Monday, June 1, 2009

Quarantined, 10 and Bike Day!


Ok, so news flash: ALL of the missionaries at the MTC have been quarantined because of the swine flu! It's transfers this week, so we are supposed to be having transfers on Wednesday (They new missionaries come in on Tuesdays), but now they aren't even flying in until Friday! BUT, there are 20 missionaries flying home on Thursday (Tuesday is my last day with Sister Loftus, who will be going back to her home in Oregon) and can see how this creates kind of a problem. So transfers are postponed until Friday, but until then, there's going to be a lot of crazy stuff happened. I'll most likely be in a threesome with the other sisters and we'll be working both our areas. Yikes. But yeah, FYI, heads up...this upcoming transfer is going to be so incredibly one knows anything for sure yet (you never know until you get the transfer phone call), but yeah. It's going to be crazy. So just wait for next week's email to find out what happened...because even I don't know!

Anyways, what a great week it has been! We had 10 investigators come to church yesterday! From 6 different families/people that we are teaching. It was an absolutely incredible experience and I was just so happy the whole day. What a miracle and I am definitely so grateful with how much the Lord has blessed us. It was incredible because for the first time at church since I've been on my mission, the whole time I was worried about my investigator: what they were learning, how they were feeling, what questions they had. Before, none of the investigators would come and so church would mostly just be for me and what I could learn from it. Yesterday was a completely different experience and I absolutely loved it. I always knew that Sunday was the best day of the week, but this just re-verified it to me.

I really do forget how close Mexico is sometimes. We stopped by a member's house for an appointment and they told us, "Oh she's in Mexico running some errands." Or when we were calling a member asking if they'd be at the ward activity they said, "Oh yeah, we in Mexico and we're crossing the border. We'll be at the church in 10 minutes." I get a kick out of those conversations.

We got to ride bikes last week for my first time ever. I didn't have a bike to begin with, but don't worry, I'm buddies with the Transport (aka Car) Elders (Ok not really "buddies", haha but we're are at the office at least once a week and our car has had a lot of random issues, so we've been in contact with them a lot). So, they were able to scrounge around the office and get me a bike. Biking was amazing! I was so exhausted at the end of the day and the next day after, but it was awesome. They say you only bike as much as your trainer or senior companion likes to bike. My trainer has only rode her bike 3 times total on her mission, so obviously, it's not one of her top priorities. But that's ok! But--mark my words--if I ever train, we're going to be on bikes the whole time!

I've learned a lot this week that we can't make judgment calls as missionaries, or even as people. This has been an amazing thing for me to learn. We don't understand their situation; even if we really get to know them, no one will REALLY understand them except the Lord. I also shouldn't just see a problem or a person and immediately discount them as someone who could be an investigator. I don't know if they're ready or not, how they've been prepared in the past, if they're searching and open to hear the restored Gospel. I don't know that and I have to look at everyone the same: optimistically that they are looking, searching, and open. After talking to them and teaching them, then I will be able to be prompted by the Spirit to confirm whether they are or not (also, an obvious way to determine this is if they are keeping their commitments). We just talked to Todd a few minutes ago outside of our apartment. He is a middle-aged gentleman who joined the church a little while ago. He is amazing and so strong. He's a professor at the college and before the missionaries taught him, we was teaching a Comparative Religion class and told us that he bashed the Mormons during almost every lecture. He would let the missionaries come and talk to him for months, just so that he could make fun of them and then tell his experiences to his class. He says that the one thing that made him open and changed his mind was something that no one ever would guess. He was talking to an Elder whose bike was covered in duct tape (it wasn't broken, but he just did that so that no one would steal it). Todd asked what happened if it did get stolen and the Elder replied, "Oh, the church insures our bikes, so I'll get another one." He said that statement really opened him and got him thinking. Obviously, this--missionary work--is so important that the Church insures the bicycles of the missionaries. This got him on the path to discovery and eventually, conversion. The point is, that you never know how what you say will affect someone. Just go and do. Say and talk to everyone the message that you have been set apart and called to do.

Some days I feel a lot of pressure and stress of the mission life. But in those times I think of what Emma Smith said in the movie, Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration:

Emma: Don't you ever think the Lord asks too much?
Joseph: No. I don't let myself.

I need to gain this perspective. But, every day I can see that I am becoming more and more like that statement. I accept and do whatever call or task I am asked because I know that I have been called of God. That I am a living, breathing representative of him in word and in deed. That my commission is to do what he wants done, say what he wants said. He never will ask something too hard because we've been promised that "these experiences shall be for thy good" and that the Lord will always provide a way for you to overcome and accomplish. I've grateful that I am "Becoming." There are two words that epitomize the Texas McAllen Mission: Remember and Becoming. These phrases are on plaques and things all over the mission home. I know that it's not a coincidence because these two words are exactly what I need and want. I already can see that in my first transfer, that I am Becoming. I haven't "Become" yet, nor do I believe that any of us really actually reach that goal. It's always an action.

Anyways, glad to hear from everyone. That everyone is safe, well, happy, and having a great time! Till next week!

Sister Burt

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