Tuesday, March 31, 2015

La Conferencia General!

Mi Querido Familia,

Primeramente, los cumpliaños (voy a hacerlos en ingles para que pueden entender).

Susan, It is a priveledge to have you as my aunt. I love hanging out with you and talking with you. I honestly have no idea how old you are, but you cant be that old... like, 23 or 24 right? ;) I hope your birthday was super awesome and that you were able to celebrate or relax or do whatever it was that you wanted to do. I love you so much and I am so grateful for everything you have done for me. 

Grandma Joyce... oh man where do I begin... So, another year has come and gone... I was thinking about it today and though I am not sure... I can pretty much bet this last Sunday yall did enchiladas... I had enchiladas too... but they werent the same. I missed you a lot this week. I love you so much and I hope you realize that you are one of my best friends... youre always there for me. I hope that your birthday is special and that you get to celebrate it (or already did) with the whole family.. I will be there in spirit. I love ya grandma. 

Bueno, este semana se fue bien rapido. No lo senti. English? Okay, yeah, thats fine.

So this week my companion had to go to immigrations so we left Tuesday, traveled throught the night and got there Wednesday in the morning... immigrations is never fun and I am always nervous because I am not legal in this country and my companion isnt either. While we were there we were hoping to go to the temple, but we didnt get the chance. We left Wednesday in the afternoon and got to Bugaba that night.. we ended up staying there with them because we had interviews with President Carmack the following morning. I needed that interview. I was able to sacar everything that I had on my mind and I felt a lot better afterward. 

This week, because we are approaching Easter, we have been focussing a lot on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In reality, it is the most important thing for us to understand about the Gospel. We have been sharing Alma 7: 11-16 with EVERYONE. It is really beautiful how it explains the Atonement. verses 11&12 explain WHAT is the Atonement, verse 13 explains WHY he atoned for our sins verses 14&15 explains what we need to do to accept the atonement in our lives and verse 16 explains the blessing that we recieve when we do so. 

We have had some amazing experiences this week emphasizing the Atonement. We have an investigator named Porfirio. He is an indian, lives with all of his family (2 sisters are less actives) on the top of a really big hill. We always put appointments with him because he doesnt live in a place that we can just pass-by. So we showed up to the appointment that we had with him and we were hoping to talk to his sisters, but they didnt want to talk with us, so we taught him the Atonement using Alma 7 and afterwards asked him if he could share what he learned with his sisters. He gladly accepted and also accepted a baptism date and was at church this last Sunday. 

We had a similar experience with the twins Alison and Alejandra and their mom Vielkys. We taught them the Atonement. Hermana Vielkys has always said that her daughters need to be baptized, but that she wasnt ready and that it wasnt for her. After we taught the Atonement, she accepted a baptism date! The Atonement is magic... IT APPLIES TO EVERYONE. 

We also had a Family Home Evening with a family that consists of a less active father, an active mother and 2 sons and 1 daughter and 1 grandson and the father of the grandson. We talked about the family and the importance of having goals for your family. We talked about how its important to have goals as a family. We also played a game that one of my companions taught me, you start with everyone puts an object that is theirs in a pile, then everyone picks an object from the pile that isnt theirs, after you explain that whoevers object you have you will say what you know about that person and the good qualities that they have. For example if Fred has the watch of Sam, Fred will say what he knows about Sam and the good qualities that he has. It is super simple, but its a wonderful game to unite the family and help eachother learn more about one another. Afterall, the family is one of the most important things that we have in this life.

Speaking of families, that was the theme of the Womens Session of General Conference! I loved it so much! It was simple and beautiful. The family is so important to our spiritual strength and our defenses against the Adversary. It is ordained of God and we should cherish it. We should hold up one another, strive to have the spirit with us always. Something that Elder Eyring emphasized was the importance of compassion. If we are compassionate, we are slow to judge, quick to help, and full of love. Compassion is definitely something that I need to work on. 

This week was really fast... I hardly felt it, I feel like the days get faster and faster. This week we were able to have some wonderful experiences and I am so grateful for them. I learned that the Atonement is the most important thing that we can teach and that when we understand exactly what it is, we have the desire to follow our Savior and to be made clean through him. 

I love you all so much and I hope yall enjoy Conference! It really is a blessing that we have to listen to a prophet of God and recieve revelation directed for us personally. I have been looking forward to Conference for about a month... I actually forgot about Easter... and right now I am remembering the family tradition we have on Easter... and now I am smiling because I wont be humiliated by the fact that I suck at finding easter eggs this year... 

Anyways, I would love to hear what yall think of Conference! Love you and have a great week!

Love, Hermana Eardley

P.S. if you havent seen the video Because He Lives you definitely need to check it out
The sisters in the zone and our district before transfers

new companion

New district and new companion

Monday, March 23, 2015

When we do the work of the Lord. . .

Dear Family,

FIRST! I am an aweful person. I must say I am sorry because I forgot to write Brecken last Monday...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRECK! I love you so much and I miss you tons! I hope your birthday was super awesome and that you had a lot of fun! Wow, I cant believe you turned 6! You are so old. I would love to see pictures from your party, and the creative things your mom came up with for whatever theme you had... it was probably something really cool. Man buddy I miss ya, but I will be back before your next birthday and we can celebrate it together. I love you. 

This week was CRAZY! I dont even know where to begin. Okay, that is a lie, this week was transfers... 

So, Hermana Alvarenga got transfered to San Miguelito in the city, and I stayed here in Volcan, my new companions name is Hermana Ramirez, she is from Guatemala, and she is BRAND NEW IN THE MISSION. She entered the MTC 3 weeks ago and now she is here... I cant believe I am training... its a huge deal. Like, I am responsible for making sure she learns how to do everything, that she is obedient, that she has fun, EVERYTHING. I feel so much responsibility and its stressing me out a ton. I will be honest, I am scared to death. 

Monday we went up to a place that is in our area called Cerro Punta. It is the coldest place in Panama, there is always water in the air, not like rain, but not like fog either, its like little water drops just float in the air.... there are mountains and farms and a huge river that runs through the city. It is so beautiful there and totally reminded me of home. When yall come down to visit, it is on the list of places to go. 

We have had some awesome lessons about the Book of Mormon recently. It is amazing how through the Book of Mormon you can strengthen every other part of your testimony. We have some investigators who stopped progressing and we started reading the Book of Mormon with them and they started to go to church and pray and started to strengthen their testimony bastante. We have had the same thing happen with some Recent Converts who didnt actually have a testimony, we started reading with them and little by little they are strengthening their testimony. I firmly believe that the Book of Mormon is essential to have a testimony of this gospel. Its what keeps us firmly planted in the gospel. 

So Tuesday morning is when we recieved news about transfers and Hermana Alvarenga had to leave Tuesday evening, so we spent the whole morning packing her stuff and the rest of the time she was saying goodbye to everyone. It was really hard for her. She had a ton of people to say goodbye to, one in specific that I would like to share. So we arrived at an apartment that we hadnt visited before and she tells me that they were investigators before, and that she wanted to say goodbye to them.. I of course was like, yeah okay lets do it! So we get there and there is a locked gate around the apartments and she tells me, "they live in the back and cant hear" so, thinking that I am high and mighty, I yell super loud, "BUENAS", then she tells me, "no hermana, they are deaf".... yeah.... we just started laughing and laughing. In the end we couldnt get in, but it was a great story.

We got to Bugaba around 7 and turns out the bus didnt leave until 12AM... but she along with another sister headed for the city at that time and me and the other sisters companion stayed in Bugaba because my companion was arriving at 3AM... so we waited there at the bus stop. 3AM came around and no bus. 4AM came around and no bus. At 4:30 a bus showed up and we asked them what time they left Panama and they said 8PM... my companion was on a 6PM bus... so we started to get really worried. We called the Elders and they got on a bus to the Frontera to look for them, they werent there, then they headed to David and found them there... that was about 8AM... So, we didnt sleep that whole night, but hey, its all good because at least we didnt lose a new missionary in Panama. 

We have been working a lot with our less active members. There is one named Javier Garcia. He is the coolest. He has 3 kids and 7 grandkids, his whole family are less actives. We started talking to him and I have learned that I am a pretty forward person, especially with people who are members, but with Hermano Garcia, its like I just tell him how it is, he tells me how it is, and we just have an awesome relationship. He likes to joke around and mess with me, which is fine, but they do have something that is stopping them from going to church and we are trying to help them resolve whatever problem it is that they have. Every week he tells me, "this Sunday we will go to church" and they never do. The last time we talked about the sacrament and how those other little things dont matter, but they still didnt show up on Sunday. If yall could pray for them I would really appreciate it... they need all the help they can get.

On Friday we helped our investigator Leyvis paint her house. It was super fun and probably the first time I have ever taught a lesson solely through conversation. Not sure if that makes sense... let me explain. So, we were painting the house, obviously we couldnt have a sit down lesson with her, so I just asked her where she thought she was before this life and from there we just talked about it.. I didnt actually teach anything, we just asked her questions and commented on what she said... it was really cool and afterward I talked to my comp and we decided we were going to try that with everyone. It was really a testimony builder for me because with inspired questions that help people think, the Holy Ghost is better able to testify to them about the simple truths of the gospel, they understand it. I love when we are talking to someone and you can see it click in their head. The Holy Ghost is so powerful.

This week, not going to lie, was super hard. I suffered from lack of sleep, stress, taking over an area, and training my comp. I am physically and mentally exhausted. But, we had some amazing moments this week where people felt the spirit and were able to understand the importance of what we are teaching as well as the doctrine. Amazingly, during those moments I didnt feel tired. That is what keeps me going.. spiritual fuel. When we are walking in the street and I feel like I am going to fall asleep standing up, I just grab my companion and we go contact people... it always gives me a boost, then I am good for about 5 minutes and we need to contact someone else. I truly have never felt this type of exhaustion, and sometimes I have no idea how I keep going, but somehow, we keep going. Now, its not like I am fasting 40 days and 40 nights, but I never understood how it was possible until now. If we are doing the work of the Lord, of our Heavenly Father, we can do anything.

I love you all so much. I hope that everything is going good and that yall are happy, healthy, and loving life. There is no greater joy than when we focus our lives on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and strive to live the way he would have us live. I hope your week is wonderful and that you can feel the spirit with you always. I hope that all the women in the family have the opportunity to watch Womens Conference this Saturday and I would love to hear what yall learn from it or the things that you liked or that stood out to you. I can always use some extra revelation. I hope this week we can all see the small miracles that happen in our everyday lives. I cant wait to talk to yall again next week! I love you so much!

Love, Hermana Eardley

Monday, March 16, 2015

Panama Panama City Temple!‏

Dear Family,

First of all, how are yall doing? It would just be nice to know.

This last week was crazy. My companion had to go to immigrations in the city (I am still illegal, but they are hoping the FBI does my paperwork before my "tourist days" expire, but it is really likely that I have to go to Costa Rica for a little bit and then I can re-enter legally). So, Monday we had a normal Prep Day and headed to Bugaba, that night we got on a bus and travelled all night, the next morning arriving in Panama City, then we went to immigrations and after that we went to the Panama City Temple. It is small, but its on top of a hill and is absolutely beautiful. I took so many pictures, but I cant send them until the next time I go to Bugaba or somewhere besides Volcan, but just know you will get them eventually. ALSO, great news, I did my first temple session in SPANISH! It was so awesome, especially because I understood almost everything. I felt so cool, and I had a lady ask me if I wanted to speak in English or Spanish and I told her Spanish is cool and I wanted to try it. I felt like a boss. 

After the temple we got on the bus and traveled through the night to get to Bugaba, and there we slept at the sisters house because we had a meeting there the next morning. Needless to say, I was really tired. 

This week was weird, it was one of those weeks where our plans just didnt work out, people werent home, and we just had a hard time contacting people. 

I want to share something that I learned about the Atonement this week. I was studying in Alma, and it has one of my favorite scriptures about the Atonement in chaper 7 verses 11 to 13. I learn something new every time I read this scripture, but we had a lesson with a family this week and we talked about the Atonement. This family consists of a 17yr old Recent Convert, his mother who is against the church, his little sister who almost never speaks, and his grandma who believes in the Gospel and loves learning about Joseph Smith, but wont be baptized because she says its bad to be baptized many different times, and had already been baptized twice. Anyways, we were talking about the Atonement, and I read this scripture and something caught my attention that I hadnt noticed before. It says, "a fin de tomar sobre si los pecados de su pueblo" (sorry I dont have my English scriptures and dont remember how it goes in English, its something like "to take upon him the sins of his people"). There is an interesting way to look at this scripture. Its like when he invites us to "take his yolk upon us" so that our burdens will be light, but in Alma its not an invitation like it is in the New Testament. He says he WILL do it. He DID do it. He took upon himself our infirmities, weaknesses, sins, everything. By doing so, he made our burdens lighter. But, with the pure love he has for each one of us, He again invites us to take upon ourselves his yolk that our burdens may be even lighter. But what exactly is HIS YOLK? I used to think it was the Atonement, but now I am more sure that his yolk consists of what President Monson said last year, when we take his yolk upon us we are "walking as he walked". I am more and more convinced in my mission that when we follow his example, when we follow his commandments, and when we try to be more like the Savior, we are taking his yolk upon us and our burdens are not made light because he takes them away, but because we are strengthened through the Pure Love of Christ that we are actively seeking to obtain.

