Monday, July 27, 2015

Being a disciple of Christ

Hello everyone! I hope all is well for you guys! What a fantastic
week! Much has happened and I wish I could write everything down but
that would mean that you'd be reading a novel. So I'll give you the
highlights. To start out with, I've come to realize that I am so
blessed. I have met lots of youth and adults here in England who have
nothing. They might have a home, people around them, but they don't
have plans and goals for themselves. They just take it day by day. As
we come to share the message with them, they will explain to us that
they don't need God to be happy and they once believed in Him but they
don't believe anymore because of the wickedness in the world or
because they didn't feel like it helped them. It's sad when we come
across people like that. They shut everything out and just believe
that when life ends, it ends. As I have been out here on my mission,
my love for the Gospel has grown immensely. I would be nothing without
it. My testimony grows and grows as I continue to share it with others
and I'm grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves us
and that He is always there for us. Something that stood out to me
this past week while my companion and I were visiting a member is that
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I represent him. The member,
Shane, had a grandma who had a stroke in March and is being taken care
of by Shane and his mom. We visited with her and her name was Joyce.
She is, I think, 89 years old. Her entire left side is
paralysed-meaning she can't feel or move any of that side.  Joyce can
listen to you and hear you and reply but sometimes it's hard to
understand her. We thought of what we could share with her and Sister
Schmidt and I decided that we'd share a small poem about kindness by
Thomas S. Monson with her. We finished and Joyce, with tears in her
eyes, thanked us. Shane said that rarely did his gran ever cry, even
when they told her that she had a stroke. We were getting ready to
leave and as I shook hands with Joyce, she firmly yet gently held my
hand and with some tears said, "You are God's servants. I am honored
to have met you." The spirit testified to me at that moment that what
she said was true. It gave me a great reminder that I am truly one of
God's servants who represents him. I was grateful to have met Joyce
and to have learned that lesson. I imagine how Christ would act and
teach if he were here and that helps me to love and serve those around
me even more. I can come to say that I do have a love for the people
of England. I am saddened when they reject the message that we have
for them. I would do anything for them to come to know of the joy that
they can have and the knowledge of what Christ has done for them so
that they can have the opportunity of living with our Father in Heaven
once again.
As for finding and with the missionary work, we are progressing a lot.
We have started out with teaching only 1 or 2 people but now we have
more teaching appointments as the weeks continue. Sister Schmidt and I
had something funny/disappointing happen to us. We met a young lad (in
his 20s) who was really interested in the message we had. We had
briefly shared with him about the restoration and he wanted to know
more. Well we had a teaching appointment with him and he gave us his
number so we could confirm with him the night before. As we called the
regular number, it turned out to be a police station's number. That
was disappointing. We didn't lose faith though. We went to the place
where we were to meet him at and he never ended up showing so we did
have to drop him. A police station number....I get a feeling we will
be getting a lot more people giving us a fake number while I'm out on
my mission. Sister Schmidt and I aren't losing hope though. :) We know
that there are others waiting to hear about the message that we have
for them. One of our investigators, Geoffry, is progressing! He
started out with having lots of doubts and using a lot of "ifs" and
"buts" but now, he doesn't. We taught him a lesson this past week
about the atonement and the gospel of Jesus Christ and it went so
good! He's coming out to church and his faith seems to be growing
stronger and stronger. We are really happy about that! :) Oh! So for
our pday last week, we got to go to the Portreath beach. If you have
the chance, look it up or come visit there. It is absolutely stunning!
Sister Schmidt and I walked around on the sand, the sun was shining,
everything around us was so green and pretty, children played in the
sand, people surfing, etc. It felt like a dream. We got to write
letters while sitting on the cliff side rocks overlooking the beach.
It was a great pday. Another fun thing we got to do is eat Sharon
fruit. I have never had Sharon fruit until I came out here to England.
It looks like an orange tomato but it's like a orangey fruit. It's
probably one of my favourite fruits now. If you ever have the chance
of finding one, you should eat one. They are funny looking but taste
really good! Well I hope all is well for you! I love you all! The
church is true and I have no doubt about that. :)
Sister Burtis

Monday, July 20, 2015

A call from President Gubler.....

