MIAMI

Mi querida familia,
I am pleased to announce that I have safely arrived in Florida and am serving in the Killian West area in the MIAMI zone (sorry mom!)! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SENDIND SOME MAIL HERE! Y’all son los mejores. Extra shout-out to Emily for those awesome pictures and divine journal. Also shout-out to the mama for so many goodies and supplies – they are already being WELL used (and eaten).
After waking up at 1:00 A.M. on Tuesday, we caught our flight to Dallas, and only made it to our gate about ten minutes before our flight to Florida left (hence the lack of phone call – so sorry). We were met at the airport by Pres. and Sister Richardson and the two APs, Elders Lange and Tesch – they are fantastic! It was wild to feel the humidity in full force after a dry six weeks in Mexico. On our first day here they fed us delicious pulled pork sandwiches, trained us a little, and sent us right out to place Book of Mormons! It was AWESOME! I went with Sister Rampersad (from Trinidad – she went to the Provo MTC) and we placed four – so cool! It was my first time ever hearing Haitian Creole – so glad that I didn’t have to learn that in the MTC – and my first time knocking doors! We stayed in a hotel that night and headed over to a wild transfer meeting in the morning. I’ve never heard people get so excited in a chapel before! So many people were transferred and given new responsibilities; everyone tells me that we basically have a brand new mission. Crazy.
I am happy to report that my trainer is Hermana Calvo from CUBA. She was baptized in CUBA. Turns out that a branch was established several years ago (I think in 2004) and Elder Holland just went down again this year to establish the second branch! The gospel is truly becoming global – amazing gates are finally opening! She grew up in Cuba and has been living in Southern Spain for the last seven years. She’s awesome. I’m so grateful to be serving with her because she can perfectly understand the older Cubans’ accents (HALLELUJAH) and has already taught me so much Spanish. This area is wild because when knocking doors, you never really know what you’re going to get. Between English, Spanish, and Portuguese we are on our toes. Thankfully we haven’t run into any Haitians here because neither of us know a lick of French or anything like it. It’s been pretty wild because we are white-washing an area – meaning that both of us are new to the area and knew absolutely nothing about it! It has certainly been an adventure. It’s pretty difficult to get in the door, just because the south side of our area is rrrriiiiiccccaaa, but we are seeing miracles every day! We do this cool thing called ‘harvesting’ (ref. DyC 4), meaning when we knock on doors instead of trying to teach right away we instead offer to leave a blessing on their home. It’s a pretty remarkable thing because even though we don’t hold the priesthood as sisters, we can leave a blessing through the virtue of our calling as missionaries. We’ve had some pretty awesome experiences with it – just the other day, a woman, Leonore, opened her door to us and was kind of laughing at us, but allowed us to do a harvest blessing all the same on her doorstep. Once the prayer was said, we looked up to see her eyes filled with tears, and she immediately walked us across the street and into her parents house to leave them with a blessing as well. It has been so amazing to help other people feel the Spirit as we get to and to help them understand that there really is a Heavenly Father who loves them. She didn’t ask us to come back or anything, but we’re hopeful that we can return and make some progress with her in the future.
On the same street, we knocked into a woman named Ana who immediately let us in the door and began to tell us about her sad story. She has been taking tons of depression pills lately because of her family situation. She had a son who had Downs Syndrome who passed away roughly seventeen years ago whom she misses terribly, and has one living son who is no longer speaking to her because she remarried. She told us that she’s been waiting for hope and change, and that her prayers were answered by us. She was our first new investigator! We can back with an AWESOME member on Saturday and taught her about the Plan of Salvation! Well, I didn’t do much. Her accent is crazy, and I’m sitting at about 30% understanding rate with her unfortunately. People tell me that my Spanish is good for a gringa, but understanding can be so hard depending on the person. Anyway, she accepted my invitation to be baptized – wow! We really hope that we can help her find happiness again.
We also met an amazing woman named Sharon. Here’s her in a nutshell: lives alone and misses her family terribly, in her eighties and has a lot of health problems (sciatic nerve – hey, I know that one) that make it difficult to walk or basically do anything. She told us that she had just been washing her dishes wishing that someone would come and help change her situation, and then there was a knock on the door (surprise, it was us). She is Jewish, but is so diligently searching for some kind of a response from God that she is willing to look anywhere to find it. The harvest blessing really touched her heart, and she wants us to come back too!
Everyday through small moments like this my testimony is strengthened. I wish that I had time to tell you more stories like these (though I shared the best ones). Today I found this really awesome scripture in DyC 50 that assimilates knowledge with light. Anything that edifies and brings joy is of God and likewise, anything that is the opposite is not. It states that each of us can gain a knowledge of all of the things of God until our understanding is the perfect brightness of the Sun. On the same line, this light and this knowledge can cast out darkness. Our testimonies truly are like this. They certainly do not come all at once, but are as gradual as a sunrise. Every day as we study, we find bits of light that add to our sky that eventually become as brilliant as the sun and that can add light to others as well. It is difficult because many people think that they must have a perfect understanding and knowledge of all of the things of God before joining this church, or any church. Yet each of us are searching for more light each day. It cannot be obtained all at once, yet there is no limit to the glory and beauty that it can be.
I so love serving here and am excited to see what this week has in store.
Besitos,
Hermana Burdett

Editor’s note: Eliza’s “sorry” to me was because I had expressed a little concern about her safety in some parts of Florida. I worry about my kiddos, probably a little too much!  I know there are great people everywhere and I am gaining greater faith in my Heavenly Father every day in his ability to watch over her and keep her safe while she serves.  She is striving to be exactly obedient to all the mission rules and I know blessing come with obedience.  I apologize for anyone I or we may have offended.  It was certainly not intended.  Katie

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No phone call yet……

Hi.  This is Katie, Eliza’s mom.  Unfortunately, Eliza didn’t get to call from the airport. We are assuming she made it to Florida and is getting settled.  We hope to hear from her soon.  No news is good news, right?! Thank you to all of you who are following her adventures and stories.  Thank you for your prayers and the love you send her with your good thoughts.  We are so appreciative and are learning to better trust our Heavenly Father.  This is a great faith building adventure for all of us.  Much love, Katie

fotos, que padre!

I learned a new phrase for ‘cool’ in Spanish this week. Can you guess what it is? I’ve used it about thirty times.

Photo One is a lovely picture of my friends. This is Elder Wolfe and Herm. Janes. They’re perfect.

Photo Two is our district with our first and second counselors of our presedencia de la rama.
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Here are my Fotos!

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 I will miss Spanish keyboards. How the heck will I be able to make this ë on an English keyboard? Sad.

Photo 1a picture of us and our mejor amigo, Javier, from the comedor.

Photo 2 The district

Photo 3 is a foto of pocket Jesus and pocket Guadalupe that I drew for a lesson (us attempting being ”dynamic”). It was a pretty hilarious lesson. Our lesson after that one I drew another with Guad in a suit, but I made a pretty hilarious Spanish mistake when teaching the Law of Chastity today. I’ll let your brains guess.

Photo 4 is H. Madsen and I with Hno. Candia, nuestro mejor amigo.

