Monday, January 25, 2010

We Meet Again, Buzz Lightyear, for the LAST time!

Hey Family!

How’s it all going? Wow, this week went by super fast, didn’t it? Things have been pretty good. Sister Amitoelau and I have been cutting out all junk and stuff (except the things that members feed us), are on a pretty strict meal plan, and exercising like crazy in the mornings. I blame the soccer adventure from last week. It has been one week of it and we feel great! The only downside is that we drink a gallon of water a day, so we have to go pee pretty frequently, but what can you do?

So, hmm. Random info about Texas. So here, it’s a huge Mexican population, obviously. The people here are OBSESSED with Chile on everything. Super hot sauce is a staple here. At first, I wasn’t a fan because before my mission, I didn’t even salt or pepper my food, never ate chips with even mild salsa because I was just too lazy. Well, now, boy have the tables turned. All of us are OBSESSED and in our kitchen table, we have 5 different bottles of hot sauce that we use for every meal. It’s pretty funny, I’ll have to send a picture. Oh, the kids here LOVE flaming hot Cheetos and are always eating it (with a spoon out of the bag, go figure). I’d never tried them before because I always thought they were way too ridiculously hot. But I tried some the other week and they hot enough! I was disappointed. So what do you think I did? I went and grabbed the bottle of hot sauce and dumped it on it.

Alright, so yesterday was Stake Conference and Elder Pearson from the 70 came. Everyone knows how much I’m obsessed with 70s or any general authority, so I was pretty excited. Actually, I heard him talk twice in the MTC because he also has a calling in the Missionary Department. Dynamic speaker, Harvard grad, the works. Anyways, you better believe that I took some wicked notes to share with you all, so here you go:
• Someone before talked about Preach My Gospel. He mentioned that one time in General Conference a few years back, President Hinckley stood up and held up the scriptures and said, “This is the Word of God,” then he held up Preach My Gospel saying, “This is the application of the Word of God.” Every home should have a PMG. It really is inspired scripture for our day. Now, Marshall’s going on a mission in a year, and I would highly recommend starting to study as a family. I know we did that a few years ago, just a quick read through, but it requires an actual study: reading, discussion, application. I know that if you do this, it will bless both him and YOU, Mom and Dad. They reason I’m even mentioning this whole thing is because I know it’s Mom’s dream one day to go on a mission, if you want to do that, start studying now. Maybe take one chapter per month and study it. Chapter 3 is a good place to start, Chapter 6, Chapter 8—whatever the Spirit directs. A prolonged study on chapters will help you a lot. Anyways, so what Elder Pearson said I wrote down for both of you, “To Couples: if you want to increase the strength of your marriage, GO on a mission. You will learn to love each other more and will be happier that you ever have.” I know that’s true, the Senior couples I’ve met just have so much love and testimonies, it’s contagious being around them. Another interesting thing that he said was, “To Young Women: you should SERIOUSLY consider going on a mission.” It was really interesting to hear a General Authority say this; for years the church has dissuaded women (kind of but not really) from desiring to serve, so it was interesting for me to hear him proclaim this over the pulpit.
• “We should be the HAPPIEST people on earth—we have the restored gospel, we have Jesus Christ, we know that families can be together forever, etc”
• “Agency requires choice. Choice bring consequences. If you tie those two together, you have a destiny. Agency is given not to choose what we WANT to do, but to choose the RIGHT.”
• “Everything is hard until it becomes easy.”
• “If you want more revelation, study [the scriptures] more.”
• “The first law of heaven is obedience. Faith is a gift from God based on our righteousness. Obedience brings more faith.”
• “You aren’t born with faith. It is not a genetic gift, it is a spiritual gift and it comes from obedience.” He said this to a friend who said, “I’m just not born with faith like you.” I like this because we develop faith as a child because we are obedient in the little ways that we can. We pray and little, we read a little, we little by little are obedient and, as a result, develop faith.
• “You need to know WHAT to do and HOW to do it. Knowing what to do and how to do it is in the scriptures. The Holy Ghost is guiding us and the Holy Ghost will tell us what to do.” (2 Nephi 32:3)
• Outside of eternal life, there is nothing greater than having the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Anyways, those were just a few things that I loved from his talk. I hope they will help you in some way.
Well, unfortunately (for y’all ;) ) I wrote a super long talk to President this week and now have mo more time. I really want to write more because my companion would write forever if she could, but I have to be obedient about the time restraints. Haha, it would be pretty hypocritical to write all this stuff about obedience and then just ignore it.

