Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept. 30, 2013

Letter from Rachel:

Wonderful last week of the Transfer!!

This week was such a good one! It has been raining, thunder and lightning storms and I LOVE it! Along with the weather, the work has been booming too! We have been meeting the neatest people whose hearts have been so prepared to hear the gospel. I have had a light turn on with the language. Suddenly I understand. I really can recall the exact time it clicked - one day after a lesson and conversation I realized I had understood everything. 

On sunday a Bother came over and whispered a message to us that someone was in the hall wanting to talk to us. Instantly without even thinking about it I knew what he said and walked out to the hall. Later I asked Sister Sedgwick how he knew English. She told me that he had been talking to us in Portuguese. What a miracle!!!! I was so excited!!  

This week my love for studying has grown more than ever. The spirit has led our companionship studies in amazing ways. We have beeb able to study to anticipate thoughts of our investigators. I have had questions that I have never thoguht of before come to mind. This has happened mostly because of our new investigator Leonardo. He is 16 years only. We met him while we were walking to a members house. He was outside sweeping leaves in front of his house. He later told us that this was the first time that he had ever done that and this it was very rare for him to be outside of his room when he was home. He told us that he was atheist and didn't believe in God or Jesus Christ. 

He was curious though what our message was because he told us there was something very diffrerent about us than other believers. We went to go teach him a few days later. He was waiting anxiously for us to arrive. He had tons of questions and thoughts. His family is very religious and he feels like "the Black Sheep" He wanted to know why he had trouble believing what they believe and doubting. He wanted to feel accepted. It was an incredible lesson. 

We went back two days later, last Saturday and taught him the Restoration. He loved it. He said for the first time he was learning about a religion that makes sense. He even prayed! He prayed that we wouldnt be transfered (this week is tranfers) so that we could both stay to keep teaching him. 

His prayer was answered (along with ours) My companion and I will be staying in Maringa City together! We encouraged him to come to church with us yesterday. He was really nervous because he had not gone is so long. But we assured him it would be okay and very different that what he has experienced. He came and the youth and members were so loving and welcoming and he LOVED it. 

Later that night he told us that he was so happy, feeling such a diffrerent joy that he didn't want to leave the chapel. He stayed for a baptism afterwards too. That night we went to a follow up lesson with him and started to teach the Plan of Salvation. After teaching him about The Fall and the Atonement and the need for our Savior, he told us that he believed us and believed in Christ. 

He was amazed and started laughing (with joy): "Last week I was an atheist, and then you Sisters came along and have made me more happy that I have ever felt in my life." I asked him if he wanted to have the feeling, the gift the the holy ghost forever in his life. He said yes. I invited him to be baptized and he accepted!!!!! He is going to be baptized this weekend in between sessions of conference. 

The youth are all coming over to his house to have FHE with him. We are watching Testaments on his projector (He has an awesome theater in his house:) A Priest from the ward who has come to the lessons with us is going to Baptize him. Oh and did I mention he speaks english too!!?? What a miracle! We have been helping him practice English and He has been helping me speak Portuguese. We are so excited for him. He is going to be a rock solid member and great missionary some day!! I love the gospel and seeing how it really changes a persons life. Seeing him accept that he really does have faith was just amazing. 

Thank you for all the love and support! I feel your prayers. My bites are healing really well and scaring as beautiful as a scar can be! I have to go, we need to buy groceries! We are out of soy milk. Yep, I drink the most delicious coconut or banana or strawberrt soy milk, brazilian brand it is SOOOO YUMMMMY!!! 

Mom do you have the coconut bread reciepe? I told members about it and they wanna try it haha.Thanks!

Love you all! Have a great week!

Love Sister Edwards

PS. Rebecca Jessica Jeffrey and Ryan how are you?? I miss you very much and want to hear about ya! Sending hugs! 

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Happy in Brazil

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sept. 23, 2013

Eu fui atacado por um cachorro esta semana passado

Translate that last sentance then continue reading:)

This was one CRAZY WEEK!!!! So much happened! To begin, I had an AWESOME birthday! It was fabulous. Sister Sedgwicks birthday was the 18th and the other sisters we live with suprised us with cake and balloons and it was so great! I had 5 cakes for my birthday this year haha. The members were all so loving and we recieved so much love and food and presents. Everyone here loves a reason to have a party pr bolo (Cake) haha. Sister Sedgwick made me FRENCH TOAST!!!! I was so happy! I ate it with my peanut butter too. We ate a whole jar of peanut butter already. Think I gotta slow down, only one to go. yikes, I love peanut butter! Thank you again for the package. I also have been loving my cream of wheat! 

Julia was confimed in Sacrement meeting this week. It was wonderful to see her so happy and finally feeling some peace. She is wonderful and they ward is taking such good careof her and her family. The Bishop and his family amae me. They work so hard and love everyone. I admire all the members her and love them dearly. I really hope I dont get transfered next week! We'll see though. I dont think I will. 

