Monday, July 29, 2013

Hello my friends,
Today I realized that there are only like 2 weeks left in this transfer.. That is just insane to me!! I feel like the first transfer was like 50 times longer than this one.. People keep telling me it just gets faster from here so I am trying to hold on to each moment and make the best of it.
There is always multiple ways to look at a situation and in many situations the counsel from Sister Hinckley is needed. "To get through this life to need to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh, crying gives me a headache." That is so true!
This week has been a much smoother week so we were able to work many miracles in our little ward. One of the recently baptized members Haley Aikens was able to get her family to church on Sunday! Her mom, dad, and sister all came to church! Haley is 15 and has some of the strongest faith I have ever seen in anyone. She gets herself to church and mutual by finding rides and even has been working on her family history.
Last week we were able to go with her to the temple so she could get baptized for her Grandmother who never got a chance to while she was alive. Haley was absolutely beaming the entire time. She felt so overwhelmingly happy that she could help her Grandmother out in heaven. In the temple we are able to perform saving ordinances for those who have already gone to the other side. The great thing about this is that we know everyone still has their agency. Or in other words they still have the power to choose up in the Spirit World. Even though Haley was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost for her Grandmother she still can choose whether or not to accept those ordinances.
It was a very special experience for everyone who was at the temple that day. Just realizing that our families are still ours even after this life is wonderful. We have the knowledge that we can be with those we love for all of eternity by the sealing power found in the temple. A lot of people believe that they will see their families again after this life, but the difference is we know how it all works. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the answers to how everything works out after this mortal life. It is such a blessing to know that through the sealing power we can be families forever, not just this short time we have on earth.
If you want to know more about this wonderful plan God has for us I would encourage you to go to and look up the Plan of Salvation. This plan is what God set up from the foundation of the world. We all understood this plan before we came to the earth and it gives us so many answers as we go throughout this life.
I love this gospel. I love that I can have the answer to so many of the pressing questions in my life.
Have a great week everyone. :)
Remember to smile.
-Sister Earl

