Saturday, June 29, 2013

MTC Choir

Watch this link to listen to the MTC Choir perform at the World Wide Training Broadcast from June 23, 2013: 

You can see Rachel approx minute 3:15-3:22. Watch the top left of the screen. She is wearing a gray jacket.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sister Rachel Edwards

Letter #4 June 25, 2013

Oi minha familia e amigos!!!!!!!!!
I'm still here in the MTC and loving it!!! We start week 5 tomorrow! Ah! CRAZY!!!
I have so many notes in my planner to write about. Please excuse the randomess!
First of all it was such a lovely suprise to open my email this morning and hear from so many friends/family out in the mission field! I love you all and am grateful for your examples and support. I love that we can all be involved in this work together! 

I am also very excited about the involvement members will be having in Missionary Work. The Worldwide Broadcast was incredible! I loved it for numerous reasons. Being in the presence of the Apostles was a special opportunity for me. I know without a doubt that they have been called of God, and that they do love us and are receiving constant revelation for the church. How amazing! 

I love the spirit that was felt in that meeting. I was honored to be a part of the MTC choir. Our teacher compared the choir (Biggest MTC choir in history-2,500) the scripture in 2 Nephi 15: 26-29: 

"You were roaring like lions! Confident in your purpose, knowing what you stand for, defend and represent." I like this image that he came up with because I FELT that while singing with all of these missionaries. This work is not like any other. It really is the work of Salvation. I love being a missionary. I love the constant learning and growth. 

In an interview yesterday, I was told that I should never expect to be comfortable on my mission. God will continually show we my weaknesses so that I can grow. I am suppose to struggle! (Especially with Portuguese.) 

The Lord wants us to give our all to him and turn to the Savior for help when we can't do a thing more alone and HE WILL help us to complete what he has asked of us. He will fill our mouth! It is so important to be worthy of the spirit in our lives. I was reading in Alma 5 today about how the Spirit will always testify of truth. I can testify of that, no matter how small it may seem. Anything good is of God.
I love being a missionary!!!!
If you watch the Broadcast, at the end of Hark all ye Nations (3:20 time) Sister Downs, Weber and I are all on there. Don't laugh we are all pulling terrible faces!!! But we made it one the recording! woohoo!
MERRY 1/2 way to CHRISTMAS!!!!! Exactly 6 months today!! Our district is having a white elephant gift exchange in the laundry room today with items from the Free Bins in the residents Halls. Then we are going to go caroling in Portuguese:)
Last week at dinner I got some crab salad. I was really debating whether or not I should eat it... second thoughts are never a good sign with food haha. Anwyays, I was litterly about to take a bite when Sister Walker (sitting on the far end side of the table) was playing with her rice krispy treat, some how acceidently launched it across the table and it hit me right in the face and landed in my salad. I decided that was my answer! to not eat it! It was really funny.
Also the other day Sister Downs and I were on our way to a meeting when a MTC worker asked us to come help him. He took us to the room where all of the tech stuff happens (computer programming and stuff.) They were working on some new programs for the MTC computers and had us test it. It was cool to see another part of how the MTC works!
A suggestion for Ryan Edwards  (and everyone else) go to Mormon Messages and watch "Extraordinary Gifts" about the boy named Kuano who is a blind piano player! Really worth the time! So neat!!!
This week we are hosting for the new missionaries coming in! Our Zone has TWO new districts coming in! It is going to be crazy cool! Sister Downs and I will be running all over the place! I am so excited for the New Sisters. We have 8!!! I love them already and can't wait for them to experience all they will. 

Everyone should go on a mission:) just saying! Speaking of which.... CONGRATS JOSH!!!!!!!!!!!! How exciting!!! FRANCE!!!??? You will be learning French for sure now! haha I guess I was wrong saying Germany huh? haha When does Katelyn get her call? And when do Josh and Logan Fox report? So exciting! You are going to love it!
Did you know that "Jesus" is Greek and in English his name is "Joshua"?
Well, there is so much more I would like to write about but yet again, time is up and we have laundry to do!! I miss you all so very much and love you! It was so special to be able to hug my sisters and Mom at the broadcast. I love you 3 so much. Please pass on my hugs to Dad and the boys and EVERYONE else!
Happy Fourth of July! Let me know what you all are doing to celebrate! We will be watching the Staduim of fire Firework Show! :) Cool cool!
I receive my reassignment next Thursday. Thanks for all the guesses. We will see you is closest!
Send me some mailing address for letters! Thanks!

Sister Edwards

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Letter #3 - June 18, 2013

Oi minha familia e amigos!
I'm half way through my MTC experience! I miss you all! I hope life is going well and everyone is have a great summer!!! I can't believe it is summer! How cool! Thank you to those who have been writing me. I would love to hear from you all! I like hearing the stories of the world outside the MTC. : )
To start off. I would like to say 'Happy Fathers Day' to all the Dads out there! But especially to my Dad. I love you Dad! There is letter coming to you, sorry it is a little late! 

On Sundays we have the opportunity to watch 'Music and the Spoken Word' before Relief Society. It is my favorite part about Sundays, including everything else on Sunday too! 

There is something so special about music and the way it invites the spirit. I love listening to music- especially- because with the exception of singing; there is no music at the MTC (as in mission approved music players). So I just love it! 

This week was a special on Father's Day. The whole time I was thinking about you, Dad. I am so grateful for you and your love for me. I have the best Dad ever! I really do feel so blessed. I love you! I hope Becca, Jessica, Jeffrey and Ryan did something special for you!! I also asked your question to all of my fellow district members. Their answers are in my letter. :)
Happy Birthday Michael! I know you are in the field now! Hope It was an awesome experience! Happy Birthday Brayden! I also hope you had an awesome day, you and my cousin share a birthday! I thought of you both. My companion and I sang to you that morning just so you know:)
The World Wide Training Broadcast is coming up this Sunday, June 23rd @ 4pm MST.  I am SOOO excited!!!!! All of the Apostles and the Prophet are coming! In meetings on Sunday we were told to be on on our extra good behavior (so pretty much keep doing what we are doing) because the 12 Apostles will be around campus this week! 

The missionary choir singing is over 1100 missionaries! I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to sing! I will be wearing my gray suit jacket, singing alto so look for me!!! It will be a live worldwide broadcast. Our teacher said to expect some big changes to missionary work! It is so exciting to see all the the growth and change!
I have the best companion ever! She is so sweet and loving and patient and just such a hard worker! The other day when we were having companionship study I was falling asleep. Now, I don't just sleep like I use to in High School. It is kind of funny to see missionaries here fall asleep studying because we are all trying soooo hard to not to! But my eyes seriously would NOT stay open. I felt so bad! 

She is so loving, she said, "Sister Edwards, you look exhausted. I want to help you. Lets go for a walk." So we got up and took our notebooks and studied while walking around campus. I was able to stay awake and do so much! When we got back for language study she again helped me to stay awake. 

We worked outside and acted out (dramatically, but quitely) all of our lessons. I had a break through too! I was able to remember all of the things in Portuguese that I studied that day! I am so blessed to have Sister Downs! She is helping to to know How to Study Effectively. There are so many ways to do it, and every person is different. I am finding the way that works best for me because she is loving enough to work with me and vise versa.
We are officially the new Sister Training Leaders. The other district has left to the field! They all recieved reassignment because they still have not received Visa's to Brazil. Some are going to Detroit and some to San Fernado California. 

~I would love to have everyone guess where my reassignment will be!!! It really could be ANY mission in the USA. And I could be there for 6-8 months! So lets hear your guesses! : ) haha.
When does Logan Fox come to the MTC? I ran into Ranae Bell from Rainier the other day! She is also going to Brazil. I can't wait to hear where my cousin, Josh is called!!! My bet is on Germany!! Since he speaks fluent German! Amazing!
I had serveral touching and spiritual experiences this week. Irmao Buttars taught an incredible lesson on the Plan of Salvation. He is such an inspired and loving teacher. I learned so much I didn't realize I didn't know. There is so much knowledge to be gained! 

I am so grateful for the opporunity to have all this time to study. I love it! I am reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and it is incredible what I learn; and the meanings I find, simply because of the way it is translated. It is a beautiful language! 

We always celebrate mini break-thrus! The other day I was in a training meeting and I answered a question in Portuguese without even thinking twice! My comp was wide eyed and started laughing because I hadn't realized what I said. YEAHH!!! This week our district started our goal of only speaking Portuguese -all day- except at meal time. It is going pretty well; though class is very quiet ; ) haha. We are realizing that we actually know quite a bit!! So Exciting!