Hey everyone! Lots happening here in the England London South Mission. The work is hastening on here in Redruth and It's going great! The past week started out with Sister Schmidt and I traveling to Plymouth. In Plymouth, we met up with Sister de Plessis and Sister Valaskova from the Exeter area. We did what is called an exchange and that meant Sister Schmidt would go with Sister Valaskova and I would be with Sister du Plessis. Since Sister Schmidt was going to Exeter, I would be leading the area and doing missionary work with Sister du Plessis in Redruth. I thought it would be scary to lead the area but it wasn't. I was surprised at how confident I was and I quite enjoyed going finding and teaching with Sister du Plessis. She is from South Africa and has been out for about 6 months now. We were suppose to teach some lessons that day that she was with me in Redruth but the appointments fell through/got canceled so we ended up finding and street contacting for quite a while. It was raining throughout that day too so we got soaked. We found someone named Daryl and some other people as well who were interested in what we had to say. We were excited about that. By the time that Sister Schmidt and I exchanged back together, we had many new teaching appointments for the week. Sister Schmidt was happy about that. We ended up teaching Daryl and he is now one of our new investigators. As the weeks progress, we have come to find that we have a lot more teaching appointments and a lot more people that we are finding. It's amazing how the Lord provides tender mercies each and every day as we continue to humble ourselves, become more diligent, and strive to become better. One of the days last week was really exciting for Sister Schmidt and I. We had some investigators who canceled on us and so we went finding. It's discouraging when appointments fall through but we had to really have faith that we could spend that time finding and have faith that the Lord would help us if we truly seek for those waiting to hear our message. We went street contacting and as we listened to the spiritual promptings that were given to us, we were able to find people. We ended up finding three new people that we can start teaching! One of them was a lady named Sheila. Sheila was working in her garden and we had passed her as we went looking for a certain house to knock at. I was looking down at the map and trying to figure out where we were at  and Sister Schmidt was looking around. Sister Schmidt suddenly had this urge to talk to his lady. Sheila was a bit farther back in her garden but we backtracked and introduced ourselves to her. It turns out that she had heard of our church and she was interested to know more. She also mentioned that it was hard for her because her son has cancer and she felt a bit troubled by that. It's amazing to see how the Lord will help his children by placing us in their paths. At that time, we didn't know that Sheila would be the one we need to help but as we prepare ourselves diligently, the Lord places those people in our way if we truly listen for and heed the spiritual promptings that we receive. 
           By the end of that night, Sister Schmidt and I were so filled with joy and so excited because we had such a great day. Well it didn't end there....we got a call from our mission president, President Gubler. Being close to the end of transfers, missionaries usually get calls to know if they are moving or if they are getting assigned a leadership position, etc. Well President Gubler called and asked both Sister Schmidt and I if we would be willing to serve as Sister Training Leaders for next transfer for the Plymouth zone! Crazy huh? Only 6 weeks in too! That's a bit scary! Usually we would only have one sister training leader but President Gubler (Being a new mission president) felt best if there were two in each zone and he told us that he prayerfully considered having us as sister training leaders and that it felt right to him. He was excited as we accepted the calling and we will be told later this week or sometime soon what we will be doing and receiving more instructions. Usually sister training leaders make a conference call each week to the other sisters in the zone. We also will be doing exchanges with them to see how they are doing and how their area is doing. I can't believe I have a calling such as this one. I'm truly humbled and truly grateful. I know that the Lord has given Sister Schmidt and I this calling to help us to learn and to grow as well as to help the other sisters. This upcoming transfer will be Sister Schmidt's last one before she goes home so I think it will be good for the both of us to have that calling to be able to focus on the work, etc. :) 
          As for the week, everything has gone really well! We did have a frustrating time however with an investigator that we have. He has struggled to keep the commitments that we ask him to do and everytime we schedule an appointment to teach him, he ends up canceling it or delays it for some time. Sister Schmidt and I did get to teach him this week but it wasn't as long of a lesson and it was really hard because we found out that he had been drinking right before our lesson. I think about how we can fulfill his needs as does Sister Schmidt but we can only do so much and then it's the investigators that have to choose if they want to act or not. We hope we can continue meeting with him and get him on the right track and emphasize the importance of keeping his commitments. I have faith that it'll become better and know that If I continue to study, be obedient, and strive to do my best-then the Lord will help me and my companion. Everyone has their agency to choose as well and it's hard to remember that sometimes. I think of Nephi and the scripture in 2 Nephi 33:3 (Look it up if you have the chance). I've come to realize my love for these people has increased, especially the ones that we teach, and I would just do anything for them to understand the gospel and their potential that they have.
     I hope all is well for you guys and love you all! :) :) :) 
     With Love,
     Sister Burtis 

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Mission President & Saving a Hedgehog. You could say it's been quite the week! :)

 Hello! I hope all is well for you guys! I will have to say that
I completely blanked last week and forgot to mention that we met our
new mission president, President Ronald Gubler and his wife-Sister
Gubler. They are amazing people! We had a zone conference a while back
with them to officially meet them and hear from them. Let's just say
that I am extremely blessed and know that I'm in good hands for my
mission. President Gubler and his wife are from Orem, Utah. They have
8 kids. Before they came out to the England London South Mission, they
were serving as a senior couple in Germany for about half a year or
so. Sister Gubler shared with us a little thought about faith and then
President Gubler addressed us. Wow! What a great guy! He's so happy
and so loving towards all of us missionaries in this mission. He
brought into that chapel the spirit so strongly as he gave us his
talk. He talked and reminded us of who we were and who we represented.
The way that he talked to us, we would have all thought he was a
general authority or something. It's amazing how he is suppose to be
my mission president. I'm grateful to know that he is suppose to be in
my life during this time because I have learned so much from him
already and know that there is much more to learn from him as well.
        So funny story that happened to Sister Schmidt and I this past
week! We saved a hedgehog from becoming a hedgehog pancake on the
road. We had been door knocking and as we came to a door, we were
looking around and Sister Schmidt pointed out to me that there was a
hedgehog on the road. I got super excited because I've never seen one
before. Well, right at that moment, that hedgehog decided that it
wanted to take on the dangerous road that laid before it. Sister
Schmidt and I leaped down the stairs and porch leading from the door
that we were at and rushed to the road because we heard cars
approaching. We quickly pointed out to the drivers that a cute small
creature was crossing the street and they slowed down. We herded the
hedgehog over to the sidewalk and it went into the grassy grounds of a
big church. We knew it would be safe there and we were happy that the
little guy got to live his life longer. :) This week has been quite
adventurous. We got to teach a less active family and that was really
fun. We did a family home evening with them that included a song, a
spiritual thought, and an activity. The activity we did with the
family was a game like pictionary. One person would draw a picture and
then the rest would have to guess what it was. We had objects like a
tree, a flower, beach, and then gospel related items as well like a
church, the Book of Mormon, angel, etc. The three kids really enjoyed
that activity. What was neat though was that one of the girls (who is
13) in the family had friends and those friends wanted to join. Soon
we had like 4-5 neighbourhood friends who joined in the activity. They
aren't members of the church but they enjoyed listening to our
spiritual thought and participating in family home evening. One of the
teenage girls who wasn't a member of the church even said the closing
prayer. She didn't know how to pray so Sister Schmidt and I taught
her. That girl and all the other neighbourhood kids are joining in on
this upcoming FHE that we have planned and I'm excited for that :)
Overall, we have seen a lot of progress in the area. We had one day
last week where we taught 3-4 lessons in one day and didn't have much
time to go finding. One of our investigators and less actives came to
church and that was neat to see. The joy that I felt when I saw them
is undescribable. Missionary work can be so rewarding. It might be
hard at times and discouraging but it's those small moments when you
see your investigators coming to church or you see a family coming
closer together during FHE that brings joy to your heart and you know
that you are suppose to be here to help change these people's lives.
As each week progresses, I fall in love more and more with England,
the people, and my mission. It's getting easier and easier to forget
about myself and focusing more on them. This last week, we had mission
president interviews in Plymouth and guess what? We got to ride a
train! I think I've probably ridden a train in my earlier days but I
can't remember. Anyways, riding a train is so much fun! We got to pass
all these towns and villages in England and the scenery is absolutely
gorgeous. As I was riding the train and looking out the window at the
scenery with the rolling hills, sheep and cows, villages, etc., I felt
like I was in some sort of movie or something. England is quite fun
because no town, village, or city will ever be the same. They are all
unique in their own way! St. Agnes was a town we visited and it is
beautiful there. In this town, there is a beach and a small main
street with fun tiny stores and friendly people! Oh, I get to ride
another train this week as well because we are doing an exchange! I'm
super excited for that. Sister Schmidt is going to Exeter and working
with a sister there for a day and then another sister will come over
to Redruth to do some missionary work here with me. We will be meeting
up in Plymouth for the exchange. It is a bit intimidating because this
sister doesn't know my area or the people we teach and so that means
I'll be leading the area for one day. I'm excited though because it
will give me a good opportunity to learn and to grow.
       One more crazy story for the past week! Sister Schmidt has
shorter hair (which she can pull off really well) and if it grows to
long, then she doesn't like it. Well in the past,on her mission, she
has had companions cut it. She asked me if I could cut her hair. I
thought she was joking at first but she was 100% serious. Oh boy.
Those who know me...know that I can't cut hair or have never even cut
someone's hair before. Maybe a doll's hair when I was young but I'm
sure you can assume what that might have looked like. Anyways, in the
end, I did cut Sister Schmidt's hair and it was rough at first but I
picked up on it and it turned out pretty good. She really liked it and
that was a relief. It was really scary and took me a long time because
I was really scared that I would mess up but I did it and I probably
won't ever do it again ;) It's too nerve wracking. Well this week has
been quite adventurous! Each day brings new adventures and I love
that. I hope all is well for everyone! Love you!
With love,
Sister Burtis

