Why Serve a mission?

When I was 15 years old I listened to the mother of a close friend talk about serving a mission. For the first time I remember really wanting to serve a mission when I turned 21. I just had to hear hundreds of missionaries sing "Called to Serve" in the MTC! Time went on, and I prepared for the different eventualities of life. When the age sister missionaries could serve dropped to 19, I was super stoked! I was 19, almost 20! I could go early! Well, it turned out that wasn't the time for me. November of 2013, I felt strongly like I should reconsider the mission idea. I did, and the pieces of the puzzle fell into place :) This is all really nice, but it's not really the WHY, it's more of the HOW.

So WHY am I choosing to dedicate 18 months of my life away from my family, friends, school, and a closet full of clothes to talk to people in Missouri? Well, 33 years ago, 2 male missionaries started talking to my dear sweet Momma. The message they shared with her changed the course of her existence, and our family. I'm so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and the knowledge I have of who He is, and what His plan for His children is. I can't help feeling like if I choose not to share this message with others that I'll be ungrateful for the amazing gift that I've been given. I've also been blessed with some talents that I'd like to give back to the Lord. As much as I love my family and the other things listed above, I love my Heavenly Father and Savior more. They have called, so I'm answering.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sept 21, 2015 Sister Blonde

Hello Everyone!

I hope this letter finds you happy and well. Things are going pretty well in Columbia! This past week I was in Mexico, Columbia, and St Louis! (all in Missouri of course ;) I was in Mexico for an exchange, Columbia (because that's where I'm serving now), and St Louis for a mission conference! These town names still kill me. It's awesome :)

So I can't think of any particular funny story from this past week, but a few weeks ago I was in the car with these little kids, and one of them kept calling me "Sister Blonde". It was adorable! I love children! They're the best!

So the highlight experience of this week was definitely going to St Louis for Mission Conference! Elder C Scott Grow of the 1st quorum of the 70 came for a mission tour. Thursday morning we had a meeting with him with the mission leaders, and then we stayed with some other STLs and helped them work their area. On Friday, the other half of the mission had a conference with him. Boy was it powerfully refining! His wife got up and told us "You're all beautiful missionaries, and wonderful people, but you're not working hard enough." Talk about boldness! It was exactly the call to repentance that we needed. I cried pretty hard, but then was able to recommit to trying harder. I was able to feel the relief that comes from repentance, and trying to constantly improve, and not settling for "good enough". I know that if we want to be ready for when the Savior comes again, we are all going to have to work harder, and with greater unity. It was so exciting to see the potential our mission has as we stay close to the spirit and try harder each day to be better.

One of the things that Elder Grow shared with us, was how to have more powerful studies. He talked about how (the spirit)+(the word of God)=Spiritual Power! He suggested that we study by topic, and ponder more of the things that we read. It was awesome! I wish I could've put you all in my pocket so you could've been there to see it. It was amazing to feel of God's love through the correction process. We were corrected by God, not because we're not good enough, but because God loves us and wants us to become even better! It opened my eyes for my need to constantly strive to improve. Correction is a way we can know that God loves us and cares about us. He wants us to stay close to Him!

Saturday night we had a really neat experience. We were 10 minutes late to an appointment, and just as we got out of our car, a man pulled up on a scooter. We started talking to him, and at first he wasn't interested. I pulled out a Book of Mormon to give to him, and he just lit up. He opened up to us and told us that as he was driving home that night, he had prayed and asked God to let him know what he wanted him to do. He asked him to show him a sign, and within minutes, there we were on his doorstep. It was amazing. What really touched me was that it wasn't until he had the Book of Mormon in his hands that his heart softened enough to want to meet with us. We saw him yesterday and he had already read and found answers to prayers. Wow! I'm looking forward to meeting with him again this week.

Life is so great! I love being a missionary! I love this work! I am learning so much, growing so much, and learning to love the Lord! He is my rock. He is my source of peace. Keep looking to Him and being your great examples of service and progress with God by your side. Have a great week!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Sept 14th, 2015 transferred, SLT, Columbia

Hello Everyone!

This letter is coming to you from Columbia, Missouri! I'm now in my 4th area. I've served in Paris, Champaign, St Louis, and now Columbia! I'm quite the world traveler ;)

Wednesday was transfers! After transfer meeting, we went to lunch with a member. I was walking back to the car that brought us there, and I opened the back door to grab my stuff and transfer to another car, but I couldn't see my stuff! I looked up, and saw this cute black girl sitting in the front seat, staring at me, and then I realized it was the wrong car! Whoops! It was too funny! The girl and I both laughed it off thankfully. Oh the awkward moments just roll forth!

This was one super duper week! Talk about a week of miracles :) Being an STL is super great and a wonderful opportunity to increase my faith, work hard, and learn to be more willing to sacrifice. I love it! I love my companion. She's so stinking cute. I'm learning so much from her about being bold and faithful. It's awesome!

On Friday night we decided to go to a smaller town in our area that hasn't been worked sure hard. We tried contacting some people, but nothing super spectacular happened. We were heading to visit a member, when Sister Sperry stopped for us to contact someone else. She wasn't interested, so we decided to go tracting. We ended up meeting this AWESOME asian family who are refugees from Southern Asia. Their story is amazing. They told us that they knew they could tell us about their lives because they could tell we're their sisters in Christ. It was great. We're looking forward to teaching them some more :)

Another neat finding experience happened on Saturday. We decided to try another area that has been worked less, and we ended up talking to someone who's met with missionaries before. We asked if he knew anyone who needed help with anything, and he referred us to his neighbor across the street. We started talking to her, and she has an amazing story too. She just had her work schedule change, and has Sundays off and wants to get back into things. Super great!

There were so many instances of us being in the right place at the right time. What was amazing to me, was for us to be in the right place at the right time, some of our plans had to fall through. I think that's so true for life! We have things that WE think we should be doing (good things!) but God needs us to do something else in that moment, so things happen differently than we expect so what God needs can happen, instead of what WE thought we needed.

God answers our prayers! Not always in the way we're expecting, but He does. He wants to bless us with so many things! He wants to pour out His spirit on us. We are the ones who need to ask and seek. He lives, He love us! This is His work! It's such a privileged to represent Him and help His children full time. I love this work! Thanks for all of your support. Keep being strong and helping others along your way :)

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Sept 7th, 2015 So many miracles

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a lovely Labor Day! We sure did. Sorry for the day late email, our library was closed yesterday. It all works out!

So this week was FULL of me being awkward. We were talking with this Bosnian family (for those of you who don't know, St Louis has the greatest population of Bosnians outside of Bosnia. Just a fun fact) and we prayed with them and were headed on our way. One of them extended his arms to me to give me a hug and I panicked! I said, "Sorry, I can only hug you" and he looked at me and was like, "Okay, then give me a hug" and then I realized what I said and I was like, "Oh no, I mean I can only shake your hand!" It was pretty hilarious and embarrassing.

Another funny moment from this past week was another prayer! So the lady we just started teaching is learning to pray and it is seriously the best thing ever to hear her pray! The 2nd time she ever prayed out loud she said, "Hey Heavenly Father.....(her prayer)... alright, talk to you later. Bye!" It was so great! I seriously love her. She's learning so much and growing so much! AH!! I love being a missionary!

This week we saw SOO MANY MIRACLES! Yeah for miracles! So we were running late one day because we started teaching this young mom, and it took longer than we expected, and we missed our bus. Then we had cleaning checks, and then because we were low on miles we had to walk 1.5 miles to the appointment. We showed up, and we were like 1.5 hours late! Even if we're running late, we've decided to still try to talk to everyone. So we got to the apartment building, and there was this lady, we'll call her Reese, sitting in the front. We did our little shpeal and she seemed mildly interested, but mostly consumed in her thoughts. Well, as we were talking, the girl we had come to see, CAME DOWNSTAIRS and so we got to talk to BOTH of them! It was so great! When we were leaving, "Reese" said, "I feel so much better now! Ya'll really helped me." It was great. She was supposed to come to church, but didn't make it. When we went back on Sunday to see her like we had scheduled, she said, "Today was the worst Sunday ever, and I know it's because I didn't come to church!" We had a great lesson with her. Our ward had a picnic yesterday and she came with her boyfriend, and her step sister and her 2 kids. It was so great! Her Step sister just moved here and is looking for a church too! AHH!! Miracles! God is so cool!

Another neat thing that happened this week was the friend of a less active in our ward gave us a couch! It's awesome! We had a member come and help us move it into our apartment. Well, the next day we were planning on helping another less active family move. We only had like 1 hour, and we just picked the time that would work with our schedule. When we got there, it was the perfect time and they had THREE couches that they had to move. Because we had just moved our couch the day before, we knew what to do, and the situation was WAY less stressful than it could have been. It was so neat to see how God gives us experiences so we can bless others. Our lives truly are not our own. We are here to help one another and that's part of the reason we go through the things that we do.

I love being a missionary! I am so sad to be leaving St Louis. My "baby" Sister Bishop will be training! I'm so excited for her! I will be going to Columbia, Missouri, and I'm going to be a Sister Training Leader. I feel so under qualified, but I know that I'm going to meet more people that I will love and who will continue to change me. Alright everyone, let's get out there and go to work! Have a super week!

Lots of love,
Sister Edgel

August 31, 2015 crazy trainer

Hello Everyone!

I hope you've had a good week. We've had yet another week of miracles and learning! I never cease to be amazed with how gracious God is in answering our prayers in such unexpected ways! He's awesome!

So the funniest moment of the week would have to be on Wednesday. We decided to try and catch a bus we've never caught before. Well, we had to walk about a mile to get to the bus, and we only had about 10 minutes.... We decided to try anyways. We were speed walking up and down these hills, and Sister Bishop was like, "Sister Edgel, this physically isn't possible! The fastest man in the world can't even sprint to the stop fast enough for us to make it!" and I was thinking, "Yeah, but He wasn't a missionary!" So we walked up the hills, and then the final hill, I had us run down. I should back behind me, "You can tell stories later about your crazy trainer!" I was just praying so hard that our sprint hadn't been in vain and that we'd catch that bus. I was praying it had somehow been delayed long enough for us to catch it. 1 minute after we arrived, LO AND BEHOLD there it came over the hill! It was a valuable lesson about faith, and the importance of ACTING on our faith and giving God the opportunity to provide a miracle. It was neat :)

On Tuesday morning, I felt inspired to give myself and Sister Bishop a little pep talk about miracles and how we have no idea what's around the corner, and we have to have faith that God will provide. Well, we had just got back from our district meeting when we got a call from a senior sister Missionary telling us she had a referral for us! This lady, we'll call her Kelly, is so stinking awesome! She just moved here from San Francisco, and has read a lot and really wants to become a member of our church! When we went by to see her, she told us she had been listening to "sessions" to fall asleep, and we realized she meant GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSIONS! She's so stinking adorable I love her so much already. She was the referral we've been praying for for the past few months.

Okay you have to understand a few things to really appreciate this story: We've been working so hard the past 2 transfers and haven't been seeing a whole ton of progress. We fasted over a month ago to be able to set a baptismal date with someone and "nothing happened" on our side. What we didn't know, was that was during the time Kelly was moving to St Louis. I've been praying all transfer for referrals, and none came. None. Zero. I prayed for over months. None came. But while none were coming, I kept feeling like Heavenly Father was saying, "Hold on and keep praying! Something really good is coming!" and boy was He right! I would go months with no referrals for one as awesome as Kelly!

I had a really neat experience this week. Like I said last week, we've been facing a lot of opposition lately about Joseph Smith. During the heat of it, I just wanted it to stop! I just wanted to move into a cave and for people to leave us along. Well, that's not really what I wanted, so I persevered. This week while reading Section 135 of the Doctrine and Covenants, my testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet was so strengthened! All of this opposition made me realize WHY that matters! WHY I NEEDED to know if He was or not. My understanding of God depended on it. It's so beautiful that Joseph saw God the Father AND Jesus Christ. It changes the relationship I can have with God. I am so grateful for the times my testimony was challenged because it has made me so much stronger. So if you're going through something that is challenging your testimony, thank God for it, and learn what you need to learn and keep growing! Growth is painful, but it's so great! I was satisfied with my testimony, but God wasn't. He wants us to grown. He wants us to develop. He LOVES US!

I love you all. I wish I could tell you all of the miracles we've seen, all of the prayers answered, and all of the good. Unfortunately I can't right now. I pray that you're seeing those things in your lives too. God is our Father! He loves us so much! You can do the hard things you're doing. Keep spreading goodness! We're changing the world one smile at a time :) Have a super day!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

August 24, 2015 Hives

Hello Everyone!

I hope this letter finds you happy and safe and doing well. Life is good here in St Louis. We had some interesting things happen this week, but through it all God has come out on top, so what else matters?

Alright, who's ready for another awkward prayer story?! My life is full of those. We were out walking and talking to people and I decided to start eating an apple I had brought with me. I was only a few bites in when we decided to knock on a door we were passing. Well, we ended up talking with the Mom and at the end we asked if we could say the prayer. She wanted to hold hands, so I held her hand with my good hand, and I had the apple in my other hand and held Sister Bishop's hand with my pinky (I didn't totally want to leave her hanging!) The whole time I was silently praying I would chuckle. The moral of the story is apples and prayers don't mix!

So this week I had a fun adventure with HIVES! Yeah! Thank goodness for modern medicine, oatmeal baths, and priesthood blessings. I am on the up and up! The worst night was the night after I got them. I was so stinking itchy and miserable, but the whole time the words "Watch with me" from Matthew 26:38 kept coming to my mind. The Savior invited his apostles to watch with him while he suffered for us. This was my opportunity to watch with the Savior, and remember how many people there are in the world suffering. There are so many types of suffering: spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, etc. We have the opportunity each day to watch for those people and help them with their suffering. Each day I offer people spiritual balm to calm their "spiritual hives". Sometimes I forget how blessed I am.

At this point, you may be wondering why I titled this email belly flops. Well, I will now get to that! No we didn't go swimming, but this week I felt like I did a spiritual belly flop. Some weeks things work out great, and some weeks I belly flop! The good news is, because of Jesus Christ, our belly flops can become back flips. We can keep trying! So if any of you are feeling like a belly flop pro more than the back flip master you're trying to become, remember that it can get better with the Savior's help! Life is great! There are so many miracles that we just need the right eyes to see. Be grateful we get the chance to swim! God is so aware of our lives! He loves us so much! He already has put in place the things that will help us with the trials that we'll face in the coming weeks.

We had a really neat lesson this week with an investigator who has struggled with praying and viewing God as a loving Heavenly Father. We brought a recent convert young woman with us and we were able to talk with him about what the Atonement really means for us. Sometimes we understand the atonement in our mind, but our heart fails to comprehend it's deeper meaning. It means we can keep trying. It means that God loves us far more than we comprehend! It means that we can overcome whatever challenges we face through Jesus Christ! It means we can be happy even when we're itchy :)

I love you all! I hope all is well. Keep on being the amazing people that you are! Don't forget you are not alone. Don't forget your dark nights can become beautiful mornings. Christ is our best friend! Let's watch with Him as much as we can and reach out to those we are suffering more than we are. Have a great week!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Monday, August 17, 2015

We are being led

Hello Everyone!

I hope this past week treated you pretty well. If not, I hope you have some super intense battle wounds to prove it ;) I accidentally tripped while running on Wednesday, so I have a few battle wounds of my own. Who knew what a pain scraped knees could be? So glad I'm in a ward with lots of doctors and nurses! haha

So lately I've been saying so many awkward things! I have this problem where I can't always understand what people are trying to say, so I answer them to the best of my ability, and it turns out I was totally off. Here are a few examples: Guy on bus-"I love to ski". Me-"I"m from Las Vegas" (I thought he said he loved Mesquite, like Mesquite, Nevada... nope!). Lady on street- "How are you?" Me-"I'm 22"..... Let the good times roll!

This week was pretty interesting. We had a few rough experiences, followed by really awesome ones! For example, Monday night we felt like we should go to this complex to talk to people. We started talking to this lady who just went off about Brigham Young (and had NO idea what she was even saying). We decided to just walk away. We were getting into our car when this man says, "Tough job Sisters, but someone's got to do it". We found out he was a less active member who just moved back into the ward. He asked us why we came there, and we didn't really have an explanation for him. He realized that we were sent there for him. It was really neat. Where would we be without the guidance of the spirit?!

On Tuesday, we were leaving our meeting and were walking with the Zone Leaders and the Assistants (pretty high up missionary leaders) and this man started asking us questions. At first we thought he was sincere, but he was just trying to prove us wrong and Bible bash. It was so stinking annoying! He challenged the Elders in the area to come to his church (he was a pastor with his wife) the next day for their Bible study. It made me so sad because we're not here to argue. We're here to invite people to come until Christ. Christ wouldn't argue. Well, I was kinda shaken up, but the Lord truly answered my prayers and helped us have some pretty amazing lessons. Before the lessons I was just praying and telling Heavenly Father I was shaken up, and He pretty much just took over! I love when He does that.

We had a really neat lesson with an investigator on Friday. We've met with this investigator a few times, and he usually argues and asks loaded questions, but when we went to see him something was different. Before the lesson we had decided to take a step back and just talk about Heavenly Father, and it was exactly what He needed. He doesn't have a strong faith in God as his loving Heavenly Father. It was amazing how strong the spirit was. We found out after that he had received some rough news 15 minutes before we arrived. He said he knew we were sent there by God. Wow. What a blessing to be a blessing in the life of someone else.

For the past 2 transfers we've been praying for referrals, and we haven't really been seeing the fruits from them. We've done our part and we ask almost everyone for them, but it still wasn't panning out until this week! We received so many from the people we talked to. It was amazing to see that just when we got to the point when we were contemplating the effectiveness of asking so many people for them, the Lord blessed us to know that we were doing what's right. It doesn't always happen when you want it, but it does happen! Keep doing the good things God has asked you to do, and you WILL see the blessings.

I love you all! Keep looking for the miracles in your lives. Keep spreading goodness with all you meet!

Lots of love,
Sister Edgel

Monday, August 3, 2015

The worlds largest spider

Hello Everyone!

Today is a beautiful day! I hope you would agree :) Things are going pretty well here in Webster. The heat is really not that bad (Vegas has really conditioned me I guess!) The work rolls forward! It's great!

So this week we were helping a single Mom in our ward clean and organize her house. All of a sudden Sister Bishop stops dead in her tracks and says, "It's real. The spider [the 5 year old girl] was talking about earlier is real!" We all stopped what we were doing, and sure enough, there is a HUGE spider, about 3 inches wide hiding behind this box. Me being the brave one, I grab the broom, and after mustering all my courage, I start beating the spider and hard and as quickly as I can! To our dismay, the spider escaped to under the bench. Deciding the broom wasn't enough, we go grab the vacuum and try vacuuming the spider. The spider wasn't going to have it! It fought back and refused to go into the hose. That's when we discovered it was actually a plastic spider.... and we all had thought it was real. hahaha

This week we met a lot of really neat people! We met a few women tracting who actually let us in to talk with them and asked us questions. They weren't ready to accept any commitments and change their lives, but it was neat to see how we were lead to different places at the right times.

One of my miracles of the week was getting better from a cold quickly. I got this little cold on Tuesday. Without thinking much about it, we planned a day of walking outside for like 5 hours for the next day. Holy toledo that was a bad idea. I could hardly think straight after and walk. I was exhausted! I decided to ask for a blessing. I don't really want to share all that happened, but after the blessing, I felt much better. The exhaustion left and in it's place was a determination to keep working. It didn't even slow our work for the week. What a wonderful blessing!

So last Monday we got a call from our Bishop telling us that a recent convert in the ward's husband wanted to start taking the lessons! We were super excited. We went by to talk to him, and he wants to start having meetings! He's been coming to church for a while now. We asked him why he did, and he said, "It just feels good. It feels better." It's amazing to see the difference that living the gospel makes in our lives even when we don't understand it completely.

We had another cool experience with a different recent convert family. The Mom and son joined, but the Dad has still not really opened up to missionaries. We've slowly been working on him though. This past week, we invited some members to come and talk about family history with them. The son was given the job to talk to his Dad and find out what he could. On Sunday, the son came up to us and told us that when he 1st got the assignment, he was apprehensive. He thought he'd have to break his Dad's video game to get him to help. To his surprise, his Dad had been willing to help. Even better, when his Mom hadn't been able to go to church that day because she was sick, her husband gave her a lecture and told her she should go! So cool! It's amazing to see the spirit work on people :)

The church is true! God loves us, even in our weakness. His strength is the true source of our strength. Keep on pushing forward with faith! You're awesome! You are loved!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel