Sunday, November 30, 2014


Minha gente!! Como vai?
Sorry I forgot to send out my address last week! Here it is:
Sister Alia Yun Earls
231 Oak View Dr
Double Oak, Texas 75077
You might not even need it though because we're moving into an apartment sometime this week since the Leonard's (the members we're living with) are tired of having missionaries live with them and their daughter is getting home from her mission soon (super cool - she's been serving in Natal, Brazil). Anyways, I'll send out the new one as soon as I can :) Except you probably won't even need that one either since I'm only gonna be living there for a couple of weeks because guess what?!?!? I GOT MY VISA. This sister is going to Brazil!! President Ames called a few days ago to confirm that I officially received it. I was freaking out haha like tears were shed. So much excitement! So I don't have many details yet, but I know for sure that my flight is on the15th of December :) Best Christmas present ever!
So this week has been awesome! Like wayyyy better than the first week. I hope I didn't sound too negative in my last email...I was just a little overwhelmed. But, I'm definitely getting the hang of things now. I love my companions so much. They've been so darn helpful and patient. Sister Burraston is awesome and she is making me a better person for sure haha I call her Mama Burraston Bear in my head. I don't know if I know her well enough yet to actually call her that haha But we'll get there! And Sister Meiners just reminds me of that stick bug from A Bug's Life and I love her so much haha She's so timid, but she gives some powerful lessons :) Love them so darn much!
Okay so this week. Maybe I'll just try to lay out the week again and say some things that I liked from each day. Emailing is kinda overwhelming because I have no idea what y'all wanna hear and there are too many things that happen. Anyways, here we go...
Tuesday - I had my first companion exchange! I was paired with Sister Nelson (one of the Sister Training Leaders). She is living with members, the Peltor's. They had such a nice room! It was awesome haha We were in the Keller Ward area which is in South Lake. Haha oh and when we were driving to the Peltor's, Sis Nelson got lost and we drove all the way to the airport hahaha it was hilarious. She was like "No! We're not supposed to be here yet!" because this is her last transfer and she kept saying to me "I'm so sorry! You just got here and I'm trying to ship you off already!" Haha good stuff. We had one appointment with a member and then we went tracting for a bit. Everything else besides dinner kinda fell through but it was all good. Oh we had dinner with the Meek's and they told us that their son and daughter-in-law are part of Studio C which was cool and they showed us pictures of them. Oh and we got Sonic when I got back with Sis M and Sis B so obviously it was a good day.
Wednesday - Uhh can't really remember much but we got a new investigator this day! We met Devan in Bartonville while tracting on this road where we were trying to visit a less active. The girl we were trying to find wasn't home, so we drove farther down the road and knocked on a few doors and found Devan. We asked him about how religion has influenced his life and he told us that he had never really believed in God and that he had never really been religious, but he was open to anything. We were able to set up a return appointment with him for this week and we're planning on bringing a member who is around his age with us. I'm definitely excited for that. 

Thursday - We had weekly planning so not much happened...We had dinner with the Brown's which was delicious! They feed us so well here! We shared the God's Greatest Creation Mormon Message with them and they asked us so many questions about our investigators. They really love missionary work! We also met with a recent convert, Magda. She is awesome. She is so strong. Her next step is working on Family History so we talked to her about that. She was talking about Thanksgiving stuff and she said she was going to a party and all of a sudden she said "And of course I'm going to party...with the Lord." Haha it was so funny because she's Mexican and her accent made it sound like it could have been a Nacho Libre quote and I was trying so hard not to laugh haha So Sis M and Sis B and I always say that now. Oh and this was the night I got the call about my visa so definitely a good day!
Friday - We met with Debbie again and taught more about the Plan of Salvation. She seemed much happier during that visit which was great. Oh and I got to meet another progressing investigator! Sister Meiners met Tammy a while ago and Sister Burraston and I were able to meet her this day. She is a wonderful lady who attends a nondenominational Christian church (I think that's how she described it). She was so kind and so open to learning about the Church. She said that if the Spirit told her that her church was wrong and that ours was right, she would switch right away. I was amazed at how ready she was to hear about the gospel! Oh this was the day that all of our appointments went wayyy over time so we ended up getting dinner on our way home at McDonald's and we ate soooo much haha
Saturday - Oh we met with an eternally progressing investigator named Maddison haha She's 16 and she goes to Liberty Christian High School (it's like super against Mormons). She like approached the missionaries because she wanted to talk to them for a school project, but then she ended up meeting with them every week. So Sis Meiners has met with her a bunch. It kinda sucks because it always kinda turns into Bible bashing and I always feel like we're just arguing with her so the Spirit isn't always there :( But this lesson was a bit better than usual. We might have to drop her though if she doesn't actually start progressing with us :((((
Sunday - Sis Burraston gave a short talk on gratitude in Sacrament meeting. All of the talks were awesome during that meeting. Seriously, I love the Lantana ward! We did family history stuff during second hour to help Magda out. Oh we had like the best dinner ever at the Fredrickson's! Sis Fredrickson is the best cook ever (besides Mom of course). She made homemade lasagna and apple pie and ice cream. I ate sooooo much haha I have no idea how I haven't gained weight here yet.
Sorry I send such long emails. It's just because I love you all and I wish you could be experiencing all of this with me!!

