Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Gospel is the Greatest Treasure

Hello my dear family friends! What an eventful week once again. The
end of the last week, we traveled to Crawley and had our specialised
zone training with President Gubler, Sister Gubler, and the
assistants. It was a great training and the spirit was felt very
strongly. We talked about how we can be dedicated and give our time to
the Lord. The Lord has given us everything so we should do all that we
can to do our best. Something fun that we did as well was we practiced
finding approaches. The two assistants were roleplaying different
scenarios/people and each companionship needed to go up (in front of
all the missionaries-Super Scary!) and approach the "person" (who was
acted out by the assistant) and see if they would be willing to meet
with us. Sister Wang and I got up and it was pretty daunting, I won't
lie. No matter how long you've been out on your mission, you still
feel like you've only left the MTC at times and that's how Sister Wang
and I both felt. Luckily, the spirit guided us, calmed our nerves, and
despite a challenging roleplay that we were given, we felt good about
what we shared and felt we asked inspired questions to this "guy."
Afterwards, all of us missionaries would discuss what we could improve
on, what we did good, ect. It was a great exercise and it helped me to
learn a lot! That's what I love about these type of things....we come
together as missionaries-unified in one purpose to bring about the
Lord's work-and get to help each other to learn and grow. The rest of
the week consisted of some great miracles. We had met a mother last
week and she had us come back the next day. Her name is Lucy and she
is so nice. She has a young daughter, Vanessa, as well. The following
day, we knocked on the door and excitedly anticipated her opening the
door. She did and she said, "Come In!" (Words that I love to hear!).
We got to talk with her and get to know her better and then got to
teach her the restoration. This lady is actually from the Czech
Republic so we were able to get her a Book of Mormon in Czech and she
was really excited. As we got to share with her the message of the
restoration, I felt the spirit confirm to me that the lesson was going
well and that she too could feel the spirit. We got to set up a return
appointment and we are excited to continue to teach her! The week
continued and it consisted of a lot of finding but we found that as we
preserved and had faith, we would see more people who were interested.
At times it's hard because there are many who are atheists and have no
desire to know who God is but I've learned to love them no matter
what. I know that one more invitation from us is closer for them to
accept the Gospel than it would be if no one invited them. We ran into
a guy this past week who actually believed in God and was willing to
chat though he was not interested at all. At the end of our
conversation, he turned to me and asked me, "So are you Irish?" I had
to smile but also I had to make sure he asked what I thought he just
asked so I asked back, "Sorry, did you ask if I was Irish?" He
confirmed to me that this was what he had asked and I smiled and said
no. I gotta say that's the first time I've gotten that on my mission.
I'm not sure if some of the words to him came across as me having an
accent but if so, it must mean that I've been in England for a good
amount of time to start saying my words differently :) Oh the funny
moments! Something I loved about this week was we got a call from both
set of elders-the Chinese elders and the English elders with two
wonderful referrals. The Chinese elders told us about a lady named
Ruby who actually wanted to meet us sisters. The very same day, we got
to go to Ruby's and teach her the Restoration. She's amazing and is so
willing to find out for herself if the message is true. We are excited
to continue to teach her this week. The English elders had called us
as well and told us about a lady named Michelle. They thought it would
be easier for us if we could stop by so they gave us her address and
said that she was already expecting a visit from us. She was, in the
past a member, and she wanted to start returning back to church. We
knocked on Michelle's door, not sure what to expect, and an older 73
year old lady with big glasses and a big smile opened the door. She
let us in and we got talking to her. Oh how I adore this lady.
Michelle is one of the ladies who seems to be a 20 year old in a 73
year old body. She explained to us that she was listening to Mormon
tabernacle choir music and how much she loves it. She wanted to read
the Book of Mormon and she had already started the night before we
came. Sister Wang and I felt so blessed to have met her. As we got
discussing some of her questions, Michelle was explaining to us about
how small the print of the Book of Mormon was. I looked around and saw
what looked to be an iPad. I looked to her, pointed towards the iPad,
and asked, "Is this an IPad? If so, could I try to download an app for
you?" Michelle, with her gleeful and funny attitude said, "No it's a
kindle fire. If you could download the Book of Mormon, it would be a
Miracle!" Sister Wang and I laughed at Michelle's response. She's so
funny. I had her unlock it and within a matter of a seconds, we
searched in her search bar under the books that she could buy from
Amazon and sure enough, there was a Book of Mormon for free. She
clicked download and once it finished, we made the text size bigger
for Michelle so she could see. I just gotta say that when we did that,
Michelle's eyes widened and she looked as if she had received a £1,000
pounds! She said to us in exclamation, "Now would you look at that!
MIRACLE!" My heart immediately melted and I just felt such a strong
love for this lady. Wanting to change her life around, you can see
that already Michelle is exercising her faith in Jesus Christ.
Anything that we show to her about the gospel is treated as if she
were a little kid on Christmas Day receiving the best gift that she's
ever received. That to me is the definition of someone who treats the
Gospel as the greatest treasure. I know that a lot of my learning over
the course of my mission has come from the people I've met. I'm
grateful God placed Michelle in our path so I could learn from her. We
often will receive calls from Michelle explaining in excitement that
she just read a book about David O. Mackay or that she read her Book
of Mormon before she went to bed and prayed before going to bed. She
is such a doll and we love her for her great example to us. I hope
that as your week continues that you remember and hold dear to your
heart the little things that matter the most. I love you all! Have a
great week!
With love,
Sister Burtis

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"How GREAT will be your joy...."

Hello everyone! I can't even begin to describe the joy that I am feeling at this time. A scripture in D&C 18:16 simply says, "And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my father, how GREAT will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" I might have mentioned earlier that a dear friend of ours in Redruth was taught by my companion and I and then continued to be taught by the elders in Redruth when we left. I had wondered if he ever did get baptized so our zone leaders called the Plymouth zone leaders and I received such wonderful news that 2 weeks ago, Robert had entered into the waters of Baptism! How great was my joy! Just as I was emailing now, I received an email unexpectedly from my previous companion, Sister Fromgren, who is still serving in Clapham, and she wrote, "Do you know what!!! We got a call informing that Begonia (an investigator Sister Fromgren and I had been working with) wants to get baptized this Saturday! I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to be a part of this great work. Sister Fromgren continued to inform me as well that two recent converts, Ada and Brenda, had received their patriarchal blessings and are doing so well as well as Sally. I am truly overcome with love, joy, and amazement at how much God does truly provide. Being an instrument in His hands is already such a blessing but seeing the great harvest bring to pass as well adds even more to the blessings we've received. It's a witness to us all that while the results aren't all sudden and in the time that we want it---they do come if we have faith and trust. Sister Wang and I have been working to increase our teaching pool and while some days brought lots of opposition or "no's" from many people, we saw so many miracles. We were able to stop by a member's home and speak with him and his wife about some goals that they wanted to set to do missionary work. This brother wanted to invite a friend to the ward activity and not only that, but he had already invited a work colleague of his to come to Sacrament. We felt the spirit strongly as we were able to discuss with him the importance of this work and felt an excitement that came from him as he accepted to do both his goals. Something I've truly seen is that missionary work cannot happen without the members. We feel such a gratitude for this ward as they are so willing to reach out to our friends and help them. We got to see this member's friend come out to sacrament meeting and she seemed to really enjoy it. Many moments this week consisted of lots of finding but as we did so, we got to a see a number of miracles. A few of them are listed here: 
1. As we waited for us a bus that was about 20 minutes late, Sister Wang and I got talking to a lady named Vatiana and her daughter. We shared with them more about the Book of Mormon and gave them a pass along card. She was very interested and was happy to find out more about our church. As we said goodbye, Vatiana's 12-13 year old daughter gave us each an unexpected big hug. We were a bit surprised but we were happy that she was able to meet missionaries so she can remember what our church is about. 
2. It was a hot day during a particular part of the week. We needed to get information regarding some train tickets and as we were street contacting along the way, a mom pushing her stroller was coming towards us. We stopped her and shared with her about eternal families. She seemed to be in a bit of a rush but she said, "Can you come by tomorrow?" We smiled, said yes, and were able to write down her address and told her we'd come tomorrow to teach her.
3. While park contacting, we got to talk to many people and most were receptive to what we had to say. In that day, we ended up giving out three Book of Mormons to people who really wanted one and who wanted to pray and ask God to give them a witness. 
4. While looking at the Areabook and through the phone, We selected a good number of people to contact. These people had met missionaries in the past. As we did this, two of the people we called wanted us to come share this message with them so we got to set return appointments. We also knocked on two potentials' doors and both set up a time for us to come back and teach them! What great miracles!
