Monday, May 30, 2016

A Flood of Miracles

 Exploring the south bank of London

 Just went to tower bridge with all the lovely sisters in the zone! Great
fun! :)

After a district meeting, all of us missionaries were privileged to
have lunch with Nina (a convert of 3 years). She makes some amazing
African food! Photos included are of us and the missionaries and Nina
included in the picture with us sisters.

What an remarkable week! So many stories to include but I don't know
where to begin. Missionary work isn't easy at times, in fact, it can
be quite tiring. I've learned though the importance of perseverance
and trust. Sister Fromgren and I have been finding and finding,
finding and finding, but no one seemed to be really interested. This
past week, things started to change. We tried different finding
techniques, we exercised our faith to be even stronger, and we
trusted. With that and with God's timing, we have been able to see
many miracles. Here are a few we saw this past week:
1. Last Monday evening, the family history coordinator, Sister Helen
(who is amazing with family history) invited Sally, Ada, and Brenda
(recent converts) to her home and invited us as well. There we had
some food and helped Ada, Sally, and Brenda with their family history.
To see all three of the amazing recent converts doing their family
history seemed to be a dream come true. I love family history and my
passion for it has increased even more since I've been out on my
mission. The miracle of seeing Ada, Sally, and Brenda preparing their
own family history names to take to the temple was something I'll
never forget. This week too, they will be going to do baptisms for the
dead, all together! It's true just as Joseph Smith says in D&C 128:15
about Family History. "And now, my dearly beloved brethren and
sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to
the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as
pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and
essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers--that
they without us cannot be made perfect--neither can we without our
dead be made perfect."
2. We had a dinner appointment with a potential. Just as we asked this
potential investigator if we could bring a member with us, she
excitedly said yes. We were in line to have a good teaching
appointment and to get a new investigator to share the gospel with. As
we met with the member, we got to this potential's home, knocked, but
no answer. Sister Fromgren and I looked at the door, thinking perhaps
staring at it a little longer would open the door ;) , and then we
looked back at each other. We knocked again, no answer. Third time,
nothing. We called her phone twice and got no reply with that either.
We felt sad that we had a member with us and that this person didn't
end up being there. We sat on the steps of the stairs that led to the
door and decided we would wait a minute so or more and see if this
lady would show. A bit bummed because we were so excited to teach, we
silently all said a prayer in our hearts. Just as we waited, a phone
call came from the zone leaders. At first we thought, "Oh, it's
probably something that they need from us perhaps like help with zone
call, ect." We picked up the phone and tried with all our might to
sound cheerful. The best words uttered from another missionary is, "We
got a referral for you." And so they did, just at that very moment
that we needed it most. Heavenly Father does truly provide when He
sees that we are doing our best. :)
3. On another particular day, Sister Fromgren and I were doing an
exchange with the Mitcham sisters. Sister Lulab (from the Philippines)
and I were together and we went to go and contact a potential named
Nancy. We had tried stopping by Nancy's several times before but
whenever we rang the buzzer that linked to her flat. No reply. We
tried several other flats to see if they would unlock the gate so we
could knock on Nancy's door but no luck there either. This particular
morning, we said a prayer and asked if there was some way we could
talk to Nancy. We rang her doorbell but no reply. We continued to pray
in our hearts, but no reply the second time. We waited for a tiny bit
and a delivery man was coming out of the gate and just as the gate was
about to shut, Sister Lulab and I quickly snuck in. We knocked on
Nancy's door and she answered! She was very interested in a Book of
Mormon and even asked us if we could have a return appointment. What a
4. Using the area book. We have an area book with forms from years
back that date since 2007-2008. There are a lot of forms in there so
we decided to go through the area book and to prayfully select a few
people who had been taught before. We came across a guy who had been
taught several years ago and felt prompted to call him. As we did so,
he answered and said he'd be willing to meet with us. We got to teach
him the very next day about the restoration and the lesson went great!
5. One more amazing miracle: Sister Fromgren and I had been praying
about a street to knock and felt strongly about a particular street
near where we lived. We went there and saw a man walking towards us.
Deciding to stop and talk to him, we introduced who we were but he
mentioned to us that he wasn't interested. We replied "thank you and
have a nice day." but he must have had a bad day or something because
he suddenly started swearing at us and seemed really angry. We
continued walking without looking back and praying that he could have
a better day than the one he was currently having. We got knocking
some doors but no one seemed interested. No one. Most would look at
us, say that they don't believe in God, and close the door. Sister
Fromgren turned and asked me if we should start knocking the other
side of the street. I said perhaps but maybe there was so much
opposition because we were close to finding the one who was prepared.
So we continued to knock and about 4 or 5 doors down, we found our
miracle! Her name was Michelle. We had knocked on her door and she
looked out her top window and asked what we wanted. We explained who
we were and she told us that she would be right down. Seconds later,
she opened the door and said those magical and miraculous words, "Come
In." We got talking to Michelle about the Book of Mormon and
explaining who we were. She kept asking us if we were Christians and
we reassured her that we were. At the end of the conversation,
Michelle asked us something that I had never been asked before. She
said, "Will you do me a favor? Will you pray for me tonight that my
eyes may be opened and that I can understand the Book of Mormon?" We
shook our heads yes and smiled. We knew that this was such a tender
mercy given from God and that He truly provides.
The season of miracles is truly here. I feel so blessed to be a part
of this work! Love you all!
Sister Burtis

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Recognizing the Blessings of the Gospel

 Right before dinner, Nina laid out grapes for us to we had
some fun with that :)
 Millennium Bridge

 We went to eastern zone conference consisting of the Wandsworth Zone,
Crawley Zone, and Maidstone Zone. Several missionaries were randomly
selected to speak for 3-5 minutes and I was one of the chosen ones. It
was went good and overall the Zone Conference went wonderful! Elder
Herbertson talked to us and emphasised the importance of having the
spirit in the work and also being true to ourselves and contributing
to the work with our talents, personalities, ect. Love you all!
Sister Burtis

 Mushrooms in our flat that we didn't know about... Guess that'll
provide us our food for the week  🍄🍄 😷😆 See blog for more details!
Extra fun one...knocking doors adventures :)
Date:  Mon 05/23/16 08:37 AM
The weeks are passing by rapidly but yet bring so many adventures!
This past week brings many stories and many great things to learn and
to grow from! Our week started out with Sister Fromgren and I going to
the London Bridge and the Millennium Bridge. We started from the
London Bridge and walked along the south bank of London near the River
Thames and it was very fun. We got to sightsee for a bit and see the
Shakespeare's Globe as well. When we were looking at the London Bridge
for a bit, we heard from a distance, "Hello Sister Missionaries!" Both
Sister Fromgren and I turned and saw a younger lady around our age and
her mom. They happened to be both from Utah and the younger lady was a
return missionary who served in Leeds and was now coming back to
England to explore for a bit with her family. It was fun seeing people
who recognised us and who were from Utah. I'm not too often meeting
Americans over here in South London. Sister Fromgren and I toured the
Millennium Bridge after the London Bridge which was very fun. It's
very narrow and really fun to walk on. Only people can walk on it and
no cars. If anyone has seen the 6th Harry Potter movie where the bad
guys (can't remember the word for them) become invisible and break
apart the bridge...I think it's that bridge that they tear down. So
that was fun overall to be able to explore the south side of London.
The rest of the week consisted of a lot of finding again but we found
some great miracles and met some great people. The first one was
Collin. We went to go teach our recent convert, Sally, and when we
were over at her house, there was a guy named Collin fixing her
washer. We got talking to him and asked him if he had a belief in God
and he did. He had a spiritual experience to help him recognize that
God was in his life and he shared it with us. We likened his story to
a story from the Book of Mormon and he seemed interested in what we
shared with him. Sally, being the great missionary that she is,
invited him to come along to church and he accepted! He didn't end up
showing just yet but we have faith that God has a great plan for
Collin. We hope to teach him this week. :) Another story came to help
us realize that not only are we looking for others to share the Gospel
with but they are looking for us. The miracle happened when we went to
contact YSA from the less-active YSA list. On the way, we saw a
younger lady (named Venesha) walking towards us and we stopped and
talked to her. She expressed to us that she was having a bad day and
not only did we recognize that this was no coincidence but she did as
well. The following day, she texted us saying: "I was so upset when I
met you both yesterday and I do believe in signs so hopefully
something wonderful will come of this." I learned that we may never
know who God has prepared for us to find unless we talk to them. When
we have an eye of faith and seek diligently for God's children, we
will find those who are prepared. Many miracles took place this week.
We have been able to visit members and set goals with them for how we
can further the missionary work and it's going great! Something that
we do before setting the goals with members is we have a board and we
have them list off the blessings they have received from the Gospel.
As they do this, they come to recognize how blessed they are and how
much our loving Heavenly Father has given to them. As we asked a
particular older member to do this, she went to say, "If I could write
a book on the blessings I've received, I think I'd fill a library."
That's something that really stood out to me and I know that as we
take the time to think about the blessings we've received, we will
realize just how much our Heavenly Father has given us. He's provided
us salvation which is free through His beloved son, Jesus Christ (2
Nephi 26:23-25). After listing off the blessings of the Gospel, what
we did is we had the members think back to the time of the Restoration
and to the question that Joseph Smith had of, "Which church is right?"
We asked them to imagine if Joseph Smith didn't ask that question or
if he chose to never act on the scripture that he found in James 1:5.
One simple act led to the great blessings we have today. Sister
Fromgren and I erased each blessing one by one and the look of the
members' faces showed their recognition in realising the blessings
they have in their life and how grateful they were to have them. The
love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are perfect and that is why
they have provided us a perfect Gospel. I'm so grateful for this
church and its teachings. I can't wait to continue to learn more! :)
Part of our missions include crazy stories so here is a crazy story.
We had our flat inspection today and the senior couple was coming over
to inspect it. Well there are two bathrooms in our flat and one of
them was actually flooding water (little by Little) but we didn't
know. This tiny bathroom had previously flooded a while back when a
senior couple was living here but the maintenance got it taken care of
and then missionaries moved in. Well, this morning we saw this black
kind of dust of the carpet and both Sister Fromgren and I were really
confused. It almost seemed to be black soot from a fireplace. We slid
over the small bedside table that was next to the wall and to our
shock and dismay.....guess what had been growing there..mushrooms and
mold! Apparently the wall next to that tiny bathroom had been fixed
but was tiny bit by tiny bit still making the carpet underneath the
wall damp. Since there was a bedside table with only a few feet
between that and the wall, we never saw it.  The senior couple was not
happy about that but they understood that it was
the flat and not us. They had actually lived in the flat before us and
they mentioned to us that it had flooded before but they had never
seen mushrooms growing there up until now! It's all taken care of
though and the senior couple was good to call the maintenance people,
so it is ok....we won't die and we are safe :) It just goes to show
that sometimes, we can have the craziest things happen....even
mushrooms growing through a wall. See pictures I sent. :) Love you
all! Have a great week!
Sister Burtis

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Effort in Trying Helps Us to Grow

Hello Everyone! The month of May seems to speed up even quicker now
than ever before. It's been a pretty long week but a good one as well.
Many things occurred and trying to remember them all is a bit
challenging but looking back, we got a lot done. Most of this week, if
not all of this week, consisted of knocking and finding. Often times,
Sister Fromgren and I are sitting and pondering during planning in the
evening times and discussing where to go next to find the prepared.
This previous week was moves week and during this week, there no
meetings or trainings or anything so it seemed to be longer than
usual. The only crazy part about our week was when we went to Brixton.
We were helping a lady who is not a member but knows a lot of the
members from the ward and providing service for her. On the way back,
we saw all these people with signs saying, "We are all sinners!",
"Jesus is the only way!", "Be saved by grace!", ect. These people
holding these signs were dancing along to pop music in the middle of
the sidewalk and it was interesting. I've learned here on my mission
that there are many different types of missionary work throughout the
different religions. Apart from that, throughout this week, Sister
Fromgren and I have been taking time to really plan effectively and
counsel with the Lord where we needed to be or what we needed to do to
find those who are prepared. We did indeed see many miracles from this
and we trust in God and His timing. We know that as long as we are
doing our part, He will do His. The both of us have felt ourselves
growing and learning a lot from these finding experiences. Our desire
to find someone to teach is large and we are willing to do all it
takes to find them who are prepared. I often feel like a little kid
looking up at the counter and there on the counter is a big delicious
slice of chocolate cake. The only problem for this little kid is she
can't reach the counter because she's too short. That doesn't stop her
though. She stands on her tippy toes and reaches but it doesn't work.
She grabs a few pillows and tries to stand on them but they topple
over. A bit defeated and letting out a long exaggerated sigh, she
shrugs her shoulders, and looks around her. She will do everything in
her power to try with all her might to reach up to get this cake and
she knows that her efforts will be well worth it. She suddenly
remembers a small chair that she plays with and runs to go and grab
it. With a few attempts to carefully climb it, she finally steps onto
the chair, and her two little hands, grabs the long awaited chocolate
cake. She knows that her trying made this cake even more delicious
than even before if she would have been able to get it on the first
try. It's exactly how my companion and I feel with finding new
investigators. Heavenly Father could give us an exact location or
address to where people are prepared and ready for baptism but I do
reflect and recall that without our trying or putting in effort, we
wouldn't learn. Sister Fromgren and I have seen great miracles this
past week though. We were blessed to meet a lady named Jessica as we
were finding. We had been going to contact a potential and heard a
lady talking to her baby son right outside her door. We approached her
and with a  smile, introduced ourselves and who we were. Jessica was
amazing and very nice as we introduced to her the Book of Mormon. We
were able to leave her with a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and give her
our pass along card. The very next day, we followed up to see if she
read the pamphlet and ended up talking to her for a good amount of
time. I am so grateful for the work. It is truly a blessing. Something
else that we got to do is work a lot with the members. We have
something here in England, called the Europe Area Plan. This plan
enables members to set goals to 1. Bring a friend 2. Become
spiritually and temporally self-reliant & 3. Find an Ancestor. It's a
plan so simple yet gives the members the opportunity to set good
goals. As missionaries, we are helping the members to set goals for
how they can do missionary work and then we follow up with the members
on how they are doing with those goals. It's has been really effective
and the members' excitement for the work has increased. If there are
missionaries where you live now, I invite you to have them over, and
to ask them what they need help with. Whether it's having FHE or a
lesson for an investigator at your home, going finding with them,
seeking for referrals for missionaries, ect. Members are key to
missionary work. Together with missionaries, the work can truly
hasten. :) This week has been truly great! I love you all! Have a
beautiful week!
Sister Burtis

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Determined to find the prepared

