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.

Monday, December 22, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Hello Everyone!

This week flew by! We were able to witness so many miracles. It was awesome. It never ceases to amaze me how aware the Lord is of His missionaries.

Funny Moment: Last night when we were tracting and this little boy said to us, "You know it's late, so you should probably go home and go to bed." It was pretty hilarious! Kids are just so honest. We laughed about it and thought, "Is it really that obvious how tired we are?" haha For the record, we didn't go home and go to bed. We kept tracting :p

Tender Mercy time! For the past few weeks I've been looking for a cheap pair of mittens to try out since gloves don't do much for my pour circulation. Well guess what? We found a pair for 53 cents at the thrift store we do service at. Yahoo! They were just for me :) Now I have mittens! Mittens are the best. Also, they're mittens!

Another tender mercy from this past week was I got to spend most of a day in Springfield with my STL and trainer Sister Barret! My companion Sister Martinez went to the temple, so I was in Springfield with the STL's and another sister whose companion was at the temple. It was EXACTLY what I needed. The Lord is so great! He answers my prayers, even if it is in different ways then I was expecting.

Our ward is so great! Yesterday a sister gave us a whole box of food and groceries. Another sister gave us fresh pears! Best thing ever! We're just so taken care of. The Lord is so good!

We added some more religions to our long list of people we've talked to . We talked to a Buddhist family, along with a Muslim lady this past week. Super cool! Champaign has a surprising amount of diversity.

Friday was such a day of miracles! An RM sister from our ward came to a lesson with us. So great! I love learning from other missionaries. Afterward, we went to see someone we had tracted into and given a "He is the Gift card". We asked her if she had watched the video yet, but she hadn't. Without really thinking, I blurted out asking her if we could come in and watch it with her. We didn't think she would let us, but she did! It turned out her first grandson had just passed away that day. We were able to bear testimony of the love God has for us and the plan He has for families to be together forever. It was awesome :)

Later that night, we had an RM who speaks Spanish and a Laurel in our ward who also speaks Spanish come with us to visit our Spanish speaking investigators, Victor and Maria. It was so cool! I don't understand Spanish perfectly, but I was able to understand WAY more than I would've been able to if I wasn't a missionary. They told Maria that we were representatives of Jesus Christ, and it was amazing the power we could feel of their words. So cool!

I know the Lord lives and loves us so much! He cares about the details of our lives. He wants greater things for us than we could even imagine! He's helped me so much as I've humbled myself and turned to Him for help. I know He can help you too with all of the things you face because He's helped me. I hope you have a wonderful week! Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good...day!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving wherever you were! Ours was great. It was my first "White Thanksgiving". Yes it snowed! It was fun. We were safe and warm :)

We were at our Bishop's house for Thanksgiving. It was a blast! We were just sitting down to eat dinner, and Sister Martinez asks this 6 year old little boy who was there if he had named his turkey shaped dessert. He gives her this weird look and says, "Why would I name my dessert?" It was HILARIOUS! Little kids have so much sass it cracks me up :p

Another funny moment was when we were at the store buying some things to help us get over minor winter sicknesses. Sister Martinez was talking to our cashier and she said, "Everyone has their thanksgiving feasts, but I just have my orange juice." It wasn't until we were walking out that we realized she had made it sound like we were paupers or something! We could only afford orange juice for thanksgiving. We died laughing! It was pretty funny.

This week was pretty good. Our motto is that "each day things get a little better". We get more familiar with the people, the area, and our apartment gets a little cleaner and more organized. It's great!

We had Zone Leader Training this week. We learned a lot of cool things. Sister Martinez and I were chosen to do one of the role plays. It was my first time doing one in front of so many missionaries. It went well though I think. Sister Barret, my trainer who is now my Sister Training leader, was there too so that was AWESOME! It was exactly what I needed to see her and get her perspective on some things.

During our training, we were challenged to look for more of the miracles each day. It was so great! We were able to see so many! Since we were transferred to this area at the end of the month, we didn't have a whole lot of miles left over from the Elders. We had calculated it out Wednesday night, and we knew we were in trouble! We were going to have to walk all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Well, on Thursday night, after we got home from Thanksgiving dinner, I did the math again, and somehow discovered that I had been wrong (which I still don't understand because I did the math a few times the night before!). We had enough miles to get us through to today. This was SUCH a miracle because it had just snowed that day! We would've had to walk around in the snow. Thankfully we didn't have to. Such a tender mercy. It was exactly the reminder I needed that the Lord was aware of us and our needs and was taking care of us :)

Another really neat experience happened on Friday night. We had to go get gas. I decided that I was going to try to talk to whoever was at the pump next to me about the "He is the Gift" initiative. At first it seemed like the man was avoiding me, but then he started talking to me about the difference in gas prices here versus Chicago. I started talking to him about the cards we had and guess what? It turned out he was LOOKING for a new church! I wrote down our church address for him. So cool! Truly, the Lord blesses us when we open our mouths with those around us. If we are prepared, he will place prepared people in our paths :)

Another tender mercy from this past week was our Ward mission leader's wife. We went to their house to just grab a phone book since we didn't have one, and they come in handy when you have no internet access, and she decided to sit down and explain our area to us. She then went upstairs and printed out a whole map for us! She took the time to help us get organized and map out where every member in our area lives. It was incredible! She's such a great example to me of going above and beyond in our service. I'm so thankful for all the wonderful people I've been able to meet so far on my mission. Such a blessing!

All in all, this week was great. I know the Lord is so aware of us and our needs! This past week I've been thinking a lot about trusting the promises the Lord has given me. I mean, I trust that He's my Savior and that I'll live with Him again and everything, but sometimes I don't trust the specific promises He's made to me in my patriarchal blessing. I'm learning though that I'm gypping myself by doing that. Those promises are just as sure if I'm faithful! I was reading today in Alma 26 today and in verses 35-37 Ammon says the Lord is mindful of his children in each verse! It was as if the Lord was like, "Hey, I'm mindful of you. Hey did you hear that? I'm mindful of you and your needs! I'm watching out for you!" I know that He is. He watches out for us and cares for us.

I hope you have a fabulous week! If you haven't gone online to see the video, "He is the Gift" I encourage you to do that! It's so good! I love this video so much because it helps people understand our similar beliefs in Jesus Christ. It's provided a really great opportunity for us to talk to people, especially during this Christmas time. It challenges us to be better missionaries and talk to more people. It's so great! I know it's such an inspired initiative. It makes sharing the gospel a whole lot easier :) Yeah missionary work!

I love you all! Keep doing what you're doing :) Don't forget you're awesome and somebody loves you in Champaign, Illinois :)

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

The Gospel can truly fill us

Hello Everyone!

Guess what? This was another great week filled with learning and lots of walking, knocking, and talking :) Missionary life for the win!

So funny Story: Saturday night we were out tracting and handing out the wonderful Christmas Cards, and this lady answered the door, and she was sooo drunk! It was pretty funny. She just went on and on about how she loved Jesus. We asked her if we could share the card with her, and she was like, "YEAH! I LOVE Jesus!". Oh man! The Word of Wisdom is a great thing :p

Another funny story from tracting this week was we totally accidentally tracted into a Roman Catholic Cathedral! You have to understand, there are SOOO many churches in the Midwest! So many of them are just converted houses. There was no sign out front. It looked like a normal house. It was pretty funny though! We left a card with the Lady who answered the door. I hope she liked the video. It's so great!

This past week I got to go on exchanges with my trainer Sister Barret! It's so cool that she's my Sister Training leader. It was fun to get to catch up with my mission "Mom" and be reminded of some of the good things she trained me to do. It was exactly what I needed! It was just a good reminder that the Lord is aware of me and my needs :) He knows and loves me!

The members here are so good to us! Last Monday we had a member who let us do our laundry at her house. So nice! The Bishop's wife also bought me some special lotion for my hands since they've been cracking so bad with the change of weather and all the doors we've been knocking on. There are just so many wonderful people in this world!

This week we were able to have legit Thai food and Mexican food! It was the best! A member's wife is from Thailand, and so she cooked us Pad Thai on Tuesday night AND let us take home some left overs! It was so great! I was in heaven. I've been craving Pad Thai since before I went into the mission field :p We also had some members from Mexico cook us Chile reysomethingos. I don't know how to spell it, but I knew how to eat them! So fun :)

I decided to start a gratitude journal this week to remind me about all of the times the Lord answers my prayers and all the good that's going on. It's been so helpful! For some reason, I was resistant to do it at first, but once I did, I felt the spirit so strong! If you are struggling to see the good, and just feel like you endure from day to day, I HIGHLY recommend it! It's been such a blessing already. Once I start counting my blessings, it's hard to stop! There are SOO many! It also makes it a lot easier to recognize the answers to my prayers.

I got to give one of the trainings in District Meeting this past Thursday. It was all about Finding, but I focused mainly on developing the faith to find. It was sooo good for me to learn more about that. I decided to recite "the Living Christ". It was really cool to do it as a missionary. It was a good reminder about why I'm really on a mission. I'm here to help people come to know the Savior EVEN MORE! So many people don't have a knowledge of our Savior and what He can do for them in their lives. They go from day to do, just looking for something, they don't always know what. They feel empty inside, but like they can fill that gap on their own. Well, we can't. We can't fill it on our own. We can try, but we can only fill it with the Savior's help. His TRUTHS are what fill us up. Satan's lies distract us momentarily and we think the hole's gone, but it's not. Only living the gospel can TRULY fill us and help us be made whole. What a wonderful knowledge that is! I'm so grateful that I know that. I know that Christ is my Savior, and advocate. He KNOWS I can make it and do good things! I am so grateful I get to be a missionary during this Christmas season. It's not always easy, but it's so worth it!

Every week things get better! We find more potentials, we get more organized, we meet more less actives who will let us in, and our testimonies of the Savior grow stronger.

I love you all and hope all is well with you. Keep on being your awesome selves! Have a super day!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Picture of Sister Edgels companions

On Sister Edgels right is her 1st companion, Sister Barrett. On her left is her present companion, Sister Martinez. On Sister Barretts right is her new companion, also Sister Martinez. Sister Barrett is now Sister Edgels leader.

November 2014 district and other pics

The miracle of the dirty apartment

Hello Everyone!

I hope you're doing great! This week has been the best 3 weeks of my life! Aka it's felt like 3 weeks, but it's been awesome! Since I've talked to you last, I've driven to St. Louis twice, and moved from Paris, Illinois, to the Mahomet, Illinois area.

So earlier last week I was able to say good bye to all of the friends and family I made while serving in Paris. It was hard to say goodbye! I LOVED my time there! It made me realize how quickly my mission will FLY by! Before I left, we were able to have a really great lesson with Andrea and help her realize what the Lord's forgiveness can do for her. She cried because she finally understood that the baggage of her mistakes doesn't have to weigh her down. Because of the Savior's sacrifice, if she does what He requires, she can be free from the guilt and pain that comes from our sins. She can move forward with greater faith and hope. It was so beautiful! The spirit was so strong. I was so grateful I was privileged to be in that lesson.

Wednesday was transfers. We spent the day driving to St Louis for transfer meeting. It was so good as usual. President Morgan told us about a SUPER SWEET new website the church is launching called christmas.mormon.org. It's so exciting! I met my new companion, Sister Martinez! She's so great! We've had SOOO much for working together these past few days. So for those of you who don't know what "whitewashing" is in missionary terms, it's when two bran new missionaries replace the missionaries that were previously serving in that area. Usually at least one missionary who knows the people and area stays so that you don't have to start from scratch, but every now and then they do it to mix things up. Well, we were whitewashing one of the sets of Elders who were previously serving in the Mahomet Ward.

That whole day was just one big adventure! We picked up our car in Mattoon, and had to follow our Zone leaders to our chapel to get our luggage. It was HILARIOUS because we were both in a strange new car with a MILLION buttons and had no idea what we were doing! (I still accidentally hit the emergency lights ALL the time! haha) We were laughing so hard! I couldn't find the cruise control or how to adjust my seat for a while. It was funny. THEN we couldn't find our apartment! It was dark when we finally got to Champaign, so we were totally lost! It was hilarious! We said a prayer and then we finally found it across the street. It was right under our noses. When we finally found which apartment was ours we found that OUR DOOR WASN'T EVEN LOCKED!!!! We were so sketched out. We kept the door open and sang hymns while looking through every crack and cranny of the apartment. When we finally got our luggage into our apartment (we're on the second floor) we swiftly got to work. At transfer meeting I had joked that we needed to pick up our white paint, but by the end I realized that they really should have given us bleach and garbage bags! After taking 5 trips to the dumpster, the place was remotely habitable. I scoured the bathroom with bleach while Sister Martinez went through all of the junk left in the different closets. It was gross! It wasn't as bad as some of the horror stories I've heard from other Sisters, but it wasn't exactly great either. Alright I'm done complaining about the mess :P We were able to work pretty quickly and effectively. Even in all the stress it was apparent that the Lord was leading and guiding us. So cool!

For those of you freaking out about us living in a gross apartment, rest assured it's definitely not. Our Ward mission leader's wife gave us a floor length mirror, and new towels, and more things. The apartment had cleaning supplies, they just weren't being used. It's so much betters! The zone leaders had to come get some things out of our apartment for us and they were impressed with the transformation already. It's going to be super cute and a place of organization and learning when we get done with it :)

Soooo the next day we were finally able to do missionary work! It was the best! I love being with Sister Martinez. She's such a great missionary and so awesome! Each day things get a little better: Our apartment gets more organized, we meet more people, and we see the Lord's hand more in our work. The Lord truly was taking care of us! There were so many tender mercies! The weather was only in the 40's and 50's, the Lord lead us to people and put people in our paths, and we've been able to get acquainted with a lot of our ward members. This ward is SOOO awesome! I am so excited to serve here!

So funny story. Thursday night we decided we would try to contact less actives. We knocked on the door that we thought was a less active family, but it turned out not to be. We were so confused, but we just rolled with it and acted like we thought they would be active members instead. We had been talking for a long time, and I had been trying my best to figure out WHO the less actives were when I decided it would be smart to ask what their callings were. The wife give me this confused look, and is like, "The Ward mission leader!"..... AWKWARD!! We had accidentally gone to visit the ward mission leaders house! Actually, it wasn't an accident. The Lord lead us to them because He knew it was cold and dark and we needed to meet him. So funny but amazing at the same time.

This week was also Stake Conference for our stake. It was so awesome! Elder Payne from the 70 came to instruct the stake. It was so good! Saturday was focused on missionary work (which was super). Sunday was focused on the blessings of the Gospel and come into our lives when we truly give everything over to the Lord. It was exactly what I needed! I joke with Sister Martinez that my life so far has figuratively been me coloring on paper with crayons and holding my pictures up to Heavenly Father and being like, "Wook Daddy! Wook at my pwetty picture!" and Him patting me on the head and being like, "Awh! That's so cute sweet heart! Here, let me show you a better way to make art". He then takes my picture and transforms it into a BEAUTIFUL masterpiece that I couldn't have figured out on my own. I realized during Stake Conference that when we're consecrated, we give the Lord our crayons, and in return, He lets us put our hands on His while He paints masterpieces! Yes it's hard giving up our crayons. They're fun and we think we can color pretty good pictures, but the dividends from teaming up with Him are far greater than anything we could gain on our own!

Another miracle from this past week was that I didn't get nearly as sick as I could've! I started getting sick on Thursday. I was super nauseated and what not. I was trying my hardest to work through it. I was praying so hard that I would get better so I could work harder. The Lord answered my prayers! By Saturday, I was all better! No more chills or problems! It was just a witness to me that Heavenly Father is taking such good care of me :) He truly is my Father and cares about every aspect of my life.

I hope you enjoyed the novel that was this letter. Like I said, SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED! I wish I could tell you all the funny stories, and the miracles we've seen, but there's just not enough time, so just know that things are going well. We're in the Lord's hands which is the BEST place to be :) I hope you have a wonderful day!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transferred

Hello All!

This past week was pretty amazing! It was a good one to end my time in Paris *sniff sniff!* But I'm looking forward to serving the people in Mahomet, Illinois! Guess who's in my ward? Elder Bednar's son, so that will be exciting. I'll be whitewashing which is pretty nerve wracking for me, but if I've learned one thing on my mission, it's to trust the Lord!

So this past week I almost got my first kiss on my mission! We were having dinner with some members, and their 4 year old somehow fell in love with me. I guess it was because I played with his trains with him before dinner and talked to him. Anyways, after dinner, he came up and gave my harm a hug, and went in for the kill! Thankfully his dad was right there and intervened. I saw my name badge flash before my eyes! It was pretty hilarious, and terrifying. It's a lot harder to turn a 4 year old down than someone my age! haha

My companions thus far have loved me enough to humor my desire to go running in the morning. Well, I'm not always the most coherent person in the morning, so one day this past week I rolled out of bed and got ready quickly. Just before we went out the door, I looked down and realized I was still in my pajama bottoms! Haha That would've been funny :P Not quite professional though, so good thing I changed!

