I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have been called to serve in the Sacramento California Mission! This is my blog where you can follow my adventures for the next 18 months (January, 2013-June, 2014)
Did you know that Sacramento was the original place of the California Gold Rush? I'm so excited! See ya'll in 18 months, I'm going for spiritual Gold!

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week 1 - MTC

 Italic Print is additional explanation 
Thursday, January 10, 2013 8:38 AM

Hello everybody!
It is snowy and cold here at the MTC, but the weather is finally warming up a little from bitter cold to normal cold.
Questions recap.
I do not have the virus. A lot of missionaries were sick, but when we got here they kind of quarantined the new ones and we aren't supposed to shake hands or hug etc. I think everyone is better now.
Did you get my letter about the camera yet? Basically I bought a new SD card here and it was working then it stopped and now it won't work at all and I'm thinking its the camera. I've tried everything and the lovely piece of technology just will not work. Hence, I have no pictures this week.
In other news, the MTC is great. I'm exhausted spiritually, but it feels awesome! I think I should be more exhausted physically, but I pray everyday for the energy to work hard and have the spirit for my investigators and I feel the Lord helping me.
My first day here we had a workshop for all the new missionaries where we group taught an investigator. I met Sister Voyles and Elder Christensen from the District. (BYU TV Documentary about 8 missionaries) They teach here. Sister Voyles asked my companion and me to do a door approach for the last investigator. So, we were the first missionaries out of our group that entered to do a door approach at the MTC. Scary, but fun. After a week, a door approach isn't only not scary, but it seems totally simple and the easiest part of what we do.
On Wed. they have BYU Creamery Ice Cream. It's nice to feel that BYU connection, but honestly I have been really blessed. I'm not homesick or schoolsick. I just love being a missionary. The Lord has really helped me as I've tried to leave all my desires behind and devote my time to Him. Yesterday I was SO excited for the new missionaries to come in and I was just saying hello and welcome to the MTC and the other sisters were like, "I don't really see the point. I mean they are happy today but they're going to be tired and exhausted like us tomorrow." The Sister Burchett side of me smiles and encourages them and doesn't take it personally that they think I'm Missionary Barbie.
So in preparation for our missions we are already teaching 5 investigators and we get another one tomorrow!
Note on our investigators: Some of them are volunteers. Some of them are paid employees. Some are members and some are non-members. We have no idea who anyone is or what their story is in real life. Some people are converts or reactivated and they are portraying their former selves. We are told to think of them as real people and treat it as a real experience if we want to learn. It's been amazing to see how taking it seriously and doing that brings the Spirit and miracles.
Here's a brief recap. I wish I had time to tell you all about them, but here is a shpeel.

Robert – (our teacher Brother Johnson's alter-ego and a man he taught on his mission) He is 62, retired, divorced, raised Catholic, and is letting the missionaries teach him. The challenge with Robert is that he doesn't say much besides, yeah, good, fine, and I think so. He's hard to read, but I love him! He has a great spirit and really tries to be a good man. 

Meagan – (our teacher Sister Call's alter-ego) She is 28 recently married, with an 8 year old son and a 3 week old son. She's a nurse on maternity leave who has two really good LDS friends who helped her quit drinking. She wants to know what about the Church makes her friends so happy.
Valley – (my zone teaching investigator, Zone teaching is where each of us missionaries were told to pick a non-member we know and portray them and then we teach each other) Valley is a nice older lady who lives alone. Her son is a convert and she has two grandsons on missions. I think she is only talking to the missionaries to be nice and isn't really interested in learning about the church, but we'll get her there.
Eric - My most colorful investigator. He's from Chicago. He's black. He goes to BYU. He is meeting with the missionaries because he wants to know more about what LDS people believe. Our first appointment was a disaster! It turned into a Bible Bash, and we couldn't get it back under control. He knows the scriptures in the Bible back and forth, and so it just went south as he would disagree with our interpretations or say "No the Bible doesn't say that!" After that first appointment we felt really discouraged. I started praying for help because I knew there was no way we could teach Eric on our own. We needed divine guidance and the spirit more than ever. Over the next two days, I kept having the impression to share a hymn with Eric before our lesson. I was impressed to share the 1,3, and final additional verse of Come Follow Me. I wanted to sing it to him, but my companion didn’t. So, instead I read the words to him before we prayed. It really brought the Spirit (Thanks aunt Sheri for that advice!). We had a great lesson about the Holy Ghost and how to use the Spirit to testify of truth. We taught him how to recognize the spirit and challenged him to pray to know what the spirit feels like and be able to recognize it. Eric may not be baptized in the time we work with him, but he will grow closer to the Savior, and those seeds will be planted. 

Carol - Our Less active. Carol was a convert at age 25. Now she's 75. Her son went inactive when he wasn't worthy to serve a mission. Then her husband was killed when their tractor rolled over him in the driveway. Since then, about 17 years, she hasn't been to church. Carol knows the church is true. She's been sealed in the temple. She's just afraid to go to church. I think it's because she doesn't want to be alone. We had a great meeting with her. I felt the Spirit strongly and my Savior working through me as I was impressed to testify to her that there was someone in her ward who needed her. There was someone that only she could comfort and help. She needed to be at church to help this person and in turn, she would be strengthened and uplifted. I also got to talk to her about when Papa passed away and how going to church and making friends really helped Grandma to not feel so alone. It was the day after the anniversary of Papa's passing. It was a really amazing experience as I could almost tangibly feel Carol's husband Fred there with us, pleading with her to go to church and be happy again. We meet with her again next week so we will see what happens.
I was called as the Music Coordinator for my Branch while I'm here. I pick all the songs and arrange all the musical numbers for all branch meetings. It's lots of fun. To my branch and district, I'm the music guru and BYU Sports Girl. No lie. I've responded to these names haha. 

Other things I just thought of that I would like in Cali = my Converse.
My district is great. We have a really interesting group of Elders. I prefer to think of them as their best selves. When they are focused and have the spirit they are amazing! Other times, they are so dumb, but they're boys so what do I expect. We just have to get them to that best self, their Elder self, and away from their regular boy self haha.
My favorite Elder is from the Seattle area. His parents are from England and are divorced (the England part is relevant because he has an accent. It comes and goes because he's American, but he learned to talk around his parents who were British so it's really fun) He was like an amazing baseball player in high school and he got offered a full ride to several different schools to play baseball. He played for a year or two because he wanted to go to the major league (he's a pitcher and threw over 90 mph yikes!) but then he broke his hand and when he wasn't playing started really thinking about his life and what he was doing. He realized he needed to go on a mission, so here he is! He is the closest to being his best self all the time, and a little more mature, so that's probably another reason he is my favorite. The Elders in my district are going to Las Vegas West Mission and one to the Denver South Mission. We really love them, even though they get on our nerves sometimes. 

Ok, I have to go. Times up. This church is true! Being a missionary is the best thing ever. I know that we have to have the Spirit with us if we want to teach the gospel, because we aren't the ones really teaching. I love y'all!
Sister Burchett,
PS the Dear Elders are great. (Free email service that prints your email messages and delivers them to MTC) I love getting them and they come the same day or the day after. Thanks for the mail. Also got mail from Sister Johnson and the YW. Fun! Got a letter from Uncle Mike, and Erin too. Got to write them back today! Going to the temple this afternoon.

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