Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Email

Merry christmas everybody! Okay so here's some awesome news, on christmas we get to watch two movies and so we are all gonna watch the lakers versus the heat game hahah! And then we are gonna watch "despicable me" with our recent converts the Ramirez who are doing soo amazing. I will tell you about them later. But that wasn't actually the good news.....The news, is that on christmas we got permission from mission president to SKYPE you guys!!! so not onyl will we get to talk but we will get to see eachother haha how sweet is that!!! Ahh man i can't tell you how pumped all the missionaries were to here that haha. I'm pretty sure it will just be for an hour which is fine, but it'll be cool to see you guys so make sure you gyus have a skype account and get that business all set up nicely. maybe even do a few tests??? You can use the downstairs mac or my laptop if you want, it's up to youuu.

So yeah i am super excited for that. Our tree is looking awesome with lights and decorations and we have a few little packages under the tree. i can't wait for the two that are coming this week too. I was superr excited to hear you sent the young men christmas music. yesterday at church the choir did a chirstmas program and it just was soo awesome! There's a couple hear that majored in music something at BYU and they together run thechoir and play the piano they are so awesome. But it just made me want that music even more becausehose snogs are so awesome. That was one of my favorite things to do at church, sing that christmas program.

This past week was great!! We have been doing a lot more finding and just trying to open up our teaching pool for next transfer. It's hard for puertas too because he is leaving this area where he has been for 6 months and we have some awesome families here and so it's just like everytime we see one of our stud families, it's kind of sad but we really are staying focused and we feel really close to one another too. We have been teaching with more unity and i just feel more confident with him. Instead of feeling like he will judge my spanish and stuff, i feel like he will just have my back instead of critique me ya know? It's really good and i love the guy to death. It's gonna be sad to see him go next week. But we go on.

yesterday at church, Alejandro received the Holy Ghost, AND the priesthood. Which is huge because on Christmas three people and hopefully four are getting baptized. 2 of them are from the other spanish elders. A girl named stacey is getting baptized. She is Alejandros sister and we have been teaching her for a long time, (since i got here). She is gonna be baptized and even came to church yesterday for her 2nd time which is a requirement. So now Alejandro will get to baptize her after being baptized just 2 weeks before her!! how awesome is that! That is seriously how this work should be though. Alejandro even came out with us to a lesson and gave an awesome testimony. We actually are teaching the lady that lives right under us in our apartment complex hah, but he came with us and gave an awesome testimony and then after we left, he goes, "I think she will be baptized, i could just see it in her eyes when i was talking to her" HAHA the guy is so awesome!! He is down to share this gospel with his friends and family too, it is just great. Even his Dad came to his baptism, and to church yesterday and he has turned down missionaries before too. So this christmas will be aweseom to have a big baptism. That's a real "white christmas" :D and the way it should be.

This past week we had a cool little event at the stake center. It was a live nativity where volunteers got dressed up and just acted out different scenes from the time of the Savior's birth. They had a real camel and sheep and donkies and everything. Inside there was live music, creche displays and food and coloring. There was just a ton of stuff and it was really cool. for it was alright, we couldn't proselyte or anything but our ward mission leaders wife brought one of her friends and daughter, who i got to know pretty well and was kind of their tour guide throughout the event so things went well with them and who knows what else will happen from it. that was really cool though.

I want to tell you about the Ramirez really quick too so that there are no bad thoughts about them anymore. I will admit i was super frustrated with them a few weeks ago, but the turn aroudn has been maybe even more incredible than when they were baptized. The dad went and talked to president murray and straightened things out with what he did, and the parents are doing so well. They were having major marital problems but now they are so close and they just talk to eacho ther differently and it's awesome! i mean serious,ly, it is like night and day from before. We took jose out with us somewhere, and he's like wait i forgot omething, and he just goes and gives his wife a kiss and then we leave. It seriously is so cool to see this change. Jose has been reading too and last week Alma the mom was just having breakdowns because neither of them have a job and their kids were asking whythey didn't have any presents under the tree. She was just havinga hard time and so Jose would be like okay Alma let's just go read the Book of mormon for a little bit. And they would go read and feel better. It just makes me soo happy to see them happy. They even got a few little work opportunities and were blessed with a little christmas money from a mystery source that allowed them to get some presents for their kids. Jose last night showed us what he got them and you should have seen his face. He was soo happy to give each of his kids jsut one cool present. It was pretty humbling for me when i would think of our christmas' in the past. It was just another reminder that it's not about the presents but HIS presence. I love this time of year. Last night we were at their house too having a late dinner and Alma had one of her friends over (they are like 35 hahah) and she brought all her kids and we had a conversation about the gospel. Alma's friend Miriam, said she has been looking for a church that fits just for her. She even got emotional sharing different stories of why she believes in God and things, it was just a spiritually powerful night and then to hear alma and jose bearing little testimonies here and there was jstu amazing. It was such a blessing to be there last night and the true spirit of Christmas was there as we talked of the Savior.

Speaking of the true spirit of Christmas, we had an awesome zone conference this past week where we got a lot of instruction on how we can better ourselves and things, and then the 2nd half was all edifying ha. President had some missionaries stand up and bear their testimony of the savior Jesus Christ. A funny little story though real quick. President calls out a list of missionareis to go share their testimony, and i'm thinking he's gonna call me!!! and my heart started pounding hah. But at the end of his list, my name wasn't called. But while i'm sitting there my heart continues to pound, and i'm thinking man i have to get up and share it with all these missionaries. But i wouldn't dare get up in front of everyone haha, i just thought out in my head, my mission president standing up again and calling me to go up there as a last minute addition. My heart continued to pound and the last missionary that was asked to share, sat down. Then president stands up again and asks five more missionaries to go and he calls me LAST haha. I don't know why but it was a little miracle that i saw. It wasn't even that i needed to share my testimony soo badly, but i knew that my heart was pounding for a reason, and then when president called my name it was just kind of like hah, the holy ghost works in both of us :). it was just kind of funny. It was an awesome zone conference though.

Sorry this letter is so short. I don't know i feel like i just get so exited for this weekend that i can't even think of what else happened hah! A lot of good things are gonig on here in Salem though. I'm getting less and less nervous for Puertas to leave cause i know that Heavenly Father will prepare me and my companion to continue HIS work. If it was our work, then i would have need to be worried, but its not. The spirit has been so strong this season and this week. Yesterday was seriously sooo powerful. Just going to church and partaking of the Sacrament whic has taken on so much more meaning, and listening to the powerful music, andbeing able to use my priesthood and give alejandro the priesthood was just amazing. I'm serious yesterday was so powerful and witht he Ramirez too. What a day! That is the best feeling when you go to bed, knowing that you worked hard all day, and that things just went right!

It has been really cool for me to dive into the christmas story too. In luke and even 1 nephi 11, there are some cool things that as i read them over and over, you just pick out different things. There is so much to the story that we don't even think about. I like to just think of the Savior, born to be King. In essence, we are all born to be kings and queens. We must engage our selves in things that spiritual kings and queens would do. We must remain worthy of that title, because one day it will be given to each of us if we are prepared and worthy.

I also have been thinking a lot about the christmas songs. That's one of the reasons why i asked you mom to send me the priesthood program ones. But while i was reading the christmas story, in particular these 4 verses

For unto you is aborn this day in the city of David a bSaviour, which is Christ the cLord.
12And this shall be a asign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14aGlory to God in the highest, and on earth bpeace, good will toward men
I thought of the last verse (14) and it just hit me for some reason. I don't know why, but i invite you all, as you sing the christmas carols, really REEALLY think about the words taht you are singing. Think about what they mean and who you are singing about. Then i also invite you to go caroling. I know you guys will :) cause we always do.
I foudn another scripture in doctrine and covenants that was soo powerful. I know i had readit before but just thinking of the life of the Savior, we know that he was born into the world to become our Redeemer. And he literally has suffered for everything. This scripture is very discriptive but soo hopeful and powerful

6If thou art aaccused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to bprison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like cwolves for the blood of the lamb;
7And if thou shouldst be cast into the apit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the bdeep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.

8The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9Therefore, ahold on thy way, and the priesthood shall bremain with thee; for their cbounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy ddays are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, efear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever

I know that these things are true because i have experienced them myself. I know that Jesus Christ is always with us and is as close as we allow him to be. It is up to us. I am so happy to be here on my mission during christmas time. As hard as it is to be away from everyone, there is no other place i would rather be. I know that Christ lives and that this time of year is soo special. It really is because of Jesus Christ. i love you guys soo much and can't wait to talk to you in 5 days what??!?! That's gonna be great! I wish you a good week and continue to pray for each of you individually. Remember why this time is soo important :) I love you guys

MERRY CHRISTAS!!! Love Elder Edwards
oh and by the way, next week i get to give a talk in the english ward about how to keep the spirit of christmas ( i was super happy to get assigned.....) haha but it'll be great and i think i'm gonna see if i can sing one of the christmas songs you sent me mom in sacrament meeting too. love you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Helloo everyone! oh man we had the best week ever this week! seriously it was so incredible. We saw so many blessings it just was amazing. It was really nice too after the crazy fiascos of last week. For an update though, the Ramirez family is doing wayyy better! The husand is gonna go meet with the branch president and he realized he was way out of line. They have been reading and praying more as a family this week and its cool too cause the little boy named juinior, always reminds everybody in their fam to pray before they eat or before they go to bed haha it's awesome! So they are doing way better. We saw them a lot this week just to make sure they are still good.

Everyone at home sounds great though. I'm so bummed i missed the christmas program man, i would've loved to see it or hear it or sing it! And i was actually wondering if it's not too much to ask, is there any way you could make a copy of some of the christmas songs and send them to me? I wanna sing one in sacrament meeting or something i think that would be awesome! Like the song about the man with m any names, or "a long time ago". There are others i think too but if you can't no big deal. GOod to hear about zach and tyler winning and daddy's crazy travels. I always loved christmas time when everyone even dad could just take break and it sousdn like it'll be a full house for christmas haha i can't wait to talk to you guys! Christmas is gonna be soo awesom ewe have some great plans that i'll tell you about when it's closer :). But i loved the christmas thoughts too mom, realyl inspiring and just uplifting that make me smile. I love this christmas time i have just felt soo good!

Okay so now for the events of this week. Ahh i'm so excited to tell you. So on tuesday, we go on splits. I'm with an english elder and we go to teach alejandro. He is the son of a recent convert family that has been way awesome. He is 25 and just really open to meeting with us and taking the lesons. He has shared that he really enjoys reading the book of mormon too. So this time we go and it had been a little while since we had seen him and so we caught up a little bit. Then we finally asked how his reading and praying had gone. He said taht since it had been a while since we had come by ( like 3 or 4 days), he hadn't done anymore reading and started to just feel super stressed cause he doesn't have a job, a girlfriend, and there was just a lot weighing on his mind. But he said he read on monday night (day before we came), and he said it was awesome the feeling he had after he had read and when he was praying. He said for the first time he really focused his prayer on whether or not the book of mormon was true and he said his feelings of stress and nerves just went away and it was like heavenly father was telling him, just don't worry about it. and he said he knew taht the book of mormon was true! WHAT THE!!!??? it was soo awesome just witnessing this true conversion! So we kind of walked him through saying well what does that mean about joseph smith and the church today, and he was just like, it's all true man i know it is. So we set the baptismal date for december 12th (yesterday), and he hesitantly took it cause it was really soon but said yes i will be baptized. Ahh man it was just incredible. And then when we went over the next day, he said he was feeling way better about his baptism and was jsut ready for it, what a blessing from heavenly father!!

Also on tuesday night, we had a meeting with mission president and the stake president in the stake over, and a few other guys concerning the future of another spanish branch. Basically it was just the future plans for the area but a lot of it was still up in the air so basically all that we know is that we're getting another branch in south salem (i'm in west salem). Which is great news obviously, and it's gonna happen in february now. We might get more spanish missionaries here too which would be great. BUT, what i did also find out, is that president macdonald just said that puertas is getting transferred! even though it's 3 weeks away, he was like yeah he's gone so don't even worry about him hahah. he's so down to business i love it. The thing is, we all kind of new he was leaving, but just having pres say it, made it sink in. So i was a little nervous but i'm feeling way better about it now. Daniel sent me a letter too that was pretty motivating that i just feel good now.

Then on wednesday we had presidents interviews. They went really well. Funny story too. We go over to Alejandros who lives with his family, and we have been teaching a lady named stacy (the picture i sent with the little grill that i won in the raffle). She is like 22 and is alejandros sister. She knows all this is true, but she just said, i want to make sure i can go to church and be committed if i'm going to be baptized cause she works on sundays :(. BUT we were at alejandro's going over the baptismal questions and ask him how he wants the service to go. we talked about who would talk and stuff and then we ask oh and did you think of who you want to do it? we explained it could be his step dad, or his cousin, or so on and so on... but when we ask him, he gets a smile on his face and says i want you to do it elder edwards. I was like what?? i thought i didn't understand him when he said it in spanish but i was so honored! It was just a really cool feeling and without being prideful it just felt soo cool to have him pick me. I know taht it has been the Lord that caused his conversion, that gave him the witness that these things are true but it jsut made me feel like all along, i did make an impression on him, and it was just really cool for me. I'm sorry if i sound into myself and stuff but it was just really cool. There's more though, we gather the family to say a prayer and have alejandro announce his baptism, and when he does they asked stacy when they could do it on sunday night. And she was like oh...i can go at like 7 ish. And then they were like "wait, are you getting baptized too?" and she was like SURE! hahahahah i just laugh thinking about it right now! The thing is, we foudn a church for her where she works in portland so she has actually gone to a few sacrament meetings and she was down to be baptized! Talk about the lord working in mysterious ways hahah, it took the family to ask once to solidify a date! That was so funny, but the only problem is that when we went over the next day before her interview, to prepare her, she said she had been feeling sick and went to the hospital. She had a FEW kidney stones inside her and they had to do 2 or 3 surgeries. So we'll wait on the baptism but she is still excited and ready too. That'll come in the next few weeks, i know it.

Ummm, we have been working a lot in independence this week. We met some awesome families and they are progressing nicely. And guess what Katie...we met 2 ladies taht are from the Dominican republic and one from mexico that lives with them!!! Clara and Rosanna are their names and they are soo awesome. The first lesson we taught with them they tell us that they never let [preachers in, they just noticed something different about us and knew we had to come. Then during the lesson the daughter rosanna who is like mid 20's says, i feel a peace right now that i havent felt in the longest time and i just wanted to thank you. And then the member that was with us (Juan Rodriguez the guy that called you mom :D), goes, that is the spirit testifying that these things are true. it was awesome!! They were all asking for their own copy of the book of mormon haha it was incredible. They called us "heroes" and just kept saying how they knew there was something special about us. It's crazy how those that are prepared really will feel of the spirit and know when they are finding the truth. It's just a tesimony to me that Heavenly Father really does prepare his children for the gospel. They are awesome and we went back again with some different members and taught the plan of salvation. It was cool cause i got to really take charge of the lesson, puertas didn't really teach as much as he normally does so not taht that's a good thing but it just gave me some confidence. And then we set baptismal dates with them. Unfortunatly Clara is leaving for newport and won't be back for a while but Rosanna will be here and she has a date for the 25th!! (CHRISTMAS PLANS!! :D).

So she came to church yesterday and seemed like she was doing pretty good. But their testimonies have already formed and they are just like, oh man we know this book is true! Literally they are just amazing and i have never seen someone so prepared! Clara and Kenia (the girl from mexico) will take a little bit longer but that's okay. We have to be patient too haha! Seriously though, they are so awesome.

Other things, we went and gave stacey a blessing at the hospital which was really cool and i got to give a lady in the branch a blessing too. These opportunites jsut remind me of how awesome it is that we have the preisthood on the earth today. It's such a blessing that it was restored through the prophet joseph smith.

On sunday, we had our big day! After church we just went and set up and tried to get as many spanish people to the service as possible (which is not easy!) But when alejandro finally came we got all dressed up and took a ton of pictures and what was cool was that he even took out his earrings. He just has little gauges, but he took them out and just looked soo good. The poor guy was super sick though, he had a runny nose and cough and sneeznig haha but he was a good sport. He took it all really seriously and jsut you could tell he was ready. It was cool when we were walking over to the font, we stopped in the bathroom and said a prayer together and then walked down into the water. I can't tell you how good i felt and just happy for this guy. We have had a lot of time to get to know each other and play soccer and hang out and i just can't tell you happy i felt in that moment for him. It was very powerful. HE MADE IT! ahh man it is just so rewarding when we work and work and work and then it all pays off. Heavenly Father has truly been guiding us to those that are prepared. I wish i could say it was us that has brought this about but really we justinvite people to do stuff, and He does the rest.
Well that was my amazing week. There is more good stuff coming too i can feel it. I feel like usually after really good stuff happens, we are all humbled but im hoping that these people with a date will follow through and we even have another family that has committed to being baptized but just don't have a date. They are hard to get to crhuch too. But i know that as we are obedient and humble we will continue to see the lord's blessings in our lives. This past week has been a really nice spiritual high for me. I know that it was with us as we testifed. Elder Puertas and i have been really close too. Since we found out that he is leaving, it just pushed us a little clsoer together and we are teaching with better unity and i just love the guy. He is seriously an increidble missionary and just loves the work too, he is such an awesome example to me. I have learned so much from him and know that these lessons will help me the rest of my mission.