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sometimes the Lord brings us low before he can lift us higher!

What a week! It all started with our last pday. Our last Pday was really good! We got to hike to a place near Redruth called Carn Brea. It's a beautiful place. We were able to overlook all the towns of Redruth, Camborne, Truro, etc. There is a small castle building and a big monument that we were able to explore and look at. That was quite enjoyable. We were hiking up about a mile or so up and it was really fun because we got to wear trousers (the england word for pants) instead of skirts. It didn't feel right to be wearing trousers because we were so used to dressing up to teach lessons, door knock, and find. It was quite fun though and I really loved having the chance to explore and hike up there to Carn Brea. England is so green and absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to continue to explore the different areas that I get transferred to as the mission continues. As for the missionary work, It has been such an amazing week. It's amazing how one day will be tiring and frustrating but the next day can be so rewarding and you can see all your hard work take place. We taught our investigator Geoffry. Both Sister Schmidt and I were a bit nervous to teach him because last lesson we taught him, he kept just doubting and questioning everything. We prayed and planned our lesson and then went to teach. We taught a lot about be willing to act and having faith. I felt the spirit so strongly throughout this lesson as we shared experiences, scriptures, and stories with Geoffry. Sister Schmidt had been teaching half way through the lesson and suddenly a scripture popped into my mind, 1 Nephi 17:13-14. It was amazing how suddenly I remembered something I had studied earlier in the scriptures and it came to my remembrance. That scripture really fit well into the lesson. The lesson went so well and Geoffry really felt the spirit. He didn't have as many doubts and questions this time which was really good! As the lesson continued, we were able to share a mormon message on our Ipads and we shared with him a video called, "The Hope of God's Light." It really helped us in the lesson. It's amazing how technology is used these days to further the work. The gospel library app has helped us in so many things. Not only that but the spirit was really strong in the lesson. This lesson not only helped Geoffry but it also helped me. It really showed me how this gospel can really help someone in their life. I was able to testify to Geoffry about 1 Nephi 17:13-14 that God is truly our light in the wilderness and that once we have arrived in the promised land, we will know that the Lord is our God and that He was the one who delivered us from destruction. This can mean spiritually and it really can apply to anyone's life. It applies to mine and for my mission. I've learned that God will guide me through the frustrating and hard moments as well as the good moments. He never leaves us to be alone. Just as the restoration movie goes to quote, "Sometimes the Lord brings us low before he can lift us higher." I love that quote and it is so true. This scripture testified to me during Geoffry's lesson that the Lord will help me during my mission as well as through life. There will be trials but that makes us even stronger. As for finding, we have been street contacting a lot. We went to Truro and found two different people who we have teaching appointments with next week. Sister Schmidt and I are really excited for that! We also went door knocking and found this family of 8 who are interested in the message that we want to share with them. It's amazing how the Lord has provided us the small tender mercies throughout this week. The missionary work is truly hastening on and I love to see that as Sister Schmidt and I strive to become better and better, our work is able to progress farther and farther. We have been working with some less active families and have teaching appointments with them next week so we look forward to that. I continue to see miracles happening on my mission and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to grow. This week was July 4th but seeing how England doesn't celebrate it here and my companion is from Germany....not much celebration took place! But since my companion is so great and willing to have fun, we both decided we had to do something american and so for lunch, we made a meal and had hamburgers :) Plus we sang the star spangled banner so that was fun and exciting! It was sad to receive the news that Boyd K. Packer had passed away. Sister Schmidt and I were with the Redruth ward in our church meetings and everyone was sad when we all received the news. It'll be interesting to know who the new apostles will be. I hope all is well for everyone! This week has been really good for the Redruth area, my companion, and I and we hope to continue progressing in the work! Love you all!
With Love,
Sister Burtis