Let’s fill her mailbox!

Hello to all of Eliza’s loyal followers—her “mission posse”!  We received a letter from Eliza’s mission president today concerning holiday mail.  From November 29 through December 11, 2014, all mail will be held in the mission home.  It will be delivered to the missionary at the all mission conference to be held on December 11, 2014.  They are asking that we try to have ALL holiday mail to the mission home by that date, so that the missionary might be able to collect it at one time.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have her receive so much love and support from all of us on that one day! Would you take a few minutes in the next little while to write her a Christmas card or letter and fill her holiday mailbox with lots of love! Please send any packages, letters, pictures etc to Eliza to the address below.  If something is to be opened immediately, you must write that on the outside of the envelope—otherwise she will get all of her holiday mail on the 11th!  Thanks for loving and supporting our girl!  We miss her but we know she is doing a great work!  Love, Katie

Sister Elizabeth Burdett

Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission

7951 SW 6th Street Suite 110

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324

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“The Best in Miami”: Blind Scriptures, Organic Sandwiches, and Baby Monster‏

Received on 11/17/14

Familia! I have had one of the craziest weeks of my entire life!

As I sat patiently awaiting the read-out of my new companion at transfer meeting, internally (and possibly a little externally as well) freaking out a bit, I received a shock: my name was announced! And not in Killian West! I got transferred and Sister Heacock, stayed in Killian – the exact opposite of that which the Assistants told us! What?! I got transferred to Flagler West, which, funny story, is about a twelve minute drive from my old apartment. This certainly was fortunate because I hadn’t packed a thing, nor had I mentally prepared myself to change investigators, wards, or areas! My new companion, Sister Monsuy, is from Equatorial Guinea (don’t worry, I had to look it up on a map too), which is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa! She is in her 30s and has, wait for it, a whopping TWENTY-FOUR siblings! Twenty-four! Nineteen of them grew up in the same house! All the same father (but a few different mothers – none are members of the church), and he wants to have MORE! But that’s another story. She is the only member of the church in her family and found the church when travelling in Ghana through a cousin. Aaaaand she dies (finishes her mission) this transfer, so I will have yet ANOTHER new companion next transfer! Merry Christmas, Sister Burdett! I can’t believe it. Even though there is a big age difference between us (almost fifteen years), we are working really well together. The first day was certainly hard, but every day has got increasingly better and we are already good friends and have more things to talk about in the car.
Basically, everyone in Flagler is crazy. That truly is the best adjective that I can come up with. Crazy, crazy, crazy. It’s awesome! I’m serving in an English ward/area now (sad day), but the majority of our harvesting is done in Spanish because, guess what, everyone in Miami is a Latin transplant, the majority of whom speak no or very little English! So it’s good to at least have that to practice with a bit. Another funny thing is that Elder Nogueira, my old district leader in Killian, got transferred to Flagler East! So now we’re serving in the same ward! And he’s still my district leader! What in the world. And I’m living with Sister Madsen (she’s serving in Fountainbleu, the Spanish ward here), my comp. from the MTC! So it’s good to have a few familiar faces around in such a new situation.
Here’s the deets on our best/craziest ‘gators:
Christy: age 34, alcoholic/smoker who lives with her alcoholic/smoking mother. We see her every day and are helping her overcome her problems with alcohol. It’s pretty unpredictable how she will be when we see her, but the last two times have been reaallyyy good with her (my first night meeting her was a little terrifying). She already has an amazing testimony and has really sincere desires to change, but the alcohol has a pretty severe hold on her body. We’re praying that she can get down to just one cup of wine today so that she can continue progressing towards her baptism. She has such strong desires to be baptized and to change! It’s really refreshing to see and work with actually. She also has been sharing the gospel with many of her friends, one of whom is pretty solid! She has a cat named Baby Monster who is almost as fat as (or maybe even fatter than) Juh Taiy and is adorable. Christy always tells us we’re the “Best Sisters in Miami”, and this phrase gets adopted to many things as well as a little chiste (she now has the title of “best organic sandwich-maker in Miami” and her mom apparently has the “best shoes in Miami”, and apparently our church, too, is the “best in Miami” – hallelujah). She’s crazy. The other day we were having a pretty powerful lesson with her and her alcoholic friend George. And she told us, “Wait, before you go, I just want to open up to see a random scripture in the BoM and see what God has to say to me.” Now, as any missionary knows, this is a pretty scary/risky thing. I mean, I have a firm testimony that the scriptures give us answers from God, but sometimes you can just get weird scriptures through this exercise that leave you saying, “What?”. However, she pressed forward and we didn’t deny her the opportunity. She opened up and began reading Helaman 7:15, which, oddly enough, contained something we had just taught and discussed. Pretty remarkable how the Lord works sometimes. I later tried it myself after we planned that night and got Alma 57:27. Also a cool answer to the kind of missionary I want to be. The crazy is rubbing off a little on all of us, I guess, but at least it kind of works!
George: age 52, recovering alcoholic who has been helping Christy a lot. He’s getting baptized this Sunday! As long as he can not drink alcohol all week and for the rest of his life! He’s awesome and is also very sincere. He always talks about the powerful feelings he gets whenever we meet with him and when he goes to church/reads the scriptures. It’s an amazing and pure testimony of the Holy Ghost testifying of the truth, and it has led him to have super strong desires for baptism – woo! I am ecstatic for him to change and to be the example that Christy really needs to progress faster!
Marina: age 14, best friend of a recent convert of last month, Lisbeth. She is awesome! She has come to church three weeks in a row and loves it! Really wants to get baptized, but her mom is (yes, you guessed it!) an alcoholic! Not that this impedes her own personal salvation/testimony, but because she is a minor her mom has to come to church at least once and meet with the bishop for her to be baptized. And the drinking makes it a little difficult to meet with her, unfortunately. Soon! Marina really is amazing.
A great big shout-out to my sister Mollie for getting just a little bit older last week! Way to stay alive for 23 years straight. Also, every time I see anyone with a baby I tell them about you and your pregnant self. Sorry ’bout it.
Something we found ourselves sharing repeatedly this week was a message or faith, hope, and patience. I am learning that hope isn’t just believing and wishing for things to change or improve, it is expecting it too. And through our faith (belief + action), we can help that change come about! Faith without works is dead, and so through our actions based on our beliefs/hope, we can help Heavenly Father help us! Patience, defined by my excellent DL as enduring in righteousness, is required in the process as well. Really, I have learned that faith, hope, and patience in this sense are all the same thing: trusting in God to help you in His time while doing all you can do to help Him help you. Does that make sense? Maybe Flagler has made my brain too crazy, but here are some scriptures that hopefully help illustrate my point: Romans 8:24-25; Mosiah 23:21; and Mosiah 24: 11-16.
Thanks for all of your loving letters and good feelings! Have a week a little less crazy than mine!
Sister Burdet

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Yahtzee: Sister Burdett got surprise-transferred to Flagler (still MIAMI, but Hialeah zone!)! Here’s my new comp, Sis. Monsuy!

Taming our Wild Stallions, $100, and a New Companion – again!‏

Editor’s note :I’m running a week behind on posting–sorry for the delay!  Life caught up to me last week 🙂  Eliza is well and happy!  Katie This letter was sent on 11/10/14

Another surprising transfer call last night – I’m staying in Killian and getting a new companion tomorrow – AGAIN! What in the world. It is fun to see how much I can learn from serving with so many different people.
This week we met an amazing man named John Thomas Cobo. His wife was killed in a car accident two years ago, to the day, and he has spent every day since then just living. Basically, I spent 45 minutes of my life learning some pretty wild life lessons that include: faith is NOT seeing a chair and believing that it will hold you up when you sit in it, but actually stepping outside and breathing, just knowing that there will be a correct equilibrium of gases permitting you to do so; being meek means to ‘tame our wild stallions’, which equates to our pride and our ego; and that if I knew as much as he did about water, my mind would literally be blown (his words, not mine). Also, that today is the best day of your life, not yesterday because you can’t change it and not tomorrow because you don’t know if you will live to make it there, but today. And he gave us $40 to pay for our lunch “because [he] can afford it” (again, not my words). After desperately trying to return it, he just closed the door in our faces, smiling the whole time. Cool guy. The police officer, his across-the-street neighbor, we talked to spent ten whole minutes telling us how creepy he is and how we shouldn’t knock his door. We neglected to tell him that we already had and proceeded to hear some funny stories about Elders he had met in the past who were pushed off of their bikes. Fun neighborhood. We’ve been back several times since then, but not day has matched the first. We did see a cool homemade swamp-hunting, deer-destroying machine though and talked to the Cuban owner/builder. Super cool guy, but his Jehovah’s Witness wife wanted to go shopping, so we couldn’t pray with him. I still like them anyway.
Unfortunately, the three really solid ‘gators we had committed to church didn’t show up yesterday, but we were surprised by four others arriving in their places – cool! And a less-active YSA that we’ve been working with (don’t tell the YSA sisters) came too! It was pretty amazing how happy we were to see him.
Over the course of the week, Sister Heacock and I happened to acquire $100 for food through strange and mysterious circumstances. Generous members who teach with us and slide Jacksons into our hands when we aren’t looking are a thing now. As well as people that you have never met or seen before visiting from Salt Lake City sliding a Jackson on the counter to pay for a meal before you can even grab your wallet or say ‘thank you’ also are a thing. As well as John Thomas Cobo. We certainly had the windows of heaven opened this week! So we treated our district to Panda Express and a Pizza/Doughnut party today. I am so very sad because I am not only losing my companion, but also my two (probably) favorite elders, my district leader and one of my zone leaders, tomorrow – sad day! But I’ll probably be at every transfer meeting at this rate, so I’ll hopefully still see them before they die (mission lingo for ‘go home’). Transfers are absolutely wild. You spend two whole weeks freaking out for a short five minute phone call that determines the next six weeks of your life. Crazy.
I’ve been reading in the book of Mosiah (1-9) this week, which I have absolutely loved! Kings Benjamin and Limhi really were amazing examples of service, love, and leading through example (sorry for saying “example” twice in this sentence). They have really helped me understand how important it is to labor among the children of men especially diligently during this time in my life, but also throughout my life as well. This is the best way to avoid contention and sadness – serve, love, and keep the commandments. The way to happiness is so simple and pure! It’s just getting it through our gators’ heads that’s the hard part. I have also received a lot of inspiration and motivation from our new transfer vision scripture: Moroni 9:6 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.
I’m trying to make my tabernacle of clay labor as hard as it possibly can. It’s been really fun and rewarding to come home absolutely exhausted.
We got to teach the laurels and priests this Sunday – so fun! I got to whip out my “drawing skills” (not real) and told them an awesome story about being spiritually self-reliant.
I love you people! You are the best! Keep writing – the letters bring SO MUCH HAPPINESS!
Sister Burdett

Lizard-dancing and Lomo Saltado‏

DSCN1347[1]Here’s Sister Heacock and me attempting to be Elsa and Anna on Halloween. No one noticed, but, you know our heart was in it.

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Service clothing! First time wearing jeans on the mish

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Hello familia!
Happy P-day! I hope that all of you had the most delightful time in the land of Disney and that you were able to ride all of the mountains (except Mollie) and that the Pirates line wasn’t too long. We had a lot better week here in Killian, though it definitely wasn’t quite up to Disneyland status.
We were able to have another really powerful lesson with Cristina, and, fortunately, by the hand of the Lord, a Brasilian woman about her age with many similar past experiences (divorce, two sons, looking like they’re twenty-somethings when actually they are forty-somethings – I’m convinced that the fountain of youth is in Brasil – etc.) moved in to our ward about two weeks ago and LOVES to go out teaching with us! She committed to come to church this Sunday, so we’re planning on doing our absolute best to get her there (we’ve been teaching her for quite some time now, but we feel like we’re finally getting somewhere). We were pretty disappointed yesterday because up until an hour before church started we had seven investigators, two less-actives, and two nonbaptizables (too young) committed to come and then every single one fell through in those short sixty minutes, despite our sincerest efforts. We are positive that this Sunday will be different, especially since it is the last week of the transfer (what?!), and are absolutely determined to be exactly obedient and super diligent as we work this week to earn some miracles.
Halloween was basically the strangest day of my mission because it consisted of a variety of strange food appointments, a minor bicycle crash, and a member telling us how much he adores the smell of newborn flesh (not a Halloween joke – he was very serious). It certainly was bizarre, but we at least were able to experience the most amazing food of my life (except maybe Hubert Keller’s) – papa a la huancaina, lomo saltado, and conchitas (corn kernels cooked in oil and salt until right before they pop into popcorn – life-changing) -, witness a lonely Colombian woman from our ward kiss her rat-sized chihuahua for several minutes straight as we ate her rice, chicken, and “not-colombian salad” (she was very adamant about the fact that it was not Colombian, even though it only consisted of avocadoes, green beans, tomatoes, black beans, and a kind of Italian dressing), and watch Legacy because we had to be in by seven o’clock (who knew that would become my favorite movie? caution: media deprivation does odd things to you and leads to severe bike-dancing). That was a very long sentence.
We had an amazing district training and companion study with Elder Nogueira this week. Our DT was all about more fully following the spirit and helping our investigators to conquer their mountains/dragons (we had a pretty radical illustration to accompany this) that are in the way of them getting to church. We learned about the importance of teaching short, powerful lessons as well. It was likened to us through dessert: Q – why are dessert portions always so small? A – because they are extremely delicious and leave you wanting more. This is how our lessons should be. Get in there, help them feel the spirit really strongly, and then get out, leaving them wanting that feeling again. We had some pretty amazing experiences with that this week. Especially with Sandra – she finally came back from Colombia! She had the surgery that she needed while there and is currently the happiest I have ever seen her! And the best part was that she was thrilled to see us! We read Ether 12:27 with her and she just cried and cried tears of joy because she could recognize how much she has been blessed. We are excited to get her progressing again. Definitely a miracle.
Our comp. study was even more encouraging and inspiring. Sister Heacock and I always have a hard time deciding what we should discuss and learn about for these, but this time, after both praying, the word that came to both of our minds was love. We had no idea why, but we decided to just go with it and texted Elder Nogueira, telling him to study charity and love for us. We were worried that it was a sign that one of our ‘gators was going to drop us that weekend, and that we would have to show a lot of love and patience to them, but it ended up being totally different. As in 360 degrees, polar opposite, 90s Brittney Spears v.s. 2000s Brittney Spears different. He asked us to define charity and love, and our list ended up including obedience, humility, joy, service, sacrifice, never failing, sharing the gospel, and complete submission to God’s will. He also drew a huge heart on the board and asked us to name off some of the things that are in our hearts. Our heart ended up containing God, family, soccer, investigators, music, Call of Duty (Elder Stewart’s contribution), food, and a plethora of other things. Then as we further discussed what should be in there, E. Nogueira slowly began crossing the things out that didn’t correspond with the mission. Leaving a lot fewer things in our heart to more fully focus on, and ultimately, giving ourselves completely to our Father in Heaven as we serve Him. It was a really powerful visual for me and has made me reflect upon what I have in my heart. What do I love or am not letting go of that is holding me back from serving completely? I am still searching for some answers, but I am striving to live up to the responsibility that my nametag brings. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I should have charity for all men, which truly is “the pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:45-48). While on the earth, He only did the will of the Father, and as his representative, I should be striving to do the same. If I truly have charity for my fellow men, I will not be afraid to open my mouth to everyone with whom I come in contact and strive to bring them a little more happiness, whether it be through a simple smile or a life-changing baptism. Basically, it blew my mind. I want to fully give myself to this work. And I am so excited to see the miracles that come from it.
Running out of time, but here are a few more awesome scriptures that you should go read: Alma 7: 11-12; D&C 121:41-42,45; and Hebrews 11. We were also committed to change our OYMs (open your mouth) to ARKs (acts of random kindness), to instead strive to show people love in any way possible to our fellow men. We set a vision for it every day, and I want to commit you to do the same! Try to have 5 ARKs a day this week: look for small ways to serve people (bring in the groceries, compliment their shoes, smile and say “Hello!” even when you don’t know them, you get the point) and to share kindness. It doesn’t have to be big and life-changing, but I promise that it will help you feel happier. As a wise Dove chocolate wrapper told me yesterday, “Happiness never decreases when shared”, and it’s true! In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
So go make someone just a little bit happier today! And I promise you that you, too, will be able to feel the love that God has for you and the people around you a little more each time you do it.
I love you with a correct portion of my heart (applying comp.study)!
Sister Burdett

Mary quote of the week: As we are talking about Halloween and Andrew (her great-grandson) dressing up as Harry Potter, Mary stops the conversation and says, “Wait, wait, wait, who’s the big fat lady?”, leaving us all in fits of giggles.

Also, while I was cleaning out someone’s storage shed this week, a lizard ran into my clothing. That is an experience that I never want to repeat.