It is funny the things I crave here. The other night in class I was dying to have Chicken Pot Pie. So strange! Thank goodness there are vending machines with carrots and celery haha
Ok, my time is up! :( I will send some pictures while I do laundry later. Love you all! Hope to hear from you soon!
Love Rachel

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Letter #2, June 11, 2013

Oi mihna familia e amigos! Tudo Bem!


Hello Everyone! Thank you for the emails! I try to respond to them fast because time is so limited! I will try...and write this letter...We have time to do that while waiting for our laundry to wash.


WOW! Time flies here! I can't believe how fast a week goes by. I thought I just got here?? Sunday to Sunday is very fast. I am still loving it! There were a few hard moments but over all, things are good. I am fighting a nasty little cold that is living in our district but I think I am almost better. : )


Portuguese is coming along still. I can't believe how fast it happens. It is getting harder, but I plan to work harder too. I have the most AMAZING teachers. They are so inspired and loving. They really want us to succeed and just care so much. I love class. Their names are Irmao Nothum and Irmao Buttars. I don't know if you remember me telling you about our investigator, Agostino? But Agostino ended up being Irmao Buttars. It has made a huge impact on our learning. He has known us since we arrived here and were both struggling the most. He is very compassionate and I know he wants us to succeed.


I took the time to talk to my companion last night and we had a mini melt down after a lesson. We were frustrated that we could not express ourselves and teach him what we wanted to, because we didn't have all the vocabularyHowever, he talked to us and reminded us that it was okay; that we are farther along than 3 years of Spanish! I am feeling better about that.


I love the spirit that we feel in class. I am learning more and more about my purpose as a missionary. I thought I had a pretty good idea, but there is soooo much to learn. It is all about love; loving as the Savior loves. This is something that I want to be able to do.


Sundays are still my favorite days, even though they are very busy days. Sundays are truly the days set apart to be uplifted and inspired. We had a very neat devotional that we watched from David A. Bednar. It was called the Character of Christ. It was really neat. I wish I had words to describe it. Even in the devotional he said not to take notes, but to remember how we felt. I felt a desire to know my Savior even more and a desire to come unto him, to become like him.


During a special opportunity to study individually outside, as a class, and just pray, read our scriptures and try to receive personal revelationI read from John Chapter 13-15. I encourage you to read from these chapters! Christ talks of his love for the people and his apostles. I found many answers to several questions I have had swimming though my mind this week.


I love the opportunities here to feel of Heavenly Fathers love and encouragement. I know that this is where I am supposed to be right now and that he is pleased with my decision to serve. Thank you all for your love and support! Please support the missionaries in you ward as well! They need you!


This Sunday, my companion and I were looking forward to a day of studying and devotionals. But when we arrived to our classrooms that morning to begin, our day was changed in a moment! We were called to be Sister Training Leaders of our Zone. (We work with the Zone leaders but are over the Sister Missionaries.) We had so many meetings and trainings! It was great; very busy; but truly wonderful.


Sister Downs and I were so busy we had to do companion inventory and planning in the dinner line! We look up to our sister training leader and are learning so much from her. Actually her name is Margo Anderson (red hair) and she went to high school with my cousin, Jake! (Jacob Kirkpatrick). We have so much to learn, but are looking forward to the opportunity to serve and get to know the sisters in our zone. We do MTC training with them when they arrive to the MTC. It is crazy to think we are going to do that after we have JUST got the hang of it. Things happen fast here.


Missionaries are constantly coming and going. English speaking missionaries are only here 2 weeks. (I would be gone if that were me!) Portuguese and most foreign languages are here for 6 weeks. Japanese and Chinese speaking are here for 8-10 weeks. 

I will be here until July 8 and then reassigned to a mission in the USA until I get my VISA. That is how it has been with all 4 Zones of Brazil Missionaries. Only 2 missionaries have received their Visa. We are all hopeful and prayerful! Any guesses on my reassignment?? ; ) 


~This Tuesday we have an awesome opportunity to participate in a HUGE change for the MTC. They are now going to be holding MTC devotionals in the BYU Marriott Center! We will all walk over there from the 2 MTC campuses. They estimate that in the next 5 years the Missionaries will fill the Marriott Center!! Incredible!! The work is going forth full force!~


