You Never Know…..

Received 10/26/15

DSCN8138

Familia!

This week an AWESOME MIRACLE happened! We did our first exchange of the transfer and I was able to go with Sis. Jones (not the one that was my companion in the past, but a newer one in the mission)! I love her a lot and right away realized that she reminds me a lot of Sis. Heacock, the missionary who finished training me. I soon learned that this was pretty funny because precisely a year ago Sis. Heacock and I were in Killian together, which happens to be the area Sis. Jones just came from. I also learned that Sis. Jones and her companion there had been teaching a former investigator named Manny, the very same one that Sis. Heacock and I found a year ago! Unfortunately we had to drop him then because it wasn’t the right time for him, but Sis. Jones informed me that he is preparing to be baptized this month!!!! It was a beautiful moment. My testimony of the importance of record-keeping was strengthened. NO EFFORT IS WASTED! God’s timing is perfect. #prayforManny
We’ve been struggling a bit with our ward here to receive the support we need, and after a week of trying tons of new ideas to help the members share the Gospel with others, we were blessed to receive two very surprising referrals! One is the boyfriend of a less active member, who also happens to be in a part-member family, that we met for the first time completely randomly. It was a member that we hadn’t yet met but for some reason felt prompted to visit even though it was a 5-mile bike trip out of the way. It was definitely worth it! #followingtheSpiritforthewin The other referral was a complete miracle. A member who feeds us often but never has someone for us to go visit despite us trying to ask in different ways every time walked up to us right after Sacrament meeting and told us, “Hermanas, we’re visiting my neighbor this week to share the Gospel with her. She needs it. She doesn’t speak any Spanish.” We were shocked and pleasantly surprised! Even though she will need to be taught by other missionaries in English, we were ecstatic to see the members making the effort on their own! Two small steps for hermanas, one giant leap for Rio Vista! #prayfortheward

10.26.15 The DistrictThe District!
Funny moment: we surprise-visited our less-active friend Alvaro again this week. Our visits with him are always funny because they usually only happen when everything falls through when we are in Lehigh Acres and it’s around 8:30pm, so there’s not much time to really share a lot and be home in time. This was one such occasion. This time, Isabel, the Mexican woman who lives in the other half of the house with her husband, fed us delicious nopales (cactus) – she feeds us every time we go – and asked us how we liked it. Between bites, I commented “It’s delicious! I love it!”, her response was, “Que bien! Se ve muy bonita comiendo!” (That’s great! You look beautiful eating!), but for some reason I thought she said, “Miren a la gordita comiendo!” (Look at the little fatty eating!). Everyone looked at me and smiled after she said that, so I just chuckled awkwardly and tried to convince myself that it wasn’t something offensive to say in Mexico. After we left, I asked Hna. Alcazar if that was really what she said and she died laughing and informed me of what she actually said. It’s a blessing to have a Latin companion with good hearing. 🙂
We had two really fabulous lessons with Hilda and Cristiano this week! The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the authority from God and prophets, the role of the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ was so clear to them and they were really some beautiful spiritual experiences. Though the elect are like needles in a haystack, they are there, waiting for the truth, kept from it only because they know not where to find it.
Hna. Alcazar and I keep finding Brasilians and have thus begun the quest to learn how to communicate in Portuguese! We both have such spanish accents when we try to speak it and are probably driving people crazy – every time we meet or speak to someone from Brasil we ask them to teach us a word or phrase – but it’s pretty fun and pretty useful. I definitely will not be able to learn how to speak it before my mission ends, but we’re finding joy in trying. #comewhatmayandloveit
We are tired. Really tired. All the time. So tired, in fact, that after a lesson we got into the car at about 7:00pm and looked down to realize that Hna. Alcazar was wearing two different shoes of two totally different styles and colors. We still don’t really know when it happened, but the moral of the story is even if you’re tired…. I just tried really hard to think of a moral to that story, but I’m too tired.. Don’t worry, it’s the good kind of tired. 2 Timothy 2:10 kind of tired.
I found a little gem while studying 2 Timothy this morning. I love Paul’s tender words to his son: “…When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim. 1:5) I am so grateful for the examples of righteous women I have in my life, just as Timothy had! Paul recognized that that was the root of his son’s faith, the unfeigned faith of his grandmother and mother and knew, as Elder Nelson and Elder Holland recently expressed, that the power of a righteous woman is great.
So go give your mom a hug.
Hermana Burdett

Advertisements

The Great Drop

Received 10/13/15

Waiting 2.5 hours for an oil change 10/13/15

Waiting 2.5 hours for an oil change 10/13/15

Familia!
This week we have to say a hard goodbye to Hermana Ferrari – she’ll be headed back to Argentina this Thursday! I have been so, so grateful to have served with her, particularly during her last transfer. She taught me to be consistent, to be simple and intense, and to love. I’ll be in Fort Myers for yet another six weeks and will meet my new companion tomorrow!
Many inspiring things happened this week including interviews with Pres. Richardson, many exchanges, and Zone Training! I am so grateful for the Lord’s chosen and inspired servants here on the earth and that we have access to guidance TODAY! That week can seek it on our own through scripture study and prayer, and receive it from Heavenly Father’s dedicated servants.
We had to make a lot of big decisions on Sunday when not one of the 15 potentials for church we had showed up. It was pretty painful, especially after some sincere efforts to help them get there. In the end, we made the decision to drop 13 of them and to move forward with those who are ready to commit. And so we refocus our finding! This week we have already seen some pretty huge miracles because of it:
1. We found Denise and her little family! She has been looking to get closer to God and couldn’t believe that we just showed up on her doorstep! Right after we shared a prayer with her she asked us, “Do you baptize people in your church?” Do we ever! She has a strong desire for her whole family to be baptized and to recommit to follow Christ in their lives. It was a really cool experience and even though we had to pass them to the English missionaries, we are grateful to have had such a good opportunity to meet and testify.
2. On the same street as Denise we found Reina, an awesome 19-year-old who knew that we were heaven-sent! She is so excited to learn more about the Gospel. Her biggest goal for her family is to have them increase their faith and she knows that she can help them by setting a good example. She was another one that had to pass to other missionaries, but we know that God sent us at the right place at the right time.
I went on an exchange down in Vanderbilt Beach where we knocked doors in an area where many Haitian families lived. We were able to meet and teach two friends and their little daughters, one of whom asked me right before we left, “Why are your cheeks always like that? Like happy-ish?” Haha, smiling pays off.
Yesterday I got to try pacaya for the first time in my life! It’s a weird Guatemalan plant thing that looks like spaghetti growing out of a root. You should probably just Google it or something because that’s the best description I can come up with. But it is normally fried – it was delicious! Kind of bitter-ish, but good with some salsa roja.
As a new transfer approaches, I found a lot of guidance in reading D&C 128:22 this morning which says, “Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, onto the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.” That is exactly what I want to do: move forward and not backward. To take what I have learned and let it carry me forward into where He needs me to be.
Another scripture I read differently this week was 1 Nephi 8:7, which reads, “And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.”. How interesting it is to me that it is not until after Lehi decides to follow the Savior that he notices the circumstances in which He was. Many times, we are blinded to the darkness that surrounds us or the error in which we may be, but it is when we choose to turn to the Savior and follow that we recognize how much better our lives could be if we just keep following Him.
I love you! Have a stellar week!
Hermana Burdett

P.S. Whenever you feel tired or impatient, just be grateful that you don’t have to wait 2.5 hours for your oil to get changed. And if you do, I’m right there with ya.

Rejuvenating Revelation!

