Monday, January 31, 2011

Holiday Pictures

Looks like a good Christmas!

The face of an elder skyping with his family!
The faces of 2 elders getting ready to skype with their families!
La cara de un elder skying con su familia.
Travecito! And all of us on the screen!
Nice shirts...
Los elderes! Feliz Navidad!

Temple Pictures

Jan 31 letter

First off, your emails made me so happy this week. I can't believe Chris Sciaretta is going on a mission! oh my goodness taht is so amazing!! my heart literally skipped a beat when i read that. And know what's even crazier is that he's going to ITALY. His family is super italian and i remember back when people would talk about him serving a mission he would say "honestly the only place i would really want to go is italy, otherwise i don't know about the mission". I just think it's so funny how the Lord knows us so well and maybe it really did take a call to Italy to get him to go or to get him to go and serve diligently I dont know, but it made me smile :)

Thankyou too mom for the uplifting stuff. I like what you were saying about what president checketts said. We are put into callings and out of our comfort zone, and then when we are comfortable in that capacity, we have learned what we need to and are released. I actually said that to someone the other day too when we were talking about transfers coming up and i was like yeah i don't always feel like i know what i'm doing so i know that i will stay in this calling to figure it out hahah. i love this though. We had a really good district meeting this past week and justl ittle victories each day make me happy and more confident. i need that confidence SOO bad and it's just so hard for me to muster it up and then keep it with me. So when district meeting went really well it was just nice to know that i had a part in making it run that way and everybody seemed to learn something from it or at least participate and it was fun. This past week was FUN! That's when i know i'm doing something right. And not to say that the past few weeks haven't been fun, it's just that something felt off and i know it was me cause i would get down so easily and just be a bum. BUT this week was awesome so let me tell you about it

We have this family that we are teaching now, Victor, Ruth, Elisabeth, Jaime, and Alberto.They live in independence and we found them from and oym (just talking to them on the street). the past two weeks we have had contact with them but they have been super busy. The promising thing thogh, was that even when we didn't have much time with them, they kept asking us questions and we always seemedto have the answer. And Jaime read all the introduction stuff to the book of mormon (ill tell you more about him in a bit), and he watched the restoration movie on his own. So they are pretty sweet and we saw them a few times this week and got to actually sit down and have the full restoration lesson with them and then just answer a bunch of questions that they have had from going to different cuhrches. I will tell you more in a second.

We also found this guy named shane. He is the nicest guy ever! I'm serious, whenever we go over there he makes us want to cry he is like so nice hahah! But, he has a lot of health problems and learns a little bit slower than others. So we taught him on tuesday and invited him to be baptized on the 12th of february. He said yes and then paused, and asked, "do i need to bring anything for that day?" AHH i was like you are so awesome!!!! But no, we will just help you get ready for that day. He said okay and now we are just working with him as much as we can. He doesn't retain things very well and has cerebral paulsy on one side of his face and just has lots of problems. But that also makes him soo humble and receptive. So that was tuesday full of cool, awesome things.
Wednesday, we got to go to the portland temple!! what?! surprise right? That was amazing, we had a member drive us up there and then we went through a temple session with half of our zone and it was sooo special. It was just what i needed and i just felt so good. I felt like i took a lot in and more importnantly just reallly felt the spirit and it was awesome. Right before we were leaving the temple too, we were walking down some stairs and one of the elders in our district said, "man, it's a lot easier to get out of the temple then it is to get in". And i didn't know if he meant it literally or figurativly, but either way, it's sooo true. How much easier is it, to follow the world, to fall into temptation, to take the easy route. And yet, we give up the blessings of eternal families, life with our heavenly father and savior, and so many other blessings that just require obedience and endurance. It takes EFFORT to get into the temple worthily, but literally no effort at all to come out. It was just an intersting thought i had and liked and just want to emphasize the importance of doing the little things pray, read, and go to church. Those three things will strengthen our testimonies more than anything. So the temple was incredible and then after word we got to go to deseret book and buy some awesomestuff. So i got two little easy readers for the book of mormon and the old testament in spanish so i could learn the stories better and not just the good verses. And also to help teach little kids. I bought two pictures too, the one of the strippling warriors that we have above our computer, where it says "all prsent and accounted for" (i love that one so much!). and the other one is the picture of jesus smiling that i think we had on our computer too haha. They are great and i bought the dvd "the prophet the restoration", the one they show in the visitors centeres. It was only 4 bucks :)

