Monday, June 28, 2010

Sending Pics Took Up All My Time


Ok, so I am sending a TON of pictures, so my email may be shorter as a result. Gotta love trade-offs. First thing, I took that melatonin like once. I didn't need it after that, which is good because I really don't like the idea of "sleep aids" but I was desperate.

Ok, so my 1st ever little mini, missionary crush on Elder Reilly ended after about 3 days--as do nearly all of my crushes. Yep, I got over it, which is good. He's still super awesome and we all have a game plan to help the branch get on it's feet. Also, he's also volunteered himself to become my trainer. My favorite was when a man yesterday told me, "Do you eat a lot?" "No." "Oh, it's ok because you're big girl. A beautiful one at that." Seriously?!!? I'm not even fat, just... Yeah, so apparently I need to get skinny or fit. So Elder Reilly developed this diet/meal plan for me which I'm starting today, and then he even decided to come over every morning with his companion and be our trainer to help us work out outside. Haha, so yeah, I'm not complaining about a free trainer.

Anyways, Zone Conference was this past week and it was sad because it was the last one with Pres. and Sister Miller. It was also the one where I gave my departing missionary testimony. It was interesting because it doesn't feel like the end. If just feels like another transfer. So weird, I thought the last transfer would just be a big whirlwind, but's not. Just another day.

Well, I'm not going to waste time, so I'll just start talking about Theresa because that's really all the time I have. So Theresa is SO cool. We came over for our appointment and she read all the way from 2 Nephi 28 to Alma! She just fell in love with it and couldn't stop reading. She's accepting everything we teach her, except that she believes that her baptism was a baptism of faither and, therefore, valid in the eyes of God. As a result, she believes that she has the Holy Ghost. So, it's just a matter of prayer for her. We started a lesson with her and that's actually what she brought up, after a few lessons of us not talking about it. We actually had planned a lesson SOLELY on the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was amazing how since we were in tune with the Spirit, we were able to teach her what her need and doubt was. She's really doing quite well, but we can't really set a baptismal date with her yet. We helped her paint her house that she's building so that was nice. She loves us and everything that we teach her. She's receiving so many witnesses about what we're sharing to be true. So, she's progressing, but her daughter is going to Tennessee to spend July and August with her dad. So I hope that BJ being gone, won't but a wrench in things. But we'll see.

Love Sister Burt

Enjoy the Pics~


Sister Farr doesn't play golf. So she rented a cart and wrote letters the whole time.

Elder Arens...forgot his tennis shoes

Elder Reilly


Love this sign

Golfing. No tee, so what do you use? An an hill. That's the Texas way.

Service in a skirt

Me and Sister Farr in the farmland

South Texas: miles and miles of farmland.

Easter tradition here: crack eggs full of confetti on your head. Great fun.

Riding Bikes

The old Raymondville district from when I first got here. Elder Given (the first one) reminds me a LOT of Marshall. It's great.

Lucy's baptism

We found a turtle while digging holes for service on day.

Gotta Love Tex Mex :)

The Boot Co.

Me walking

The Harlingen Zone Picture

Sister Satterwhite is pretty much the coolest member ever. Seriously, just look at her. :)

Linda's Lounge pretty much sums up Raymondville.

Our dog...Tink. Because she s"tink"s and "tink"les all over the place.

The Sr. couple--The Swayne's--fixing our fire alarm at apt. checks.

Martha and Jessica who were preparing to be baptized. That's been put on hold for a while...

Posing for the camera at our local lunch spot--Boot Co!

Laura Barrera at her $100,000 (not really) quicenera

The Tie Bale We Bought for father's day gifts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Big Changes in Raymondville...Ok, actually, just one.

