Monday, November 23, 2009

Bowels Filled with Mercy and Compassion

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Well, transfers came and went and I'm still here in Beeville! But I'm ok with that because we have some amazing investigators who are preparing for baptism in the next few weeks, so I'm happy to be able to stay with them and help them along the way.

But Sister Bustillos got transferred to San Benito, which--according to my new companion--is the most scary, dangerous, ghetto part of the missions. Apparently, drug deals on the street in the middle of the day, gangsters, and stalkers are a common item there. I'm nervous for her because I love her so much. Plus it's a 60/40 Spanish/English area, so she will finally get the chance to use Spanish--something she didn't get to do here. But it's actually really sad that she's gone. I know that in my last email I was a bit complaining about how the "little" things were bothering us about each other. I actually feel really bad about the email I wrote you last week and I have repented of that and hope that you forgive me. That wasn't very Christlike to do at all.

But we drove down to Corpus for Transfers. My new companion--Sister Carly Jo Call--was there and actually was Sister Bustillos MTC companion. So they chatted for about 15 minutes together, while I chatter with different Elders (mostly, to our Zone Leader, Elder Jolly about the sweet game of Bang! we played the other day and how much we loved it. Haha). Anyways, when it was time for Sister Bustillos to go in the transfer van, I was so excited for her. We gave each other one more hug and then at that moment we both started getting teary eyed and she said, "I gotta go or else I'm going to cry." So she hopped on the van and I stood there with my new companion in the parking lot as the different sets of missionaries started pulling away in their cars. At that moment, I had the most intense pang in my heart. I can honestly say that it was saddest feeling I've ever had on the mission. That pain lasted the rest of the day and till the next morning during studies when I just started crying about it. What's ironic is that Sister Bustillos was SUPER homesick her entire time out--she's been out 6 months and it never really went away. While me, on the other hand, have NEVER once had one homesick feeling. I did my best to try to console her and help her, but by the last week or so, she wouldn't really confide in me because she knew I couldn't relate. Well, what's ironic is that I finally had that homesick, sad, heartbroken feeling for the first time. It's a shame that it happened after she was gone because I was finally able to know how she felt and would have had more compassion and empathy for her. It honestly felt like a breakup with her. :( But we're still best friends and will have some good times after the mission. But I learned a lot about the Atonement from this experience. Immediately as those feelings came, I thought of Alma 7:11-13 where it talks about Christ suffered all sorts of pains and afflictions, so that his bowels could be filled with compassion for us. My bowels were finally filled with compassion for Sister Bustillos, but unfortunately, a bit too late. But for each of us, it's not too late to repent and turn to the Savior. The amount of compassion that I was able to gain for my dear companion, is trivial compared to the amount that Christ has for her and for each one of us. I realized that in all things, we need to turn to our Savior, he knows us personally and individually because he literally suffered our pains. He knows to the fullest what it's like for us. Oh, how I love my Savior and wish that I could better serve Him so that his sacrifice isn't in vain. President Miller actually said it quite well in Zone Conference, "Christ didn't pay the price so that you can get halfway there, but ALL the way there."

Anyways, I have some bad news. It's a bit of a bummer actually. Last Monday night at about 10:25 I was looking at some pictures on my camera and was super tired and I accidentally pushed a weird button on the menu and it TOTALLY deleted all of my pictures. Yeah. Sad. I know. 9 months worth of pictures from the MTC and the field, around 600-800 or so. Gone. In an instant. But you know what. I actually wasn't sad about it. The Spirit really is the comforter (John 14:26) and comforted me in that moment. I have not been sad about the loss at all and I know that everything will be alright. They're just pictures after all. Luckily, Sister Bustillos was our "historian" for the past 4 months and she'd just take the pictures on her camera and then transfer them to mine. So we did that and I got about 400 random ones from my time in Beeville. Also, I've email and sent some home, so I'll just be able to scan those in back home. Also, when all my companions from the MTC and feild come home from their missions, I can just yoink their pictures. So not a total loss. But I was almost done with that memory card and was ready to retire it and put the full on in my suitcase. Oh well...

So Beeville is good. Sister Wagner, a lady in the branch, actually said a good description about this area. She has lived ALL over the US and yesterday said, "You know, I've lived everywhere, and NEVER have I lived in a place where people are so devoted to their religions, where there are SO many churches, and also where there is so much focus and controversy about religion. Only here in Beeville." Yep, that pretty much explains my area right there.

Now onto the investigators: Leandra is doing well. She reset her Baptismal date and we have her on a no smoking plan. We actually stopped by and taught her a lesson this morning after we went shopping because she works crazy hours all week and it was really the only time we'd be able to see her and teach her a legitimate lesson without all her crazy little ones running around. Her children sang in the primary program a few weeks ago, her first Sunday coming and they sang. It was cute. She has a son named Christopher who is ADHD to the max! and he is always running around in circles when we visit them. We were teaching Belle, one of the daughters, and started by singing her favorite song, "I am a Child of God." At this point, Christopher was running around, screaming, being his crazy usual self. But once we started singing, the most curious thing happened. The instant her heard the words, he jumped on the couch, sat as straight as he could, and then started singing the song. It was like he was a little robot. But instantly after the song ended, he jumped up and started being a little hooligan again as if nothing happened. Leandra later told us how that really touched her. How since he'd been to church, the Spirit touched him and he was able to recognize it and sit down and sing the song. It shocked me as well, but really was a testimony builder for me that what we teach our children, even if it seems hopeless and like a waste of time, really does touch their hearts. They learn because the Spirit talks to them too.

Anyways, my time is up. I'll write more about Sister Call next week because seriously, she's a studette. I love her so much and we're already getting along SO great. Oh and pray for me. So far, we already have 3 dinner invites for Thanksgiving. I don't know how I'm going to do it. Last Thanksgiving I didn't have an appetite at all and it was the best. This time...it won't be the case.

Love you all!
Sister Burt

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