Elder Edwards

Elder Edwards

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015 Adam's letter - lots of teaching and tender mercies this week


HEY MOOOMMMMMMM!!!! I'm still alive and well. :) Charleroi is great. Thank you so much for telling me about all that stuff, that was a great email! Okay so I'm going to try and respond to all your questions really quick so I don't forget any of them:
  1. What did we do well as a family? Well, I think one of the best things was environment, keeping a good home that was like a castle against the evils of the rest of the world. I also think the fact that you stayed home and were always with us was a score. Teaching us the commandments was a good one, too. I also think just the relationships we had with you and Dad and how much we loved each other. :D We had a great home to grow up in, I'm pretty lucky. 
  2. Thanks sooooo much for sending that package! SOOO MUCH! Oh man those are worth their weight in gold over here. Wow even a little package from To From Us? That sounds awesome!! I'm so excited, thank you all so much!
  3. My apologies for the Franglais (English French). "Porting" means going door to door. Just for future information, to avoid further confusion (sorry about that!!), collégue means companion, famille means family, église means church, chouette means awesome. Woohoo means woohoo. :D If I put any more in that don't make sense, just ask me, it's really easy for me to clarify! Haha we definitely have an interesting vocabulary out here. 
  4. Yeah, I was really excited to dream in French, too! It was cool. 
  5. WOOHOOOO!!! That's so sweet that Zack Stanger got his mission call! Yeah, yeah, Nate Bezzant is going to taiwan! Sorry I didn't reply, he emailed me, too, so I already knew. Thanks a lot though, keep me updated with the calls for sure:! I don't know if you know, but Adriana McFarland got her call to London England! That's pretty cool, huh?
  6. Thanks so much for the pictures! I love little Zia and Brielle! [Adam's two little nieces, one who is brand new.]
  7. The "bleu" or greenie, new missionary [in Adam's apartment], is Elder Smith. Sorry, his mom doesn't have a Facebook or anything. He's a great guy though, comes from Vermont, he actually new one of the sister missionaries in our MTC District, Soeur Ladd, who was also from Vermont. I believe they are from neighboring stakes. 
Elder Harris (left) has been with Adam since the MTC. By the time they likely leave Charleroi, Belgium at the next transfer they will serve together for six months - that's 25% of their mission!  Elder Smith (right) is a "blue" (or greenie, new missionary fresh from the MTC) from Vermont. Elder Harris is his trainer!  That's pretty impressive for Elder Harris to move from being trained to immediately being a trainer! Adam really likes working with Elder Harris.

