Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014- Assis, São Paulo

Dear Family,

What an incredible week! We had the privilege to be a part of Mayara's baptism! She is the daughter of Sueli (our recent convert). It was such an incredible  experience. When my former companion, Sister Bispo, and I were together, we tried to teach Mayara but it was clearly not her time. If I were to tell you everything you would not believe who you are seeing in the picture. She is 100% different. A whole different person. The Atonement is so real, for everyone! The joy that I have in my heart to be able to witness such a change is so great I am not able to express it. 

We had a family home evening with all of our recent converts and just to see them all together, participating, laughing, sharing testimonies, teaching one another, and loving and serving, I just wanted to cry! Each of these people have been changed through Christ. And they are eager to serve in the church. 

There have been so many male baptisms in the branch, that this week they started a new Sunday School class called Priesthood Preparation. Our RC's are loving it! They are so excited to receive home teaching partners and visit the members. They are extremely willing to serve. 

Sueli and Mayara want to know how they can be more involved in visiting teaching. Mayara taught with us allll day Sunday. She is adorable with her Book of Mormon, knocking on doors, and wanting to invite others to church. She wants to read and learn everything! 

I feel like Alma when he is trying to express the joy and love he is feeling, but doesn't find the words he would like. I do not have words either! I just love being a missionary and want to call everyone to repentance so that thay can repent and be baptized and feel this same joy! The Spirit is so reliable! Only though the Spirit, is conversion possible. 

I am so grateful for the Spirit in my life and this work. I know this is the work of the Lord. I know Christ lives. He loves us and atoned for us. We need to obey, repent and serve. 

I love my recent converts and all the members here in Assis. It is sad to think that my time here is coming to an end. I will take advantage of these next 2 weeks! 

Does anyone have any ideas for family home evenings? Games, lessons... please share your thoughts... my idea well has run dry! haha thanks!! 

Love you all, and pray you have successful, happy filled weeks! 

Wedding Congrats Sabrina! I love you!!!! 

Love, Sister Edwards 

Claudio, Mayara. Claudio is Mayara's uncle. He baptized her.

Mayara, Valcir, Sueli, Baby Carla, Sister Edwards

Branch Members taking care of one another.
Sueli studying when we arrived at her home. 
This photo had everyone laughing...'the invisible belly of Claudio'
Family Home Evening. All recent converts together. Loving, laughing, serving.
FHE lesson

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014 Assis, São Paulo

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was quite eventful. A lot of highs and lows. We found some families that we are now teaching. It is so cool the way the Lord prepares ways for us to meet families. 

The Assistants to the President were traveling and on the bus they talked to a young man who is 19 who lives here in Assis but travels to Londrina to study. He is studying to become a Pilot of airplanes! Cool huh, Jeffrey! Anyways, he was on the same bus and the Elders talked to him and for the 2 hour ride and taught him. He was so excited to know that there are missionaries in Assis. 

Elders called me that night and passed the address to me and we went the the next day. The best part was the the entire family was home and some family friends too. When we started teaching they made is very clear that they are Catholics and they go every Sunday. I got a little nervous to start teaching. But then, it was like a movie, I stopped and heard a voice saying "you are here with the true message of the restored Gospel. Share it and the Lord will do the rest" I realized that I needed to trust in the Spirit. 

So, we got started. We taught about prophets and Christ and the Apostles and about Joseph Smith. It was miraculous their response. To sum it up- all of them accepted to get baptized with out even questioning if it was necessary to be baptized again. They excitedly received the Book of Mormon promising to pray about our message. The only thing that impedes them to be baptized is that they, as a family, work at a flee market selling pastels Sunday mornings. It would be a huge thing to not go because they lose their spot for the entire week. The sacrifice is big. They could use your prayers along with us. It was a very special moment teaching them and seeing how the Lord really prepares peoples hearts. 

We also are now teaching the daughter of an inactive member. This inactive is desperately wanting to return to the church. She was baptized over 20 years ago and because of moves and family issues, fell away from the church. We found her knocking doors and she remembered that she had been baptized. She works as a cook at parties and festivals and so it is hard to get a Sunday off, but she is really trying. We ate at her house this week and wooooow, she has a talent to cook! She is so cute always making us bread and giving us stuff. Her daughter is also eager to learn and her husbund is also on our list. He seems like a great guy too. She is reading the Book of Mormon and remembering everything. It is so cool to see a testimony rekindled.