The sisters of the Wandsworth Zone
What a beautiful week! The Lord blessed England or maybe it's just
this area, with lots and lots of sunshine. There were moments where I
thought, "It is getting super hot." A week ago though, you would not
have heard those words coming from my lips. I guess that is the
typical England weather though. We never know the outcome of weather.
I think that it probably why weather is one of the most commonly
talked about topics among the people here. I reflect back on this week
and think about the things that happened. The first thing that comes
to my mind is finding. We are currently in the midst of doing lots and
lots of finding but thinking more and more about it, there were lots
of many adventures throughout the week and many tender mercies of the
Lord. At the beginning of the week, Sister Fromgren and I were blessed
to be able to go to MLC (mission leadership conference) and hear a
member of the seventy come and speak to us. It was Elder Herbertson
(who is originally from Scotland). He's a great guy and he has such an
enthusiastic way of presenting things. He is very funny and it's great
to hear his Scottish accent too. Elder Herbertson and the rest of us
first did a study council about a few verses in 3 Nephi and then we
discussed as a mission what we could do to further the work along.
Afterwards, Sister Herbertson and Elder Herbertson spoke to us to
conclude. Something that really stood out to me was when Elder
Herbertson said, "Our lives will be but a second to live but we will
have forever to look back on them." It is so true. Our lives are so
short compared to eternity and it helped me to ponder about how
precious our time is here on the earth. Are we living it the way that
Heavenly Father intended for us to live it or do we overlook the time
we have and later come to regret those opportunities that we missed?
Overall, MLC was very spiritual and I really enjoyed it. The following
day, Sister Fromgren and I were waking up, getting ready, and doing
our studies. We need to organise some things in the morning for a
council meeting so we didn't finish getting completely ready with our
hair and all but we figured during lunch after Sister Fromgren's
language study, we could use some time to finish getting ready. Well
we thought wrong. :) Just as companion study was finishing, we got a
call from Sally, our recent convert, saying that this particular
morning was the only morning she could meet with us this week. Sister
Fromgren and I looked at each other, back at the phone, and then back
at each other. We agreed to meet with Sally but let's just say that we
almost looked like we had just rolled out of our beds. Luckily Sally
didn't take too much notice and after the lesson, we had lunch and
finished getting ready. It taught us a good lesson to always be ready
for the unexpected opportunities to teach and it was quite the
adventure to have. That evening, after a long day of street contacting
and finding, Sister Fromgren and I were heading to go and contact a
less-active. I had saved the map and address in my iPad but as I went
to go grab the iPad out of my bag, I realized I had forgotten it. We
were wondering what we could do at this time because without the
address, we didn't know where to go. We bowed our heads and said a
prayer for guidance and direction and felt impressed to knock some
doors. Throughout this week, we had been praying to find someone who
would be intererested in the message and so as we prayed to ask where
we should knock, we also prayed that we could find someone who would
be prepared or ready to receive this message. As we started to knock,
the few first doors remained closed with no one either home or willing
to open the door. Sister Fromgren and I had a few doors knocked and
then knocked on the next door. Georgia, a lady from Dorset, opened up
her door, smiled, and we introduced ourselves. As she listened to what
we had to say, she seemed to nod in agreement. She mentioned to us
that she had been looking for a church to go to and that she was
interested in learning more. After we said a prayer with her and said
goodbye, Sister Fromgren and I walked towards the tube station beaming
and smiling. God truly does provide. Of course, there will be times
where things don't work out the way we want them  to but if we trust,
if we do what He wants done, then it's in the hands of Him who knows
what is best for us. I was blessed to be able to speak to my family
this weekend through Skype on Mother's Day and had a wonderful time
seeing them and seeing how they are doing. It's amazing how much can
change but yet how much can remain the same. To end, I'll share this
story with you... so towards the end of the week, Sister Fromgren and
I were to go on a teach with a member, Brother Cooke, (He's in the
Mormon Message: A Book of Mormon Story) but the appointment fell
through. Unsure of what to do at that moment, we asked Brother Cooke
if he'd be willing to come knock on some doors with us. The three of
us prayed for inspiration to where we needed to be and started along a
long road. After knocking on the first few doors, a man opened up the
door and as soon as he saw who we were, he mentioned to us that he
wasn't too interested. Brother Cooke with his great attitude and
enthusiasm for missionary work introduced himself and asked this man
what would hold him back from knowing God. This man replied saying
that there wasn't evidence to prove this. Brother Cooke in return
said, "What if I were to tell you that God spoke to me?" Brother Cooke
meaning through the Holy Ghost but to this guy, it sounded like we
were all crazy. With his thick English accent, he stated: "I think
your completely mental....I think your completely insane." Well,
that's not the first time that someone has said that to us. Brother
Cooke took it well, smiled, shook this guy's hand, and said, "It's
great to meet you." There will be people who oppose our views, there
will be those who continue to say things against us but hey, it just
takes a smile, a "thank you for your time", and a skip and Spring In
your step to continue to make your day a good one. It's a great lesson
that I learned from this member. The work is hastening. Sister
Fromgren and I are determined to find those who are prepared and we
know that the Lord is walking with us. I love you all! Have a great
Sister Burtis

Monday, May 2, 2016

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things..."

