Oi familia e meu amigos! Como vai? (Hello my family and my friends! How are you?)
Eu estou muito triste porque meu email não enviou semana passada.
(I am very sad because my email didn't send last week.) :(
I had one written up but then my computer froze or something and it was lost... not even saved in my drafts. So sad! Oh well, apparently I was suppose to keep you all wondering:)
I am alive and well! Even more so! I am loving Oklahoma! I feel very blessed because the summer here has been mild! (low 100's is mild:P) but really some days the highs have been only in the 90's! And it has been raining! Glory Hallelujah! EU AMO CHUVA! I LOVE RAIN! It is such a blessing! I can't remember what I have said already or if it was part of my lost email so I apologize if I repeat anything!
I am obsessed with clouds. The sky here is Oklahoma is BEAUTIFUL. My companions make fun of me for always taking pictures of clouds and the sky, but I just love it! One moment I'm in Andy's Room (From Toy Story) and the next I'm in Lion King! The clouds move so fast and change shapes and the sunrises and sunsets are just amazing. ah! goooood stuff here in OKC!
Oh yeah, to answer my questions. The noises in the trees are bug- yuck! They are cicadas. Kinda a nasty cross between locus and beetles. Aunt Cadie is right, they do sound like electricity too! The squiggly lines on the roads apparently mean Slow Down. They are near schools and churches and neighborhoods- aka EVERYWHERE. haha
There are a lot of creepy crawlies here! Not to many spiders that I have seen, thank goodness! But in the grass there are these tiny red bugs called Chiggers that bite and itch like crazy! There seem to be a lot of roaches too! We were in a home teaching one time and I couldn't even tell you how many roaches crawled over my feet. ahh. yeah! We found a grasshopper in our car the other day! They are also all over! Bunnies aren't creepy crawly but they are everywhere! They are so cute! They remind me of Truffles! Miss that 'lil guy!
And of course, Mosquitos! BUT! funny story! There is a potential investigator we visit named Keith. He is the sweetest, smallest, elder, gardener, gentleman. He claims to have the Garden of Eden in his backyard! He is so funny. One day we were on his front porch and I was getting eaten by mosquitos- I know I just taste so good apparently! But he noticed and ran inside and brought out Apple Cinnamon Room spray made by Glade. He sprayed it alllll over us! Arms, legs, necks and guess what! It works! BEST mosquito repellent ever! It smells great and works! :) We put it on every day now, haha. Thank you, Keith!
There are two things that I would like to include in my letter for sure this week. First of all, I have been learning soooo much here on my mission and especially from my companions. One of the things I am learning to recognize, and that is building my testimony tremendously, is- Personal Revelation. I know that it is real; and as missionaries we can receive revelation for the people we teach.
One incredibly inspired way we do this is something that our previous misison president had all the missionaries do. As many of you know we "Role play" a lot. We practice teaching lessons and make it specific to our investigators. But something that we do is called "Real Playing." Essentially we take our time to really try and "perceive the thoughts" of our investigators. Just like Ammon did for King Lamoni. It is amazing.
After sincere prayer we slowly and thoughtful strive to ask inspired questions and then the missionary taking on the role of the investigator answers with inspired answers. I have such a testimony that this is real because I have had questions, or answers or thoughts that have come to mind that I had no idea where I would have never come up with on my own. And then in lessons when we feel prompted to ask those questions or investigators answer just as we knew they would. This helps us to prepare to teach to their needs.
I know that Heavenly Father is so aware of us and our needs. I know he loves us and wants to help us. I know that he communicates with us just as he has with the people in times of old. I know he loves me and that he loves you and that he has a purpose for each of us on earth today. More than anything he wants us to be happy. True happiness comes from living Jesus Christ's Gospel and serving and sharing it with others. "To truly find yourself; turn outward." -Elder Bednar
I absolutely love being a missionary and am learning to love the moment I am in. The time is now. Love and live in now, not yesterday or tomorrow. That is something I am learning and striving for in my own life.
The other thing I would like to share before I have to go is the importance of member missionary work. We have seen miracles happen when the member become involved in missionary work! Lessons are a million times more effective when members are present. People are able to better relate to members because they are living "normal lives" unlike the missionary life. And it helps tremendously is fellowshipping. Everyone wants to feel wanted and to have friends and members are so essential for that. We as missionaries move on to new areas, but the members live here.
I am very blessed to be serving in such an incredible ward who reach out and love the people in this community. We have had several wonderful lessons with members that have touched the hearts of our investigators. Our Ward Mission Leader is GREAT! He definitely has been an example to me of how to magnify a calling. One of his ideas is just simply awesome! I want to share it because I can see how helpful it would be for every ward! He is putting together a Ward data base. Many of the times we as missionaries ask him who would be a good member to come to lesson or fellowship a member? He can think of a few people but really we don't know a whole lot about every person in our wards. And as missionaries are always changing we don't know the members real well at the beginning either.
So on this database/ directory we are having each auxiliary fill out a survey/get to know you form. So we can easily access names, hobbies, work, availability, age, gender contact information and a picture of each person/family. Then when we have an investigator who for example likes to swim, we can get on and search swimming and everyone in the ward who likes to swim will pop up and we can match them up/ invite them to come teaching with us or give them a fellowship assignment.
There are many people who want to reach out but don't know how or to whom and this will help. This will also help with less active members. There are many activities we want to have in the ward, but the same people always run them, this will help! (and the variety of different activities).
Members will also have access to this and eventually be able to update their profile (with approval for appropriateness) and that will make it much easier for the members running the system. It is sooo exciting!! Then eventually when ipads and iphone are implemented in the mission we as missionaries will have easy access! It is soooo excited how much technology is helping the work go forward! So, mission leaders- he is an idea for you and your wards. It is a big task! But the effort to reach out to members and lessacitves to get the info will be missionary work with in it's self! And the rewards of the labor are awesome!!
If anything I encourage everyone to help the missionaries in your home town. We need you! Dinner is amazing! Thank you! But even more so is the joy of bring people we love, friends and family into the Gopsel. Thank you for all of the support! I love you all!
Thank you for reading my rants and giddy excitement! I hope I don't come off as too "missionaryish"- actually yes I do, I love this work! And a mission is only the beginning! Have a fantastic week! Thank you for the letters and emails of encouragement! I appreciate it SO much! "Have a blessed day!" (Oklahoman's always say that:)
Love Sister Rachel Edwards