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, August 25, 2013

Sacramento - Week 30

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).

“A Bicycle built for one”
Monday August 19, 2013

Hello everyone! 
Well, it's been an interesting week. As transfer weeks usually go, it was long a busy and I am completely and utterly exhausted, but in the best way possible. 
My new companion is Sister Kagie from West Bountiful, Utah. I'm convinced they give me all these Utahans so I can teach them how life works outside of the bubble in the most caring way possible. Just kidding. But seriously, she is great and together we have been learning the art of the bicycle. 
Here are my thoughts and experiences with biking so far: 
  • Sweat. So much sweat. 
  • Helmet hair is not my style. 
  • Sidebag on a bike....whose genius idea was that? 
  • Bugs hit my face like it's a car windshield
  • I'm grateful for my thickly padded bike seat
  • Pedestrians hate drivers. Drivers hate pedestrians. Everybody hates bikers. 
  • Thank goodness for Mary Kay's Finishing Spray. My make-up still looks decent at the end of the day even if everything else is in disarray. 
  • If you need help fixing your bike, make Elders appear in person. Them explaining directions over the phone goes something like this "You just squeeze the wire together." 
  • Where bikes go, area books cannot follow. 

And amidst all of this, I actually am starting to really enjoy biking. Especially at night. Which is funny because poor Sister Kagie HATES riding at night. She's convinced that Carmichael is the biggest ghetto on planet earth and that we will be shot and killed or mugged and killed or hit by a car and killed. I think it's lovely. For example: The other night we were pulling up to a traffic stop and a guy drives by in this car and yells something and I just laugh. And then like 10 seconds later all these firecrackers go off across the street and I thought "That was strangely beautiful. Like the 4th of July. Wonder where they came from." And then I crossed the street and started singing, "You can make the pathway bright".
We got home and sister Kagie says, "I never want to bike at night again." I asked why and she looked at me in shock and said, "Didn't you see all of that?!" She then explained that they guy that drove by had previously been standing on the side of the street yelling at his girlfriend and they were fighting and got in the car and where still fighting when they drove past us and the woman was crying and he was yelling and that two punk boys dropped the firecrackers out of the window of their car after they lit it and that when they went off she thought it was gunshots and she was about to have an anxiety attack. "Are you totally oblivious?!" She said.
I just laughed and said, "Apparently." I had a great night. I guess I have been on my mission long enough and gone through enough crazy experiences to know that as long as I am being obedient and as careful as I can be, God won't let anything bad happen to us. The spirit will warn us of real danger and we really don't have anything to fear. So I just sing a song and pedal down the street. Sister Kagie still hates riding at night, but I love it. It's so much cooler than during the day and there is music and laughter and lots of joy. I love Carmichael at night. She will too...eventually :) 
We have been having trouble getting investigators to church in this area. I had been thinking and thinking about how we could get people there when I had this burst of brilliant inspiration. We have an area book full of phone numbers. Why not text them all and invite them all to church. I call it a text blitz. So we did. We texted 99 people and invited them to church. Sunday morning came around and...
Nobody came. Not one. 
But later that day one of the numbers texted back to ask who we were (normal people don't realize that once you give your number to missionaries, they will have your number forever) and we started to talk to them and teach them about the gospel. His name is Jimminy Cricket and we set up a return appointment to teach him this week. Miracle! And in the most ironic way we texted the 99 and then went after the 1.
Last night we had 5 minutes before we had to report our numbers for the week and I felt like we should try to contact a few more people with the time we had. We called a less active named Mushu who we had never seen or heard of before. He said he wanted to come to church but he needed a ride and he wanted to have the missionary lessons over again. We said, "Sure, we can do that." Miracle! 
Miss Piggy and Kermit had to reschedule the temple tour for this weekend so we will be going with them and a recent convert from the ward who is preparing for the temple. We are so excited. It will be an amazing experience for them. I'm pumped. 
The pictures are one of Sister Kagie and I after our first day biking. Sweaty with helmet hair. Oh yes. And the other one is the result of biking. I've decided it is easier to clip my badge to the strap of my bag while I am riding my bike. So I take off my bag (over my head) and then clip my badge to my shirt when we reach our destination. The other day we got to dinner and I took of my bag and couldn't find my badge. I was so confused because I had literally just seen it. We looked around for five minutes before I turned around and Sister Kagie started cracking up. It was stuck perfectly in my hair. Fun stuff. 
Love y'all! Have a great week! If you're biking in the dark, sing a hymn. It's refreshing and scares away the bad guys. 
Sister Burchett

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sacramento - Week 29

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).

