Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014- Assis, São Paulo, Brazil


Hello Everyone! 

This week was a complete turn around for us compared to our last week. The Lord blessed us with the privilege of baptizing our investigator Antonio before the transfer ended! We had an incredible, spiritual, miracle filled week. 

We also got news that Sister Bispo's sister is doing much much better and she even sent Sister Bispo a letter that encouraged her to keep serving the Lord. We are very grateful for the prayers on her behalf. 

So, I will be staying in Assis. This will be my 3rd transfer here. We thought that there would be another set of sisters coming but it looks like it will just be me and my new companion! I will be training! She is fresh from the MTC:) I am really excited! Being a "mom" is a lot of responsibility! I feel like I am going to be learning a loooot these next two transfers. 

Sister Bispo is going to my birth city- Maringá! She is going to love it there! Sister Sedgwick (my 'mom' in the mission, as she trained me) is now a Sister Training Leader! (A zone leader for sisters). Great changes! We are going to have a lot of growth in the mission. Change is good, it brings new results and we learn sooo much. 

So, as I said we baptized our investigator Antonio! He is soooo great! He had an incredibly powerful answer to his prayers about the Gospel. The sciptures truly testify of the truth. He is very excited to be a member of the true church after a very long search and sad difficult past of deception and trial. 

It is so incredible to see how the Light of the Gospel lifts burdens off the backs of so many people. 

We are headed to Londrina today, I need to organize and prepare lots of stuff para minha filha!!

Amo vocês muita! boa semana!!! 

Come Amor,
Sister Edwards

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 - Londrina Brazil Mission

Hello everyone! 

What.... a.... weeeeeeekkkkk....... I do not even know where to begin this email. 

This week was very difficult. Emotionally. To begin, I will say that I do have permission to tell this story. I was given permission to share what has happened. 

As many of you know, my companion's name is Sister Bispo. I LOVE her. She is incredible. You know how in school they tell you to write about some one you admire, some one who is your hero? Well, her name is Ingrid Bispo. And she is my hero. She is one of the most dedicated, hard working missionaries. She loves this work and is exactly obedient. She loves everyone and is instantly friends with all people we talk to. She has a very special gift of teaching. She knows how to teach with power, authority and conviction. She knows her Savior. She has really helped me become a true missionary. I love being her companion. She is also fun, crazy and we laugh a ton! 

Sister Bispo has been a member for 5 years. She was baptized when she was 16. To this day, she is still the only member of her family who is a member of the church. When she was 8 years old, her dad died of throat cancer. When she met the Elders, she was taught the Plan of Salvation and told she could see her father again. This gave her great strength. 

Sister Bispo is the youngest in her family. Three years ago, her oldest sister also passed away. The family still doesn't know how she died. Her oldest sister had a daughter who has been cared for by Sister Bispo and her Mother. 

Sister Bispo tells me how grateful she is for the plan of salvation and to know she will see her sister again, too. She has already done the work in the temple for their dad and sister. Sister Bispo dedicated her life to the gospel from the day she was baptized , and even more firmly when she chose to serve a mission. She promised the lord that nothing would stop her from completing her mission. 

She has been faithful to her word. 2 weeks ago she reaches her 1 year mark. Six months ago, she received devastating news that her mother had passed way. She had a heartattack while sleeping one night. This was the hardest thing, Sister Bispo says, that she has passed through in her life. She was very very close to her mom. 

Although a ticket was already purchased for Sis. Bispo to return home, after much prayer and fasting she decided to not return home. She was afraid to not return and complete her mission. Her family (A brother, sister, and niece- the only living family members, no aunts uncles or grandparents) all non members didn't understand at first. But she was able to help them understand. 

After much suffering and pain she has been able to continue serving a mission as a hard working missionary. We have had an incredible two transfers together. Growing and loving and laughing. This week, I dont know why..... truly,,, I dont know why...but we received another call... 

Sister Bispos Sister was dying in the hospital. She had an infection and went to the hospital and they gave the wrong injection and she was deathly ill and half paralyzed as the injection had hit a nerve. Motherless and recently spousless, she was begging for her sister to come home and help and also help take care of the motherless niece. Sister Bispo without hesitation packed all of her bags and we headed to Londrina. I have never seen any one suffer as she did this week. 

