Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday May 20, 2013

                                                                        Monday May 20, 2013

Dear Family that I love so much,

Jeffrey, I really liked your thoughts about exaltation and damnation, and about how Heavenly Father wants nothing more than to exalt us; we decide to be damned. Just this morning I read Mormon 9:4, and I think it is very much the same idea--we're not damned because Heavenly Father doesn't want to be with us, but more because we do not want to be with him. I've been having similar thoughts lately as I've wondered about how to be exactly obedient. More or less my conclusion was realizing that Heavenly Father WANTS me to succeed. He WANTS to bless me with the spirit and use me as an instrument in his hands. I am not perfect and never will be, and therefore will also never be perfectly exactly obedient, but if I was, why would I need the Atonement? I came to the conclusion that if I'm trying my best, the Atonement covers my failures. Which writing that out makes it seem so simplistic and obvious, but I guess I gained greater understanding of that this week.

Ok, to answer your questions: I haven't given a talk yet (which means every week is a little stressful!), but I only have one more chance before we leave. About new missionaries, we had 36 come in this week, 28 elders and 8 sisters. The elders and sisters are usually more even than that. It was a huge influx! I think it may have more than doubled our zone/branch. Because I was still sister training leader I got to go to the new missionary meetings and help orient the new sisters . . . it was so fun! The sisters who just came in are really really awesome. They are impressive, and I love their  . . . perspective and understanding of the gospel and their personal relationships with the Lord, as well as their hard-working and positive attitudes. One thing I have really . . . learned or enjoyed at the MTC is praying for people. I have felt such love for others as I pray for them and as I pray for charity toward them. I love it. And I've realized how many people I love and am so grateful for!

Our "investigator" is being baptized this Saturday! We're really excited. More exciting than the baptism is how much faith she has. I know it's just our teacher role-playing, but she is role-playing an investigator she really taught on her mission, and holy COW the faith that woman has!! We definitely did nothing-- but the spirit teaches and converts. And the Book of Mormon is TRUE!!! She also asks . . . difficult questions to answer. Which is sometimes hard to teach, but I LOVE it because it's just so evident that she is thinking, really thinking, about the things we're are teaching, and why they matter to her. I have a question though. I've been thinking a lot about it the past few days (because we had a not so good lesson on . . . Saturday, where I said stupid things and just . . . ugh. I cried in a bad way for the first time at the MTC after this lesson because I did some really stupid/insensitive things) about families. My question is, why do families matter to someone who doesn't have a family or doesn't have a good family, where there isn't love? And specifically, how can I help them understand why families are important? I have some answers, but I don't have time to write them and I want to hear other people's understandings of families. I think that I still have a lot to learn, especially since my family was always so wonderful I never thought about it from that perspective very hard.

Some quick, fun things! One of my companions is LEGIT at basketball and broke the record at the MTC for sisters for most free-throws in a row: 31 (But I'll have you know that one day before she knew there was a record to break she did fifty). Also, one of the Elders in my district informed me that my testimony can suppress sneezes! Those weren't exactly his words, but that was my conclusion from the story he told me. Also, the names on Kung Fu Panda are the best! Master Shifu: Shifu means master in Chinese, and Master Wugui: wugui means turtle in Chinese! Yes, turtle was a word I was sure to learn in the first few weeks. Also, dinosaur. (Konglong; my companion's favorite word)

I love you so much and I pray for you every day!!!
Sister Edwards

Picture that didn't get up last week showing Rachel's 21st birthday haul.  As her brothers have claimed many times,
"She is so spoiled!!"  But she is so fun to spoil:)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monday May 13, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

Before I forget, I need to tell you that I don't think dearelder runs Saturday through Monday. It definitely doesn't on the weekend. Just so you know why I didn't respond to your letters last week until this week.

Thank you for such a wonderful birthday!! I was not expecting to be so spoiled!! Thank you so much, I really can't explain to you how loved I felt yesterday, especially with your package with the cards and gifts. Mom the cat card cracked me up, I loved it; and the words inside touched my heart. Thank you. And nice job with the perfume! I really like it and I loved  the story of how it was acquired. The shirts are awesome too! I'm wearing one right now :)  The hanger things will come in very handy I think, so thank you for that! The side bag also came, and it looks great, thank you! It's bigger than I remembered, but hopefully that's OK. We'll see

 "Happy Birthday tomorrow Emily!" 
Thank you so much for your package!!! I was blown away by it.  I want to writ you a full letter, but in case I don't get the chance, please tell me when you get your call as soon as you can.  I'm so excited for you!!! 

The cupcakes were from Chloe, who is now in Thailand, The package that Emily sent me, included cookie dough My roommates will think the cookie dough is funny, and the long candy in the sack is "Jerusalem Sour Straws "                                                              

Saturday morning my one companion went with me to the early morning sisters exercise class they have. When we got back, our room was completely decorated by our other companion, with Sis Barden's help! My sneaky companions . . . I had no idea they were planning that! I felt so . . . special! My favorite was a piece of paper with "21 things we love about sister Edwards" that different people had written on. That night someone got our whole zone gathered outside our classroom door, they poked their head in to ask me if I could come outside for a second, where everyone sang happy birthday to me in Chinese. The packages from friends and family were opened throughout the day, and I felt so loved the whole day. It was a wonderful birthday. We also taught our investigator about the Word of Wisdom, which was particularly ironic on my 21st birthday I thought!                

Thank all the pets too for their gifts (. . . I'm thinking they were really from Auntie . . . so thank you auntie!) I ate myself sick with all the treats and loved it  Thank you grandmas for your cards, I really appreciated your thoughtfulness. Auntie thank you especially for your gift and your card. It meant so much to me.

Thank you for your letter Lizzi! It was so fun to read! To answer the continual questions about my companions, they are becoming my good friends! They are wonderful, so it's easy to get along with them. One I especially relate to, and I love that.

Tell Jeff good luck/congratulations with finals! (meaning I want to wish him good luck, but I think he's probably done now, so congratulations instead!) I imagine you are really busy with moving out now, so good luck with all the packing!! That is always a hassle for me . . . and I've never even done a big move! Have fun in Chicago with Randy and Claire! They are wonderful. I was actually really encouraged to hear that being a mom is so fulfilling--I want to be a mom someday, but a lot of times I get overwhelmed with how difficult it seems to me to be a mother, so I loved hearing that it is worth all the work it will take. Happy first Mother's Day!!

I'm impressed Dave agreed to go fishing especially with Sam! Some of my favorite pictures are from we went fishing together.

To answer your question about jogging, Sister Barden and I do jog around the field sometimes together, but we have a hard time running for very long--we always end up stopping and talking or what not. My best workouts are usually inside either on a machine or doing an "insanity" work out. Which Sister Barden has joined me for a few times, and that has been  fun! If I don't get a good workout for a few days I start to get really stressed out, so I try to push myself on those few chances we have to yundong (exercise). 

Mandarin is same as always--hard, but super fun, and not too discouraging as long as I don't think about it much. This past week I memorized that first vision, and I recite it to help me relax at night when I'm trying to fall asleep (since I get more consistent sleep now, I don't always fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow like I usually do). I've also made vocab goals--last week was 180 words, which I BARELY made, and I didn't memorize the words super well, so I'm going to try to do better this week. 

Dave and Patti and Sam and Thomas: HAPPY BIRTHDAY THOMAS!!!!! You are getting so old! If I could I would give you a giant hug right now! I laughed when I read about Thomas the Train Cresap Edwards :) Dave you asked about when I leave, and the date is June 4 (or 3rd, I can never remember), so I have about three weeks left. Which seems crazy to me! Weeks fly by. And yes on district members going to my missions! All of my district minus my companion who is going to Hong Kong is going to Taiwan. Most of my generation in general is going to Taipei. Thank you for your advice to the Sister going to Toronto! I told her about it, but I still haven't showed it to her.

 A funny quote from the week: "I enjoy most toilets." It wasn't me, but the companion who said it has requested that the quote remain anonymous :) although on second thought, why not enjoy the little things! Like . . . toilets!

I love you!! Thank you for all your support!!! Please pray for the new sisters coming in this week if you think of it!

Sister Edwards

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday May 6, 2013

Hi Dad,

Thank you for the update with Spencer and deployment. Fill me in on the details of what it means to be deployed . . . and just how dangerous or not it will be and such. 

