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.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Learning and Applying

Travy boy is "getting so big--yes he is." (Said in the same voice I, Katie, use to talk to my doggie, cat, and little babies. Oh--and my brothers when I'm proud of them but have to talk in a teasing voice so they smile and take my praise). So proud of Trav! And for the record--the sheep vs. sheep herder story was something I learned in my mission.

Ahh man happy halloween everyone! This past week was tough but actually has been really positive for me too. We had a lot of good things happen and both puertas and i really made an extra effort to be focused and dilligent all the time, i think it realyl helped. First off though, it was good to hear all those updates mom, i can't believe that chris lynch is taking the discussions! That just blows my mind, it made me soo happy to read that though i just couldn't stop smiling. That would be a really cool experience to have the discussions at our home too. One of the members in our ward this past sunday got up and bore his testimony about how awesome it has been to have us, the missionaries, over at their place teaching our investigator chris, beacuse he said the spirit has just been super strong evry time we come over. I know it would be really powerful and edifying for chris lyunch and the family. But other updates sound good too, i can't believe everything that the boys are doing, going to utah, spirit week, church dances, work, football playoffs, halloween. The list goes on. It was super good to hear about everyone though i just loved it.So this past week, both puertas and i had some trying times on a personal level, but as we talked we just emphasized to each other the need to focus and stay busy. We really planned well this week and even had a zone conference about how to better use our time wisely and stuff like that. It was from the AP's and the Mission president so it obviously was...awesome!

But first things first, we foudn out that Jose Ramirez court case got appealed! So he won't be getting sent back to mexico as long as he continues to attend his little court sessions or something. But that was a huge relief and also that whole family is getting baptized this saturday and they are erally excited! They made huge strides this week. We even went over to their place (the day after the talk about the word of wisdom), and we opened the fridge and had him pop open all his corona and she opened her bacardi lights, and they just dumped em down the drain! It was awesome hahah. We have pictures on Puertas' camera so i will try and send them to you if i can get them off his camera. THey were down thoguh, i mean it was hard but they all were talking about how happy their kids are that they are tossing the alcohol and it was just cute to see the little girl Saith, who is 9, she really was super happy and it just made the moment a spiritual one. So they are giving up all that stuff and just it is so cool to see how willing they are to give thigns up for the Lord, they are true examples to me. It also shows how prepared they are to hear the gospel, I know heavenly father has been preparing them, maybe even for years, to hear the message that we bring and now it just finally clicked and they are just so awesome. They came to church this week too and they bought little church pants and matching shirts and vests for the two little boys who are 5 and 3. It was pretty fuinny.

We have worked a ton with them though this week, we see them everyday and they always haev a ton of questions. It is cool to feel the love that they haev for us. I know that it isn't our words that they believe but at the same time, we make sacrifices for them and really try to help them in any way that we can, and when they recognize it and appreciate it, it really makes us feel good ha! So they are doing really well and are alwayus looking out for us.Oh and real quick before i forget, on thursday when we went to zone conference, i got to see Will Hines! It was soo awesome. I think it was katie that talked to the member Brother Shambaugh in our ward here about getting will's number. I got the president macdonalds approval to have a member call you guys and get his number, so I had shambaugh do it. They are an awesome family and he speaks spanish and always helps us out with splits and stuff. They are the family taht we are teaching Chris Harris with. Also Brother Shambaugh said that he knows Grandma and Grandpa Calvert. He said his parents live down in san jose and are in their stake. He even called his mom in front of me and was like "hey do you know the calverts? and she says Oh yeah wade and ruth!" hahah so that kind of made me smile. But yeah after our zone conference with Elder Kikuchi (soo sweet), i got to see Will (ill tell you about kikuchi in a sec). Will looked good though, and it was just awesome to see a familiar face haha. We only got to stay for afew minutes cause we had to get back from Eugene but regardless, it was great to see him and i really want to get down to eugene so i can get some better MISSIONARy contact with him. Conference with Elder Kikuchi was great though. He stressed the importance of obedience in the morning schedule. People tend to get lazy with studies and working otu and stuff (myself included i'm sorry to say), but he stressed the importance of really getting that FULL study time, both personally and as a companionship, and doing workouts to wake us up and just following the schedule to the T! He actually made us some promises too that if we would have 100% obedience to the morning schedule we would double and even triple baptisms by next year some time. He also promised that 80% of our progressing investigators would be baptized. WOW that was intense. So we are all trying super hard, not that we weren't studying or waking up before, it's just that sometimes we might start 5 minutes late and then end late and cut out comp study by a few minutes or i wuold just read scriptures instead of workouts, (someone told me i could do that?). But this week has been way better just doing everything EXACT. It reminded me of the MTC a little bit, which i think it's a bummer that sometimes we forget those abilities that we developed there. Regardless studies and everything went better this week, but specifically my personal study.

Before i get there though, Kikuchi also had us learn a new way to teach the Joseph smith story which was pretty powerful and the whole meeting was just a spiritual downpour haha. The only set back was that we sat down with him at 9:00, had lunch at 12:45, and then sat down again at 1:30 until 4:30. So it was a LONG meeting. Don't get me wrong, we got a ton out of it, but there were some times where it was just hard to stay all there ya know? That was great though and seeing will after was awesome.There was one cool experience that i wanted to share, that wasn't a huge thing but it was very powerful to me. We went over to Angel and Destiny's house. They are 11 and 10. They come to the spanish ward every week with their grandma who is a member, but their parents, who are members, will not let them get baptized. They have been coming to church even since before i got here to salem, so it's been a long process. SO, we go over there and every time we come over they love seeing us, it just feels good when we are in there. We asked them how their book of mormon reading was going, and they finished it...the WHOLE THING! They are only 11 and 9 and they have read the whole thing! We also asked them how it was going with sharing their testimonies to their parents. We challenged them to do that every day about something about church. They said they did it a few times and they are just so awesome! But, we had been there for a little bit talking with their grandma about how we could "soften the parents". So at this point, we were ready to leave but we asked the kids, is there anything we can do for you guys? Angel the 11 year old boy said mmm no i dont think so right now, if i do think of something i will tell you. And then we ask destiny the little girl and she is thinking about what to say. you can tell she was thinking hard too, but eventually she says, "Umm, i...2 times yesterday i prayed that i would be allowed to get baptized, and i was just wondering if you missionaries could pray for us too?" OHH my gosh it was so sweet. I can't even tell you how, i don't even know what word to use, tender it was. It was just soo sincere and innocent and her desires were so pure and true. We just said of course destiny, we pray for you every night! It was a realyl sweet experience.We are still teaching Chris Harris and things are going really well with him. He is getting baptized on the 13th of this month and is already flying out a friend from utah to come see it. WHen we heard that we figured he was pretty committed haha. We could tell through other ways of course. We have been tecahing him at the shambaughs home and he is just a stud. He knows a ton and is really willing to learn and just take in everything that is true. He has had a crazy past but is willing to just drop it all and move on, doing what he knows is right.

It is more evidence to me that with all the missionary efforts of the past that were focused on him, that "failed" were actually preparing him for right now. He for whatever reason this time around, really feltlike this was the right life for him. He has come soo far just in two weeks and from what i hear, he has made HUGE leaps and bounds from who he was even a year ago. The guy is a stud and he is getting excited for his date. We jsut made up his baptismal program for him yesterday and things are just going so well with him. We are so excited for the 13th! This week, we had interviews with the mission president's wife sister macdonald. As we were talking i made a little realization about myself that made me really happy. The letter that i wrote last week was such a downer letter. That week was super hard! And just as i have gone through this week which has had it's own challenges, i really feel like i am learning to love the people that we teach. It is soo cool to be lost in thought about our investigators and how we can help them. Last week (not this past one), i was devastated for our investigators that were having bad things happen to them and weren't always making the best choices. In that devastation i really felt like i have grown to love these people that we are teaching. And now it has become so exciting to see them get baptized, not because I want to make sure we get our "stats" or our baptismal numbers, but because i know and they know, that their baptism is going to change their life and it is the path the God wants them to take. In just this past week it has been awesome to really see these people gain their testimonies little by little, as they learn that this is in fact the way for them. I am just so thankful for the help of Heavenly Father this week, he has really blessed us in our discussions and just being able to bring the spirit with us.

