Monday, February 23, 2015

This week was crazy

Dear Family,

This week was crazy! So much to tell and so little time.


Aiden, hey buddy, I hope your birthday was SO AWESOME! I love you so much. Please dont grow up, I want to come home and find you exactly the same so we can hang out and play.

Grandma D, I love you so much.. how old are you now? You need to stop having birthdays grandma because without your oldest grandchild there to help you celebrate, is it really a celebration? I dont know if yall did anything on Saturday, but I hope you know that I was thinking about you. 

Kirra, so, you are kind of young, I approve of this birthday. Next year we can hang out. I love you tons girlie, and I hope your birthday was super fun.

So This week we visited the Family Fransechi. They are investigators, but they are really old and the wife is bed-ridden and they cant get baptized. They are the sweetest couple ever and have a huge testimony of the gospel. When we went to visit them we had a little spiritual thought planned out to share with them but Hermana Fransechi asked us if we could just sing hymns for her. It was really cute and Hermano Fransechi asked us if we could come by again soon so we are going to visit them today. 

Oh man, as I am writing RIGHT NOW Eye of the Tiger starts playing in the internet shop... Music makes things so hard to focus.

We had a lesson with our investigator Diana again and we decided that we needed to talk to her about the Gospel (5 steps: faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, and enduring to the end). She had a lot of questions about the Holy Ghost. We were able to bear our testimonies about him and the impact he can have on our lives. She is definitely searching for this conformation before she makes the decision to be baptized so it was really good for her that we could explain the importance of listening to the Holy Ghost and the blessings that come from recieving it after baptism. 

So on Tuesday we were waiting in front of the church for a member that was going to go do visits with us, but she was running late so we decided to contact people that were close to the church, but there was practically no one outside, so we started picking random scriptures from the Book of Mormon and reading what they said and tried to apply it to our lives... it was really fun but about after 10 minutes of that a man yells at us from the restaurant across the street, as he is getting in his truck, he just yells "Doctrine and Covenants 4" and drives away... WHAT? We have no idea who he is, but he knows D&C.. so... yeah we are searching for him.. but we really have nothing to go off of. Mysteries of Life I guess.

We have this less active member. Her name is Rachel, but its pronounced Raquel. She is the only member in her family, her children arent members (they are all grown up and moved out) and she divorced her husband when he made her choose between the gospel and him. Needless to say she was really strong in the church, and she still has an amazingly strong testimony, but she stopped coming to church. We decided to try to animate her a little so we went over to her house and she showed us how to make this banana cake which was super cool (she loves it, she used to do it for her profession). I have the recipe. 

We have this super cute boy in the ward and he lives really close to us so we almost always pass his house. This week we past and he came running and had this huge scratch on his hand like he fell and got part of his skin scratched off, so I asked him, "Nefi, what happened to your hand?" (Yeah, his name is Nefi (That is Nephi is Spanish)) and he tells me, "Mi piel se fue" which was so funny... it literally means "my skin left" I was dying... Children Spanish is SO FUNNY. 

We have another family that we are teaching. Family Villegas. Its a mom and 2 daughters. The girls are 14 and 15 and they really want to learn English. They have been hanging out with the young women and are going to church every Sunday.. they are so solid. The mom is a different story, she loves to talk when we go over and has no problem with the church, but she hasnt been really interested. This last week we decided to divide and conquer, so while I was teaching the girls English, my companion was teaching the mom the gospel. Turns out she had questions about baptism and tithing. My comp is the primest so you know she did an awesome job teaching her these principles. Afterwards we had the girls share what they learned in Enlish, and what the mom learned about the Gospel. She said that she understands the need for baptism and she told her girls that they need to get baptized and that she also understands why paying tithing is important. She also commited to go to church. On Sunday, the girls showed up with money in hand and said that it was tithing from their mom, but the mom didnt show up... so we are going to go visit them tonight. Its unbelievable, we have 2 investigators who are paying their tithing, but still havent accepted a baptism date... 

I gave a talk in Sacrament about missionary work yesterday. I would like to send yall a brief but very important thing that I learned.. "Cuando entendemos que todos somos hijos e hijas de Dios y que el Evangelio es la unica cosa que nos salvara, podemos entender de que manera podemos ayudar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas a recibir el Evangelio restaurado. Esta es una de la mas importante cosas que podemos hacer en esta vida".
Translation: "When we understand that we are all sons and daughters of God and that the Gospel is the only thing that will save us, we can understand the way we can help our brothers and sisters recieve the Restored Gospel. This is one of the most important things that we can do in this life".

I know the importance of sharing the truth with the world. I am so grateful for yall and everything you do. I love you all so much!

Love, Hermana Eardley

Monday, February 16, 2015

Feb 16 2015

Dear Family, so just to be clear, this week is completely normal. There is nothing special about it.

So, the last Monday I was in Bugaba for a zone conference and there, yes, I can send photos, but here in Volcan, no, I have to buy a cable. Sorry. 

So this last week we went on exchanges with the Zetta Ellas and I was in Bugaba with Hermana Diaz. It was really fun to get to know her more. I love exchanges because you get to know a new area or a new companion for a bit. Its always fun and for me it almost always makes me more appreciative for my area and the little time that I have to work there. 

 My week was super weird. Not bad, just all over the place. My first week here in Volcan I was barely here and now coming up on my second week I am just trying to get to know the area and we are trying to organize our area a bit.. its just been a little choatic but it has also been really good. Me and my companion are getting along really well. We found a family that we were able to have a lesson with this past week and they are so awesome. The girls came to church (all daughters, mom and dad arent together) but the mom didnt. We have a set appointment with them every Friday, but because she wasnt at church we are actually going to go over to her house today to visit her. We are also going to be inviting them to be baptized today as well so I am super excited.

We have district meetings every week and this week I was asked to give the lesson. We were focussing on Using Time Wisely and the importance of planning. We focussed a lot on what we do for investigators every day, how its important that if we care about someone and we want to help them progress we need to have some type of contact with them every day. Whether it is us or someone else isnt as important as making sure that they know that they are important to us.

So we have this investigator named Diana. She believes in the church and has been going every Sunday, she is even paying her tithing and she isnt a member yet. Her problem is with the law of Chastity and she has told us that she knows its wrong and she believes in it, but she doesnt think she can follow the commandment. So this last week we had a lesson with her and we read Moroni 7:33 and how the faith that we have will determine what we can and cannot do. It was a really powerful lesson and I really felt the spirit working through us. I actually had a moment where I think the spirit testified more to me than it did to her. I am not sure why but I started talking about when I started thinking about going on a mission and how it wasnt something that was really important to me, in truth, it was just something new that I could do with my life. I told her about when I finally got sick of waiting for an answer from Heavenly Father I just decided I was going to serve, but I still didnt have this huge desire to do so. Then how I started to have a lot of challenges in my life and, long story short, how I realize now that those challenges were a gift. The more opposition I felt during that time the more my desire grew to serve my mission. I feel very blessed to know that Heavenly Father strengthened me more than I knew. He prepared me for something that I needed to do while trying and strengthening my faith through the proccess. 

I dont have any more time this week to write, but that yall so much for all you have done for me and for your support. I love you and hope yall have a good week.

Hermana Eardley

Monday, February 9, 2015

Transferred to Volcan

¡Hola Familia!

First, thank you for your help with the Judas thing, but I wasnt able to have that lesson because I got transfered (to be explained later).

So, my last adventure (5 minutes ago):
We were in the church and we needed to get to the internet place, it started raining, we didnt have umbrellas, it started raining harder... As of right now I am soaking wet, head to toe, and I just ran through buckets of falling water and the streets are literally rivers... I am soaked. This is not an exaggeration, The water was to my knees and the same amount was (and still is) falling from the sky. It probably wasnt the smartest idea, but hey, this is the only time we have to email so it was now or never... and hey, we made it.

So I got transfered on Wednesday! I had to travel 61/2 hours on a bus by myself to get here, but I made it!

