Monday, June 27, 2016

One Soul is Worth It

Hello everyone! Another week comes and goes. I probably should say
first off, that I think the London undergrounds tube are cursed or I
just seem to have bad luck. My companion and I were coming back from a
meeting in Peckham and going to an dinner appointment with a member
and as we did so, the tube got delayed for a very long time. What had
happened was that, the underground train in front of us had broken
down. Not knowing that, Sister Fromgren and I got on the underground
train thinking it would be leaving any second like it normally does.
As we squeezed ourselves through the many people all standing in the
section of the tube, more and more people came in and it was very
tight and become very hot. This time of day just happened to be when
everyone was returning from work and here in London, that means that
there are a lot of people. It took about over 30 minutes until the
underground train in front us was able to depart. Sister Fromgren and
I were relieved to be able to get out of there and we were able to
make it to the dinner appointment with an very understanding member.
The rest of the week seemed to be great overall though. At the
beginning of the week, we were able to visit our investigators and our
recent converts and they are doing great. Ada, Sally, and Brenda
(recent converts) are all very faithful and love to participate in
their callings and as members of the church. Ada wasn't able to attend
church this past week because she wasn't feeling well and I was able
to see a great example of Christ-like love as the Relief Society
president and her husband as well as the Relief Society secretary went
over to visit Ada after church to see how she was doing. Sister
Fromgren and I were also able to go over and visit her with the three
others and it was a great experience. Not only did we visit with her
but the Relief Society President's husband was able to administer the
sacrament to her in her home. I had never had the opportunity of
seeing that before until now and when it took place, the spirit was
felt very strongly. Ada's face lit up as she partook of the bread and
water and it made me happy that Ada who was sad she couldn't attend
church, was still able to feel a part of it. It got me to reflect on
the stories that were told in General Conference and in ensign
articles about how one person was either not passed the bread and
water to or they ran out and how they would still take the time to
bless everything again for that one person so that person would be
able to partake of the sacrament. I am given a strong witness that the
Saviour would do the same for all of us. Even if we were the only ones
to live on this earth, He would have died and suffered for our sins so
we could make it back to Him and our Heavenly Father. Something too I
was able to really learn was how we can be perfected through grace.
Sister Fromgren and I received a call from the elders in our area and
they got told by the Bishop of our ward that we would be speaking in
sacrament. Of course, I was very nervous to have to speak for 10
minutes in front of everyone. I was also bummed because I was close to
serving here in 7 months without being called to speak in sacrament
and I almost made it ;) I was grateful though for the opportunity and
as I reflected on the topic I should speak about, I realized how much
Jesus Christ has done for me throughout my mission. I decided to speak
about being perfected through grace and based my talk around the talk,
"The gift of grace" by President Uchtdorf. It went good and I felt
that I learned a lot more from being able to prepare the talk than
when I actually gave the talk. Overall, the work is really moving
forward. Both Joseph and Begonia came to church and the more that they
come, the more receptive they become to the messages that we share
with them. We are continually praying that they will receive the
answers to their prayers and questions and we have faith that the Lord
will provide. The rest of the week consisted of many meetings for
Sister Fromgren and I went to because starting in July, our mission
won't be having paper bound area books but we will start having online
(iPad) area books. There quite a few trainings on it so as a
leadership, we were given the trainings first and then this upcoming
week, we will be presenting that to the missionaries in our zone. I
love being able to help and keep busy though, as well as planning the
zone training that the zone leaders and Sister Fromgren and I are
putting together. It's a great learning experience and I'm excited to
continue to learn more. I love this work. Though the waves are course
and rocky at times, I've learned that the smoothest waves won't make a
skilled sailor so I know continuing with faith and diligence in this
work is the way to go. I hope all of you have a great week!
Sister Burtis

Monday, June 20, 2016

No Habla Espanol

What a funny and interesting week it has been! Some weeks here on our
missions are just filled with random adventures that we hope to never
forget. We were able to see many miracles as well. One of those
miracles has been teaching Begonia. We were able to actually teach her
this week and then the next day, we helped her with some English as
part of service. She is really good in speaking English but she wants
to improve even more. We had a pot luck dinner last weekend in which
both Begonia and a friend of hers was able to go. A lot of the Clapham
ward is from Brazil, Portugual, Ecuador, ect. so Begonia and her
friend seemed to really enjoy getting to talk to everyone around them
in Spanish and in English. All throughout this week, we have been very
blessed. A miracle we saw also was when we were banner contacting. We
set up the banner in Wimbledon in the storm threatening weather but
throughout the entire time we banner contacted, no rain came. Sister
Fromgren and I were holding the banner from blowing back and forth and
as we did so, Sister Fromgren, on the left side of the banner, got
talking to a lady with her child. They continued their conversation
next to the banner discussing the Gospel and as they were doing so, a
lady named Harriet approached me and asked us if we were the Mormons
like Donny Osmond. I smiled, explained who we were, and got talking to
her. At the end of our conversation, Harriet inquired about a Book of
Mormon and I gave her one. After she had left, I turned back to Sister
Fromgren who was getting done talking to the other lady and finishing
writing her number down. We looked at each other and knew that we were
in the midst of the season of miracles. Another miracle that we saw
was at the end of our accounting, our district leader turned to Preach
My Gospel and read from page 166 under the companion study activity
and read: "Identify all the former investigators (and he included
potentials as well) that you have and make plans to contact as many as
possible within the next 24 hours." Taking this challenge upon us but
seeing that we weren't home at the time with our area book, we started
looking through the phone with all the potentials there. Some names
were familiar, others were not. As we started from the top, we called
and some of them didn't answer. We continued with a determined faith
and called guys named Devon, Eddie, and Henry. All three of them
answered their phones, seeming very interested, and we were able to
set up return appointments with them this week.  Not only did miracles
happen but many funny things did too. Some things that took place was
that Sister Fromgren and I were on the bus on the way to Nina's, a
member, for a dinner appointment. We got off one bus stop too early to
her home and suddenly found ourselves lost. Just as we started to
search for her house, heavy rain came down threatening to destroy my
IPad which had my map on it, and lightning like we had never seen came
down. I think I've come to discover my phobia for lightning storms
because I was praying so hard that lightning wouldn't hit me or my
companion. After several screams of terror as we saw a flash of blue
and a loud thunder that followed, we finally saw a familiar sight of
Nina's home and her standing outside waving her arms and beckoning us
in. Relieved, we were able to finally step indoors in the dry, warm
building. Another funny thing that happened to us was the day of
Begonia's sister, Celis's, baptism. The Spanish elders had been
teaching Celis for some time and we were then able to attend the
Spanish ward baptism and go with Begonia to see if we could answer any
of her questions as she saw her sister baptized. It was nice to know
that Sister Fromgren and I weren't the only ones who didn't know
Spanish because President Gubler and Sister Gubler were there as well
to show their support. Despite the whole baptism service being in
Spanish and the hymns as well, it was incredible to feel the same
spirit resonate throughout the room. I loved being able to pick up
different tiny words of Spanish throughout the service and was
grateful to have studied Spanish for two years in high school. After
the baptism, Sister Fromgren and I headed to the tube station. We were
heading back for lunch and as we got on the tube that would take us
back to our area where our flat was, the announcer came on, saying,
"Please switch to the other tube across the other side. This one will
not going this direction." Sister Fromgren and I might have been
listening to it but we were talking to each other and it didn't
register to us that we needed to get off. Just as the announcer
finished saying the last words, Sister Fromgren and I suddenly with a
look of shock realized what the announcement was saying. We lunged for
the door of the tube (underground train) but it was too late. A bit
worried, we looked around and realized we were the only ones in that
particular part of the tube. Look over to the next part of the tube,
we saw two people sitting looking at their phones. That was a relief
to know that we weren't the only ones on the tube. We looked both to
the right and to the left of us outside the  window but all we could
see was darkness because we were passing through underground to who
knows where. Finally an announcer came on and announced that this tube
would be going back around to the station that we originally at.
Sister Fromgren and I sighed with relief as we saw light and saw the
opening to the station where people were standing at the platform
waiting to take the tube. We got off and got on the right tube and
arrived safely home. It's been a week filled with many things to learn
and to grown from and yet, also fun adventures as well. Something that
really stood out to me was to never let the little things in life pass
by. Always smile, laugh, and remember the times you have felt joy and
happiness and they are they things you will remember most. Sure, there
is opposition in the work, but that opposition makes me realize the
good things in life. I love you all, have a fantastic week!
Sister Burtis

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Choice to be Happy and Successful

