Tuesday, December 29, 2015

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Dear Family,

Well, to be honest, I am not sure what to write... ya que hablamos hace solo tres días... 

It was so great to see yall and to talk for a little bit! I didnt get to talk to everyone, but that is okay... I will talk to yall soon :) 

Christmas here in Panamà is a big rush of buying gifts, drinking, partying, and then after it all, going to the beach. It happens on New Years as well, but its worse, because people dont have the thought of Christ, they are just thinking "party"... oh how I love this culture. 

I want to share with yall a verse that is probably the second shortest verse in all the bible.. It is Luke 17:32, where the Savior cautions, “Remember Lot’s wife.” The original story, of course, comes to us out of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, when the Lord, having had as much as He could stand of the worst that men and women could do, told Lot and his family to flee because those cities were about to be destroyed. “Escape for thy life,” the Lord said, “look not behind thee . . . ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed”.

Elder Holland once talked about the subject. He said,

With less than immediate obedience and more than a little negotiation, Lot and his family ultimately did leave town, but just in the nick of time. Surely, surely, with the Lord’s counsel “look not behind thee” ringing clearly in her ears, Lot’s wife, the record says, “looked back,” and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
 It is possible that Lot’s wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what He was asking her to leave behind. We certainly know that Laman and Lemuel were resentful when Lehi and his family were commanded to leave Jerusalem. So it isn’t just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin.
So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind.
For this wonderful New Year, we should take what we have learned, cherish it, apply it, and then move forward with an eye of faith. The Lord will always have something better and sweeter planned for us when we put our trust in him, and follow him wherever he leads us.
I love you all with all my heart. 
You are always in my prayers, 
May the Lord bless you.
With all my love,
Hermana Eardley

fun times

Monday, December 21, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Querido Familia,

*Noticia* Para esta Navidad voy a estar Skyping a las 4 de la tarde. Gracias :)

Bueno, ya que no sé cuanto tiempo voy a tener para hablar, quiero compartirles dos cosas que para mi, significan la Navidad.

Primero, este es una historia que me recuerda mucho porque decoramos tanto... cuando lo hacemos con esa intención podemos sentir mas el espíritu de Cristo, porque estamos recordandole. 
One December night, many years ago, I had just finished decorating for Christmas when I heard a noise at the front of the house. I turned on the porch light and opened the door. To my surprise just as I stepped outside, I saw Santa Claus climbing out of his sleigh. He placed his fingers over his lips, silencing me before I cried out.
"What are you doing..." I started to ask...but the words choked up in my throat as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner, the eager, boisterous soul we all know, was gone. He composed himself by clearing his throat, then answered me in a whisper. "Teach the children."
I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the sleigh. As I stood there bewildered, Santa stated again but more firmly, "Teach the children. Teach them the true meaning of Christmas. The meaning that has long been forgotten."
I invited him in to warm by the fire as I tried to tell him that I wasn’t sure if I knew what he meant... when Santa reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star.
Teach the children that the star is the heavenly sign of promise," he said. "God sent a Savior to the world and the star was the sign of that promise being fulfilled. The countless shining stars in the heavens, one star for each person on earth, represents the hope of all mankind."
Santa gently laid the star on the fireplace mantle and brought from the bag a bright red Christmas tree ornament.
"Teach the children that red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood that was shed for all the people by the Savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that every man might have God's gift of Eternal Life. Red is deep, intense, and vivid -- the richest color of all, and it is a symbol of the greatest gift from God."
"Teach the children," he said as he pulled a small Christmas tree from the bottom of the toy bag. He placed it near the fireplace and gently hung the red decoration on it.
"The deep green branches of this tree is a perfect background for this ornament. This is the second color of Christmas," he continued. "The pure green color of this evergreen tree remains this color all year round. This represents the everlasting plan for mankind. Green is youthful, hopeful, and the abundant color of nature. The needles on the tree point heavenward -- symbols of man's prayers as they go toward heaven. Trees have been man's best friends. They have sheltered him, warmed him, and made beauty for him."
Again, he pulled something from his bag; I heard a soft tinkling sound of a bell.
"Teach the children," he said, "that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring for every person too, that they might find their way back -- it means guidance and return. It further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord."
As the soft sound of the bell faded, Santa lit a candle and placed it on the mantel. The soft glow from its tiny flame cast a glow about the darkened room. Odd shadowy shapes slowly danced and wove pictures upon the walls.
"Teach the children," whispered Santa, "that at one time candles were placed on Christmas trees. They glowed brightly against the dark green branches showing man's appreciation for the star of Bethlehem of long ago. Now, strings of colored lights have taken their place in remembrance of Christ's birth."
Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and placed a gift under the tree.
He pointed to the bow and said, "A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as all of us should be tied together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow and the gift, a gift of love."
Santa reached for a candy cane, and held it out towards me.
"Teach the children that the cane represents The Shepherd's staff. The crook on the staff helps bring back sheep that have strayed away from the fold. The candy cane represents the sweetness of giving not only at Christmas time, but also throughout the entire year. The spiral design is a symbol that we are, our brother's keepers."
Santa looked about the room, then again at the tree. His love and great feeling of satisfaction shone from his eyes. He could not help but sense the wonderment and admiration that I felt for him in my heart.
One last time, he reached into his bag and brought forth a large beautiful wreath. As he placed it on the door he spoke gently with love, "Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love: it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous circle that only grows greater and greater when expressed. The wreath, the circle of love, plays a double role. It is made of many things and has many colors. It reminds us of God's unconditional love and the true reason for Christmas.
Segundo, la Navidad es un tiempo para estar en familia. Es un tiempo cuando podemos aprender más sobre nuestras familiares y servirles. Nuestro Señor Jesucristo es nuestro mayor ejemplo. Nosotros también podemos llegar a amar a las personas como él nos ama, solo buscamos las oportunidades!

