Monday, May 24, 2010

Mall Trips Poop Me Out

Fam,

Wow, I'm tired and really don't want to write this (that's a first). We decided to go to the mall because Sister Farr wanted to buy some new clothes. As for me, I'm beyond the point in wanting new clothes because I don't want anything to do with these tattered rags after the mission and I certainly don't want to spend money on more. I think once I hit my 9 month mark, I decided "No more" and I've stuck with it since. But not for Sister Farr. I tried to postpone our mall trip, week after week and I actually was successful for about 3 weeks, but I couldn't make up any more excuses so first thing this morning, we took the 30 minute drive to Harlingen (another reason why I didn't want to go) and we went to the HUGE Forever 21 (which I'm assuming is located in an old Mervyn's building beacuse it's the biggest Forev I've ever seen). She wanted to go there even though she'd never been, but (as I predicted) she was completely overwhelmed by it all and didn't really know that she wanted or where to start. After wallowing in the store for 45 minutes, she finally decided on a shirt. Then she wanted cosmetics, so we headed to Dillard's (which had a pretty scanty cosmetics department) and she realized that $14 for an eyeshadow wasn't her thing (I think she really wanted MAC because of me, but they didn't have it there), so we left.

I actually felt really out of place at the mall (another reason, I suppose, I wanted to avoid the institution). Looking at the clothes and styles made me realize 1) how completely unfashionable my current wardrobe is and 2) how I'm going to have no idea what to do clothes-wise when I get home. Yikes. Maybe the Peterson girls will have to fashion makeover me. Haha.

I got the graduation announcement from Marshall. Tell him "Congrats" from me! Wow, he's turned into a little stud. When does he have his Mexico trip? Is it still on?

Well, this was a good week. We didn't actually find that many new investigators (only 3), but the three that we did find were stellar! Two--a mother and daughter--acutally came to church. I got invited to go to Monterrey, Mexico by this old Mexican man. I declined. Sister Farr's new skirt got caught in her bike gears as she was riding. I was ahead of her and didn't hear her shout, "Sister Burt, WAIT!" until I has half a mile ahead and turned around and didn't see her at all! Poor girl, the skirt just got caught and kept pulling and pulling. I would't have been surprised if he whole skirt would have just gotten sucked into the bicycle like you see on cartoons. Haha.

I'm getting sort of sick of people telling me "Oh are you tired?" or "You look like you just woke up?" Well, first off, I have like permanent bags under my eyes that don't go away and second, if you'd been a missionary for 15 months, you'd look like me too. Haha.

The Investigator--Theresa--who came to church said something funny to me. There is another Elder here named Elder Arens and he usually teaches the investigator class at church. Well, after church, I was talking to her and she said, "Are you and him related?" I was a bit surprised because I didn't see any sort of family resemblance. "No" I said. "Oh, that's interesting, because you both talk exactly the same. You have the same accent. When you read the scriptures, you both pause in the same places, too." "Oh, that's funny, because we're both from Arizona." Haha, I never realized that I had an "Arizona accent" and I never noticed that he did too, but I guess when you put two of us Arizonan's together in Texas, it becomes a bit more obvious.

After Zone Conference on Thursday, we had plans to work in Lyford next to a former investigator's house. We got there, but haven't really had much gusto to work in Lyford these past few weeks, so we headed back to Raymondville. Well, as we got to Raymondville, we realized we had a call from the Ward Mission Leader, Bro. Abbey, telling us that he had purchased sunscreen for us (we had a discussion about how much I use and he's had skin cancer so he's very adement about using it). We decided to head the 5 miles back to Lyford and pick it up. Eventually, we were led back to where our original plans of working Main St. There were only about 6 houses, so I was excited to bust through them and get back to Raymondville.

We knocked and had no success. It was on the same street as an Apostolic church, so everyone was members of it. But we finally found a woman, named Theresa who felt bad for us about how hot it was. So only invited us in to give us water. Anytime you can get into the home, it's great becaue it allows the Spirit to come in which is something that they probably have never felt before. We started talking about fluff stuff when she brought up the church and such. We eventually talked about how there's a prophet today and that threw her off a bit. She is very Christian and grew up Apostolic with her mom, but then became Baptist when she lived in Tennessee. But after being annoyed with all the Baptist's rules and regulations, and thenn confusion about the other churches, she settled for a non-demoninational church, but hasn't been for a long time. She shared a lot about herself and her beliefs, but we gave her a pamphlet about the Restoration and she very firmly said that she would "study" it and pray about it.

