Monday, October 26, 2015

Dear Family,

So, I am going to apologize for the negativity that my last letter had. Their are a lot of wonderful things here about my new area, and I am so excited to share them all with you!

1. There are super weird tropical fruit here
2. My house is the nicest I have had
3. They put Mayonase in their salad
4. There arent a ton of homeless dogs here
5. There arent very many mosquitos
6. Its the most organized branch I have seen in Panama
7. The people!!
8. My companion!!
9. Everyone wears really colorful floral pants
10. Its super hot... clean pores! 
11. Its not really humid
and so much more... !

NO, to be honest, this place is awesome. I have fallen in love with it this week. The members need a little love, but I am super excited to help them find the joy that comes from living the gospel and help them be happier. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 

So, we are working really hard to get to know the area and everything.. we put 3 people on a baptism date this week, but we need to give it about a week to see if they are serious.. Panamanians are like that... they say yes to everything, then they change their mind. I will be letting yall know about the investigators we have next week. Oh, but we are teaching a gay couple which is super cool. One of them is a member, he has been since he was born. He served a mission too! When he came back from his mission he left the church and said that he was gay. Now, he has started coming back to church and his pareja (spanish) is also going to church. They know the church is true, and are making a lot of changes in their lives. They still have a long way to go, but they are going step by step. His pareja Tony wants to be baptized, but he still has to wait a long time before he can take that step. I will keep you updated.

We had moss growing on top of the cement on our porch... our house was discusting and we are getting in super clean... 2 more Pdays and it will be spotless. My companion says that I am addicted to cleaning and that she just wants to sleep.... but I told her if we can get this house spotless, the last pday of this transfer we can sleep all day.. her eyes lit up and she agreed. I am so excited to clean that house. So before coming to internet, the owner of the house comes out and gives me a hand shake and says that I am the first missionary to live in that house who took the initiative to clean the porch.. I started laughing a little and she says, no, seriously, I was about to tell the church that I didnt want you here anymore because this place was so dirty... I was in shock. I will send yall pictures of what we did this morning.. 

When we woke up I told her we needed to clean the porch.. but we didnt have anything to clean it with.. so she used a spatula and I used a knife... it was so funny.  

I really dont have much else to say for this week... sorry that this email is super lame, but I will come more prepared next week..

I love yall so much! I hope yall have an amazing week and that you can feel the love of the Savior in every moment. He loves you, dont forget it.

With love, Hermana Eardley

Goodbyes in Chorrera... this family is so special to me! I am so excited for yall to meet them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dear Family,

Primero, Hermana Paty, estoy tan feliz de escuchar de usted y su familia. Quiero ponerles en me carta seminal a mi familia, pero, lo voy a escribir en ingles. Mejor razon para que lo aprenda, o, google translate :) les amo bastante.

So, I finally got transfered. I had 6 wonderful months in Chorrera and a part of me was hoping that it would never end, but I knew that it had to eventually. 

I got transfered back to Chiriqui! Crazy right? I am in Bolivar, David now. I am serving in a Branch and we share it with a pair of Elders. I was a little sad, because in my last interview with president he told me that he knew I had had a lot of difficulties in my mission and that he wanted me to enjoy the time that I had left. Naturally, I thought that would mean that if I got transfered, it would be to a good area with good members where the work was really booming... right? Like, I legit thought he was setting me up for success.. wrong. Heavenly Father said no. He just loves me too much to make things easy for me... I bet He was thinking, "we have got just a few months left, lets see how much patience she can develop" oh yes, I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I can see already how much patience I am going to learn from this area. 

What I have figured out so far. My Branch is very special, and my companion as well. My companion is Hermana Garcia (yeah, I know, that was my last companions name too... easy to remember) She is from El Salvador, has 9 months in the mission, and is TINY. No joke, she is like a kindergardener... she reaches my shoulder... she is super tiny. Its cute, but I feel super weird being the tall one... I dont like it.. it freaks me out.

