Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1st week as Zone Leader

Hello family this might be a short one too! We are on our way to zone leader council in eugene which is like 3 hours from medford and we are stopped in some city that i just can't remember the name of it haha! BUT, this week was pretty dang crazy, i have got some cool stories to tell. We saw the hand of the Lord working so plainly in our work it was incredible. First and foremost thought, it was a rough one saying goodbye to Salem. I guess you could say i finished the rounds on monday night and saw nearly everybody i wanted to see really quick before i left and man the last family we saw was the Diaz Faimly. They have been having some big problems lately and last week they didn't come to church but most of the family was all together when we went to go visit them at like 9:00 on monday night. We shared a short spiritual thoguht and then let them know that i was leaving the next morning. THe little girl Bianca, (the girl i got to baptize on my first day), was pretty sad. We took some pictures with all of them, which i will have to send to you next week sorry! and then we said our little good byes. They are all the cutest little kids and we have worked a lot with their family over the months so it was weird to really say goodbye for who knows how long. THen we walked outside and they all run to the window of their house and always wave goodbye to us when we leave after visiting them and they were all waving with their little noses pressed up against the glass. We sat down in the car and i turned around and stopped at the stop sign right on the corner next to their house, and just started sobbing! It was so touching but heartbreaking to leave all these people that i really do love so much. It made me think of sacrifices we have made for these people and always the thoguht of man, what more could i have done? I honestly couldn't stop crying, after left their hosue it really hit me that i was saying good bye to salem, my home for almost 8 months. We went home though and i finished packing for the night. The next day, Alejandro had just gotten back from a trip to california over the weekend and i didn't get to say goodbye to him, so he and his sister stacy who were both baptized in december took us out to lunch. Man they are sooo awesome i can't tell you guys how great these people are. We tried everything to pay for them even but they wouldn't budge and so we got little meals from denny's before transfers happened that day. I was glad i got to see alejandro most of all, out of anyone that i have gotten to know in my time in Salem, my testimony is strongest that I was supposed to know HIM. We just clicked from the first time we sat down with him and he told me some of the nicest things that i will never forget. He even got emotional as we parted ways and i just thought of the true friend he has been and even more than that, a true convert. He has an amazing spirit that just radiates when you are around him and is so kind hearted. But at the same time, he is another one of the guys you know? that can hang out and kick it with you so he is just a blast. Man i love him. Gomez is now in salem tearing it up and will be there with elder fuller who i have heard from many sources is a stud. I can't wait to see the work that Elder Gomez and he do while they are there. It was odd saying goodbye to Gomez too, we had a lot of ups and downs but always by the end, those little experiences of struggles and joys brought us way close and it was again, a very bittersweet feeling. BUt i know that he is growing even more into an incredible missionary. He seriously is so bold and down-to-business that he will definitily leave a solid legacy of our posterity in salem ;) Then we had the long ride down to Medford. We left salem at 12:30 and got to medford at like 7:15. We had to make stops all throughout oregon on the way down to pickup and drop people off. OH AND, we stopped in Eugene when the new missionaries got there and i got to talk with Elder Camacho for like 20 minutes! I gave him that hug for you katie haha and man did he look pumped! He sounds like such a stud and he got a good welcome to Eugene cause we had a nice spanish crew at the transfer spot where he was and we always make our spanish missionaries feel welcome haha! So he was all smiles and just seemed pumped to be there man i know he will do amazing things. I know his trainer too his name is elder kirkham and he came out with me. Elder Camacho will be a huge asset in Salem where he is going. He is gonna serve in the branch that just split off from ours so you know it will be growing big time and he is gonna love it! But anyway we finally made it and the first guy i see off the van is my popps, Puertas! HAha it was a good sight man i missed the guy a ton and he looked good. It was fun talking with him and being