Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well for you. Last week had its ups and downs. As I have been here in the field for three weeks now, I'm becoming more and more familiar with the areas and more comfortable to the different culture around me. I love it here and I'm grateful to be here in the Redruth area. I love the members here in the Redruth ward. They are so good to Sister Schmidt and I. We have become great friends with the members and being part of a small ward, I have come to know mostly everyone now. Sister Schmidt and I are slowly but surely finding more and more people. It hasn't been easy re-opening the area but we are confident in finding those that need us and continue to search for people that will hear the message that we have for them. I have learned a lot this past week. Sister Schmidt and I had teaching lessons planned with people we found but many of them got canceled. It was a bit discouraging for us. I wondered what I was doing wrong and for the first time in the mission got pretty discouraged. We had been finding and searching for many hours but just kept getting rejected. I kept wondering if I was doing something wrong or why I at times couldn't feel the spirit when I went to speak to someone. Sister Schmidt helped me overcome my discouragements though and helped me to realize many things about missionary work. I am so truly blessed to have a companion and trainer like her. She explained that many people have their agency to listen. We can't choose for them if they accept or deny the gospel. They don't simply reject us but they reject who we represent which is Jesus Christ. It's hard to see that but the people of England have their agency just as everyone else does. Sister Schmidt also helped me to realize that not everything we do with missionary work involves the spirit testifying to us in our hearts and in our minds the things we need to know. Simple things like talking to someone, knocking on a certain street, loving the people and having compassion, etc. can all be inspired of the spirit. Sister Schmidt and I have helped pick each other up and helped encourage one another as we continue to find people to teach and it's amazing to see the unity that we have. Something I learned from the Preach My Gospel manual as I was studying it was that a mission will be discouraging but you shouldn't ever be discouraged in yourself if you know that you are doing your very best and are being obedient to all the mission rules. My companion and I grow and learn each day and I'm grateful for it. It's been a month for me now and I can't believe how much I have seemed to change within just that time  of being out here. Everyone tells me that a mission is one of the best things that happens in your life but it's also one of the hardest. I have come to learn for myself that this is very true but I'm grateful because I have been able to see myself grow from it. I look forward to the months ahead of me. As for the missionary work here, our goal is to get a teaching pool together and we won't give up until we succeed. We fasted this past Sunday to find someone and we actually came across a lady in her car and had a really good gospel discussion with her. She lives in Newquay (which isn't part of our area) but she comes down to Truro sometimes so we hope to stay in contact with her and see how it goes from there.  We do have a couple of investigators that we are currently teaching.  Most of them that we are teaching are currently ones that have been taught by missionaries before. Geoffry is someone we are teaching right now but It's been somewhat hard with him. He has been taught by 2-3 sets of missionaries before us and has been taught basically all of the principles of this Gospel. He struggles still with knowing if God is really there and how can he know for himself that truth. Geoffry is a bit argumentative as well so sometimes we will try to say something to him but then he will ask questions that go against what we say. Sister Schmidt and I aren't losing hope however and will continue to see if we can help him understand better. Another investigator that we are currently teaching struggles with the word of wisdom but he is striving to be committed and stop. He really wants to get baptized but knows that he needs to become worthy and faithful in order to do so. Sister Schmidt and I are continually seeking for those who are prepared to hear the gospel and have goals set to find those people. I've learned so much about the power of pray and the importance of trusting in the Lord. Everyday here in England continues to be an adventure and I love it! My love for the people and this mission continues to grow more and more! I hope all is well for everyone! 
With Love,
Sister Burtis 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The work is hastening on!