Well, like I said earlier, this past week was pretty great. We've been teaching a Mom and her 3 daughters, and about 2 months ago, the opposition really piled up on them, and their progress slowed. All transfer we've been working on helping them build up their fire again, and this past week we were able to have such a good lesson with them. It was basically dedicated to helping them understand the Atonement. Andrea was really struggling with that because this past week a 2 year old in Paris was brutally murdered and abused among other things and died. She asked why God let's things like that happen. That's a tough question to answer, but because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have an answer! We were able to testify of the power of the Atonement, and by the end, she finally got it. She understood that Christ felt all we ALL go through, and if we turn to Him, He will take our burden upon himself and heal us in any way we need. It was a beautiful lesson. It strengthened my testimony of the converting power that comes from teaching about the atonement. It is the reason behind all we do. It was incredible.

This past week I've been thinking a lot about repentance. I used to be afraid of repenting because it seemed so scary, but I've learned that it's such a beautiful thing! We're promised that if we repent, the Lord will remember our sins no more (D&C 58:42). What a tremendous blessing to know that the Lord can heal us and clean us! We don't have to be burdened down with guilt and shame. We can be free. I'm grateful for the role repentance can play in my life.

My testimony of the power of prayer was also strengthened this past week. All week I had been praying to know what to say to help Andrea understand the power of the atonement. I was sitting in the lesson praying my head off! The Lord heard and answered my prayers. It was amazing to see that if we have faith and do our part, the Lord will answer our prayers. I'm so grateful for that because I need His help a lot!

Another prayer that was answered was that this week IT SNOWED! Granted, it wasn't much, only like 4-5 inches so far, but I'm the driver! I'm not used to driving in the snow yet. It's amazing to realize how much the Lord has helped me though because I'm a lot better at it now then I am back home! I have a lot more confidence. It's a little more nerve wracking because it's the Lord's car, not mine, but the Lord has helped me and answered my prayers thus far. I'll be alright!I love the Lord enough to drive in the snow even though it's terrifying for me :] I know that if the Lord can help me drive in the snow, then He can help you do hard things too!

At our District meeting this past week we talked a lot about conversion. We are supposed to be teaching for conversion, not JUST understanding. It's one thing to know the plan of Salvation, but it's another thing to understand what it means in our lives, and HOW we can find greater joy because of what we know.

I'm so grateful for the change I had to serve in Paris for 4 months! It's been so great. I love the opportunity I have to be a missionary. It's flying fast! I love you all. I pray for you and hope all is well. Have a wonderful day and keep being your awesome selves!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Penguins in Paris

Hello Everyone!

So this past week I looked outside my window and there were PENGUINS! I got my camera and went to take a picture and then realized it was a dream. HA! Got cha! Well, it didn't surprise me there were penguins here because it's not even officially winter yet and it's pretty cold! The wind and humidity make a difference. Especially when you're wearing a skirt. The wind blows and basically it doesn't even matter! This winter will be the refiners fire :p ha ha That just means more blessings from the greater sacrifice :)

This past week was so great! I love being a part of the Lord's work! We were blessed in our finding. We went and had a luncheon with some members and nonmembers in the large town of Casey, Illinois. (You pronounce it KZ, don't be deceived. It's not pronounced the way it looks :p) There's a whoppin' 2300 people who live there. It's funny because now that does seem like a large town. It was nice to meet new people. I look forward to seeing the growth of this area after my mission. There's so much promise! I can just feel lit!

So funny story, we were having a spiritual thought with the members we eat with every Thursday night, and we asked them how they could prepare to go to the temple. One of the little girls, age 4, says, "Kissing!" It was too funny! Ha ha oh Little kids :p

Church went so well! Sunday morning is a missionaries most important time. The whole week comes down to Sunday morning. Will the people we've been working with exercise their faith to act? Well, we had 2 investigators come! It was great. We also had the family we've been working with come and stay for ALL 3 hours! They participated in gospel principles as well. It's been awesome to see the changes come about in their lives. I love seeing what the gospel can do for people.

Another exciting thing is that the branch members are doing more of their visiting teaching and home teaching! Yeah! As missionaries, we can't do it alone. We need everyone to pitch in and do their part. It's awesome seeing that happen. Yeah for answered prayers!

My testimony was strengthened this week about the importance of just doing what we can, and not worrying about ourselves. It doesn't matter if you only have a little to give the Lord, give what you can. The Lord can only magnify our efforts if we give Him something to magnify. Things work out. He doesn't need us to help Him, WE need Him to let us help Him so we can be refined and prepared to meet Him. He could do a much better job, but He knows we need to learn how to help our brothers and sisters so we can become better helpers in our eternal families.

Keep praying for the missionaries. It is so encouraging to hear people pray for the missionaries. I knew this would be the hardest work I'd ever do, but I didn't really understand that. It is hard. It can be discouraging. There are moments when I think, "AHH!!! I'm just 22! I don't know how to handle all of these huge life problems! I don't know how to help these people!" but then I remember that I'm not alone. We have the Lord as another member in our companionship, so it will be okay. I don't have to know everything because the Lord does. I just need to do my best and invite the spirit, and the spirit will help these people and help me in my efforts. So keep praying for these young whipper snappers! It brings peace to my heart whenever a prayer is offered for the missionaries. We need the prayers!

I love you all! Keep up your awesome work! Keep striving to move forward and become the best "you's" that you can be! You're awesome! Have yourselves a super duper day!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Best Day Ever

Hello everyone!

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes. You're so awesome! (Don't feel bad if you didn't send her a wish, email me and I will pass it on to her, cando1855@gmail.com Her mom, Patti)

This week was so great! Yesterday was especially awesome. I never understood how big of a deal Sunday was for missionaries until my mission. It is the climax of the week. Everything comes down to Sunday. Will people come to church so they can progress towards baptism? Or will they let something less important get in their way?

Well, yesterday Rosa came to church! It was a miracle because during my entire training Sister Barret and I tried SOO hard! We would go to her house and wake her up and call people but she just wasn't ready for it. Then, this Sunday, she called us 4 times to try and find a ride. We were able to find her one super last minute. She came and she bore her testimony! She talked about how she has been praying and studying for a while with the missionaries, and that morning she felt like she finally got her answer. This is the true church, and she wants to be baptized! SO exciting! We were sitting there practially dying! It was awesome! The coolest part of the whole story is that the Sunday before in one of our mission meetings, our Branch mission leader said something along the lines of, "Don't you think your mission president would want you to give up on her by now? She's been learning since January and hasn't progressed much". It kinda bothered me, but I knew he was right to an extent. She needed to start taking steps. And then she came to church! It's so awesome to see how the Lord doesn't give up on people. He's holding out for us! He has so much faith in us! He knows who we can become :)

Brianna, the daughter of our other investigator Dusty, came to church on Sunday. It was great. Dusty has been having a hard time. She came to a branch activity last week and it really helped her. It strengthened my testimony of the importance of helping one another. We need to love each other and be there for each other! Ward/branch activities are so important to help people establish a support group so they can grow more in the gospel.

A funny moment from this past week happened on Saturday night. We had planned to have a member feed us and then have a lesson with one of our investigators, but we totally forgot to tell the investigator about it! It was the morning of the lesson and Sister Willmore's like, "We forgot to call John and tell him!" It was super funny! So Sister Willmore was leaving him a voicemail while I was making myself a hot dog, and in the middle of her leaving her voicemail I SPILL BARBECUE SAUCE ALL OVER THE FLOOR AND COUNTER! Sister Willmore lost it in the middle of the voice mail. It was so funny! Beware of the barbecue sauce, it'll get you!

Kelly, my recent convert, is so on fire! She got called as a Branch missionary and sometimes I think she's a better missionary than I am! She tells us that whenever she goes anywhere, she bears her testimony to people and invites them to church. She does this with people she doesn't even know! She's also talked to her son's in laws and her other friends about just meeting us. She's so awesome! I think of President Bednar's talk this past general conference about how when the atonement helps us, we naturally want to turn around and help others. So true! She's such a good example of this!

We had a fun Halloween. We were able to see Andrea! She had knee surgery a few weeks ago, and this past week, Sister Delp (who is an AMAZING ward missionary BTW) wanted to make her dinner. (Just so you know, she likes like 15 minutes away from Paris, has 4 kids, and a crazy schedule, but still made time to do it. I know! So dedicated! What a great example!) It was exactly what Andrea needed. It softened her heart and she's ready to learn more once she heals. It's been awesome to see. Andrea talked about how she's missed meeting with us and wants to get back into it. Prayers are heard and answered! We spent the rest of Halloween with Kelly. We watched Johnny Lingo and some other church clips with her. It was fun. She's on fire!

