Monday, August 26, 2013

How are all ya'll doing? Well I am doing great too, let me tell you about it. :) 

This week was a good week.. but not a numbers week. All of your missionaries know what I am talking about. Sometimes you get to the end of the week and you go to report on the numbers of the week and you think, "Wow... is that all?" Then you go through your planner and count once or twice more before you realize that you were right the first time. 

Even though we only taught a little this week we still had some wonderful things happen! It is crazy how God works that way. He gives you blessings in all sorts of ways, the trick is to find them. It is almost a game! "Where have I seen the Lords hand today in my life?"

Well we started off the week going to the temple (on tuesday) The temple was beautiful and it made me feel so much better. Plus afterwards the members we went with took us to lunch! I love my food. 

On Wednesday we were in the neighborhood of a guy we had talked to a couple weeks before. His name is Darryl and he is a big BBQer. He goes with his dad all the time to enter BBQ competitions! Cool right? Well we talked to him just right before he left for his competition, but he took a Book of Mormon and said he would read it on the way. We didn't know if it would happen or not but we decided to choose faith instead of doubting. So this brings us to Wednesday when we saw him outside. We go riding up to talk to him and he recognizes us right away and says, "Hey Sisters!" He then went on to tell us that now was not a good time, but he wanted us to come back soon because he did read the book and he wants to talk about it. I could hardly believe it! 

Thursday we had Zone Conference! It was awesome! Our Mission President is so inspiring and we had a lot of really great things to improve on. One of the things I want to work on is developing the attitude of turning outward and helping others when I feel like turning inward. We talked about Christ and how whenever he was tired or in pain he never failed to reach out and help the people in need. He always could go outside of himself and think about others. 

The rest of the weekend was filled with all sorts of rain adventures. Actually Sunday was a bit of a miracle. We get up and start getting ready only to look outside and see that it was pouring rain. We sighed a little and just continued our routine. Just about 5 mins before we left the rain slowed down to a little drizzle so we could get to church, but the minute we got inside the church building it picked up again... only to stop a couple minutes after church ended. It was such a blessing and I know it was from God. 

It made me sort of reflect on the way God feels about Sundays. He is just fine with us getting soaked through on most days.. haha but he knows that we wanted to look dry and presentable as representatives of Christ in the Lords House. That was a little tender mercy that I just felt so grateful for. He really is in charge of our lives. I don't know how he takes care of all his children so tenderly, but I know He does. 

I know He loves us so much. He really cares about how we feel and what we are going through. Sometimes I know a lot of us feel alone. We feel insignificant and small, but God sees what we can become. 

I testify that God lives. I know that he love YOU and he knows YOU. I am a witness of His mercy. I am a witness of His Justice. I know that God is perfectly just, meaning that He treats everyone the same no matter where they come from or what they have done. As long as you repent and come unto Him you can receive the mercy of the Savior. 

I testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church Christ brought to the earth. It is lead by holy prophets who talk to God and know exactly what we need to do in order to return to our Heavenly Father. 

We are in this together, and yes, that includes our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Have a smashing week ya'll! 
Love, Sister Earl

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You know those times when you know where you are going, but when you have to explain it to someone you just can't figure it out? Well that is exactly how I felt Friday night when my companion left me and I had another Sister come and join me for a day.

Suddenly I was in charge and while I acted like everything was awesome and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.. I felt quite small. In fact I suddenly had to figure out how all the neighborhoods fit together and how we would ride our bikes on the safest roads to get there. I was a little stressed.. but it worked out just fine. I didn't get us killed and we actually had some awesome lessons!!

My favorite story happened Friday night. We had just arrived at a members house that we wanted to visit, but by the time we knocked on the door 3 times we figured they were probably not home. (even though there were 3 cars outside) Anyway, we turn around to leave and this HUGE BLACK CLOUD IS COVERING THE ENTIRE SKY.

Of course everyone knew that a huge storm was coming.. and that it would be best to stay in doors.. but nobody thought to warn the innocent Sisters on their bikes... hah 

The rain starts to pour down in buckets. It seriously looked like there were a billion buckets just dumping huge sheets of water down, because of the winds being blown in different ways. The lighting and thunder started and I seriously thought we were going to be hit. The flashes of light and sound were so close it was obvious that the storm was just right over us. The street was already flooded so that we could not even see the lines on the road. All of this happened in like... umm 2 mins maybe. haha just picture us standing on the covered porch thinking.. "What in the world are we going to do?" Hermana Carlson (the sister with me) looks at me and says, "um, what do you do without a car?" I looked at her and said, "Well lets try the neighbors" So we run across the street dragging our floating bikes with us trying to see good enough not to run into a car or a tree or something. We knock on the door and a lady barely cracks open the door and yells, "What can I do for you?" I sorta laughed to myself and yelled back, "Would it be ok if we came in, its sorta raining out here." She laughed and let us in! Yay! We were completely soaked through.. but we went to the kitchen and sat at the table. We taught the first lesson and will be going back soon. :) They are an awesome family. Storms sometimes come in handy ;)

On Saturday we got to talk to a lot of people and have some new investigators that I am excited about. At the end of the transfer I must say I was proud of how I handled the situation. I hope I can continue to have that fire and motivation now that my comp is back. :) It changes your outlook a bit when you have to be in charge. haha

A bunch of the missionaries from my district at the MTC arrived in Brazil this week! I am excited for them!! :) I will join them one day! haha 

We went to the temple today! It was a great day! :) 

(OH and the picture of the lizard is just one of the things I see everyday about 20 billion times. There are lizards everywhere! Especially after the storm! They are cute though and really fun to grab. :P )

Have a great week everybody! 
-Sister Earl

Monday, August 12, 2013

It is transfers again! I can hardly believe it.. Just as I expected I am staying in the same place, which I am actually super happy about. I love Pearland and the Silverlake ward is seriously filled with the best people. We get dinner pretty much every night and they are always giving us people to go and visit or inviting us over to there house to meet their friends! It is the greatest.

Funny/awkward moment of the day

The first happened the other day when we were going to contact a referral we received from a member. We knock on the door at about 6 o clock in the evening and a short blonde lady comes to the door. We start off by talking about her children who also came running to the door and eventually got the the part when we introduce ourselves as missionaries. Now at this point people usually completely stop wanting to talk to us, they are friendly, or they don't react at all. However, more often than not we get the people who are super busy all of a sudden. haha This time the lady was actually completely calm and so we talk about what we do as missionaries and the entire time she is smiling and looking super calm. We asked her a question and then she just says, "We are not religious" Now let me remind you, we are in Texas and EVERYONE (including pets, apparently) is religious! Sister Bearnson and I had no idea what to say at that point! haha We were completely taken off guard with that statement because that is seriously the first time I have heard it. Luckily after a couple seconds of pure awkwardness we figured out what to say and had a good conversation, but looking back I am sure that was really super funny for the lady we were talking to.

 Other than that experience we had plenty of awkward moments on our bikes during the day. Wipeouts are the best though. (at least when it is Sister Bearnson) I am proud to say that I have never crashed on my bike... (knock on wood) but she has!! The other day we were coming down a hill and she needed to stop but she used the front brakes instead of the back ones first and so the bike flipped over her! haha From my point of view it looked like the bike suddenly decided it wanted to fly or something because out of nowhere it just flips up and Sister Bearnson somehow got off of it in time. hahaha It was so funny!! We could not figure out how she managed to get off the bike! It hit her leg a little bit but other than that it didn't touch her! Crazy right?

I wish I had time to record every single miracle I see on a daily basis, but unfortunately I don't. Just always remember that God is a God of miracles! He always has been and He always will be! If you really look God will always give you things to be grateful for. Some days I'll admit I do have to look a little harder, but He always comes through because He loves me. 

Take the time to think of the miracles you see in your life. Write them down and feel the joy that comes from being grateful. 

One of the things on my grateful list today is that my jeans still fit! haha Sister Bearnson and I tried on our jeans for the first time in a looooong time, but we were sure that they were not going to fit. Yes, I will admit they were a little tight, but both of us got them up, buttoned, and zipped! Happy day!! 

We have some really cool people that we are teaching right now. I love how God can help us to understand really how people feel and what they need. The other day we were teaching a lady and she said that she didn't think we should come over anymore because her children were really against the church and she didn't want to cause any problems. We talked about it for a little bit and we felt impressed to ask her if her children would be interested in talking to us just to get some of their questions out. She said that she wasn't sure, but she hoped they would. She went on to bear her testimony about the Book of Mormon and how she knows it is from God. She expressed so much love for the gospel and for her children. I just know that everything will work out because God will help her and her family. 

Well have a great day everyone! Oh and write me!!

9900 Broadway
Pearland TX

-Sister Earl
Hello again, its me.

This week has once again gone by in a couple minutes. I vaguely remember eating a couple meals and I guess I must have slept at one point too, but it doesn't really feel like it. hahaha. Luckily we have some great people to keep my spirits up, plus being down never helps anyone anyway. 