Hello everyone! I hope all is well for you. If I could sum up my week
with one word, it would be amazement. I am amazed how much the Lord
loves me, I am amazed how much I have learned from just being out one
month in the mission, and I am amazed how much I had been blessed with
before I came on my mission that I never realized until now. I have so
blessed to be out here in England. Much has happened since last week
and so I'm trying to figure out where to begin. After emailing last
Monday, Sister Schmidt and I explored the Redruth town centre. The
town centre is quite fun. It's a narrow road with all sorts of shops
along the sides. I sometimes feel like I am in a movie or something
and that it's too good to be true. In the town centre, they had a red
telephone box thing that is popular in England and I got excited about
that. I'm starting to see them more and more in the different cities.
As we explored around a bit more, we went to a little bakery and had
our first Cornish pastey (past-ee) as well as some hot chocolate. A
pastey is pretty popular in England. They are like chicken pot pies
but look different and taste much better. The pastey we had contained
a gravy sauce, carrots, potatoes, and steak in it. It was really good.
The food here in England is overall quite delicious. Lots of members
cooked us England dishes and they were really good. One of my goals is
to collect recipes from England so I can bring them back home and cook
them for all of you guys who haven't had the blessing of trying an
England dish. :) As far as missionary work goes, I have learned so
much! I've been out only about a month now but I feel like I have
learned more about myself and about the Gospel than I ever have before
in my entire life. It is amazing how much you can learn with the
studies that we do as missionaries. We have personal study for an
hour, companion study for an hour, and then for me, another additional
hour of studying because I'm a new missionary and in training. Sister
Schmidt and I are doing great though. We get along great and are
developing such a strong friendship. I couldn't have asked for a
better trainer than her. She is so patient and so willing to help me
out in anything that I struggle with. As we are re-opening this area
and have been starting basically from the very beginning, we have been
doing lots of finding and proselyting. We have also been contacting
some referrals and some less actives. It has gone really good. I'm
amazed how strongly I can feel the spirit as I teach and how confident
I have become as I go to approach people. I know this will really help
me in the future to come. Sometimes people look like they don't really
want to talk or most keep to themselves but Sister Schmidt and I start
up a conversation with them about life, etc. and I love when they open
up and bloom as they chat with us. We let them know who we are and if
they have ever heard of us and a lot of people haven't. Many aren't
interested in hearing the message that we have for them but it's ok
because as long as we plant a seed, then perhaps when the time is
right, it will grow :) Oh! We taught our first lesson this past week.
It was with a guy named Geoffry. He has been taught by one or two
different sets of missionaries but he just struggles with the concept
of God and believing that God is really there. His son is baptized and
goes to church but Geoffry hasn't received a witness that God is
there. We began to teach him about the Gospel dispensations and the
restoration and it went really well. He was receptive to it and we
have another lesson this week with him so we will see how that goes.
The member who taught with Sister Schmidt and I was shocked that it
was my first lesson that I taught because of how well the lesson was
done and some of the things I said. That made me feel good and I'm
grateful because it wasn't me who did all the teaching, it was the
spirit. That's what I love about missionary work, we can be
representatives of Christ but we can't teach anyone unless the spirit
is there. Overall, we have had a great week. We are continually
finding more people and our goal is to have a teaching pool soon. We
want to be able to teach people everyday each week. We have received
help with that because of the ward. We have worked really well with
the Redruth ward and the bishopric has been so helpful and so involved
in the missionary work with us.
I hope everyone back home is doing well. I wanted to share something I
learned about the atonement and how much I have learned about the
Savior's love for me:

Imagine you are on the earth by yourself. No one else is on the earth
with you. You look at yourself on the earth.  You zoom out into the
big galaxy and see earth being small and a very tiny you. Now you zoom
out again and in the enormous universe, you see a very tiny tiny
earth, and a small tiny dot that represents you on the earth. You are
the only one of the earth still. Now this is something that has
comforted me in knowing about the atonement. The Saviour loves me and
He cares for me. In fact, the saviour loves all of us and cares for
all of us so much that even with a small tiny spot on earth that
represents you, he would still sacrifice his life for you alone so you
could return to live with him and Heavenly Father again. He would
sacrifice his life for you alone  and because he would do that for
you, he would know exactly how you felt in times of trials and he
would know how to help you and carry you through the sorrows, pains,
and afflictions you may be going through. That's just it though, the
Savior has done just that already. He has sacrificed his life for us.
It just goes to show and illustrate, however, that even with you alone
on the earth, he would sacrifice his life for you because you are so
worth it to him and he loves you.

Sister Burtis

Monday, June 15, 2015

Let the work begin!

What a week it has been! I am officially in my first area and it is going very well! Redruth is the area that I am in. It is located near the bottom left tip of England and it is a very small yet quaint town. I really enjoy it. Redruth is our area because it has the chapel located there. However, our area is pretty big. We have St. Ives, Camborne, Hayles, Truro, Tregony, Portreath, Perranporth, etc. as part of our area to teach in. They are all different towns and differ quite a lot but it's fun to be able to see the different places. As for the week, Wednesday is when I left the MTC and entered into the field. Only 5 of us, 3 Elders and 2 Sisters, came into the London South Mission. The missionaries there to greet us and President Millar and Sister Millar were very nice. We found out our areas and companions. My companion is Sister Schmidt from Germany. She has been out 15 months and Redruth is her last area. She trains me for 12 weeks so we know for sure that Redruth is our area for at least 3 months. After I found out my area and new companion, we got in a car with some other missionaries and had to travel for 5 or so hours to Redruth. We got to our flat pretty late at night and went straight to bed. The next day, we went shopping for food and organized some things together but got picked up at 1:30 again to go to Poole, then to London. We were to travel because the next day which was Friday, Jeffery R. Holland was coming to talk to us missionaries. So Wednesday was our first day to the flat, and the next day we had to travel back again for 5-6 hours or so to London. We stayed overnight thursday night at the London Temple accommodations and then left for Central London to get to the Hyde Park Chapel to see Jeffery R. Holland. It was quite a lot of traveling but it was worth it. Jeffery R. Holland was amazing! He talked about how we needed to embrace our missions and talked about the importance of loving it. The one sad thing though was that the bus arrived late friday morning to pick us up to go to the Hyde Park Chapel and so we missed the part where Jeffery R. Holland shook hands with all the other missionaries. I guess we got blessed though because we still got to hear his talk. Well after a lot of traveling, we made it back and really settled in this time to our flat. Saturday is when we started street contacting, finding, etc. for my first time. It's really not at all bad. I seem to do ok with talkign to people and approaching them. What's crazy about this area, Redruth, is that it is being re-opened. What I mean by this is that Redruth didn't have any missionaries for sometime till we got there so we basically started from scratch. We had organize our flat, get progress records, pamplets, pass-along cards, etc. and start to figure out the less actives and recent converts. We did meet the ward for Redruth and that was fun. There is a total of 35 or so members and the chapel is quite small. We had all three meetings in the same room. The members are so kind to us though and you could see the joy radiating from them as they came up to us. We actually have a dinner appointment with some of them this entire week. I don't think we will starve anytime soon ;) I am kind of surprised that there aren't more chapels for such a big ward boundary like this but then again, I have to remember that I'm not in Utah anymore. Everything has been good though. I've already seen the power of missionary work and how it can help people. One really cool thing that happened, for Sister Schmidt and I, took place yesterday. We were street contacting and met this one guy but the guy didn't seem too interested. We gave him a pass-along card anyways and then continued to search for more people to share the Gospel with. Hours later, he texted us and told us that he visited our website and thanked us for being on the streets. He has apparently started to lose some of his hearing and it has made him sad and so he wants to find happiness. We have a teaching appointment with him this week and it'll be my very first. I'm excited though and I know that the Lord truly does prepare the hearts of the children to receive the truth. He provides many tender mercies if we are faithful. 1 Nephi 1:20. This week has been very eventful and busy but good. It has taken some time for me to adjust to the new area and It has been a tiny bit difficult being away from home but I've really learned to turn to the atonement and prayer and it's helped a lot. I hope to continue to get more used to being out here and I have faith it will get easier with time. I have learned so much about this gospel and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity of being out on a mission. I love you all! Hope everything is going good for you! Oh also! I got my flat address and if you want to send letters, I suggest you send it to the flat or else I won't get it for sometime. They give us letters from the mission home only at zone conferences which happens every 3 months. I will warn you when you should stop mailing me at that address when the time comes for me to move. For now though, you're safe to send it to my area:

Flat A
58 West End 
TR 15 2SQ Cornwall
United Kingdom
With Love,
Sister Burtis 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

MTC in Preston,England

Well England has been very wonderful. It is very green here and fun! Flowers, tress, hedges are everywhere. It is amazing how much you can learn in the 2 weeks that you are at the MTC. I was really tired at first with the time difference and the busy schedule and was pretty certain in class that if I were to even blink or close my eyes, I'd fall asleep. No worries though, I've adjusted now and it's getting much easier. For teaching and learning, I have learned many things. We're taught how to approach our investigators, teach them about the gospel doctrine, and most importantly, as missionaries we've learned how to fulfill their needs. It's hard sometimes to know what to teach but after planning our lessons and praying about it, it gets easier to know what to do. My companion in the MTC was Sister Stephensen. A scripture that Pres. Preston shared with us about having trials on our mission was 1 Peter 4:12-13. We all have trials in our lives and it is a great scripture.