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, November 30, 2013

Sacramento - Week 44

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).

“There’s So Much to be Thankful For!”
November 28, 2013

Hello one and all!
I take my title this week from the talented Josh Groban. I've been listening to his song "Thankful" all morning.
A= Because I love it and B= Because it is probably the only Thanksgiving-y song that I can think of. Note to all you creative people out there - we need more Thanksgiving songs. 
This week has been incredibly long. If you haven't noticed, today is not a Monday nor a Tuesday, but a Thursday. We have an all day Pday for Thanksgiving but that means we went for a week and a half without one. I am so exhausted but so happy! 
So, if my brain can remember that far, let's go back to last week. The week was pretty uneventful because I, like every other missionary in my district, caught the plague. Some variety of stomach virus that had everyone down and out. I remember rejoicing when I could finally hold down crackers and thinking all the while that all I wanted to do was go out and work, and then eat a cheeseburger.
Friday was Zone Conference and there was no way we were skipping out on that. I was feeling a little bit better and so I said a prayer and called upon my acting skills. I was determined to be the happiest, most healthy looking missionary EVER. 
Zone Conference was amazing. It was so good to see my old companion and roommates and many of the missionaries that I love. Plus, it was mission tour season, so we had Elder David S. Baxter of the First Quorum of the Seventy there to meet us and train us. If I could describe Elder Baxter in one word I think it would be "intimidating". He is a tall, fiery, Scottish man who does not beat around the bush and tells you exactly what you need to improve on and leaves off all the sugar coating. As a blunt person, I appreciated this, but I must say I also enjoy sugar. I quickly realized that Sister Baxter was the sugar in the relationship. She was so sweet! And thus we see that it is not good for man to be alone. In a good marriage, we really do complete each other. 
We started off the conference parking our cars for inspection, and as I went in the building with Sister Abbott we both noticed that the doors in the building had not been cleaned. In fact, they were filthy. So, true to my heritage of "If somebody is going to do it, I volunteer" we ran to the office and asked for cleaning supplies. On our knees in skirts cleaning windows. Sister missionaries for the win! We got them satisfactorily cleaned right before Elder and Sister Baxter arrived. That experience made me think about all the preparation that we would do if we knew the Savior were coming to our home or our church building. We'd make it spotless! We'd slave away for hours just to make sure no trace of dust or dirt could be found. I thought about our lives. Are we doing that? The Savior IS coming! We don't know when, but we do know that one day we WILL stand before Him. Don't we want our hearts and our hands to be clean? I am so grateful for repentance and the ability to change and grow and be better today than we were yesterday. 
Elder Baxter wanted to shake everyone's hand so we lined up. We were told to say our name, where we were from, and how long we had been in the mission.
When I got to Sister Baxter she said, "Hello, Sister Burchett!"
I said, "You got it right! Most people say Birch-ett but it's prounouced Birch-it."
(Sister Baxter is from England) So Sister Baxter says, "Oh dear. Well, that's the American accent for you!"
Then it was my turn to meet Elder Baxter. I shook his hand and said, (all the while with his eyes locked on mine) "I'm Sister Burchett. I'm from Melissa, Texas, and I've been out 11 months!"
To which Elder Baxter replied, "That's a very nice scarf you are wearing." I said thanks, and that was that. Thank you mother for inspiring my apparently good taste in scarf wear. (insert laughter here). 
Our training from Elder Baxter was so great. Terrifying, but great. Like I said, the man is INTIMIDATING. The kind where they ask a question but no one feels brave enough to answer on the off chance that they might be wrong. He left us with no less than 15 commitments of things we will do to become better teachers. I think my favorite piece of advice he gave was "Fight to be known as one of the workers instead of one who gets the glory. There's less competition."
It's so true! It doesn't matter what other people think. All that matters is what God thinks and the work that we are doing. So many missionaries get caught in a tailspin of wanting to impress President or the other leaders or wanting to have the ward love them the best or be the favorite companion or be "promoted" to leadership. When we think like that we only jip ourselves of the great blessings of working. We are here to be laborers in the Lord's vineyard. And I'd like to point out that we aren't even hired hands. We aren't even servants, really. We're paying to be here. We're a whole new brand of laborer. We're missionaries. It's as simple as that. 
Saturday we took the Frankenstein family to a baptism and a temple tour. They loved it. During the tour, Sister Ward went with the older kids and our Ward Mission Leader's Wife and I took the 2 ½ year old so that Brother and Sister Frankenstein could just enjoy the tour and the temple and talk together. One day they will all be together inside. Satan knows that, so he's been working really hard on them the past week. Pray for them to stay strong and that Brother Frankenstein will be ready to baptize the girls. 
Oh! Little Mermaid, from my old area will be baptized in two weeks! I'll get to go back for the baptism and I am so excited!
Sunday Sister Ward and I had the awesome opportunity to sing in church. We had 3 investigators there and it was AMAZING! We sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". I know if I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, but let's make it an uneven thousand and one: Music is a divine vehicle for the Spirit to testify. The power of music is incredible to me.
As I sang and looked out at our investigators I just prayed in my heart that they would know that everything we have been teaching them was true.
Not only that, but that it would bless their lives forever. And then I prayed that the members would know in their hearts what an important role they have to play, that they would feel the confidence to open their mouths. We had so many sweet moments with the ward members as they expressed gratitude for the music. Someone even sent us an anonymous note in the mail saying that it brought tears to their eyes and reminded them why the gospel is so important to them. Music touches the soul. Heaven was not and is not a quiet place. You don't have to be a musician or a great singer to touch another heart with the power of music. 
I remember an experience as a kid. I was sitting in church between my Papa and Grandma. My grandmother loves to sing and has a beautiful voice. My Papa.....well he liked music. But I remember sitting there, near operatic on one side and tone deaf on the other, and realizing that God loved to hear them both the same because they were praising Him. I'll never forget that. 

