Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas like I did this year. It was different, but so great. I absolutely adored all the Christmas cards I received! Thank you to everyone who send me one! And Grandma Baker the mint brownies totally made it! They are delicious and I love the scarfs! :) Thank you sooo much everyone! :)
So a big part of my Christmas this year was spent talking to my Mission President. He has been talking to the Travel Office and they are telling him that it really doesn't look like anything is coming anytime soon for the Visa. So after awhile of talking in through we came to the decision that the best thing to do was to sent in my name for reassignment. When they do this the brethren have the option to ask me to continue to wait, they can keep me here, or they can send me to a different mission somewhere else. They pray about it and the answer they receive is directly from God. It is hard to submit my will to His will. Part of me really does not want to, but I believe He is teaching me a lesson on Trust.
This week as I was focusing on Christ I read the account in Luke of the suffering of our Savior. He is in the Garden of Gethsamane praying and He says, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Then in the next verse it says, "And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him."
When I read this it really made me reflect on the example Christ is setting here. He is in pain and doesn't want to have to go through it, but He knows what the Father is doing and tells Him that He will do it. From there the angel comes and helps him and He is able to endure the pain and agony of the Atonement. Now, I am not saying that what I am going through even compares to the Saviors suffering for us in the slightest. All I am saying is even the Savior knew that trusting the will of God was the best thing to do even when the outcome seemed pretty bleak.
So I realized that really if I can just put my trust in God then I will be better off in the end. So I am trying and trusting that that angel will come and strengthen me as well! haha :) All joking aside I really know that God is there for me. He is looking out for the best. He wants me to succeed. I love Him and He loves me more than I can even know. It is the same for all of you! He knows who He wants you to become. The trick is letting Him shape you in the way He knows will be best. :)
One of my new favorite scriptures is in Helaman 3:35
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stonger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy an consolation, yea even to the purifying and the sanctification which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
I testify that this is true and that the best thing we can do for ourselves is ask God what He wants us to do. Especially at the beginning of this year. Ask Him what your goals should be and what you should work for. He will tell you if you really want to know, and He will let you know how to do it. :) Believe in God, trust Him, and let Him work things out. I am learning that.. slowly.. so we can learn together!
Happy New Year!
-Sister Earl

Merry Christmas Ya'all

Well this Christmas is turning out to be quite different than I even expected. I have eaten Jalapeno Sushi, going to 3 different dinner appointments today, with 2 other eating appointments tomorrow, and I received a flu shot.

Merry Christmas to me! 

Really though this Christmas is different. I thought I was going to be really torn up about not being home, but I feel so good. I know this is where God wants me to be right now and there is nothing more comforting than that thought. The things I am most excited about this year is Skyping my family and the people excited to talk about baby Jesus. 

This past week has been filled with miracles and I just love that I get to be a witness of them. 

First of all we are working with a less active recent convert in the YSA branch named Emma. She is Bulgarian and is working as a nurse in a clinic. She lives alone and has sooo many health problems it is hard to even know what they all are. She was just baptized a couple months ago and has a hard time coming to church every week because of her health. We just were able to finally meet with her this week for a lesson and while we talked it became so clear to us that what she really needed was a priesthood blessing. So I asked her if she had ever had one. She responded with, "well I was given the Holy Ghost, that is a blessing right?" We then went on to explain that she could receive a blessing of healing. We talked about the Priesthood Power that God has given to man to act in is name. Literally it is the power for us to do the things that God or Jesus Christ would do if they were here. We explained that not everything would just be made right, because it has to be according to Gods will, but we promised her it would help her. We testified the Power of God and His love for us. We told her that if she had the faith that God could help her then the blessing would most definitely work. 

So this Sunday she came to church. She was late and missed more than half of Sacrament Meeting, but she came. Right after Sacrament Meeting we went into the Bishops office and she was given a blessing. (I was suppose to teach Gospel Principles so I gave the book to the Elders and said, "Will you stall for a min? The topic is repentance. He looked at me and said, "Uh, sure. I mean, yes." hahaha)

She got the blessing and then had to go because she was still not feeling very good. So Sister Wolfgramm and I proceeded to go to the next class. (and yes I took back over the class so the elders could stop trying to lead the class. :P)

Later that night we got a text message from Emma. 
"I don't understand it, I feel sooo much better. I didn't have to take my steroids today!"

