Coconut Assassin and True Love

Received 12/14/15

Familia!

     On Wednesday we celebrated Witlene’s 21st birthday with couscous and cake (see photo)! I am convinced that Blondine Jean is a bonafide angel in the flesh: she signed up to feed us and then moved the party over to Witlene’s house when she found out it would be her birthday. She provided a fabulous meal, wonderful company, and a beautiful spirit. She inspires me to be my best now and every day in the future. We need more Blondines in the world.
      We have been working with a straight up miracle man named Guillermo, a 19 year old engineering student who is seeking peace and restitution. His desire to know the Savior is truly pure  and sincere, and he acts immediately on every message we share. He rode an hour and a half by bus to come to church on Sunday #dedication, and he absolutely loved it! His favorite parts were that we all sing together (which in a branch of about 20 young adults from all over the world can be a little musically interesting) and the Sacrament. Pray for him to continue to progress towards his baptism on the 26th!
     We’re taking the new JustServe initiative in the Church and doing our best to run with it – we spent two glorious hours peeling off 15 year old wallpaper with some members (mom, it took me back to that Christmas break in Rolla!). I am so grateful to spend my life in service, especially during the Christmas season. How fulfilling it is to manually serve more often in addition to our daily spiritually service!
      I had a wild exchange with Sis. Soza, a Chilean sister, during the which we experienced the following:
  1. Almost being hugged by a strange homeless man at Wendy’s the moment we stepped out of our car (pass along cards make not only good conversation starters but good conversation enders as well, thank goodness).
  2. Being just 6 inches away from being assassinated by a flying coconut while knocking doors – don’t walk under palm trees in December, kids! Or probably during any month…
  3. Meeting a baby with a softball-sized belly button that cried like a grumpy old man.
        We’ll just say that that night’s journal-writing took a little longer than normal.
     We had an awesome little lesson with our friend Jonathan who is working on coming back to church and is now preparing to be a missionary all about keeping the Sabbath day holy. We read Mosiah 13:16-19, when a prophet teaches this commandment to some wicked folk, and right as he read the last word, he exclaimed, “WOW! This is my new favorite scripture in this WHOLE BOOK! It’s so TRUE!”. I love growing right alongside my friends here. Nothing beats sharing the joy of a newfound or refound gem in the scriptures except for experiencing it with your friends. He and Dayamar are progressing well spiritually but are facing a few temporal problems that have left them without transportation. Include them in your prayers!
     When you’re needing a lift for your spirits, watch this beautiful video: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2015-05-003-lift?lang=eng We watched it with RC Zach this week and it touched all of our hearts and took our thoughts to becoming more Christlike. My thoughts have been turning to Him left and right as I strive to follow His perfect example and to help others to do the same, during the Christmas season especially. I was touched by Sis. Stephens beautiful lesson of love and obedience this morning in her talk “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments” from last Conference. Everything, everything I have learned on my mission has been rooted in love, and I cannot express how grateful I am to have such an increased capacity and ability to love anyone and everyone. My desire to show my love for the Savior through my obedience has increased in seemingly mathematically impossible ways, and I can simply say that I have come to know the words of John are true: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Once we finally have the realization that little Chloe has in Sis. Stephens’s talk (“Grandma, you want me to wear my seat belt because you love me!”), we come to a knowledge that we are given commandments not to be restricted or kept from ‘real fun’, but to become so much better. He loves us enough to help us, and has shown us the only way.
    So do it! If you love Him, keep His commandments!
   I love YOU!
 Hermana Burdett
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Wonderful Life

Received December 7, 2015

12.6.15 Witlenes baptism day

Witlene’s baptism day!

Familia!

