Monday, August 26, 2013

Aug. 26, 2013-First Week in Brazil

Hello everyone! Sorry this will be short. I am serving in Maringa Brazil. My companion is Sister Sedgwick. She is from Connecticut. She is amaizng! I love her soooo much! She has been out on her mission one transfer longer than me. She is very loving and patient and hard working. I am learning a lot from her. We get along really well. I feel like I have known her my whole life! 

Brazil is amazing! I am so comfortable here. I had a lot of worries coming; hearing many things; but to explain simply, I feel like I'm in the US but with everyone speaking Portuguese. I drink the water with no problems. There are cars, buses, stores and houses. Normal toilets and so on. Very easy adjustment! I am counting my blessings for sure! 

I LOVE The food! It is mostly rice beans salad and meat of some kind, but is always prepared differently and soooo yummy! We do not eat dinner here. So we snack...granola bars, etc. My Mom is sending me some peanut butter...thank you so much, Mom!

We have a really nice apartment. It is bigger and nicer than my one in OKC. There are 4 sisters living here. Me, my comp, Sister Gee from Provo and Sister Rojas from Chile. Love them all! Church is great! The members are incredible! There is so much work to do here. Many prepared people! I love Brazil! I really think I could live here! 

Thank you for all of the emails! Sorry I am to able to respond back specifically, but I love reading and being updated. I miss you all! Hope you have a great week! 

If anyone is sending anything via snail mail -put a picture of Jesus and Mother Mary on it and no one will open it before it gets here (considered sacred ) 

hint hint! ;) ;) 

Thanks for the love and support. I feel your prayers! 


Somedays we need jackets, most other days are hot :)

Arrival and First Week Photos

President and Sister Genaro with Rachel

I need to send Rachel a quilt!
Caring for Rachel's blisters.
Soaked from a hot and hard day's work. 
Sister Sedgwick, Sister Edwards

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Safe Arrival to Brazil

We are so grateful to both of Rachel's Mission President's and their wives. They truly love and care for every single  missionary.  

President and Sister Walkenhorst drove to Rachel's apartment and escorted Rachel to the Oklahoma City Airport, and stayed with her; helped to check her bags and remained at her side until she boarded her flight. We were very touched by their kindness.

Rachel departed from Oklahoma City on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. She flew to the Dallas, Texas Airport...(that airport is so enormous, that she had to ride a train to the terminal for her connecting flight.)

She called home! What a blessing to talk to her. She happily shared some of her mission experiences and expressed to us the love she has for the wonderful people in Oklahoma. How she loves and appreciates them. It was difficult for her to leave. We are so grateful for the love and kindness shown to Rachel while she was there.  

Rachel boarded her flight in Dallas and flew 11 hours straight to São Paulo, Brazil. I 'watched' her plane with flight tracker, through the entire night. She left Dallas at 7:45pm on Monday, and arrived to São Paulo at 7:40am Tuesday morning. Brazil is 4 hours ahead of our time zone. So, she arrived to Brazil at 3:30am on my clock.

She was greeted by missionaries from the Brazil MTC in São Paulo, who escorted her through customs and led her to her flight to Londrina. {We are assuming this happened, or that Rachel figured it all out, because she arrived to Londrina, Brazil at 3pm. (11am my clock... :) }

We received a thoughtful letter from Rachel's Mission President; Carlos Alberto de Genaro, that verified that Rachel had arrived safely and that they were so happy to have her there. They have waited 2 months for her! President Genaro expressed his love and appreciation to us for sending Rachel to Brazil. 

Rachel took this photo from inside airplane
Sister Genaro, Sister Edwards, President Genaro
Mission Office
Rachel met another missionary on her flight from Dallas TX to São Paulo, Brazil. Her name is Sister Downs. (Not the same Sister Downs that was Rachel's companion in the MTC.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Visa Acquired...Flying to Brazil

Rachel has received her Visa. Her Mission President informed her that she will be flying from Oklahoma City to Londrina, Brazil on Monday, August 19, 2013.

