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

Expect Success

MLC August, 2015 (1)

MLC Mission August 2015–Picture sent by President Richardson

Received September 14, 2015

Familia!

    Well, the biggest news of the week is that Michael Jackson came to church! The members are really having a hayday with his name. Every time we tell members about him, they all say, “Wait, I thought MJ was dead!”. Nanci and Isidro gave him a ride to church and were all excited because they got to be “Michael Jackson’s chauffers” and said that they had to get a picture with him! In all seriousness though, he is progressing so well. It was quite a miracle that he came. He was feeling sick all weekend, but we sent more testifying-text-messages than I ever have in my life and he came! He is still pretty afraid of committing to a date to be baptized, but he is reading and praying diligently. We know that the Plan of Salvation is going to change everything for him and positively can’t wait to share it!
    We also had Maria and Diana, two of Lucia’s daughters, come for the first time. Lucia was going to bring her whole family, but one of her girls woke up sick so she stayed home with two of them. They loved it and we are helping Maria prepare to be baptized hopefully this month! They are such cute girls (ages 10, 7, 4, and 2), but, oh my word, are they CRAZY when we come over! They are in some serious need of attention and love! The youngest one, Sara, just walked over put her head in my lap while I was sitting at the kitchen table and promptly fell asleep. I melted a little bit – she is so cute!
    I ate at Popeye’s this week for what I think was the first time in my life! I left feeling so fat but so joyful – who would have thought that their food could be so delicious!
    While in Fort Myers last week, we had planned to see some potentials, but neither of them were home. We decided to hunt down some nearby less-active members, but were pretty nervous because we were in the Latin ghetto and it was already 8:30 and pretty dark outside. We parked as close as we could to the house, but it was still a ways down the street. We internalized the “walk quickly and with purpose” council in the White Handbook and quickly knocked on the door only to find that it was completely dark and empty. Now, a rumor had been going around in the mission that the Assistants jog in between doors when knocking to save time and to be more effective, so some crazy elders started doing “the AP jog” too. Turns out that the Assistants never actually did that, but as we were walking back to the car, we sighted yet another borracho walking around and Sis. Ferrari turned to me and suggested, “AP jog?”. My response was, “No, AP SPRINT!”, and we ran all the way back to the car and locked the doors right when we got inside. 🙂 Don’t worry, mom, we’re being safe!
    We had a pretty miraculous find of the Rodriguez family last weekend! The wife was baptized when she was about fourteen and is now married to a nonmember and has four kids, two of which can be baptized! We had a great first contact with them and they even invited us over for dinner later this week to eat some weird Guatemalan fried palm fronds – we’re so excited! I love crazy Latin food.
    I have learned so much about the Spirit this week and how essential it is in our work. We had MLC on Friday and the entire meeting was devoted to learning about how we can have the Spirit with us more powerfully and on choosing our words wisely when teaching and testifying so that the Spirit can be felt more easily. It has been so beneficial to focus more fully on following the promptings I receive daily and have seen so many tiny miracles because of it. Finding people, deciding with whom we should exchange, changing my prayers, all of these things have allowed us to be answers to the prayers of others! And having someone tell you that is truly a remarkable thing.
    One quote from Preach My Gospel that we discussed that really struck me was, “If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit” (10). Pertaining to missionary work, the application of this sentence is pretty obvious, but it really does connect to all, no matter in which circumstances we are. If we expect to fail, we will fail, but if we expect to succeed then we have a shot, and a good one at that. In this life we must expect to succeed, to soar, and to become everything that God wants us to be and knows that we can be! Expect to change lives because you will! I am confident that the opposite of this quote is true: if you raise your expectations of yourself, your effectiveness will increase, your desire will strengthen, and you will be able to follow the Spirit more easily! So expect daily miracles in your life! After all, He never stopped being a God of miracles.
    I love you!
     Hermana Burdett
M91415 Us, Cape Classy and the Zone Leaders! 91415 Yup. A loving companionship already
Pday at the Shell Factory with the Zone Leaders!

Michael Jackson–Woo!

