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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New companion, Sister Madsen at the Kraft manufacturing plant

This should be called Miracle Work instead of Missionary Work

Hello Everyone!

This week was GREAT! Not just because the sun came out for a few days, but because we were able to be apart of so many miracles! Missionary work is so great :)

Funny Moments from this past week: We were tracting on Tuesday night and we knocked on this door. Someone behind the door asked who was there. We told them it was the missionaries, and they responded, "Sorry, no one's home!" haha Too bad! They missed out :p

So I don't know if I mentioned it before, but lately I've been struggling with losing my nametags/keeping them in one piece! In desperation last week, I taped a safety pin to my slightly cracked tag with medical tape... Sister Madsen likes to tease me about that one! Oh the remedies you find with limited resources! :)

This week was great! We started teaching some super solid investigators that we've been trying to pick up for a while, but it just worked out the past week. Something that the Lord is continually teaching me is to trust Him. Trust that He sees the bigger picture and that He's desiring to bless me, because He is! Whenever I trust in myself more, that's when I get into trouble. I'm so thankful for repentance though so I can get back on track. I love the Gospel!

Two years ago I remember hearing one of the Sisters from the General Relief Society board tell us that the most important endeavor of our life is to understand the spirit and learn to respond to it's promptings. That's something that I've been trying to learn more about as a missionary. I've learned lately that mostly the spirit just inspires us to do good things! It's not always distinct promptings, but just encouragement to be better or do better!

Alright cool story time: So last transfer I SCOURED the area book about information for people since we were white washing. Well, one day I decided to flip through some of the blank pages. In them, I randomly found an old referral (about 2 years old). We decided to try and go see this man again. Well, we tried a few times to no avail. I felt that we should keep trying, and we FINALLY met him! It turns out he had asked for the missionaries. They had stopped coming and he never found out why. Well, this week we were able to have a lesson with him, and it turns out he's been trying to get back into church for a while now, but due to his health he's home bound. He told us he's already read a lot about our beliefs and he believes them. So cool! It was amazing to see that what I didn't recognize was the spirit at first was definitely the spirit. It didn't tell me anything big or grand, but just encouraged me to do good things.

Last night we had a really cool lesson with our investigator who speaks French. His French Book of Mormon had come, so we read it out loud with him. We would read and then stop and talk about it. After we finished the first chapter, he asked if we could read another! He has such a desire to learn about and follow the Savior. It's so amazing to be a part of his conversion. We were truly lead to him.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be a small part of this work! I'm grateful the Lord works through the weak to show his strength. I know the Lord hears and answers our prayers. If we're true to Him, He WILL be true to us! I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week :)

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel :]

Forgetting yourself means remembering the Savior

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a great Martin Luther King day. We sure did! We went to the Mall just to look around. It was fun, but I feel like I'm outgrowing the mall. I never thought I would say that! It was fun, but I really do prefer missionary work. It feels me with happiness that is way more permanent.

So the past couple of weeks I've been learning about the angels that are around us. I've decided there are 3 different kinds of angels. There's the warning angels that warn people to repent, there's announcing angels that announce good news such as the birth of the Savior, and then there's the rescue angels that go around catching Sister Missionaries who slip on ice. Sadly, I have the greatest interaction with the last group! I have yet to physically fall (which truly is a miracle) but there's been some pretty close calls!

Funny Moment from this past week: Somehow Sister Martinez and I were talking about the muffin man, and she was like, "Yeah, he lives on Curry lane." I did another one of my infamous awkward pauses, before saying, "Um... Don't you mean Drury lane?" Who knows, maybe there's another muffin man who's lives on Curry lane and makes like fry breads or something instead. You never know!

Good news! This week was MUCH warmer. It was a tender mercy because, don don Don DON! I got a new companion, Sister Madsen! She is coming from the St Louis area, which is about 10 degrees warmer, and has less fierce winds, so she appreciated what was "warmer weather" for here. I'm telling you 40 degrees is warm! So toasty in fact that we leave our big coats in the car and just wear sweater. Perspective is an important thing. Just remember that!

Yes, Sister Martinez was transferred to the St Louis area. Yes I was so sad! And Yes I love my new companion! She has only been out for 4 months (I know I make it sound like I'm older when I'm really only 3 months "older" mission wise but that's like twice her life :P) but you wouldn't even know it! She's from Herriman, Utah and such a stellar missionary! She was such a good sport. After I picked her up, we barely had time to grab her some food before I hauled her off to dinner and another appointment after (we hadn't even unpacked). It was good for both of us though because we were able to forget the stressful day we'd had and focus on meeting someone else's needs.

