Monday, February 29, 2016

"I feel like Heaven just gave me a hug."

What an incredible week! I can't describe in all words the joy that I
feel but I hope this covers part of what I feel. We were able to have
MLC last week with Elder Johnson (of the seventy), and then
preparation day on Tuesday. That evening on Tuesday was a time that
Sister Nguyen and I anticipated throughout the day. It was Brenda's
baptism interview! Her baptism was scheduled for the 27th of February
and so an interview needed to take place to see if she would be able
to get baptised. Brenda and us met at the chapel and gave each other a
hug before she went in to get interviewed. Sister Nguyen and I were
nervous. I was a swimmer before my mission and I know that my parents
must have felt nervous and excited at the same time when they would
come to my swim meets and watch me race. I felt like this as we waited
for Brenda to come out. My heart was pounding, my mind racing, and I
wanted everything to be ok. Eventually, we were asked to come into the
room and there was Brenda, on her chair, smiling. Not sure of the
outcome but holding our breaths, we were told that Brenda would be
getting baptised! Sister Nguyen and I rejoiced and so did Brenda. We
all knelt down in prayer and I was asked to say it. I will never
forget this moment as I said the prayer out loud in behalf of all of
us in the room. The spirit confirmed to me that this was truly the
Lord's work. That Brenda was ready and that this was a great time to
be able to rejoice and be excited. The joy that is felt when a
missionary is told that their friends are going to be baptized is
undescribable. We were able to teach Brenda after the interview and
showed her the baptismal font as well. We asked her to imagine what
her baptism would be like and as she did this, I played the piano as
if it was her baptismal day and there were hymns being played. The
spirit was yet once again felt very strongly. The week continued to
move forward and all of us were excited for the baptism. We prepared
the program, called up people, and would stop by to teach and help
Brenda prepare. The week flew by and before we knew it, Saturday came.
Before the baptism, a Relief Society Birthday Party was taking place
which was lots of fun. It was to celebrate the anniversary of Relief
Society which was created on March 17, 1842. All of us relief society
sisters were able to have a lunch, do some get to know you games, and
also have a spiritual thought. One of our investigators, Sally, was
able to come and she is doing great. She has been to church three
weeks in a row now and has been soaking in the gospel. She loves
coming to church and we are excited to be able to continue to work
with her. Brenda was also able to come. It was a good turnout. After
the activity was the baptism! Many of the sisters stayed and some
other people came as well. It was very spiritual and to see Brenda all
dressed in white was just amazing. The baptism went so smoothly and
everything worked out great. Something I won't ever forget is Brenda
and her testimony that she shared after she was baptized. She simply
said, "I feel like Heaven just gave me a hug. My heart has longed for
this all of my life but now I feel like I'm one step closer to God. I
feel like I'm home." Brenda is truly incredible. Teaching her was such
a blessing and privilege because it really seemed like she was
teaching me through her amazing faith and her courage to take this
step and to draw nearer to her Heavenly Father and to the Saviour.
This past week has gone by within a blink of an eye but it's been very
wonderful. Some other key highlights from this week is that we met a
guy by the name of George by the bus stop. George was waiting for the
bus just like we were so we decided to talk to him. He was very
receptive and asked us regarding the Book of Mormon and how it
differentiated from the bible. Sister Nguyen and I answered his
question and were able to testify of its' divinity. There are truly
people prepared out there on the streets. Being in the South London
city, I've learned to throw away any pre-judgements, walk up to
people, and just start sharing about the gospel. It's incredible the
results that we can see if we just trust God and are willing to be an
instrument in His hands. Often times, people reject us but having many
people reject us to find the one prepared is so worth it! Something
else that was fun this past week was that Sister Nguyen and I went to
teach Christine (a lady from France) and her kids. Christine and her
two daughters got baptised just last year and they are so nice! They
always feed us amazing French dinner courses or just great meals in
general. Well this time, Christine and one of her daughters prepared
snails. They were seasoned with garlic and olive oil. So ya...I tried
snails for the first time. I was brave, ate them, and they ended up
tasting really good. My list for trying weird, exotic foods is growing
:) I love the experiences that I've had since I've been out on my
mission. I know that without them, I couldn't be the person I am
today. I truly have my Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, to
thank for that. I love being a missionary and I know these are moments
that I'll never forget. I love you all! Have a splendid week!
Sister Burtis

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