So taht day was also amazing. We found a few new peeps to teach but most of them didn't turn into much. thursday was good and friday too but Saturday was incredible!
We taught a lesson early in the morning at like 10:30 that was kind of out of our way, and then we had lunch and went to these apartments that we had hit up and found some potentials. We jsut went from door to door visiting people that said we could come back and taught one lady too. She was really nice and we are gonna go see her tomorrow. But after that we had a chapel tour with Victor and his family the ones from before. So we go up to indy, grab them all and they are all super dressed up nice! We look at each other and just smile haha, but then i freaked cause i remembered that one of them was a 7th day adventist and went to church on saturdays so i thought they might be expecting a church service hahah but they weren't so it was okay hha! they followed us to the church and we forgot he key at our apartment ughh, so we ran back to get it really quick while they waitied. (i was soo frustrated), but they were so sweet and patient and so it was all good. We showed them everything and it went sooo well! Victor's whole thing is that rleigion is just a business. So we assured him that all tithing and offerings go to the church and that NOBODY is paid for their SERVICE. He totally ate up the church and just loved it! Their whole family did. And then they asked about how we baptize people and we asked if they wanted to see the font at the stake center which is huge and gorgeous! haha it was built like a year ago. So we went there too and we all were in the baptismal font and had a mini lesson. (i don't know if it was totally appropriate but the spirit was there). Then we went into the chapel and thye asked more questions and things. The coolest part was when we were walking in the hallway and looking at all the pictures and there is one of moroni burying the plates. ANd jaime, says, "oh mira, es mormoncito" referring to him as mormon's son. And elder gomez and i look at each other and smile and say yeah man that's Moroni, mormon's son. And then jaime goes into this crazy description of moroni and how he buried the plates and then appeared to joseph smith 7 times ovre the couse of some years and eventually guided him to the plates and.... yeah he knew the dates and everything haha i felt kind of guilty he knew more of the little details than either of us did :/ haha but it was soo awesome! they all just loved it and were talking about being baptized and everything. The one obstacle is that elisabeth and jaime aren't married but asked us if they were allowed to be married through the church and so even that is looking up. We taught some more lessons later that day afterward but they were the icing on the cake man they just made us soo happy. And we had members with us for most of our lessons and everything!! it just went soo well. Then on sunday, they came to church too and loved it! Well 3 of them came because the other two had to work but they told us that for htis next week they will be able to get off. But they loved it and it was just amazing. They told us that right when they walked in the church, they felt something different, something good that they couldn't explain. It was just like Heavenly Father said , okay these poeople are prepared and boom, let them feel the spirit soo strongly. Honestly we have had some of our most spiritually led lessons with this family. They are amazing and awesome things are going to happen this month with them.
Ahh i love being a missionary! This work is so awesome. Even when i get down, which i tend to do often, the Lord brings us up and it's up to us if we want to be happy. We have to make this work fun and realize the importance behind what we're doing. I feel like we thought less about ourselves this week and that made us work harder and with more love and we enjoyed the spirit more too. It just was awesome!

Anyways guys i have some pictures for you from christmas that a member took and also some from the temple and some other random ones. But i want you to know i love you so much and have been praying for each of you individually! I honestly love you guys soo much and it was cool going to the temple this week and being reminded so strongly of the importance of eternity. In the end of the session i was just thinking of being there all together again, and just how happy i will be when that day comes.
I love you and if you need anything let me know.

Y me siento que mi espanol esta mejorando. uso el preterito y imperfecto mejor y nada mas les queria decir que les quiero y estoy contento y estoy trabajando duro. Les doy gracias por al apoyo que me dan y por sus testimonios de esta obra. Yo se que somos una familia eterna y que Jesucristo vive. los querio :)
elder edwards

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24th

My dear family it was wonderful to hear from you :) It souinds like every body got a nice break with the snow days and MLK day and i'm soo happy for JIMmy and Katie with UOP!! man that must be a huge relief. Next fast sunday you will make it into my prayers ;) (you always do). That sounsd awesoem to mom that you are going back to school. That will be such a cool thing to do i'm really happy for you! Everyone is still busy it seems with sports and school and work and even going out with the missionaries. I bet it's soo freezing for those poor guys over there haha it gets nasty over here with the rain but never that cold hah!

This week was another up and downer. Early in the week it was rough for some reason. I was just kind of getting on myself again for "not being good enough" but i seriously am just lame like that sometimes ha. Every week i feel like i get a little chastisement from HEavenly Father as to why i would even think that way for a second. But, we had a sweet Mission presidents training on wednesday. that was a total boost! We talked about the doctrine of christ and the importance of church attendnce, and receiving a testimony throuhg the book of mormon and by the holy ghost. It was really cool but what made it personal was when we talked about LOVE! There are a lot of things that we do that it is easy to do for selfish reasons. Say we have an investigator that isn't progressing and we have to "bench" them for a little while. In the past when we would have that conversation with them it was always kind of awkward and even done selfishly. it was just a cool lesson on how we need more love in everything we do. It also requires losing lots of pride. I always thought of myself as a more loving sensitive kinda dude but at the same time Love is totally what i've been lacking. I was still so concerned at putting up numbers to show people that we are capable. I wanted more lessons taught and nothing was ever "good enough" for me. It even affected my faith a little bit and during the week i would just not take the time to talk to everyone cause i would get kind of scared or something and honestly i was just being a wuss! man it gets me frustrated thinking back but really, if i really love these people, i wouldn't be so selfish as to think that i am too scared to share the gospel with them or too embarrased. I realized that there was so much that i was just being selfish with. If we think about how important it is that everyone hears the gospel, then there is never a reason or excuse good enough not to knock a door, not to talk to somebody, not to invite somebody to take action. Man it was just soo what i needed to hear and esecially coming from president it's easier to focus in on every word that comes out of his mouth.

So these past few days have been better but also with ups and downs. With the whole love in mind i've been trying to get closer with elder gomez too and we get along and stuff but there are also little things here and there that frustrate me as with everyone :) So i'm trying to be more patient and just not let things bother me or even just talk about it which i've gotten a LITTLE bit better at ha. As with everyone that knows me i hate confrontation and it's so hard for me sometimes to just tell someone when something is bothering me. I tend to beat around the bush or just make references to it. And then the other times when i try and tell them exactly whats up, i have a tendency to be too bold or harsh and i just look like a punk hahah, so i'm still trying to find the happy medium. But yeah the last few days have been good. We talked with Roxanna this week and something has definitly been bothering her so she finally let us in on what was going on. Things were super weird with her for a while but now are better. She is still kind of flaky but does keep commitments so we are still trying to figure out what we want to do with her.
But here is a cool story with kind of a bummer ending but thats still okay cause we still have the highest hopes.