“Years ago there was a little one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of Virginia where the boys were so rough that no teacher had been able to handle them.
“A young, inexperienced teacher applied, and the old director scanned him and asked: ‘Young fellow, do you know that you are asking for an awful beating? Every teacher that we have had here for years has had to take one.’
“‘I will risk it,’ he replied.
“The first day of school came, and the teacher appeared for duty. One big fellow named Tom whispered: ‘I won’t need any help with this one. I can lick him myself.’
“The teacher said, ‘Good morning, boys, we have come to conduct school.’ They yelled and made fun at the top of their voices. ‘Now, I want a good school, but I confess that I do not know how unless you help me. Suppose we have a few rules. You tell me, and I will write them on the blackboard.’
“One fellow yelled, ‘No stealing!’ Another yelled, ‘On time.’ Finally, ten rules appeared on the blackboard.
“‘Now,’ said the teacher, ‘a law is not good unless there is a penalty attached. What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?’
“‘Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on,’ came the response from the class.
“‘That is pretty severe, boys. Are you sure that you are ready to stand by it?’ Another yelled, ‘I second the motion,’ and the teacher said, ‘All right, we will live by them! Class, come to order!’
“In a day or so, ‘Big Tom’ found that his lunch had been stolen. The thief was located—a little hungry fellow, about ten years old. ‘We have found the thief and he must be punished according to your rule—ten stripes across the back. Jim, come up here!’ the teacher said.
“The little fellow, trembling, came up slowly with a big coat fastened up to his neck and pleaded, ‘Teacher, you can lick me as hard as you like, but please, don’t take my coat off!’
“‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’
“‘Oh, teacher, don’t make me!’ He began to unbutton, and what did the teacher see? The boy had no shirt on, and revealed a bony little crippled body.
“‘How can I whip this child?’ he thought. ‘But I must, I must do something if I am to keep this school.’ Everything was quiet as death.
“‘How come you aren’t wearing a shirt, Jim?’
“He replied, ‘My father died and my mother is very poor. I have only one shirt and she is washing it today, and I wore my brother’s big coat to keep me warm.’
“The teacher, with rod in hand, hesitated. Just then ‘Big Tom’ jumped to his feet and said, ‘Teacher, if you don’t object, I will take Jim’s licking for him.’
“‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’
“Off came Tom’s coat, and after five strokes the rod broke! The teacher bowed his head in his hands and thought, ‘How can I finish this awful task?’ Then he heard the class sobbing, and what did he see? Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. ‘Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!’”
Elder Hinckley declared, "To lift a phrase from this simple story, Jesus, my Redeemer, has taken “my licking for me” and yours for you.
Declared the prophet Isaiah:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: …
“… He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4–5).
This is the wondrous and true story of Christmas. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea is preface. The three-year ministry of the Master is prologue. The magnificent substance of the story is His sacrifice, the totally selfless act of dying in pain on the cross of Calvary to atone for the sins of all of us.
The epilogue is the miracle of the Resurrection, bringing the assurance that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.