Received 10/5/15

Familia!
General Conference. Wow.
Here are some funny moments that happened this week:
*Samuel has a lot of trouble with his eyes which leads to difficulty reading small print. We need him to read the Book of Mormon, however, and, while digging through the house we found our solution: la lupa! Yup, after presenting him with him very own copy of El Libro de Mormon, we also presented him with our other gift: a magnifying glass. We thought he was about to have a heart attack, his laughing fit was so severe. It was a special moment.
*During the same lesson, Samuel got a little bit side-tracked and started telling us all of his secrets to ‘looking young’. He told us, “Everyone always tells me that I look 40 when I’m actually 65!”. Unfortuantely I don’t have a picture for you to judge for yourselves, but you’re just going to have to take my word that Samuel does not look 40. After we left, our member, Hna. Hill, said, “I don’t know who told them that but they need a magnifying glass too!”
We have a super cool new investigator named Bairo. We met him while he was working on a house and were able to share a quick prayer with him. He didn’t seem super solid at the time, but he gave us his information so that we could meet with him again in the future. We ended up stopping by a little ‘randomly’ (that means it was a prompting) and learned that he had dated a member of the church for five years and had gone to our church on and off with her throughout the whole time. Unfortunately it didn’t end too well between them, but now he is at a point where he feels like he really needs what the Gospel has to offer him. It was a strong testimony builder of the importance of talking to everyone and to give everyone a fair opportunity to learn the Gospel, even if they seem a little lame on first contact. Now, that doesn’t mean we should sit every single person down and force them to listen to their message, but it was a good reminder for me let God be the judge of men and to never write anyone off just because of a first impression.
I received some exciting news this weekend! Gigi, a woman I was teaching back in March when I was in Coral Springs, was just baptized! We helped her fiance return to activity in May and then I got transferred and never heard anything more. She is one of many people I have learned about throughout the course of my mission that I had the privilege to teach and were then later baptized by the current missionaries. No effort is wasted.
Michael Jackson shocked the world (well, mostly just us) and came to the last session of General Conference on Sunday! He loved it and the whole time when Elder Christofferson was talking he just kept saying, “Habla bien bonito!” We still don’t really know how best to help him and are seeking some serious spiritual guidance in that department. Keep him in your prayers.
The best was saved for last. General Conference time! Wow, I received so many answers that were poignant and powerful. I particularly connected with the words of President Uchtdorf whose main message to me was to not overcomplicate our discipleship. One of the questions I had prepared preceeding conference concerned how I could make these final few months of my mission the most successful in all departments: the most spiritual, the happiest, the most productive, etc. The very first talk given absolutely destroyed my question: all Heavenly Father requires of my is consistency. I don’t need to go crazy in doing all sorts of new ideas and projects to make this time the best time. I just need to be consistently obedient, diligent, and give Him my best. He doesn’t require anything more.
Elder Lawrence also spoke a lot to my soul. The Spirit is the most honest companion. He will tell us sincerely what we need to hear in order to improve, but he will never discourage us. He will never give us more than we can handle. I also noted the importance of asking the Lord what more we can do, but also the necessity of following through. Receiving the guidance is one thing, but if we don’t choose to act upon it, what good is it to receive it? Just do it! In the words of my Coral Springs WML, Bro. Ray, “Like Nike”.
Elders Holland and Nelson gave some powerful talks as well that definitely deserve a reread, as well as the new apostles called, Elders Stevenson, Rasband, and Renlund.
I LOVE CONFERENCE!
And I love you too.
Hermana Burdett

Soup-soup!