Paris is so on fire right now! I love it so much! Truly, the field is white and ready to harvest. We just need to have faith in the promise that the Lord IS preparing people! This is HIS work! We just need to trust Him and know He has bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves. I hope you have a super day! Thanks for all you do! Keep doing your visiting teaching! Keep doing the small and simple things that help us establish our relationships with our Savior :) Have a wonderful week!

Lots of love and support,

Sister Edgel :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

pics

Good Solution to a tough week

Hello Everyone!

This week was honestly one of the toughest of my mission so far. None of our investigators could meet with us. My companion is still new to the area, so I was doing my best to help us figure out potentials to see, and places we haven't tracted, and less actives to visit, but it was just so hard! I bring it up because through this past week, the Lord was able to humble me so that I could recognize His hand more in our service. It truly is HIS work! When I'm left on my own, I can't do anything! He is the one guiding us and helping us. He hears and answers our prayers in His own time :) Whenever we go through obstacles, I know it's the Lord just wanting us to be a little more polished so we can receive greater blessings and knowledge.

One of the goals of my mission is to become the person that is happy in whatever her circumstances are! It's funny because I don't think I quite realized that meant having plenty of hard times so I could learn to be happy in them. The good news is that the Lord wants the same thing for me! I always have the blessing of Jesus Christ's Atonement and the gospel to be grateful for and happy about! Those blessings never fade. I'm so grateful for that!

So a few weeks ago we were at a member's house and making calls to find someone to drive 6 hours to take us to and from St Louis for transfers. It was a struggle because of the time commitment and also the money commitment. We were starting to get discouraged, and the inspired member said, "If the Lord told you to do this, He'll prepare the way". Sure enough, she was right. We found a ride less than 15 minutes later. That experience has been with me all this week. If the Lord asks us to do something, He WILL prepare a way for us. I know that's true! There were many moments when I thought, "How are we going to be able to meet this goal?" and the Lord provided a way. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it! The Lord is truly guiding and directing our efforts.

We have some less actives who have been coming back and it's been so awesome working with them! I am so excited about the work we are doing here! I can totally see this branch becoming a ward someday. I love the people who have been called to serve with us. They're willing to thrust in their sickles. I know the reap will be so great! I'm grateful I was able to stay in Paris. What a blessing! I know the Lord is guiding and directing our efforts and loves us ALL so much.

I hope you're all doing well :) Keep on keeping on! Have a wonderful day!
Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edge

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We saw Meet the Mormons

Hello everyone!

This past week was chock full of great stuff. We had transfers on Wednesday, so we spent the day driving to and from St. Louis for transfers meeting. It was pretty crazy. 6 hours in a car! The good news was it gave Sister Willmore and I time to get to know each other. She's from Logan, Utah, and has been out the same amount of time as my previous companion, Sister Barret. She's awesome! It's fun getting to know a new companion.

Things in Paris are going well. The work is moving forward slowly but surely. We had a LEGIT hayride on Saturday. We were pulled by a tractor around his farm for like a 20-30 minute ride. It was way fun! We had a bunch of less actives come. It was at our Branch Mission Leader's house. He's so on fire it's crazy! He was going to paint a cow green and have it chase me since he knows I'm scared of cows, but luckily his wife has my back, so he didn't. Oh man!

Another funny story: So in branch council on Sunday, our Branch President told us about the time him and his son were pulling weeds around the house and he looks over and sees his son SWINGING A SNAKE around his head! Like a 3 foot long snake! He asked his son what he was doing and his son answers all nonchalant, "Just getting rid of the snake!" He threw it in a tree. Oh man! Country life is just awesome!

We had mission conference yesterday (hence the late email). It was so awesome! Elder Sitati of the 1st Quorum of the 70 was there. It was so great! When I walked in, I was pretty stressed out and burdened down with my imperfections and challenges as a missionary. I thought, "there's no way the way I feel can be made right. There's no way that all of these challenges can be helped. I'm just too low!" Yeah I know, kinda over dramatic. Well guess what? I was sooooo wrong! It's crazy to me that I even thought that, but sometime missionary work is just discouraging alright? haha Well, not long into the meeting, my heart was so softened and the spirit taught me the things that I needed to hear! It was such a great meeting! I just WISH you could feel the spirit of over 250 missionaries and their leaders. Man! There's nothing to compare! The spirit truly can help us in so many ways! The Lord answered my prayers and is taking care of me. I'm so grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and knows EXACTLY what we need to be successful and happy. He's the best!

It was also fun to see people from my MTC district! We also got to sleep over at the Charleston Sister's apartment since we were going to carpool with them and they live 30 minutes closer to St. Louis than we do. It was a blessing to get to sleep in a little more even though we still had to wake up early. It was so worth it!

Guess what else?! We got to watch "Meet the Mormons"!!!! When President Morgan announced that we would get to watch it, we all cheered! We all cried during the missionary Mom's part. I just loved that movie! If you haven't seen it yet, so see it! It was so well done. I forgot I was in the chapel at mission conference. It was exactly the reminder I needed that although change is hard, it is so worth it! The message we share with people is of such great worth!

Time for a MIRACLE story! So we got a call on Friday from Kelly, my recent convert, asking us to go to Wal Mart with her and help her pick out clothes for her husband Mark!! So exciting! He has been resistant to wearing what he calls "a monkey suit" to church, but the spirit has been working on him so hard core! Sister Barret and I just KNEW he would crack soon! The next thing is smoking. Kind of a jump, but the Lord will help him. I'm not too worried :]

Kelly is so on fire! She told us while we were shopping that she invites everyone she meets to come to church with her. It's just like Elder Bednar's talk in General Conference. Because of the good she's experienced in her life from the gospel, she isn't afraid to share it with others because she knows she's offering them a really great thing! The BEST thing in fact. I think sometimes I listen to the adversary's lies that I'm doing something weird, or annoying people, when in fact, that's a huge whopper of a lie! It's the best thing ever! I owe everything I have and am to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a blessing to get to serve :)

Another cool miracle occurred this week. We've been working with this less active family. It was always super hard to tell if they actually liked us coming, or if they were annoyed, but this past week when we stopped by, they had read the BOM on their own! Yahoo! They also told us that they had been clean from drinking for a few weeks because we started visiting them. They came to the branch hayride and talked to more people than they ever would have before. It's so awesome to see people change as the spirit softens their hearts and quenches their thirsts. I love being a missionary!

Well, I love you all. I pray for you and hope all is well. Keep on keeping on! You're awesome! Have a super day :)
Lots of love,
Sister Edgel

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Conference was wonderful

Hello Everyone!

This week went pretty great. This weekend was definitely the Climax! Conference was wonderful, and then between sessions on Sunday was Kelly's baptism! She was so excited! She wore a white temple dress which made me super happy. We've been focusing on helping her and her husband focus on going to the temple. She's worthy and prepared, but her husband has some Word of Wisdom stuff he needs to work through. Good thing they have a year! It's been so great to watch the spirit change them. Mark, her husband, bore his testimony during her service. It was so sweet! He talked about how he knew the church was true. He cried and talked about the blessings of God. Another miracle was that HE SANG during conference! They've come for 6 weeks in a row to church, and he's never sang. Evidence of the spirit softening his heart and working on him. I LOVE IT!

Kelly's baptism REALLY got us pumped. Yeah for covenants! I spoke about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Before I started, I felt impressed to talk about how the Lord has not placed a limit on the joy we can feel. The further we travel in the gospel, the more joy we can experience! When I was baptized, I felt so clean and so much joy! It was the best day of my life until April 19, 2014 when I went to the temple and was endowed. I've never felt so happy, clean, and renewed in my life! I know that even more joy is awaiting me as I continue moving forward in the gospel. The joy will never end!

There are moments as a missionary when it's easy to see that the Lord is strengthening you and blessing you extra and giving you abilities you wouldn't have otherwise. This Sunday I saw several of those. One particular instance was that Sister Barret and I sang a duet at Kelly's baptism. You couldn't pay me enough to do that outside of my mission. I truly do feel like the Lord has blessed my voice to be better as a missionary. That, or it's much better than the singers here, so it just sounds better! Either way, it's a blessing from the Lord :)

Conference was just so great! I know every missionary talks about it, but it truly was EXACTLY what I needed. I wrote some questions down before conference, and within the first 15 minutes I was tearing up because some of them had already been answered. I felt the Lord's love so strong! I know that I am doing the right thing. I know the Atonement has paid for my mistakes, and I can have confidence moving forward. I'm so grateful for that blessing! I love being a part of this work! It's amazing!