Miguel and Maria had a baptismal date for yesteday and we hadn't seen miguel all last week but we did see maria. He had a crazy work schedule and we just weren't able to see him. Finally on saturday we call them and ask when they will be around and they are like" oh we will be in and out all day so i don't really know, we will call you". So now i'm wondering if they are trying to avoid us a little bit, i don't know. But anyway, we go up to independence to visit some other peeps, and we are like okay we need to just go stop by, they are supposed to be baptized tomorrow!! So we go over and before we get out of the car we say a prayer. Elder gomez prays and asks that they will be there so we can see them. And we get out of the car and walk into their complex and right when we step foot in, we see their red car pulling in as well and are like what the awesome?!! Boom answered prayer h aha so no we are like, okay there is definitly a reason that we are here. So we go in with them and are talking for a while and kind of update miguel on what he had missed that we taught maria. He is down with it all, he loves the commandments and stuff and was just totally down and then wefinally brought up their baptismal date again and were like okay, it's tomorrow but you guys are so ready! They were kind of hesitant so after talking for a while we were just like okay, Miguel we are not going to convince you guys, can we kneel down right now and pray and ask if tomorrow is the day? He says okay then...

So we all kneel and he says the prayer for us. As he was praying it was soo cool i literally felt this little "swoop" up my spine and i just said in my mind okay, he is ready. And when he said amen, we all just stayed kneeling for like a minute in silence and just let the spirit whisper the answer to them. When we got up, he has tears in his eyes and we all just kind of looked around and smiled at each other and said okay, how do you feel? It was sooo awesome he literally had just got his ansewr right in front of us!! He told us he felt good and was ready, he knows this is the right thing. BUTTTT maria during the prayer was trying to get the kids to kneel down and keep them from making noise so she unfortunatly didn't have the same experience. When we asked them for the last time if they were ready tomorrow he looked at his wife and says i need to talk with her first. They said they would let us know in the morning haha that would be a craazy day if we had to set up a baptism on the same day we find out about it. But man it was such a cool experience with them and honestly, they weren't baptized yesterday but still the experience was amazing. Knowing that as missionaries, as representatives of Jesus Christ, we can literally promise that someone will get an answer their prayers if they sincerely ask. I mean i know it's a promise from the scriptures but just to have done it right there right as we were talking, it was just awesome.

So they didn't even come to church which is even worse but two of their little boys got fevers over night and so it was just a night of bad luck but thats okay. This coming weekend i think it will happen. Church was good too. We had what's called an invitational sunday where all the classes and talks are all meant to explain generally what our beliefs are and stuff. We had 6 nonmembers there in the english ward which was awesome! But we didn't get anyone for the spanish branch ugh it seems like whenever something good hapens, there is something that goes wrong too and i always dwell on the bad, it's a little thing i do that bugs me. It really was great though that we had so many people there and we were supposed to have 4 more, but they said they had to cancel when we got to their house to get them ready for church. bummer. But again, we had some great people there and our english work is picking up little too. It's soo hard to find the balance between the two.

So now, we are feeling good. Yesterday we did some tracting and for some reason after lunch i had this little burst of faith or something and i just was so pumped to talk with everyone!!! I realized AGAIn that i can't just go on in my own little world, that i need to step it up big time eespecially with my boy gomez and a district to lead, i want to be the example ya know? So it was actually really good and i know that just by talking to everyone, the lord will bless us with more people to teach. Right now we our teaching pool is kind of down and we are gonna do some major finding efforts this week. It will be a lot of funnn :D

Ahhh, so cool stuff this week, is that our sisters in our district are having another two baptisms!! they are tearing it up man. Also, on wednesday we get to go to the temple!! ahhh man i'm so excited and can't wait to just be there and feel the spirit there. I haven't done an actual session since the summer because last time we did baptisms for the dead so i'm excited to go through again. We are so blessed in this zone up here in the north to be able to go. There are only two zones in the mission that get to go to the temple and we are one of them.

Before i go, i wanted to ask you mom, were you sending me a package witha little sweater in it? Also, i don't want to be selfish and ask askask for things but a GPS would be super helpful. As a spanish missinoary they basically tell us that we will be in cars our whole mission so if there is anyway you could get one for cheap, that would be super sweet. Anyways, this week is gonna be awesome. I'm feeling on the up and up right now. I keep feeling like i am passing through tests of faith and honestly i don't think i handle them all the best but maybe that's why i keep getting them haha so i can finally get it right :) Seriously though i feellikenow especially, one second i can be doing so well and then the next i just get so frustrated and i just want to make the highs higher and the lows not so low, but i'm still trying to get there. I know it's all a process and i also know that i'm super impacient haha! It's not about me! that is one thing that i really am trying tolearn. I'm not out here for me. If i was then i would be doing it all wrong. Whenever i'm down or frustrated, it always seems to be about ME. So that is my quest at the moment. Lose the pride, its not about how good i'm doing compared to someone else, it's not about what i think i can do and can't do, it's not about being comfortable so that things are easier, it's about being uncomfortable, and sacrificing for the Lord so that others may come closer to the Savior. I just gotta remember that now.

I love you guys so much and seriously thank you guys so much for the emails and the love, you are amazing. I feel like i need the support and i totally get it from you guys and it's awesome. Thank you. I continue to keep you in my prayers and hope that you guys are having fun and being happy. I love you so much and i know that Heavenly Father answers prayers
Elder Edwards

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I love being a missionary

Hey family, man this last week went so fast it just seems like a blur. It was soo awesome to hear from all you guys and get that big letter with all the missionary comics that everyone had written on. Man that just made my day to read those, you guys sound soo amazing. I can't believe all the work that everyone is doing and i totally forgot to say congrats to tyler for his violin playing! i just wrote him a little email but forgot to say something. Tyler man, you are a beast! I can't believe that you are tearin it up on the violin, although it doesn't surprise me, i can't believe how much you have learned and how good you have gotten. That really is an awesome thing to be first chair buddy. you're awesome. It was a blast watching the game too and i was thinking of you guys. bummer ending but still a blast to watch.

