Monday, May 26, 2014

Assis São Paulo

Puppies....soooo adorable!
Lovin' this puppy
Warming up- drinking hot chocolate w Irmã Osana
Pedro likes to bake and he made us some homemade bread. Sooo delicious.
Eating feijoada !!
Teaching w Irmã Neusa
We made a cake ;)

May 26, 2014-Assis, São Paulo

Dear Family and Friends,

My fingers are really stiff trying to type because it is suuuuper cold today! The temperature has dropped! Here in Brasil they build the houses so that they can be nice and cool during the hot weather, which is great. Its just that when it is freezing cold outside, inside in just as cold! But I am enjoying the colder weather, it feels like forever since I have passed though a "winter."

This week I have learned a lot! I have had such great studies in the morning as I have began to re-study Preach my Gospel from the beginning again. I love studying about the Restoration of the Church and the importance of the priesthood keys and living prophets and apostles. I know that the priesthood  has been restored and I am so grateful to live in a time where we can easily access this Holy power of God. 

I know that with out the Priesthood all our good actions and intentions to follow the Savior would only be that- Good actions and intentions. We need the preisthood the SEAL and connect our works here on earth to be vaild in Heaven too. I admire our recent converts who are worthy men receiving and using this preisthood worthily to pass the Sacrament. 

Roberto arrives early to church every Sunday to prepare the Sacrament table. He humbly serves and passes the sacrament during the meeting. Antonio received the Aaronic Preisthood 2 weeks ago and is preparing to baptize our next investigor Pedro. He has been helping us teaching him and is so excited to see him accepting the Gospel. 

I also have relearned a simple truth from the example of the heroic Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon. 

Alma 5:45- 45 "And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me."

Just as the invitation of the Book of Mormon invites us to pray and ask God if it is true and by the Holy Ghost we will receive an answer, Alma testifies that it works. He wanted to know if everything that he was preaching was true. And so what did he do? He fasted and prayed. And by the Holy Spirit he received an answer. 

I wanted to put this to test. So this week a fasted and prayed to know if the Bible is true. I realized that I have never asked God this before. That I was just born knowing the Bible is the Holy word of God. (This is the case with the majority of people). I have already prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer and can say that yes, I know it is true. I wanted to have this same conviction about the Bible so that when I teach people the spirit of my testimony can back me up. And also so that I can understand more of what the Lord wants me to understand. 

It just so happened (completely unplanned) that morning during studies, my Book of Mormon reading linked to the Doctrine and Covenants, which linked to the Bible. When Joseph Smith was restoring the Church and read something in the Bible and had a question he inquired the Lord and the Lord revealed the complete truth. 

Time after time I read examples like this that morning. While sharing my studies with my compaion she helped me recognize that I had shared everything from the Bible. I realized how important and essential the Bible also was in the restoration of the Church along with the Book of Mormon and Revelation. I know that the Bible is true as far as it has been translated correctly side by side the Book of Mormon. We truly do have the FULLNESS of the Gospel with the Standard works of the Church. I am sooo grateful for the sciptures. I love to read them and i truly feel the spirit testify of their truthfulness. 

This week we have been working with Claudio and Pedro. They are progressing really well! Claudio went to his interview for Baptism this week. He did not pass- not because he is not living the commandments but because he needs a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. He trusts in our words, through the Spirit, more than he thinks. We are helping him to have a spiritual experience in prayer. He wants to know. He really does. He just needs to learn to listen :) Hopefully by this weekend he feels more ready. We are praying for him!

Pedro also had his Baptism marked for this weekend and is more that ready! He is incredible! He wants to serve a mission and participate in everything at church. He is so anxious to receive the Priesthood and serve. He loves learning and is reading the Book of Mormon and received a powerful answer. 

He has gone though so much already in his life and is such an example of love, selflessness and dedication. His father passed away 9 months ago and he is feels at peace to learn about the plan of salvation and that he can go to the temple to be baptized for his Dad. 

Pedro wasn't able to be baptized this week because he was in the hospital all day with horrible pain. The Doctor said that he is going to have to have surgery this week. He is really nervous because he wants to get batized first so he doesn't have to wait to heal to get baptized. *He could really use some prayers! We are doing all we can to help him be baptized as soon as possible! 

