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, June 30, 2015

Right now, I honestly want to read that book!

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying this lovely summer weather. Things have tempered down a little here, which is a blessing! We just enjoy every good weather day and bad weather day too! Life is awesome :)

This week was FULL of funny moments. Sister Bishop is such a hoot! I really admire her ability to laugh at herself and not take life too seriously. We were out tracting this week and we were talking to this old lady who wasn't exactly the friendlies person on the block, and Sister Bishop was kinda nervous and asked her if she was home alone. The lady was super creeped out, and we both almost started laughing after we realized what she had accidentally said. I still get a good chuckle out of that one :p

This week we also had to find someone to confirm one of our investigators in church. Since I drive, Sister Bishop was the one texting people and she accidentally texted a lady in our ward instead of the person she meant to (for those of you who don't know, only men in our church hold the priesthood to do that). What made it even more funny was the message was worded like, "Would you be comfortable doing that in church Sunday?" so it sounded like we were serious! ha ha luckily everything worked out and we found someone who did a great job!

We saw lots of little miracles throughout our days. It was neat to see how the Lord placed us in people's path at the precise time they needed us. We have been talking with one of our neighbors, and on Friday, we pulled up to our apartment at the EXACT time she did. It was fun to talk to her. The next morning, the same thing happened, and it was kinda creepy and hilarious at the same time!

We were at the house of a less active family and we were helping them clean. We were talking to the 7 year old and 5 year old daughters who were with us. We asked the 7 year old what her favorite thing to do is, and she said, "right now, it's honestly to read that book", that book meaning the children Book of Mormon book. We both about fell over! I just love the innocence of children. It made my heart so happy to hear her love for the scriptures from a young age. We hope to help them continue that!

It's funny because you normally face opposition between a baptism and confirmation, but this week was the most I've ever seen on my mission thus far. Our investigator who just got baptized faced a lot of trouble with her mom and the cops this past week. We weren't sure if she was going to be able to be confirmed still, but alas, God is more powerful than man, and it worked out beautifully! Her husband got his work schedule rearranged so he will be able to come to church with her for a while now. So exciting! We hope to start working with him soon. Keep them in your prayers!

Life is great, the work is hard work, but it truly is sweet labor! I love my Savior. I'm so grateful for the love and patience He has for each of us as we learn to do our best to follow Him and His example. God is in control. Thanks again for everything you do to make someone's life a little better or easier. Our efforts do not go unnoticed by God. Keep it up!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

June 15, 2015 A wedding, a baptism and a baby

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying swimming in pools, eating popsicles, and wearing shorts. We are enjoying filling up baptismal fonts, eating free custard (we get for being missionaries), and wearing short sleeved blouses :) Life is great here in Webster Groves! This was the busiest week of my mission, but also one of the best!

This week started off super intense with a lesson with Lulu who was supposed to be baptized on Sunday. We discovered some concerns she had that had never come up before. When we left the lesson, we were both praying so hard! We were so concerned for her and wanted to be able to help her the best we could. After lots of pondering and prayer, the next day we came back and her spirit had changed. She had read the Book of Mormon and it had resolved her questions and concerns. We tried explaining things more to her, but she just said, "You don't get it. I get it. I was just being stubborn. If this is what God wants, it's right." Wow. We left with tears of gratitude in our eyes. It was amazing to see that this truly is God's work. We do VERY little of it.