I can't even begin to write all the miracles I've seen throughout this week. If I did that, I could perhaps fill a novel. Miracles don't just come in a great big sum but they come through every little moment and opportunity that God gives to us. Something that Sister Wang and I have been doing each night is pulling out small notebooks and recording the miracles we saw for that day. We also write down the funny moments, a reason for why we love our companion, and the last one we don't fail to do is to tell each other why we love Christ. I think it's something I want to continue throughout my life actually. I've noticed that even on those days that seem bad, we recognize that we saw great miracles provided for us by the hand of the Lord and we find ourselves rejoicing and thanking our Heavenly Father for giving us that day. I am grateful to be here on my mission. I can't imagine my life without it. Never forget the small and simple things because they are the things that bring to pass the greater things. Love you all!
Sister Burtis 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another tool to given to bring about the great Harvest!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well! What a week! It feels like just yesterday that we had the previous preparation day but looking back at the planner, so much took place! After our last week's preparation day, a flood of miracles came! Sister Wang and I traveled over to Hove and were street contacting to a potential. We talked to a guy who said he was Buddhist but said he would be interested to learn more. We then continued to street contact and met a guy on a bench eating his chips (fries) and started talking to him. It led to a great discussion and eventually we were able to give him a Book of Mormon. We got to the street of the potential's home and knocked on the door. As we did so, a lady named Pendo opened the door and we were able to ask her if she had been taught by missionaries before. She told us that she did and then asked us if we wanted to come in and say hello to her two twin daughters who are around 15! We were so excited and we were able to schedule a return appointment with them. What a miracle! The following day, the Eastbourne sisters got to come over and stay in Brighton with us because of the Zone Training we were going to have. It was very fun to get to know Sister Li and Sister Lowry and we got to spend the evening playing Uno with them, sharing miracles, and talking about our missions. Our Zone Training consisted of the training needed for online proselyting and we were all excited to how it could help us to bring about the great harvest. To be honest, it was a bit of a shock when they told us after zone training, "Ok, you can now go and start using facebook!" I was a bit nervous. After over a year of not using facebook, suddenly a sentence like that seemed to me super weird to hear on my mission. I won't lie, it took me some time to even click the login button that would open up a whole new world of online proselyting. It was a bit strange and hard for me to get used to but now I am coming to a better understanding of how this can really help us in the mission. Already, there are people away on vacations and too busy but willing to add us on Facebook and skype us. We know that this will help the whole mission to continue to bring about the great harvest. It's amazing how the Lord has trusted a group of missionaries to take this worldwide and share the gospel with everyone as we bear our testimonies through messages and posts. Sister Wang and I continued to find more people throughout the course of this week. On one particular day, we were riding the bus, coming back from finding in the park and we started talking to a guy on the bus. The guy expressed that he wasn't interested so we thanked him, wished him a good day, and then looked for others that we could talk to. As we did so, a guy several seats back, repeatedly said, "Girls! Girls!" We thought it might have been a parent talking to his children but soon we came to find out that he was talking to us. This guy came up and sat in the row behind us and said, "I overheard your conversation with the guy and I was curious to what the book was that you were sharing." With the Lord's help and the spirit's assistance, we were able to share with him our testimony and he expressed interest in learning more. God is good! I love this work! We have had some great miracles and great adventures! One evening, Sister Wang and I treked through a wooded forest to find a road and that was quite fun! We joked about how we'd find a squirrel to share the Gospel with. While we never did find that squirrel, we did manage to find a couple cats who were very friendly and came up and approached us after many people said no to our message. :) I am grateful for the great tools that God has given us and for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I hope you all have a great week! 
Sister Burtis 
 The beautiful land of Brighton

 when everyone says no to our message, the cats come and comfort
us :)

 Funny little store called Choccy Woccy DooDah located in Brighton. The
cakes and everything is made out of chocolate. It's pretty cool! :)


Part 7  text/plain Save 
Had a quick chance last Preparation day to explore Brighton pier and
the seafront. :)
 beautiful sunset in Brighton
my amazing companion, Sister Wang and I

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Developing a love for Brighton

Hello! I hope the summer months are continuing to treat you all well.
Brighton has been blessed to be able to have some great weather this
past week and we hope it stays. This past week and a half or so has
been filled with many different things. I'm trying to think where to
even start. At the beginning of last week, Sister Wang and I were
blessed to be able to teach some people. We had went finding a week or
two back and got to meet a university student named Will. Will is very
open-minded and was very receptive. We got to go with a member to
teach him and we were able to feel the spirit strongly as we testified
of how he (Will) could come to discover for himself which church was
right and if the message we shared with him was true. We invited him
to baptism if he were to find out if this message was true and also if
he would be willing to read the Book of Mormon and he said yes to
both. What a miracle! Later in the week, Sister Wang and I traveled
out to a place called Hove. We had never been there before but we got
on the bus and made our way out to there. We followed the map to go
and contact a former investigator and as we go to do so, we
miscalculated how long it would take for us to get there. We didn't
think it would take long at all but what the map fails to tell you is
if there are hills or not. Brighton is filled with quite a lot of
hills and roads that curve and weave around so by the time we approach
the house of this person, an hour or two had passed by us. Out of
breath after just having climbed a big hill that seemed to be never
ending, we knocked on the door with hope and surety that this lady
would be there. A man answered the door and told us that she wasn't
in. You could have probably imagined what our face expressions might
have looked like. We sighed heavily, thanking the guy, and said we'd
come back another time. As we got on the thin road to get back to the
main road, a lady was walking towards us. Taking this opportunity, we
took the time to stop and talk to her. As we asked her if she would be
willing to experiment upon reading the Book of Mormon, she replied,
"Sure, why not?" Our long trek up the hill that we had just taken
seemed to be forgotten with a matter of seconds after she said that.
We excitedly told her that we could meet her another time and she
agreed. God does truly provide! Our district was able to have district
meeting this past week at the senior couple's home and then we had a
district lunch afterwards which was fun. During this district meeting,
we got told a few things including that the mission would be now using
online proselyting via Facebook, Skype, messenger, ect. to teach our
investigators the gospel. We believe this will give us a greater
opportunity to stay in contact with our friends from this area even
more. Another big change too was the change of preparation day. We
usually have accounting calls with our district leader on Sunday
evenings but since we are working to leave the Sunday evenings more to
proselyting, accounting has been changed to Monday and preparation day
is changed to Wednesday. Despite changes, I feel that these things
will truly help us to move the work forward. I trust the Lord and
trust that He knows what is best for us. I'm so grateful to be able to
be here in Brighton. There are many friendly people that even though
they don't believe in God, will politely say they aren't interested.
It's not to say that there is no opposition but I'm grateful for the
people we've been able to run into and for the miracles we have been
able to see! I love getting to know the members here in Brighton. Each
of them have welcomed us into their ward family and it makes us feel
an even greater love for the people. This past weekend, Sister Wang
and I traveled down to Sutton for exchanges with the STL, Sister
Couper. We stayed in Sutton for three days and got to see some great
miracles as we spent the days finding. Something I really loved was
being able to work with Sister Couper who's from Scotland and also
Sister Cassidy who also from Scotland. It makes me want to visit
Scotland even more especially too because my dad served his mission
there. Working with the two Scottish sisters was a lot of fun and we
even got to go to their ward, the Epsom ward. We didn't know anyone
there but suddenly a lady came and gave us a loving hug and we
recognised her as one of the sisters of the Brighton ward.
Immediately, we felt great love and we almost felt that we were back
in our area. It made me realise that though I've only been in Brighton
for a couple of weeks now, I've developed a great love for this area
and people. I love this work and treasure every moment I have here on
my mission. God truly knows what we need and always provides the
experiences for us in order to receive the lessons He wants us to
learn. I hope you all have a great week and continue to enjoy the
Sister Burtis

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alarms and Wandering Around

Hello everyone! This week has been filled with many funny adventures
and miracles! To start out, we (Sister Wang and I) are settling in to
Brighton and getting to know more and more of the area. We started out
by exploring and getting to know how the buses worked and whenever we
got lost or found ourselves wandering, we would need to use our maps
or call the elders that serve here in Brighton for the directions.
Nonetheless, we are surviving :) Brighton is much different than my
other areas. It does take me back to the days of Cornwall (my first
area) because of the countryside and greenery but as well, it has a
lot of different things too. Brighton has a very big city center area
where there are lots of shopping and touristy things. Lots of people
come here for the summer so it makes sense that there are a lot of
shops all around. The Brighton Pier is near the shopping center and as
well as the marine. I don't have pictures of them just yet because we
will be going to explore more of it today and next Monday but I'll
send them out soon. One of our first days here, Sister Wang and I were
able to experience lots of different miracles. In order to get to the
chapel (unlike Clapham, where we had a direct route to the chapel), we
needed to take a bus to Main Street area and then another bus towards
the chapel. We arrived at the chapel and went to go contact a referral
that was given to us by Sally, our recent convert from Clapham. We got
there and decided to knock a few doors and just before we got to the
referral's door, we knocked on another door. A guy opened the door and
asked if we wanted to come in after we explained who we were. He was
religious himself but was willing to listen to what we had to say.
Unfortunately we couldn't come in because we didn't have a member with
us but we were able to make a return appointment for this week. We
texted him a day later and asked if he had looked at our website and
he texted us back saying that he hadn't yet but would do before the
appointment! It's such a miracle when someone texts you back saying
they are planning for the meeting time still :) After talking to this
guy, we needed to head back to our flat. As we got on the bus, we both
sat down, and within a matter of seconds, a lady leaned towards us and
asked, "Excuse me, do you guys know where I can get a copy of the Book
of Mormon?" We grinned with big smiles and told her that we could give
her one which we ended up doing. We have continued to meet a lot of
great people and some in which we have return appointments with! God
is a God of miracles. No matter where you go, there are people
prepared! We have faith that these people we have met are searching
for answers to questions and we look forward to sharing with them our
message. A funny incident that happened to Sister Wang and I was only
a couple days into Brighton. We had been traveling to the chapel and
once we got there, we unlocked the door just as our district leader
had explained to us to do earlier that day. As soon as I put the key
in the door and unlocked it, a loud alarm went off. Sister Wang and I
panicked a bit because we thought maybe we did something wrong. I
honestly thought at this point that the police or something would show
up and arrest us all because the alarm went off. The alarm got louder
and louder and I locked the door back up with the key but it wouldn't
turn off. At this point, we both hear a guy yelling, "Ey!
Ey!"....clearly indicating that he was irritated by the noise. We
weren't able to see where the yelling was coming from but at this
point, that was the least of our worries. We quickly called our
district leader, Elder Mahaffey, and as soon as we explained what
happened, he laughed. Apparently these type of alarms are normal in
the northern part of England where he is from and so he didn't think
too much about it. For me, in my past two areas, there was never an
alarm with the chapel so we didn't know what was going on. Eventually,
we were given instructions on how to deactivate it and to our relief,
the loud alarm turned off. What a laugh! Now when Sister Wang and I go
to the chapel, we are deathly afraid of opening the doors. ;) The area
is getting more and more familiar to us and we are taking it day by
day. We are grateful for these learning experiences and we feel our
love growing for these people of Brighton. We were able to meet the
ward members yesterday during Church and it is a very nice ward. There
was a lady named Patty from Columbia who invited us for lunch to have
tacos with her and when we were there, she taught us how to make
Guacamole! It was a lot of fun and we feel that we are becoming part
of the ward family already. I'm grateful to be out here and I know
that God has a great plan in store for all of us. Love you all! Have a
great week!
Sister Burtis