Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The memories of years we have lived.

Hello everyone! I hope all of you have had a great week! This past week has been such an adventure! To start out last week, Sister Fromgren and I needed to contact one of our potentials and see if she was home. As we begin to travel to her home, we silently prayed to be able to teach her. Her name was Majorie and as we knocked on Majorie's door, she answered! What a miracle. We asked her how she was doing and asked if she had time for us to share with her the Restoration. She uttered the few simple words that most missionaries love to hear, "Come in." As we began to teach the lesson, Majorie was very receptive and asked some great questions. The spirit felt in the room was very strong and at the end of our lesson, we invited Majorie to read the Book of Mormon and to pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. She accepted with a smile and we set up to have another teaching appointment with her. As the week continued, my companion and I traveled to Brixton to contact some less-active friends and to be able to see if we could find anyone prepared to receive the Gospel. Brixton is much different than any other parts of our area. It has many people from Jamaica, lots of markets all around, singers with banners up singing music (Sometimes even people playing saxaphones), graffiti on different walls. It's very different but quite interesting to walk around. There are many people in front of the tube station shouting, selling things, talking about religion, ect. We went to go and contact a less-active and she ended up not being home. Just as we were walking towards the tube station, a Jamaican guy advertising dub music approached us about religion. He wasn't really interested but expressed how he felt about his religion. It's always adventures with the different people you meet here in South London. Some who are interested, some who aren't. In the middle of the week, Sister Stephenson (my MTC companion who has just moved into the zone) actually got to go on an exchange with me. It was fun to see how much we have learned and to be able to help each other to continue to learn and to grow. Sister Stephenson and I were able to work in Brixton again for our exchange but it didn't seem to be too fast paced because it was during the day and a lot of people were running to and fro to get to where they needed to be. As we went to contact another less active, I looked to see a lady ahead of us and we both felt the impression to stop her. Her name was Gloria and she had a different accent than an english one. She later informed us she came from Columbia and she herself was religious and believed in God. Sister Stephenson and I began to share about the Restoration and how Christ's church has been restored on the earth once more and as we did so, we felt a distinct feeling to share with her about the plan of salvation. We weren't sure why but we relayed the message to her that families can be together forever and those we have lost, we will see again. After finishing our sentence, Gloria looked at us and her eyes seemed to shine with a new hope. She expressed to us that just yesterday her friend had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Gloria was questioning if there would ever be hope found and if she would be able to see her friend again or her mom who she lost two years ago. Sister Stephenson and I testified to Gloria that no hope would be lost. That through Jesus Christ, she would see her loved ones again. We were able to give Gloria a Book of Mormon and a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We hope to teach Gloria more and we know that through divine design, that we were suppose to meet Gloria. The rest of the week was wonderful as well. Ada passed her baptismal interview and is excited to be able to enter the waters of baptism this week to make those covenants with our Heavenly Father to remember Jesus Christ always and follow him. We were also able to celebrate my birthday. It seems still to be so unreal to me that I am 20 now. How crazy. I reflected over my 19th year and realized I would be sad to leave it. It carried some of my most precious memories, most of them being a missionary. Every tear, every laugh, every feeling of love, hope, and happiness that I experienced as a 19 year old are things I would never trade for anything. I am grateful for the love I felt during my birthday. Thank you to everyone who made it so special! I was able to be with one of our recent converts, Sally, who held a birthday dinner for me and it was something I'll never forget. I love you all and hope that you always treasure the year that you are in now because it never comes back. God's plan involves progression but it also involves years for us to reflect on and learn from. 
Sister Burtis