   It was a busy week.
  Full of exchanges, trainings, a temple tour, a baptism, a Christmas devotional, knocking doors, watching Christmas videos, seeing people cry, knocking more doors, getting stuck in Miami traffic, the works.
     And it’s WONDERFUL!
  Since I didn’t really fill you in last week, here’s the story of Witlene Gerve: One day, Witlene decided she needed more spirituality in her life. It was a Saturday night. She woke up early the next morning, put on her church clothes, and asked Heavenly Father to guide her to a church. She decided to simply go outside and ask the first person she saw to take her to church with him. She did so and the man that God put in her path just happened to be on his way to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She hasn’t missed a Sunday since. And was just baptized on December 5th. She is a beautiful person (see attached photographic proof), inside and out, and the branch is embracing her with both arms!
   We took a tour of the Fort Lauderdale temple grounds with Witlene and two members of the branch, Jonathan and Juan. It has been way too long since I have set foot on the grounds of a temple, almost to the point where I wasn’t sure if I would really feel a spiritual difference there, just because I had forgotten. We walked all around the building as a few men were setting up a beautiful Nativity scene and the Spirit filled my heart. We had a lesson all about the blessing of having the Priesthood, the power of God, restored to the earth, and talked about eternal marriage and families. Throughout the whole lesson I felt a pure burning in my heart, confirming with every word that it really is true – families truly have the potential to be sealed together for the eternities, and as long as we don’t mess it up, nothing can sever that!
    RIght now we’re moving forward and working with Natalie, perhaps the most elect and prepared investigator I have ever had! She acts immediately, recognizes the Spirit so well, and is so grateful. The elders in the area were biking around and saw a couple of kids outside playing basketball. They pulled over on their bikes and decided to start playing with them. Then, Natalie came out of her house to talk to them (one of the boys was her bro) and asked when church was, though she has never been much of a church-goer. They invited her to our YSA without thinking too much of it and passed us her info. Now, every time she prays in a lesson, she thanks God that she had the courage to talk to the Elders. After our last lesson with her, she sent us a text just to say thanks again for giving her a Book of Mormon and a Bible. SHE’S DOPE!
     We had so many awesome experiences while knocking doors that I wish I had time to tell you about. So many people that were in a rut that I know God sent us straight to their doorstep. Some day in the future ask me about Maggie, Raj, Paulicia, and Mercedes.
     I got to go on an exchange to my old area and saw Hilda, my recent convert, and Rena and JT! They are progressing wonderfully.
     This morning Alma 5:7 touched my heart and reminded me of Elder Bednar’s talk from the Devotional last night: ” Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word”. God is love. God is light. I have seen lives truly change for the better because of this powerful light.
    I love you!
  Hermana Burdett

Oh, Miami, I missed you.

Received November 30, 2015

11.30.15 My Posterity

 

11.30.15 My trio for 5 days!I GET TO DIE IN MIAMI!

    For those of you unfamiliar with Miami jargon, I would like to inform you that I am not actually dying. One simply refers to the end of her mission as death. Morbid but symbolic. Or something.
    I am currently serving in the Miami YSA (Young Single Adult) branch with Sis. Almeida from Brasil – a HUGE change from the fields of Lehigh Acres and the ghetto of Fort Myers, but an exciting and wonderful one as well! One fun detail is that we cover Flagler, the area in which I spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas – I have already run into a few old familiar faces and it’s great to see them! Basically, we cover from North Miami down to about Sweetwater, so we work in all of Miami’s beautiful downtown near the beach: Liberty City, Little Haiti, Little Havana, etc. And I love it!
    Leaving Rio Vista was hard, but I have been so richly blessed since arriving here – it truly has been a miraculous transfer week!
    The adventure begins on Wednesday night: while knocking doors searching for YSA, a broken fence got the better of Sis. Almeida. She got caught on it and fell. She got back up quickly and we hurried on to our awesome lesson with Jose and LA member, Jonathan – Jose has been so prepared to receive the Gospel! By the end of our lesson, however, Sis. Almeida couldn’t move her arm at all. Fortunately the Urgent Cares in Miami are open until 8:30pm, and we were able to make it there just ten minutes before it closed! They took an x-ray and confirmed our worrries – radial fracture! The tricky thing was that she needed to see an orthopaedic surgeon…and the next day was Thanksgiving….. turns out that every single one was out of town until Monday. So the waiting began. I have so much respect for my companion! We did not rest and she worked through the pain all day Thursday and Friday.
    We had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with the Perez family, and were able to have more great lessons with Witlene, our fabulous Bahamanian investigator who is now preparing for baptism this Saturday, and Jose and Jonathan again. Witlene is absolutely wonderful and knows this Gospel is true. She is like a Gospel dictionary: every question we ask her, she responds with an eloquent and spiritually uplifting answer! She is a joy to teach.
     And then we arrive to Friday. After working all day, we get to have a bit of a break at a meal appointment with a member from a our branch and her sweet Honduran family. A couple hours later though, while teaching a lesson, we realized that we had gotten a little bit more than a break and free food – we also got food poisoning!
     Yup, Satan was working hard this week, but he could not stop us! Jonathan invited his girlfriend, Dayamar, to a lesson! I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone more prepared to receive the Restored Gospel. We have been able to be in contact with her every day since we met her and she is progressing beautifully. On Saturday night she asked us for another great chapter to read in the Book of Mormon – we opened to 3 Nephi 11, her previous night’s homework, and saw that she had marked and highlighted her favorite verses. It was a beautiful sight to behold. What a wonderful thing it is to see others feel the spirit and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know that it and the Bible are the word of God. I read them daily. I love them.
     Sis. Almeida and I spoke in our branch on Sunday – we are small in numbers but it was a very, very spiritual meeting. The members that come are strong and loving. I saw about four people that I had met while serving in Killian and Flagler and it was so good to see some familiar faces!
      I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ’s church here on the face of the earth again. I love my Savior. I love helping others change their lives for the better. I know that light has been, is, and always will be stronger than darkness, and I know that all light is divine and from our Father in Heaven. I love this work – nothing is more fulfilling than helping people that I once knew before this life relearn the reason why we are here and what we need to do to live together after this life.
     I got some good studying in on some talks from the most recent General Conference (thanks for the Ensign and goodies, Mama!) and was touched by Elder Anderson’s talk “Faith is Not by Chance, but by Choice” from the Priesthood session. I loved his words on faith: “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance … , the evidence of things not seen.” Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible. Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil. By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name. The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice”. Those words struck my heart powerfully. I have seen over and over again the product of losing faith and choosing to doubt rather than believe in people I have met. But, I have also seen the product of choosing to believe, to trust in God, and to wait on His arm in patience and faith and, brothers and sisters, that product is much, much brighter and better.
      As my good friends once said, “Don’t get swept away by the winds of Satan! Whoa!”. But in all seriousness, the power is in your hands. Choose to believe. Choose to follow the light. Live intentionally and miracles will follow.
    I love you!
   Hermana Burdett

