Tuesday, November 24, 2015

At least a transfer more for Christmas :)

Hello everyone! So you might have guessed it....I am staying at least one more transfer in Redruth, Cornwall. I'm really happy to be able to stay with my companion and in this area for the upcoming Christmas holidays! It's still my first area but I love it more and more as I continue to be here....maybe they can keep me here my whole mission ;) Sister Hamann and I are still sister training leaders as well so that'll be fun to be able to go to the mission leadership conferences. One thing that I'm really excited for is the temple trip that we have in about two weeks. As part of Christmas, all of us get to go to the London temple, have a Christmas devotional with our mission president, and also a Christmas dinner. One fun thing too is that since I'm still in the western zone which is the farthest away from the temple, we will be able to stay at the London Temple accommodations for a night. All of us missionaries are really excited about that! Well, the winter chill has been starting to pick up here in England and I can tell that it isn't the summer anymore. We are currently finding and teaching and the work is continually hastening. We have been able to teach Kathy, one of our friends, and she came out to church this past Sunday. She is a great lady and very nice. She'll always have us come over to have lunch and dinner if we go over to teach her a lesson. She is progressing and she is doing well! Our other friends are doing great as well. We were able to see more people come to our gospel principles class (a class that we missionaries teach on Sunday) and that was really exciting. Missionary work is not easy but it's so rewarding. There is just such a joy that is felt when I see others being able to experience for themselves the blessings of the gospel. It's like Lehi as he is partaking of the fruit from the tree of life and his soul was filled with exceedingly great joy. He then began to be desirous that his family should partake of it. Our happiness is great when we ourselves are able to receive the blessings of the gospel but our happiness can become even greater as we share the gospel with others. To see them receive that additional joy that they never knew that they could have is the greatest treasure of all. I love the work and this week as I was reading in the December 2015 ensign, I was reminded of the privilege and opportunity I have to be able to be out on my mission. Often times, days can be hard. It's not easy but I've learned to really trust in God and treasure those small moments on my mission and throughout life because time can go by so fast!  One really cool miracle that happened was last Monday. We spent our preparation day cleaning the flat, emailing, and shopping. We then ended preparation day right at 6pm like it says in our missionary handbook. With determination, we started going to work. We had set some finding plans for the evening but hadn't planned on the strong winds and rain that came pouring down. Despite the bitter winds, rain, and dark evening, we kept pushing through. We could have made an excuse that we were too wet or too cold to continue to find but we pressed forward. Knocking on some doors, we ended up meeting a lady named Lynsey who was quite interested in our message so we set up a return appointment with her. After taking some time to find, 8:28pm rolls around and we both had agreed earlier, we wouldn't end until 8:30pm. We looked at each other both knowing it would be so easy to start walking to the bus stop, but we didn't. We decided to knock two more doors these last minutes and something miraculous came out of it. We knocked at the two doors. The people behind the first door weren't interested. However, the second door opened up and a lady named Tanya looked at the state we were in...cold, wet, etc. and ushered us in. We didn't plan on her saying that, so you can probably imagine that shock that we experienced when she said that. We came in with our shoes trailing in puddles behind them and sat down at her dinner table. We then explained our message and asked if we could set a return appointment. Just as we were doing so, one of her best friends walked in. We were quite surprised to see that it was Lynsey, the lady we had just met previously and had set up a return appointment with. We looked at each other and back at them and after sharing what our message was about, we not only prayed with Tanya, but we got to pray with the both of them. After leaving the house, we  rushed to our bus and made it home. That evening and throughout this week, we've been able to find people who were interested and it just testified to us that with God, all things are possible. We know that this is the time for the season of miracles. Often times, the Lord wants to see how consecrated we are willing to be and as long as we are doing what he asks us to do, we can see miracles. Happy thanksgiving this week! Eat lots of pie and turkey. And not to worry, our bishop and his family are making us a small thanksgiving dinner so I'll be a part of the American tradition this week too :)  I love you all! I hope all of you are doing so great! 
With love,
Sister Burtis 
P.S. My ponderized scripture is Enos 1:27. Please look this one up. It has become one of my favorites! :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Members, Missionary Work, and Miracles

