Elder Edwards

Elder Edwards

Monday, April 25, 2016

Arpil 25, 2016 - 6 months left -- strong w/ Lord -- giving the Lord my all









WOHHOO!! All right family, thank you Mom and Dad for your awesome
emails. Thank you for sending me those and for telling me about
everything going on at home. Yeah, it's pretty crazy that I am only 6
months away, huh? One thing I'm learning right now, here at the end of
my mission, is how to give my all to the Lord. In putting him as my
first priority now, while I'm still on my mission, it'll make it that
much easier when I get back, when I'll be dating and stuff, to keep
Him always at the #1 place in my life.

I am also working on not stressing.

For many months in my mission, actually since last Fall, I have sort
of been the leader of my companionship: I trained, and I had a
companion or two who struggled, and then since then, I've kind of been
leading here in Troyes because I'm a pretty firey person sometimes I
guess, Elder Kaonohi is super chill and he's a bit younger than me in
the mission, so he's just kind of been like, "You lead, man, go
ahead!" Haha. Not that I'm perfect or anything, there have definitely
been moments when my comps have led out. But for the most part, that's
how it's been. And it's been pretty heavy sometimes. :D So now I'm
realizing, with Elder K's help, how I can rethink this with the Lord
and my companion--for example, this is the Lord's work, I can leave
more of the burden or responsibility with him, it doesn't have to
weigh on my soul all the time, and sometimes I can take the backseat
and let my comp lead. So I'm working on this as well. Dad, do you have
any comments on that? I imagine you had that feeling sometimes too,
and I realized I kind of need to rethink the way I do things or I'll
be dead way before my call has expired, haha!! I need to work hard and
fight my own laziness, it's an inherent weakness in me and it's
something I always have to fight. But I'm looking forward to
continuing to work hard, to pick up speed even, for these last six
months. I want to meet the challenge.

I will now give you a little summary of this week. :)

We did exchanges with Compiegne Tuesday and met a cool JEWISH guy
which I LOVE I have ALWAYS wanted to have a Jewish investigator. He
even said they could come by!! And he was the leader of the Jewish
community at Compiegne! That was realy cool, we saw one or two more
miracles there. Was a really good time.


Wednesday, district meeting. We had a fun time, went to Paris as
usual, and we went to a little crepe/panini shop, and we were able to
see NOTRE DAME on the way back. WOOHOO behold the photos



Monday, April 18, 2016

A Bunch of Short Videos from Adam. The last one is his gorgeous piano playing!



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HEY FAMILY! :) Edwardicus in Troyes, Kaonohi, Ward is Doing Well




























Captions for pics above (got mixed up which captions go with which pics...) 


There was a random castle here once... Yeah. Hah We saw the ruins of

the walls and stuff it was stinking old. Stil the Eklu chill


The famous champagne vineyards of our region, "Champagne-Ardenne"
Don't worry we only drank a little ;D hahaha nah just kidding

A big pretty valley we got out to see


Hey by the way tell me if this is too much...hope I'm not overloading

your inboxes or brain with too much info or pictures you can tell me
if I am haha I won't be offended



Check it out! The big train station and mall in the middle of Paris,

Chatelet, just got finished within the last few weeks. Really bright
and golden and new. Pretty cool llooking, huh? We were there for
district meeting on Friday. Really cool place to see it's really big


WOW i must be setting records for me haha hope you guys like these

Don't know if I already showed you guys this one but it's funny. The
son of the Faria family (this was at Easter) says the chocolate he had
was disgusting in English, and then his Portuguese mother says in
french in her portoguese accent, "What's does that mean, asgoihfjdiso;klj?!" Hahaha it was so funny

Wow he's good, snuck this one of me while I was playing at a train
station Saturday waiting for a trian. We went to Meaux, in the far
east of the Parisian region, to do our finding day Saturday, by the
way. It was fun.


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HEY FAMILY! :) Edwardicus in Troyes, Kaonohi, Ward is Doing Well


Activities. 

Lots and lots of activities. 

This month, we've been challenged by the mission/zone (as I explained last time) to do more work and activities with the members, be it finding, teaching, or just fun activities. So for April, we're doing three missionary activities. It's pretty awesome. #swag  We already did one of them, the movie night on Friday went well! Normally, the other two we'd seen, we'd only had like a handful of people there, ten or less, but this time we had a good fifteen to twenty people there, that was really good!! :D So now all we need is just for amis to come because they were all members. We'll be ship-shape here in no time! 

The other two activities are coming up quick! This Saturday, we'll be doing a super cool "missionary day" with the members of the ward and the missionaries of our district, so we'll be uniting a whole lot of people in missionary work for several hours. Some will be making calls, some will be teaching, some will be going by their friends and less-active members, it'll be good. We're hoping to see a really good outpouring of the Spirit and to find several people who will be baptized that day. :) So we're just gearing up, getting ready for it. It'll be really powerful if we let it. 

Speaking about gearing up--I read a great chapter about missionary work yesterday in the train, and I would highly recommend it for all people who need motivation in missionary work. It is chapter 33 of President Brigham Young, "Teachings of the Presidents," and MAN it is good. So many profound quotes in there, couldn't recommend it highly enough. 

For example: 
"And when you are called to preach the Gospel on foreign missions, take a course to save every person. There is no man or woman within the pale of saving grace but that is worth saving. There is no intelligent being, except those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost, but that is worth, I may say, all the life [efforts] of an Elder to save in the Kingdom of God."
"...he who goes forth in the name of the Lord, trusting in him with all his heart, will never want for wisdom to answer any question that is asked him, or to give any counsel that may be required to lead the people in the way of life and salvation, and he will never be confounded worlds without end...
"Go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, full of the power of God, and full of faith to heal the sick even by the touch of your hand, rebuking and casting out foul spirits, and causing the poor among men to rejoice, and you will return bringing your sheaves with you [see Psalm 126:5–6]. Let your minds be centered on your missions and labor earnestly to bring souls to Christ."

Wow, just a few examples of that. Haha sorry Mom for all those times I got upset at you for sending me quotes. I understand now I guess why you do that. It's just so important for you that you want it to enlighten me too, and that's a good thing, so you just send me as many quotes and things as you want. I've really liked getting a few of those the past while thank you. :) 

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Now, what happened in general this week? Let me talk a bit about it. 

Had another failed attempt of playing an organ, went but the cathedral was closed for lunch. Haha this sucks!! I'm sick of getting turned down. Oh well, I'll try again. 

Elder Kaonohi has been having foot problems, he's actually had a spur on each foot here for the last WHILE, for many many months, so he just got some good-quality inserts, picked them up Tuesday, and was also able to see a therapist/doctor for the first time Thursday. That was really good. Learned some cool stuff about health--there's always a natural cause of diseases, and it's better to fix the basic health law that's been ignored than it is just to put a bandaid or external fix-it medication on. Confirmed what you guys always taught me, Mom and Dad, but it was good, confirmed that it was true. :) 

Boy, it's been nice, we've been fed a lot here in this ward. Elder Kaonohi said it rivals his last ward in Liege, in Belgium, but I'm just hoping we can get Troyes to blow Liege out of the water. (I like member work, it's a pride thing I guess. :) ) Plus mangez-vous or dinner appointments are great, who doesn't like them? Hahahaha. 

GOOD NEWS--I thought I'd gotten quite fat in the mission--won't hid that--especially my face. Haha. So we had interviews with President and Sister Babin on Friday, with district meeting, and I was talking to Sister Babin, she's so sweet, bless her heart, about how I wanted to lose weight. I was basically just like, "Well, yeah, I need to do this, but I already know how to do it, I just need to lose weight." And she was like, "Really? That's funny, you don't look very fat!" :D :D hahaha even though the "very" might seem funny, it was sincere, she meant I looked normal or skinny. That made me real happy. So just out of curiosity, the day after, I weighed myself and converted the kilograms into pounds, and turns out I have actually LOST WEIGHT on my mission, like 2 to 5 pounds HAHAHAHA :D I died it was so funny. Here I was thinking I was fat and I've actually LOST WEIGHT anyways. Haha I still have some work to do in this department but that was a good boost I guess. (BTW-on the same note there was a time in Charleroi or Nantes where I was pushing a good 20 pounds more than the start of my mission O.O that's not good!! Whew thankful I got over that!! ) I need to gain more muscle. And lose fat. Will do that. Anyways that's all for the health department thank you Mr. Lardwards

Ooo boy we got to teach Julia again, we taught her the Law of Chastity this time and it just went so well. That one's always kind of a scary one to teach because you don't know how you're going to come across, but thankfully the Lord helped it work out well, and Julia took it super well, she was just like, "Yeah, I already live by this, so like, no it's not a problem!" We were like WOOHOOO and WHEN were you getting BAPTIZED again?! No not really we didn't feel right about a date yet but we're feeling it coming real soon! She's been thinking about it a lot she says. But dang yeah there you go, she is living by the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, and prepared to pay her tithing when she's baptized. It is just an amazing amount of faith and I love seeing it, you just see these people change right in front of your eyes, almost, they change in between appointments a little sometimes and it's just amazing to see.  Been a couple weeks since she's been at church but I'm not worried, we'll get her there next week. She's doing really good. 

We were also able to take a couple trips up to the countryside of our area. We do not have a car, regrettably. Yeah it kind of sucks. But oh well. HOWEVER we have awesome members that drive us way up out of town to their cool country towns and houses, and that is really cool. #picturescomingfolks but yeah, one of them was Frere and Soeur Eklu, they were super cool, he gave us a little tour of his town while we were up there and Frere Eklu has taught with us a bit lately, he's a beast and we want to work with him more. We also took a huge country tour with Frere Serge, who is awesome. We were supposedly going to go do some contacting and stuff in parks around town, but it kind of just ended up being a big tour of the region so...yeah haha kind of P-Day got extended this week. I mean he took us on a several hour drive to see the outer regions of our ward, so what are you going to do, just ask for him to turn around and take you back home? Nah not worth breaking relations with one of the important guys in the ward. Plus we were so far out it would have just been a jerk move. So we were just chill and hung out with him for a few hours. Then had ward mission leader and ward council meeting, those went really well. We're getting our Tahitian Party planned out and the Rochette family offered to help us with that so it is great. We're hoping for a big turnout at that. 

One thing I've been thinking quite a lot about this week is just focusing on my mission. I often have found, throughout my mission, that little distractions or tendencies to be disobedient or have my heart set on other things, these things come up often, and every once in a while, you need to intentionally sort through them, or throw them away. Straightening up is a very necessary part of missionary lifestyle, when your focus gets amiss, you need to get it back on target or you're not nearly as effective and it just gets painful. Reminded me of a Brigham Young quote -- "As to trials, why bless your hearts, the man or woman who enjoys the spirit of our religion has no trials; but the man or woman who tries to live according to the Gospel of the Son of God, and at the same time clings to the spirit of the world, has trials and sorrows acute and keen, and that, too, continually." (Presidents of the Church, chapter 35, emphasis added) In other words, he who loves the Lord and his mission more than enough, more than anything, he will find great blessing in them, and he won't feel like he's giving a great sacrifice; he's just doing what he feels is right, and it is right! But the man who drags his heels, who won't give, that man will have great trials, because he's trying to balance two ideals, the godly and the worldly, which simply do not mix. So this week, I've had one of those moments, and it's been good to get a bit more back on focus. 

I tried to keep the Sabbath day more holy today by playing really good, holy music by MoTab and I felt better it made me happy. 

Today we had some great meetings at church, touching testimony from a youth, a fourteen year old young woman, who said she went to the temple for the first time recently (hadn't had the chance before!! It's crazy how temples are that far away here), and she just cried and talked about how much she appreciated it. Then the rest of sacrament meeting, a high councillor talked about the whole story of how the Paris temple came to be, and that was really interesting! They tried two other cities before they found Le Chenay, and the mayor there has been miraculously supportive which has been a big deal for us. Lots of opposition because so many people in France still see us so badly (e.g. polygamists, cult, whatever, thanks false TV reports you guys are awesome), but lots of people spoke out and meetings and supported it too which was cool. Also got to play piano for sacrament meeting again, that was fun! Loved it. 

Well, just to finish up, we feel we now have a better relationship and respect in the ward's eyes. The missionaries right before us didn't really do a whole lot of work and were just kind of "dead," as we say, didn't get a lot done, so we've been happy to see the change that a lot of members have had, and they really seem to like us, and a lot of them, most of them, even really respect and appreciate us, especially those on the ward council. They're liking how much good we're doing. Working in accordance with the ward and its goals is of greater importance than anyone or anything could say. It's important to stay yourself, though, you need to do this as people who laugh and joke and who have a fun time. But do things, too. Sometimes I'm too lazy, the Lord needs to kick me and wake me up so don't be afraid to do things. 

Okay, well that'll about cap up my week. Thanks guys, love you all my family and hope you are doing well. Hope Zia's bday was good, that Grace's prom went well, excited to talk to you soon. Love ya! Bye. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 10, 2016 - Hello dear beloved family! To infinity-- and to Troyes!










My week had nothing to do with the title, that was a complete misadvertisement.

Just kidding, it actually did. Let me tell you a little bit about this
transfer, which we have just started, this month, and this past
week... Shallll we?

Last Tuesday, we had a great time shipping up to St. Merri, the chapel
in the center of Paris, and we had a great zone meeting there.
Officially, we have no zone conference this transfer, which is lame,
but we still had district meeting and zone council--something to help
us kick off the new transfer and see friends  in the zone. It was
really fun and we talked about our game plan.

Got to see lots of people, such as Elder Malloy, Elder Engelbrecht
from the mediterranean (he's really young, third transfer and he just
loves me and Kaonohi because we're so cool haha no just kidding),
Elder Young my old comp who is still my zone leader (I don't think I'm
leaving this zone for a while), Elder Smith who I lived with in
Charleroi, Elder Harris's greenie now zone leader, the Nogent sisters
Woolley and Brown, Sister Nolasco from my group (started mission same
time as me), Elder Beach and his greenie he just got, etc. It's been a
lot of fun.

Anyway, but our game plan for this transfer is to do a BUNCH of member
involvement and to keep working hard (as that was last transfer's
focus, finding new investators), but just to work better. So basically
entails member work, continuing hard work, and activities with the
members. Allow me to go more into detail on the Troyes dream team
action going down to the east of Paris....

For us, we have a pretty hard time getting a lot of excitement going
in the ward. Our ward mission leader, bless his heart, has been very
very busy with school and work and so has his wife, so he has very
little time and hasn't put very much energy into helping us out with
our missionary cause as long as we've been here. So we're really
looking to pump them up. What did we do? Well, we have three
activities planned for this month, in the next three weeks. 


  • One: this Friday, we are doing a movie night at the church, watching a church film and bringing amis so we can make it fun. Should be a blast. 
  • Two: we're doing a four to five-hour day of missionary work with as many of the members as will come and all eight missionaries of our district (Elder Divis, Cisneros, Raffanomezana or Raffi for short, me, Kaonohi, Fonua who I met in Nantes we're good buddies, and Allen) and we will BOSS work. WHO yeah. It'll be awesome. The "finding day" as we call it is part of the zone wide transfer program. 
  • Then three: we're going to have a Tahitian/Hawaiian Party at the church in a few weeks, with food and music and the haka and everything. It'll be legit. What's even cooler is that the bishop has backed us up with this, normally he has a harder time accepting activities that are less than a month in advance, but I think he likes us so he's being more forgiving here.
Grateful for the Lord who does all these things, makes 'em happen.
Voila our plan for the ward. We're also going to be working with them
a lot in general throughout these next five weeks just to get them to
teach with us and do their own missionary work. Had a member today ask
us to sign and give her a Book of MOrmon for a friend, hope that went
well! We wished them good luck. That's a really good missionary idea,
members giving BoMs to their friends with the missionaries' contact
info inside.