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Treasure Hunt for Salvation

Hello Everyone! The missionary work is truly moving forward! I'm so
grateful for the opportunity to be out here in England. There is such
a great work to do and although it isn't easy, it is so worth it. This
week consisted of a lot of finding and more opposition than usual but
we learned a lot and trust that there will be great things to come. In
fact, there already have been great things and miracles that have
come. Our week started out with a lot of street contacting and it
continued throughout the week. Sister Fromgren and I have really
focused on talking to everyone on the streets, tubes (underground
train), and buses, and it has been really good. We were able to attend
the YSA family home evening with one of our investigators and that
went really well. The senior couple, the Cherringtons, always organise
this and institute on Wednesdays and they do a good job. It has made
me think of being a senior missionary myself when I grow up because
there's still even a great work for us to do at that time. Last
Tuesday, our zone came together and had specialised zone training with
President Gubler and Sister Gubler and the assistants. It was really
spiritual and we learned a lot! President Gubler emphasised the
importance of D&C 4 and how we are called to labour in the field that
is white already to harvest. It's amazing how many times we have heard
this but it never gets old. I am amazed by the miracles that have been
provided by the Lord for all of us here in the zone. After president
Gubler and Sister Gubler gave us some training, we had lunch and then
we had a presentation given to us by the assistants. As part of this
presentation, they had us split into our districts and we got to do a
treasure hunt around the chapel. One of the assistants handed our
district a clue and we went to find the next clue. All of us (Elder
Rammell, Elder Hulleman, Sister Fromgren, me, Sister Meyer and Sister
Couper) searched for the next clue. It was really exhilarating and
exciting to be able to go find the next clue. The rules were that we
were to stay within sight and sound of our companion and walk swiftly
and quickly but not run. We also had to keep the rooms clean where we
searched for the clues. It was fun and our searching for clues took
place in the church parking lot, the kitchen, the gym, the primary
room, basically everywhere around the chapel. With each clue, came a
scenario of an investigator. We would need to keep in mind how we
found him, how well he did in progressing in the gospel, and even got
to ask President and Sister Gubler to go on a teach with us for this
investigator. Their reply, "Yes," was another clue. Overall, we ended
up getting 2nd place and it was really great. After we sat down in our
seats, the assistants continued to present and simply said, "Elders
and Sisters, do we have the same excitement and same motivation like
we did in this treasure hunt to find those people in our areas?" It
was a good lesson to learn. I've recognised that I want that same
excitement that I did for the treasure hunt as I do for finding. It's
helped me to come to an understanding of how finding doesn't need to
be boring. We are searching for the children of our Heavenly Father
and helping them to come home. How great our excitement should be for
this! :) We are continually searching for those who are prepared to
receive the restored Gospel and we have faith that there are people
out there. A great miracle we saw this past week was with our
investigator Ada. We extended a baptismal date for Ada for the 23rd of
April and she mentioned that she was a bit nervous about having a date
that early and she also mentioned that she would be working that
weekend. We invited her to pray still and see how she felt. As she did
so, she asked Heavenly Father that if the 23rd of April was right and
if so, that there could be a way that it could be made possible. Just
as she was texting her co-worker about something else, he made mention
to her that the schedules were being completely changed and that she
wouldn't need to work on the 23rd! What a miracle! Ada recognised this
and was so grateful. Come to find out that stake conference was that
weekend, we would need to move the baptism the following weekend and
as we told Ada this, she had great faith and accepted. We explained to
her that perhaps God was seeing her faith and willingness. It's the
same with Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was basically holding a knife
over his son when an angel appeared to him and commanded him to stop.
It taught us and Ada a very important lesson. Often the Lord will ask
us to do something even though we aren't sure why but if we completely
trust Him, we will see the  reasons for why He asked us to do the
things that He did even if the results are not immediate. This past
week has been a great one of learning for me. All the weeks of my
mission have been. I'm grateful to be here and to learn the things
that I have learned. I hope you all have a great week!
Sister Burtis

Monday, April 11, 2016

An Unwavering Faith of Joseph Smith

Hello everyone! Wow, often I reflect back as I am writing up my emails
and amazed how much can take place in just one week. Sister Fromgren
and I found ourselves running to and fro from place to place and
seemed to be finishing this week with running what seemed to be a
marathon. One of our district leaders recently said, "It's better to
be busy than to be bored." It's true. Missionary work can keep us so
busy but it's exhilarating and exciting to see what we can accomplish.
Our previous week started with the two of us going to MLC. It was
Sister Fromgren's first time going and it was great to be in the
environment with other missionaries from different areas. Together
with President Gubler and Sister Gubler, we counciled on how we could
continue to do to strengthen the conversion of the missionaries in our
area and how we could continue to better teach repentance and baptize
converts. It was great and while sometimes we seemed to be going in
circles, It is great to be able to be spiritually directed to find out
the will of the Lord. Being in the mission leadership councils has
helped me to see and wonder what it must be like for the Prophet and
the 12 apostles when they all get together and council. We not only
got to council at MLC but we also got to be taught from President
Gubler and Sister Gubler. Something that President Gubler said that
really stood out to me was, "Every missionary's goal and desire should
be to land on the rock of our Saviour Jesus Christ and to never leave
it. When we are built upon the rock of our Saviour Jesus Christ, not
even the devil's mighty winds and his shafts in the whirlwind nor hail
nor mighty storms shall beat us down. Why does Satan work so hard?
Satan works hard because he will never be like us. He will never be
able to hold a new born baby. He will never come home after a long day
of work and have his children run up to him. Satan will never have
that proud moment when he sees his daughter in a dance performance. He
will never even know what it is like to eat a chocolate chip cookie.
He will never fall in love; he will never able to hold hands. He gave
up everything because of his pride. Anytime we have pride, we are
entering into that realm." I had never thought about it like this
before but it is so true. Of course there is always opposition in all
things. Satan is miserable. I'm grateful for the knowledge that my
Saviour lives so I have the opportunity of reaching my potential and
becoming the person Heavenly Father wants me to be. The day after MLC,
was DLC. We presented the things we learned to the district leaders
who would then in turn present it to their districts. It was overall a
great portion of the week. It doesn't stop just there though. Sister
Fromgren and I were heading back  to our flat after a busy day and we
received a text saying we had a self-referral. We called the person
(his name was Ali) and set up a teaching appointment with him. What a
miracle! Ali shows up and tells us that he had looked on our website
and said he was curious to learn more. When teaching the restoration,
Ali would ask us some really good questions and keep saying, "That
makes sense." It was a great lesson and we were able to give him a
Book of Mormon which he said he would read. He also accepted to be
baptized. The Lord is truly preparing his children. Ali wasn't the
only one who was a great miracle. We are currently teaching Naomi who
is YSA and is so kind. She had been taught by missionaries before and
this past week would be our second teach with her. As we got
discussing the plan of salvation and the three kingdoms of glory,
Sister Fromgren turns to Naomi and asks, "Where do you want to be
among one of these three kingdoms?" Without hesitation, Naomi pointed
to our diagram that showed the Celestial Kingdom. "There. I want to be
there." We smiled because we knew that Naomi recognised her potential.
We extended an invitation to her to be baptized and she accepted. We
were then able to go to institute with her after our teach. It has
been such an incredible week. The Lord's work is real and I know that
to be true. I know all of us can be a part of it as well. Towards the
end of the week, we were able to go to the London Temple grounds with
our investigator Ada. Ada is amazing and is really progressing in the
gospel. As the visitor centre sisters showed Ada around with us
following behind, we all felt the peace that came from the temple. Ada
was amazed at the beauty of the temple and grounds and we bore to her
our testimony that anyone can come here to feel the peace and to get
away from the world. After the tour, we headed into the visitor centre
and was able to watch the Restoration movie with Ada. The life of
Joseph Smith is so remarkable and so astonishing. It's blows me away
every time to see what he had to go through as he was called to
restore the church. I wasn't the only one blown away though. After the
movie ended, we looked over to Ada and she was just amazed. She said,
"I had no idea that this was the life of Joseph Smith." We shook our
heads in agreement and explained to her that he had to go through so
much to be able to preserve the truth that was restored  on the earth
once more. After the movie, Sister Fromgren and I and Ada all went
around the temple once more and got discussing Ada's journey in
learning the gospel. Ada expressed to us that she wanted to get
baptized and knew that she just needs a bit more time to prepare and
she will be ready. As we have worked with the wonderful people here in
the Clapham area, we have felt the love that Heavenly Father has for
them. I am grateful to be a missionary at this time and know that
those we teach don't just learn from us but we end up learning more
from them. The spirit too is the master teacher and he is the one that
guides the way to help our brothers and sisters to make it home. I
love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
Sister Burtis

