(From Becky: I'm not editing the letter, so here's the whole thing.)
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 everyand 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:
- 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!
- , 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 , 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:
- Bring a less-active or non-member friend or family member to church, get them back active if less active
- Find an ancestor's name to take to the temple
- 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! 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 fastand 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 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