Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Conferences with a General Authority

Hello! I hope all is going well for you! What a week! This past week seemed to be a bit longer than the others but once the weekend came around, it passed by so fast! Sister Nguyen and I were able to work with a lot of our investigators and helped them to build their faith. We are grateful to be able to be working with the people that we are working with and we hope that they will be able to progress in their journey of discovering the Gospel. Something that was really fun was that we are teaching a family from India, the Shamim Family. The dad, the mom, and their son. Every time that we would come over to share with them a message, they would want us to eat dinner with them but because we didn't know beforehand and because we hadn't put it in our plans, we weren't able to. Well this past week, we had planned to have a dinner with them and it finally happened. This family was so excited that they could feed us Indian food and they would explain what everything on the table was as they would dish it out on our plates. It was quite fun and really good food. Proper Indian food is really good. Sometimes spicy, but really good. The family explained to us that a lot of people from India like to eat with their hands. It was really neat to learn more about their culture. A miracle that we were able to see this past week is that Sister Nguyen and I were going to contact a referral that we had received from someone we met on the streets. On the way there, we saw a man cleaning his porch outside his home and so we stopped and talked to him. He expressed that he was interested and so we set a return appointment with him for the following day. The next day as we went to go and teach him, it ended up that he wasn't home. We were a bit sad but just then at that very moment, we got a text from an investigator that we had been working with. This investigator struggles to come out to church but in his text message, he told us that he wanted to attend institute that evening. We were really happy and that evening, we were able to attend Institute with him and answer some of questions. We were grateful for that miracle. Often times, there will be trials and challenges along the way but we know that God is looking out for us and helping us go through the Journey that we are making. We are truly not alone in this work. Despite outcomes, despite trials, God is always there and it's so important to trust Him. This last weekend, 1/3 of our mission came together for Zone Conference in Crawley and we were able to have the privilege of having Elder Paul V. Johnson (of the Seventy) come and speak to us. His wife and him were able to have a mission tour of the England London South Mission which was really neat. He discussed how we could better Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts and it was really spiritual. During Zone Conference, each of us were able to shake this general authority's hand and also his wife-Sister Johnson's and we were able to introduce ourselves to them. As I went to shake his hand, I told him I was from Hyrum, Utah. He smiled back and said he had grown up in Paradise, Utah. Later he told me that he was a seminary teacher for Mountain Crest as well. What a small world! He was a really nice person and I learned so much from that zone conference. Something that was really neat as well was that just yesterday (Monday), we were able to attend Specialized MLC (mission leadership training) and Elder Johnson and Sister Johnson came to that and we were able to observe how we as leaders counciled and how our mission in general was doing. There was actually a funny story about getting to MLC. Sister Nguyen and I along with the Zone Leaders-Elder Howe and Elder Bradford all agreed to meet at the train station around 7:15am to catch the 7:28am train. Sister Nguyen and I woke up early, got ready, and left to get to the train station. As we arrived to the train station, the zone leaders called us saying that they would be late and would probably miss the train. As we sat there talking to the zone leaders over the phone of whether or not, we (sisters) should buy their train tickets, we realized that we only had two or three minutes to catch the train. The Elders told us to catch the train so at least some of us would be there to represent the Wandsworth Zone. All four of us were clueless on when the next train to Staines would be so we ended the call with the Zone Leaders and rushed to buy our tickets. Imagine Sister Nguyen and I sprinting to buy tickets with worried looks on our faces because that is exactly what we did. We bought the tickets, ran to the platform, and there was no train. We looked up on the screen and discovered that we had missed the train but that there would be another one in ten minutes. We quickly called the elders and said, "Elders, Elders! There's another train in ten minutes. Do you want us to buy your tickets for you so you can just arrive and run to the platform and meet us?" They told us yes so Sister Nguyen and I (once again) sprinted down the ramp and down the hall of the train station back to the Kiosk to buy the zone leaders' tickets. We did so but then realized we only had three minutes till this next train departed. We dashed off again back to the platform and the train was just barely pulling in. However...there were no zone leaders to be found. With their tickets in hand, we couldn't leave so we watched with shocked looked on our faces as the train pulled away. Thankfully the Lord has wisdom in all things and there was another train in 20 minutes. We were able to meet the zone leaders and hop on the train without being too late for breakfast/the meeting of MLC. It ended up being that there were about 6 trains within the hour that all go to Staines. Let's just say that some lessons are learned the hard way ;) What a stressful adventure but now that I look back at it... It was pretty funny to imagine Sister Nguyen and I sprinting back and forth like four times and trying to call the elders at the same time. Overall, the Mission Leadership Conference was really good. Elder Johnson was able to speak with us and we talked about how the Faith of all the missionaries has increased and how it is continuing to be. Elder Johnson mentioned to us that often times, we are seeking to be so exactly perfect that eventually we get discouraged and it can bring us down. A quote that was mentioned by a missionary says this: "Just like Joseph Smith, we need not live a perfect life to be a powerful instrument in the hands of God."  God has a plan for what He wants us to become. When we (as instruments) are in the hands of the Master, we can be made into something so beautiful. Even the most broken violin can create the purest note if fixed and repaired by it's master. Christ is our master. He mends and He helps us to overcome our weaknesses and find our strengths. I learned so many things from this week and I am excited to continue to learn much more throughout this next half of my mission. Thank you for all your support and examples! Love you! 
Sister Burtis 

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