The weeks are passing but yet so much happens. I love missionary work for this reason and love to be able to reflect back on the experiences that my companion and I have had. Last Saturday rolled around and Sister Fromgren and I nervously anticipated the moves email to let us know If I or her would be moving. The email finally came and....I'm staying! Both Sister Fromgren and I were happy to be able to continue to serve with each other. We have grown to be such great friends and companions and it's like that for maybe most companionships after going through missionary work together. I'm happy to be able to continue to serve here in Clapham and with the ward. I know that the Lord has great plans for this area and I can't wait to witness the miracles that the Lord has in store for this mission. Last Monday, the Downend sisters, Sister Hamann and Sister Morales, came and stayed with us prior to the next day when we would be going to the Hyde Park Chapel to see Dallin H. Oaks. Sister Hamann was my second companion and continued to stay in Redruth (my first area) when I left and so it was fun to be updated on how everything was. The four of us sisters had a good time talking and catching up to see how everything was. The next morning, we woke up early, got ready, and took a bus to the Hyde Park Chapel. We were some of the first missionaries to get to the chapel so as we got seated, Sister Fromgren and I along with some of the missionaries we were with got to sit three rows from the front and felt very blessed to have been able to see Dallin H. Oaks closer. Prior to his meeting, there were missionaries from the London Mission there and it was a fun reunion to see all the missionaries from my MTC group. It had been about a year since I've seen them and it was fun to see the change that they have experienced and to see how they were doing. Being at the Hyde Park Chapel brought me back memories of last year when it was only day 2 of myself being in the mission field and I remember how daunting and scary it was to be around a group of missionaries that I didn't know. This time it was completely different. I saw many missionaries I had either served around with or had known over this past year and it was fun to see them again. As the meeting started, we not only got to hear from Dallin H. Oaks but also from his wife, Sister Oaks, our mission president and his wife: President and Sister Gubler, the London Mission president and his wife, and also President and Sister Keiron. The whole time, I felt the spirit strongly and many of my questions, on how I could be an even better missionary, were answered. A highlight too was when all the missionaries including me got to shake Dallin H. Oaks' hand, and also the hand of those that were with him. Some key things that he mentioned to us that stood out to me was: Opposition is necessary. It stretches us and helps us to grow. I loved when we were to think about David and Goliath. We were likened unto David and how we all have Goliaths of the world that we are fighting. Something too that was said was that this mission in which we serve may be difficult and discouraging at times when it seems like no one will talk to us and that our chances to baptize will be slim. Elder oaks proceeded to say that Baptism is the result of faith unto repentance. Teaching repentance is what we are asked to do and baptism will be a result of that. The Lord asks that we are His messengers and that we serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. Will we allow the agency and actions of others to rob us of our choice to believe, choice to be happy, and the choice to feel successful and of worth? The Lord will never ask us to do something we can't accomplish. If others reject, we must move forward as missionaries and continue to present this message to others so they can exercise their agency in choosing the Gospel. As we do this, we are fulfilling God's plan. :) After the meeting, Sister Fromgren and I traveled back to our area and taught recent converts and an investigator. The following day, Sister Fromgren and I traveled early in the morning with the Zone Leaders to Mission Leadership Conference (MLC). This time, we also had the district leaders there with us from each zone and we discussed how we could move the mission forward based upon what we learned from Dallin H. Oaks. We received some great revelation and as a council, came up with different ways on how to further the work along. That meeting actually ended up starting from 9am and ended at 7:30pm which normally doesn't happen. Usually it ends around 3-4pm but it was well worth it to sit in the council and to discuss the missionary work. We were able to come up with how we can implement the mission training plan and how we can accomplish goals that we have as a mission. The rest of the week, Sister Fromgren and I were blessed to be able to teach Joseph and some other new investigators this week. Begona, an investigator, who is from Peru is doing very well and loves coming out to church. She is working to strengthen her testimony about Joseph Smith and we know that the Lord will speak to her and give her that answer that she is looking for. Some miracles that we were able to see is: Mathew and Ruben. Mathew was a self-referral. He had walked into the Hyde Park Chapel and was curious to know how the 12 apostles in our church worked and how they were called. He referred himself and we went to go and reach out to him. His home was a bit farther away from where we lived but we tried several times to stop by and we had no luck. This past Sunday, we stopped by and his girlfriend answered the door. She explained to us that if we took a bus to the town, we could find him in his shop. Counting this to be a great miracle, we hopped on the bus and found the shop that Mathew worked in. We walked in and a guy, middle-aged, approached us. I'm sure he assumed that we were customers but then saw that we had Book of Mormons in our hands and smiled. We asked him if he was Mathew and he shook his head yes. As we got talking to him, we asked him if we could come back and teach him and his response surprised us. "How about in an hour's time, you can come back and share this message?" We said we could and then left to do some finding in that hour's time. We were blessed to be able to call a member to come with us for this teach and this member was able to go! All in all, we got to teach Mathew that very same day that we met him and it was a great lesson. He is very intellectual in the scriptures and asked some good questions and when we explained it to him, he shook his head in understanding and said, "that makes sense." His girlfriend, who is from Russia, had been listening to this message the entire time that we had been there and at the very end, she asked us, "Will we see our loved ones again?" Sister Fromgren and I were a bit surprised by the question because Mathew's girlfriend hadn't said so much during the time we were teaching. She continued to say how one of her siblings, at a younger age, had passed away, and that she wanted to find the answer because all the other churches didn't seem to help her with her question. Ruben, another investigator, who we just recently taught for the first time, was a miracle as well! We had received a text from a member of a different ward and letting us know that she had a friend who would be interested. We gave Ruben (the referral) a call and the very next day, we got to teach him! My heart is filled with gratitude for the opportunity I have to be able to teach these precious children of God. This Gospel is so simple, so great, and I treasure each moment that I have here on my mission. Though some days don't bring exactly what we were looking for, they are there to help us grow. I hope all of you have a great week. Find those who are ready to receive the gospel and share with them the sweet message of our Saviour and Redeemer. I know that this can bring much hope and light in their life.
Sister Burtis 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A seed planted many years ago began to grow

Hello everyone! Wow! This past week has yet again been filled with so
many miracles! I know I sent many last week but it just doesn't seem
to end. The time is passing by quickly and here we are already at the
end of this transfer. By this Saturday, I will be finding out if I'm
staying in the area, going, or training. Any letters that you want to
send should be sent to the mission home address just until I find out
if I move. If I do, I'll let you know my new address. I'm really
looking forward to this week. Tomorrow, all of the England London
South Mission will be traveling to the Hyde Park Chapel and joining
with the England London Mission to hear Elder Dallin H. Oaks speak to
us. I'm excited to be able to hear the message that this apostle of
the Lord has for us as missionaries. I recall the last time I was at
the Hyde Park Chapel, it was only day 2 of being in the mission field
and we were going to see Jeffrey R. Holland speak to us. I remember
how I didn't know any of the missionaries around me except for the
missionaries in my MTC group but this year will be fun to be able to
see all the missionaries that I recognise over this past year that
I've met. We have the Downend sisters staying with us, Sister Hamann
and Sister Morales. It helps them to stay with us so they won't have
to travel as far. Sister Hamann was actually my second companion so
it'll be a fun reunion and nice to see how she is doing and her
companion who she is training. This past week was filled with many
great experiences. One of those being the opportunity to teach our
friend, Joseph. Joseph is progressing well, loves the lessons, and is
reading the Book of Mormon. We invited him to come to church with us
and he did! He was able to meet the Bishop, talk to the members, and
go to all three hours of church. Many of the brothers in the ward
mentioned how Joseph made some good comments on the lesson in
Priesthood class and this is only his first time coming to church.
Joseph is truly a miracle! Sister Fromgren and I found him while
prayerfully considering who we should reach out to while looking
through the area book. We saw Joseph's name and it stood out to us so
we called him and he was interested! An amazing thing too is that the
two missionaries that had originally taught him which was about two
years ago are still in the area. One of them is still serving his
mission and one of them, believe or not, is actually in this area as a
member now. He moved into this area for work and family and so we let
him know that Joseph would be coming to church and he was excited. On
Sunday, this previous missionary and his former investigator were
reunited. It's amazing how a seed that was planted many years back
starts to grow now and that this former missionary got to see the
fruit of his labors. While we may not see the results immediately, God
always prepares a way for His miracles to be brought to pass. Another
tender mercy of the Lord was Begonia. Begonia had been originally
attending the Kennington Ward (Spanish speaking) but then wanted to
move to an English speaking ward so she could better herself in the
language. She is not a member at this time but loves the church and
loves going every Sunday. We have a great privilege to start teaching
Begonia this week which we are very excited for! I love this work! It is
truly hastening on. Thank you for all your support! I hope all of you
have a great week!
Sister Burtis