Familia!
What a wild and crazy Miracle Transfer Week it has been! My new companion, Sis. Ferrari (from Buenos Aires, Argentina!) is fabulous and we really have been seeing miracle after miracle after miracle! It’s nuts!
On our first day together, we met Georgie, a funny little Indian man who invited us inside and tried to show us how intelligent his children were and how much they knew about the Bible. It was great! We said a nice little prayer with them, and he was so tickled by it that he gave us two pieces of his favorite fruit! We have no idea what he called it, but we have taken to calling it “el chivo” because that’s what it smells like (el chivo means ‘the armpit’)! Yes, our car and apartment had a lovely odor before we realized that the safest place to keep it was probably the back porch.
One day we had only about twenty minutes to knock doors before we had to head out to an exchange. We stopped in the most Latin area we could find, said a faith-filled prayer, and knocked one door. Inside we found Lucia, a younger single mom who had been baptized in the Church in the Dominican Republic when she was fifteen, but had fallen away for a while. She now lives here with her four daughters and has been searching to come back to church and wants to quit smoking! We had absolutely no idea beforehand, but know that God led us right to their doorstep. And her oldest daughter is ten years old and hasn’t been baptized! We are so very blessed and excited to have found them and to begin to work with them.
It’s official. I do door approaches in my sleep in Spanish. Yup.
We also knocked a door and found Estela, a really sweet young mom from Nicaragua who took an interest to our message (we thought). After meeting with her the first time, she told us, “You know, I have a brother who really needs to hear what you have to say.” Absolutely thrilled we replied, “Great! What’s his name?”. Her response was, “Michael Jackson!” Among the Latin population here, it’s pretty common to meet people with names that are not Latin in the slightest. It’s the best. BUT, he has been quite an interesting one to teach! He is one of the the most spiritual 24-year-olds I have met and takes everything we teach him very seriously. He is hesitant to commit to anything to soon, but we have seen some really awesome progress with him since our first meeting. He sent us a text this morning saying, “I have been praying and am pretty sure that God put you two in my life for a reason.” Now that I typed that, it sounds a little creepy, but it really was an answer to prayers! Baby steps. Baby moon-walking steps.
We are still working hard with Jesus and Wilson, helping them progress towards their baptisms. The progress has been a little slower that we hoped and neither of them were able to make it to church on Sunday. BUT an awesome part-member family came to church that we’ve been trying to work with for a long while now! Miracles.
I have had to do some serious relying upon the Lord this past week. Between taking over the area, trying to keep up in Spanish, and our Sisterhood, it has been positively wild. I have been striving to make my prayers more effective, meaningful, and sincere and have seen such a difference. We met an awesome woman named Sasha last night who told us, “One must be desperate in prayer.” I connected with it so much because it’s true. Once we really begin to recognize how fully dependent upon God we are, we begin to recognize how vital a strong and close connection with Him is. I have made it a priority to say a personal verbal prayer daily, which probably doesn’t sound like that big of a goal especially as a missionary. Yet, with a companion at your side every hour of the day, one-on-one time with my Heavenly Father is most often spent inside my head. I have cherished the last few mornings that I’ve taken the time to say a verbal prayer and am already recognizing immediate answers. While studying in True to the Faith I found a gem about prayer: “If you have a difficult task before you, Heavenly Father is pleased when you get on your knees and ask for help and then get on your feet and go to work. He will help you in all your righteous pursuits, but He seldom will do womehting for you that you can do yourself”(pg.121).
How powerful is that! Finding the balance between always seeking spiritual guidance and trusting in God by showing your faith and getting out to work is the constant, joyful struggle of a missionary’s life. And I love it.
I LOVE YOU.
Pray a little better. Work a little harder. Love a whole lot more.
Hermana Burdett!

El Abuelo de Sponge-Sponge‏

Received 9/1/15

Popeyes! Again!

Popeyes! Again!

Every time we go to Andres's house, this cat, Simona, buries her face on our stinky shoes and takes a nap right on top of them. Yup.

Every time we go to Andres’s house, this cat, Simona, buries her face on our stinky shoes and takes a nap right on top of them. Yup.

Familia!
Transfers are in: I’ll be staying in Rio Vista and Sis. McGrath will be moving on to new things! We are sad to part, but excited for what the Lord has in store for us!
Our miracle-man this week was Jesus – a Cuban media referral we received a bit ago that is preparing for baptism! Our lessons and experiences with him have been very interesting, mostly because he has the gift of gab and can literally talk for hours straight without being prompted if we let him. He was so excited about church when we invited him that he even offered to bring the members who accompanied us to the lesson (even though they have their own car). On Thursday we went over to meet with him and met his nephew who has a crazy Cuban name that I probably couldn’t spell even if I could remember it. Basically, he has a lot of issues, but he was really excited that we were there because he wanted to show off his knowledge. He ended up teaching me “original ancient Hebrew” and told me that it was the most important thing I would ever learn in my life. It was quite the experience. 🙂
We started teaching a new woman that we recently found named Yeny (pronounced Jenny). We thought that she was really cool because we found her quite miraculously: We had only eight minutes before we had to leave for an exchange and decided to pray that we would be able to find a Latin in what appeared to be a completely Haitian neighborhood. We prayed in faith, walked down the street, and knocked the door we felt! Lo and behold, a wonderful Guatemalan woman who apparently never lets people in but that day she felt it and allowed us to pray with her. As we were leaving, I noticed a portrait on the wall of a salty old sailor that looked pretty antique and important. I asked her who it was, thinking it might be a distant ancestor and faimly heirloom, but her response was, “Oh, that’s the grandfather of Sponge-Sponge! My kids wanted me to buy it.” Turns out that her children are just big fans of Spongebob and she has no sailor-ancestors at all, that she knows of anyway. It was special. We continued teaching her for a couple of days, but unfortunately we weren’t quite specific enough in our prayer and have dropped her. We know that God will continue to prepare her and that missionaries will again knock on her door at the right time!
Our car needed some lovin’ so we had to head over to Firestone for a bit. We thought it would be a quick appointment, but we still haven’t learned yet – when it comes to cars, it’s never a quick fix! We ended up passing a few hours there and had a really cool experience with a man named Elicio. He was reading the Watchtower, so we thought that he might be a Jehovah’s Witness, and so we casually struck up a conversation about religion (it helps when they’re already obviously religious). Turns out that he was an avid studier of religion and had been searching for his whole life to find the church that most correctly lines up with the teachings of Jesus Christ. We were able to have an awesome Restoration lesson right there in the waiting room and sent him on his way with his own copy of the Book of Mormon to study. The best part was, when Sis. McGrath was sharing the 1st Vision with him, though in Spanish, Jeff, our Canadian cashier was 100% tuned in as well. It was a cool moment for me to witness the power the Holy Ghost can have upon people when true doctrine is spoken.
We made leaps and bounds with the Sales family this week! We randomly stopped in while they happened to be making tamales to sell at a farmer’s market, so we jumped right in and had a grand old time with them. They have been semi-active for a long time, and their son, Edwin, was baptized just a few months ago. It ended up being a great and spiritual experience with them and they came to church!
In other news, Isidro received the Aaronic Priesthood! WOO!
In the wise words of my favorite wizard, Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”. Whenever we turn to the Savior, we will find light and hope. We need only to trust in our Father in Heaven and His promises, live obediently, and take the step of faith into the darkness. Matthew 6:22-24 says, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Let our eyes be single to His glory.
I love you!
Hermana Burdett

Straight Milagros!

Received 8/24/10215

DSCN8025We met the REAL Santa!

DSCN8031And I rode a REAL Lamma!

Familia!
A crazy week it was indeed! As you can tell from the pictures, we have been getting BUCKETS of rain every single day! There’s been quite a bit of lightning, so we’ve had to do a few quick sprints to the car to take shelter! But, the good thing about the rain is that people let you in a lot more #blessings. We had two full-day exchanges in a row with a big old Zone Conference sandwiched in-between. It’s always so good to see the old missionary friends and even better to receive some really inspired counsel from the Spirit through our President and Assistants and senior missionaries. Our whole conference was all about tiny course corrections we need to make in ourselves and our companionships in order to more fully qualify for the blessings from our Father in Heaven. It has truly been phenominal to attend these conferences and trainings throughout my mission and to have quite literally every one be exactly what we needed – how grateful am I for specific, direct, and personal revelation! I am also eternally grateful for priesthood leaders and for their calling to receive revelation on our behalf. We truly never walk alone, and neither do you!
Speaking of priesthood leaders, our Zone Leaders asked us to give them a companionship study (miniature-ish 2-on-2 trainings that we usually receive from our DLs or ZLs or Assistants) which was a big surprise, but it ended up being a really spiritual experience for all of us, even though we didn’t really know what we were doing because it was almost immediately following our crazy exchanges and we didn’t have too much time to prepare. I have definitely gained a testimony of the importance of spiritual preparation when it comes to lessons, finding, and basically everything, but fortunately I have also gained a testimony that when you’ve done everything you can do, the Lord will always provide and fill in the gaps. The Spirit is the real teacher anyway, so all we have to do is invite Him and not get in His way. 🙂
While driving around Lehigh to go to our next finding place, we felt prompted to go visit a dope YSA investigator, Isaac, that we had found and passed a few weeks ago. He happened to be home! An awesome Restoration lesson ensued. Unfortunately, the missionaries hadn’t visited or even called him yet, so thank goodness we followed the prompting to go to his house! We aren’t too keen on passing him back, just for fear of losing him again, so we got permission to teach him (YEAH!) and make the change over gradual if he wants to attend the YSA branch.
Transfers are coming up! These weeks are simply flying by. We get our phone calls a week from today, so my P-day next week will be on Tuesday (please, feel FREE to write me on Monday anyway – a fuller inbox is always much happier to login to 😉 ). President Richardson made some mysterious comments to us at Zone Conference, and we have a feeling that something crazy is about to happen to us and our Sisterhood. We’re stoked to see and have prayers in our hearts that we will not be split up!
I had to speak in church on Sunday – it was the best! Not that my talk was the best (#notthatpridefulipromise), just that I love the experience and opportunity to learn more as I share. I chose to spoke all about maintaining an eternal perspective and enduring to the end from a missionary work perspective! I got some great ideas from Rafael E. Pino’s talk from last conference (sorry, don’t know what it’s called in English), so you should probably just read that and think about sharing the gospel while you’re reading it and then maybe you’ll get my flow. Everyone on this earth is, droplet by drop, being prepared to receive the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. You never know what comment, testimony, word of encouragement, or spiritual Facebook post could cause their bucket to overflow and lead to their baptism by the power and quthority of God. So SHARE!
I LOVE YOU.
Hermana Burdett

DSCN7991The Sisterhood!

I CAN HEAR THE BELLS!

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FAMILIA!
What a week it has been! First off, I attended my first wedding! NANCI AND ISIDRO WERE MARRIED ON FRIDAY! Oh, what a fabulous occasion it was. They ended up holding it in their house and we helped them decorate it up real nice. She found some pretty sweet stuff at Dollar General (the best store name to hear a Latin say) and assured us that when we get married we were welcome to use all of her supplies and that she would be happy to decorate for us. So, there you go, Mom and Dad – free wedding! 🙂 But really, it was a beautiful occasion. The best part was when Nanci started walking down the aisle with her father and Isidro wasn’t even in the house (he was showing the kids their dogs) so we had to shoo her back into her room until we grabbed him. Just kidding, the actual best part was when they were finally, finally married.
The real miracle came on Saturday night, however: the baptism!! It was just wonderful. We ended up with a really good turn out from the ward (almost 40 people), and all went well. We only started 35 minutes late, so that was a pretty good accomplishment #latinwardproblems #thebishopmighthaveforgotten. Isidro was just so excited. He has been coming to English class every week taught by the Creole elders, so they are his new best friends. Even though they’re in a different ward he invited them to both the wedding and the baptism. His new favorite word is “awesome”, courtesy of the elders.
Aside from the miracle of a prospective eternal family, we saw many other miracles throughout the week. We found a cool Cuban family, Esleidys & Jorge with their two kiddos, and had a great Restoration lesson with them. It just happened to be Esleidys’s birthday on the day we knocked and she took it to be a sign from God that we came on that day! We agreed. We’re excited to begin teaching their tiny family of four.
We also found an AWESOME Puerto Rican family of four on Saturday with whom we had an additional great Resto. lesson. Jose and Katia have been looking for truth for a long time. He has studied the Bible a LOT and has hopped from church to church, and finally has stuck with the one that he felt matched the closest. It was amazing to see him connect so much with Joseph Smith’s story and to see the light in his eyes when we introduced the Book of Mormon – he is so excited to read it! We are totally stoked to begin teaching them, particularly because they fulfilled a specific prayer we said before beginning our door-knocking for the day.
I got to go on a full-day exchange with my old companion, Sis. Jones, last week! It was so, so good to be with her again and to see how much she has grown! That has absolutely been my favorite part of being able to exchange so frequently – seeing the growth and developing a closer relationship with even more people! What a blessing it is. I love that as we live the Gospel correctly we see daily changes in ourselves. The Atonement provides us with such endless opportunities – all we have to do is be willing to follow a perfect leader!
Last night we began Isidro’s new member lessons and kicked it off with a bang by teaching more about temples. They are so excited to be sealed in a year! Their plan is to go out to the Salt Lake City temple for it. Nanci was telling us about a pretty spiritual experience she had at one point in the which she was describing a time when she was searching desperately for something but she didn’t know what it was. Isidro chimed in and said, “Maybe yo” (spanglish for “maybe I”), and they had the most precious little moment. FAMILIES ARE MEANT TO BE ETERNAL.
This morning I read Helaman 10:12 and LOVED IT. Nephi is such a perfect example because, though he had been a’preachin’ and a’preaching away to the people and finally had the opportunity to rest, he chose instead to act upon the prompting he received from the Lord and to get back to work! Some common mottoes we have in our house are: “All gas and no brakes!” and “We rest when we’re dead!”. Alma 43:1 (“and Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth”) gives yet another example of a diligent servant of the Lord. We’re trying hard to follow these awesome examples in the scriptures of giving it everything we have. So when you get that prompting to do a good thing, don’t wait a second to do it! For just as you act immediately, so shall you be immediately blessed (Mosiah 2:24).
I LOVE YOU! But our Father in Heaven loves you so much more.
Hermana Burdett

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Rio Beast

Received  7/27/15

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Fort Myers Tribal Zone and President Richardson!

Familia!!
GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS! Finally, I have the opportunity to serve in my first Spanish ward – hallelujah! I am currently covering Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, FL in the Rio Vista ward – I’ve moved over to the West coast! Haha, a little bit different than the one I’m used to, but I LOVE IT. I was worried about finding a lot of spanish-speakers, just because ever since I’ve left Miami it has been scant, but I have been pleasantly surprised! We find many, we just have to turn up our radar. Our indicators are often satellite dishes with three prongs (Telemundo!), Christmas lights, and golden mini-vans/white pick-up trucks. It’s great! Right now I’m serving with Sis. McGrath from Alpine, UT! She’s AWESOME! We’ve actually had a few of the same old companions which is fun, but we really are enjoying ourselves but more importantly doing everything we can to find those Latinos!
You can send me stuff at:
11490 Villa Grand #220
Fort Myers, FL 33913
Our ward is a little small, but the members are strong! Everyone is super welcoming and we have many members willing to teach with us, but many more willing to feed us. I have learned that running every morning is definitely a requirement if I don’t want to gain 100 pounds.
Every fourth Sunday here has been deemed as “Missionary Sunday”. That happened to be yesterday! We (us, the elders, our wml and his esposa, and Hna. Andrade, a wonderful little old brasilera who speaks portunol (that’s just combo of portugese and espanol)) sang a lovely musical number called “Te Hallare Mi Amigo”. It’s a sweet little song that talks about those we promised in the pre-existance to find on earth and to bring the gospel. We also had a movie night on Saturday and watched Conozca a los Mormones (Meet the Mormons)! We called and called the members in our ward and visited many, encouraging them all to invite and bring non-member friends and committing many of them to do it. Well, long story short, the only non-member there was Isidro, our boss investigator, which was AWESOME, but the members kind of missed the point… Oh well, we keep moving forward! It was fairly well-attended by the ward at least, and hopefully it reinstilled the Missionary Spirit!
Isidro and Nanci are our power couple right now! Nanci is a returning member who is coming back super strong and bringing her boyfriend (now fiance) with her! He is a really humble man who is seeking truth and success for his family. This week we set them for a marriage date in September so that he can be baptized (and, you know, have an eternal family and stuff)! The date he selected is a liiiittle farther in the future than we were hoping for, but we are all (we, Nanci, and now the ward members) working towards bumping the date up! HE IS SO COOL! They loved the movie on Saturday and stayed for the full three hours of church for the first time.
During our Law of Chastity lesson with them, we started talking about his job – he works construction. He told us that they were currently working on building a race track. We both immediately said, “WOW!”, and started asking all sorts of questions about what races were going to happen there and were all sorts of excited. Then they informed us that it was a Racetrack gas station. Whoops.
We miraculously found Sandra yesterday who started crying before the prayer even began because the Spirit was working on her so well. She and her husband has literally just been praying and talking about needing to go back to church and had just turned on a Christian channel five minutes before we came. Heavenly Father really does answer prayers!! She’s committed to baptism, church, and meeting with us tonight. MIRACLES are happening!
On Sunday morning we went to round up our friend, Maria, for church. After four loud knocks, her roommate, Jose answered. In some lovely Christmas boxers. That’s all. He told us that he will definitely come to our church someday, but not that day because it was raining (*barely sprinkling). It was great moment.
One scripture I loved this week is found in D&C 63:9: “But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.” Signs follow those who exercise their faith! Oh, how I see the truth of this doctrine over and over again on a daily basis. Remember that He does not give us a sign to create our faith but to confirm it.
I also really loved studying in Alma 49 this week. The Lamanites try to attack a Nephite city that had once been a weak place only to see that it had become a strong fortress and “behold, how great was their disappointment”(4). God really does make our weaknesses become strengths when we do everything we can to serve and show our love for Him. Our strengths will develop as we strive to develop Christlike attirbutes, and when Satan tries to attack us in our former area of weakness, how great his disappointment will be too! Ha!
I LOVE YOU.
Hermana Burdett

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My mission granddaughter, Hermana Hatch. Herman Endemono is training her!

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This is Julio! He was a fun OYM experience!