I’m Beethoven!

¡Familia y amigos!
Here in the CCM, we’ve developed a new catch phrase to describe the crazy excitement we have to feel in order to avoid extremely overwhelming feelings. Whenever anyone asks district 7-E ¿Cómo está? the response is ALWAYS ¡Super bien!. All of our native teachers just laugh and laugh at us because of our ridiculous American ways, even though it is proper Spanish (we think).
I have had yet another wild, rip-roarin’ week here in the heart of El Ciudad de Mexicó! Being a Sister Training Leader is way harder than I anticipated. Though I am confident that Herm. Madsen and I were called for a reason, because the only problems we’ve had with any sisters in our Branch have been with the companionship that happens to share our room. What a coincidence! Thanks a lot, Holy Ghost. This week has probably been the most stressful of my whole life, but, fortunately, the last two days have been my happiest here! Basically, these two Herms. were having so many issues compromising and being kind and simply being in the same room together, that one of them was seriously considering going home because the other always makes rude comments and yells at her. It has been a trial keeping them here. There were two pretty serious incidents on Saturday, during which we had to intervene. It has been so difficult to show love to them both and to know how to most appropriately handle the situation. I have never prayed so much in my life for answers. We want so badly to do what the Lord would, but it is difficult to know in such a sensitive situation. I am pleased to report, however, that things have been significantly improved! We have been encouraging them to pray together and for each other and have been trying to gently remind them why they are here (TO LOVE OTHER PEOPLE), but it is still difficult every day. Fortunately we have our thirdish party observers, our Branch Presidency and our Zone Leaders, who were all able to give good advice and are fantastic people. Enough of this craziness.
We finished with our first ‘investigator’, Esdras, last week after teaching him five lessons. Fortunately, he was a trooper to make it through five 20-30 minute intervals of VERY broken Spanish, and he accepted our invitation to get baptized after he quit his addiction to drugs! The days after we completed our fifth with him, we walked into our classroom for a ‘big’ surprise: there was Esdras standing there in a suit and a name tag that read ´Hermano Candia¨- he is our newest instructor! He is one of the happiest and kindest people I have ever encountered, and I am so pleased that we get to learn so much from him every day! He just got home from his mission rather recently and is an artist who makes prosthetic teeth (maybe he made mine)! We all just adore him, but, Holy Moses, he speaks faster than the rain falls here in Mexico City [which is probably faster than bullets exiting a machine gun (maybe not, but the rain here certainly rivals the great rains of Missouri)]. We all just adore him.

We’ve begun teaching our next two ‘investigators’, Daniel and Guadalupe (Hermano Camacho and Hermano Candia both posing as real people they taught on their missions), which is an exciting thing! Our first lesson with Daniel was quite successful, probably our best so far, and we teach Guadalupe for the first time tomorrow. We have a couple of pretty musical Elders in our district, Elder Wolfe and Elder Pollock, who are arranging a lovely little rendition of Oh, creaciones del Señor (All Creatures of our God and King), which we are hoping to perform at a devotional in the coming weeks! We are auditioning this Friday, but seeing as we were the only ones signed up, I think our chances are pretty super bien.
Last week we had half a day without water! It turned off halfway through my extremely fast eight minute shower and didn’t turn on until about three o’clock. It was fun.
I wasn’t asked to speak in church, AGAIN. By the time the third speaker was finished, I started feeling like my talk was pretty solid (not because the first three did so poorly, but because I had been scrambling to finish it, I promise). Our topic was ‘Preserverar hasta el fin’ (enduring to the end), and I related ‘Brillan rayos de clemecia’ (Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy) to our lives. I realized that no matter what happens, we aren’t dead yet and that means we have to keep going. Whether we are the lighthouse keepers who brighten the beam to share with those who are faltering in the storm or the ships out at sea barely clinging to that beam of hope, each of us needs to keep moving forward in faith. Every day is a trial of faith, but it is so worth it.
I love you guys!
Final random story: we practice being missionaries and investigators with the other members of our district several times daily during class. When paired with Elder Wolfe, a goofball, Herm. Janes tried to extend the baptismal invitation to him in Spanish. He replied no because he was a famous musician who was too busy to read the scriptures or pray ever. She suggested that he pray before he begins and read during his breaks from conducting when his arms get sore. He simply responded, ‘What?’. After repeating herself twice, he replied, ‘I can’t hear you. I’m Beethoven!’. Leave it to Elder Wolfe to keep life interesting, though he claims that he’s just trying to make the situations more ‘realistic’. The other day he was a billionaire for me who owned 400 houses in Canada and was willing to drop a million dollars for tithing after his baptism.
¡Buena Suerta!
Hermana Burdett