Funny moment from this week: Some members gave us money to take ourselves out to dinner so we hopped on over to Macaroni Grill. At Macaroni Grill, they have white butcher paper on the table and crayons so you can color. Sister Ward and I took the opportunity to do a little missionary work. We drew the Plan of Salvation, the first vision, a map to the church, and every other gospel visual you can think of. It was a blast, and somebody saw it. Maybe one day they'll get curious and ask their LDS neighbor a question....

Well, today is Thanksgiving, so here are a couple of my favorite things I am grateful for:
1. The gospel of Jesus Christ. What would we do without it! 
2. My family. Thanks for loving me enough to raise me right. I've seen that hands off parenting is a whole lot easier, but the results are abysmal. Thanks for helping me gain my testimony. 
3. My dear friends all over the globe! I consider each of you an extension of my family. Thanks for shaping me and teaching me, each in your own special way. 
4. The opportunity to be a missionary! This is an amazing time to be a servant in the Lord's vineyard. I have loved every little spot of ground He has given me. I have been forever changed, but most importantly, I hope that the Savior knows how much I love Him and how much I want my brothers and sisters to be happy and safe in His restored church. I'm grateful for each and every person I have met. Hopefully, I'm doing my part and bringing each of them a little closer. 

We have so much to be grateful for. Amidst the festivities today, take time to remember all the blessings God has given us. And then take that attitude into every day. What a happy life we would all lead if each day was lived in Thanksgiving. 
Love y'all!

Sister Burchett

Sacramento - Week 43

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).

“They Don’t Lock Up Their Bikes Here”
November 18, 2013

It's true! In Folsom, nobody locks up their bikes. It's THAT family friendly. Big culture shock coming from La Sierra, where if you didn't lock up your bike, you never saw your bike again. I still lock up my bike. I told Sister Ward that if I were a thief, I would come to Folsom, steal everyone's bikes and go home. It would be so easy. It's just mind-boggling. It's like Mayberry. 

And on that note, Hello everyone! 
It has been another amazing week here in the shadow of the hills. So busy that I have zero time so this will be one of those lame short letters. Sorry! Here's the reader's digest version:
Frankenstein’s - They are doing so well! They were all at church again and we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ - Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. The girls were so excited to take the next step (baptism) and it was so neat to see their parents remember the covenants they have made and realize that no matter where they are at now, they CAN jump back on the path and keep going forward. We can only change the future. We are going on a temple tour with them on Saturday and they are going to come and see a baptism for another little girl in the ward so they know how theirs will be. I can literally see the whole family "lighting up". It's in their eyes! And it's beautiful. 
Maleficent - She wants to come to church with us on Sunday! We are so stoked! As y'all know, getting people to church here is the BIGGEST struggle, so when someone volunteers, you want to jump for joy and you hear the angels singing from above. 
Sister Ward and I are doing great. Our ward mission leader is fantastic and the work is really progressing.  We have Zone Conference this week and Elder Baxter from the First Quorum of the Seventy is coming. We are excited to hear what he has to say to all of us. 
Hope everything is well for all of you. It is the season of gratitude, and I am SO grateful for this gospel in my life. They say that everything grows in value if you share it, so go out and share this great news with everyone! Christ lives and His church is again on the earth today. We have modern day prophets to lead and guide us. Families can be forever and true peace and happiness is available to all of God's children. 
Make it a great week! 


Sister Burchett

Sacramento - Week 42

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).

No Subject
November 12, 2013 

I just love Folsom. The end. 
It has been a great first week. Sister Ward and I are super busy. We have two investigators with baptismal dates. They're from a part-member family (the Frankenstein’s). They are the sweetest girls in the world. They're family is incredible, and I feel like a big reason I was sent here was to be able to serve them and learn from them. There are these moments on your mission where you realize someone is just for you, and this family is just for me. 
We added a new investigator this week name Maleficent and she is incredible. She is so open and the product of member missionary work. She met a member who worked at a doctor's office she has been attending for 8 years. For 8 years this member saw her at her appointments and they became great friends. After 8 years this member was getting ready to move and decided to invite Maleficent to learn more about the church. She accepted and teased him for not asking her sooner. She is facing lots of obstacles, but is facing them with an open mind and faith. Members are the BEST missionaries. Also, she just bought a ukulele so I was able to tune it for her and teach a few chords. No coincidences. 
Here in Folsom 4th ward they have a special Sunday school class called the MMTC (Member Missionary Training Center). They are using a book called, "The Power of Everyday Missionaries". It is amazing! I highly recommend it. It's a short, powerful book about how to share the gospel easy and naturally with our friends and family. We are challenging members to take this to heart and set goals to share the gospel. It's been awesome to see the results. When we try, the Lord leads, guides, and gives us success. Read it! Use it! Love it! 
I taught gospel principles this week for the first time. Welcome to the ward. Please teach this class. So I found myself in a class with people I didn't know, without my companion because she was helping teach the MMTC. I prayed deep within myself that I could facilitate an environment so the spirit could work, and I testify that God is a God of miracles. The class was on Repentance, and so the Lord led a discussion on the atonement and the purpose of repentance through me. The spirit brought to mind a quote I had read in "Adjusting to missionary life" (my favorite mission resource). It goes something like this, "Repentance isn't the backup plan. Repentance is God's plan of happiness for every person."
My goal was to help the class understand and view repentance not as a backup plan or a scary thing but as an amazing gift and the singular way we can be changed into what God needs us to be. The spirit was so strong. It was amazing to me. Brother and Sister Frankenstein were there and I watched both of their faces as they realized that they really could repent and start over and do things right. Sister Frankenstein was crying, and I was so grateful that the Lord sent me here. 
We had a lesson with the Frankenstein’s that afternoon after church. We talked about the Plan of Salvation. A few weeks ago they wouldn't let anyone from the church into their house. Now, they want to be sealed as a family. They're coming to church and their daughters are going to be baptized. Best part, their dad is working so that he can baptize them. Miracles happen. I think of all the home and visiting teachers over the years that tried and felt like they failed to help this family. All of the prayers from their families that seemed to be going unanswered. Never give up. God is real and he is always listening and working and planning. In His own time He helps us make the right choices. 
For more about my area: It's hilly and mostly suburbs. Lots of families. The ward is medium sized with not nearly as many less actives as my last area. We have a Blue Chevy Cruz that I love, but we bike too. We live with a member, she's very sweet! The Elders in 5th ward live in our area with a member as well so it's fun to see them all the time. Elder Hemingway is from San Antonio and Elder Seaman is his companion. It's great to serve with my favorite Tennessee kid again. We have another set of sisters in our zone that are on bikes. One of my Zone Leaders I served with in Carmichael and then there are two other Elders I served with in El Dorado here too. Reunited and it feels so good! I just love my missionaries. The work is going really well in this zone and we are hoping to break the high water mark for baptisms this month or next. 
Funny moment from my week: We were in district meeting and we were setting goals for the next couple of months. We have a goal to have a white Christmas where every companionship will baptize. When asked what we should do for January there was some debate on whether or not we should have a goal for everyone to baptize again. As usual, I think I'm funny so I said, "We may not have a white January but we can at least have a dingy cream."
No better way to introduce new missionaries to Sister Burchett than that.
Several of them told me on Pday "That's when I knew we could be friends." Moral of the story - just be yourself. Somebody is bound to love it. 
I'm so grateful to be here in Folsom at this time. I just love it and we are working hard and seeing miracles. 
Love y'all! 