I am in a town called Volcán. It is located next to an active volcano, and I think it is actually on a volcano too, but of that I am not sure, just something I heard. This is actually one of the 2 areas in Panamá that gets cold, and it has been a little chilly. The area is absolutely beautiful! They farm strawberries more than anything. There are horses everywhere! When I first got to the area and saw the horses I couldnt help but think of mom, and how much I miss yall... My house is decently bigger than the last one. I have a working shower and it has hot water! Well, its like sort of warm water, but it is still a lot better than before. I traded a working toilet for a working shower. Yeah, our toilet doesnt work... not going to explain how we deal with that one.. also, I have been humbled, in the last area I was upset that I had to pay someone to clean my clothes, but here, we have no one, and only a sink and our hands, so yeah, I am done complaining about that one. 

My new companion is so awesome! Her name is Hermana Alvarenga and she is from El Salvador. We are like the exact same height and we have the same way of thinking and we have the same desire to work hard and follow the rules. It is so great! The Lord really blessed us this transfer. My area is the entire city of Volcán and it includes the neighboring cities as well. It is HUGE! We are the only missionaries in the entire area. I have no idea how we are going to be able to cover the whole thing... only with the help of the Lord. So, my area is famous for North Americans who have come down to Panamá for retirement. There are a lot of people here who speak English which isnt the greatest because I need to practice my Spanish, but its also really fun to teach the gospel in English.. my companion doesnt know a lick of English but she is practicing. We are helping eachother. We have a Branch here and it is a little bigger than what we had in Bocus del Toro. The Asistence of members is about 60 every week. The members are so nice and we have meals practically every lunch and dinner. We are working on using the members more. We have one family that is in our Branch that doesnt speak practically any Spanish. They are a retired couple with a dependent child who is going to turn 26 on May 20... so close. They are super nice and this last Sunday they had me translate for them. Their daughter sat with me the whole time and talked to me.. she is pretty cool. They give us luch every Sunday and I had my first American meal that didnt have rice or chicken! They made German Pancakes... oh my goodness they have never tasted so good! Also, they told me that the water isnt safe, like all water in Panamá has parasites, but they told me that if I think that I have them they have the medicine for it and that I should start buying bottled water.. so yeah. 

We have one investigator named Diana and she wants to be baptized, but this last Saturday we had a lesson with her about the Law of Chastity and she doesnt want to get married, and she told us she doesnt think she can live it because she is afraid of commiting to it and then breaking it... so that really puts a stumbling block in her baptism, but she said she would pray about it. We talked about repentance and the importance of trying to change. We will never change if we dont first try, and if we fail, we try again, and God will help make it a little easier each time we put our faith in Him. She has been going to church and all the members know her, so we have been praying that God will answer her prayers, and if yall could pray for her as well I would really appreciate it. 

We have another investigator named Erick. He loves to TALK! That is his only problem. We had a lesson with him on Friday, and when I would talk (I was very direct with him, I have never been that direct with an investigator before, but I felt it was necessary) he would listen and you could tell he was feeling the spirit, but he didnt let it sink in. When I paused to let him think about it, there he goes talking on another topic. He has way too many thoughts.. we are working with him though.

I absolutely love my area! There are things that are better and things that are worse, but the trick I have learned is just to love it from the start. Embrace every moment, because each moment (good or bad) is going to pass and I want to look back knowing that I did all I could to find the good and the miracles in every minute of every day. I dont want to have a bad day on my mission. Yes, days are hard, but there are always miracles that we can see. 

I hope everything is going good back at home! I love yall and hope this next week is great! Hey Weston, that is super cool you lost your tooth. I hope for your sake another one decides to grow there. 

I love you all and you are always in my prayers! Talk to you next week!

Love, Hermana Eardley

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

First Time for Everything

Dear Family,
So just a quick shoutout to the Birthday Girl of the week! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROOKLYN! I love you so much and you are growing up so fast! I hope your birthday is wonderful and all you hoped it would be. I will be with you in spirit. Stop growing up please. I love you girl! 