    ALSO!!! SOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in the MTC choir. It is the BEST! If any of you go on a mission who haven't yet, JOIN CHOIR! The director is so talented and just overall hilarious! And…


***On June 23, there will be a Worldwide Broadcast Training of the church and we are going to be the Choir singing! It will be on the church website.  All the 12 Apostles will be there and so will our prophet, Pres. Monson. I am sooo excited for this opportunity! Watch for me on TV!! I'll let you know what I'll wear when the time is closer ; ). I feel so blessed to be here at this time!!!***


Funny Stories:

At gym time (Seriously feels like recess in grade school but I love it!) I got in trouble!! Okay not reallyI am an obedient missionary! ; ) I just thought it was funny. Normally we play sand volleyball or four square or run laps but it was especially hot this day and the sand was burning our feet. So, sitting under the big beautiful trees I had an urge to climb the tree! So I did! It was a blast! (Somebody please send this to Alex Carbine my tree climbing buddy). A few sisters joined me and we had a blast. Sadly, we found out that they don't want us to hurt the trees…Understandable. I guess I was the first sister missionary to do that. I'm not sure if I should be sorry or proud?? Haha. Just kidding. I felt bad, but it was okay. They are very kind "missionary recess watchers!"


Sister Downs got a boiled egg at breakfast one day and cracked in on the table just to find that it wasn't boiled!! It was so funny!


Elder Hamilton (Our DL) was sitting in class one day and noticed gooey stuff on his name tag. Without thinking he licked it to see what it was!!!! EW!! It ended up being toothpaste-thank goodness for him. ;)


During a devotional our organist -An elderly gentleman- was playing the Hymn, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Have you seen the church movie where the elderly sister is playing the organ and just going crazy…up and down the keys? Well, the whole time he was playing he was doing that and literallyLAUGHING! He was playing his own version, and the music director couldn't help from laughing. The organist kept throwing in runs in between verses, he was laughing so hard he wasn't even looking too! It was sooo funny!! Very talented!


Okay, my time is up again!! I'll try and figure out how to send pictures eventually!!!


Love you all!!! Hope to hear from you soon! (Letters preferably :)




Sister Edwards


P.S. HAPPPPY BIRTHDAY Brayden!!!! (On Friday) Everyone hug him for me!



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First Letter, June 4, 2013

Oi! Como vai!!!?? Tudo Bem!!!   Hello Everyone!  I am so excited to finally be writing to you all! My P-Day's are Tuesdays, and I have been looking forward to it!  Where do I even begin!? There is so much!


I absolutely LOVE being a missionary! And I love the MTC; (CTM in Portuguese). It is incredible. The spirit is ever presentstrengthening and uplifting. I love how friendly everyone is here and being greeted in numerous languages.


I also really appreciate the structure and order. I thought it was going to be hard adjustment but it happened more easily than expected. The first and second days flew by so fast!  Sunday came in the blink of an eye. I can't believe it will be one week tomorrow! That is amazing.


We are just so busy here; we don't even have time to think about anything else! My thinking time is usually when I am trying to fall asleep. For the first time in my life I have trouble falling asleep!!! (Those who know me know I can sleep anywhere; anytime. Ha ha!)


It is when the day comes to a close, I am thinking of you all and how much I miss you. And I do miss you, so very much. I am also very grateful I decided to serve a mission. I am so happy.  I am learning so much and feel very productive.


I'm in a Portuguese District and Zone. (Zone 70- District D). There are 8 sisters and 3 elders in my District. We are all going to Brazil and we are all Visa waiters. This was explained to us in other terms saying we are guests at the MTC (since we were supposed to go to the CTM in Brazil). In other words we are being worked into the MTC schedules.


We have an odd meal schedule. Breakfast: 6:30am, Lunch: 11:00am, Dinner: 4:00pm. I thought I was going to be waking up at 6:30am; but I guess not!! It has been fine though. I adjusted with no problem.


My companions name is Sister Downs. SHE IS AMAZING! I am sooooo blessed to have her as my companion. We work so well together. We both want to be the best missionaries possible and it is so helpful to have someone with the same goals. The first day she turned to me and said, "Sister Edwards, I want to learn Portuguese, and I am going to do whatever it takes. Are you with me?" "YES!" Ah, I am so grateful for her. I love her! She is from Kayesville, Utah and is 21. I am the only one going to Londrina! We have asked pretty much everyone going to Brazil and so far I am the only one! I hope I can find someone!


