Monday, December 28, 2009

This Email is a Roller Coaster Ride

Hello!

First off, I'm typing this on kind of a funky keyboard, so excuse typos and errors. Secondly, from a lot of past missionary emails that I've read after Christmas, they usually say, "Wow, it was great talking to you guys last week and I really don't have anything else to say or add." Is that the case for me? Nope! I have TONS to write about, so "off we go!"

Well, like I mentioned on the phone, Christmas wasn't as fruitful as I had expected. No one was really interested in talking to us. We felt like Mary and Joseph looking for an inn, yet there was no room available anywhere. It was sad because we told everyone that we were sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a wonderful Christmas message, since he is the reason for the season. Yet, despite this, we still received chilly responses and door slams. It really made me ponder on how Mary and Joseph felt. Mary was the chosen vessel to provide the world with a Savior, the most important guest of all we would ever have here on earth. It must have been disheartening for her to be shut out, again and again, knowing that she held within her womb. I gained a greater appreciation this Christmas season for Mary and Joseph and how they endured trials and rejection.

We decided to go outside of Beeville this week and work some more rural areas of our area. Country roads are always a treat. You get the crazy farmers who moved to the country because they don't like people, so they don't really want to talk to you even though you just walked a half mile up their drive way to get to their house. Haha, but it's the life, we've have some marginal success on country roads in the past and it was long overdue for another visit. One one of the roads, we saw a pasture with horses and since people were rejecting us like crazy, we stopped for a second to pet the horses. I had to climb through this pokey bush to get close enough to the fence to pet it, but I managed. The horses weren't that exciting, so after 15 seconds, we went back to work. Well the next day, I had all these strange scratches on my hand, that are actually still there now. Turns out the bush must have been some sort of poisonous variety. That's what I get for wasting the Lord's time, I suppose.

On another country road, we started walking and about a quarter of a mile down, we met this little black, shaggy, dirty Shih-Tzu. He was so cute and it was quite strange to see a breed like this as a stray. The most popular dogs here in South Texas--without fail are--1) Chihuahua's 2) Boxers 3) Pitbulls 4) Dachshund's. Then of course, a mix containing any of those four are also common. I've never actually seen a Shih-Tzu on my mission, so it was weird. We kept walking and this little dog just followed us. He followed us and followed us. It was hilarious because this road had an influx of dogs not penned up and throughout the three hours that we were working that street, a total of 11 dogs and 1 cat were caravaning behind us at one point or another. I think the largest number of critters we had were 6 or 7. Well, Sprinkles--because that's the name I decided to call her--followed us the ENTIRE time. We must have walked 2-3 miles total and I felt so bad for her little paws. It reminded me of when we'd take Louie for a walk and he's so lazy, that even a walk around the block is a painful situation for him which requires a 2 week recovery. We would just refer to the dog as Sprinkles and eventually the dog recognized it's name. Haha, it was cute. Then random these other two white stray Shih-Tzus started following us. When we got back to our car, we felt so bad for the dog that we wanted to take her home, wash her and take her to a shelter. But we knew that we couldn't do that, so we just got in our car and drove home. That's when the saddest part of the tale happened, Sprinkles started chasing after our car wanting to come with us. I looked at Sister Call and we were both teary eyed. Seriously, it was semi ridiculous because we were both crying because we had gotten so attached to the little guy. I started crying even more because I was laughing at the fact that we were crying about the whole thing--laughing so hard that I was crying because I was laughing, but laughing because I was crying. We both started laughing, yet still we are sad. Oh well, I hope she had a home or found one.

Well, I sort of mentioned this to Steve, but we lost two of our investigators because of church! It was so sad because they were SO cool and loved what we were teaching them, but when they went to church, they both had a bad experience (because the Beeville Branch is a little crazy and does what they want, let's be honest), that they dropped us. In case you were wondering, Washington dropped us for that very reason too--well, there were tons of other reasons: depression, addicted to alcohol, doubts...but all in all, it was a good situation for him. But Sister Call and I were a little sad about everything because Church is supposed to be the thing that "gets them." The thing that they love, where they can feel the Spirit the strongest and gain a testimony about this church. But, we prayed that more investigators would come and have a good time.

