Sent on 9/22/14 (Which was my birthday!) So I got the best present from Eliza–an email! Actually I got 2–one just to me and one for everyone. Eliza sent 3 great pictures from the baptism and a p-day zoo trip but there was so trouble with the download, so we will try again to share those next week. Enjoy Eliza’s latest letter! Love, Katie
I just love you guys. A big shout out to the mama – FELIZ CUMPLEANOS!!!! I hope that you had an awesome pre-brithday fiesta week and that you continue to celebrate for the entire week after (because you deserve it)! Much love sent your way!
WE HAD OUR FIRST BAPTISM YESTERDAY! It was a really beautiful, though a bit bittersweet, experience. An amazing woman named Fina (a whopping 78 years old!) came one huge step closer to Christ this week, and it was amazing to be with her every step of the way. She feels like my grandma and she always tells me that I remind her a lot of herself when she was younger – hopefully she wasn’t a crazy wild lady! She is super strong and is already integrating herself into the ward nicely! I never realized how important it is to help new members or even people who simply visit feel the love from the Savior and feel welcomed. She was supposed to be baptized with her best friend, Sandra, too, but she backed out that morning because she has many anxiety problems and has had a lot of problems in the past with people taking advantage of her kindness and willingness. She is terrified of making a bad choice, and, even though we had some amazing and very powerful spiritual experiences with her last week, she is still really afraid to commit. We went on exchanges with our STLs on Saturday and I had to take control of the area (super crazy!) which was quite the experience! We had a super radical and powerful lesson with Sandra and Fina, and even though she hasn’t made that big step yet, we know that she is feeling the Spirit and is truly gaining a testimony. We know that she will get baptized, it’s just the when that we need to figure out together. Fina’s baptism truly was a miracle, and we are so excited to continue building the kingdom here in the Killian ward.
The ward here has been SO GOOD to us, and continues to do so! There are some amazing members who are willing to go out with us almost every week. They really change the tone of our lessons and bring some rocking personal stories that hit the spirit straight home. It’s especially vital to have them there because then a friendship can begin to develop and they don’t have to rely on the missionaries so heavily for friends at church.
I had an awesome moment in personal study this week! I have been really striving to gain a testimony of my calling as a missionary – does that make sense? I’m trying hard to become converted to being “Hermana Burdett”. Not just as the obedience factor, but also my potential as a servant of the Lord. It has been hard for me to believe that I have the ability to teach with power and authority because I so frequently feel like I lack the correct words to say something that matters – conquering fears with doctrine and love with confidence. My District Leader taught me a ton last week about the symbolism of our name tags: we can liken the black background to the apostasy and a confused world of darkness with the big white letters saying ‘something something JESUCRISTO something something’ signifying that His light has been restored to the earth and is the only way to find lasting happiness and light in this world; he then asked us to each share our testimony of the Restoration. After doing so, e said, “So it looks like we aren’t having problems with our testimony here (circling “La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias), but maybe we aren’t truly converted to “Hermana Burdett””. This may sound like a super basic ‘”Obviously!” moment’, but it was super powerful for me at the time because of feelings of inadequacy I’ve been having lately. I have really been striving to learn why I have been called here and that I truly can teach by the Spirit. It’s been something that has been changing my confidence level and truly my entire perspective. Pretty wild. Often I have felt inadequate in terms of teaching, speaking Spanish, and my ability to listen and be directed by the Spirit and on a morning of a big low, I found 2 Nephi 10:20-25. I wish that I had more time to go into the details of how strongly these verses impacted my attitude, but all I will say is that I am only concerned now with reconciling myself with the will of God because I am free to act for myself as are all other people with whom I come in contact! I have the power each day to choose to do all that I can to help others come unto Christ, and they have the power to accept it or slam the door in our faces! And that’s okay! I have been able to speak with people with much more confidence in both Spanish and English, and am feeling increasingly confident in my potential. I still have such a long way to go, and am so humbled by the example of other missionaries with whom I teach and interact each day, but I know that I am on the path I need to be to become the person I envision myself as. It’s amazing how much self-discovery happens when you lose yourself in the service of others and choose to lay aside personal worries to help others understand that they have such great potential.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! The mission is the best. Except for you guys.