Tuesday, January 27, 2015

No Subject

So I'm really behind on sending photos and I really wanna respond to more emails so I'm gonna try to make this short...

This week was pretty good. It went by really fast. I can't believe we're almost done with this transfer. I really wanna know if I'm staying here in São Mateus or not. All of the Elders think I'm gonna be sent somewhere else...I don't know if that's good or bad but whatevs.

Anyways, so this week was kind of exciting! We got to do exchanges with the sister treinadoras! It was crazy because I had to plan everything and make sure that I knew where everyone lived in Porto since we were covering Porto that day while Sister Vergara and Sister Wootan were covering Fatima. But it really boosted my confidence! I actually kind of knew what I was doing. And Sister Cruz said that I'm speaking and teaching really well and that I really do have the gift of tongues haha I hope she wasn't just being nice...

Oh! So we taught a bunch of homens and rapazes in the park in Porto on Wednesday. We always pass by them, but we had only talked to one of them before. They started talking to us because they were curious about why we're always walking around when it's so hot and why we're always dressed up with plaquetas. We sat down with them and taught the Restoration to like 10 people haha No big deal. It was awesome! And two of them ended up coming to church with us (Enrique e Vitor). And we taught another one of them (Willas) yesterday and he accepted a baptismal date!
Oh, but we're starting to have problems with Felipe because his situation is so complicated. We're still not sure if his mom is actually a member and his baptismal date for this week fell through because his dad wouldn't let him come to church yesterday. Praying things get better for him because he's an awesome kid and he is so prepared for baptism!

So this week, I've been studying in PMG about the perguntas da alma (questions of the soul) that the Book of Mormon answers. One that I focused on was "How can a belief in Jesus Christ help me?" Alma 36 answers this questions perfectly and I love how Alma testifies of the joy he felt after he remembered how his father had prophesied of the coming of the Savior who would atone for the sins of the world. He remembered his pains no more and he was no longer tormented by his sins. He then explains in verse 24 of how he labored without ceasing to bring souls unto repentance so that they might know the exceeding joy that he felt. I love this so much and I feel this every day. I love being a missionary and being able to share the joy that I feel because of this gospel and the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls
Chilling with the lovely Sister Richards in an air conditioned mall with McDonald's ice cream that the office Elders bought for us! I felt like I was in America again haha
Hanging with the peeps in Subway after we became legal in Brazil!

 We were by the ocean and life was wonderful!

 Taking a break on a swingset in Guriri


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Running Out of Ideas...

So it's hard to come up with fun email subjects every week...

So basically nothing happened this week and I emailed late last week so this email is gonna be super lame sorrryyyy

We did go to Linhares last Thursday for our Zone meeting which was super fun.

So basically all of our pesquisadores are being lame and none of them came to church yesterday :( 

But last night was fun because we had noite familiar with the ward. Oh and the Elders in our ward have this awesome investigator named Karla and she's just rockin it. Yesterday, she announced that she wants to baptized this quinta-feira!! Woohoooo! And during noite familiar, she even made tons of comments about the scriptures that we read in 

Also, everyone should read Romans 5:1-5 because they are awesome verses. We always give spiritual thoughts for the members who feed us lunch and one of the Elders shared this one. I just love the scriptures, ya know?

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Avante para a Vitória!

Oi! So basically, there are so many things I wanna tell y'all about but there's just no time haha Ugh this happens every week. Anyways, I got to go to Vitória with Sister Wootan on Monday! That's the reason I only got to email some people yesterday and now I'm trying to finish up quickly today. We had to split up our email time and squeeze it in when we could because we've been so busy. 

So yeah, Vitória! I got to see Sister Richards and it was glorious! Seriously made my life. We had to go to make sure we had all of our paperwork taken care of because apparently we've been living here without proper identification for almost a month (it was really busy when we arrived since it was right before Christmas so we didn't have a chance to do it then like most of the American missionaries). But, speaking of almost a month here...Can y'all believe that this week is my one month mark in Brazil? I can't...It's all going too fast!

I don't have much time so I'll just talk about people who came to church because that's important (even though so many other things happened this week). We had one of our investigators come to church, Luiz Fernando. He always comes and he has kind of been an eternal investigator (6 years) so that was normal. But, during Relief Society, two other people showed up who we weren't expecting to be there. We had only talked to Felipe (10 years old) and his mom a couple of times and they had never really been lessons. We had just invited them to church. Well, they actually came. We talked to the mom after church and we found out that she might actually be a member. She says that she was baptized in our church a long time ago and that she recognized the meetings when she came to church. We let her know that we'd try to find her records, but that she might have to be baptized again if we don't have any records. We met with them yesterday and invited Felipe to be baptized next week and he said yes! We just need to start teaching them and they said they're planning on coming to church this Sunday and they might even come to an activity tomorrow. So awesome!

Also, random thought but this week I was thinking a lot about fear. During one of my personal studies for the week, I reread the conference talk "Which Way Do You Face?" from Elder Lynn G. Robbins. So like every time Dalin emails me or writes me a letter and gives me advice, he always tells me to be more bold and to not have any fear. That has really stuck with me recently because I've been struggling still with my Portuguese and with my ability to speak and teach. I learned this week that all I need to do is open my mouth and not have any fear. I have to be bold with my invitations and commitments. I can't dwell on how badly I'll mess up every time I speak; I just have to do it and have the faith that I will be guided because ya know, I will. I love the scripture that Elder Robbins shared in his talk, Moroni 8:16. It states: "Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." I'm learning how to develop a perfect love for God and for the people that I'm teaching. And I always have to remind myself that I am a representative of Jesus Christ and I can speak with boldness because I have the authority from God to teach and preach this gospel that I love so much!

Sorry I wish I had time to tell y'all more!
Also, sorry no time for photos :( Maybe next week!

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls

Friday, January 9, 2015

Três Mêses!!!

Hey hey!! I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's and didn't party too hard :) 

This week was long and intense and exciting and fun as always haha And I'm 21 now...So that's really weird. 

Anyways, this was a really good week and we found a lot of new investigators so that was awesome!!

Monday - We had noite familiar with Alissandra, Manuel, e Antonio! They're all recent converts and the oldest is like 15 or 16. They're such awesome kids. It just sucks because their dad doesn't want to meet with us and I think their mom is a member but the parents aren't together and she isn't really active anyways...But I seriously love those kids. I'll have to take a pic with them :) We also met with Ajinilsa again and taught more of the Plan of Salvation.

Tuesday - Birthday!! This day was really hot and really long and we walked a lot haha quite the celebration. But we got acai so it was amazing :) We also met with Benedito this night and he gave us bolo (cake) and soda and he gave me some really nice expensive soap as a bday present :) He always gives us desserts when we visit him. And I thought it was kinda weird to get a present, but Sis W said he gives stuff to all the missionaries.

Wednesday - We had lunch in Guriri with a member who has a really nice house and her daughters are the cutests little girls every. They were playing with my hair for a solid 30 min (it was more like ripping out all of my hair and making the rest of it tangly haha) and they were watching Frozen so we got to see a little and listen to the music (so bad)! 

Thursday - I gave a spiritual thought in Portuguese at our District meeting which was a big deal for me haha And we had churrasco for lunch with a less active!! So good!

Friday - We met with Raynner!! He is a wonderful guy who has a great family and they're some of our new investigators this week. I'll have to tell y'all more once we meet with him more. But I helped Sis W teach the first lesson to him and his wife and I said the first vision perfectly and the Spirit was so strong. We also met with Nilse and her neice or daughter (I think) Priscilla.

Saturday - I don't really remember much from this day...

Sunday - Alissandra, Manuel, and Antonio came to church with us. We walked a lot after lunch trying to find potentials in Cohab but we got kinda lost so that was kind of a fail. We did end up finding their house after going to a different house and teaching a lesson to a random woman, but there was nobody there...

So this morning during personal study, I was reading conference talks from the most recent General Conference because I've been trying to read them more the past couple of weeks. Y'all should read them all even if you watched conference because they really are amazing!
These were some of my favorites:
Receiving a Testimony of Light and Truth (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
"The Church is not just for perfect people, but it is for all to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in him (Mor 10:32)." Love this so much. It's so true.

Ponder the Path of Thy Feet (President Thomas S. Monson)
We need to follow in the path of our Savior.

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Feliz Natal e Um Próspero Ano Novo!

Bom dia! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! I sure did! It was really really hot and we walked a lot to get to our appointments, but it was a really fun day and it was so amazing to get to talk to family!

So this has been a pretty good week. I'm still very lost and confused most of the time, but I'm determined to figure everything out. I'm still kinda struggling with the language and with figuring out what people are saying, but I'm talking more and Sister Wootan is helping me improve a lot :)

Tuesday - This was a very hard day, but it ended well. We have an investigator (Ajinilsa? sorry about spelling...) and her mom has been in the hospital for a while. She is very sick and has had a lot of surgeries and they don't have a lot of money. Ajinilsa is only 19 and she has a younger brother and they basically live on their own. They have an older brother but he doesn't really talk to us. We went shopping with Irmã Gedilza to get food for their family and we had to walk really really far carrying heaving bags of rice and beans and other food. But it was great :) Oh and we got Mr.Shake after so it was all good haha

Wednesday - Oh this day we met with a new investigator Antonio Batista, but he was a bit drunk when we got there. He has such a cute family though and I really wanna see them baptized. They had a coconut tree and he was all drunk and happy so he kept cutting open coconuts and forcing us to drink agua de coco with them haha I don't really like coconut so I really had to force it down and I almost threw up after but whatevs. Definitely an interesting experience haha

Friday - Rita (Ajinilsa's mom) passed away :( We were walking toward Jeorge's house (an investigator), but he wasn't home so we called him and he said that she had died early that morning. We walked back towards Rita's house and a bunch of people were crying. I was trying to keep up with what everyone was saying and I was trying to help Sis Wootan because she had actually taught Rita (I never met her) so it was a little stressful.  We did talk to Ajinilsa's younger brother about the plan of salvation since he was at home which I think helped him a little.

Saturday - We went to Guriri for almoço! It was awesome! It's part of our area but we have to take the onibus there. We didn't have time to actually see the beach but we were so close! It made me feel like I was at home.

Sunday - Ajinilsa came to church with us! We did have to drop Jeorge since he didn't come to church and he hasn't been progressing :( That was kinda interesting...

Sorry sorry I wish I had more time! I feel like I haven't been able to tell you about any of our investigators...Oh well...

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls
 Chilled with some cows on my birthday. It was pretty exciting.
So the avocados here are huge and it makes me so darn happy :) We make lotssss of guacamole.

I'm super awkward but the view is great :) This is at the top of the biggest staircase ever. We die every time we have to go up it haha

Irmã Gedilza and her husband who does not look Brazilian at all. They're awesome! They feed us like every Sunday and it's always amazing!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fakin It Til I Make It

So yeah, Portuguese is hard, but Brazil is amazing!!! I made it here safely! Sorry if this email is a little scatterbrained. I have to type really fast. 

Uh the gift of tongues is real. At least for speaking. Not necessarily for understanding everything that everyone says. Like I can speak and people understand me (kinda haha), but everyone here has a different sotaque (accent) so it's really hard to understand everything. Sister Wootan basically has to repeat everything to me in order for me to understand...But Sister Wootan and I can totally converse in Portuguese so that's good. I just smile and nod with everyone else.

Haha also nobody knows how to say my name here. Earls is really hard to say in Portuguese so it kinda just sounds like Eus or Ears. I just respond when I hear Sister.

