Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monday August 12, 2013

                                                                                                Monday August 12, 2013

Dearest Family,

This week has had wonderful miracles! Every week has ups and downs, but the ups keep getting better, and I never seem to remember the downs for long. Mostly I've been SO GRATEFUL to Heavenly Father for helping me strengthen the attitude to go and do. It sounds simple, but in order to be happy and make something happen in the work, it's SO IMPORTANT to feel that fire and desire. And it's something that I sometimes struggle with--but lately Heavenly Father has been helping me just about every day to have it!

Last Monday night we were out contacting and all of a sudden two people were in our path at the same time, and Sister Sutton and I each started talking to a different one. I started talking to a Gaozhong (high school) aged girl, and we ended up having a lesson and setting up a return appointment. It boosted my faith and my fire so much! I was surprised that I was  able to communicate with her and start the lesson all by myself. We met with her a couple days later . . . and she was awesome!! When we invited her to be baptized, she said she would if she knew it were true .  "Yi4ding4 hui4!" (Definitely will!) It was amazing! It fueled the fire of my faith in this work. Also the day of that lesson a member was pei'ing (accompanying) us the whole day, and so she was able to see that miracle as well, and it built her faith too. Actually having that member with us all day was such a blessing. She made everything we did more fun and gave us more energy, plus she was able to witness the incredible things that happen every day to a missionary.

XXX JM, (Rachel often uses JM which stand for Jiemei, which means sister, so Sister XXX) our most promising investigator, is a miracle in and of herself! She is so . . . willing! She comes to everything we invite her to, is keeping commitments pretty well, and seems to be on her path to conversion. Our YW's president is a HUGE blessing!! Actually in a lot of parts of the work, but especially with this investigator. Our YW's president, XXX JM is always making sure our investigator is invited to everything and then making her feel welcomed. Our biggest worry is that she is moving to Taoyan at the end of the month for school, and I'm afraid that when she loses this big family-love that she's really been enveloped with through our YW's President, and when she goes to a new place, she'll get lost in the woodwork. AH! She's too good! Too prepared! But we're really trying to do our best and pray for her. I believe in the power of prayer. She came to the baptism on Saturday, and it was good! That xilihui (baptismal service) had a strong spirit, or at least I felt it.

Yesterday we saw the fulfilling of a miracle that started last week! A girl we had contacted and invited to church . . . came! She only made it for the end of sacrament meeting, but stayed for the rest of church. During the third hour she wanted to go to Young Women’s (she is 21), and that turned out to be perfect! That amazing YW's President pulled through again, teaching a lesson that was definitely led by the spirit and included the Plan of Salvation! After church the Investigator had to pick up her sister . . . but then she came back to the church with her sister to eat lunch with us (a member makes lunch every week), and XX JM overheard our investigator  telling her sister the whole Plan of Salvation! Including the spirit world and Gaorong Guodu (Celestial Kingdom)!  After a lot of people not being able to come to church . . . this was amazing!

An investigator we haven't been able to meet with for over a month finally met with us again, and although it kind of felt like starting over . . . she made some commitments that I think she'll keep! We're also going to get up really early Thursday morning to go running with her . . . which will be awesome, because 1) it will show her we are sincerely interested in her, her life, and her interests, and 2) I love running!! I miss having a good long run! So I really have hope for her.

Also exchanges this week was a blessing, as always. It definitely fired me up and Sister O'Brian's encouragement and praise confirmed HF's recent answers to my prayers, and just made me want to work hard all the time. This week I've been so very grateful and happy to be a missionary! I'm so glad I'm right here right now; I don't want to be anywhere else doing anything else. This really is the best work in the world! 

