Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Area: West Colombia and Bar-x with one week to go! September 29 2014

Oi lovely people!

Well, its official! The new building is finished in Angleton and we have our new ward boundaries! We are going to be having a completely new area on the other side of Angleton that includes West Colombia and Bar-x!! We have a small piece of Angleton as well, but we are completely rooted out of Lake Jackson, which is a little sad. We have had SO MUCH success in Lake Jackson and that is where most of our area has been. I knew that this was going to happen soon, but it is still a little hard. We are going to have dinner tonight with the McCowns and that will probably be our last adventure to Lake Jackson, besides the occasional district or Zone meeting, but all is well! We have some new adventures getting Sister McBride accustomed to her new area before she gets a new companion.

A week from today I will be heading to the mission office to have an interview with President Ashton and then the next day I will be transferred to a new area called home. :P I don't know much about it, but everyone says it is a great place filled with people to love and teach. hah I hear it is different than anywhere I have served so far, but that is it where I am needed at this time so I am getting prepared to leave the things I have grown to love and embrace my new area... :) It will be good. 

This last week was exciting and completely unexpected. On top of getting a completely new area we were given a third companion. Hermana Parra who was serving in the Spanish Branch (who also was in my ward at BYU.. cool right?) went home on the 25th so her companion Hermana Hubbard was asked to be with Sister McBride and I until she could get a new companion at transfers. 

On Saturday the Spanish Branch had a beach party so guess what?? We got to go and see the Gulf of Mexico! (Don't worry we didn't get in the water!! ahah we just got to
see it and listen to the waves!)

We decided we needed to meditate... and then this happened.. :) 

​All of the houses near the beach are on stilts and they are all crazy colors. This is a lot like how the houses look on Galveston Island too only most of them on the Island are more than one color! They are so happy and fun looking! 

​It was suuuper windy, but still super humid! It was so weird. 

​Maria Barraza, Hermana Hubbard, ME, and Sister McBride

It was so much fun to be with the Spanish Branch. We got to play some football and volleyball and just jabber in some Spanish-Portuguese. On of the members even brought some of the "Cana" or sugar cane that they have outside their house so we got to try it! It was super good! You just bite it and suck the sugary stuff out but you don't eat the cane. hah It was good, but interesting!  

So we are still with Hermana Hubbard, but in a couple hours she will get a new companion so we will be back to just the two of us. I love love love Hermana Hubbard so it will be a little sad not getting to be companions with her longer. 

I just found out today as well that I will be able to go to the Houston Temple for the last time this next Friday!! I am overly excited to go and be with all the missionaries that will be transferred "home" with me. It will be a great time to reflect on how much I have learned and really thank God for my experiences as a missionary. 

On of the other missionaries asked me if I was going to take a "dying" picture. (When missionaries go home they call it dying) I didn't really think about it until I had this Banana Spider staring at me when we were coming in the library to email. So then I thought, yes. This will be my dying picture. Being eaten by the ridiculous bugs here in Texas!! (These things are everywhere!! and they are HUGE)

​Well just to close I would like to bear my testimony. I know that God lives. He is involved and He really cares about our lives. Sometimes He gives us hard things so that we can become something more than we now are. Sometimes He lets us know he is there when we least expect it and sometimes we need to really let our souls reach up to heaven to feel his light and grace. He uses us to help those around us and often the blessings we seek come as we learn to not focus on ourselves. Our Savior is the light that helps us see our weaknesses and how we can be better. He is the cure to all of our heart aches. He understands because He has been there. He has felt what is feels like to be me, Sister Earl. He knows the people I have loved and gotten to know here. He knows the way I feel as I teach people the truth. He knows the pure joy of seeing them understand and then how I am crushed when they don't. He fills me with hope for the future and patience in my weakness. He fills me with joy I can't explain. There is really no way to express the things in my heart. 

This gospel is true. :) 

I love this work.
-Sister Earl

Angelton: Ribs Steaks and Frog Legs September 22 2014

This past week was filled with some of the most random and crazy experiences of my mission. As I was sitting here thinking of all the experiences I just started to laugh to myself (the lady next to me probably thinks I am a little crazy)

​Random sign on an investigators house! :)

First of all we went on exchanges this week and I had the opportunity to be on exchange with Hermana Ricks! She is a super awesome missionary that is actually going home in 3 days! We have been acquaintances our entire missions but it was so awesome to actually get to know her! She is like my twin... really it was weird, but it was so nice to talk to her about our goals and plans for when we go home. We have had similar strengths and weaknesses in the past so our goals were really able to be refined as we talked and made more goals. She is awesome! 

While we were on exchange we had the most random day. We drove by a former investigators house and noticed a car in the driveway I didn't recognize. I had a thought that we should stop and offer to help. I didn't know why or what they would need so we stopped the car and got out. As we approached the car I realized I had no idea who was in this car and I really had no idea why we were there... so I just said a short prayer and tried to act like I knew what was going on. We stood outside the car but the lady in the car was on her phone. We tried to wave her and even did a little dance trying to get her attention (hehe) before we knocked on the window and scared the bejeebees out of her. haah 

After talking to her for a minute we found out that this was the former investigators best friend and she was here to help her pack because her house had been foreclosed on. 

So we ended up helping pack and clean it was awesome! And we are going to go back and teach. ;) 

This was this really weird tree that we found that had these huge green alien looking things on them. Sister Reddick (the Recent convert member that was with us had no idea what it could be... ahah) They were huge and really hard.. we tried throwing them and standing on them but they wouldn't break. haha There is no end to the random things in Texas.   

Hannah Jauregui came to church again this week! She even stayed for the entire 3 hours! She loves it. :) We are so excited for her! 

So also this week we got a text message that said, "This is my new number," we had no idea who this was so we asked and found out that is was the guy that we had taught at McDonalds a couple months ago. He said he wanted to learn more so we invited him to church and he came! :) He is so cool. 6ft 5in with a fro and came in a suit and everything. haha It was a miracle and he loved church!

So also this week our investigators Ken and Regina Bishop invited us over for a Texan BBQ! We had so much food I was going to die. Steak, ribs, and the most interesting Frog legs! I have heard everyone talk about frog legs down here but I finally got to try em! They are sorta like a mix between chicken and an oyster... if that makes any sense at all. haah They are also HUGE.. at least bigger than I was expecting. I found out they only eat the big Bull Frogs so I guess that makes sense. :) hah 


Anyway, it was a great week!! Love ya'll! 
-Sister Earl

trying on hats on P-day! 

This is our GPS. If you notice the little blue car is where I am at.. and the Saltillo is where my brother Elder Earl is at!! and then my cousin Elder Earl is in Torreon! (Sorry other Sister Earl.. I couldn't get it to fit... but I love you too!!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Angleton: Brand Spankin' new building!! (and more YSA!!) September 15, 2014

So this week I am soooo suuuper excited to announce that the new church building that they are building in Angleton is actually ready to be occupied AND we will be doing the new ward boundaries very soon!!

I have been serving in the Angleton ward. Just to explain a little this new building was announced about 20ish years ago and has been being built only for a few years. They have been waiting on the numbers to pick up in this area to actually move the Angleton people to the Angleton building. So I live in Angleton, but we go to church in Lake Jackson which is another (slightly bigger) town a little south of Angleton. 

Hopefully that made sense... hah :)

So yes we will be in the NEW building!! AND they are creating a Young Single Adult ward down here as well!! The Brazoria Singles Branch! :)  Which is exactly what we need actually. We have been working with a lot of YSAs and it would help them to be strengthened so much. (I have a soft spot for YSA wards..) 

When I was in the Armand Bayou YSA branch there were a ton of YSAs that lived in this general area that didn't really go to church because it was soooo far away from Clear Lake. Now it will be much easier and I am overly excited to see how it all plays out. :) 

So we should for sure be in the new building by Conference time. :) maybe before then if we are lucky. 

So all that being said.... This week has been great!! 

We had a lot of people lined up to come to church, so we were a little bummed when only one came.. but we were still really excited for Hannah! She is the granddaughter of a less active member who taught us how to much homemade tortillas!! 

Hannah is the daughter of an Inactive member who doesn't believe in religion. He believes that God exists but he said "I don't want to change and I don't believe that Satan exists." Because of this Hannah really knows NOTHING about God. She only has learned the things that she learned in school about Christianity. It is a really different experience teaching someone the very basics but it is so rewarding. This past week we taught her how to pray and she was so excited to tell us the next day that she really felt like someone was there and was listening to her prayer. :) It was humbling and wonderful to hear about her experience. We were overjoyed when she was able to come to church and the speakers testified of Gods love. It was perfect. Sometimes I am just blown away by the perfect plan that God has for each of us. :)

We finally saw Bernice again this week!!!! It was a tender mercy from the Lord. We really wanted to talk to her and we haven't been able to catch her or call her. We decided to stop by one day with a member and just prayed all day that she would be there. When we went by she didn't answer the door.. we were a little put out but we decided to go somewhere else and then come back and try again. By the time we got back over there we were excited but not all that surprised to see her getting out of her car with groceries. I say that we were not surprised because from our prayers and studies that morning we knew that God told us that we would be able to talk to Bernice today. So while we were overjoyed we knew it was simply God following through on his promises. (which he does EVERY TIME by the way) 

So we got to talk to her and she told us that her boyfriend was just a little upset about having to live the law of chastity and so that is why they have been off the radar. We testified to her about families and the way that God views them and set up another appointment to meet with her. She told us that she has still be reading and she still loves the things that she has learned. She KNOWs this is true. She is just a little scared of the little bumps in the road.. That is ok! Just don't back away from a good thing! 

The thing about Satan is he is super sneaky. If he doesn't get you to do something wrong he will get you to doubt for forget the light and knowledge you have received. The danger of not reading our scriptures everyday and not going to church is not that we will suddenly become this horrible person.. the danger is that slowly we lose our reverence and sensitivity to spiritual things. We slowly loose the reality of our identity and our potential as children of God. We might always remember that Jesus Christ is our Savior, but can you feel it? Can you say right now that you can feel the power of Christs atonement making you clean and guiding your path? If not then guess what? YOU CAN! just do the things that God asks. It is simple. 

To end I just want to include a part of a a talk by Jeffery R. Holland. It is called "Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence" and is suuuper good! 

"An entire article could be devoted to this subject of the adversary’s strong, preliminary, anticipatory opposition to many of the good things God has in store for us. But I want to move past that observation to another truth we may not recognize so readily. This is a lesson in the parlance of the athletic contest that reminds us “it isn’t over until it’s over.” It is the reminder that the fight goes on. Unfortunately we must not think Satan is defeated with that first strong breakthrough which so dramatically brought the light and moved us forward.
To make my point a little more vividly, may I go to another passage of scripture, indeed, to another vision. You will recall that the book of Moses begins with him being taken up to “an exceedingly high mountain” where, the scripture says, “he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses.” What then followed was what happens to prophets who are taken to high mountains. The Lord said to Moses:
“Look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands. … Moses looked, and … beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not.” 3 
This experience is remarkable by every standard. It is one of the great revelations given in human history. It stands with the greatest accounts we have of any prophet’s experience with Divinity.
But Moses’ message to you today is: Don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous, illuminating moment, the opening of an inspired path, is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over.
What happens to Moses next, after his revelatory moment, would be ludicrous if it were not so dangerous and so true to form. Lucifer—in an effort to continue his opposition, in his unfailing effort to get his licks in later if not sooner—appears and shouts in equal portions of anger and petulance after God has revealed Himself to the prophet: “Moses, worship me.” But Moses is not having it. He has just seen the real thing, and by comparison this sort of performance is pretty dismal.
“Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? … Where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
“For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me. … But I can look upon thee in the natural man. …
“Where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God. …
“Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not.”
The record then depicts a reaction that is both pathetic and frightening:
“And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
“And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God [the very phrase used by Joseph Smith], he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
“And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook. …
“And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence,” 4  always to come again, we can be sure, but always to be defeated by the God of glory—always.
I wish to encourage every one of us regarding the opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that their troubles had not ended but that some of them had just begun."

