Creepy Vans, Free Food, and a Mindful Father‏

Sent 2/17/15. Posted 3/3/15.

DSCN0927[1]Turns out that a ‘member needing help moving’ actually means ‘give the missionaries all of the things that you don’t need’! We certainly did not complain! A backseat- and a trunkload-full later, we were happy campers.
RSCN0933[1]Also, everyone should internalize this McDonald’s sign. And look at those clouds. Florida skyscapes. Can’t be beaten., querida familia!

Happy Valentine’s Week! Not that that really means much for a missionary, but what better demonstration of love to someone than to share with them the infinite and never-beaten love of our Savior, Jesus Christ? So by the world’s standards, perhaps our Valentine’s would have been deemed “pretty lame”, but by God’s standards hopefully it was seen as a little bit better than that. 🙂
Hope that you all had fun (without me, impossible) in the new house! Sounds like it was a good time for all, but I have to say, it was super weird to see both Em and Molls momming it up in the same picture. Good weird, but still weird.
This past week I’ve had a lot of experiences in which I’ve truly been able to recognize the Holy Ghost’s presence. That has been something that I’ve skruggled with a lot throughout my few months out here: really feeling like we are being led, guided, and worked though by the Holy Spirit. It can be difficult to recognize sometimes, even as a missionary, because one gets so accustomed to having it that it can be a bit easy to forget. Yet on a Fire Exchange (don’t know why we call it that, but it’s just a quick, hour-long exchange) with my good pal, Sister Mahterian, I was able to realize that God really is just as mindful of us and our individual needs as He is of the people with whom we are working. It is easy to see for others, especially when you can be a spiritual spoon-feeder for them, but she said an awful lot of words that I really needed to hear and was able to lift me up out of a whirlpool of “you’re-just-average-and-not-too-effective” feelings. We all get caught in those, I think. It was important for me to recognize the Spirit working through her as she spoke to me about seeing the Spirit work through me, and really changed my perspective. That all probably just sounds like a confusing, ambiguous circle of words, but all I’m really trying to say is that God loves you. So much. And is so very, very aware of what you need. And that He will send the people that you need and that need you.
Another cool HG experience occurred as we attempted to contact a Media Referral named Joly. I won’t give you the details because I don’t want to freak you out too much, but spiritual warnings of danger are real, and Heavenly Father will protect you and let you know when to get out of bad situations.
Hilda is still a miracle-woman! She has been off coffee and tea since Friday and is still staying strong so that she can be baptized this Saturday (Feb. 21st)! We couldn’t be more excited. It has been a really uniting thing for us and the Elders in our ward because they had been previously teaching her and have passed her on to us because the new ones don’t speak Spanish (it’s a long story), but as we have worked together to get her to this point, it has helped me remove some competitive feelings that sometimes arise from reporting numbers. Really, it’s all for Jesus, in the words of my mission-mom, Sister Calvo. And how great is our joy.
We had a pretty funny day at church this past Sunday, mostly because of our dear friend, Bart, who came to church for the fifth week running (minus Stake Conference). Our Gospel Principles lessons was all about our freedom to choose, and a word that frequently came up was “agency”. For those of you who don’t speak Mormon, all this means is the God-given ability to choose. But we hadn’t yet taught Bart this word, so we ran into some confusion and hilarity. He raised his hand in the middle of class and asked, “So riddle me this: agency is the same as agenda. What do you think?”. None of us really new what he was talking about, but it was a good opportunity to teach. As members of the church, we use a pretty unique vocabulary without recognizing it. Wards (not psych), stakes (not meat), the Atonement (not a disease), etc. We’re striving to never say any of these unfamiliar words in lessons, without clearly defining them, but clearly, we’re not perfect. No one likes to feel dumb, and, really, people will probably think we’re a little less weird if we used more normal words when inviting!
Sorry this e-mail is so weird.
Also at church, we met a recent convert named Aldo who had just moved in. His first question for us was, “So how can I become a missionary?”. As we quickly started to pump him up and encourage him, his next question was, “Awesome. So how can I become a bishop?”. We decided to just ship him off to Gospel Principles for that one. And Maria, another RC, started her new calling of Valiant 8 teacher (Sunday school class for 8 year old kiddos), but pleaded us to come support her and to fill the extra time. We have a super close relationship with her, and we’re striving hard to have a good hand-off from us to the ward, but we happily agreed to support her. She didn’t need us one bit! She was so bold with the kids and is really striving to make it a spiritual and meaningful experience for them – they are not going to forget her. She is amazing!
We helped a lady “in our ward” move out of her apartment this week and get on her way to Texas. A member of the bishopric (more Mormon vocab.) called and told us she needed help cleaning it out. After getting off the phone, we groaned a little bit based on past experiences of cleaning others’ houses (puedes decir, ‘tantas cucarachas’?), but when we arrived equipped with smiles, we were pleasantly surprised to find a shopping cart filled with food and other various sundries of which Sister Ramos said, “So this is either for you or the garbage can! Take your pick!”. Oddly enough, we had forgotten to buy a few necessities last P-day (namely toilet paper), but we were striving hard to ration so that we could be obedient and not go shopping on a not-P-day. Lo and behold, the Lord provided and more. So very, very mindful. 18 rolls of Charmin Ultra, new cereal bowls, and pounds of rice later, we drove away, happy people.
Now that I’ve conquered Alma in the Book of Mormon, I’m just crashing my way to the end and have almost blown through 3 Nephi. There are so many gems there, and I want to call attention to 3 Nephi 5:1-3, which begins, “And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken” wowowow! True conversion and trust completely in God and his patterns – He truly is the same, yesterday, today,and forever! That’s why it is so crucial to know that He has yet again called a prophet on the earth – just as he always has done. Throughout the history of all time, God has given us prophets to bless our families and to know His specific will for us in specifically these days because He loves us. It truly is that simple. While you’re in 3 Nephi, scootch on over to 6:14 and 9:13, which talks about deep and lasting conversion. If we truly are converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and really understand it, well, all of us would become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and would never fall away! Yes, it’s bold to say, but this really is God’s church on the earth. There’s just no other way to say it, and absolutely no way around it. It has been such a blessing to see this conversion deepen in myself and the people around me. The most important soul to bring to Christ on my mission will certainly be my own, but what an amazing process it has been to see.
I love you all! Have the best week of your life! Because TODAY IS THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE! So make it that way!
Sister Burdett


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