The members here are really special.. and I can tell you already they are going to help me learn SO MUCH PATIENCE. I have been here for less than a week and they are already stressing me out. There is a word is spanish, "bochinche" which means gossip. These members are the worst gossipers I have ever met... That is all they do. I got here and it was "the missionarys this" and "the missionarys that" They just kept telling me the things that the missionaries were doing wrong and that because I was new to the area, and have experience in the mission, they expect me to do everything "right" which is to say, their way. There a quite a few problems in this area, and I am proud to say that I have always been obedient, and the members have always been my best friends, but the members here got under my skin really fast. Sunday they started telling me all of the problems of the members and everything and I just told our mission leader and Branch president, "listen, I am new here, I dont want to know any of this stuff. To me, everyone is perfect. I am here to work, not be part of your gossip group. If you need something concerning missionary work, come and talk to me, if not, I dont want to hear it." I dont think they were too happy, but I have learned to say it as it is, and I did not want them thinking that I was okay with their gossip.

Happier subject? I agree. I got here Wednesday and on Saturday we had a baptism! It was super awesome, but oh man did we struggle filling up the font. First, there wasnt any water in the Chapel.. so we dragged a hose across the street to a neighbors house, but it came out very slowly, we tried a ton of different things and my comp was super stressed... at one point we said, "nah, lets just take her to the river and baptize her there.." It really was an option.. there is a river really close. Anyways, God sent us a miracle and the water came back to the chapel, and a font that normally fills up in 3 to 4 hours filled up in less than one... it really was a miracle.. and the sister who was baptized, her name is Carlina, was so precious and excited. All in all, everything went really well. 

This morning we cleaned the house. I am almost positive that this will be my last area, so we cleaned the house really well... and we still havent finished... it was so dirty... like legit discusting. But! It is a lot better now.. I will send photos. 

That is all that I have for yall this week. Thank you so much for your prayers! They really help! I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful week!

With all my love, Hermana Eardley

Monday, October 12, 2015

P Day in the rain
My comp found some stickers and put them all over my face... I put them in my journal

Dear family,

This week is transfers. They will be telling me tomorrow. Its a little unfortunate that we find out on Tuesday because yall have to wait a week to know where I am, but the Lord knows what he is doing and everything always works out. Everyone says that I will be getting transfered because I have 6 months here and only 3 transfers left... There is a lot of logic to it, but the only one who truly knows where I should be is the Lord and President Carmack... I will go where I need to go. I will let yall know next week where I am at. 

I would love for yall to come and pick me up, if you still want to, let me know next week and I will call the office and ask for my return date so yall can know the date to buy the tickets.

This week I got a cold. I didnt get a fever which is awesome, but my throat hurt and I kept sneezing... it didnt stop us from working, but the look on some of our investigators faces was like, "is it really worth it?" I felt bad, but the work never stops and neither do we. 

My companion is feeling a lot better. She is taking Psych medication and by some miracle it is taking away her headaches. She says she is great and we have been able to work a lot more and its like a big wieght that got lifted. Thank you all for your prayers and her behalf, I know that they helped strengthen her. 

Speaking of my companion, she has gone back to being her goofy self... We were walking around and she pulls out a Book of Mormon, opens it, smells it, and says, "mmmmm smells like doctrine!" I couldnt stop laughing. 

So about 2 days ago I was helping a sister cook in her house. We found a few ants in the refreshments and she grabbed a spoon and scooped them out... I started laughing and said, "my dad always said that ants were just a little protein..." I honestly never took that seriously until Panama... you find ants in your drink, in your food, in everything... at first it freaked me out, but now its just a little protein... we both started laughing.. it was a great moment. 

We have had some wonderful lessons this week. Two of our "long-term investigators" (like, they have been investigators for about 3 months now) finally accepted a baptism date! It was such a wonderful experience for my companion and I. We talked a lot about what it was that finally got them to that point that they felt ready to take that step and we agree that it was the members. Their testimonies were super strong and they were able to understand our investigators concerns better. We had one of our members do the baptismal invitation and our investigator accepted!! It has been a struggle with her (Ines) because she has said that she knows the church is true, but she was afraid to take that step because of her parents (she is 30) and the impact it will have on their relationship. We brought her best friend who is a member, and when she started to bear her testimony, both of them started crying... it was really special. I am hoping to be here for her baptism. She has such a special place in my heart. 