Hey family!
Ok, to answer a few questions. The new mission president will come in on July 1st but we will already have had our zone conference the week before (our last one with President and Sister Miller). I will probably get to meet him once for interviews and then when I leave. So yeah, I'm not going to have much contact with him which is a bummer. My departing interview will be with a new mission president and it'll probably go something like this, "So Sister, I can really tell how much you have changed and grown over this past....month. You are a completely different person then when I first met you such a long time ago." Yep. It's going to be awesome.
What else happened? Oh yeah, the neighbors called the dog catcher on our "puppy" because she wouldn't always run in their yard and lie in their grass. Haha, it's ok, I would have done the same, but for some reason I couldn't find the number, so they did it for us. And...let's be honest, I was getting bored of her by like the 3rd day. Haha, pets aren't my thing apparently.
Well, like I said, transfers were last week and I'm staying in Raymondville. This is great news! Haha, well sort of. Elder Guillen (our old district leader) got transferred and we got a new district leader: Elder Reilly. If you don't remember, he was my AMAZING zone leader in my short stay in Brownsville (the one who is going to play football for Colorado State). Everything he said or did, was just...inspiring. I think he's every one's favorite person in the mission; seriously, he's Mr. Popular. Anyways, with that, he's also the only missionary that I've ever had a mini-missionary crush on (haha, you knew that was coming). So yeah, this will be an interesting transfer. But it's alright, I've already gotten over it (except that I was so embarrassed/nervous to talk to him at the beginning of the week, hahaha. I'm such a nerd, but I got over that). Anyways, he's really an asset to Raymondville because Raymondville is just very... interesting and tries to do things their own way. Also, our old district leader didn't really want to be a district leader (or in any leadership position), so he purposely didn't plan things for district meeting and such because he wanted to get taken out. But it's alright, I learned what I had to learn. But Elder Reilly is really intense and all about "finding solutions." He's involved with our investigators progress just as much as his own and really fires Sister Farr and up to step it up and be WAY better than we are. So yeah, I (and the rest of the district, because again, everyone loves this guy) are REALLY excited for this next transfer. Oh random fact about him: he's obsessed with working out and staying in shape, and so he lugged 600 POUNDS of weights with him up here, including a number of different weight machines he's accumulated over his mission. Pretty crazy.
But things have been going pretty good here in Raymondville. We didn't have the girls baptized this past week. I knew I shouldn't have wrote about it last week. I never write about baptisms until AFTER they happen because I'm always afraid I'll jinx it. Well, they had a great time at girls' camp, but then it came out that they felt like they were being pushed into being baptized. So after a ton of drama of some other mission leaders trying to convince us to go with it, we decided that they had their agency and clearly, if they don't feel ready or that they have repented of everything, then they're not ready! But a miracle happened after that: their mom, Belinda, finally approached us again, saying that she had quit drugs and really is interested in learning and changing again. Wow, there is a NIGHT and DAY difference with Belinda now compared to when she is on drugs. She's very smiley and pleasant now, before she had constant blood-shot eyes and was despicable. It's a big difference with the girls teaching them alongside their mom.
Well, Theresa came back to church after 2 crazy weeks where Satan got in her way and she couldn't go. She still is very interested and reading the Book of Mormon. She's in 2nd Nephi and loving it. She always gives us giant kisses on our cheeks (a cultural thing that they do here. Seriously, I was kissed more in my first MONTH alone of my mission that I ever had in my whole entire life! And it was all by WOMEN!). But she's still searching and trying to figure it all out. She keeps saying, "Well, I need to make sure this is right because it's my SALVATION. It's true. But I came across a good verse of scripture this morning that I want to share with her because she's focused on her salvation, the spirit and truth, Jacob 4:13: Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old.
It's true. She's very concerned with her salvation, so we need to help her connect with the Spirit and how it will ALWAYS lead us in the path of true. I'm excited for her progress during these next few weeks. We still haven't been able to set a date for baptism with her yet.
Well, other than that, I can't think of anything else to write because my time is us (I'm trying to be better about not going over the 45 minutes of email time. Most days we use up to an hour or even an hour and fifteen minutes). It's funny but here I am in my last transfer and I don't feel like it's my last at all! I feel like it's just another transfer. And the saddest part is that this past week, I have felt like I have become the best missionary that I ever have been: the lessons are so much more powerful, the investigators are getting it, I'm asking the right questions that I've never asked before. It's sad actually. I mean, I heard from many returned missionaries that that will happen: you'll become the best and feel like you finally got it and then...poof! It's over. So, I'm trying not to think about the "over" part because that's really sad and I have a ton more improving to do so that our investigators can receive the blesses of the Gospel.
My love goes to all out there, including dad for father's day. This gospel is true and I love it because the more you get into it, the happier you are. Isn't that the purpose of life? "Men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). If you want more happiness, live the gospel better. There's always things we can do to improve and the increase of happiness, prosperity and blessings (Mosiah 2:22-24,41) will ALWAYS come.
Sister Burt

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Dog Ate My Planner

This week has been a good week. Today we find out about transfers and I'm about 50/50 split about whether Sister Farr will stay or not. But this I do know, it's my LAST transfer ever. 6 more weeks to be a full-time missionary and serve the Lord. Yikes, it's a sad thought which impels me to want to work even harder than ever. We have a LOT of good people we are teaching right now, and the people we are teaching right now are the ones who will be ready for baptism in July so it's imperative that I continue working hard and don't slack off.
This was a bit of a crazy week. I lost my planner. I realized that it was missing after we had been working a street, then visiting a lot of businesses to fill up pass-a-long car stands. I noticed it when we were eating at our friendly neighborhood "Boot Co. Restaurant"--a local restaurant that feeds the missionaries for free. So we go once a week and enjoy the burgers, and..well burgers mostly because they're just so good! I noticed it and we started backtracking my steps. I couldn't find it. The next day we decided to go back to one of the streets we had been working the day before. We parked in the same place where the car was parked a day earlier and we saw all my pass-a-long cards strewn across a few yards. We tried to follow the trail, but it didn't lead anywhere. I retrieved probably nearly all the cards, but not the planner. I was bummed. So I had to procure another one (which is hard to do because they really don't let you have extras) from another missionary who had an extra. When we picked up all the cards, a few were all demolished with dents. At first I thought that a dog had eaten the planner and carried it away, but I realized later that it must have just been on the road and the cars kept driving over it and the bumps weren't dog bits, but rather the imprints of the little rocks and gravel on the road.
We had another dog encounter this week. We were planning in the living room one night at 9:30, and we heard this shriek. I thought it was a bat, while Sister Farr thought it was a mouse. Then we heard this scratching at the door and we both hopped up and peeked on the door while opening it. To our surprise, it was a little brown puppy! She was scared from the thunder outside. We gave her some water because she was so thirsty (she drank 2 bowls) and then just pet her for a while (while not letting her come inside). The whole time this was happening, the line from the white handbook kept flashing thought my mind, "Do not have pets of any kind." She has a collar, so she must belong to somebody. So, here it is a week later and she still is hanging out outside of our house. We gave her a bath too. But she's not our pet! Haha. We put up "found dog" signs, but I don't think people do that here in Raymondville. Too many strays to worry about it. So..we may have to call the pound soon. She keeps bringing ALL sort of junk into the yard and chewing it up. Even some poor girls flip flips are scattered in pieces around the lawn....
Oh, since I'm on a dog story kick, I must inform everyone that a few weeks ago, I hit a dog in the car while driving on the Business 77. It was walking with her owner and suddenly just jetted out into the street for no reason. I couldn't really do anything to avoid hitting old "Goldie." Her owner ran up and gave me the biggest stink eye, but it wasn't my fault she wasn't on a leash! She seemed like she was going to die. We said a prayer for her, but I don't think the woman had confidence in us. We happened to have hit it right in front of her pastor's home, so he came out and said a prayer and then the dog just hopped up and was fine. So either way, the power of prayer worked and the dog was able to walk home.
Ok, enough dog stories (seriously though, if you were in Raymondville, you would understand why the majority of the time, dogs are involved). We are having a baptism this week--Jessica and Martha. Their mom was Belinda who was at one point super interested, but then got back into her drug and drinking habit and now just yells and screams all the time with blood shot eyes. It's sad, but she's supportive of the girls. Although, certain members of the ward are not supportive and keep telling us that they're "not ready" and such, so it's hard when we've already gotten that confirmation from the Lord. But they're going to girl's camp this week, so they'll be on a spiritual high by the weekend when they're baptized. Yay girl's camp. It's just amazing and does wonders.
We were teaching machines this week. By Wednesday, we had 17 investigator lessons taught--and the Standard of Excellence for the mission is to teach 20 a week. So it was good. We were focusing on all the people who had attended church, but by the end of the week, Satan really got in the way and it was hard to teach them at the end. One of our investigators (Eva) is a lesbian (kind of, I don't think she really is, this is just her first homosexual relationship after MANY failed ones with men), so we decided to teach the law of chastity up front so that she would know it was a requirement for her baptism. Well, she seemed to understand and then that night came to our Movie Night with her girlfriend and kids. According to Elder Guillen, they were holding hands. Hm... I'm not quire sure she committed to live it. Then she didn't show up for church and we dropped by yesterday to see how she was and Sister Farr said that the front door was open and she could see all the way in the back of the house and saw Eva lying on her bed next to her girlfriend and then when she knocked, the door just closed. So yeah. Another one was just plain hard to catch and another one split up with his girlfriend after we taught them Law of Chastity. Yikes, missionary work is so stressful. Sometimes I just get so tired with everyone and want to just give up on them. But seconds later, I realize that Heavenly Father loves these people and that he would never give up on them. I just need to be more patient, loving and understanding. Usually after thinking that, I am able to keep going to help them. As Utchdorf said in his priesthood session talk, "Continue in Patience": "

As the Lord is patient with us, let us be patient with those we serve. Understand that they, like us, are imperfect. They, like us, make mistakes. They, like us, want others to give them the benefit of the doubt. Never give up on anyone. And that includes not giving up on yourself.

Recently, a recent covert for only 6 months--named Aurelio (or "Junior" to us missionaries)--was called to be the first counsellor in the branch presidency. Quite a shock at first, but I felt the Spirit confirm that he was the one for the job and had been prepared for this calling. He was preparing to be a Methodist minister at one point. But anyway, we teach him his recent convert lessons about every 2 weeks or so. He's great and will read anything you assign him. He said that the other missionaries never stopped by after he was baptized (which is NOT what they're supposed to do). So we taught him the lessons again, but definitely more in detail that you would anyone else (Teaching the Plan of Salvation took two parts and was SO much fun going into it). Anyways, yesterday after the lesson, he gave us both cards that he had made. He was thanking us for everything we had done for him. In mine, he mentioned, "I know that you have charity. I can feel it when you talk to day I hope to have charity like you." I was touched. Sister Farr later brought to my attention, "How interesting that he mentioned charity because that's the thing that you have been working on your whole mission." In that moment, I felt like crying. I've been working so hard to learn charity and love others. Many many times, I've just been so frustrated with myself and wonder if I've really change at all! Or if I'm still the old, selfish, mean, bratty self that I used to be. It's hard to see the changes in yourself, especially when you tend to only focus on the negative things that need fixing). It's hard to step back and observe the beauty of the whole edifice, when your hunched over fretting about the chipped molding on the corner. But I was grateful for Junior for writing that. It really made me realize that I have grown and changed and improved over the course of this mission. I'm not the same person I was when I entered the MTC and I'm certainly glad that I won't be that same person walking off the plane. I still have a long way to go, but I'm grateful for the effect this mission has had in changing my heart.

I love you all. Have a great week everyone. Here's hoping that I stay in Raymondville for my last transfer!


