Monday, February 28, 2011

Pday at the Beach

Hi family! This week was kind of different from the past few and honestly it was kind of long but nonetheless, a good week. After the craziness of last week, for some reason our teaching pool just dissappeared. We had some potentials that looked promising but it seemed like any potential investigator turned out to be a bust and they werent' interested. On monday of last week we did go to the coast and i actually have some cool pictures to send you from that trip. It was so much fun! AFter though, we went on splits with the zone leaders. It was so much fun and i learned a lot and i don't know what it was but it helped me get some confidence too. Like i said, i do'nt know why but i just felt more confident and even this week, it was kind of a reflection week since we didn't have a ton of people toteach and i think in that reflection i also got some confidence.

Wednesday was snowy freezing cold and of course we planned some finding on that day :) so we went out knocking doors doing a "window of heaven" and we were looking for spanish people becasue we were outside of our english boundaries. We were kind of being annoying at first and worryig about how cold it was and then like 15 minutes into knocking we are like, "why are we such girls?!" (no offense to women :)) but then we just made it more fun and had a good time. unfortubatly we did not find anybody new in the time that we were finding. But we were talking to everybody and that is something that i've always struggled with is just opening my mouth sometimes. But this week was definitely better.
Thursday we had a few appointmets fall through and even our backups fell through and since we were out in independence we ended up doing some more finding. Actually what we did though is go around and spot the spanish apartments in the area for a half hour so that in later and future days we could better prepare those areas to receive the gospel with windows of heaven or doing splits and hitting them up. So we actually foudn a ton of spanish areas that we didn't know about before and honestly that is the hardest thing about working in indy and monmouth is just finding them and where theyre at.
Friday we had ditrict meeting and it went pretty good. I actually got to teach most of it this time cause i tried to prepare a cool little lesson about sacrifices and offerings. We all make sacrifices by being missionaries but those who truly succeed are those that add to their offering. It's not always about what we are giving to the lord, but what we are holding back. It was pretty cool adn i thought it was edifyig and i gues our point was to lift the morale of our districts because they have been down the past few weeks. I think it helped too because everybody is doing work right now setting dates and baptizing people. It w\as a slow start to the transfer but is picking up now. I feel like it was kind of the opposite for our companionship thoguh haha cause we started off with 2 baptisms and now are just looking for anyuone to teach. After district meeting we went and visited a bunch of former investigators from the area book. during weekly planning we just harvested through the whole thing and found anybody that looked or soudned promising based on past meetings with other missionaries and made a huge list to go visit them. We saw about 2/3 of them this past week and not too much came from it unfortunatly. But we still got some names and i know that someone in there is going to be ready. Even if it is the last one we see, someone is ready.

But also on friday we were going to play volleyball with the spanish branch. It is something the other spanish elders started and is getting some good turn out so we are doing that now on friday nights. But the bad thing was, that the Ramirez family who are usually the ones getting excited about it couldn't come. And we had been trying all week to go see them and visit them, elder gomez and i wrote a song even for the 10 year old girl's birthday but they are always "doing something". We were just getting nervous about it all and even on friday night nobody could get a hold of them. So they couldn't make it and something is up with them that ill tell you about in a sec.

Saturday went pretty well. We went home teahing with our spanish branch members so they could see how it goes but even the turn out there wasn't great and some of our appointments even fell through. But it ended up being a huge blessing because Juan Rodriguez te first counselor and Ruben Chavez the guy that was baptized last week came out with us and we just did splits and went finding for like 2 and a half hours! it was a long time i know but we have nobody to teach! It was such a cool thing though to see RUben ot with us. We were in this little apartment complex and there were these two spanish kids skateboarding and so i went to go "OYM" them or talk to them. while we are talking, ruben hangs back and then i skated with the kids for a second and talked with them and they said we could come back another day when their mom was home. SO i was like ok cool! Then i go back with Ruben and say ok lets do these and he says, oh it's ok i already did that one. HAH while i was talking with these kids he kept knocking doors by himsself ha it was soo sweet! Ruben was awesome and he actually knew where a ton of spanish people lived in indy so we are definityl bringing him with us more. Then when we were all wrapped up and ready to go eat lunch we decided to go knock these two more doors in the complex and the last one we knocked ended up letting us in. His name was Rolando and we taught him the first lesson and gave him a book of mormon. While he is very strong in his current beliefs, it was really cool and a blessing as to our attitude to just knock a few more doors. We went after lunch back here to westy (west salem) and visited more formers and did some finding and then went to the adult session of stake conference because there was elder rizzenmay of the 70 there! IT was awesome to hear him speak and the spirit was so strong and i got revelation and inspiration that i needed. We have been in good spirits this whole week despite all the finding that we've had to do, but his talk was very edifying and uplifting it was what i needed for sure. He talked about "knocking one more door". And it can be applied ot missionary work or even everyday life. Just exherting that little extra to give it a little bit more, often times can be the difference between good results and great. Then he talked about "critical moments" And kind of tied it into a mission story and knocking one more door. We have many critical moments in our life and often times the decision that we make in those instances has the influence to affect us much farther down the line. It was just a great talk and the guy spoke so powerfully.

