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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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sacramento - Week 8

Due to the new security measures requested by the Mission leaders, the names of all investigators and people that Sarah comes into contact with will be replaced with the name of a well-known character from a children’s movie. This will keep the identities of people safe as well as make it easier to keep everyone straight. The name given is in NO WAY intended to reflect the personality, looks, or circumstances of the individual(s).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hi y'all!
We just got back from the mountains for P-day and it was LOVELY! I'll talk more about that in next week's letter though because I need to cover last week's P-day in this one. 
I was a lucky duck this week to get emails from my two favorite Germans. Shout out to Elder Borcherding and Elder Stapleton! I'd just like to say that it is true friendship that after nearly two years, they are still reading my letters. Bless their hearts and all GetSomes everywhere! 
Team 1 searching out a clue
Ok, from the beginning last P-day we had the whole zone out to the house to have a scriptures scavenger/Easter egg hunt, throw tomahawks, play volleyball, and have an impromptu water balloon fight. It was a blast and it was wonderful to have some down time. P-days are awesome because we get to go a little crazy and bond as missionaries and then I am always so ready and able to get back to work! As part of our scavenger hunt, we had a scripture about a goat and then we duct taped the next Easter egg with the next clue inside to one of Sister Doolittle's goats horns. Right before the missionaries were about to find that clue, Sister Doolittle came running to tell us that the goats had gotten out and were close to the road. I ran off to help her and so did all the other missionaries. I have never seen a group of the Lord's servants herding goats before, and it was a sight to see! We chased them away from the road, through the pasture, over the creek, and rounded them up back into the paddock. Then the missionaries had to chase down their goat and get their egg. It was so funny! Also, I discovered I am a decent tomahawk thrower. I stuck 2 out of 3 my first time. Add it to my list of talents ;) 
Hiding place on the Water Wheel!
Clever hiding place
Sister Doolittle's goats come in handy in missionary work too. We were teaching a less active part member family and I got to teach about God's love for each one of us. Christ is often referred to as the Good Shepherd. His sheep know His voice and He knows them. When Sister Doolittle walks out to the field, she calls "Come on, boys!" and the goats come right away. She knows each of them and they know her. I told this family about how I love to watch Sister Doolittle each morning with the goats because it reminds me of the Savior. He is ALWAYS calling to us by name and saying, "Come follow me." The only hold up in becoming one fold is us. We're the ones who refuse to put our trust in His hands, hands that were pierced for us, that have our names written upon them in the scars that remain on His perfect body as a testimony of His love. 
On Tuesday, we had a miracle. I can't remember if I told this story last week or not, but here is a recap. Basically, one Brother told us last Sunday that he felt prompted to test his faith. "Come to my house Tuesday at 7pm and I will have someone there for you to teach." Tuesday he called us and let us know that he had invited his neighbor from across the street to come over and guess where the Brother's son would be going on his mission. He told us to come over and guess too and then he would ask us to give a lesson. So, we showed up at 7 not knowing exactly what we were getting into, but excited to actually teach a sit down lesson (in reality, we teach people not lessons so we were excited to sit down and teach a real life person who had nowhere to run because they were at a friends house haha) The neighbor showed up and he brought his two teenage sons with him! We started talking to him and then the Brother said, "Sisters, how about you give us a little taste of what my son will be doing for the next 2 years?" So, we taught them the Restoration and it was AWESOME!!!!! The Spirit was so strong and they were giving full attention to everything we were saying. You could tell the spirit was teaching them. There are a thousand things we could have done better, but the most important thing was that the Spirit was there. We'll see what happens with them, but it was a miracle no matter the outcome. 
On Wednesday we delivered our reminders for the Open House. Our reminders were 6 balloons with scriptures inside that they were supposed to pop each day. The minivan was full of missionaries and balloons. It was awesome. Then we went to Girls Camp Kickoff and they had us talk to the girls. The theme for their camp is Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go" So we talked about how one of the places you can go is on a mission and how we got to where we were. It was great to be there with all the Young Women. 
Last night, we got a call from our investigator Daphne about 9pm that she thought she needed to go to the ER because she was having some really bad back pain and couldn't really walk. She doesn't have ANYONE but us and doesn't really trust anyone but us either. So we called President and got permission for Sister Loli to go with Sister Doolittle and take her to the ER. On the way, they stopped at the church and miraculously the Stake President who is the one who referred her to us was still there and gave her a blessing. If they hadn't gotten to the church at EXACTLY that time, President would have still been in a meeting or would have left for home. She felt immediately better and had a wonderful experience. She is doing ok now and hopefully will continue to progress. We want to take her to the temple for a temple tour this weekend (where they walk around the outside of the temple and talk all about what happens inside). 
I'm gonna send some pictures now, but know that I have a testimony of this gospel, that this is Christ's restored church on the earth today. Miracles are everywhere. God knows and loves us. Stay strong and carry on! 
Sister Burchett
Studying out in the Sunshine
So bright we need shades!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sacramento - Week 7

