Monday, June 29, 2015

Major Spanglish

Dear Family,

This week I have been talking some major spanglish. like the two languages have just morphed together, but its okay because my companion speaks both.. so she always understands me. 

This week was full of fun activities. First, we were able to go to the temple which was so wonderful.. Its like the biggest re-energizer that we have. The peace that you feel there is quite perfect. 

So, we found a family from Honduras. Its really cool because we said hello to the father walking past their house and he just invited us in and talked with us for a bit. The wife is Evangelica and the husband is Catholic, the wife isnt super strong in her religion, but the husband is. We had an awesome lesson with them about the Restoration of the Gospel. They were attentive and asked questions. At the end, we challenged them to be baptized and the wife accepted, but the husband said no because he had been baptized. We asked him what the purpose was to be baptized and when he said "to be free from the sins that we have", we asked him, "and what sins did you have as a baby?" he thought for a minute, and then told us he would go to church with us next week. 

Our Branch had a Family History activity this week which was super cool. They showed pictures from when the church started in the area and everyone was freaking out like "oh that is so and so" and "no way is that..." it was all super cool. The church is still decently new, because everyone that was in the pictures were grandparents or great-grandparents of the people we have now. 

There is this family that lives across the street from us. They are like our parents for the mission. Siempre estan tratando a darnos comida y invitarnos a sus noches de hogar. Its really great how awesome they are. The wife is named Patricia and she is 23, so, we are all really close in age the only difference is she has 2 kids and my companion and I are missionaries. Anyways, her son, Ludwig, had his 4th birthday yesterday so we went over to say happy birthday and we were planning on showing up and leaving, but then she gave us food, and cake, and introduced us to her friend from the university that isnt a member so we ended up staying for a little bit talking to them. It was really fun. 

My skin started freaking out from all of the humidity that we have had with the heat... so I called the mission nurse and she told me its from my eczema. So now, I have to stay cool... which is like impossible in Panamá and I have to shower twice a day, and I have to use this special cream called zertazina... its cool.. I asked God to send me somewhere hot. 

I have homework for yall. In 2 Nephi 5 there are listed 7 fundamentals to establish your home. I would like to challege all of you to read this chapter and see if you can find the fundamentals and the way that they help you establish your home, then, I would like to challege you to apply them if you are not doing so already.

I love you all! Sorry this letter is a little short, but I hope yall have a great week and all is well. 

All my love, Hermana Eardley
branch activity

we were doing laundry, then a crazy drunk guy told us we were pretty and gave us some mints...

Service project! We helped build a road

Monday, June 22, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Never a Boring Moment

Mi querido familia,

This last week was chuck full of crazy stuff!
First of all we went to the weirdest funeral I have ever been to. A less active from another ward died and the Elders asked our zone to show up and sing a hymn because they werent going to see many members there... of course we decided to help out. So we get there and they take us to this room in below the service building. This room was decorated like a church, but it was super small. It had 4 small benches to sit down, but all of us missionaries stood in the back so the family could sit down. When we first walked in the first thing I noticed was a woman crying... really really hard. Histerical even. Then, we realized that they were all standing over the body, that was a table, in the middle of the room (there was even a man taking photos). It was very weird. Bueno, we had the service, sang some hymns, and we left. Later a member told me that that isnt normal and they were probably going to cremate the body... so yeah..  but I realized during that service how sad it is to not have our knowledge of the after-life. During that service I said a personal prayer of gratitude that I was able to grow with the knowledge that I have, and that even though it hurts to lose a loved one, I will see them all again.
Oh yeah, so we had transfers this last week and guess what? WE DIDNT HAVE TRANSFERS! First time in the mission that I havent changed areas or companions... actually this is the first time I havent changed companions!! We were so excited! It is so great... it just made me so so happy. 
Remember Roysel? (That is how you spell his name I found out) We have had some wonderful experiences with him this week. We talked about where we go after death at the beginning of this last week and he was really interested because his dad had died. We talked about family history work and the temple as well. The next lesson we had with him was SO SPIRITUAL. He shared with us what he had read from Alma 40 and told us about his dad. He shared some very personal stories and told us about moments after his dad had died that he felt really alone. That he still feels alone at times. We shared with him  my favorite story from the Old Testament. In 2 Kings 6: 
 15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servantsaid unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lordpray thee, open his eyesthat he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, themountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
We testified that God is always there. That he never flees nor fails us. That because of the Atonement of Christ he understands us perfectly, and he suffered so that he could succor his people. The spirit filled the air. My companion started crying before he did. When we ended the lesson with a prayer, he said it, and that was the most heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. He told God what he felt, asked for his help, asked for his company. That was when I got teary-eyed. On Sunday he showed up in a tie. That filled our hearts with such joy. 
So remember the movie Meet the Mormons? (if we dont have it we should get it because I love that movie) yeah, well, it finally arrived in Panamá. They had a huge showing in the city it was super cool. And do you want to know who was there? Remember the Lady Boxer from Costa Rica? Yeah, well they heard about the showing and live decently close to Panamá so they just decided to drop by... and yeah, they were there!! How cool is that? (Para aclarar: no etaba allí yo, pero, pensaba que fue algo bien chevere y quería compartirlo con ustedes)
This week we had interviews with President Carmack. It went really well. He definitely is doing the work of the Lord and I respect him very much for the changes he is making here. This mission is changing. There are more rules. We are more focussed. I feel more comfortable, well, as comfortable as we can be in Panamá. 
Yo sé que vive mi Señor. No tengo palabras para expresar el amor que tengo por Él. Quiero que todos sepan lo que sé. Eso es porque estoy aquí. Les amo a ustedes. Gracias por soportarme. Les amo.
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Eardley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Just Another Day in Paradise

Dear Family,

How have you been? This last week was seriously awesome for us. Actually this week is transfers so we will see what happens. I would love to stay with Hermana Villanueva (I have found I get along best with Mexicans than all the other Latin Americans), but, and I dont know if yall have noticed, I havent had the same companion for more than one transfer. I have had a different companion every single transfer. Hermana Villanueva is number 6! Thats more than most people have in their whole mission... its whatever, but its definitely a little strange.

