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!