Is it Hot in here or is it the Spirit?

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(Received 5/11/15)

This is Eliza’s trainer, just before she heads home (right) and the new missionary she is now training (center).  Full Circle!

Hola familia!
So happy that I could see your lovely faces yesterday!
As I reported on a bit, we had a few amazing lessons with Cerene this week. She really is progressing so well, and Sis. Gailey and I learned a huge lesson in fearing God more than man and in trusting the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. We had a wildly spiritual experience with her on Wednesday night and then planned to come back in 24 hours after she had prayed that evening to set her own baptismal date. But, on Thursday night when we arrived, she turns us away. Twice. We took five steps from her apartment door and hit a spiritual wall. God wasn’t going to let us leave without getting in her door first. So we went back and knocked again. And again. And again. And we got in. 🙂 And had yet another wildly spiritual experience. Satan is working hard on her, but she told us on Friday, “I hope that he knows better than to mess with me!”, so we are taking confidence in the power of daily contact, goal setting, and the Spirit. She already has such a powerful testimony and is learning so rapidly. She came to church and was just picking up things like crazy. I love her and her adorable son Cayden. He said the closing prayer for our lesson on Saturday, and thanked God for the “new sister friends who come over a lot now”. Please keep them in your prayers!
Our apartment has been without aire conditioning for the last three weeks…so that’s cool. It’s progressively moved from 80 to 84, so that’s not cool (in either sense of the word). We’re working on it. I think my presence just naturally breaks these contraptions…
We had a fun exchange earlier this week with our STLs and ended up teaching a lesson to a great older couple who visited Temple Square about a year ago. They had some serious misconceptions about the Church, but we ended up clearing up a lot of things for them and ended up having a really positive experience!
I was recently reading in Jacob 4 when I came across a couple of verses that I just loved:
6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses‍ we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command‍ in the name‍ of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.
7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness‍ that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.
We have so many witnesses of truth that provide us with just that – hope. Hope that leads to unshaken faith. Faith that leads to power. Yet we are continually shown our weaknesses to be humbled and to remember from where the power comes. It has been interesting throughout my mission because I have felt closer to God than ever before in my life, yet I also feel so, so much weaker than ever before as well. Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. As we place our trust in Him, he makes whatever weakness we have a strength. As long as we are sufficiently humble and willing enough to accept His will for us always, He will do everything needed.
I love you!
Sister Burdett

Potential, Potential, Potential

IMG_0030[1]This is a sweet little missionary!  She titled this photo “I dropped my bike!” But what I love is her face!  She is such a joyful girl.  She inspires me everyday.  So grateful to be her mom!  Katie

Received 5/4/15

Hola familia!
Crazy week! First off, my new beautiful companion is Sister Gailey! She is from Farmington, UT and is basically a mini-Mollie. It’s wild! She’s awesome! I love her. We’re having fun and working hard, just how it should be.
We saw some huge miracles this week! On our first night together, Sis. Gailey and I committed Cerene to give up smoking and took her cigarettes and lighters from her to remove the temptation (don’t worry, we asked first and she gave them to us). She is striving hard to live the Word of Wisdom so that she can be clean again, and we are working with her on a few things so that she can arrive there! We and a few ward members helped her move this week, and, fortunately, she is still in the ward boundaries! Hallelujah! She has such sincere desires to change and really is beginning to find a home here among the other Latter-day Saints. So cool to see her change and become happier, step by step.
Gigi and Brusner came to church again yesterday! They stayed the whole time and really enjoyed it. He has really opened up this week and has been sharing his testimony left and right at every opportunity. We learned that he hasn’t been to church consistently since he was baptized in Haiti a few years ago and is now excited to unite his family in the gospel. We’re still working on helping Gigi resolve a few of her concerns for baptism, but she is set with a date for this weekend. She has really strong desires to have an eternal family and is finding a lot of peace and happiness in our message!
Funny moment of the week: I made Sister Gailey fall off of her bike because she was laughing so hard at me talking about the Gold Rush.
Sister Gailey and I have been OYMing EVERYONE on our bikes and we have seen miracles! We had a few really cool experiences meeting Shanna, William, and Cindy, all potential investigators that we will begin teaching in the next day or two! They all are experiencing their own personal struggles right now, but each of them had questions that we could specifically answer with the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation. It has helped me to more fully realize the blessing of having this knowledge – we really are here to become our best selves, to become like Him. And every single one of us has the potential to do it. Which leads me into some spiritual nuggets I found this week!
The majority of my scriptures today come from Luke 6.
31-35: All men, wicked or evil, love those that do good unto them, but Christ requires us to “love‍ ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward‍ shall be great, and ye shall be the children‍ of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful‍ and to‍ the evil”. We must do good to all and expect nothing in return and remove the mentality of “What’s in it for me?”
39: Can the blind lead the blind? Everywhere, we see this happening. Too often men are relied upon to interpret the things of God through their own opinions. We must rely upon someone who can see. Someone who is standing upon the watch tower, ready to warn us of spiritual danger. I am so grateful for the blessing it has been to receive guidance from a prophet of God and twelve apostles, and that we have the ability to receive our own answers to our questions through the Spirit.
40: The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect‍ shall be as his master”. That is a promise. All of us, as we strive to keep the commandments of God and deny all ungodliness have that potential. And that is why I am here: to help others recognize their potential! I also found great spiritual light in 2 Nephi 26:23-25. You should read it too – it correlates. Our message is true, our potential is great, and our leader is perfect. As long as we are obedient, we cannot fail.
The Church is true! I love you! God loves you! Go and do.
Sister Burdett

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Everything Under The Sun!

(Received 4/20/15—Posted out of order! Ugh!)

Hola familia!

We had a huge miracle happen this past week when both Cerene and Belinda came to our Relief Society activity – and loved it! It was all about family togetherness and many ideas for low-cost to cost-free activities to do here in Coral Springs! It really would be a good place to live – it’s motto is “Everything under the Sun” and it is so true! Small town feel, but it still has a Target and all the goods. 🙂 The ward did an excellent job fellowshipping them and helping them feel welcome. Then over the next couple of days we had cool lessons with them, in one of which Cerene told us, “It was great! I realized that – don’t be offended when I say this – you guys are actually normal! Like, you’re not that weird!”. While most would be a little hurt by this, this is definitely on the list of one of my favorite realizations people have. We really aren’t that weird! Just a peculiar people.
Unfortunately, because we stayed at the activity to support Belinda and Cerene, we had to cancel an appointment we had with Ivan and Stacey (he’s interested in getting closer to Christ and she is a member that hasn’t come in yeeeaarrs), after which we were dropped by them. Hard. It was a difficult decision to make, to stay at the activity or to go see them, but we both received spiritual confirmation that we needed to be at the activity for them. Unfortunately, neither of them made it to church, so that was another bump we experienced, but we are continuing forward in faith.

IMG_0096[1]Us and our MINIS!

We had a surprise phone call from a mom asking us what her daughter needed to bring on her mini-mission this weekend. We had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, so we called our president and – surprise – we were getting a mini-missionary that weekend! The Fort Lauderdale stake was doing a mini-mission in the which youth go our with missionaries for 24 hours to get the ‘mission experience’, so we just get to drag them all over town and help them learn how to teach and bear testimony! It was great fun, though our poor mini. We had a torrential downpour that we had to bike through and arrived at our lesson soaked to the bone. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it never gets cold, even when it rains, in Florida, so illness was avoided, but we felt a little guilty for dripping all over Belinda’s couch. We were able to have a really awesome lesson with Cerene with her and did some finding too to have the experience be well-rounded. She seemed to enjoy it and we pray that she will make the decision to serve! We ended up having eight sisters in our apartment that night (4 regulars plus 2 minis plus 2 STLs) and had a good, old-fashioned slumber party complete with kettle corn. “Good, old-fashioned” meaning we all went to bed at 10:30. The minis were out in about three minutes. Though I’m tired all the time, I forgot how exhausting it was to acclimate to the missionary schedule at the beginning of my mission. Glad that I’ve gotten a bit more used to it.
IMG_0099[1]We celebrated Sis. Jones’s 20th birthday in style – a LA couple took us to Outback Steakhouse! It was great fun and we sang happy birthday with the whole restaurant while she reached tomato-levels of redness. Also, a happy birthday wish to my cunado, Clay! I don’t know how old you are now, but I hope that it was a good one!
Last night we went to follow-up on a potential, Caleb, who told us that he was doing some chores and that he didn’t have time to meet with us that night. We asked when we could see him again, and he proceeded inside to ask his mom. When he came back, his response was hilarious: “My mom’s a bit of a smart alec*…. she says we’re Christian and that we’ll see you in heaven!”. After assuring him that we, in fact (I don’t know why this is so hard for people), are Christians, we encouraged him to come to church anyway and to call us when he wanted to get a little closer to Christ and left giggling.
This morning a prayer was answered through the scriptures, as they so very frequently are. I found great solace in the words of 2 Nephi 4:26,28, and 30 which read, “26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited‍ men in so much mercy, why‍ should my heart‍ weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? 28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop‍ in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy‍ of my soul. 30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock‍ of my salvation”. 26 expressed almost exactly many of the feelings I have been feeling this transfer, and the last couple of days in particular, yet 28 called me to awaken and rejoice for the Lord is ever mindful, watchful, and involved. And because of that, I will praise His name forever.
Another quick little thought: I was able to read my favorite story in the New Testament this morning – Luke 5:18-26. Read it! I particularly connect with verse 20, in which it says “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven‍ thee”. I am a firm believer in the power of active faith and prayers on the behalf of another. I have seen countless miracles because of this throughout my mission and am realizing those that I have seen beforehand as well. This man’s friends acted on his behalf and put forth great effort in a demonstration of charity and faith in the power of the Son of God. He is mindful of our every intention and desire. As we show forth our faith in behalf of others, God will notice, listen, and act in His time.
I LOVE YOU. Sister Burdett
IMG_0081[1]Getting soaked in the Florida rains!

Little Cheaters, Real Jobs and Miracles!

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Received 4/28/2015

Buenas, familia!
Weeeeelll, after a very shocking transfer call last night, the news is that I will be staying in Coral Springs – and training! Again! Crazy stuff. Sis. Jones and Bradley are on their way out, and Sis. Lake and I will be holding down the apartment fort. I adore CS and am so excited to spend more time here, but I am surprised to be doing so! I thought for sure I was on my way out the door! So it looks like I’ll be biking for another twelve weeks – woo! I love it, even though it rains every day now. Thank goodness for plastic ponchos from the gas station – pictures to come.
We had a very miraculous transfer week – so much news!
While we were sitting in Ward Council, our phone started to buzz. We looked down and saw that Gigi, a media referral we dropped a couple weeks ago, was calling! We took one look at each other and unceremoniously bolted out of the room. Turns out that she was already at church with her less active fiancé, Brucener, an hour early! Such a HUGE miracle!! We had a good chapel tour and introduced them to a few members, and they stayed for the first two hours of church. Yesterday we set her up with a baptismal date of May 9th! She is so excited! And we are too!
Also, CERENE finally came to church! And LOVED it too! She brought her five year old son and he didn’t think it was boring! During the Sacrament, she leaned over to him and asked, “Do you want to pass the bread too someday?”. He eagerly responded yes and added that he wanted to wear a tie next week too! They were awesome! We had an appointment with her later that night to set a date for baptism, but she cancelled last minute, leaving us a little disappointed. We saw her, however, yesterday, and she told us that she cancelled because she had fallen asleep watching BYUTV for hours! She told us all about the funny Studio C and the dramatic ‘Turning Point’ episodes and devotional she watched – and is preparing to be baptized on May 9th as well! She also wants to serve a mission! The Lord has so fully and completely prepared her heart – pray for her that she will be able to find a job!
We found a cool guy named James while knocking doors yesterday who told us that he had had a vision of us coming to his house to pray with him a week ago. He’s a deacon at his church and is giving the sermon this Sunday, but has really sincere desires to get closer to Christ. So cool!
At dinner with the Butler family this week, all of us were saying things we liked to do. Grayson, age 6, told us he liked to play soccer. Sis. Jones jumped in and said, “Oh, Sis. Burdett loves soccer too (we played last p-day)! You should play together!” Grayson replied, “Okay! I’m a liiiitle bit of a cheater though.” The whole table burst into laughter. It was hilarious.
We are uncertain how to proceed with Belinda. We decided to drop her if she didn’t show up to church. She didn’t come, so we did. Within five minutes of officially dropping her on our records, she texted us apologizing for not coming to church because she had to go to the ER. We don’t know what to do! She hasn’t come in six weeks (though she did for General Conference and has come to a RS activity), so we’re having a hard time determining how to move forward. Hopefully the Spirit will point us in the right direction soon!
During my personal study this morning, everything was turned unintentionally to the Savior. 2 Nephi 22: 2-3, when Isaiah is quoted, were a couple of my favorite verses. As well as 2 Tim. 4: 17-18 and 2 Tim. 3:11-12. Really the central theme of it all was that He truly is there, every single step of the journey. He has felt and experienced it all. He understands. All we have to do is accept his hand that is outstretched, and he will lift us to higher things. I connected hard when rereading Elder Holland’s talk from Conference. He said, “Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightening in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life”. What a powerful statement filled with such simple truth. Take His hands.
I LOVE YOU! Pray for my new missionary!
Sister Burdett