So last week I talked about a guy and his wife that contacted us at the ATM... remember? We had a lesson with them this week and they are perfect all the way down to the dog! (Okay seriously they have a huskey that I am sure dies of heat stroke but he is the sweetest thing I have ever met and that is saying something for Panamanian dogs.) They have such a desire to learn and to act and to be a Christ-centered family. It is such a miracle. Our goal is to be perfectly obedient that God can not deny us even one miracle.

This week was awesome! We had a Conference with Elder Alonso from the Seventy! He blew my mind talking about the Atonement. "Do not seek to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word" If we think about the "word" of God, its his Gospel. The main part of the Gospel is centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. So, if we think about it this way, "do not seek to declare my Atonement, but first seek to obtain it". Jesus once told a parable that is very famous called "The Good Samaritan" I cannot explain to yall how he unfolded this parable to its core. The question of the lawyer was "what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The parable (I will give you the short version) is the Plan of Salvation. The man is us. We decend from heaven and fall into sin which leaves us practically dead. Jesus is the Samaritan. Only he can save us. 
The question was what shall I do to inherit eternal life. The answer, nothing. We cant do anything. The man was half dead on the side of the road and he couldnt save himself. Likewise, we cannot save ourselves. Only through the Atonement of Christ can we be saved.

I bear you my testimony that the love He has for us is what will save us. That He is just waiting for us, pleading with us, that we accept His Atonement. We have to accept him, follow the commandments, live the gospel, its part of the plan, but we have no right to think that we will be saved because of what we do. It is because of what He did that we will be saved. We need to understand the Atonement. It is what gives us hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, a love for everyone, a desire to follow Christ and serve God. I know our Savior loves us. I know He wants us to return to His presence. We have to repent, which is to have the desire to change (if we didnt have the desire, he couldnt do anything. because God is just, and cannot deny us our agency), then he will change us. Oh how I want to be like Him. 

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your faith, your strength. I love yall so much! 

Love, Hermana Eardley

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dear Family,

Wow Mayo went by pretty fast... 

So last Wednesday guess what I did? We got to go to the temple AGAIN! The state was going and our leaders told us we needed to go because they had reserved seats for us on the bus.. so we went! It was super awesome! Two temple trips in a week... its like the best gift ever.

We had another awesome lesson with Roycel. Everytime we talk to him he tells us that he knows the church is true, but he finally told us that the reason he doesnt want to get baptized is because he is afraid to make a commitment if he is sure that he wont be able to stay strong in the church... sounds dumb right? yeah, we think so too. So we have rounded up all of the young men here and have given them a job to do. Each one takes turns visiting him, sharing scriptures, inviting him to church or FHE, EVERYTHING. We decided that we were going to show him that it is possible to stay strong in the church through the examples that we have there. He is friends with all of the young men, they are always playing soccer, so yesterday, when Roy didnt show up to church (we knew he wouldnt he said he was going out of town to visit his family) we went and asked the young men if they knew where he was, they didnt... so I may have grilled them a little. Okay, so I definitely called them out and told them they need to be better friends, so now we are on the same page and we are going to get this young man to believe in himself. I am so excited I think this is the funnest thing we will be doing for the next few weeks because we will be doing the planning, and they will be doing the work;) 

This week the Stake did an activity for autosuficiencia. It was so fun! They asked us to participate so we performed a Hawaiian dance that was so fun! I had someone record it, but its way to big to send to yall.. actually I have a ton of videos that are just too big to send, sorry... anyways, we took pictures so I will hopefully send those. We got all dressed up and had to put a ton of lipstick on and flowers in our hair and everything. It was a great activity that they did and I think it really got a lot of the members excited. 

We have this thing called LPEs in the mission it means Lecciones Para Encontrar (lessons to find) and its just a type of contact we do in the streets, but the other day we went to an ATM to take out our quincenta and this guy came up behind us and got our attention and just said "hello" I just waved my hand because normally when guys in the street start talking to me in English its because they are flirting and I dont like it, so I just waved my hand and turned back to the machine. Then, afterwards when we finished he came up to use the machine, but told us that he wanted to talk to us so to wait and talk with his wife for a minute.. we thought it was weird, but decided why not, so we started talking with his wife. Then, he came over and told us that they had just moved there, that they are married, that they dont drink or anything, and are looking for a church to join. WHAT? It was like those miracles that are literally too good to be true. We took down their information and told them we would call to set up an appointment. We called them today and have an appointment for Thursday. When we got on the bus my companion and I just looked at eachother and we were like... Was that real? I am so excited to teach them!

Sorry yall this one is going to be short. I have like 0 time because we had to wait forever for a computer to be open. I love you all and hope that your week is good! You are in my prayers!

Love, Hermana Eardley