She was able to call us to tell us! She is being flooded with emotions. She has already grown to love all of the people in Oklahoma and her heart aches to leave. She feels joy and sadness to have just begun...  As many of you know that feeling. Serving missions and transferring to new areas, or serving in callings and being released, a change in employment, all such significant transitions. It is such a blessing for her to be able to witness the baptism of Taisha (she is from Germany) this Friday.

I assured her that she has been serving faithfully and that the love and work of all of the people she associated with, will continue. What a blessing to have had the love and training of her two companions. She has learned so much. I will forever be grateful to Sisters Leavitt and Freeman for training Rachel. And to Sister Downs, Rachel's companion in the MTC.

She mentioned that she is nervous, not to go to a foreign land, but to speak Portuguese! She has continued her study. I gently reminded her that the language will come even faster, through the help of the Spirit and she will learn a great deal, speaking and hearing the language among the beautiful people in Brazil.

Please know, you can still contact Rachel through email, and mail letters to her. Letters will cost more than a regular stamp. I purchased some 'Global Stamps' and one stamp is $1.10. (Regular stamps for US are I think; $0.46.) It's worth it! Letters are treasured!

Here is her address:

*Londrina Brazil Mission Home:

Sister Rachel Jean Edwards

Missão Brasil Londrina

Ave Higienópolis, 1100, Sala 61 - Centro

86020-911 Londrina-PR


Thank you to all for your love, support and encouragement.  Love, Jeanette

Russ, Rachel, Jessica, Jeanette, Jeffrey, Rebecca, Ryan  (May 2013)
Jessica, Ryan, Rebecca, Jeffrey  (Aug. 2013)
Sunny day in Oregon! 
Last day together before Rebecca returned to College.
Rachel's hair is getting long. (Aug. 2013- Oklahoma City) 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Time flies when you are busy!

Oi! Hello Everyone:) It has been so good to hear from so many of you! Thank you for the emails and letters! I apologize for not personally writing back yet! So forgive me for adding you to my email today. 

Heather and Blaine- Thank you for writing Heather! It is always so good to hear from you. I love hearing about Will and Pete! Love you all and miss you tons! 

Aunt Katie- Thank you for writing to me! I loved reading your letter. You are such an amazing missionary! Way to follow the spirit:) Thanks for the encouragement and compliments. I can't wait to see your house when I get back! Micheal and I write letters back and forth. He is so funny and sounds like he is doing well. I am writing him today. He is a very efficient missionary it sounds like! Good for him! I miss you all and again appreciate you writing me! :) Love and miss you all so much!

Grandma Betty!- Thank you for the handwritten letters! You made me laugh with your story. I love hearing about how and where everyone is:) Updates are great on a mission because we don't have facebook! haha. I love hearing about the mission status' of all the cousins:) Becca's is coming up soon! Not as soon as Katelyn though! How exciting!!! :)  Miss and love you!! 

Okay so this week I can describe in two words- A MIRACLE. It has been an incredible week and I don't feel deserving of what happened in the least! I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity that I did with my companions. Our jaws dropped several times this week! haha Wanna know? Okay! I have permission to send this btw and you should all be expecting a video of her telling the video her self and she wants to tell everyone her story:)

Last Saturday we went to to visit a recent convert. She is a single mom of a three year old boy. When we went to visit her we found that she also had a friend staying with her from Germany. They became very good friends.  The friend has been struggling but trying, and is determined and the most positive person I have ever met! She has a strong belief in God and his hand in her life.
She also has epilepsy (seizures). So her brother in Germany sent her a medical dog that is constantly with her and helps her through her seizures. It is a cute lil white puppy, specially trained. She needed to get it's vaccines but couldn't afford them. She doesn't like asking but she really needed the help. So as she was calling places she ended up calling the LDS Oklahoma City, OK Temple. 

The Temple President's counselor, met her there and personally paid for her dogs medical bills. She was in awe and couldn't believe the love and compassion he showed. She loved the temple too and talks about how special of a place it was and that she felt something special there. 

A few weeks later we come to visit LeeAnn and meet Taisha and her her story. (Note: This was 9 days ago). During that visit we end up teaching her the 1st lesson. She LOVED it. 

