I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have been called to serve in the Sacramento California Mission! This is my blog where you can follow my adventures for the next 18 months (January, 2013-June, 2014)
Did you know that Sacramento was the original place of the California Gold Rush? I'm so excited! See ya'll in 18 months, I'm going for spiritual Gold!

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sacramento - Week 58

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] ”
March 3, 2014

Hello everyone! 
I'm going to share this first because then I can not mention it again and just live in denial, but I found out I will be coming home on June 5th which is about 6 weeks sooner than I expected. Because our 18 month mark happens between transfers, some of the sisters I came out with go home in June, and others will go home in July. So, I will be seeing you sooner rather than later, but for now, let's all live in happy denial, because I LOVE missionary work!
We were blessed to have some rain this week in Folsom! Oh how we needed it! And we still need more. It's been an interesting experience with the rainy week. It feels more like Seattle than California! It's interesting because people look at us like we are absolutely crazy to be outside working. I can't remember if I already shared this story so if I did, just laugh with me again. We were contacting a potential investigator about 3pm and by this point we were VERY soggy....we looked like wet cats. Still, when this man opened his door, we smiled our best smiles and said, "It's a beautiful day!"
He looked at us and said (in a heavy Hispanic accent) "Oh, this is a bad decision!" He went on to say, "It's raining! You are all wet! If you get sick, you won't be able to talk to any more people, so don't you think it is a good idea to stay inside and talk to people when it is dry?" His concern was so sincere, and we couldn't help but laugh and thank him. Ever since, and I think for the rest of my life, when I think about doing something that isn't maybe the best idea, I hear in my head "This is a bad decision!" The spirit works in mysterious ways. 
We had an amazing week with the Stewart family. On Monday night we taught the whole Peanut family: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Snooopy. We taught the Plan of Salvation with Brother Munster and two awesome girls in the ward who have been the Peanut's friends for a long time. The spirit was so strong! The best part was when we all knelt in prayer together at the end. I don't think they have ever prayed as a family before. They were all near tears.
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME.
This week they were at church again. Lucy had a migraine, but Charlie Brown said, "Ok. You stay here and rest. We're all going to church and then I'll tell you all about it." We had the best testimony meeting and the most amazing gospel principles class. We talked about grace - what it is and how it blesses us. The teacher, a fantastic ward missionary who just got released to be a seminary teacher...we're trying not to be bitter, shared a story of when she experienced God's grace. She was traveling with her husband and two boys through Elko, Nevada. She was sleeping in the passenger sleep and her husband was driving. He was trying to help one of the kids and looked away from the road for a second and it curved suddenly. When he saw that he over-corrected and they ended up driving up the side of a mountain, flipping, and rolling down the mountain. Erika woke up as they were rolling and was absolutely hysterical (which is understandable). When the car stopped rolling, it was right side up. Erika hopped out and in her own words, "Started screaming 'We need help! We need help!"
There was a man who witnessed the wreck, but he said to her "I called the cops and that's all I can do!" and he left.
She said she remembers looking to heaven and saying "Help us!" and hearing a voice say "You're in charge." She said she felt an immediate charge of calm and energy and strength. She was able to get her kids taken care of, her husband set up with the first responders, the whole family to the hospital, etc. They were all okay and she had them in a hotel. She walked over to a store to get a few things and then when she was coming back, saw her sister and brother-in-law. (Her other sister had called them and sent them to meet the family without her knowing). She said it was at this point that she just collapsed. She testified that it was grace that gave her the enabling power to remain calm. The first responders were so shocked that her blood pressure was normal and she was handling everything so well. But it wasn't her. It was the grace of God giving her strength. That's what grace is - enabling power. What an amazing gift from God. 
We were teaching our investigator Nala about grace and the atonement this week. We brought a member with us and she was talking about the power we can receive through prayer. She said there is a spot in her house where she always goes to pray. She said, "There, I just imagine there is no ceiling. Sometimes we feel like our prayers don't make it past the ceiling, but I just imagine that there the ceiling is gone. There, my prayers go straight to heaven!" We all need our place where we can ‘have no ceiling’, where we can feel close to God. For some of us, it's a quiet corner of our home. For others, it's outside in the fresh air in the quiet. I think it's important to realize, though, that no matter where we are, there is never a ceiling. We ALWAYS have a direct line to our Heavenly Father's ear. He is ALWAYS there, ALWAYS listening, ALWAYS waiting for us. He loves us.
ALWAYS. 
I heard a great quote from a missionary letter yesterday, "Want to be happy? Do what you said you were going to do (before you came to earth) and be who you said you were going to be. It's that simple."
In other words, stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, in all places. That's what we committed to do before we came here, stand as a witness. We each have our own purposes and paths and special things to accomplish here in this life, but all of us are sent to stand for Christ. 
The bishopric here in Folsom 4th ward was re-organized on Sunday. The most amazing thing about the restored gospel is the principle of revelation. After the apostasy, other churches basically declared that revelation had ceased. There was nothing more for God to give us. Clayton M. Christensen in his book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" says he explains it this way: In heaven there is a great library with answers to all our questions. Anyone can check out a book, they just have to ask. After the apostasy, everyone stopped asking questions. God wouldn't send an answer to someone who wasn't asking, because they wouldn't receive it. The Restoration all began because Joseph Smith asked a question. He re-started the principle of asking questions and receiving answers. When we ask, our minds are like Velcro. God can send an answer and it will stick, because we are looking for it. Even then, God didn't dump all the books in heaven on Joseph Smith all at once. Joseph still had to ask. He still had to check out books from the heavenly library. Today, we are still doing that. Every decision in the church is based on the principle of asking questions and receiving answers. It's amazing! Think of all the things God still has to share with us. He wants to, but are we asking? 
Fun story for the week: Our favorite missionary spot is Chick-fil-a. It's right across the street from the church, so we end up there after district meetings all the time. The workers know us. It's really quite embarrassing, but we love the values and not being open on Sundays! Anyways, they have a place where you can put your business card to win a free catered lunch for your office. Every time we go, I leave a mormon.org card with our number. Well, they called this week and said that they had picked us! They wanted to thank us for always eating there! So, our Zone Training this week will be followed but a Chick-fil-a catered lunch. One day, all the people at that restaurant will be baptized! 
On that note, Eat More Chicken and have a wonderful week! 
Love, 
Sister Burchett