Well, that leads me right into my next story about Charlie and Connie. This is an old--73 and 70-years-old, respectively--couple whom we met about a week ago. We set a return appointment with Charlie, who was fairly interested. We came back and his wife (Conception, or Connie for short) answered the door and said that they didn't have time, nor had Charlie read the pamphlet we gave him. We set another appointment for last Monday night. We drove there on Monday and sat in our car for a bit. "Do you want to go here?" I asked. "Not really," Sister Call said. I replied, "Yeah, I just feel like it will be a waste of time. They are old and I don't think they'll even be there, even remembered our appointment, or will even care." We were getting ready to go drive away and go somewhere else when I finally said, "No, I think we should go. Heavenly Father put this return appointment in our path, we need to just go no matter what will happen or if we get rejected. Jesus wouldn't miss his appointments." Haha, so with that, we got out and knocked on the door. To our surprise, they both answered the door and were waiting for us. We were actually a half our later and they said, "We thought you wouldn't come." We felt so surprised and shocked that they were waiting. We got to know them a bit: they are an old Catholic couple, but they don't go anymore. Charlie is hard of hearing because he had a stroke a few years ago, so he sits really close to us with his good ear facing us (and he has a constant buzz in the other one). They have 6 kids, all whom were born 5 years apart from each other. They have a family picture taken a few decades back with them and their last three children whom they refer to as "the second crop." They read part of the pamphlet and we talked about parts of it and also just about the Book of Mormon. That's all we taught, Book of Mormon: we explained it, read a scripture with them, and left them the introduction to read. Honestly, we didn't expect them to read very much--or where quite sure they understood completely about it or about our purpose--so the intro was a good place to start. After the lesson, we got back into our car and were so shocked at what had just taken place. They were so open, nice, and interested. Imagine what would have happened if we hadn't gone to our appointment? :(

Well, we came back two days later and Connie warmly greeted us. The book of Mormon was lying on the table, a sign of obviously having read it. She grabbed it and put it on her lap. We sang a Christmas song (where she joined us), said a prayer, then began discussing what she had learned from reading the intro. "Well, I didn't get to read much." We assumed that she just got the chance to read a few paragraphs. But then she started telling us blow by blow what she had read. It all added up until she started talking about Joseph Smith seeing angel Moroni and receiving the plates. Ok, clearly she read all of the intro and then proceeded into the testimonies of the 3 and 8 witness, and Jospeh Smith. Wow. But then she started talking about Nephi and his family. Her "I just read a little" wasn't referring to the introduction, but rather the entire book! She read into the first few chapters of 1st Nephi and LOVED it! Charlie can't read small letters very well, so he didn't get to read it, but they decided to go to the Optometrist to get him a new prescription so that he could read it. We were shocked. We then taught them about the Restoration, how God has always called prophets as part of his ancient order and how we need prophets today. We asked Connie, "Do you think it would be important to have a prophet today?" She said, "Oh yes! We need a prophet today. We are so wicked in this world. You know what I just watched on the Mexican news? In Mexico City, they just passed a law allowing gay marriage. You could see two men on the TV kissing and embracing each other. It was disgusting. It's Sodom and Gomorrah!" Ok, awesome. She definitely understood the need for a prophet today and accepted that God has called another one. After the lesson, we were so excited.

We taught them Saturday night and were planning on teaching them the Plan of Salvation. We brought Lorenzo Gonzales with us--the old man whom I love so much--and it turns out that he and Charlie are old friends! Lorenzo knows or is related to everyone in Beeville (having lived there his whole life), so he's a great fellowshipper. The entire time, he and Charlie were chatting up a storm and so it was hard for us to teach a lesson because apparently it had been a while since they saw each other last. But while they were talking, we talked to just Connie about 3 Nephi 11 which we left her. She LOVED it and, of course, read more than what was assigned. She told us that when she was in the Catholic church, she would read the things that they gave her and pray about it to know if it's true, but she wouldn't feel a thing. But she told us that when she reads the Book of Mormon, or prays about it, her hear starts racing and she KNOWS it's true. She calls it the "lost books" from other tribes; she explained to us that she recognizes this as a true record written by another people about Jesus Christ. They ate up all that we taught them and accepted a Baptismal date for January 30th! Lorenzo was awesome and invited them to come to church the next day. They were both impressed that Lorenzo was a member and was baptized a year ago. They agreed to go.

