Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Holiness to the Lord

Hello everyone! I hope you have had an incredible week! I sure have
and there are many adventures, miracles, and things to tell you.
Starting out with the week, Sister Nguyen and I were able to go out to
Putney which is about 45 minutes travel and towards the outskirts of
our area. We got to explore around the high street and then we got to
go to the bridge that led across the River Thames. It was really neat
and fun to see. It's not the bridge that has the London eye near it
and Big Ben across the bridge but it's one of the other bridges that
leads to central London. It was still really big and fun to see. We
saw lots of red London double deckers and it just made me feel like I
was in a movie or something. The rest of the week seemed to speed by
again and I'm wondering about the weeks to come. It seems like they
just get faster and faster. As the beginning of the week happened, one
of the days- we were basically street contacting all day. It was one
of those days that seemed gloomier than the rest. The grey clouds, the
people rushing to and fro, ect. Sister Nguyen and I spent the morning
street contacting but it just seemed that no one wanted to talk to us.
No matter how hard we tried, no one was interested. We continued to
press on though and helped each other to overcome any discouragement.
We continued to have faith though and do our very best. As we were
going to a member's home for a dinner appointment, we saw a younger
lady carrying her grocery bags and asked if we could help her. She
politely declined but continued to talk to us and we were able to
introduce ourselves to her. This lady's name was Janice and she said
that her friends were members of our church and that she wouldn't mind
knowing the message for herself. We were really happy to be able to
know that we have found one of those who are prepared. We hope to see
Janice this week sometime. It was a bit busy for her last week since
she had just moved into the area and was sorting some stuff out.
Another crazy adventure was that I got to be an espanol sister
(Hermana!). Sister Nguyen and I serve around the Kennington sisters
and the Kennington sisters get to find those who speak Spanish here in
South London and teach them. Well when it came time for Sister Nguyen
and I to pray about who should go where for the exchange, we felt that
I needed to go to Kennington and she needed to stay in Clapham. The
exchange was great. Sister Ramseyer and I got to go street contacting
and she taught me how to say, "Hola, ustead habla espanol?" (Hello, do
you speak Spanish?). I continued to practice that saying it out loud
and in my mind and eventually was able to say it fast enough that I
almost sounded like I actually knew Spanish. I'd go up to different
people who looked like they could speak Spanish and say that phrase
and then Sister Ramseyer (who actually knew Spanish) spoke the rest,
introduced ourselves, and stated our purpose. I also got to learn how
to say three more phrases, "Tenemos amigas que hablan espanol" (We
have friends who speak Spanish), "Aqui es una pagina web" (Here is a
website), and "La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los santos de los ultimos
dias" (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  It was a
really fun experience! I wasn't able to really say anything during a
lesson with an investigator but if I did say something, I'd say it in
English and then Sister Ramseyer would translate it in Spanish. Well I
guess it's time to say that either the stress of the mission is
getting to me or I'm just getting older and blinder. I have been going
to a lot of meetings lately and haven't been able to see the board or
anything else. So I got an eye test and it turns out my prescription
has worsened a bit and that it was time for me to get glasses. They
are for far away things like boards, screens, meetings, ect. So if you
see me with glasses on, don't be too surprised. :) At the end of this
week, I had an incredible experience with my companion. Sister Nguyen
and I were able to go with some of the ward members in a mini bus to
the London Temple! We were given the opportunity to go because we
would be going with one of our investigators, Brenda. Brenda is from
Kenya and is just such an incredible lady. I love her so much! We got
ready to go, met at the chapel, said hello to everyone as we boarded
the bus. Brenda was beaming and radiated a smile that just showed her
excitement. This would be her first time going and we were really
happy for her. As we got to the temple, one of the visitor centre
sisters came with us and explained somethings about the temple grounds
as we went on a tour. Brenda loved it and it's amazing how strong her
testimony already is. She's been investigating for about more than a
month now but you would have thought she was a member.  One of my
favourite moments was when Sister Fleuren, the visitor centre sister,
had us stand in front of the temple. There were two sets up stairs
that led all the way to the doors where on it said, "Holiness to the
Lord." Sister Fleuren had Brenda grab one of the railing of the stairs
and had us two missionaries do the same thing on the side of Brenda.
Sister Fleuren had Brenda tell her what steps she has taken that had
gotten her closer to baptism and Brenda would tell her things like,
"Praying, reading scriptures, going to church, giving up tea, keeping
the commandments, ect." As she said each thing, she would get to take
a step up towards the temple doors. What was really neat was that we,
as her missionaries, got to do the same. We stayed by Brenda's side
every time she took a step. Then it came that we were on level ground
that led to the second set of stairs. Sister Fleuren explained that
this represented baptism. She turned to us and asked us to recall our
baptisms as we walked across the level platform to the second set of
stairs and for Brenda to imagine what her baptism would be like. We
did this as we had our faces towards the temple doors and as we
walked. As soon as we started, I was taken back to a green grassy yard
outside of my home in Utah, and recalled myself as a small 8 year old
girl, with bouncy blond curly hair. I could almost see myself excited
and running around as we were all getting pictures with my family. I
could see my brother Andrew in his white shirt and tie and his
excitement knowing that he would be the one to baptise me. It was so
clear and then my mind forwarded to a moment I had never seen before.
Sister Nguyen and I were standing by Brenda. She was dressed in white
and it was her baptism. She was glowing and her smile reflected the
same kind of excitement that I seemed to feel when I was about to get
baptized. I felt the spirit so strongly and as we approached the
temple stairs, Sister Fleuren asked Brenda, "How did you feel to see
yourself dressed in white?" Brenda replied saying she felt the spirit
and felt so much peace. Tears rolled down her cheeks as the sister
then explained to Brenda that this was God's plan for her. She pointed
to he temple and simply said that Heavenly Father wanted Brenda to
return home. I had never been able to go to the temple with an
investigator before but I can't describe the joy that I felt. It's one
of the moments where I seem to truly recognise the importance of my
calling and the love that God has for his children. I have felt that
love for Brenda and I know that her and her family will be together
forever. We are simply her guides and the Lord's disciples at this
time. I just know that anyone, not just full time missionaries, can
help others to make it to the temple doors. I love the work and I love
what I am able to continue to learn each week. I love you all!
Sister Burtis

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