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing super well. I can't believe that it's already the middle of November. Where does all that time go? Speaking of the middle of November, I should probably warn you that I have transfers coming up in a about a week's time. I should know by the end of this week if I will be moving or staying. If you have any letters or anything you need to send, send it to the mission office just so that it doesn't end up in Redruth and I'm not here or something. My companion and I are both hoping that we can stay together at least one more transfer for Christmas. I love my area and keep telling my companion that I wouldn't mind serving my entire mission in Cornwall. I don't think that could happen but hey....you never know! :) This past week has been quite incredible. We have got to meet so many more people and are currently teaching quite a few of our friends. The work is really progressing here. We are able to work with a lot of our members and they are very helpful. That's one thing that I've come to realize that it really important is members and missionary work. Without the members, we would be in trouble. They are so great in taking time to going out on teaches with us and having us over at their homes. If anyone is worried that I might be starving or not having enough food, you won't have to worry any longer. I think we actually have a dinner appointment with a member everyday for next week. The people here in England are very generous. This past week, I was able to go on an exchange with the Newton Abbot Sisters. I stayed in Redruth and Sister Holley (she's from Utah as well!) came over and did some missionary work with me. We saw many miracles and we were able to do a lot of finding. We went and contacted one of our investigators who is often hard to keep in contact with and when we went over to her house, her partner answered the door. Her partner never really seemed interested in what we had to share but we got a big surprise when he started to ask us about our religion and faith. He said he was interested to learn more and we made an appointment with him and our investigator. A couple days later, we came back to teach them and both of them were waiting for us to arrive! It was a really good teach and they asked some really good questions. Our investigator's partner expressed that he wasn't really looking to be converted and we aren't sure where our teaching with him will go but it was a really neat miracle to be able to share with him our unique message! The Lord provides such unexpected miracles sometimes and it's incredible to be a part of it. I love the missionary work. It's going great! The rain and wind have started to pick up a bit due to the winter weather coming in but it's fun and an adventure. I keep waiting for snow to appear but then have to constantly remind myself I'm in England. :) I hope all of you are all doing well. If you have any missionaries in your area, help them out as much as you can because you never know...you could be the reason for someone coming closer to knowing the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us. 
Love you all! 
With Love,
Sister Burtis 
This is Sister Holley and I. Sister Holley is from Utah and she came
over to Redruth for an exchange. :) We are riding a train in the
picture. Trains are great! :) :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why the fireworks?

What a busy week! Sister Hamann and I were traveling a lot this week. We first started off our week by traveling to Exeter on a train and we got to explore the city for a bit since it was our pday. Exeter is a huge city and is much different from Redruth. Sister Hamann and I searched everywhere for winter boots and seemed to have no luck. We just couldn't seem to find out where the boots shops were or they just seemed too expensive. We determined that shoe shopping wasn't our favorite ;) After shopping in Exeter, we traveled with our Zone Leaders to Redding because we had MLC the next day. The Mission Leadership Conference was really good. President Gubler and Sister Gubler did a presentation and then we got to council together on what the next step in the missionary work is and how we can become even more consecrated. After the conference, we traveled back to our area. Sister Hamann and I got to stay overnight in our flat and the very next morning, we traveled to Plymouth for our District Zone Conference. Sister Hamann and I got to present some of the things that we learned in MLC to the district leaders and that went really good. Now it doesn't end just there. We got to travel to Exeter again after DLC because we needed to stay with the Exeter Sisters and then travel to zone conference which is in Poole. Zone Conference was great. We had 3 zones out of the 9 come together and we got to be taught by President Gubler, Sister Gubler, and the assistants. During lunch, some of the members from the Poole zone prepared us a crazy good England type thanksgiving meal. Turkey, stuffing, beans, corn, yorkshire puddings, pecan pie, etc. It was great! One crazy thing that happened was that my companion, Sister Hamann and I, got to sing a duet in front of everyone during Zone Conference. We were both shaking and it was rough at first but we warmed up eventually and were able to make it through the song and I think it turned out pretty well. We sang, Hymn #129, "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" Lots of missionaries came up afterwards and thanked us for singing that song. It was a neat experience. I guess it showed me that I can do anything If I can sing in front of more than 60 missionaries :) Overall, we had lots of travels this past week. When it came time for us to come back and work in our area, we were so happy and so relieved to be able to see our friends. The people we are teaching are doing good. The two main people that we are working with are Geoffry and Robert. Both of them come out to activities and to church. Working with the people of England is wonderful! Something that was exciting is that we got to see lots of fireworks. There was fireworks for Halloween, for guy forks holiday, and for Remembrance Day. That was fun to see. This past week we saw such an incredible miracle. It happened when we went to go meet one of our potential investigator friends When we arrived at her home, she didn't quite remember meeting us but she invited us in anyway. As she kept talking, she started to remember meeting us on the street so that was a relief. Anyhow, this friend loves to talk and she kept mentioning this video about Jesus that she absolutely loves that she never lets anybody borrow or take out of her house. She watches it all the time, and it is a tradition in her home to watch the video every Christmas Eve. We were being supportive and still trying to teach her the restoration lesson at the same time. Eventually her enthusiasm overtook her and she left the room to show us this video. We were slightly unsure about this video seeing that it came from her preacher in the Catholic congregation she used to attend and slightly worried that it would be a strange and sad story about Jesus Christ with a catholic twist or something. We had the shock of our lives, however, when she walked back in holding a 'Finding Faith in Christ' video. We had to make sure it was the same one we used in our church and sure enough, as we flipped over the video case, the words on the bottom clearly said: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. With haste, we pulled off our badges to show her that our church was the very same one that produced the video she held in her hand. It was incredible! We are now teaching this friend and she is doing well! My companion and I have been able to experience so many tender mercies and miracles of the Lord in this work and it seems to never cease! I love you all! Hope you have a wonderful and magical week!
Sister Burtis
P.S. Ponderized Scripture for the week is Alma 29:1.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trick or Treaters "knocking at the door sharing the gospel"

