Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A week filled with rainbows and rain!

Hello everyone! I hope you have all had such an amazing week! Lots has
happened this past week and it's left me feeling pretty tired now but
it was all so great and I learned so much. The week started out with
Sister Nguyen and I working hard to accomplish much since it would be
her last week here in England before she would leave for Vietnam to
serve in that mission. It felt so unreal for the both of us. We didn't
try to think about it though and we focused on thoughts and attention
to the friends we are working with, especially Sally. Sally is amazing
and we have loved working with her. Sister Nguyen and I went to her
house earlier this week and she was helping us plan out her baptismal
service which was great because Sally was so organised and basically
had already asked certain people to give talks/prayers. The week
continued and we visited some of our less active friends and members.
While at the home of a member's home, we came to find out about the
news of the Belgium bombing which was sad. We are keeping those
missionaries in our prayers as they are our brothers and sisters in
this work. As we continued to go throughout this week, we were able to
visit Nina (a wonderful member) who fed us African food-gari
(something very similar to fufu) and also ground mayes which we ate
with our hands. It was a fun experience. We were able to do many other
things during the week like doing service for a non-member and her two
kids. We got to take apart a wardrobe and a bed which I had never done
before but I enjoyed doing it. Some of the highlights of this week was
being able to go to the temple last Friday with Sally and the next day
too, she was baptized! What amazing experiences for all of us. It was
not an easy week for Sally and it was a bit hard to know how we could
help her. After a few trials coming all of our ways, we were able to
make it to the temple and visitor centre with her and it was
incredible. The sun was shining and the skies were so blue. It is by
far getting much more warmer which is great. The visitor centre
sisters gave Sally a tour of the grounds and as we were walking
around, Sally commented on how she felt that peace and reverence here
at the temple. We shook our heads in agreement and testified of the
joy we felt while we go to the temple. Following the temple grounds
tour, Sally was able to see "Meet the Mormons" movie which she really
enjoyed. She really reflected on the peoples' experiences in the movie
and was able to see the joy that comes from being a member of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That next day, this past
Saturday and Sunday, Sally was baptised as a member and confirmed. It
was such a blessing and privilege to be a part of her journey. We all
learned and grew from each other. Sister Nguyen and I were able to
spend Sister Nguyen's last three days in England helping a daughter of
God make a covenant with Him. It was such a blessing and we are so
grateful that God places in our pathway the people we need to meet.
The weekend consisted of lots of saying goodbyes for Sister Nguyen.
Brenda (recent convert) and Nina (member) took us out to lunch to
Nando's and we were able to talk with them for sometime. It was not
easy for Sister Nguyen to part with the members but we all knew too
that the Lord has great plans for Sister Nguyen. How I love that
companion. She helped me through the thick and thin. She cheered me up
when I was down. She pushed me to go even an extra mile and together,
we become even better than we were before. I'm reminded back to the
time Sister Schmidt left to go home to Germany and how I felt then. It
feels the same now with Sister Nguyen. It's different knowing that
they are going back to their own original country rather than moving
to another area not too far from here. I hope to go out to Vietnam and
visit her. Sister Nguyen left a great impact in my life and I'll never
forget that. Yesterday, it was our last full working day together. We
were walking in the pouring rain to go to the chapel and grab
something and as we came back out, the rain was clearing up and there
was a big beautiful rainbow. I smiled as well as Sister Nguyen. We
couldn't have asked for a better last day together. The night drew
closer and it got to the time where Sister Nguyen packed and we both
cleaned the flat for the next companion to come in. This morning, we
got down on our knees for the last time together near as we were able
to head out to go the train station. She looked at me and I looked at
her as tears flowed down our cheeks. We both knew that this was it but
oh how grateful we are for each other. I am so grateful that God
places great people in my path. I know that part of my mission isn't
just only teaching the gospel but it's also about what I learn from my
companions and the people I meet. I learned the greater quality and
attribute of charity, hard work, compassion, and love from Sister
Nguyen. We waved goodbye to each other as she stepped into the train
doors and into her new journey. I am excited to keep writing her
though and I know that it's not completely the end. I'll see her
again...just need to start saving up to go to Vietnam! :) The Mitcham
sisters, Sister Meyer and Sister Couper, were with me and we went to
find my new companion. I have been asked to continue to serve in
Clapham and help my new companion, Sister Fromgren, from Norway to
become an STL. It's her first transfer being one so it'll be fun to
show her how it goes. What is really funny is that when Sister
Fromgren started her mission, I was her sister training leader back in
the Plymouth Zone and actually went on a exchange with her once or
twice which was fun. She is now my companion so it was fun to see a
familiar face. What a week. I know I have much to learn and I look
forward to the new adventures ahead of me but also reflect and cherish
the moments I've had this past week. I love you all and hope you
remember and cherish the moments that you have had as well.
Sister Burtis