Picture Legend:
CCM1 is a picture out the window of our house after it had been raining/hailing for literally ten minutes. TEN MINUTES. It rains here almost every day!
CCM2 is an attempt at a selfie of all of the girls in our district, but we cut Herm. Janes (my secret favorite) out on accident.
WE are only allowed to take pictures on P-day here. promise that I don’t wear the same outfit every day.
CCM3 is, yes, your eyes are not failing you, a picture of me posing with some Bimbo products outside of La Tienda (Mollie and Emily, this one’s for you).
CCM4 is Sister Madsen and I on a lovely bench!

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Lots of letters!

Hello! This is Katie, Eliza’s mom.  I am a little late getting this week’s letter posted.  We were out of internet coverage last week while we were on a cruise.  It was a great experience to see Alaska and Canada.  We highly recommend it!  Celebrity cruise line was terrific! We will have two letters this week to enjoy. I want to thank all of you who have been following Eliza’s journey.  She is feeling supported and loved.  Thanks for all the emails and letters that have been sent.  It means so much to me that you all love and care for her. 

We got a letter this week from Eliza’s mission president, President Douglas Richardson, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  He requested that those that are supporting her contact her often.  He also said “In order for a missionary to be successful, she must be focused solely on her missionary activities.  Any news, letters, etc. from home that distracts her attention from her missionary efforts will be disruptive to her work.  Accordingly, to the extent possible, I suggest that all of your letters be positive, upbeat and spiritual and, to the extent possible, that discussions of bad news, disappointments, discouraging items, etc. be avoided.” 

If you would like to send Eliza a letter to meet her when she arrives in Florida, please send your letter to:    Sister Eliza Burdett

        7951 SW 6th Street, Suite 110

       Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324-3211

We have been told that this is the best address to send mail to in Florida.  They will forward her mail directly to her area from the mission home.  