So this week was a week of firsts...
First of all, imagine this. We were sitting on a bench waiting for a lady to bring us our clothes (we didnt have time to pick them up the day before) and I am sitting there, looking at my nails, I look up, and see a man dressed completely in a full body devil suit walking past. He stops abruptly, right in front of me, turns to face me and does this pose where his legs and arms are squared... then keeps walking. I was in shock for about 3 seconds, then was like, "Hermana where is my camera!!!!" ... we anxiously waited for the clothes and then when we got them we hurried off to the park (because Hermana Barraza was pretty positive that is where he would be) well, we got there and there were 2! It was so cool.. they just went around dancing in front of people and they also had whips and they were whipping people too (which is not cool)... so we stayed pretty far away, but we were able to get some pictures from a distance... 
So, we were supossed to leave for David this past week, but we decided that we would do exchanges instead. So my companion left for David and I stayed in our area with Hermana Hendley... so right after we exchanged we left and started walking to a lesson and it began pooring rain, and actually got a little cold... then later that day within 30 minutes I went from completely fine to a headache, inflamed throat, and a fever of 103.1. It was horrible. Hermana Hendley and I had no idea what happened, but when my companion came back she said that I had something called "resfriado" and I have no idea what that is, but apparently its common here and vitamin c helps a lot with it. So I havent felt great the past few days, but its getting better, no se precupe. Also, when I was with Hermana Hendley I was able to direct the taxi and the bus for the first time which was so much fun! and people told me that my spanish was perfect! I think they were all just suprised because I am super white...
Also, we have this investigator named Dinora and she has a son that refuses to smile at me.. every time we visit them he just gets super silent and yesterday he SMILED AT ME! Day=made. 
So I am always trying to think of new, fun ways to teach doctrines and scriptures to investigators and members, especially those who are younger, and I have one called "Bury you Sword". I use Alma 24 to explain the story of when the Anti-Nefi-Lehis burried their swords as a convenant to God that they wouldnt kill anymore and the faith that they had to keep their convenant, then I give them a piece of paper and ask them "what is your sword?" or the thing that is prohibiting you from coming closer to God. It could be a sin, a bad habit, maybe an excuse they have to no go to church, who knows, but I have them write it on the piece of paper (no one but them reads it) and then we go outside their front door and literally bury it in front of their house. Then I tell them, "this is your covenant with God that you are not going to do this thing anymore" and also its in front of their house so they cant forget about it. I would like to challenge each one of you to read the chapter and do the same, you would be suprised how effective it is. 
We had a super spiritual lesson with a recent convert that we have. We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and how everyone has a purpose on this Earth, it was going great and the spirit was super strong, then he asked us, "Should Judas Iscariot be punished for what he did?" At first we were like, huh? But he continued, "Jesus had to be crucified and the purpose of Judas was to betray Jesus, so, if God gave him this purpose, should he be punished for fulfilling that purpose?".... well, we were both a little thrown off, but we decided to explain to him that we all have a purpose, someone God wants us to become (he never wants us to become something bad), but we can use our agency to choose differently. This didnt satisfy him, so we told him we would study it and get back to him. If yall have any insights on this, I would love to hear it.
This week I also studied a lot about trials. I was in 2 Corinthians chapters 1 to 3 and I came to a realization that God puts us through trials to bring us closer to him. When we get comfortable in life we can see through the scriptures that people start to forget about their Heavenly Father, I think that he gives us trials to help us grow closer to him and learn to rely more on him. It gives my trials a new meaning when I think about it like that. I can honestly say that, yes, I am grateful for the trials he has given me because I know that they are what are going to help me stay close to him. He never gives us something we cant handle, but I think sometimes its just hard enough that we need his help and comfort so that we can be strengthened through him and be reminded that he really is there. And I absolutely know that he is there.
I am so grateful for each one of you and your support and your love! I hope that you week is wonderful and joyous. I love you all so much and dont you forget it. You are always in my prayers and my heart, and I know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father is there with yall as well.
Love, Hermana Eardley