Remind me next week to tell you about the AWESOME Couple, Barbie and Jessie, who we found RIGHT after Stake Conference. TOTALLY awesome.

I love you all!
Sister Burt

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pics!

Yes, I know Tie Skirts are hideous, but my Mission President's wife makes one for every Sister in the mission. How could I say no? So this was my one wearing of it. (Sister Ami feels the same way...)

All the Sisters in the Brownsville and Harlingen Zones. Yikes!

Me and my cute little Sister Lopez.

Elder Merservy and I won the scripture chase game.

Me standing on the other side of the Border fence (don't worry, it's not the REAL border).

Eating at the famous Mr. Taco. Seriously, it sounds lame, but it's way good.

Can I Be Your Boyfriend?

Family!
Yikes, I’m sitting under an AC vent because this was the only computer open…and you know how I feel about being cold. Yikes, it’s chilly! Let’s see if I can handle this for the next 30 minutes.
Wow, another week has flown by. Yesterday was actually super fun, we had a Zone Activity and played soccer at this Park and Rec field. I know, it’s not that big of a deal, but after having been in Beeville for 6 months, where it took an hour to drive to Zone Activities (which is the reason why we’d never go), it’s pretty exciting. I’m not going to lie, I had sort of a bad attitude when I heard we were playing Soccer because that was the one sport where I just had no skills (Sis. Ami was a bit bummed too because she’s in the same athletic situation as me). But, it was SUCH a blast! Actually, just being able to run around for 2 hours and chasing people and such, was so exhilarating. I miss proper exercise…
Ok, I know this is random and weird, but the strangest thing has happened to me recently. My eyebrows have turned (partially) blonde! I’m SO weirded out by it because they’ve always been brown for the past few years, but they’ve turned this strange goldeny/bronzy color. I don’t get it. Oh well, I think I’m the only one who notices. And yes, I know that’s random.
So when I got here, I asked Sister Lopez for the Referral sheet. She had no clue what I was talking about, so I asked the Zone Leader, Elder Reilly, and he said, "Oh crap!" (He’s super informal...), "I have that from December and never got it to you. Ok. So we finally got it and I was surprised to see that there were over 5 sheets of uncontacted referrals! Some of them were even from April! I definitely gained a testimony about contacting referrals from Sister Call (among the many things I learned from her), and so right away I set to work on contacting them. It took a lot of organizing and figuring out things, but we set a goal to contact them all as soon as we could.
So creeper story of the week: I was filling up our water jug at a water mill (the water here is not drinkable, so there are these water stations one every corner) and I decided to contact this late-30-year-old man in his car while my companion was sitting in the car waiting for the water to fill up. He happily accepted me and I started talking to him about how families can be together forever. “Do you have a family?” I asked. “No,” he said. Hmm, apparently I didn’t follow the Spirit on that one, bad tactic. He then asked me if I was “Married,” and for some reason I said yes, but then corrected myself. “Oh cool, do you have a boyfriend.” Oh great, I know where this is going. I fibbed and said that I did have one in Arizona where I’m from, trying to emphasize that, “Yes, I’m not from here. I’m a missionary.” I kept going and switched gears to the Book of Mormon (That’s pretty universal, right?). He was keenly listening, but then at the end said, “Well, the reason I asked you if you had a boyfriend was because I would be your boyfriend.” Ok, conversation done. Haha.

Well, these referrals have turned out to be a huge success for us! Some were hard to contact: for example, some said, "Only home Saturdays," so we'd only be able to visit them on that day, but then come Saturday, we'd be so busy with other appointments, that we couldn't see them till the next Saturday. But we never forgot about them and kept on working for it. We found a lot of new investigators from these referrals. Even though I was embarrassed to visit these people who had requested items or missionaries MONTHS ago, we still did it. I thought that they would have forgotten about it, but all of them still remembered. We stopped by one woman, Gloria, "after 2" as the referral requested and instead we met her "friend." She asked a lot of questions, but refused to give us her address. We came back another day and she said, "Alright, you got me, I lied, I'M actually Gloria." She turned out to be SEARCHING and SO open to us--after we were able to get past the semi-rough wall that she put up. She kept saying during the lesson, "Wow, I never knew any of this before." and "I really want to know if this is true." Another woman was a referral from the Elders and graciously invited us in.

