Flag-Swag and Temporary Girlfriend Churches

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These are my lovely apartment-mates, Sister Rowley and Sister Endemaño. We go hard on the Subway

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**(Couldn’t get this one to rotate!)

And this is my beautiful ceramic quail from the White Elephant exchange. It’s my best friend. I hope you can see how creepy his face is.

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This is what was taped to the bottom of the quail. Gotta love Goodwill.

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This is Jose’s family, with whom we ate on Christmas Eve! The only member is the guy in the middle with the big red tie – Jose. They’re the best!

Received on 12/29/14

What a wild week this has been!

I was so happy to see your faces on Christmas! Y’all are the best! What an unusual Christmas for us all! At least we were able to be united by technology! So happy to have seen the new bebe nephew and the less-bebe nephew! Can’t believe how old they will be next Christmas! Weird.
This certainly was a roller coaster week, very full of the highest of highs and some pretty big lows. We have been trying super diligently to get members out with us to teach, even though our teaching pool is, unfortunately, rather smaller than we would like. On one night we took out Sis. Stubbs, a young mom from Utah, who brought her little baby Eva to soften up the investigators. It was working excellently until Rosie, our gator, found out that we were Mormons. I mean, when we found her, I thought we were pretty clear about that point. We said the name of the church at least thrice, and the cards we gave her all have our website (MORMON.org <- that says “Mormon”, right?), but it wasn’t until I said the words, “I’d love to share an awesome scripture with you all about forgiveness from The Book of Mormon”, that she realized the fact. I don’t know what her pastor told her about us, but she told us that some other ‘guys on bikes’ had stopped by a while ago and told her to worship Joseph Smith and get baptized. So she asked her pastor and he told her aaaall about everything we supposedly believe, and now she won’t listen to a word we say! After saying a quick prayer, she threw us out. So that was fun! It all happened pretty quickly, but I sneakily left a Book of Mormon on her kitchen bench. Hopefully someday she’ll pick it up in a time of need.
We also had a miracle lesson with Rene, our less-active that we have been visiting forever! I already told you a bit on Christmas about our meeting with him and his parents, but they are amazing! After nearly twenty years of not going to church, they finally realize that now is the time to return – they’re coming this Sunday! As a family! We had a really spiritual experience with them last week when we watched He is the Gift on Christmas Eve. And then afterward booked it like madwomen through a building, parking garage, and lot in order to make it home on time. There are some experiences that will only be had on the mission. #exactobedience #noinhibitions
We also visited our lovely agnostic less-active friend, Bro. Taylor, on Christmas Eve, who yet again took great delight in just making us feel uncomfortable. He asks all of these crazy questions about science, the Bible, and the history of the Church and always has the answer or rebuttal for everything. For him, testimony isn’t enough. He needs evidence. “Pure fact”, but “not truth because that’s subjective”. After becoming a High Priest in the Church and serving in a bishopric, he has now deteriorated to this. We were straight up with him and just asked, “So what happened?” and his response was, “I just saw no reason to believe anymore.” It was sad, man. It still is sad because it’s his reality every single day. He just seems to have so much sadness and anger in his heart. I wish that I knew how to help him. It really caused me to appreciate the value of faith, however, especially when Rene told us later that night all about his reading in Alma 32. For me, the more I learn about science and how the world works, how we work, the greater my belief is in a Heavenly Father. It just doesn’t make any sense to me to think that there was no superior mind in charge of the design of this world. Sure, Bro. Taylor might have all of the scientific answers of how ripples work and how Earth’s atmosphere was formed, but we are just barely grasping for answers on how it all happened. We haven’t the slightest idea of how to cause these things, how to initiate them, how to influence them. Everything about this world points to the existence of a God. I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself clearly, but my point is this: God lives. He loves us. He has created this place for us to learn, to be refined, and to eventually become as he is, eternally happy. I know that is fact.
Another strange part of our week was Trinny, an 80-something woman living in an ALF who surprised called us to go to church last week. We visited her on Christmas Eve and tried to get an understanding of her knowledge of the Gospel (some sisters had been teaching her a few months back). We were pretty bold with her and testified a lot of the spirit she was feeling (she cried all through Sacrament Meeting and when we read the scriptures with her), but she ended up telling us that we are like a temporary girlfriend one has on a business trip. Meaning that while she’s living in her ALF, she’s going to our church, but once she gets back home she’ll go back to her real girlfriend, the Pentecostal church. It was quite the DTR, I tell you what. We thought that perhaps we had offended her by the end of the lesson because she was so blunt with us and we were so blunt with her, but come Saturday afternoon we got a nice little phone call from her asking us to find her another ride to church on Sunday. Love hurts, man. My only question is this: why aren’t those from your real girlfriend church making an effort to get you there? Maybe we should start playing hard to get.
This week we prayed with an awesome 7th Day Adventist pastor named Eli! He gave us some interesting reading material and told us, “I hope the next time I see you will be in my congregation!”, but was super kind about it! And his wife taught us how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ and ‘Happy New Year!’ in Haitian Creole. Turns out it’s the same as in French, so Bon Ani everybody!
A hilarious member of our ward fed us on Saturday. Rena Jones. That woman is a hoot! She’s a good twenty-three years older than her be-dreadlocked husband, JT – they got married in order to get baptized last year! She is this awesome big black woman that has quite the attitude and stage-presence, to say the least. Her grandchildren just got baptized a few weeks ago, and Rena is all about giving them everything they need to “get raised right”! She made us some pretty bomb fried chicken and oriental rice [“them Chinese restaurants ain’t got nothin’ on me!” (real quote)]. We love her.
After many awesome experiences this week and several that I will be glad to never repeat, I have been brought to appreciate this Gospel and my Savior even more than ever. I am so thankful for what He has done for me, that He has changed me forever for the better and continues to do so each and every day. I found a lot of agreement in Alma 36:21-22, a scripture that I came across this morning in which he says,” ” How true this is! As I strive to fulfill the work of the Lord, so exquisite are my sorrows but my joys truly are even greater. I long to be there in the last day and for as many people as possible to be there with me! That’s why I’m here!
Now go share that joy with someone today! I love you!
Besitos,
Sister Burdett
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