Taisha has a special gift of the spirit and believing. She came to church the next day and just embraced it. In the hallway she told me that she wanted to be apart of this and wanted to know how to get baptized. We were shocked and so excited! We have taught her every day since then and she is getting baptized this Friday by President Applegate! 

Every time we taught her; she just got it. I wish I could describe the incredible lessons we had. It was never because of us. She was so prepared to hear the gospel. 

In Relief Society yesterday she got up and began to pour our her testimony to all of the women. She cried and told them that once she is baptized she wants to come with us and knock on doors because she knows it it true and wants to help everyone to know. She also told them all how they need to feed the missionaries to thank us. : )

She made us a feast on Saturday to express her gratitude to us. Be really, we are so grateful to her! 

We got her a German Book of Mormon and she loves it! She spent one day just reading to us from the Book of Mormon and rehearsing and telling us everything she is learning and understanding. She is AMAZING!!!! She goes up to people and asks them to tell her their testimony. 

When she feels the spirit she will stop and say "Do you feel that! He is here! look at my goosbumps! look at your goosbumps!!" She will cry and hug us. I feel so grateful for the opportunity I have had to teach her, although she has taught ME so much! I love her so much and I KNOW that she is a huge reason I am in Oklahoma right now and not Brazil. 

I love my mission and the things I have been learning and doing. I pray for you all and love you all and am very thankful to you for the support I receive. Okay I have to go. Have an amazing week! 
Love, Sister Edwards

Monday, August 5, 2013

I lost track of what week I'm on... 10, 11? Nao sei!! :)


Heeeeelllloooooo everyone!!! I have just got to say- This week was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! Full of miracles, I just feel so blessed! I love Oklahoma!!!!! I love being a missionary!!!!!!! ahhh! Okay, just had to get that out of my system! (When I feel the spirit I just get so excited! Some people get very emotional which also has happened out here but for the most part I just want to jump up and down and yell "hallelujah! The Church is True!!! Amen!!" Anything like that:) 

Anyways.........   Where to begin! 

Oh Todd Walker:) We love this man so much! He is just amazing. He has been investigating the church and meeting with missionaries for over 2 years now. Miracle! He is getting baptized on the 24th. We have been teaching him since I arrived here and just in the time that I have been able to get to know him. He has changed so much.
It is so neat to see the Gospel work in people's lives and and see their hearts soften to the message and truly desire to change. He has been smoking and drinking coffee pretty much his whole life. Missionaries have attempted to help him stop in the past, but the true desire and understanding was never there. My companion and I decided that if we are asking him to change his life to better live the Word of Wisdom- so can we.
So we wrote out a resolution, signed and dated it. When committing him to the Word of Wisdom we told him that we are also committing. We are not eating any more candy- especially chocolate because it is our favorite or any other sweet treats. Unless it is offered to us while our missions at dinner appointments, we don't want to be rude. :) I know you are all thinking we are CRAZY, and I know that it will be sooo hard. But what we are asking Todd is really hard for him too. (Mostly the coffee).
When we told him what we were committing to do, he began to cry. He was so grateful for our love and our true desire to help him. AND HE COMMITTED! We call him every morning night and report on our goals and so does he.
It is truly amazing how the Lord can help you to keep his commandments. My companion and I prayed for help in this seemingly silly goal, but sincerely because we want to be able to understand what we are asking others to do.
One dinner appointment we had coconut cream pie and those who know me know how much I love coconut, I had to force myself to eat it. It was not yummy, strangely. I thought it was just my pie but I had a bite of my comp's delicious looking chocolate pie and the same thing. I know the Lord is helping me and Todd Walker to better keep the commandments he gives us. 

As far as all the treats that I had in my cupboard. We gave them all to the Elders! (Garbage Disposals!:) We helped clean out and pack a blind elderly ladies apartment this week and she needed us to take some of her stuff for her. She gave us a whole bunch of adult diapers... we didn't know what to do with them... so we put our candy in them and gave them to the Elders.. haha they loved it. They didn't expect it all. It was funny!

Something neat! - Temple Conference! I love going to the temple so much. I HIGHLY encourage all who are able to go right away! You won't be sorry- besides the fact that it is the temple. There is something new and you will LOVE IT! :) It was great to also see all of the missionaries in the mission- including Sister Zambrana (came with me from the MTC). 
Our Mission President has set a goal for the Mission. He refers to it as our vision. We as a mission, are going to work to have 100 baptisms in the month of August as a whole. That means one to two baptisms per companionship. We are all very excited for the challenge and know that Heavenly Father will guide us to the places we need to be to be finding and teaching the people we need to teach as long as we are working our hardest and being the obedient faithful missionary he expects us to be. We have been setting many goals and are going to do our best to contribute to the Vision.

We are also teaching a really sweet old man named Tom. He has had Hiccups for 3 years. Sadly, his twin brother passed away from the hiccups. I thought this sounded odd at first but if you have ever met someone diagnosed with hiccups its so sad! He loves the things we teach him and "meditates" about all the things he is learning. We hope that he can start coming to church! 

We are going to be teaching a man from Nigeria and another man and his friends from Uganda! When I told them I went to Ghana last year they are very interested in talking to us:) There are surprisingly a lot of Africans here. They are so loving and teachable! We are excited to teach them and I am grateful for the connection I now have with Africa. I love the people of Ghana and miss them so much. I met a member from Ghana the other day and we had a great conversation! He was from Cape Coast:)
It is amazing- this world. Full of so many incredible people. I love all of you in Oregon and Utah and Africa and Oklahoma and Turkey and everywhere else this email goes haha! This world is an amazing place and am grateful to live on this earth- despite the evil, there is so much good. Like Sister Neilson said in her email to me today, "just look up!" The sky is only the beginning of the blessings and beauty of the earth. :)

We are also teaching a German Girl. Her name is Taisha. I truly feel as if she is the reason that I am in Oklahoma and not Brazil yet. I KNOW I was meant to meet her. She is so sweet, I love her so much. Her heart has been prepared no doubt. I look forward to updating you on how things go with her. We met her this Saturday and are meeting with her pretty much everyday this week:) Life is good, this mission is great! I love you all. Thank you for keeping in touch and up dating me. I love hearing about the missions of all my cousins and friends. What a great time to be a missionary!!! :) 

I pray for you all and hope that you have a great week! I know this is Jesus Christ's Church restored to the earth today in it's fullness and that it blesses our lives as we earnestly seek to live and abide by it's teaching- by keeping the commandments and loving others.

Have an amazing week!

Love Sister Edwards

Ps Mom you can choose who you send my "funny story to" haha I know you guys would at least laugh 
Okay funny story- I have permission to share this. Please don't think I am talking about my companion behind her back she is fully aware I am sharing and doesn't mind in the least. We were all laughing so hard we were crying and she is just fine with sharing:) I love her confidence! She is so great she makes me laugh every day with her sweet spirit.
So we were at a dinner appointment with a recent convert whom we all love- Sister Goewey. She is the 'Missionary's Grandma' out here! We love her! So it was after dinner and we were playing a game around her very old dinning room table. It is called Smoke the Bowl. It's pretty much like, I think it's called catch phrase, where you have words in the bowl and you have to try and get your partner to guess them without saying the word and you have to get all of them in the bowl before the time runs out.
Sunday dinners are always with all the missionaries in our ward (3 Elders and 3 sisters). So the whole lot of us were playing with the Goeweys, just having a good 'ol time. Now, on one of my companions turn (she being a very loud and we'll say an excited person) was bouncing up and down and up and down in her chair trying to guess the words. Then finally when her turn was over and she excitedly bounced back down into her chair it broke!!! (This all happened very fast and and we were all dying of laughter!) Startled, she when to get up and accidentally tooted and laughing so hard also drooled. (This was all a matter of about 10 seconds.) Oh man she had us in stitches! She is not someone who ever gets embarrassed which is a trait we wish I had more of but ahhhh man. We just couldn't stop laughing along with her. There is my story for the day, I hope it made you laugh as much as us.