Oh but before this adult session, we talked with the other spanish misionaries, who said they went to go see a family they are teaching and guess who is there, the RAMIREZ family. they are teaching this guy lacero who got to be good friends with Jose ramirez. When they showed up they were both soo drunk and Jose was embarrassed so he didn't talk to anyone and lacero wasn't even making sense. It was just ugly. Then we tried to get in touch with jose and he wouldn't talk to us and their phones were off and there was no way of communicating. THen on sunday he finally texts us back and says sorry and he doesn't know what's gonna happen know he has just been "bad". We talked to alma too on saturday, or rather the other elders did, and she said that jose might be leaving and just going to california. Ahh there is so much going crazy with them. Jose said he would talk to us today after he wakes up and he said maybe in the evening time, so now we are just waiting ready to go whenever he calls to go see him and fix this dang thing. It's just hard because they live on the other side of the bridge in south salem, where it's not technically elder gomez and my area but the spanish people that live over there still come to the branch. And so the ramirez are our recent converts but our mission president asked that we stop working in each others areas and stay on our sides of the bridge unless going on exchanges or something. So occasionally we make a swap and ill go with one of the other elders or something to see the ramirez but in all these problems with the ramirez it's hard to know whether we need to be there or let the other elders do it. It just kills me because i love these people and i want to see them so bad but elder gomez says that they aren't our area and president has asked us to stay separate and so i am just struggling with knowing what to do. I do not want jose to leave his family that owuld be the worst thing ever but he is just being so odd right now and he got back into drinking and just hings are going nuts. SUPER stressful right now.
With that though, we had stake conference on sunday which was awesome and the member of the 70 spoke again and talked about the atonement and missionary work and all this stuff that again was just soo powerful! I actually got to interpret one of the talks too which was a crazy rush and an awesome experience!! holy cow it was so fun but so scary and even if i didn't get everything right, i felt like i got the speakers point across and it was a really cool feeling. That actually was like my highlight of stake conference haha! But it was a great meeting and a lot of it was on member missionary work which i think is what our english ward needs right now big time. they need to get more active with the work adn we need to help them see that.

Also another stress that is coming down is our spanish branch leaders. I don't want to soudn like a downer but we only had our first counselor come to our home teaching meeting on saturday when it was supposed to be for all th hometeachers in the branch. Our brnahc president showed up for like 10 minutes and then left before we even went out to go hometeach. And our second counselor honestly doesn't come to activities. hah man i feel like a laman and lemuel missionary right now and i don't mean to be, it's just there is so much stuff going on right now and on top of it, we are still trying everything to just find people to teach. It's like the branch members come to us for every question that they have which is great because we want to help them but at some point the leaders, in the branch presidency or the auxiliary leaders, need to know what's going on and not point the members to us. It's like they will ask someone in the branch presidency what they need to do in a certain calling and they say oh are you with the elders? they can explain it to you. HAH man i think it comes down to us though. We can sit hear and say oh this is what needs to change but we gotta do something. I think we are just gonna meet with president murray and talk to him about everything (our branch president). It's just like we don't want to feellike we are trelling them how to do their job because no one wants to be told what to do and honestly mybe there is more to everything that we don't completely understand. But, with that leadership stuff, and the ramirez family, and the branch split that's coming up, there is so much going on right now in my head holy smokes. But elder gomez is stepping up huge and taking on a lot of responsibility which is helpnig a ton and honestly the elder is awesome. You wouldn't know he's only been out 2 months, he really is great. We have our little ups and downs but at the end of the day we end up laughing together no matter what we are passing through so that's good.
Ahhh well that is my week and really amidst all this we are focusing really hard on staying in good spirits we know that discouragement is satan's way of beating us. And right now we can't afford to fall into that hole. I really do love this work, i feel like it's getting to the point where i don't really remember life being another way. LIke i have memories of course, but this, what i'm doing, is like the normal thing. And i think sometimes that is what gets me frustrated too with members or something cause sometimes i forget that members have responsibility too apart form just sharing the gospel.

