Lovely Ladies

Lovely Ladies

Monday, April 28, 2014

Brooke Email 4.28 2014

(I hate dogs but I love this picture!...better than a pot o' gold!...I think I perfected my creeper face...this picture is our first SPLIT...this tomb stone is right next to our house!) Hiya familia!!!! This week was crazy!! We had so many appointments that we had to go on splits to cover them all. I went with a lady named Mandy Taylor in our ward while Sister Messer went with Sydney. It was crazy to not be with my companion. It was nice to see her again a few hours later. I learned how to pick locks this week!!! I'm really good at it too. On splits, we saw a less-active couple and the man was not having a very good day. He had literally lost his job that day, and they found out they're losing their house. I went in and just talked to him about things he's done and he mentioned that he used to be a locksmith. I asked him if he knew how to pick locks... and he said yes. I was like, "YOU HAVE TO TEACH ME!!! I've always wanted to learn that!" So, he brought out his stuff and we went to a lock and he was showing me how to do it. He was like, "It is pretty tricky..." and I asked him if I could try. He said sure and I poked around a little bit and it popped open! It was super easy!! He didn't think I could do it again so he relocked it and I did it for the second time! I'm super good at picking locks apparently! Hidden talents! Who knew? :):) It made his day as I sat there and he told me how a lock works and how the different tools do different things. It reminded me A LOT of when I would work on the car with dad and he would explain all the different tools to me and what they were used for. I told him that he should meet my dad. :) It was so great. This week, we met with Barbara (our 72 year old who's been taking the lessons for 20 years) and had another great lesson with her. She didn't come to church yesterday, so we have to postpone her baptism, but that's ok. I'm confident that she'll be baptized soon. It was a crazy week because I kept thinking about Erin. I was like, she's probably watching movies right now, or she probably slept in this morning. It was weird. It was like my brain was in two places at once. Don't worry, I'm not trunky. Just FYI. This past Saturday, we had our day of service and I can't tell you how many Frat boys hit on me and Sister Messer. Seriously! Our elders got a kick out of watching them do it while we tried to talk to them about the gospel. Oh well. At least they got a good laugh about it. :) I love you more than sharks like baby seals! Mom: Thank you so much for the pictures! I loved them! Oh my gosh! I can't believe Dace was shy at first! I would have thought he would have known us from the start. Sad day. Oh well, at least he has his favorite auntie back! Dad: Thanks for the news on how everything is going. Believe it or not, missionaries like that kind of thing. :) So is Erin for sure going back out on her mission then? Of course you rocked your lesson for the High Priest group! That's my dad!! Is Jose in ARP? I'm ssooooooo happy that Kevin is doing great! And Michael too! Even though neither of them give me much news on how they are doing. I always knew Erin had a heart of gold. :) She gets that from her parents with hearts of gold. Next time I see you, you'll probably be bald! HAHAHAHAHA! I've still got it! Michael: How is work going? What are you and Anna working on for your wedding now? Do you still like to cook? Do you plan on going to our home ward then when you get married? Kevin: Write me! You can't be THAT busy. I want to know what you're up to and everything fun/funny you are doing. Give me some news! Who have you been hanging out with? What new hobbies/skills have you gotten since I left? What have you done this week? Jen: How was taking Dace Face to see Erin at the airport? Did you know he would be shy? Is he fully potty-trained yet? I hope you had a great week! Erin: Thanks for the pics! Of course you got a new investigator at the airport! You're just that good of a missionary. You don't need a nametag to be a missionary. Seriously. I think it's really funny that you cried so much during your talk that they had to wipe off the podium with a towel. :) So funny. Can you ask Mom about my gray skirt I sent home to get fixed? I'm getting sick of black. We go into a TON of gross houses, so I try to not wear my super cute ones when I know I'm going over there. That means I wear my same heavy duty skirts to wear into those places.