I know that through our Savior and because of our Savior we can do all things as long as it is in line with the will of Heavenly Father. When we give ourselves to the Lord, not just our time, but our thoughts, actions, desires, and our lives, we find a greater joy and purpose of life, just like when Jesus said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it". 

I love you all and hope your week is wonderful! You are always in my prayers. 

Love, Hermana Eardley

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dear Family

Dear Family,

So something super cool I realized this week. The Panama Mission is like Dora the Explorer. For example: we want to get the the Abrego Familys house. We ask someone randomly, then, assuming we actually have a

map in our backpack, they proceed to tell you: oh yeah! so you walk down this road till you hit the green house, then you take a right and pass a hill of rocks, there is a dog there, be careful, then you pass three streets and you will find a little rocky road, you go down that road and will pass a big orange house, its not that one, after that you will pass a wood house, its not that one, then you will find a brick house. That is their house. So, anyways, all directions are like that, and the crazy thing is, we actually find places that way. Me and my companion started singing the song to Dora and its actually super fun. 

This week was super hectic. So we finalized everything for the cabin and we moved everything Wednesday and Thursday and it was so stressful but it is good because we are in our area and the cabin is great and we are back to working which is the most important part. 

So remember Hermana Leyvis? The girl we found last week? She came to church yesterday and we were so stoked! Like, seriously, it was a miracle that anyone came to church this week.. the wind has been so strong and non-stop, a normal 5 minute walk takes 20 minutes against the wind... its crazy how aweful its been. Anyways, She is the coolest and has such a desire to learn. Also, me and my companion are almost certain that her and the Return Missionary in our ward are dating... its cool... we are just going to help her realize that the gospel is true, she is going to get baptized, and then they can get married. Also, the RM is our new Ward Mission Leader... so yeah, he always asks how its going with her.. its going really great. She still isnt reading the Book of Mormon yet, which is incredibly important, but she is progressing and really wants to learn more about the church.

So this last Friday we had our first Ward Activity! It was super fun. Not many people showed up, but that was alright. We did have an investigator there as well! We showed the Restoration Movie and afterwards did a practice of how to give out a Book of Mormon to a friend, which was really great, our members are so cool! Afterwards we had a refreshment (ritz crackers) and went outside and everyone played soccer. It was really great to see the members start to get excited about missionary work, after all, that is why there are missionaries, to "help the members" share the gospel (Elder Bednar said that in the October General Conference). 

We have 2 investigators, Alison and Alejandra, they are twins, have received practically all the lessons, have a testimony of the gospel, but never had a baptism date, so this last week I asked them the first 3 baptismal questions, and after hearing their answers, which were so sincere and heartfelt, we just looked at them for a minute, and I asked them if they felt ready to be baptized.. the answer was yes! and they asked us if we could have the baptism this Saturday, but the mom wants to order new baptism suits so we have to wait until the 21st of March which is fine, but we have Transfers this next week so we are crossing our fingers and saying our prayers hoping that Heavenly Father will keep us here for awhile.

So we met this man named Valino. We talked to him for a minute and he invited us to come back.. we had a lesson with him this week and asked him if he had read the pamphlet (Plan of Salvation). He said yes, so we asked him about it and if he had any questions... he did. He had a question about the 3 degrees of glory and why they were different. We shared 1 Corinthians 15:40-43 with him and testified that it depends on what we do here on this earth that will determine where we will go, so then he asked us what it was that we needed to do to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, we explained that it is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) that we will exalted. He told us, "well I was baptized in the Catholic church, but what is the gift of the Holy Ghost?" So, we explained how Jesus received the Holy Ghost after his baptism, how it is meant to be a guide in our lives, and how baptism isnt complete without receiving it, and we also said that it, as well as baptism, must be given by proper authority. We also explained that baptism is meant to cleanse us from our sins, then he said that he understood that children didnt need to be baptized, and asked us how we can know if someone has authority from God to do these things... (this man is amazing and his questions are so perfect) we didnt want to overload him with information, so we bore our testimonies, gave him a pamphlet of the Restoration, and set another appointment with him to talk about authority from God. We are so excited to see him again and to talk with him. It is really amazing how much your testimony can grow, and how much you feel the spirit, when you see how the gospel in all its simplicity can answer the important questions of life. Its absolutely perfect, there is no fault in it. 

I love this gospel so much. I wouldnt be the same without it and the knowledge of my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week and remember you are in my prayers!

Hermana Eardley

( I need to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3).  The word of God  In 1 Corinthians 15: 40-43 It is talking about how our bodies will be different in heaven.  Celestial means heavenly and terrestrial means of the earth, Notice there is no telestial?  Read from vs. 35-50.   Love you all,  Michelle)