One of the Referrals was a "Jose Luis Rodriguez" who was only home on Saturdays. The referral said he lived in a yellow house off the main road. We pass it all the time, but never visited. Finally, last Saturday, we did. Turns out the yellow house is just the office to a trailer park that is SUPER hidden between from busy streets. Sister Lopez didn't even know that it existed. It's pretty run down and poor. When we went to the office, turns out there isn't any Jose Luis who lives in any of the trailers, but the office manager gave us the name of a Francisco Rodriguez who lived in #18. Well #18 was pretty abandoned, so we took President's advice and started working the area around it. The Lord gave us the referral for a reason: even though the referral may not be the prepared one, someone around them is and the way the Lord gets us to them is through the referral. We started working the trailer park and immediately talk this woman. Then we taught her mom in the next trailer. By the end of our short trip there, we had 5 new investigators, most of them related because this whole family lives in the same trailer park.

But probably my favorite experience from this family that we met almost before we left. We started knocking trailers and were going to do the right side first, then move onto the left later, or if we had time. No one was really interested in this side of the lot, but I saw 3 girls playing outside on the left. So, obviously these little girls aren't home alone, so we crossed over and knocked on their door. The little girls welcomed us and brought us straight to the door to talk to their moms. Immediately these two women answer the door and one starts asking us questions, "Are you the ones who don't drink coffee? Why do you do that?" We started asking her questions, but they fired question after question at us, and not in any sort of contentious sort of way. They really wanted to know. Quite soon after, their two older teenagers came to the doorway and started poking their heads out. The son said, "So can you listen to music in your church?" and the daughter said, "Is it bad to dance?" Apparently, they go to Christian church and the pastor preaches against worldly music of any kind (even classical) and dancing. This obviously was a big doubt and pressing issue on their minds because we would be talking to the parents and randomly the son would say, "Ok, so back to music." or she'd say, "So dancing is ok?" It was funny. I think I heard them ask that question reworded differently about 30 times. But after 45 minutes talking to them, we found out that they are cousins with the 3 other investigators that we just found 30 minutes earlier. It was pretty cool. They didn't actually live in that trailer, but a street away; they were just visiting ANOTHER cousin (who was also present for the conversation). It's neat to see how the Lord really does lead us by the hand. And all this came because we went to contact a referral.
Well, I’m glad to hear that everyone is well. Let me know how everything is going. The church is true, missionary work is hard, but worth it.

Love,
Sister Burt

Monday, January 11, 2010

Am I a Parrot?

Hey Family!

I would say that it was good to hear from you this week, but I didn't, but I'll just assume that everyone is ok. Haha.

So, let's get right to it.

I forgot to tell you last week about the other two girls that we live with. One is Sister Farr, from Oregon: she's blond, super into hunting, drawing, etc. She's pretty new; this is her 3rd transfer. The other is Sister Amitoelau (pronounced Ah-mee-toy-lou (as in loud)). Actually, that's the way we say it, I think the Samoan way of saying it is Ah-Mee-to-eh-lou-oo. Anyways, she's super cool, from California/Utah, super tall, played basketball and all other sports. I really like these girls. It's fun living with other girls, yet at the same time, I miss the peace and quite of just one other person. Hey, I guess I'll have plenty of that whenever I get married. Right?

Sister Lopez and I are doing great. It's really fun having a Latina companion. It's nice because she's very educated (a school teacher and studied at a University), and her accent is very crisp and clean. She doesn't muddle words and such, which is typical of Mexican Spanish. Not that one's better than the other, but you know what I mean. So who knows, I may come back with a really pretty accent. Because one talent that I might have developed here on the mission is the ability to mimic. I think it started with my Disney quoting adventures in the MTC. I would always quote things with Sister Call, and actually I would mimic members and our investigators all the time. She loved it! Well, now that mimicking ability (I think I'm turning into a parrot, perhaps), might actually come in handy because I just mimic the way that Sister Lopez says everything: the way she initiates thing, the way she emphasizes certain words, her pronunciation, words and phrases she uses, everything. It's pretty cool to see how my Spanish has increased just in these past two weeks together. And of course, I help her with her English all the time. It's pretty much the best situation you can have because we both have a pretty ok grasp of the languages we are learning and so I can say to her, "How do you say this?" And she's tell me. And likewise.