On Sunday Lulu was married! It was so great! I wish you could've been there to see it. Let me tell you, it was HILARIOUS to watch 2 sister Missionaries try to orchestrate the whole thing. Somehow things worked out. We didn't have time to plan out all the little details, so we just winged things as they came our way! "We need a knife to cut the cake" (me and sister Dahlberg sprinting as quickly as you can in a church building to get a knife), "We need music for them to walk down the isle to" (us waving frantically to a member who played the piano well enough to play for a few minutes of a wedding), "Wait, my friends haven't gotten here yet" (us walking back up the isle to see if her friends had arrived yet). The important thing is it all worked out! And we had fun and a lot of pictures to prove it :)

We also had 2 baptisms on Sunday for a Mother and her son! It was great. The ward came out to support them. It was awesome to see :) Baptisms are so great! We had a mini fiasco with filling up the font. We had asked the Elders how long it took, and they said, "Only about an hour". Well, an hour and a half before the baptism, when we start filling the font, the primary president says, "It takes HOURS to fill the font!" We kinda panic, and turn on the water up all the way, regardless of the temperature because we just need it full! Well, the controls were on the men's side of the font, so I had to wade through the font to get to the controls to turn it up. It was only up to my ankles, but it was pretty hilarious! That's the closest I'll get to swimming in a pool for 7 more months :P

So you're probably wondering why there's a baby in the subject line. During all of this craziness we also had transfer calls. It turns out that Sister Dahlberg will be leaving and going to Illinois, and I will be staying here in Webster Groves and training! That means I will be in this ward for 6 months! I'm nervous and excited. It will be great I'm sure :)

The Lord is so good! One night this week I was laying in bed and praying about something, and I couldn't help but asking, "Does this really matter to you Heavenly Father? I just need to know." The next day when I was having my personal study, I was reading in the doctrine and covenants and the scriptures were a DIRECT answer to my prayer, followed by a verse about how God knows we have need of things even before we ask. WOW. What a direct answer! I love my Savior. I love this work! Have a great week.

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

June 22, 2015 Lulu's baptism

Hello everyone!

I hope things are going well in whatever part of the world this letter finds you in. Things are going really well here in St Louie!

So this Wednesday I got a new companion! This is her first area, but you wouldn't even know that! Her name is Sister Bishop, and she's from Lehi. She's so great! Things are going really well here.

Funny story: So on Sister Bishop's first real day, we went to go crochet with a less active who teaches all the missionaries to crochet (don't worry, our mission President has approved it!) While we were there, her dog nearly threw up on my bag (missed it by a centimeter) and then almost pooped on Sister Bishop's foot. Poor dog! It was pretty funny though to watch Sister Bishop's face. She just stared straight ahead and dropped her crocheting. hahaha Life keeps you on your toes :p

Yesterday was Lulu's baptism. It was so beautiful. Our mission President and His wife came to support her. It was great. Lulu was so happy and the spirit was so strong! She had wanted me to talk, so I talked about the role the atonement has played in getting her to where she is today, and how it will continue to help her after baptism. After she was baptized, she just cried. It was so sweet. She was so touched. There's nothing quite like a baptism as a missionary. It was great for Sister Bishop to start off her mission with a baptism. Hopefully we'll have a few more in the next few weeks :) Our next goal is to help her husband. Keep us in your prayers!

The two investigators that were baptized last week were confirmed yesterday too. It was really neat. They're not naturally super social, but it was fun to see them start coming out of their shells. The Mom answered a question about a Book of Mormon story in Gospel Principles. It was really neat! They stayed after for Lulu's baptism too. It's so neat watching people grow and progress in the gospel. Missionary life is the best!

This week I learned a lot about the importance of being grateful for the good in other people and in valuing their value! We had got back late from a meeting with our new ward mission leader, and we only had 5 minutes until 9. We decided to go try our neighbor who I've talked to before. She didn't answer, so we tried her neighbor. We were about to go back when Sister Bishop said, "I think we should try apt B. We did, and we ended up talking with the lady for over 15 minutes. It was really neat. We have a return apt with her this week, so we'll see how it goes!

One of the main focuses of my studies recently has been looking for the Love of the Savior, and for His mercy, and the importance of giving God our hearts. It's been amazing to see how many times the Savior reaches out to us, even when we don't deserve it at all. Studying the scriptures this way has brought me so much peace! If you are having trouble feeling the love of the Savior in your life, and/or love for others, I challenge you to read the scriptures looking for it. It has helped me so much. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary. It's the greatest thing in the world! Keep doing all of the good that you do. Have a wonderful week!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

June 8th The work rolls on

Hello everyone!

I hope this letter finds you all well. You are in my prayers often!

This week was pretty great! I can hardly believe it was only a week ago we got to hear from Elder Christofferson. What a blessing!

On Thursday we had to go to this meeting and I was a little nervous about it. We stopped at Chic Fil A before for lunch. When we got up to the window, they asked us if we wanted an ice cream cone because they had accidentally made an extra. It was such a simple thing, but I know it was the Lord reminded me He loved me and knew me and it was all going to work out! Think of it: we came during lunch, the busiest time, and of all the cars they could've given it to, they chose ours! Wow! Heavenly Father truly takes care of His missionaries :)

A highlight from this week was we got to have a mini missionary come out with us! She is 16 and in a nearby ward. It was so great. She was such a great example of thoughtfulness and had such a wonderful testimony to share with those we talked with. She was definitely exhausted by the end. I don't know how we do what we do as missionaries when it is literally so exhausting. We couldn't do it if we weren't truly supported by God.

This week we started teaching this woman who's had a broad religious background. Somehow we got talking about the temple and I told her about the peace that I feel when I'm there and the love. You can just feel it is a house of God. She paused for a moment and then proceeded to tell us that she's never felt that way, but has always wanted to. Sometimes I am amazed by the truths I have always taken for grated. People really are searching for things I've known my whole life. I love this gospel! What a blessing to be a part of this!

So exciting news! Lulu and her husband came to church so they could talk with Bishop before their wedding this Saturday! While talking with Bishop, she decided she wants to be baptized this Sunday with 2 of our other investigators getting baptized! Wow! We're so excited for them! It never ceases to amaze me that if we simply do our little part, the Lord will magnify our work so much.

You have to understand something about Lulu and why she is such a miracle. Last transfer was pretty slow and honestly it was really hard on me. We couldn't get a hold of her for the first 3-4 weeks. One day before we tried to see her, I said a prayer and told Heavenly Father that if we couldn't see her that day, we weren't going to try teaching her any more. Well, we got in, and it was the perfect timing for her, and her life is changed forever because of it. Wow. This is God's work! It will roll forward.

I love you all! Keep on giving all that you give, loving all you love, and sharing light with those around you. Have a super day!

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel

June 2, 2015 Drum roll please

Hello Everyone!

I hope this letter finds you happy and well. Things are going so well here in St Louis Missouri! Today marks 11 months of my wonderful privilege of representing my Savior Jesus Christ to my brothers and sisters here. Wow! Time is flying :)

So this week, Sister Dahlberg roped us into singing for District Meeting this week, which also happened to be President Interviews... But you've got to understand, NEITHER OF US SINGS! All week we practiced as we were driving between appointments. Well, the big day came and we were feeling quite giggly and nervous. We did really well! Except for when I started laughing before the ending part... other than that it was quite a success I would say. Check! Done with that one. We must have been at least half way decent because our Zone leaders called after and asked if they could record us singing at our next district meeting. Sister Dahlberg said, "But I'm so tone deaf!" Our thoughtful Zone leader said, "You're not tone DEAF, you guys just have some tonal issues..." hahaha

So guess who's planning a wedding?! We are! We are helping our investigator Lulu get married! That's definitely one thing I didn't think I'd have to do on my mission.... It's been great though! She's from Africa and has decided to do an Tanzanian themed wedding (that's the country she's from). It's been exciting and a tad stressful, but mostly just fun :) We have 11 more days to get it all figured out. Oh and I forgot to mention that she wants us to be her bridesmaids. Another thing I didn't think I'd do on my mission :) Fun stuff!

