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.

Friday, November 28, 2014

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

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