Due to the new security measures requested by the Mission leaders, the names of all investigators and people that Sarah comes into contact with will be replaced with the name of a well-known character from a children’s movie. This will keep the identities of people safe as well as make it easier to keep everyone straight. The name given is in NO WAY intended to reflect the personality, looks, or circumstances of the individual(s).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lots of things going on this week and they are all scrambled in my brain so this won't be the most organized of letters. Hopefully, it will still be entertaining. 
Me all excited and putting on my helmet. Trying
to figure out how to wear a helmet with hair...
Since Sister Loli is the exchange sister, Sister Hale and I get to do a lot of exchanges. This week I went down to Fair Oaks in the Carmichael stake and was on exchange with Sister Jackson and Sister Strehlow. They have a hybrid companionship which means they have a car and bikes. Thus began Sister Burchett's very short biking saga. One of the bikes needed a new inner tube so we got the Elders to come and fix it. Then, very excited, we got on the bikes to ride off into the day. After trying to ride my bike about 20ft I realized something was wrong. We pulled over and realized that my bike chain was all 3,000 kinds of janky. We tried to fix it but couldn't and spent the rest of the day walking. Thus ends Sister Burchett's very short biking saga. 
Me all excited as I walk out the door to ride
my bike!

Me depressed because my bike broke 10 seconds later 
        While on exchange, I got to teach the Word of Wisdom and help commit one of their investigators to baptism. That was a neat experience because, as you know, we don't get to do a lot of teaching around Green Valley. We do a lot of sowing, but we are waiting upon the Lord to see the reaping. 
Even though Green Valley hasn't seen any baptisms yet, our Zone as a whole is doing great! We have a good chance of breaking the high water mark this month. The high water mark is the largest numbers of baptisms in one month for the zone. Here in El Dorado the high water mark is 12 and we are on track to beat it with at least 13 this month. EXCITING! If we break the high water mark, President and Sister Skywalker and the APs take the whole zone out to dinner. We'll see what happens, but we have great faith and expect miracles! 
My key chains from the kiddos!
We had dinner with a family this week. I think I have talked about them before. They are a part member family. The mom is a less active member and the Dad and kids aren't members. We have been really blessed because they used to hide from other missionaries, but they like us. They went to Disneyland last weekend and the kids brought us back key chains. They are such a wonderful family. I love them! They made us this delicious Hawaiian chicken stuff. Changed my life it was so good. 
We also had dinner at our investigator Daphne’s house this week. Yes, we ate there. This is a big step. A, because the house was finally clean and in order enough to cook a meal, and B because we were just visiting and teaching and not doing service. We wanted to teach her about the Restoration this weekend but something came up so we will teach her this week.
We had a fun Relief Society activity this week to celebrate Relief Society's birthday and Daphne came for a while. It was good for her to meet some of the ladies from the ward and see what they do in Relief Society. She has a bad habit of taking offense very easily though, so we had to smooth some things over. Only Jesus can help you with that one though. 

Speaking of taking offense, a quick story to remind us all that being offended is a choice, and it is a choice not worth making. One of the missionaries had an incident with a member and got offended. They talked to the Bishop and hoped that that was the end of it. But, other members found out and the Zone Leaders got involved and it blew up into this huge deal over one little comment that was taken the wrong way. As members of the church, we can't afford to be offended. We choose how we react and if something hurts our feelings, we need to use the atonement to get over it and move on! That's what it is there for. 99% of the time whoever offended didn't mean to and doesn't even know they did. Especially as missionaries, we can't be offended. When we are, it cause huge problems that we leave behind when we are transferred, but that stay with those members because this is their home. So don't choose to be offended. Choose to smile and give it all to the Savior. 
Climbing off my soapbox, the El Dorado stake did a dance festival this weekend. It was so awesome! So many of the youth from our ward were in it and I was so proud of them. We were cheering for them and the youth loved having the missionaries there. Being on a mission really changes your perspective because as I watched them performing, I didn't just see youth. I saw future missionaries! It made me excited for the church because the next generation of youth is AMAZING which means the next generation of missionaries is going to be AWESOME!
I played piano at a baptism this weekend. It was the Zone Leader's investigator, and it was a beautiful baptism. The spirit was so strong there, and it was easy to see that their investigator was truly converted. I'm grateful for music and how it can bring the spirit and for the opportunity I've had to use it on my mission so much so far. After the baptism we were talking to the Zone Leaders about a referral we had contacted. Sister Hale said, "She seemed really interested but the boyfriend was kind of standoffish." I said, "But you can tell he has a really good heart." Elder Andrew started cracking up and he said, "Sister Burchett, you are always SO positive!" I laughed and said, "Well, I figure you should just look for the good, because it's not worth it to dwell on the bad." True doctrine. Everybody, just smile! It makes the world a better place. I've decided that I'm going to make the motto for my mission "Every day is a good day, some just better than others." 
Sister Loli and I wrote a song for our Zone this week. It is on my SD card so you can watch it whenever I fill this one up. I have another one I am sending home with my song from Zone Conference on it. The camera just stopped recording part way through so it is in two parts and on the second one I moved closer to the camera so you could hear the words better. Just explaining why the video is so weird. Also, I felt really awkward singing to no one. What can I say, I love an audience! (I also hate an audience, but such is the oxymoron of life) 
Our lava lavas and Purple shirts!
Last Pday we all wore our "Remember your purple" T-shirts and our lava lavas to zone sports. We looked so cool, except in the picture Sister Loli and I look like Amazon women next to Sister Hale who is the tiniest human in the whole world. Sister Loli and I decided we are going to open up Samoan work and a Samoan branch. We told President and he just laughed at us, but we are totally serious. 
I stole this cool quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley on exchange this week: 
"Today many sisters are being called to serve. Many more are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or don't have anything else to do, but because they have the desire to serve. One reason that the Lord wants more sisters to serve is because within the next generation He will send His priesthood army to the earth. He wants to send choice spirit children to mothers who have been prepared, properly trained and taught in the gospel. What better schooling can a mother have than the experience and growth she gains through serving a mission." 
We are working hard motivating our members to invite non-members and less actives to the open house in April. We just started Week 2 which is to pray about the people from their list and ask who specifically (if not all of the people on the list) they should invite to the open house and who they might be missing from their list. We are making more reminders for this week. Our reminder this week is a string with balloons tide to it. There is one balloon for every day of the week and they pop one balloon each day. There is a scripture inside each balloon about the power of prayer. Our mission leader keeps telling us "It's not about what's the easiest; it's about what's best. After this open house, we want to be able to tell the Lord we did EVERYTHING we could do to find someone who He has prepared to be taught." He also said (in reference to church callings) "Just do what you feel you should do. The worst they can do is demote you, and in reality that is the greatest blessing!" hahahha funny man. Best ward mission leader EVER!

Also, I got a letter from Elder Peters the other day! You know he is in my neighboring mission right? I could pretty much spit and hit him on the head. (That was not a very lady like quietly dignified comment, but it's my personality so...) Anyways, it was fun to hear from my fellow Melissa-ite!
Okey doke, I'm gonna send some pics really fast and then head out. We are putting on an easter egg hunt at our house today for the zone. 
I love y'all! The church is true. The gospel is true. The work is hastening forward and we CAN help the good work move along. 
Sister Burchett

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sacramento - Week 6

Due to the new security measures requested by the Mission leaders, the names of all investigators and people that Sarah comes into contact with will be replaced with the name of a well-known character from a children’s movie. This will keep the identities of people safe as well as make it easier to keep everyone straight. The name given is in NO WAY intended to reflect the personality, looks, or circumstances of the individual(s).

Monday, March 4, 2013 
Italics are additional explanation added for your benefit

It is a beautiful P-day in California! 

We just finished playing football at a park in the sunshine. It was lovely! Thank you for my package and for the pretty stamps! 
Sister Loli and I have to record Brightly Beams on the SD card and I will mail it to you. Maybe we can go do that today. Speaking of which, some of the other Elders in the stake said they have a member that would help us record it and has the equipment to write down our arrangement so maybe we will get to. Also, Sister Dalley who just got transferred out, is a back up singer for some Mormon singer in Utah and she said when she gets back she is going to tell her friend to have me come sing alto back up for her. Who knows, but flattering. Apparently, I'm an ok singer haha

Lots of new baby cows! Yay! How fun! You should send some pictures. Actually, could you take some farm pictures of the farm and animals etc. and print them off and send them to me? They would be nice to have because people are always asking to see them. 
Funny story, last night we were in the Library at the stake center and sister Loli said, "I'm just really trunky today." She was talking about being Pday trunky because it was Sunday night but we hear a voice from outside the library say "THOU SHALT NOT BE TRUNKY" We cracked up because it was our Stake President. He had overheard as he was walking by and, being a former mission president, had to give his input through the metal accordion window covering haha it was awesome. He is the best! 
My BYE book!
I made a BYE book on P-day. This is a book where all the missionaries and members you know that leave an area or when you leave an area sign and write their contact information and a note for you. It's a big thing we do in this mission and its lots of fun. It's like yearbook day every 6 weeks. 
Wednesday was the first day after transfers so it was really hard. We had to say goodbye to all of our missionary friends and it was very sad. We bought donuts to mourn and when we walked in Brother Doolittle says "That doesn't look very healthy..." And we said "NO! IT'S NOT BECAUSE WE ARE MOURNING!" and he just laughed at us. After we ate some sugar we felt better and also felt the need to work out but had to wait until the next morning.