Anyways, i love you guys so much. Thanks for the emails and the letters and the prayers. I can feel your love and excitement in my joys in the mission. What a wonderful time of year this is, i never want it to end hah! I'm excited to talk to you guys in a few weeks and i am so grateful for you efforts to share the gospel. I was so happy to hear that JP and Andrew made it to the christmas program. I have been feeling strongly that i need to get in touch with John Corcoran again cause it's been a while and i just want to share these experiences with him and give him what we have. thank you for your examples, i love you with all that i am. I know the church is true and i know without doubt, that Jesus Christ lives.
Love Elder Edwards

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ups and Downs

Okay family this week started LAME and then became AWESOME and then yesterday it fell down again but i'm in great spirits! I like hearing about the transition of thanksgiving to christmas at home because we can see it all around here in oregon. I love seeing all the lights and the trees and just how happy everyone is. Let us remember the Savior amidst all the crazy running around schedules that you all seem to have :). Seriously though eve3ryone sounds like they are doing well and mom i did get your stamps thankyou soo much for sednding all those! i never realized how much they costed. I liked your little date with dad in the city too. Some crazy stuff happened this week that i will talk about in a bit that just made me appreciate how close mom and dad are and even katie and jimmy, and daniel and emily. I'll get to that in a little though. The city date soudned awesoem i bet it was great to see all the lights and trees and stuff up on the buildings and stuff.

Oh and brother kinney sent me a letter this week with the conversion story of Chris Lynch. It honestly was the most touching letter and i don't know why but it was so emotional for me to read about Chris. I felt a special closeness to him as i read about the process by which he came to accept the church. This was a kid that i met back in 4th grade at south school and who i knew up until graduation. I have the fonddest memories of him and i and mike kinney hanging out after school at mike's house or even sleep overs we had together. I can't tell you much it meant to me to read about what happened to Chris and to know and hear about his growing testimony. I felt pure joy as i read about his choices as he decided to be baptized and take a huge step closer to returning to his father in heaven. I just love that kid and was soo happy for him. I can't explain it in any other words really. It just made me soo happy i got so emotional reading it during a personal study. And despite the time that i haven't seen him or even hung out with him really, i still know him and have a connection with him that goes way back. It just meant so much to me to know that he had foudn the truth. To know that he had been touched by the spirit of god and had gained his testimony through the efforts of mike and brother kinney and the hand of the lord. What a blessing that was.

Anyway this week like i said started off kind of crummy. I kn ow mom says we are always our own worst enemy but seriously early last week i was just down on myself. I felt like my spanish was really poor and that for some reason it was just so easy to take a back seat to puertas. Even in just talkking to people i found it hard to get the courage to go talk to them. It honestly was just odd the way i was feeling. Then we had a slow day on thursday cause we had weekly planning and basically everyone we had planned to see, just wasn't there. Ahh soo frustrating. but friday, everything turned aroudn on friday though.

On friday morning we have district meeting. I don't know what it was about this particular one, but it was so motivating and it was just exactly what i needed at that time. It boosted my spirits, motivated me, and just inspired me to be better than i was being and to stop beating myself up. There was also a great message that i wanted to share with you that i learned from the meeting. In Mathew 26 in the bible, The Savior after he sings a hymn with his disciples (thanks mom :)) goes to gethsemane with Peter, and two of his apostles. Jesus asks his disciples to stay and stand watch while he goes and essentially takes on the sins of the world. At the most important event and time in the history of man, his apostles fall asleep. When the savior comes back he finds them sleeping and asks, "What, bcould ye not watch with me one hour?" And goes back and prays again. He comes back and finds them asleep again, and then a third time too. But this time, after he has suffered and atoned for all of our sins and feelings and experiences, and pains, he comes and speaks to his disciples again, "Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest". Even though the Savior asks us to do things, like keep his commandments, sometimes we come up short. But here we see how merciful and sweet and compassionate the Savior is as he tells them to, "sleep on, and take your rest".

Anyway i really liked disrtict meeting and then Elder puertas had a meeting for an hour after so i went on splits with another missionary and although we didn't see anyone that we were hoping to see, we talked to everyone body that we ran in to and i even oym'd the manager at pizza hut while we ordered ourl unch there. HA it was awesome at pizzah ut cause we ended up talking for like 15 minutes while our "pzone's" were cooking, But it was just cool to see heavenly father working in me, giving me the courage to just talk to people. Then that night, we went on splits agian. I was with Elder Alderman and Elder puertas was with Elder Wilkes. We had to be in two places at once and they offered to help us out but we were nervous to ask for their help cause the appointment that alderman and i were going to, wasn't super solid. But we go to the apartment complexes and we get out of the car, and are like oh shoot we forgot to say a prayer. So we kind of "casually lean up against the trunk of the car" so we don't look funny praying in the middle of the street. And while we're praying we here people running. And slowly it gets louder and louder adn so finally we say amen and turn around and there are two little hispanic boys that had run up to us. They were super friendly and i'm thinking wow, i've never seen these kids before they must know elder Alderman haha ( i later foudn out that he thought the same thing but with me!). So we are playing with them showing them magic tricks and stuff and they are showing us their rubber bands and silly bands and things, and then i asked them if their mom was home and if they live in these apartment complexes. He says YES excitedly and takes us to his home where we talk to his whole family and set up a lesson for sunday night. While alderman played with the kids in the street, i gave them a quick overview of the restoration lesson and left a pamphlet for them to read and pray about. HA it worked out really well. Then we leave and the little boys follow us, to the apartment where we had an appointment. We knocked their and when he doesn't answer, we are kind of bummed cause he totally flaked on us. But then i'm like wait, there were two boys and we only saw one of their families, so we go back down to where they are hiding behind bushes to scare us and when they jump out we act all scared hah. But we asked the other boy if his mom was home and he went and took us to his home where we foudn his mom, older brother, and dad all there. We ended up sitting down and teaching the whole first lesson with them too! I can't tell you how much of a miracle that was! Not only that but both elder alderman and my spanish felt soo good and both of us have really felt like our spanish understanding has increased and we just felt awesome to have been blessed with increased understanding and speaking abilities. And beyond that, those two little kids that neither of us knew, just happened to get us two new families to teach! It was such a miracle and now i know why we were supposed to set up that appointment with that guy at that time. Even though he wasn't there, Heavenly Father knew that those boys would be playing out in the street, and would find us to bring us to their families. It was soo incredible and just boosted my spirits even more than before! I felt soo happy and just soo blessed to have been guided to those families.

Saturday had some cool things happen too. We went to independence which is like 20 minutes away and did a finding hour. We call it a window of heaven. We pick a street or an area the night before when we are planning and just pray and ask heavenly father to prepare someone in that area to be ready to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. So on saturday when we went to indy, we got to the street that we had chosen and just started knocking. The first door was an english guy who quickly closed the door but luckily pointed us in the direction of the hispanics. So we knocked two more and then on the 4th, a man named jose luiz answers the door. He was such a nice guy and was telling us how much he wanted to come to chruch and stuff. We gave him an overview of the first lesson and gave him a pamphlet and asked him if he would read and pray about it. Because we don't go aroudn to convince, just to invite others to come unto christ and find out their own answers. Then after talking for about 10 minutes we knock two more doors with no luck and then come to the last door of the apartment complex. I knocked and a lady answers. She doesn't say anything other than "pasen" which means come in. HA so we look at each other smiling and are like SWEET! hah so we go in and teach her and her husband and little boy the first discussion! It was incredible and just such a blessing. I honestly don't know why she let us in. She didn't ask who we were or anything she just said come in. I think it goes to show that the lord really does prepare those who are ready to receive the gospel. Those who are ready will recognize when something comes from Him, and i truly think that in that moment, Maria (was her name), noticed or felt something good about us, and decided to let us in. She was so awesome too when we were teaching she was asking and answereing all the questions and stuff. Her husband was a little bit harder to get to, but he said just that som thigns were going wrong but didn't really tell us what was up. We have a return appointment though and are excited to go teach them again. That little series of events was such a miracle.

Okay now the hard part. Yesterday, church went great. We had some investigators at church and i wnt up with one of our recent converts in the spanish branch who is 12 and we both bore our testimony. The kid is such a stud! His whole family was baptized but right now, he is the only one that is coming. What an incredible testimony he has at only 12 years old. Unfortunatly we didn't see the Ramirez family at church and they said they needed a break from us visiting just for a few days while Jose finds a new job ( he got let go from his job en los pinos). So we hadn't seen them for like 5 days and their phones weren't working so we go there after lunch at like 3:30. We get there and it's just jose, the dad, sitting in the living room trying to fix his speakers, with a beer on the table, and he was trying to play wii. it felt eerie when we got there and the family wasn't any where to be seen. We asked him what was up and he would just say "nothin, what's up with you guys" he was friendly but acting off. Then i went back to say hi to the kids and the mom, alma, and they seemed to be doing okay but alma the mom, said they were all in trouble and had to be in their rooms. So we go back out and talk with Jose and he doesn't say much but he does say, "I need a new life, or a new wife. And if i want a new life, i need a new wife". So we are just like Oh great man, and it just felt sketchy to be there. We asked jose if he would take a walk with us but he refused over and over. We had been there for like an hour just trying to get him to talk with us and tell us what was going on. He was talking but not telling us the situation. And he jsut kept pounding beers too. So we are in the kitchen talking with the kids and he gets the keys and goes into the garage. I'm like no way man he is way buzzed so we run out there before he can leave and just ask "where are you going man". He says just around the corner but that's just waht you say when you are gonna leave and come back in a couple days. We tried to talk with him in there but didn't get much again. When we were running into the garage, alma says that he has been super abusive lately too. So we are now, just want to stay so that he doesn't hit any of his kids or Alma. He starts getting mad at us saying , "i feel like you guys are baby sitting me and i don't like it". We took the keys out of the car too and gave them to alma. So he goes back in his room and shaves his head and his facial hair off. He then asks us to come back to talk. So we go and don't find much out, but he is seriously just acting like a 6 year old and being so frustrating. He was trippy man. Finally we get him in the kitchen and he starts talking. He tells us that he did "something" and that alma just keeps yelling at him to do this and do that. He says she brings up stuf that happened in the past and rubs it in his face and that he can't take her anymore. We takled to him and were like well your first problem is the beer in your hand. There were beers everywhere and he wouldn't stop. He's like well it makes me happy! He tells us al ittle more of the story and then alma comes home with some groceries and more beer. I'm thinking what is she doing?? But they start talking and alma starts to tell a little bit of the story and then jose just starts swearing at her and cussing her out saying if you are gnona tell the story, " you better tell it right", with a few expletives in there. Then she just says no and stops talking. then jose leaves the room and we are like alma what is going on, she just says "i did something wrong by telling jose to do something and i regret it but he won't let it go and it's just all my fault". then jose swears at her again telling her to "shut her mouth". Then he asks her to give him the keys. She says no and he starts eylling at her again to do give him the keys. She just starts crying as she says no but he yells louder and louder until she finally goes into the other room and he just starts screaming at her and swearing and she is like "i'm sorry i'll go to my room i'm sorry" and just ahhh it was sooo aweful. finally we got up and said goodbye to alma and she said please leave or it'll get worse. and then we said goodbye to jose. We said some forceful words to him but i just wish i had stood up and said them when he was yelling. I felt like i should but i just didn't get up and say anything. I feel like it just didn't have the same effect and honsetly that was my biggest regret of the whole night that i didn't get up and stand up for alma. Man it was such an aweful night. We were there for like 3 horus too and jsut trying to help Jose not do anything stupid. It honestly was sooo sad, we got in the car and i just wanted to cry! This family was doing incredible and all of a sudden they start going down hill. It was soo sad i can't even describe it. We just said a prayer and prayed so hard that Heavenly Father would protect each person in that family. We couldn't do anything really. Luckily he didn't hit anybody but it was just super tense! I feel like we did eveything we could though, i just hope Jose quits his drinking cause that's what turns him into this crazy person. It was aweful.

We learned a lot though. the importance of marriage and living the commandments. it really was a learning experience, but i was still soo mad, puertas and i were just shaking we were so mad. Thankfully though we went to dinner with an old man who had taped the christmas fireside so we got to watch a President monson and presidnet Eyring. That was all we had time for but it really calmed our spirits and gave us a renewed hope which was such a blessing. We'll see what happens in the future with this.

Anyways i'm feeling way better today and it was nice to feel close to Heavenly father last night when we were watching teh christmas devotional and then when we had a sleep over with the other spanish missionaries. It was good to have a lot of company and just talk last night, i know everything will work out alright.

So taht was the really crazy stuff taht happened this week. This next week will be interesting to see what experiecnes come. I really am in good spirits though, and am more aware now than ever, that Heavenly Father is mindful of each us individually. Thankfully the Savior has suffered every pain and affliction that we might go through which allows to be healed through him. I know that he lives and that through Jesus Christ we will come to know our Heavenly Father better and return to his presence one day. In the words of President Eyring, "the most meaningful gift i have to give, is my testimony of Jesus Christ".

I love you all soo much and jsut can't wait to hear from you next week already. You mean the world to me and am so greatful for you at this time. Thankyou for you support and your love and your sacrifice for me and others. I love you so much!
love elder edwards

Monday, November 29, 2010


This time of the year is so fun and although it takes a little extra focus, the spirit is soo strong. Last night we were at a members house and they are an older couple named the pinkertons. He is our ward mission leader and she is just a sweet heart haha. But we were sharing a lesson with them and she just starts baring her testimony about the spirit that we bring especially at this time of year and she jsut started crying and it was just really touching. She said some really nice things about us and she just kept saying that we, the missionaries, are what bring that real spirit of thanksgiving and christmas. It's all about the Savior. It was really cool last night.
This week was pretty awesome though, last monday was crazy, one of our recent converts girlfriends took 40 tylenols! So we spent quite some time last week at the hospital with her and just making sure everything was okay. It was actually a real blessing taht we were there, beacuse if she didn't get treated she definitly would have died. I know that heavenly father was really looking out for her by letting us be with her boyfriend at the time, chris, who said something was up with her and that's why we went over.

it was a super quick week just because we had a mid week p-day with thanksgiving! But we taught some great lessons and i got to go on splits with the zone leaders whooaa i was kind of nervous but it went great! Um we taught the son of one of our recent investigators and he has got a date for the 11th of december which is great and we finalyl made contact with this family called the Villalobos family. They are incredble and when president macdonald drove past their house he said he had a revelation that Francisco, the dad, would be a stake president someday! We have been working with him on and off since i got here and even before me so it's a slow process but we know he will be baptized and really help the church grow especially in this area. Some big news this week too is that the branch here is going to be split and we are gonna put it in south salem where there is a huge growing spanish membership. It's cool to see the long term goals of it all where we are planning on having the first spanish stake in the northwest over the next few years. It's really cool to be apart of this.

Thanksgiving was great though. We still got up and did our normal morning schedule for the most part and then had the turkey bowl! it was crazy though mom, cause just where i was in the book of mormon, i read taht part about Jesus weeping for the faith of the nephites. It was so random that i read it on that day and i didn't plan it or anything! When you wrote it to me, i didn't even know what chapter that was in 3 nephi and so i just thought it was a real blessing to be able to read that on thanksgiving morning and really feel the spirit of it. The turkey bowl was awesome haha we got sooo muddy, i will send you pictures. it seriously was just a mud bath it was like playing in soup and it was actually a pertty nice day even though it has been soo cold lately. it just gets really icey over here! But we played for a while and then the hard part was getting home in our car haha it was so nasty but we made it.

Then we went up to the villalobos just to kick it for a little bit and watch the first half of a soccer game that puertas had on dvd. It was alright, but still fun. Then we went to our thanksgiving lunch! Ohh man we feasted! It was fun to just be with a family, their name is the weidmans. Everything was soo good and we just ate till we were stuffed and then had some pumpkin pie (not nearly as good as mine and grandmas :)). It was nice thoguh to just be able to kick it all day. We played som eguitar and hung out and just relaxed. We went over the the sandoval family's hosue and then during the night to the ramirez family who was just baptized. It was way fun and we finished the soccer game that we started while just lying on the couch with one of their little kitty cats on my stomach haha! Then we went home at like 8:30 and just planned real quick and layed aroudn talking with us four spanish missionaries. That was pretty much thanksgiving for us, and it was really a great day!

