Monday, December 30, 2013

Last letter of 2013

Oh my goodness gracious! 2014 is just around the corner! Time is soooo warped here on a mission. I have been out on my mission for 7 months! PLEASE SLOW DOWN!!! haha I loved the time I had this Christmas to skype with my family. I miss you all sooo very much! I loved hearing about everyone's  lives and experiences! 

As much as I LOVED that time conversing, I am not homesick. Outside-of-the-mission-world sounds soooo stressful and hard haha. I prefer thinking about the Salvation of Souls:)
Really though, I Iove being a missionary. It is such a special time to really just think about everyone else. And by doing this I am growing too. The Lord knows who he needs us to be and so he uses other people to help us become that person. I am learning this with my companions and investigators and the members. 

My Zone leader in Oklahoma said something to me before I left to Brazil... "Sister Edwards, just remember that there is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone." AMEN! I have been trying to adopt this into my work here. Now that it is the new year.. time to set some more goals! My goal is to become comfortable uncomfortable haha. In other words to always be striving to be better. 

There are numberless things to do... I know! But I also know that the Lord gives us challenges to help us recognize what we need to change and learn. And most importantly, to help others overcome and change as we are given people in our lives who help us!

I love you all and hope you all have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Be safe! HAPPY 2014!!!

Love Sister Edwards
Congratulations to Michaela Munger who is now married!!! AHH!! How exciting! Thank you Grandma Betty for writing and keeping me updated on the family! I love reading about our family. I LOVE YOU!

Beautiful Rachel on Skype-Christmas Day!

Rachel is sitting right in the middle next to President and Sister Genaro.

Christmas in Maringa City

Christmas Dinner. Thank you Devanir!
Birthday dinner for companion, Sis. Araújo. Thank you Devanir.
Sister Araujo's Birthday
Singing to us on Skype
Skype on Christmas Day!

Home in Oregon

Monday, December 23, 2013

FELIZ NATAL! Dec. 23, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! 

Wow... I can hardly believe that I am actually writing that. I will be hitting my 7th month mark here next week on the 29th. That blows my mind!!! Time is flying by!!! I am almost to 9 months which is half way... ahhh... I can't think about it. :) haha

This is a new transfer!! And I am still in Maringá. It is my 4th transfer here... and President pretty much told me it will be my last one. But who knows? Anything can happen! I still love Maringá and had a tender moment to pause and look around and appreciate and love every member of this ward during the Chirstmas Dinner. I LOVE THESE MEMBERS! They have such a special place in my heart. They have supported me though all of my struggles when first coming here and we have all grown together. I pray that I can give back all they have given me. 

I am serving in a trio now! Woohoo! Back to the powerful 3! My companions are amazing!! They are both Brazilian. I have already been living with Sister Araújo for 2 transfers and already love her so much, It is even better being companions! We had Halloween and Thanksgiving together and now Christmas, and the New Year too! She is from São Paulo. She has only been a member for 3 years and has a neat conversion story. She is a hard worker and we laugh a lot together! 

The other day we were talking to a girl and Sis A asked if her mom was home. The girl said yes. Then Sis A asked how old she was (meaning the girl) and the girl answered 35 (thinking she was still talking about her mom). Astonished and confused sis A gapsed... seriously!!!!??? Then realized the confusion. It was really funny! 

My other Comapion is Sister Corrêa. (pronounced Co-hey-ya) She is GREAT! She is hitting her 6th month mark this month. She is from São Bernardo do Campo São Paulo. She is so cute because she when she gets excited she squeals and jumps up and down. She has a stong testimony and loving heart. We all get along really well. 

This week was kind of a struggle because all of our investigators are gone traveling for the holidays so it is hard to teach people who aren't there. We are also working to combine two areas which has been a TON of walking and moments of being a little lost. But I know everything will work out the way the Lord needs it to. 

At the Christmas party for the Ward I talked with Gabriel in ENGLISH! Gabriel is the son of one of the recent converts in the ward, Amanda. I had nooooo idea he spoke English and that he speaks sooo well and naturally. (Hi Gabriel! I know you are reading haha:) He is a lot of faith. As I talked to him I saw the potential he has. The Lord a great plan for him and I am so excited to see his faith grow as we teach him (in English!) It is going to be really neat because Leonardo is going to teach with us and practice his English! 

We also had our Christmas Conference in Londrina this week with Pres. and Sister Genaro! It was so great! They are so loving. We had an awesome training from the Assistants and then had a white elephant secret friend gift exchange. It was fun! They had tons of food and decorations and we all took pictures and sang and ate and it was just happy and wonderful! I LOVE MY MISSION!

I am so very grateful for all that I have been given and all the support I receive here. Thank you so much. I love being a missionary and feel it a privilege to be serving. I am learning and growing every day. 

This gospel is true and brings a happiness and peace that can only be found though our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Chirst. I know he lives. I am grateful for this Christmas Season to remember His Birth and Life here on earth. I know He guides us today and speaks directly with our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I am very grateful for the Priesthood Power we have on the earth and know that it is truly the power of God given to man to bless others and build the kingdom of God. 