As for the Portuguese- oh my goodness! The very first hour I was here, was the first class. It is coming along really well, it is incredible. I have already taught 3 lessons in Portuguese. I had no idea how muchSpanish I actually know because it is helping me tremendously and also messing me up a lot. I talk span-portu-glish. ;) Sister Downs and I have made a goal to use the language as much as we can.


I have never thought so much about what I am going to say. We will be walking to dinner and I have to think about how I am going to say, "That was a great class" or "I am hungry." I also realized we use so much slang in English. I can pray in Portuguese and bear my testimony (simply- but it is progress!) I am really excited for it to come! On Sunday in testimony meeting, missionaries who have been here for 3 weeks got up and could just speak smoothly. We sit with them at meals and converse in Portuguese. It is awesome! I can't wait! It gives me a lot of hope.    Side note: The food here is delicious! There is so much and yeah…enough said :)


My branch President's name is Pres Nielson. He is a great man. I had an interview with him and he is very full of love. I love the attitudes of the leaders and teachers at the MTC. They just love, encourage, excite and affirm you.


Sunday was probably my favorite day so far. It was fast Sunday so we had a lot of time to study since we had no meals to go to. It was great to be able to have time for personal study because so much of our study time is used for studying Portuguese lessons we are preparing to teach.  Significant time is spent translating and learning right now. So it was great to do stuff in English on Sunday. Then we had mission conference. INCREDIBLE! I loved every talk. Here are some notes on from the talks:


-Our relationship with Jesus Christ is so sacred. He was our brother in the pre-existence, and now He is our Savior and our Lord. It is so important to reverently worship him in all we do; especially in our language. We should not think we bring Christ down to our level to get closer to him. We must rise up to him and become like him. He is not a man- he is a God. He is our Savior. We owe everything to him.


-"If you are going to live in a tent in the wilderness you are going to need a liahona!" (compass) Be prepared and gain a firm testimony. You are going to need to rely on it and your obedience for direction where ever you go in life.


-Become a "preach my gospel missionary." President Roach talked about the history and development of Preach my Gospel and how to effectively use it. He also showed us how they use to teach discussions with felt boards. That reminded me of when we were younger.


Times do change and progression is essential. Teaching by the Spirit and teaching to the needs of the investigator is so important. I challenge you all to begin to read Preach my Gospel. It is an incredible book every member missionary should read! aka everyone :)


-Endure to the END (Forever)


Then later that night we had a devotional from Ted Gibbons. Google him! He is a very inspiring man! He got up on the stage and began telling the story of Willard Richards (Pretending that he was Willard). It was beautiful. This was probably the strongest I felt the spirit my whole time here.


My testimony of Joseph Smith has grown tremendously. I know he was a prophet of God. I know it with all of my heart and being. We all sang praise to the man after hearing the story. I couldn't help but choke up with tears. The line "Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven" stood out to me especially. I know that so much of our life in the gospel is sacrifice.


Just before the devotional I was thinking about what I might be doing if I wasn't here right now. (Probably be in my YSA ward or spending time with Brayden and his family). I felt really homesick. Then I heard and sang that line from the hymn, and… I know that every sacrifice we make will bring forth the blessings of Heaven. I know this is where I am supposed to be. I know I am supposed to serve a mission and I love doing it!


Note to: Rebecca, Jessica, Jeffrey and Ryan! Get ready for the best thing EVER! It really has been life changing and it is only the first week. I look forward to so much! Please keep in touch! Written letters would be amazing! Emails; too. I'd love to hear from you! Thank you, Mom and Dad for the letters and pkg.


My mission is May 29, 2013 - November 25, 2014.  I am going to make the most of it. I may be reassigned to a different mission on July 8, when I leave the MTC, until my Visa goes through. I will let you all know!


Okay time is up. I love you all so very much and hope life is going well for you! I pray for you every night!Hope to hear from you soon! Tchau!!!


Love, Sister Edwards

Rachel, MTC, May 29, 2013

Will be serving in Londrina, Brazil Mission
Pointing to Londrina, Brazil
Nephew, Owen escorting Rachel to MTC
Rachel with Aunt Cadie and nephew, Owen...who is son of Aunt Cari. : )
Rebecca and Grandma Betty June Ott
Rachel and Grandma Betty June Ott

Rebecca and Rachel~ final hug