This week was truly remarkable! We were able to find lots of new investigators and see miracles. I love being a missionary! Yesterday our mission got to hear from Elder D Todd Christofferson and his sweet wife. They had come to a Stake conference (in my last Stake!) and had extended their trip long enough to talk to us. Wow! It was an answer to so many of my prayers. I had a break through, which was really good.

For those of you who don't know, I've honestly struggled for a long time to see myself the way God sees me. Its so easy to compare ourselves with others (WHICH IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA!) Well, I've been praying about this and fasting and studying for a while. At the conference I was reminded to not take my value from being "better than others", but rather to look to the Savior, and the price He paid for me, and each one of us, and take my value from that. I am valuable not because of who I am, but because of who Christ is and how much He think's I'm worth. I have been so much happier since then! We truly have infinite worth!!

Elder Christofferson said something that I really want to share with you. He said, "Don't go home and think 'I've served the Lord faithfully, and He owes me.'" He talked about how now we're in even greater debt because of the blessing it is to serve God. It's so true! I can't even put a price on the lessons I've learned during these short months as a missionary. I will forever be blessed because I made this decision to come.

I love you all! As my Dad would say, " the church is true, we have a Savior that loves us, what else matters?"

Lots of love and support,
Sister Janea Edgel

Memorial Day

Hello Everyone!

I hope you had a good Memorial day! We had a great day exploring St Louis and doing lots of shopping and walking.

So we had the brilliant idea one afternoon to take the bus to the community college to talk to people. When we got there, we discovered that school was out, and not a soul was in sight. After walking around and trying to find people, we decided to head back to our bus stop. Sister Dahlberg has this goal for us to sing at District Meeting some day, so we decided to practice. It was getting dark and we were alone. We sang "I am a Child of God" and then sang "When I'm Baptized". As we headed toward the bus stop, I made the comment to sister Dahlberg that I didn't want to sit in the creepy bus enclosure, so we should go sit at the bench instead. Well out of no where we hear this ominous "MUAHAHAHA!" Not thinking, I sprint off toward the bench, and realize that it's just this guy laughing, unseen by us, in the bus stop enclosure. I look back and see that Sister Dahlberg had dropped to the floor with her arms over her head. Too funny! We ended up talking with the guy, who had heard us singing and everything the whole time. He asked us to sing for him. We ended up getting his number and address. It just goes to show that you really never do know who's watching you, or listening to you :)

We have some investigators who've been struggling to make it to church. We decided to have a lesson with them about the light of the Savior. We light a candle below the picture of Christ, and read the talk from Elder L. Whitney Clayton about 7 year old Sailor Gutzler's experience making her way from the plane crash wreckage to safety by following a light. (click here for the full article).The thing that stood out to me the most was that there were times on the journey where Sailor couldn't see the light. She had to just keep walking and trusting that she was headed in the right direction. That is such a parable to life! We can't always see the Savior. Sometimes we have to trust in His promises and keep walking. As we do so we will find safety, regardless of the storm we have faced, or our condition.

This week we talked with our investigator who's a young mom about a lot of the different commandments. She had a hard time understanding WHY we needed to do all of the different thing. we talked a lot about the importance of being in a condition we can heed the promptings of the spirit. I told her about an opportunity I had earlier in my life where I felt as though I needed to pray for someone right then and there and hard. It wasn't until later that I discover that this person had been severely struggling, and right when I prayed they were able to get needed help. I asked her what would have happened if I had been drunk or not listening? The next day when we came back she courageously smashed all of her cigarettes! It was amazing to see what people are willing to do once they have tasted of the Savior's love for them and the happiness that comes from following in His ways.

I love my Savior! I am so grateful for the time I have to represent Him and serve His children! Don't be afraid to share the gospel! It brings the greatest blessings to us and those around us. Share the Savior's love! Love is the most important ingredient in our lives: love of God, and love of fellow man. Have a wonderful week! Keep up all of the good you do :)

Lots of love and support,
Sister Edgel