  1. Normally, for exercise, I do a few pushups, a few crunches, sometimes thinks like squats. I also do wall sits and pullups sometimes. I'll be honest, I haven't been very good at exercising a full 30 minutes lately, but I think it's good to focus on getting everything done in the morning and being on time to studies first. :D 
  2. We like to eat together as a foursome at the apartment when we can, but lots of times, we can only do that for breakfast, or for breakfast and one other meal, if we have appointments at differing times. Elder Baldwin cooks for us four when we're all together, and usually Elder Harris and Elder Smith help. I help sometimes, I should be better. Elder Badlwin really likes to make desserts, too. Breakfast is every elder for himself. But we like to eat together when we can. It's really fun to be together, I really like the little bit of night time we have together, that's really fun. We got into a huge towel whipping war the other night. It was pretty fun. But then our neighbor asked us to keep it down so we're being gyood kyids now. 
  3. Okay, I'll remember to tell you at least one story every week from a lesson or from meeting somebody. Alexi and Geraldine didn't make it to church, but we're going to try and visit them again. 
  4. Yay that you have time to catch up on emails!
  5. By the way, just so you know, depending on where you sent the package, it may be a few weeks longer than it would normally. If you sent it to the mission home, they give it to the zone leaders, who then give it to us the next time they see Elder Badlwin, the district leader. But for sure, I will let you know when I get them! I'm so excited!
So to give some missionary stories, because I think that's a good way to start off, let me give you a couple:
  1. This week, I got to go on another exchange with Elder Harris! That's always fun. He's a great guy. We wanted to get some good work out of our contacting, so we set a pretty high goal for lessons. We ended up tying his record for "other" lessons taught in a day (in other words, for lessons that were held without a member, lots of them here are from contacting on the street). We got SEVEN! It was awesome! We didn't quite get our goal of 10 but 7 is pretty good! We felt really blessed, there seemed to be an unusually high number of people who were willing to talk to us a little bit that day. We even got the Charleroi 2 Ward a new "ami", which means investigator. Plus we got a recent convert lesson in, too! And then we met this excommunicated member and that wasn't as uplifting...he wasn't rude, just yucky feeling. but it's okay. That was for sure the most lessons I've taught in one day. :D So it was sweet! 
  2. Amazing how the Lord takes care of us. I was feeling down yesterday, largely due to how much I focus on myself sometimes, or how ilfe could be better, and then there were a bunch of things on Sunday at church that I could tell were there from the Lord to help me feel better! Every week when I play for the Primary kids, I love it because it's a joy to help them with thepiano. That helped, I think. Then in sacrament meeting, we sang "Nearer, My God, to Thee," but in French of course, and there was one line in particular in there that touched me, that reminded me that it'll be all right, no matter how down I might feel. Even when people are unworthy, the Atonement and repentance fix it. Sure, they may not make life the way it was, but they fix us. So that was cool. Then there was another great hymn, called "Be Still My Soul," that was comforting as well, THEN there was the second counselor, Frère Gisonda, a French brother, a very, very good guy, with a great heart, stood and gave a great talk. There was a very cool part in there when he said, "I see people like______ who come to church without their parents every week," and he named off several people and named good things about them. Then he said, "I could do that with every one of you, but it would take a while, so just know that each one of you are useful to the Savior, that you're all doing good here, that you're loved, that the Savior is taking care of you." THat's how I took it, anyways. 
  3. We met a new investigator, a new ami, at night doing contacting this week, I believe it was WEdnesday night, and we scheduled another rendez vous, which means appointment, with him right then! We talked to him for just a few minutes, but Elder Baldwin has been trying a new inspired system of contacting: if you use the same rote phrases all the time, they get meaningless, so he challenged everyone in the district to make three meaningful, personal phrases to use in contacting, and like that the Spirit can prompt us which one to use, and they can help us have better contacting experiences, or even better experiences going door to door. So he did that last week, and he used one of his personal lines, about how God can help us through trials, I believe, and we talked to the guy a little about how he was divorced, I believe he had a couple kids, and I tried to express sympathy and concern for him, and Elder Badlwin was actually able to relate to him as well, because there was a divorce in his family, too. it was a Spirit guided contact. It came to me sometime this week that sometimes, for people who the Lord wants us to meet, if we go out, He's going to make sure we get to meet them, although it is also our job to search for that revelation, as one of our APs, Elder Lamm, has pointed out. 
There you go! I hope that helps you all smile and have a great week. Listen to uplifting music, write in your journal, do things that help you feel better! Another cool truth I came across this morning was that we each need to repeat the process of the gospel (faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) many, many times throughout our lives! Pretty cool, huh? It's not just a one time circle, it's actually a pattern of life. 
We had some good moments together this week, us four in the Charleroi apartment. Elder Baldwin fried some chicken in a pan the other night, that was pretty good. We also got to visit a member's house in the Charleroi 2 ward, which was fun. I keep relearning the importance of some of the rules. It's hard, sometimes, for example, to avoid wordly entertainment, but it's something I need to make a better effort effort to do. Love you all so much! I hope you've had fun hanging out with petite Brielle! I might write a little poem in French for her sometime, just because she's so cute and little and precious. Have a great week, everyone! Don't be afraid to have missionary opportunities. You only blow it if you don't try. That would be a good thing to frame, actually, haha! 
We're looking forward to the awesome General conference this weekend! Everyone go, invite friends, write down a question or two beforehand, and go expecting to hear the word of the Lord, not just what you want to hear. That way, you know where you stand with the Lord, you know the things you need to work on for the next six omnths, and you'll be ready for the next one in October. God bless! Until next week!
Elder Edwards

P.S. Oh yeah, and the guy we met on the metro last week, we didn't get out tohis house like we planned. We went to the gare, missed the bus that we thought was the right one, then really missed the right one, and then gave up and decided to try another time. I guess that seems kind of stupid, now, but we'll trym him out this week. His name is Anvian, or something like that. 
We also had a cool experience talking to an atheist man,  Eddy, and we might visit him sometime, too. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015 - A typical day routine, and three small miracles

Note from Becky: The first three paragraphs are Adam celebrating a new baby niece. He's excited!


WOOHOOOOOOO BRIELLE WELCOME TO THE WORLD!!!!! WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME! :D :D :D Wow thanks so much for all the photos, Mom! I loved seeing those! What cute little eyes she has. She still looks a lot like Austin to me. :D But good for Malia that little Briester looks more like she does. :D What a cute little bundle of joy! It was kind of weird to wait a whole week like that for news to hear if my niece was born! And I'm glad she is! Austin and Malia are great parents, good for them. I was shocked to see how little Brielle's little head is compared to the tips of Dad's fingers there! That's pretty crazy! 

I love how I'm an uncle again!!!! WOOHOOOOHOOHOHOOOOO!!!! Ain't no uncle prouder in the world! Il n'y a pas un uncle qui a plus d'fierre qui moi! I love you all tons! What a great thing, too! And how crazy--is that really right, that Brielle will be the same age as Zia was when I left? Wow! 

Congratulations Malia, Austin, Zia, Brielle! Also to everyone in the family, espeically you, Mom and Dad! You're grandparents times 2! That's pretty cool! I showed a couple of those pictures to Elder Baldwin and Elder Harris. Elder Harris saw that there were two little baby girls and said we needed to start getting some boys in the family. So, somewhat jokingly, but also knid of seriously, I said, "Hey, I'm going to get married pretty quick when I get home, I'll try and help out with that!" Thanks for telling me I'll be a good dad, Mom! Haha but you're right, right now I just focus on the mission. 

Adam is staying in his first area, Charleroi, Belgium.

I'm pretty happy to stay in Charleroi for another six weeks, too. At first, I kind of wanted to go, but now that I'm staying I'm actually pretty happy. Me and Elder Harris were talking last night, we like to talk to each other a lot and help each other relieve stress, I guess. I told him thanks for all the times he's helped me calm down. Haha not that I've had nervous breakdowns or anything, the transition was just tough for a while. It's just like normal life, really, there are stressful moments every day. But I realized it was a blessing. By the end of this transfer, our third out in the mission field, we'll have been together in the same district and apartment for six months--six weeks in the MTC and four or five months out here in the field. What a great blessing that is! He does a great job of accepting me and being a good friend. He's awesome. I asked him if he'd like me to stay another transfer after this one, he said, "Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet." Can't wait till you all can meet him! Haha he and Elder Baldwin especially make me laugh every single day. It's difficult to describe how many laughs that Elder Harris, Elder Baldwin, and Elder Wells (although he's gone now, and yes, he'd like to visit you) have given me! Haha. I always laugh so hard that I cry. Elder Harris always enjoys pointing that out. "Haha--look, look, he's crying! Man, you're crying!" Hahaha.
Out here in the mission, you just have to find ways to have fun every day, our else you'd go crazy. So we have our own little weird ways of having fun. Elder Wells and Elder Harris would trip each other and try and push each other into parked cars as they walked down the street. Haha! I was joking super hard with Elder Baldwin yesterday--we disagreed on the pronunciation of "scenario"--he thought it should be pronounced with a softer "a" sound, I was for the ardent pirate "ahr," and so then I just messed with him for several minutes on the pronunciation of several words, and I laughed really, really hard. Haha we still get along pretty good, no worries. He's a great guy, really funny, I think I'll miss this town and Elder Baldwin and elder Harris once we separate. It's been a little hard on Elder Harris to train so early, but he's doing a good job. He's got a great heart. His work ethic and obedience are really a help for me. 

We also got to welcome in Elder Harris's blue, (greenie), Elder Smith on Wednesday night! We considered the "take all the doors off the hinges" welcoming trick like we did for Elder Baldwin (it's okay, they're all back on now), but we decided to be nicer since he's a blue. He's a really sweet guy, has a really good heart. He seems to be adjusting to life pretty well out here. I was for sure struggling in his shoes! So I tried to give him some advice that would've helped me in his shoes. Good guy. 

Just so you all know, it's normal now in our mission with President Babin to stay 4 to 6 months per area, which is a relatively long time, with President Poznanski before, it was usually 3 to 4 months per area. So I figure an average number of areas is probably around 4 to 7, accounting for a number of exceptions. It's also normal to get two companions per area, so an average number of companions is around 8 to 12, according to Elder Baldwin. Right now I'm his ninth companion, and he's in his fifth "ville," or city. Oh yeah, Elder Baldwin makes great food! No I haven't made a lot for him yet. But I think I might try that jumbo pear breakfast cookie recipe soon, those sounded really good. Would you mind sending me a brownie recipe? I don't think I have one. :D Thanks Mom! 

