Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beautiful Pointsettia

Dearest Family,

Really though, poinsettias are thrown around like weeds here. They have these huge plants of them everywhere. The cream colored ones too. They are gorgeous! The dog was way ugly so we had to take a picture. I can’t believe summer is already coming to an end there. We have only a few more weeks of winter and then it’s back to the scorching unbearable heat.
It has been a week of many many miracles here in Ñemby. A few weeks ago we started teaching a woman who has been inactive for ten years. She is the mother of our former ward mission leader. From the moment that we taught her about the Restoration again, she has helped us find many new people to teach and has come back to church. We continued teaching her the regular lessons to help her stay active in the church and this week, as we were teaching her Lesson 3 (The Gospel of Jesus Christ), and she said that she didn’t think she had been confirmed so we called the secretary and found out that she hadn’t been confirmed and since it was ten years ago, she needed to be baptized again. She accepted baptism again, but as we did the interview, we found out that she had had some serious sins from before. She was so sad as she told us about. We have visited her every day and her testimony is growing. We taught her about repentance and bore our testimonies. She seems a little downcast though and she didn’t come to church yesterday. We have gone every day to her house and really have been praying to know how to help her. I honestly love her so much !. We are really trying to follow the Spirit and answer her doubts. It made me think a lot about our Savior. The sins of only a few weigh on me heavily and I am so saddened for them. My own sins are burdensome enough. I cannot comprehend what Christ suffered for us, but I love Him and am so grateful for His love for us and obedience to the Father.
Things are great with my companion. She is ever an example to me of faith, patience, diligence, and love. I love her and we are prepared to fight for every one of our investigators.

I love you all!!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Getting colder and no shoes!

Dear Family and Friends:
This week was FREEZING! and I thought that I was going to be fine with shoes until I come home, but all at once, my shoes came undone. With the rain, cold, and holes in my shoes, the Lord really tested my diligence. Speaking of which, my shoes are not going to last me another 5 months in Paraguay. I´m so sorry to ask, but do you think you could send me another pair? My feet will be forever grateful. But it honestly made me think about the pioneers and the sacrifices that they made as they crossed the plains. Our wet muddy feet are not even close to the bare-footed tracks that they left in the snow. I´m grateful the appreciation that this experience gave me, even though I did complain a little at first. I´m grateful for my companion and her courage and ever-diligent example. Bueno. Enough about shoes!

Not a ton has happened in the last couple of days. We have some investigators right now that are great. I think I told you about Veronica. She is the girl that we contacted in the street who said she didn´t believe in God. I told her that I knew she believed in God and that He loves her. She didn´t say much. The next day we were looking for someone else an knocked her door. She is progressing along and LOVING the Book of Mormon. It has been really cool for me.

I was reading Mark chapter 1 yesterday and it says that they were astounded by Christ´s words because He taught as one having authority and not as the scribes. I honestly hope that as we testify and teach that we can do so as those having authority, not just as another one of the "scribes" of today. There are so many religious groups so we really have to stand out and use the Spirit. That is my goal for this week and for my mission. I am really trying to be a better teacher and help my investigators come unto Christ.
I just want you to know how grateful I am for all of you and how much I love you.

Have a wonderful week!!!

Hermana Rachel

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Freezing Cold...

Dear Family,

Whoever said it doesn’t get cold in Paraguay lied. It is 3 degrees (Celsius) with humidity so we are pretty bundled up (as you can see from the pictures). It has been a great week though and I hope you are enjoying that nice sunny weather in Utah...or wherever you guys are. Thanks for the e-mails. I love you all and always love hearing from you. It has been a great week and a half here in Ñemby! I get to stay here with Hermana Quartino which makes me very happy! I absolutely love this area and am excited to have at least another 6 weeks here. I hope you like the pictures! The one with the braid in my hair is from this morning, the rest are from this Tuesday and our district meeting. Hope you enjoy! And yes, that is my machete (crocodile model, the 2010 edition) and yes, I use it often. I am developing quite a lovely callous on my pointer finger. Do you think I am going to have a problem bringing it home on the airplane? I hope not.

We had a few disappointments this week, as always, but we are not discouraged. Each new change gives me more ánimo and motivation. I know that we will continue to see more miracles as we are obedient and work hard. I am prepared to do so otra vez. We had interviews with President Callan this week and we both realized how quickly our time here in Paraguay is passing. I honestly couldn’t believe it! We both got kind of teary thinking about how much the Lord has blessed us in this short time in Paraguay. We are so indebted to Him for all that He gives us. Trying to "repay" Him by keeping the commandments doesn’t work because He just blesses us more. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for giving me this opportunity.

We are still trying to teach a larger quantity and greater quality of lessons. We froze a little bit, but were able to teach a few new people who seem great.

I love you all more than I can explain. I want Katie to know too that I love her and am so excited for her to be a member of our family. I have never seen a happier Kris, not even on opening a Wii on Christmas morning. I fully support you two and can´t wait to get to know you better! All my love also to the Gilbert´s, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, etc.


