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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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sacramento - Week 70

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).

COUNTDOWN: 10 DAYS


"Conference, Coloma, and California Summer"
May, 26, 2014

Hello Everyone!
This week, I need to recap 2 weeks worth of information in one email. Hopefully it won't be overload, and hopefully it will be entertaining. If not, at least it will be written down for posterity. 
2 weeks ago we had our Zone Conference. It was my last one. GASP. So, I had to make it a good one. They asked me to lead the music, and I was in charge of the choir number for our zone. So much fun! We sang an arrangement of "Where Can I Turn For Peace?" and the spirit was so strong. I just love missionaries! I love their willingness to step outside of their comfort zone (aka singing, for some of them) and step into a new experience. The beautiful thing that happens when missionaries do this is that they automatically invite the Savior's grace into their lives and miracles happen, even when it is something as simple as a musical number. 
I had to bear my departing testimony and because my name starts with "B" I had to go first. I was teasing President Skywalker that I was currently living in a lovely place called denial and that by forcing me to bear a "departing" testimony he was ruining that faux reality for me. Luckily, I love any opportunity to bear testimony of my Savior and how all things in life are possible and worth it because of Him, so it wasn't terrible. I actually enjoyed it. The only let down was all the people coming up and saying, "I can't believe you are going home!".
I just said, 'Then don't believe it. That's what I do!"
Haha. One of the Elders, Elder Smith, said to me, "Sister Burchett, are you really going home at the end of this transfer?"
I said, "Yes, Elder Smith. They're kicking me out."
He said, "That's going to make me very sad."
I told him he made my day. It's nice to be appreciated. Although, I have to write my lovely trainer in Australia and chastise her for spreading the nickname "Burchey" all over the mission. It's disconcerting having missionaries you have never met run up to you and yell "Burchey! It's so nice to meet you!" It gave me a good laugh though. 
Speaking of good laughs, President Skywalker was sitting next to me at lunch. I was talking to one of the other sisters when I heard, "Um, Sister Burchett, I think I lost my cucumber underneath you."
I lost it! I couldn't stop laughing. I said, "President, those are words I never though I would hear you say." 
The best moment of the whole day was the closing hymn. President and the Assistants had pulled in our giant "Believing, Bold, Baptizing" banner and put it at the front of the chapel. The problem was that when it came time for the closing hymn, you couldn't see me to lead the music. President said to just bring the podium down to the front, but then he asked all the missionaries to stand. I said quietly to myself, "Uh oh. I'm way too short."
I guess he heard me because he said, "Oh, here," and moved the hymn books off the pew, "just stand up here."
I looked at him and said, "Are you serious?" And he was. He gave me his hand and up I went. And then I lead a whole chapel full of missionaries in "Hark All Ye Nations" while standing on the pew.
Best. Moment. Ever.
Afterwards, Sister Minnick, the mission nurse came up to me and said, "I can just see you getting home and leading the Stake Choir! You're just beautiful inside and out!" It was so sweet. 
Running out of time already! AHHHH! Ok, hurrying up. Highlight reel. Last week I didn't get to email because I was at Coloma with President and Sister Skywalker. It was them and 6 sisters that came out with me and we just had a blast. Sister Jackson and I were the grand champions at Bocce Ball. We even beat President and Sister Skywalker. I had no idea how fun that game was! It was awesome. We also panned for Gold. I discovered that I would have been a terrible gold panner. I do not have the patience. I really enjoyed playing in the river though, and did find a few flecks of gold....also a rock which looks like gold, but I'm 99% sure it's just a rock….I did get really into it though! President Skywalker said, "I've never seen Sister Burchett so quiet!"
I laughed so hard I nearly fell in the river. 
So sorry that this letter is totally lame with no information about my investigators, but I am so out of time. I do just want to add one last thought. I just heard about the sudden death of a wonderful woman from home. My first thought was how grateful I am for the Savior. Because of Him and His sacrifice I know that death is not the end. We will all live again, and Because of His restored gospel we can be with the ones we love forever. What a blessing! What a gift! What a sacrifice! I love my Savior, and I hope that one day, I can be like Him. 
Love y'all!

Sister Burchett

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sacramento - Week 69

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).

COUNTDOWN: 17 DAYS


Hey, I'm alive. Just got back from Coloma and don't have much time. But it was a good time. I'll tell you more when I get to it, maybe today maybe next week. Love you!
Sister Burchett

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sacramento - Week 68

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).

