Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Feliz Ano Novo!

So transfers are this week and there were some changes and we no longer have transfer meetings. So when our leaders call us, they tell us everything instead of just whether or not we will stay in our area. So Sister Sosa was transferred :( I'm really going to miss her craziness haha It's been a blast being her companion. She'll be serving in São Gabriel. I stayed here in Estrelinha and my new companion will arrive tomorrow. She is American which surprised me haha I don't think I'll train before my mission is over, but this will basically be like training a sister because she only has 3 months here and she's struggling a lot with the language. I already met her when I did a division with other sisters in Serra where she was serving before and during some zone meetings so it's cool because we're already friends and we're pretty similar so I think it's gonna be fun. Her name is Sister Dodge. We'll be living with 2 more sisters again too. Sister Barth who is brasileira and she'll be training another sister. SUPER FUN!

Guys I can't believe that the year is ending. My mission is passing by wayyyyy too quickly! Also, I don't want to turn 22 haha But anyways, I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas because I sure did!! I cried like a baby haha I held myself together during all of my other phone calls home, but this time was my last phone call on the mission and everyone was super trunky so i kinda freaked out ;)

Sorry I'm running out of time so I'll send the rest in Portugues (what I sent to presidente):

Bruno está muito animado para ser entrevistado na quarta e saber melhor sobre quando ele vai poder ser batizado. A situação dele realmente é complicada mas ele é muito bom e nesses meses que eu tenho conhecido ele, eu tenho visto uma mudança muito grande nele e ele realmente tem um desejo de ser batizado na igreja verdadeira. Acho que durante os 5 ou 6 meses que ele está frequentando a igreja, ele só faltou duas vezes. Ele realmente gosta das coisas da igreja e tem um testemunho.

Bruno is very excited to be interviewed on Wednesday and better understand when he will be able to be baptized. The situation it is really complicated but he has been very good and in the months that I have known him, I have seen a very big change in him and he really has a desire to be baptized into the true church. I think that during the five or six months he has attended church, he has only missed twice. He really likes the things of the church and has a testimony.

Também, estamos trabalhando muito com a sobrinha do bispo, Gabriela. Ela já foi para várias atividades da igreja mas só começou a frequentar nos últimos domingos passados. Nessas semanas, ela tem viajado muito por causa das férias então quando tentamos marcar uma data para um dia mais perto do natal, ela falou que só poderia depois do ano novo. Então, ela tem uma data marcada para o dia 10 de janeiro. A família dela está muito feliz e ela está orando muito sobre as lições e também, ela falou que teve um sonho sobre a igreja e que está recebendo muitas respostas!

Also, we are working hard with the bishop's neice, Gabriela. She has been to several church activities but only began attending these past few Sundays. She has traveled a lot over the past few weeks because of the holidays so when we try to set a date to meet with her at home, she said she could only after the New Year. So we scheduled a date for January 10. Her family is very happy and she's praying a lot about the lessons as well, she said she had a dream about the church and that she's getting many answers!

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Earls

we had a churrasco on Christmas Eve with Cléria and Junior (recent-converts) and Bruno (investigator) haha it was great

Christmas party with Luceni and Eni. They are eternal investigators but they love us! I actually got to know them in Colatina which is cool and when I arrived here in Estrelinha, I forgot that Luceni lives here but I found her at church :) And Eni is awesome too! She lives in São Mateus and I actually passed her address to the missionaries who were serving there 6 months ago and she has been frequenting the church ever since!  

FAMILY <3 Best phone call home ever :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

quero natal!

Guys, it's almost Christmas!

So this week was kind of a fail. After the last few crazy weeks, everything has kinda slowed down. The work is always harder after we have baptisms because we spend all our time focusing on the people who are preparing to be baptized and we hardly have time to find new people to teach. So this past week was a little bit lame, but we have three more people with potential to be baptized!

Kaeyanne is 11 years old and her grandmother is an inactive member. She always attended church when she was younger but she had never come to church during our time here in Estrelinha. Some members told us about her family so we decided to visit her the other day and they are an awesome family. Andréia (her grandmother) told us that she had been thinking about Kaeyanne´s baptism for a while but she had never gotten motivated enough to bring Kaeyanne to church and hardly anyone had been visiting them. So we brought Kaeyanne to church yesterday and she loved it and she already knows a lot of the youth and after church, we talked to her about baptism and she accepted to be baptizedthis Saturday. Hopefully, everything will work out. We've already taught her about the Book of Mormon and she's already following all of the commandments :)

João Vitor and Mário were references from some recent-converts. We had actually already visited their parents before, but we had never met the kids. Unfortunately, the parents aren't legally married and don't have any plans to get married anytime soon, but their kids are old enough to be baptized on their own with their parents' approval, so when we met them at a church activity, we immediately started to teach them. During the week, they had accepted to be baptized this Sunday, but they didn't come to church yesterday because they left to visit their aunt for the weekend so they have to wait until next Sunday. But they're super great and they are super excited to learn more about the gospel!

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Earls
It's almost Christmas!!! FELIZ NATAL!!! Even the post office is celebrating already haha


Miracles Happen Once in a While

This week was wonderful and was full of miracles! Raphael and Lazarus were baptized on Saturday morning! We were anxious because we left the house early on Saturday morning to check Lazarus but when we arrived at his house (he lives far from our house and the chapel), he was not there. And he was not answering his phone (he later explained that he had lost on the beach). But when we arrived at the chapel with Rafael, Lazarus appeared! Unfortunately, only Rafael was confirmed yesterday because Lazarus came late during sacrament meeting so it was not confirmed. Also, he said he has to travel on Sunday, but he spoke will make an effort to stay to be confirmed because he really wants to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as soon as possible and he said it with certainty, it will arrive in certain time the next Sunday to be confirmed.

Sorry I'm running out of time but I am super happy and I am super grateful for the miracles que Have Been happening here in Estrelinha. We Have Been working very diligently and I know the Lord que Has Been blessing us :)

I love you!

With love,
Sister Earls

3 Nephi 12:16
reunião de zona! 
 Rafael foi batizado!!!
 Lázaro foi batizado também!! He wanted to be "as pure as possible" so he decided to shave his head and his eyebrows the day before his baptism. Everyone was a little shocked but he was super happy about it então só vai haha
 Sister Tavares and I need to be companions :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

i'm grateful for...

I am super duper happy and I am super grateful for this past week! Layza's baptism finally happened on Saturday and even though it was pouring rain, there were a lot of members who came and she was super happy. She was confirmed on Sunday and she loves the young women and the ward already got her started on personal progress :)

We have two firm baptismal dates for this Saturday. They are super elect and they kind of just appeared out of nowhere. Rafael was a reference from the ward. He is 9 years old and he is the son of a less-active (Cida). We had never met them since they hadn't been attending church and they live in a part of our area that's super far from the chapel so we hadn't been working there much, but Cida recently spoke with the bishop and mentioned that her son had turned 9 and that he had never been baptized. She really wanted him to be baptized as soon as possible so we immediately started teaching him and he is super ready and he will be interviewed on Wednesday. Lázaro was a reference from the assistants. He lives in our area but the Elders found him in Vitória a couple of weeks ago and he had a Book of Mormon (a member from our ward had given it to him) and he said that he had already visited the church in São Paulo. We were able to visit and teach him the other day and he immediately accepted a baptismal date for this Saturday and he said he would come to church. We were super worried and discouraged because we tried calling him a bunch of times Sunday morning before church but he didn't answer and he didn't show up for sacrament meeting so we thought his baptismal date had fallen through. But Elder McKay (our district leader) called us during lunch to let us know that Lázaro had called the assistants to let them know that he had visited Vila Velha and attended church at a ward there! He will be interviewed on Wednesday as well and he has already become friends with a family of members that live close to him (we've been teaching him at their house) and he is super excited to be baptized on Saturday!

I am super grateful for the blessings that I have received during my mission and for all of the things that I have learned. I am grateful for all of the love and support that I receive from all of you :) I love you all and I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving!!!

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Earls
 Love these people <3
 Hahaha Sister Tavares sleeping on the ônibus. Poor thing. It's hard to stay awake during the first few weeks. She's a super hard worker :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sisteres de Poder! (Power Sisters!)

Sorry I'm running out of time so my email is gonna be half in portuguese and half in english haha
A semana foi um pouquinho estressante. Infelizmente, nosso batismo caiu antes do sábado por causa de um tio da Laysa e também por causa de algumas outras coisas. Mas, Laysa falou com o tio dela no sábado quando ele chegou de uma viagem e ele finalmente deixou e ela está firme mesmo para ser batizada no sábado agora então eu e Sister Sosa estamos muito felizes porque FICAMOS aqui na Estrelinha :) I think I forgot to mention that transfers were going to be happening ;)
Translation: The week was a bit stressful. Unfortunately, our baptism fell before Saturday because of an uncle of Laysa along with some other things. But Laysa spoke to her uncle on Saturday when he arrived home from a trip and he finally left and she is firm even to be baptized on Saturday now and Sister Sosa and I are very happy because we are still here in Estrelinha :) I think I forgot to mentionthat transfers were going to be happening;)
Temos um outro pesquisador com uma data de batismo também (Roberto). Ele tem 60 anos e faz 30 anos já que conhece a igreja (a mãe dele era membro) mas nunca foi batizado porque ele não era casado legalmente. Duas semanas atrás a mulher dele faleceu então nós visitamos ele e ensinamos sobre os mandamentos e ele falou que vai orar a respeito da data batismal. Ele já conhece tudo e tem um testemunho e sempre está participando da aula de princípios do evangelho. Ele só tem que parar de tomar café. 
Translation: We have another investigator with a baptism date as well (Roberto). He is 60 years old and has already known about the church for 30 years (his mother was a member) but was never baptized because he was not legally married. Two weeks ago his wife died so we visited him and teach about the commandments and he said he will pray about the baptismal date. He already knows everything and has a testimony and is always participating in the Gospel Principles class. He just has to stop drinking coffee.
I'm super stoked to be staying here in Estrelinha with Sister Sosa. This last transfer was pretty eventful and hilarious and I'm excited for this next transfer (and Christmas!!!)! Haha oh and the email subject is a phrase that Sister Sosa always says. She always walks in the church hallways and screams that we're sisteres de poder hahaha And she always tells the bishop when we have meetings with him ;)
I wanted to share a scripture that I read the other day :) (Lucas 9:57-62)
57 ¶And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, certain man said unto him, Lord, will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Soof man hath not where to lay his head.
 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but gthou and preach the kingdom of God.
 61 And another also said, Lord, will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewellwhich are at home at my house.
 62 And Jesus said unto him, Nman, having put his hand to the ploughand looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
I know that it is very important to keep my focus in order to preach the kingdom of God. I cannot look back and think much about things at home or friends or family (of course I do a little bit). But I know my purpose and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary and to preach this gospel :) It is my hope every day that I am becoming more fit for the kingdom of God.
Eu amo vocês!!
Com amor,
Sister Earls

Monday, November 9, 2015

Parabéns Sister Sosa!

Sister Sosa hit her year mark this week!

This week was pretty fun. Unfortunately, Kawan's baptism fell through because at the last minute, his mom didn't allow him to be baptized. I think I mentioned that his mom is a less active and she doesn't want anything to do with the church. She smokes and drinks and doesn't care much about her kids. It's really sad when people don't want to accpet and follow the gospel. 

But good news is that we should be having a baptism this week. Laysa is the niece of the Relief Society president and she accepted a baptismal date for this Saturday. She recently moved here because her mother passed away. She has already come to church three times and she came to an activity on Friday. She loves the church and the young women and we're super excited for her! We taught her almost all of the lessons in one day because she had so many questions and she was really interested. When we taught about the plan of salvation, the Spirit was so strong and Sister Sosa started crying. I had to finish explaining the rest, but it was a perfect lesson :)


Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Earls
P.S - So sorry these photos are pretty terrible...My camera broke :( It was actually pretty funny because the other day Sister Sosa went to grab her camera and it fell and the lens wouldn't open anymore to take photos so I went to grab my photos to take photos for the day but when I opened the case to see if it was working, my lens wouldn't open anymore either...My camera is pretty old and it's been acting up for awhile so I'm actually surprised that it's worked so well up until now. But good news is that we have a super cool member who has a friend who might fix our cameras for free! But until then, we have to take crappy photos on our cell phone haha Enjoy :)

Sister Sosa has to go to the dentist every week because there is a member in Jardim da Penha who helps all the missionaries for free when they have dental problems...So of course we take advantage of the trip and take photos :)

 We found a super awesome place to take photos in our area so after a lesson, we stopped to watch the sunset :)

asually taking selfies before lunch at a member's house yesterday haha

Our lovely investigators offered to make us dinner yesterday!! :) 

Monday, November 2, 2015

happy halloween :)

I totally forgot that it was Halloween on Saturday haha  We didn't do anything because we were exhausted. Our leaders called us at the last minute on Friday night and told us that we would have to participate in a parade thingy the next morning (Halloween) and that we would have to arrive in a city that's an hour away at 7am. So we woke up at 4am to catch the right ônibus and we stayed in Vila Velha until 1pm and then had to return to our area to eat lunch with members and then we had to work the rest of the day like normal so it was just another crazy day. It was cool because I got to see people from my last area (Glória) :)

This week passed by so quickly. I still can't believe that it's already November. Yesterday marked 13 months on the mission! And Sister Sosa will hit her year mark on Wednesday:) 

We're still working with Maycon and his family but they didn't come to church yesterday...But Kawan has a date to be baptized this Sunday! He is 9 years old and he is the son of a less active (Aline). He lives super close to our house so we always stop by and visit him. He came to church yesterday and loved primary. Cynthia and Paulo came to church yesterday too. Cynthia is the bishop's niece and she has known about the church for a while and she even gives lunches to the missionaries a lot. She isn't married legally to Paulo, but we visited them yesterday with a member (Lucivaldo) and he bore his testimony about the importance of marriage and the gospel and they seemed more open to change. We'll be working more with them.

Oh and we did divisions with the sister training leaders this week and Sister Barra stayed here in our area with Sister Sosa and I went to Serra with Sister Castilho. Sister Barra and Sister Sosa were able to contact a reference who is super elect! Irmã Penha (primary president) told us about her brother (José) who has already visited the church before and recently he has been asking her about the church and the Book of Mormon. Sister Sosa and Sister Barra taught about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and the Word of Wisdom and he accepted to be baptized on Sunday! Keep him in your prayers!

We've been received a ton of references so we've just been trying to keep up with them all. We are super blessed in this area and the members are amazing!
Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Earls

"And no one can assist in this work except [she] shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to [her] care." (D&C 12:8)
we found a crab on the way to church haha

we had a sleepover on the upper balcony of our house because the owner normally rents it out for people to use but it's in construction and it's always open and there's even a bathroom so we decided to sleep there last week because it was super hot and it was a lot cooler upstairs in the open :)