The church is true. God does work through us to bless His children. He loves us, I promise. I know sometimes we feel like He doesn't, but He always will. "His love is", like what President Monson said this last conference, "simply always there." I testify of this truth. 

Yesterday we were lucky enough to have a Christmas Mission Conference. We got everyone together for spiritual thoughts, talks, music, talent show, food, and give exchanges. It was really fun and it was sooo good to see all my favorite people from transfers before. 

This work it true. God lives and so does Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for his wonderful sacrifice and love for us. 

Merry Christmas Ya'll! 
-Sister Earl

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Spirit of Christmas

Hey there!
Another thing I love about Texas is that a lot of people really understand what Christmas is suppose to be about. So many of the houses have little nativity sets outside. People are talking about Christ all the time, but now is the time where it really shows in all aspects of peoples lives.
This Sunday I saw one of the more charible acts of love that I have seen so far on the mission. So to start I am going to introduce you to the Zarsky family. They are an active family in the Clear Lake 2 ward. Bro and Sis Zarsky have 3 kids. Two boys and a girl. A little while ago they were in a freak accident where an electrical cord fell and zapped the two younger children quite badly while they were playing in the backyard. The girl has to wear thermal clothing and the younger boy lost his leg beneath the knee. Both of the children have developed some minor mental issues and the older boy feels guilty that he didn't do anything to help his siblings.
With that backdrop I am going to take you into our Sacrament meeting this Sunday. Sister Wolfgramm and I are sitting down getting ready for the opening song when the Zarsky family comes in and sits in front of us. Halfway through the song the little girl starts to jump up and start dancing and making a lot of noise. Sister Zarsky tries to get her to sit down and stop making a scene, but she was not going to have it. It got to the point were Sister Zarsky had to take her out of the room. As soon as she got up still struggling to keep the young girl still another lady in the congregation a couple rows over got up and followed her out of the room.
5 mins later this other lady came back in with the young Zarsky girl in her arms rocking her softy while Sister Zarsky went back to help her husband take care of the other two children.
I couldn't help but feel like Christ was looking out for this family. I know that God lives and that He really sent His son to die for us. Because of that Atonement we can be saved from the most tragic and depressing times. He truly will succor us. Sometimes it is through other people, but He is always there and He loves us unconditionally. I know that those children are going to be ok. I know that God is supporting Bro and Sister Zarsky through their pain and anxiety. I know that He really knows exactly how they feel. He knows that they feel guilty for this thing that happened even though there is nothing they could do about it. He knows that they worry about their children. He know that the children worry about each other. And He also knows who is willing to help.
So the Spirit of Christmas becomes the Spirit of Christ. We do the things that Christ would do if He was here. :) I am grateful for the examples that I have seen of this kind of love.
Happy Holidays
-Sister Earl 