Monday, March 21, 2016

Unexpected Calls and Unexpected Surprises

As I've been out on my mission, I've come to realize a few things. 1.
Miracles are everywhere and the Lord is truly in this work. 2. The
companions we have are for a reason and when we serve around each
other, we not only help each other through our missions but we are
building an eternal friendship. This week has been a very busy week
and no easy week as well but I look back and just realize that I'm so
grateful for the things I've learned from it. I have felt the love of
the Lord for me so strongly this week and I've been able to see that
He has a great plan for me and those around me. Our week started out
with an exchange with the Mitcham sisters. They were the sisters that
were our flat roommates at one point last transfer but then got moved
to a different area. Sister Couper (from Scotland) who has been out 3
months went with me and then Sister Meyer and Sister Nguyen  went
together to do some missionary work. The mission has changed it to
where all four of us now work in Clapham rather than two of us go in
one area and then two of us go into another area. It helps the
traveling time for leaders because often times, our time in the area
isn't as long due to the mission leadership conferences. So Sister
Couper and I started out our day street contacting in Clapham and
talking to many different people. Later that evening, we were able to
have a teach with our investigator Sally.  Sally has immersed herself
in the gospel and absolutely loves it. We felt the impression to
extend a baptismal date for her in two weeks and she smiled as she
said yes! She is wonderful and both Sister Nguyen and I have both
loved being able to teach her this past few weeks. We are seeing many
more miracles. We had received a referral last week from a lady named
Ada who had referred herself. She came to church last week and this
week, she had work but was able to attend the stake fireside later
this past Sunday evening. It is truly the season of miracles. I know
that and I have a testimony of it. We are receiving more referrals
than we have in the past before. We also had a lady call us up and she
saw our pass along card through her door. We have a return appointment
with her for this coming week. There are miracles right and left. The
time is here and we know that the Lord has a great plan for this
mission. We have also heard from President Gubler himself that
missionaries this past week were being called and those people calling
them were asking to be baptized the next week! It's been amazing to be
a part of this work and I love every moment of it. Towards the end of
this week, Sister Nguyen and I received some shocking news. We were on
the way to the chapel on the bus and Sister Nguyen received a call
from president. We thought perhaps he might be just calling to check
up on us and see how we were doing but instead, he told us he had
news. The Salt Lake City Mission Department called him to tell him
that Sister Nguyen would be getting reassigned to the Vietnam mission.
What happened is that there isn't enough missionaries in Vietnam and
they needed some missionaries. So they looked around for some
missionaries and saw Sister Nguyen and another sister currently
serving in Georgia that could help out. They are to leave at the end
of this transfer which is in about a week. You can imagine how sad I
might have been. Both Sister Nguyen and I were in tears the day that
we found out. She is excited but it's not easy thing to leave the
people of England who you have been  serving around. I can't imagine
my mission without Sister Nguyen. Her and I have created such an
amazing friendship and I know that this friendship is meant to be
eternal. We plan to visit each other after our missions and she will
show me around Vietnam! :) I know that I have become even a better
missionary because of her and I'm grateful that God had a plan for the
two of us to meet. This area is doing wonderful and I hope to continue
to help the people like Sister Nguyen has helped them these past
months of her mission. We will find out if I move or who my new
companion is this weekend. I'll be more than likely staying in the
area and either training or continuing to be STL. We never know
though. It's been a great week. I know I have learned so much and
especially as we approach Easter, I have learned such a great amount
about the atonement. I would be nothing without my Saviour. Through
Him, I can become a better person, a stronger missionary, and become
the person God intends for me to be. I am grateful for the knowledge
that He lives. As we approach this Easter weekend, think of those
things that the Saviour has done for you and think about what it is
that you can do for Him. I know this is truly the Lord's work and I am
grateful that I am able to represent him.
Love you all! Happy Easter!
Sister Burtis

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hallelujah"-Finding New Life Through Christ