Mom, you asked me about the normal day-to-day life out here.
Yes, since Elder Baldwin came we have done a lot more contacting (or "tracting," if you prefer), which means talking to people on the street, as well as lots more porting. It was interesting, when he came I wanted to just have appointments lined up for the whole day, not have time left for contacting and porting and stuff, but it's been cool to see the effects of being willing to just go out and talk to people. So a normal day might look like this:
  • 6:30 Get up, exercise, shower, eat, talk with other elders (mornings are pretty relaxed)
  • 8 Personal study
  • 9 Companionship study (all four of us start with a hymn, prayer, and 3 pages of the white handbook together, then we go to our companionships to study)
  • 10 Language study (as a greenie, this is another hour for the 12 week program, but as a trained missionary it's just a half-hour of language study)
  • 10:30 or 11 Go out and contact (I need to get out faster in the mornings)
  • 12 lunch for an hour
  • 1 contact or maybe go to a lesson
  • 3 or 4, maybe another lesson
  • We have a dinner appiontment fairly frequently, usually at least one or two at Michel's house a week, often another one with members too, those are usually at 6 or 7
  • If there is no dinner appointment, we go back to eat at 5
  • If we don't have an appointment at night, we go contact or go porting until we need to start heading home to be back at the apartment by 9
  • 9 PM return to apartment, plan for the next day
  • 9:30 deadline to be home if teaching a lesson; plan, eat, hang out with other elders, maybe play UNO for a while, talk, tell stories,
  • 10:30 bed
There are definitely rules I could follow better there and a lot of time is taken up by getting places here, but that's more or less the idea. 

Here are a couple little miracle stories we've seen from contacting:
  1. We talked to a really young family, just starting out, a husband, wife, and little baby in  a stroller, in the middle of town last week or the week before, and I felt guided, I think, to talk about families and how the gospel can help them. So I told them about that a little bit, and they said we could come over and teach them, and gave us their address right there, and we'd just barely met! Haha apparently it's not that unusual, but it was unforeseen for me, that's for sure! It's interesting, sometimes people you expect to just say "No," are actually quite willing to talk and listen. It's pretty cool. So on Friday, we went over to the families house and taught them a little about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon. Their names are Alexi and Geraldine, any prayers for them would be appreciated. They said they were going to come to church, but they didn't make it, but we're going to pass by their house another time this week. It was amazing to see the Lord can make that kind of stuff happen--when we talked to them, both of them said they weren't believing, but the wife almost wanted to hear something to help her understand the Savior and the gospel, because her family is religious as well. 
  2. We were on the metro yesterday, and Elder Baldwin noticed someone sitting next to us, while the rest of the area around us was empty. Now, keep in mind, I haven't done much "trajet contacting," which is contacting in buses or on metros, but Elder Baldwin and I have both felt to work on it, so when Elder Baldwin had noticed the man next to us, he motioned to him with his eyes, and I thought, "SHOOT!" Haha it takes a good bit of courage to talk to someone in the metro, because everyone just tends to daze off and more or less mentally go to sleep! But I was grateful for the chance. Turns out, Elder Baldwin had a prompting to talk to him, but then had me do it, because he'd already talked to someone on the metro, and so I asked the man what a certain word in the Book of Mormon meant, and then started a little conversation with him, then told him, because it's always necessary to make the switch, why I'm here and the message of the Church. Then I gave him a Book of Mormon and explained it a little bit, guided a little here and there by the Spirit. Elder Badlwin let me do most of it and helped a little at the end. So it was really cool, he gave us his addrses too and we actually have an appointment with him Friday! So there you go. 
  3. Yesterday, we had a really cool story: we were stopped by someone in an African store who gave us both orange juice and then talked to us about how he's Christian, too, and how he likes to take care of people who preach God's word. :D And that was actually right at a bit of a low moment for me, so how cool is the Lord's timing? He likes to send those little lifter-uppers, I've started to notice. Start lookiing for them, people, you can find them! :D
No, sadly I didn't see the solar eclipse, it was cloudly here so we didn't even notice! Bummer, right? 

Wow that's so cool that Gabe started running track! Woohoo Gabe! Set some records, bro! I bet you can do great at that! I'm sure you know Dad did track too but that's really cool that you're starting so young! I bet you could be really good at cross-country in high school as well! 

Actually, the weather has been really nice. There was even a blessed day of 70° and that was AWESOME! Actually, I feel blessed, it hasn't rained a ton, it's been pretty nice. It's usually cloudy for at least part of the day, but I'm pretty used to it now. There are some really pretty moments when the sun is out and you get to see the nice pretty sunsets sometimes. It's also pretty green here, even in December when I first came there was lots of green grass. 

Hey Mom, have you sent the package yet? If you haven't, would you maybe send a little bit of peanut butter? Haha we can still get it here but if it's not too much of a hassle. American peanut butter just sounds really good. :D Thanks! I'm really looking forward to it!

Way to serve Mom! I'm glad to hear that your life is doing well.  Love you all so much. I'm glad you can sit by Dad now! Be happy for that! I better go now, but I love you all so much, have a great week, and a GREAT HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HYRUM, GABE, and AUSTIN! Woohooo!!! AND BRIELLE!!!

Love you all! Till next time!

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015 -- Two more baptisms -- Woo hoo!

I love you so much my family! I'm sorry, this is going to be short, but I will give you as much as I can.  Mom, I know you've been really busy, and you too Dad, but thanks for taking the time to send me emails none the less! I love you tons. 

Yesterday, we had TWO BAPTISMS! It was super. It was Thibeault and Laïsse. Laisse is only eight years old, but she and her dad asked me last minute to baptize her, and for me, she counts even if she doesn't count as a convert! She was so white and pure, it was really a sight to see. I'm sorry, I don't have the pictures, because I forgot my camera, but I will next week. 

We continue to work with Michel and his family. We now have two recently-baptized people there in the family (the dad Michel and the daughter Laisse). Our goal is to get the mom there too. 

We have been doing more contacting and porting since I've been with Elder Baldwin. I think it is good, it is helping me do whatever the Lord asks me to do. 

I really appreciated all the emails this week, thanks so much everyone! 

I wish a happy birthday to Hyrum, Gabe, Austin, and when it happens, Brielle! I'm sending you guys a letter, too. :D

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

We're going to be doing a lot of contacting this week, probably, and continuing to improve at talking with people and boldness with people who could potentially take the lessons. What a great thing it is to be part of this work. Thanks a bunch for all the good examples and people cheering for me back home. Sorry for the people I didn't get to! 

Please don't worry about the package, it'll be great when you have the time! 

Loooooooovee you! 


Elder Edwards

PS transfers--Elder Harris will train, but me and Elder Badlwin will stay together. Elder Wells is going home. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015 - Adam's full letter

(From Becky: I'm not editing the letter, so here's the whole thing.) 

Hey Mom!!

Love ya! Love ya love ya love ya! So thanks a bunch for your letter, I liked it a lot! I'm glad that you're more adjusted to me being away now. I feel more adjusted, too. It helps me to limit how much I think about home. For the first little while out here it was more or less all I did, haha. But now I'm out and I can serve and it's good. I actually asked a blessing from Elder Baldwin and the Lord blessed me with comfort and the things I needed. He always finds a way to get us through somehow. 

This week, or maybe a week-and-a-half ago, I had the impression that it wasn't so important just right now to worry about how I serve the Lord's children--rather, it was more important that I go out and serve them, and that I do my best to do so. I was stressed sometimes, worrying about if we were doing enough contacting in the street, or if we needed to do more door-to-door, because I haven't done much of either yet, but in the blessing that Elder Baldwin gave me, the Lord let me know that it was more important just to go out and serve people, the members, the non-members, the investigators, even the people I don't know, than to worry about how exactly that is to be done. I like that. So lately, Elder Baldwin and I have been trying to do some good less-active work. For example, a couple weeks ago we stopped by the house of a man who was baptized for Christmas 2013 but who hasn't been coming for a while. He and his wife were really nice. It seems to make sense to me that sometimes, it's more effective to go to those people who know had a testimony at least at one time, rather than go door-to-door to find new people who may not know anyone in the Church. That's not to say we should never go door-to-door. I guess I'm just happy that the Lord hasn't needed me to do a lot of that as of yet, because we have lots of people to teach and lots of members and less-actives to visit and strengthen. I still need to be better with the little moments, the little opportunities to proselyte and share the gospel, like sitting on a bus or on a metro. 

Boy, you'd love this so much, Mom! It's so exciting! We have some really nice senior couples out here, and I just thought to myself, "I bet Mom will looooove being out on a mission with Dad!" Haha. Really though it's so great. I really hope that as I study the scriptures, looking for things my investigators and I need, or even my companions, that they really become a part of me, and that I make habits I keep every single day for the rest of my life, like reading from the Book of Mormon, or praying out loud.

Wow, it sounds like you and Dad have been really busy! I know, I'm glad we decided a long time ago to be 100 percent active, too. You're right, it's easier if you just choose to go to church every Sunday and you just do it. It's lots easier. Elder Baldwin has shared with me that he's most motivated to leave the apartment when he's sick, rather than less motivated, because he doesn't want to let it stop him. I want to take that page out of his book. I figure if a missionary can learn to leave the apartment and serve and work hard and be out there when the schedule says, that missionary will be a good missionary. I think that's a good lesson for life, too. If I can learn now to get out there and work hard, even if bad things happen, even if it's cold, even if I'd really rather not, I'll be that kind of employee when I get home, too, and that kind of student. If I can learn now not to procrastinate, to clean the apartment well, I'll be that much farther ahead when I get back. So I'm trying to take a little bit of advantage. :) I've also learned that when I write things down, the little bits of revelation I receive for my investigators when I pray, it's better, I have more of a plan, I think, than I would otherwise. Boy, and sometimes, you really need a plan! 

To share two little missionary stories from this week:
  1. I wasn't there in Priesthood meeting, but Elder Baldwin told me that there was an older brother who shared a little something this week. We'll call him Frère H. He has a granddaughter that comes to church pretty consistently, and a couple of his kids are members, but one or two of them aren't. The granddaughter who comes to church is the daughter of one of the non-member children. It's been our privilege to be able to go over to their house one time and teach them a little bit. I'm glad we were blessed with the opportunity! He was grateful that the missionnaries were able to help his family in missionary work. The members really have a lot of trust for us here, we need to do what we can to be worthy of it. We have another rendez-vous this week, we're praying the Spirit will be there and testify to them. I would love it if you could pray for them! 
  2. On Saturday, there was a HUGE baptism in the Charleroi 2 Ward, the other ward here in Charleroi. Boy it was sweet! Guess what happened? Just last transfer, about two months ago, an awesome member of the charleroi 2 Ward gave Elder Wells and Elder Harris a referral for an African family that lived in their boundaries who weren't members, but for sure believed in God. I think they were Christian. Anyway, there was this big family of six people, and just after a couple months since being introduced to the missionaries, ALL of them were baptized, all as a family! The only one who wasn't baptized was only a little baby girl, so she don't need it yet. :) What a blessing for their family! And Elder Wells will be going home just two weeks from Thursday, so to baptize a family like that here in Europe, especially to finish off his mission, is a huge blessing. And Elder Harris already got his first baptism! He was with me in the MTC, remember? It was my privilege to play the piano in the baptismal service. To my surprise, the Ward Mission Leader for their ward asked me if I could play any other music, such as classical, for a little interlude while the new members and baptizers got changed. So I said I'd play Handel's Messiah! In French, I believe it's spelled "Maessie d'Haendel." So I played Hallelujah Chorus on the piano for the little interlude song, it was lots of fun. :) I also got to play piano with the ward choir yesterday, it was a great chance to praise the Lord. No, I'm sorry, I didn't record those, but I have a song or two I can put on for ya Mom. 

I found this picture of the new convert family on Elder Harris' mom's Facebook page. Since it was a special experience for Adam too, I wanted to capture it for him. There are so many things I love about modern technology! 

Another pic I copied from her Facebook page. There's our exercising Adam in the back. Cute. 

Other than that, I'm excited for this week. We have lots of rendez-vous, which is exciting. It's different for Elder Baldwin, he's done largely contacting and door-to-door for a lot of his mission. It sounds like in some branches and wards, there just aren't that many members to help with the work, and I think that's what lots of missionaries are used to, so he's having some fun with it, too. It is a stress for him as well, though. But we're doing well. I feel like the spirit is working with us to mesh our wills together. Last ngiht, we did weekly planning, and with almost every single number we had for our goals, we were right in sync, which was amazing because before, we'd always be a little off from each other. 

This morning, in personal study, I got a pretty important bit of important revelation. In Europe, there's a big area goal for every single member in the Church to do three things:
  1. Bring a less-active or non-member friend or family member to church, get them back active if less active
  2. Find an ancestor's name to take to the temple
  3. Become spiritually and physically self-reliant
I felt that as missionaries, to give this inspired goal from the First Presidency some legitimacy, and to give the members some accountability, we need to visit the members and less-actives and get them going on this. Boy, yesterday someone in our stake presidency had a talk and talked about our vision for the Charleroi 1 Ward in 15 years. Imagine what a ward we could have--you could have back home too in Utah or in the United States--if every person in the Church brought a less-active or non-member friend or family member to Church. Put your missionaries to work, people! We are the horses--we pull the plough--but it's very difficult to do much "farm" work if you don't give us your fields! Your fields, meaning your friends and family members, your neighbors. I've heard of very hard-working elders in our mission who finished well, worked hard to the end, but only got one or two baptisms from the whole two years. I wonder how many baptisms we would get every year in the Church if the members and missionaries would work together, working in the fields of the members friends and family rather than trying to clear their own. I've heard that a couple of the missions in the Church encourage that now, working through less-actives more and door-to-door a little less. But please do not  take that to be for all the world, I've just felt that's true for me in my little corner right now--that things are easier when members help like that. :) But if talking on the street and door-to-door is what I have to do, I'll do it. I think the Lord is kind of getting me up to speed with my mindset and attitude with missionary work for my whole mission, so I'll keep you updated on that as He adjusts me there. 

I'm not really looking forward to when Elder Wells leaves. He's for sure one of the best missionaries I've known out here. His example has been pretty key to me starting out my mission. He says he wants to go visit you guys, so don't be surprised if a really big, muscly guy comes by Syracuse in a few weeks! He's from Salt Lake, so our families shouldn't be too far apart. 

Mom, in answers to your questions: 

Meet the Mormons was okay, it made me miss you guys, but it also got me super excited to do missinoary work when I watched it, because you see how the gospel helps people and you want to go make it happen. 
Yeah, we've been working with our investigators to try and go over to CHarleroi 2 activities, but they're really hesitant. I think they don't want to do anything that will push them to leave to the other ward. But President Babin, the bishop, and our ward mission leader have all said to just teach them and baptize them, that the ward boundaries aren't really our problem, so we're just kind of going forward. 
-Yeah, the little Samedi Sports thing is every Saturday! That started I think about a year ago, started out as a missionary tool, we can have investigators and youth and even some members come. Michel is always there with his kids. It's been kind of rough lately but normally we get from six to ten people, lately. It's enough to have fun. :)
-Yeah, Elder Badlwin is from a super awesome LDS family! His parents are both converts, so he's the first one out from his family! Lauren Baldwin or Lauren Malone Baldwin should be his mom's facebook address, go have a missionary mom party. :) 
-the navigation is much better, we try and plan together now so that we don't get lost so much. When I tried to take everything on myself, it was pretty brutal. But hey we're getting better! The Lord's helping us for sure. To some extent, you just kind of need to be here for a while before you know everything well. 
-No, that picture is of me and a member, Isaac. We've been trying to get him on a mission so we'll hope that goes through. :D
-Frère Cockx isn't an investigator, he's our ward mission leader. So yes, he is still interested :D he's one of the most fearless missionaries I know! 

Funny story: I don't know if I told you this yet, but everyone in the apartment has now been locked into the bathroom at least once. Haha! It's pretty funny if you're not on the toilet side of the door. :D 

Update [on Investigators]:
Marie-Thérèse, Laisse, and Thibault all have baptismal dates now! Yesterday, Frère Cockx totally threw a curveball at Thibeault, who is his friend, and said, Thibault, when do you want to get baptized? Two weeks? And Thibault was accepted! Woohoo! He's pretty ready we just hope we can get him ready that fast. 
The next thing we want to do with Michel is get him excited and ready for the temple, get him a calling, and get him his Patriarchal Blessing.

Also, with the music, could you please send me the "Trail of Dreams" song "come, Come, Ye Saints"? I think that'd be good to have. I love you so much! I'm really excited for the package!!! :D :D :D Will you tell me when you get your package? Also, just so you guys know, I think it might be more trustworthy to send it through UPS or something like that rather than just through the governments, we've had problems in our apartment with packages just not showing up. If you want, you can just send it to the mission home in Paris and they  can get it to me within a couple weeks, probably. That's probably the safest option. Haha thnak you SOOO much packages are the greatest!!

I will look for a picture of Marie-Thérèse and Thibeault on my camera here. Love you Mom! Have a great, gerat, great week! Thanks for the quotes and for supoprting me out here! I hope your day is great! Love you! till next week! 

