Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014~ Londrina, Brasil

(Only 4 months left-Rachel returns home this November)

Bom Dia Querida Família e Queridos Amigos,

Que Semana! I am really lost on what I have told you all already. The days and weeks are really blending together and flying by. 

This week we worked a lot with a family. Simone, Rodrigo and their three boys Felipe, Tiago and Matheus. They are a very special family. Simone and Rodrigo are both trying to stop smoking. We have tried lots of techniques and nothing seemed to work and so we received inspiration one day. It was really neat. They had decided to give up and we taught them more in depth about the atonement of Jesus Christ and about Repentance. Then I asked for their cigarettes...
     They gave them to me thinking I would cut them or take them with me. Instead I took out some pamphlets and cut out a few pictures of Christ and slipped it behind the plastic on the front if the box of cigarettes. I wrote on the front, "Você consegue porque eu te amo." Which means, You can do it, because I love you. Then I gave them back their packs o cigarettes, still full, and I spoke softly and said, "Everytime you go to smoke, look at this and remember all that Christ suffered and sacrificed for you. He loves you, you CAN do this, because you are doing it for yourself, your family and for Him."

They kept quiet for awhile and finally accepted our invitation to repent. The next day we went to follow up and Simone who normally smoke 20 cigarettes a day hadn't smoked any. Miracles are real! She has made soooo much progress. Her husband also reduced a ton! 

I truly know that everything is possible through Jesus Christ, when we truly understand what he did for each of us individually and understand what our part is to thank and honor that sacrifice. Our part is REPENTANCE and CHANGE. I love being a missionary and being able to see people comprehend and apply these truths. 

A real miracle is a change of heart. 

Faith without works is dead, and those works are daily, sincere repentance. 

It is through our faith that miracles happen. It is through Faith in JESUS CHRIST, our SAVIOR. He has this title, Savior, for a reason. I know that he is our Savior and that he loves us and that we can change because of him. 

I have faith is Jesus Christ. I know He lives and I KNOW this is His gospel restored to the earth. I know that He guides and directs this church. I know that He is coming and we MUST prepare. What a blessing to know these simple yet essential truths. 

We used this same tatic with our other investigator Cristano. He has also been able to reduced smoking significantly. 

This week we met a young man who was not interested in our message. He was standing in the front of his friends house. We asked him if he knew anyone who would be interested. Jokingly he gave us his friends address. Saturday we went there to see if the friend was anything like his sacrastic friend. When we got there his little sister called him. We stood in the front of his house talking for more than an hour. He has been searching for the truth. We taught him the restoration and about apostacy and about priesthood. He understood perfectly! We invited him to be baptized. He accepted. He is 20. He is looking for something to do in his life. (My goal is to send him on a mission). haha He went to church with us and loved it. It was really incredible the way the Lord led us to him. 

Many other awesome things happened this week too. We lost all power in our house and had to use candlelight... (My Mom and Dad used candlelight regularly on their mission in the Philippines). 

We were also dumped on with a rain storm. My companion and I have really bad blisters again, and are going to the foot doctor tomorrow. This mission is worth every step!

We are going to be starting our English class this week. We met an incredible family! Mom, Dad and 5 boys ages 14-21. The 14 yr old and 21 are baptized and wanting to help their family. They are really wonderful! 

I am very excited to be working here in Vivi Xavier! I love Londrina. Cool Fact: Londrina means 'Little London' in Portuguese and was built to be a small copy of London in Europe! cool huh? 

Love you all! Have a great week! You are all in my prayers!

Love Sister Edwards

My address:
Sister Rachel Edwards
Rua Hélio Cortez #279 
Jardim São Paulo
Londrina, Paraná

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014~ Londrina, Brazil

Dear Family and Friends,

Holy Cow! What a week! I don't even know where to start! So much has happened. 

Monday- I wrote you all about the transfers. That day we cleaned our apatment like crazy to be spikin span and then headed to Londrina. We arrived to Londrina at night and went to sleep at a house that Sisters are living in (it is now Sister Sedgwicks area!! Cool we are in Londrina together!) 

Tuesday- The next day all the trainers met at the church in the city center to pick up the new missionaries. We had a brief training and then... they arrived. We got assigned our companions and I was put with SISTER NASCIMENTO!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is from Santos São Paulo. She is 26. She is amazing! We are are such great friends already, She is a very hard worker and we are loving working together. We are very alike and our differences compliment the other. She speaks Engish fluently and we are going to be teaching a free english class at the church. She is extremely motivated and determined. We went to our house in our area to find that the previous Elders had left it a MESS. It looked and smelled as if it had never been cleaned! We spent the rest of the day cleaning. 

Wednesday- We cleaned more and got started working. We met tons of members. Our Ward mission leader is heaven sent. He is incredible! We ate at the Bishops house for lunch and he help us split up and learn more about the area. The members are all soooo wonderful! This is the first time EVER this ward has had Sisteres. They are very excited! We are too! oh I forgot, the name of our ward and area is Vivi Xavier. It is the north side of Londrina. Londrina is so huge!!!!!! It is very busy too. But it is a really beautiful city. Our area hits the end of the city and so there is a tons of incredible landscapes and farming and then looking the other way a giant awesome scene of the city center in the distance. Our area also has tons of hills! 