The only rough thing is that she was with her other companion Sister Kellett for 5 months and is REALLY attached to her--and even more so...the MEMBERS. It's kind of rough because everyone makes these pouty faces when they find out that she's gone. Oh well, it's the life of the missionary, I've learned. At first, I thought I was the only one who felt this way, but I mentioned it to Sister Amitoelau and she said, "Oh my gosh, I feel the SAME way! Everyone's always talking about Sister Behrman!" So, she and I are in the same boat, but in time, they will change and learn to love us for who we are.

Although, Mom, I know you want to know how my Spanish is doing, so I'll tell you a few things that people have said to me. First off, when I came here Sister Lopez said that I have a huge vocabulary. Next, one investigator said that "Her Spanish is much CLEARER than the other." And then a member said, "Wow, you are the FIRST Americana or Gringa ever who can actually pronounce the 'erre' (the rolled r)." I roll my rr's like CRAZY and I don't really know where I picked it up or when I learned it. It just happened.

Things are going well here in Brownsville. Even though the people are a bit more inviting, still the majority don't want to listen. There was a “freeze” here this week. During the beginning part of the week, everyone was warning us about the big freeze (it was supposedly going to be in the 30s or below). To be honest, I didn’t really believe it: Pssh. Texans. They can’t handle cold. Well, come Friday morning, Sister Farr and I were running and being a bit haughty by saying, “THIS is the big freeze. Please.” Well, that didn’t last long. By afternoon, the weather had dipped into the 30s and was so cold. I wore 4 pairs of nylons/tights because that’s all I had—and of course my coat. Sister Lopez wore about 3 pairs of socks, but it wasn’t enough for her tiny little body. We were contacting all day and stood to talk to this man. She found out that he was from El Salvador (her county) and got all excited. We talked to him for about 20 minutes. By that point, we started walking and she couldn’t feel her toes. Then she couldn’t even walk because she couldn’t feel her feet. It was SO sad. I almost had to give her a piggy back ride to the car because she was cold. We got into the car and dethawed for 20 minutes, but still. Wow, it was rough. I’m glad I didn’t send home my winter coat prematurely, because I almost was going to at Christmas time.

Anyways, I’ve been pondering a lot about what we teach as missionaries, which is the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. Doctrine and Covenant 42:12 teaches us that we “shall teach the principles of my gospel, which as in the Bible and Book of Mormon, in which is the fullness of the gospel.” I’ve been thinking about the meaning of “The Gospel” because a friend of mine sent me some neat notes on the subject. But in the scriptures, when Christ says, “This is my doctrine (D&C 31:21)” or “This is my Gospel (3 Nephi 27:21),” he is referring to something very specific, the basics: the principles of faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. THAT is his gospel, everything else is just appendages to it. The Word of Wisdom, isn’t part of his gospel, neither is tithing. His Gospel is centered around his Atonement, the great sacrifice that he made for all men, the great act of love. 1 John 4: 19: We love his because he first loved us. We show our love by keeping his commandments (John 14:15). I love thinking about his Gospel and how we can apply it. When we teach and principle of the Gospel, we need to be able to tie it back into the GOSPEL and Christ’s atonement. If there is a part of the gospel that we can’t tie back, then apparently we don’t understand the principle enough. We don’t just live the word of wisdom so that we can say that we don’t drink coffee, tea, or alcohol. The reason is because, in doing so, we are able to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost better and stronger. The Holy Ghost is one of the 5 principles of the Gospel. In our classes in church and in our teaching, we should always refocus the lesson on “How does this relate back to the Gospel?” I know that as I’ve focused on this, my lessons and studies have been more powerful. If we have a lesson on “The Saints Exodus from Nauvoo,” for example, it will be so much more powerful if we can tie it back to the Atonement of Christ. I extend an invitation to everyone to think about this. As I have, I’ve looked at different parts of the Gospel and thought, “Wow, why do I do this? Not just for obedience, but how does this related back to the Gospel?” It’s made a huge difference.

I also recommend Elder Utchdorf’s talks “The Way of the Disciple” from April General Conference and “The Love of God” from October’s General Conference. Read the April one first, ponder, and then read the October. The April is a bit more general and the April focuses and the one specific thing we can do as disciples of Christ. It’s interesting how incredibly connected his two General Conference talk are: as if the one in April was just chapter one, and October was chapter two of an incredible story.

I know that this is Christ’s true gospel. The only way back to our Heavenly Father is through Jesus Christ and his Atonement. Love needs to be “our walk and our talk.” I know that this earth was created for us, not simply as “our playground” as investigators have told me, but so that we can learn, grow, and love.