Bueno, eso es todo. Ya que voy a hablar con ustedes cara a cara en cuatro días no hay razón para escribir un largo mensaje verdad? 

Les amo con todo mi alma! Son mi familia y no les cambiaría para nada! Espero que tengan una buenísima Navidad y que el espíritu de Cristo puede permanecer con ustedes durante esta semana y para siempre!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Eardley
Breakfast... que RRRRICO:)

Christmas Party :) Fuimos a Boquette ... mmm... frio ;p

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dear Family,

Okay! Everyone relax. Ya I am better. I was better by Tuesday. I didnt have to go to the doctor. Everything funcions exactly as it should.

Other news, my companion got sick this week. Ha! iorny. (is that how you spell that?) She got sick with a stomache bug and has diarrhea and has to go to the bathroom a lot... The nurse put her on a diet of ONLY SOUPS. NO RICE. That means, for the both of us. Woohoo! I have a chance to get skinny again! She hates it, but I love the soup here... so I am chill. 

So, I dont know if yall have noticed by my emails, but we really dont have a lot of stuff going on here in our area... We have been working our butts off trying to find people to teach and activate members and talk to EVERYONE. We talked to more than 100 people this week in the streets... Well, after much work, we finally have an investigator that is progressing! His name is Luiz Rodriguez and he has had problems with everything! He was involved with selling drugs for awhile and he has a daughter and the mother of his daughter lives with him, but they arent together... just live in the same house for the daughter... He has had a lot of questions about God and when we passed by he was thrilled and invited us over and has been progressing ever since.. He has gone to church twice now, and he loves most of it, but the 3rd hour he is having problems with... The men in our Branch are a little special... we hope that he can look past it and that he will keep assisting. He accepted a baptism date for the 9th of January! Everything with him is going really well! I have thanked my Heavenly Father for being able to find him, and then I have asked him to help us find more people! I realize that I dont have a lot of time left, and it makes me sad, but I have this HUGE determination to go out with a bang if you know what I mean. My once in a lifetime experience is coming to an end... and right now we dont have nearly any investigators... please pray for us... I really just want to help people accept Christ and his gospel. 

I have been reflecting a lot on a story that I have heard called "Aguanta un poco mas" Its a story about a potter who was making a piece of china... and the story is told from the its point of view. It is put through all types of torture and keeps asking the potter to leave him alone, but the potter just keeps saying, "aguanta un poco mas"... 

"It is said that once in England, a couple who liked to visit the small shops in central London existed. One of those stores where they sold was an old china.
In one of his visits to the store they saw a beautiful cup. "May I see that cup?" Asked the lady, "I've never seen anything so fine as that!" When he had in his hands the cup, he heard the cup began to speak.
- You do not understand - I have not always been this cup you're holding.Long ago I was just a pile of mud. My Creator took me in his hands and hit me and molded me affectionately.
Then came the moment I panicked and shouted: "Please" ... You leave me alone ...
But my love just smiled and said ... "Hold on a little longer, it is still not time."
Then I was put in an oven. I had never felt so hot ... I asked my master if would burn, so I knocked on the door of the oven.
Through the oven window I could read the lips of my master who told me: "Hold on a little longer, it is still not time ..."
Finally the door opened, my master took me and put me on a shelf to cool me.
"That's much better" .. I told myself, but I had just refreshed me when my creator and I was brushing and painting. The smell of paint was horrible ... "I feel it drown me" ... .. "Please stop ..." I shouted to my master; but he just shook his head making a negative gesture and say, "Hold on a little longer, it is still not time ..."
At last my master stopped to paint; but this time he took me and put me again in another furnace ... It was not an oven as the first; but it was much hotter ...
Now I was sure I would suffocate ... I prayed, and I prayed to my master to take me ...
I screamed, I cried; but only I watched my creator saying "Hold on a little more, it is not yet time"
At that moment I realized there was no hope ... never would survive the oven ... Just as I was about to give up the door opened and my master took me affectionately and put me on a ledge that was even higher than the first. There he left me a moment to refresh me.
After an hour of leaving the second furnace, my master gave me a mirror and said, "Look" "This is you"!
I could not believe it! That could not be me! What I saw was beautiful. My master told me again: "I know it hurt being beaten and molded by my hands; but if I had left as you were, you would have dried. I know I caused a lot of heat and pain be in the first furnace, but not have put you there, you probably would have crashed.
I also know that you paint fumes caused a lot of trouble, but not having painted your life would be without color. And if I had not put in the second oven, you would not have survived long, because your hardness would not have been enough to subsistieras.
"Now you are a finished product!" "You are what I imagined when I started to form! Only. Now you will enjoy life more. "
It might have a few errors, because it is translated to English, but this story is adorable to me. 
I think about the video that the church made about the gardener.. how he cut him down so that he could become more... but this story is a little different. The little china piece was put through so much, so that he could become something beautiful. Sometimes, we dont see how the trials in our lives are affecting us, sometimes, we cant see the good that comes from them, but the Master does see it all. He knows it all. He starts with the end in mind. If we trust him, we will become something more beautiful and precious than we have ever imagined, definitely more than if we were to try and do it ourselves. During this Christmas season we can all reflect on how God makes us better people, if we do what he asks, trust in him, and hold on, we become His. We become what he wants us to be. 
I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderful week and that you can enjoy every moment. You are always in my prayers. May the spirit of Christ touch you all this Holiday Season! 
With all my love, 
Hermana Eardley

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dear Family,

Sorry. This letter is going to be sort of really short. I dont feel very well this week. 

This last week we had the Mothers Day activity in our Branch. Mothers Day is in December here... ya I know, this country is a little weird. Anyways, the Branch didnt plan it out very well and the Branch President didnt help even a little bit (he isnt married) Everyone that had an assignment fell through and so we had to do the decorating, help cook the food, we did everything except the acts that people signed up for. It was aweful... the only thing that turned out really good was the decorations... but that is because Alex and Tony helped us do them.

We have had some awesome lessons lately with one of our new investigators. His name is Luis Rodriguez and he has had some major struggles in his life. Él ha pasado por todo en su vida y su único deseo es poder ver a su abuela y mamá otra vez. Ellas dos fallecieron hace años. Después que le enseñamos el Plan de Salvación él encontró una nueva esperanza. Él ya tuvo problemas aceptando La Restauración y José Smith, pero después 2 veces diciéndole que tenía que orar, oró y dijo que sí sintió que era verdad. Él está progresando super rápido, pero la cosa que le impide a ser bautizado es problemas con su esposa (no están casados... y no lo quieren tampoco). Tenemos que esperar a ver que deciden.

So, yall know how I almost always have a story for you? This week its a great one... 