THis is just part of that talk, but it is one of my favorites! Go and read it if you would like. Anyway,  this work is true and it is right. I love it with all my soul. :) 

Have a great week ya'll!
-Sister Earl

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Angleton Birthday Week September 8 2014

Howdy peoples!

This week was an absolutely amazing week!! :) Not only did we have a lot of awesome lessons with prepared people, but I was absolutely spoiled this entire week for my birthday!! :) 

For one my companion Sister McBride is adorable and made me a cake as well as put some candles on some cinnamon rolls that we had gotten from our downstairs neighbor! (Last week at the store she made me close my eyes and hold on to the cart while she picked out all the stuff to make my birthday surprises.. :) haha it was fun) 

One of our neighbors Jennifer got me a 25 dollar gift certificate to Walmart and Julie got us a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream and cinnamon rolls! (We have been sharing all these goodies with others.. not eating them all. Don't worry!!)

​Then we have gotten countless other goodies and dinner requests to celebrate. It was fun.. but lets just say birthday week in a mission is a little crazier than birthday week at home! haha I have eaten enough ice cream and cake to last me a little while. ahah (I blew out 3 sets of candles... ahah )

The best part of birthday week was the awesome success we saw in the work!! Jason Key (the guy we found last week) now has a date for the 27th of Sept and he is really excited! Bishop Whipple and their family are AWESOME fellowshippers invited us and Jason over for dinner yesterday! We had a wonderful lesson about the Restoration and the spirit was so strong. Jason was so excited and told us that he has gone to so many churches looking for one that really has the things that matter and not all the extra fluff. Bishop Whipple was able to testify that this gospel is true, and it is not the church people go to to be entertained. It contains the doctrine needed for salvation. Jason was so moved by that. He said that he doesn't believe that this was a coincidence and that he needs to move forward and feel if this is really true. 

We are so excited for him and his kids!! :) 

We also received a referral this week for a lady named Celestina Guzman. We went by with the Primary President Sister Handly and had a wonderful lesson with her and her 6 kids!! :) It was a miracle having Sister Handly there because Celest is looking for some friends in this area and Sister Handly holds a play group at her house or at other places in the community every Wednesday morning!! Celest was excited and she had so many questions that were PERFECT. She asked us, "Ok, I want a for real answer now.. So are the people in your church the kind that go to church on Sunday after partying all night the night before? Please be honest.. do ya'll really try to be Christians all the time?" 

YES!!! YES WE DO when she asked that question I testified that her Heavenly Father had lead us to talk to her today because of the desires that she has. She felt the spirit strongly and we talked about how this gospel will bless her and her family more than anything. :) She is awesome and her family will be baptized on the 3rd of October.  

That was just a few of the incredible miracles that we are seeing!! 

I love this work! I know that we are working for the best cause in the universe. God lives and he loves us so much! He knows what we need and when we need it. He will lead us to those who are prepared to hear and recognize the truth. The elect hear this message and know that it HAS to be true. It is the hope and light of the world. This is the only thing that makes all of this life worth it. 

I love it more than anything. 

Have a good one!
-Sister Earl


September 2 2014

​​It was another great week! We taught 35 lessons this week! And had 7 new investigators!

One of the experiences was crazy. We had a new investigator that we talked to outside about his family. He told us how he had just gone through a divorce, the death of a child, and the death of his dad. I could just see the pain that this guy was feeling and I could also feel the spirit testify to me about how much God loves him and understands him. We testified briefly about the Plan of Salvation and made a return appointment. We came back with a member and when Jason opened the door the member and him knew each other from their kids football practice! We had a powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation and invited him to be baptized. This week he is going to come to the members house this week for dinner and a lesson! :) He is awesome! There are so many prepared people around me. If we look then we will see the ones that are prepared. They are the ones looking for direction and answers in their lives. I know that this message is the only way for us to receive lasting comfort in our trials. 

This is the Relief Society President Sister Jackson! Her husband is our Ward Mission Leader and they are both Bowling instructors! 

It was really fun! (and we got to wear pants!) (notice the Earl Reunion shirt!!) 

​This is from when we went to the temple to see the Chaplins get sealed! That is Sister Anglin! She is the best!!!! 