Hermana Rae

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Oh hello my dearest family!
It was changes week! Earlier in the week, I got a phone from the assistants that 3 more sisters would be coming to our apartment - 2 of them opening an area. The sisters that came are Hermana Casteñeda from Perú and a local missionary from Paraguay that is holding the spot until another sister arrive. Which brings me to me. I am training. I got my new missionary yesterday, Hermana Quartino from Montevideo, Uruguay. She is just incredible!! I felt so responsible when I knew that I was going to be training! I am so grateful though for the confidence that my Heavenly Father and my mission president have put in me to be able to help a new missionary become adjusted in these first couple of months of the mission. Man, I still feel like I´M new! I will do everything in my power to live up to the responsibility. She told me yesterday before we went to bed that it had been the best day of her life. She gives me so much ánimo and I love her faith. She is a convert of about 8 years and is a twin. More to come, but I just absolutely love her and feel so blessed.

I took my companion to the office and saw Hermana Jara too (who also went home this change) and it was so fun. We were taking some pictures and just so happy. What a joy it is to be a missionary!!! There are some days that I miss you all terribly and wish I could be with you, but really I am so happy to be here. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so grateful that I have such a blessing and opportunity. Your love and support means the world to me. Thank you for always being there and for all your loving words.

Well, my time is up! More to come on Monday. Give my love to everyone!
Hermana Edwards

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

Dear Family,
The city of Ñemby is incredible. The ward is SO organized. They actually have a visiting teaching and home teaching program! There’s a ward mission leader. The bishop comes to the activities and holds consejo de barrio. I am just so impressed with how well things function here. The members are so faithful and they helped us out a lot this weekend. It was so much fun to go to lessons with them and hear their testimonies. I really think that I will enjoy my time here and am excited to work hard. We found a great family this week. The mom is a single mother with 3 kids. She is so great and accepted a baptismal date. She wasn’t able to make it to church this Sunday, but committed to come next week. She is so sincere and I am excited to see her progression. All in all, I am just trying to get a sure footing on how to get around the area, know the members, and find out more about our investigators in these 3 1/2 remaining weeks. It will be a fun and interesting challenge, but I feel humbled that the Lord blessed me with another opportunity to progress.

It is honestly incredible and I really think I am going to love it here in Ñemby. A girl who served part of her mission here 2 years ago and one of her friends came to visit for the weekend and did divisions with us. They are awesome and helped so much! Her name is Diana Schumicar and she is planning on going to Utah in October for conference. I told her to stop by, so hopefully she’ll call you! She is great.
I am still learning so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Well, I love you family! Have a great week!



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Zone Conference

This week has been great!! Hermana Plessl and I have at least 6 more weeks together starting today. I am so excited to be staying here and love my companion! We really are out in the boonies, but I am obsessed with this place. Our apartment is way nice too so it has been great. We had apartment inspections and interviews this week. President and Hermana Callan said ours was the nicest and one of the cleanest they’d seen :). I asked President about departure days and it doesn’t exactly work the way I thought it did. The MTC will assign me a departure date (which I’ll find out in June) and then President has about a 30 day flexibility period. I very well could be coming home on Dec 10th again. I know it will be what the Lord wants me to do, but for sure it will be before the December 29th date.

We had zone conference in Ciudad del Este.
The work is progressing along and we are so excited about some of the investigators we found this week. There seem to be a lot of prepared people and we are doing all we can to help them enter the waters of baptism. We have been practicing teaching the lessons from just the Book of Mormon and it has been going great. My little blue Book of Mormon from a few zone conferences ago has become my proselyte best friend!!! I love it and my testimony is growing so much! I am finally almost finished with the New Testament and finished the Book of Mormon again. On to the D and C! There is just so much to learn! I read a great quote this week from my MTC notes that really helped excited me to work more diligently. it says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink." (In response) "Yes, but you can salt his oats!" Just so you know, I am going to put salt in the whole oat supply of Coronel Oviedo. That is my goal.
All my love and prayers.

Your little/big sister and daughter,


Monday, April 5, 2010

General Conference

Dear Family,

It has been a great week here in Coronel Oviedo! General Conference was just so great! We aren’t allowed to go to conference unless we bring investigators; so luckily, we were able to see at least 3 of the sessions. Sadly, I missed the Saturday afternoon and of course priesthood, but we were able to at least go to the other 3. It was such a needed blessing.

We saw some great miracles this week. We were really praying that we would be able to bring people to the conference. On Friday, we were clapping some doors in a government asentimineto and were being treated very poorly. People were completely ignoring us or would just go inside when we tried to talk to them. We were about ready to give up on the place when we decided to talk to one more person, a lady who was outside bathing her little girl from a bucket. She let us in and we taught her the first lesson. We asked her what she was looking for in religion and she said that she wanted to know why there are so many churches if there is only one God. Shouldn’t there be one path for all of us? I don’t think I’ve ever really had anyone come out and say that so clearly to us as missionaries. We testified of Christ’s church and the apostasy and restoration through Joseph Smith. She accepted our invitation to go to conference the next day. When we went and picked her up, her boyfriend was there too and asked if he could come. Of course we said yes and all went together. When we got to conference, our district leader told called us and told us that the conference was going to be postponed for another hour. I was annoyed at first, but Heavenly Father knows best and it ended up being perfect. We asked them if they would like us to take them on a tour of the chapel. We showed them the RS room and theme, the YW room and theme, when the man asked "Is there one for the family too?" We were so excited and read with their family The Family: A Proclamation to the World. I was so excited, as you might imagine. After, we showed them the baptismal font and talked about Christ’s baptism and explained how important it is. A member came with us and explained her conversion story. The man was so incredibly touched. He showed us his arms and they were covered with Goosebumps. He told her how much her story touched him. We still have a lot to teach them, but it was honestly the coolest thing and they just fell right into our laps. I feel so blessed to see Heavenly Father’s love for His children. He wants their salvation and for that reason, leads us to their homes. We are praying so much for them. They loved the conference. Especially the talks by President Eyring and Sister Beck. It was awesome.