reminded of the true friend that he is. Man i learned so much from him as my dad and now, it's like i feel like i'm on a more level playing field. It was cool to see him and actually i'm with him right now too cause they had to ride with us to Zone leader council. Even in just these past few days, i have learned a ton and have been able to share a lot that i'ive learned with him and just, the friendship never died, and if anything i feel more appreciative of him now and closer to him now that we have been split. But anyway, i met my new companion Elder Klinefelter! He is soo awesome. I have been so excited to come down and work with him ever since i found out and already we are getting along soo well! Our heads are jsut in the right place. He is a great teacher and his spanish is pretty good too. He actualyl switched to spanish at the beginning of his mission and he has got a good hang of it. We are helping each other out though and it is pushing both of us to step up cause we have no native to rely on hahah. He is super bold too and i just love the way he works. This week i wanted to tell you of a few miracles too. I got to meet this family named the Herreras. Fabian the guy is a member and so are the kids, but amber is not because they aren't married yet >:( But we are working on it and while we will need a miracle for it to happen soon, it will happen within 90 days so that is promising. But we met with them a few times this week and she told us she works for the next few sundays, we were pretty bummed that she wouldn't be able to come to church but then on saturday night we stop by cause we were in the area, and it turns out the she wasn't needed for work this past sunday and so she came with her family! Just like that! hah such a miracle and that's not even the best of them! We were out knocking some doors during a window of heaven and we stopped by someone we knew in the area. His name is carlos and he is with a girl named susana. They are not married but she is a member and he is not. So we stop by and they aren't around and then Elder K is like, man i feel like we should text him so he does and he says this "hey i was just thinking about you guys, I will see you at church tomorrow"....WHAT?! He hasn't been taught since february and we didn't even invite him, we just said what's up? and he said that. It was incredible and so inspired to text him. It was such a testimony of revelation too that Elder K had that thoguht after we had knocked on their door. And he ended up coming to church on sunday WITH his cousin who is a nonmember. His cousin loved the services at church and said that we could start meeting with them. Then while we were at church with carlos, after everything finishes, our branch mission leader asks him, hey are you a member? and he says "no, but i want to be" haha and so we are like well could we come over tonight and help you prepare for your baptism and stuff so that you can become a member of the church and he says yeah definitely!! What the heck?! We literally were swamped with blessings and honestly it just humbled us because we felt so much like such tools in the Lord's hands. We have been working so hard this past week and are setting huge plans for our zone to help turn aroudn our mission, but it's not us still. It really is the Lord that allows us to see such miracles, and we are just trying to be the means by which they come about. We have been talking about this in our companionship even today about how we don't understand sometimes that we literally are acting in Jesus Christ's name. We are his servants and representatives in Oregon. That entitles us to the powers of Heaven as long as we stretch our faith to that extent and back that faith up by our actions and sincere desires to fulfill the LORD'S will. We are beginning to understand the true power and authority of our callings. Another crazy miracle was that we were out just getting out of a lesson and we get a call from a family that has been inactive for years! They call us and say we need to talk to you now! So we cruise over there and talk with Carlos Camacho and Kelly. They were saying how they were doing hard drugs and their bills aren't payed and their unbaptized son was just taken away from them and they realized that all this was happening because they weren't going to church. She was like when they took my son, you guys were the first ones we thoguht to call, and we knew you could help us. It was incredible how much they have gone through, they had us tearing up with them as they were sharing their experiences through tears and sobs. So now they are committed to coming back. They are coming to family home evening this thursday where we are gonna play and sing a song too, and they are coming to chruch this next sunday. They are gonna get back on their feet and have already been clean from drugs for 2 + weeks and they will get their