Scripture Power

11.24.15 Surprise trip to the hospitalSurprise trip to the hospital!

Received November 24, 2015

Familia!

    I love being a missionary.
   This week was wilder than the at Six Flags, but I’ll try to explain it to you briefly because I’m sitting on very few minutes to write this. #endingpdayearlyyeahwoo!
   I am sad to announce that I’ll be getting transferred tomorrow morning to my final area! We were white-washed! We are pretty bummed, particularly because of some awesome events that happened this past week, but are confident that it is the will of the Lord. He just has more people waiting for us in another part of Florida! I’ll send out my new address next week!
    Miracles happened last week.
   First off, we had a bit of a shock and two of our sisters in our sisterhood went to the hospital. One of them was quick – less than 24 hours – but the other was there for five days straight. That resulted in us being in a trio with Sis. Garlick for those 5 days! It was awesome! We had a lot of really great experiences all week long, one of the highlights being meeting Pinkie. We gave her door a knock, and she opened up totally shocked. She told us that two days before God had told her that He would send people to knock on her door to give her an important message about Jesus and that she should listen! The Lord really does send us where He needs us to be. The English elders are now teaching her and helping her learn about how the Church of Jesus Christ is back on the earth and she’s doing great!
     After many many weeks and worries with Marulani and Bricia, we were finally able to set a baptismal date with them to which they are 100% committed. I took a page out of my dad’s book and shared Mosiah 18:8-10 with them and asked them the same question Alma asks the people: “Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord…?” to which they both responded, “Nothing.” We were able to resolve their concerns and to invite them to a baptism in our ward on Sunday. They loved it and are now ready to make the covenant themselves, with their parents completely supporting! I am sad that I won’t be here to see it, but I trust the Lord has something even better in store. Time and time again, we find exactly what we need in the Book of Mormon to help people resolve concerns. Investigators, missionaries, ourselves, all of us will find direction and guidance as long as we read with real intent.
     Funny moment of the week: while we were in a trio, we learned that neither of my companions know how to swim! Hna Alcazar’s response to Sis. Garlick was, “It’s okay. I’ve been told that swimming isn’t essential for your eternal salvation.” And thank goodness it’s not! Missionary work would be a lot more difficult and dangerous.
     I wish I could tell you more of the great things that happened (one of them being Lourdes progressing significantly – she’ll be baptized Dec. 12th!), but time is escaping me!
    I loved reading in D&C 106:6-8 this morning, which reads, “And again, verily I say unto you, there was joy in heaven when my servant Warren bowed to my scepter, and separated himself from the crafts of men; Therefore, blessed is my servant Warren, for I will have mercy on him; and, notwithstanding the vanity of his heart, I will lift him up inasmuch as he will humble himself before me. And I will give him grace and assurance wherewith he may stand; and if he continue to be a faithful witness and a light unto the church I have prepared a crown for him in the mansions of my Father”. Yes, my name isn’t Warren. Your name probably isn’t Warren either. This section was very specific guidance to a very specific individual, yet I am confident that there is great joy in heaven when any one of God’s children chooses to humble ourselves before the Lord and decide to lay aside the things of this world for something better. All of us has divine potential, promises, and help offered to us, all we have to do is live worthy to receive them!
    I love you! Have a happy week!
  Hermana Burdett

Thrash the Nations! Shake the Gates of Hell!

Received November 16, 2015

11.16.15 Hair Do Hall of FameHola familia!

   Shout out to my sister, Mollie, who is now a pretty cool 24 year-old (if my math is right) – it was her birthday!

    Last Wednesday, Hna. Alcazar and I were able to find tucked away, little apartment complex that we had never visited before. We entered the gates and soon found that we had been transported to Meximala or Guatexico, a funny hybrid between the two countries that has a few Honduraneans peppered in. The field is white in Guatexico. We found 12 potential investigators in approximately 90 minutes! Those potentials led to Javier and Ramero accepting to prepare to be baptized on December 5th, Jeremias excitedly asking if he could have his own copy of the Book of Mormon, and Nahun telling us that he used to go to church in Honduras and that his uncle is a branch president! It also led to a woman yelling at us and telling us not to come back when she’s home and to a confused man pushing a shopping cart with a small Latin child in it who asked me, “…is this your son?”, but we choose to focus on the bright side.
      We decided to visit a few people who had been taught by missionaries in the past, and on Thursday night met Evelyn who immediately let us into her home. It was wild – she has five kids! We asked her how long it had been since other missionaries had come – she replied, “Oh, they came by last night!”, and we learned that their family was currently being taught by the Elders in the English ward in Lehigh and ended up just saying a quick prayer with them and recommitting them to read the scriptures that the Elders had left with them. On our way out, however, she asked me, “Wait, you’re from La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias? My friend is trying to find your church!” She excitedly called her and wrote down her address and told us to head over right away. (Just like when mother calls us) quickly we obeyed! That led to us meeting Lourdes, who is now preparing to be baptized on November 29th! Her daughter, Valeria was baptized in Honduras just over a year ago. Lourdes received the missionary lessons for about a year, but never was willing to get married to Valeria’s father, whom she was living with, and therefore never was baptized. Now, however, it’s time! She had only been in the country 17 days when we found her – the Lord really does guide us to where we need to be!
     While on a full-exchange with Sis. Jones, we chose to knock in some awesome white apartments that we were sure were the homes of concourses of Latins. We soon learned, however, that that was not the case and that we were simply knocking the ghetto. We were able to meet Sharon, however, whom we invited to church at 9:00am. “Ooooooh”, she replied, to which I said, “I know, it is a little early, but..”. Her immediate response was, “Oh, honey, for Jesus I would wake up at SIX A.M.!”. We love it when we find people who are willing to sacrifice! 😉
     Another massive miracle we saw this week came through boldness! We finally were very straight-forward with Cristal, Marulani and Bricia‘s mom, and invited her daughters to be baptized on a specific date. Cristal told us she would need to speak to her husband, Melvin, and didn’t seem very committed to doing it or confident that he would say yes because he isn’t very religious. We encouraged her to do it, however, and she promised she would. We came back a few days later to learn………. THAT HE SAID YES! And shocked the world by saying that he might like to be baptized too! The whole family minus Melvin came to church on Sunday, the first time for Cristal in years. It was a beautiful thing to see after working with them for so long. The are still deciding between baptism on the 28th or the 5th of December, but they are committed!
      What a week it was – truly brimming with blessings from the Lord. And I didn’t even share with you the half of them (just the most exciting ones). We ponderized 1 Nephi 1:20 this week while knocking doors, which reads, “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance”. “And [we] had faith”, just as Enos did (Enos 1:16). Truly it is faith that moves mountains, changes hearts, and effectuates miracles. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf – they make all the difference for us! James taught me that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”(James 5:16).
     I love you! Read your scriptures!
    Hermana Burdett
1. Hna. Calderon told us if we put tomatoes and almond oil in our hair for 20 minutes it would make our hair grow faster – who knows if that’s actually happening, but it made our hair soft and our bathrooms a mess! 🙂

Hazlo!