I know this is Christ’s true church. I love my Savior and loved the focus on His life yesterday. I know He is God’s son and am so grateful for His ministry, loving atoning sacrifice, and resurrection. I am so grateful to represent Him both as a missionary and as a member of His church.

Oh yeah! We opened an area this week. Its 2.5 hours from Oviedo and out in the middle of nowhere. We went with the Elders and members. Missionaries have never been there before. We are going again this Thursday so it should be really cool. It is beautiful and there are tons of birds, cows, sheep, etc.
Love Always, Rae

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Women at the Well

Hi family! So I always thought it was weird when people would talk about 3rd world countries as not having "running water". I always thought, "well at least they have water, right?" Now I know why that’s such a big deal. Running water means, toilets, showers, clean clothes, clean dishes, washing your face, brushing your teeth. It doesn’t just mean water, it means water pressure. Water pressure flushes toilets and gets the grime off of dishes and your toothbrush. A handful of water splashed on your dishes doesn’t get hem that clean. Imagine all of the things that you do with a faucet and then imagine doing them with a bucket or a cup of water. Dear family, I just want you to know that this is my 5th day of survival without "running water". Ha ha. I’m sure you can all image what a funny image that is. Thank goodness I am with Hermana Plessl and we make it fun. We have been hauling our water from a lot of different sources, the neighbors well, a truck that drove in front of our house, and a members who let us fill up 2 liter bottles from their filtered well. It has been quite an adventure. There was an enormous rain storm this week that flooded everything. It devastated a lot of the houses and flooded that government asentimientos. It broke the motor that supplies the water for the city. We spent a few hours on Saturday morning trying to help a widow with 5 kids get her house back in order. The water entered up to their knees! It was so horrible. We have heard that the water will be back on today though. Menos mal. All in all, it has shown me how blessed I am and how much my Heavenly Father loves me. It is also kind of empowering to know that I can live from well water for 5 days :).

Honestly this has been a great week. We have a great investigator named Mabel right now; we found her knocking on doors. She is a widow of 10 years and is just great. She has been so open with us and we have really been able to help her feel the Spirit and answer her questions. We taught her about how families can be together after death and how the Restoration of the gospel makes that possible. She is having a hard time changing though. We all prayed together one night to ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet and we all felt the Spirit so strongly. I asked her after, "Mabel, was Joseph Smith a prophet?" and she said yes. The next time, we went back. We let her pick one of questions of the soul from the Book of Mormon which she read but didn’t understand completely so we read together and helped her to understand. We asked her if she had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and she had. She said that that night she had fallen asleep and dreamt of her husband. She said she was at a meeting with some friends and that she saw her husband and that he was beckoning her. She said she didn’t know how but that she knew it was somehow an answer to her prayer about the Book of Mormon. We then explained to her the plan of salvation and what her husband is doing right now. She felt the Spirit so strongly. At the end though, she told us she still wasn’t ready to change and likes when we come but doesn’t want to change religious. Ugh. It was so frustrating but I am not convinced yet. We have another appointment with her this week and are PRAYING that she will come to General Conference! I don’t see how you could listen to the prophet and apostles and not get baptized. It is just so incredibly powerful.

We had another really cool lesson with a member’s friend. Her name is Marie José and was way cool.
I have been studying the Bible a lot lately and am amazed at how much the apostles, especially through the epistles of Paul, worked and traveled to keep the church in order. Without modern communication, it would have just been a disaster. I am so grateful for their efforts and boldness. I am honestly loving reading about it. It makes me understand more and more though, how the churches of Rome, in Jerusalem, Corinth, etc. could have apostatized in a matter of not many years. Thank goodness that we have a living prophet and apostles that guide us and that will again speak with us this upcoming weekend. I am So excited!!!!

Things are wonderful here and I am so happy and loving being with Hermana Plessl. This church is true, I know that will all my heart. Thank you for incredible love and support. Tell everyone hi for me!!!!

Love always,

Monday, March 22, 2010

All Is Well

HI family! As you know, last week was a tough one and I think it was kind of a good learning experience and allowed me to rely more completely on the Lord. I always look forward to the emails from the family and everything just seemed to be going wrong last week.
This week has honestly been awesome. Things got they always do...and we are working very hard. Hermana Plessl is just great and I love being her companion again. We work so well together. I am excited that I have this change and probably the next to be together with her. She has such a strong testimony and love for these people. She loves the individual and the details, something that I had lost a little, so it has been refreshing to be with her.

The work this week was still tough, but we are working hard to get the trust and help of the members. We went out with one hermana this week and have a few others that are going to go out with us this week. It honestly helps a lot. The hermana that we went with this week showed us the houses of some less active members so we went and visited them with her. One of them was a family whose dad was terribly sick. He has cancer and is literally skin and bones. You can see his whole skeleton. His wife and daughter take care of him all day and he just looks terrible. I asked the brother if he would like a blessing and he agreed so we came back with the elders the next day. The blessing was special and after, we asked them why they had stopped coming to church. There weren’t many good reasons why and finally the mom said that she really was Catholic and that she had only joined the church because her husband promised her he would quit smoking and drinking if she got baptized. Sadly, he did not keep his promise and for that reason, he has cancer. There were a lot of tears and sadness. We talked to them about repentance and that this brother still had the chance to change. We told them to come back and that they knew it was right. They made excuses about why they wouldn’t be able to make it and I left just feeling sad for them and worried about how much more time that brother has before it’s too late.
In contrast, it made me think of one time where we went to visit one your friends, dad, who was in the hospital with cancer. I don’t remember how old I was or his name, but I remember that man’s happy and smiling face. He was a good member of the church and had a family that he loved. I remember him joking around and jumping up and down on his skinny little ankles. I remember crying as I left and thinking that it must have been such a challenge but he was so happy. That really had a big impact on me. That was not the scene that I saw this week. It broke my heart to see him miss out on those years of joy and blessings. I know that God loves His children so much and that the gospel means joy for families. Whenever I ask people what they want here, they usually say the most important thing is health, but that just isn’t true. I am so glad to know that there is more than that.

Speaking of joy for families, we had another really cool experience this week with a recent convert family. I LOVE them! We ate lunch with her on Friday and she taught us how to make empanadas. After, we sat down and wanted to share The Family: A Proclamation to the World with her. She and her husband loved it. It was as if it gave them personal counsel. We talked about the threats of the family today: homosexuality, abortion, pornography, immorality, and especially here in Paraguay women working out of the home because the father doesn’t want to. The roles are completely switched. She got teary as she explained how much she loved the counsel that it gave and that she had found from the church and prophet.

Well, I gotta run! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.

All my love,


Monday, March 15, 2010

He always sends a rainbow!

Hey family!

This week has been tough. I feel a lot of responsibility right now in this area, because all of the people that had been here for like 6 months, my companion, district leader, zone leader, left this past change. Everyone else has only one change here, so it has been a challenge to figure everything out. I am still really new in a big and unfamiliar area. We have gotten rejected all week and there is just no one who seems promising. The family that was going to get baptized this week disappeared. We haven’t heard from them since last Saturday when they told us that they were coming to church, but they weren’t there when we went to pick them up in the morning. We’ve gone and called every day, but haven’t been able to contact them.

So why do I tell you all these negative things? Because the work must go on. I can only do my best and work my hardest and hope that it will be acceptable to the Lord. I know He loves me and wants the best for me and these people here in Coronel Oviedo.
So...I will put a smile on like always, and get out there again. I will try harder this week and see what I’m doing that I can improve on. I will try to look at the positive and never get discouraged. I really like some of the counsel that President Callan gave me in my last interview. Try to improve the things that we have control over. He brought up the example of Noah and how he only saved his own family but that he considered him to be very successful. But speaking of Noah, God promised him blessings for his faithfulness and reminded him of his promise by "placing the bow in the sky." Yesterday was probably one of the worst rain storms I’ve seen here in Paraguay, but after, I saw probably the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. It touched on both ends and you could see the complete rainbow. It was so bright and beautiful. Although it may sound cheesy or cliche, the clear skies really do come after the storm, light after the darkness, blessings after the opposition and trials, and rainbows after the rain. I will send the picture of it next week :). I know also that God will send us blessings for the opposition and trials that I am facing now in the mission.
All my love to you all! Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Companion, but familiar face!

Hello familia!! It has been a great week here in good old Paraguay. We traveled again at 3 in the morning yesterday and made it to Asunción with the other elders. It was sad to see Hermana Redmond go. She was a great missionary and wonderful friend. I learned so much from her and she worked right up until the very end. There honestly was no "trunkieness." I’m very proud of her. But you will never guess who my new companion is...Hermana Plessl!! She was my comp from the MTC! Oh my word I am so excited! It seriously is going to be so wonderful to be together again. The Lord has blessed me with such great companions and areas here in the mission, I have no idea how I get so lucky! Yesterday we got home at like 11:30, ate lunch and then went out again until 9pm. It was a long day and I am looking forward to a long nap after this. I am so grateful for Hermana Plessl´s cheerfulness and positive attitude. It will be a great time together and I’m assuming we’ll have at least 2 changes together. ¡Que gusto!
This week honestly hasn’t been too eventful. I’m trying to make sure I know our area. Its a little tough because our area is huge and there are basically no street names or the streets have like 3 names. The addresses are " the blue house made out of wood with the mango tree in front of it." Too bad ALL the houses have mango trees. haha. But it has been a miracle to see how heavenly father has blessed us to find people again and visit them in their homes. Yesterday went well and I am very grateful for that.
The changes were really fun yesterday. I saw Hermana Jara and she is doing great! I promised her that we would go to Machu Pichu together some day, so I am planning on that. She is so funny and doing really well. She and the Elders told me that Amambay is doing great and that José’s sister’s baptism was wonderful and that basically the whole world was there. I think it really lifted the moral of the ward. I still haven’t gotten my little package from José but I should be getting it soon. I also saw Elders Lowe and Petersen from the MTC and they seem to be doing great. I was happy to see that. Oh! And I forgot to mention that I finally saw Elder Bowers and Elder Velluto from high school. It was so much fun to talk to them.
Well, I am in the middle of writing all of you personal little letters and getting a CD ready to send for next Tuesday. Sorry that I am kind of short on words and on time. I love you all immensely though and will talk to you soon!!!

All my love,


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Love To See The Temple

It has been quite an eventful week here in Oviedo! We have been all over the map. We didn’t get a p-day this week because we went to the temple all day yesterday, but we got permission to do our email. Sorry for not writing on Monday! They didn’t let us know until last minute.
I just barely got all your letters and I received the 2 packages. Thank you so much mom and Aunt Sheri!
So, Ciudad del Este was really fun. We woke up at 2am to take a bus at 3am. We got there at like 6:30-7:00 am and ate breakfast at a grocery store. The conference was so great! We talked a lot about being better teachers of the gospel. I learned a ton and we practiced teaching a lot. As always, there are so many things that I take away from the conferences that I can apply here in my area. We left at about 4:30pm for the terminal and got back on the bus at 6:00pm. It was a long day, but we got home and went to bed around ten thirty.
The work here has been going well. It’s always a little hard to lose a day but we had two investigators in church this week and are still working really hard with this family. We taught them do a companionship inventory with each other and it was very interesting but actually helped a ton! I never thought I would have to play the role of a marriage counselor (haha), but it has been an incredible learning experience. Oh yeah, did I tell you the three sisters got baptized? They wrote me letters and I was so happy for them.
Yesterday we got to go to the temple. ¡Por fin! ¡Que alegría! We had to take the bus at 4:00am this time and then took pictures outside of the temple and waited for our session to start. Wow, it was just amazing. It really put things in perspective for me again about what the eternal goal is of our work here as members and missionaries. I love it! At the end, Herman Redmond and I got to sit and ponder for a while after everyone left. I have never felt so much happiness in my life. The first thing that I thought about was that I was so grateful for our eternal family and that we have been sealed together forever by the proper Priesthood authority.

Have a wonderful week and thanks for everything!!!!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Poor Puppies:(

Dear Family;
This week has been wild! We got rejected like crazy and I think I broke my
sweating record We went to Rosa's house and they had killed the puppies because they couldn’t feed them. We were a little distraught to find out that we had marched those little puppies right to their death. But alas, all dogs go to heaven.
It is always kind of cool to see rejection. I know that the Lord tests us to see if we will be faithful through trials. We thanked our heavenly Father this week
because we knew it meant that we were going to see more miracles, and we did! We found
some awesome investigators this week and one of the families that we have been working
with for a while came to church and have a baptismal date! We were so happy. When we got there the district president (like the stake president, just for branches) was there and gave a talk and an awesome testimony. It turns out that he is an old friend of the dad of the family! It really touched our investigator so much and he was very impacted when we went to talk with them last night. It was such a blessing and we were so incredibly spiritually drained.
We had some really funny moments too and are just having a great time overall. I am so incredibly happy here as a missionary. I am working hard and being obedient and diligent so that I can be the means of bringing someone else to salvation. There is no feeling happier than that.
The members here are really great people, we are just slowly trying to make things a little stronger and help the people be a little more self sufficient. I
seriously am so thankful that I have been able to see the wonderful examples of strong
wards and leaders in my life.
Can you believe it’s already almost march? Wow. This Thursday we travel to Ciudad del Este for the conference. I’m sure it will be a crazy week.

I wish I could tell you everything that is going on but there just isn’t room. Just know how much I love you, miss you, and love being a missionary. I am so happy.
Have the best week ever!!!!!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