Sister Burt

Monday, June 7, 2010

World Record Church Attendance

Thanks for the email and such! Yeah that sounds good about the Disneyland trip on the 1st-5th of August. That sounds like a super fun trip and Dior and kids should come too! Make it a whole family event! :)
Tell Steven "Happy 22nd Birthday" from me! I don't have his address or anything, so I guess this will do. I am sending something for Dad for Father's Day, so I'll include his part too.
I think my mission is beginning to mirror itself. During the first two months, I had the HARDEST time sleeping. Once I hit the field, I was fine. Now, I have two months left and, again, I'm having the HARDEST time sleeping. I usually don't fall asleep till between midnight and three. Yikes. So, I took some advice from Elder Guillen and I'm going to start taking Melatonin, some sort of vitamin that is a natural sleep aid. I need my sleep...
Well, update on some of our investigators. Theresa from a few weeks ago has been hard to catch, but her daughter was put in the hospital because he appendix needed to be removed and so we sent the Zone Leaders over there to give her a blessing. They also shared--very boldly--about the Book of Mormon and how it's convincing evidence from God that this is his true church. We're seeing her tonight. Marcos came to church yesterday with him wife and kids! They were excited to come, but had to leave after the first hour because she had to work a half our later and he didn't have a way to get home. But he's excited to come back this week and stay for all three hours so that he can get the real effect of it. So cool. We're hoping to set a baptismal date with them tonight.
But this week was an incredible week! From Friday on, we were streamlining from place to place. During those days, we found some very prepared people who came to church and we taught lessons with members present. We had so many people that wanted to come to church, that we spent 2 straight hours on Saturday, procuring rides for all of our investigators. Our our work paid off well and we had 14 people at church, but only of those 8 of those were investigators (the other 6 were an investigator's children, who all are above 8, yet we haven't really been able to "officially" sit down and teach the kids and make them investigators). Two of those investigators who we found on Friday, even went up and bore their testimony. It was incredible. I really felt that the Lord is beginning to pour our blessings upon us that there isn't "room enough to receive it." I'm not boasting, but I'm going to continue to do my best with all these people so that they all progress to baptism and don't fall through the cracks just because we have "too many people to see."
First off, is Eva. Friday, we went to an appointment with a flaky former investigator who always sets up appointments, but never is there when we come. We arrived and--figures--she wasn't there. We started heading back into the car when I said, "Why don't we just knock this street?" It was a short little street that we had done a while ago, but nothing came from it. Maybe there was someone there this time who hasn't home when we came the months prior. We started knocking and had no success until the 2nd to last house. We knock and this woman opens and immediately says, "Sit down." She gets some chairs outside and we sit and talk. Her name is Eva and she's had a really rough life: drugs, been in prison multiple times, abuse, 8 kids, married 5 times and a widow twice. Now she's clean and ready to change--very prepared. Before we left she said, "You know, I saw you two in the paper" and then later I saw you on your bikes and I turned to my kids and said, "Look! Look, it's the girls' from the paper!" But said to myself, "I really hope they stop by my house." Well a few days later, her prayer (in her head) was answered and we came by. She came to church, brought 6 of her kids, loved it, felt "really comfortable" in the church and even went up and bore her testimony! In between classes I was talking to her telling her about how the Elders were having a baptism after church. She asked, "How do you get baptized?" (wow, I just had a flashback of the Joseph Smith movie and they're translating the plates and Oliver Cowdery says, "How are we to be baptized?") I wasn't sure if she was asking "What is the manner of baptism?" or "How can I be baptized?" So...I gave a lame answer because someone else was trying to talk to me at the same time. But later we came back and I started the lesson by asking, "So, you want to be baptized?" And she said, "Yes." So that pretty much led the lesson and she accepted to be baptized on the 11th of July (actually, I accidentally said 13th, thinking that that was a Sunday, so we'll just have to correct that later).
The next person is Christina. She's very similar to Eva in a way. They actually live one street apart. Christina was an investigator from back in February and March. She saw us at HEB during the week. Yes, Sister Farr and I sometimes go to the grocery store to randomly get things for investigators or emergency type stuff, but don't worry! We always have permission to do so. But its' funny, every time we make a random trip to HEB, it always ends up helping us with our missionary work. HEB is the hub for everyone (everyone needs food, therefore whether you are rich or poor, you go to the grocery store), so it's a great chance to see a lot of people. Well, we were going and as we were walking in a woman yelled to us from her car, "SISTERS!" We went over and it was Christina who had moved so many times since being in the trailer on Durham that we no longer kept track or bothered her. Well, she finally came up to us 3 months later! We tried to set up a few appointments, but she was always gone. Finally, Friday after planning, an appointment fell through and I was just led to her house. We got out and she waved us inside. She told us that she is really stressed because she had to go to court on Monday (today) to see if she could get custody of her two sons. Immediately, I talked about "coming unto Christ" and fasting, by sharing Omni 1:26. She was shocked. "You know what?" she said, "I have been thinking about fasting for a long time, but I never told anyone about it. I know that God has been answering my prayers by sending you and working through you." She accepted to be baptized and came to church on Sunday--she also bore her testimony thanking God that we stopped by on Friday when she was so down and depressed thinking that all was lost. She is great and we shared last night about Faith and it was a great lesson. She's pumped to be baptized and really wants her boys back because she wants them to start growing up in the church.
Last but not least, Guillermo. He is a Spanish-only speaker and he is SO cool. He is really struck by us and always tells us that we are "buena gente" or "mujeres virtuosas." He sees the Spirit in us and tells us that he feels it every time he talks to us. This is one way he knows that what we share is true. We found him in the home next to an investigator, but he doesn't really live there, he actually lives in Lyford. We started talking to him and he was legitimately interested in the church--astoundingly so. He actually came to church back in 2004 and has a Book of Mormon; he remembers the headphones they use for the translation. Well, it's been REALLY rough getting a hold of him. He lives in Lyford and we always seem to have miscommunication about the time or place. We finally taught him outside of the place he stays: he lives in the guest house of these really rich, snooty people. We stopped by, taught him and later came back to daily contact him and see how he was. The owner and her husband were outside walking on their property and yelled at us that we couldn't go back to his little house because it was their property. We left her a little note for him, but he wasn't happy. We came back the next day and he was outside working. We talked for a good 10 minutes and then "she" came out again and yelled at us, "I already told you! Get off my property! I don't want you people here. I mean, I already have to deal with people like him!" It made me really sad about how mean this woman was. So, yes, Satan clearly doesn't want Guillermo being taught. Things always get in the way that's neither of our faults. Yesterday, we had an appointment with him at the park, but we thought he meant the park in Lyford. Turns out he meant the park in RAYMONDVILLE! So we missed each other.
Last night, we were one contact short of our goal and it was 9:05 pm. I decided to go home rather than get that last one. But as I was heading home, I rerouted and decided that we could get that last one. I decided to swing around the ball fields where some baseball games were going, but that didn't feel right. So I headed over to the HEB gas station for some reason and parked, talked to a man filling up on gas, and drove away. This whole time Sister Farr was talking to Guillermo, who had missed his appointment a few hours earlier. As she was saying, "Bye", I was pulling out from the gas station and onto the main road. I looked right to check if all was clear and realized that as she said, "Bye" the man 10 feet away on the pay phone said, "Bye" as well and hung up the phone. "That's Guillermo!" Sister Farr hopped out, backed me out and we talked to him for a bit. He doesn't have a car or phone, so he drives his bike from Lyford every day and apparently (we just discovered) he has been contacting us from pay phones (hence the reason his number is different every single time). I was grateful for the Spirit's prompting and that I followed it, even though I wasn't quite sure why or where I was going. I know that when we follow the Spirit, we get led exactly where the Lord needs us to be. It was a great opportunity to talk with him and answer any doubts or concerns, and also to bear testimony in person. From now on, his lesson's are at the church building. No more miscommunication. No more mean landlords. No more preventing him from receiving the blessings of the Gospel.
I love you all! Happy Father's Day Dad! Happy Birthday Steve!
Sister Burt

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Diabetic Shoes

Hello everyone!

Happy Belated Memorial Day! Wow, holiday's really mean nothing to missionaries. It'll be weird to celebrate things like that again. All we really did was have our normal pday, I went golfing while Sister Farr sat in the cart and wrote letters, and then we went out at 6 pm (as usual because pday ends at 6) and taught some lessons. Oh, and I also got hair cut. Last Wednesday, Sister Calvo came up to us and said, "You look like you need hair cuts. Ok, Monday I'll come and take you to get your hair cut." I was semi-offended; did she think our hair was scraggly and ugly? Probably. Let's be honest, I just let my hair naturally wave and then by the end of the day (when she saw us), it's put up in a hot and sweat pony tail. So yes, we got our hair cut and the lady cut WAY more than I wanted, but whatever. That's what you get. You saw "between 1 and 2 inches" and you get three. What can you do about it? I was trying to just grow my hair out ridiculously long just for fun, but oh well.

Last week we mowed a neighbor's lawn in a skirt. Sister Farr changed into pants, but it was 7 pm when we started and I just didn't feel like changing, so I did it in my skirt. I'm sure I was a sight to see when the neighbors drove by. The grass hadn't been cut for ages (she kept saying, "Well it's been raining! I'm not going to cut my lawn when it rains!"), so it was at least 3 feet tall--5 feet in other spots.

I've started taking two showers per day because I realized how nasty it is to go to bed all sweaty and gross. After a few days of showing so much, I looked at the bottom of my tub and saw a ton of dirt that had washed off my body, just sitting by the drain (it hadn't drained down). Beeeauitful. Just thought I'd share.

Here's something funny, so the other night, I woke up in my sleep. Right when I did, I heard Sister Farr say something and I said, "WHAT?" and she said, "Que bendiciones ha visto en su vida?" (translations: what blessigs have you seen in your life). It was funny, but then I went back to sleep. Turns out that Sister Farr heard ME talking in my sleep while she was a asleep and so she replied back (while still being asleep), then she woke up right after and realized what she had done. Sorta funny. Yes, I know, my talking in my sleep is nothing new to the world, but Sister Farr is such a hard sleeper, she never hears it.

We went to an appointment the other day and the man, Paul, wasn't there. A young 20-something man was standing outside the door, but we had already talked to him before, so we just said, "Hi" and "Bye." Later, we were outside of the apartment complex and he came up to us and said to me, "Hey, are those diabetic shoes? They look real comfy." I just about nearly died laughing right then and there for two reasons: 1) That's just the most random way to start a conversation with someone and 2) Yes, I knew my shoes weren't the most attractive things in the world, but getting them mistaken for DIABETIC shoes. That one's a winner. I told him no they weren't, even though they were comfy. We started talking and he started spilling out all about his life and how he "knew Jesus" but wanted to change. Sister Farr was a bit skeptical about him because she thought he just wanted someone to talk to, but we went back to his real house later and had an amazing lesson with him. We've really been focusing on using the Book fo Mormon and relating it to people's lives, so in that lesson, we used a ton of scriptures to relate to him. For example, he talked about how we just wanted to have his family and be properous, so I shared a scripture from 1 Nephi that says, "If you keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land." This then led us to a conversation about commandments. Later he mentioned that he was in a gang and had lots of enemies, Sister Farr used this as a chance to read a section about the dealings of the Gaddianton robbers and applied their deeds to the ones that he had done in the past. We really "likened the scriptures" unto himself. We left him--Marcos--with Alma 36 (the story where Alma the younger is recounting his conversion story to his son Corianton) and invited him to read it. We came back and he had read it all TWICE and the intro, testimonies of the witnesses and Joseph Smith. He clearly read it all because he recounted all the stories back to us with such clarity. He had some doubts saying, "But your church was started in the 1800s or something. I want to follow Jesus who lived a long time ago." We came back and explained the Restoration (we left the Restoration pamphlet and he READ it all!). He even told us that he did what it said in the back and prayed to know if this church was true. He said that he was surprised that he got an answer saying that "Yes, it is." It was shocking. I know I shouldn't be shocked, but you'll be surprised about the HUGE gap with how many people we invite to pray to know and how many acutally do it; hardly anyone sincerely does. But he really was one of those who "asked God...with a sincere hear, with real intent, having faith in Christ." We helped him realize that since he recieved that answer from God, he needs to not have doubts and just go forth with faith. He got his girlfriend to come and listen and he is intent on going to church to "give it a shot" to find out for himself. I'm really excited to see how Marcos progresses over the next few weeks! And it's funny about him: initially, we ignored him and didn't re-talk to him. I'm grateful that he had the courage to come up to us and ask us question. Even if he had to start the conversation talking about my "diabetic shoes." :)

Marcos, Theresa, Lucy...all of them are true seekers or truth and knowledge. I was driving along a country road the other day and was surrounded by feilds of grain. The grain had grown quite tall, but I noticed something interesting about it. In the FIELD as vast as the sea, there were literally thousands of individual stalks. They all were the same height, except for every once in a while there was that stellar, exemplar piece that woudl shoot high about the rest by about a foot. I pondered this and realized that there were quite a few of these overachievers, but in comparred to the entire feild, their numbers were relatively few. I realized that this is like the elect of God or the true disciples of Jesus Christ. There are lots of claim to follow Christ, but don't have the works to follow him. There are many who believe in God, but don't want to change or accept the true. The members of the church who will inherit the celestial kingdom are like those tall pieces of grain. There are a lot, but very few comparred to the whole. As we drove, we passed other feilds: some feilds had more "elect" that the previous feild; some had very few. I thought about this as the geographical areas in which we live. I passed a feild with TONS of tall pieces and thought in my head, "Utah," but then passed another feild right after with very few tall pieces and thought, "Raymondville." I'm sure that some of those tall pieces start out thriving, but due to the hardships, the heat of the sun, the tempations of the world and Satan, they just wither away and die. No matter where we are, "the worth of every soul is great in the sight of God." We stand out above the crowd and need to be "steadfast and immovable." As the Savior said in Matthew 5, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

I love you all and thanks for your support. I hope everyone has a great week. Thanks for all the letters, updates, and kind words.

Sister Burt

"I wear these diabetic shoes!..becuase I have a bad case of the gout!"