Then on friday , puertas asked me to teach for like 25 minutes at district meeting with elder kaumaitotoya (from fiji). it was really cool actually, i taught about having the holy ghost as a 3rd companion. it was really cool preparing for it becvause i felt that as i turned myself so much to prayer to ask for guidance on behalf of the two districts that we meet with, heavenly father guided me through the scriptures and old notes to the places where i needed to be and study. It was really cool to see how much i learned as i tried to study on the behalf of all these other missionaries and not for myself. I need to really develop that ability more by studying better for our investigators. But it went really well and i felt really good when we taught, it was just a fun experience even though i was super nervous to teach with everyone there. Then after meetings and things, we went on splits. I went with Elder Bruton and Puertas went with elder newman. they are the zone leaders in charge of 4 districts made up of like 6-8 missionaries each. So they are pretty good duded and i was jtu excited to learn from them and see what i could apply to my own work.
In our first lesson in "spanglish" we set a date with Alejandro (the son of our recent converts). He was pretty open about it even though it's pretty soon. The guy is awesome and shared some realy cool experiecnes that he had reading the book of mormon. Just when he was reading about king benjamin in mosiah and he prophesied of the coming of Jesus Christ, alejandro said he felt soething really good inside and he coudln't really explain it but it was so noticable and it was just a good feeling haah he couldn't really explain but it was awesome to know that his testimony is really coming! What a blessing that was. Then we went and taught an older couplei n english who had never realyl prayed before other than rote prayers so we helped them break out of just reciting something memorized and Max, the husband, was really into it. He said it just makes more sense to say what is close and [personal to us when we talk to heavenly father. it just means more to me, because wheni say the memorized prayers, i don't even think about what i'm saying. He was really into it but she was a little more idfficult. That was great thjough and then we taught another lesson with the ramirez family taht night and they are just always fun to be around so that was cool. Then in the morning somehting really cool happened. Elder bruton was telling me how impressed he was with all of us spanish missionaries and how they never really had to worry about us, but he said our apartment could use some work (like i didn't know already =) ).
But he said he had an awesome experience in the shower. He said while he was in there he was thinking about us, and he said he had a personal revelation for us, and he said that he had never had words come so clearly to his mind for other missionaries, but he said that if we would clean and maintiain our apartment, we would get 1 more baptism than we would have otherwise. Wow taht is pretty awesoem! So we have some major cleaning to do today hahah! But taht was really cool and it was just nice to be able to get to know the Zone leaders a little more personally and learn from their great teaching skills and testimonies.

In my studies i have been tearing apart the chapters in 3 nephi where Jesus Christ is amongst them. They are so incredible, i feel like everyday i just have pages and pages of thoguhts and notes and just cool things that i'm learning. Here are some awesome verses i found in 3 nephi:19

25 And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his acountenance did smile upon them, and the light of his bcountenance did cshine upon them, and behold they were as dwhite as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.
28 Father, I thank thee that thou hast apurified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me.
29 Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me aout of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them.

I dont' know what it was about them but they just really touched me. I love in 25 when The savior smiles down upon the people and it says their countenance was as white as Jesus'. I think it is so important that we strive to do what the savior asks and follow his example that we may bare his countenance to others. So that when others just look at us, they can tell there is something difference. I truly believe that as we are obedient and faithful, that we take upon ourselves The countenance of Jesus Christ and we may bring his spirit with us wherever we go through a smile or a laugh or a helping hand.
Then in 28 and 29 how it says and Jesus prayed for them. I love the thought of Jesus Christ praying for me individually. If i'm having a hard time, i imagine him praying on my behalf, pleading with Heavenly Father to help me through whatever it is i'm struggling with. And the same for you. Imagine YOUR Savior, pleading on your behalf, praying that you might have the faith to go on, or the strength, or the health, or the confidnece, or whatever you need. And then in 29 too when he says i pray not for the world, but for those you have given me out of the world, beacuse of their faith. In all seriousness, the world is a pretty nasty place. it is beautifull and lovely but there is so much wickedness that goes on, that it's easy to get sucked in. it is our strongest effort to become those who Heavenly Father sees as being "out of the world". That is our goal that we maintain or develop or even just begin to have Faith in Jesus Christ. He is pulling for us, even praying for us, and wants to smile upon us and let his countenance show through us. But first we must have faith, and take ourselves out of the world that takes us away from the Savior. I feel so lucky to have this time now to give up even things that are hard. Even if in the back of my head i want my ipod with me or a cell phone to text friends, I am so blessed to get this opportunity to let it all go, and just focus on what is important and that is others, coming unto christ, developing this faith, and countenance that christ has.

I have to run now though, this last week was awesome and this coming one will be even better. I'm so thankful for all of you. my family, friends, loved ones, leaders, and aquaintances. i'm thankful for everyone who has helped me become who i am now and for the love and support i get every week. It really makes being amissionary a lot easier. I love you all so much and know this church is true. We are so blessed to have a prophet on the earth today that leads and guides us, and the scriptures really are for us! We can find any answer we are looking for within the scriptures. i know that the book of mormon is true.
I love you soo much!
love elder edwards

Monday, November 22, 2010

3rd transfer

Okay so everyone sounded amazing as usual. i can't believe how good everything seems to be going back home every week! I honestly can't believe that victoria neeleman is getting married, wacky! Um i also was glad to hear about everyone's holiday plans. I'm gonna miss going to grandma and grandpas but we already have some fun plans for thanksgiving and we are excited to play in the turey bowl and stuff like that and watch a movie or a sporting event. We get a full P-day so that will be exciting! I know this transfer is going to go super quick though man, i feel like time just flies like p-day's keep coming faster and faster. I feel like i don't know enough ahhH!!!
As of today though, I AM NOT A GREENIE!!!! at the start of the third transfer, i am no longer a greenie. i know it's just a dumb title but it still feels good ha! At the same time, i feel like i should know more since i'm not the new guy anymore ya know? I wanna really be effective but i am still "getting there" with the spanish and just feel like there is a ton of stuff i could be better on. I know i've grown a ton though and learned so much. It's just easier to remember all the things that are nerve racking and scary than all the things that have gone really well.
This past week was pretty good. It was a little slower than others but nonetheless we had some good things happen, and i have been trying to have a heart of gratitude all the time and have notived little miracles all throughout the week. We had the primary program this sunday where they sing and talk about Christ and the church. It was really cute and we combined the branch and english ward so there was a TON of people there. A little miracle happend too. Before church started a middle aged lady walks in with a guy in a wheel chair. It turns out that she was a member when she was a little girl and stopped going when her parents divorced at age 13. She was taking care of this wheel chair man, walter, and he asked her if she would take him to church. She said yes and we met there. We talked a ton and then asked her if we could come by sometime. She told us her husband wasn't a member and said we could come teach him the lessons. MIRACLE!

On saturday, we went to go see a referral, and the guy was super nice. he was out in the yard when we talked to him and was super funny and just down to talk. So we shared a little message with him and he said we should come back on monday at 6 so we will see him tonight. We were so excited that he was so open and welcome to us. But the miracle came after that. We got in the car to leave and then puertas sees someone in their garage. He says go talk to em bro and i was kind of nervous cause i still do. He was like just go man, so i was like well aren't you coming with me? He says oh yeah, and then we get out of the car and go talk to these two spanish ladies in their garage. We talked for like 20 minutes and they were like oh yes we've been looking for a church to go to! And they even gave us some pasteles that took them 8 hours to make 40 of them, so when they gave each of us one, we felt pretty special. They were so elect and just it's cool how Heavenly Father works. Even though it went wel with the referral, i think we were there to find those two ladies.
We are teaching a recent converts son, that just moved here from mexico which is awesome, and we had a thanskgiving dinner party on friday f the branch and we had over a hundred people show up! i couldn't believe how many people were there, it was incredible. such a blessing.

Last tuesday we went up to albany to help the elders do some finding and i got to go with elder alderman. We were in corvalis and albany all day knocking doors. It actually went really well and out of our 3 companionships, i think me and alderman found the most return appointments. Not that it was us that made that happen, but it was still kind of cool to find a lot of spanish people even as the young guys ya know? It was really cool and we were both surprised at the help we receieved with our spanish an djust being guided to the right areas where people have been prepared to hear the gospel. It was like every 3rd door we knocked, they were willing to meet with us again, it was awesome. I had that happen in a smaller scale again on friday. I went tracting with an english elder while puertas was in a meeting. We went spanish tracting though and so i had to do all the talking. It went well though and we got 3 return appointments. Although only one of them has turned out to be legit, it was stlil cool to have to take the lead. I really am nervous about my spanish still, like i can teach a lesson by myself even in spanish, but i just have trouble understanding people still and it's like when i'm with puertas, people will talk more just beacuse he is fluent. So when we are together which is almost all the time, then it's hard for me to get everything they are saying espeially when it's a mix of conversational spanish and gospel spanish. I don't know though, i will get it eventually, and i really have noticed how much i've improved too so i do feel good. And i went tracting with another spanish elder who is white that spk=oke it pretty good, so it was good to see a non-spanish speaker that knew spanish fluently, if that makes sense? Speaking of tracting, we went white tracting last night or english tracting. It was freezing cold but we were in good spirits. We knocked on one lady's house and she was so annoying haha! it wasn't anything crazy but she opens the door and says oh it's you, we don't want any of your religion thankyou, and then she closes the door, locks it, and turns off the lights hah. I know it's not even that bad but puertas and i just laughed as we walked away at the odd reactions people have to us. We ended up teaching a lesson with a member family that night about referrals and stuff and how they can do missionary work better. It was cool to see the older son too, who is inactive bear his testimony to us. We asked them about who they knew that they could help out and he was like well, me. He was like i have prayed about the church and know for a fact without a doubt that it's true, i jsut need to stop being an idiot and get my act together and start going back to church. And then puertas is like yeah and since you were very frank with us, i will be frank with you, you need to stop being an idiot and come back to chruch ahhahaha! We all started cracking up and they are a way funny family so it wasn't awkward or anything but it was actually very spiritual and cool to hear him bear his testimony. He's a wayy cool kid too and he's like 21 i think so he could even go on a mission.
Let's see other miracles, We were in independence which is like 15-20 minutes away inviting people to our thanksgiving party and we found a guy at home named Rigo. He is hard to catch at home but we did and since he was there he told us to come in. We shared a little something with him and then challenged him to be baptized ha! He said yes and now he has a date for the 11th of december. It was just out of no where but we did it and he said yes! So it was a lot of good stuff happening this week. Our teaching pool right now has gone down though and i think this week we are gonna do some bi g finding efforts. It is getting really cold over here and the rain makes it rough. It's like high 30's but raining so it just whips in you face ugh! But it's kind of fun when we are out in the streets and there is not a soul around haah!
Anyway, i wanted to ask you guys to do something as a family. And this goes for katie and jimmy, and daniel and emily too, but we have been doing something really cool called the power lesson. We do it to help people receive their own revelation as to who they can help at this time, receive the gospel. During a family home evening or something, have mom or dad share a little spiritual message just to bring the spirit, and then kneel down together and have dad, daniel, jimmy, say the prayer. And ask specifically for someone that each of you know, that you could invite to do something gospel related. Make sure you ask a direct question to heavenly father so he can give you a direct answer. After you say this prayer together stay kneeling and silent for like 60 seconds, and jsut pay attention to any face, name, or person that comes to mind. Then, you get to role play it. you don't need to do everyone, and if you don't think of a person that's fine, but the point is that each member of the family has the opportunity to receive personal revelation in that minute. That is something i really didn't understand before my mission. Once you have some people in mind, ROLE PLAY. have someone play the part of the friend, and someone be themselves, and then invite them to do something. It can be come to church, come toa nativity thing, or a church activity or read the book of mormon or be baptized for that matter haha. But just set up a pretend scenario and act it out, ssee what it might be like. Then when that is done, you can switch people and try it with someone else. Then the last part, is to actually do it!!! yay i know it's k ind of nerrve racking but you guys are the best missinoaries. Members are the full time finders :)
Anyway taht's just my little test for you guys. I have to go now though. I love you all so much! I know this church is the true church and the same church that jesus christ set up when he was on the earth. I am so thankful for all o fyou, and for the savior jesus christ and his sacrifice for each one of us. I love you so much and i love this work and htis gospel
love elder Edwards

Monday, November 15, 2010

2 transfers are DONE

Another week is in the bag, and this transfer is OVER WHAT?! I can't believe it. What's cool though is that Puertas is sticking around for another transfer and so are the other two spanish missionaries so we are going to have thanksgiving and christmas together!! I'm pretty excited to have another transfer with puertas too. I know it's a long time with one person but we get along well and i feel like we work well together too. Also, we have some big plans for this next transfer and i feel like it might have slowed things down if puertas left, just cause I stlil feel like i'm getting the hang of things. And yes i am soo thankful that you hemmed my white pants haha i want make sure i keep using them.

I was reading a cool article with puertas about creating success. Our success really is up to us. It was written by elder ballard and just talks about how most of your success depends on your attitude. In the end, it's obviously up to the Lord what success we see, but if you don't see yourself baptizing people, then you won't. it's just the ongoing theme of setting goals high, but not losing focus on the fact that each baptismal number is a face, a person, that is finally on that straight and narrow path that leads them right back to Heavenly Father. That was kind of random but yeah, i just remembered that.

Everyone at home sounds like they're doing well. Zach and tyler are doing awesome and it's so fun to hear about the football stories and what's going on with shcool and work and just everything at home. I can't believe that about Chris Lynch. Not only did he get baptized but already he is preparing to serve a mission?! WHAT!? that just blows my mind and is true evidence of the atonement. Through our fruits, our actions, and thoughts, you can just see when the atonement has taken over someones life and they have had that "change of heart". What a cool transformation to see, even for the little boys who know him. I liked in Zach's letter he was talking about a friend that he could juse see being a member of the church. When a story like chris' takes place, it gets everyone excited to do missionary work, because they remember how awesome it is! I just encourage you guys to think of those people that could really use the gospel specifically right now and even say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father for help in just being a good member friend to that person. I think beinga good friend and example is a huge part of missionary work that members do.

I liked what you said about the stuff in the temple. I have found that patience is a continuing lesson that i am learning on my mission. Literally over and over i reflect on situations or circumstances i was in and find that patience was a common theme throughout. I have been frustrated too with some of our investigagtors lately who always seem to be working or doing something whenever we come over, or who just feel like they aren't ready to keep progressing, ahhh i get so frustrated and sometimes even when i walk out the door i am mad at them. I forget that heavenly father works in his own time and that he doesn't work on ours. There were a lot of talkson pride in sacrament meeting that helped me out and i'm hoping to apply them now. For example though, with Chris Harris, he's a total stud and just an awesome guy that knows a ton about the church and he had a baptismal date this past saturday. But on thursday we had like a 2 hour discussion about all his questions and concerns and how in the end he didn't feel ready. It was just frustrating cause i felt close to this guy but then he just barely told us a bunch of concerns he had for a while. I don't know the whole situation is hard to explain but chris didn't end up getting baptized this saturday and we are still trying to figure out what to do with him beacuse he knows all the lessons inside and out and so now when we meet it has just become answering questions and stuff. I don't know, it just doesn't feel like it should be that way. He still has to tell his family too that he's been doing this and that's a huge part that once that happens, things will start progressing again.

Umm, this week had some cool experiences. On tuesday and wednesday puertas and wilkes (the other spanish missionary), went to eugene for leadership training and left me and elder Alderman here (greenie). I love alderman too, he's just really funny and we get a long really well. And when we are out working, as fun as it is, we are focused and we feel like we work really hard. It's cool to be in that position where we both have to step up and have that extra faith that heavenly father will help us know what to say in spanish and just gospel related stuff too. On both days, we had no success in the mornings. There were a lot of soft appointments that we had but seriously nothing was happening ugh it was super frustrating and tiring too! But each night, made the day worth while. On tuesday night we had an awesome lesson with an english family named the walkers. They are former investigators but never had a book of mormon or anything and yet they knew a ton and talked very highly about the church. The family was super cool and we just talked and got to know them better and found out a lot about their beliefs and what they're looking for in life and in a family, they are awesome. We are going again this week to visit them.

And on wednesday we taught a sweet lesson with a lady named Evalia and her two twins alicia and leticia. Oh and the grandma too. It was soo fun to teach them because i got to teach most of it in spanish and we had a cool little object lesson about the plan of salvation. It was fun to teach to the little girls too because when we teach simple like that it helps the adults understand better but doesn't make them feel like children. Evalia is actually way into the lessons and she answers and asks questions too. Her daughters are only 6 so they aren't baptism age but it doesn't matter. The grandma is very agreeable with everything we talk about but she is kind of afraid of commitment. She doesn't read much or come to church or anything. Evalia does the whole reading every time we come over too, she reads fulll chapters and tells us what its about and everything it is awesome! I love when their desire to learn is as strong as our desire to teach hahah. it was just a fun lesson and i got to take control of it AND i set a baptismal date with her for the 27th! It was awesome me and alderman that morning in our studies and morning schedule had prayed that we could find someone that would be ready to be baptized this month and he said he felt like the 27th was a good date to set with a person that we would find. And then when we had been praying about it all day and working hard, we found that person and now are preparing her to be baptized! It was a pretty cool experience.

Oh real quick too, the other night we had dinner at a part member elderly couples home and they had steak and baked potatoes and it reminded me of when we wuold eat london broil and baked potatoes and i would smother them with ranch. I was kind of nostalgic that night and missed everyone :( haha but that was short lasted when we left and had an appointment with another family right after.
We had a cool lesson with angel and destiny this week. It was the last one, the commandments lesson and it was really fun. I got some crayons and some paper and we just made a big list to put by our bed of the different commandments or blessings that we have from heavenly father and it was cool to just color and make the lessons more fun to teach, especially with those two, they are so awesome and we are hoping that they get baptized this weekend, the 20th, on puertas' birthday. that would be cool.

Okay so mom, i will admit i just started writing all the things i'm thankful for in my journal but it has been soo cool realize all the little things we overlook during the day that we are thankful for. This weekend we had some major blessings that were hard to overlook. Jose Ramirez the father of the family that was just baptized, got a job that is 7 days a week! NOO we were so bummed but that was the only thing he could find and it ends on december 15th. So its only for the season but still, and he needed to be confirmed and get the holy ghost this sunday. On saturday we were going to go over to their house for dinner and they were like sorry, alma (the mom), has a horrible tooth ache and is feeling really bad. She even went to the hospital and they gave her some medicine that was making her kind of sick. So we were sad for them BUT, jose had to stay home and take care of her on saturday AND SUNDAY! I know it's sad to say that we were soo happy but we were!! So they came to church even though alma was feeling down, and we confirmed them members and gave them the holy ghost. Ahh what a blessing that was! The scriptures say, the Lord works in mysterious ways and that is definitly proof. It was amazing though when i gave Jose the holy ghost. I was super nervous to do it as usual cause it was in spanish, and my hands get all cold and my heart pounds, but when i put my hands on his head and said the first word, my nerves left me, and i felt the warmest almost hot feeling inside me and even though i struggled through the blessing, it didn't matter, because i really felt like the blessing was coming from heavenly father and not me, that i was really acting in the name of jesus christ by using the priesthood that i have. It was just a really cool feeling and a testimony to me of the priesthood power that has been restored to the earth! Wow what a blessing.

Also, in the english sacrament meeting, there were a bunch of talks on pride which actually applied to me pretty good, in little ways here and there, and then for some reason i felt like reading my patriarchal blessing. I shrunk it down and laminated it when i was in the mtc and oh man, it was such a powerful experience right there in the chapel. I felt bad cause i wasn't paying attention but really it was just awesome. Everything it says about my mission was just soo motivating and the relationship that i need to develop with the savior it was just soo touching. I want to try and read that more often and jsut ponder the words because it really just kicks me right into gear whenever i read it with an open heart. it was just a really cool experience and it felt soo good to read some specific things that are said.

In my studies i'm in 3rd nephi and christ is just about to appear to the people in the americas. The chapters before are so powerful though. Even back to Helaman. When samuel the lamanite preaches to all the people to repent and nephi baptizes a ton of people, it is just soo awesome. I again feel like i'm reading these things for the first time. i liked these verses
13 O all ye that are aspared because ye were more brighteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may cheal you?
14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will acome unto me ye shall have beternal life. Behold, mine carm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God

I feel like even when we are doing the right thing, sometimes we go through hard times or feel down or even do something wrong, but the Savior asks us to return unto him, renew our efforts to follow him, and he wlil extend his arm of mercy towards us. We need to ALLOW him to HEAL us. And that can be interpreted however you like. I don't know, i just really liked those scriptures and when i was reading them i just got a little tingly feeling inside and it felt good to read.

I love devoting a half hour everyday to the book or mormon, there is so much in there that we can overlook and i feel like i have just learned so much and really strengthened my testimony of that book, that it is in fact, the Word of God.

We gotta head out though, but seriously this week was pretty good and i just feel good starting this next one. I'm feeling way better than last too which is a good thing and i even got some time last monday to skateboard. HA i actually think i'm better out here than i was at home ha, i guess the lord blesses us in everything as we serve him :)

Anyway, i love you guys soo much and am so thankful for your support, prayers, and thoughts. Mom suggested that i write down my specific blessings that i had seen each day, in my journal, and it has become sooo fun! I'm serious last night, i just wanted to keep writing all the little things i was thankful for from that day. I even was talking about the sky that looked cool at night, the old guy we talked to that made us laugh soo much, there is just so much to be thankful for, and writing it down makes it even funner to remember all the things that Heavenly Father has given to us. i love you guys soo much and hope that you all keep working hard and strengthening your testimonies. Remember to try and share this wonderful message that we have, there are people out there that are just WAITING for this and they don't even know it. you guys mean everything to me :)

love Elder Edwards

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trav's letter 11/8 (his half birthday)

Wow everyone's last week sounded like a blast! Utah must've been crazy fun with everything the boys did, that was a bummer tyler didn't get to go but at least he won his playoff game and is hanging in there with the football season. That must've been pretty fun to see BYU woop up on unlv, haha i remember the game last year went the same way when we all went to vegas. That was a bummer to hear about real salt lake though, i guess we can't win every year :).

I can't believe that chris lynch was baptized! oh my gosh that just made me smile to read that! It honestly makes me so happy, i remember way back in like 8th grade or 9th grade when we would be talking with brother kinney and he would always talk about how our exmples would have an affect on our friends specifically, chris and a few others. I just am so happy that he took those huge steps of faith to work with the missionaries and even leon and brother kinney to just hear more about the church and look what happened! Ahh man it all seems surreal to me, i seriously am just in a stupor that is so awesome! I bet Elder Kinney is just soo happy right now too. i'm glad you guys got to go and be apart of it all too, that must've been special. i will pray for him though and that'd be good for dad to reach out and try and help him get involved with singles ward.

That part of missionary work is sooo helpful, when the members fellowship, it is what keeps them coming back. My week had some MAJOR ups and downs. i know i say that every week, but this was still different. We had some awesome lessons though, and we got to finally teach angel and destiny the 9 year old and 11 year old that are just waiting to be baptized. We taught them the restoration and the plan of salvation this week. It was so fun to teach just to little kids because it really simplifies our teaching but at the same time makes it more powerful. I think too often we try and "complicate" or teachings to make them sound more sophisticated and impressive when really the simplest methods of teaching are in fact the most sophisticated. I think that was a quote from conference too. but yeah it was just awesome to teach them and see their sincerity to learn and be baptized as they take these things so seriously and important, even as kids. it was soo awesome to teafch them this week, and we are going again today. The ramirez family is doing awesome, they had their baptismal interviews last week, and jose the dad had to get one with a member of the mission presidency just to make sure he was ready to be baptized, and that went smoothly so this weekend, there were 7 people that were baptized!! (ill get to that in a second). they seriouly are doing so well though.

This week however, we had some speed bumps with chris. He is seriosuly soo prepared to recieve the gospel but as his baptismal date gets closer, he had some major opposition last week. There were a lot of questions arising and friends gave him some anti stuff, but he was good about checking it all through us so we had two real good lessons with him, just kind of resolving concerns and stuff. One though, we were on exchanges, so i was with a member and puertas was out doing work elsewhere. Chris said he had some questions. We sit down at the shambaugh's home (the members where we always teach him), and then he asks about the temple. He said that he had been given some stuff and read up about it and it all seemed kind of sketchy to him. At first i was kind of like uhhh, i don't know WHAT i can say. Not because i didn't know what i was talking about, but beacuse i just didn't know what i could say you know? So i was glad to have the members there with us but i got into the conversation and we just explained how sacred and beautiful the temple is. We explained that you make special promises with heavenly father and it's just an awesome place. Also though, that you are not forced to do anything you don't want, or that there is nothing inappropriate that goes on in there, it is an awesome place. We ended up talking about it for like an hour and he seemed to be satisfied after we left so that went well. BUT, we talked with him later that week on splits again, and he was saying that he felt really uncomfortable about his date this upcoming saturday (11/13/10), and that he wanted to call it off. He said he wanted to know everything before getting into it and he felt like he has just rushed everything. I was kind of confused because he has just been super excited about all that he's been learning and even for his baptismal date, he's been telling all of his crazy friends and even they have been relatively supportive so this just kind of came out of no where. He attributed it to how he feels he lacks a testimony of the book of mormon. We kind of understood where he's coming from but felt like there is something more to it. We sat down with hi m yesterday and puertas and i have been praying and fasting about his situation and all this week, i felt like it was his family that was holding him back. He said he was going to tell them but was nervous about their reaction, and then we never followed up with it. This whole week, i kept telling myself, "ask him about what his family said" but for some reason i never did it.

So now as we've been praying and fasting it's like well DUH that must be it. And then we talked with sister shambaugh who's been helping us out and she calls us this morning and is like "hey i know what's bothering chris! he hasn't told his mom and grandma and they mean so much to him, and he is afraid of their response" And so that was kind of a confirmation too that we were on the right track. We still have to talk to chris but we are feeling confident that that is kind of where he is uneasy, just talking to his family about it. It's makes so much sense too, we just have to now prepare a way to deal with that and help him understand that this special decision he is making isn't between him and his family, or between him and the missionaries, it's between him and God. We need major help from Heavenly Father this week if we are going to make his baptism work out this saturday but we are feeling really good about the situation today whereas last night we were pretty bummed. We have another family that all of a sudden this week is doing really well. Last week at church only a few of the kids came with us but ended up really liking it, and ew have been tryuing to have a sit down lesson with this family FOREVER. This week though we finally got some time with them. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel and the first vision and it went really well, we even set a date with them to be baptized on the 20 of this month.
The mom just loved it and it felt good for us too and so we are super excited for them. It's a single mother but she has like 10 kids who stay in and out of her house during the week because she has a sister that lives close by. But the little girls are soo cute ha i love going over there and just h anging out with them and then teaching with them cause they all just feast on every word we tell them it's soo awesome. They all just smile all the time too, it's so fun to go over there. The only frustrating thing is that we alwayus need to find someone to go with us and Shawna ( the mom) is pretty flaky so, it's just frustrating sometimes. But They did come to church this past sunday too which was kind of hard since it was stake conference, but we just entertained the girls the whole time and they were laughing and smiling and even though it was a long meeting, they enjoyed it.

It was really funny, i dont know if anyone will remember this but you know when daniel used to squeeze our wrist really tight and then rub our fist and then when we opened our fist, he would "pull" something out of our hand and it just felt kind of tingly? If you don't remember then this won't make sense but i'm hoping someone will, but all during stake conference i showed the little girls how to do it and told them it was the holy ghost inside of them hahah i hope that's not too sac religious. It was super funny though.

Okay so now for the major down side and then the best part of all. Thursday night after a lesson with chris, we came home and this was after he had told us that he just didn't feel ready for his baptism. I was kind of frustrated and i felt like the lesson didn't go that well and i was being hard on myself cause i was the one that led it since i had a member with me, not puertas. I just felt down and wasn't in the best mood so when the other two spanish missionaries slept over too, i was just kind of ehhh annoyed i guess. Anyway, we fell asleep and then i wake up at 1:30 in the morning super sweaty. I'm just laying in bed and i'm super sweaty but i'm not even that hot. i just layed there for a second and then instantly it was like wow, i feel super nauseous. So i ran to the bathroom, (took out my retainers), and then threw up in the toilet. For one thing i was super happy that i made it to the bathroom but it was still a bummer throwing up. Then i kind of cleaned up got al ittle drink and went back to bed. Then i woke up at 2:00 and threw up again, but this time i didn't have much in my stomach so it was super painful. This time i was feeling worse afterward so i slept right outside the bathroom and threw up again at 3:00. This time all the other missionaries woke up and then gave me a blessing. I wish i payed more attention to what was said in the blessing but nearly the whole time i thought i was gonna throw up again. i did catch some things though and i was glad to have gotten it, from elder puertas too. I ended up throwing up again and i just had the chills really bad like i was sweating and stuff but still felt cold. It was just aweful. I ended up throwing up two more times before 6:30 when we all got up and then one last time at 7:30. I was exhausted and my back and stomach were just killing me. It was necessarily nauseuos it was just achy too. So that was like the worst night ever and then we had district meeting in the morning so we went on splits with the spanish missionaries so i could sleep for a little bit. I got like 2 hours of sleep and then we went to the church to meet up with them. It was the hardest day ever because i felt pretty useless but at the same time i wanted to be working. While we were at the church, district meeting finished and then puertas had lunch and i rested there at the church and then he had a coordination meeting and i just made phone calls for appointments and splits for the next week and following up with some people.

After coordination got out at like 3, we went to go try some people at their homes but we didn't have much luck. Then we went home for a second to rest but ended up going out again to try some more people and again had no luck. At 7 we had a chapel tour with the Ramirez family and that went really well. Jose (the dad) had some concerns though that he wanted resolved before his baptism and even wanted to change the date for a second but we just talked him through it and later he shared with us something cool that even when he was sharing his concers, he kept feeling something inside that told him "don't change the date!" and we talked about how that was the holy ghost. That was cool, but the chapel tour was tedious and it was hard just to keep smiling for everyone but it was worth it, especially for them, they are such an awesome family. Then after that we had dinner with a recentconvert family and were gonna teach them about baptism and how to do it since the dad named hector was going to baptize his sister the next day. She made me a littl ebit of rice and soaked it in chicken broth which was pretty good but i seriously just was not hungry. I didn't eat anything all day though so i kind of forced it in and it ended up sitting okay so that was good to get something in me. But i was so ready for bed haha!

We got home and took forevver to plan ugh i was so annoyed but i was being selfish too, and then finally took some nyquil and passed out.Waking up saturday was great! I felt so much better and with 7 baptisms planned, i was soo happy to have been feeling better. I was thinking a lot though about what i was supposed to learn during that time and while a lot of it was to turn those pains and things over to the savior since he has felt even the sicknesses that we experience. I though a lot about the baptisms we had on saturday. I was thinking that maybe i was getting to caught up in the number that i wasn't thinking about how special and awesome it was that 7 of heavenly father's children were going to take a huge step closer to him this weekend. I was thinking that maybe since i was so excited myself to be the one to baptize the mom and the daughter of the ramirez family, that i was forgetting how important the decision itself was. BUT, i did get to do it anyway since i felt way better on saturday and i think i still learned the lesson though. The problem on saturday though was that all the other elders were feeling a little under the weather. MY BAD! But luckily puertas wasn't too bad, he just had a sore throat and jsut kind of tired. He was strong enough to go out and we saw a few appointments and then took an early dinner and went and set up for the baptism.

It was so cool to see so many people in white!! Not just the people being baptized either, it was awesome seeing Hector, a recent convert, dressed in white, all ready to baptize his sister and her two daughters. We worked with them for a long time, and finally this week everything just fell right into place and they decided they were ready so just like that, we added them to the program and it was such a special day. It went really smoothly though and we didn't run into any speed bumps. One of the members juan rodriguez baptized Jose ramirez, i baptized his wife alma and the daughter saith, and then Puertas baptized the son Heriberto. it was an awesome service and just super spiritual, everyone felt good. Even alma came up to me before we walked into the room that goes into the font, and was like ahh i feel so good i just feel like crying! And then saith the little girl who is way cute was talking with me after the baptism. We were all eating since the relief society made something nice for everyone and she was like, "i feel different". I was like really is it good? she was like yeah i don't know why, i just feel good and different. hahah it was so simple but just was such a sweet testimony of what she had just done, by following the steps of the savior, was baptized and cleansed of all uncleanliness, and a step closer to living again with her heavenly father and jesus christ, and Family forever. It was a sweet moment.

Ahh so yeah that was petty much the week, it went really well and the baptisms made everything so worth it, even the sickness. I'm feeling good these days, a little achy still in my back but it's alll good. i'm on the up and up.Anyway, i just wanted to say that i'm doing really well and trying my hardest. This week was another good one and i seriously can't believe how fast the weeks go by. Already, this weekend we are going to get transfer calls and then next week is the lst week of the transfer! I will let you guys know if my adress changes or anything, but as for this week, it will definitly be the same. To be honest with you, i really hope i stay here, i love it here in salem and we have a lot of big plans that are just in the works right now. It's been awesome to see the lord's hand here in this part of oregon. We are kind of feeling like Puertas is gonna leave though. That's such a weird thought for me though i really want him to stay. He's such an awesome missionary and teacher and i guess i'm just kind of nervous for change. I think that is why he will go though, because feel so comfortable with him, i think the Lord is gonna throw me for a little loop and give me a test with this next transfer. I don't know though, it's just speculation :).

i do want to tell you guys how much i love you though! you guys mean everything to me and the more i read and teach and just am a missionary, the stronger my testimony gets that We have the potential to be together forever, that this life is just a teeny tiny experience in the grand scheme of forever. It makes difficult decisions easier to make when we look at the impact they can have on eternity, not just our life here. That is what has been cool to see with our investigators too, the little decisions they make, that are not easy, all the way up until baptism and they finally take that huge step! Right now it will change their life, but not only that, it is opening the doors of heaven to these families and individuals. Thanks for all the support to everyone.

I continue to pray for each one of you and can feel your prayers on my behalf so thank you! i love you all so much and just pray that you will always stay true to what you know, especially to the little boys :) you guys are such studs and just look at what happened to chris lynch. I didn't think that the example of me, mike, and erik, and nate, and jeremy, would have an effect on him, but look at him now. You boys and the family too, can have an affect on others that will help them make decisions that will not just bless them in this life but more importantly in the life to come. I love you soo much!love elder edwards I was reading helaman 5 this past week and wow what a killer chapter.

I have seen on so many occasions that what president checketts said when he set me apart as amissionary has come true. I have read through scriptures and stories that i've already read before but they have taken such a new meaning to me! It's been incredible to read and feel like i'm reading these stories for the very first time and just be enlightened by all sorts of little underlying themes and messages within. It's been awesome to say the least! I particularly liked these verses when it talks about the joy that nephi and lehi had, and also the people, as they repented, and thne the "pleasant voice" that came unto them. Ah it just is so powerful! i love you guys :)

43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were aencircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.
44 And aNephi and bLehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that cjoy which is unspeakable and full of glory. 45 And behold, the aHoly Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could bspeak forth marvelous words.
46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:
47 aPeace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.