We only have from 6:30 to 7 to exercise, which is hard because by the time we are all dressed we really only have 20 minutes.
Sister Hale and I with Elder Seumanutafa and our Purple Shirts
We got some awesome shirts made for our district with all of our former District Leader's sayings on it. It says "Let me tell you this. Pretty much..." (Which is how he started every sentence) and then on the back "Remember Your Purple" Which is what he would say when he was trying to tell us "Remember your purpose" 
So, as Dad pointed out, we do not have very many investigators. That's because we as missionaries have done everything we can do to find people. The area has been tracted out 3 times in the past 4 months and we have exhausted all our resources. We were praying as a companionship about what we could do to find more people and we had the inspiration to have an open house at our building. When we presented it to the stake, they loved it. Now it's a stake event for the four wards in our building headed up by the missionaries. 
There will be a musical night going on in the chapel. That's where the tour will start and people will come in and hear the music. Then they will visit rooms about baptism, the restoration, plan of salvation, and temples and families. They'll end in the cultural hall where the auxiliaries will have booths and information for people to get involved as well as family history, emergency preparedness etc. 
Our Signs!
The goal is for members to bring their friends to the open house and go through with them. To get our members involved and motivated, we created a 5 week plan with out ward mission leader: 
Week 1: Make a list of everyone you know that is less active or not a member of the church. Pray daily by name for the people on your list. 
Week 2: Pray specifically to know who from your list you should invite to the open house and if anyone is missing from your list.
Week 3: Pray for the people you plan to invite to have a missionary moment this week.
Week 4: Invite. 
Week 5: Follow up and attend open house with your friends. 
Our Signs!
We explained week one in all the auxiliaries on Sunday and had someone we had talked to before hand pray for their list in class. In Relief Society it was an amazing experience as a Sister prayed for her dear friends on her list. The spirit was so strong and all the sisters were motivated and ready to pray for their friends. 
Sunday night, we ran around in the dark with our ward mission leader, going from house to house hanging reminders to pray on all the members’ doors. It was so much fun. How many people get to run around like crazy people in the dark with their ward mission leader?
Friday was Brother Doolittle's Birthday! Our ward went and volunteered at a soup kitchen and Brother Doolittle loved spending the day serving people. We had a birthday party with the Doolittle's and the missionaries. We made homemade lasagna and black forest birthday cake (like a devils food cake with homemade whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate on top) SO YUMMY! 
The Elders had a baptism on Saturday and they asked me to play piano. President and Sister Skywalker were there too. Sister Skywalker pulled me aside and said, "I just wanted to thank you for your positivity. You are always friendly and smiling. I just find it so refreshing!" Made me feel good because some days it isn't as easy to smile as others, but I decided when I came on my mission that when I got up every morning I would A. thank god for being a missionary and B. put a smile on my face. Some missionaries are just so unhappy looking and I'm like "Hey, nobody is going to believe that you have the plan of happiness and the good news of Jesus Christ if you look so grouchy!" 
In other news, our investigator was supposed to come to church on Sunday but she didn't and when we went on Sunday to see her she wasn't home. We hope she is ok. We are going to try and see her today. 
Barbie and Ken, the 10 and 13 year old kids we’ve been working with (refer to Sacramento – Week 2, paragraph 7),  came to church on Sunday and...brought their new scriptures with them! We got the Bishop to give us scriptures for them from the Stake Library and we made them nice and bought them bookmarks at Deseret Book to give them. When they got them they were really excited, especially Barbie. I LOVE THOSE KIDS! Ken is 13 and reminds me a lot of James. Quieter but really snarky. He doesn't let on, but I know it is really hard for him not being baptized and not having the priesthood like his friends. We are still praying for a miracle and that their mom will let them be baptized. 
Sister Loli tried to teach us how to hula the other night. Did you know that when you hula it isn't all in the hips but is actually all in the knees? This is terrible, because I’m very good at moving my hips, but I’m awful at moving my knees, so I just move my hips anyways. 
So, I guess my takeaway for this week is to always have a good attitude. Being offended is a choice, and it is a stupid choice to make. There have been plenty of times on my mission where I could be offended, but I choose not to be. Then, when the hard times come where you don't want to be offended, but you are hurt and can't stop thinking of it, you have to get down on your knees and use the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I find myself on my knees a lot asking Heavenly Father to help me use the Atonement and give my feelings over to Christ. Guess what? IT ALWAYS WORKS. The atonement is real, and through its power we can overcome anything. We can be empowered, and we can be happy. 
I love you all! Have a wonderful week! Have a missionary moment!
(Mention you're Mormon, bear testimony, invite) 
Sister Burchett

Making our signs with Sister Doolittle!
My planner cover. I did this one
myself. It took me forever.
I'm terrible at crafts. 

Sacramento - Week 5

Due to the new security measures requested by the Mission leaders, the names of all investigators and people that Sarah comes into contact with will be replaced with the name of a well-known character from a children’s movie. This will keep the identities of people safe as well as make it easier to keep everyone straight. The name given is in NO WAY intended to reflect the personality, looks, or circumstances of the individual(s).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Italics are additional explanation added for your benefit

It's a Tuesday Pday. Glad Sister Doolittle told Bridie on Facebook because I completely forgot. The reason it is a Tuesday Pday is because it is Transfer week! I am staying where I am at with my same companions to finish training, but Sister Jackson and Sister Dalley are finishing their training in different zones so I will miss them a lot!
Mondays are, as you know, normally Pday. The Monday of transfer week is not. Monday you get your transfer call telling you where you are going, then Tuesday is Pday, then Wednesday is moving day for the missionaries that are moving. Because that Monday feels like it should be Pday and it isn't, we call it "Man Up Monday". For Man Up Monday, each zone gets together and does service or works in everybody's areas throughout the day. It's just a good way to have some last time together before transfers and to do a lot of good work and get your mind off the transfer calls you are waiting and waiting and waiting for. Our Zone went and did service for some members in Placerville, clearing brush and burning it. We had about 10 burn piles going and my pyromaniac side was very happy. My hand today is sore, however, from using an axe to chop up wood. Oh yes, I used an axe. What a hard core missionary I am. 
Also being transferred out is my greatly beloved very Samoan district leader, Elder Seumanutafa. We are very close with him and Elder Knotts because their area is right next to ours. They are our go to Elders and we see them almost every day. We celebrated/mourned our transfer calls by getting together to drink bottled root beer.
Me and Sister Jackson at the Temple
We got to go to the temple today! The Sacramento temple is so beautiful and it was so nice to be back at the temple after so long. The Doolittle's came with us and it was great to have our little mission family together. Being in the house of the Lord is so peaceful and rejuvenating! We had to leave at 5:45 am so I was up at 4:30 am but I am not dead (yet). After this I will probably crash. We went to Deseret book and In and Out Burger afterwards for lunch.

Me and Sister Doolittle at the Temple
Me and the Doolittle's
All the Sisters from our district, plus Sister Angemarou who
is going home this week
By the way, I have a full SD card I am sending home. There is all sorts of ridiculous things on it, but such is mission life. 

Also could you let everyone know that if they sent me a letter in the MTC and I haven't responded it's because I never got it haha I know of a few people who said they wrote me, but it must have gotten there the day I left because I never got anything.

Yes! I talked to the Hades's daughter at church. She walked right up to me and said, "My husband is in your ward right now!" I was like, "what?!" and we chatted. It was really neat.
Ok, now for some this week recap:
Monday we had a special zone pday because of Pr Hi Burchett Family!!!!!! - Love Sister Jackson... Carry on. As I was saying, President's day. We played sports outside including touch rugby and had a BBQ. Lots of fun! I love Placerville! It is the cutest historic old Californian town.
We had new missionary meeting on Wednesday. This is where all the new missionaries and their trainers get together at the end of their first transfer for some extra training and problem solving/counseling. Since I am so chill and had no problems, it was a pretty simple day. For other people who hate their trainers, it was more complex. The most interesting thing that happened was that we were attacked by wild turkeys in the parking lot. Yes, they are everywhere in California and they are ugly and creepy and mean and fearless. They were chasing our car (we were the first ones there). When the Assistants showed up they just laughed at us and then they got out of the car to help us and ended up just jumping back inside when the turkeys ran at them. We mocked them mercilessly for their unmanly flight (RUN FROM THE KILLER RABBITS. RETREAT!!!!!)
Our Zone Leaders retaliated from our sticky note prank in a disgusting way. They duct taped a dead squirrel to our car. THEY PICKED A DEAD SQUIRREL OFF THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND DUCT TAPED IT TO OUR CAR AND WHEN I SAY OUR CAR I MEAN THE LORD'S CAR! GROSS! We named it after them. I got them back pretty good though. I called them and pretended to be crying on the phone very disturbed and talking about going home telling them they were so mean etc. They felt so bad and were like "Where are you? We'll come take care of it. We're sorry!" Then we told them they were suckers and hung up. They gave me an award for my acting skills but now teasingly call me the crybaby when I tease them.
Need a spiritual boost? Well, even if you think you don't, you do! So go and watch two new Mormon Messages called "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" and "Mountains to Climb". I LOVE THEM! Here's why:
The first one, "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" helps us understand that we have a loving Heavenly Father who we must have trust and faith in. Just like our Earthly Fathers, he provides for us in ways we sometimes overlook. I love the final quote at the end. 
(Watch it here:  Mormon Message - Earthly Father, Heavenly Father  )

The second one, "Mountains to Climb" teaches that even though we go through hard challenges in this life, our Father in Heaven is there. He loves us and will help us overcome. However, we have to be building that relationship of faith with our Father in Heaven right now so that when trials come, we have a reservoir of strength to make it through. If we aren't building our faith now, we won't have anything to stand on when the trial of life inevitably come.
(Watch it here:  Mormon Message - Mountains to Climb   )
I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's restored church on the earth today. He is hastening His work. These are the final days before He comes again and we will hand to Him His Church and all the world will know that Jesus is the Christ, their Savior and Redeemer.
Love y'all!
Sister Burchett

My zone! My favorite missionaries, I just love them. Sad that
many of them are being transferred :(