The days are getting brighter and brighter and warmer as well! This
week has been truly incredible. I hope you all had a wonderful week as
well. Our week was pretty busy with lots of meetings and conferences
to start off with but as the week continued, we were able to do a lot
more work. Sister Nguyen and I were able to go to MLC (Mission
Leadership Conference), DLC (District Leadership Conference), district
meeting, and then we had a couple of planning meetings with the zone
leaders to coordinate an upcoming zone training that we have this week
for the missionaries in our zone. All in all though, it's been really
good and with the help of the Lord, we were given strength to
accomplish the things needed to get done. Sister Nguyen and I were
able to see many miracles. The gates to the season of miracles are
expanding and we know that God has truly prepared the hearts of his
children to receive the gospel. As Sister Nguyen and I were doing some
missionary work, we received a text that had a referral given to us
from the church headquarters. The lady's name was Ada and Ada was
interested to meet with missionaries. Apparently Ada heard about our
church from a friend, went to look up information regarding "Mormons",
and was able to locate where the Hyde Park Visitor Centre was. Ada
went and met some missionaries who referred her to us. We contacted
Ada right away and she answered her phone. We were able to set up an
appointment with her and it was a solid lesson that we had with her
about the Restoration. The spirit was felt very strongly and when we
invited her to come to church, Ada accepted. A couple of days later,
sure enough, Ada came walking through the church doors and was able to
attend church to see what it was like. Truly a miracle! Another
miracle: Sister Nguyen and I were traveling to DLC and  were on the
bus going to the tube (underground station). As we were getting off
the bus, someone from Hungary approached us and asked us where our
church was. He had noticed our tags and said that he was here in
England to learn better English and wanted to find a church to attend.
Sister Nguyen and I were able to talk to him and give him our chapel
address. It doesn't end just there. One of our investigators, Sally,
has completely given up tea and coffee, and has been continually
coming to church, reading her scriptures, and meeting with us. After
church on Sunday, Sister a Nguyen and I were planning to go to a lunch
appointment but we had an hour to spare so we headed out of the chapel
and started to walk towards a street to contact a potential
investigator. Just as we were walking and discussing what we would be
doing the remainder of the day, we heard someone say, "Hey there!"
from their car window. We turned and saw that it was Sally. Sally had
stayed behind in church for a bit talking to members and then was
driving home. That's when she drove past us. She turned to us and
asked if we would be willing to come to her house and teach her
another principle of the gospel. Sally simply asked, "How many more
lessons do I need to learn to understand the gospel? Can you teach me
all the lessons?" Sally is progressing so well and is truly amazing. I
know that Sister Nguyen and I are so blessed to work with her at this
time. I've received a witness for myself that there are people
prepared. We just need to look, to seek, to invite. When it comes to
inviting someone to church, it takes two people. One person to invite,
and the other person to say "yes." Despite rejections, I can just
promise all of you that if we are persistent and continue to invite
our friends to church, activites, ect, we can truly find those who are
lost or those who may not know where to find the truth. This week has
just been incredible. I love my mission and I'm grateful for the
opportunity to be out here in England. For today's preparation day, My
district and I were able to go to the London Eye. Not just stand by it
but actually go in it. A member from our ward that works there was
able to get us tickets so we got to go and it was absolutely stunning
to see the entire view of London. It was a great experience for all of
us. Something that I really love is the new video that the church just
released titled, "Hallelujah." It's something that we as missionaries
have the opportunity of sharing with others these next few weeks as we
approach Easter and it's just wonderful to know that Christ died for
us so that we can live again and see our loved ones again as well. As
the Easter initiative has come out, the understanding of the Atonement
has not only deepened for our members and friends but for me as well.
I rejoice in the Saviour and for what He has done for me. I'm really
working on discovering for myself how I have found new life through
Him and as I continue to do this, my love for this gospel and for
Christ grows and grows. We bear testimony of Christ and when we do, I
feel such a joyful feeling as the spirit testifies that He lives. I
know He lives and that through Him, we can all find new life. I love
you all! Have a great week!
Sister Burtis

Thursday, March 10, 2016

India and Vietnam styled miracles!

Another week with many miracles. There were lots of funny things that
happened and as I look back at them, I recognise that the Lord does
truly work in mysterious ways unknown to man. He prepares people for
us to meet and we are able to really learn from the experiences we are
given. At the beginning of this week, Sister Nguyen and I had an
exchange with the Peckham Sisters. It was a bit different of an
exchange this time however because the Peckham sisters don't have two
sisters in the companionship, there is actually three sisters making
up a tri. Sister Nguyen and I prayed about who would go with who and
we both felt impressed to have two of the sisters go with me and the
other sister would go with Sister Nguyen. As the two sisters and I
went about doing missionary work, I got to experience for myself what
it was like to be in a tri. It was quite fun actually. The three of us
would be walking on the streets and stop people and talk to them about
the gospel. It's made me feel more secure with having two others
double testify next to me about the gospel. It was good to also learn
how to bounce from one person to another. One sister would say
something, then me, and then the other sister or the same thing but in
a different order. It helped me to recognise the importance of
communication. After the exchange, Sister Nguyen and I were back
together in our companionship and we went to go street contacting. We
went to go contact a former investigator on a particular street but
she ended up not being home. We walked back to where we were and tried
to figure out where we should go next. Just as we passed a certain
house, Sister Nguyen turned to me and asked, "Can we knock on that
door?" as she pointed to a certain door with little red Christmas
looking lights hanging in front of it. Sister Nguyen mentioned to me
that it looked Vietnamese and that perhaps there was someone there who
was in need for the gospel. We prayed about it and felt right so we
went and knocked on the door. At first, all we could hear were dogs
barking but then someone answered the door. She was a younger lady and
we introduced ourselves. As we continued to talk with her, this
lady-Francesca- seemed really interested. She expressed that she was
interested in learning more and I suddenly felt impressed to ask her
if she had time now that we could share with her the message. To our
surprise, she turned around, and said, "Absolutely, come in, and sorry
for the mess inside the house." Sister Nguyen and I smiled at each
other and knew that this was truly a miracle from God. We walked in,
sat on the sofa, and we were able to teach Francesca the Restoration.
We gave her a Book of Mormon and she told us that she would read and
pray about it. What an amazing miracle!  On Friday, something fun that
Sister Nguyen and I got to do was that we got to do some service for
the senior missionary couple by helping them set up for the
multi-stake YSA dance. We are able to sort out plates of cookies, chop
up vegetables, and help prepare for the dance. After doing the
service, one of our YSA investigators, Richard, came and Sister Nguyen
and I got to teach him for a little bit with a member and then he went
and joined the dance. It was strange to hear music that I had known
before my mission playing in the gym and Sister Nguyen and I did our
best to tune it out while quickly introducing Richard to the senior
missionary couple and some other YSA friends. Sister Nguyen and I
didn't stay for the dance because we were missionaries of course but
it was overall great to help prepare for it. The following day on
Saturday, we had a crazy miracle. Sister Nguyen and I were preparing
the progress record in the evening. Just as we were preparing to
travel back to our flat, a less-active member called us, and asked if
we could quickly come over. We weren't sure why and we were a bit
worried about what was happening. We both considered if we could make
it home by 9pm but in the end, Sister Nguyen and I felt that it would
be OK if we hurried. Sister Soma (the lady who called us) was
surprised to see us at her doorstep ten minutes later. Heavenly Father
provided us a way that when we got to the train station, we didn't
need to wait and that the train arrived right when we got there. The
train took us to Streatham and then we ran quickly to this lady's
home. As we got there, Sister Soma (Who is from Scrilanka)  mentioned
that she had a friend who was struggling and asked us if we would be
willing to go to her house and share with her the gospel. She even
mentioned that we could baptize her as well because she knew the
gospel would help her friend. We were amazed. Usually people aren't
throwing referrals our way telling us to go teach their friends and
baptize them. After she got talking to us, she also mentioned that her
hair dresser was sick so she asked for our help. Sister Soma pulled
out two small bricks of henna (it's Indian and it's used to decorate
flowers and patterns on hands that can last up to three weeks). She
wanted us to provide service by dyeing her hair with this henna.
Sister Nguyen and I didn't have a problem with that and so late in the
evening time, there was us- the two missionaries, combing in a henna
mixture through someone's hair. Apparently it's just really natural
and healthy for your hair and it can make red and dark brown
highlights in your hair. Sister Nguyen joked with me afterwards that
me and her should dye our hair like that. I don't think that'll end up
happening :) Overall, we had many miracles and adventures take place
which we are grateful for. I love this gospel and though we had a lot
of finding to do this past week, we were able to see lots of tender
mercies of the Lord. I hope all of you come to recognize the tender
mercies of the Lord as well. Have a fantastic week!
With love,
Sister Burtis