Friday, May 29, 2015

Cheerio to the U.S., Hello England!

Hey everyone! How is everything going for you? I am happy to report that I am safe and sound at the England MTC. Last night, the 7 other missionaries and I boarded the plane that went from the New Jersey airport to the London Heathrow airport. It was a 7 hour plane ride but I survived. I tried to sleep like mom had told me to do but there was a tiny problem. There was this little kid who kept crying and screaming for almost the entire plane ride and he was 4 rows in front of me and being a light sleeper, it was really hard for me to fall asleep. It's all good though. I did get about 2-3 hours of sleep in and feel actually pretty good. I don't feel jet-lagged all that much and I seem to be adjusting to the time change pretty well. After we landed in the London Heathrow airport (which is enormous), we went to find our next terminal. You definitely know you are in London when there are signs pointing to bathrooms saying toilets rather than restrooms, elevators being labeled as lifts, or flight attendants calling out for your rubbish to be thrown away. It's pretty fascinating the differences between England and America. I am starting a chart of the differences and each time I notice something different about England, I write it down in my journal. I'll write a few of the differences  I notice each time I email. :) Well after reaching the London Heathrow airport, we boarded the plane to Manchester. It was only about an hour flight and it was right on schedule for once and that was a blessing because at this point, my missionary friends and I really wanted to get to the MTC. Eventually we did get to the England MTC and I'm here writing my emails now.The MTC and England itself is absolutely gorgeous. It is very green and beautiful. The president and his wife welcomed us and we have had a lot of orientation. His name is President Preston which I find funny because we are at the England Preston MTC. The food here is really good. They have a lot of different European named foods but most of it tastes like America's foods. I think they just give them cool sounding names to make them sound like they taste ten times better. I think in some cases they do and in some cases, they taste the same. Lays chips in America are called walkers chips here (or what England people called crisps) and they are very similar.  Oh! We got our name badges. That was really fun! Anyways, everything has been wonderful! I hope everything has been good for you! I'll keep you all updated on my next few adventures. Love you!
With Love,
Sister Burtis

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Delayed and Canceled Flights

Hello! I have many things to tell you guys. I just want to let you know first that I am all safe and sound. I feel like I may be able to write a novel with the things that have happened. So I got to my gate ok for my 1st plane to Houston, Texas. Like Crystal said, it wasn't hard to find your way around with all the signs that they have. Anyways, the plane got delayed for about an hour and that kind of got me worried that I would be missing my next plane. I kept a prayer in my heart however and everything turned out ok because my next plane from Houston to New Jersey's airport got delayed for an hour and a half. I did ok flying on both planes. As I got to the New Jersey airport, everything seemed to be great. I was afraid that I missed my 3rd plane to Manchester but that got delayed for 3 hours. Not only that but I wasn't going to be alone anymore because I ran into 8 other missionaries- 3 other sisters and 4 elders. So for all of us, the england plane that was suppose to leave at 7:30pm was going to be left at 10:30pm. We just used that time to get to know each other, read our scriptures and write in our journals. Get ready for the crazy part. So 10:30pm yesterday rolled around and our flight got delayed till 11:15, then to 11:45, then to 12:15, then to 12:50. The announcer came on who was representing united airlines and apologized for all of this and proceeds to tell us that they had their entire flight crew. However, the pilors were considered "timed out"- meaning it was basically illegal for them to continue to work in terms of lack of sleep, etc. They continued to try to find pilots but as time passed, we started wondering what would happen. It was about 1:30 am earlier today (Thursday) and something crazy happened. A couple of people dashed to the screens and desk by the gate. We missionaries looked around and soon realized what was going on. We took a look at the screens and right there by our destination place, Manchester UK, was the word that no one wants to see... canceled. Many were shocked, stressed, and tired. All of us missionaries were pretty shocked too but we called the England Mission Travel to let them know what was happening. After that, we waited in line by the airline customer service to get our flights rebooked and to get a hotel that we could stay at. The wait was really long and we were there till about 3 in the morning. During that time however, we got talking to many people who were also trying to travel to Manchester. It was fun because most of them were heading back to England...and you know what that means?! British accents! :) There were many people that were stressed and especially those who needed to be home the next day. One person that was really stressed was this young british lady. She and her finance were to be married the next day or maybe the next day after that. She even had her wedding dress in her carry on luggage. Her american finance was with her and he had to stand there for about 1 or 2 hours as the airline did everything to find those two a flight so they could make it back in time. They eventually did but that must have been some cherry on top of a sundae for that bride. It was all bad luck for many of the people who were counting on that flight. I thought it weird that this whole turn of events happened as I go to fly out to England for the first time and try to go to the MTC. In all honesty though, I was grateful for the adventure. It was fun in a way because all of us missionaries, though tired, stayed pretty calm for all of it. Many people could see that and we had friendly and fun conversations with them. As an Elder and I got talking, we both realized that all this happened for a reason. Perhaps we were there to place a seed in the hearts of the people of England. They might have missionaries come to their door and they'll remember the time they talked to us. Perhaps we were there to help the people take their minds off of this crazy situation. Either way, I'm grateful that the Lord placed us there at the New Jersey airport during that crazy time. I learned and grown a lot and it's only been day 1. Anyways, by the time we rebooked, it was 3:30am. We got blessed because the airline was so good to make sure we got a hotel (Embassy suites-a very nice hotel!), meal vouchers, and we got our flights rebooked. We will fly out to London tonight around 7 and then tomorrow morning, fly out to manchester from the london airport. We should be getting to the MTC around noon or one by tomorrow (Friday). I'm so happy that the Lord looked out for all of us. I truly felt the spirit working with all 8 of us missionaries together. We all knew we'd be protected and the time would come when we will get to the MTC. Have faith and the Lord will guide and direct you. I love you all! I'll let you know when I get to the MTC. They should let us be able to email you. :)
With Love,
Sister Burtis

Monday, May 25, 2015

Embarking on an Adventure!

             The clock is winding down. Moments, days, now months have passed since I opened my call and found out that I would be serving in the England London South Mission. It's crazy to think how fast time has passed and that tomorrow I will be getting set apart to become a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The day after, on Wednesday, I'll fly out to the Preston England MTC. I am so excited to be able to go serve the people of England and I could not be more happier to embark on this new adventure. I know it's not going to be easy. There are days that I'm sure I'll question why I went on a mission, trials that I'll have to push through, and moments I'll feel like there's no hope but that is the great thing about a mission. I'll learn so much more than I have ever learned before and grow from the trials that I will come across. I'm grateful for the Lord for giving me this opportunity. I know He loves me and I know that not only may the people of England become truly converted but so will I. I'm thankful for all the many wonderful influences in my life that got me here today. I'll miss everyone-friends, family, and leaders but I know that it's only for a short period of time that I'll be gone so that others may be with their families for time and for all eternity. God be with you till we meet again!
With Love,
Sister Anya Michelle Burtis

                              Contact Information-
                              Mission Address: 
                                        Sister Anya Michelle Burtis
                                        England London South Mission
                                        The London Temple, West Park Road
                                        Newchapel, Surrey
                                        England RH7 6NB
                                        United Kingdom