Now about your Questions concerning Chinese: there are four different tones, rising, falling, flat, and a falling-rising one. (As I ppost this letter Duke is on the couch practicing the various tones as he thinks they should sound.  Hard on the ears...) And although tones are difficult . . .  I'm just grateful I'm not learning Cantonese, which has 7 tones! So most Chinese words are made up of two smaller words, and each of those smaller words has a tone and a meaning. So the two meanings put together make the meaning of the overall word, which is one thing I love about Chinese! It's so fun to put together the meanings! So each mini-word with a tone has a different meaning, and sometimes the same mini-word with the same tone can have multiple meanings, because it will be a different character. We have not learned any characters yet . . . which I'm kind of glad for because it would be so hard, but I think the way meanings and characters work together to create words is pretty cool too, so maybe someday I'll go back and study it. Mom-yay for the Cotswold walk! (Note to dad and his new definition of "mom-yay" :))

Ah that's exciting that Lizzi could visit Utah! Emma is already flying, at just two months old!  Tell Jeff and Lizzi hi for me! How are they doing? How is Emma? Is Michigan warming up at all? That is so fun that Dave, Patti, and the kids are coming in a couple of weeks!! Ah . . . . I wish I could be there!! 

 Thank you for your thoughts on humility mom--I really appreciated them. I think you're right. Especially, for me, it is hard listening and learning from certain people that I don't want to  . . . but true humility means listening to, caring about, and loving EVERYone. And gratitude is a big part--I thought it was funny that you mentioned those, or ironic rather, because I have written down (from a talk or from reading something) that gratitude and humility are the twin characteristics of happiness. And thank you for your testimony of the restoration. There is a spirit in teaching the restoration. I'm definitely still learning.

Thanks for your letter Dave! And thank you for the package Dave and Patti!! I have to say, I laughed when I pulled out the four giant marshmallows. But . . . I have to admit that I've just about eaten all of them and I really enjoyed them at that! Tell Sam that the pictures he's drawn me are hanging up in my room! And both he and Thomas have pictures up by my desk. Are they excited to being coming to Utah in a few weeks? Are you excited? How is the studying for the test? How's the paper? Do you have to prepare separate things for the conference in Park City too? Good luck I love you.

Mom, so I've been the Sister Training Leader for the past few weeks, and one of the sisters I'm over has a birthday on the 12th. I'm wondering if you could send any sort of little birthday decorations we could put on their door or something? Or maybe some homemade rice crispie treats or something? Or even just a package of balloons I could blow up would be perfect actually. I don't think there's anything I need for my birthday . . . thank you though! Happy Mother's Day!!! Next Sunday. I hope you got my very early card :)

So I had an exciting package from my roommates SJ and Katie this week . . . It was a puzzle. A BUNCH of wallpaper samples were sent with a letter on the back of some of them. (All the use we have gotten out of those wallpaper samples. I don't think I will ever look at wallpaper sample the same way again) on the front were numbers that coordinated with rows and places in the rows in which to order the wallpaper samples. When they were all in order, I flipped them over and was informed that my roommate, Sarah Jane Curtis, is ENGAGED! I about died. I've been hearing about this boy for two years . . . and I could not have been happier to have the happy ending! SJ, I will be writing you a letter, but I might not be able today, so if not, CONGRATULATIONS! I know it's pretty late now . . . but I'm so excited for you!!

Also, roommate Emily . . . I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT JERU! So . . . write me a quick dearelder and let me know how it has been coming home and what you are up to!

Also, roommate Chloe . . . ARE YOUR MISSION PAPERS IN???? I'm sorry for posting such a question publically . . . but I simple have to know. :)

Also, roommate Katie . . . you will never guess what they had for breakfast today. Yep, you guessed it. Scooooooonnnnnneeeessssss! I just about died.

Ok . . . I always have so many things to ask and answer and say that I usually forget several, and today I forgot to bring my planner with me, so I don't have the ones that I wrote down to share! So I'm sorry if I forgot something. This week has been good! Every week is good. Now I really understand what people mean when they say days are FOREVER long and weeks FLY by. The contrast is quite amazing! Saturday was half way through the MTC . . . and I'm excited! Nervous, because I still have SOOO much to learn, and there's no way I'll be prepared to leave when I go . . . but at the same time, I'm SO excited to go to Taiwan!! There is a group leaving tomorrow morning, after which our generation will be the oldest. Strange.

My goal this week is to have an eye single to the glory of God, to forget myself, my life, my before mission life, things-going-on-to-other-people-while-I'm-gone, and my life after mission. My goal is to be focused on the Lord’s work and on His children. So if you have an extra prayer or two . . . I might need it! It's hard to not get distracted sometimes. Also, I need more charity. And lots of other things!  But that is good enough for now :)

I love you so much!!!! What do you want to hear in my letters? I can't promise to be able to send much more than I already do, but what things are your favorites to hear so I can include more of those things and cut out other things.

Love Sister Edwards
All the sister in my generation.  See if you can figure out which are my 2 companions then my mom will send you rice crispy crunchies:).