I love you all. Have a great week!

Con amor,
Hermana Burt

Monday, January 4, 2010

Transferred. Drumroll please...

Hola Familia!

Haha, can you guess where I am now? Let me help you out. It's not Beeville, it's not in the north, and it's practically all Spanish. I got transferred to Brownsville, TX, which is in the very tip of South Texas. It is right along the Mexican-American border. Actually, something interesting, you can actually see the border fence from a certain part in our area. A street we are contacting on is on the border and you can literally walk up to the huge fence, see a row of trees, and then obviously behind that is the Rio Grande. CRAZY! It's pretty sweet. I'm excited for this area. We are SO busy, all the time. I don't really have time to think about anything other than missionary work. I don't really have time to eat. I'm lucky if I can remember to eat 2 meals a day, but right now I'm kind of just working off one (because I don't like eating after 6, so when we get home, I just prefer not to eat). It's pretty intense. Beeville was a bit more casual and laid back. Not in a bad way, I guess. But it's just WAY different. The people in Beeville are not really interested in talking to you. It's slammed doors all day long. No worries, there are prepared people everywhere and it makes it that much more fun of a treasure hunt to look for them.

My new companion is Sister Iris Lopez from El Salvador. So Mom, I know you have been not the happiest that I haven't been speaking Spanish or whatever, so apparently your prayers were answered. She came out a transfer behind me and is learning English, although, she's been in Spanish areas her whole mission and is learning it slowly than it takes the other missionaries to learn English. No worries. I hope one day she can go up north, but not now because she's super awesome. She is super petite and just a slender, skinny-framed girl. I heard Sister Call say one time that she told Sister Lopez that she dressed like a school teacher and Sister Lopez said, "Oh, thees es funny because in my country I am a school teacher." She's SO cute and an amazing missionary. We speak Spanish with each other all day long because that's easiest for her and it's not really a problem for me. So don't worry that I've been out of Spanish for 6 months because I really don't notice it. Maybe the first day was a little hard, but other than that...nope. No worries. I'm so excited, all ready my Spanish is getting way better just in this past week.

Well, can I just tell you a few things about the apartment here? Well, first off, in Beeville, we lived in a palace! It was just me and my companion, two bathrooms, super clean, etc. When Sister Call came, we completely gutted the place of all clothes, junk, supplies, etc. It's pretty barren now, but honestly, who wants old T-shirts with armpit stains? Or Jodi dresses from the 90s? No thanks. We would always have candles lit and classical music playing in the background; so peaceful, so peace and love. But when I got here...yikes! I felt like I had walked into a dungeon. The apartment is dark, dingy, DIRTY, cluttered, messy, random Mormon-ads slapped on the walls, NO room in the fridge to by the 3 oranges that I took with me, a bit smelly. I was not a fan. I thought I was semi-organized before my mission, but definitely being here on the mission, I've become ridiculously organized and clean. Personally, we were so comfortable and at ease in Beeville, because we could feel the Spirit so much. I believe that the cleaner and more organized that we are, the more of the Spirit we can feel. The Spirit is organized and clean and dwells in places that are likewise (as a result, we need to not only keep our bodies clean and pure so that the Spirit can dwell, but also our homes). I have such a testimony in stewardship's. Doctrine and Covenants 136:27 teaches us, "Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God and thou are his steward." I love the principle that this teaches us. We are all stewards who have been given dominion over many things. If we have been given a house, car, family, etc, it is our duty to take care of that thing that he has endowed us with. If not, the Lord will not bless us and even will take it away. I believe this is true with the missionary apartments. So immediately over the past week, I have taken the majority of my breaks to start doing little projects, organizing here, throwing this away, fixing that. I guess some people say, "This break is my time," but what I learned from Sister Call is that there is so much joy in cleaning. It may take time initially to do, but the blessings and peace that come are lasting, desirable, and worth it. Today, we cleaned the apartment in the morning. I took on the responsibility of the kitchen. I started deep cleaning the stove and such. Over the week, I'd been telling the girls that I planned to completely "gut and clean this place" and asked that they not be offended in my doing so. They said they didn't care. Even as I started doing these little projects, they would walk in and say, "Wow, it's so much cleaner and nicer." They started helping to and slowly the apartment is changing. Let's be honest, this isn't the nicest apartment--think Raintree but WAY more ghetto (there are all these stray cats that hideously meow all night, our front door has a HUGE gap in it so you can hear anything anyone says as they walk by). Anyways, this morning, I was working on the burners, cleaning them, putting new foil on them because I'm pretty sure no one had cleaned the thing in years. Then Sister Farr came in and joined me. She started throwing away old food--well, it really ended up being ALL the food--from the fridge. People's food who had been transferred, old smelly tupperwear's of rice and beans. Who knows what was in there. We cleaned out the pantry too and organized and divided up the space so we could each have a shelf in the fridge and pantry. Wow, we threw away 5 garbage bags of old food. Pretty much, if it didn't belong to anyone, we got rid of it. I scrubbed out the fridge and wow, it's so clean and bright! I feel way better. We're ALMOST done with the kitchen (she and I are now reorganizing all the cupboards), and when it's all said it done, this place is going to turn out to be all right. I'm excited. It's a little bit of service that I can do for the Lord, the mission, and the future missionaries who will come here.

