Long conversations with Atheists and Huancaina‏

Received 10/14/14

Sister Heacock and I truly have had a wild week here in Killian! Things are progressing right along here, and we ended up having a few miracle investigators at Sacrament Meeting on Sunday (Barbie, Michelle, and Karl’s mom), even though we only had one softly committed on Saturday night (Karl)! It was so great! And Karl went to the YSA Sacrament Meeting to hear his son Trevor speak! More about them later. We are so happy and are striving to work hard to find new people. That has been our biggest struggle lately – getting solid new investigators with solid return appointments. We have made some goals to improve and are excited to see results from that this week, but our teaching pool is currently a little thin (it needs to eat some more Cuban food – it won’t stay thin for long with all of those crazy greasy locuras).
This week I learned from a pretty powerful couple of scriptures. The first one, courtesy of a good friend serving her mission in Birmingham, England (shout-out to my dearest Sister Elsie Powley), is in Alma 19:22-23. I love this scripture because it states that Mosiah had trusted his son to the Lord, and, as a result of that, the man who tried to slay Ammon simply dropped dead. Just like that! This scripture definitely helped me understand the power of personal covenants and commitments with God. He will always maintain His end if we maintain ours, and because of Mosiah’s pure faith and trust, Ammon was protected by God. Pretty stellar story. My second scripture is in 2 Nephi 30:5-6, which, after several verses/chapters of God being pretty sassy (A Bible! A Bible!), prophesies that “the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ… And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes” – what amazing imagery! Truly it feels like as we learn truth, a little bit more of our vision is obscured even less, like a scale of darkness falling from our eye. But it only happens one by one, poco a poco, until we eventually realize that we can see. We are no longer lost. And it will be because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I get to help people shed their scales! I get to be a part of that process, and for that privilege, I am so utterly and completely grateful. Every day I have new scales shed from my eyes as well and begin to understand the world and God and people a little bit better. Such a cool opportunity it is to be a missionary.
We had a pretty miraculous lesson this week with Cristina, a Brazilian woman we have been working with for what seems like a looong time. Going into it, our basic goal was to just invite her to church and to reteach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it had been a long time since she had actually let us teach her. However, when we got there, she was ecstatic to see us and it felt different. I couldn’t quite recognize it at first, but I later realized that I was going through a little pep talk or pump up speech from the Holy Ghost. I felt it. And I couldn’t deny it. And because of that, we ended up having the most powerful lesson of my entire mission. Never before have I ever known exactly what to say every time I needed to say something, but this time, it was easy. I was being guided and given the words, and they most certainly were not coming from me but from something much greater. She had a lot of concerns about being baptized for a third time, and, instead of getting too caught up in them, we were able to powerfully invite her to go straight to the source and to ask God if this was the right step for her! And she said that if God told her to do it, if she felt that it was right, she would do it! It was amazing! Unfortunately, she’s been avoiding us ever since then (in my mind that either means she chickened out/forgot to ask, or got an answer and is afraid to act upon it – we’ll keep trying), but it really was a miracle lesson.
We had a crazy experience on Saturday too! We met this woman, Yoanna, in the street who seemed crazy-excited about the Gospel and told us to come over to her house for a family party to share a message about Jesus Christ right away. We found out, unfortunately, that her excitement not was for the opportunity of eternal life we wanted to offer her, but for the chance of young, personable people to come join her business and sell her beauty products door-to-door. When we arrived at her house with a couple Elders in our zone (she lived in their area, but we wanted to do a pass-along lesson all together first), we found fourteen people waiting inside for us and got SO STOKED! But right after we did a Harvest Blessing on their house, they brought out the whiteboard and the videos and the products to convince us. That was probably one of the most awkward 1.5 hours of my life. But at least I learned some new Spanish vocabulary words and got to sample some spaghetti lasagna.
Trevor is a 23-year-old returned missionary and is the only member in his family, yet one day his father just walked up to him and said, “Trevor, I have seen such an amazing change in you because of this church. And I want to know why. So I want to get baptized!” – super huge miracle! We’re having a ton of fun teaching him (even though it’s crazy nerve-wracking because we don’t want to screw this up) and are looking forward to Trevor inviting him to be baptized this Sunday during our next lesson – woo!
My new district is AMAZING. Even if the majority of the Elders are pretty awkward. But it’s okay, because I’m really awkward too. So we all get along great! Our District Leader is crazy-spiritual and always gives us pretty fantastic help – so grateful!
Happy tidbits:
1. Mary, an 82-year-old less active woman with dimensia whom we visit weekly, when asked by me, “Do you like the bread?” (her daughter Deb had baked us delicioso banana bread), replied, “Do I wet the bed?” and proceeded to nod energetically to affirm that she, indeed, does wet the bed. Never has it been harder to not burst out laughing. So I did.
2. The song “New Words” by Brian Stokes Mitchell and the MoTAB is Sister Heacock and my JAM. That and “Los Pastores a Belen” by David Archuleta and the MoTab. Oh, David.
3. Gaining a new appreciation for Peru.
4. GENERAL CONFERENCE. I DIDN’T TALK ABOUT IT ENOUGH LAST WEEK, BUT, SANTA VACA, IT WAS GOOD! Also, Jorg Klebingat, who gave one of my FAVORITE talks ever, is my friend’s dad! Whoa! BYU connections! Also, David A. Bednar.
5. All of the missionaries I live with telling me that my father looks like Henry B. Eyring. Shout out to them and the real Henry B. (Mills). And Baby Brew, even if his name isn’t Henry.
6. Elders Flores (Mexico), Nogueira (Peru), and Stewart (Tonga?) constantly making explosion noises when they talk about spiritual experiences they have.
7. Cinnabon bites at Taco Hut/Pizza Bell (you know, when they combine the two restaurants into a glorious, greasy, brick-in-your-stomach-later-but-right-now-it’s-irresistible euphoria). They will change your life.
I love you wonderful people. Write me some letters.
Sister Burdett

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