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls
Alma 34:38 Be thankful!!!

 Sonic after my first exchange! Pineapple milkshakes are the best :)
 Casually squatting by the Starnes' mailbox
 There was a crazy rain storm and we found this little guy outside a member's home :)
 So awkward haha
 Sister Burraston :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dazed & Confused

WHAT EVEN IS MISSION? Haha My good friend Sister Helm would always say that in the MTC. I never thought I would miss the MTC, but I was so wrong. Anyways, how's everyone doing? I have absolutely no idea where to start because this has been the craziest week of my life, but here we go...
Howdy all y'all! Texas is weird haha Like people actually say all y'all. It's great. So I thought the MTC was overwhelming and confusing, but that was nothing compared to this haha hence my email subject. This has all felt like a dream and I feel like I'm trying to wake up, but I just can't. It's crazy. There's so much more to learn here in the field.
Our mission president, President Ames is awesome. Definitely called of God. And his wife is so cute. They have a great vision for this mission and I'm really glad that this is where I've been reassigned. As soon as we got off the plane, I felt welcome :) Oh also, Sister Richards is a champ and we talked to some people at the airport and on the plane and she gave out two pass along cards! She gets all the credit for sure! So I'm serving in Lantana. Sister Richards is serving in the Arlington YSA Ward. Good stuff. Lantana is great. It's a super rich area and there are so many beautiful homes here and so many lovely people!

I love Sister Burraston and Sister Meiners so so much. Trio!! They're both from Utah. West Jordan and Sandy I think. They have been so supportive and encouraging and helpful. I've definitely been overwhelmed so it has been great to be in a trio. I need all the help I can get! I've found that I really love study time. I didn't really take advantage of all the study time that we had in the MTC, but having consistent personal, companion, 12-week, and weekly planning/study time here has definitely made a difference. I've had so many questions so it's been nice to have time to get answers and to try to figure out how things work here. Also, my companions are great because they've shared their warm clothes with me since I was so not prepared for this weather :) Sister Meiners gave me some tights and I'm buying more today so don't worry Mom, it's all good. I was not expecting the cold weather, and apparently it arrived right when we got here from the MTC so that's hilarious haha Tracting for the first time was freezing but fun!! Oh we do have a car though!! So blessed!

The first lesson that I gave was so fun. We visited with the a member, Audrey Brown, and her four kids. We shared a message about the Restoration. It felt so amazing to be in a real home with real people. I will never forget that feeling or that lesson. I loved the MTC, but there is definitely a huge difference between meeting with fake investigators in classrooms and meeting with families in their homes. The Spirit is so much stronger and it is so much easier to communicate in a real setting. 