son back. ANd when that happens, we are gonna teach him too and he is going to be baptized. She said that she has a friend taht wants to come with her too. So we will keep you updated with that. I can't tell you how pumped we are for this transfer. Seriously we were weekly planning on thursday and i always love the first one right before the transfer starts, and we made some big plans for ourselves, for the zone, and more importantly the means by how we are going to accomplish them. Our zone morale is pretty down from what i've seen in the short time i've been here and while there are some superstars, there are some missionaries who are just trying to find their way too. We are trying to find the balance between the instruction and guidance but also the edification and love that we give. This calling truly is one of service but it is soo rewarding! Already we have been making sacrifices in order to help these missionaries in our zone and it feels great. It's like the needs of our investigators are above our own, but now 22 missionaries' needs as well. We are having some awesome spiritual experiences and are looking for some major guidance for this weeks zone district meeting that we are teaching. Our trip today and tomorrow to Eugene for our council will be really helpful and tomorrow i guess it's just 5 horus of discussion as to what the mission needs and what we can do personally as zone's, districts, and companionships. I'm really excited but the AP's sent out a text saying "get ready to play hard ball" hahah so i don't really know what that means but it freaked me out soo, we'll see tomorrow morning what happens haha. I feel like President will probably chew us out or chastise us, cause our mission is so down, but we have to remember that it is out of love. I know that everyone will have the right spirit about it and that it will motivate us and strengthen and guide us even more than we have been. Elder Klinefelter and i have just been beaming with excitement and have been really lifting each other up through ups and downs. We are doing this thing called "purification" where we make a list of 10 things to do together or stop doing together, that will help us be more spiritually in tune, more powerful missionaries, and more succesful and we fasted about them and covenanted with Heavenly Father that we would do everything in our power to keep those 10 new rules. Some of them are things like waking up at 6:00 to get in our exercise and start studies early, and we shortened our lunch time, and have just committed to doing some things differently. It's like you've said before, it's not that hard to be an ordinary missionary. We are all required to give up the 2 years, the video games, music and stuff, but what more can we give. My "grandpa" in the mission said, Edwards, you are so capable of being a super star out here that if you honestly end up as an ordinary missionary, that's pathetic! And man it was so true, it was awesome to hear and just pumped me up. It is so easy to go through the motions and just be "another missionary". But we are trying to set ourselves apart even from that and be "the highlight reel" for our zone, so that they can see that we are trying to put more on our personal alters as we offer to the Lord. Anyway, our spirit of excitement, is staying fresh and we are letting nothing get us down. It's been such a growing experince for my comp and I to get so pumped about this too, because we are constantly pulling each other out of ruts if we begin to be discouraged or down and it's just been a great support system one for the other. I love my comp so much, he is such a stud and is totally lifting me up, helping me get right into the swing of things. Unfortunatly i gotta run. Things are going great though, and i feel so good! This new calling is major stressful and sometimes i feel like my brain isn't big enough to think and worry about everything we have to worry about haha, but we have been so blessed by the Lord it's not even fair to Him. We feel undeserving of the miracles we are seeing but it only motivates us to work harder and strive to be worthy of those blessings. We are trying to be humble knowing that our calling is one of service not towering over all the missionaries. I love this work so much, i can't tell you how many times at night we were talking in bed and just saying as our heavy eye lids seal shut, that we love being missionaries. There is no greater work. Be prepared to see lots of miracles this transfer, i know it is Heavenly Father's will that his children find his gospel, there is no doubt in my mind. I love the Lord, and i love you! The church is true! We had a bomb testimony meeting by the way and there were a ton of recent converts tah bore their testimonies (SO AWESOME)! And i have a king size bed which is super sweet haha. Let's just say i sleep well :) Love you! Elder Edwards

