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 

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