SHE IS HOME 4.28.2014

Erin Came home on Monday 21 April. She was welcomed home by her family. Scott, Jenala, Jennifer, Dace, Michael, Anna, Kevin, Grandma Echols and cousin Morgan. We were all excited to see her. She will spend the next few weeks with Doctor visits, surgery and recovery and then with physical therapy. The goal is to have her get better and back out on her mission in 8 weeks. I will post pictures of the events as they happen weekly.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Erin Email 4.21.2014

(From Mom: For all the Peeps that follow the Blog, Erin is coming home tonight to have her arm taken care of by doctors here. We are excited and sad at the same time. It is in the Lords hands on what is to be done about her arm. It has given her great pain and suffering for the last 6 months. She has blessed the lives of MANY, MANY people there in Peachtree City, Georgia. They have been blessed to have her as well. She has many experiences and has made many friends. She is one tough Young Lady. ) Erin: I'm on!!! Mom: Are you EXCITED????????? Erin: Nervous........ I started to sob at the mission home last night. Prez gave me a blessing. Mom: Well I am ExCiTeD.......soooooooo much. Erin: Can we have a girls night????? I want to watch Catching Fire.... Haha. Did you sleep at all last night? Mom: I didn't sleep very good. No movies tonight. You will be dead on your feet. We are two hours later then you. So our 10:00 will be 12:00 to you. Midnight and you won't be awake. Erin: Holy smokes.... I don't think I've slept hardly at all this whole week. Bishop Corbridge had me speak in sacrament yesterday.... and I got a ton of kisses and hugs from everyone in the ward. They'll all miss me a ton. Mom: I bet you did a fabulous job. You will be missed by Peachtree City. Who is taking you to the airport today? Erin: I even said the prayer. A lot of the guys in the ward were hugging me because they didn't care about the rules. So many people said they feel like they are losing a daughter. The office elders.... elders Schenck and Smith, they're in my district. Mom: Good....someone to carry the luggage. You will miss your mission. Erin: Ya, me and President and Sister Harding were all crying last night. They don't understand why either of why I need to go home. They said that I'm the best missionary the Georgia Atlanta Mission has ever had and that I have made the biggest impact on everyone here. Mom: I bet they are very sad that you are leaving. I hope that you can get your arm fixed up. Remember that you have done more than most missionaries do in two years. You did it in 8 months. Erin: Ya, that's what everyone keeps telling me. I think I love my mission so much because I feel like I'm helping people. And people keep telling me how much of a good influence I am. Mom: You have helped a ton of people and brought people to the knowledge of the Gospel. Make sure you take pictures of you leaving the airport in Atlanta. Erin: I'm going all by myself....scary. This is only my second time in an airport and the first one was with 50 of us, so I just followed everyone else. haha. Everyone here kind of snickers at me because this will be my 2 airplane ride in my life (everyone here works for Delta, so they always fly on the weekends to exotic places)My Easter was fantabulous. I prayed and spoke in sacrament, got a ton of pictures with ward members. We ate at the Wade's house and the Corbridges were there too. It was like a whole ward activity in their back yard and it was nice to say good bye to everyone. Tender mercy. The Harding's said they let me have Easter here because they knew without a doubt that that is what I would want.... they were right. It was so nice to see everyone. We then spend a couple hours with President and talked about a ton of things. We said goodbye and I got a blessing from him. It was a great day...I just got on another computer, but I have to go.... I LOVE YOU MORE THAN PANCAKES LOVE SYRUP!!! I'LL SEE YOU TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Letter from Erin to her President as she says her goodbyes.....) Ahoy there President!! In all honesty, thank you for what you've done for me... especially for last night. You truly are an inspiration to me and my biggest hero. I think if Jesus had a best friend, it would probably be you. Haha. You're amazing. To answer your question..... I won't be here to find these family members, but I would tell others to Never Give Up. God has a plan for each of us and he is very aware of our lost family members. He has called us (the search and rescue) to find them and bring them the knowledge of this incredible gospel. I was talking with a sister in the mission and she was telling me how she's afraid to invite people to baptism because she doesn't believe anyone is prepared. She said that she's waiting for an incredible miracle to happen and someone to show up and ask if they can be baptized. Although, that would be absolutely stunning, odds are.... that's not going to happen., I tried to explain to her that the only way she's going to be placed on the path of someone who is prepared is if she exercises her faith and invites EVERYONE. That's the only way God will allow us to find those people. If we don't invite, we're lazy. I don't think God wants to put His children in the hands of people who are lazy. (I didn't say it as harsh as I am now, I said it with a lot of love, but you get the idea). She agreed and committed to invite at least one person each day to follow Jesus Christ. I'm not sure if she's done that because I haven't talked to her in a while, but I think I got the message across clearly. I told her to never give up and to never let Satan let her think that nobody is prepared. I told her how millions of people are being prepared each day and God's plan is perfect and how people won't even change unless they're first invited to do so. I think she now understands the importance of inviting. I wish so badly that I could stay here because there is TONS of work to be done, and I like being a part of it and knowing that I tried to do something to help our Heavenly Father. This week has been extremely emotional. I know that God will take care of me. Even if my plans aren't His plans, everything will work out. Thanks so much for your love and support President. Even though we're not related at all, I feel like you love me like a daughter, and that has brought so much comport... thank you. I love you a ton! Love Forever and for Always, Sister Erin Echols

