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

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