I'm sorry, I don't think the camera and recorder are working with the computer, but I love you tons Mom! Have a great week!


DAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDd!!! How goes it my lad? Just kidding, I'm your lad. No but really I'm glad to hear life is still going well, it sounds like! Wow it sounds like you are really busy as Scoutmaster/ Deacon's Quorum Adviser. I bet Hyrum and Gabe are LOVING it!!! Haha good for them, I bet that's so fun! Wow that sounded like a crazy month with two Guard duties and a four-day trip to California! You're a trooper Dad! Hey I know you get behind in the sleep department! Haha maybe you can get a week just to read or be with Mom in heaven for every hour you lose to serve others! You'd deserve it, too! I know you probably wouldn't accept it, but God bless you, Dad! Sometimes being a parent is even more full-time than being a missionary, in that sense! 

WOW! WOOHOOOOO I am so excited for Tanner to get out there on his mission! Woohoohoohohohoooooo!!!! Yeaheah Baltimore, Maryland! That means he'll be joining Jayson Davis out there on the East Coast! Go Tan-Man! I imagine he's having fun finishing up with his last pre-mission year of track too! Tell him I'm proud of him! five days after he graduates! Whew that'll be hard! Don't tell him I said that. Good on him though! 

THanks so much for being willing to put that music stuff together, Dad! Actually, that's very simple. If music is already on the computer, you don't even need to open Window's Media Player. All you need to do is open up the file where the music is, and on the left of the window, there should be a little vertical bar with a lot of folders in the computer. Just click on the music and drag it over and drop it into the little folder for the USB. That's all it takes. It's super easy. --If it happens to be on a CD, and not on the computer, I believe you could just select the CD, in the little window, right click, then click "copy" and then paste it into the USB folder. If that doesn't work, you can simply rip the CD onto the computer and then it's as simple as the first little direction. But don't let that stress ya, Dad! I'm glad you guys liked the package! I've already worn the tie once, I have that same one! It's for you, I hope you got that, so we can wear it together! 

Thanks Dad! Would you please pay tithing on that tax return? Sorry to trouble you with that. Thanks for giving me such a good accounting of that, Dad! 

This week, we got to do several visits with members. One of them was really cool. She's this really nice sister from India, who has an autistic son, Grace would love them, and I thought I'd put that because I know Kaiden Cloward is in Bangaloer right now, so that's pretty cool. 

Is Grace doing all right? It seemed to me that she was troubled in the Skype call at Christmas. Is she doing okay now? 

That's sweet we got a couple of new member families across from the Gottwalds! Yes those were being built when I left. Wow it seems like the ward will be pretty different when I get back! 

Haha, that's funny that the little Skidmore baby was yelling a little bit. He's a vocal one, huh? :D I bet that made you smile a little bit. How is Stephen doing? Is he coming to church at least every once in a while? 

Love you so much, Dad! Sorry if I didn't say a whole lot this week. To give you al ittle more substance, the members are still taking great care of us. We actually had ward conference this week, the only one I'll ever get to see here in Charleroi 1, and there was this huge lunch, but apparentyl the ward was going to fast next Sunday and we didn't get that, so we were fasting, but the members quickly wrapped us up some sandwiches and waffles for after we broke our fast! One dear brother who's giong to have us over for dinner on Wednesday said, "We can't let the missionaries be hungry, that's not right!" Hahaha! Bless their hearts, the members are gold here! They really trust us so much, me and Elder Baldwin noticed that today and I'm going to try and be worthy of that trust, because that's a very delicate, precious thing! Working between members and missinoaries is as good as it gets in missionary work, so we want to keep that up for sure! 

I'm learning that it's important to plan ahead, to learn where we're going and how much time it'll take and things like that. I'm also learning that it's important to record the revelation I receive from day to day. That's really good. We have two baptismal dates now! Laisse, Michel's daughter, will be baptized soon, but she's 8, so she gets to start out in the Church like she was born in it, which is good. We're going to try and start working with Michel's wife to start praying and having a little faith. She's such a great lady. She made us these awesome tarts yesterday, they're like pies but with fruit and/or brown sugar, and MAN they were good! By the way when we have our trip to Europe, you, me, and Mom, they have some good good chocolate over here waiting for ya! But in the mean time I hopey ou all enjoy the chocolate I sent over, hopefully that was fun. :D

Did you guys get the little paper with the directions for who got what in the package? 

Love you so much Dad! Great week to ya!!

Love Elder Edwards