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hello all you wonderful people,
If anyone out there was doubting that there truly is opposition in every single thing, well let me tell you that there is. I have a personal witness of this principle. So I am going to share a couple of key experiences this week that I believe explain opposition with the upmost clarity. (hah.. )
Don't get me wrong this week has been an awesome week, but that is because the ups and downs have been so completely opposite that I really really appreciate the Up moments.
So lets start out with Tuesday. We are riding around on of bikes and it is actually probably only 94 degrees or so. I was feeling pretty good and we had a wonderful lesson with a lady named Maddie. We are riding away and out of NOWHERE a huge cloud comes billowing across the sun. At first I was like "WOO! That feels great".. but then it started to rain. Many of you are probably thinking "Wow I bet that rain felt pretty good since it was so hot" and it did feel good, but EVERYthing is bigger in Texas. Yes that includes the rain storms. hah So picture a couple of girls on bikes in rain so hard and thick that you can hardly see each other. The rain was coming in sheets not just drops. We laughed for a couple minutes straight at the pathetic situation we were in. We had rain ponchos so we put them on, but we were already soaked completely through by the time we got them out and on anyway. I have never witnessed rain like that before and I honestly had no idea what to do about it. After a couple mins the rain let up a little so we could at least see.. so we got back on our bikes and rode slowly through the flooding water to our next house.... Yes we still had work to do. We ended up just asking when we could come back instead of getting everything inside wet. Tuesday was the worst rain storm.. but every single day this week it has rained for a little while.. but I guess I would rather be wet from rain than from sweat so its alright. (The worst thing is when it rains after you have been sweating  for a little while so all the sweat is burning your eyes..) Can't you just picture our pathetic frames trudging through water in ridiculous rain ponchos?! hah Man, I wish I had a picture honestly! I am sure we at least gave some of the drivers a good laugh as they went by us. I know I would have laughed. :P
The other key moment this week happened on Friday. In the morning for studies we went to the computers to do some work with family history studies. We returned to our apartment around 12 and immediately realized that the air conditioning was not working... also the fridge was off.. the microwave was not working... and all the lights were out too. The power was off! Assuming that it was just something to do with the incessant rain and the breakers we called Apartment Matenience and they said they would have someone up there soon. By the time we were done eating lunch the guy still wasn't there, but we need to get out and start working so we left and went about our activities of the day. Around 7 that night we recieved a text message from the elders saying that someone had informed them that the power to our apartment had somehow been turned off... No knowing what to do and having another appointment we disreguarded the text for a minute and when to our lesson. (which by the way wasn't the greatest decision) After that we decided to go home a little early a figure out what was going on. We discovered our power to still be off with a note on our door saying that we needed to call the power company...
At this point we decided to call the housing coordinator who called the power company for us. He called us back asking why we didn't ask earlier, but we informed him that we had no idea what was even going on until 7. Anyway after a bunch of phone calls we found out that someone had ordered a shut off order for our power. At first I was worried it was some bill that we forgot to turn in to the office.. but we only get the ones for rent in our mail so it couldn't be that. Anyway long story short.. our power was off and there was no way to contact the power company until MONDAY MORNING. (THis is Friday night remember?)
We were then evacuated from our apartment with our clothing and missionary stuff. We emptied the fridge and freezer of all perishable items and brought them with us. We will given refuge with the Spanish sisters who live in the apartments on the very edge of our area. We were so grateful that we were at least not suuuper far away, but it did add a lot to our biking during the day. Plus, of course the sky still was having leakage problems...
We are currently still at the other apartment.. but our power should be back on soon.
The weirdest thing about all this was that the power company had no idea who ordered the shut off call. We are convinced it was Satan or something.. but guess what? We are still working!!! We are still pushing! and we have seen miracles this week!
We met a lady who accepted a visit from us and then accepted a baptisimal date for August 11th. We had a member call us up and say that they had a lady coming over to their house who wanted to have the missionary discussions. We were given so much love and support from our ward that we had meals every single night without fail. We met a ton of people on the street who we normally do not run into since we usually live in a different part of town. We had so much pity shown to us this week because we were almost always soaking wet. People were listening to us because we were so determined.
That is just a short list!
I also showed myself how strong I am. Nothing is going to come in between me and what God wants me to do. So many times this week I could have stopped. I could have quit, but that is what Satan wants from us! If he can push us to the point where we feel like we can't do one more thing then we will do his best to get us there. Sometimes all I could do was sing a hymn to myself while the rain came down. I prayed hard that my legs would just go numb already so I wouldn't feel them burning. I smiled. I forced myself to smile when we met new people even though the only thing I really wanted to do was get dry and take a nap. I tried to stay positive and never for a second forget how much I love my Savior.
Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes we have to endure instead of enjoy. The good news is your Savior is always there. In the garden He felt exactly what you are going through. He knows how helpless and weak I felt in the rain on my bike. He knows exactly how I feel because He felt that! He did the same for you!! This life is going to be hard, because that is the only way we will learn. One of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland is something like "Why should it be so easy for you, when it was so hard for Him?" He suffered more than any mortal frame could ever endure. He felt more pain then anyone before or since. The fact that we get to feel a little piece of that pain and sadness is a blessing! We can now appreciate all that He did for us! Without that taste we would never understand the enormous blessing that the Atonement is!
Without the hard times we would never know the good times. Without the pain we could never have happiness. God gives us trials to make us better and help us learn.
I'll admit that parts of this week were really hard, but parts of this week were my very favorite memories so far in my mission. If you can turn to God when the trials come then everything will work out in the end. My legs still hurt, my aparment is still without power, but that ok. Life goes on and God is still there. He is my Father and He is looking out for His little missionary. :) He has his angels all around me. My companion, my mission president, the Spanish Sisters, plus all the unseen angels holding me up at the end of the day when I don't feel like I can stay awake any longer.
I testify that the only way we can make it through the things that come up in our lives is if we turn to God and Jesus Christ. If all you can do is offer up a desperate prayer asking for some sort of peace I promise you will recieve it. Your Father in Heaven loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He understands your trials and knows how to get out of them. Turn to your Savior and let that Atonement take affect in our life.
I testify that God lives and that His Son Jesus Christ is the only hope that we have of returning to heaven one day. Let him help you in the big things and the small things.
This gospel is true and it changes lives.
Have a great week!
Sister Earl

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another wonderful week!
I swear time just is flying faster and faster everyday!
This week has been quite interesting. The reason for that is Sister Bearnson and I decided that we needed to be talking to more of the people we see everyday on our bikes. Sometimes it is just hard to see people because there is so much sweat in my eyes I can hardly see where I am going... haha Just kidding.. sorta.
Anyway, we made that goal and we have been following through! We have talked to all sorts of people and have gotten a ton of new investigators as a result.
One of my favorites was this lady who was walking her dogs. Apparently the young puppy had never seen a bike before so when we came up to her she spent a couple mins "explaining" to her puppy what a bike was. At this point we were not sure if we should stay there.. or just leave her with a card, but we ended up talking about the gospel a little. She made a couple other comments to her dogs.. explaining that she was just going to talk to the nice ladies on bikes for a couple minutes and then they could resume their walk. After a few comments it was apparent that she was not really interested in our message. So we talked to her about mormon. org and then asked if she knew of anyone in the area who would benefit from our message. She goes on to explain who lives at each house on the street! She explained who lived there and all kinds of things that they do. It was slightly creepy, but as a missionary trying to get to know everyone is was wonderful! From that conversation we got 3 awesome referrals who we are working with now. :) You never know how you will find more people. It might just be through a crazy dog-loving street roamer. hah
The thing that I always hear here in Houston is that "Oh, I have already been saved." What? Who told you that you were already saved! So many people believe that if you accept Jesus Christ then you are automatically saved. I almost wish I could just believe that, but that is not how it works! Accepting Jesus Christ is important, but that is just the beginning. Our Heavenly Father wants us to become LIKE him. He wants us to learn how to be kind, selfless, charitable, thoughtful, a hard worker, faithful, and all the other attributes of Christ. The only way we can attain those things is if we work on them. At the end of our lives when we die we will be the same person we were before we died. We will not all of a sudden be perfect. It is a process. That is why we are here on earth! To learn, to grow, and to be tested. This week I talked to a lady who exclaimed with a huge smile on her face that "We are absolutely saved in this house." Does anyone really have the right to say that? Is anyone "absolutely" saved?
Well that question is up to each and every one of us. What we get depents on what we DO with the things we have been given. If we were already perfect I promise you that God would just take us up to heaven right now. If there was nothing else on earth that I could improve on I imagine I would just show up in heaven right? The thing is, I am not perfect. The only person on this earth that was perfect was our Savior.
What made our Savior so perfect? He helped people, He never thought of himself before others, He kept all the commandments with exactness, he never judged or made anyone feel down on themselves. He was perfect because He lived the things He was teaching and he was the Son of God.
Our goal is to try to improve ourselves.
"God is more concerned with growth than geography"
All He wants is your best. Pick something to work on and remember that your Heavenly Father is always there. He will never leave you alone.
I testify that God lives. That Jesus Christ, his son, is our Savior. God knows what he wants us to become and Jesus Christ is who makes it possible. We can be better. We can be closer to Him. He loves you.
The most magnificent being in the universe asks that we individually pray to Him so that He can bless us individually. He is aware of you, I promise. I have never been more sure of anything else in my life.
-Sister Earl

Sunday, July 14, 2013

 Me and Sister Bearnson

Remember when I told you about the greatest thing in the world called Kolaches? Well here is what the little pieces of heaven look like.


Hey all you lovely people!
As I let you know last week I was transferred this past Wednesday to a new part of the Houston South Mission. I had no idea what to expect going into the transfer meeting, but I soon found out that God expects a lot of me.
I have been transfered to the Silverlake ward in Pearland Texas. It is a very small ward in geography and because of that we are strictly biking sisters. My companion is Sister Bearnson from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a very good missionary that leads by example. She isn't super talkative, but she loves to talk to people about the gospel so it works out. :) We are getting along really good and trying to become better missionaries together. This ward was just split about 2 transfers ago so everyone is still getting use to the new ward, but all the members are great! I don't know if the members just feel bad for us or what, but we have somewhere to go for dinner just about every night and sisters are always asking if they can come out with us teaching! The ward is super friendly and the bishop is on top of everything.
I am really excited to be in this area. It is soooo drastically different from my last transfer. The Alief ward I was in was were they sent all the African refugees. We also just had a bunch of people from all over the world so it was a very diverse ward. The Silverlake ward, on the other hand, is practially a ward right out of Utah. The Alief ward was in the ghetto with really poor people and the Silverlake ward is full of super nice neighborhoods right next to a lake. It is different, but I am excited to get the work rolling here! (I know Sister Howard will take care of Alief)
With the ward members, Sister Bearnson, and the Lord there is no way I can fail!
Already these past few days we have seen some miracles. On Saturday we visited a lady named Sofia who Sister Bearnson and Sister Moreno (previous sisters) had met outside a week or so before. We knocked on the door and she very excitedly invited us in and introduced us to her entire family! She is from West Africa and is super nice and welcoming. We went inside and she talked to us and then fed us this delicious meal of fish/sushi/crab meat/ these cracker things with goat cheese,and other things. It was seriously the most delicious thing. We invited her to church and talked a little about the church. She told us that a few days before she was thinking about us and she wished we would come back so she could not feel weird going to church this Sunday. :D We were there just in time and she did come to church the next day. We are going back over there on Tuesday and we are so excited for her.
A couple weeks ago Sister Bearnson and Sister Moreno baptized a 15 year old girl named Haley. Up until the point before I came the rest of the family was not interested in learning more about the church, but now we are teaching Haleys mom and she even invited us over for dinner! She is progressing and we could see her getting baptized sometime in the future.
Biking is hard, but the Lord is strengthing me. I never thought I would be able to bike all day in 90+ weather and still be positive and awake! But everyday I seem to be stronger and stronger. He is making my task possible, because we are doing his work and we are being obedient. If you want some more blessings in you life try taking out some excuses and be more obedient. Seriously it works. When we do what God asks, he promises he will bless us and he does EVERY time.
I know that God lives and he loves me. If you don't feel like he knows you then pray and ask Him. He will let you know. :) Have a great week everyone.