Clear Lake and Armand Bayou week 4

Thanksgiving was awesome this past week. We ate a couple different meals and got a bunch of leftovers afterwards. Needless to say I will not need to spend very much for groceries today. :)
We went to the Bishops house for breakfast and it was awesome! We had pancakes and a bunch of turkey bacon! :D It was perfect. The only thing about that is from that point on we really did not stop eating the entire day! haha For the actual dinner of Thanksgiving we went to the Liddles house. We ate shrimp for an appetizer and then feasted on all the normal Thanksgiving foods that we all love so much.
Around the dinner table we had 5 members of the Liddle family (one who is on a mission now) and then my companion and I, but we had soooo much food I could hardly believe it!! Sister Liddle made 250 rolls, a 20lb turkey, potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, stuffing, and shrimp. Then for dessert she had Apple pie, a tester pie (cherry, raspberry, apple, and peach) pumpkin pie, and chocolate dream pie. Just looking at the spread on the table made me feel full!! It was absolutely delicious in everyway and we were grateful to the Liddles for having us over. It made for a really wonderful Thanksgiving despite the fact that my family was not with me. 
The funniest part of this meal was Sister Liddle told us that she would be doing it ALL over again on Saturday! Yes, you read that right! She made the rolls and the turkey and everything all over again a couple days later! Oh Texas, what are we going to do with you? haha :P
So yes the holiday was definitely a success. :)
This week I have been thinking a lot about diligence.
God has asked us to do certain things because He knows that it will be for our good if we do them. I have been working on talking to everyone and really truly loving people everywhere I go. I know that if I can do this more fully then God will be with me more and it will be easier to do the other things that God has asked me to do.
On Sunday we get out of our first meeting for the Clear Lake ward and a lady comes up to us and says, "There is a guy that just walked in to church. I sat by him and now I am taking him to class with me. You should meet him."
Ok! Sounds perfect!!
So we did and he actually stayed at the church until the Singles ward started as well! His name is George and he decided he wanted to come and check out the church since he knew a couple people that went. :) It was so cool and he has so many awesome questions. :) God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes you find someone to teach and sometimes they find you. :)
This week was awesome.. I wish I had more time to tell you about it.. but unfortunately I am almost out of time!
Have a great week!!
-Sister Earl

Ritas Ice Custard Happiness

My mom asked me last week if there were any food down here that I have had lately that are different. I have already talked about Kolaches which are SOOO GOOD and one of my weaknesses.. :)

But this last week we saw this sign on a little shop and I decided we just had to figure out what that meant! 


So we decided for the first couple minutes of our dinner break to check it out! Turns out it is a place that makes fresh Italian Ice every day and Frozen Custard!! I just about died of happiness!! It was so awesome. The thing that they really wanted people to try was a thing called the Gelati. 

It involves your choice of vanilla, chocolate or orange creme custard covered with one or two of 8 choices of fresh Italian Ice with a little bit of custard on top. It was a little different, but it was awesome. I will definitely be going back one of these days. :)

Other than that everyone down here puts this spice on their food called Tonys Cajun something or other. It is so good. I honestly love it especially on pasta with alfredo/cheese sauce. Yum yum yum. I am developing a real love for spicy food. I have always been a little indifferent to spicy things, but the more I eat it the more I love it. I even eat Jalapenos! :P I guess I was just a late bloomer in the spice category. 

So ya, food is good. 
Speaking of food.....

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!! This week is going to be filled with all sorts of food! So many people invited us over to have a meal or just to eat some pie. I am good with both of those options!! I will admit my favorite part of the food at Thanksgiving is the bread.. and the Pie! :) 

This week was a good week for missionary work too. We were able to see a lot of Less Active members who others have not been able to talk to in a long time. I definitely see God helping us in this area. We are both very new. My companion was only here for a few weeks before I was put here so we are learning together and God is letting us know where He needs us. 

We had a Zone Meeting this week and a couple things really stood out to me. We talked about Prayer and the importance of really sincere personal prayers. I have always known that when I pray I am talking to God, but sometimes I let my mind wander or get distracted while I am in the middle of my prayers. When we pray we are literally asking for help or thanking the most magnificent being in the universe. He is our Father and He loves us so much. As I have taken more time to really think about my prayers and pray about things I really am grateful for or I really need I can feel more of His love in my life. I am so grateful for prayer. It really is the only comfort that works sometimes. 

As I have been thinking about Thanksgiving I have been trying to think of the things that I am really not grateful for and figure out the bright side. :) For example.. I am not grateful that the weather is suddenly really cold outside, but I am grateful to have a warm car to drive around in. And I am grateful for my coat and my newly bought thick tights. :) 

There are tons and tons of things that we can think of that have a bright side. We are blessed more than we realize, myself included. :) So this week think about those things and find the things you are truly thankful for. God has a way of sneaking those things into our lives without us even knowing sometimes! Surprise him this week and thank Him for the things that you have not noticed yet.

I promise you will feel more peace and more happiness. It may not come in the form of Ritas Ice Custard Happiness, but it will come! And it will give you renewed strength to be the person that God knows you are and can become.

I love all of you! Have a great Thanksgiving!! 
-Sister Earl