Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Longest Week Ever

Hey Everyone!
Well, since no one mentioned anything about me and the hurricane, don't worry. I'm ok and safe. Haha. Actually, this past week has been the LONGEST week of my mission. Seriously, last Monday felt like weeks ago! But before I go into the events of the past week, let me tell you some IMPORTANT NEWS that I stupidly forgot to mention last week:
Two Saturday's ago, we had a baptism! Yep, an awesome single mom named Clarissa. It was really special and she was very excited and loves the church. IT was great to see her progress as she first started off as a referral from the Elders in Harlingen. They were teaching her, but she emergency moved here and we continued with her and helped her work through her doubts and accept the Gospel. Conversion is really special and great every time it happens, no matter how many times.
Anyways, now I will go into the events of last week.
Monday: well pday wasn't very eventful as usual. And by this point, no one really wanted to talk to us because of Hurricane Alex. It was still projected at this point to hit south Texas, so nobody wanted to set return appointments because "the hurricane is coming."
Tuesday: Even more ineffective. But that morning, Elder Reilly came over and killed Sister Farr, Elder Arens, and me with a crazy plyometric work out that made Elder Arens throw up and made all of us so that we couldn't sit down without wincing for 3 days at least (But due to the hurricane and the events of the week, my workout plan just failed miserably). We drove around trying to find less-actives, recent converts, and members because everyone was boarding up their homes and skipping town. By this point we didn't really know if we were to be evacuated, so we were just sort of waiting. Our landlord called us and told us that she wanted us to get sand bags for the house and put duck tape "X's" on the windows, so we had to postpone working and get all that stuff done. When we went to go get sandbags, the Elders were there and had found a more effective use of their time: 3 hours of sand bagging. Great fun. We would have stayed and helped but we still had to grab all the stuff for our our house. We already had our 72 hour kits ready weeks ago, so we were set with that. Which was a good thing because the lines at Wal-Mart were crazy and no one had water. Well, Tuesday night we get the call that all the missionaries from the Harlingen and Brownsville zones are being evacuated, and have leave their homes the next morning by 7 am. So we hurried and packed a few clothes that night and then drifted off into dreamland.
Wednesday: Well, we got to McAllen to wait for all the other missionaries to arrive. The sky was dark and grey anticipating the hurricane or storms. I brought a lot of card games and such, anticipating a lot of "sitting around" as other missionaries who were here 2 years prior for Hurricane Dolly, warned me. Two days of just sitting around; yeah, sure, it's fun at first, but after a while it gets pretty boring. Well, to be honest, I was hoping that we wouldn't have to be evacuated because I honestly would rather be working and sharing the Gospel, not sitting around doing nothing wasting time. Well, luckily, it didn't turn out that way. On Monday, our new mission president and his wife--President and Sister Trayner--can in and the Miller's flew out Tuesday morning (those lucky ducks, they left right before the chaos happened. "Here President Trayner, you have the keys now. Good luck!"). The 6 sisters who were evacuated were to stay at the Trayner's home, while all the Elders were to stay in different Elders' apartments in the Mission and McAllen zones. Well, we head over to the Trayner's house around 9 am and all the sisters got to be one of the first ones to meet Pres. and Sis. Trayner. They are great people. One of the first things Sister Trayner said to me was, "Oh I've read your blog. I know you." Oh really? Haha, I guess she was talking to her daughter a month or so before she left and her daughter said, "Oh you get to meet the "famous one"" (referring to me and my blog). Famous? Hahahahah, not even close. They must not see me at the lunch table at zone conferences. Clearly not famous, nor popular. Either way, I thought it was funny. Well, instead of sitting around, President Trayner put us all to work and the two zones that had evacuated had a "Surprise" 4 day zone conference. Yep. 4. Days. Long. 10 am to 5 pm (at least). Apparently, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles are implementing a whole new system (sort of) for missionary work). I guess at the new mission president's seminar they rolled it all out and told the president's "Ok, so when you get to the mission, you may want to take a few weeks to implement this so that you can get settled in and familiar with the area, your new home, the mission, missionaries, etc." But thanks to Hurricane Alex, it sort of forced President to roll it ou within the second day that he was here: so I'm pretty confident that the Texas McAllen Mission is the only mission in the world that is already putting these new techniques for teaching into effect (well, at least the Harlingen and Brownsville zones). It's sort of a bummer to be getting all this training now, rather than at the BEGINNING of my mission, but I know that it happened the way that the Lord intended it to be. Apparently, I needed it these last three weeks left.