We had a ward party. It was so fun! Brazilian BBS totallllly beat American BBQs sorry! I just love the food! Have you ever had mangos on your hot dogs?? mmm:)

Okay now for the climax of the week. On wednesday I was attacked by a dog. It bit my face, arm and hand. i had to go to the hopital and they thought I was going to need stitches. He bit me above the nose and caught and ripped my lip. (Thats were they thought Id need stitches.) But they decided not to give them. Eventually it stopped bleeding. I have to punture woond in my arm that are also healing so well. My thumb is the only thing on my hand that had skin broken through. Everything is healing amazingly fast! The members here are angels. They have taken such good care of me. Dont worry mom I am just fine! I got two more vaccinations for Rabies and thank goodness I already had it from my trip to africa. Africa really has prepared me for so much! Thank you for sending me bandaids in my package too. They have come in handy! I am doing GREAT! :)

Well, I'll send some pictures. Praying for you all and still loving being a missionary. We have been getting rain, Im lovin it! Feels like home! 

Boa Semana!!
(Have a great week! )

Love Sister Rachel Edwards

Rachel is healing.

Right arm bandaged along with her thumb. She is healing well. Lips, face healing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sept. 16, 2013- Maringa City, Brazil


What a GREAT week! I will be brief since I am in a hurry today.. so much to do one p-day... so little time! I sent more pictures this week so I hope they can speak for me with the captions. :)

Thank you for the Birthday wishes, emails and my package!!!!! I am in love my my peanut butter!!! YAY!! We made cookies with it today yum yum yum!

We are teaching a family that use to be in the circus!!! It is so cool! They showed us tons of pictures... and scars. Missionaries get to meet the coolest people! :) 

Julia was baptized! I am so happy for her. She worked so hard this week to get ready. She was glowing afterwards. I am very, very grateful to have been a part of this significant experience. She was so prepared! Maria Eduarda was confirmed; and that too, was wonderful to witness. She has such strong faith. 

We are teaching Leila, who is the Mother of a youth's friend in our ward. She has so much promise and potential we are very excited for her. 

We are almost all caught up on paper work!!! yeah!!! We hope to be done by tonight. I went on splits this week with Sister Santos from Fortaleza Brazil. She helped me a lot and my Portuguese is getting better...key word...better! ;)

*There is a fruit here that has something in it that makes you sleepy. We had the juice they make with the fruit one night and I was 'out' before we even finished planning hahaha. The other day at lunch we were all enjoying our dessert of "fruit mousse" just for me to discover it was made of that fruit! I fell asleep during the message. haha I for some reason react to it the most. The other sisters were all fine haha dont worry it is safe!

I have so many funny moments to tell you all some day!!!  

Love you all - have a great week!

Love Sister Edwards

Mom, I am doing great! We take care of one another. Please be assured I am well taken care of by my ward, mission pres. and his wife and also my companion.

Maringa City is very developed. Imagine America with everyone speaking portuguese (little bit different looking houses and stores) and you have my area. I am very blessed. I am very grateful for my experience in Africa. I can take on anything now!!! haha. 

Thank you for the package! I LOVE IT! Yummmmmmmmy! oh peanut butter is amazing! Thanks for the cookie recipe too. We tried it with gluten free flour stuff cuz sister sedgwick is gluten intoerant and lactose intolerant. They were really yummy! We brought them to district meeting and the elders all loved them! 

Yes, I am fed great... too good some times haha, We do walk alot but a member from the ward bought me gel inserts for my shoes:) The language is a challenge; but this week was eye opening and I am speaking much more. I just need to be diligent! I hope my pictures say a lot- I am not able to write everything I wish I had time too! It's all in my journal. LOVE you and MISSSSS YOU!!!!!!!! ....So Much!!!! Thanks for the birthday wishes! I am very grateful. Have a good week!

Chocolate covered marshmallow
Sewing skirt
Sister Santos from Fortaleza, Brazil with Sister Edwards
Birthday pkg arrived in time! It took 4 weeks to be mailed from US to Brazil.
Peanut butter!
Granola! Sisters Edwards with Sister Sedgwick (from Connecticut)
Making cookies
Sister Bullen from Alaska w Sister Edwards
Missionary feet!
Cooling off!

Maringa City

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sept. 09, 2013 (3 weeks in Brazil)

Ola!!!! Boa Tarde Everyone! 

I made a list of things that I wanted to write home about this week and also have for rememberance in writing. Journal time is so quick with opening a new area! We have been doing a TON of paper work trying to catch up. We just received new forms for our area book this week so all the work done before us is now being organized and our work is being recorded! I can't wait for the Ipads and iphones to come to Brazil! It won't be while I am serving but; what a blessing they will be! We are still waiting for our cell phone to arrive. We need it so badly. It had been an adventure to try and contact people. I admire you all who did missionary work with out a cell phone! (Mom, Dad, etc.) It is definitely more WORK. 