Well, the people here are SO cool. They want to talk to you and we--of course--want to talk o them. Even the white people are nice. I'm excited. The branch here is SUPER small. We meet in this strange bright blue building and there are about 20-30 people (including kids) that come. Probably about 7-8 families total. Crazy.

We had a baptism this past weekend of a little boy whose parents are less-active. I guess his brother was baptized the week before and his two older teenage siblings will be baptized in about 2 weeks. This household is very volatile and angry whenever we come (not at us, but that's just the tone of the home because the parents are having marital issues), but I know that through the baptisms of their children, they will grow stronger as more of their members of the home have the Holy Ghost to guide them.

We met a family named Garcia last week. It was really cool. In this area, no one is SUPER poor, everyone has homes, but some areas are SUPER nice (think White Wing or The Groves). Well, we had some time by one of these nice areas and started contacting. At first I was thinking, "Oh wow, here we go again, just like Beeville." But the first door that we knocked had an 18-year-old boy in it. We sat outside and talked about what we do as missionaries and started having a lesson with him. Richard really opened up to us and expressed that there was a death of a family friend recently which has been really hard. We started explaining about the Plan of Salvation when his parents and other siblings drove up. I was a bit worried that they'd say, "Why are you talking to these people? Get inside!" But they were so nice and gracious and invited us in right away. We started talking to the whole family and they were very interested. They never had heard about the sealing power or eternal families and said that they wanted to learn more. They are very happy Christian type of people who go to this family Christian church every Sunday. They are doing a 21 day fast (just liquids and the father is even doing it to give up coffee because he's addicted. Pretty sweet). We came back but we both were a bit scared to go back and teach them. I know that I sometimes have a tiny bit of anxiety about new situations, people, and places, but I immediately recognized this as Satan. So we went, but the mother was called into work and he said that she wanted to be there. We came back later that night (at 8:50, yikes!) and they were excited to learn. We shared part of the Family Proclamation with them and they loved it. At the end of the lesson when I asked them how they felt, she said "Peaceful" and he said, "Relaxed." I helped them recognize this as the Spirit. They said that they always pray that they can learn more about Jesus Christ and have their hearts open to them. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical about them because they were English, white, and lived in a nice home, but now I know that I need to repent for that. They are AWESOME and want a happier, stronger family. We committed them to pray as a couple and they were excited to do so.

So that's what's going on with Brownsville this week. I'm excited for the new Gospel Principles book for Priesthood and Relief Society. One reason I think there is a change for these next two years is because the first presidency wants a greater focus on member missionary work. The Lord wants all the members to learn and KNOW the basics so that when their friends ask them questions or they have missionary opportunities, they can readily share the correct information. I'm excited for it and I hope that everyone sets a goal to read the lesson beforehand. This is something that Elder Neilson of the 70 committed us missionaries to do once we get back from out missions. Jesus Christ even taught this to the Nephites when he said in 3 Nephi 17:3, "Therefore, go yet unto your homes and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and PREPARE your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again." I know that this is true and if every member did this before each Sunday, we each would be SO much more edified together. Instead of having to explain basics or read paragraphs, we could have open discussion in which the Spirit guides the lesson. I hope that everyone can set this as a goal and I can promise you that your Relief Society and Priesthood classes (also Gospel Doctrine for the Old Testament) will be so much better. It will be a joy for all in attendance and the Spirit will teach you so much. I know this is true and this is Christ's only true and living church.

I love you all, and I'm off to wash the car and get away from the smelly smoker man who's sitting next to me. Love you!

--Love--
Sister Burt