We had a Festa Juninha which is a Catholic holiday but the activity at the church was a June Festival. It was like a harvest party. It was awesome! I totally want to be Brazilian now!!! They dance and dance and dance. It was a dificuilt moment to be a missionary and only watch! haha but the food was yummy:) 

Sunday was our hardest day.... one thing after another happened. First I woke up really sick. I didn't know why. Then we left to try and wake up everyone who said they would go to church with us. All of them, everyone... Did not go. We left with an Irmã in her car to get the people who live far away and they didn't go either. It was depressing. 

When we finally got to church, late, Marcio wasn't there. We had seen him yesterday and he was talking about how excited he was to be confirmed and recieve the spirit. We called him and he had been in a motorcycle accident and was in the hospital. Right after I hung up worried and sad for him, my attention was turned to our recent convert, Antonio, who went running out of church. I asked him were he was going and he said that his dad had had a heartattack. His dad is one of our investigators. During sacrament meeting we received the news that his dad has died. We went to the Funeral that afternoon. 

It was hard to see a family suffer so much. Antonio was different. He was clearly sad with the loss of his father but he leaned to me and said "Eduarda, eu sou muito grato pelo plano de Salvação. Minha irmã acha que ela nunca verá meu pai de novo, mas sei que vou." Which means I am so grateful for the plan of salvation. My sister thinks she will never see my Dad again but I know that I will. He was comforted by the Spirit and understanding what he has. Over the past couple of weeks, His Dad was so excited to learn more about what had happened to his son, Antonio and why he used white shirt and tie now and wanted to come to church. Antonio said that his Dad had promised to go with him next week. Antonio felt at peace to know that his Father would still have a chance to learn the truths that he has now. He is anxious to be baptized for him next year in the temple. 

I am very grateful for the Atonement. Because of Christ, death has been overcome and we CAN return and live with God in the Celestial Kingdom. We need repent everyday and remain pure so that we can have this great blessing in our lives. I know that death is not the end. Even though we continue to miss our loved ones, one day will we be reunited. We need to do everything we can now to prepare for our eternity. This life is short. There is no time to wait. We need to act today. Repent today. Serve, and love today. No one knows tomorrow, only the Lord. Let us accept the love of our Savior and his atonement by repenting, learning and studying from the scriptures, praying, going to our church meetings and serving our fellowmen. This is enduring to the end. It really is enjoying to the end...the blessing of a life to live and learn. 

I love you all. Thank you for the prayers and support. Be strong out there, the world has camouflaged evil everywhere! Follow the Spirit and we will be protected.

Love, Sister Edwards

Teaching how to braid.
Miria...her mission call will arrive soon in the mail.

Irmã made me an adorable winter hat. :)
Noite Familiar (Family Home Evening)

Festa Juninha- Assis, São Paulo, Brazil

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014- Assis, São Paulo

Dear Family and Friends,

What a great week! This week the WORLD CUP has begun. As
missionaries we don't watch any of the games, obviously, buuut we talk
to everyone in the street soooo we kinda always know what is going on

My companion is crazy about Soccer and she has a list of scores
going on our wall haha. We really don't need to watch because everyone
one tells us about the games afterwards. Brasil is crazy for soccer
and the whole city shuts down when Brazil is playing. Seriously, no
school,  no work... nada! 

We, as missionaries, received a letter from the
Apostles... yes, and they told us that during the days that Brasil is
playing we have to stay indoors from 3 in the afternoon until the next
day. It in dangerous in the streets cuz lots of people drink and also
no one will actually stop to listen to us because they are all
watching the game! So this past Thursday we stayed inside and
reorganized our Area Book (Over 1,800 addresses). Tomorrow Brasil is
up again. I wonder what we will do...

Anyways. This week was really great! We had a baptism!!! Last Sunday,
we had a man named Marcio come to church. The week before we had just
been walking down the street and there was a man (motorcycle taxi
driver) picking someone up. He was waiting in front of her house. As we
walked by we invited him to come to church. He seemed very excited
with our invite and gave us his number to call him. Saturday we called
him and he said he would go. So we waited there and he showed up!

During principles of the Gospel Class we watched the restoration movie
(PERFECT). He loved church! He felt the spirit so strong! Later when
we taught him he told us that as a child he had seen movies about the
Mormon people and always wanted to learn more. He said that for years
as a moto taxi driver he has seen missionaries and always wanted to
talk to them but we were the first ones to stop and talk to him. He
wanted to be baptized right away! He stopped smoking and drinking
coffee. The spirit hit him so strong that he said the desire to smoke just
left. He just wants to follow Christ. He is so inspiring... I admire
him a ton. 

He has passed through sooo much in his life and this was
literally his moment to hear the gospel. He bore a beautiful and
sincere testimony at his baptism. He is anxious to receive the spirit.
The elders quorum sang a musical number really awesome of Elders in
Israel to welcome him to the quorum. The Spirit was so strong! We all
left filled:)

Happy Fathers Day, Dad! I love you so much and am so grateful for your
love and support to me!

Have an incredible week!!!!

Love Sister Edwards

Baptism de Marcio

Using Claudio's old fashioned phone through the window :)
Happy Father's Day!

World Cup!

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014~ Assis, São Paulo

Helllllllooooooo Familia!!!

How is everyone? I received some very happy emails this week! Thanks
to everyone who wrote me! I printed out your emails and will read them
later on today! One hour to write goes by really fast. I am horrible
at responding but I read EVERYTHING and love it too! This week will be
really short.

We are teaching some great people. José, Joaquim and Anisia. Jose
asked for a Book of Mormon on the internet and received us really
well. He enjoyed our message a lot and is excited to learn more and
read the Book of Mormon. Jose is an elderly man who can hardly walk but
took a city bus to church and for half an hour walked aroud the
neighborhood searching for the chapel. He uses a walker. He is very
faithful and wants to learn. He is deaf and so it is hard to teach
him. We literally shout the lessons in his ear haha. But he
appreciates it. He and his wife Anisia are progressing well. Anisia
understands well our message.

This week was busy.  We talked to over 180 people! We have a lot of
goals this week! Thank you for the love and prayers! Sorry this is
short! Love you all!

Sister Edwards

Monday, June 2, 2014

Best Week Ever! June 2, 2014

Family and Friends,

Where do I begin??? This was one of the best weeks of my mission! Seriously! I am overwhelmed with joy and the spirit. Good thing you all can not hear the voice that I don't have right now... :P I lost it a couple of days ago and have been letting my companion do a lot of talking for me haha But now that I am writing.. let's get started!

okay so Monday- P-day. We had a normal day. I did receive a call from my trainer, Sister Sedgwick. She recently has become a Sister Training Leader and we set up a day to go on splits!!! I received incredible news about Becca's mission and we also had an awesome family home evening with Antonio Roberto, Osana and her Brother Nathan. 

Then Tuesday. The Elders came to our city for our last district meeting of the transfer. Oh yeah, I forgot. Today is transfers, and Sister Buás and I are staying here in Assis together:) Yay! This is my 4th transfer here. I think Presidente Genaro likes to leave me in areas for a long time. I stayed this long in Maringá too. But it is cool because I really get to know the area (I dont need a map any more) and the members. I have made some life long lasting friendships here in Assis as well as Maringá. 

But anyways, we had our meeting and then we made lunch in the church kitchen and Pedro and Claudio came to the church to be interviewed. Pedro passed with flying colors. Elder Lourenço (our DL) was so impressed with Pedro and afterwards couldn't hold back from showing his excitement for him to get baptized. 

Claudio was also interviewed for the 2nd time. He didn't pass again because of a few things he still doesn't understand. We had taught him more about the Book of Mormon and prayer and when he went to church Sunday he said that he felt that his prayer was being answered. He asked if he could be interviewed again. This time he had more questions. I felt a little impatient. I explained that the interview is not the time to be telling all of your doubts. That we are here as missionaries to help you prepare for an interview and pass with out doubts. He hadn't understood that. So he finally opened up and told us all of his doubts. We were able, a long with a member, to discuss a few topics and help him understand better the doctrine. I could see him beginning to think and in the end we left him again with the same challenge- to pray about it. 

Wednesday- Pedro got baptized!!! our Recent convert Antonio was able to baptize him. It was soooo spiritual and he bore the sweetest and most sincere testimony! Sister Sedgwick and Sister Saldanha came to do splits with us. It was SOOO great to have a day with Sister Sedgwick. I love her so much. She is one of my closest friends now and I am so grateful for all the she has taught me in the past and that very day with her. She teaches with such love and a strong testimony. She and I with Irmã Osana went to visit Claudio. We taught him again about the basic truths that he has already heard. We invited him to go to Pedro's Baptism. He went and really enjoyed. All the members love Claudio because he is very open and funny and likes to talk to everyone. When I got home that night the Sisters suprised me with Açaí in celebration of 1 year on the mission! 

Thursday- ONE YEAR MARK!! The time goes by sooooooooooo fast! Okay so that morning we went the bus station to drop off Sis Sedgwick and Saldanha to go back to their areas. We were really cold and far from home so we decided to take a bus home. We got on a city bus to the city terminal where we normally take another bus. I had a strange thought and turned to sister Buás and said, "Lets walk the rest of the way home." She looked at me like " Are you crazy??? I am freezing!" But didn't say anything. I told her I didn't know why but maybe we should. So we left the terminal walking towards the city center. 

As we were walking I heard someone call, "SISTERS!" I turned and across the street, far from his neighborhood, saw Claudio in jogging clothes walking birskly down the street. He motioned us to come over. He was beaming! Something had happened... we greeted him and he said "Sisters, I need to tell you something that happened last night." Curious, I said "Tell me!!!" He began to tell about what had happened. 

He said that when he was at the baptism the night before for Pedro he had felt something so good and special. He said that he felt an urge to be baptisted that very moment but didn't have a towel so he didn't say anything! He said that when he got home he got on his knees by his bed and began to pray. He said that he prayed and conversed with God and then got into bed. When he got in bed he heard a voice. A voice that clearly said, "He was my prophet (referring to Joseph Smith) and they are my servants (referring to us missionaries)" 

He said the voice was so clear and that when he heard it in his mind he saw us. He said he looked into our eyes and felt a force (the spirit). He told us that he knows now that the church is true, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that he needed to put his pride aside and be baptized. 

I was so overwhelmed with the spirit in the moment with him there in the street! I was so grateful we had decided to walk home because we had not planned to go by his house that day. I called our District leader and he told us that he would be there the very next morning for the final interview. 

Friday- Elders came for an interview that morning and that even Claudio was baptized. It was soooo neat! The spirit does great things. It is the spirit that literally changes hearts. The Real miracles we see today- a true change of heart! I saw this happen in this man. 

Saturday- Saturday I was completely without a voice. We taught some good lessons and visited lots of people. Pedro came to teach some people with us. He shared a pure and touching testimony with everyone we talked to!

Sunday- We went to church. When we got the we got a call from Antonio who said that he was waiting at the bus station to pick up Pedro to bring him to church but the bus arrived and he didn't get off. I called Pedro to find that he had just gotten home from the hospital with his mom. They had been there all night and he had missed the bus because of this. I explained that today he would be receiving  the Gift of the Holy Ghost and be confirmed a member today. 

There wasn't a bus that would pass in time for him to come. So my companion and I put all our money together and called a taxi that went to his city to pick him up. He got back in time for sacrament meeting to start. He, along with Claudio, both confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. Their blessings were so special. Pedro was one of the first to go up and share his testimony. The spirit of the meeting was so strong as we all shared with one another what we know to be true. 

Josi and Miria left with us for the day we we taught tons of lessons with them. They are both waiting for their calls to arrive. They are more than ready to serve. They teach with confidence and clarity. I admire them a lot. 

Sooooo, all in all, this week was great. I could not be happier! Thank you for all of your love and support! I pray that everyone is well and has a great week! 

Love, Sister Rachel Edwards

Making lasagna w our district
Almoço com os elderes na capela
fazendo panquecas de chololate
Claudio telling Elder Riveiro that he needs to learn to wash dishes. haha ;)
Antonio nosso recém-converso batizou Pedro
Batismo de Pedro

batismo de Claudio

Carta de um ano na missão
surpresa de um ano na missião de açaí!!
Splits! com minha mãe
noite familiar! FHE