Brooke Email 4.21.2014

(Check out these sneaks!!...My first Jewish Passover...I LOVE the Parker Family!!! They had us over for Easter!...My boyfriend, Kadyn Parker, got me flowers for Easter... the dynamic duo, I like this shirt.) Hiya Family!!!! Oh my gosh! I can't believe Erin's gonna be home tonight! I'm not sure if she'll be using her missionary email still or not, so I'll just send her a message through all y'all. SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?!? Hahahaha! I'm so southern! NOT! :) Can you believe that after this transfer, we'll be halfway??? Craziness! This week, we had our apartment inspection, so we had it looking immaculate and that morning, we got a call from President Irion, he told me that he was going to be passing through Johnson City and wanted to visit with us. He just wanted to stop by and see the apartment. Good thing it was sparkling!! It always is. :) This week, we met with Barbara. She's 72 years old and has been investigating the church on and off for 20 years. In the first meeting with her, we were able to set a baptismal date within the first 10 minutes!!!! She's going to be baptized on May 4th. May the forth be with you!!! We were able to help her realize that this has been right for her all along and that there's no reason to wait. It was incredible! Also, Cynthia has begun to progress. We did some service for her and she invited us over to dinner! Hip Hip Hooray! Last pday, we went thrift store shopping with our district. It was super fun. I got some sturdy shoes to wear as a missionary. Huzzah! I actually texted our elders 'huzzah' and they were like, "Huzzah? What is this? 1894?" It was so funny! I have loved being here in JC and I hope I get to stay for at least 2 more transfers! It also makes it better that I have the best companion in the Tennessee Knoxville Mission! I hope you have fun with Erin!! Is she going to be released tonight as a missionary? I thought it would be funny to tell her that she can't listen to music or watch movies until I get home, but I'm not that mean. I'll let her do it. :) Will she still be able to email from her mission email? I hope you have so much fun when Erin gets home. She is probably really excited and nervous at the same time. I hope you're prepared for a lot of noise. She's an energizer bunny just waiting to be let loose. She's gonna be so tan! :):):) I love you more than Stephanie Meyer loves Sparkles!!!!!!!!! Dad: haha, that crazy bird... :) I absolutely loved conference! I keep using it in lessons to practically everyone we teach. Are the Garcia's doing any better? I love them and want what's best for them. I know Jose will be able to overcome his Word of Wisdom struggles. He did it once, he can do it again. That's what's so great about the Atonement.. the Savior didn't quit because it was hard... He kept doing it so we could progress. HUG ERIN FOR ME!!! Mom: I'm so stoked to be counting down still! Don't worry, I'm not trunky. Being trunky and being excited to see your family are two very different things. I'm just excited. I hope Jose and Isela will be OK. I worry about them. They are an eternal family and they can work through this. Kevin will do great at his EMT classes! Then, he'll be able to fix himself every time he gets hurt. He could even stitch up his own head next time he runs into a tree! The tulips are so pretty!! HUG ERIN FOR ME!!! Michael: haha! It brings me secret joy to know that I'm gonna be tanner than Anna too! You WOULD have a goal to run 200 miles this year. My goal this year is to HUG ERIN FOR ME!!! Kevin: Write me dude! At least answer these questions... what is your favorite muscle? Where would you go if you had to leave the country? What is your favorite accessory? HUG ERIN FOR ME!!! Jen: I bet Dace Face is sure excited to see his big auntie Erin! I bet you are too! I'm super jealous of every one because they will get to hug her. I'm super jealous of Erin too because she gets to hug all of you. But hey, I'll have my chance in 300 days baby!!!!!!! HUG ERIN FOR ME!!! Erin: I love you more than my stomach likes to growl while I sit in a quiet library emailing! You better write me weekly! I don't know what email you'll be using, so let me know.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Brooke Email 4.14.2014

