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