Wednesday, January 5, 2011

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

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