Monday, June 22, 2009

Training Day

Family,

So first I'm going to answer your questions because I always forget. Yes, I got your package, thank you so much! The weather here isn't that bad. My new companion--Sister Osborne--is from Seattle and she thinks it's ridiculously hot. But you know me, I don't even turn the AC on in the car in the middle of summer in AZ. I LOVE the heat. I think it's probably 90-100 degrees here which definitely isn't hot for me. The humidity isn't bad either; only in the mornings when we go running is when I really notice it.

It has been a wonderful week with Sister Osborne. Surprisingly, I've never felt stressed about training which has been a blessing because it could be a very stressful situation. We rode BIKES once last week (yay)! Hermana Osborne is really fitting in well to the missionary life and work in the field. I see her growing and improving every day and I'm so proud of her. It's funny how that when you are sort of thrown into a position like this, you just immediately grow and improve. I've noticed a HUGE difference in the way I contact people, teach in lessons, study, and even the way I act and talk. I am her representative of what a missionary in the Texas McAllen mission is and should be. Instead of sitting back in lessons and letting my trainer or other companion do all the talking, I have taken full control. Any fears that I may have had about going to random people and talking to them have gone away. I know that she may not do it--because she doesn't know how to say it in Spanish or know what to say--but I know that it's my job as a missionary to give everyone the chance to hear and accept or reject this message. I don't want you to go off blabbing to everyone that I'm a Trainer on my 2nd transfer and about "how great of an honor it is. It must be because I'm such a great missionary." Haha, because that's definitely not it. There were too many new sisters and not enough Veteran sisters to train. So here I am, and I'm humbled at this opportunity. I don't think I'm training right now because I'm such a stellar missionary, I think that I'm training because the Lord knows that I have leadership abilities and potential. One way to fast track those are to just throw you into the situation, I guess.

I've really been blessed with the gift of tongues. It's crazy how dramatically my Spanish has improved just within the past week. I literally can understand nearly everything that anyone says. It used to be that I could understand a lot, but then I'd get lost and sort of zone out because I knew my companion would understand. That doesn't really happen anymore. They speak and I understand and respond back. I teach the majority of the lessons (sometimes I call myself a "ball hog") because Sister Osborne struggles with Spanish, but it's ok. I push her really hard as much as she can, then take over the rest. It's crazy that I've only been here about 2 months and already I'm teaching, having conversations, committing people to baptism in the street--all in Spanish. I've been blessed with the gift of tongues.

But I mentioned in the paragraph before about committing baptismal contacts in the street. That's something that I had been wanting to do since I got here, but didn't think that it was possible. I mentioned it to Sister Behrmann when we were companions that I wanted to try it and she was ALL for it. So we decided to "experiment on the seed" and see if it really was possible to commit people to a baptismal date in the street. Pretty much there are 8 steps to it. We started doing it and people were rejecting us right and left. But we knew that we were here to find the prepared and this was one way to find those people right away. Instead of finding people who were not interested, but still would let us in and teach them and then we'd have to waste 2 weeks teaching them before we dropped them because they weren't progressing. We decided to try this when Sister Behrmann and I were together because we were in two areas and didn't have much time to mess around. A week later we mentioned it to President at the incoming missionary dinner and he was SO intrigued with what we were doing. He talked to just she and I about it for about 20 minutes, then again the next morning when we were making breakfast from the new missionaries. He was really excited for us and wanted to see our progress with this method. Then at Zone Conference, the Assistants (who obviously had been talking to President Miller) called us out and said, "So Sisters, we want to you talk a little bit about what you have been doing in your contacts." So we talked about it. But after we got our new companions, I didn't think I would be able to keep doing it because my area is mostly all Spanish and it's WAY harder in Spanish AND--let's be honest--Sis. Behrmann was doing most of the talking and contacting. But since I've been training, I've been doing most of the contacting and been doing it using this method. And it's been working! I had one man accept a baptismal date in the street. When people are ready, they are willing to learn and search for the truth. We set his date for July 25th. Also, I committed another lady to a baptismal date, but then at the very end of it, she told us that she actually didn't even live here. But rather that she was just visiting for the weekend and lives in California. So, that was a big let down, but I do know that she was very interested and hopefully will call the missionaries when she gets home. We promised a lot of blessings and tied it back to her family, which is definitely her number one focus and priority.

At the Pharr ward coordination on Saturday, some of the Elders came up to me and wanted me to show them how I do the street baptismal commitments. Of course I was willing to share this with them: if it can help bring people into the Church, I don't care whether I'm the one giving it or someone else. And since I can't be in all the areas of the mission, I'm very happy that others want to try it. So I gave them a quick training on the 8 steps of the commitment and they seemed excited to try. The next day at church, some of them told me that they had tried, "but it was really scary and hard," so they stopped and Elder Allen said he tried it--and although he didn't get through all the steps--he was able to set up a return appointment. So I was happy for them and told them to just keep trying. The street contacts are amazing. It's able to put the Gospel in a simple way, so that people just get it: it gets them thinking. Starting it off talking about Christ has been such a blessing; people believe in Christ, people want to follow Christ. But then you tell them that one of those ways is baptism--specifically baptism by immersion and the proper authority--and it really starts getting them thinking if they have that authority. Then you mention that this authority is here again due to the Restoration of the Gospel. Those three things together: Christ, Baptism, and Restoration are like the Tri-Force of the baptismal contact. I LOVE it! I feel like I'm accomplishing my purpose as a missionary. People know why we're there; they know what our purpose is as missionary; they know what the church claims. I let them know and they chose to accept or very firmly reject...and that's ok because I did my part. Because we ask people, "If you knew this was true, would you be baptized?" And some people, even though you've clearly explained it will say, "NO. I'm Catholic and will stay that way. Even if I did know this was true." Well, ok, thank you for you time. It's definitely been an AWESOME way to weed people out. We've only had 2 people this past week go through all the steps and accept baptismal dates, but that's ok. I'd rather have to go through 100 people and find 2 that are really ready, rather than find 20 people who will let us in to talk, but are not ready at all.

Well my 45 minutes are up. Got to go! But I love you all and this church is 100% true. If you don't believe that, you can pray about it. I can promise you as a personal representative of Jesus Christ, that you will get a confirmation of that. :) Have a great week!

--Sister Morgan Burt

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