Oh and mom i meant to ask you, could you send me the autobiography of parley p pratt. I have two copies i think in my room at home and they are little red books i think with gold pages like the scriptures. If you could send that to me if you find it, that would be awesome!! and i did get a gps so thankyou for allowing me to do that and I also got a letter fomr austin white who sounds great! It made my day when i got his letter and what was even better was that i got a letter from an elder Jordan lewis who i met at bYU who is now out on his mission!!! I was so excited to hear that he made it out hear i tried to get his adress but never could and now to know that he is out on his mission, it just made me soo happy! He was like my best bud at BYu and i'm so excited for him to be out now. He is going to buenos aires argentina. Isn't that where taylor larson is? I can't remember exactly. But my time is up here i'm just gonna send you some pics real quick! love you guys soo much!! Thankyou for hte support and the love, you guys behind me makes life sooo much easier! ANd i'm soo happy to hear about jimmy and katie picking their school! I bet that is a huge stress relief. I was also sorry to hear they got robbed though that soudns so scary. I felt aweful to hear that. I will be prayin for you guys, daniel and emily too, i know that could use it :) Again, i love you guys so much! THis work is crazy stressful but super rewarding and there is nothing like feeling the spirit and KNOWING that in that instant, Heavenly Father was talking to you. I love you and the Lord
Elder Edwards

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

While our Famly was snowboarding in Lake Tahoe...

Okay so this week was soo nuts! First things first, lake tahoe sounds like a blast. My old companion elder puertas is down there inmedford and his zone covers a touch of california so if you come up you can at least see him :P
I was jealous of the skiing and stuff hah this week i feel like there were some worldy temptations coming my way haha i had the thought of you guys snowboarding, last night we were at a house visiting a recent convert and on the tv comes the music video or 30 seconds to mars, "from yesterday" and i was like ahh man i love this song and had to walk out of the room with my hands on my ears. I think it was the first time i was bummed to hear a song i love ha. But things are great and i miss you guys a ton. This week was craazzy!
So we were meeting a lot with this guy named shane. He is in our Brush hills ward which is the english ward here and rather, he will be when he is baptized. But we were teaching him every day this past week and he is really starting to understand things. He is a little slower but is starting to get it. he came to churhc last week too which was the major obstacle and now he is giving up tobacco and cofee and tea. He was just like yeah ill do it, so he is pretty down. BUT, this week we met with him and then helped him get a ride to the hospital for some check up thing and it turns out he has pink eye and the doctors said he can't meet with anyone for 2 weeks!!! We were soo bummed and it was just so dang frustrating. There must have been a reason for it or something because he would have been ready to be baptized this next coming weekend. So we havent' seen him for like 4 days now and he said he slipped once with tobacco because he is just home all day with no visitors or anything. That was a downer.

BUT here is the more crazy stuff. So we have been working with a man named Ruben. He is honestly the most awesome humble guy we have ever taught. He is always studying the book of mormon and has known it is true from week 1. He comes to every activity, church every sunday, EVERYTHING. We have had some really touching experiences with him. He has this sickness where he shakes all the time and it was caused by a work accident that it seems like no one is willing to help him out with (lawyers and stuff). He cant work now, and has to support his whole family of like 6 or 8 kids that live in mexico! yeah talk about a tough one. So we meet with ruben on tuesday and start getting him excited for his baptism on saturday. Things are great. We couldn't meet wednesday and then thursdaymorning we get a phone call from Ruben. "hey elders, this is ruben chavez. I don't know how to tell you but i won't be able to move forward meeting with you guys."

.....WHAT?! he was like i don't want to tell you why over the phone, and then we set up a return appointment on friday morning. Ah man my heart just sankk and we didn't know what to do. it was at our lunch break and we just lost all life. We decided to fast and just started our fast right there. Then we went out. We had a meeting with our Ward mission leader which was fine and then we taught a new investigator zacharias, and then another namd Diego. Diego was awesome!! He is an amazing drawer and has truly been prepared. He asked us the first day when we were talking. He was like yeah i like the aztecs and you know ther was this thing that said a white man came to them and they honored him and praised him and stuff and i was just wondering if jesus christ ever came to the americas? HA we were like yeah here is a book all about that! It was pretty funny and really cool to see how heavenly Father had prepared him in a unique way. We had alejandro with us too the recent convert which was good and the lesson went really well.
That lifted our spirits a little bit and then we left for independence. We get there and are supposed to meet with Miguel and Maria. They also are supposed to be baptized this weekend (2/20). So we go and they call us right as we pull up to their house and say they are in corvalis and won't be back for an hour. So fine, we leave and are driving and Elder Gomez is like, let's go see Ruben. We say lets do it. So we head up to monmouth which is 10 minutes farther and we are walking up to his door and he walks out before we even knock. And says, "are we ready to go to the church" we say yeah. And then he says "should i grab my Book?" (book of mormon) and we say YEAH!! So he comes and we go to the church to have our lesson where we normally do. We just talked to him and he vented about his family and how he can't work and no lawyers are helping him with his sickness and he can't get ANY money for his family in mexico and how everything was just coming down on him all at once, and now he feels like meeting with us was just another thing to worry about. We explained that things should be the opposite. With all of these things to worry about and stress, as he "seeks the kingdom of God first, all other things will be added unto him". We just talked and basically reminded him of the promised blessings that he would receive for following the commandments and being baptized. He felt way better at the end and was joking around with us again and smiling. It was the best thing that could have happened! I'm serious the Lord touched his heart so much to prepare him for this weekend. We handled it all so bad too, at the first sign of struggle we practically gave up hope and it was just a lesson to us about keeping faith. We will not let such obstacles get in the way again.

So friday we are feeling way better. We had combined district meeting with our whole zone and it was really spiritual. it was cool too becuase the sister missionaries in my district have been having a really hard time lately. THey have just faced a lot of opposition and have been getting sooo discouraged and stuff. So the zone leaders were talking with them and then called me to come and i got to give them each a blessing and it was really cool! it was awesome to know that we have the power and authority of God on the earth to do such blessings. It was a really spiritual experience and i just felt really good from doing it. I don't know how to explain it otherwise.

Then saturday comes. We taught some good lessons and then we got everything ready for Ruben. The baptism went amazing! He kept telling us how good he felt inside and afterward he came and thanked me personally and it was kind of a prideful moment i know, but at the same time made me feel good and i told him it wasn't us, it was the spirit. It was soo good to see him in white and take those steps into the font. Man it was such a good feeling.

We also saw Miguel and Maria, on saturday and got everything reaady for their baptism on sunday. They had to do their interviews sunday morning before church and then come to church because miguel had to come to church one more time beore he could be baptized. So sunday morning, we are about having a heart attack because the baptisms just stress us OUT! We try to make sure everything is perfect and we just psych ourselves out, cause we want everything to go right. They called us while we were in our english sacrament meeting and my heart sinks. Elder Gomez goes and talks to them and thye just say they are on their way. PHEW that was close. So they get there and have their interviews. Things are good. Maria comes out and she is happy. Then after a while Miguel comes out looking not quite so happy. So they are talking to each other for a second in the hall, while classes are going on and we went over to see what's up. Miguel and Maria need some financial help for rent, for one month. They happened to ask president murray during their baptismal interview and i from my understanding President murray kind of said, "are you just getting baptized because you want financial help?" and whether it was the way he phrased it or somehting, it really offended miguel. He talked about it with maria too but just said it in a different way or something cause she wasn't offended at all but miguel was like no i just felt kind of hurt. We have been teaching them for like 2 and a half months and they honestly are legit. They never needed financial help before and the only time that they had brought it up was saturday, the day before their baptism, after they had already decided to be baptized, so they didn't even use it as incentive. But nonethe less, miguel was hurt. Maria starts crying, and we go into one of the empty rooms of the church, while priesthood is going on, and have a little lesson. We talked about baptism and WHY we do it. It's not for president murray, it's not for the missionaries, it's between you and Heavenly Father. Maria is just crying telling her husband that this is what they need to do but he was not having it. He wasn't being rude or aggressive, he just said, i'll do it eventually but just not today. I just don't feel it today. We bore testimony as best we could hoping the spirit would soften his heart, and then we even prayed and had him pray to know, and he said he felt good inside but didn't want to do it today. I'm like on the edge of tears as he is telling us this and we turn to maria and say well, would you still like to do it?......and she says "No tengo ninguna duda" meaning, I have no doubt, and she said yes she still wanted to.