Monday, March 21, 2011

Zone Leader

This past week was our first week with the branch split and it was weird haha, but good and very promising. I also heard about BYU, that they are just killing it and fredette is a BEAST haha i don't know if members are supposed to tell us or not but if we don't ask and they bring it up, i don't have a problem with it haha, we got an update on the tournament yesterday from one of the families we ate with.

But transfers are coming up this tuesday and let's just say there will be some changes...i will fill you in soon :) but what i will tell you is that this letter might not be as long as normal because it's my "abuelo's" last day on his mission today and we are having a big basketball tournament and stuff so it will be soo funn! oh and i have to pack some too..

This week was great though. We had an awesome zone conference this week. We all went to corvalis and came prepared to teach "using time wisely". Luckily this time i didn't have to teach but there were some new guys and old guys that did and it was a pretty cool experience. I think i needed to hear it, i was getting into a little bit of a routine and not "stirring the pot" and making stuff happen. SO it was good to remember exactly who's time we are on. Then we had our mission presidency talk to us and one of our A.P.s.

They THREW IT DOWN. Dang man it was pretty intense but way awesome. Even mission president's wife just talked about how when her boys were on their missions all of her sons had some trouble companions and how she was like if those missionaries causing problems are being disobedient and stuff, why are they even out there. She said she wanted them to just go home and how even with that attitude, she can't send any of our missionaries home haha. Then Elder groskruitz our AP gets home and is just like if you woulda told me that the O.E.M. was gonna be down like this 4 months ago, i woulda said ur crazy! But apparently our mission is really suffering right now and just went way downhill. President talked about trunkiness and stuff but not for ourselves, for him. He said that we do not have the right to be vicariously trunky for him and "coast". They all gave great talks and my favorite quote from the AP was "if you're doin stupid stuff, knock it off!" and "if you're being disobedient and still seeing results, shame on you! because it's not you!" He literally was getting so into it and for me it was soo rallying haha and motivating but i guess some people needed a little reprimand. Their talks were great though, and we also got a new car! we got a 2011 toyota corolla. BUT, the crazy news is that when Elder Campbell handed me and envelope with keys in it there was a note on the envelope that said "enjoy your new car for 6 more days" so i was like WHAT?! I wasn't sure if he was serious or just playing haha but that's when all the transfer drama started and everybody started talkinga bout who's going where.

We also initiated this new program called 5 highs and it is soo cool. Our first day trying it, we were about to knock on our first door and this lady comes walking up to us in the street and says hey elders, i need a book of mormon! And we're like uhhh...ditch the door we just knocked on and go talk to her haha! We talked with her and taught a lesson right there in the parking lot. WE had actually knocked on her door a few days before and she said she was busy so we said fine and thoht nothing of it. But she was telling us that fter we knocked on her door, she has been reading a book and she sat down to read right after we knocked and in the book it talked about mormon elders and she said, i don't believe in coincidences and knew i had to find you again. So just like that, she found us haha and i think it was inspired that we were tracting there again in those apartments right when she was outside too. The english work actually picked up a little bit this week which was cool.

On Friday morning we get a text from president saying call me at this number. So, we are kind of nervous especially after zone conference but we were hoping it was something for transfers. But, i called him and he says "ELDER edwards, how are ya? He says well, i'm just gonna cut to the chase, i'd like you to take on the responsibilities of a zone leader and folllow the footsteps of your father elder puertas by going down to medford"

WHAT?!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I was blown away. He said that with the mission down right now they are going even as low as me to be a zone leader, can you feel the love? haha it was way funny but president is awesome and it was soo cool to get that call. He said that i was originally gonna go to kalamath falls and be a zone leader there in english, but he said when he was praying about it, he felt that i needed to go to medford and that puertas needed to go to Kalamth falls. Ohh myy gosh, i honestly couldn't believe it. I just feel like, i don't know, unprepared all over again, but i know that it will all be good. I was more nervous i think in waiting for gomez and being a DL but still i'm worried to go into a full spanish area, and obviously be a zone leader! man i'm sooo pumped though! Seriously i can't tell you, i'm gonna serve with elder klinefelter and he was back here in albany before so i've met him. I am so excited to serve with him and the other day he sent me a text that made my day he was like, elder edwards, i've heard a ton of good things about you and am so pumped to serve with you. We have got our work cut out for us with puertas leaving but we will see miracles and tear it up!

Ahhh man i can't wait. It's super bittersweet beacuse i feel like i'm leaving another home, man we wrote a cool song for our branch that we played at our last branhc party. the words went like this

"levante con una corbata, y mi camisa blanca
los elderes dos en dos, estan listos
para predicar el evangelio al que sea justo, en el mundo
pero necesitamos la ayuda del senor

Estamos lejos, lejos de casa
pero si me preguntan, les diria,
que ya estoy, estoy en casa
y la rama es mi familia

Nos ves en las calles, riendo llorando y gente gritando,
pero seguimos seguimos trabajando unidos
en la obra del senor, trabajando unidos

Estamos lejos, lejos de casa
pero si me preguntan, les diria,
que ya estoy, estoy en casa
y la rama es mi familia

So with all the excitement of going to medford, we said goodbye to some famliies yesterday which was hard but at the same time it boosted my pride a little bit. In kind of a twisted way, it was cool to see families that were sad for me leaving ya know? i know it sounds kind of wrong but just these families that i love so much have an equal feeling ya know? It is the most rewarding thing knowing that work and sweat and stress all comes back in the love that you have for these families and thye have in return.

I think it will be a really good experience for me too to get out of my first area. There's a part of me that doesn't ever want to go, but the other part of me says i need to be out to grow up a little more. I'm sad to leave my boy too. It was weird but cool because just in these last few days i feel like we've been closer than we've ever been. I feel like ew both got more personal with each other and just shared stuff that was close to our hearts or feelings and nerves and it was really cool to bond. I love the kid and i know he is gonna tear it up here. Seriously, he came into the field so prepared and he is gonna be amazing. I look forward to see how he does with his new companion Elder Fuller.

Well i'm so excited to tell you about medford next week! it's gonna be a long drive down there. I'm going from the most north to the most south (i think), and well have a temple in our zone and i just can't wait to go down there! It's so exciting this new step and i just can't wait to be better. I feel like it will be big step forward that i just need to get out of my little greenie shell from my first area. I can be anyone i want to be now.

Anyways, i love you guys so much and it was so good to hear from you. I don't think this letter was too short so i don't feel too bad anymore haha but really you guys mean so much to me and i pray for you ever single night. I can't wait to hear from you next week!
love elder edwards

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

this week had a lot of great things happen, and i mean GREAT! While our teaching pool is still a little bit down, we did make major improvements and picked up some old investigators and found a few new that will hopefully turn into solids. But let me go through the week...
Tuesday was cool because at night time every week we do a book of mormon class for the branch. We prepare a skit of the stories like Lehi's dream, or nephi and his family hunting and breaking the bow and arrow, and getting the plates from laban, and every week it is just a crack up. It reminds me of old dinner times where it would be just the little boys and mom, and mom would try and keep us all settled but we be all goofy and we would all be laughing crying by the end of it. Literally it is soo awesome to see everybody having a good time, but then balancing it out with spiritual messages. We do it with 2 other spanish elders too so it is just soo fun. But this past week was great because we did a big review and instead of us doing all the skits, we had them do it. We gave them some time to prepare and some scriptures to help, but the rest was up to them. It was sooo funny! They all did so well though and even some of the kids were getting into it and everybody was just laughing and having such a good time. I think that's what made it such a good memory for me, that many maembers of our branch were just having a blast and bonding with one another. It was our biggest turn up yet at the class too so that made it even better. At the end too, Elder Wilkes who is such an awesome missionary, asks what is it that you like about this class? and then everyone basically bore their testimony about the book or mormon and it was so spiritual too. Great times.

Okay now, the best part of the wholee weeeek! We had a family SEALED ON SATURDAY!! Last week i thought that the sealing was going to be on the 19th, but it was the 12th! We got permission to go and everything! So saturday morning we all met at the church and left here at like 8:00. We got to the temple and waited a while for them to get ready and everything. Then we went through the temple session. It was beautiful and soo amazing to see them grasping and learning about everything. They were such good sports and it was so amazing to see them at the end with beaming smiles on their faces. The spirit was soo strong and it was great because we were all there, not for ourselves, but for THEM. There was a great support system and just about everyone that could go to the temple, in our branch, did go. The best part was the sealing though. After they were married, the kids came all dressed in white! Denise the daughter who is about 9 had this cute little white dress on and a white bow and miguelito had his little white shirt and pants with socks way to big for him ahah, he is 3. It was the most beautiful sight and such an honor for us missionaries to be there. The spirit was so strong and it was the best perspective changer or reminder that THIS is what our goal is. Not only for ourselves, but for the familes we teach. Yes it is our purpose help people come closer to Christ throuhg baptism and such, but the real goal is the temple. This family was baptized about a year and 3 weeks ago, so they made it just about as soon as they could and they were just soo happy to be there.
That was the best day ever though man i iwll never forget it. We had a talent show that night too and well, it ended up kind of being a wedding reception hahaha! We really didn't plan for it to be that way but, there was cake and food and music, and Carolina Lopez even showed up in a wedding dress hahah it was so great!

Then on sunday, church went well and we had a meeting afterward for the BRANCH SPLIT!! As of yesterday evening, our branch is split and there is a new spanish branch on the other side of the river. We went to the new building yesterday with all the members of our branch, the new branch, and familes that will be helping from the english wards over there that speak spanish. So the chapel was filled and wow, what a spirit! We sang everything in spanish and the choir sang in spanish and the spirit was so strong for me, as the music filled the room. It was different than normal sunday sacrament meeting because EVREYONE was singing and it was just booming powerful. There was a wonderful program that outlined why we have the split and who will be a part of it and everything lovely like that. It was great. So now our branch is split and we only have two missionaries over here to cover our whole area and two wards!! yikess!! But we are excited and it is just evidence that the work is progressing, "no unhallowed hand can stop it".

that is pretty much everything that went on. All the big stuff at least. It was such a spirit filled week and we are all just feeling good. Next week is transfers and we're all talking like i'm gonna leave which is kind of nerve racking, but also exciting. I think i will grow a ton when i leave this area jsut cause i will get out of my shell a little more. I won't be in my first area where naturally i sometimes see myself as a greenie cause it seems like yesterday hahah. But we will see nonetheless. We still will work our tails off. But if anything is sent to me please send it to the mission office so they can forward stuff to me wherever i am.