ONE DAY MORE

Sent on 8/18/14
So much to tell, but so little time!
Here’s my life:
°We’re leaving the CCM at 2:30, oh wait, TOMORROW MORNING. My flight leaves at 6:05 A.M. to Dallas and then at 10:20 to FORT LAUDERDALE. I got a letter from my president, so there will be people waiting for us when we arrive. There are six herms and four elderes headed to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to call at the airport, but I’ll do my best!
° We had an AWESOME Sacrament Meeting on Sunday – Presidente Elizalde (second counselor) was alone when we were received at the CCM and had our first interviews, and then was alone in the morning of our last Sabbath here. He has a really amazing Spirit, and I have so much love for him. He gave us the whole meeting to bear our testimonies (usually districts only get half), probably because we are the only district to have done it completely in Español. The Spirit was really amazing, and we sang a medley of Himno de la batalla de República and Somos los Soldados (Battle Hymn of the Republic and We are All Enlisted) – it was awesome! Usually everyone sings really sad and emotional hymns, but it felt great to have an arrangement that described our excitement to go to work! He then, from the pulpit, said ‘adios’ to each of us individually and started crying, which in turn made us all cry tambien. There was so much love there.
°Our last lessons this week with Guadalupe and Daniel were GREAT! I know that they aren’t real, but we’ve really learned so much in terms of being more dynamic and teaching with clarity. Hopefully we can actually see some succesful products of those preparatory lessons in the field!
°I’m including a picture of us and our mejor amigo, Javier, from the comedor. We did our service activity with him on our first Monday here and have talked with him during at least one meal every single day since then. He is one of the most fantastic human beings I have ever had the pleasure to know. No matter what he is doing – sweeping floors, cleaning up vomit, washing bathroom walls – he always has a contagious joy and smile. When around him, I couldn’t help but be overjoyed and so ecstatic about this work. Today he gave us two final pieces of advice: don’t fall asleep during your mission as the apostles did during the Atonement – take advantage of every minute -; also, he told us to always remember that our moms are praying for us and to not make their prayers in vain. He’s awesome. He and his wife made us all bracelets, and this is what called for the picture-taking. I love him SO MUCH!
°Both Hno. Camacho and Hno. Candia gave us pretty fantastic parting words during our final lessons with them. I have been so blessed to have them as my teachers during my time here. They have both taught me so much about myself, this Gospel, and what this work is really all about – love. They have changed my perspective and have instilled within me a desire to take advantage of every minute and to be exactly obedient. When I return, I want to be able to say that I followed every rule and that I worked as hard as I could. I want to be there to do everything the Lord needs me to do while there, and if I have to sacrifice a few things for that to happen, then I0m willing to do it. I’M SO EXCITED TO GO.
°This time in the CCM has been life-altering. I have developed so much love for so many people in such a short amount of time. Leaving will be so difficult. Yet, even though leaving will be hard, I know that it’s possible to feel this same love this quickly for the people I will meet in Florida, perhaps even on a grander scale.
This work is truly the work of God. There is no way that this Gospel cannot be true. I have already seen it change so many people, and am so looking forward to helping others understand how much their Heavenly Father loves them and wants them to be happy. I love this Gospel with all my heart, and am so excited to be a servant of the Lord from the minute I wake up to the minute I fall asleep (and I guess even in between).
Last minute field advice?
I know that I don’t know Spanish as well as I think I do, but Hermano Candia told us today that he speaks to us as fast as he would speak to a Latino – and I understood every word! Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost. Our rate of learning has truly been astounding. I’m so excited for the day when I’ll be able to say whatever I need to without having to search for words in my brain or in the dictionary! Spanish is the best! Definitely the most beautiful language on Earth (sorry German – sorry Dad).
Much love to all of you people living normal lives. Shout out to MOLLIE AND LEVI AND THEIR HIJITO. Also a little shout out to Henners for not being the only chico.
Con amor,
Hermana Burdett

Mas fotos!

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Photo 1 is me in the comedor with some ”banana niños”, according to the staff. They taste like banana cream pie! Fantastic.
Photo 2 this is the three caballeros, Hna. Janes and Elder Robishaw and I at a devotional. I don’t know how we’ll say goodbye!

Go! Read Some Books!

¡Hola Familia!
I have much to tell you, as always, and little time to do so, so I’m praying that my hands have assimilated to this Spanish keyboard enough to type what I want to quickly enough!
This has been my most unusual week in Mexico of all the weeks I have spent here! My companion has had a funky cold for the past while, but just in the past week it escalated pretty rapidly into something nasty. We’ve been to the Enfermería five times in the last seven days (though one of them was for me)! Last week she had to stay home and sleep and I missed a day and a half of classes, which was a very unique experience. Having to study at home and be motivated by no one but myself has been an experience that I believe helped me prepare for the field. It was very difficult not to take a nap. Fortunately, she’s now on antibiotics and some other drogas and is on the way up, so we are hoping that less than two visits to the doctor are in our future! A weird intestinal virus spread like wildfire around the CCM last weekend, and I happened to be one of the victims. The big badness only lasted for about 48 hours, and now only a couple symptoms linger, so I’m very thankful! That brings my CCM illness total up to two, but neither of them too serious! I only missed a few meetings on Sunday mornings, so I luckily didn’t get more behind in class. Enough of the ill!
Last week we watched an awesome video of Elder Bednar (turns out that he’s the big boss man of the CCM, but the authority is filtered through many other slightly smaller boss men). His excellent and quite poignant message was to stop worrying if an impression is from your brain or the Spirit and to simply act on it if it would be a good thing to do. Many people in the Church have come to expect that they must know a spiritual impression is indeed a spiritual impression before acting upon it, but his reminder was that if we spend time worrying about this we will miss out on what the Lord needs us to do. As long as we are striving to be obedient, honor our covenants and promises with the Lord, and being the best missionary or person we can be, the Lord will place us in the right place at the right time he will fill our mouths with what He needs us to say. That definitely applies to all of us, missionary or not, for the Lord is indeed aware of our efforts and will use as as long as we are striving to follow His example. He’s the best!
Because my compañera was inferm last week, I went on splits for one of my classes so I could still participate. We missed out on teaching a couple of lessons so I felt really out of the loop. One of my lovely Hermana friends suggested I ask to be a member present during other people’s lessons so that I could at least get in some practice at bearing testimony and teaching with the Spirit. It was the best! Hermano Candia let me be Guadalupe’s member sister (who is actually his mother – sense?) and it was really amazing. It definitely helped me to understand how powerful and Spirit-inviting a member’s testimony or experience can be and why it is so important to teach lessons with members present. Woo! Great experience.
I’ve been sleeping sleeping in the living room with my companion for the last three nights because one of our roommates was very loudly complaining of the noises Hermana Madsen makes when she’s sleeping (part of the being ill thing). That’s a party. Not really. Melatonin is a lifesaver.
We taught our last lesson with Nacho on Saturday. In order to make our lessons more interesting, I made a little booklet with drawings to help teach the Plan of Happiness. It’s a little bit adorable, I have to say. After we had finished, he came back into the room to give us a little feedbackkkk. Much to our surprise, he came right up to us first and said, ”Hermanas, in all of my time as a teacher here, your lesson today was one of the best lessons I have ever seen!” We were ecstatic because we’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things amidst these illnesses. He said we did a great job applying to needs and that it was ”¡perfecto!”. Woo! Happy days. I know this is very different from real life, but it was nice to hear a few really positive words. We’re hopeful that we continue improving.
We are striving to find ways to better engage our investigators, so if any of you readers have some awesome and effective object lesson ideas, I would greatly appreciate them. I’ve started keeping the ones I have written down in a book, but we are definitely in need of some new creative opinions! Object lessons! ¡Por favor!
We watched yet another Bednar video this week all about the character of Christ – even in His darkest hours, after the Atonement and before the Crucifixion, he still reached outward to help other people (healing of the guard’s ear that Peter chops off – awesome!). When others would turn inward with their sorrows, Christ would always reach out and search for others who were in need. My comp. and I decided to try and follow His example after listening to that and went to seek out some girls in our branch who we hadn’t seen all day (an unusual thing), despite both being pretty ill ourselves. We found them all super ill at their casa and were able to share with them some messages from the meetings that they hadn’t been able to attend that day! It was a really awesome thing, for they expressed to us that they didn’t think anyone had noticed they weren’t there. Hermana Madsen’s idea – thank goodness for her kind heart! It was definitely a boost for us too to talk with them for a little while.
It’s our last P-day here in the CCM (WHOA), but we’ll be able to use our last TALL time on Monday (6:45 to 7:45 P.M.) to send some last e-mails before heading out! HooRAH! Also I’ll be able to give you all a little telephone call in the airport from a payphone – don’t worry, they gave us permission – so be awake before nine o’clock next Tuesday, Mom!
This work is truly amazing, and I’m so excited to begin learning in a new environment. It will be so odd to head back to the United States! I will miss Mexico City so much more than I expected, especially since I’ll likely never come back to the CCM. It’s a beautiful place, even though it may be a little dirty. I love you all so much, but the Lord loves you so much more!
Much love,
Hermana Burdett