Man as much of a bummer as it was to see miguel not take the step with his wife, it was so cool to see Maria's testimony. When we very first started teaching them, she was money, and then they kind of switched where she was turned off to everything and he was in. And then we were able to see the fruits of her testimony as she had no doubt that this was the right thing. You could honestly tell that she was bummed that her husband wasn't there, even during her baptism. And president murry even came up to him later and said hey i have been thinking about you and received revelation that you are ready to be baptized if that is what you want. And miguel still said no. All the way up until maria was baptized she was just telling her husband this was what he needed to do. And i truly think he felt it. I think he felt that he needed to do that on sunday, but didn't want to go back on what he said. He will be baptized though, i have no doubt. And i think this might be a blessing in disguise because now we have truly seen maria's testimony and i think it will hit home when we are teaching over there and she can now bare that testimony to her husband and her daughter Itzel who has actually gotten all the lessons. So we'll see how things play out. It was truly a bittersweet day but we were soo glad to see Maria take that step. It just makes everything worth it! Man we have worked with them soo long and finally things clicked. Miguel will be baptized soon.

But man, two more people are a step closer to their Heavenly Father. What an amazinlgy stressful, exciteing, worthwhile weekend.
I love this work man, it doesn't get better than this.

We are going to the coast today as a zone and are leaving pretty soon so i gotta run but i'm gona try and send some pictures real quick. I love you guys soo much and pray that everything is going well and that tahoe is a blast! I know the church is true, we have a living prophet, and the Book of Mormon really is the word of God

Love Elder Edwards

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

This week was pretty awesome too. The days felt a little slower but at the same time, we had some great things happening. Last tuesday, we had our recent convert alejandro come out with us. And well it's actually more complicated than that cause i told elder gomez to text him so we could go and have a lesson with him since it had been a while since we'd done that. But he thought he asked him to come out on splitwith us. And so when we show up to his place he is all dressed up looking nice haha but i was like uhhh...what did you tell him? haha so we ended up visiting some single ladies that we can't visit without a member and had mediocre success in that but it was really cool going out with alejandro. He is such an awesome guy and i feel the closest with him beyond any other convert. I don't even see him the most or i didn't work the hardest to help him get into the church compared to others, i just feel a connection with him and ill explain why.

We are out driving to our next appointment with him and he tells us it's his birthday. So we are like whattt crazy!@, we gotta do something fun. We started asking him about a mission and stuff cause he jsut turned 26 and thats the cut off. He said he would love to do it but doesn't know if he could now that he's older. We said there is still a chance that you could and well we'll see where that goes. But it was just a cool thought to me that even on his birthday, HIS day, he was out with us serving other people around him. He came out with us for like 4-5 hours too and was justl ike yeah i got the whole evening. So we wanted to do something fun and we tooko him to this classy place for dinner called bentleys. It was kind of fancy and we all felt kind of cool and then they brought him a surpise little cupcake witha candle too which was fun. Just as we were talking though and laughing, he paused and wasl ike thank you so much guys, this is really the best birthday that i can remember having, thank you. It was just so touching the way he said it, and it wasn't like we were doing it FOR him like we felt more privilidged than he was or anything but we did it because we honestly love the guy and care about him. It was just a really fun evening and then after dinner we got another split so that we could divide and Alejandro and i when tracting.

We were in some ritzy apartments and it was a white area. Alejandro speaks some english and he's actually pretty good at it but is definitly spanish. Anyway we're knocking and like one of the first doors, we get a return appointment. So we are feeling good hah. Then i asked if he wanted to try and was like uhh maybe another day when we are doing spanish. So i said fine. But then we started talking about just different missionaries. We were talking about puertas and gomez for a second (good things of couse :)) and then he started talking about his conversion again. And this part isn't to boost my pride or anything but it was really cool and meant a lot to me. But he was like, before when you and puertas taught me in spanish, that is obviously more comfortable for me and puertas mainly taught, but the times when you came with a split that spoke english and taught me in spanglish, even though it was less comfortable Language wise, i felt more at peace or more comfortable with what i was doing when you would teach me. He said there was just something about the way you did it that made me feel more comfortable in what i was doing even with a slight language barrier and stuff. MAN that was soo cool to hear as we are out tracting. It shot my pride up through the roof hahah and i felt so close to alejandro at that time. It was a testimony to me that the gift of tongues is real one, that even with my botched spanish he was able to feel the spirit testify to him that what we were teaching was true. And second, that there really are people prepared for US. It makes it so much more important that we are always obedient, always worthy of the spirit and always talking to everyone because you never know who is prepared for YOU. It was just the best day ever and i love alejandro. I can't wait to hang out with him after my mission hahah (i'm not trunky i swear)!