¿Cómo estamos mi querida familia? It has been a great week here. Actually, a little bit tough, but we are fighting through and having a good time. Valentine’s Day was not romantic here. Just a lot of drunks and rejection. It is way sad when people won’t even look at or listen to us, but we try to keep a good sense of humor and just keep going. MY companion is hilarious and we have a lot of fun together, just soaking up the experience. Sadly, it is her last change, so our time is limited together, but we are trying to just soak it up. I can NOT believe that it is already half way through February! I will drop her off at the mission offices and then pick up my new companion in about three and 1/2 weeks.
We found some really cool investigators this week, but none of them made it to church. We went to look for like eight of them and none answered. That is always kind of discouraging but we will of course keep trying. There is one that we have who has a really cool testimony of the pamphlet that we left her about the Restoration. Her husband came home drunk and tried to beat her, but she had the courage to finally stand up to him, take her kids, and get out of there. She didn’t make it to church because her lawyer told her not to got to her house in case her husband came back. It is a mess, but she is reading the Book of Mormon and already knows that it is true. I pray that she will hold on to that conviction and keep progressing. She is really great.
Church was interesting yesterday. We were church. I directed the music, the Elders passed the sacrament, my comp and I taught the Sunday school class and the Elders taught Gospel Principles. The 4 of us gave talks in Sacrament meeting. I am learning a lot and we are really trying to strengthen the branch. They are good people with great intentions and desires.
We had some funny experiences this week. We went to visit a contact that we had done and when we got there she had a rooster in her hand and she was holding it by its feet which were tied with a cord. I asked her what she was doing with it (but Hermana Redmond already knew what was going on). The lady told me she was just about to kill it when we got there and that she was busy. I just kept looking at it and stroking its gaggle on its neck. I just kept asking her questions about it so she wouldn’t kill him. "But...but...whats his name? How old is he?" etc. It didn’t work though. The rooster met his death soon after. "Let´s go hermana" my companion said. I felt like someone had just told me that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Poor thing. I love all the farm animals here. We found a box of day-old puppies on the side of the road on Thursday so we took them to Rosas house. They almost didn’t make it, but ended up living. We fed them milk from a bottle. There is also a new born horse that we always see and it makes me think of you, Mom. I love it.
It sounds like you had a fun Valentine’s day! I’m glad that almost everyone was able to make it there. I just want us all to be happy. We are still getting letters and packages every Tuesday so we are blessed in that aspect. It rained yesterday so the mud (with the red dirt) was incredible. It was kind of fun though. It felt really cool.
I love my grandparents and hope they are all doing great. Thanks for the picture you sent mom. That was way cute. Tell Anna, April, Lauren, Natty, Jessy, Etc. that I love them all and wish them the best. Well family, I love you all sooo much. You are always in my prayers. Thank you all for your examples, love, and have a wonderful week.
Love, Rae

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 8, 2010

Hi family! It has been a pretty crazy week here in Coronel Oviedo. We had some disappointments and some great miracles as well. I am learning so much about how to be bold with people and tell them what we believe. As it says in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it brings salvation to the souls of
the children of men.” I have been thinking a lot this week about my responsibility as a member of the church to do missionary work. I am positive that I didn’t do everything I
could to bring the gospel to my friends and family when I lived at home. I just didn’t understand it was such a responsibility and a duty. Today, our email from our mission president talked about some statistics with member missionary work. He said that 80
% of the investigators who know a member get baptized. This is referring to the people who actually investigate the church. The problem is, that only about 5 percent of members participate in missionary work, including referrals that they give to the missionaries, lessons that they participate in, and talking with their friends and
neighbors about the gospel. Many are afraid to offend, but the more I love Gods children, the less afriad I am to share with them the gospel and be blunt and bold about what I know to be true. I don’t think our friends will get offended when they know that we just
want to give them peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come. I hope that we can all not only be examples of the believers, but that we also talk about and look for every opportunity to share the gospel with others and uplift them. I am so
glad that you were able to have a wonderful experience in the Tongan ward.
The pictures are from this Thursday at the house of a member who was going to help us teach. Her name is Rosa and she is a convert of about 2 years. She is such a great lady and a wonderful example to me. She always asks us what she can do to improve and progress more in life. I hope to always be so willing and eager to learn. She goes to visit a lot of the people out in the campa that speak almost only Guarani. In the
first picture, sitting under the tree with my companion, I had just gotten done eating
the duck that they had killed that morning. The second is in front of the Nike cow. Yes, that is a machete in my hand, but you can see only the handle in the picture. This is us tracting but through mandioca fields. I am having a whole lot of fun adventures.
My companion is so great. We are having such a fun time together. She is so hardworking and such a great example to me. She is finishing up at BYU pretty soon here too, so we have a ton of fun things in common. And yes, she knows the Shaws! I guess Kelly just got called to the stake presidency. She said he is always way happy and laughing. It has been a great change so far but always is flying by! I can’t believe it!
We had some investigators at church this week! They are so great and we are hoping that everything will go well with their baptism that we have planned for the 27th of this month. They are so great. The members are really great here too. Things are different, but the feeling and the teachings are the same. I am learning a lot about the duties and organization of the church. It has been a great learning experience for me. Mom, that is way sad about Justin’s mission! That would be so hard! Tell him that I wish him the best though and that things will all work out. Everything happens por algo.

Happy Valentines Day! Congrats Mary and Andrew! Well, I gotta go! Until next week.
Love, Rae

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My new area...