This week, we've basically been trying to teach and visit people and
we sort of just had a lot more chill time than usual. Been kind of
weird. I had a hard day where I just couldn't get myself to contact
somebody Friday, and I've been trying to wake up from that since. Haha
but it'll be okay. Oh yeah, I finally got my haircut. Paid 21.50, the
lady thought we were really cool and said we spoke really good French
for just 18 months out, and then a day or two later saw a place that
only asked for 10....ouch...

We cleaned the church with Jean Michel, we're often teaching somebody
with him or just around him. We also visited Denise, our Ivory Coast
investigator, with Sister Traore, ANOTHER Ivory Coast sister. Boom.
Too much African for Satan to handle. Those people have so much faith!
Oh yeah. She was supposed to go to Versailles to see a baptism and
church today but she wasn't able to she was sick...no... Hoping she
will make more efforts to go to church. Also missed a train after that
so just kind of chilled and talked for a couple hours. Romilly sur
Seine--great place, there should be missionaries there and a branch
too. They could, there are enough members, we really think they should
put a branch there.

We also visited with Frere Verrier a bit and that was very cool,
insightful. He has a very strong testimony of the church even though
he never or rarely comes Sunday. But we're still trying to love him
and help him see he has to come. :) He told me some good advice about
not wanting leadership, etc. on the mission, and expressed
appreciation for what we do as missionaries. It was a sweet moment,
tender mercy from the Lord. :)

Also had good ward meetings that night.

Friday we were privileged to have the Vandiver senior couple pass by
to check our apartment, and apparently we keep it in pretty good
shape! :) :) That was pretty good to hear, considering I've been
chastized before for bad apartment upkeep... Haha the only thing they
said was clean the bathtub area. So we were like shoots we're down.
They also brought us a lot of chicken to cook up (meat man it's
awesome) and this massive two pound box of strawberries (HECK YEAH
BABY). It's pretty good, not going to lie. They're so nice.

We got to stop by the Amantchi family. They;re really cool, liked
sharing a message with and hanging out with them. Oh also earlier in
the week we did some service and visited the Largeron family. Ate with
them and they took us to go shopping after too.

ALSO we had this HUGE tender mercy and miracle Friday. We went early
in the morning during study time to go to the UPS building outside of
town--decent bus ride out--and turns out the guy who runs that place
is a MORMON. Holy cow!! We're like No way dude! Also the timing on
this was impeccable, Heavenly Father orchestrated this incredibly
well, because we arrived five minutes after they were actually
supposed to close for a good five hours until the afternoon, and the
nice lady, just walking out, let us in, left us with her bus, and,
well, her boss was like, "The missionaries." And we were  like,
"Hey...do we know you?" Haha this happens a lot. The lady had walked
out by now. He was like, yeah, I'm actually an old member, it's been
ten years since I've been back to church but I had a lot of good
experiences there. 


And we're like TRIP cool man sounds good! He talked
to us some about what he experienced in the church, baptized a while
ago and stayed active and strong for seven years, working like a boss
with the missionaries all the time, loved them. This is like a 35 year
old guy by the way. Come to find out he's made some changes in his
lifestyle that aren't super okay by the Church, he lives with a man
and stuff, hasn't necessarily been keeping the Word of Wisdom super
well. Well you know we just had a bit of a feeling of love for him and
I want to tell you all, everyone, anyone to whom this applies, if
you've broken commandments and strayed, the way is there for you man!
You can come back. Don't hesitate. Don't wait. Don't let other
members' sour or even hurtful attitudes keep you from rushing back to
the Savior's arms. He is standing there, waiting for you. And "His arm
is stretched out still." Don't wait another second, man. He's waiting.