(I broke the wall pulling out the plug...Happy 8 months!!!...You can't read it, but Elder Parkinson swapped my nametag for his without me noticing...this is Elder Parkinson and yes, he's brown compared to albino me... Jesus is my BFF! #OnlyInTheSouth) Hey Familia!!!! This week, I got to do some service!! YAYAYAYAYAYA!!! I never knew how much I missed yard work until I had to wear a dress anymore. It was Brenden Abbott's Eagle Scout Project (he's 13!!!!!!) and we kind of refurbished a historic site. It's called Tipton Haynes State Historic Site. It's awesome! I was so ready to get tan! But, when we got there, they wanted us to paint the bathrooms, so we were inside the whole time. We finally were able to leave, so we went and Sister Abbott made me the photographer. She handed me a SUPER nice camera and put me to work. I took pics of everyone working and it was awesome! I got a tiny bit of sun, so I'm officially not classified as Albino anymore. :) Hooray! We have another service coming up. It's our ward's Day of Service and we signed up to work in the flower beds, so hopefully I'll get a little more sun. Michael and Anna are so cute together!!!!!! This week, we had an Easter BBQ for our ward, and it was really fun! We had no investigators come, but the other missionaries did, so that's good. This week, we met with Sydney and she was all upset about having to live Mormon rules, but me and Sister Messer straightened her out and made her realize that it's a blessing to be able to live them. :) It was so great! I love Sydney! She's so funny! My abs are so ripped! I have my 6 pack back! Hooray for pull up bars! This morning, I took an allergy pill for the first time since being a missionary, and I'm so tired! I totally fell asleep praying during studies this morning! HAHA! Hey, it was bound to happen sometime. I love you more than bees love honey! Mom: Will you let me know as soon as Erin gets home? Write me an email or something with pictures of you all. Thanks for sending me pics of Michael and Anna! I get more news about them from you than I do from them. Hey, was I born when that pic of your siblings was taken? You all look Super Cute! I love telling people that my mom is a twin too, and now I have pictures to show them. :) Dad: I hope you had a great week. It must have been super busy. Michael: I saw some of your engagement pics! Mom sent them to me. You are such a stud! And Anna is drop dead gorgeous! P.S. You really should write me. Kevin: I'm so stoked for you to go through the Temple! You'll love it! Please please please take pictures outside the temple after you go through... and send them to me! I love you! I'm so proud of you! How was your week? Anything fun/crazy happen? Jen: Miss you too! Did Erin say she was going to marry David Archuleta too? HAHAHA! Just admit it, we have good taste. :)

Erin Email 4.14.2014

(My food,Our dinner. yum. The Clarke Family Tradition...No Plates, Ellis did my hair... how nice, Our typical walk to church,Gotta love Georgia sunsets, Sister Ellis and I,Us and Candace,Typical Georgai house) Dearest familia, This week was ssoooooooo emotional. We had zone conference on Thursday and it was really good. Afterward, President and I had about an hour conversation. He was saying how it is HIM who has kept me here this long because he didn't want to lose me. He said how selfish he was, but now he needs to be an adult and do what's best for me. We cried together. I think he'll miss me. I never knew how much people liked me until EVERYONE fasted for me. I think President really likes me because he's always so nice to me. He's amazing. I accidently overdosed on my medications (I took twice as much as I should have) and all that day, I felt like I was going to pass out. Then, as we were eating at a member's house that night, I threw up everywhere. Haha, we had to leave. I was so sick. Then, later that night, I threw up again; everything in my organs was now empty. It was so painful. My body didn't like something. I was miserable for the next few days and I literally couldn't eat anything. I ate probably 10 crackers within 3 days. It was so bad. Haha. I'm glad that's over. I now feel all better now. I've never had that sickness before. On Sunday, we went to ward council and Bishop Corbridge announced to everyone that I was leaving. I cried a lot and I couldn't speak. He asked me to share what I felt like and I bawled. Everyone was in tears and they'll all miss me. I couldn't go to church after that because we were invited to a special meeting in Atlanta with a couple of General Authorities. There was only 40 of us invited to that. Incredible. Out of all of us, they talked to me the longest and they seemed soooo sincere. I loved it. A rumor has spread throughout the ward that I've already left. Haha. News spreads fast. Well, I love you all and I'll probably be seeing you soon. Really soon. Too soon. I love you more than Dace Face loves olives!!!!!!!! Letter to her President: Ahoy there, President! This week was INCREDIBLE!!!! From zone conference to the special meeting with Elders Zwick and Giddens..... sooooo cool. I don't think I have ever been to a more inspiring and uplifting meeting in my life. We're not even STL's anymore, but we were still priviledged to have been invited to go to that. Thank you. It was kind of emotional all this week for me. I know that everything is in God's hands, but somehow, it's so hard to accept that. When Elder Zwick asked, "what does it mean to have a pure heart?" My immediate thought to that was the willingness and courage to follow what ever God want you to do.... no matter how hard it is. If I had it my way, I would spend the rest of my mission here, and just ignore my arm. It's just an obstacle that I can get past. In the eternal aspect of things, my arm will be perfect again with no doubt and I know that God will make me perfect. This life is so short and this mission is even shorter. Bishop Corbridge announced yesterday that I was going to be leaving and there were many who had tears in their eyes. All day yesterday, I felt sooo much love. It was the same kind of love that I felt when everyone fasted and prayed for me. It was the same kind of love when I receive a priesthood blessing. It was the same kind of love that God has for me. I never knew how hard it would be to accept the will of God, especially when it's not particularly what you want. I know that I cannot express my gratitude or anything through words because I am really shy and I cannot even begin to tell you how thankful I am because I'm not the best writer. But, in all honesty and sincerely, thank you. Thank you for this incredible experience to build my faith. Until these past few months, I have never really known how much you, Sister Harding, the mission, my friends and family, my ward.... etc. love me. And most importantly, I know how much God loves me. Please let me know how I can help build this mission. And how I can help others build their faith. I love you dearly President! Love always, Sister Echols

Monday, April 7, 2014

Brooke News 4.7.2014

((We made Guatamalen food at a member's house!... Sister Messer and I wearing aprons at a members home (PICTURES NOT INCLUDED IN THIS POST) … I'm not sure what this is, but he sure was cute! until he pooped on me #IHateAnimals:)…we taught a lesson in a bar!...Spring time) I'm Going to Marry David Archuleta‏ Olo Family! Hey, did you like my subject for this email?!?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! This week was CONFERENCE!! I loved it! We just watched it at the church with the other missionaries in our district... sad day because NO ONE had investigators come. At least we had a recent convert come, and one of our investigators watched it from home. About halfway through Elder David A. Bednar's talk, we got a text from that investigator... she knows it's true!!! SO STOKED! This week, we met with an Atheist named Matt. He's 21 ish and does NOT believe in God. But, we got him to pray!!!! During our discussion, we kept asking him what he believes and why he believes that way. After the lesson, we told him that we always close with prayer and we asked him if he would say it. He said, "No because it would just be words." We told him, "To you maybe, but not to us. To us, it's still a prayer." We then taught him how to pray and he did it!!!! He said such a good prayer!! He HAD to have felt the Spirit. Sister Messer and I just got in the car and started to scream we were so happy!!! I have never been so bold before. I love Sister Messer because she makes me want to be a better missionary. I have never enjoyed missionary work so much, as when I've been with Sister Messer. :):):):) It was a great week!! I love you more than doughnuts love sprinkles! Mom: Baha! Thanks for the pictures. I really am going to marry David Archuleta... he just doesn't know it yet. :) We're famous!!! We were in-between conference session!!! I got the package! I absolutely LOVED the clothes in it! You have such good taste! I have worn something from it every day so far. :):) Dad: I did get to watch conference. We even went to a less-active's house and watched the Priesthood session. I have never watched it before! It was awesome!! If any woman ever thinks about complaining about not having the priesthood, she should go watch Elder Oaks' talk. I was looking for you, but I didn't see you. I just got Dad's email, so I'm going to reply to it like I do everyone else's. Dad: Haha! I love how that bird is on your nerves. You are a genius! Of course you invented something so complex. I'm proud to be your daughter... If only I got some of your smarts. :):) I'm so happy that I got to fast for Erin too. I hope she heals up. I love my Companion! She's awesome! It's been fun to try and think of things that can help people... most of the time, it just bugs me because I can't come up with stuff super quick, but when I think of something... it's really fun. Love ya Papi! Michael: HAHA! I was so confused when I got the package with your Spanish stuff. I was thinking I got the wrong thing sent to me. I love it though! I could read almost all of your Spanish testimony without using the translation. There were just a few words that I didn't know. Thanks for it! I even love how the dictionary has your name written in it. I like seeing some hand written stuff because I forget what our family's handwriting looks like. :) Of course you took her to The Brothers place. I bet she loved it! Kevin: Who did you go with? Are you brown now? Send me a picture of your battle wound above your eye. Also, send me pics of you doing stuff in Zion. I WANT TO SEE! :) Jen: Your boys are so cute! I hardly recognize Dace anymore... he is growing up so fast! What a cutie! Don't put these on the blog!!!! (SORRY PEOPLE...I GET TO SEE THE PICTURES BUT YOU DON'T AT BROOKE'S REQUEST) We were making guatamalan food at a member's house and I went to grab an apron. I beheld this beauty and just had to wear it. Sister Messer and I just had to take pictures in it. I have a new tradition that I wear it every time I go over there. :):):) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Erin News 4.7.2014

(our mighty district, me in the bathroom.... not much has changed, me in the country, Atlanta, Our Wonderful Mission Group with Elder Cook) Both Doctors appointments were unsuccessful. They told me to come back in another 4 weeks. One doctor gave me a cortisone shot in my shoulder which hurt like the fires of Hell. I couldn't even move my arm for about 4 days. I think I must have been allergic to it or something because it hurt sooooo bad. One doctor offered me a surgery to clear out my nerves and my physical therapist thinks that there might be a bone spur in my elbow and my shoulder because they pop and grind so much. She said that if feels like something is catching on my ligaments. I'm so sad they didn't fix me. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN I LOVE FRUIT!!! Ps. I can't remember if I thanked you for the Easter package. I loved it. The clothes fit great. And I'm actually glad that you didn't send as much candy. I missed my favorite Easter treats but in all actuality, my meds make me not hungry at all. I have to force myself to eat because otherwise I wouldn't eat anything because I don’t' feel hungry. I actually lost 3 pounds in a few weeks because I'm not eating as much as I normally do. :D We got to watch the Saturday sessions of General conference at the church. On Sunday my comp had us leave so we didn't get to see them. I hope that I'll be able to watch it when I get home. We're on TV!!!!! We're practically famous! Yep, David Archuleta is defiantly still attractive. Haha. Dace is HUGE!!!!! Oh my gosh! I barely even recognized him! And he probably won't even know me by the time I get home.... PS tell Michael to shave his face. ;) Loves!!!!