I will be honest though and say that this week wasnt the most eventful. We have some big things coming up soon but this week was just trying to sift through those that are willing to keep commitments and stuff, and those that aren't. We have this one family though that is doing awesome. Miguel, Maria and Itzel. They are soo cool! When we set a baptismal date with them, everything just clicked in their heads and now theyre keeping commitments and coming to church and reading. you can tell that they want to know these thing are true, and already we have seen a huge progression in their testimony. We went by the other day to stop by and just share a little something short with them cause she said she didn't have a lot of time, but we ended up staying for like an hour and answering all these questions that her and her husband had. It was funny cause all these concerns and doubts just came flowing out and now it seems like we just have to finish teaching them the lessons and they will be ready to go. They are getting excited though for their baptism this upcoming weekend we just need to maintain close contact with them and help them feel comfortable going into it. They know this is the right thing to do, and have felt it. We are excited and just pray that everything works out okay.
We have a big week coming up this week because we have an "invitation sunday" for the english ward. meaning that all the talks and classes are focused on the basics and fundamentals of the gospel. That way every one can understand what it is that we believe and others can come to church and just see what the services are like. I have found it hard to balance the english and spanish work. Cause we have lots of work to do in spanish and naturally that work is growing. The english work is kind of at a stand still and so i feel bad because i don't want to neglect that responsibility by not putting in the time to find and get people to teach but at the same time, i don't want to t in so much time tracting and stuff in english neighborhoods when we have spanish people to teach and find too. It's just a balance i'm trying to get the hang of still. This weekend thogh will be good, we are excited to see the turn out.

Oh yeah, this week we went on splits with the Zone leaders. We did a last minute clean up of our apartment to make sure it looked nice ;) and then we split on tuesday after lunch. I went with elder newman and went to their area, while elder Knight came here and stayed with elder Gomez in our area. I was excited to see elder gomez have to step up and play the senior for a littl ebit since elder knight didn't know anything about our area or let alone spanish haha. It was such a cool experience though! I don't know what it was but i just felt like i learned soo much! Just being able to see how Elder Newman managed himself, our companionship, the investigators, and the zone was awesome. He was super focused and just was always working so hard! It just felt like he did everything right man! I loved the way he taught too. He was so good at asking good questions and inspired questions. He just could get them to think what they needed to and they would start answereing their own questions and forming their own testimonies. He was soo bold too was a "dropping machine". Meaning if the people he came in contact with or the peopole he was teaching weren't down to keep commitments right now, then they were benched to be tried again later. I know it sounds kinda rude or even "loveless" but i just felt like it was what needed to be done. We have to find and teach those that are prepared NOW to take action, and read, pray, go to church, all those things. For us to go over to someones house and teach them all the lessons doesn't do them any goodat all! THEY have to take the action or else it's not worth any one's time. Also i liked how spiritual elder newman was, during our studies we read one chapter int he book of mormon and we would read one verse and then we would write and ask each other questions about it. Then we would read the next and do the same. It was cool to see all the revelation we got from one chapter in the book of mormon as we took the time to talk and write our thouhts about it. it was pretty cool. Oh and going with him helped me realize all the resources i have with the english work too. When i would think of finding, i would think of tracting, the least effective way of doing it. My first thoughts weren't to go through all the less actives and part member families first. I know it sounds kind of dumb that i wouldn't think of that first but, it just clicked for me ha! So yeah that's what we are trying now. We are hoping to get some referrals and reactivations out of them but we will see.

This week i got to do another baptismal interview! Our sisters are killing it in willamina haha! They are way tight too, i like being the district leader and getting to work with our missionaries. Our district is pretty tight too. We got some young guns, that bring the fire and then our veteran missioanries are pretty good too so they are teaching well and helping these younger ones find their turf. District meeting went well this week and i'm learning how to delegate!! hahah that's what i needed to learn this past week too. It takes the load off me to do that and actually benefits everyone. We divided up district meeting and had other missioanries teach whereas it is normally just the 2 district leaders. (we combine two districts for district meeting). I liked it when everybody gets a chance to teach. no one wants to just listen to us for 2 hours. It went really well thouh and i actually got a ton of revelation for investigators and people that need help. Our lesson was all about receiving revelation through the book of mormon. It was so cool for me, and also the stuff i got for our investigators. It just reminded me of really how important the book of mormon is, without it, we have nothing! It is such a powerful tool that for some reason, i think is still underused. We are working on it thouhg and just applying it to all of our teachings.

Anyway, that was pretty much the week. We have 3 and maybe 4 people that are supposed to get baptized this weekend, so we are praying so hard for them that they will take this step of faith! They know it is the right thing! Well i love you guys soo much and can't tell you how much you all mean to me! I can't believe how fast this time goes man i feel like every week that goes by there is just a little bit more urgency to do everything i possibly can to bring Heavenly Father's children back to him. Man it stresses me out sometimes :) hahah I'm doing really well though and LOVE this! My boy Gomez is doing awesome too and he is really starting to grasp the work and how to be most effective and stuff. There are a few tweaks we still gotta get out of him but those will come in time :)
I love you so much and i love our savior Jesus Christ. My faith is in him, no matter the results
ya di se cuenta que nunca les escribo en espanol. pero si, estoy mejorando y cada dia, me siento mas comodo y tengo mas confianza en lo que estoy diciendo jaja. He encontrado que necesito hablar un poco mas despacio a fin de tener un mas tiempo de lo que voy a decir. Mi companero es increible y el me ayuda mucho. Gracias otra vez a ustedes por las cartas que me envian y todo el amor que tienen para mi y esta obra. Les quiero con todo que soy yo
love elder edwards

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

He's got it down now!