COUNTDOWN: 24 DAYS


“And then my mind went blank…”
May 12, 2014

Hello!
It was so good to talk to all of you yesterday. For those of you who weren't involved in the video chat, I apologize. There just isn't a video chat website that can get ALL of the people I adore together in one place. I look forward to the Celestial Kingdom when we CAN all be together! 
I feel like I really have nothing to say, hence the title of my email. So, I'll just share a few thoughts I had in sacrament meeting yesterday. Both sacrament meetings talked a lot about families and our homes and how important they are to our spiritual growth and development. One speaker was quoting a general authority who said, "The home is the greatest laboratory of love." 

I loved that! 
All the basic skills of human life we learn in our homes. We learn to feed ourselves, to brush our teeth, get dressed, walk, run, climb, laugh, cry. Even more importantly, our homes and our families are where we learn the basic skills of our spiritual divine natures. We learn to forgive, to work, to teach, to listen, and to love. Heavenly Father was so inspired to place us here in families. What would we do without each other?! 
I'm so grateful for a home that was a laboratory of love. We are far from perfect, but there has never been any doubt that we love each other. 
Our families are extended in the gospel. We have a ward family that can help us through all the hard times of life. We take the things we have learned in our homes and apply them on a larger scale within our ward. And it just keeps going! Stakes, Missions, Areas, Regions, until we are all united as the Church of Jesus Christ and then as brothers and sisters, children of the Almighty God. Isn't it just amazing?! 
The purpose of this life is to learn to love the way our Heavenly Father and our Savior love. As we learn that, all the other attributes we have been sent here to develop fall into place. It all comes down to love. 
Life is beautiful and good! Enjoy every minute of it! Have a wonderful week! Smile on your face and song in your heart! 
Love, 
Sister Burchett


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sacramento - Week 67

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).

COUNTDOWN: 31 DAYS


“Something to Laugh About”
May 5, 2014

Hello one and all! 
This week flew by and even though I made notes of what I wanted to write about, I still feel like this letter is going to be a short one, but we'll see. 

This week was basically a whole lot of biking and sweating and people canceling their appointments. It happens. However, in every hard week there lies a miracle. 

We started teaching a family in Ripon! They are Ripon's first new investigators in......let's just say a really long while. The mom's name is Charlotte Web and she and her husband are from Hawaii. Her husband is stationed in South Carolina with the army right now, but will be home at the end of the month. We had our first lesson with Charlotte Web and her 3 children (8,5, and 3) on Saturday. I love teaching families because when children are involved, missionaries really think about teaching simply, which is what we are supposed to do with everyone anyways. It's been a great blessing on my mission to teach so many families with young children because my teaching simply skills have been kept up well. It was a new experience for the children because they haven't been raised with a Christian background at all. They knew who God was, but that was about it. Charlotte Web said that she really thought the Joseph Smith story made sense, and that the 8 year old, Fern, has been asking to go to church. They couldn't make it to church on Sunday, but hopefully they will commit to be there this week for Mother's Day. We're going to have a lesson this week on Jesus Christ - who He is and what He did for us and why we should follow him by being baptized, and then extend baptismal dates to Charlotte Web and Fern. It's exciting for Ripon! 
Lots of fun stories from street contacting people this week. Street contacting has become one of my favorite things to do as a missionary. You meet the most interesting people and truly grow to love your area because you feel like you know the people there. I contacted a young guy this week who was walking his dog. I started to tell him about mormon.org and the Restoration and he replied, "I'm an Atheist, sweetie."
I'm sure he thought that the fact that he didn't believe in God would really throw me, but I was much more bothered by the fact that he called me sweetie.....
We testified to him that God lives and loves us and challenged him to learn more. He declined, so I just said, "I know that God loves you, and that when you are ready to get to know Him, He will be right there ready for you. When you get to the point that you want to know if God is real, check out mormon.org, ok?"
I hope he does. 
Another guy we contacted while he was watering his lawn. He was also pretty young, probably 19, and when we asked him to check out mormon.org he said, "I've met you before. You used to come here all the time."
I knew I had never talked to this boy in my life, so I figured it was other missionaries, I said, "That was probably the sisters who were here before us."
He thought about it for a minute and then said, "Oh yeah. It was a skinnier blonde girl."
My companion was mortified but I started cracking up! This poor boy realized he had totally put his foot in his mouth and with a look of horror said, "Oh! No! That's not what I meant. I mean....you know...not that you guys aren't...the blonde one was just....uh....oh....sorry."
I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING! I was falling off my bike. After I regained my composure, I said, "Now you HAVE to check out the website." He agreed to do so. I'm still laughing about that one. At least he didn't call me sweetie. 
We taught a lot of families this week, which is always so fun. One of the kids told us, "Wow, you guys are hekka sweaty."
My companion was a little offended. I just said, "Thank you. Wanna know a secret? We're hekka smelly too." He thought I was funny, so mission accomplished. 
I just realized this email has basically just been funny stories. Well, it's been one of those weeks. These were the moments that kept me going when it got hard. I am convinced that when we simply choose to be happy, we can be, no matter the situation. God sends us plenty of things to laugh and smile about, we just have to choose to recognize them, and do it! 
I know my Savior lives! I am grateful for a wonderful, loving Father in Heaven who sent me to my amazing family and the best mom in the world. 
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. I don't know how you do it, but I am sure grateful that you do. Find something to laugh about this week! 