Saturday we did boss work contacting on the street in Auxerre, the
smallest town in our district. Whew people were JERKS there DAAANNGGG
we got some pretty curt responses from people. Nothing like crazy, no
swearing or anything but wow there were some pretty rude people. Hey
it's all good though we're used to it. We still had a really good
lunch and a couple tender mercy nice people contacts, and a member
even sewed up Elder Kaonohi's pants because they were ripped pretty
bad. Haha he had to stand in another room guarded by me and like four
elders so the old sisters sewing it wouldn't walk by and see him in
his underwear hahaha. It was funny. Anyways, that went well, I got to
chill with my good man Elder Divis from Modesto California, he was my
Paris Lilas Zone Leader last transfer and now he's my Compiegne
district leader so I know him already. Anyways we talked some and I
got some good advice on just staying strong, working hard, staying
motivated until the end of my mission. That was really good, good
little talk there. Then we went to the church, upon our return to
Troyes, and made two of the three flyers for the three activities this
month, and printed them out (we now have all three posted on the
church bulletin board and gave little flyers out to members today with
all the info on them they need, hopefully that'll help boost
participation). We then went to the Faria's house--you know, the crazy
Portuguese family who are just totally my favorite. They're so funny.
They crack me up. They also feed me which is nice. :D Kidding. Had
some pretty good jokes with their son Benjamin and it was fun. HOLY
COW their dad, Frere Faria, in his fifties or sixties, has really
really dry jokes--Kogan if you read this like you but more dry and in
a different language so harder to understand--and man I just started
understanding all of his jokes all of a sudden last night (whew
language barrier makes humor comprehension hard) and I was like WHOA I
UNDERSTAND YOU ARE FUNNY and then I was like BUT SOME OF THESE JOKES
AREN'T FUNNY SORRY. Haha hey no I'm kidding, he's awesome, he's funny.
Anyways that was our Saturday.

Sunday we had a great day today. I'm writing you Sunday night
actually. Seeing if that lets me write you more and send you more
pictures and videos. I hope so. Some of these videos especially were
overdue. We had a great church meeting this morning, gave out those
flyers to everyone, and met a couple members, and we had a couple
people there so that was good. Didier and Laeticia came, they are rock
amis when it comes to church attendance. Hopefully we'll be able to
see them both soon.

Afterwards, we got this cool random invitation to go to our DMP
BERNARDI's HOUSE and we were like HECK YEAH WE WILL and we did! HOOO
man it was awesome. We ate. And we ate. And we ate some more. Plus it
was really good and on the spot and all made within an hour. Pretty
good stuff. Frere Bernardi is French, in his forties or so, and his
wife is from the La Reunion islands way east of Madagascar in the
Indian Ocean. Yeah. Cool huh? They're the video I sent you, that's in
their house today. Anyway had a great time, chatted and saw their
house and chilled with them, was really good important bonding time
with our ward mission leader and his family, and then we took a nice
relaxing Sunday afternoon/evening walk with them. It was really cool.
We can't do that every day, not even often but it was good, it felt
relaxing, reminded me of the importance of family, reminded me of our
Sunday walks, you guys, and I felt their love and yours.

That finished up the week for us.

One thought I had today--if you're here to serve your mission, (and
remember every member is a missionary), why be hesitant about
missionary work? Why avoid talking to people about Christ and the
gospel? That's what it's all about. So I need to not hesitate to go
out on the street or in the houses and apartment buidlings and tell
them what they need to hear. The Lord is with us. I love you guys.
Hope this email finds you all happy, healthy, and well. God bless you
and be with you.

Study conference! Apply those principles to your life. Amazing things will change and happen. 

Love you family and friends!!

You should all shoot me an email because let's be serious, you didn't
just read all that. :) Plus "you got a friend in me." It's true. Toy
story man. K just email me now please. :) Love you family!

Bye!!

Elder Edwards