​She surprised me with a picture! 

We are really excited to see how this next week goes since we will have 7 or 8 new baptismal dates set up in the future. The Lord really blesses us if we want to be a part of this work. The work is hastening and if we decided to jump on board He will let us be a part of the wonderful work. It is the best feeling teaching and testifying about things that will have an eternal impact on people. I know that God lives and that the choices we make really play a big part in our eternity. 

Sister McBride is celebrating her 2 month mark today! That is just CRAZY!! hence the picture.. 

​We are loving every minute of this time together in the mission field!! There is so much to do.. AND SO LITTLE time. It is flying by faster and faster. 

Thank you to all those who have wished me a happy birthday! Either in their minds or through email! I really appreciate it! It is hard to believe I am 21.. that just sounds way too mature for how I feel... (again refer to the picture above.)  hah 

Also this week we had a member refer us to a lady that had a friend growing up that was a member of the church. Her name is Sarah and she grew up in Georgia. She told us that when her friend went to the temple for the 1st time she had all sorts of dreams about being in the temple. Very vivid and she said she felt so much peace and light. We told her how she could go to the temple and feel that feeling again and she was overcome with the spirit. Again, this work is hastening!! There are people who are ready, but they just don't know where to find the truth. :) 

I LOVE this work. Ya'll have a great one! 
-Sister Earl

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Transfer to End all Transfers August 25 2014

Well it is official. I am going to spend the last 6 weeks here in Angleton with Sister McBride! I am so excited for this next transfer I can hardly contain myself. There is so much that is going to happen. I know that the blessings are just going to flood over us as we do everything we can to qualilfy for them.

This week we had Bernice and Tony Jr interviewed for baptism!! And they were all ready!! but then Bernices boyfriend stepped in and started to make her doubt. I know they will be baptized, but not his weekend! It was sad, but not all hope is lost. :) 

This is our District at an Italian resturant! It was our celebration for Elder Eldred since he is leaving for home today! (He is the one with the glasses)

We went bowling! :) It was a blast. That is Kadee and Ivy! Recent converts. :) 

This next week is going to be incredible! This work is so important! I know that as we work hard even the disapointments are not so bad. I know that God is proud of my work. He is watching over us and is guiding us. :) The things of life are hard but worth it because everyone means so much to God. :) 

-Sister Earl

Chilli cookoff August 18 2014

Baptisms, musical performances, moving furniture, testifying, peppermint oil, dominican republic, speaking Portu-englin-ish, Sonic 1/2 priced shakes, homemade chicken pot pie, prepared people, tears of joy, fighting to stay awake in planning,... and so much more! This week was awesome!

We met 7 more people who are prepared to recieve the gospel. Danielle Gilstrap was baptized on Saturday. She is the best friend of one of the youth in the ward that has been coming to church for a couple weeks now. She is awesome!! So prepared and the McDearmonts have been there to answer questions the entire ride. Her mom Tara is now taking the lessons! 

Bernice and her family are doing awesome! They are going to have FHE with the Whipples and us on Tuesday and we are stoked about it! The ward is awesome at reaching out to people who we are teaching! We are excited to continue to help them. WE just love them so much. :) 

I met two girls this week and their names are Jordan and McKayla.. it was sorta weird. ahah They are cool, but it is still weird saying those names together when I am not talking about myself and my brother!.. ahah :P 

This weekend we also had the Texas famous Chili Cook off!! The chili was so good! I really had no idea how many different kinds of chili you could eat before I came to Texas. My favorite was #15.. I don't know what was in it.. but it was good!! (although it wasn't really a fair vote from me since I only tried 3..) 
A couple less active sisters came to the chili cook off so that was fun! :) We had set up for some investigators to come as well but it didn't happen. It was a little disappointing, but that is just how life goes sometimes. :) It just means we need to try harder this week!! :) 

Well ya'll are awesome! Thank you for all the support! 
-Sister Earl

300 W Henderson Rd #412
Angleton, TX 77515-2204

These are the photos from the sealing that McKayla was able to attend last week.  She taught the man who was baptized in her first area.