IS ROBIN WILLIAMS REALLY DEAD?!

Shower! Shower! (or El Diablo!)

¡Hola familia!
In precisely two weeks I will be en route to Fort Lauderdale. That is unREAL. Time has passed so quickly! Tomorrow I will have been here for one month! Only seventeen more to go! Life is weird. Time is weird. Everything is awesome. Despite the difficulties of trying to teach in another language, life in the CCM has never been happier. Fortunately, it is becoming a wee bit easier to focus every day because our impending departure draws ever closer and Hermano Candia tries to bring us back to that reality every single day. It is much easier to focus on the task at hand when you think about the real people with whom you will be interacting in the future and when you remember that what you do now will matter so much then.
We had our first ‘real’ TRC last week, and were extremely excited when we saw that our room contained an unfamiliar face – to be plain, we were going to be teaching a non-employee/non-missionary!! We were then informed that we were teaching in a quad with Hs. Buhman y Jones and after saying a quick prayer together we marched in with confidence. Unfortunately, no one gave our man any directions and we quickly learned that he was in the bishopric in his ward and that he loved feeling the Spirit while we were praying and while he was in the temple. Great. Trying to not be phased by this unusual turn of events, we tried to press forward and share a message about Jesus Christ. To our dismay, however, each time after any of us spoke, he would simply say, ”Gracias, Hermana”, and then proceed to correct our Español. I don’t think that he knew we were supposed to be teaching him a lesson, so that was a wee bit awkwardo (that isn’t real Spanish, just so you know). Hopefully this week will be a bit more successful.
We have little weather widjets on our computers, so I’ve been checking the weather in Rolla lately! Dad, you’re supposed to be getting rain all this week! Your weather is actually rather similar to Fort Lauderdale’s lately. You can certainly have some of our rain if you want it though. Holy Moses, I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced more torrential and frequent downpours. Last week it was raining and hailing (almost quarter-sized) sideways and our sidewalks all turned into little raging rapids (Hno. Candia’s paper boat fared rather well in it). I am thankful for the rain here, though. None of the buildings have air conditioning – including our casas – but usually it’s mild enough because of the rain clouds that it isn’t too bothersome. There are windows everywhere which keeps things comfortable, naturally light, and beautiful, though. I love it.
We do service every Monday morning and are always directed by one of the workers here at the CCM for our activity. Our first one was cleaning bleachers in the gymnasium and we were lead by a wonderful man named Javier. Ever since that activity, he comes up to us every day at mealtimes and gives us all fist bumps and tells us about his life. He is a wonderful person. He also likes to inform us every time we eat chicken that doing so will give us wings. I guess that we’ll be beautiful chicken angels to our investigators? That’s what we think he tells us, anyway. He talks pretty fast and it’s always loud in the comedor, but he’s either saying that or that the chickens we’re consuming are up in heaven singing. Everyone here is so friendly and joyful! It’s just part of their nature to smile and be friendly – Americans could take a few notes from the Mexico City natives.
On Sunday we had a few excellent lessons and did a twenty-four hour fast! It was awesome! During our Relief Society lesson, we were proposed with an interesting concept. Hna. Pratt, the CCM presidente’s wife, related our lives to a pattern of Gardens of Eden and Lone and Dreary Worlds (forgot to write down the scripture reference). She described how before our missions we were certainly in the Garden of Eden – living with our families and having them take care of us. We then entered the Lone and Dreary World, a.k.a. the CCM, and had to immediately adapt to a new and difficult lifestyle. It certainly did feel lonely and dreary for the first week, but after making it through the hardest part, it quickly became my Garden of Eden – no dishes, wonderful people, and a joyful cause. Now our next Lone and Dreary World is quickly approaching – the mission field. This pattern is a testimony to me that any difficult place can become a Garden of Eden with time and with a willingness to adapt. We can truly find happiness wherever the Lord chooses to send us if we are willing to follow Him.
A few quick happy moments:
°We got to go to the Mexco City Visitor’s Center today!!!!!!!!! It was beautiful. Unfortunately, the temple is closed for refurbishment until next year (SUPER LAME), but we still got to enjoy the Centro de Visitantes in all of its glory. It was so awesome to leave the compound! Hno. Candia got to come with us too, so we all took some lovely ‘family’ pictures (those should come next week).
°My good friend Elder Taylor (Stewart) arrived this week! So good to see him. We now have five members of the old Provo YSA 114th ward here! A ward picture should be on its way soon.
°This week we discovered the joys of spending our gym time at the ping pong table. You’d be surprised at how big of a work out it is, running around the whole room.
°We watched the Testaments on Sunday – awesome movie! Again, countless giggles at the ‘flirting’ from the missionaries. We are babies.
° A butterfly with a ten inch wingspan lived on our ceiling for two days. We named him Kevin. Hno. Candia arrived to class one day and we quickly probed him to find out if it had a special name in Spanish. He took one look at it out our classroom window and ran away saying, ”Oh, es muy mal.” We urgently asked, ”But what do you call it?!” Without missing a beat, he replied, ”El Diablo.” I attached a picture for your viewing pleasure, but it’s hard to understand how big it really was without some sort of size comparison. Hopefully he comes back soon so I can compare it with my hand.
If you want to understand why my subject line says, ”Shower! Shower!”, you should look up Elder Octaviano Tenorio’s general conference from October 2007. He came on Sunday and gave us an awesome Sunday school class and showed us his general conference talk too. He shared an excellent message about faith and the power in the scriptures.
Lessons are going great! I love you guys! Write me stuff!
Much love,
Hermana Burdett

Week 3: Guadalupe, Daniel and Nachooooooooo!

¡Familia!
Just like that, my time here at the CCM is already half over – I leave in precisely three weeks! It is truly remarkable how much the Spirit aids the learning process here. Fortunately, all of our teachers are natives to Mexico and literally speak no English to us, unless they are asking us how to say a word in English for their own learning benefit. We are all in the learning process together which is a very interesting thing. I just love it. We currently have three ‘investigators’ that we’re working with: Guadalupe, Daniel, and Nacho. The fact that one of them is named Nacho brought up a whole stream of wonderful quotes from an excellent movie that we all know and love (or should). Go watch it for me.
We’ve had a lot of interesting, yet random experiences this week. Even when he’s not being Beethoven, Elder Wolfe always keeps us on our toes. Just this week he went to the hospital because of a too intense soccer game, jumped out of and back into a window, and gave a fabulous rock concert rendition of (Master, the Tempest is Raging).
Dad: thanks SO MUCH for the news about the world cup! We did find out from the news that Germany was victorious (I haven’t been able to get the German national anthem out of my head ever since), but I wasn’t given many details. I kept intending to ask you all about it, but would always forget amid the stresses of writing everything in an hour! How was the Netherlands v.s. Argentina game?? So excited for the details of the final – THANKS! ALSO, oddly enough, Elder Robishaw in my district reminds me so much of you! He is a super hard worker and is very serious about learning and not wasting time, but he has this hilarious streak that comes out more and more every day. I have a feeling that if you were the same age you would be buds. Your humor is very similar.
Alaska sounds fantastic! Hopefully I make it out there eventually! I haven’t quite enough time to read all the details now, but I will later today! Thanks for the pictures (more of all of you would be great!)!
Emily: Sorry that I couldn’t reply directly to your e-mail last week. THANK YOU FOR THE DEFINITIONS. They’ve kept me up at night. That and the raucous parties that go on outside the compound on the weekends from the first sign of dark until literally seven in the morning. I love it though. Helps remind us that we actually are in the real world.
I absolutely love my district. We’re still having some difficulties with a couple sisters, but at least one isn’t screaming at the other in class or at home anymore! We had to intervene last week, can’t remember if I told you, and the Branch President has recently gotten involved (he was out of town last week), so hopefully things will continue to improve. Otherwise, District 7-E is pretty perfect. I don’t know how we will let go of each other in three weeks. Especialmente without hugging each other. My district leader, Elder Frodsham, is a huge example. He has an amazing story to share and his dedication is inspiring. His companion, Elder Blaylock, is the same way. Last week we had TRC, which is usually teaching with a volunteer or real investigator but because it was our first one we just taught a more senior district, in which our companionships were all switched up out of nowhere. I got to teach with Herm. Jones (Brother & Sister Gale’s granddaughter)! We were super successful, and afterwards we convened in our aula with Hno. Candia. He sat down and just stared at us for a while, making us all think we had been below the bar, but once he started talking all he could keep saying was our Spanish was WOW (way better than the more senior missionaries by whom we were taught and whom we taught, haHA!). He went out and bought us candy that night – Mini Mamuts – which tasted like the ambrosia of the Gods because we ate it while relishing in his praise. I shouldn’t be too proud because I’m nowhere near where I need to be to be in the field, but hooray for progress! Herm. Madsen and I are really hitting our stride. After a less than successful lesson last week (they’ve begun timing us which makes it easy to lose your head – fifteen minutes goes by amazingly fast), we both have been praying hard to prepare and teach with the Spirit. Our last several lessons have been ¡super bien! It’s terrifying, but we’re going in without any notes and nothing written out beforehand and are just trying to be prepared to teach anything based on needs or interests.
Spanish is hard. English is hard. Everything is hard. But it’s definitely all worth it. Thank goodness for preparation day – without it I’d be a petrified tree or a dead duck – because we use it to play games with our district, do laundry, catch up on journal writing, and prepare more lessons (sometimes to my chagrin, to be honest – my companion is a huge stickler, but were trying to help each other balance out).
I still haven’t had to speak in church yet – did I tell you that every sacrament meeting is conducted entirely in Spanish? Probably. Everything that isn’t Spanish or the Gospel in my short term memory is evaporating – thank goodness I made a commitment to write in my journal every day!
This truly has been a joyful week. It’s difficult to find the balance between stretching your bowstring so tight that you might snap and leaving it too loose – does that make sense to anyone but my brain? On Sunday we got to hear a really fantastic devotional from Elder Holland (no cool general authorities actually come here, but at least we get to see recordings of when they go to Provo). He gave some really fantastic reminders of who we are, how big this work is, and how much we represent. It is easy to forget that this is real life, but he told us that this is as real as life gets with a capital R and a capital L, and that we will truly have the opportunity to eternally change lives, not only while being set apart missionaries for la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Días (it’s a mouthful to say at someone’s doorstep), but for the rest of our lives. He makes me so excited to get out there, but reminded me that this is no small task to be taken lightly. Every day I am learning not only how to bring others closer to Christ, but how to bring myself closer as well. We still have so much to learn, yet His unconditional love for us is a truly beautiful and motivating thing. Cool snippet from Holland: no phrase appears more in the Libro de Mormón than “they taught with great power and authority” and it frequently refers to young missionaries (Helaman 5 – 8000 isn’t a bad number, am I right?). It gives us hope that we can become what the Lord needs us to be – the best missionaries the world has ever seen.
Every day I am inspired by the small things. Your e-mails mean so much. By the way, I sent a postcard to both Mook and Em last Tuesday – should get to the states in the next couple of days. I am trying hard to keep up with everything, but an hour is so short! I love you guys and am already looking forward to hearing from you next week!
Much love,
Hermana Burdett