The church released a new "season" of "The District"--a reality show about missionaries doing their job and recording them teaching and working with their investigators (I saw the older one in the MTC). Also, with the new thing, the dress code for Sister Missionaries have been modified. No longer do skirts need to go to "mid calf" or longer, but rather, they need to be just below the knee and cover your knees when you sit down. A LOT more modern, in my opinion (because seriously, it was SO hard to find those darn skirts. So yeah, when I get off the plane, don't be shocked if I'm wearing a skirt that seems "shorter" that what traditional sisters have worn int he past).
Well, Wednesday night we stayed at the Trayner's home and Thursday had training till 5. By this point, the hurricane had passed and didn't do too much damage in Texas (it hit in Mexico), so all the missionaries were okayed to go back to their apartments, BUT the training would continue Friday and Saturday since we already started it. Oh yeah, the church is also getting away with the traditional "6 week transfer" cycle. Apparently, the missionaries are too "transfer" oriented, so they are getting rid of it so that the missionaries can better focus on their monthly baptismal goals.
So that's pretty much what happened this week. It was pretty much the most ineffective week of my mission. ZERO new investigators...no one at church. But we did have an AWESOME lesson with John, one of our investigators, immediately after one of the trainings, putting into place the things that we learned. It was one of the best lessons I've had on my mission. I would write about it, but my time is low. :( Maybe next week, eh?
Well, my time is up. It was really a rough week, but I learned SO much and am so excited to go out and apply it all. I sort of questioned myself at the beginning of these trainings thinking, "So the first presidency is saying that they way we were teaching and doing missionary work before was, essentially, wrong and not the best. But I've been doing that my whole mission, does that mean my mission was a total failure?" Well, of course not. That was just Satan trying to get me down. Was the old "discussion" way of preaching from the 80s and 90s (and maybe even before) wrong? No, the church learned and improved itself and provided a better way. That doesn't mean that what I did this whole time was wrong, I was fulfilling my purpose, "inviting others to come unto Christ" and it was the way the LORD wanted for ME. That's why I went on a mission a year and a half ago, and not now. If anything, I needed to learn this stuff, to make the last 3 weeks of my mission, the best possible. And even more, to apply them into my life when I get home. I know that however this work is done, as long as it's done the LORD's way, it is his work. I've definitely learned that if you try to do it your own way, then you can't do it at all. I'm grateful that even the church is learning, growing, improving and progressing. What an example for us in our daily lives. If I'm the same as I was a month ago, doing the same things, not progressing, then I need to repent and get better. In church, school, my scripture study, my visiting teaching, my missionary work, my calling...whatever it may be.
I love you all and can't wait to see you. Just help me endure to the end please. I don't want to get trunkie because I'm still not really and I just want to make these last three weeks the best!
With Love,
Sister Burt
P.S. Ok, yesterday the zone leaders and another set of Elders came up and we all played golf. It was a grand old time. We decided to split up into teams (we had 6 playing total) and play best ball. I was on Elder Petersen's team from San Benito (who is an AWESOME missionary, person, golf player, etc) and we won. It was grand fun even though my golf game has gone down the drain these past years. But he has the nicest shot of the tee ever--long and straight-- and then we'd usually play my ball off my irons because my iron game and chipping skills are my forte. Yay for teamwork.

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