This week was a major step up though. What's funny too, is that the talk you shared with me mom, the one by president uchtdorf "on things that matter most", we just shared that with a less active 2 days ago and she loved it! I wonder if it was more for me than for her even. But yeah this week was way better. I just felt a little more confidence, a little more sense of "ok i know what i'm doing". Last week i felt like i had just been thrown to the wolves ha! But now everything is just a litle more comfortable. it's actually a blast to havae a district too. I love being a part of these other missionaries lives that are in my district that i just didn't have before. I like becoming a little part of their companionships and helping them in their struggles and motivating them and stuff. I think that is where i have felt i needed to change the most. Last week we had decent numbers to report to the zone leaders and so i was just like "man i can't do this yet without puertas!" but then the sisters in my district were having some problems and just focusing on what they needed made me realize you know what, i really can't afford to be down, discouraged, tardy, disobedient or anything! Not that i was being all those things before but, people look to our companionship just because of our position and it's just been cool this week to just change my mindset a little and have to step up. It was cool too beacuse every rfiday after district meetin we have a coordination meeting with all the district leaders and zone leaders and talk about missionaries who are struggling and goals and all sorts of stuff, i love it! But we talked about being dignified in our calling, not just as missioanries but as leaders. We see president macdonald come hang out with elders on p-day but for a short enough time where they can have fun, but still, he is not just another one of the guys. There is taht respect and even desire to be better when he is in the room. President shared this one quote that i like that says, "as a leader, you can't afford to hang around the water cooler" meaning those players or whatever taht take the few extra moments away from practice, from working, the ones that talk undignified, or bend the rules. We just need to have that presence that allows others to feel motivated even by our presence. It's been really cool this past week man it really has. I feel like our district is really getting along and are really picking it up too. I love the fire that all the greenies bring into it, (every companionship has a greenie in our district). People are just working and are not afraid to take leaps of faith and people are setting baptismal dates and everything it is soo great.
I want to tell you about this weekend though cause it was CRAZY!

First, we have been working with this one less active lady named millie. She is like the sweetest lady EVER. and i mean that as in she is so gentle and kind. She has a really strong testimony but has just had a horrific past that honestly scares her out of doing things. I promised i wouldn't tell anyone about it but she has just had the hardest youth, the hardest marriage, and even her kids are picking up bad habits from her ex husband. Her story is literally so sad, we are brought to tears in almost every lesson. She is so amazing though because amidst all these things, she just has the most amazing faith! she reads all the time and always says i know in the end it will be alright, and she has been putting up with all sorts of horrible things for years and years! She has noo self confidence though because of the way people have treated her and is very submissive. She just has a past that is surrounding her and she can't seem to get away from it. BUT this past week we shared a few different things from the scriptures and conference (uchtdorf's talk), and she has just been eating them up. They have been so applicable and she is just getting more and more strength! She even made it to church this weekend which was awesome. I will get to what happened sunday night in one second.

Friday, we had a few appointments in Independence. We had alejandro the recent convert guy come with us which was a huge help. So we go after district meeting, which was all about asking inspired questions and we even practiced for the people we were going to teach in indy. It helped so much! We had dinner with our first appointment at 4:30, and then taught a lesson after and they accepted BAPTISM! AHH man it was soo exciting! We have been working with them for a while now and thye just stopped progressing. They never read, never went to church, so we said fine, we are gonna commit them or just say hey we gotta visit people that are prepared and iwlling to take action. So in the lesson we did and they said yes for the 22nd!!! Ah man we were soo pumped! But the dinnner was superr hot yikes! Alejandro's nose even started bleeding hahaha! we felt aweful... After though, we had another appointment with roxanna the dominican! She fed us as well ughhh it was soo much food, shrimp and rice! soo yummy but way too much food. we were all jsut looking at each other laughing throughout dinner just becuase we didn't know how we were gonna finish but with lots of prayer, we made it! we felt bad though cause alejandro had to put up with it and he's not a missioanry. But we sat down with roxanna who always reads like 6 chapters every time ewr come which is awesome, but this time we were straight forward and said listen, heavenly father wants you to be happy, as soon as possible, and satan wants you to be miserable, for as long as possible. She is like yeah okay...and we said we know that being baptized will bring you a happiness that you have never felt before and that Heavenly Father himself wants you to take that step, and she agreed and so she accepted a baptismal date for the 22nd as welL! man it was such a miracle and i know the spirit was there, we applied what we had learned that day too at district meeting. It was such a great night and we just needed that after a long week.

Elder gomez is doing awesome as well. He is such a stud and super confident. He helps me stay in good spirits too, he just keeps me on the up and up. he teaches really well too, he has certain things to work on but ya know, he's a greenie. i just think of myself and then to elder gomez, he is such a stud and is already doing amazing things here.

Sunday was crazy too! Miguel and maria showed up at church which was sucha blessing. we were running around calling everyone the night before and the morning of too, so it was pretty nuts. We were soo glad they came because we've been teaching them a while and they never showed, so they finally took that scary step and made it! ahh what a relief. They even brought their daughter who we have onlly taught a little bit but is pretty interested. After church we taught a lesson with some new investigators that actually went really well and then taught an english family, but they aren't that interested so we will probably bench them. After dinner we were going to an appointment and i remembered we had to call millie, the lady from before. We gave her a call and she was like hey can you guys come over right now, some stuff is just going on. So we went over and she opened up even more about her past and how 2 of her 3 kids and her ex husband who are all living in another apartment are just wearing her down! She literally puts up with so much and she is just at breaking point. She just needed some major picking up and ahh there is more to it, that i jsut can't say sorry! she even gave me a little letter that she wrote and said, "here, this is why i am the way i am, i hate to put my burdens on others but i've been prompted to give it to you over the past few days and hope that it will help you as you help me". I got the letter and read it later at home and it was just insight on so much that has happened in her family as a girl, with her husband, and children. Why she has these self-esteem issues, why she has trust issues, why she has confidence issues, man it just broke my heart. I was touched though by how much she trusted us. By her willingness to open up which i know is soo hard for her. She has opened up so much and we are just tryingg so hard to help her.

At times it's hard though cause there is so much going on and it's like, where do we even start! so we have just been giving her hope and confidence and starting little by little to deal with her problems that she puts on herself. Anyway, we went last night and just it was crazy her situation and her ex husband is crazy and she is just freaked out. but things are going better today we visited her and it's just getting better. But last night, we go home at 9:30, sit down exhausted allr eady to plan and we get a call from jose ramirez who says "we need you to meet us at the hospital eddie is paralyzed!" WHAt?! we called zone leaders who gave us permission to go and we met there and found them all crying. all the kids were there and they were playing little games and having fun but crying at the same time, it was kind of bizarre. But finally alma comes out cause she was with eddie and sits down. I shook hr hand and she just started sobbing. It was pretty heavy. After a little while of waiting though eddie comes out in a wheel chair and he could move his head and his arms a little bit and oculd finally open his eyes, but he couldn't feel his face or anything else. They don't even know what happened. he laid down to go to bed and then started hyperventilating and couldn't move. So creepy. So they attributed it to muscle tension and hyperventilation.

We went in and visited him after they did some more testsand he was moving his arms more and got more feeling in his face and head. It wasn't like a permanent paralysis i guess, but he was slowly getting more feeling. It was just really odd but we went in and gave him a blessing and the spirit was soo poweful! wow, it was so thick you could just feel it so heavy as we were there giving eddie a blessing. It was such a powerful experience, and with that, we said our goodbyes and left. We got home at like 11:15 and thanked the zone leaders and went to bed. But man it was such a crazy day, a long day at that, but the whole drive home elder gomez and i were just like man, "there is nothing better than being a missinoary". it was seriously just the best night and knowing that we have developed this trust with all these people and we are able to help them in ways that no worldy or temporal thing could give console. it was just an amazing day. I love being a missionary!

my time is up thougu, i gotta run. I love you guys so much though and i have a little package for the boys coming soon. It will get there late for what it's for but that's alright, they are little keepsakes. I love you so much. I know the church is true, and what we are doing out here is truly our heavenly father's work. love you!
elder edwards

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Years

So tuesday we dropped off Puertas at lunch time and said our goodbyes. It was weird and i was just kind of anxious to get my new comp. I was super nervous for it but at the same time very excited! i ewnt out with the other two spanish missionaries for a little bit and we just taught a few lessons. Then at 4:30 i had a "trainers training" meeting and when we were finished we just waited for our new greenies!!! Ahh man i literally was pacing back and forth just so anxious. I felt like dad a little bit when he is waiting to leave somewhere and doesn't want to be late. But finally the vans pull up and out jumps everyone. I see the only hispanic there and just say "MIJO, Elder GomEz!!!" It was weird seeing him and just looking at my future comp for however long we are together. I was way pumped though to finally get him and he was pumped just to have a companion again ha.

We left though, went to dinner, and then taught a lesson to alejandro and stacy's dad (who were just baptized). We are feeling really good about him and had an awesome lesson. he said he's gonna have to come to church and stuff first before he figures out if this is what he wants ( we're thinking, alright finnee then just come to church hah). But I was teaching them and then nudged elder gomez who told me later that his heart just sank in his chest when i did that and he started teaching but he is seriously so awesome! At times i feel like i'm getting trained again just because he's an awesome teacher and obviously he is fluent spanish. He has been helping me a ton with spanish too, just like grammar things and new verbs and vocab, i don't feel like such a bother either when i ask him every two seconds what something means or how i say something ha. But really he did awesome and we were busy to the end of the night and he only got a few minutes to unpack. I swear this past week has been sooo crazy! I've just been adjusting to the new role that i have now and it has been way stressful i will be honest, to deal with all the ADministrative stuff, but also worry about the ministrative things.

This is a game my mom made for me, Daniel and Travis on our missions. They are "Los pasos de JesuCristo." They are the steps of Jesus Christ. Basically it's a memory matching game with little commandments we make to be able to live with Jesus Christ again. SO FUN and interactive. I passed mine on to my kid in the mission and I think Daniel passed his on too. They are still circulating our missions years later!
It was just so crazy cause i had to plan a district meeting with another district for combined district meeting on friday, then i had to call in the agenda and get numbers from my missionaries, and just all this stuff that seemed so overwhelming last week! It was kind of fun but at the same time it was wearing me out. Every morning this past week i have been waking up with just a nasty stomach ache and i think it's just the stress and nerves of not wanting to do something wrong. It'll come though and alreadyi've made huge strides in time management! We try to finish planning even before we get home at night, just when we are in the car and stuff, and then when we get home, we review it and edit it. We haev been doing well though. For a while i was nervous just about planning our days without puertas. It made me realize the things that i was really dependent on him for and now it helps me see where i've grown too. It is soo funn to have the a district to "worry about". I just like being able to connect with different missionaries that i didn't really get the chance to before and on wednesday, i even got to do a baptismal interview! That was really fun. Another elder told me to just try saying a prayer after each baptismal question that i ask him and just ask heavenly Father if they're ready. I was kind of like, "yea right like i will really get an answer right there" but when i was doing the interview, after the small talk and get to know you stuff. After the FIRST question i quickly said a little prayer in my head and i literally felt my answer come to me, it was like little chills down my spine. And so i continue with the next question and do it again, and THE SAME thing happens. It was truly awesome. Something little but profound. it was just a huge testimony builder that Heavenly Father answers prayers.

My boy is doing well though, he has actually been teaching a lot and he's really good with people. The struggle i'm having is just balancing dealing with the district and making sure i give time to show Elder Gomez that i really do care about him and just bonding time. I mean during the day we talk and stuff and get along really well, but then at nights when we come home it's like planning, then phone calls to people, then more phone calls and number stuff, and then it's 10:30 bedtime. It's been hard even writing in my journal i will be honest but i hav been catching up with the days cause i especially don't want to miss recording all my experiences right now.

District meeting on friday went well actually, there were things i know i could've changed but it was fun to teach with everyone. I just need to make it more fun to be honest. I think this time i was so worried about filling the time that i didn't think enough about how to make it more fun and get people more engaged. One of my weaknesses though is that i'm way too hard on myself and that's how it's been this past week. it's hard cause i'm putting this huge load on my back because i want to prove that it's not just puertas that helped us see so much success, that i had a part in it too. So I have just been kind of beating myself up a little bit for little things and Sunday too, Man i got so frustrated, All week we had been running around seeing our solid families and finding new ones, and we had some good prospects to come to church but not a single one showed up! Ohh man i was seriously soo frustrated. We literally have been so busy this past week we even worked through lunch one day withall the appointments we had. It feels cool to know that we really are just doing everything that we possibly can, but then sometimes i feel like we are running around like headless chickens and aren't focusing our efforts where they are needed most. I don't know, i was just bummed to not reap the benefits of our efforts, but they will come. I know that we have these little tests of faith and diligence and even obedience so maybe this is just one of those tests. This transfer is gonna be huge though. I know it will. We have some really cool families that i know have been prepared, taht i'm excited to work with. We are working hard and i feel like at the end of the day taht we have been doing everything in our power to help God's children in this area. I think i just need to be more creative and focus more on specific needs of these people. I'm glad they send us in two's though because elder gomez has been a huge help through all of this too. He seriously has been there to call me out when i get frustrated. He's like, "hey elder, if i can see your frustrated, then so can everyone else" and it just kicks me in the pants and i start smiling again ahah. He truly is amazing though. he knows why he's out here and just wants to help everyone. He is a really good teacher and wlil get even better too. He's got good ideas for trying new things and i dont know what else to say, i got lucky, my boy is SWEET! He's from Mexico City and lived in vera cruz for a while. Then they moved to provo 6 years ago (he knew Elder Puertas haha)! His parents are converts and that happened when he was like 6. But he is the youngest in his family with 2 older sisters. He didn't even go to college before either, he came straight out of high school. But here we are, loving being missionaries and enjoying all the good and the frustrating experiences. I know that i'm growing a lot too, it jsut takes some time for me to see it. I am trying to not be so hard on myself because i know that i'm wearing myself out ha.
I'm getting the hang of this though. Just balancing responsiblities. I feel close with my district though which i was worried about and we got 1 pair of sisters and one pair of elders. Everyone is training so we are young but still, we got some fire in our crew and everyone is pretty pumped to be working.

I'm sorry that this letter was a little bit shorter. Honestly my head just feels like it is full to bursting and i can't even remember everything that happened this week. These days have gone by soo fast and yet i feel like it was ages ago that i wrote home. I'm glad that transfers are over too, it was kind of hard when we waited for puertas to leave cause he kind of "checked out" right before he went to his new area and then i was just anxious to get my new comp. But now we are settled in and are finally going grocery shopping for Elder Gomez. Other than the pop tarts and candy i got for christmas, we have nothing hahah. We have big plans for this transfer and are soo excited to see the Lord's hand in the lives of his children. I know that we will see miracles this transfer.

Anyways, i love you guys so much and it sounds like eveyrone is doing well. I'm sorry to hear that everyone is going back to school but now it's kind of likie the countdown for summer again :) I'm glad you guys had some cool experiences going to the temple too with everyone! and doing baptisms for the dead i bet that was soo awesome. I miss you guys a ton though and love you guys, i just pictured you all doing fireworks on new years eve hahah we still have the smell of used fireworks outside our apartment (although it wasn't us!!). I hope everything is going well with Jimmy and Katie's school search and daniel and emily's...future plans? HA anyways, i love you all and can't wait to hear from you guys soon! the church is true!
les quiero
Elder Edwards

Christmas in Oregon

Sorry I didn't update the is his Christmas letter with pictures! And by the way, we got to skype with him and he looked GREAT! He was so energetic and still "travis" yet with missionary zest.

(recap of this past week so that everyboy knows what up. sorry you gotta here it again)
AHh mann what an amazing week! There was just soo many fun things that happened, i just smile thinking about them all. Last week we taught some great families and are hoping to see some potential with them this week and the weeks to come. Nobody unfortunatly has a baptismal date right now but man i feel like january is gonna be a big month, and with the families that we are teaching, we are hoping to set some dates this week. I'm sorry i can't remember much from the past week, all my thoughts were based on christmaseve and christmas day hahah!
On christmas eve we went around and visited a bunch of families and recent converts. Oh but first, on thursday, I got a call from the mission president who tells me, that he wants me to TRAIN!!!! What the heckk, i'm getting a brand new missionary tomorrow! HAH and then he says, "while your at it, why don't you be the district leader too". Man my mind was just blown and i was freaking out ha! I'm was super excited but teribly nervous at the same time haha. My heart was just pounding when he told me but i'm feelnig so good about it now and just sooo excited to meet my new baby boy, his name is Elder Gomez! I can't wait to tell you all about him next week. And the whole district leader thing. I havent even had time to think or be nervous about that, my mind has just been on other things. But there are 6 missionaries total in my district including me and my companionship and 3 out of the 6 will be brand new missionaries. I'm excited to work and help these other missionaries although, i don't feel quite prepared to give them advice and stuff cause they are all older than me, (well other than the greenies). But it'll be awesome i know. I have some sisters in my district too and i just found out they are having a baptism this weekend so i get to go do a baptismal interview this wednesday woohoo!