Saturday, our lunch called us and told us she was in Volcán and wouldnt be able to give us lunch until 2 in the afternoon.. we told her not to worry about it because we had an appointment at 1:30 and didnt want to be late. We went to the house and had cereal and grapes.. yumm... :/ Then we headed out to our appointment. While we were waiting for the bus we recieved a text from our District Leader wishing us a happy fast... we looked at eachother and were like, "OH my gosh! We forgot to start our fast!" So, we started it in that moment. It was really unfortunate that it happened like that, because we hadnt drank any water that day... but we thought we would be fine. We worked ridiculously hard Saturday, up to a point when we were so exhausted that we had to sit down on a bench for a minute to regain a little strength, then we kept working. We finished the day, went home, planned, showered, and slept. The next morning, the alarm sounded and I couldnt respond. I had NO STRENGTH. I tried to get up to do my hair and couldnt... finally at 8:30 I found some strength and got ready quickly and we left for church... I felt aweful during Sacrament Meeting and got to one point when I thought I was going to throw up, so we went to the bathroom. Out of nowhere I start crying for no reason. The Elders came out and freaked out and sent us home.. I called the nurse and explained to her everything that had happened and she got so mad at me! First, she asked me what on earth I was thinking fasting without drinking water... WHAT? NO one ever told me we could drink water in this mission!! Anyways, she tells me that yes, especially I, have to drink water while fasting, that is a new revelation for me. Then, to make the story short, She said that I practically starved myself, and that she thinks Ihave a kidney infection.. I might be going to the doctor tomorrow. I will let yall know. And she put me on bed rest for 2 days and said that I had to drink gallons of water. Its been a fun 2 days... 

Well, more than that there isnt anything new! I love yall so much and hope to hear from you next week! 

Love, Hermana Eardley

We got locket out. . .but my companion worked
miracles.  I took a video.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

 Dear Family,

This week was transfers... as expected we didnt get changed. I think my companion is getting a little tired of being here, but ni modo, porque ya va a tener seis semanas mas y tiene que aceptarlo. Yo estoy feliz a estar aquí.. ya es difícil, pero sé que voy a estar aquí por el resto de mi misión entonces lo voy a amar. 

This week I decided to cut my hair. The sun in Panama is very strong and has ruined and damaged my hair beyond repair... así que, lo corté. Tranquilos todos, ya no es tan corto, pero, les digo para que sepan.

So, Martes, we had lunch with a sister from Costa Rica. Her son is so adorable! We started singing and he started dancing... and he didnt stop dancing for the whole hour we were there.. it was so stinking cute that I took a video and just had to tell yall!

This week encontramos un hombre se llama Luiz Rodriguez. He is so awesome! He was a reference from one of our members and he has been so receptive and asks so many questions! Amamos las preguntas. He has been super positive and we hope that he goes to church this week. We have a member picking him up and everything... esperamos que todo sale bien.

This week my companion and I bought a little Christmas Tree and decorated it and everything! It is so cute! I absolutely love it! We are really getting into the christmas spirit... speaking of it all, can yall send me a photo of the tree at home? I would appreciate it. Anyways, hemos empezado a hacer todo de la Navidad... OH! Grandma! I finally found a use for those window stickers that you sent me last year!! (There arent real windows in any part of Panamá) So, after carrying it around for a year, I finally was able to find something that they would stick to!! 

This week we had a Branch Activity and we played Volleyball and I won everyone! It was so much fun! Afterwards, comimos Sancocho y eso fue delicioso! Its a soup with chicken, yammi, and other vegetables.. so good. My companion didnt play, she said that her feet hurt.. but I was like, how is that different from every other day? Oh well, her loss. 

I am not sure if I have metioned it or not, but I am doing the D&C countdown (es cuando empieza a leer cuando solo le falta 138 días de su misión y cuando lo termina, también termina la misión) This week I found a scripture that I just absolutely loved and I wanted to share it with yall today. Its in DyC 58:27-28:

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

I really loved this scripture! And it impacted me more than normal I believe because we are in the Holiday Season and we should be serving one another and helping and loving and being charitable and pretty much being Christlike. I love how God has given us this power and this opportunity to act. Let us all remember Christ this Holiday Season and serve others; "For inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me"!

I love yall so much and hope that your week is FANTASTIC! Siempre están en mis oraciones! 

Les amo con todo mi corazon!

Con amor, 
Hermana Eardley

These things take a lot of work

Yesterday we had lunch, then an appointment, then in the next appointment they were cooking when we got there and gave us more food, then after that we had to go to dinner... this was what we had to eat... when we were beyond full... (this morning I woke up, and I was still full... )

My district last transfer... yes, it changed a little.

Our cute little arbol! And MIRA Grandma! They stick to the fridge!