Love, 
Sister Burchett

Sacramento - Week 66

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).

COUNTDOWN: 38 DAYS


“Folsom and a Frenzy”
April 28, 2014

Hello one and all!
On to my week. Peppermint Patty and Marcie were baptized!!!!!! AND I got to go back to Folsom for the baptism. Let it be written in the chronicles of time that Mr. and Mrs. John Deere are the best people in the whole wide world for driving me all the way to Folsom from Manteca. I've prayed some serious blessings their way. It was amazing to be there with my girls on their special day. They have been waiting so long. The transformation in their family since we started working with them in February is nothing short of a miracle. Their grandpa, who was performing the baptism, came up to me and said, "Are you one of the missionaries that taught my granddaughters?"
I told him I was, and he said, "I've had to get knee replacements I've spent so much time down on them! Thank you."
I was laughing so hard I nearly cried. As usual, I wanted to cry, but I'm a little broken and so I just laugh instead. (Side note on that topic: An older lady in our ward, who is fantastic, told me this week "I used to never be able to cry either. It just means that currently you are truly happy and haven't found your emotions yet. Wait until you have kids and hit 35. You'll find them." Again, I laughed.) There is nothing better than seeing the blessings of the gospel change the life of a family and bring them closer to forever. 
This week in Northland and Ripon was CRAZY. Crazy awesome, but crazy nonetheless. It was a lot of administrative work correlating the two areas, but now that it's all over and everything is merged fairly well administratively, we can focus on ministering instead of administering, which we all know is the best part. We did find another amazing family to teach in Northland. Mrs. Crood is the mom and was found by street contacting. I am a big believer in the power of contacting! So many of our investigators have been found that way. The Croods have 5 kids. They are Catholic, but they really don’t like the Catholic Church. We had an appointment and only Mrs. Crood was able to be there to listen because her husband got called into work, but we had a powerful lesson with her about the Restoration of the gospel. She said that if she knew these things were true she would be baptized. We are going to extend a date this month to her when we meet this week. She was so excited as one of our member missionaries testified about their journey in finding out if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and how they gained their testimony. Oh how we missionaries need members! They really do make all the difference. 
Sorry this letter is a bit short. Much to do and say and very little time, so I'll just share what is most important, and that is my testimony:
I've been thinking about eternal families a lot this week with the Peanuts baptism and some of the dinners we have had with amazing members. Last night we ate with two older couples. The wives were best friends in high school and then the one married the other's brother and they became sisters-in-law.
One of them said, "She is my best friend! Except for my hubby. He's my bestest friend."
How wonderful it is that our relationships can be eternal! We can be with the people we love most FOREVER, and it's all because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that through His restored gospel our families can be together eternally. Though separated in this life, mortality will be but a blink of an eye compared to the forever we will spend in happiness with each other. Those who have left this mortal existence are not far from us. They are very involved in our lives and our praying and working for us because they want us to be with them again. Eternal life is a family affair, and so is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Isn't it just wonderful! 
Have an amazing week! Remember to serve when called upon, love freely, and keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Hopefully it's not "Deck the Halls" because I perpetually have "Fa la la la la la la la la" running through my head. Oh well. The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ, right? Even in April. 
Love, 

Sister Burchett