I'm so grateful for this chance to teach in English and to meet the wonderful people of Texas. I'd love to tell you about every single person that I've met so far, but I'll just mention one that's been on my mind since I'm running out of time. We met with a potential investigator, Debbie, who we were able to set up a return appointment with. She has colon? cancer I think and she seemed to be really struggling. She was very down and depressed and talking about suicidal thoughts when we met with her so we shared some uplifting scriptures with her and talked a little about God's plan for us and our purpose. We also left her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. I felt the Spirit so strongly in that lesson. That was like the first time that I made a significant contribution to a lesson here :)
Oh and language study is kind of the struggle but it's all good. My companions just aren't really sure how to help me and it's just hard to figure out what to study. I really miss speaking Portuguese all the time but here I just think in Portuguese now so I guess it works haha Oh Bishop Myers served in Brazil and he's from Torrey Pines! And the Ward Mission Leader served in Brazil too!
So yeah, this week has definitely been challenging, but also so rewarding. One thing that has helped me a lot has been keeping one of my favorite scriptures in mind. I think I already shared it but it's awesome so I don't even care haha In Alma 26:12, it talks about how we are nothing compared to God and how we are weak. However, it also mentions that "in his strength I can do all things." I know that God is always looking for ways to help us and I have realized that over and over again this week. I know that I can do all things through Him and that has really helped me feel prepared to begin my work in the field :)
Sorry! I'm sure that none of that made sense and I wish I could tell you all more but my time's pretty much up and there's no way to describe a mission, even just a week of a mission, in an email. I love it so much though! Prayer is a powerful thing and I wouldn't still be here without it.

Eu amo vocês!
Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls
Favorite picture ever. Sister Richards and Sister Helm understand me. They're the best haha

Brazil and Portugal! Falamos português!

Brother Leonard challenged us to be more bold with the members and to commit and challenge them to help out with missionary work more. So Sister Meiners took that advice and was bold by asking the Ward Mission Leader (Brother Campbell) if we could have more toilet paper since we were all out and couldn't go shopping til today. Oh yeah, these are my two lovely companions Sister Meiners (left) and Sister Burraston (right). Trio!

My desk! I spend about 5 hours here everyday. It's great :)

It totally snowed last night...Yep, it's just a little cold here. I'm super prepared for this winter haha

From Sister Earls's Mission Presidnet in Texas

November 18, 2014
Dear Family,
Sister Ames and I want you to know that your missionary has arrived safely in Texas.
We look forward to serving together in accomplishing the Lord’s work.  We hope you
enjoy the attached picture of your missionary as well as knowing that the missionaries are in good hands here as they are in the Lord’s service.
Your missionary’s assignment will be in Lewisville, Texas.  She will be serving with
Sister Meiners and Sister Burraston.
Their apartment address is:
231 Oakview Dr.
Double Oak, TX 75077
Your missionary will email on Monday which is their preparation day.  They are always happy to hear from you as well.  Thank you for your support.
President & Sister Ames

Go Big or Go Home

Oi! Or should I say hey y'all!
So yep. Reassignment to Texas haha I can't believe we leave next week. I don't know if I'm more shocked about my reassignment or just the fact that we're about to leave the MTC. Not ready!! But so excited!!

So I don't have much email time left, but I'll just try to quickly lay out all of the happenings this past week. It's been a pretty crazy week. Like insane.

Tuesday - We went to the temple. Oh and the general primary president (Rosemary M. Wixom) gave the devotional. It was incredible. Her husband spoke briefly too and it was so amazing. Sister Wixom spoke entirely about Christ and I loved it so much!

Wednesday - I was still a bit sick (just my cold that started two weeks ago), but we hosted again! I hosted three sisters and I was huffing and puffing and almost lost my voice at the end but it was still fun! I thought I was feeling better and getting over it...but it ended up getting worse later. 
Oh, and we also saw David Archuleta again!!
Oh, but this night, all of our roommates and I woke up because Sister Richards starting throwing up...I got out of bed to try to help but I couldn't really do much and I wasn't feeling that good either so I went back to bed...I felt so bad that I didn't do anything else...She ended up throwing up like 20 times from 1am til we all woke up around 6 or 6:30am :(

Thrusday - We took Sister Richards to the clinic and she seriously looked like a zombie. Perfect for Halloween. They told her that she probably had food poisoning and apparently a ton of other missionaries had gotten sick the night before too. They just gave her some nausea medicine and some gatorade (I guess it helps since she needed liquids but it was hard to keep down water).  
Good news from that day: I got the best Halloween package from mom!! And we had a little party with our roommates and some other Sisters from the zone.

Friday - Halloween! This day was the struggle. A luta. We walked over to the clinic to set up an appointment for Sister Richards since she was still feeling nauseous and on the way she kept gagging (ew) and I was still sick (my cold) and I ended up gagging when I saw her gag. So they set up an appointment for her later in the day, but when we made it back to class...I actually threw up (a few times). So we went straight back to the clinic and I made an appointment too. Dr. Brown was the best. So I guess it wasn't food poisoning. A virus has been going around the MTC. Nothing to worry about though. Totally fine now. But he told me that we had an intestinal virus? I dunno. So I got some gatorade and he sent us to the health center. That was fun since we got to go off campus to get medicine.
Oh we also made it to TRC since I actually felt better after getting nausea meds and stuff. We got to skype someone from Vitoria, Brazil!!! So cool!

Saturday - Tried to eat lunch. Sister Richards started gagging and I threw up. That wasn't fun...But later that night, we felt better and we hung out with our roommates and had a feast before the fast at the vending machines haha

Sunday - We had mission conference since it was fast Sunday. And Wendy W. Nelson (Russell M. Nelson's wife) spoke at the devotional. We were feeling totally better this day and we feasted at dinner.

Monday - Don't even remember what happened yesterday...

Today was the best and I got to see Dalin and Kenzie (and her engagement ring) at the devotional!!

Eu amo vocês!
Sister Alia Yun Earls

Oh p.s. Kade, your friend Jolie Huisken? is in my zone! I talked to her in the cafeteria before I found that out, and then she was in our Sacrament meeting on Sunday and I was like cool!

P.p.s Don't worry! I'm sorry if I made it sound like I'm dying! I'm totally fine now and I'm not sick anymore at all! I still just get a bit nauseous after eating and a little winded sometimes. But Dalin and Kenzie saw me and they can testify that I'm totally fine!

Ah all out of time!
We got to attend the BYU Devotional this morning at the Marriott Center and guess who I saw?!?!?!?! Too much excitement!! These pictures aren't that great but it doesn't even matter! Also, I broke some rules since my companion walked away for a sec and was talking to someone and Kenzie and Dalin forced me to take pics with them so not my fault right? Haha and Dalin made me hug him. I was like almost crying. Such a good day.

This is me and Sister Richards outside the Student Health Center after I threw up, went to the clinic, and Dr. Brown told me to get a different medicine for my cold (featuring my gatorade cup that the nurse gave me).
Roommates! I don't know where I'm looking haha

One month anniversary picture (featuring awkward no contact hug since we were sicky)!

 We had a Halloween party! We didn't eat that much since we were still sick but it was fun! Love these sisters :)
 We got to open our emails with our reassignments on Halloween and we printed them out so they'd look like actual mission calls.

A Luta É Real

The struggle is real. Okay not really, but this week did kinda turn into quite the struggle. Also, I wanted that to be the subject because Sis R pointed out that I always say "the struggle" or "the struggle is real" so I translated it into Portuguese last week and now I always say that haha
Everything was seriously amazing until the weekend. I've been um pouco doente...Nothing to worry about though! I think Sister Richards' sickness finally caught up to me. It was kind of inevitable even though I thought I was invincible haha So on Sunday I woke up feeling really nauseous and I had a really sore throat and I was light headed and tired the whole day. But I went to all of our meetings, even the devotional and the Sunday night movie. We did squeeze in two naps though before lunch and during our temple walk time (I probably would not have survived without those). 
Yesterday, I thought I felt better when I woke up and I had taken a bunch of medicine, but then during personal study, my head started hurting and my sore throat got worse and I was really dizzy and light headed again. So Sis Richards studied while I took a nap during our first block. I made it through lunch, but we found out that another Sister in our district was sick too so we did an exchange so Sis R  and the other Sister's companion could go to class and I could sleep more. I made it through the last block of class and teaching though! 
And today is P day so we just slept in a little and I took a really long shower. I still have a sore throat and I keep getting winded whenever we walk up or down stairs (haha pathetic, I know), but besides that I'm better I think! I better be because we are hosting again tomorrow and I really don't want to miss it! Oh I wanted to give everyone an idea of how life is here at the MTC so here's my daily schedule (it's a little different on Sundays and on days when we have service or when we host but this is pretty much it):
6:30 wake up and get ready for the day (or earlier for service on Wed and Sat)
7:00-7:45 personal study (we usually read the Book of Mormon since our Branch Pres challenged us to finish it while we're at the MTC. my goal is 20 pages a day and I'm already over halfway done!)
7:45-8:15 breakfast
8:15-12:30 class (depending on the day, we also teach investigators or do TRC during this time, the afternoon, or in the evening)
12:30-1:15 lunch
1:15-4:15 more class
4:15-5:15 gym time
5:45-6:30 dinner
6:30-9:30 more class (depending on the day, during one of the three hour blocks we have personal study, companion study, and language study without an instructor since we only have teachers for two of the blocks)
9:30-10:30 shower time, companion study and planning, journal and lights out (our Branch Pres also has asked us to have quiet time from 10:15-10:30 to reflect on the day and pray so that usually gets mixed in with journal time)
Pretty intense right? I have never learned so much in my entire life. It's just constant Portuguese and learning about how to teach people. I love it! 
Oh I almost forgot to share the most important news of the week! I got to see David Archuleta! Like in the flesh. It wasn't a dream. Totally real life haha He came to do TRC with the Spanish Elders and Sisters! Seriously, when I found out I like fell on the floor and was like laughing/crying haha no joke. So we have class in one of the bigger buildings (18M) and our classroom is on the main floor, and they set up TRC for them on our floor! And he just so happened to be in the study/observation room right across from our classroom! So Sis R and I had to teach our investigator Carla at the beginning of class and we were like so worried that we were gonna miss seeing him, but we finished teaching and then we started class and we made Irmã Nielson keep the door open. So he finished TRC and walked past our classroom and waved and smiled at everyone haha It sounds like such a lame story but there was so much excitement. Haha I swear the MTC is fun and exciting!
Hmm what else happened this week? Oh, last Tuesday, Carlos A. Godoy of the Seventy gave a devotional and I didn't know this before, but I totally know his son! Sis R and I got good seats like in the third row and we were right behind his son and they kept showing him on the screen and I was like, I totally know him. So after the devotional, we walked up to him and I asked him if he had lived in San Diego when he was in high school and he said yeah. And it turns out, he had come to America to study for a little bit and Dalin and I (and maybe Kade?) met him at a drive in movie that we went to with Ali Chumbley and he had been in our stake for a while so I saw him at a bunch of dances and activities. Small world. Dalin, do you remember those Brazilian kids? His name is Lucas and one of his friends or cousins' names was Leo. Oh and that devotional was cool because Elder Godoy is from Brazil so he said a few sentences in Portuguese during his talk and we could understand him!
On Sunday, we had a devotional from Stephen B. Allen who I think they said wrote Preach My Gospel and helped make The District videos.
Spiritual thought for the week! Everyone should read Alma 26 because it is awesome! Elder Godoy's devotional was focused on Alma 26:22, but I went back and read the whole chapter that night and I really liked verse 12. It's a really humbling scripture, but it also gives me strength because I know that I can do all things through God. He truly does love everyone and I've discovered that he realllyyyy loves his missionaries. So far as a missionary, I've really learned how important it is for us to forget about ourselves and rely on the Lord. He will help us!

Eu amo vocês!
Sister Alia Earls
I just wanted to take a picture of my nugget toes because I'm sure that everyone misses them :)
 Sister Esplin and Sister Stocks got packages and one of them had a ton of bubble wrap so we spent like 20 minutes popping bubble wrap haha Don't worry we totally use our time wisely. It was a huge stress reliever.

David Archuleta selfie! Okay so you obviously can't see him, but he was doing TRC in the room on the left behind Sis Richards! So we snuck out into the hallway to take this pic haha And we could see his mom through the little window on the door when we walked by. But they like hid him in the corner of the room so that people wouldn't try to keep walking past the room to see him.

Halloween decorations on our classroom door!