Thanks for your love and friendship,  Katie

Week One: Fresh Fruit, Projectile Vomit and Love

¡Familia!
Thank you SO MUCH for your e-mails! Mom, I haven’t gotten anything in the mail yet, but rumor has it that letters from the States take about a week and a half to get here. The CCM is an astounding place! All of the missionaries here are preparing to preach in Spanish, so a comradery has really been developed between everyone. It’s a fantastic thing because you have the opportunity to practice your Spanish with everyone! As I said in my previous and very brief e-mail, my companion’s name is Hermana Madsen. She grew up in West Jordan, UT, but her family now lives in Orem. She has been home-schooled all of her life, excluding three years of high school and two semesters at BYU, but she still lived at home for those. She has been an interesting person to be placed with, indeed, because she led an extremely sheltered life. For example, in just five days, I have already had to teach her what “hashtag“and “pound it (fist bump)“ mean, what it means when someone digs something (an elder told her that he digs her curly hair, but she thought it was a bad thing), and what Twitter and Instagram are. I feel like I have already learned so much about who I am upon interacting with her and the other missionaries. My favorite hermana is Hermana Janes, who share the room with us and her companion, Hermana Evanson. She is from Maryland and is absolutely hilarious. We get along really well and simultaneously keep each other sane.
A few things about the CCM: it was formerly an LDS benemerito (which doesn’t really translate to English, but is a sort of boarding or preparatory school) and is complete with fifty houses, each containing approx. sixteen missionaries, and some dorms (but only elders have to stay in those, jaja). We live in Casa 13, which is an adorable turquoise color and is conveniently close to La Tienda, the general store here. The entire compound is surrounded by a ten-foot cinder block wall topped with four feet of barbed wire, so I think we’re probably safeish. We hear sirens from the city every night, usually multiple times, but it helps remind us that we’re still on Earth. We all eat together at el Comedor which has delicious Mexican food three times a day. Everyone says that we’ll get sick of it, but I doubt I will. We have fruit fresher than Vanilla Ice here (significantly fresher), and I have now tried mangoes, papaya, and some mysterious yellow, pomegranite-looking fruit (possibly passion fruit or guava? You should Google it for me and send me a picture so that I can know – these are the things that keep me up at night). We have a wide variety of it every meal, and I am eating plenty of it. They even have salad sometimes, Mom! Only twice so far, but at least we know I won’t keel over anytime soon from scurvy or any other various diseases. The water here definitely has a distinct taste (bitter, but safe to drink – we made sure), but I pretty much don’t notice it anymore. It is a wonderful place to live!
We taught our first lesson in Spanish on Friday (HOLY COW), and let’s just say that it was a rather largish train wreck. Though I think our ‘investigator’ understood most of what we said. We have since taught two more lessons to the same guy, Esdras, and have progressed immensely. It is truly a testament of the power of prayer – I have never prayed so much in my life to understand someone!
My branch consists of twelve missionaries: Elders Robishaw, Wolfe, Frodsham, Blaylock, Pollock, and Berg; and Hermanas Jones, Buhman, Janes, Evanson, Madsen, and Burdett. I have some wild coincidences within it though! Elder Berg was in my student ward at BYU! It’s so wild! We and another member of our ward met up in the Dallas airport and had an adorable little pow-wow about our former lives. Also, Hermana Jones is Brother and Sister Gale’s granddaughter! She was not on my plane from STL – I was the only one – but now she just happens to be in my district! She’s fantastic. Elder Frodsham is our District Leader and is truly an example of obedience, dedication, and hard work. He and Elder Blaylock are definitely having a lot of success! Elder Wolfe and Herm. Madsen are also headed to Fort Lauderdale (Woo!), which is an exciting thing, denoted by my interrupting interjection. I was called to be senior companion on Friday (scary and surprising), but then received a surpise on Sunday morning during our district meeting. H. Madsen and I were called into the Branch President’s office and were notified that we were going to be the Sister Training Leaders for our WHOLE BRANCH (approx. sixty missionaries). We are responsible for reporting to the Branch presidency each week about all of the Herms in our branch – how companionships are getting along, any problems, and other important stuff like that. I think the most important thing will be to just be a friend and someone they are comfortable talking with about their issues (I think equivalent to a Zone Leader? not sure). I am completely overwhelmed and humbled by this assignment pray that I can do a good job.
The CCM is truly a humbling place. Despite many teacher, natives, and employees telling you that your Spanish is excellent and claro, you are brought to reality when you try to communicate with an investigator and try to help him feel the Spirit. Prayer is indeed a real thing, and I have to pray every day to be able to learn, focus, study the right things, and to love my companion. Often it’s difficult, but I strive not to let it show and be positive.
Some quick tidbits:
°An elder projectile vomited literally three feet in the middle of an Elder Bednar devotional right next to us. It was awesome. Especially because it didn’t hit us.
°Yesterday during a service project H. Evanson and I dropped a bucket of water of an Elder on accident (we were cleaning the top of bleachers and he was cleaning underneath). Whoops! Also during this project we were supposed to get water from the boys locker room, but we walked in on a guy about to take a shower. An awkward conversation in broken Spanish ensued.
°Side-note for Frankie Q.: CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so thrilled for you! I really thought that you were going to Africa though. Also, you’ll never guess who arrived on the same day as me: ZAMBONI! I haven’t seen him put any ice cream in his pants yet, but we’ll just have to wait and see (for those of you who haven’t heard this story, I’ll tell it to you if you remind me). He looks way different with an Elder haircut.
°We have found the words haberdashery and budgerigar in our English-Spanish dictionary, but have absolutely no idea what they mean in English! Another Google search for those definitions would be nice.
I’m so sorry, but I spent too much time typing to upload any pictures – I’ll send some next week!
This work is truly amazing and is the hardest thing I have ever done. I don’t think I have ever learned so much in just six short days. What keeps me going is that it is also the most rewarding. There is nothing like feeling the Spirit as you attempt to communicate in Spanish with someone who needs answers to eternal questions. I love this place and am trying hard not to die!
Hermana Burdett

P.S. Today I wore my black panther shirt for a friendly p-day kickball game. It made me feel really awesome.

Alive!

Dear Parents,
I am alive. I had to get one vaccination, but they gave me a sucker, so it was worth it. I love you and am safe! Please tell Juh Taiy. I have also found my companion, Hermana Madsen. I am taking too long to write this, so goodbye!
Here`s my address:
Sister Elizabeth Anne Burdett
19/08/2014 7-E
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal
Mexico

Hermana Burdett

Eliza’s personal secretary and Mama

This is Eliza’s mom, Katie, and I am going to be sharing some of Eliza’s adventures on her mission to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  She is currently in Mexico City, Mexico at the MTC or CCM, as it is called in Mexico.  I am so proud of Eliza and her choice to serve her Heavenly Father.  I am excited to share her adventures and her testimony through this blog.  hermanaburdett.wordpress.com