I've always wondered if escalators are dangerous, probably because I was scared of them when I was little, and now I know what they can do! Normally I wear my rubber crocs (those are shoes) every day. The rubber with all the air flow is the only way to go!! It's so much cooler and more comfortable. With the rain, it's necessary to have the rubber and the holes! Last P day we went to Xinzhu to celebrate a missionary's birthday at cold stone, (Cold stone has never tasted so good as it did then. I'm already thinking of how I can go back), and I had an unfortunate encounter with the escalator! We were going up an escalator, I was rocking forward onto my toes, and at the top as the steps started to collapse down, my shoe got stuck! I couldn't pull it out. The front part of my shoes was ripped off!! It was really funny, I was also frustrated because they were my favorite shoes that I wore every day, and then I was really really grateful my feet were untouched!! I realized that if those shoes hadn't been rippable rubber, I very well may have gotten my feet pulled into the escalator!! My feet are among my most valued body parts--and to be honest I don't really want to lose any body part anyway!! So I was grateful!  Any prayers offered for my safety and protection were definitely answered! However, now I am in need of rain shoes . . . I'm hoping, mom, that if you are able in the next couple of days to buy the same shoes online and just send them straight to Taiwan, that that will be ok. Do you think you could? I'll send pictures. If on the crocs account it shows what we bought last time, I want the same size that I kept last time (it's the bigger of the two we ordered), I think a 9 maybe? And just the exact same style and color! Black and the one with the striped kind of holes. I'll try to get a picture. Thanks! Sister Sutton and I will try to find some rubber shoes here too I think.

 .  We had a dinner with a member this week that was awesome! The mom is a less active who has obviously at some point been a really strong member of the church. Anyway, we ate dinner (pizza hut! the pizza in Taiwan often has WAY different toppings than we would normally have in America . . . but it's really good! My companion prefers Taiwan pizza). After the pizza we gave a lesson teaching everyone to pray. And then everyone proceeded to practice . . . so we had 6 prayers in a row! It was really fun! That family is SO awesome--I hope we can work with them more. Then they gave us so much food to take home that they had to help us carry it back to our apartment!! Our fridge looks so funny right now-- full of all the random things members give us! Our members really take care of us :)

I love you all! I hope you're having a wonderful week!

Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards

You want me to eat this?  It definitely isn't pizza!!
Oh no!!!
I'll take McDonald's any day!
All sisters need an occasional super-hero in their life

Monday August 5, 2013

Monday August 5, 2013

Dear Family,

This week has been a good one! We now have two progressing investigators, and I think they have a really good chance of continuing to progress toward baptism . . . the first ones that have made it this far since I've been out! It's really exciting! One is a XXX. We met her on the street, and she agreed to meet with us. On our first meeting last Monday she agreed to baptism, although she expressed a little worry about family protest. She is 18. The YW president was with us and the YW pres. invited her to come to the YW dinner that was scheduled right after our next visit. She came to both our lesson and the YW dinner, listened really well, started making friends with the YW, agreed to go the YW activity the next week, and church!! And she showed up to church! We might be overloading her with invitations to come to so many activities (during YW at church the president invited her to more I think), but she is so willing! It truly is a miracle!! I'm so grateful for a companion who followed the spirit to stop and talk to her.

The other progressing investigator is XXX  (Angel). She has some special problems, but I hope that she will continue to progress! At our last meeting she said she had prayed for her boyfriend and it had made a difference! The power of prayer is real!! We completely forgot to extend the baptism invite (Ah!), but we will this week, and I think and hope that she will accept.

We're also working with a few less actives that I hope we can help. One has been married in the temple, but her husband is now completely inactive and has no desire to come back. She still comes to church often, but it's hard. She wants that family that she sees others at church having. It's difficult to know how to help her . . . but I know the gospel is for everyone, and the Savior suffered for EVERY pain, so there will be a way for her. There is also a XXX  who still has such a strong testimony . . . but hasn't been to church in a long time! She invited us to dinner this week with her family (she is the only member), and I hope that we will be guided by the spirit to help her. She is already making resolutions regarding her scripture reading and improving her relationship with HF, so we'll see.

Sister Sutton is amazing! We've really seen some miracles this week together, and she has been such a support for me. I am SO GRATEFUL to have her as my companion!! I'm really excited for the miracles I know we are going to see this week!"

I've been meaning to tell you for a few weeks now, but keep forgetting! I know a descendant of the Sun who wrote The Art of War!! How cool is that??


Sister Rachel Caroline Edward