We had a baptism yesterday! It was great! It was for Maria Eduarda. She is 9 years old and has faith like Ammon and Aaron! She is so adorable. She was going to be baptized with her Mom, Julia. But we are working on no coffee:) We are hoping she can be baptized next week. We'll get there! The Ward here is incredible and works very hard. Our ward mission leader and his wife should wear name tags! haha They are constantly helping us out.

We taught an english class this week. We offer it for free (obviously) and find many investigators through it. It is actually helping me learn portuguese to teach english.

We are trying to use music more in our teaching. Sister Sedgwick has the voice of an angel! She and I sing to people in the street, during lessons, waiting for the bus and a member even had us sing to an entire restaurant this week! :) Hymns and music invite the spirit in such a special way. I love it! And I am learning how to prounouce words better when I have to sing them.

This week our weekly plans were interupted with a call from the secretaries in the mission office saying that we needed to come to Londrina! So we took the lonnnng bus ride to Londrina so that I could get my ID in Brazil... of course just like in the airport they found the problem with my visa and it took a little longer to do everything. My visa has a mistake. The government issued me a visa for 2 years which is actually impossible and illegal.... I dont know why. Foreigners can only have it issued for 1 year at a time and have to renew. But... I'm here and not worried since I was let in the country and have an ID haha. We are going to renew my visa in a year regardless. I attached my photo for my id so ya'll can see haha.

I had some funny stories of me not understanding portuguese this week. During Zone meeting our zone leader apparently told everyone to close their eyes. I may have been day dreaming at the moment, totally lost on what was going on, since he talks so crazy fast I can't keep up...anyways.. a few minutes later he noticed my eyes were open and I also realized everyone had theirs closed. "Close your eyes sister..." He said to me in brazlian accented english. ohhhh... oops okay I did. I had no idea what we was saying but I was trying to listen for some form of the word abrir' so I knew when to open my eyes. But aparently I missed it. Because about 5 minutes AFTER he has said "open your eyes" I was still looking like I was asleep. " you can open your eyes now" The whole zone got a kick out of it... how embarrassing.... but I laugh now. It was pretty funny haha. 

Also while I was in Londrina we stayed with some other sisters in their house. It was late and I was tired from traveling so I wasn't really understanding what ever they were saying. So while they were talking (I was standing by an extra bed) I simply went to sit on the bed. What do you know...the whole bed frame broke underneath me! Yep, they were saying not to sit on it!! hahaha oops.. What a slap in the face these moments were haha. I laugh at them now, and hope will too. Besides this I am learning more and more portuguese every day. I am contacting in the streets more and teaching more and am able to speak my mind a little better every day. It will take time but it is happening! yay! I am so grateful for the mercy and help from the Lord. I wouldn't be able to do this with out Him... at all! 

I received the letter from Mom this week with Blakes Article in the New Era! HOW AWESOME! I am one proud friend!! :) 

I also received the letter from Aunt Heather! Thank you so much for writing me and sending it to Brazil! That means so much! I LOVE hearing all about you and your family! I can't wait to see how grown up the boys will be when I get back. :) Love you, thank you!

Like I said before, the youth are amazing here! The stake held a bizzare to raise money for them to go the EFY here. It will be their first time and they are all so excited. They tell me how much they want a temple closer so they can go. I want one in Maringa too! One of the YW calls us Sister Barbie. What a silly compliment haha I dont think barbie has nasty blistered feet and sweaty armpits all day hahahaha :)

So one thing I did get from the zone meeting is that we need more priesthood holders in the wards. So Sister Sedgwick and I made a goal that we want to baptize 5 men this transfer (3 weeks left). We promised the Lord we would do our part if he did His. It is truly amazing to see how the Lord works! After planning that day we went out and happened to run into - only the most amazing future preisthood holders! We are now teaching an incredible family who actually speak english too and I am able to teach more using portuguese and english. We have sooo much hope for them!! I love this family! 

President and Sister Genaro are coming to speak to our ward this weekend! What an honor! I am excited to see them and so grateful for all they do for us missionaries:)

Well... I love you all and pray everyone is doing well. I love hearing about your day to day lives! If I dont respond right away it is because I printed off your letter to read and respond to next week. 

You are in my prayers and I am so grateful for the love and support I am receiving! 

Have an amazing week! 

Love Sister Edwards

Beautiful people in Brazil...(Week 3)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 2 in Brazil

Sept. 02, 2013

Good Morning Everyone! Actually Afternoon... I don´t know maybe it is morning there.. anyways!! HELLO! I aplogize for my very short and  brief emails last week. No excuses.. this week I would love to tell you more in detail with the time I have about my experience so far here in Maringa. I have to say though that sunday nights when I am thinking about what I am going to email the next day.. it is kind of like getting up to bear your testimony. You plan it all out and then when you do it you don't say anything you planned. With that said, I aplogize for jumbled thoguhts! 