So it's really really really really hot here. Always. I guess it's a little better here in Sao Mateus (my area) because we have some wind. 

This week has been really good. Really hard, but really good. There is definitely a lot of adjustment.The people are so different, but it is so easy to love this place and these people. 

I was definitely struggling physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually this first week. But Sister Wootan is the best companion ever and she has really helped me a lot. I'm just really glad that I like walking. It's definitely been an adventure so far. 

There were so many tender mercies this week, but there was one that really stood out to me as a miracle. We were having a really tough day on Saturday and we were both exhausted and hot. Most of our plans in the afternoon and the evening fell through so we ended up walking to the centro to get addresses and contacts. To be honest, we were feeling pretty discouraged so we called Elder Hidalgo (our district leader) and he just recommended that we say a prayer. We sat down in the centro and prepared to say a prayer. I was starting to cry because it had just been a really really hard day and I was hot, tired, thirsty, and discouraged. But, Sister Wootan said a very sincere prayer and as soon as we opened our eyes, we saw members walking toward us. We were able to visit with them and it made me so happy. It seems like such a small thing, but in that moment, it was the most amazing event of my entire life.

The scriptures have really helped me this week. One that I read this morning that was a great comfort to me was John 14:25-27. It talks about the Comforter and about how things will be brought to our remembrance through this gift. It's been difficult adjusting and getting used to using only Portuguese again, but I know that everything will be brought to my remembrance through the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and how it can constantly comfort us if we allow it to always be with us. 

Hmm what else...oh I sent my address last time, but here's the one fully in Portuguese that you should use:

Sister Alia Yun Earls
Missão Brasil Vitória
Avenida João Batista Parra, 633
Salas 1501/1502
Edf. Enseada Office, Praia do Suá
29052-123 Vitória - ES

Um Brazil is great. My area is kinda like San Fran, but a lot dirtier and smellier and in the middle of a jungle kinda haha and we have parts that are like little villages by the river. 

Oh and the church building is more like a big apt on top of like a school called academia de something? and it's right in the middle of the centro. 

Oh and lunch is the main meal here which has been weird for me.

Sorry I wish I had time to tell y'all more!

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls
 More crazy Christmas lights. Star Wars!

First weird food that I ate in Brazil! Sister Wootan gave me this on the bus to the Aguia Branca station. It's kinda like a really slimy kumquat, but it tastes like those little Korean jello cup things.

This is at the top of a really big hill that we walk up and down like every day to get to a little village by the river.

My feet are getting killed. It's great. Also, spot the bug bites right by my band-aids :)

 You probably can't see this very well, but my arm is covered in bug bites. Actually, not just my arm. This side of my arm and the other side as well as my other arm and my legs and my neck and my face. I'm basically getting eaten alive...Apparently I'm a little more allergic to mosquito bites here than in the US so they're kinda starting to swell up, especially when we walk outside in the heat. But it's all good. I'm alive!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tchau Texas!

Minha gente!! I feel like I was just emailing y'all, but oh well. Time really does fly on a mission. Like, the next time I email y'all, I'll be in Brazil. I can't believe I have less than a week left here. I'm really gonna miss it...Anyways, this week was so spectacular! So many good moments :)

Tuesday - We had dinner with Oswald and Karima finally! Not sure if I've mentioned them yet, but Sister Meiners met Oswald a while ago with a different companion and he was super interested. He told her that he'd love to meet with the missionaries, but whenever they went back, he was never home. We stopped by a few weeks ago (like my first or second week) and we met his wife Karima. Sister Meiners said that whenever they had seen her, she had never let them in, but she invited us in right away. She was super concerned that we were out in the cold. But, we told her that we had a car and she kept asking about missionaries and why we do what we do. She asked so many great questions and she invited us to come back for dinner after Thanksgiving since they were going out of town until then. So we finally got to meet with them on Tuesday! We taught them about the Restoration and tried to answer as many questions as we could. They're like the perfect investigators, but the only problem is they're never available to meet. We asked when we could teach them next and they said not until January, after the holidays...I was so sad :((( We are going to stop by this week and drop off Spanish materials (they talk to us in English and understand everything, they just like to read in Spanish) so at least I'll get to say bye.  Oh, this was also the day that we went tracting on that one street with the really mean lady.
Wednesday - We had District Meeting Wednesday morning. Haha Elder Gulbransen had his teeth fixed by then. Luckily, a lot of Elders and Sisters in the Zone have gotten to know dentists in their wards. We visited with a lot of members this day and shared the He is the Gift video with them and invited them to share it with friends, family, and neighbors :) We also had dinner with the McIntyre family. They're crazy, but I love them! They have a daughter who is like 11 I think named Nicolette and she is the best. She wants to be a missionary and she's gonna be an awesome one. She already is :) She brought a friend to the Reflections of Christ exhibit and introduced her to us. So sweet :))
Thursday - Weekly Planning day so we weren't out as much. We did have dinner with the Vigil's who are a part-member family. Sister Vigil is the best and she took us to the temple today. Her husband isn't a member, but he goes to church a lot and he's taken lessons for a while. We talked about Matt 20 with him (the parable of the laborers). He's very smart and he loves to read the scriptures and all of these deep doctrinal books, but he is still very attached to the Catholic church. I think that's the only thing that's holding him back because he basically knows everything about the church. After that appointment, we helped set up the Reflections of Christ exhibit. It was awesome!
Friday - We got to view the Reflections of Christ exhibit early and we also had a shift in the evening since they had missionaries there the whole time to answer questions. They also set up the church for tours since a lot of nonmembers would be coming with member friends so that was cool. We met with Dakoda this day too. He is part of the Starnes family and he is 8 years old. He hasn't been baptized because his family is mostly inactive and they never take him to church or let him get rides. But, we taught him a lesson about keeping the Sabbath day holy with his grandma there and she told us that his dad (who has been struggling with Word of Wisdom problems) has been saying that he wants to get back to church and he wants to take Koda :) So that went well!
Saturday - We got to meet with Magda, Ashley, Isaac, and Noe! 
Sunday - Best Sunday ever! I bore my testimony since it was gonna be my last chance here in Texas. So did Sister Meiners and Sister Burraston. The Spirit was so strong that whole day! And we got to watch the Christmas Devotional that night with members (the Sadler's) and Magda and her family came over to watch it too! Sister Sadler made an awesome dinner and we had a ton of ice cream too! Haha best day ever!
Monday - We got to meet with Devan! He was the one we met 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 tried to meet with him after setting up an appointment sometime during Thanksgiving week, but he wasn't home when we went. So we tried again yesterday and he was there and he let us in! We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and we set up another appointment with him for this Friday. Hopefully, he'll be there. He works a lot, but he seems pretty interested :)
Oh also, since I'll be in Brazil soon, if you want to send letters or anything else, it'd probably be better to just send them straight to the mission office there. Mail is really slow and unreliable there so I don't really expect anything haha but here's the address anyways:
Sister Alia Yun Earls
Brazil Vitória Mission
Avenida João Baptista Parra, 633
Salas 1501/1502
Edf. Enseada Office, Praia do Suá
29052-123 Vitória - ES

Eu amo vocês!

Com amor,
Sister Alia Yun Earls
We got to go to the Dallas temple this morning!!!

We helped decorate and set up the church for a photo exhibit that they were having this past Friday and Saturday. It was called Reflections of Christ. I dunno if any of y'all have heard of or seen those photos but they're amazing. It's just a bunch of beautiful photos depicting Christ's life. I think the photographer lives in Keller and he promised that he'd have showings of the photos in nearby stakes and we were one of them! We unwrapped so many poinsettias!