We had an incredible Branch Conference with Stake Leaders. Although it was cold, we were all warmed by the spirit. I love being a missionary and am excited for a week a miracles! 

Thank you for the Love and support! Have a great week!

Love, Sister Rachel Edwards

Waiting at the Rodoviaria 

Zone Meeting in Marília
Missionary activity at the church. Everyone got a companion and went knocking on doors and teaching and giving people Books of Mormon. It was great!

Teaching Claudio with Irmã Neusa
A cold Sunday Morning.

May 19, 2014, Assis,São Paulo

Hello Everyone!!! 

What. A. Week. I just finished writing a letter to my Mission President as we do every week and my first sentence was (translated): "This was one hard week. Just about everything that could have happened... happened." And man was it. I have never been on such an emotional spiritual rollar coaster! I had some of the highest and lowest moments this week. And all I say is that I am relieved to be starting a new week now. 

This week we had our interviews with President Genaro and Sister Genaro came to our house for inspections. (This is a high point). I LOVE being near them. They just radiate love and compassion and talking to them always helps me learn new things about how I can be better and happier. They are the most busiest people but always stop and talk and remember everything about you. 

Sister Genaro drove us back to our apartment in Assis from Marília Stake Center and we talked for over an hour just about life and it was really neat to hear her tell me stories about her childhood and the love she has for her family. She told me all about what it was like to be called to be a Missionary President's Wife and talking to President Uchtdorf and Elder Christenson. SO NEAT! 

We also were teaching Cleber all week! He has been working a ton and it has been hard for him to really focus in our lesson as he almost sleeps through them. (He works all night long). He is so prepared but doesn't feel it yet, (I think all he can feel right now is exhaustion). He had an interview marked but the last moment he didn't go because he got nervous. It was stressful in the moment because he turned off his phone and 'disappeared'. We spent almost three hours trying to get a hold of him and looking for him. Eventually we caught up with him in the street walking to work. He could use some prayers to help him have more courage. We are going to help him out this week. 

We found and are teaching some incredible people! And the best part is they all live in the same neighborhood (That means we do not have to run from one side of the city to the other!!!) They all went to church too! It was incredible how each of the talks that were given were absolutely PERFECT for each of them. They all have their personal needs and difficulties and in 3 talks all the topics were covered! I know that Lord is truly aware of our needs and helps us to find the answers though the Gospel. Their names are Claudio, Leonel, Priscila, Pedro. We also started teaching Sueli´s brother Rogerio and his son Marcelo!! This week looks very promising! 

I know this is truly the LORDS WORK. That we are only tools in His Hands as he uses us where he needs us. He only asks us to be willing and worthy so that he can bless us and those around us. His love is infinite. I am so grateful for his mercy and trust. I know that His plan is perfect. I know that he answers our prayers. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful week! I invite you to all pray for an opportunity to help the missionaries in your own ward. They need you! Youth- go out there and teach with the Elders and Sisters! I can not thank the youth here enough for the time they spend walking the streets and teaching people with us here. 

Your testimonies are powerful- share them!!! People need to hear the words of angels, the words of Chirst. We have His words and we can be His angels here on earth as we are obedient, willing, and worthy. Continue strong everyone! Find joy in the every day mercies and blessings which are so numerous. Love others as you have felt the Love of the Lord in your life. 

Thank you for always send your love down this way to Brasil ! I definitely feel it and am so grateful! Have a wonderful successful week! 

Love, Sister Edwards

Dropped planner in the rain and it floated into sewage!

Our one room apartment
Bedroom in kitchen. Kitchen in bedroom. ;)

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014 - Assis

Hello everyone,

This week was good. I was able to talk to my family. I was really great to see everyone's faces and hear all their voices. Made me realize how much I miss each of them. 

I am so proud to be the sister of each of my siblings. They are incredible and I am so happy to see them doing all they are doing in their lives right now. They have all grown up! Hard to believe how tall and old they are now!

This week I caught my FIRST misson cold! Do you believe it? I almost made it a whole year... wait I am lying... everyone in the MTC was sick, too. Okay, my first cold in the field! I think it was inevitable because my companion was sick. When you are together 24/7 its hard to avoid haha. But we are both "getting better side." 

This week we had an awesome opportunity to being teaching em eleito!!!! Our golden investigator. His name is Cleber. He is 19 and a friend of one of the members of the ward. He is loves studying the scriptures and pretty much anything that we give him to read. We are excited to see his progress. 