Sister Burchett

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sacramento - Week 41

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).

“Back Up the Hill a Bit”
November 5, 2013

Well, another transfer is upon us. I got my call last night, and I am headed to.......
I'll be serving in the Folsom 4th ward with Sister Ward. I was roommates in the MTC with Sister Ward so it will be fun to be together again. It's a new zone and a new area and a lot of new missionaries so I'm excited for the adventure. I am not excited to pack or to say goodbye to all the people I love here in Carmichael. Maybe I can just sneak out in the dead of night and no one will know.....Nope, they'd know, and they'd hunt me down. 
So…this week in La Sierra. First off, our miracle! We have been working with a less active part member family for the past couple of weeks. They live next door to our ward missionaries. Convenient! Well, last week the mom knocked on our ward missionaries door to tell them her 9 year old daughter wants to be baptized. We taught them about the Restoration of the gospel last night and they were so excited! Our goal is to prepare Little Mermaid (the 9 year old) for baptism and get Ursula (the mom) active again. Hopefully we can start teaching her dad too. And by we I mean Sister Kagie and Sister Parkinson. I'll be shooting prayers their way! 
Our Halloween Costumes
The rebellious house who refused to decorate for Halloween
and decorated for Christmas instead.
Halloween was a good time. I dressed up as Sister Kagie, and Sister Kagie dressed up as me. We watched Ephraim's Rescue, which was so great, and then had an awesome training. I just love missionaries. Always have, and always will. They're just amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I am one ;) 
We got paid the best compliment this week. We had dinner with Brother and Sister Mater, the most amazing older couple. They have served 5 missions between them. They're just the coolest. They told us that after being out of town for a few weeks, they came home and didn't recognize half of the ward! "There were so many families there we didn't know anymore, and we've been here almost 50 years!"
That means we are doing our job. 
We were out trying to visit people on Wednesday and we were catching absolutely nobody at home. The Lord sent us a tender mercy in the form of 3 kids from our ward biking home from school. They saw us and yelled, "MISSIONARIES!!!!!!" like we were the most important people they had ever seen. I told them we were just heading down to their street and we would follow them. We must have been quite the sight - 5 bikers all in a line - and they were so proud to escort us. We got to their street and said goodbye and went to try and see a less active. And they were.....not home! So we said a prayer to know what we should do because something was not working. And God said....NOTHING. I'll attach the pictures of the experience below. So, we carried on with our plans hoping at some point God would lead us to where we needed to be. 
And then I got us lost. I turned down the wrong street. When I noticed we weren't in the right place, I stopped in front of a house to pull out our map. I read the name of the street we were on, and vaguely remembered reading that someone on the ward list lived on that street. I grabbed the list and found the name I had thought of, and guess where we were parked? Right outside their house. I took that to be a sign, and so we knocked. We discovered the nicest part member family and they talked with us for nearly an hour. We left with a return appointment and a request for home teachers. It was a miracle, and we prayed a mighty prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for directing us even when we didn't know He was. 
Another tender mercy this week. One of our members called us and just left a voicemail thanking us for all that we had done for the ward. It was beautiful. Gratitude is one of God's greatest miracles. 
We had a 5th roommate this week! Sister Sharp came back from having a surgery and she needed some recovery time so she worked at the mission office and stayed with us. She is the sweetest thing and has taught me a lot about overcoming challenges just in her short time here. When President Skywalker found out we had 5 single beds all crammed into one room, he nearly died. But we explained that we loved it! 
A member nicknamed me "Sister Sunshine" this week. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me. A smile is truly the most beautiful thing you can wear! 
The Great Wall of Carmichael
We did service for a non-member this week named Joan of Arc. Her husband has been terminally ill for nearly 5 years. He was coming home for hospice care and so we were helping clear out a room for him. She was so grateful, and we set up a return appointment to come back and leave the Savior's Peace and Blessing on her home. We got a text late last night that her husband had passed away. So, Sister Kagie and Sister Parkinson are going over tomorrow to see Joan of Arc and leave the blessing. I'm so grateful for the knowledge and power that the Plan of Salvation brings into our lives. We know that death is but a temporary separation and in reality, a gift from God. Only through death can we be resurrected in a perfected state. And so we can face death with hope and peace. We have a woman in our ward who is such an example of this to me. She was given 6 months to live about 7 months ago. She is just a spitfire! She's gone downhill this week but she sent word to the ward that "Alive or dead, everyday I'm still happy, one way or another." She knows the power of the plan. 
I also grew in my testimony of the power of music this week. There's a brother in the ward who is a composer and all around music guru. I was absolutely flattered when he asked us to stay after church for a few minutes so he could talk to us about music and I could sing a few hymns. He told us the story behind the hymns before we sang them and they meant so much more. Nothing brings the spirit and testifies like music, especially the hymns! 
This week, my deaf roommate told me "You're so loud that even I can hear you, and I'm DEAF!!!!" It was sadly true. I woke her up. She was deaf and sleeping, and I woke her up. How is that even possible?!
Well y'all, I think that's about it for this week. As usual, I feel like I'm leaving here just as all the work we have put in is paying off, but I know that I'm going where the Lord needs me and wants me and there are people waiting for me there. The Lord has a very real work for all of us to do. Our job is simply to listen to what He tells us, and do it. Do great things this week! 
Sister Burchett

Our lovely zone!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sacramento - Week 40

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).