Our other investigator is William. He is the husband of our Recent Convert Katherine... ya its a super long story so I am not going to tell it all.. they are married, but dont live together because she wanted to be strong in the gospel and he thought it was a game she was playing. When we first met him we tried to teach him, but he in all honesty wasnt interested. About a week ago a bunch of things happened to him and he said a prayer, a really strong prayer, and asked God to help him know what to do. The next day, we run into him and had a nice 5 minute conversation, then after talking to us, he ran into his wife and they too had a nice conversation, then he ran into one of our members that he has never liked and ended up asking him for help... long story short, he is taking the missionary lessons, he is best friends with the member, him and his wife are talking, and he accepted a baptism date for the beginning of this next month... we are so stoked and our prayers are filled with gratitude toward God because he has softened his heart and given us the opportunity to be able to teach and baptize him. It really is such a blessing for all of us. 

This week really was so wonderful. We had a lot of spiritual experiences and our area is progressing a ton right now. I am thrilled that God has given me the opportunity to see the fruits of my labors.

Thank you all for all that you do for me and for your support. Your prayers really do help. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.

With all my love,
Hermana Eardley

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

General Conference!

Dear Family,

So, as yall know, this week was General Conference! I hope you were all touched by the spirit from the wonderful talks that were given, although, as I am learning, I think yall were hunting this weekend...? Well, I hope that yall were able to listen, but if not, GET TO IT. The talks were so special and precious. I loved them all. There were 3 topics that really stood out to me. First, they talked a lot about women. One thing that I have learned is that being daughters of God we have amazing potential and power. We should strive to be worthy of every gift, and we shouldnt doubt our promptings. The second was the spirit. Wow they really touched on following the spirit. I loved the talk by Sister Carole M Stephens. It was so adorable and her example was perfect. The spirit is the strongest defense we have. The spirit can influence every aspect of our lives if we let it. There is nothing more powerful. The spirit is the communication between our Heavenly Father and us. Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless... I will send the Comforter" Through the spirit we can know the will of the Father, and we can feel his love. The last one that they hit really hard (especially Saturday) was keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Wow have I seen the importance of this commandment. A few months ago we had Elder Alonso come and talk to us in a stake conference, and he said, "God understands if we have to work on the Sabbath. He understands our circumstances. He understands, but if we dont follow His commandments, we will not recieve His blessings". The Sabbath Day is one of our most important commandments because if we keep it holy, and partake of the Sacrament, we have the spiritual power that we need to make it to the next week and not be overcome by temptation. If we keep the sabbath holy we are remembering God and His Son, the truths of the gospel, the plan of redemption, and we are able to refocus ourselves and our priorities. It does mean we do nothing.

This week I was also able to go to the temple. My companion and I wanted to do two sessions, but I stayed in the Celestial Room too long and we missed the second session. Whoops.. but it was so peaceful. It always fills my heart with joy to enter, dress in white, and leave everything impure behind me. Its the happiest place I have every been. I wish there wasnt a time limit on how long you could stay or I would be there all day... oh... maybe thats why. All in all it was a perfect trip and I definitely recieved the spiritual strength that I needed. 

We visited a less active family this week named the Moreno Family. Out of all the times that we have visited them, our message always goes in one ear and out the other. They say what they need to do but they dont have the testimony or spiritual strength to do it. Anyways, my companion felt we needed to visit them, I agreed, a little relunctantly (because I knew it would be a waste of time.. I thought) and we went to their house. When we got there they were having a birthday party for the grandpa. The grandma sat us down in a corner so that we could talk to her, and I was a little sassy because I this family frustrates me, and asked her if we could talk to the whole family and if she could ask them to join us. She looked a little relunctant, but did it. We ended up having a wonderful lesson with the family about the Plan of Salvation and temples. It was really cool because half the people there arent members and they were very curious to know how their families could be eternal. There was one part of the family that gave us their information and told us we could visit them. I definitely had to repent after that lesson. I had to ask forgiveness from my companion for not trusting her wholeheartedly and from God because I wasnt completely willing to visit some of his children. The family is the same, in one ear and out the other, but we found some really positive investigators from that lesson and I am very grateful for my companion and that she was able to follow that prompting from the spirit. 

This week was beautiful. The temple was beautiful. The conference was beautiful OH and we have 3 new apostles.. I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing a lot of changes in these next 6 months and I am very excited to see what the Lord has planned for us!!

I love you all!! I hope you have a great week!

With all my love, 
Hermana Eardley