Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday February 24, 2014

                                                                             Monday February 24, 2014

We’ve had the most wonderful week, maybe the best of my entire mission. Shan1 passed her baptismal interview and so did Angel! They will be baptized this upcoming Friday morning at 10:00.  Shan 1 has been prepared for a long time, so that was not a big surprise, but miracles happened to prepare Angel. As we pondered whether or not to schedule her interview and as we invited Angel to ponder whether she wanted to schedule an interview or not, we received an answer. I prayed so hard to know what was right . . . and Heavenly Father answered.

The Zhang family is amazing. We hadn't met with them for a while, and the mom has gone to weekend classes this month, so we were a bit worried about them.  As we met, the dad told us how he reads the BOM on the MRT, and he reads quite a bit. The mom is really busy right now, but because of our encouragement to read just a little each day, she is reading the scriptures daily also. They pray together as a family every night, and even their little girl joins in on the "amen!" They are following the Word of Wisdom, and have felt a difference in their lives.  We had to change their baptismal date and suggested March 22. That day didn’t work for them. They then asked about March 15!!!  More important than all of these commitments that they keep, I can FEEL their relationship with God growing. The mom's last day of class was yesterday, but the Dad still came with their daughter to Taipei for Stake Conference. They are an absolute miracle that fell into our laps . . . and it just seems to keep coming!

One other really cool miracle was Chen JM, a member. She peiked for us while we were on exchanges (so I wasn't in Danshui), and apparently was talking to Sister Nelson and Sister Gruwell about her son, who lives with his dad in YongHe. She had given her son a Book of Mormon. Sisters Nelson and Gruwell simply suggested she invite her son to meet with the missionaries. "All you can do is invite." Yesterday night I answered the phone, and Chen JM told us that her son agreed to meet with missionaries. I love Chen JM. As her voice cracked on the phone, and she began to weep openly, I felt the love of God and the love of mothers, and the real purpose of missionary work. Her son will be meeting with missionaries in Yonghe, so our part in this story is small, but I will never forget that experience

The investigator whose husband is a member is still doing really well! Because of her work schedule she couldn't meet with us last week, but we are meeting with her on Thursday.

Also our Yang Jm from last week accepted a baptismal invite! She is doing really well! She came all the way to Taipei with us for Stake Conference!

Amy . . . was one of the saddest moments I've had on my mission. She finally sent a text to us this week, after several weeks of calling, texting, and finally leaving a message. Before she went home for the break she REALLY wanted to get baptized.  In her text she said that she was banned from going to church and that after talking to her parents, she is not sure what she really wants anymore. However, she also said she would keep reading and praying. Although it was hard to hear . . . I was still filled with hope.  I know she felt  the spirit. I felt her sincere spirit. I know this gospel is true. I know God loves her. She will have another time, another chance. Of this I am certain. If she continues to read and pray, she will find the gospel of Jesus Christ eventually. I love her and will keep praying for her.

I was so inspired listening to all those who spoke at the missionary conference, including Elder and Sister Holland. Rarely, if ever, have I ever been in a conference so filled with the Spirit. The air was almost thick because of it.

I love you!

Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards/ Du Jiemei

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Monday February 17, 2014

Sunday February 16, 2014

We got a referral this week from some missionaries who ran into a former investigator named Yu4. We met with her on Saturday and had one of the coolest experiences I've had with an investigator. She showed up to the church in a skirt with a Book of Mormon in hand. It turns out she met with missionaries two years ago in Hualian, and came to Danshui a couple of times, but, because she felt pressured, stopped coming. Lately she has had some problems (almost sounds like depression), and feels painfully lonely. She had a teacher tell her before the break that she needed to find a religion--no matter what religion it was. Then, during the break, she ran into missionaries. Hence, our lesson. As I listened to her talk, it was so obvious that she needed to feel God's love for her. I began speaking and felt the Spirit testify to her of God's love.I think that she is ready and so wanting the gospel. That night was our ward's Valentine's Activity. We had an appointment, and so couldn't attend, but she stayed after for the activity too! And then came to church the next day! She seems sincere.

As usual Temple tours were awesome. We had the opportunity to teach an investigator of some Elders. I have never felt like a lesson was guided so clearly by the spirit as that lesson was. She had just come from the family history center.  She had questions about temples that were answered perfectly as we shared our message of the restoration.  It was neat to be a part of that experience.

The progress of one of our investigators, is noteworthy. Her husband is a member.  She just FEELS the spirit. As she talks about her experiences with prayer and the Book of Mormon. It is obvious how prepared she is to be baptized. In our lesson on Saturday night, we moved her baptism date up two weeks! Our lesson in gospel principles at church this past week was about the Holy Ghost. She was sitting by Sister Nelson, and told her that she feels the Holy Ghost every day.

Li Lu came to church this week again! She is doing really well in preparation for her 3/1 baptismal date!

 Angel is doing alright, but still doesn't feel super ready for baptism. We are trying to decide if we should schedule a baptismal interview this week or not (in preparation for her 2/28 baptismal date).

We are SUPER excited for this weekend. We have a member of the quorum of the twelve coming, as well as a member of the presidency of the seventy, the Presiding Bishop, a member of our Area Presidency, and an Area Authority Seventy. AAHHHHH!!!! And I'm not sure if I'm allowed to tell who the apostle is . . . but it's the same one who came to Jerusalem when I was there, if you remember that. So we are just really excited!

I love you!!

Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards/ Du Jiemei

A picture sent with no explanations

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday February 10, 2014

Monday February 10, 2014

Dear family,

I hope you had a wonderful week!  Being a missionary really is the best. I had the realization a while ago (although not for the first time) just how many people are praying for me as a missionary . . . and I was so grateful.  I realized why it is that we get to see so many miracles. Your prayers are being answered.

This week was the end of Chinese New Year. It was a bitter-sweet ending. I was hoping to experience massive weight swings as predicted by old missionaries, but I'm afraid I couldn't really beat Elder Peterson's 15 kilogram weight gain last year (over 30 pounds!!!) It was fun though! We got a big variety of food, from traditional Chinese to tacos, and all of it was delicious.

We started an amazing journey with Pei XM. We contacted her last Sunday, and then met with her on Tuesday at her house. She is interesting and neat. She joined a Christian church a year or two ago, but has been less active the past bit. You could tell she felt guilty about that. But she was willing to listen, and to take our invites. We met with her twice last week, and she came to church as well. As we were following up between visits, we sent her a text asking what she thought of the Book of Mormon. This is the text she sent us (I'm copying it straight over, so don't mind the English mistakes): "Well, I think it will find the path of my religion. My faith is from God's love. I want the courage to change my life. Life is incredible for we would meet :)" I have rarely seen such sincere desire and recognition of right and wrong in someone so young. She is a little afraid because her old church said she could not go to other churches, but we invited her to pray about it, which she has been doing, so she will receive her answer.

Friday we were contacting, and ran into a super tebie (special, but it sounds better in Chinese) guy, Mr. Lin. He is the first person I have ever met who asked us if we were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints-- perhaps the first person I've ever met on the street who even knows our name! He has studied a lot of religions, but has his own views on God, Christ and how to live which aren’t dictated by any one religion. It was fun to answer the questions that he'd been saving for a Latter Day Saint, concerning such things as plural marriage, trinity, Word of Wisdom, and blood donating. After answering his questions we proceeded to teach him the restoration, the Word of Wisdom and invited him to be baptized, all on the street! He didn't accept our baptismal challenge, but did agree to meet with us the next day. When we met with him our peike saved the day. She is a strong member with a solid testimony and a good understanding of the gospel, and we needed her! She was bold enough to say the things that needed to be said, and she could understand Mr. Lin's questions. There were points where I wasn't entirely sure what Mr. Lin had said. The answers our peike gave sounded pretty strong . . . but then her answer always turned out to be perfect. It was neat to see how Heavenly Father had guided both us and her.

Speaking of peikes finding them this week has been especially difficult. We had appointments with a lot of people we can't meet without a peike i.e. men and anyone under 18. Nevertheless! We did not stop calling people, and Heavenly Father miraculously provided perfect peikes.

An example of this was when we met with our 12 year old investigator whom we haven't seen in a long time. We had a great experience with her mom. Her mom usually just drops her off, and doesn't like to stay for the lesson. However, as she came to pick up her daughter, our peike began to talk to her and they hit it off. After taking her daughter to her dad's house, the mom came back to chat with our peike, and ended up giving the peike her number. Our peike then shared with us that the mom had gone to church a couple of times, but had never felt like anyone was paying any attention to her. She lost all desire to go back.  The mom also told our peiki that she doesn't like talking to us missionaries, because we don't understand her and she doesn't understand us. This statement is true--she talks really fast, and if you don't understand the first time, she doesn't have the patience to say it again.  I almost never call Sister Chen to peike because in the past she seemed rather uncertain of her own testimony. But that day, when I saw her name, I just knew she was right and she was.

I love working with her Sister Nelson. She is WISE.  She radiates righteousness. Sister Nelson is one of those people who you let carry the groceries, because she feels SO uncomfortable having you carry them instead of her. Sister Nelson is also one of the most humble people I have ever met. Not humble as in thinks poorly of herself, because we know that that is really just another form of pride, but TRULY humble. Mom, I always think of your definition of humble, being able to learn from anyone, no matter whom they are, and Sister Nelson is it. Sister Nelson is patient! I feel like I've been so blessed to always have companions that are patient--because I need it. And she cares for me. Sometimes, I have bad days. Well, or bad moments, in missionary work it can never last very long, and she is always there for me. The only thing that might be difficult about Sister Nelson is that she's so good it makes me feel guilty!

I am doing wonderful and I pray for you with all my heart every night!

Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards/ Du Jiemei

Sister George and Edwards with the Duffins an American family, and Angel

Me with Hongbao! The red envelopes are given to kids during Chinese New Year with money, or treats for us, inside of them.  Actually because of the date I tend to think perhaps they were used for Christmas gifts instead.

Pants singed by the heater

The missionaries with President Chen and his wife on Chinese New Year.  How can it be Chinese New Year when the date is

Eating hot pot?

The happy missionaries