Received 9/28/15

FAMILIA.
Hola mis socios!
Ana is AWESOME! Unfortunately, she has kidney stones, so it’s been a pretty rough week for her and she wasn’t able to make it to church again because of some complications. We had another pretty great lesson with her, however, and she is excited to be a member of the Church. Both members that we’ve brought to teach her have included in their testimonies how they were called to teach in the Primary (with the little chillens) right after their baptism, and now she is convinced that that is her destiny. She’s already preparing for her first calling! Pray that she gets well soon.
Our miracle-man of the week is named Samuel. He is positively hilarious. He said the closing prayer to finish one of our earlier lessons with him and in it asked Heavenly Father to please bless these “POBRES muchachas”! We’re not really sure quite what he meant by that, but we loved it. He’s an interesting little gordito whose family is still in Mexico. He came to earn money and sends it to them to support them. SO MANY of the men we teach are doing this. We find houses full to the brim of men like this. It is sad, but it is admirable when they are that dedicated to their family. Anyway, he always keeps us laughing with his funny comments and perspective. It’s gotten to the point where Sis. Ferrari and I can’t make eye contact with each other during our lessons with him because we just start laughing. He came to church and loved it and is preparing to be baptized this October! The only problem is that he is without a car… pray that we’ll be able to find a long-term solution for that!
While knocking doors this week, we saw a group of three women talking on a front porch. Not really thinking anything of it, we naturally walked up to them and offered to share a mormon.org card. The woman I tried to offer it to just stared at me and then…. the JW Chuckle was born. Yup, they were a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses teaching a woman on her front porch. Whoops! She made some intense eye contact and could only let out a “heh….heh….hehe..”, so I instead turned to the woman they were teaching and she gladly accepted it. It was a special moment for us all. #onlyonthemission
Yesterday we prayed with a wonderful Pentecostal pastor and he was extremely warm and gracious to us. After the prayer he began to say, “You know I’m reminded of a story in the Bible when Abraham…”, and a flash of dread ran through our hearts because we thought he was going to try to Bible-bash with us, but then he ended up telling us about when Abraham receives three holy men and wants to serve them (see Genesis 18:1-8). He said, “I don’t know if I can offer to wash your feet, but I can offer you a Sprite if you’ll accept it!” We gladly did. Bless him.
We saw so many miracles with our members this week! We had three families that asked us to come teach their non-member family members and were able to have really good experiences with them! Heavenly Father really blessed us a lot this week and we were able to accomplish nearly all of the goals we set. It was awesome! As a direct result of these visits, however, we come home every day with some very full yantas (in other words, fat rolls on our tum) ;).
A funny Ferrari experience:
Sis. Ferrari was on the phone with our District Leader, telling him a story about her sister. It went a little something like this.
F: …so I told her, “Bring your bikini!”
Burd: Swimsuit.
F: Jumpsuit.
Burd: swimwuit.
F: SOUP-SOUP!
Oh, the joys of learning a language. I can’t even tell you how many mistakes I still make in Spanish, but we’ll just leave it at, they are MANY.
I LOVED THE WOMEN’S CONFERENCE.
I loved Sister Wixom’s “I am a child of God, therefore _____!” Sentence/challenge. As children of the most powerful being in the universe, our potential is endless!
I also loved Sis. McConkie’s comment of the 100-year old woman who said that her secret to longevity was, “I repent every day.” – what a powerful testimony of the power of frequent exercise of the atonement!
And Pres. Uchtdorf’s story of Aunt Rose touched my heart. Wish I had more time to tell about it.
I LOVE YOU.
Hermanita Burdett

Kidneys are gross!

Received 9/21/15

Familia!
What a week, what a week.
We started doing this awesome new thing that we like to call “MEMBER POWER-HOUR” that is definitely as cool as it sounds! We’re trying to improve the work that we are doing with and through the ward and so we have decided to replace our “after dinner spiritual thoughts” with a much more powerful and spiritual moment for all involved. When they don’t have a referral for us at that moment, we get them involved in the finding process and have them refer us to a place that is very Latin and then report back on how many people we spoke to, how many return appointments we have, etc. It really has been so effective! Our very first one was with sweet little Hna. Martinez who feeds us every Thursday. As she was thinking of a spot to send us to, the Spirit brought Maria to her mind, a woman that she didn’t know too well but with whom she had worked in the past! We knew that she had thought of her name for a reason and went over as soon as we could to contact her. It turns out that we couldn’t have come at a better moment! She has been having some pretty severe problems with her abusive husband, and he had just left the house 15 minutes before we arrived. Literally, 15 MINUTES. She has been juggling many options for her future and has been struggling to know what to do in order to give her four children a better environment to grow in. It was amazing to see the Spirit work through a member to put us in the right place at the right time. It was remarkable to see the Spirit work on Maria too! By the end of our visit, she just kept saying over and over how happy she felt and how all of the stress and anger she had been feeling was simply gone. We look forward to continue teaching her and her family.
We also had a boss lesson with another NI, Ana, who had been taught by some sisters in the past. Sis. Ferrari met her on an exchange, and I got to meet her the following day. We read 3 Nephi 11 with her because of some questions she had about it and were able to have yet another powerful spiritual experience. It was truly remarkable to see someone with such pure desires to find truth and real intent. We had contacted 18 different members, inviting them to teach that lesson with us, and finally, we found a winner, Hna. Bonachea. It turns out that she was the exact friend that Ana needed – they instantly clicked and Hna. Bonachea was able to teach and connect with her in a way that we never would have been able to. She is actively searching for answers – elect investigators are really the only way to teach!
This week, Nanci fed us kidneys.
This week, I learned that I do not like to eat kidneys.
Unfortunately, we had to drop our favorite investigator, Michael Jackson. It was a sad night, and we tried to do everything we could to help him realize that in order to receive an answer he needed to act upon the things we were teaching and test them for himself (see Alma 32). He simply just isn’t ready yet and will need some more time for the Spirit to work on him. He said he was going to give it a week on his own and then contact us when he is ready to act. We are counting down the days until we hear from him! Please pray for him!
We found a new complex to knock in and started to do so on a sunny Friday afternoon. On the first floor we found a cute little Cuban couple, a not-so-interested teenager, and a creepy woman who seemed terrified because we knocked her door and would hardly say a word to us but didn’t seem to want to close the door. So we continued upstairs and tried our luck up there. No answer, no answer, then, while knocking on Door #3, Door #4 opened up and some adorable children ran outside with their mom in tow right behind. We gave her a card and she was all excited because she had a good friend who is Mormon, and she continued on down the stairs. We continued waiting at Door #3, watching the young mom go down the stairs (we’re not that creepy, we promise), when suddenly she stopped in her tracks, stood on the stair for a couple of seconds, and then turned around and came back. She told us that she felt like she neede to tell us that we should be careful knocking doors there because drug dealers lived downstairs (that explained the creepy woman) and that not even pizza delivery men were allowed to knock doors there because one had been killed while trying to deliver his pizza. We thanked her profusely and took that as the sign to leave and try a new place. But, how cool is that! I got to see a woman receive and act upon a spiritual prompting, start to finish! Who knows if anything would have happened, but if I’ve learned anything on my mission, I have learned that when the Spirit whispers, first you obey and then you understand.
Our Stake Conference was this past weekend and it was absolutely fabulous! Unfortunately, none of our investigators were able to make it, but we spiritually feasted there. Here are a few of the thoughts I loved:
1. “I guarantee that all of you who haven’t been to the temple in the past few months didn’t go because every day you wrote down ‘Today I will not go to the temple’. You just never wrote down “Today I will”.
2. “None of us can remember what we haven’t truly learned.”
3. Apparently, monkey-catching is a pretty popular pasttime for Cambodian children, according to a returned missionary who spoke in the conference. To do it, they place a monkey treat (nut, dried banana, etc.) in a jug that has an opening just wide enough for the monkey’s hand and arm to fit through. The trick is that the monkey will reach in and grab the treat and therefore make their fist too big to take out of the neck of the jug. Apparently, the monkies never let go of these objects, making them easy pray because they have their hand stuck in the jug. Likewise, we sometimes hold onto things in life that we know we should let go of because they will ultimately lead to our destruction. It was a powerful reminder for me as a missionary to let go of all ungodliness and to give everything to the Lord during this short time I have to serve.
The happiest of happy birthday to my sweetest mother who I love so very, very much!! She’s my favorite!
I love you!!
Hermana Burdett

Verily, verily, I say unto you that it is easier for a camel to fit through a needle than it is to interrupt a latin while dancing

