Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nov. 19, 2014~ Home!

Home in Oregon w siblings
Hug attack
Loving siblings
So tan!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nov. 17th Last letter- Coming Home!!!!

Helllllllooooooooo Everybody!!!!!

Yep. The time has come.   Incredibly.   Sadly.   I am sooo full of mixed feelings! 

Tonight is our dinner with Presidente Genaro and Sister Genaro. I am pretty sure I'll cry my eyes out! 

Tomorrow I catch a flight to São Paulo and from there take a night flight to Atlanta! (That is where Sister VerHorf is from. Maybe her mom will meet up with me there to say hi... we will see:) 

Then.... to Portland! I cant believe it! I still dont feel like I am really going home. It so sureal. 

The members are so loving here. We had about 3 goodbye parties. I only cry when i think about how much I love each of these people, members and investigators and recent converts...

...ahhh!I feel like I am leaving a part of my heart here and its painful. But at the same time I really do feel like this is just another transfer, another calling from the Lord. 

I cant wait to see you all! 

I need to finish packing and getting things organized and weighing my bags. 

But know that I love you alllll! Thanks for following my blog and supporting me, reading all my letters! I loved my mission and wouldn't trade it for anything!!!  

I learned so much and my testimony grew so much. I really do feel like a new person. I am so grateful for my interview with Presidente. I love him so much, he helped me with so many worries!!! (Leaving the mission work that I love, future plans, schooling, adjusting...)

Okay world... here I come! Can't wait to see you all!! 

Love, for the last time, 
Sister Edwards

Interviews w Pres. Genaro 
Goodbye luncheon with Ward Sisters

Tradition in Brazil when Missionaries finish missions

Ward goodbyes. Children so kind.
Freshly painted wall

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nov. 10, 2014- Londrina- Final Week

IHey Everyone! 

(Miracles are real!) 

What. a. week. After all the suffering and pain and sickness and work and trials and difficulties..... the blessing arrived! The Lord was very merciful with us and gave us a huge miracle! 

All this transfer we have been working with Maristela. She was a reference of recent converts.  She is so great. She was passing through many difficult things lately and the Lord truly did prepare her heart. She is STRONG. When she received her answer NO ONE could change her mind. She is very determined. She works at Outback Steakhouse and is a cook there. The restaurant is open very late and she has the night shift. She gets home at 4-6:00 in the morning. Many times her schedule interfered with us teaching her. But Alessandra and Alfredo (the recent converts) are her neighbors and they helped her sooo much. 

She really is so special and I think the adversary knows it. I have never seen so many obstacles to try and stop someone from being baptized. The day of her interview she got hurt at work and was feeling sick and weak. We rescheduled 3 times that day. Finally when she was able to walk, a HUGE storm blew threw (impeding our walk to the church). I called the bishop and he came to pick us up *phew* She passed ther interview. The next day every temptation you can think of came to her. She was so strong. She did not submit to any of them. Then after a loooong shift saturday night she didnt even sleep and when to church with us. She changed her clothes and was so excited to be baptized. 

Right before the service started Sister Nascimento went to check the water. Luckily she did because she found a black scorpion on the stair of the font. It was right in the place where she would have stepped. These monsters are very dangerous. The whole chapel will be scorpion bombed this week because she found it. It could have seriously hurt. How grateful I am that the good side always wins! The baptism was beautiful and spiritual and we all felt much alleviation. Sister VerHoef and I sang "Come unto Christ." 

This week we went to Apucarana. It was probably the hardest split I have done in my mission... no... it was the hardest. Simply put, I am exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally and especially spiritually. I learned a lot about myself and how I have changed a lot in this 1 year and half that I have been a full time missionary. It was a neat and special experience for many sisters this week, including me. 

WELL, This is officially my last week. Cant wait to relate more miracles next week! Have a good one!

Sister Edwards

Baptism of Maristela.

Waiting for onibus

Carmel apples

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nov. 3, 2014- Prayer

Hey Everyone! 

Sorry I forgot my camera at home today. But I dont even think that I had any pictures to send... Oh yeah. I do have a picture of the carmeled apples that we made for Halloween. But that was about it. My camera is slowing dying so I havent been taking it around much. It must be a sign or something. 

This week was a struggle. We shed lots of tears. I had said in my last letter that I would be going to Maringá last week. We really were planning on it. But that evening I got a call from Presidente Genaro and he told me that he would be closing that area this week for sisters! There were a bunch of emergency transfers and before we were able to go there it was closed and he put Elders there. We ended up in the Rodiviaria until late at night again helping with all of the transfers. 

So last week we went to Arapongas and worked with the sisters there. This week we are headed to Apucarana. I am grateful to travel throughout the mission to train and work w Sisters. Though I do miss proselyting full time in our current area. This week was hard because during the call from Presidente he asked me why it has been so long since I have had a baptism. It has been 7 weeks. We are expected to baptize weekly here in this mission. Or at least every month. We had baptism at the beginning of last transfer but with a lot of difficulties have not had the opportunity again. Almost every week our baptism falls. 

I have been frustrated and tired. I feel like I have been working harder than ever but now it doesnt work! We have incredible experiences but there is no fruit. This week we had 3 baptims marked. Then one after another everything wrong happened and we ended the week at zero again. 

Saturday my companion and I literally sat on the curb and cried. We didnt know what else to do. We prayed to start a fast. I think of my whole mission I have never prayed so much as I have this week. The Lord has answered all of my prayers. But in ways that I wasnt thinking or hoping for. His will be done. Its just a challenge to comprehend sometimes. Anyways, in this moment, sitting on the curb, lost, tired, weak, hot, crying and praying...the Lord gave us a tender mercy. First, out of no where came a breeze and clouds that covered the hot sun. I felt impressed to open my scriptures and read what he wanted us to know. I opened and read the following: 

Alma 37:36-37
Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thydoings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

*The spirit really comforted my heart in this moment. I then prayed and told the Lord that I would put him the first place in my thoughts and actions and teold Him that I was willing to do whatever it takes to do my purpose here. I asked for strength and then asked what I needed to teach and share with the people of this area to help them progress. My eyes fell upon the following verse from the same chapter: 

33 Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

 34 Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.

 35 O, remember, my [Daughter], and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.

I received so much strength in this learning and powerful moment. I testify that God hears and answers our prayers. After this experience I was able to get up and keep working. We found other new investigators, we were blessed with an investigaor who came to church and a member who left to teach with us. We even had 5 minutes of RAIN! It was wonderful.

I dont know if you all know, most likely yes, but Brasil is running out of water. It isnt raining here and many people are suffering. This week in sacrament meeting a letter was read and all the members in Brasil are being asked to come together and fast and pray on the 16th of November for  it to rain. They warned that it is a way that the Lord corrects his people but that he blesses us when we repent and ask in faith. It was very very powerful. It will be a neat experience to fast with purpose as a country. 

Thank you for all of the love and support. I have two more weeks and I want them to be the best two weeks of my mission! And they will be! 

I pray that you all have a wonderful week! 

Love Sister Rachel Edwards