Sacramento - Week 57

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).



“Eaten By a Wild Raccoon”
February 24, 2014

Hello everyone!
First off, mega-miracle this week! There is a part-member family in our ward who we have wanted to work with for a long time. Their 12 and 14 year old daughters have been coming to church every week for the past year and a half, but their parents wouldn't come and wanted zero contact with the church. We weren't allowed to go over, or to teach the girls, and the girls weren't allowed to be baptized, even though they really want to be. This week we got a call from our Ward Mission Leader saying that the Mom had asked for a blessing. He asked us to pray for him and for them, that their hearts would be softened.
That night we got a "miracle call" from our Ward Mission Leader. He talked with the family and gave the Mom a blessing. The Dad ended up asking for a blessing too. Then, Brother Munster asked them if the girls could take the lessons and be baptized. They said yes! And they said we could come and teach the whole family. They met with the Bishop the next night, and on Sunday, they came to church as a family for the first time ever. They stayed all 3 hours and were still there socializing when we left. They were very touched by the spirit in Gospel Principles and our Ward Mission Leader told us that some of the words that our ward missionary said while teaching the gospel principles lesson, were exact words from their blessings. It was all the spirit double testifying to them that their Heavenly Father knows them, loves them, and is aware of them. We are teaching our first lesson with them tonight. The work is hastening! Hearts are being changed. Families are being brought together. What a wonderful privilege it is to be a part of it!
We had another amazing experience while teaching a lesson to a less-active this week. Dory hasn't been to church in years and has been struggling with a lot of health issues. We read Alma 7 with her and she began to get very emotional. We sat there in silence and gave her a moment. When she regained her composure, she said, "I didn't realize that Christ is with me through everything. I always knew that He would be there to intercede at judgment, but I didn't realize that He is with me the WHOLE time! I feel like this light bulb just went off in my head and it all made sense. He's been with me the whole time, and He will continue to be with me!"
We testified to her that Christ IS with her. We taught her that what she was feeling was the spirit teaching her and testifying to her. She was so happy. We arranged for her to have a blessing later that week, and it was such an amazing experience! Our Heavenly Father is so aware of each and every one of us. Our Savior lives and loves us, and He is always there for us with open arms. Our job is to turn to Him and let Him be there beside us.
This week we have really been focusing on contacting people and talking to everyone. On Tuesday we were out walking and contacting people on the trails. It was a rough contacting day. No one had really wanted to talk with us and most people ran right by us (literally). So, I, in all my dramatic Sister Burchett glory, looked to the heavens and said, "Father, we will talk to ANYONE you put in our path. Just please bless that SOMEONE will be here for us to talk to. No matter who they are, I promise we WILL talk to them!"
We walked a few more feet and the trail opened up on a cul-de-sac. There, standing on the street, were two teenage boys working on their cars. Sister Zenger and I just looked at each other and started to chuckle. Let it be noted that God has a sense of humor.
Sister Zenger said to me, "No way. He can't be serious."
I said, "We HAVE to talk to them. We promised!"
And so, we walked over to talk to them, both trying to remember how to strike up conversation with teenage boys. Let it also be noted that we are really awful at it. I managed to say, "Hi! Nice car!" They immediately started talking to us and we were able to teach them and place a Book of Mormon. They even asked us to stick around for a few more minutes and talk to their friend who was on his way. We taught him too! It was awesome! I think it was God's way of reminding me (again) that, in the words of Clayton M. Christensen in the Power of Everyday Missionaries, "We cannot predict, and we should not judge." We never know who the Lord is preparing. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO TALK TO EVERYONE!
(NOTE: It’s a book, ‘The Power of Everyday Missionaries’ by Clayton M. Christensen)
Now for the explanation of the title of today's email:
Sister Zenger and I were knocking on a door and we heard some rustling from the bushes behind us. Sister Zenger looked back at me and said, "We are going to be eaten by a wild raccoon!" While she was saying this, I watched a wild raccoon walk out of the bushes, stop, sit on its hind legs, and stare at us. I couldn't even speak. I just pointed. Sister Zenger turned and saw the raccoon, and both of us just watched as it stared back at us, and eventually ran away. I started laughing SO hard! I said, "What are the chances of you saying a wild raccoon and there being an ACTUAL wild raccoon?!!!!" Again, God has a sense of humor.
One more funny story for the road: We were knocking on a door and all of a sudden we hear this loud, bone-shaking noise. It sounded like a horn. We honestly thought it was the trumpets from heaven announcing the Lord's arrival. It stopped and we both looked at the door and said, "You better open up now! He's coming!" Turns out it was just a man across the street testing out his amp in his garage. False alarm.
Have a wonderful week! Smile, and don't get eaten by wild raccoons!
Love,
Sister Burchett