“It’s a girl!”
Tuesday August 13, 2013

Well, it's about that time again. What time? Transfer time. We got our calls last night and Sister Vaughan is leaving me for Elk Grove. I'll be staying here in La Sierra and training a new missionary. The car is also leaving me, as we are being made into an all bike area. Seeing how I haven't ridden a bike my whole mission, my new companion and I will be learning as we go together. What a fun adventure we are about to have! She's been here in California about 4 hours now so I hope she loves it as much as I do. I'll pick her up in the morning so more information to come next week. 
This week has been amazing!!! We had an awesome lesson with Miss Piggy and Kermit yesterday and they are so prepared for the gospel. They are reading the Book of Mormon and have so many questions. I love them so much! The only snaffoo is that they are planning a wedding at the moment so at least Miss Piggy doesn't feel ready to totally dive in until September, but they are still progressing and are very interested. They are coming on a temple tour with us on Saturday. I'm praying that they feel the spirit and have a true desire to change and become a part of Christ's church. The gospel has already blessed their lives, and as all things in the gospel do, they are blessing our lives in return. 
We also had another awesome lesson with our investigator Mulan. Mulan is a former we picked up and are teaching again. One thing I've noticed with Mulan and Miss Piggy and Kermit is that they all are very focused on their personal relationships with God, which is awesome for us as missionaries because that is what we want to help them develop. Sometimes they feel like, "Why does it matter what religion you are or what church you go to? Isn't your relationship what's important?"
Answer: Yes, your relationship with God is the most important thing. However, God has given us a sure fire plan and guidelines to help us develop that relationship. That's where the church comes into play. Isn't it amazing that God loves us enough to give us the church to help us and guide us?! He just loves us so much. 
On that note, a tender moment from this week and a reminder that outside appearances can be deceiving. We were at a funeral for a ward member and a man walked in. He was a big guy with long hair a cut off t-shirt, leather vest, and tattoos. His hat said "Wolfman" on it, and all in all most people would see him and be grateful they weren't in a dark alley alone. But I watched as this man walked over to the grieving widow, who was just about 4'10 and the tiniest thing you nave ever seen and said, "I'm sorry baby doll. But he's with God now." And then he held her in his arms while she cried. It was an amazing experience to see the pure love of Christ that this man had for this woman. Most people would see him and assume he was anything but religious, but in his own way he bore her a sweet testimony of our Father's plan for all of us, that we don't cease to be, but we continue to live on with Him and with our loved ones forever. 
New planner!
In our bedroom at the apartment, some missionaries from who knows when put those plastic glow in the dark stars all over the ceiling. I love it because I miss seeing the stars. There is this awesome ensign article this month called "World's without end" all about our amazing solar system and galaxy and the incomprehensible creations of God. There is a quote in that article that I love so much it became my new planner cover.
It's from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and it says, "This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation - world without end - within our grasp. And it is God's great desire to help us reach it." 


I testify that we ARE everything to God. It is His work and His glory to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. We are His children, and He loves us! He wants us all to return to him. He looks on our hearts, not our outward appearances. He sees us for who we can become if we will follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our work and glory is to do everything we can be like Him and make it home, and to bring as many of our brothers and sisters with us as we can. How great is our calling! 
I strung up my fish in a line over my bed :)
No empty seats at the dining table in heaven! 
Sister Burchett

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sacramento - Week 28

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).

“Tree and Bush”
Monday August 5, 2013

No, folks. This week we aren't talking about tree and bush couples in which one half of the couple is significantly taller/shorter than the other half. Nope we are talking about spiritual growth. Do you remember that talk by Elder Christofferson in General Conference a few years ago where he quotes Hugh B. Brown's story about the currant bush? 