In other news, I will be staying in Paris for at least another transfer! Woohoo! Sister Barret will be leaving me, which is so sad, but I'm so grateful I was able to be her companion. I know President Morgan was inspired to put us together. She was exactly the trainer I needed and I learned so much from her! I'm looking forward to the other lessons I'll learn throughout the rest of my mission :) I can hardly believe my training is over! AHH! Good thing I have follow up training. It's nice when I remember that really, learning how to be a good missionary is a lifelong endeavor. I won't get it all now. It'll come in time :)

I love you all! I hope all is well. Keep on moving forward. Keep the faith! You can do it!
Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Lord asks us to do OUR best, not the best that President Monson can do, just our best.

Hello Everyone!

This week was so great! Our branch got to participate in a parade! We passed out over 1200 cards to members in the community. Our theme was Gordon B Hinkley's 6 Bee's. It was awesome! The best part is the branch is excited about missionary work and trying to do more. Yeah! Go missionary work! Apparently when the float rounded the corner, Kelly (our investigator getting baptized next Sunday), stood up and started shouting, "That's my church! That's my church!" I don't have the words to explain how that makes me feel. SO HAPPY to say the least.

So Kelly is doing so great! Her husband is a less active member who's kinda had a rough past. It's been awesome to see the spirit work on them. Kelly is SO excited to be baptized. Yesterday we got her baptismal clothes all figured out and she'll be wearing a white dress. She looks so good in white! I'm super excited for them to get sealed in the temple in a year :) I love them!

Alright some funny moments from this past week. So one of the families we visit has their grandkids by love come over a lot. Adi, one of the little girls, is 5. After one of our lessons this week, she wanted to say the closing prayer (she also wanted one of my "books" about Jesus. So fun!) Anyways, she starts reciting the pledge of Allegiance! It was adorable. The 13 year old in the family, Haley, helped her with her prayer. It was so sweet! At the end of the prayer, Adi said, "THE END!" It was really cool because Andrea, Haley's Mom, started talking about the importance of ending our Prayers in Christ's name. It was awesome! She just needs to get baptized! We're working on it :p

This week was so interesting. Sometimes Satan really tries to discourage you before something good happens, and this week was a prime example! There were multiple days where it kinda felt like we were just driving and walking around and no one was home or wanted to listen to us, but then we would find someone or teach someone, and it would be so awesome! The parade went so well, and on Sunday our Branch mission leader sincerely thanked us for all of the work we are trying to do. Also we saw Kelly, and she is just so prepared and so excited for her baptism! They haven't missed church in 5 weeks! That's a huge deal!

This morning I finished reading the Book of Mormon. I love that book so much! I was able to pray about it, and I know it's true! I have for a long time, but it's comforting to know it still is! It can still bless my life. It gives me soooo much comfort, direction, peace, and joy! I love having the opportunity to learn so much on my mission. Lately, I've just had such a thirst to learn as much as I can! I think it's because I'm in my last week of training. CRAZY! I don't feel prepared to go to just 1 hour of companion study. There's so much I still need to learn! It amazes me how the Lord will use just the few things I have to offer, and make something great of it. Truly, we just need to thrust in the sickle with all of OUR might (D&C 4:4), not the might of someone else. The Lord asks us to do OUR best, not the best that President Monson, or anyone else can do.

CONFERENCE IS COMING AND I'M SO EXCITED! I hope you watched the Woman's broadcast on Sunday. I loved it! It truly quenched some of the thirst I was feeling inside. It felt so good to listen to servants of the Lord teach and testify of things they know.

Life is so good! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be serving in Paris! I'm grateful that the Lord can use me as a missionary! Sometimes I feel so insignificant and weak, but I truly know that when I follow Him, He can make me strong and make so much more out of me! I love you all. Keep on keepin on! Have a wonderful day and get excited for conference this weekend!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Monday, September 22, 2014

Remarkably, the Lord works with what I do know and what I can do.

Hello everyone!

I hope you are doing well! Life in Parie is great :) The weather warmed up back to 70 this week thankfully, and we also were blessed with rain. Most importantly, the work is going well! I'm still learning a lot! Remarkably, the Lord works with what I do know, and what I can do. He's just the best!

Sometimes, when you live in a small town, you're driving to appointments and see lots of people on the street, and realize that there's randomly a homecoming parade. True story! It was pretty funny. It's also funny because people cannot hide from us! We will see them at our service, or at Walmart, or somewhere! It cracks me up :p One day we saw these 2 guys out walking their dog like 3 times in an hour and a half! ha ha

This past week I rode a bike as a missionary for the first time! It was so hilarious! I laughed so hard. Illinois seems super flat.... until you're on a bike! haha Also I laughed so hard because I'm sure we looked ridiculous! Enjoy the picture :p It was also super funny because it started raining on us after we left. THE SKY WAS CLEAR! It was the only time that day it rained. SO FUNNY! It was so worth it though :)

The work is going so well! Kelly is so excited for her baptism. This week she said, "I just pray and ask for it to come faster!" Who doesn't want to hear that? It's also been so awesome to watch her husband's heart soften. They're so on fire I love it! That is the best part of missionary work: seeing people change as a result of the spirit. I love seeing people's testimonies grow and their desire to do good increase. I just love that I get to be a part of this work!

So another funny thing about being a missionary is that everyone tells you EVERYTHING! Something that Sister Barret and I joke about is how many ways people tell us people could die. This week we heard about blizzards, snakes, bugs, and the normal illnesses. We also heard about crazy stuff going down in America (we're not really sure what's honestly going on or if people are just super paranoid). It cracks us up. The biggest thing that I've learned from these people is that so much of our fear is unnecessary! If we are truly being obedient and follow God, we have nothing to fear! Everything is going to work out :) Heavenly Father will take care of us. It's funny how many times I have to learn the lesson that God is watching over me :) Have no fear! Instead, be obedient and have faith. HAVE FAITH!

This week was our branch's primary program and it was soooo cute! Sister Barret and I really enjoyed watching all of the cute little kids and their simple testimonies. We also liked watching the little boy who was eating his tie the whole time, and the other little boy who was playing with a string and covering his eyes with his slip of paper. Fun stuff. Kids are the best! Every kid makes me think of my nieces and nephews. Seeing little kids also makes me think about what Christ said about becoming as a little child. There was a little girl we saw last week who cracked us up because she was so bold! She saw us and was like, "What are you doing here?" When we left she asked us where we were going. She was just very truthful. What a great example :)

So a few weeks ago in Fast and testimony meeting, our ward mission leader talked about taking care of the cattle preventing him from reading his scriptures. It was the first time I had ever heard someone use cattle as a reason, so it cracked me up, but then I thought about MY excuses for not keeping the commandments perfectly. It was interesting to think about the example of my parents. I know that some of the commandments they keep because they LOVE them! If we learn how to love the commandments and understand and see the blessings of them, then we won't LET things get in our way. Food for thought :)

Another thing I've been thinking about lately is our desires. We have an investigator who is struggling with conflicting desires of wanting to be a good religous person, and wanting to party and "live it up". Something we've been focusing on is helping her realize that it's all about the big picture. We need to hold onto what we want most, to prevent us from giving it up in the moment. This is definitely something that I'M still working on. I was reading in Ether this morning, and it's so interesting because the Lord asks the brother of Jared a lot, "What do you want? What do you want me to do for you?" I know that the Lord asks us that question every day when we wake up in the morning. "What do you want? What would you like help with?" I'm still working on refining my answers and holding fast to the big picture.

Yesterday we had dinner and family home evening with the Branch president's family. We shared our thought from 1 Samuel 16:7. I love this verse, because it talks about how the Lord looks at our hearts, not our outsides. This is such an important verse for missionary work! We can't tell who will accept the gospel and who won't. Who are we to say, "No, they'd never accept!" I got really emotional because I told them about a young girl in high school who was one of those people that some people passed by and said, "Nope! Not her. She'd never accept the gospel." Well, that person is my Mother. She wanted to badly for SOMEONE to invite her! She wanted to change! I hope that as you've read that someone has come to your mind of someone who maybe you've thought, "Nope! Not them!" You never know. They may accept! They may not, but it's not our place to judge. Everyone deserves a chance to hear the gospel :)

I love you all! Keep on being the great member missionaries, friends, and visiting and home teachers that I know you are! We need more wonderful people who step outside of their comfort zones for the comfort of others :) Have a super week!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Its beginning to look alot like Christmas.

Hello Everyone!

I know you're probably thinking, "What? Christmas? It's SEPTEMBER!" But believe it or not it IS beginning to look and feel like Christmas here in Illinois! One of our investigators had us help them put up a Christmas tree since she didn't have room for it in storage. The weather also thinks it's going to be Christmas soon (it was 40 degrees when we went running a few days this past week). A member also fed us pie for dinner. For the midwest, that isn't actually related to Christmas, but for this west coast girl, it is! They have pie here ALL THE TIME! I've had chocolate cream, banana cream, coconut cream, berry, strawberry rhubarb, pumpkin, and apple pie so far. None of those were repeats either! So much pie! Also Sister Barret and I are also what we've decided to call "Chr-unky" where you're trunky for Christmas. We may or may not have watched "Joy to the World".... I plead the 5th! haha

The work is going so well! Kelly and Mark came to churh 3 SUNDAYS IN A ROW!! Apparently this is a huge deal because people don't usually do this. So exciting! Also it's been so awesome to watch how the spirit has changed them. Kelly takes our lessons so seriously it's adorable! I love it so much! She tries to help Mark with the things we teach her. People always think SHE's the member, but she's just the sweet investigator :)

This past week we had President interviews AND exchanges. Both of them went so well! I really loved being able to talk with President 1 on 1. My exchange went well. I stayed in the area and Sister Barret left! This is a big deal because I had to lead the Sister Training leader around and lead all the lessons and everything. Also I drove for the first time on my mission! I was nervous, but it turns out I didn't forget how to drive in the past 2 months. That's good news! The exchange turned out to be really good for me to see that I have grown more than I thought. I am actually a fully contributing missionary! Who knew? It was great for me to build my confidence in the Lord's ability to build me up. I know on my own I'm week, but if I let Him be my pal, Holy Toledo! Things go great :]

I know I say this nearly every week, but that's because every day it's reaffirmed to me that THE LORD IS TAKING CARE OF US! This week we have 5 Mondays, so our money has to stretch a tad farther than normal, but guess what? We've been getting fed more than normal :) So that's a blessing! The Lord truly takes care of our WANTS as well as our NEEDS.

So funny story: This past week we decided to go visit a less active we tracting into (they had moved without telling us where) and the husband answered the door this time. We were totally talking to him when he says, "Well I've got to go give the wife her meds. Okay." and closes the door awkwardly on us. IT WAS SO FUNNY! Sister Barret's face was just like, "Wwwwhat? Is he coming back? Was that a goodbye? What just happened?". I had a SUPER hard time not dying laughing. That's another thing I didn't expect to have to learn: how to not laugh when you feel like laughing. Funny things happen to us all the time! It's fun :p

Today I've officially been in Paris 2 months! Crazy! It's so awesome how much things have changed in the past 2 months. I've loved watching people change and grow. I've decided my favorite thing about a mission is watching people take steps on their own! I love when they choose to obey commandments without us telling them, or they notice other things they need to change without us pointing them out. It shows that the spirit is working on them and that's the most important thing!

Something that I've been thinking about lately is how just because we change our actions, it doesn't mean WE'RE changed. That's why short diets don't work in the long run. We truly need to be changed, not just in the moment. It's far more effective to change someone's nature, and as a result to have their actions change than it is to change their actions and hope their natures change. I've been thinking about that with myself and my struggles. I'm trying to find ways to change my nature so that my actions will change on their own, and not the other way around. If you want to change, and are trying to change, this is a great way!

So this past week we helped the branch with a float for the upcoming parade! It was fun. Who knew my Student council float skills would come in handy on my mission? I sure didn't! It's been really neat to see the small and simple ways that the Lord has been preparing me for my mission! It's very comforting because if He's been preparing me to serve a mission, I know He's preparing me for the things that lie ahead. We have no need to fear! He'll help us and prepare us for our future if we let Him :)

I love you all! I know the Lord lives and loves us so much! I know He's just waiting for us to keep His commandments so He can bless us and help us! The church is true and such a blessing! I hope you have a wonderful day :)

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Friday, September 12, 2014

She is doing what God wants for her

Hello Everyone!

This week was a really great week. I keep on learning so much! This was one of those weeks that I could look back and see my progress which was awesome since there were times I wasn't sure which direction I was progressing! So as you know I'm training, and the training for this week had me do things that would normally be quite outside of my comfort level, but guess what? I did it! Amazing right? With the Lord's help, I've been able to do things I never would've been able to do before!

So funny story, we were talking to a less active that we visit periodically and we asked her how she was baptized and guess what? She was baptized because her Dad gave her $50! hahaha Well, now she's a member for more than just $50, but it was interesting to me to think about our own conversions. Do we realize that there's so much more to the gospel than just the surface level stuff? Do we realize it's not just a church but a way to be happy? Just some food for thought :)

So we got a call this morning from our Stake President's wife. She asked us if we still did service every week at the local food pantry (which we do :). She told us that she was at the gym at one of the local colleges and she was talking to a man next to her and he told her that his pastor constantly raved about "the mormon girls" who work at the food pantry. He says they work so hard and come early and leave late. It was really great to hear that someone recognizes what we do. This week was kinda hard because we contacted A TON of people, but weren't able to find any new investigators. We planted a lot of seeds, but it would good to see some other efforts were paying off in different ways.

Some culture background: Everyone here LOVES their riding lawnmowers. They drive down the streets with them with their kids on their laps. It's adorable! Also it makes me chuckle :p There also are churches on all of the street corners. We're technically not supposed to proselyte near other places of worship, but if we did that, we couldn't proselyte anywhere... so we just don't proselyte SUPER near them :P

GOOD NEWS!! Kelly (our investigator with a baptismal date) came to church again! She is so sweet! She was sitting by me and she said, "I want to get up and bear my testimony." WHAT? Seriously she's doing so well! She bore her testimony in our Sunday School class instead about how she knows that she's doing what God wants for her and she can see all the blessings He's opened to her. She is so grateful she let the missionaries in. Did I mention that she's so sweet? Because she is :) Her and her husband are making so much progress! At the lesson yesterday he was helping her say the names of the prophets in the BOM and for Helaman he told her you pronounce it Helium. So cute! Our prayers for them are being answered. Keep praying for them!

So this week we were at the house of a part member family, and it was interesting because we were talking to the Mom/Grandmother of the house, and we asked her about her missionary efforts. She said, "Oh yes, I keep a pass along card in my purse at all times! You never know." That was super great to hear, but she has less actives in her family, and even in her home. What good does carrying around a pass along card if we never open up our mouths to those around us? Our family truly is the most important place to start. It was quite an eye opening moment.

Another main theme from this week was a change in my desires. Up to this week, I've wanted high numbers to be "the good missionary" or because I just want them, but this week I really have had more success focusing on helping others more than the actual numbers. I just want to do whatever the Lord wants me to do to help His children. If it means driving around contacting potential investigators, I'll do it. If it means tracting for days in a row, I'll do it. I just want to do what He wants me to do. I just want to become what He wants me to become. I just want to be good. I want whatever He wants for me. He knows best. I really just need to trust Him. It will all work out!

I love you all! Keep on doing your best and moving forward!
Sister Edgel :)

Staaaaaange things are happening

Hello Everyone!

So I hope you sang the opening line like the song from "Toy Story". That probably makes no sense, but it did in my head! haha
Well, this week was pretty strange. We had some super funny moments. We were out trackting and a man opened his door just wearing underwear! I could hardly keep from laughing. I kept thinking, "They didn't teach me how to handle this in the MTC!" haha One of our investigators was also super drunk when we showed up and talked to us about how she thinks she's a prophetess and wants to sell everything she has to follow Him. Yup. Things are kinda crazy!

Sister Barret and I joke a lot about how there's a lot we didn't learn in the MTC. I was thinking about this, and I realized that the most important thing is that they taught us how to follow the spirit in the MTC and the spirit can help us with everything! I really mean that. The spirit helped me learn how to use a weed wacker (which I'm now super pro at by the way. Well, not really. I just THINK I am haha). It also has helped me learn how to handle different situations. How to not laugh, how to love people, and how to keep moving forward! I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who's prepared a way for us to get through EVERYTHING we need to get through. I think it's because of this knowledge that I FINALLY feel my age. I've always felt like I'm going to be stuck feeling 17, but a mission has really helped me change that. I actually feel my age! I've learned that Winnie the Pooh is so right! I am Smarter than I think, Stronger than I seem, and Braver than... I don't remember what He says exactly.. (Mom can you send me a quote of that?! That would be another good one :p) But it's true! With the help of the Lord I really can do more than I think I can.

The Work is going really well though. KELLY CAME TO CHURCH! She is progressing towards baptism really well. She's so sweet! Guess who else was at Church? Elder Bednar's Son who is in our Stake Presidency. He was super nice to her. Be nice to investigators! They need extra love!

This week I learned a lot about wanting people to change and act out of love, not an obligation to you. I am trying to change my attitude to love more people and be willing to serve them. It's a work in progress. We spent most of Saturday tracting. We don't usually tract because it's not super effective, but we wanted to change things up. When you love people, it's easier to keep going when the going gets tough. Love love love! We all need LOVE :)

It's kinda nice being set apart full time because I don't have to worry about balancing school and everything. I can devote my whole self to the work. I still am learning how to thrust in my sickle with ALL my might. Have you read D&C 4 recently? It really applies to all of us! I don't know if I shared this before, but before my mission I was super excited to sing "Called to Serve" in the MTC. Everyone talks about how it's awesome hearing all the missionaries sing it together. Well, we sang it in the MTC and guess what? It was awesome, but just as awesome as hearing everyone sing it at Stake Conference. It made me realize that the song isn't just for missionaries: We've ALL been called to serve! We can ALL receive the power from Heaven to fulfill these responsibilities. It just so happens missionaries are set apart specifically to have this as our only focus. It should be everyone's focus though.

I love you all! I pray for you and hope all is well. Don't be afraid to send me a letter! I'd love to hear from all of you. AND I always reply to anyone who sends a letter. Do I sound desperate? Probably because I am :P haha

Have a wonderful week!
Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel :

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pictures

Letter to her Daddy

Hi Daddio,

I sent you a package, but it sounds like it hasn't arrived yet. They told me it should arrive today sometime, so hopefully it does :) I sure love you!

So at first I was bummed that I had to wait an extra day to email, but then I realized I could email you on your Birthday! What a tender Mercy! I can kinda be a part of it! I hope you have a great day! I love you mucho grande!

I love to read your letters. You are just such a great example to me. I'm glad you had a positive experience with Keenan and Michael. They are good boys. That's awesome about the investigators in church!! We had 1 (and 3 less actives we've been working with) and I was just excited for that!

I'm glad you're learning how to balance everything with being Bishop and everything else. It's kinda nice being set apart full time because that's one thing I don't have to worry about! I can devote my whole self to the work. I still am learning how to thrust in my sickle with ALL my might. Have you read D&C 4 recently? It really applies to all of us! I don't know if I shared this before, but before my mission I was super excited to sing "Called to Serve" in the MTC. Everyone talks about how it's awesome hearing all the missionaries sing it together. Well, we sang it in the MTC and guess what? It was awesome, but just as awesome as hearing everyone sing it at Stake Conference. It made me realize that the song isn't just for missionaries: We've ALL been called to serve! We can ALL receive the power from Heaven to fulfill these responsibilities. It just so happens missionaries are set apart specifically to have this as our only focus. It should be everyone's focus though. Just thought I'd share that with ya :)

Guess what Daddy? I learned how to work a weed wacker this week! Another happy birthday gift to you! There were a TON of spiders in our weeds AND A SNAKE! I'm becoming so tough. You would be proud. Also I still screamed when I saw the snake. Some things don't change. A SNAKE IN OUR YARD! Yup I'm still freaking out about that. But I'm tough. I am. I think.... A tough princess. Does that work? haha

I hope you like the pictures I sent Momma. They were an extra bonus for your Birthday! I hope it's great :) Guess what, I love you! Have a super day!

Lots of love,
Sister Edge

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Its a small town after all

Hello Everyone!

This week went pretty well. The work is pressing forward! So I've been super lucky because up until now, it hasn't been super hot or humid. Well, this week that changed. It's definitely getting warmer. We had a few awesome storms. Sister Barret and I got pretty drenched. We passed some little girls in swim suits outside playing in the rain! That's how I want to live my life! Enjoying the blessings of an adventure instead of moping inside that I can't ride my bike. I just love little kids. They're so fun :p

Good news! I will be in Paris with Sister Barret for another transfer! I feel like I've lived in Paris for a long time! I'm finally getting good at knowing people's names and places and what not. It's awesome! I'm glad to be in a small town. It makes it a lot easier to get to know people. The funny part about being in a small town is that people can't hide from us! They can run, but they can't hide. We will see them somewhere unexpectedly. It's quite comical. We joke sometimes that missionary work without the spirit would just be stalking people. haha :]

Our investigators are doing pretty well. We were pretty bummed yesterday because none of them made it to church after 3 of them said that they would be there. A few of the less actives we're working with came! Yahoo for progress! The good news is that Kelly has a baptismal date! She's so excited! We just have to get her to church :p It's really neat to see the progress we've made. They say, "numbers don't matter", and it's pretty true! Our numbers haven't changed much over this past transfer, but I feel like we've gotten a lot better at things than we were before. The members are beginning to trust us and to get excited about the work. It's awesome! We're doing our best to help people progress.

Something that I've been thinking a lot about this past week is sacrifice. We want things, but sometimes we aren't willing to sacrifice for it. As I thought about this, I realized that the Lord truly is capable of doing this work on His own. He could have angels come down and do it MUCH better than we could, but He knows that we need the opportunity to sacrifice and grow for the work. It's the same for the people we're teaching. We could do absolutely everything for them to get them to church, but they need to make those sacrifices to show their dedication to the Lord and to receive the blessings that come as a result of sacrifice.

There are some definite perks to being in a small town. For one, it's awesome to hear everyone's farming stories. Our branch mission leader was cracking us up yesterday telling us about some of the crazy things that go down on his farm. He couldn't believe I was afraid of cows (in real life they're huge and scary alright! They could squash me!). Most people here love animals which is awesome! My biggest problem with living in the country is the bugs. They. Are. EVERYWHERE! Sister Barret and I had a freak out on Friday. The bugs were after us alright! We're pretty sure they live entirely to terrify us when we walk into the bathroom or try to mow the lawn. It's just a theory, but we think we're on target! The bugs are scary! haha

I've made it through my first transfer! I don't know where the time has gone. It's awesome to see how far I've come in the past 6 weeks. It's crazy to think how much different I will be by the end of my mission! I love the opportunity I've been give to be a part of this work. It's awesome to see people change. It's not always an easy, fun, experience, but it's so worth it! It's so important to sacrifice what we want in the moment for what we REALLY want most in the end. I'm learning more and more about that every day. I love you all! Keep being your awesome selves! Count your blessings! Smile those beautiful smiles! Have a wonderful day :)

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sweet letter to her daddy

DADDY!
Guess what? I love you so much! You are just such a great example to me! Perhaps I feel extra grateful for a Daddy because my companion's Father passed away 4 years ago, so she talks about her Dad in the past tense a lot. I'm grateful to still have a father on earth who can still give me blessings that way.

I appreciated the letter both you and Mom sent me. They were so holy! I know that's strange to say, but they were. I know you'll do great! I loved your letter because you're such a great example of humility to me. Humility is more than just thinking God is greater than you; it's knowing that He is the source of your strength, He is the one you should rely on, and He will help us!

I love what you're doing with the primary children and young women! I feel sad how misunderstood repentance is. It's not scary! It's hard, but it's a beautiful thing! The invitation to change, become clean, and come closer to Christ is a great thing! We shouldn't be afraid of it :)

Truly the advice to absorb the positive and observe the negative is so true! Apparently I told Jayden at the start of his mission, "Do your best. When you know better, do better." I need that advice in my life! It really does come line upon line, precept upon precept. Don't be afraid to stretch a little. I've had moments where Sister Barret has looked at me like, "Nope, I'm not going to let you take the easy way out. You can answer this, so try" and guess what? I've opened my mouth and the promise made in D&C that it would be filled came true! The Lord does require that we walk a little ways into the dark. It's scary at times, but it's also important! I learn more about the Lord's strength and His ability every time I do that. You can do it! I have complete faith in you! I pray for the family when I run every morning. I run for like 20 minutes. I pray especially hard for my Momma and Poppa who are trying to lead our family, and now our ward! Whom the Lord calls, He truly qualifies! Just keep going and doing your best. Don't compare yourself to other bishops. Be the Bishop Heavenly Father wants you to be :)

I love you! I hope this week goes better. Just keep on keepin on!
Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel, your little one

pics

Sister Barrett
So many welcome signs for such a small town of 8000
Silly Sister Edgel, you don't need a helmet in the house. haha

Miracles truly happen if we believe!

Hello everyone!