Monday, April 4, 2016

Having a desire to Follow Him

I can't remember if I sent this or not but a month or two ago, our
mission was visited by Paul V. Johnson (an member of the seventy) and
I was able to talk to him (He grew up in Paradise, UT) and get a
picture with him and his wife. Well, he got to speak at General
Conference about the resurrection of Christ! :) He is a great example
to all of us missionaries and truly loves the Lord :)
-Sister Burtis

Hello everyone! I hope your time watching General Conference was
amazing! I can't begin to even describe the joy I felt throughout all
of last week knowing that we had the opportunity to listen to the
Prophet's voice and his apostles and the leaders of the church. This
past week has been a good one. Sister Fromgren has quickly settled
into Clapham from her first area and is doing great. The both of us
are working hard to find those who have been prepared to hear the
gospel. We were able to visit both Sally and Brenda, recent converts,
and it's amazing and incredible to see the light of the gospel in them.
They are
both so happy and we know that God is truly a God of miracles. A
miracle that we got to see was a week or two ago. Sister Nguyen and
I had met a lady named Veronica near the bus stop. We got talking to
her and as we did so, she started to tear up because she was feeling
overwhelmed with the things back at home. We felt that this was no
coincidence about running into her. We were able to write down her
number and give her our pass along card as well. A few days later when
Sister Fromgren has just recently arrived, we called her up and she
said that she would be happy to meet us at the library. That very next
day, we called to see if she was on her way and sure enough, she was!
We were able to teach Veronica the message of the restoration and
helped her to see the hope and joy that she can find in her life. She
seemed so happy and it is so worth it to street contact and be a
missionary to help those in need. Heavenly Father had provided us many
miracles this past week. We were able to receive a referral from the
zone leaders about a lady named Naomi and as we met her, she expressed
her desire to be able to learn more and to find out if this was truly
the Lord's church. She had been taught by pervious missionaries before
and wanted now to be taught again. We know that It is all in God's
timing and that He will provide that time when He is ready for his
children to come unto Him. The weekend consisted of us watching
General Conference and we were able to watch it at the Stake Centre in
Wandsworth. There were many people that came and it was fun to see
Sally show and also one of our investigators. We all felt the spirit
strongly and received answers to the questions we were looking for.
Sisters Fromgren and I along with Sister Couper and Sister Meyer were
able to plan to do banner contacting before one of the sessions
started and that was fun. What it is, is a big banner with a picture
of Christ on both sides of it. We needed to set it up in the middle of
a big sidewalk area and it was pretty daunting. It was just Sister
Fromgren and I that was on a big street in South London alone at first
because the other sisters were running a bit late. We looked around us
and debated on where to put the banner. A guy selling flowers and many
of the people looked at us with questioning looks but we reminded
ourselves that we are disciples of Jesus Christ and with that reminder
and a little prayer, we took courage and set up our banner. It was
great to be able to stand by it and people would come to know that we
were representing Christ. We would go up to people too and ask them if
they'd have a desire to follow Him and while many would glance at the
picture, a lot of them shook their heads no and kept walking. It was sad
to see that even with the picture of Christ, people would look and
reject. It made me realize how Christ must have felt when He was
actually here on the earth ministering to the people. The other
sisters showed up and we continued to banner contact for some time and
we were able to find some potentials who wanted to come to learn of
the message we had centered around Christ. After some time, we were able
to put away the banner and head to General Conference to be
spiritually fed. I loved all the talks and treasured every single word
that was said. I loved how President Uchtdorf mentioned that,
(paraphrasing), "If man can take rubble and ruins and make it into a
magnificent building, think about how much more our Heavenly Father
can take His Children and make them something great." I loved that and
it really helped me to see the meaning behind the Lord's work not only
here in this mission but throughout life in general. I love the gospel
and I love my Savior. I know that He is standing next to us wherever
we are, it's up to us to decide if we want to Follow Him or not. Have
a great week!
Sister Burtis