It goes a little like this: 
Basically there is this currant bush that has grown into a tree and is crossing over a fence. The gardener comes and cuts it down to size. The currant bush is upset because it was growing so well and was a great big tree, but the gardener says, "I'm the gardener here. I don't want you to be a tree. I want you to be a currant bush." 
This week I feel like the Lord has been sending me the same message. At the beginning of the week I was trying so hard to fight it. I kept feeling like, "Lord, I'm such a tall tree. Why in the world would you cut me down? I was growing so fast and so tall and I was going to cross that fence and spread even more."
 But the Lord said, "I'm the gardener here. I don't want you to be a tree. I want you to be a bush."
To which I initially replied, "Well, I'm the human being here and I don't want to be a bush."
To which the Lord said, "But I am your Savior and Redeemer. This is MY work. Not yours. I want you to be a bush, because you are no use to me as a tree. I NEED you to be a bush. So just be a bush already, please."
So I learned a lot about humbling myself before the Lord and accepting His will. Many times in our lives we will be called upon to be bushes. Sometimes that's because we have made ourselves into trees and forgotten who really gave us the growth, but most times I think it's just because our Heavenly Father and our Savior love us enough to keep cutting us and trimming us and shaping us. Lots of times we are a bush, but we're a little too fluffy or a little too scrawny or our branches are tangled. Sometimes, we need to be cut back so that other bushes can grow too. That's more of what I experienced. It was great that I was a tree, but the Lord wants us all to grow. If there a just a few big trees amongst a lot of bushes, the bushes won't get any sunlight. We all need the light to grow. I'm grateful that no matter the case, the Lord loves us enough to chasten us. He's not just cutting us down; He's trimming us back so we can grow into something better. 

Amidst all this botany, I got a letter from Mary Poppins. She is doing so well. Her letter was just what I needed. She told me that she got to go to the temple and walk around. She said, "I didn't get to go inside yet, but the sheer power of that place is amazing. It's great to know it's the one place the devil can't go." I know that's true. The temple is heaven on earth and how blessed we are to have it. 
Don't forget to stop and smell the roses!
Thanks everyone for the awesome family reunion package! I loved it! Sister Vaughan and I love the crowns from Medieval Times and I adore the earrings Steph sent. I'm trying to find a cool way to display the fish. I think I've come up with something....I'll send a picture if it works out. 
I got to experience a miracles this week with our investigator Rapunzel. She had a baptism date and interview scheduled before I got here, but then she backed out last minute. We hadn't been able to see her the whole transfer, but we had showed up at the apartment complex where we were going to contact some potentials right as what appeared to be a drug sell was going on right out front. We decided to pray and see what we should do, if we should still try to contact these people or if we should just move on to the next complex. When we finished praying, we both looked at each other and said, "Rapunzel." So off we went.
We showed up right as she was pulling into the driveway. We found out her father-in-law had just passed away and she was in a tizzy trying to get things ready for the funeral. We asked if we could help her and she put us to work making flower arrangements for the tables. We talked with her and she just opened completely up about how depressed she had been feeling and how when she saw our car she knew everything was going to be all right because her friends the Mormon girls were here and they would be able to comfort her. We were able to testify to her about the comfort she can receive through the atonement, and it was all so fresh from when I had the same experience a few days before. Heavenly Father knows each of us so well, and when we listen to the Spirit and rely on our Savior's atonement we can be instruments for bringing about such great good in the lives of our brothers and sisters. How awesome is that! 
The Von-Trapp’s just got back from visiting their son in Oregon and the Alaskan Cruise for their 20th wedding anniversary. (P.S. Mom and Dad we should do this sometime before the immediate family grows more and it gets expensive.) They brought Sister Vaughan and I back jewelry made from these stones they call "Northern Lights". The stone is dark and shimmery and kind of takes on the shade of whatever color you are wearing. We were driving home and wearing our necklaces and I saw the most beautiful sunset. It just made me grateful for all of Heavenly Father's creations. He gave us so much to experience, so much to bring us awe and inspire us from the Northern lights to a sunset. He truly loves us and wants us to be happy! 
And that's why it's ok to be bushes. Because if He wants us to be bushes, you can bet it's because it will make us happy, so then we can want to be bushes too and press forward with faith. 
I know the atonement of Jesus Christ is real and available to all of us. I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to access that atonement so we can live with Him again. 
Sister Burchett - A Happy Bush
We had Doctor's appointments in Roseville
this week because we were sick so we got
to leave the mission.
I had to do a breathing treatment for my cough,
but I'm all good now!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sacramento - Week 27

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).

“I cried for like 5 seconds…”
Monday July 29, 2013

It's true! I did! It's a miracle! I DO have a soul and I am a girl. I was starting to wonder. It had been a while since I cried. What brought it on? Well, stay tuned and find out. They were happy tears, so don't fret! 
This week has been amazing! Where do I begin? Well, as Maria says in the Sound of Music, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. 
La Sierra, as I have said before, has struggled for a while. It was a little neglected by past missionaries and many of those missionaries burned bridges with the ward members, making them not super trusting of the missionaries and not very willing as a whole to make a lot of effort in the work of salvation. So, enter Sisters Burchett and Vaughan with a smile and joke or two and lots of love ready to be given. We have been slaving away and loving it. Whatever the ward asks, we do it and we go above and beyond. You want us to visit less actives? Ok, we'll see every one on the ward list. You want us to contact a few referrals for you? We'll report back with a detailed explanation of everyone's situations and needs and a plan for how we can help you to help them. Even sickness won't stop us! 
Sister Vaughan and I inhaling steam with
essential oils so we could breathe.
We felt so silly.
We've had colds the past two weeks and so finally after being so sick we got blessings. We called a member of our bishopric, Brother Blues Clues and he came and gave us blessings and he and his wife brought us groceries and soup and it was just the nicest thing people had done for us in a while and it made us feel so loved and appreciated. Then on Sunday, Bishop Wiggles got up and told the ward what a great job we were doing and how grateful he was for us. Then he said, "Even though they've been sick, they have been out spreading their germs...I mean the gospel." (He's a doctor and Brother Blues Clues is a heart surgeon hence they are big on health and have been watching our symptoms and feeding us endless supplies of Gatorade.) He then challenged everyone in the ward to, when they have us over for dinner, set up a time to go out and work with us. It just filled me with joy because it showed that he trusts us and that he wants the rest of the ward to trust us too. It's a miracle. When we give all of our efforts to the Lord, He will bless them and sanctify them and help us succeed. And loving people is powerful. Everybody needs love. 
We accidentally broke one of the mirrors in
our apartment. Bad luck? Not for missionaries!
On Wednesday our Zone Leaders called us and challenged everyone in the zone to find a new investigator that day and call it in as a miracle. We took the challenge and after much prayer and a lot of faith exercised we added 3 new investigators! We found the Muppet family. Kermit, the husband, was raised Catholic, and his wife, Miss Piggy, was raised 7th day Adventist but neither of them practice now. Their daughter passed away in the last year in a car accident and they have two other girls living at home, one of which is getting married in a few months. We talked with them about the Plan of Salvation and challenged them to read the Book of Mormon. They accepted and we are going back this week. We also added another new investigator on Friday when we were visiting his mom who is a less active member in the ward. When we take care of the people we have, God will give us more. 
Fun story: We met a less active sister this week who raises piranhas for a living. Yep. Piranhas. The flesh eating fish. She has like 200. It was awesome. 
Faith building story: We met another less active sister who is from Fiji. She is here being a caretaker for an Elderly Lady and so she doesn't get to come to church. Wednesdays are her only day off. But we showed up at her door and she said, "Sisters! I am so glad you are here. Can you tell the Bishop I have 3 months of my tithing saved up and I have been waiting for someone to come by and get it?" She can't come to church and many people would use that as an excuse to fall out of faith and become complacent, but she saves her tithing every week for as long as it takes for it to be picked up. We are going to arrange for the sacrament to be brought to her because she wants to take it so badly. 
Sinbad's Baptism!
And now, for the reason I cried for 5 seconds. On Saturday, Sinbad got baptized and I got to go back for the baptism! It was amazing to see him so happy and to see all the people there supporting him, and to see his family so happy and so filled with the spirit. When he saw me, he hugged me so tight! And I didn't even care. Is that apostate? I think not, because Jesus would have hugged him back too. :) When he came out of the water, there were tears in his eyes and in his wife's eyes and my heart was filled with pure happiness. The missionaries in the area now asked me to come up and bear my testimony and as I stood there and looked at that family that I adore with all my heart, I cried for 5 seconds as I said, "The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about families, and I love this family." Then I got a grip and bore my testimony and it was the sweetest experience. There are a lot of hard days, but no effort is wasted. Soon, Sinbad will receive the priesthood and they will have a priesthood holder in their home. We referred Sinbad's mom to the missionaries in San Jose and she is taking the lessons. Ripple effect. It's real. Also, I found out that Mary Poppin's husband’s son got baptized later that night as well. Ripple effect! Love comes back to us. 
That's it for this week. Miracles happen and the gospel is true. I hit 7 months on Friday. How did that happen?! It's going too fast. 
Love y'all! 
Sister Burchett