We have been working alot with this family that we love so dearly and hope to be having a little wedding here soon:) I will keep you updated! 

I pray that everyone is well and that you all have a great week! Thank you for your prayers. I appreciate you all and love you so much.

Love, Sister Edwards

Love this family!

Family Home Evening- Armor of God

Sister buãs eu e miria

Monday, May 5, 2014

Training new companion in Assis, São Paulo

Dear Family,

Wow, I wish that I had words to express how I am feeling! This week was wonderful! Filled with miracles and answered prayers. This week I picked my new daughter!!! Her name is Sister Buás. She is from João Pessoa Paraiba Brasil. (the North). She is great! Super fresh and ready to get to work. 

This time of year in Brasil is the beginning of the cold season. It has been a little chilly, which I love! Poor Sister Buas is used to suuuuper hot weather up north closer to the equator so she caught a cold. But we are loving being companions. 

Training is a whole new world. I am learning soo much. I felt very inadequate at the beginning, still do, but my testimony of prayer has grown immensely. I KNOW Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He knows our needs. Sometimes He answers in ways better than we asked for. 

This week I was praying a ton to be able to teach someone who is ready to hear the Gospel. I really want my companion to experience what it is like to help someone change in the gospel. All week, I found my self praying, in the streets, on the bus, at home, always praying for this opportunity. 

One day we talked to a young woman in the street. She gave us her address and we marked the following day to go to her house. It didn’t appear to be a super special or different contact since we do this very thing all day long. Everyone you talk to here in Brasil give you their address and tell you to go to their house. So we have lots of lessons and lots of appointments. The problem is finding people who are actually going to accept our message when we teach. 

We had already taught plenty of people who in the end didn’t want anything to do with us and I had this burning desire to find and teach someone who would. The Lord heard my prayer, because the next day when we visited this young women named Ana, we met a golden FAMILY! A mother, father, and 3 children ages 8, 10 and 15. When we got there no one was home except Ana. We talked to her a bit and the moment we were about to teach the whole family arrived! 

We taught everyone together and each felt the spirit in a special way. We gave them the Book of Mormon and invited the to come to church. Excitedly they accepted. The children were the most enthusiastic. That Saturday we visited them wish our recent convert who lives in the same neighborhood, Antonio. Beaming with as brand new testimony and desire to share the gospel and bring everyone to church Antonio helped us teach them about the importance of the Sabbath day. He excitedly offered them a ride for the next morning. 

Sunday morning he passed by, and only Ana and Vitor (10 years old) were up and ready. So they went. They loved church. During the Sacrament, Vitor leaned over to me and said,”where is the baptismal font? I want to get baptized here!!” My heart pounded and he smiled ear to ear. 

During the testimonies her leaned to his older sister and asked if she had a testimony too. She said she did but was embarrassed to share. It was so neat! That night we went to visit their family. Sistting around their kitchen table we taught them all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we taught, the children all paid close attention answering questions and reading scriptures. They shared with their Mom all they had learned at church. She seemed very impressed. As we taught about baptism we showed a picture of Jesus Christ being baptized. 

Then little João said the CUTEST thing. I asked if he wanted to get baptized like Jesus in the picture. He thought and then slowly shook his head no. I ask why not. He said, “Why is John the Baptist going to slap Jesus? I don’t wanna be slapped!” He pointed to Johns arm being raised saying the prayer. We all burst out laughing until tear streamed down all of our faces. This was the first time in my life I have heard this. His mom explained that we was just saying a prayer. After he understood he accepted quickly and said he would. 

The parents are not married but accepted to get married THIS WEEK to be baptized this month!!! They have incredible faith! Edivaldo, the Dad, has made up his mind to stop smoking and gave us all his cigarettes. The children dumped the coffee down the sink and gave us all the other coffee to through away. They are sacrificing all these things to get baptized because they understand the importance of baptism for their salvation. We are so excited to work with them, I LOVE this family so much! They are huge example to me of faith and following an answer to prayer! Just to give all the names… Rosalina, Edivaldo, Ana, Vitor ane João. They could use your prayers! 

I love being a missionary! I am excited to my family this weekend! I pray all is well with you all. Thank you for the love and support! Have a great week!

 Com Amor, Sister Edwards