Received 10/19/2015

Hola mi Querida Familia!
Sak pase? That’s Creole. I don’t speak Creole.
What a week, what a week, where to begin?
Transfers! My new companion (please forgive us for the lack of picture…) is Hermana Alcazar, an hna. from Tijuana, Mexico that came into the mission field with me! We haven’t gotten the chance to serve much around each other until now, but let me tell you, she is an answer to prayer. I love her a lot and am so very, very grateful for yet another opportunity to work with yet another companion whose first language is Spanish! Good things are coming.
After a series of interesting events, Sis. Ferrari and I, just before she headed back to Argentina, made the decision to stop working in the ghetto. Too many problems. So ever since then, Sis. Alcazar and I have been biking the days away, praying more fervently, and talking to absolutely everyone we see to try and find Spanish-speaking people that live outside of our Latin ghetto. It’s not an easy task. But, my goodness, have we been blessed for it.
We re-found a new little community that I had always wanted to knock doors in but never had for various reasons and proceeded to knock all of the doors – turns out that it’s a mainly Brasilian community! Looks like I need to brush up on my Portuguese skills (which I don’t have either)! BUT, we had prayed specifically to find a family with three people that will be baptized that had previously heard about the church and were searching for answers. And that’s exactly what we found. Enter Cristiano and Raidabel, a brasilero married to a puertorriqena. Raidabel had been taught by sister missionaries in Puerto Rico and was enthralled with the message that families have the potential to be together forever. Cristiano realized while we were there that he, too, had met missionaries from our church and had often spoken to them while in Brazil! And they live with their 19 year-old daughter. They’ve been searching for truth for a long time and have been so very prepared to receive it. Specific prayers receive specific answers. IT WAS AWESOME!
We also had a miracle at church! After our miles and miles of biking, after doors and doors and doors knocked, after planning some nights until 10:28pm to try and find new ways to find people to teach, it was Saturday night, 10:15pm, and we had no one committed to come to church. A few less active and part member families had said they would try to come, but we were stressed. Big time. And so, we prayed for a miracle and sent out a text message to everyone in our phone who had ever been taught by missionaries in that area inviting them to church. And went to sleep. We got to church the following morning only to find that the only unfamiliar faces there were the Elders’ investigators. We felt bummed, to put it lightly. And then, just a few minutes late, walks in familia Diaz…. with their nonmember sister-in-law and her two children! We later found out that she had been one of the people we texted and felt like she needed to come. What makes matters even more interesting is that we found out that her husband has strong desires to be baptized but she had been the one to drag her feet. We are excited to begin working with them! We also learned that one of the part-member families came earlier to the English ward! ‘Twas a day of much rejoicing. We are so very, very, VERY grateful that our prayers were answered. God is a God of miracles.
You know you’ve been in an area a long time when you begin knocking a street that you’ve never knocked before and the people inside two houses in a row say, “Whoa, have we met before?”. And then you realize that yes, you indeed have met before. And prayed with them before. Just in different places. Yup. #threetransferswag #smalltownlehighacresswag
We also had an awesome party called La Fiesta de la Hispanidad – the…Hispanity Party? I’m not really sure what that translates to, but hopefully you get me. Basically, the members correlated and set up tables from the countries that they are from – Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brasil, you name it, we probably had it – with food and things from their country more food and more members forcing food upon you. ‘Twas a jolly good time – many members did traditional dances from their countries and we had lots of people bring non-member family and friends! Some less active families we’ve been working with came and loved it! We also had some former investigators show up that we have been trying to get in contact with since I got here!! It was miraculous. We had to interrupt their…intense…Latin dancing to get their phone number and to say hello before we had to leave to make our curfew, but fortunately, it wasn’t too awkward, even when Issac, the boyfriend, started dancing around his girlfriend while she wrote their address and phone numbers down in our planner. Every church activity should be planned by Latins.
My studies have been recently focused on faith – a principle I am striving to understand on a deeper level. I found a lot of clarity in the definition of faith in the Bible Dictionary. Some of my favorite parts were:
*Faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith (Rom. 10:14–17)
*”…strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness…”
* “…true faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical and mental action; it carries an assurance of the fulfillment of the things hoped for.”
*Where there is true faith there are miracles, visions, dreams, healings, and all the gifts of God that He gives to His saints
Read the whole definition for a full-scope of the awesomeness of faith.
At the transfer meeting, one of the missionaries who finished his mission stated, “If you are doing everything you can and you still aren’t happy it is because you are not grateful.” That hit me pretty forcefully and I have since made the goal to write down five things a day for which I am grateful to more fully recognize the banquet of blessings I get to enjoy every day.
I love you more than you know!
Hermana Burdett
1 John 3:21