November 9, 2015

Hola familia!

    What a wild week.
   First off, congratulations to Emily and bebe Charlie! I guess it’s a good thing I started praying early and didn’t procrastinate! Glad to know that I have a healthy gordito of a nephew. 🙂
   Last Monday we had quite the experience when teaching Elias and his family. We brought Hna. Frias with us and were having a good discussion about Jesus Christ and his Atonement. We transitioned into talking about the Restoration when suddenly a man walks into the room and says, “Excuse me, can I say something?” We reply, “Of course”, opening the large window to some crazy Bible-bashing and yelling. Not very fun. He was very drunk and so all we could really do was say, “we aren’t here to argue”, and eventually just stand up and leave because Elias and his family weren’t saying or doing anything and we saw no verbal solution. He followed us outside. It was not a pleasant experience. As he continued to try to prove us wrong and make us angry, inside I began to think: “Wow. Why won’t he just let us leave? He’s angry. We’re sick of it. This is accomplishing nothing.” However, as I tried to think of a way to improve the situation and tried to think of what Jesus would do, a little thought popped into my brain: “How can I love this man?”. And right when I decided to try, everything began to change. As simple as that. I said nothing. I did nothing. The only thing that changed were my feelings toward him. I saw someone who was lost, confused, and trying to find the truth. I saw my brother that God had placed in my path to help return to Him. And he began to change to. He began to apologize. He began to say things like, “Who knows, maybe God had me meet you today to help me get closer to Him”, and eventually we were able to leave with smiles, despite him still being totally drunk. Though it isn’t an experience I would like to repeat, I learned something valuable that day: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth” (1 Cor. 13:1-8). #prayforReinoso
    I had an awesome exchange with my old MTC companion, Sis. Madsen! We saw many miracles and were finally able to teach in Spanish together for the first time since the MTC! It was great. We found an awesome LA member who we were able to commit to stop smoking by this Sunday, taught Lani, Brisia, and their cousin Jocelyn an awesome Restoration lesson, and had a flea bitten cat lay on my feet as we listened to a blind man explain to us why he had a car in his driveway even though he couldn’t drive it.
    We had a fabulous MLC this last weekend that was all about how we can more effectively use the Book of Mormon to help the people with whom we are working deepen their faith in Jesus Christ and to have their foundation built on Him when the challenges come (Hel. 5:12). We have seen miracles happen because of this training. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and the key to our religion, but I also know that it is much more than that. It is our way to find guidance when we are lost, light in the darkness, and peace in a non-stop world. I feel God’s love as I read it. And you will too if you read in faith.
     I got to read two of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon this week: 3 Nephi 17 and 2 Nephi 33. I related a lot to Nephi when he said, “But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.” There is power in prayer. This had certainly been my hardest area to serve in, but I know that He will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people and know that no effort is wasted.
       I love you!
    Hermana Burdett

Happy Halloween!

10.31.15 Happy Halloween Slurpees! Bananna only at 7-11Halloween Slurpees! #banannaonlyat7-11

Hola familia!