We came back two days later and he let us in and her 11-year-old daughter Beatriz was there too. She mentioned some questions she had about the pamphlet, but said, "I'm going to be honest ladies. I stopped when I got to the page about the Book of Mormon. I don't need another book when I already can't handle what I got in here." she put her Bible in the air. She started talking about how much she cherishes the Bible and LOVES it and can't imagine going away from it. "I'm sorry ladies, but I don't think this is what I want and I probably don't want you back." I wasn't going to take that for an answer. Through using a series of questions about how she feels about the Bible and then bearing testimony about the Book of Mormon. We were able to open a discussion about the origins and contents of the Book of Mormon. You could tell she was a bit skeptical, but we read quite a few passages from it and finished off, by watching the last 10 minutes of the movie "Testaments"--which, personally, is one of my favorite ways to teach it because it depicts it visually and the Spirit is so strong at the end. After the clip, we asked he what she thought and she said, "Wow. Apparently, there's a lot more about Jesus that I knew." She committed to read 3 Nephi 11 with her daughter and before we left said, "You know, I was set about not believing in this and having you back, but when I heard her (meaning my companion), say that she knew that is was true, it really made me think and have to look more into it." I love that by just Sister Farr's simple testimony of "I know that the Book of Mormon is true," that that is what made the difference.

Also, I've grown accustomed to using short simple statements of truth. During the lesson, she said, "You know, like after this life, we won't have any recollection of each other." She pointed to her daughter and said, "like I won't know who she is and she won't know who I am." Taking this as a chance to share true doctrine and correct her, I said, "I know that this church is true. It's because of the Book of Mormon, that I now have the knowledge that my family can be together eternally after this life." After I said that she said, "Wait a minute, you said something there. That you family could be...?" "Together Forever." "Yeah, something like that," she said, "I've never heard that before. I just thought that after this life we wouldn't be." I'd never actually had anyone say that or be shocked that "our families can be together forever." It was really interesting and after she said, "Well, I don't know all about this, it's all new to me, but I'm willing to learn and look into it. I want to follow Jesus exactly the way he wants me. And if he wants me to follow him into Mormonism, then I'll follow him." She definitely is one of the most open people I have met. It's interesting that at the beginning of the lesson, she was set on us not coming back, but by the end, she was excited to read, pray, and learn more.

Theresa and Beatriz came to church the next day! It was amazing! Theresa was so shocked to learn that her aunt is a member. I overheard her talking to her aunt in between classes and she said, "You know, other churches always tell you to stay away from the Mormons. But I never knew that this Book wasn't another Bible or takes away from it, but it's just another Testament about Christ." I smiled as I walked away. I know that there was nothing I had done to help her understand that, it was just combination of a missionary's most powerful tools: the Book of Mormon and the Spirit.

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. At times, I've gotten carried away here on the mission, studying the Bible or other things, but really, I'm never as satisfied with myself as when I'm in the Book of Mormon. Like Elder Bednar said in this past April conference in his talk, "Watching with All Perserverance,":
The convincing and converting powers of the Book of Mormon come from both a central focus upon the Lord Jesus Christ and the inspired plainness and clarity of its teachings. Nephi declared, “My soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn” (2 Nephi 25:4). The root word plain in this verse does not refer to things that are ordinary or simple; rather, it denotes instruction that is clear and easily understood.

The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth because it centers upon the Truth (see John 14:6; 1 Nephi 13:40), even Jesus Christ, and restores the plain and precious things that have been taken away from the true gospel (see 1 Nephi 13:26, 28–29, 32, 34–35, 40). The unique combination of these two factors—a focus on the Savior and the plainness of the teachings—powerfully invites the confirming witness of the third member of the Godhead, even the Holy Ghost. Consequently, the Book of Mormon speaks to the spirit and to the heart of the reader like no other volume of scripture.

I know that is true because I've seen it firsthand in my life, my mission and the lives' of my investigators. I invite everyone who is reading this to really ponder and pray about who they could give a Book of Mormon too. A missionary here was invited years ago to do just that and she just recieveed word that one of her best friends read it and got baptized last week. I know that there are people in all of our lives who also are waiting accept the Gospel.

Have a great week everyone!

Love,
Sister Burt

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