We fasted together and prayed togather. I wonder why the Lord has allowed these things to happen to her. When we got to Londrina, we both felt a strong impression that she wouldn't return. After days of being torn in decision, she decided to return. But as we were returning we felt this odd feeling that it wasn't going to happen. A sleepless night in Londrina we both wondered what would happen. The next day we went to the mission office and met with President and Sister Genaro. They are real parents to us here in the mission. Especially Sister Bispo, who no longer has parents here with her. 

After a long interview with Pres and many, many phone calls, study of the scriputres and prayer, Sister Bispo felt stongly that she needed to stay. She told me that she wanted to go home and help her sister. But she knew the Lord had promised her he would protect them. She was able to get in contact with her home ward. Her bishop went to the hospital and gave her sister and blessing. The ward is taking care of everything so that sister Bispo can finish her last 6 months. 

We received news today that her sister is already showing improvement. I admire sister Bispo so much. This was not easy, to say the least. She is a true example to me of dedication to the Lord. I know that that Lord blesses us when we keep our promises and covenants. 

I am so happy to still be here with her. It is our last week together. It was a difficult week. We have come out of it stonger, in our own personal ways. I love sister Bispo and am so grateful for her.

Thank you for your prayers and support for the missionaries. If I could ask one thing, please join with me in prayer for her family. Thank you. 

We ended our week wonderfully in remembrance of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ this Easter season. I know He lives. I know He loves us. His love and sacrifice is infinite. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday. 

Thank you for the prayers. Miracles are real. Faith leads to miracles, I know this is true. Have a wonderful week! 

Love, Sister Edwards

Easter Treats

'Mission Brazil Londrina'

Sister Bispo's favorite meal - "Piqui"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Assis, São Paulo, Brazil- April 14, 2014

Hello Dear Family and Friends,

This week was WONDERFUL! Man, where do I begin? I will begin with a funny story and end with the spiritually stuff. :)

So this week we were contacting in the the street and there was a man working on a city telephone box for fixed house phones. My enthusiactic companion didn't let this stop her from talking to him. Excitedly she went to share and message and get his address. When we approached I noticed he was fixing a phone line. My cute companion began to talk to him and he listened as he worked. She began to share a message about the light the gospel brings into our lives and how it is because of Jesus Christ. She made the comparison of him working on the box to help people receive 'light' in the houses. 

Excited with the connection she made, she continued to elaborate. He listened patiently smiling to himself. I didn't have the heart to stop her and tell her that it was a telephone box. When she finished he gave her his address and then said.. "Oh and I actually don't work electricity and light, I work with telephone lines." I did all I could to not burst out laughing. As we walked away laughing she said, "If I would have know I would have talked about prayer and the connection with God like a phone call!!!" It was so funny! 

Yesterday we had an incredible baptism for our investigator Sueli. She is INCREDIBLE!!!! She is a single mother of 5 children. We met her walking in the street 2 weeks ago. She is very smart and knows so much about the Gospel. As we taught her all week she clung to the truths we taught and applied them into her life. She received a beautiful answer about the Book of Mormon and testified of this answer she received at her baptism. 

She stopped smoking and drinking coffee because of the testimony she has of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She had never visited the church when she accepted to be baptized. She is a great example to me of trust and following the spirit. She is very happy to be a part of the true Church of Jesus Chirst. She was baptized by our recent convert, Roberto! It was a very special day. I love her and her family! I hope her older children open their heart the the Gospel. I know that everyone has seen a huge change in her. 

It is such a privilege to see the miracles happen in peoples lives because of the Gospel. I love being a missionary! 

Another experience we had this week was probably one of the most spiritual expeiences I have had here in the mission during a lesson. We were teaching a lady and her niece. They are neighbors to Roberto. He was there teaching with us. This was our first time there. Our goal was to teach the first lesson about the Restoration. 

As we taught, we had a great conversation with these women. They are very open and loving people who have a point of view about religion that is perfect for someone looking for the truth. As we taught she asked lots of questions. When I finished relaying the story of Joseph Smith she looked and me intently and asked, How do you KNOW this is true? 

Sister Bispo and I both told her how we have sincerely prayed and received answers. She smiled acceptingly, but still seemed curious. She looked to Roberto and asked the same thing. Like a spiritual giant he began to testify about the Book of Mormon. She stopped him midsentence and asked, what is the Book of Mormon?? I showed it to her. She asked if she could see it. I gave it to her and began to explain what it is. She then stopped me. She quietly and sincerely began to talk. She said that when she wants an answer from God she opens her Bible and He speaks to her. She said that she did this with the Book of Mormon and that she wanted to share the scripture she opened up to. She read to us 1 Nephi 22:12 -

 12 Wherefore, he will abring them again out of bcaptivity, and they shall be cgathered together to the lands of their dinheritance; and they shall be ebrought out of obscurity and out of fdarkness; and they shall know that the gLord is their hSavior and their Redeemer, the iMighty One of Israel.

Roberto began to cry and the spirit hit me like I have never felt before. 'Hit' is the word I use because it was so powerful. Roberto told her that God had answered her. With tears welling up in her eyes she said. "Amen, I know this book is true. I am in darkness and this is the light. When you came to my door today you asked for my neice because she was the name written in your address book. But when I saw you, I felt that you were here for me and my whole family." 

We stayed in reverent silence for sometime and then she asked if she could buy a Book of Mormom. We happily told her that we have them for free! They are coming to a family home evening at Roberto's house tomorrow with other families from the ward. It was so neat. I am very happy that Roberto was there. He has the missionary spirit. Members in lessons make all the difference!

Well, it was a great week indeed! I love this work. I love you all. I know that this Gospel is true and the way to return to our Father in Heaven. LOVE YOU ALL!!! 

Have a great week!

Love, Sister Rachel Edwards

April 14, 2014- Assis, São Paulo, Brazil

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014- Assis, São Paulo, Brazil


This was an eventful week! CONFERENCE!!!! YAY! I had a great weekend and felt uplifted with the spirit. I do admit... I am very excited to receive the Liahona to study and read all the talks again. This time I did not have the opportunity to go to the Stake Center to watch it (like last Oct., in Maringa) where they also have a room for all the english missionaries. Our Stake Center is in another city and the cost to travel and bring all our investigators wouldn't have worked out very well. But thanks to the blessing of the internet we were able to watch conference in the homes of members with our investigators. 

My brain was a little fried by the end. (I could hear them speaking English and the Portuguese translation at the same time.) It was a battle to pay attention to just one language at a time haha. And on top of that I was worrying about each investigator and how they were feeling and what they were understanding and answering their questions and helping to quiet the children so they could feel the spirit.... the missionary life is great! 

Our investigator, who is a Pastor, watched a session of conference with us. He thought it was very interesting and beautiful. He kept commenting on the things said in the talks. We are trying to help him understand that they are not just ordinary preachers of a church but actual men called by God, a prophet and 12 Apostles like times of old. 

We also had our investigators Sueli and Alessando there. Sueli is a golden investigator! SO prepared to hear the Gospel. She received a very special answer to her prayer that- the Church is true- during the Conference. Alessandro is so great! He came to church more that a month ago all by himself after an invite from some other sisters. He came back because he felt something very different and good. He has a strong desire to be baptized. We are helping him to get married and stop with a few addictions. But he faithfully is attending meeting and LOVE reading the Book of Mormon. He was embarrassed to ask for one and when we gave him one he was smiling like a child at christmas! We have lots of plans to help them all this week and are excited to get going. Prayers for them on their behalf would be wonderful. Each has their own problems that they need to overcome to be baptized. Thank you for you love and support! 

This week we almost stepped on a SNAKE walking home in the middle of the city! (This is not Texas, like Jacob! haha) The snake was trying to go up stairs, we thought it was blind. So I got a stick to try and help it. Yep, it wasn't blind! I poked it and it whirled around and jumped down three steps towards us. We ran away screaming and avoided that area all week hahahaha. We showed the video of this to Irmã Osana (a sister in the ward who likes to sew clothes for us). When they part where it turns around a jumps happened she threw the camera, startled and spilled the cup of juice she had been drinking. hahahah it was so funny. We all had a good laugh. 

So you all may remember the story of the dog attack when I was new here in Brasil. Well, I don't know why, but they dogs here do not like me. I have been extremely cautious since this day and I don't play with any dogs, in the street of houses. But I have come to a conclusion. The mean dogs are the ones trapped behind bars in houses! The ones in the streets leave us alone. I feel very protected by all your prayers. Two dogs attacked me.... Luckly no skin was broken!!! The only effects were jello wabaly legs hahah. But really, I appreciate all the prayers on my behalf here. They are being answered. 

Well, I love you all and apologize this letter is not more spiritually uplifting. I hope you all had wonderful spiritual manifestations this weekend! You are all in my prayers. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Edwards

Dressed like the Elders...just need a tie

Zone Conference- Assis, Brazil