So that was some crazy news on thursday and that just started the weekend. Christmas eve like i said was just a lot of visiting recent convert families and sharing little christmas messages with them. We saw the sandovals with alejandro and stacey and the ramirez family too. The ramirez are doing incredible, and i already told the family but i want to tell everyone else what happened. We were sitting aroudn their dinner table for our 3rd christmas dinner of the night UGHHH ( i felt so sick), and jose says he has to tell us something. I'm thinking ohh greatt now what happened. But he says first, lets bless the food. So he says the prayer over dinner and in his prayer he stops and pauses for a moment and then trying not to cry he says thank you heavenly father, for giving me the strength today, the strength i needed, and then said amen. We all look up and are like okay man, fill us in bro.
So he goes off and tells us, that all day he has been dying for a beer! Just making excuses to go out and do stuff so that he could conveniently stop by the liqour store. They went and rented a movie, groery and christmass shopping, and got a pizza, all at different times. He said he was driving by the liqour store and he seriously was about to turn in but he said it was like a little voice in his head that told him not to turn and then he said it was like somebody stepped on the gas because he just couldn't turn in. And then they went home for the last time and he didn't get a drink. He literally was crying as he told us this and it was just soooo powerful to hear his testimony and feel of his overcoming his trials with Heavenly Father's help. And then after he tells the story, his son goes, "that was the holy ghost dad". We all were just smiling and sooo stoked with everything that had happened! Man i can't tell you how much this family has changed, what a blessing it is that we have the atonement and can repent of things we have done wrong in the past. The guilt and sorrow can literally be washed away and we can be completely forgiven! This season really is a time of healing. And Jose and his son Heriberto, are getting ready to receive the priesthood this sunday :)

Christmas was amazing!!! AHhhh man i can't tell you how awesome it was to talk with you guys! I loved just having you all there i can't even put into words how amazing it was. It was fun just talking and joking aronud and laughing man, i miss you guys. It really did remind me of how important families are, i love you guys soo much. It was harder than i thoguht to hang up and just go about the day. We stayed at the members hosue for a while and played SKIP-BO which was way fun and had some food and just hung out while everyone skyped and talked with their fams. The morning was incredible. And then to make the day even better, we went and had a baptism for Stacey! Talk about sweet, she came and got all dressed in white and our recent convert from 2 weeks ago, alejandro (her brother), baptized her. It was so awesome to see his progression too, as he got down in the water with her and baptized her. It was a really special day, and the other 2 spanish missionaries had a baptism too for two little boys, one a convert, and one is just turning 8. It was a really awesome service.
Then we went to watch the basketball game but lakers got wooped man. I was actualyl pretty bummed. I loev Lebron but man, i was kind of excited to see Kobe woop up on the "big 3". It was kind of a bummer game but still, was fun to watch and then right after, we checked out "despicable me" which was soo funny and just way cute. I loved the movie and we watched all this with the Ramirez family, and they served us dinner afterward. Then we went to the Sandovals and played games the rest of the night. It was just the perfect christmas day man. Oh and i wanted to thank everyone for all the presents and packages i got. I got some really meaningful stuff that just meant a lot to me. Thanks to grandma and grandpa edwards and calvert and uncle randy and aunt terri and the family, and even friends. I love you guys so much and will write you a little thankyou card later too :)

Then yesterday or sunday was pretty good too. Elder Puertas and i gave talks in both english and spanish sacrament meetings and i was way nervous before but once we gave one, the other was fine. We talked about keeping the spirit of christmas in our homes during the year and what we can do and it was just a fun talk. Even in spanish it all worked out well, which i was kind of surprised :P. After church though, we got a special treat and went down to eugene because there was sa family there that Puertas taught taht came from mexico and just made huge strides in the gospel with him and so he got to go down and baptize the mother of this family. It was erally cool and the spanish branch there was super nice and really loved him. it was cool to see the impact puertas has made not only in salem, but in eugene too. They were really welcoming and just nice people. One old lady was even telling me a story about her son that lives in provo utah. She said he is in the stake presidency down there and just set apart a missionary that is coming to our mission spanish speaking. I wasl ike nooo wayyy what's his name? but she forgot. Then i asked is it Elder Gomez? She says ohh yeah! that's it. HAHA small world man i told her that was gonna be my new companion hah. Crazy times. We were there for a while plus the drive took us a bit, so we came back and had mole verde with the sandovals and ended the night with that. It seriously was the best weekend.

Well i hate to say it but that really is most of the cool stuff that happened. Sorry that this letter is shorter, but i kind of feel lik i just told all this stuff to my fam hahah. What an awesome christmas season this has been though. FULL of spiritual experiences, forgiveness, giving of time, money, love, everything! It has been incredible to see the miracles that the Lord put in our path, here in Salem. I invite you guys to think about the miracles you might have seen this season. No matter how big or small, this is a time of reflection and that can help us remember the Lord's role in our life and reminds us how important and essential He is. Although Christmas has passed, the spirit and happiness that we efel doesn't need to go. Leave up a few christmas decorations, or put up more pictures of Christ, remember to have a spirit of giving and service. In 3 nephi 18:24 it says "Hold up you light that it may shine unto the world. Behold, I am the light which ye shall hold up" . I love this scripture because as we exemplify the Savior in all that we do and say, others will feel of his spirit. When we make that effort to share that spirit with others, i KNOW that it will be poured out more abundantly upon you as well. You will feel of the Savior's love for you and know that you are a child of God. Seek for opportunities to be a friend. I think being a friend and an example of what you beleive can be an even stronger testimony than teaching some doctrine or expounding on a question. This is a wonderful time of year, and we can keep the smiles and the peace if we REMEMBEr the Savior.

I love you guys so much and just pray for you every night and day. You guys mean the world to me and it was such a belssing to be able to talk to you on Christmas. I know this church is the exact same church that Jesus Christ established. I know that He lives and loves us. Familes are meant to be forever. That is not an accident :) You guys are awesome and i love you. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
love Elder Edwards