The next morning, we got to church and saw that their red Expedition was in the parking lot. "Oh no, they're already there. I hope they feel welcome inside." We got out of our car and then our pop Charlie and Connie from their car--Charlie in a nice green suit and Connie in a pretty black dress with a scarf. They went inside with us and were greeted by EVERYONE. After Sacrament meeting, they had to leave because Charlie's ear was buzzing, but they told us that they LOVED it and can't wait to come back and see us again.

Wow, that was a really long story. I have so much else that I want to write, but we JUST got word that President called our district leader and said that we need to make sure our area book is updated because he most likely is going to whitewash our area (most likely with Elders).....Oh my gosh, I want to cry. We are both depressed. The reason is because there's this weird member who's on probation who I guess was standing outside of our apartment door one night creepily staring at our window (we had no clue) and our District leader came home and saw him and yelled at him. He also has tried to visit us at our apartment before. So...just like in McAllen, another member has ruined the momentum. Wow, I'm so sad, I'm sick in my stomach. I was SOOOOOOOO excited for Connie and Charlie because they are so golden and excited to be baptized.

Wow. I'm sad. I hope I'm with Sister Call still, but that's very unlikely... But, I know the Church is true. The work will go forward.

Love you...I'll most likely see you in Loredo because I can't go back south that's the only other part of the mission where I could go.

Love,
Sister Burt

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas, Every One!

Family!

Ok, first things first. I want to call you guys at 7 pm my time, 6 pm your time. Is that ok? I hope so...you may be at Grandma's, so if no one answers, I'll just call mom's cell phone? Kapeesh?

Beeville is great. I'm so glad that you got to talk to Sister Allred. She is super cool and I loved meeting her this past week. She said that she would call (she knows what makes missionaries' parents happy) and I'm glad you had a fun chat.

We had a baptism last week of a little 9-year-old girl named Belle. We decided to press forward with the baptism, despite her being the only one of her family ready to make this step. It was a good decision, a really good one. I had the opportunity to baptize a little girl in McAllen, but didn't feel it was right because I "didn't want to baptize just kids." But lo and behold, once I got transferred out of the area, I got word that the new missionaries went and baptized her anyway (and her sister who had turned 8 by that time). Missed opportunity, I guess, but I'm still so happy for those two little girls! They were so cute and the one was 10 and she was halfway through the Book of Mormon in just a month! But perhaps I'm too picky. But that baptism was good despite drama from branch members. President Ramirez forgot about it and walked in a half our late after many many phone calls. But the best part was that (nearly) the entire family was there! The grandparents, the mom (an investigator), and--the most exciting--the dad! He said that he would never step foot in the church. But it was great thing because he really felt the Spirit--I know it! During one of the talks, a member talked about the experience of her dad's baptism and how he used to shoot people and be a bad man, but when he was baptized, he came out of the water and said, "All my sins have washed away." The father's face was intense and watching her. During other parts of the baptism, he was so proud. Even his super naughty, 5-year-old, ADHD came up and sang "I am a Child of God" with his sisters and was an angel during the ENTIRE time and even during the ward Christmas party afterwards. I think that really impressed him. Despite all the craziness and starting late, I love baptisms. It really is true that in the "ordinances of the Gospel, is the power of godliness manifest." Not only to the investigators, but all present.

Let me tell you the story of a man named Washington. I was so excited to tell you last week about him, then his story got way better this week, but then it got sort of lame. BUT, I will tell you this story anyways (partly because I'm too lazy to write it down in my journal because it's so long, so this is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone). Alright, off we go!

Washington is this ex-Mexican mafia member from California. We met him one day while knocking doors in a city called Skidmore--a city which my old companion didn't like at all and refused to go back. SO!--the plus of having a new companion is that they don't have preconceived prejudices about certain areas. We were walking the meager streets and not having much success, until we found Washington outside of his house. Sister Call talked to him for a bit while I was knocking a few homes across the street (within sight and sound of course). I was done and came back and she was still talking to him. Turns out he just got out of rehab recently for drinking. He's a really big guy and probably wears a XXX-XXXXL. But he's really cool. We left because his daughter got dropped off--crying from being with her mom--but as we were talking, we both realized that we had the prompting to give him a Book of Mormon. We ran back and gave it to him (before we had just talked to him about it) and he was grateful. He was going to be in Houston for a while, but we told him we'd call him in 2 weeks.

Two weeks later, we called him and set up an appointment. But later that day, he saw us at Wal-Mart (it suddenly got SUPER cold and Sis. Call gets sick really easily so she needed to go and buy a hat really quick). He excitedly came up to us and talked for a bit--awesome. Later we taught him and he was so interested in the fact that there was a prophet today. He loved the Restoration lesson and was excited to find God again because he says that he has been searching for God his entire life and has been baptized in church after church after church, but has always fallen. He is really depressed about himself, he used to "have it all" in California and had so much money, yet it is all gone now and he is left with nothing but his alcohol. :( We left him a Restoration DVD to watch before we came back.

He called us a few days later telling us that he watched the DVD and totally related to Joseph Smith who was searching for the right church. That is exactly what he has been doing. He calls himself a "loser" and constantly tells us to "give up on him" because he's lost and going to hell. But, something told us not to give up on him and keep sharing the Gospel light with him. Occasionally, he'll call us when he's drunk and that's when he gets into "Wo is me!" mood. And of course, I'm always the one who answers the phone and talks to him for 20 minutes each time. I try talking him through things, but you can't feel the Spirit when you are intoxicated. So mainly, I just do it to not be rude and get him offended--because he's an entirely different person when he's drunk. Sad....

Once we stopped by for our appointment and he was drunk. We had another member with us and stepped in for 5 minutes, but were standing up on the other side of the room. Oh, I forgot to mention that he is no homeless because his wife as taken his home (which is "all bought and paid for") and doesn't let him see his kids rarely, if ever. But he's staying at this house with some girls who he was in rehab with, but they evacuated and deserted the place, but the landlord is nice and said that he could stay there till the end of the month. Anyways, the smell of alcohol penetrated every facet of the room and it made me sick. I've never been around alcohol ever, except at baseball games when they make you hand it down the rows to someone who bought it. Yuck...I'm always afraid it will spill on me. ANYWAYS, during that visit, he clearly was popping pill...there were his anti-depressant pills all over the floor and told us that he wanted to kill himself. Yikes. We got out of there as soon as we could. The Spirit URGED us to.

Anyways, when he was sober, we came back and he told us that we were like angels to him. That we sing and make him feel as if there is hope. He wants to change, but he's really getting to the lowest of the low. He didn't want us to come back, but we told him we were because the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ could and WOULD help him if he just allowed it to. We taught him about the plan of salvation and he wasn't really paying that much attention. At the end, we were wrapping it up and I felt prompted to talk about baptisms for the dead. His whole family was involved in this mafia/gang/whatever, and he has had 13 cousins die. That is one of the reasons that he is so depressed: he doesn't understand why they all died, and he is literally the only one left. He feels responsible for it. After I told him about it, his eyes lighted up and his countenance changed. He had questions and was interested. Later he called us THREE times that night, telling us thank you for what we had shared about it. He said that ALL the other churches he went to, told him that his cousins were all burning in hell--that there was no hope. That's not entirely true and when he was brought the truth, the Spirit touched his heart and gave him that hope that will help him leave his despair behind. It was really cool for me because we really have to be in tune with the Spirit. We can't just teach a cookie cutter lesson to all because they all have different needs, problems, and worries. Once we discover what that is, we can then tailor the message directly to them.