Thank you for your love. Feliz Natal! Merry Christmas!!!!!!! 

Love, Sister Edwards

~Note from Jeanette: We are very happy we will be able to Skype with Rachel on Christmas Day! (Thanks to Leonardo Satim in Maringa City, Brazil ! He is hooking up his computer for Rachel to use.)

And thank you to all who keep in touch with Rachel. We are so grateful to those who follow her blog. And to you who write emails and even letters! We appreciate you! 

Rachel was sad to have her companion (Sis Sedgwick) transferred to a new area last week. She continues to work hard and serves with all of her heart....she could use letters this month and this new year to remind her how much we love her!

Rachel with President and Sister Genaro


Sister Edwards Elder Beaudoin- both from Rainier Oregon Stake

Merry Christmas! Gifts for Missionaries.
Sisters Sedgwick/Edwards -Sis Sedgwick transferred to a new area. She will be missed!

Maringa City Dec. 23, 2013

Leonardo and Sister Missionaries
New companions: (trio) Sisters Corrêa, Araújo, Edwards

Ward Christmas Dinner
Leandro Piai, Leriane, Israel, Paula, Leonardo. Beautiful Family!
Sweet couple gave pancake mix to Rachel with a waffle maker for Christmas!
Going to make waffles!
Package from home! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rachel sent package to us!

Yummy treats!
Ryan really liked the melt in your mouth corn puff thingies :)
Yum! Jeffrey is munching down on our favorite wafer cookies.
Lots and lots of chocolates. 
We ate all of the potato chip ministicks
Fruit juices 
The fruit that made Rachel sleepy....
Very sleepy!

Alana, Rachel
Rachel, Alana

Dec. 16, 2013

Hello Family!

Sorry this letter is going to be reallllly quick and short!
This week is transfers.. (actually tomorrow is...) I am sooo sad because Sister Sedgwick is being taken from me... the day has come :(  I am SO grateful for her! She is so dear to me and we will be friends/sisters for life. I have learned everything from her. She is the hardest working, most loving, talented missionary you will meet! She is going to work miracles in Londrina! She will be serving in the same ward as our mission president! How exciting! 

I will be staying in Maringá for Christmas!!! I will be in a trio with sister Araúja and sister Corrêa. Back to a trio like OKC! It will be different working two areas at once... but we have three Sisters to conquer this task! 

We had a really great last week. I am still loving this ward and area and cannot wait to see what the future holds!!! Love you all and pray that this week is a wonderful one!
Love Sister Edwards

...the awesome coooooool sky of Brasil. this day was so hot. the pavement was so hot it was burning my feet though my shoes! We call this area "the end of the world'
Taking a short cut through a plantation in the rain...we got really dirty
Our new awesome investigators!!!!! I love these two! Hearts sooo prepared!
Adriano and Kathia

Monday, December 9, 2013

Obediêcia!!! Dec. 09, 2013

Bom Dia Todo Mundo!

First of all.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA!!!!!!! my lovely, sweet, hilarious, hardworking, gorgeous sister!!! I cannot believe that you are going to be 17. That freaks me out!!! WHERE IS TIME GOING??? I love you and admire you and hope you know how much I do think about you!! You have one proud sister here down in Brasil! Stay strong, you are an example and light to all those around you!! 

Happy Birthdays to Tresa Stone, Tiffany.. or should I say Sister Nallion and Emily Bishop! I love you girls!!! 

So this week we had some wacko weather! There was one day where I wore a sweater because it was a little chilly! What a blessing! The next day I sweat like a pig. On Thurdsay the morning started out nice... then it got realllllly hot. All sweating, walking the streets of Maringá we stopped to talk to a man playing with his baby daughter. In the middle of our conversation the sky turned dark with clouds and strong winds began to blows and whirl like a tornado was coming... not really but they were crazy! We couldn't open our eyes because of all the dirt being blown. Marainga has tons and tons of trees and branches were falling and leaves were swirling. I wish you would have seen us. All the dirt was stuck to us because we had been sweating hahahah. It was so gross. Then not long after the was a DOWN POUR of rain. We were literly soaked. But we still made it on time to the church to run an activity. What a day it was!

Today is more normal, which is nice. Hot, but normal. :) I hope you are all enjoying your chilly, maybe snowy, Christmas season! Like I said, there are tons of trees here. One cool thing they do here is put Christmas lights in all the trees! It is so pretty! At night I feel the Christmas Spirit:) haha Time is winding down until Natal! I am so excited to skype!!! I will be skyping from a members home onChristmas Day. I still don't know where that will be though, because we have transfers next week. So If I get transfered I will be in a new city and have to let you know... But if I stay here I think we will be at Irmã Devanirs house. We will see.

This week during studies sister Sedgwick and I had a very interesting study on Obedience. We talked about how God is obedient. If God did not obey natural laws... he would cease to be God. That is why we can always trust that God will keep his end of a promise and that all natural things, intelligences (plants and trees) have a natural way they must obey. If God disobeyed these intelligence would not have an honest creator and would rebel. (this is coming from a talk we have been reading) In this life we are all trying to become like God by doing our part here on earth to prepare. What is our part? To live the Gospel of Jesus Chirst. What is the Gospel of Jesus Chirst? Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. 

Enduring to the End means continuing to keep the commandments the Lord has given us. We do this though obedience. Obedience is the most important thing we can learn to understand how our Heavenly Father works. He is a Just God. We read all about Justice and Mercy in the scriptures. God is Just, because he obeys these natural laws. But he is also a loving Heavenly Father. God could not save us in our sin, or he would be disobeying the natural law of consequences for our actions. This is why our Savior, Jesus Christ, is essential in the Plan of Happiness and Salvation. 

Because God loves us, he sent His Begotten Son. Christ understood the plan and the need for a Savior and offered himself. If Christ had not suffered and died for us we would not have the ability and opportunity to repent and be freed from sins... in this natural state. Without Chirst we could NOT return and live with God again. God's Plan is Perfect and he DOES loves EACH one of his Children. So He sent His Son to Atone for our sins, so that we have the opportunity  to prove ourselves and return to live with Our Heavenly Father again in the Celestial Kingdom. 

I know that Jesus Chirst Lives, and that we, will live again, too. I know that life is hard, but that is how it is suppose to be. Trials are opportunities to grow; to accept the Atonement of our Brother and Savior Jesus Christ, and to humble ourselves, and repent, taking one more step closer to our home in Heaven. 

I know that we are children of God and that we have a purpose here. I know that our purpose is to learn these things.. learn the plan of salvation and what we need to do everyday to be happy. Then our job is to turn and teach others how to have this everlasting joy and peace of knowing that we have a plan.

I love being a missionary. I love feeling the love of our Father in Heaven for his children here. I know this Gospel is true and that priesthood power, the power and authority of God, is here again on the earth, blessing our lives. I love you all and pray that you will feel of the Love of our Savior and Heavenly Father and turn to those you love and share it with them. This is a great work that we have to do. But we are not alone. The Lord said that all the House of Isreal will be gathered before Christ comes again. HIS WILL BE DONE. He cannot lie. We are the servants, fulfilling this prophecy. What a privilege to live at this time. 

Thank you for your love, support, and examples. You are in my prayers. Have a wonderful week! I invite you to look for opportunities to be someone else's miracle this week:)  Love you!

Love, Sister Rachel Edwards

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec. 02, 2013- Maringa City

Oi tudo mundo!!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! I sure did! We were in Londrina for our mission tour with Elder Costa the Presiding Seventy for Brasil. He and his wife spoke to our whole mission. The spirit testified for strongly and clearly that all he was saying was true. I know that he has been called of God to do the work he is doing. 

He spoke and taught us with such love and conviction of the work of Missionaries and our role of Gathering Zion.  I loved learning how to be 'better.'  Before my mission, "change" was something- a 'word' that made me- cringe before smiling. Now, I see how much 'change'  really is, so good, and helps us grow and become more like Christ and our Heavenly Father. It really helps us to be the missionaries we have been called to be and to truly prepare to return to our Father in Heaven one day and be comfortable in his presence knowing that we have done all that we could. 

I do not ever want to waste a minute here. This time really is precious. 

The Mission Tour was truly the best part of the week. Well needed. And - We just started teaching an amazing and prepared family... yes a family!!! Golden!!! But they are moving out of our area this week... I am very gratful they will continue to be taught but wondering what the Lord is teaching us with this change...who needs us? Who are WE suppose to be teaching right now. The Lords way is always better... just requires some patience:)

This up coming week we have FHE with Leonardo's family!!! This past week we had a miracle and had the opportunity to teach his mom. Twice!! She is more open than we thought. She would like to know more about what Leonardo is learning. But will not let him be baptized until he has 6 months in the church. So... We are planning his baptism for March 22. I don't think that Sister Sedgwick or I will be here that day. But I pray that we get special permission to return:) We will see!! I will never lose hope. Leonardo is a very special young man with so much in store. I am so excited to see the plan and blessing the Lord has waiting for him. 

Quick funny story... The other night we were walking home and this GIANT cockroach appeared out of no where and started chasing us!! No joke! Down the road... we were running from a cockroach and my companion was looking backwards and almost tripped over a man sleeping in the street. It was sooo funny.

I hit my 6th month this friday. Time is FLYING by!! Only 24 days til Christmas. Everyone is putting up lights and decorations for 'Natal.' 

Okay- I love you all!!! Have a great week!!!

Love, Sister Rachel Edwards
Elder Beaudoin and Sister Edwards from Rainier Oregon Stake! 
Sisters Sedgwick, Edwards
10 sisters, 1 apt, 1 bathroom, up before 4am to ride 5am bus to Londrina.
On the bus!
Beautiful trees in Maringa