Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014- Assis, São Paulo, Brazil

Rachel loves this fruit. And it is abundant in Assis.

Sister Lima. (Irmã Osana!)
Baptism of Diná.
Thuany and Sister Edwards
Love that fruit!
Train runs though the city...
Pan on head to block the hot, hot, sun!

Ola Minha Família!!!!! 

Guess what? On February 29, 2014, I hit my 9 month mark!!! In other words, I will never hit my 9 month mark because 29th of Feb didn't happen this year. haha :) Ironic huh? But! For 2 days (Feb 28 and Mar 1) I celebrated my half way mark of the mission. I can't believe that I am now on the downhill side of the time line. The time passes sooooo fast. Its sad.. really. I love being a missionary and I never want to be released!! Good thing Every member a missionary right?? Ok, time to not be trunky haha.

This week is Carnaval. If you dont know what that is DONT LOOK IT UP! Pretty much it is a holiday that happens after people celebrate the Passover. The word Carnaval has a root word which is Carne which mean meat/flesh aka "the natural man." (Flesh and bones). So this is a holiday where people celebrate by... breaking the law of Chasity freely. It is quite distrurbing and I have not met a member who "likes" Carnaval. 

This Sunday in Relief Society the Sisters were talking about ways they can portect their children from the evils in the world today. Sadly the world makes this holiday seem exciting with all of the colors and parades and dancing but sadly it is a face for something that is not pleasing. The Church understands this and has an excellent answer for the youth. During Carnaval they hold EFY!!!!!!!! All the youth allll over the country are gathering this week to be spiritually uplifted in goodness, safe from the crazy sinful world. This week we be a little hard as there will be lots of people traveling to the big cities or to ranches (people in the US visit their cabins, here they visit their ranches and farms) to party. BUT I know that the Lord people ready to be taught that are here in the city still.

During the same Relief Society Meeting one Sister made a comment and comparison that I liked a lot and would like to share with you all. She said, (Talking about impure thoughts) "You can't ask a bird to land in a tree, but if he lands you can shew him away." Our minds are these trees, and as Latter-Day Saints we should be consistently trying to keep our minds and actions clean and pure. I like this comparision because sometimes little birds do land on the branches of our mind, but it is our choice to shew them away or let them stay and build a nest and live there. We really do have the choice. It's interesting too. 

One time back in Oregon a bird built a nest in our Barbeque. When we cleaned it out it came back several times to rebuild it's nest. Stubborn little bird. It was always less work to clean out the bits of grass and sticks than to build a nest. It is the same with our thoughts. It is much easier to repent of sin before we let it grow and worsen. But it is even wiser to not let it stay in the beginning. That is why DAILY repentance is essential. That is why it is important to decide BEFORE the bird lands, but when we see it come to shout,  "You are not welcome here!" and make it leave. Sad.. haha I like birds, but I also like the analogy haha. 

This week I have also been studying a lot about Covenants and the importance of covenant making and keeping. I learned so much about the first covenant of Baptism. It is so important that we understand that we are making a promise with our Father in Heaven. And really it is simple to keep our convents, we just need to continue to live the Gospel. I love how everything connects and leads back to the importance of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Chirst. It is only though Him any of this is possible. 

I invite you to read the talks from the General Relief Society Broadcast this past Fall. They are wonderful! I finshed studying all the talks from this past conference today. I know that they were inspired by God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet and that the 12 Apostles are men of God with the Power and Authority to guide all men back to our home in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Lastly, and quickly, we are teaching a Pastor- Pastor Reynaldo. He is soooo prepared to hear the gospel! He has been serving people his whole life and always has tried to do what is right. He has had so many misfortunes and difficulties happen to him and as he has only lived in this city for a few months he has felt a great emptiness. He doesn't know what is missing or why he feels this way since he has always tried to serve God. One morning he decided that he cannot serve effectively and really help anyone until he helps himself and finds out what this empty feeling is; what is missing inside of him. That very afternoon we knocked at his door. 

We, along with a member who came to teach with us for the day had the tender and spiritual expereince to answer the very question he had of what was missing. We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Chirst by a prophet named Joseph Smith and how we have a prophet who lives today. We taught about the Book of Mormon and testified that this book has all the answers to all of our life's questions and doubts. He humbly accepted and prayed for us as we left. It was such a neat experience and I am very excited to return and visit him more. 

Well, I love you all so very much! I have a million other things I could write and want to but time is short! I pray all is well with you and I would like to thank you for the love support and prayers. I truly feel the strength of your faith everyday as I am able to continue walking and teaching. Thank you!!! 

Love You all! Have a great week!!!

Love, Sister Rachel Edwards

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