“Trick or Tracting”
October 28, 2013

If only we really could go trick or tracting! The only night of the year we know they'll open the door! Alas, we live in a dangerous world, so we'll be spending our Halloween at the Stake Center having a meeting.....I sang the "Every Party Has A Pooper" song to the Assistants, but President could not be swayed. We'll still make it fun though. Sister Kagie and I are going to the Zone Training dressed as each other with switched name tags, just to see how long it takes people to notice. And there will be candy. Lots of candy! 
(Listen to - Every Party Has A Pooper from Father of the Bride part II)
Hope everyone has had a splendid week and has some fun plans for Halloween! Remember if your ward is having an activity, that's a perfect opportunity to invite non-members! 
We had a fun week this week. October for me has always signified the beginning of the Holiday season. Halloween celebrates the death of Summer, Thanksgiving is where we practice for Christmas and give thanks that we didn't die of diabetes on Halloween, and Christmas is Christmas. What more need be said? These are my favorite 3 months of the year, and when you add missionary work on top of that, I'm a happy girl!
We ate at this place called the Sunflower, it's a vegan
restaurant with hippy nutburgers and stuff. It was actually
delicious but I felt so flower child being there :)
Tuesday we had a Zone Service project at the McKay house. The McKay house is where the Assistants and Office Elders live. Whenever Elders enter or leave the mission they stay there as well. It's also the storage facility for all mission furniture, house ware items, and other "stuff". The garage hadn't been cleaned out in a year and so we went to work cleaning, clearing out, and organizing. It was a treasure trove of random treasures. The garage had become the depository for things departing missionaries left behind like plates made for them by the Beehives in their ward, giant oriental fans the size of a human being, a bucket of golf balls, decorative brooms, paintings, so many preach my gospels, bedding, clothes, umbrellas, sticks (?), every type of weird knick knack imaginable, and so much more!
Elder Scott (the housing specialist for the mission) gave us a "take whatever you want" order, so we ended up with a George Foreman grill, zip ties, an exercise ball, stationary, post it notes, hand warmers, a crock pot, brand new white handkerchiefs...you get the picture. I convinced Elder Scott to let me organize his stash of kitchen stuff for the apartments. It was so fun! And we had a whole truck full of things for DI so that people who need it can actually use it! The neighbors were so interested with what we were doing so we got to turn it into a nice missionary opportunity as well. 
We've been challenging all the members that we eat with to pray for our investigators by name. Sister Kagie and I made prayer rolls that we hand out and commit them to pray for at each dinner. It's been so neat to see the excitement that the members have to follow up on commitments from General Conference and to help in the missionary effort. 
I've was so inspired by one member in particular, Sister McDonald. She is a convert to the church and so dedicated! She has several families that are less active that she keeps in regular contact with and keeps trying to Visit teach them even though they aren't always receptive. She knows the power that she can have as just one person reaching out, and she knows her duty as a covenant keeping woman to make sure her brothers and sisters aren't forgotten. One day, I want to be as awesome as her!
We've been working hard to get the recent converts in the ward taught the New Member Lessons. After 3 months we have finally got things rolling and ward missionaries on board. We taught several of these lessons with our ward missionaries this week and it was so great to see the response from these new members. My favorite experience is seeing them hear the story of the first vision again and to see the spirit testify to them again of it's truthfulness. Sometimes, we forget how exciting the gospel is! 
We've been working with the ward to have more activities to invite less actives to. The High Priest's Quorum had a dinner this weekend and had a great less active turn out! It was a party! If you're looking for fun, go hang with the High Priests. They're also the BEST fellow shippers. I think it's because they've had plenty of life to learn patience and love, which investigators need a lot of. 
Our bikes. At night we turned on our bike lights
underneath the spider webs for effect.
I'm going to attach some pictures from the La Sierra Trunk or Treat! We decorated our bikes and passed out 5836985869696 (these numbers brought to you by Elder Bradshaw who stole my ukulele!) anyways, passed out candy from the back of our bikes. The kids loved it and so did we! 
The gospel is true and good and beautiful! Share it! And share some candy too! It's Halloween for goodness sakes! 
Love, Sister Burchett
One of the ward couples dressed up as Phil and Ms. Kay
for Duck Dynasty!

J scared me to death.
First because he's a rocker, and second
because he put his arm around me in the
picture. All innocent. He's 15 but I still
nearly had a heart attack!

Our neighbors Elder Wong and Elder Gray in costume
.............so creepy! But fantastic.
With Gretchin Von-Trapp at Trunk R Treat
Fun picture with Joshy's cousins!

Our ward missionaries the Baggins. Sister Baggins served her
mission in Dallas! How cool is that?!

Sacramento - Week 39

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).

“Burn Baby Burn”
October 21, 2013

This week, we burned our area. Right to the ground. I feel like I should be depressed or discouraged about this, but I feel remarkably calm. Allow me to further explain. 
This week we dropped, passed off, or got dropped by nearly all of our investigators. We went from 11 to 1 solid investigator and 3 we are giving a little more time to progress before dropping them. That's a missionary "Ouch" if I ever heard one. It was all extremely sudden too. Thursday night, we were planning a baptism. By Saturday night, we sat staring at an almost empty white board. And yet, I feel totally ok. I'm sad for these people because I loved them and they weren't ready to accept the blessings of the gospel, but at the same time I have a firm faith that there are great miracles in store for us. The Savior is in the struggle. And so we press on and start fresh. How exciting! It's an adventure. 
There were plenty of miracles this week and a few experiences stood out to me. 
We've been working with a less active family, the X-Men’s, and getting them back to church. We meet and teach them once a week and they have been at church every week for the past month. It has been a miracle watching them remember why they love the gospel, to see their testimonies grow and their questions get answered. I missed their appointment this week because I was on exchanges. When they came on Sunday they said, "We missed you this week! But we knew we would see you on Sunday. We just love church." (Insert Sister Burchett's heart exploding with joy) 
My favorite part of church (besides the Sacrament of course) is what I like to call "Grinning and Gripping". It's when we greet everyone at the door as they enter the chapel. Nothing makes my day brighter than welcoming my brothers and sisters into the chapel where they will be able to renew their covenants and rejoice together! I get to follow up on their weeks, their lives, their families, and at this point I know almost everyone by name. I love helping create a love for the badge in the wards I serve in. Without our members, we are nothing! We are useless. With them on our side, we are strong! It was bittersweet looking at all of them singing the opening hymn and knowing my time here is most likely short. Transfers....they're coming :( 
I went on exchanges across the border in East Sac and we went to visit a member there. This woman has been taking care of her 98 year old mother. Her mother is fading every day and is ready to peacefully slip into eternity. We got to visit with both of them and leave the Savior's Peace and Blessing on their home. It made me so grateful for the knowledge that death is a gift from God, that it is only the beginning of a glorious forever of happiness for those who accept the fullness of the gospel. Here lay this woman - 98 years old, a survivor of wars and the Great Depression, a singer in the 1930s, who married the boy next door and loved him so much - no longer able to care for herself and knowing that the end of her mortal life is near, and she was so happy. She was ready to see her sweetheart again. She was ready to see her family and friends. She was excited to experience the world after this one. I can't imagine not understanding death the way members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do. We know it's just the beginning of good things to come. I know life continues after this one, and it continues marvelously! 
Also on exchanges we talked with a woman who hadn't been active in the church for over 50 years. We asked her why. She told us how her mother had passed away when she was a teenager, and she couldn't believe that if God was real and loved her, that He would allow that to happen. And so she stopped believing in God altogether. We testified to her of the reality of a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who gave everything for us.
She said, "I admire you for your faith. I envy it. But I do not believe."
My heart broke for her! Here sat a woman who didn't believe in anything more than the here and now. I can't imagine how hard that kind of life would be. I just wanted to hug her and then shake her and say, "Look around you! Look at yourself! Look at the miracles that happen to you every single day. There is a God, and He DOES love you! Don't close your heart to the perfect love that your Heavenly Father and Savior have to give." 
No one gets through this life unscathed, untouched by heartache, mistakes, and regrets, tragedy, and conflict. We all must pass through "fiery trials". But the struggle IS what brings us closer to who we are meant to be. The fire burns away all the junk and leaves us as perfect ashes, ready to be pressurized into a diamond. Sometimes, we are ash and think we are done, but God wouldn't leave us as dust. He pushes us a little bit farther so we can be gems. When the road seems too long we MUST ask ourselves, "Shall I falter, or shall I finish?" 
And so, Let Us All Press On In The Work Of The Lord! If faltering and finishing are our options, I would much rather finish. Wouldn't you? 
Have a wonderful week! Smile on your face, a song in your heart! 
Sister Burchett