Monday, July 11, 2016

Relieved to feel free from the darkness

I hope everyone has been able to have a great week! Summers always
seem to bring a sense of adventure and fun! For some who may not know,
within a matter of a phone call from my mission president, President
Gubler, Sister Fromgren and I were told at the beginning of last week
that I would be training and that this new missionary would be coming
in the next day to serve with us in a tri here in  Clapham for three
weeks and then this new missionary and I  would be traveling to
Brighton to serve there. It's quite some unexpected yet adventurous
and exciting news! That next day, Sister Fromgren and I went to (what
would be my last) Mission Leadership Council and we were able to
discuss the importance of the work, how we could use the mission
training plan better, and how we as a mission could do to accomplish
what the Lord wants done. Towards the end of the meeting, my heart
started beating a bit faster, I got a bit more nervous, and knew
within the next moments, I would be meeting my new companion. After
MLC  concluded, President Gubler had the two new missionaries come
into the room, an Elder from Thailand and our new sister from China,
and we were able to welcome them. As soon as I saw Sister Wang
(pronounced like Wong), I felt that this was right and that I would be
learning many great things from her. I was right about that. Sister
Wang, though not knowing all English words, knows a good amount and is
very smart and willing to learn. She is so humble and so sweet and
very caring. Being in a tri has been such an adventure. You would
think maybe it's hard because you now have three heads deciding
instead of two but rather we seemed more solidified in our decisions
and feel more confident on the streets. The day after Sister Wang came
into the area, we (Sister Fromgren and I) needed to go to DLC and
present what we learned at MLC to the district leaders. Sister Wang
was a bit confused at why there were so many meetings and I don't
blame her. We ended up having a lot of dinner appointments too her
first couple of days that she was here. It all went well though and as
the days proceeded, things got easier for Sister Wang and she is doing
great adjusting to the missionary life. Something that was fun too was
that one of the members took us out to a Korean restaurant and that is
something I haven't done actually since I've been on my mission. They
cook the food in front of you and it was really cool. Sister Wang was
able to show me the different types of food and how to eat the certain
meal that we ordered and that was fun. We were also able to do some
service for one of our sister missionaries who just recently got
injured and it was fun to be able to go and surprise her and see how
she was doing. I've recognised that we are the most happiest when
forget ourselves and serve others. It's something I want to continue
to apply all throughout my life. This week brought adventures and
learning opportunities but also a few oppositions for us as well but
we didn't let it bring us down. An investigator we had been teaching
suddenly stopped having contact with us and when we went to see them,
they opened their door and just simply said that they couldn't commit.
It's hard to hear those words and especially as we continue through
our missions, we really discover how Important and how crucial this
message that we share with them is. We continue to pray that this
person will soon return to learn more and all we can do is trust that
the Lord will provide and that He will help us find more of His
children that He had prepared. Well just this past Sunday, we saw
something funny and some miracles as well. On Sunday, Sister Fromgren,
Sister Wang, and I headed to the chapel about an hour before church
started for correlation meeting. We met the elders and the ward
mission leader and then discussed the progress of the work. Sally, a
recent convert and ward missionary, came in for the meeting and
mentioned to us that on the way to the upstairs classroom, she saw a
bird in the hallway near the staircase. We all looked at her with
surprise and she continued to explain how she just saw it sitting
there on the windowsill. After correlation meeting, all five of us
missionaries headed out into the corridor/hallway and sure enough, a
white and black bird was sitting there looking at all of us with its
small eyes perhaps wondering what we were doing. We discussed how we
could get it out and so with that, we went and found some large black
garbage bags, tore them into a blanket type thing and the elders,
Elder Saliva and Elder Hulleman, tried their very best to try and grab
it gently and take it outside. However this bird just kept flying back
and forth, back and forth, and the elders couldn't seem to get it.
Sister Fromgren and Sister Wang didn't take a liking to this bird and
were in the corner, screaming a little bit anytime that the bird would
fly past their heads in fear that it would leave them a present on
their hair ;) After a while, as I tried to wave my hands back and
forth so the bird wouldn't keep flying past us, it seemed like there
was no way for us to get this little creature outside to where it
belonged. We tried opening the doors on the bottom level of the chapel
but it wouldn't fly past that at all and had no idea where to go.
Eventually the bird got tired and seemed to be breathing heavily. One
of the Elders didn't seem to really want to catch it in fear that it
would kill us all so I asked for the garbage bag and set after this
bird who I noticed was getting pretty worn out by all the flying. One
of the elders came from one side and I came from the other and gently,
I was able to lay my garbage bag over it and scoop it up in my hands.
I could feel it's little body breathing and moving up and down and
with that, I made sure that it had breathing room and quickly ran down
the stairs of the hallway, through the outside doors, and released the
bird. It was a fun feeling to release it because you could almost feel
it being relieved to feel the fresh air. Just as I released it, many
of the members were coming in for school and they were curious to why
I just held a bird in my hands and then released it. We explained the
story and then headed back to the hallway to clean the little presents
on the banister and window sill that this little bird so graciously
left for us. It was a funny little adventure but it also got me
thinking about how scared that little bird might have felt not being
able to feel the fresh air, not being able to sense any hope in its
life, not being able to get out. In relation to the gospel, I just
think maybe perhaps that is how people on the streets feel. They feel
that there is no hope in life, no way to know how to be free from
spiritual darkness. It made me realise that perhaps they feel as this
bird did when it caught the first glimpse of the sun or felt the fresh
air on its little body knowing that all would be OK as they hear the
gospel. Sister Fromgren, Sister Wang, and I all have a great desire to
share the gospel and I'm grateful that I am able to be here to give
everyone that opportunity. This past Sunday evening, while riding on
the tube, we met a really nice lady named Grace. As we got talking to
her, she expressed interest and with that, we have a return
appointment with her. God is good and He will never give up on His
children. I love this work and I have loved being able to have the
wonderful companions, members, and those we meet, to help me to learn
and to grow. I l love you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Burtis

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