Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Monday October 20, 2014-the end

Monday August 20, 2014
Dear Family,

This past week has really been a good one. For a few weeks there it seemed like nothing was happening: we couldn't find new investigators, the investigators we had weren't progressing, etc. But the past couple of weeks the Lord has been pouring down His blessings on us. I wonder if all He really wanted was to teach me that it is HIS work, not mine, and that things go according to His plan. And it's important that I work hard, but even then, it is still in HIS time.

Last Sunday night we had dinner with a member.  At the end of our share we asked for a referral. The Dad told us about a girl in is Cram school that he has invited to church before. She is really interested, but her family owns a breakfast shop, which is opened the same time church is, so she hasn't been able to come.  He said we could come Monday night to meet her. When we went over on Monday night, not only did we meet her, but we shared the first lesson, set a baptismal date, and set up a time for our next visit! I think she was supposed to be doing homework at that time . . . but I figure that lesson was more important than any homework she ever has, is or will do. We met with her a few days later, and she'd already read to I Nephi 10, which was way more than we'd invited her to. After teaching the Plan of Salvation, we asked her if she believed it was true. She said yes. When we asked her why, she told us she believed because it was just so GOOD. The Spirit was simply THERE. It was a neat experience.

This week we had an incredible experience with a member. She's been struggling lately. We didn't know that. We asked her to Peike. She didn't want to . . . but decided she'd better since she has some history with that particular investigator. Then, the investigator stood us up. We asked our Peike if we could pray for her, and then shared a scripture with her. She began to open up to us about some of the spiritual struggles she'd been having lately. As we talked there were tears in both her eyes and ours. My wonderful companion received pure inspiration. She invited this member to ask her wonderful and loving husband for a priesthood blessing, and she agreed to. Sunday morning she and her husband were assigned to speak. The change in her was obvious. When she first got up she bore powerful testimony of Priesthood leaders. Later in her talk, she spoke about meeting with the missionaries, acting on the invitation they (we) had given her, and about the impact it had made in her life. At that moment I knew that I was fulfilling my purpose. And oh the joy! God guides us more than we know.

Missionary work has been exhausting but so wonderful this past week. And it looks to be another really busy week this week. I hope to end with a big bang.

Saturday I finally finished the Old Testament. I had a great sense of accomplishment. While reading the Old Testament I was struck with several things. One of them is the sameness of God. Although people tend to talk about the God of the Old Testament as one of wrath . . . I feel that that is not exactly true. Oh it definitely talks about His wrath, but I feel that there is much more going on then what we read on the surface.

I have come to believe that the ancient laws of sacrifice are essentially the exact same as they are now. This life is all about sacrificing our wills and turning to God. The Old Testament CONSTANTLY talks about trusting in the Lord. The gospel then and the gospel now is the same-- built to turn our hearts to God. And that is the way to happiness. I feel it, I feel the light that comes, and the understanding and joy that comes, as I strive to follow Jesus Christ. I fail all the time, but those moments where I draw closer to Him are so . . . filled with sunshine :) No matter what the weather outside is there is sunshine in my soul! I love you! Thank you so much for all of your support and love and prayers!

Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards

Dear friends and family,
This will be Rachel's last blog as a missionary.  She is coming home Saturday October 25.  Her homecoming is November 9th at 12:30.Our church house address is :
1834 East Creek Road
Sandy, Ut
We would love to see you all there.  Just give our family a few days, maybe 48-60 hours to get reacquainted and Rach get her feet back on the ground.  Any more time then that and we will probably be ready to strangle each other.  It has been quite an adventure, and even though everyone tells me how quickly it has passed, it still seems to me that she has been gone forever.  I can't wait till Saturday afternoon.  Teresa

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday October 13, 2014

Monday October 13, 2014
Dear family,

Yesterday we turned to talk to a girl at a light. We asked her if she'd ever been to church before and she said, "Not for a while . . . " As we continued to talk to her, it came out that she is a less-active member! She joined the church a long time ago, but when she moved away from home she became less-active. She now has a little baby and is working, and set up to meet with us! Heavenly Father will guide us to them, or, as seems more frequent, them to us!

Also yesterday we met with Lesly Ann, a Philippine lady working here. As we read 1 Nephi 1:1 with her, she began to reflect on the way God had blessed her during her trials. As she pondered, tears came to her eyes and began to stream down her face. She bore powerful testimony of the way that God had never left her, and had always watched out for her. THAT is the power of the Book of Mormon. I Nephi 1:12, as she read, she was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. As we read with her we were too.

Back in April or May, we started meeting with Andrea. She did not believe in God, but she wanted to know. God quickly answered her prayer, and she began to believe in His existence. As we continued to work toward gaining a testimony of the Restoration and preparing for baptism, Andrea had a big argument with her devout Buddhist mother. Her mom then blocked our number from her phone. I really love Andrea, and feet that she is one of the  big reason that I am in Taiwan. So I continued to send postcards to her at work. This Saturday we met with Andrea again! Our number is no longer blocked, and she has been reading the Bible and praying!! That was a huge miracle for me.

I love being a missionary! Sister Hibbert and I are having SO much fun. We finished up exchanges this past week, and I got to go down to Taidong again, which was fun, but it's nice knowing that this week will be spent

in Hualian.

I love you!! Rachel

This was a qingke from Allen. From left to right: Sister George, Sister Walker, me, Sister Hibbert, Elder Michaelis, Elder Pincock, Elder Montierth, Allen, and then in front is Elder Larsen

Danshui ward after conference.

After all of these months we finally see Rachel's biking form.

Rachel and Sister George with their beloved convert Angel

More with Angel and Zhuang Zhi.

Allison's, the American  right next to me, birthday dinner

At the beach celebrating Angel's birthday

Our Zone! Including all 12 missionaries in Hualian/Ji'an plus 4 Yuli missionaries. From left to right: Sister Walker, Sister Hibbert, Sister Keung, Sister Mao(slightly in front), Elder Senkans (behind Mao JM), Elder Whitlock, Elder Michaelis, Elder Marks, Elder Wang, Elder Chand, Elder Larsen. Then in Front: Sister George, me, Elder Azua (bottom), Elder Montierth (top).

Your guess is as good as mine.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday September 29, 2014

Pictures!! Outdoor Zone Conference:

We also had district conference this past weekend, we had EIGHT extra sisters staying with us.  There was the three companionships from Taidong, one from Yuli, as well as the the two companionships living in our apartment.  So I had to get a picture of at least a small part of what our apartment looked like Saturday night.  It was quite the adventure:) We found a place for everyone to sleep keeping all the white handbook rules!! (which is in the same room as your companion, but not in the same bed)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday September 22, 2014

Monday September 22, 2014
Dear Family,

I’m doing well! This past week we had an outdoor zone conference that was SO fun! We have a couple of investigators who are really progressing towards baptism, so that's really nice.

I can't believe you asked about Andrea! It's just so ironic that you asked this week, considering we had a chance meeting with her on Saturday. We were at the night market on Saturday evening eating/meeting with an investigator.  Andrea had fallen off the face of the earth because of opposition from her mom.  On Saturday night  Andrea and her mom approached US, tapped me on the shoulder and said hello!  At church on Sunday two members separately asked me about Andrea. God is involved in her life.  THANK YOU so much for your prayers for her. I keep praying for her as well. I put her name in the temple when I went a few weeks ago too. 

David keeps being miraculous! Our peike, out of the blue, brought up the Word of Wisdom during our last lesson. We ended up teaching that lesson and David accepted it with no problems!  And he came to church!

The Li's are doing OK. They are TOTALLY feeling the Spirit! But they are still having a hard time recognizing it. We’re done visit them super often, but we are still trying to work with them. They really are SO good. They just need a little more faith and action. But I think they will make it in their own time.

Last week we had no luck knocking on doors. After a while we decided to change locations. We started to bike somewhere new, and saw this girl walking into a hair salon. We stopped and asked her if we could give her a tract. Less than fifteen minutes later she had a baptismal date for  October 25.  So cool. All that time knocking with NO success, so that we could be in the right place and the right time to find this other girl. God is doing his work.

We survived another Typhoon and an earthquake this week! (Yes, we did make s'mores over the stove during the Typhoon :))

I love you!
Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday September 15, 2014

On Monday September 8, 2014 Rachel told us that Zheng 4 (Allen) got baptized.  I believe that this is his baptismal picture.

Monday September 15, 2014
Dear Family,

Lin2 came to church on his own last week, and said he felt something. He's been to other churches before and for a time studied the Bible a lot, but something is different this time. He was actually contacted and taught by Elder Squires in Tao Yuan around Chinese New Year! But he was too busy then to keep meeting with missionaries or progress. He moved to Hualian a couple of weeks ago, and is so PREPARED now! It is so cool to see him feeling the spirit and desiring more.

On Sunday a new member, just baptized in GaoXiong two weeks ago, came to church. She's coming back to school and will be in our branch. As we talked to her, she told us that she was first contacted by missionaries in Hualian . . . in June . . . right in front of Mos Burger . . . which was in our area. Neither she nor I could remember clearly that I had been in on the original contact. Unless we were on exchanges that day, my companion and I were the missionaries that contacted this girl and sent her info to Gaoxiong! It was SO incredible to me to recognize the impact of one simple lesson on the street. A lesson that I couldn't even remember giving. NO EFFORT IS WASTED!

Love Sister Edwards

The following are pictures of the Autumn festival that Rachel talked about last week: I believe that there are two sets of Sisters in Rachel's apartment.  Obviously learning to make the food for Autumn Festival.

A day at the beach with a loved Sister.  Maybe Angel???

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday August 8, 2014

Monday September 8, 2014
Dear Family,

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!! Perhaps my favorite holiday in Taiwan, because it involves two of my favorite foods: Moon cakes and You4zi (Someone told me it’s Pomello in English?).  Today we had a member who came and taught us how to make moon cakes!! As well as Taiwanese pineapple cake (very different from American). It was so fun and they were GOOD. I took a lot of pictures, but the place we're emailing at today won't read my flash drive. Next week. And speaking of cameras, we were cleaning things out today, and I decided that since I'm just going to throw my old broken camera away anyway, I might as well try using some really hard force and see if I can't force the lens to close. And what do you know. My camera works!! I was really excited because it's way better than the new one I bought, but now I'm not entirely sure what to do with the new one . . .

This week was a blast. We were TIRED. But that is when missionary work is the most fun. This week we had an incredible miracle. Zheng4 (Allen) got baptized!!!!! Sister Steed and I met with him for FOREVER and he had SO much potential, but after coming back to the same questions over and over, and not being willing to take action, we stopped meeting with him. And he started progressing. When we were teaching him, he would never come to church. After we dropped him, he started coming almost every week. These past few weeks the Elders felt that they needed to start meeting with him. They met with him once or twice, Allen realized that he was ready for baptism, and Saturday night he was baptized. It was SO neat. And it was reassuring to see how Heavenly Father worked with him. He's been an Eternal investigator for a long time now (way before me), and a lot of different people have helped him along his path. It was exciting to see how happy he was, dressed up for the first time in a suit. He brought his sister and mom to the baptism as well. His sister gave us her information so she can meet with missionaries in Taipei.  After his confirmation on Sunday, Allen bore his testimony in Sacrament meeting. It was such a sweet moment to see how the Lord works in His way and in His time. Allen's prayers were answered, but not in the way or time that perhaps he, or Sister Steed or I wanted.

Lately we've been having a hard time with finding. We have been praying so hard to find the PREPARED. Not those who are willing to chat for a second, but those who are PREPARED. So one day this past week we were out looking, and no one was accepting. We were rejected time and time again.  We contacted one man as he was getting on his scooter. He continued to pull out after having accepted our tract, we gave a last-ditch invite: "I know you're busy right now, but do you think we could meet with you at another time and share more?" And he said yes. I was a little taken aback to be honest. We met with him the next day, and it turns out he almost got baptized a while ago, and has great desires to be baptized. He is prepared. Heavenly Father answers our prayers when our prayers our truly in the name of Christ, which means they are according to the will of the Father and the Son.

My study of the Old Testament continues! This morning I read one of my favorite descriptions of the Holy Spirit.  Elijah 19:11-12 "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." And it was in the still small voice that Elijah found the Lord. This is usually how I feel the voice of the Lord in my life. It is small, it is quite, and it speaks peace to the soul. Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance"

I love you! 
Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards

Monday September 1, 2014

Monday September 1, 2014
Dear Family,

This past week we had the opportunity to attend a memorial service for Elder Thredgold and Elder Xiong. It is a rare opportunity for the entire mission to be together (the only other time was when Elder Holland came), and it was a neat experience. It was so good to hear more about them from those who knew them. When I walked in I realized that I recognized Elder Xiong's picture. I never worked with him personally, but I've seen him around lots. It was a nice service. Keep praying for President and Sister Day.

Our cute little Li family is having spiritual experiences in the BOM! They still don't fully recognize the spirit, but I do. As I listened to Li DX talk about what he learned reading II Nephi 2, I had the Spirit confirm to me that he had learned that through the Spirit. It was so apparent. And it was so neat. I really feel that they have this window of opportunity right now, and Heavenly Father led us to them at this moment to catch them in this moment of opportunity.

Reading the Old Testament this morning I had some thoughts about trials of faith. The children of Israel receive the Lord's blessing to fight against the tribe of Benjamin (this is in Judges somewhere). They head out, fight, and lose. So they go cry to the Lord, he tells them to go again, they go again in the same manner as before, and they lose again. They cry a third time to the Lord and ask if they should go again. He tells them to go again in the same manner, and they will have success. They go again, and they win. I thought it was so interesting. If I had been one of those Israelites, I would not have wanted to head out that third time. Why didn't the Lord lead them to success the first time? Why did they have to suffer? I'm not the Lord, so I don't know that I can really say, but it seems to me that He had a greater purpose in mind. To allow them to go through a trial, to see if they would stay true to what they knew. It gave them an opportunity to use their faith. I think that the same is true now. Everyone’s battles are different, but earth life is meant to give us a chance to exercise our faith. We HAVE to come across hardship, or else life would be meaningless. But when we place our trust in the Lord, there will be a way. A way that will lead to lasting peace and happiness.

I love you and I hope you have a great week!

Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards