Monday, February 2, 2015

A Melhor Missão

Well here it is, my last email as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It's a weird feeling and doesn't quite seem real.  But my bags are packed and in 2 days I will step foot in the United States and hug my family for the first time in 18 months!  

I have loved my mission.  I have loved the adventures, the difficulties, and all of the people I have met.  On my mission I learned many things; I learned to read a map, catch a bus, I learned to teach.  I learned how to speak Portuguese and how to live off of $140 a month.  

I learned how to be brave, how to bear my testimony, and how to truly live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

I know that I will treasure every memory for the rest of my life.  I know that God lives.  I know that he knows us and loves us.  He is the only one who truly understands what I have learned and how I have grown these 18 months, because he was by my side every day. He has strengthened me, blessed me, and protected me.  I am here because He allowed me to be.   

I know that Jesus Christ is what makes change and growth possible. Thanks to His sacrifice and example, we can start over every day.  We can one day return to live with Him again.  

I know without a single doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  We are lead by a living prophet and are taught the fulness of the gospel.  

As I read yesterday the epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, I couldn't help but understand perfectly how Paul felt about the people he had taught...

"So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

 For ye are our glory and joy."

My heart is bursting with love for the people I have met and taught in São Paulo, and love for my family and friends at home.  You are all dear to me.  And just like it was for Paul, it is my greatest hope and joy to think of seeing all of you one day in the Presence of God.  

com amor,

Sister Burch

Monday, January 26, 2015


In Hebrews 11, we learn that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Abraham never lived to see the posterity that God had promised him.  

Moses never stepped foot in the promised land.

These men could have given up, dissapointed that they never saw these promises fulfilled.  They could have lost their faith. 

But they endured and they hoped, that these promises would one day be fulfilled.  

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them" (Hebrews 11:13).

Faith is our choice!  We can decide to keep going, even through the difficulties.  

Faith is the reason why we didn't give up on our investigator, Josefina, after weeks and weeks of teaching her.  Faith is why we didn't drop her even after she said blunty to us, "I will not go to your church."

We could see afar off, Josefina as a good, Mormon woman dressed in white.  And we were persuaded by that promise, and embraced it.  

This weekend, Josefina was finally baptized.  After the baptism, She shared her testimony and told us that she had had a dream that she was dressed in white, and the Savior took her by the hand and led her to the waters of baptism.  The baptism was so special and spiritual and we could not stop laughing out of sheer happiness.  

I hope we can all keep the faith, looking forward to the good things ahead, even as we pass through trials.  

Josefina is so special, and now she stands united with her husband, José!  José climbed up the three flights of stairs to be able to see his wife be confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  

What faith!

And I have faith that miracles will happen on my last week on the mission.  (this week!)

com amor,

Sister Burch

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Super Semana

If you want to be a good, happy missionary, you have to be crazy.  Every day has the potential to be awesome, if you are willing to think outside the box and be totally nuts.  One of the best things I've learned on my mission is how great it is to have absolutely no shame and be unafraid to try new things.  

Knowing that this would be my last transfer, I set some goals and planned to do things that I've never done before.  Our goal was gutsy; to teach 100 lessons in one week.  It sounded sort of unrealistic to most, but we were determined.  We split up our area in 3 parts and every day we planned to go on exchanges with some of the women in our ward.  

Seeing how I am new to the area and have no sense of direction, my lovely companions sent me to the toughest neighborhood in the area; Jardim Nagoya.  (for example: Nagoya Garden is the home of the temple of the Jehovah's witnesses...)  

They sent me off with the bishop's wife with a map in hand and a couple of addresses.  I walked to Nagoya just like Nephi walked to Laban's house,

"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.  Nevertheless I went forth..." (1 Nephi 4).  

I'm still not sure how it happened, but we managed to teach 8 lessons in 3 hours.  

Super Semana was insane and so tiring, but we managed to close off the week with....

 104 lessons taught!

God is good to us.  He gave us the strength, I am sure of it. 

Love you all!!!


Sister Burch 

Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Year and A New Start

Happy New Year friends and family!  

I have always loved New Years.  It is a clean slate, a fresh start, and a time to reflect on all of the good things that have happened.  2014 was pure happiness to me!  It was not easy, not perfect,, but looking back, even the bad times turn into good memories.

Something that President Del Guerso always tells us missionaries is that we have got to live our lives with the end in mind.  So, even though 2015 just began, we should think and plan what we want to say we have done.  That way, we will know what our goals and objectives are, and we will use our time wisely. 

No matter how many difficult things have happened this past year, or how many times we may have seemed to fail in the past, it is never too late to start over again.  Because of Jesus Christ, there are no real endings.  God wants us to be happy and reach our full potential in this life, and in order to reach our full potential, we must think big! 

Our progress may seem slow, but just as a tree starts off as a tiny seed, "by small and simple means are great things brought to pass." 

There is an old proverb that says, "the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second-best time is now." 

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,"There is something wonderful and hopeful about the word now.‍ There is something empowering about the fact that if wechoose to decide now, we can move forward at this very moment.
Now‍ is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be—not only 20 years from now but also for alleternity."
We spent New Years with some members, eating churrasco, playing with animals, and taking in every moment!

Holidays in Vargem Grande

Monday, December 29, 2014

This Is The Place

Hello friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  I loved getting to talk to my family (even though I could barely speak English).  

And now, allow me to present me new area and companions... (companions!)

My new area is called Vargem Grande Paulista.  In other words, Zion!  It is the middle of nowhere!  Throughout my entire first week I had to keep asking myself, where are we?!

This area is the exact opposite of every other area I have been to.  Instead of waking up in the middle of the night to macumba or people blasting their stereos on the avenue, we wake up to roosters crowing.  Instead of catching buses to get to our appointments, we walk along dirt roads for hours.  Instead of talking to people on the streets, we watch tarantulas fight with other creepy Brazilian insects. (picture below... spoiler alert, the tarantula lost...)

Everything here is much calmer, slower, and more peaceful.  It is the perfect place to spend my last transfer.  

And the other big news is that I am in a trio again!  Our trio has a Brazilian, a Colombian, and an American.  Oh, the diversity.  I love Sister Pereira and Sister Zarante!  Vargem Grande is Paradise!!!