  We were exchange-crazy this week! Probably my favorite one was with Sis. Peart – it is her first transfer and she worked with me up in Fort Myers. Even though it was a little difficult for her to work in a Spanish area when she doesn’t speak any Spanish (not because she’s not diligent but because she’s called to preach in English), we still saw a lot of miracles and she was able to contribute much. We had a really cool experience with the non-member husband of a LA. His name is Santo Freddy. He and I had an intense discussion about the Book of Mormon and why he needs to be baptized. The Spirit was there, but I knew he needed to feel it more to really understand. I asked Sis. Peart to bear her testimony on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and told her that I would translate for her. She got about three lines in when Santo Freddy said, “Wait, I need to say something. I have never in my life seen anyone with such beautiful or powerful faith. This girl’s faith can move mountains. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God”. It was an amazing experience for me. Even though they couldn’t communicate one bit in words, the spirit is a language that everyone speaks. We are excited to help reacitvate his wife and to help him along his path to baptism.
10.31.15 Exchanges with Sister Madsen and LeBaron!Exchanges with Sister Madsen and Sister LeBaron
    Another great thing that happened on my exchange with Sis. Peart was meeting Felipe and Mildred. We were stuck on Wednesday night at 7:30 with nothing to do because our ward mission leader cancelled our coorelation meeting last minute. We were sharing the car with the other sisters for the day to save miles, so we decided to drive them to their lesson and to knock doors in the neighboring apartment complex even though we’ve been trying to avoid knocking after dark because Ft. Myers has been a little bit dangerous lately. We felt good about it, though, and really needed to find more people to teach and so we parked and walked to the complex. Usually we have a tough time finding Spanish in the complex, but the second man we OYM’d in the parking lot was Puerto Rican! He told us, “If your prayer that you want to say with me is any good, wait for me here while I grab my mail and I’ll let you say it with me and my wife”. Yes, I know that sounds sketchy, but the Spirit was guiding us and we were totally safe. Turns out that he, Felipe, runs a male refuge center out of his church and helps homeless men get on their feet. Because of that, they bring home tons of food daily from grocery stores that donate to their organization! He and his wife had met missionaries in the past and we ended up staying with them for almost an hour in their apartment talking about the Gospel. They loaded us up with a big cardboard box of food afterward and sent us back to our car! Though now isn’t their time to accept the Restored Gospel, they were a blessing to us and we know that they will receive it in the future!
  Marulani and Brisia came to church and the Trunk or Treat this past week and loved it! They are daughters of a LA member that we’ve been working with for quite a while. We are working to get them baptized in the next couple of weeks!
  We celebrated our Halloween with banana slurpees from 7-11 and watching the Church’s Christmas movies (Nora’s Christmas Gift and my personal favorite, The Other Wise Man – extra cheese on the side). A total of zero trick-or-treaters knocked on our door. #yesfortmyersisactuallythatsketchythatthetrickortreaterswerefewandfarbetween
   We had a specific prayer answered in a time that we were not expecting. We found a family of five to teach! #prayforEliasandAnaandEdward They are preparing for baptism later this month.
    My gem this week was in James 1:2-4, which reads, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  The JST replaces ‘divers temptations’ with ‘many afflictions’, which deepened the significance for me. We must be grateful for the temptations and afflictions we are given because they are opportunities to show our faith and patience and to develop them further. It then ends in verse 12 saying, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”, again with the JST replacing ‘endureth’ with ‘resisteth’. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments and resist any evil that comes in our path! And we will be rewarded beyond measure for it.
  I love you! Have a stellar week!
 Hermana Burdett

You Never Know…..

Received 10/26/15

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Familia!

This week an AWESOME MIRACLE happened! We did our first exchange of the transfer and I was able to go with Sis. Jones (not the one that was my companion in the past, but a newer one in the mission)! I love her a lot and right away realized that she reminds me a lot of Sis. Heacock, the missionary who finished training me. I soon learned that this was pretty funny because precisely a year ago Sis. Heacock and I were in Killian together, which happens to be the area Sis. Jones just came from. I also learned that Sis. Jones and her companion there had been teaching a former investigator named Manny, the very same one that Sis. Heacock and I found a year ago! Unfortunately we had to drop him then because it wasn’t the right time for him, but Sis. Jones informed me that he is preparing to be baptized this month!!!! It was a beautiful moment. My testimony of the importance of record-keeping was strengthened. NO EFFORT IS WASTED! God’s timing is perfect. #prayforManny
We’ve been struggling a bit with our ward here to receive the support we need, and after a week of trying tons of new ideas to help the members share the Gospel with others, we were blessed to receive two very surprising referrals! One is the boyfriend of a less active member, who also happens to be in a part-member family, that we met for the first time completely randomly. It was a member that we hadn’t yet met but for some reason felt prompted to visit even though it was a 5-mile bike trip out of the way. It was definitely worth it! #followingtheSpiritforthewin The other referral was a complete miracle. A member who feeds us often but never has someone for us to go visit despite us trying to ask in different ways every time walked up to us right after Sacrament meeting and told us, “Hermanas, we’re visiting my neighbor this week to share the Gospel with her. She needs it. She doesn’t speak any Spanish.” We were shocked and pleasantly surprised! Even though she will need to be taught by other missionaries in English, we were ecstatic to see the members making the effort on their own! Two small steps for hermanas, one giant leap for Rio Vista! #prayfortheward

10.26.15 The DistrictThe District!
Funny moment: we surprise-visited our less-active friend Alvaro again this week. Our visits with him are always funny because they usually only happen when everything falls through when we are in Lehigh Acres and it’s around 8:30pm, so there’s not much time to really share a lot and be home in time. This was one such occasion. This time, Isabel, the Mexican woman who lives in the other half of the house with her husband, fed us delicious nopales (cactus) – she feeds us every time we go – and asked us how we liked it. Between bites, I commented “It’s delicious! I love it!”, her response was, “Que bien! Se ve muy bonita comiendo!” (That’s great! You look beautiful eating!), but for some reason I thought she said, “Miren a la gordita comiendo!” (Look at the little fatty eating!). Everyone looked at me and smiled after she said that, so I just chuckled awkwardly and tried to convince myself that it wasn’t something offensive to say in Mexico. After we left, I asked Hna. Alcazar if that was really what she said and she died laughing and informed me of what she actually said. It’s a blessing to have a Latin companion with good hearing. 🙂
We had two really fabulous lessons with Hilda and Cristiano this week! The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the authority from God and prophets, the role of the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ was so clear to them and they were really some beautiful spiritual experiences. Though the elect are like needles in a haystack, they are there, waiting for the truth, kept from it only because they know not where to find it.
Hna. Alcazar and I keep finding Brasilians and have thus begun the quest to learn how to communicate in Portuguese! We both have such spanish accents when we try to speak it and are probably driving people crazy – every time we meet or speak to someone from Brasil we ask them to teach us a word or phrase – but it’s pretty fun and pretty useful. I definitely will not be able to learn how to speak it before my mission ends, but we’re finding joy in trying. #comewhatmayandloveit
We are tired. Really tired. All the time. So tired, in fact, that after a lesson we got into the car at about 7:00pm and looked down to realize that Hna. Alcazar was wearing two different shoes of two totally different styles and colors. We still don’t really know when it happened, but the moral of the story is even if you’re tired…. I just tried really hard to think of a moral to that story, but I’m too tired.. Don’t worry, it’s the good kind of tired. 2 Timothy 2:10 kind of tired.
I found a little gem while studying 2 Timothy this morning. I love Paul’s tender words to his son: “…When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim. 1:5) I am so grateful for the examples of righteous women I have in my life, just as Timothy had! Paul recognized that that was the root of his son’s faith, the unfeigned faith of his grandmother and mother and knew, as Elder Nelson and Elder Holland recently expressed, that the power of a righteous woman is great.
So go give your mom a hug.
Hermana Burdett

The Great Drop

Received 10/13/15

Waiting 2.5 hours for an oil change 10/13/15

Waiting 2.5 hours for an oil change 10/13/15

Familia!
This week we have to say a hard goodbye to Hermana Ferrari – she’ll be headed back to Argentina this Thursday! I have been so, so grateful to have served with her, particularly during her last transfer. She taught me to be consistent, to be simple and intense, and to love. I’ll be in Fort Myers for yet another six weeks and will meet my new companion tomorrow!
Many inspiring things happened this week including interviews with Pres. Richardson, many exchanges, and Zone Training! I am so grateful for the Lord’s chosen and inspired servants here on the earth and that we have access to guidance TODAY! That week can seek it on our own through scripture study and prayer, and receive it from Heavenly Father’s dedicated servants.
We had to make a lot of big decisions on Sunday when not one of the 15 potentials for church we had showed up. It was pretty painful, especially after some sincere efforts to help them get there. In the end, we made the decision to drop 13 of them and to move forward with those who are ready to commit. And so we refocus our finding! This week we have already seen some pretty huge miracles because of it:
1. We found Denise and her little family! She has been looking to get closer to God and couldn’t believe that we just showed up on her doorstep! Right after we shared a prayer with her she asked us, “Do you baptize people in your church?” Do we ever! She has a strong desire for her whole family to be baptized and to recommit to follow Christ in their lives. It was a really cool experience and even though we had to pass them to the English missionaries, we are grateful to have had such a good opportunity to meet and testify.
2. On the same street as Denise we found Reina, an awesome 19-year-old who knew that we were heaven-sent! She is so excited to learn more about the Gospel. Her biggest goal for her family is to have them increase their faith and she knows that she can help them by setting a good example. She was another one that had to pass to other missionaries, but we know that God sent us at the right place at the right time.
I went on an exchange down in Vanderbilt Beach where we knocked doors in an area where many Haitian families lived. We were able to meet and teach two friends and their little daughters, one of whom asked me right before we left, “Why are your cheeks always like that? Like happy-ish?” Haha, smiling pays off.
Yesterday I got to try pacaya for the first time in my life! It’s a weird Guatemalan plant thing that looks like spaghetti growing out of a root. You should probably just Google it or something because that’s the best description I can come up with. But it is normally fried – it was delicious! Kind of bitter-ish, but good with some salsa roja.
As a new transfer approaches, I found a lot of guidance in reading D&C 128:22 this morning which says, “Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, onto the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.” That is exactly what I want to do: move forward and not backward. To take what I have learned and let it carry me forward into where He needs me to be.
Another scripture I read differently this week was 1 Nephi 8:7, which reads, “And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.”. How interesting it is to me that it is not until after Lehi decides to follow the Savior that he notices the circumstances in which He was. Many times, we are blinded to the darkness that surrounds us or the error in which we may be, but it is when we choose to turn to the Savior and follow that we recognize how much better our lives could be if we just keep following Him.
I love you! Have a stellar week!
Hermana Burdett