From when we got up, to when we got in for the day, both Puertas and I just felt good, i know we had the spirit with us this week and sometimes i think we just take that for granted. Some more good news, is that with Angel and Destiny, the grandma talked with their parents and they finally said that we could "prepare" them for baptism. I think that means just teaching them the lessons and stuff but we couldn't even do that before and i know that they will be baptized. They haev such sincere desires for it and i know Heavenly Father will not hold this back from them. It is just a matter of time, and that is one of my biggest flaws. I find that i continually have to learn patience. I have noticed that over and over since i've been out on my mission. Lastly, i wanted to share some more personal things, that i have kind of found just through studies and prayer. Elder Kikuchi challenged us to study the Book of Mormon for at least 30 minutes for the rest of our missions or lives for that matter, and also to help our investigators get to know the prophets. I will explain. WIth all the records of the prophets in the americas in the book of mormon, they all testify of christ. We have been going through the book of mormon and finding the specific chapters where individual prophets testify of christ. We then bring these chapters to our lessons with investigators and have them meet Nephi in 1 nephi chapter 11 or king benjamin in mosiah 2,3,4. So i myself, wanting to really strengthen my erlationship with the Savior, studied a number of these chapters this week, along with the New Testament. While some of these experiences are very personal, i will say that this week was very powerful. The testimonies of Christ and then reading about his life and his works, were so inspiring and uplifting. As i turned to him in prayer i felt this week a very helpful hand in my life. My prayers continued and changed, not just to a plea for help in this work, but into more of a conversation. I was able to turn my fears and pains and sorrow over to the Savior, and also i could share my joys and successes with him with just as much ease. In the new testament, (i have to study up on this more), but he refers to his apostles throughout by different names.

At first i think he calls them servants, then something else, but at the end of his life he refers to them as his friends. I think it is just cool for me to actually realize right now as i am writing this to you all, that we should all try and emulate that transition. I have discovered that transition on what feels like a large scale this week, but i know i have so much more to learn. I felt this past week like a friend to the Savior Jesus Christ, not just his servant going out and acting in his name. What a healing and empowering experience it has been and will continue to be, i just know it.

I got a letter from Katie this week about an experience she had and what advice mom told her. And that was, that Jesus Christ has already suffered for all the pain and sorrow that we feel, so why don't we just turn our pain that we feel now over to him. We don't need to keep it inside of us just for the sake of feeling sad. Before my mission, my "release" or "vent" would be to play music or skateboard or even jsut listen to music. I'm trying, not to lose those passions, but alter my source of emotional and spiritual solace, and turn the Savior into my "release". With all of this, i'm not saying that the mission will now be easy or that my emotions don't get the better of me at times, but what a blessing it is, to know that the Savior is always there for us. He never leaves, it is us that strays from him.

I honestly cannot remember where i was reading this and if it was in a letter from someone i apologize that i don't remember but it was about a shepherd and a sheep herder. Some guys are out in the mountains camping or something and then they hear an odd sound, it's a man singing. They go and look for the source of the sound, and they see a humble shepherd, with one of his sheep on his lap. He is petting it and calling it by name, and singing to it. He loves it. He sets that sheep off his lap and takes another one, calling it by name, singing to it, loving it. That is the difference between a shepherd and a sheep herder. The Herder will chase the sheep and use the dogs to scare them into a rote path where he wants them to be, but a shepherd loves his sheep and knows them by name. In return, they follow him, willingly. That is why they call Jesus Christ the Shepherd.Again i'm sorry cause i think someone sent this to me in a letter, when i get home i'm gonna go look up who it was but, wow what a powerful thing. All in all, this past week was a very positive experience. A lot of good things happened and Elder Puertas and I are really bonding and working well together. We get along really well but we both realize what we are doing here and get work done! I have learned a lot this past week and i know that it will carry into this week as i am still trying to pick out what Heavenly Father wants me to get from each experience i have. My faith is in Him, Jesus Christ, no matter what the results are.Sorry to sound preachy this week but i was kind of learning stuff even as i was writing this letter so i just had to keep going. Things just started to click a little bit. Remember how much i love you all. You all mean everything to me and that love is so strong. I can't believe how good everyone sounds it just makes me smile. I know this week will bring new challenges or even more of the same, but i will face them regardless and get through them, as i know will all of you. I seriously love you guys so much and ill be honest, last night for halloween and on saturday when i was carving my pumpkin really fast, i missed everyone a lot! I'll be honest again and say that i even got excited for christmas when we all get to talk hahah but we don't need to go there now :) Thank you all for your support that you have been. Every prayer and letter and thought on my behalf means the world to me. Stay strong in your testimonies because it will not get easier to choose the right, but remember where you stand. I love you all so much! I hope you all have an incredible week =)Love Elder Edwards