The rest of the week went well too. We had a lot of flaky people which gets me so frustrated and wears into me more than almost anything else. I just get so mad when we have a plan, a back up and a back up to the back up plan, and they all flake or something and it's just ahh i get so mad haha. But those are the tests right and we stayed in good spirits. We taught some new people this week too beacuse a lot of the people that we are trying to prepare for baptism had some major issues. The one family that has a date for the 26th is stuck in lebanon right now with car troubles and because they work up there, they don't want to spend the money to fix it yet. UGH! And we have miguel and maria who are supposed to get baptized this weekend, and she works now and works the whole dang day! so we can hardly see them! and they didn't come to church so there date will change to the 20th but we still have the faith that they will be baptized this weekend. And then there is RUBEN! Ahh man this guy is amazing! He is the most prepared person i've ever seen. He walked into church for crying out loud before any one knew him and he is so willing to drop everything! The only real problem he had was with coffee and the second we told him about the word of wisdom, he's like, Oh that's bad? okay i won't do it. And just like that he is done with it haha! He always comes to church and even activities the only difficult thing is that he lives in monmouth which is like 30 minutes away! yikes. When we go to teach him it's a long trip and we don't have a lot of work up there considering it's so far away from church. But it's worth it, and he is getting baptized this weekend.

There was a baptism by the other elders this weekend and ruben showed up and it was just what he needed man. We have been getting good fellowshipping with him and everyuthing it isgoing soo good.

Things with Elder Gomez are going well. We have our disagreements but i'm learning more and more patience hah and i'm still learning how to speak my mind when something bothers me, i always just let it blow over without saying anything. I cannot stand confrontation even over little things ha, but i love the kid and he is an awesome teacher man. He is helping me a lot with spanish and stuff too. OHH and last week i got to teach a book of mormon class for like 45 minutes. It was pretty sweet because there was a lot of discussion and stuff and Elder Gomez just teaches next week so i got to do the whole thing and we had a lot of recent converts show up which was good. It's funny beacuse they have all read portions of the book, and more importantly prayed about it, but they don't really know everything inside. Which in itself is a cool concept that shows their faith that because they received a spiritual witness of the book, they don't need to read the whole thing to know it's true. They just needed to read and PRay about it and their answer came through the holy ghost. It was a fun class and we are doing it every week now and hoping to have the recent converts bring their friends. It is soo good though cause they are really learning their role as members and strengthening their testimonies. It's great.

Anyway, those are just a few stories from thsi past week. Thanks so much for the valentines day package, i'm wearing the little sweater right now haha. Please the only thing i ask is hat i get no more chocolate. I love it and that's the problem. I don't want to sounds ungreatful but even when my weight doesn't go up, my belly grows out hahah! But seriously thanks for the packages and letters, they mean the world to me.

I'm feeling good though and working hard. Our districts morale is kind of down right now and it's hard because i want to lift them all up but it kind of brings me down too haha. I think i was trying to regulate too much by micromanaging obedience and stuff like that when really, our district needs more edification, not instruction. I think when we are edified, our desires to do what is right increase. There is a scripture i like in alma 4:19 i think and it talks about alma just breaking down and when he nothing left to do, he just bore PURE testimony of what he knew. It was powerful for me. It made me realize the power that is in our each and individual testimonies. The other week i went and bore my testimony in spanish branch and this lady that the other elders are teaching who went to church for the first time, asked me if she was allowed to go say something, and i was like *gulp* sure of couse haha. She went up and bore the sweetest testimony about how she has been looking for a church and just sitting in the big room with everybody, her heart was just pounding and she said she just felt "home". It was soo powerful. And then later Elder wilkes (one of the other spanish elders), told me that miriam, the lady who went up, said that after i had born my testimony, she felt something in her heart and she said she just needed to go up and say what she was feeling. It was really cool for me to hear that too. i feel like i've been boosting my pride a lot here so don't thin i'm way into myself or anything haha. I know it was the Lord that touched her heart and that we are merely his servants working to share his love for Heavenly Father's children.

I love you gyus so much and can't believe you will be in tahoe!!! Don't get hurt hah i'll be praying for you guys. Love you SO much!! Yell at the top of the mountain and maybe i'll hear you :P
love Elder Edwards

Monday, February 7, 2011

Transfers: I'm staying

Ahh let me just breathe for a second and tell you, this week was AWESOME! man we saw soo many miracles and are just absolutely amazed at how much we have been blessed this week.