                                              Biking!!!!!  We are soooooo HOT!!!  Hahahah

So the transfer is ending this week... WHAT!?
The craziest thing is that I will be leaving my trainer already! Usually new missionaries stay with their trainer for 12 weeks.. but I guess I am needed elsewhere. So this wednesday I will be going to some other part of my mission. It could be anywhere and I don't find out where until they do the slide show at 1 wednesday afternoon. I am a little sad because I honestly love the area I am in so much!!
This week we found a family. The Travis family. There is a mom a dad and then 7 children all from Africa! Only 5 of them are baptizing age, but we are so excited for them. What happened was we were outside heading to another appointment and we saw this guy walking outside. We stopped him and started to talk. We had a short conversation, but he invited us to come and visit the rest of his family. Later that week we stopped by to see him and all this kids playing football outside! We taught a short Restoration lesson and then they invited us back. We asked "When would be a good time to come back?" and they said, "Tomorrow! Please tomorrow!" So we said, "Alrighty!!"
The next day we taught the Plan of Salvation and all the kids sat and participated so well! I was so impressed! At the end of the lesson we extended baptisimal dates and each of the kids and the Father accepted! (The mom was at work.. we will get her though) haha I feel so blessed to have met this family! They are all so ready and willing to learn more about their Heavenly Father. They are excited about the fact that God really knows them and loves them. The little 10 year old Ariel said, "He knows me? God knows me?" We were like "YES! He knows your name and he knows all the things you like. He knows you perfectly!" Her smile will forever be in my memory. That is what this is all about. We get to give people the greatest gift of all: The realization of their identity. I cannot even say how much I love it!
So that is one of the reasons I am super sad to be leaving my area! The family will have to be taught by Sister Howard and whoever is coming over here... I know it will be ok, but I am going to miss them! 
I am also a bit sad about leaving my trainer Sister Howard. We have had some very hard, but wonderful times together. Six weeks seems like nothing and forever at the same time. We went from having 4 investigators to having 12 with baptisimal dates and others we are working with! I love the ward so much and will miss all of the investigators too. Maybe that is why I am leaving.. I ended up loving it too much. :D I know this is what God wants and that I will have more wonderful people in my next area. 
This week Sister Howard and I were on the bikes! We had to save miles  in the car and so we went out biking all day in 109 degree weather!
I wish I was kidding, but it is true. Amazingly, we were just fine. God blessed us so much because we were willing to take that sacrifice. We had plenty of water and lots of people to go to that were close so it was a very wonderful day! I looked like a human waterfall, but I was smiling! I can honestly say I didn't even feel bad until the second we got home. It was such a faith building experience for me. (But I still would rather be in a car area when I get transfered.. :D )  
Oh, on Tuesday of last week my companion went on exchanges and left me to fend for myself. At first I was super nervous, but the only person who knew that was me. haha I was Senior companion for a day and I was able to lead just fine. There are people everywhere who are prepared to hear the gospel. The trick is finding them and helping them realize that is what they want.
I am so grateful for this truth. I have always been someone who has a lot of questions and I can honestly say that all my questions about religion have been answered in the Book of Mormon. In fact, all of my questions about life have been answered in some way or another through the Book of Mormon. When we do what God asks us, then he blesses us. That is how it has been in the past and that is how it will always be! God is the same forever and he loves us so much.
Reach out to those around you. They want to know they are loved by their Heavenly Father too. :) Have a great week ya'll!
Eu amo voces!
Sister Earl