Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 3

Hello dearest ones!! I am so glad to
hear that you are all well!
I miss you all and feel like I have
been here forever!!
It's a similar feeling to midterms...
just trying to plow through right now and
then I'm sure I'll be wanting more time when
it's time to leave. The panic of finals.
I am so excited for the field though. Spanish
is going well. I really like the language and
it is coming along well. Oh my word, Kris was
an amazing teacher! I loved having him and my
class did too. They all mentioned how much his
activities helped and my companions want to date him.
Story of my life :). Things were great with
companions later on this week. .I had been
praying for humility...the Lord answers prayers
in unexpected ways. I certainly feel
humbled and so happy for kind companions.

I am WAY over the food. Like WAY over it.
Which sounds so ungrateful since it is provided
for me, but really, it is sick.
Sometimes they have salmon and Papa Johns which is great.
Mom, I am ready for the homemade bread and butter whenever
you are. It does take a long time to eat all of it,
But I was able to finish most and it was so delicious!

This week with the general authorities was so great!
The spirit here was incredible. I didn't meet anyone,
but we were ushers at the devotional and had amazing
seats. There were so many apostles on the stand!
Elder Bednar, Holland, Oaks, Cook, Christoffeson,
Andersen, Perry, Steven R. Snow, Costa, and I think
that's all, but wow, it was so cool!
Elder Holland spoke to us about letting the Spirit
teaching the lesson for us. He certainly has a way
of making things clear and applicable.
I learned so much!

Yesterday in RS, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson
(Russell M. Nelson's wife)spoke to us.
If you don;t know her story, you should read about it.
She is amaing. She married Elder Nelson in 2006,
her first marriage. Talk about the Lord's timing...
and what a worthwhile wait!

I hope I can answer some questions. I haven't run a
whole lot here, but we work out every morning
at 5:50 AM (believe it!)and then we also have
gym time during the day. I usually do some
kind of cardio and toning, etc. My teacher told me that
in Paraguay, skinny people get fat and fat people
lose weight.You can interpret that however you want.
I am way into 4-square here and it is really
competitive, so I make sure to finish my
workout in the morning so I can focus on 4-square
during the gym time :). Some of my other favorite
missionaries left this week. I get my heart
broken every week by these missionaries. I
have such hope for the children of this generation
of people. They are amazing.

I had this vision of myself getting off the plane
from Paraguay in a year 1/2 looking haggard
(either really fat or really frail...I can't decide),
with really long hair, and really worn clothes
and shoes. I go to bed feeling so worn every night,
but I feel like I am really trying my hardest not
to waste time and to be the best missionary I can be.
There is great work to be done.

Have the best week ever! Write me letters
and dear elders! I love them!

Love always,

Hermana Rachel

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kris' District before they left.

Mi Querido Familia,

Hi! Another great
week here at the MTC.
On Sundays they let
us take pictures at the
temple and I got one
with my cousin Aaron.
I will send it hopefully next
week when I get it developed. We get to watch films every
Sunday night, and I also got to sit next him. We watched
the "Testaments" and I just kept thinking,
"these are my people." Well, I might be a little off on
the geography, but I am convinced
that they were speaking Guarani in some of the parts :).
I heard some spider/tapeworm/parasite/cows-getting-
Paraguay horror stories this week...I think
I have no idea what I'm getting myself into,
but I am so excited! What an adventure! Our teacher
served in Paraguay and taught us some Guarani phrases.
He told us about these older ladies that garden with
hardly any clothes on with cigars in their mouths.
hahaha. I already love it. He taught us how to say
"how are you, my mother?" to them in Guarani and said
that they will love you forever if you say that to them.
He told us that first lessons are
taught on the front lawn, which is made of mud and that
there will usually be more than one family. I am honestly
so excited! I have a feeling that my clothes, self, etc.
won't ever really be clean until I get home.
Heber Valley Girls camp is REALLY going to seem like a
luxury resort after this, mom :).

The MTC has been great this week. On Tuesday,
Bishop Richard C. Edgely was our devotional speaker.
I am blessed, no? He was great.This week (starting Wed)
is the new mission president's seimnar....
meaning Sundance, MTC style. Spanish is coming along well.
The more I find out about the language, the more I realize
I don't know. Most of our Spanish is focused around
teaching lessons or specific scenarios, so it's hard
to focus on grammar, but I am managing.