This work is amazing. i love feeling aprt of the lord's work. I think sister whiting sent us a letter that said, "our mission is the unique time that we have to see Heavenly Father's children just how he sees them" and i love trying to maintain that attitude all the time. i know this is the only church of Jesus Christ on the earth and we are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives. "One true indicator of our conversion to the gospel, is our willingness to share it". Share this lovely blessing :)
love you guys so much
Elder Edwards

Monday, March 7, 2011

El habla muy bien!

Hola hola! It is nice to have another monday morning to write you guys. I loved getting your letters in the mail from when you were at tahoe it sounded like soo much fun and it would've been great to be there with you :) You guys were makin me jealous with all the snow that's down there. It's one thing to snowboard in it and another to go knock doors in it hah!

I'm so glad to hear that daniel got his job at new skin! I have been prayin for him especially this week that he would find something so that is great! And zach got his volleyball thing all set up? man that is soo cool and what a cool thing for zach to have set it all up! I was bummed to hear about tylers ending to the season but i bet he's getting better for sure and it sounds like he is turning into goliath and i'm gonna come home like a little tiny david that's like half his size. All in all i loved hearing from you guys and it sounds like things are going well. I'm excited to hear how tylers baseball season goes and zach's volleyball.

Thanks for the letter too mom it was a nice thought. The whole thing about parenting was kind of a new thought that i never thought of with the people we're teaching. I feel like i would be a horribl parent because when our investigators aren't doing very well i get soo depressed. Something i gota work on big time. Like this week, we have been getting a lot of trials and we know it's for our own good but it's hard to keep that perspective all the time.

Good news, the ramirez family is doing a little bit better. We talked with jose and alma and for now things are going better. ALma is totally in but Jose is saying these lame excuses for not coming to church and stuff. He did some stupid things and now he says he is afraid to go back. He says he doesn't feel worthy to go to church and stuff. Which, i'm glad he takes it seriously but i can't tell if it's just a cop out to not go or if he is actually serious ya know? but we'll assume the best and do what work we can with them.
On wednesday we had our mission president's interviews. We went over some cool scriptures in mosiah 23 and 24. There is a ton of sweet stuff in there but the gist of it was that they couldn't pray or else they would die and just how the Lord helped them in their trial. He didn't take away the afflictions that they had or just o zap and kill all the bad guys, but he allowed them to haev their trial but he gave them the strength to bear it up with ease and made it "light upon their shoulders". Then at the end it says he did this that they would learn to submit CHEERFULLY and with PATIENCE to all the will of the lord, then they could be witnesses of him thereafter. The cheerfulness and patience is what i needed to hear. I want to have the faith to be seeing success constantly, always. I know we have that potential, the field is WHITE all ready to harvest, not brown all ready to be planted. And wihle i know not everyone we talk to is gonna be baptized right now, we are struggling to find anyone that is ready. We have been doing more finding than i've ever had to do in my mission and i can't help but think sometimes that i'm doing something wrong. I know the Lord is giving us this time for a reason and maybe it's beacuse we need to learn to be cheerful in our affliction and patient, but sometimes i wonder if we aren't finding because we lack faith or something. I don't know but we are determined to be happy, and find the elect :)

Our missino president is aewsome thouhg, very down to business and motivating but you can tell he has such a love for each of his missionaries, i love the guy.