This week for numbers wasn't the greatest week. We did get 10 referrals though which was a big improvement! We are doing our best to talk to everyone and help them see just how much their Father in Heaven loves them. This entire mission is motivated by the love of our Savior and it is an incredible blessing to be able to feel that for all the people around me. I am hoping to have an even better week this coming week and I know God will help me and Sister Bearnson. (It is the last week of the transfer! Weird right?)

Just to start off I learned something very new and interesting to me this week. I was talking to a member of our ward early last week and I learned something new about a certain insect that lives here in Texas. There is this bug here that stays high in the trees that makes this very loud noise. At first it always sorta scared me when it would make noises, but lately it has been more easy to ignore.  Anyway these bugs are called Secadas. (Might be spelled wrong, sorry I don't have google.) These bugs incubate underground for 17 years!! and then live for about a week or so above ground. I was completely baffled by that news! These very loud and obnoxious things only get to live for a week! 

As I was biking about this past week it seems like there are a ton of new secadas all around and so as they screamed at me while I rode past I made a couple of observations. Sorry if these observations seem silly to you, but it made sense in my close to heat stroke mind. :)

Observation One: You never know what people are going through around you.
Before I learned about the pathetic plight of a young secadas life I will admit the things really annoyed me. They make these very loud noises that fill up all the empty space around you. As I thought about these bugs and the fact that they only have so long to live I thought about all the other people in my life that sometimes I judge way to soon. 
Often we feel like we understand exactly what is going on in others lives. We think that we know exactly how we would behave if we were in someone elses shoes and we judge the way others act. As silly as it might sound I gained a new respect for Secadas this week. Those annoying things only live for a week! So in a way I can see how they would feel the need to live life to the fullest no matter how much it might annoy the people passing by. People are even more complicated than secadas as crazy as that might sound. haha People have so many things that can affect them every day and I for one need to be more understanding of how others deal with the trials they face. Everyone has hard things, some people just handle it differently than you would. Everyone makes mistakes, some peoples mistakes are just more visible than others. It happens. 

Observation Two: There is always something harder that you could be going through, so be thankful.

Secadas are quite disgusting looking. I don't know if you have ever seen one, but they are not the most glamorous bug (if there is such a thing). I will admit at times when I felt quite disgusting myself this week I would think about those bugs and think, "Well at least you don't look like one of those things." haha Even though we have been told not to compare ourselves to others sometimes it can be done it an uplifting way. If you can think of yourself and your trials and think, "Well it could always be worse, I might as well deal with it and move on." Then you will be a lot happier with the things you have been given. If it helps you can just think, "At least I am not a disgusting bug that only lives for a week." It helps me, it can help you too. Whatever your tactic, choose to be happy and not be down on yourself. God has given you so much to be grateful for and just to help you out the first thing on your list could be. 1. I was created in the image of God. We have the blessing of being created in the manner of the most wonderful being in the entire universe! He loves us a lot and he wants us to be grateful for the blessings He has already given us. So smile and show off your beautiful self. :)

Observation Three: Prepare now for your future.

I know I already mentioned it, but these bugs live underground doing absolutely nothing for 17 years besides grow. That is all they do! As I was thinking about that I realized that sometimes we do that too. How often to we look forward to a certain event in our lives that we feel will make everything else in our life better, but all we do to get to that point is wait? This life on earth is a time to prepare to meet God. There is nothing I want more than to make it back to see my Father in Heaven, but I want to be sure that when I get there I have something to say to my 17+ years I have been "growing" on the earth. I want that glorious day to be glorious for many reasons. 1. I want to remember the face of my Savior. 2. I want to have Him be proud of what I did while I was on the earth. and 3. I want to be proud of what I did! I want to feel like I did the best preparation that I could do while I had the blessing of being on the earth. I want to have helped everyone that I could, and gotten as close to my Savior as I possibly could. 

So even though these little bugs really don't have that much of an impact on the world as a whole, they made me think about a couple things this week. And you might say that I was thinking a little too hard about an insignificant bug, but who knows maybe God wanted me to learn that lesson and this was the only way it was going to stick. I testify that God knows you as well. He knows how you learn and how He can help you understand. No matter how small you may feel your Father in Heaven loves you with an infinite love. He wants more than anything to help guide you through this life so that you can live with Him again someday. Turn to Him! Pray to Him and let Him help you to become what He knows you can be. 

I love all of you. Have a great week!!

-Sister Earl

PS  Keep doing the wonderful things you are doing and let me know what exciting things are going on in your life! I would love to know.