Most importantly, I am learning so much about the gospel.
I feel like I've always been pretty outgoing, but it is a
new challenge to walk up to someone and bear your
soul to them. I am growing and learning so much from
this experience though and can't wait to get to Paraguay.

Love you,
Hna. Edwards

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dear familia,

Hola! I am here and I am loving it! The MTC is a
wonderful place and I am having such a great experience.

My companion(s): Hna. Plessl is from Allentown, PA. She
speaks Spanish at about the same level that I do and is
so happy to be here. She has a great enthusiasm for the work
and can't wait to go to Paraguay.
She is very sweet and has a wonderful testimony.
Hna Wyatt. (yes I am in a companionship of 3 sisters.)
sis. Wyatt is from Laverkin, UT just outside of St. George.
She graduated from SUU and has been a teacher for the
past 2 years.

Missions are hard!!! No matter how prepared I thought
I was before this, nothing can really prepare you adequately.
I just need to remember "humility, not discouragement."

P-day's are Mondays. We went to the 7:20 am session and it
was really great. I love the temple and am so glad we get
that opportunity while here. I get only 30 minutes to
e-mail and hardly ANY time to write, think, etc. so
hopefully these e-mails will be sufficient.
As every other missionary has told me, letters
really count! Even if you want to
send me a quick little note on throughout
the week, I would love it! I get those letters the
same day if you send them before noon. Other than
e-mail, temple, laundry,
bookstore, etc., we study a lot on P-day. I am so
grateful for the opportunity to do so.
I have already learned so much about the gospel
and my Savior Jesus Christ. What an incredible thing
he did for us!!!

My teachers are Hno. Petersen and Arrendondo and they
are amazing! He actually served in our mission and is
going to teach us some Guarani phrases! What a
cool tender mercy. Hno. Arredondo is from Guatemala
and is an angel. He is a great teacher.

Sister Dibb spoke in relief society yesterday? !!!!!!
It was amazing! She spoke about the new value virtue
and guess what character she referenced as her main
example of virtue?
Jane Eyre. It was sooooo good! Then she opened questions
about Pres. Monson after. What an amazing privilege I have here.
Also, my companionship is in the MTC choir. It must be the
Spirit because everything we sang yesterday sounded incredible!
I sat next to Sis. Roper, a girl I knew from high school
choir who is going to Taiwan. We sat in the
very front row and I tripped (really slowly, haha)
in front of the
whole choir. It was pretty bad but funny. i have
a nice raspberry on my knee.

Anyway, times up! i hope all is well at home! I love you
all so much and thank you for this opportunity!!
Much love,

Hermana Edwards

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This was a great day. Rachel had spent Monday and half of Tuesday with me at Girl's camp. She was a tremendous help, and shared her beautiful testimony with the young women of our stake. The 'drop off' was really nice and organized. I felt very peaceful as she was escorted by two missionaries that helped her with her luggage and showed her where to go. Her brother, Kris, has reported that she looks genuinely happy and does have a third sister in their companionship whose comp did not end up coming. We are anxious to get our first letter.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On My Way to Paraguay

Dear friends and family,

Today is my 21st birthday and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I leave for the Missionary Training Center this Wednesday and am so excited for the opportunities that await.

Many of you were able to attend my BBQ last night and I couldn't believe how much love I felt from all of you. In the final scene of my favorite movie, "Big Fish," the main character, Edward Bloom, who is dying, is taken to the river (a very significant place for him). As Bloom is carried down to the edge of the water (symbolic of his death), he encounters all of the people that have meant so much to him and have blessed his life. Even though he is about to leave these people, they are all cheering, laughing, and celebrating his life.

So I know it may sound a little dramatic (since I'm not dying after all), but I think I probably felt like Edward Bloom did. I looked around and saw so many people that I loved and cared about (not to mention all of the cards, e-mails, phone calls, text messages, visits, etc.) and felt so happy before I had to leave them all.

I am so excited to serve my mission. I know that it will be one of the greatest blessings of my life and I hope that in a few short words every week or so that I will be able to share some of my greatest joys with any of you who are willing to listen. I also hope I didn't ruin the ending of "Big Fish" for any of you who haven't seen it.

My mom, Kathy (or Katrene :)) will be managing my blog for me while I am gone. I hope to hear from some of you and am excited to return next Christmas to see how you are all doing.

Thank you for your love and support!!!

-Sister Rachel Edwards

For those of you who would like to learn more about the church and what I will be doing for the next year and a half, here are the links to some great resources. Share them with your friends and family!!!
Missionary Program
The MTC (Missionary Training Center)