I feel like i'm finally coming into my own as a district leader. Although there are things to sort out and things to learn, i feel way more comfortable with what i'm doing and i have felt the blessings come from sacrificing on behalf of those we must serve as leaders. In this case it was some other missionaries. There are two missionaries in our district who have been having al ittle trouble with morning obedience and so this past week we have been getting up like 15 minutes earlier to go over and work out with them at 6:30. So while 15 minutes doesn't sound like much, IT REALLY IS hahah no i'm just kididng, but still i was frustrated at first that that was what it would take to help them be 100% obedient. We have so many promised blessings when we are ALL the way obedient and not just partly. But the first day that we did it, it just dawned on me the important role that both elder gomez and i have to ensure that all of the lord's children AND servants, are doing what they need to, and it made that task much more bearable and even enjoyable knowing that it was not only benefitting these other two missionaries and ouselves, but their respective area as well. Elder Gomez was frustrated at first too but he is coming around now haha :)

So we had whats' called a leadership training meeting this week in corvalis. Normally all the district leaders, zone leaders, and trainers, go and teach and get evaluated and learn a ton of stuff. But this time, president wanted everyone to go and so we divided up the training into three days and our day to go was on wednesday. So we had two zones down in corvalis and we all were told three topics that we could potentially teach on, those being: revelation through prayer, the role of the holy ghost in conversion, and we invite, they commit, we follow up. Those were the three topics that we had to prepare for, and then on wednesday they just asked randomly a certain number of people to teach. We got divided up into three rooms randomly, and President asks, "okay who has never taught any of these before?" and a number of people raised their hands. Then he asked "okay who HAS taught?" and then he picked an Elder Nichols (my mission grandpa, he trained puertas). So it was Elder nichols and a sister abbot that were teaching. Everyone's hearts settle back down again knowing they don't have to teach hahah. But Nichols says hey sorry i have to go help Elder lopez with setting up new phones for the misinoaries, so he is excused and he asks again, while standing right next to me, who has taught these before. And i rose my hand very slowly and not very enthusiastically but nonetheless he looked down at me and said, ELDER EDWARDS why don't you take the floor. So my heart just explodes and i got to teach Revelation through prayer with sister abbot. We didn't have any time to prepare together, just what we had done before that day and so we just started and yeah. It ended up going really well and we got some good evaluation that will not only help as we teach district meetings and stuff but also in our missionary lessons. At the end of the day i was SO glad that i got to teach. I don't know why, i just learnedo much and it was just kind of fun and a rush hah. We had to teach for an hour and a half and then we rotated rooms and president picked another two missionaries to teach and then we rotated a third time after lunch with the same pattern. So at the end of the day, only 18 missionaries got to teach out of 75-80 so yeah. i guess i was lucky huh?
That evening though we taught a book of mormon class. it seems like every where we go there are bible study classes and we figured since we have so many recent converts in the brnahc, a book of mormon study class would be a good idea. and well it was actualyl elder gomez' idea but yeah, it went really well. It got the members excited and we are hoping they will bring friendsand stuff.

Okay thursday. So bear in mind, that all we have right now for a solid is shane who even he has bene kind of flakey these days. It was actually our fault but yeah he couldn't come to church thi week :(. We have other progressing but he's the only one with a date. But thursday, we see victor and his family. We have an awesome lesson with them about the plan of salvatino and we had a baller member with us named juan (the one that calle dyou a long time ago about the cabin). But we taught them and then at the end, invited them to be baptized on the 26th!!! We asked Jaime first and said, are you willing to follow the example of jesus christ and be baptized on the 26th of this month. And at first he pauses and says, nope. hahah it was like uhhh freak!! But we kept talking and they ended up agreeing to that date and so now we have to get them married and help them get their answer that this truly is the right thing for them to do, even though we know it is, they have to as well because it's their choice. So 4 more people are that much closer to going back to live with Heavenly Father (i have to say it that way so that it isn't just a number :

We left that place soo happy haha and we were running around all night that night we didn't eat until like 8:30. As much as it stinks some time to not eat from like 11 in the morning to 8:30 at night, i love it how even eating becomes second priority when we have the lives of these heavenly children in our hands. It was amazing thouhg, we left feeling so good. OHHH and i forgot to tell you. two sundays ago, the elders up in independnece call us and tell us that there was a spanish guy that just walked into church (english ward), but was looking to go to church and they told him through a spanish speaking member that they would contact the spanish missioanries (us) and wed come visit him. So we went and saw him this week and he is amazing!!! He has the saddest life though man he had an accident at work and messed up some of the discs in his back and now he shakes all the time and it's hard for him to even turn the page of a book. His family is in mexico but beacuse of his work accident he can't really get a job any where and has virtually no money or source of income, but he is living with his brother who is helping him get by. It is so sad! But when you look at this man, Ruben is his name, it has never been so easy for me to love somebody. I mean truly see them as a child of God. I'm serious, when we met with him for the 3rd time on saturday, we were talking and i was looking at him straight in his eyes, and it was just so clear to me that Heavenly Father has a plan for that man. He is soo humble and is willing to do anything to go back and live with Heavenly Father. He can barely read but still spends hours even, attempting at a few versus. We watched the restoratio movie after we had taught him about it, and he said he wants to keep watching so he can memorize what joseph smith said when he saw Heavenly father and Jesus Christ appear to him. It was soo amazing! This man has such a humble spirit and is just incredible. He now wants to be baptized on the 19th of this month. He is amazing! I love Ruben Chavez.

Then on Saturday, we were with miguel and maria. They had a baptismal date a little while ago and miguel had the amazing experience of getting his answer to his prayer right in front of us! So we went and taught them and decided they needed to go back to the beginning and we watched the resoration with them as well hah, (different day). But it went really well and then we were talking and talking and focused our conversation on how maria has felt the spirit in her life, and the blessings she has seen since she has been keeping the commandments so diligently. She just got a job this week too and the week before was the first week that she had really been reading and praying a lot and just like that she got a job! It was such a miracle and she started realizing all these things she was getting from keeping the commandments just as it says in mosiah 2:41. So Elder Gomez asks her if she would pray right in front of us (JUST LIKE WIH HER HUSBAND), and ask heavenly father if these things were true. So she said yes, which already was a miracle because she RARELY prays in front of us. but she did it, and while we were sitting there, she told us what happened afterward. She said she prayed to know if these things were true and then when we said amen, we jsut knelt there in silence. She said that when your eyes are closed and there are lights on you can tell because it shows kind of through your eye lid, but she was kneeling face down and could see no light. But when she said amen, she said she saw a bright light and that she just felt good inside and she knew this was true! We invited them to be baptized on the 19th and she was sooo down! She just matter of factly says, yeah that day is good for me how bout you miguel? and turns to him and he nods with a smile. It was suchh a miracle oh my gosh!! We seriously couldn't believe what had just happened.

Mom, your letter about never doubting helped so much. Elder puertas just sent us a letter about faith and how honestly, if we TRULY have faith, we can open the windows of heaven and have such a power as we teach and preach. We are the ones that limit ourselves and put boundaires on ourselves. So this week we were just striving to have such a faith. That whoever we invited to be baptized they would accept and know that these people needed this. We did our absolute best not to DOUBT. like you were saying mom. That letter came at the best time. So this week was awesome. Again we saw so many miracles and it left us thinking why? Why did we see so many blessings. My battle was not being prideful. I know it wasn't us that set those dates, but the spirit that allowed them to be in such an environment that they could feel the need to be baptized. BUT at the same time, it was like ohhh man we have 8 people wihta date now and so on and so forth. But it cannot be like that. And we haven't thrown it in peoples faces or anything but at the same time it's kind of like in my head, okay man WE are doing so awesome and i'm just praying that i can stay humble or i know that these people will suffer from my pride, and we can't afford that.

Then, the last thing i have to write in like 2 minutes was that on sunday, we were supposed to have like 15 people at church. I know, it would have been sooo amazing!! So we were all pumped, but in our sunday morning rally for church, miguel and maria were sick so they and their daughter couldn't come, victor and his family were stuck in lebanon with car trouble or something and they couldn't come, and roxanna and kenya the dominican ladies were sick too as well as two of our big member families. UGHHH i was soo frustrated i thouhg i was going to explode. But, when i saw Ruben walking in the hallways of the church, i told myself to just be satisfied, just for right now. Seeing Ruben there honestly made it okay. I could see his smile as he walked and didn't really know where to go but seeing people greet him and ask him how he liked class and he has his big print book of mormonin his shaking hands, it was really touching and i knew that for this week, he made it all worth it. it was a really touching experience.

My time is up, i love you guys so much! Transfers are this week and i'm staying here again hA!! i'm actualyl so pumped this month is gonna be amazing! I am bummed though cause elder alderman is leaving. He is in south salem but comes to our branch and we have worked a lot with them in the branch and it's just sad to see him go even though he wasn't my companion. I love the guy.

But here we are, happy and feeling good and positive. This week, i felt way more capable. Even though i couldn't do everything, i feel like i have been drilled with positive motivation and encouragement from you guys and from Heavenly Father and i just feel good.
I love you so much though family and you mean the world to me. I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ and He is the only means by which we may be healed and live with our Heavenly Father and Families forever.
love Elder Edwards