a man right in front of us... It was terrifying. I dont really want to share the details, but I will just say I cant get the image out of my head.. luckily we were right in front of a police station so they were able to get him to the hospital really fast, but I have no idea if he is okay or not. After the young man left and we werent able to talk to him more, my companion seemed fine and I asked her how she could be so calm about everything and she just said, oh it happens all the time.. WHAT? Yeah, we are never walking on the street ever again. 

So yesterday was so awesome! Church was great and after we had a less active member come with us to all our lessons and it was super awesome. We had awesome lessons yesterday. Anyways, we dropped off our member and were headed to the bus stop because we had to catch a bus to El Silencio for a dinner appointment, when a man stopped us who was on a bike and so obviously drunk... he wouldnt leave us alone. First he asked for a pamplet, which we gave him, then he told my companion she needed to repent, then the rest I couldnt understand. We couldnt get away from him, but we figured if we could get to the bus we would be able to escape so we got him to walk with us and then, what a miracle we ran into the same young man from the day before! He helped us out and got us to the bus stop, by that time we were soaked from the rain, and this man who was drunk, either 70 or 25 years old (he told us both), had three wives, and lived in two different directions, still wouldnt leave us alone. So this young man leaves, comes back with a police officer, and got us a taxi, but after all was said and done we still dont have his information! Crazy, but I have a feeling we will run into him again.

Okay so from the time I decided to go on a mission I have had struggle after struggle, but I knew that the Lord had a plan for me. Yall know all the crazy things that have happened and all the hoops I have had to jump through... well, this last Tuesday, we had the APs (presidents asistants) come down and they pulled me aside and told me the following: I am illegal in this country.The FBI lost my FBI Clearance, I didnt actually recieve clearance to enter the country, and no one has any idea how I was able to get into the country, but somehow I did. Now they have to redue my FBI Clearance and President Carmack is trying to figure out a way to keep me in the country and get me legal at the same time.. I am sure everything will be fine, but they told me that it is possible that I will have to leave the country for a day and then re-enter so that they can be sure all my papers are in order... yeah, who knows what will happen, but I just thought I would let yall know. Always a rollercoaster.

I know we had some awesome lessons this week... but it is a struggle to remember specifics. We had an amazing lesson about patience. How patience is not only something we should have, but something we should understand. God can see the past, present, and future. We can only see the present. There are times when our Heavenly Father is asking us to bear with patience our afflictions because He knows the future and how our trials will help us later on. Alma 34: 40-41. Patience isnt solely an attribute for the present, it is long-lasting. I am learning that everyday.

I love yall so much and I hope you have a great week! You are always in my prayers and my heart.

Love, Hermana Eardley

Monday, January 12, 2015

Good, but weird, week..‏Jan 12th, 2015

Dear Family,

This week was weird. Good, but weird.

We have this investigator, her name is Catherine, she is 22 and has 3 children. She is not married, doesnt have a boyfriend. She had her first child when she was 15. Needless to say, she has her hardships. She is also one of the many people here who live in 4 walls with nothing but a bed. We have been teaching her for some time. She wants to learn, but its hard to get her to participate or talk in our lessons. This last week we had a lesson with her and I asked her if she had read the scriptures we had given her, she said no, so I said okay that is what we are going to do. We read the scriptures. We discussed them. (Moroni 10, 3 to 5) I bore her my testimony and told her that she needs to find her own. After a little bit she told us she wants to be baptized! I am so excited for her, we put her date for the 31 of January, but we will see because before she gets baptized, we want to make sure she is looking past baptism to the temple. I am not sure if she is there yet, but she has the desire and I am so priveledged to be here helping her grow in the gospel.

On Wednesday we found a family that lives fairly close to the church and we were able to teach them. They are really cool and they love to laugh at me for every little thing that I do, it would bother me, but I am just glad that they are also listening to the message that we are there to share. I feel really blessed to have found them and that the Lord trusts us to teach them.

We have been teaching this other family for awhile. Family Abrego. The hermano and hermana arent married, but they have 3 kids and have been together for awhile. The hermano has had problems with alcohol, coffee (he works for the police and doesnt like his job). He is a good guy and has been working really hard to change. This last week they told us that they want to get married and baptized. We are working on their marriage papers right now. The hermano also is trying really hard to learn English so he always talks to me in English (its really broken, sometimes I have to have him repeat it in Spanish). This last week he asked me to give the prayer in English. Of course I was thrilled! My first English prayer in 4 months! It started like this, Querido Padre Heavenly Father. Yeah, that was literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do concerning language. The English words would not come, and when they did, my mouth just couldnt say them. So frustrating.

We started teaching an Aventista (I dont know what it is in English, but it is a religion). I dont know if yall know the story about that religion, but remember a few years back when a women decided she wanted the priesthood? Well, that women left the church, wrote a book, and started her own church called La Iglesia Aventista ( or the something church.. Adventist? I dont know). When we were talking to him he told us all about her, except the part where she used to be part of our church. I am pretty sure they dont know that part. It was so tempting to just tell him, but one thing I have learned is we cant teach Gods Doctrine with Satans Tactics. That isnt how its done. So, we listened and we just bore our testimonies and talked a little about the gospel and after the lesson we talked about it, and decided that we werent even going to mention it in our lessons with him.

So members are super awesome here and always feed us, but there is one member here, Hermana Fina, who cant see. She is blind, but she still cooks. This last week we were at her house for dinner and she gave us these tomalies that were so not good. Me and my companion looked at eachother with this OH NO type of look. There was other things, rice, obviously, and a little salad. I ate those and tried the tomalie (is that how you spell it?) and it was aweful. My companion was a little stronger than me and she ate a little bit more of it than I could, but truthfully I was just thinking, I am so glad you are blind so I can go throw this away. It was so bad of me, but we couldnt eat it.

Right after that dinner we got a call from the Zone Leaders that told us we needed to get on a bus to David for a conference the next morning. The conference was with a member of the Seventy and he called the mission to repentance. Told our mission president that we needed to repent because of our disobedience and to have more faith in the Lord and his work... I dont think our mission president was happy, but I enjoyed the conference and took some really good notes. Also, I was able to have Subway that day... they didnt have a BLT, but I was just thrilled to have a version of American food.

We found this lady named Gesena and turns out her sister was baptized in the church but soon after went inactive. We talked to her for a bit and afterward she invited us back so that I could teach her how I do my hair... french braids and buns... it wasnt the reason we were hoping for but it gives us another opportunity to talk to her. We did have that opportunity and turns out her whole family wanted to listen to us. We arent sure how many of them seriously want to learn and how many are just being nice and listening, but we are super excited to find out.

So many things happened this week, good things, but it was a weird week.

I love you so much and I hope that yall had a good week! Yall are in my prayers! Thank you so much for all of your support and your love.

Love, Hermana Eardley

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

¡Hola Familia!

So first off, Sue, Maybe it is a gecko. I dont know. When I figure out how to ask that in Spanish I will ask my companion and get back to you.

Okay I have some stories. All but one include an animal. So animals first...

This week my companion had to travel 5 hours to David for a Leaders Conference so I was companions with Hermana Hendley again for 1.5 days... We had a lot of fun and I was able to see how differently we had learned to be missionaries... I can say I am more grateful than ever to have started out in California. But, back to my story. As we were walking there was this really big dog in the road and I made the mistake of paying attention to it.. it must of not liked that because it started growling at me and as I tried to walk past it, it bit me, right on my butt. It wasnt super hard so I am okay, but, What? Am I going to pass that house ever again? NO. NEVER. AGAIN.

Second, We totally found a turtle next to our house and I took pictures. It was so cool.

Third, as we were taking our laundry to get it cleaned today we saw a parrot... and it said "Hola"!! I recorded it talking to me.. yeah, I got to talk to a parrot today.

Oh and another thing, I tried a coconut popsickle the other day... it was like frozen coconut pieces. It was actually pretty good, except there were a couple sticks in it.

Okay. The big one.

Last night it rained. Not just rained, I have never experienced the strength or quantity of rain as I did last night. We have a bunkbed, and I sleep on top. Our roof is tin, which yes makes it louder, but that isnt the point I am trying to make. I woke up at 5AM, to the sound, yes; but also because it was literally raining on me. Water was falling from our ceiling. I was soaked, the bed was soaked, it was 5AM and my companion was asleep because the water hadnt yet started falling on her, I was her shield. I quickly climbed (fell) off the bed, and examined the situation. I had an hour and a half left to sleep and I wasnt going to waste it... my options were to sleep on the wet bed, or sleep on the floor that I refuse to even exercize on, with or without a wet blanket. It is against the rules to sleep in the same bed as your companion, and I wasnt about to break the rules, so I just gave up and slept on the bed.. Then this morning we inspected the ceiling and found holes and there really is nothing we can do so we rearranged our bed so the water will hit the floor, and we put a big plastic bag up to hopefully catch the water, but that took us all day and now I am here, telling all of you my story for the day.

We had some wonder spiritual experiences as well this week.

Monday night we went to have a Family Home Evening with a less active, she is 14, but when we got there she was outside and told us she didnt want us to stay. We started questioning a little because that wasnt like her and found out that she had broken the Word of Wisdom. She told us how aweful she felt, how unworthy she felt. I gave her the warmest hug I could manage and just told her it was okay. When she had finished crying we told her the story of when Jesus said that "the sick need no phyician" and how we were there to help. We talked about the Atonement. It broke my heart to see how much she was hurting inside, but as we talked you could see her realize the gift of the Atonement, her burden being lifted. I had never seen the Atonement displayed like that, and I will never forget it.

This week I studied grace. There was a talk by Brad Willcox (I think) and he expounded on the topic of grace. I also studied the last verse of Moroni 7. I learned how it isnt "saving grace" or that we are saved by grace after all we can do, grace is what changes us. When we accept the grace of the Savior in our everyday lives He can change us. We can become more like Him. He is able to prepare us to live with Him and our Heavenly Father. To be comfortable in their presence. I cant even express it.

This week has definitely been an experience. A good one for the most part. I love you all and I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here in Panama. We are working a lot with the members and trying to reactivate them. We have some positive investigators that we are really excited for. The work here is good and I am so grateful that I have this chance to serve. I hope everything is good back home! I love you and I am praying for you.

Hermana Eardley
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