Although this week was SUPER crazy, it was also one of the best of my mission (funny how that happens!). We had so many miracles! We were able to start teaching the wife of a member. Her husband has been hesitant to let missionaries teach her since she's from Thailand and doesn't understand everything, but Sunday night when we talked to him on the phone, he told us we could teach her whenever we wanted. Such an answer to our prayers! We also were able to start teaching the coworker of another member. The Member challenged her to be baptized and she accepted! It was so cool. We had been praying and fasting to set a date with someone, and out of nowhere the Lord proved the way. So many miracles!

People are constantly telling you as a missionary to "Forget yourself and go to work" and I never really understood how to do that or what that even means. I'm learning that what it really means is forget yourself, and remember the Savior more. Keep your covenants, and do your best to think of others more.

Life is wonderful! Thanks for all of your support and prayers! Sister Madsen has a picture of 2 sister Missionaries reading the scriptures, and they're surrounded by angels with swords protecting them. I love it because I know it's the truth! I know that those angels are there because you pray them there so thanks so much! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sister Edgel in the snow

Without hard work nothings grows but weeds.

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a great WARM week :) It was 7 degrees outside when we got to the car this morning. WHAT? Are single digits really allowed? I thought I was in Illinois, not Russia. Who knew?

I want to take a minute and thank all of you for your prayers and support. I can feel them, and I need them! Thank you for all you're doing wherever you are to serve and help those around you. You are awesome! Thanks so much for all you do! Thanks also for all the Christmas cards.

Funny story: So the whole time we've been in Champaign, Sister Martinez and I have been pretty cold. We kept thinking it's just because we're both from warm climates. Well, on Friday, the maintenance guys came to change the filter in our furnace and guess what? Our furnace was broken! haha That's why we were always freezing! The furnace wasn't able to blow the warm air up to the vents. In our ignorance, we just thought that was natural. It made me think about my life. How many times do I suffer through something when there's a solution that could help me so much more? Why do I let myself go through a trial that Christ could help me overcome?

So a few weeks ago we were trying to find this sister in a near by apartment complex. We knocked on this door and asked for her, and right as we did, about 10 kids walked into area we were. They heard what we said, and said, "Tameka Balin?" (name changed for her privacy)"She lives over there!" They told us we were one building off. Then, one of the other little girls shouted out, "Look at her hair!" and the next thing you know there are like 12 little kids gazing at my curly blonde hair. It was pretty hilarious! Sister Martinez and I quote that all the time. The funny part was that last night we realized a former lives in that apartment where all the little kids came out of. Maybe they'll let us in because of my hair...

For New Years, we both fell asleep around 7. That's all we wanted to do! Oh the exciting life we lead :) It's great! We did wake up around 8 and toast with some bubbly grape juice. Thankfully our neighbors weren't as bad as they can be at times. Tender Mercy!

So I've officially been on my mission for over 6 months. Where has the time gone? I can hardly believe it.

This week was good! We were able to have a lot of lessons even though it was New Year. Such a tender mercy! On Monday we were able to see an investigator we hadn't seen in a while due to the holidays. It was so good! It was amazing to see the light, confidence, and hope that had come into her life since our last visit. She lost her husband a year ago, and was still struggling with it. The gospel of Jesus Christ was able to help her through it and give her so much comfort. She was so grateful for the work we did and told us to "tell our supervisors we were doing a great job". All from 1 visit a month ago. It strengthened my testimony of the converting power of the message we share. It's truly the best thing!

We've been seeing more miracles and meeting more people who are willing to talk to us. On Friday we had a member come out with us. We went to the trailer of the person we planned to talk to, but he told us he was moving and dropped us. We went to see the next person, but she had just left to go shopping. We decided to visit a potential we had found the week before, and it was such a great lesson! He was so prepared and it was so cool. The spirit was so strong. I'll tell you more about him in a video where I can explain things better. It was just such a witness to me that if we keep going, things will get better.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about sacrifices, hard work, and enduring our trials. I'm continually learning that these are the things that will make us the happiest in the end. When we sacrifice for something, we are more dedicated to it. I was reading about President Benson's life as a farmer. He said something that really helped me. He said, "without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. There must be labor, incessant and constant if there is to be a harvest." Sometimes I want missionary work to be easy. I'm learning that it wouldn't be worth nearly as much if it were. It means so much and it's so valuable, so of course it will come at a cost! It is a price that's a privilege to pay. It's much cheaper than the price of sin.

I love you all! I hope all is well with you wherever you are! Keep up your good work. You can do it!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel