Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hope For A Better World

Oi familia!  This week was frightening but also full of miracles!
A couple days ago I visited a house of horror.  It was the home of a hoarder, who I love, but I sat down to talk and in the corner of the room I noticed it.  A web.  Nay, a kingdom of spider webs probably 3 feet by 5 feet full of probably a HUNDRED mondo spiders.  I got all anxious and couldn't focus and then I had to read a scripture and one of them CHARGED ME.  The most terrible experience of my life. 
I might be being a bit dramatic, for I made it out alive! 
And blessings sure do come after the trials of our faith, because after that dreadful experience, a lot of amazing things happened! 
I witnessed people overcoming extreme addictions and trials turn to God and join their families once more in the pews of a chapel. 
I've seen a man who decided to give up his cigarettes and follow God, have power and strength to stop smoking overnight and continue to follow Him.
I've seen people change through the power of the Atonement of Christ. 
Ether 12:4 says...
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
Life can be hard and the world can be dark.  But through God and His plan, there is always HOPE.  Hope for a life that is brighter and happier.  Faith that anchors our souls to Him and makes us better people.  I know that this is where true happiness and the courage to change is found!
Also, do you remember Raphael?  The man we found on the side of the road with a flat tire?  We've been teaching him quite a bit, and I thank God every day that I know him!
Also, Dad...  He told me that he wanted to give me away at my wedding, so you two might have to duke it out for that privilege >:)
I am so blessed to be here in Las Vegas!  Love you all muito!
Sister Burch

One Month in Las Vegas pt. 2

This week I taught a woman named Maria who, I cross my heart, comes up to my elbow.  TINY woman.  She has a masters in Theology, so needless to say, I was intimidated to teach her!  But God helped me, that's for sure!  She's getting baptized in 3 weeks!
There's a scripture this week that I read that I want to share with you all. 
Words of Mormon 1:7...
"And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me.  And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will."

This scripture has meant a lot to me since I've been on my mission.  Half the time, I haven't known where I was going or what I am going to do, or when I will get to Sao Paulo.  Sometimes we are asked to do things that don't make sense to us.  Sometimes, bad things happen and we don't know why.  But God knows all things.  He knows exactly what He wants for us, where He wants us to be, and who He will place in our path.  I know I am here for a WISE PURPOSE and that is already being made manifest to me in many ways.  His plans are better than ours!  We just have to trust him and surrender our will over to Him.  It's the only thing we will ever be able to give back to God.
I love you all very much!  This place is like home.  And it doesn't hurt that I get to have In N Out and that I live ten feet from a tennis court.  God is good! 
ate mais!
Sister Burch

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I am a missionary!!!!! pt 2

This week was busy and wonderful!  And rather dramatic.  There was an emergency trip to the hospital (not for me, but for a woman we were teaching), a funeral, ...and I feel like I need to have a list of three, but those are the only two that I can think of.
So this woman we are teaching called us saying that she needed us to get her from the hospital.  We aren't allowed to give people rides and the hospital was out of our area... long story short, five hours later when we couldn't get anyone to go we got special permission to drive there and DRIVE AROUND LOOKING FOR HER because she didn't have a phone.  CRAZY DAY. 
Secondly, This woman we visit who is 91, called us and told us that her grandson died unexpectedly.  He didn't know many people so we conducted in the funeral.  She's amazing.
On a lighter note, I pulled and served over 100 pounds of pulled pork this week and will therefore never eat pulled pork again.  It's all about service!!!!
A highlight of my week, however, was that I got to get one man that we are teaching to hand me his cigarettes and wave them goodbye forever.  He put up a fight at first, but I came out victor!  It takes a lot of courage to change your life, but when it is for God it is so worth it! 
Anywho, I love you familia and pray for you daily!  I meet a lot of people out here who remind me of all of you and I can't help but think it's not a coincidence!  I hope you are well and keeping warm! 
Sister Burch

(NOTE: there was an image included with this post by Alex; however, it was formatted incorrectly and did not show up, so it will hopefully be included next time!)

I am a missionary!!!

Famila!  I promised you pictures and pictures you shall receive!  Behold!
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Me and my lovely companheiras.  Walking the streets of Vegas!
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Knocking doors!  Smiling is my favorite!
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One night we were fed four different desserts from four different families.  Sometimes it is painful to be so well loved.  And sometimes Sister Field literally cries when she just can't eat any more pie.  First world problems.
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I made this cupcake in honor of my new friend, the cockroach.  Naturally.  Pretty lifelike, eh?
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They are friendly creatures, really.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Brighter Light

Hey people! 
I know I promised pictures this week... but I lied.  I can't get my card reader to work!  NEXT WEEK!  Te prometo. 
thanks everyone for all the emails and letters and support!  VOCES SAO OTIMOS!  This week I have less fleas than last, but I realize how spoiled I've been to live in a place where it's literally too cold for most insects to survive.  All I have to say is one word:  cockroaches.
Other than those hideous creatures, This week was great!  General Conference weekend proves to be the best time of year and it is like Disneyworld to a missionary.  If you haven't watched it, WATCH IT! 
Remember Rafael?  The man who had a flat tire?  Well we taught him this week and it was amazing.  God is good!  We are also teaching a mother and her two sons.  They are really ill all the time, but we go to them and those two boys have so much faith, it makes me cry like a fool.  In a few weeks they'll be baptized and I can't wait to see their smiling faces on that day!
I love being a missionary.  I love having the excuse to talk to random people and catch them off gaurd.  I love being able to unapolagetically say what I believe! 
There is a lyric to a certain hymn that has meant a lot to me lately. 
"Her light shall then attract the gaze of all the world in latter days."
There are a lot of people in Las Vegas who have forgotten God.  A lot of people who are convinced they can do it all alone and that religion and Christ are things of the past. 
But I see every once in a while the people who haven't.  The members of the church here who have to endure a lot and stand out so much in this city.  And the light that is in them shines much brighter than the lights on the strip. 
We often get strange looks from people as we walk the streets and it is my wish to attract the gaze of those who have forgotten why they are here and the God that loves them. 
God loves you!  And I love you MUITO! 
Sister Burch

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Week One Among The Lost Vegans

Get it?  The Lost Vegans is just what I call the lovely people of Las Vegas. 
Well... except for one rather unfortunate happenstance.
I have fleas.
No really, I do.
Everyone says our area is the most ghetto, but I guess I never thought it was that bad (maybe because I was raised in St. Cloud?)  So I didn't believe them.  But then we went to this one house and after that I was... really itchy.  And later that night during a lesson I saw a tiny white insect scurry across my lap.  I tried to play it cool because the conversation was serious, but failed.  I freaked out.  
So that's fun! 
And speaking of creeping things, my companions found two scorpions in our apartment.  TWO OF THEM.  Pray for me.  We also witnessed a domestic dispute right outside our apartment, so there is never a dull moment around here :)
Something I love about Las Vegas is how diverse it is.  I have met people from Mexico, Barbados, Africa, and Ecuador.  I have met dog trainers, and miners, and a ska band.  It is the coolest thing to get to talk to people who are complete strangers and get to hear their stories.  I've gotten to use my Spanish a lot as well! 
On Sunday, I was feeling a little discouraged and prayed to find someone who needed us and needed our help.  We were driving to church when we saw a car on the side of the road.  Sister D. pulled a swift U-turn and we pulled up next to the car.  We got out to see if the man who had a flat tire needed help.  He looked so discouraged, but when he looked up at us he just smiled and said that he just knew we were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He said he used to go to school in Utah and he knew our hearts were good.  And it turns out, another time he was having car troubles he was stuck on the side of a freeway.  A man picked him up that turned out to be a Mormon bishop.  No kidding.  His name is Rafael and he is from an African country that I don't quite remember. 
There are no coincidences.  And when we pray with faith, miracles happen.  God is in every detail and the people He puts in our paths, He puts there for a reason. 
I love you all so much!  Thanks for being here for me!  Next week I promise to send pictures as well :) 
once again my address is
4455 Allen Lane #140
North Las Vegas, NV 89031
Sister Burch