A week filled with miracles. It's not to say that there wasn't
opposition though but looking back, Sister Fromgren and I have been
truly blessed with seeing the hand of the Lord in this work. Starting
out the week was not easy. We contacted many of our potentials but
most of them ended up not being home. Some of our moments of
opposition took place when we were finding. Something I've recently
been trying to work on even more is to talk to everyone I see. Often
times it can seem as daunting even when being out on the mission for a
while. Thankfully, both Sister Fromgren and I have been able to
motivate and encourage each other. If I didn't have a companion to
testify with me or to help me, I wouldn't know what to do. As we got
on a bus, I sat down next to a lady and started sharing the gospel.
Often times, people are listening or people aren't listening. Some
though aren't too keen on us sharing the gospel with them. After a few
words of expressing concern and annoyance about me sharing the gospel
with her, she asked if I could go away and find someone else to talk
to about this religion. I thanked her through a forced smile, got up,
and went to sit next to Sister Fromgren. I felt like a puppy with its
tail down as it runs away with sadness after its owner yells at it. As
I sat down next to Sister Fromgren, we both looked at each other, and
then both looked to see who could be the next person to talk to. Of
course, there will be opposition in all things and sure we will feel
down when we talk to people who reject us but that is the beauty of
having Christ at our side. He is there to tell us that it is going to
be ok, that we can keep trying, and we feel Him promising that He will
help us find those who are prepared. I have often reflected at how
much I have grown and I realize that at the beginning of my mission,
if something like that were to happen, I would perhaps be in tears, or
think to myself, "How can she say no to us? We are disciples of Jesus
Christ. Isn't she suppose to be saying yes?" I've come to a better
understanding that people do have their agency and they can decide if
they want to follow Christ. Our president has often said, "When you do
missionary work, you are fulfilling God's plan by allowing others to
be given a choice to whether or not they want to accept the Gospel."
The rest of the week proved to be filled with miracles. We went on an
exchange with the Mitcham sisters, Sister Meyer and Sister Couper,
which was really fun and we met so many great potentials. This is our
third exchange in a row but Sister Fromgren and I have learned so much
from these 6 sisters that we are able to serve beside with this past
transfer. Something that was crazy is that Sister Meyer and I were on
the exchange and as we were contacting some less-actives, we saw a
flash of bright blue in the sky. Seconds later, a huge loud crack of
thunder. For a second, I thought I would have died that evening. We
silently prayed that we would be kept safe and that no lightning would
be out to get us. As Sister Meyer and I got walking back to the flat
in the rain, we were surprised to find slush/snow on the cars. It was
a whole lot of different types of weather in just a couple of hours
but it made the exchange even more adventurous. Well, Friday evening
rolled around and it had been a day that Sister Fromgren and I were
very excited for! Not only us but also the Elders serving in the same
ward as us were excited. Sister Fromgren and I had our dear friend Ada
getting baptized Friday evening and the elders had a friend named Ali
who was getting baptized as well. Since we were in the same ward and
had the weekend planned for both baptisms, we decided to do both of
the baptisms in the same evening. It was so fun and so spiritual. Many
members of the Clapham Common ward came out and supported both Ada and
Ali. As we got preparing for the baptism and printing out the
baptismal programs, the elders-Elder Rammell and Elder Hulleman asked
us, "Uh, sisters, do you guys have a blow dryer?" We were a bit
surprised by the question but replied that we did. Apparently Ali (the
guy getting baptized) needed it for his big Afro. His hair is really
cool and he has one big Afro and so after the baptism, he would need
to blow dry it. He ended up not using it though because his hair
didn't end up getting too wet. It was quite eventful leading up to the
baptism. As Ada, our friend, got baptized, she was smiling and beaming
and stood there after being immersed in the water for a few moments.
After the baptism, she explained to us that she felt so happy and so
good. It is a day I won't forget. There are many moments of
opposition, tiredness, and fear but it can never overcome the mercy of
God and His grace and love towards us. It is so worth it to see a
daughter of God entering into the waters of baptism to follow our
Saviour, Jesus Christ. "If ever there be opposition in your life..",
it's like President Gubler told us missionaries, " must because
we are doing something right." Heavenly Father will always be there
for us, we just need to turn to Him and He can help us. I love you
all! Have a wonderful week!
Sister Burtis