P.S. Whenever you feel tired or impatient, just be grateful that you don’t have to wait 2.5 hours for your oil to get changed. And if you do, I’m right there with ya.

Rejuvenating Revelation!

Received 10/5/15

Familia!
General Conference. Wow.
Here are some funny moments that happened this week:
*Samuel has a lot of trouble with his eyes which leads to difficulty reading small print. We need him to read the Book of Mormon, however, and, while digging through the house we found our solution: la lupa! Yup, after presenting him with him very own copy of El Libro de Mormon, we also presented him with our other gift: a magnifying glass. We thought he was about to have a heart attack, his laughing fit was so severe. It was a special moment.
*During the same lesson, Samuel got a little bit side-tracked and started telling us all of his secrets to ‘looking young’. He told us, “Everyone always tells me that I look 40 when I’m actually 65!”. Unfortuantely I don’t have a picture for you to judge for yourselves, but you’re just going to have to take my word that Samuel does not look 40. After we left, our member, Hna. Hill, said, “I don’t know who told them that but they need a magnifying glass too!”
We have a super cool new investigator named Bairo. We met him while he was working on a house and were able to share a quick prayer with him. He didn’t seem super solid at the time, but he gave us his information so that we could meet with him again in the future. We ended up stopping by a little ‘randomly’ (that means it was a prompting) and learned that he had dated a member of the church for five years and had gone to our church on and off with her throughout the whole time. Unfortunately it didn’t end too well between them, but now he is at a point where he feels like he really needs what the Gospel has to offer him. It was a strong testimony builder of the importance of talking to everyone and to give everyone a fair opportunity to learn the Gospel, even if they seem a little lame on first contact. Now, that doesn’t mean we should sit every single person down and force them to listen to their message, but it was a good reminder for me let God be the judge of men and to never write anyone off just because of a first impression.
I received some exciting news this weekend! Gigi, a woman I was teaching back in March when I was in Coral Springs, was just baptized! We helped her fiance return to activity in May and then I got transferred and never heard anything more. She is one of many people I have learned about throughout the course of my mission that I had the privilege to teach and were then later baptized by the current missionaries. No effort is wasted.
Michael Jackson shocked the world (well, mostly just us) and came to the last session of General Conference on Sunday! He loved it and the whole time when Elder Christofferson was talking he just kept saying, “Habla bien bonito!” We still don’t really know how best to help him and are seeking some serious spiritual guidance in that department. Keep him in your prayers.
The best was saved for last. General Conference time! Wow, I received so many answers that were poignant and powerful. I particularly connected with the words of President Uchtdorf whose main message to me was to not overcomplicate our discipleship. One of the questions I had prepared preceeding conference concerned how I could make these final few months of my mission the most successful in all departments: the most spiritual, the happiest, the most productive, etc. The very first talk given absolutely destroyed my question: all Heavenly Father requires of my is consistency. I don’t need to go crazy in doing all sorts of new ideas and projects to make this time the best time. I just need to be consistently obedient, diligent, and give Him my best. He doesn’t require anything more.
Elder Lawrence also spoke a lot to my soul. The Spirit is the most honest companion. He will tell us sincerely what we need to hear in order to improve, but he will never discourage us. He will never give us more than we can handle. I also noted the importance of asking the Lord what more we can do, but also the necessity of following through. Receiving the guidance is one thing, but if we don’t choose to act upon it, what good is it to receive it? Just do it! In the words of my Coral Springs WML, Bro. Ray, “Like Nike”.
Elders Holland and Nelson gave some powerful talks as well that definitely deserve a reread, as well as the new apostles called, Elders Stevenson, Rasband, and Renlund.
I LOVE CONFERENCE!
And I love you too.
Hermana Burdett