Hello everyone! I hope all of you are doing well. I can't believe it's
already November! Where has all that time gone? Anyways, this past
week was very spooktacular. See what I did there? ;) Happy late
Halloween! What a week it has been! Sister Hamann and I having been
running to and fro to different places in our area and we were able to
teach many of our investigators. This past week started out with our
pday and we got to go with our district to Truro and explore the shops
and the Truro Cathedral. It's pretty big! I had already been there
once before with Sister Schmidt but Sister Hamann and a couple of the
elders hadn't been yet so we went and explored around there. After our
pday, Sister Hamann and I got to do FHE with some members and their
family and that was a lot of fun. We,  the sister missionaries, got to
teach a little lesson to the family, sang songs, did an activity, and
then had pizza. I never realised how important family home evening was
until I got out on my mission. It really does strengthen the family
and protects them from the worldly distractions that Satan uses to
destroy families. The rest of the week consisted of traveling
different parts of our areas and getting to teach our investigators
and potentials. We were able to talk to some people on the busses and
although not many were interested, we did find someone who wanted to
come to know more about the Book of Mormon. Her name is Diane and she
was really nice and listened to the message we had. The people we are
currently teaching are either progressing or continually listening to
our lessons. One thing I really learned from the last week was the
importance of a testimony. Sister Hamann and I had an investigator who
we taught last week and the lesson went beyond what we had imagined.
We sat down and planned to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ but kept
getting our faith questioned and we kept getting asked why we would
need to pray, or read a book that tells us answers when we can just
know for ourselves already, etc. It was no easy lesson and it seemed
that everything we tried to teach her was argued against. I won't lie,
I felt a bit frustrated. After the lesson, I didn't really felt like
talking too much. My companion turned to me and asked me, trying to
cheer me up, "What do you think went good about that lesson?" I
wondered and wondered....what good did come out of that lesson? It
took me a time to ponder about it but I came to a conclusion in the
end. Towards the end of that lesson, I remember saying, boldly but
with love, my testimony. I told this lady that I know that my Savior
lives. I know that there is a way for us to return and live with him
and our Heavenly Father once more. I know that I can pray to Him and
that He will listen to me. How do I know that? Because of that divine
witness that I received when I first read the Book of Mormon and
continue to receive as I keep reading now. I realized that my
testimony is precious and something that no one could take away from
me. I know I needed to experience that last week because it helped me
to realize something very important. I often kept asking myself last
week why the lesson had to go the way it did. I know though that
Heavenly Father places things that may be at times frustrating and
hard so He can help us learn. A few fun things that took place was
that we had our district meeting with the elders of our area and the
zone leaders as well. Sister Hamann and I did a fun presentation about
how we should be willing to go the extra mile for the Savior. We had
all of the elders go outside of the chapel as well as ourselves and we
pulled out two chocolate bars. Two of the elders weren't able to run
because of an injury but the other elders eagerly and excitedly
started jumping up and down when they saw what we had for them. Elders
and food.....that's all I got to say. :) Sister Hamann and I just
simply asked if they'd be willing to run once around the chapel for
the treats. They agreed with no hesitation and when we yelled, "go!",
they took off as if something was chasing them, playfully pushing at
each other and trying to win. As they ran around the chapel, we
quickly handed the two candy bars to the remaining elders who weren't
able to run. We told them that they could eat the candy bars in front
of the other elders which they started doing. Soon enough, the other
elders came around the corner of the chapel, out of breath, and
excited to receive their reward. They all seemed to go into a state of
shock when they saw the other two elders eating the chocolate. One of
them exclaimed, "I knew it!" And another exclaimed, "What!?" Their
reactions were priceless. Sister Hamann and I tried holding in our
laughter as we simply told them..."Oops. Their is no more chocolate."
We proceeded to ask them however if they would be willing to running
around one more time even if we didn't have a treat for them. They
thought to themselves, shook their heads and said no. We hesitated and
asked one more question. "Would you be willing to do it......if the
Savior asked you to?" The Elders without hesitation realized what we
were trying to ask them and they said yes. I handed them a picture of
Christ and they held it and looked at it as they ran around. So what
was the purpose of the activity? To see if these elders will do
anything for food? No, the purpose and the thing we explained to the
elders was that, often times we need to go the extra mile for the
Savior, not for the lesser important things. What is our motivation
behind our actions? This could apply to missionary work but it could
apply to anything else as well. The callings we receive in the church,
the things we are asked to sacrifice, etc. As we focus on the Savior,
the things that tend to be hard become easier when we know that he is
with us every step of the way. Sister Hamann and I were able to
accomplish many things this week and we are grateful for the tender
mercies of the Lord that we saw. Something funny that happened to us
was that as we went finding in the evening of Halloween, people asked
us if we trick-or-treaters. Fair enough....I could see why they'd ask
us that. In all fairness....we do have a treat for them. The gospel.
:) I love you all and I hope everything is going good! Until next
Sister Burtis
P.S. My ponderized scripture for the week is Psalms 18:2-3
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
 I will call upon the Lordwho is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.