Speaking of bearing testimonies, yesterday was fast and testimony meeting. I was fasting and praying for help from the Lord in the ability to SPEAK Portuguese. I have been very blessed so far to be able to understand about 75% or monst conversations. But I have been struggling opening my mouth... So I prayed for courage to get going and be able to speak my mind and testify of what I know to be true. Before I knew it I was walking up to the front and at the pulpit! It was simple but I did it. And The ward (ala) I am serving in is AMAZING! I love these people so much. They are extremely supportive and helpful. They all are helping and encouraging me to speak. The often ask me to say the prayers haha. I also spoke in Sacrament meeting last week...that was intersting... haha. But I am learning so much! 

My companion is heaven sent. I love her and appreciate her more that words can describe. She is very loving a patient. She has been out for 3 months (she just finished her training!) We are opening a new area together. So it has been quite the experience! We have been working really hard to organize an area book and find people to teach. I am very grateful for my time in OKC and my companions there really teaching me how to organize and work an area. It has helped us both a ton. We have been talking to many many people. We have contacted over 200 people in these past weeks. We literally talk to EVERYONE. 

We have lots of goals and plans to achieve them. The hardest thing is me not being able to teach as much yet. Sister Sedgwick is an incredible misionary to be doing all that she is! She was told to train me to be a trainer when I am done with my training which is kind of scary to think! But I know that all things are possible with the Lord on our side. We hope to have a baptism of a family this Sunday! I´ll let you know what happpens! 

President Genaro, our Mission President is coming out to visit our area (About 3-4 hours from Londrina) in 2 weeks. Our ward mission leader want to have 10 baptisms that day he comes. We are going to have to pray and work a lot harder! But the faith of the WML is amazing and the ward wants to do everything they can to contribute. The youth are so strong here. They love to help us and go out with us and refer us to their friends. They all are shining example and I am amazed at all that they do. The youth today are incredible!!! They have a really neat board in the church right as you walk in. It has a picture of every primary and youth and underneath the picture says ´future Sister NAME or  Future Elder NAME´ and then the dates they are serving in the years to come. 

The work is hastening and it is amazing! I love companionship study with sister Sedgwick. We get SO excited about what we are learning and doing we practically are bouncing in our chairs and then cry hahaha. We LOVE our mission!!! Although we have many trials and hardships, every one of them tends to disappear when we invite some one to read the Book of Mormon or come to church or pray and they accept. Or when we feel the spirit as we testify! ITS ALL WORTH IT! :) I wouldn't trade this time for anything! 

So Brazil, particually Marianga is simply the best place ever! I love the people. They are just so great! My favorite person here is the Relief Socitey President. Her name is Devanir. She reminds me of Sandi Edwards. Totally dedicated to her calling and loves life. She works so hard to help others and just makes everyone smile!! I added a picture of her and me and also her being silly haha. We get along really well and she is someone I can actually understand pretty well when she talks haha. 

The food here is great! I love it! Even though it is pretty much the same things every time is is just so yummy! We have rice every day and bean... yummy! Then meat and salad and juice or Guarana. It is a Brazilian pop. It is reallly good. I have never had so much pop in my life haha. But thankfully we do a TON of walking so it´s okay haha. Seriously we walk a ton! I There are a lot of hills here too. I think I a loosing the weight I put on in OKC :D yay! haha. 

There are a lot of Dogs here. Everyone has one or more dogs. I dont think I have been barked at so much in my life. People just let them too. We have had to teach though a dogs none stop barking sereral times haha.

We are teaching a Japanese Family right now. We think they are going to be apart of the 10 baptisms next week. The Husband (Dario) was a referal from church Headquarters. I´ll keep you posted on how that goes.

The weather is very bizzare. On day it ws below freezing and we couldnt feel our toes and fingers, the next day it was so hot we sweat standing still. Today is over cast and really nice and breezy. We had a lightning and thunderstorm last night which was super cool to watch! 

Alright, I love you all and am praying for you. My prayers are also with my cousin Sarah at this time. 

Thank you for all the updates in everyones lives. Miss you and hope you all have a great week-

Love Sister Rachel Edwards

PS Missionary challenge for the week: Share your testimony of the Book of Mormon with a friend. We give challenges to our ward too. This week their challenge is to bring a friend to church. I´ll ease you in to it :) Write me your experiences!! :) 

Lunch! (No Dinner in Brazil. Snack instead.)
Reading Portuguese from 4 yr old Barbie books, w a new member.
Sister Edwards w Relief Society Pres. Sister Devanir
Devanir being silly
Our church building
Beautiful Sunsets