Well, as you can tell from my heading, this week was so great! Miracles truly happen if we believe! Also I hope you sang the heading to the tune of the song in "Princess Diaries". If you didn't, repent, go back and read it singing it with that tune :p haha

Anywho, this week was wonderful! My district leader asked me to give a training at District Meeting last Tuesday! Sister Barret was like, "Whoa! They never do that. He's mean!" but really the Lord knew that I needed to study what the training was supposed to be on. It went well. The Lord has shown me a lot this week that I am improving as a missionary! Yeah! The First few weeks I felt like I was coasting. I thought I would NEVER be able to lead as a missionary because I knew so little! Well, I still don't know very much, but I know enough for this moment. The Lord can still use me the way I am. I am getting stronger line upon line, precept upon precept. It's the way it works!

Also, Friday was my 1-month-in-Paris-and-Sister-Barret's-Companion-aversary! Yahoo! We went out for dinner to celebrate. We ate at a popular pizza place. Fun stuff :p

Alright, now for the miracles!

Tuesday after District meeting Sister Barret decided that we needed to focus our study and efforts this week on helping people attend Church. During our lessons, we made sure we made extra time to focus on church attendance and to invite people to our ward's ice cream social on Saturday. We started a fast of sugar as well to try to help our efforts. We made a plan and exercised faith that things could happen with the Lord's help.

Wednesday the miracles continued. So my area covers a lot of tiny towns surrounding Paris. We don't usually go into the other towns because of miles, and there aren't very many members there to help strengthen our investigators and various reasons, but this week we had a dinner appointment out in Redmond, close to Brocton, so we felt like we should go see some less actives we've been trying to focus on. They weren't home, so we tried contacting potentials. The potential we were looking for wasn't home, but her daughter, Chris (short for Christina) answered the door. At first she was like, "Sorry I have Native American beliefs". We responded, "Oh really! We have a book all about some of your ancestors!" (well, not exactly like that, but basically!). She asked us where she could go to buy that book..... Alright that's amazing! People don't ASK where they can BUY the Book of Mormon! She proceeded to ASK us where our church was, and when it started and all of these things! We talked a little bit more about our other beliefs, and got her number. We prayed for her and all of our investigator the rest of the week and guess what?! We walked in the door on Sunday and she was there! She drove 20 minutes to go to church! And she had read all the way to 1 Nephi 17 and apologized for not having read more! And she had great questions. Pray she keeps coming!

All week we kept inviting people to come to the ice cream social and church. Saturday rolled around and we had 3 investigators who each brought someone with them (so a total of 6 people) come! It was awesome! The ward did a great job at friend shipping them and trying to help them feel comfortable. One of our investigators, Kelly, has had some reservations about coming to church, but coming to the building, meeting the people, and feeling the spirit really helped her. Sadly she didn't make it to church because she wasn't feeling well, but in our lesson later that day, she told us she prayed Heavenly Father would forgive her and accepted our invitation to be baptized! I was concerned it would be because she loves us as people, but she said it was because she's felt the closest to God she's ever felt in her life. AMAZING! She also said on her own that she needs to study the BOM more on her own. Pray for her that she will feel good enough to come! Her husband, Mark, is less active, so our lessons and prayers also help him a lot. I love them!

All in all, this week was a great lesson in the power of acting in faith. We can say we have faith, but until we do our part and act in faith, we can't receive the full blessings of that power. We still have a long way to go in helping everyone we want to help come back to our Heavenly Father, but things are starting to change for the better. The members are starting to trust us and be more willing to help us. The Lord is also teaching me so much! I am becoming more comfortable as a missionary. I still have a ton I need to work on, but the Lord is at my side. This is His work! He won't let it fail :)

I love you all! Most importantly the Lord loves you! I hope all is well in your lives. I love the gospel! I love the joy it brings into my life! I love the vision that the Savior has for all of His. He sees who we can become. We just have to trust Him enough to let us shape us into something better. Have a super week!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Lord knows you and cares about you.

Hello Everyone!

This week was pretty great. We had some more funny contacting experiences. We were trying to get a hold of a lady that's recently started avoiding us (President Holland says to be more persistent than an AVON lady and let me tell you, AVON's got nothing on us! We're the definition of persistence! Anywho..) I love children because they're so honest and open to us! Parents probably hate that about them when we come around. So we went to this lady's house and her daughter was like, "Who are you looking for?" We told her her mom and she said, "She's in the back". We walk to the back and this man is there and asks who we are. We tell him, and we walks into the house and says, "We've got some holy rollers on our hands". Another lady comes outside and says, "Sorry, she's not home." As we walk away, we hear her daughter say, "Mom, why don't you want to talk to them?" hahah So funny! As a missionary, we have to find the humor or we'd just be super sad!

Some other fun things from this week was we got to pick more wildflowers! We've had a ton of rain, so things have been muddy, but the plus side is there's more flowers! Yeah for wildflowers! I love seeing them wherever we go. Heavenly Father is just so great to bless us with so much beauty!

I learned an important lesson about the power of service. We went to see an investigator that's kind of been avoiding us lately. When we walked in, it was obvious she wasn't exactly thrilled. She was busy trying to move her furniture. We just jumped in and started helping her and asking her what else we could do to help, and her entire attitude changed! Instead of being a burden, we became a blessing, and she was more willing to sit down and have a lesson. We were able to start meeting regularly with her again. We also had another opportunity to help a different investigator fix up her back yard. It was just amazing to me to see how service truly softens hearts. I read in the New Testament this week in 1 James 1:27 about how true religion is really service. My testimony of that was strengthened. If someone is hard hearted towards you, serve them! The Savior really knew what He was saying when He counseled us to serve others.

We didn't have any investigators at church this week sadly. We did have some less actives that we visited come! Yahoo! It's great to help people renew their covenants. We're just trying to help strengthen the branch any ways we can.

We started teaching a mother and her daughter this week! So exciting! They don't have much of a religious foundation, so hopefully we'll be able to teach them. The hard part is our investigators get fed antimormon stuff. We can usually calm their concerns, it's just hard when they won't tell us what they are so we CAN help them. It's all good though :) It's truly the Lord's work! Not ours!

Something that I'm learning on my mission is that I learn the most right after I have a hard experience. The Lord truly uses my struggles to teach me a lesson. It's awesome! He's right there to help and lift me up when I stumble. It's interesting because I have to take the first step and read my scriptures and study Preach my Gospel. It's usually as I act that receive the help and direction I need. Sometimes I think we think that "God will just help us". While that's true, we usually have to take the first step. The Stake President came in spoke in church and he said that the Lord can't magnify our works if we're not doing anything. We have to do something for him to magnify it. I love that! So true for missionary work. We have to open our mouths, and work hard, and then the Lord can use what we can do to bring forth His work. So true!

I hope life is well for all of you wherever you are! The Lord knows you and cares about you! Have a wonderful day!

Sister Edgel

So Many Blessings

SO MANY BLESSINGS! IT's CRAZY! Heavenly Father is watching out for us :]

This week was good. I had a hard time Wednesday night because one of our investigators told me that Sister Barret was a better teacher than me (well, she was just trying to compliment Sister Barret, not offend me). It was interesting though because the Lord truly used this as an opportunity to teach me not to compare myself with others. He is making me into who I need to be! He has a plan for me, so I just need to do my best and it'll all be okay!

Humility is more than just thinking God is greater than you; it's knowing that He is the source of your strength, He is the one you should rely on, and He will help us!

It's interesting to me because my greatest moments of learning on my mission have come right after my greatest moments of trial. I definitely think that's the Lord's way. He tries us, we do our best to be faithful, and He blesses us and helps us even more. It's great!

Yesterday's Sunday School lesson was along these lines for me. It was about Elijah and the widow. Saturday I was actually thinking about this story and about how really, Elijah didn't need the widow to feed him. The Lord could've provided another way. BUT, the Lord knew that the widow was going to run out of food and die, so SHE needed the opportunity to feed Elijah. I think that's how my mission is. Yeah, maybe Sister Barret could teach better without me, BUT I need to learn how to become a better teacher so I can be who God needs me to be. I definitely think the Lord uses us because WE are the ones that need the blessings of sacrifice.

This just reminds me of last summer when we were painting my bedroom. You and Dad are master painters to me! You didn't need my "help" at all! BUT because you love me and want to help me become better at painting, you let me help paint the desk area (that thankfully no one will really see and see my numerous mistakes). That's just how the Lord works. He knows our growth is more important than a perfectly done job. Isn't He great?

I love you and pray for you! Whenever I start to worry about you, it's like Heavenly Father tells me, "HEY! Stop worrying! She's my daughter! I love her too! I will make things work out. No worries!" Sister Edgel :]

Tuesday, August 5, 2014