Well, he came to church this Sunday. He shaved, got dressed, covered up his tattoos (including the one arm that is "dedicated" to all his family members). And he loved it and had lots of questions at church. He didn't even have enough gas to make it to Beeville, but I promised him before that if he would just come, the Lord would provide and way. And he did.

Well, we were so excited to visit him, until he called us drunk later that day....It's so sad. We don't really know how to get him to stop drinking. He doesn't even have money to buy it, just lame friends who talk smack about the church and don't want him to change. He ended up calling us three times that day drunk. During the second one, he talked about how it was that we could "really believe" all of it--the book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc. I told him how we could, but it was useless because it was impossible for him to be receptive to the Spirit in that state...but then he told me something that freaked me out. He said that the loves when "I" come over, specifically. That he is divorced and alone and that he feels God has sent me to help him, to comfort him. That when he was sitting next to me at church, he felt something. Oh dear.... so yeah, I tried to nip that in the bud by telling him that's NOT why we are sent as missionaries. That we are here to help him rebuild the relationships he already has--with his WIFE and kids. So yeah, he hung up and then called later saying that he didn't want us to visit, call, and that he couldn't come to church anymore.

SOOOO....I have no idea what we're going to do. He practically has the Bible memorized and accepts everything that we teach--when he's sober. That's the hard part. So...we'll see how it all plays out this week. Know this: I'm keeping my distance.

Anyways, I know the Gospel is true and that--if you really want it--it changes lives and WILL heal you. There are many called and few chosen, which is the sad reality of the plan of salvation. But, anyone can be one of the chosen if they just desire it enough: live the commandments and you will be happy.

Can't wait to hear from you all this week!
With lots of Christmas Love!
Sister Burt

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pictures from Zone Conference

Awesome Sister Miller telling a Christmas story.

Me with the other Elders in the 3 zones who got the "President's Challenge" award. Essentially, you have to memorize like 400-500 scriptures from Lessons 1-5 (really, you have to know the references for every single scripture in all the lessons) from Preach My Gospel. Then you take a test during interviews, if you pass, then you get this gorgeous plaque that says, "Remember" which is one of the two words in our mission.

Santa and Me. All the Elders got to sit on Santa's lap...but not the Sisters... :(

President and Sister Miller and me.

Us and the two other sisters in the "North." They are in Loredo.

Sister Call and I doing our "secret combination" sign...aka...the sign from "The Little Rascals." I love her. :)

After 5 months of waiting, I FINALLY got my English name tag.

There are the infamous Christmas bells.


Have the Days of Miracles Ceased?

Family!

Thank you so much for being awesome and an inspiration to me. I have everyone's Christmas package (and I'm SO excited for everyone to get it!) and should be sending that off this week.

So here's a funny story before I start things off. At the Branch Relief Society activity last week, it was a white elephant ornament exchange. I got these sweet golden bells, that are all connected on a chain. I think it's supposed to wrap around your tree, but I decided to wrap them all together and hang them on the door like we do back home. Well, they aren't the highest quality piece of work, let me tell you. They are plastic and most every time we shut the door--if I don't do it carefully, which I normally don't--a few of the bells will get stuck and break in half. The Elders stopped by this morning to give us something and as I was shutting the door, a bell broke. I said, "Every time I break a bell!" and right away Elder Buhler said, "...an angel goes to hell." Haha, it was so funny and a play off the quote from "It's a wonderful life." Ah good times. I hope that's not true though... :/ Because I've broken a few too many bells.


Last week we were blessed with a miracle of 14 new investigators and 144 contacts. Thank you everybody who prayed for that! There truly is power in prayer, I know that and I receive a greater witness and testimony about prayer every day here. It truly was a miracle from the Lord because the past few months, we have never been able to hit 140 and had between 1-4 new investigators a week (more like 1-2 every week, a good week was 4). It was bad, but I think that after being humbled to the dust, Heavenly Father had compassion on us and blessed us. We have a promise here in the Texas McAllen mission from our president call "20-20-2." Which means that if we contact 20 people per day, teach 20 lessons a week, then we will have 2 baptisms per month. I honestly can say that I've never had 140 contacts a week, while here in Beeville. White people are SO much different that Mexicans who just hang out outside and let you teach them. But, no matter. I know that 20-20-2 works because it is a promise from my mission president who is called of God, and "whether it be by my own voice, or the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38). I recommitted myself to actually live 20-20-2. The reason we aren't getting the two is because we're not doing the first 20! It's really not THAT hard to talk to 20 folks a day, I think I just make it hard. So I'm excited to see the fruits that will reap from my commitment to live this.

Zone Conference was this past week and it was amazing! Ah, as it always is. It was the Christmas Devotional as well, so there was a beautiful Christmas musical program that Sister Miller made. Sister Call and I sang, "Away in a Manger." Anyways, at the very beginning of Zone Conference, President Miller got up and started talking. He had Sister Call and I, and also another set of Elders stand up. We weren't quite sure what it was all about. Typically, the only time President makes people stand up is when they are in trouble and he's chastising them and calling them to repentance (haha, it's not a bad as it sounds, trust me). But this was quite the opposite. He was talking about 20-20-2 and saying that these 2 companionship's have not been experiencing the "2" of the promise even though we have been working extremely hard, teaching so many lessons, and "are very diligent missionaries." He started talking more and more and then promised us VERY specific blessings about what will happen to our areas in the next few weeks. He said that they are SO MANY prepared people here in Beeville that we will find and they will be ready. He promised us if we just keep working CHEERFULLY, that we will not only get the 2, but 3, 4, or even more. He also said that we had been called to serve with our companions for a very specific reason. In that moment, I had the revelation that I "will be in Beeville till the job is done. Till I have found and baptized those people who the Lord has prepared." It was very interesting because both Sister Call and I were forecasting that I would get transferred next transfer--seeing that I've been here 6 months. But I now feel contrary and am excited to see what the rest of this and the next transfers(s) have. I've had SPECIFIC promises from the Lord, witnesses by nearly all the missionaries serving in the North, and I know that they will come to pass.

As we followed his guidance and continued with a cheerful attitude--despite what was happening or had happened in the past--we were able to be firsthand witnesses of the Lord's miracles here in the Beeville area. Instead of the people we met being cold, rude, and uninterested, they were kind, inviting, and sincere. Doors flew open at nearly every street, usually the first doors that we knocked on a street were the ones that opened up. Definitely different that what I'm used to. What a miracle. I love the Lord and love his Gospel. All his promised blessing will come to pass--ones given in the scriptures, by the living prophets, and especially the ones given specifically to me--I know this with every fiber of my soul.

Last week was a miracle. Have miracles ceased? I say unto you, nay (Moroni 7:29).

Merry Christmas!
Faith. Hope. Charity.
--Sister Burt

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Picture Time!

Sister Call and I at church! Oh I love her SOOOO much, you cannot even comprehend.Eating Dinner with the Ramirez. This was dinner #2 of 4.
Christian (pronounced Chris-tee-ahn) -- my favorite little boy in the world!
Cleaning Leandra's stove with Christian. This pictures was taken after he had already cleaned the stove for a half hour in his UNDERWEAR! This was also the day that it snowed here in Beeville, so it was 39 degrees outside if I remember correctly.
Cleaning again
He's really getting into it
THis stove I think had been outside for years...it had leaves all in it. There practically was a TREE growing in there. But all we had was soap and water and rags. You do what you can.
It snowed this week in Beeville! Kind of.. it was just flurries and what not. But still! Here are the Elders enjoying it.
I sit next to this random white board when we study or plan. And whenever we are talking about random things, I have to draw it out for her. Can you guess what random converstations we've had over the past few weeks? Those are my attempts to draw Moses, Ramsees, the new Disney princess Tiana, and other things from memory. Random, I know.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Dang, I'm a bit bummed. I just spent 20 minutes attaching all these pictures to different emails and sent it. Then I looked in my sent mail folder and it says that they never got sent. Bummer. This email may be a bit shorter than the rest because I wasted so much time already.

Anyways, things are going in Beeville. Last week was super rough. Only 2 new investigators, one of them was the daughter of an investigator that we've been teaching for a while and the other was one that we discovered through our own finding efforts. It's been rough. I blame the snow. Haha, and yes, I'm not lying. It did, in reality, snow here in Texas. Here in Beeville it was just flurries and such, but near Corpus is actually stuck. I don't know. Maybe if everyone could just pray for me and my companion that we'll find new investigators this week...We really have had a drought for a few weeks now and it's been quite sad because we're doing our best.

So I think I'm going to talk about my companion, Sister Call. She's so awesome and we get along SO well. We are always laughing, smiling, joking, and enjoying each other's company. Definitely a good match. She is from Seela (sp?), Washington and has been on her mission 6 months. She is such a spiritual giant, which I love and appreciate because I'm learning SO much right now from her in all aspects of the work. At first glance, you would look at her and think that she's your typical sister missionary, but she's TOTALLY not. Oh wow, she's hilarious and FUN and funny and the best! We both have SO many things in common it's crazy. For example, randomly she said something that had the phrase "Far From Home" in it. And it reminded me of that movie that Steven and I used to watch by the same title. I started explaining how he and I used to LOVE that movie, but it was SO strange because it really wasn't an exciting movie for kids. She started freaking out because she and her brothers used to watch that movie all the time when they were little too. Haha, I don't think anyone else I've ever talked to even knew what the movie was, let alone used to watch it all the time. It was a great moment. It's funny because we say all the time that we had practically the same childhood because we have a lot of moments like that.

Our favorite movies' just so happen to be the same one: Pride and Prejudice which delights me greatly. It's funny, we are both obsessed with the soundtrack. And I actually have it here on the mission, but I have never been able to listen to it because we have limitations on the music we can listen to here in this mission. Acceptable music needs to be one of three things: Hymns, Mo-Tab, or Classical Music that is over 100 years old. P&P soundtrack is clearly not over 100 years old. But I was mentioning to her the other day that I had it and then I had an amazing realization: there is ONE song on that CD that actually is a song that's over 100 years old. The track is titled something like "A Letter to.. (insert composer of the actual song here)." It's the SAME exact song, but just the tempo is SUPER slow. The only way I know that is because I was listening to KBAQ one day and home and heard it and freaked out because I love that song. ANYWAYs, so after we made that discovery, we hurried and put the CD in, put it on track 8 on repeat and listened that same song the rest of the night. And we were both ok with it. Yeah, that's how big of nerds we are together...but I love it!

We watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas with Lorenzo and President and Sister Ramirez. Golly, do I love that movie. SO cute. My commitment for everyone this week is to watch that video for FHE (and yes, mom, you do have it. It's in the DVD cupboard on the bottom shelf ALL the way to the right in a brown paper sleeve/case thing). It's so cute and fun. It was funny though because all those people are older (60s/70s) and at the beginning it had the credits and flashed, "James Stewart" on the screen and they all started gabbing like little hens, "OH! James Stewart!" "James Stewart!" It was funny to me, I guess I'm just one generation behind to really be enthralled.

Well, time for me to go. Maybe I'll try to send the pictures again. But I love you all and I know that this Gospel is true. I learned a good lesson from my friend Laura in an awesome letter she sent me about D&C 121 and in versus 7 and 8 talk about "enduring it well." A lot of times, we think that simply "enduring it" means that we've come off conqueror. That trials make us better. But let's be honest, there are plenty of trials that I've had that I didn't handle the right way; I didn't grow at all. The key is enduring them WELL, as D&C 123:17 says to "cheerfully do all things." We knew before this earth, that life would be hard, that we would have trials, tribulations, experiences that would push us. But I have a feeling that when we found that out, we jumped for joy--we were excited. Same with anyone who goes on a mission, no one ever tells you that it's going to be easy. Everyone says that it's going to be hard and yet, despite that, we still say, "Yeah, I know. It's going to be ok." And you know, I've found that as I change my attitude, am positive and optimistic about the work and the future, and am happy...that it is. Everything is all right. I love it. This Gospel really is a Gospel of peace and the plan really is the Plan of Happiness.

Merry Christmas!
Love,
Sister Burt