This week, although we don't have a ton of people to teach, we saw some cool little miracles. We scoped out all these houses with a "dish 500 satellite" on top of the house because generally the dish 500 channels include spanish ones so often times those houses are spanish people. So we have this huge long street with a good number of dish 500's and we go knock them all. We talked to NOBODY the whole street all the way to the end. So we get to the end and are like dang, let's go back now. As we are walking back we see that one of the houses we knocked before had another car in the driveway and so we turned and were like okay "one more door". And so we knock it and this teenage girl answers smiling and we asked if her parents were there. She grabs her dad and he comes over looking all angry. He is one of those that just kind of has a natural frown on his face. We give him our little deal on the doorstep (oh and we have ruben with us the recent convert). We share a little message and then he pauses when we ask if we can come in. He kind of looks up at the sky, still frowning, and then says "pasen" and we go inside!!! ahh it was so nice after a long day of finding. HA we were kind of freaking out cause we had had no luck today. We sit down and the girl is super happy i don't know why but it was great and so anything thing we said was making her super happy and the guys wife, carmen, was super nice and came over and talked to us too. So after some small talk, we turn off the tv and ask if we can share ourl ittle message. We shared the restoration of the gospel and got them pretty into it. But at first the wife was like totally into it and her husband mariano, was not having any of it. He was answering questions and stuff but still had his frownie face on :( .Elder Gomez and i felt great though about thisl esson, we had taught with unity, we felt the spirit so strongly, and it just felt great. Then at the end when we talked about the first vision of joseph smith, Mariano's eyes never left mine as i shared it with them. And then when we talked about the book of mormon, we see a smile crack on his face. And so we asked him, mariano how do you feel right now? and he pauses and his wife looks at him with a smile, and he says "mejor". That was it, just one word, which means "better". I don't know what was wrong before but it was so powerful when he said that he spirit was so strong in that lesson and it was such a blessing to have that time to sit down with them. Now they didn't come to church and when we tried to see them again, they were busy and working and so we are hoping to see them tonioght. But it was cool to see one the way the Lord works, and how he gives us those small doses of the spirit to keep us going and to completely rejuvenate our faith and cheer :)

Then that same evening, we had an appointment at 6:00. So we go over to these apartment complexes and go knock on the door of this lady, or so we thought. This guy francisco answers and says that the lady we were looking for didn't live there and so we say well we are missionaries...and he's like guys hold on, it's cold outside, why don't you just come in". hahah! so we go in and have another aewsome lesson with him and his wife. It was such a miracle and they happened one right after another. SO cool! We did end up teaching him again, but during the week he has a hard time being home and so now we have to wait all the way until friday to see him again, but that's okay, well make it all work.

We have been going through former investiagtors and old potentials and trying to pick up anybody that is ready for the gospel. We have been tracting a ton and not just to tract, but we desperately need to find some people. Our branch is splitting next week which is nuts and stressful, but good news, we have a family that is going to the temple on the 19th of march to be sealed!!!! how awesome is that! And we just got two more melchizedek priesthood holders for our branch, which i can't remember if i told you but one of them, Hector Sandoval, asked me to give it to him and it kind of took me by surprise but it just made my day and it was realyl cool experience for us both. So our branch is growing and although it will lose a few members, i think it will be a good opportunity to create a stronger foundation. Some of our branch leaders don't totally know their responsibilities and it hurts the members cause they look to their leaders who don't know everything to do, so we are meeting with our branch president this week to figure something out to start it off right. Lots of good things but lots of stress too :) but you know what, it's all worth it! I love being a missionary and elder gomez and i are always telling each other that. I can't even remember what it was like sometimes to be a "normal boy" but what i do know now is the "awesomeness" of waking up every morning and putting that tag on my shirt with Jesus Christ's name on it, and a big "ELDER" in front of mine. I love what i'm doing and i'm getting more confidence and learning how to deal with my trials with the Lord's help. I'm trying to be teachable.

That's my letter this week thouhg. Oh and with the parley p pratt book, you can send samoas and tagalongs if you want/ if there's room to send them. That would be nice :)
Say hello to the bostons for me and that's so awesome to hear the singles ward is growing with 2 more baptisms! I love you guys so much y la iglesia es verdadera! Elder Gomez me esta ayudando mucho con mi espanol y me siento mas confianza cada dia. Pero tambien he encontrado, la importancia del espiritu en mis abilidades de hablar la idioma. Hay veces caundo estamos platicando de algo que no se enfoca totalmente en la obra y perdimos el espiritu un pocito, y he visto la diferencia caundo me siento el espiritu muy fuerte, hablo mejor y tengo mas confianza que el Senor me ayudara. El espiritu es la clave de esta obra :D
les quiero familia!!!
Elder Edwards