Hello family!
Well, I had changes! Sadly, I had to leave behind barrio Amambay, Hermana Jara, the little girls, and the other family that we´re teaching. I was sad to leave them but am excited to start my new change here!
My area: All of the areas that the hermanas are in are in Asuncion. They usually don´t send the sisters out in the middle of nowhere. There is only one area for the sisters that is Coronel Oviedo. And here I am! Out in the middle of nowhere! There are 5 branches that surround the city. Each branch has a little part of the city and than all the fields behind it. I was kind of scared at first (of spiders and tigers and stuff) but I am absolutely in love with this place! Oh my word, it is gorgeous! Everyone just has motorcycles and it is so tranquilo. A lot different from Asuncion. The people are so nice and we are praying for a lot of success and growth here in the branch.
My new comp: Hermana Redmond from Eagle, Idaho. She is so great and so spiritual! However, it is her last change here in the mission. Alas, I will send off another. She is already such a great example to me and I know that I will learn a lot from her.
We are in a branch of about 50-60 active members. We met some the members last night at the ward activity night and they are so great and seem enthusiastic about the work. It will be a lot different but I am excited for the challenge. Luckily, we are in the final months of summer here. It´s about time! It has been an oven here and the roads here are all red dirt and burn you. Hopefully it will start to cool
off a little here soon as we enter autumn.
How lucky our family has been to know church members from all over the world. I can tell you again from experience that the feelings here in Asuncion and Coronel Oviedo, Paraguay are the exact same as they are
there in Utah, France, and all other parts of the world. I love the universality of the church. It really is a message for all lives, tongues, and races. Speaking of tongues...I am going to be able to learn a little more Guarani. I’m way excited. I hope all of you are doing well.
Luckily, we still get letters every week! So I hope you will send me some. Thank you for all that you do! Tell grandma Barbara that I ate guava jelly in her honor this week.
Just want you all to know how much my mission means to me. I am so grateful to be here and am honestly having the time of my life. I love being a missionary and will honestly thank my Heavenly Father the rest of my life for the blessings that I am receiving for being a missionary. He has given me so much. I am so grateful for the testimony that my Father in Heaven has given me about the Book of Mormon. It has changed my life. I love Joseph Smith so much and I know that
President Monson is a prophet of God,that all 15 of those men are prophets, seers, and revelators. I love you family! Keep your good examples. Moroni 8:3.
Tell all my friends and all of the family hello for me.
Have a great week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Love those Packages!

I got my package! Thank you thank you thank you!!! The candy, movies, letters, everything was so perfect! And thank you to Aunt Sheri for helping you send the packages. They get here so quickly! It was so much fun to see all the pictures from Christmas.
The whole family looks great and I loved seeing all the pictures of the cousins, aunts, and uncles! Mom, you should send me that one of grandma and grandpa Goedde too! I will for sure bring some guava jelly for grandma :). Please send them all my love.
Warning: I will not be writing to you next Monday because we have changes. I’ll write on Thursday though just like the other times. Just so you know :). Almost positive that I will be transferred this time because Pres. Callan hinted at it to me and my companion in our interviews so we’ll see what happens. Who knows though, I am usually
wrong with those kinds of things.
This week was really great and one of a lot of learning. We had zone conference which was just excellent. I always learn so much and have SO MUCH to improve. Our mission president and wife are so amazing and I learn a ton from them. I really do believe that we are called to specific mission presidents. At the end of the conference, they gave us
a calendar that they had made for all of the missionaries. It has all of our individual pictures (when we had just stepped off the plane...yuck) but it is so great. I found 2 elders from West Jordan who are in my mission! They probably won’t remember me but I want to be able to see them and say hello before they go home. One is named Craig Bowers and the other is Alex Velluto. I think Alex did track with Bax and was a student body officer the year after me. Anyway, such a small world.
The work throughout the week was really good but this weekend (Saturday and yesterday specifically) was tough. We had only one lesson on Saturday because a lot of the references that we had received had false addresses and phone numbers. Same with a lot of contacts that we had done in the street. We weren’t discouraged though and tried to work
harder and look for people that we could teach. The heat was killer though and the more people we looked for, the more rejection we faced. Heard some really ugly things about the church. A teacher from another church treated us very rudely, criticized the church, told us he didn’t want to hear our message about Jesus Christ. He was a lawyer and
proceeded to list off all the worldly degrees he had obtained. We asked him if we could share our message about Jesus Christ but he told us he busy and was about to get ready for church. It was so interesting to me and I thought a lot about what the Lord had said in the Bible and also to Joseph Smith that "they honor me with their lips but their
hearts are far from me." I am also reading the New Testament right now and it is so interesting to me when Jesus calls the scribes "hypocrites" and "generation of vipers." There are many who profess to be "Christian" but are anything but followers of Christ. I hope that I will never be one of those who profess to follow Christ but whose actions are anything but Christian. We are not discouraged though and are just happy to be here seeing all the blessings that our
Heavenly Father is giving us. He just wants to test us a little bit more.
Yesterday, the sisters didn’t make it to church. Only the 8-year old came. We are going to try to prepare their baptism for the 30th now. We had some great lessons with them though this week. They had gone to the fast and testimony meeting the week before and wanted to practice bearing their testimonies to us. The 8-year-old bore the sweetest,
simplest testimony. She told us simply that she had asked God if she should get baptized and that he said yes. She then told us it was really important that we asked God’s permission first and then our parents. Her friend had told her earlier in the week that our church wasn’t true, but she asked God again and He said yes, so she decided to be baptized. She is such an example to me and it has been so sweet to be able to teach a child the gospel.

