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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Friday, July 26, 2013

Sacramento - Week 26

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).

“We're Sister Missionaries...We Can't Have Cats.”
Monday July 22, 2013

Sister Vaughan and I
Another week has flown by here in sunny California. How did that happen? 

Well, it's been an interesting week. Sister Abbott and I went with President Skywalker on Tuesday for his big presentation hosted by the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District. They loved the musical number and President gave an awesome presentation called "The Mormons Next Door". He opened it up for question and answer to the crowd and it was awesome. He handled all questions like a pro and bore testimony that brought the spirit instantly. He's the best. It was just funny to me how people would ask questions that they thought we had never been asked before to stir up trouble like, "What's the deal with polygamy?" or "Why couldn't blacks have the priesthood?" or "Doesn't the book of Revelations say you can't add anything else to the Bible?" The thing is, they obviously don't realize that we are asked those questions every single day. They really aren't that scandalous and we do have answers plus testimonies. Silly troublemakers. Tough questions are missionaries' favorite thing. 

As we have worked our way through our ward list, I have kept thinking about President Monson and how he would always reach out to the widows in his ward. We have so many older single sisters in the ward that don't come to church because of everything from health problems to just not knowing anyone and they love that we come and talk with them and bring them the spirit. We are working on bringing them back to church but I have a challenge for Bridie and the Young Women back home. They should ask Bishop for a list of all the single older sisters in the ward and visit them! Think of the power that these Young women could have for these sisters. I think if you asked Bishop how many less actives we have in the ward back home you would be amazed. We have to take care of the people we've got before the Lord will bless us with more. 

We are being blessed with so many referrals that we don't know what to do with them. I take that back. Of course we know what to do with them. We contact them! Contacting referrals is fun because it is kind of like a game show. I always feel like "What's behind door number 2?" But really it's like "What's behind door 37?" We've gotten a little bit of everything.

"Yes, that's me, but I go by 'Dreamer' now. Do you wanna meet my snakes?"

"Oh yeah he doesn't live here anymore. He moved across the street. Actually wait, maybe he died...."

"How did you know where we lived?
(Us:) The Ward List...
(Them) They have one of those?! Does it have our phone number?!"

 "You're really sweet, but we're not Mormon anymore." To this last one I want to say ONCE A MORMON ALWAYS A MORMON. Don't people realize you can't escape the gospel of Jesus Christ. We gonna find you. 

We had one referral this week that just made me laugh. We knocked on a door and the man opens it wearing an Elmo T-shirt. He then starts to laugh and says, Oh my goodness. I know why you're here! Turns out he referred his girlfriend to the missionaries as a joke. Not funny. But I laughed anyways because in that situation you can either cry or laugh and I can't cry so I laugh. If you can laugh at it, you can live with it. 

We had a mini miracle this week with a woman named Giselle. Giselle is in a rehab facility because her leg was amputated. We felt like we needed to see her and when we came in she told us how happy she was that we came because she was feeling so lonely and wishing that someone would come. We shared the Mormon message "Good things to come" with her and she really enjoyed it. We hope that we can get her to read the Book of Mormon but she is very staunchly Catholic and being stubborn. But hey, they say Catholics make the best Mormons! 

(Watch it here -  "Good Things to Come"  )

Sinbad is getting baptized on Saturday and I get to go back to Green Valley for the baptism! I am so happy for him and that this day is finally here! Also, it will be great to be back home in the good old Valley of Green for a little bit. 

And now to explain the title of this email. Last night we got a phone call from a man named Chuck Norris. He told us that his neighbor Blue Fairy was taken to hospice care and that her friend told him that we would take care of her two cats so they were catching them and when could we come pick them up? Turns out Blue Fairy is a woman that Sister Vaughan and Sister Hale had contacted once back in May. Why she left her cats to them we have no idea, but we had to explain to Chuck Norris that we never agreed to take her cats and that we're sister missionaries and we can't have cats. Mark that one off the missionary bucket list "Be willed a cat." 

The moral of this week is that no matter what, God is always with you when you are doing your very best to do what He would have you do. It doesn't mean that hard things don't happen, but it does mean that there is always a light in the darkness and an iron rod to cling to. 

Love y'all! Until Next Week! 

Sister Burchett

Sacramento - Week 25

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).

“He’s on house arrest, but he’s never home…”
Monday July 15, 2013

Hello one and all! 

First, a small Mormon world moment: Today a friend emailed me to tell me that a huge chunk of his extended family live in Carmichael. Turns out they are in my ward. And I'm having dinner with them tonight. No big. How cool is that?! God definitely has a sense of humor. 

In other news, we moved into the Carmichael apartment this week. Our housing situation with our member was just not working out and so we moved into the apartment with the ASL sisters. It's fun because I get to brush up on my sign language and living in a missionary apartment is a new experience. I've always lived with members and there are definitely benefits to both. 

I can say that I truly do love the La Sierra ward. I was less than thrilled to leave the hills because I loved it there so much and I had spent a third of my mission there, but I definitely see God's hand in me being brought here. There is a lot of work to do, and I certainly love doing it. 

We had interviews with President this week and it was nice to get to talk with him one on one. I always feel like my interviews are boring for him because he asks if I have any problems and I'm always fine. He asks if I have any questions, and I never do. I'm just happily moving forward with faith and that's a good thing, but I feel bad because we don't have that much to discuss haha. He did make me feel really good though when he told me how much he appreciated my positive attitude. He told me that my companion said, "She wakes up with a smile and she's just like sunshine!" That helped motivate me to continue to be happy no matter what.

At the beginning of my mission I decided that every morning I would thank God for being a missionary and then put a smile on my face. And some mornings it is really hard because there's a lot of things not to smile about. But I've found that with all the things that are wrong, there is always something that is right, and even if that is just that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and a Savior who died for us, that's plenty to smile about. President also challenged Sister Vaughan and I to get La Sierra up and running again. They haven't baptized in a long time and so much of the ward is inactive. We accepted his challenge, and so off to work we went. 

This week we have visited about a 5th of the ward list. We have met so many people it makes my head spin! We've been trying to figure out why people stopped coming to church and how we can bring them back. We've seen many little miracles and have identified several people that we think we can bring back into activity this transfer. One of the hardest things for me was asking people, "When was the last time someone from the ward stopped by?" and having them answer, "I don't think anyone has ever stopped by." or "Nobody has been by for years."


This is for me as much as it is for everyone else. It's really not that hard, but we have such trouble doing it most of the time. Why? Is it really that much of a sacrifice? A few minutes each month to stop by and say hello, to share our Savior's love with these people. So many people here have all but been forgotten by the ward and I can't help but think that this is why we have home and visiting teaching in the first place. It's missionary work for members. It is the only way to make sure no one is forgotten. We have to do it. I don't know about you, but I don't want to report on my stewardship to the Lord and have to say, "Well I was too busy and I'm sorry they stopped coming to church, but I went!" That's not good enough. The Lord doesn't ever forget us, so we can't forget our brothers and sisters. 

Tomorrow I get to experience something really neat! Northern California is having an international interfaith conference for all the religions here. President Skywalker is representing the church and for part of his presentation he wanted to have a musical number. He asked me to play the piano for the sister who is singing and I'm super excited for the chance to help represent the church and all the missionaries serving here. Hopefully, we can help everyone there to feel the spirit and have a positive impression of what we do and believe. 

Our biggest miracle this week has been getting referrals! Everywhere we go we ask everyone we see if there is anyone who we should visit. We have a list of 35 names from this week to go and contact! That's more referrals than I'm used to getting in like 2 months! The Lord is really blessing us for working hard and loving this area. One of those families is a Polynesian part member family. She is Samoan and he is Tongan. He was almost baptized last year but it didn't happen, so guess who is headed over there with a ukulele and a baptismal invite? That's right. Sisters Vaughan and Burchett. Two very white girls with very brown souls. Our trainers were both islanders. What can we say? In Tongan they say "fakatomala peya papatiso" which means "repent and be baptized". Or in Samoan "Salamo" "repent!" 

And now just for fun, the story of our former investigator named Mr. Rogerts. Mr. Rogers is on house arrest, but he is never home. How does that work? We have no idea. Maybe someone out there has an explanation, but we're at a loss. 

Well, that's the gist of the work here in La Sierra. Stay strong and carry on! Look for the miracles in everything, because there is no such thing as coincidence. 


Sister Burchett

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sacramento - Week 24

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).

“So we all agree that the inactive should be active, right?”
Monday July 8, 2013

In answer to that question, yes, we do. I will explain. 

Me and Sister Vaughan!
First off, my new area is great! I adore Sister Vaughan and we get along so well. The lady we with live with is a little bit crazy so we may be moving, but at this point I have gotten used to just about every type of person known to mankind. I have also learned to bite my tongue. The other day she told me I unplugged the toaster wrong (what in the world? How is that even possible?!) But I just smiled and said, "Sorry! I'll do it right next time! Thanks Sister Zoro!" She really is very sweet, but holy canoli she is hard to live with. 

All ready to go! 3 bags, one tub, 1 box of bedding, mattress
pad, and one bag of food. She did a great job packing!
Ok so let's back up and start at the beginning, and all will be revealed. Tuesday I just said goodbye to everyone and packed. Christopher Robin didn't believe that I could get all of my stuff to fit into 3 suitcases and a Rubbermaid tub. So I took this as a challenge. And I made it all fit. Congratulashayla to me. If he would have let me distribute it a little bit more, my suitcases wouldn't have been so heavy, but he had to be stubborn. So I made him carry my suitcases up the hill haha jk he volunteered. But regardless, Sister Doolittle and I just laughed and laughed. It's a Burchett gene. We can't pack light. I guess it is an equally Fisher gene because we would rather ‘have it and not need it than need it and not have it’. 

Saying goodbye to the Doolittle’s and leaving Green Valley was one of the hardest things I have ever done! It was like leaving home again. I was so sad to leave, but so happy to be serving the Lord wherever he needed me. And so we came to Carmichael. I think I was in culture shock for a few days because it is SO different from El Dorado. There are so many people, cars, places to eat, places to shop. I have to relearn how to live in the city. So, I channeled my inner chameleon and adapted. And now I love it. SO MUCH! The ward is definitely struggling and they need a lot of help. We have zero investigators and over 400 less actives. But the active members are wonderful.

The Carmichael version of the Doolittle’s is the Von-Trapps. Brother Von-Trapp is from Ghana and was one of the first church leaders there. Sister Von-Trapp is from California and is a return missionary. They are awesome! It was Brother Von-Trapp who said, "So, we all agree the inactive should be active, right?" It sounds 5,000 times better in his accent and is actually quite a profound statement when you think about it. We are way too accepting of people being less active. How are we supposed to expect the Lord to give us more people, when we can't take care of the people we've got? And so, Sister Vaughan and I have divided up the ward list, and we are visiting every single person on it. We are going to find the people that need to be brought back and we are going to help them come back. Then, I know that the Lord will bless our efforts and new people will come, but we MUST take care of these people. When the Lord went out into the wilderness to search for the one, he first made sure that the 99 were safe and sound. There's no point in going after the one when the 99 are left to also wander away into the wilderness. That way, you end up with one sheep. And that's great, but doesn't make much sense in the whole salvation of souls standpoint. 

We spent the 4th of July having breakfast at Denny's with the Von-Trapps and then finishing moving in. We had a Zone activity that night, which really just meant we played sports because it was dangerous to be out. Sister Vaughan has a hurt ankle so we just sat on the stage and cheered and heckled. It was lots of fun. We watched fireworks from the driveway of our house. It was nice to have a holiday, but I was so ready to get back to work. It took the poor assistant, Elder Dahl, about 48 hours before he said, "Sister Burchett, when I asked you to come down here and bring some fire, I didn't know what I was getting into..."

No you didn't, Elder. But it's too late now. Let's get fired up! They found out that I wrote a song for the El Dorado Zone, and so they have all requested that I write a Carmichael Zone song as well. I had an epiphany the other night, and now Sister Vaughan and I can't stop singing it. Let us all thank the Lord for the weird but awesome talents he has given us. 

Sister Vaughan and I have decided that missionaries are really just stalkers for Jesus. We are creepy with a cause. We were out contacting members of the ward and two boys walked past us. They were signing. We knew we needed to find out where they lived so that we could give the referral to the ASL sisters. So, what did we do? We got in our car and sneakily followed them to where they lived. Some people may question this tactic, but we both felt the spirit, so I think it was fine. And we got the referral. Stalkers for Jesus! Creepy with a cause! 

And now the Sister Burchett embarrassing moment for the week: I remembered everything in El Dorado except the most important thing I own (debatable, but actually pretty true because everything else is replaceable) my retainer! So I had to get permission from the APs to call and have it brought down here. The conversation went a little something like this:

"Hi Elders it's Sister Burchett."
"Hi Sister Burchett. This is Elder Richwine."
"Hi, Elder. I haven't met you yet. Nice to meet you. Can I ask a favor please?" 
"Can I call my old companion and tell her I forgot my retainer?"
"........you forgot what?"
"My retainer......"
"ummmm......haha....ok. Sure."
"Don't laugh, Elder. Like you've never forgotten your retainer before!"

Yep, I'm a nerd. 

I could jump in a Texas River right now
 It's so hot....
I would like this car when I come please and thank you ;)
In other news, today I got my ears pierced. Yes, after 20 years I finally got enough courage to do it. So now I have diamond studs in my ears. I could turn this into a gospel analogy but I am running out of time. So just know that the church is true and that God has a plan for us. I know I was sent here to La Sierra for a reason, if nothing else to work hard and show the Lord that I have faith that he can make miracles happen here. I love y'all!

Sister Burchett 

Sacramento - Week 23

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).

United! Happy 4th of July!!!
“I have to ask my Uncle Elvis first…”
Tuesday July 2, 2013

Hello one and all! 
My beautiful area!
Well, first transfer update. I am being transferred. I have been assigned to labor in the Carmichael stake in the La Sierra ward with Sister Vaughn. Elder Dahl, the assistant to the President, called and said, "Sister Burchett, you have done a great job in El Dorado, and we have a new assignment for you. We want you to leave El Dorado and come down to Carmichael. We really need your fire here in Carmichael. Sister Loli has nothing but great things to say about you and we want to see if she is right."
So, it's all Loli's fault haha.
I am having this weird set of mixed feelings right now. I haven't really processed it all because I am so heartbroken to leave Green Valley. I LOVE IT HERE. I love the people so much, members and non-members alike. But then I also have this overwhelming sense of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for letting me serve here and giving me a chance to love this much. And then I have this enormous sense of duty because Carmichael is struggling and they are basically calling me down to help and fix some problems. They need my "fire" which makes me laugh because I don't think any of them fully realize what they just signed up for.
Change is coming, and it's coming in one loud, happy, teasing, hard-working package that says y'all every 3 seconds. I'm also excited in a weird way for a new adventure. Apparently, my area is kind of ghetto. Way different than Green Valley, but sounds really fun! Sister Roberts is staying here and Sister Dalley (who I came out with) will be coming up to be her Senior companion. I am trusting them to do great things and keep the work going here. They have to love these people as much as I do. If they don't, I'll have to make a few calls and come back and fix it! Apparently that's what President thinks I am, a problem-fixer. I guess that's better than a problem-maker haha
And now to explain the title of this letter: We had this potential investigator named Aurora. We asked her to take the lessons and she said yes. Then, later that night, she texted us and said, "I have to ask my Nanna, my Grandpa Jack, and my Uncle Elvis before I make any big decisions." ummm.......what?! I though Elvis was dead, but maybe I'm wrong. She is supposedly visiting him this week. I told her take pictures for me. I'll let you know if Elvis is alive or not. 

Ok, to explain the pool raising because everyone has been asking questions: A family in our ward was putting in a dough boy pool, but putting it in like an in-ground pool. So they dig a big hole and you put up the liner and walls inside and it last like 10-15 years. We were all there to help put in the walls. It was awesome! 

I haven't gotten to ride my bike very much at all because Sister Roberts hurt her ankle in Zone Sports. But I will hopefully be riding more soon. 
Mom, could you send that picture of the Elder on Zip again? I never got that one. That is awesome that all my old Beehive girls are going out on missions! They will be awesome!
We had a special Sister meeting in the mission this week. All the sisters got together and President Skywalker was the only male there. Great fun! We had special trainings, one of which was on eating right and exercising. Funny story. One time, the Skywalker’s were having a family reunion at a cabin. The men were all of skiing and Sister Skywalker was home with her daughters and the grandkids. Their 3 year old grandson locked himself in the bathroom and turned on the water in the bathtub. They kept trying to talk to him and pick the lock but they couldn't get the door open and he wouldn't answer. Sister Skywalker had been taking a kick-boxing class and so she just kicked down the door! Mind you, Sister Skywalker is all of 5'2 (maybe) and this was a solid wood door. She kicked it right off the hinges! The moral of the story was to stay in shape because you never know when you will be called upon to kick down a door haha. 
At Cameron Park Lake with our lovely fliers
Saturday was the Cameron Park Summer Spectacular! It was basically the Cameron Park version of the Melissa Celebration of Freedom. We made packets with a mormon.org card, fliers about the stake pioneer day celebration, and fliers about free family history workshops and we just walked for hours and talked to everyone. It was great!!!!!!!! It was so hot (we are currently experiencing a massive heat wave. 110 today) but it was so great. Funny story: We were sitting down to take a break and this guy in his 20s comes up to us, introduces himself, and hands us a flier for the Bible Baptist Church. "I'd like to invite you to check out our church." I reached into my bag and pulled out one of our fliers. "We'd like to invite you to check out our church too!" It was at that point that he saw the mormon.org card and our badges and made the connection. Poor boy. He got all awkward as I explained the pioneer day celebration and invited him to come. Then he walked away. It was too funny! 
The inside of my white handbook. If I'm found
dead and that is the only way someone has to
identify me, I want them to have a good laugh.
Finding me dead would be shocking, so they
would need something to take their mind off it.
Miracle this week: The Rescuer’s, a less active couple we have been working with, signed up to feed the missionaries 4 times in July! 4 times! This is progress! They feeling the spirit we bring and they came to church this week. 
I should get to come back to Green Valley for Sinbad's baptism at the end of this month, so that will be fun. The beautiful thing about this work is that no matter where you go, it is true! We are all teaching the same gospel and lead by the same leader, our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Well, off to a new adventure! 
Sister Burchett

Moosen in the Woodsen

There was a giant chicken statue at Green Springs Ranch...I have no idea why?