Thursday- We ended up navigating ourselves (still without a map) to the mission office to pick up supplies and an area book. We talked to tons of people and then had a meeting in the church with the leader and the ward missionaries. We were still organizing our area, house and everything too. 

Friday- We worked contacting lots of people. One house we went to was suppose to be a young lady we talked to in the street. She gave us a false address (which is normal haha) and we ended up meeting someone else who is 100% ready to hear our message! She is legally married and has 3 adorable boys. Two of them have the age of baptism. She really liked our message and is trying to now stop smoking to be baptized. 

Satuday- We had another Festa Juninha! We arrived at the right time! :) We invited our new investigating family and they went! They really liked it too! We got to know our area a lot better. It is so great! Filled with awesome people! We also visited a few recent converts and less actives.

Sunday- The family went to church with us. The members were quick to make them feel welcome. The boys made friends easily and loved primary. Their mom, Simone, also loved church. We are so excited for them! We also met some other great investigator who we are excited to teach. I really saw how the Lord guided us and then literally put these people in our pathway. At church we all spoke and introduced our self. It was neat because we were announced as the pioneer warriors of the ward, the first Sisters ever. They are thrilled and so are we! It is humbling to be trusted with this responsibility.

I love this area already and cant wait for what is to come! Love you all and am praying that you have a successful week! 

Love Sister Edwards

Rachel walks everywhere and has only been in a car 3 times over the past year. She gets motion sickness very easily now. 
Elder Delgado serves in mission office.
Sisters Sedgwick, Nascimento, Edwards
Sisters Azevedo, Oliveira, Nascimento, Edwards
Sister Nascimento means 'Birth' in English
Awesome family in Londrina
Taught them Skills learned in Africa
Repairing lights
Changing light bulbs
It's cold in Brazil right now
Puppy is named Scooby
Simone, Rachel
Downtown Londrina
Share apartment

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014- Last day in Assis

Wow. The day has come! I am being transfered. I am going to be leaving tonight at 7:15pm to go to Londrina and pick up my new 'daughter' (New Sister Missionary) tomorrow that I will be training. Then we will actually stay in Londrina in a new area! We are opening a new area that was formerly an Elder's area. There will be another 2 sisters there too. The other Sister will also be training! 
Its going to be really fun. This area has had tons of success in the past. I am excited to get going and have lots of new expereinces. 

I am sad to be leaving Assis. Six months in Maringá and 6 months in Assis. I have made lasting friendships and have several special memories in these areas. Both feel like home. I am also sad to be leaving my companion Sister Buás. We learned and grew so much together. She is staying here in Assis. Her companion is coming today and there will also be another companionship coming to split the area! Thank goodness! This area is huge! It is more than 5 cities! We need the help. The members are excited to have 4 sisters again. 

This week we had 2 baptisms! Thayane and Rafaela. Rafaela is Pedro's little sister and Thaytane is the daughter of Rosilene who is the less active that we found knocking doors. The baptisms were great. All the YW attended and sang, and the YW presidency spoke and presented Personal Progress and For the Strength of Youth. The girls were confirmed in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. 

It was great! Both smiling happily. They are both the most shy I have ever seen in my life! It was funny to hear about the interview with the Elder because he said that he couldnt get them to look at him. But even timid they were baptized and even bore quick simple heartfelt testimonies. They are so cute. Pedro was able to baptize his sister and Antonio who is actually Rosilene's and Thatyane's neighbor, baptized Thaytane. It is so neat to see our recent converts teaching and baptizing others into the true church of Christ. It reeally shows their conversion. Mayara helped us a ton to teach these girls.

We had our Zone conference with The Assistants and President and Sister Genaro. It was incredible. I sure do love them! I learned a ton! At one point during the training President Genaro asked me and Sister Buás to teach all the missionaries how to help a person who doesn't believe in God. I was soooo nervous! There were almost 50, maybe more, missionaries there, all looking at me! But it was neat because I said a quick prayer to help me calm down and I was able to teach as if it was a person in our neighborhood-naturally. And Sis Buás, who is so new, did a great job! 

President Genaro said that he really liked our example. I was grateful for the Spirit who guided us in that moment. I have a testimony that the Spirit truly guides and orients us. 

This week I read the talk from conference of L. Tom Perry. I LOVE it. I invite you to study it. The comparison that he makes is so cool, I never thought this way. And I really like the Scripture he used, James 3:3. I am sharing it with everyone and explaining how the spirit is our guide WHEN we obey. Obedience is essential. 

Cool news! The Church thought that we would have difficulties baptising in Brasil during the World Cup. But.... we had the opposite happen. Our mission broke a record and we had more 203 baptisms in the month of July. cool huh?! 3 were ours here in Assis:) Our mission might be in the church magazines or church news. If so, watch for us! 

Last night, all of my recent converts and a few members had a going away party for me. They made a suprise video of pictures, music and quotes of my time here in Assis! They all wrote special poems and notes to me and we did a secret friend gift exchange. I was totally suprised. I felt sooo loved. 

I also realized even more how much I love each of those people. It was such a blessing and privilege to teach them, and I feel, as they were changing, I too was learning and growing with them. Roberto, Sueli, Antonio, Pedro, Claudio, Marcio, Mayara, Thaytane and Rafaela have a special place in my heart. 

This week our other investigator Tauan will be baptized. He is very excited and faithful. He and his family have been investigating the church and we have been able to have some neat experiences with them. I cant wait to see the pictures of his baptism! :) 

WELLLL, our apt looks like a tornado passed though with all the cleaning and packing we have been doing. I need to go finish now. I love you all and am praying for you. Thank you for the emails of love and support. I look forward to hear more about your summer vacations:) HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! I love you!!! 

Have a good week! 

Love, Sister Edwards

Baptism of Thaytane e Rafaela

The one phone that made alllll the calls possible.
Best District Ever. ;)
Sister Sedgwick who trained Rachel, Sister Buás who Rachel trained. They refer to each other as Grandmother, Mother, Daughter.
Teaching Tauan Daizi Antonio Eduardo w Mayara Miria Sara

Studying with Antonio and Miria
Vou ter muito saudade de Assis! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 6, 2014- Assis, São Paulo

Hey Everybody! What a long week! I will try to recall everything that happened.....

Monday we had a noite familiar. (FHE) It was really great, all about the plan of salvation. Mayara went. All of her family went to a big festa of a family friend but she wanted to go to noite familiar with us instead. She is so eager to receive and copy of the Doctrine and Covenants to read this week and get started on Personal progress. She is already planning to sew a dress with irmã Osana for one of her projects. I am so happy for her! She is progressing so quickly! 

She actively participates in the Sunday School and YW lessons. The teachers are very impressed with her. She went up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting too! It was so neat! She talked about the Book of Mormon and how it fills the hole that she had in her heart before. She testified of how she knows that this is Christ's Church! 

I am very pleased with the progress of our recent converts, I love them each so much. I feel like see a glimpse of the love of Savior has for us and how God sees us when we choose the right. Being a missionary is the best! It is so special! 

Unfortunately this week irmã Eliana was leaving her house to bring her daughter to work and got in a horrible car accident! She was doing everything perfectly right. But sadly in the city center three 19 year old boys stole a car and robbed a store and the police were chasing them through the city streets. 

They entered her neighborhood trying to escape the police and almost hit many people and almost a motorcycle too. They ran a red light and widely turned on to the street the irmã was coming down. It was a head on collision. It completely smashed the front of the two cars. 

Eliana was using a seat belt that kept her in the car but completely beat up her chest and stomach and broke her rib. Her belly is black with bruises. Her daughter Jessica who is pregnant was not using a seatbelt (which Dr's told her was actually a blessing because if she had used it it would have killed her baby) but she hit her head in the wind shield and her legs are badly hurt too. Jessica's son was in the back in his car seat and only hurt his finger. The bandits didn't get hurt at all. The police took them all to jail. 

Eliana and Jessica both were kept in the hospital. We went and cleand her house and made lunch for them. The most amazing part is this Sunday everyone expected that she would stay home and rest but she called the chapel and asked for some one to pick her up and she went to sacrament meeting and bore her testimony. 

It was so beautiful, simple and clear that she knows God protects us and has a plan for each of us. She has trouble breathing because of the pain. I admire and love her so much!! She family is so special to me and also for Sister Bispo when she was here. Eliana was Sister Bispo's 'Mom' is Assis. I am so grateful the Lord protected them and that they were given more time to live here in the earth. He truly watches over us! It is also so important that we care for one another. We are the Lord's Hands.

We have teo baptisms coming up this week! One is Pedros little sister, Rafaela. And Rosilenes daughter, Thatyane. They are both young women, 14 years old. Pedro received the priesthood last week and will be able to baptize his little sister. She is very excited! He is too. 

Sunday was Pedros Birthday and all of our recent converts (who all live in the same neighborhood) helped us plan a suprise birthday party! It was a huge success and he was very pleased and grateful. His mother also was very grateful because with the recent loss of her husband (Pedro's Father, who sadly died from a heart attack last week) things have been really hard at home. She is beginning to see the friendships he has made though the church. She went to church for the first time this weekend and was able to hear Pedro also bear his testimony, It was great:) 

We have lots of plans for this week! Its going to be busy! We are going to be traveling for a zone conference! YES! I love conferences in the mission:) We learn so much! I also miss Presidente Genaro. haha seems like a while since I have seen him. This is also the last week of the transfer and so next week I will let you all know where my new area will be! Any guesses? and also.... if anyone has any FHE ideas, games and stuff... greatly appreciated! love you all. have a great week! 

Love, Sister Edwards

Sister Edwards w Pedro's dear Mother
Staying indoors when Brazil plays in the World Cup. Studying w microwave chocolate cake
Microwave chocolate cup cake
Antonio, Sister Edwards

Pedro turns 26.
Antonio and Rosilene made the whole party possible. 

Pedro is in light purple shirt

Worn out a 4th pair of shoes. ;)