Well, I gotta go to the store. I love you all so much and am so grateful for you! Keep up the good work, keep being faithful, go to the temple a lot!
Hermana Edwards
Until next Thursday...

Monday, January 11, 2010


Well, it is now officially guava season. No offense, but the stuff they give on the
Airplane going to Hawaii doesn’t even compare to the real thing. I will most definitely be eating/drinking a lot more your memory Jord.
The work here this week has been really great. A whole lot of rain and rivery
streets. The 3 sisters are doing great and are so adorable. We took the oldest to a young women’s activity on Saturday which she really enjoyed. We put a goal for her to read the Book of Mormon and she started that second. We gave her a pink highlighter and she was marking like crazy, explaining what she liked, and loving it. I was so extremely happy. The members have been helping us a lot with her and Dad, I am glad that you are doing the same there in West Jordan. I absolutely love this ward and all that they do. They were so great with our new family converts this week. I felt like they were the most popular kids in school. Everyone wanted to talk with them and sit by them. They even brought their cousin to church with them. We had them read Joseph Smith history this week and are now starting to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. It was amazing to hear from their own mouths the things they had read and how impressed they were with Joseph Smith. We are now pointing them toward the temple. And to think that we found the mother sweeping outside of her house. What a miracle it has been for me.
My companion and I are having such a great time together here in Amambay. I seriously love her and am sad that our time together is coming to an end. We still have like 2 1/2 weeks but 3 changes together is a ton. I will miss her and we have a goal to meet up in Lima, go to the beach, but most of all Machu PIchu. I heard they’re closing it this year though! If that is true, I’ll die. I hope not!
Speaking of Book of Mormon sites, I was reading in Mormon about the wars on the hill Cumorah and all of the thousands that died there. Well, I knew that the plates were buried there but I didn’t know that it’s also where the Nephites became extinct! Have historians found anything there too as evidence? I never knew, but it is definitely on my list of places to see. The promises that are given to the brother of Jared about North America are incredible. I’m like obsessed. It is so awesome. I am fascinated. I hope we are all studying the Book of Mormon!
Also, I loved Elder Holland’s talk this month in the Liahona (Ensign) about Lot’s wife. I hope we’ll all take the time to read it. It is such a cool perspective on faith.
Well, I LOVE you all! I always think of little things that I want to tell you guys but I never remember when email time comes. Know that I am healthy, happy, and loving my mission.
Cariosamente, Hermana Edwards

Monday, January 4, 2010

Clapping really works!

Querida Familia,
Ah cómo estamos esta semana? Gracias por sus e-mails! It has been a great week here in Amambay. A lot of drunks and partying, but we survived and found some great people to teach. We had a lot of investigators who made it to church so we were very happy about that! The ward here continues to help us a lot. Our new converts are struggling a little bit and have fallen back into a couple of bad habits, but we are working hard to help them adjust as new members. Just a lot of prayer, study, faith, and friend-shipping with new members to try and get them on the path.

We are teaching three sisters that we found this week. Perhaps the future Goedde sisters, except they are 8, 10 and 13 years old. We found them clapping doors. They are smarter than almost any investigator that I have taught on my mission. They understand everything we teach, they begged for a Book of Mormon the first time we explained it, they fight
over who gets to pray and we often have to say three prayers so they can all have a turn. They got all ready for church on their own and were ready to go at 7:30 AM. They are so enthusiastic for the gospel. I seriously love them. They live in a tough situation. There is literally no supervision in their house because there mom works until
9:00 PM Monday through Monday. She is both mom and dad, as many other women here in Paraguay. We have been talking with her on the phone though to ask her permission to teach the girls, take them to church, etc.
Yesterday, we went to their house and their mom had felt really sick and not gone to work, giving us the opportunity to talk with her about the Restoration. We taught her and she was really touched by what she heard and especially liked the testimony of the member who came with us. She said it would be impossible for her to make it to church because of work but that she would read and pray about our message. The whole time, the little girls were tapping my arm and whispering in my ear, "Did you ask her about our baptism yet? Did you ask her?" We talked to her about baptism and told her that her daughters had accepted the invitation to be baptized and asked her permission. She had no problem with it at all and said she loved what they were learning and were coming home ecstatic from church. I know these little girls will be able to be great members and touch the life of their mom so that someday she will be able to do the same. If they make it church these next three weeks, they will be baptized on the 29th. It was so cute because we were leaving their house and the 8-year-old ran up to me and gave me a toy and said, "This is for you." I looked down and it was a toy dolphin. I had never mentioned anything about loving dolphins to them, but it touched my heart. Children are so special.

I am almost done reading the Book of Mormon is Spanish for the second time. It has honestly touched my life so much and my testimony has grown exponentially. It is amazing how it has the same power in every language. Although I don’t understand all the words in the Isaiah chapters nor all the war vocabulary, it has helped my Spanish so much. I hope we are all continuing to read the Book of Mormon and will continue to read it throughout the year I love you so much! My mission is passing by like crazy and Sunday will mark 7 months. I can’t believe it. I really will see you all so soon! I love my mission though and am SO happy to be here. Have a wonderful week and good luck with everything!
Love, Rae