Friday, November 30, 2012

Hola Familia!

Thank you for all of the letters and emails! I love getting them.

I forgot to bring my list of things I wanted to e-mail you about, so sorry if this e-mail isn't as productive!

My companion situation is a little different this week.  I was companionless for Monday and Tuesday (I just had elders in my zone or the sisters I live with escort me places), and then when I started Visitors Center training on Wednesday, there was only one other girl in the class with me so they told us that we are now companions. Which is good, because we have been able to stick together more than I have with any of my other companions since we actually have class together!  But she lives in another building, opposite of where my residence hall is, so that is a bit of a challenge.  In the meantime, the new sister we got in our zone was assigned to be my companion, but the only time I have been able to see her is at night when we go back to our residence hall and during breakfast! Poor girl. But the zone and the other sisters in our room have been good about taking her places.  What a hard adjustment to the MTC for her! I have class during all of my Coordinating Sister meetings, so I haven't been able to fulfill my calling very well.  My teachers said that they aren't supposed to assign sisters to be Coordinating Sisters when they are doing Visitors Center Training.  Sad day.  But Sister Scott (the new sister in my zone) seems to be doing fine.

We went to Temple Square on Wednesday morning, just Sister Pajoul, our teacher, and I. It was reallly nice.  On our tour, we had a couple of investigators join us, which was really neat!  On our way back to the car, we got to go through the tunnels, which made me think of how Grandma would always see General Authorities down there (Didn't she literally bump into Elder Perry one time?), and also made me have some Disney flachbacks from when I would go through those tunnels to get to Magic Kingdom.  We get to go to Temple Square again tomorrow night, only this time we will be the ones talking to investigators.  Scary! But we get to see all of the Christmas lights on while we are there, so that will be nice.

Oh! Funny story. So last week, Sister Bartschi and I were in the bathroom, and this girl comes in and starts speaking to us in Spanish.  We just go along talking in Spanish, telling each other about where we are from, where we are serving our missions, how long we have been here-- basic stuff.  But then I was telling her that I was going to start Visitors Center Training soon, and I realized that I didn't know how to say that in Spanish, so I just said "Voy a empezar Visitors Center Training esta Miercoles."  But then the sister says, "Lo siento, no hablo ingles!" (Sorry, I don't speak English!) Now, this is a white girl and she wasn't super fluent in Spanish so I was like uhhh....rude! So I just corrected myself by saying "Empecere preparando para el Centro de los visitantes" (I'm still not sure if that is correct), and she got it.  After she left, I was still a little annoyed, but then Sister Bartschi told me that the girl was French, so she legitimately doesn't speak English.  Oooops! I had not idea!

The other day I was talking to some practice investigators, and it turns out that she is the daughter-in-law of Zoe Bradley! Small world! So I got to meet Sister Bradley's 8 month old grandson, Christopher.  He is adorable~ Well, I need to take off... Sister Pajoul finished her laundry like 15 minutes ago and is waiting for me.

Much love!!
---Hermana Burner
(excerpts from letters that arrived in the mailbox-- written November 24, 2012)
..... So, since my companion leaves on Monday, I will be the last sister left in my zone. So, by default, my branch president asked me to be the coordinating sister.  Some of the elders in my zone were congratulating me, and I said "Yeah, because it is so hard to coordinate myself!" To which Elder Sheeder responded, "Well you do do a good job of it." Haha :)  Some of these elders are just so awesome!
The other day I overheard a random elder complaining about the prices at the bookstore, and he said, "And stamps are like 41 cents each! What the heck?" To which someone awkwardly informed him was kind of standard... LOL! Oh, elders. Bless their mothers.
Love you!
---Hna Burner

Friday, November 23, 2012

(Friday, November 23, 2012)
Hola Familia!

This week has been so great! Thanksgiving yesterday was AMAZING. My companera and I agree that it was probably the best Thanksgiving we have ever had. We started off the morning with a devotional by--guess-- ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND!! If that's not a good way to start off a morning, then I don't know what is! He talked all about missionary work, how what we are doing right now is historic because we are proparing the world for the return of its Savior. He also spoke about how the Lord knows each of us individually, by name, and He knows our hearts. We got seats right in the center on like the 4th or 5th row of bleachers, so we had a direct view of him. It was amazing! Halfway through I glanced away and was like, "Whoa~ There are other people here!" I guess I was just super into what he was saying, so it was as if Elder Holland was the only other person in the room! Haha :)

After that we had our Thanksgiving meal, and they made me some gluten free stuffing and cake to go with my turkey and mashed potatoes.  How sweet of them! They take good care of me.  Then we went for a walk up to the temple with my companera's district, which was super pretty.  And it was just a wonderful day for walking, I even took off my jacket because it was so nice outside.  After that we had a service project, putting together hygeine packets for people in Africa. There wasn't enough room at the table with my district, so I went over to the next table and sat with some random elders. I saw that their nametags were in Spanish, so I just started speaking Spanish to them...apparently they were just learning it though, because they looked at me a little dumbfounded as they tried to figure out how to respond. It was kind of fun though, they were asking me how to say things in Spanish and we managed to have most of our conversation in Spanish.  It was nice to feel good at Spanish for once, since the elders in my district are pretty much all native speakers!

We had dinner in our residence hall, which I enjoyed because my bed is sooo much more comfortable than the chairs we usually sit in! Then we went back to the gym for what had been called a "program" (we were not sure at all what to expect), where they proceded to pass out a bag of popcorn to each missonary, dim the lights, and start the movie 17 miracles on the big screens! It was so awesome!

I thought it would be kind of weird, since I haven't ever spent Thanksgiving away from family, but it was actually really nice. A great time to focus on being grateful for the things that I have, being born in this time where we have so many opportunities, and most importantly, focusing on showing my gratitude for my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today I am doing what is called "in-field training which focuses more on the practical aspects of missionary work. Sister Bartschi leaves for Ventura, California on Monday morning, and Sister Bradshaw left for San Diego this last Tuesday, so after Monday I will just tag along with some other sisters until Wednesday when we get a new Hermana in our zone. I start my visitors center training on Wednesday, which should be way fun! I get to go to Temple Square first thing in the morning, and then do some classes after lunch.

I got my travel plans for when I head to St. George! I leave the MTC at 4am on Dec. 5th, and my flight leaves Salt Lake at 7:55am. So, are you ready to get up at 6am to talk to your missionary, Mom? My flight is all of 58 minutes long, and there are 6 other missionaries flying down with me. The only one I have met is Sister Pajoul, though.

Speaking of meeting missionaries, I met a couple the other day that are headed to Roseville! We didn't get to talk for too long since we were in the middle of a volleyball game, though.

Well, I gotta run! Love you all!
--Hermana Burner

Friday, November 16, 2012

(e-mail Friday, Nov. 16th, 2012)
Hola Familia!
Sorry it has taken so long for me to e-mail you! My p-days are on Fridays while I am here. They let me send you a letter, but I didn't have a chance to stick it in the mail until Monday or Tuesday, so you probably just recently got it.
My first few days were pretty rough. There are just so many rules here, I find it hard to keep track of all of them!  Also, as I mentioned in my letter, I am what they call a "solo sister", which means that I am the only sister in my district (our district is the people we have class with). I do have two companions though, they just are in different districts. And the elders in my district are awesome. One of the members of our Branch Presidency gave them a talk about how they need to respect me since I am the only sister, so every time I enter the classroom they all stand up until I sit down... So, as you can imagine, I pretty much run across the room to my chair when I get to class.  Oh goodness. It is so great though, they are all so diligent and thoughtful. I can't ever walk anywhere by myself, so if my companions aren't around, they walk me home or to the cafeteria or wherever I need to go.  And they all act so happy about being able to walk me somewhere. How sweet! My companions are Hermana Bradshaw and Hermana Bartschi, who are both solo sisters as well.  Hermana Bartschi has been here for 7 weeks, but Hermana Bradshaw came in the week before me. They are both going to SoCal on their missions, Spanish Speaking.  Hermana Bartschi is also the coordinating sister in our zone. They are both so nice. The first night I got here, when I was super tired, Hermana Bradshaw made my bed for me while I unpacked. Which wasn't so easy, since I have a top bunk.  And both of my companions have been super patient with helping me figure things out here.
Some informational things:
My MTC departure date has officially been changed to Dec. 5th, and I am supposed to get back on April 23, 2014.
My sweater arrived in the mail from Grandma, muchas gracias Abuela!
I have seen lots of people that I know here. Not so many that you would know, though. Mostly from school-- Amelia Bruneel, who was my visiting teacher, Michelle Crosby, David Durfee, and Elder Nelson (I don't remember his first name) have been in my wards up at BYUI, Matt Yen (He worked with me in the Math Lab), and a few others.  This girl that I met while I was working in Utah lives on my floor of the residence hall, so we run into each other a lot.  She is learning Hungarian, yikes!
For every meal, I just go to the back of the kitchen and get a plate of food with my name on it out of a heater thing, it's super efficient. Although I did get sick last Sunday :( It was probably my fault though, I brushed some crumbs off of my chair before I ate, and they probably had gluten in them. But my companions took care of me! I went and laid down in a random classroom, and a friend of ours --Sister Aldridge--stayed with me while my companions went and tracked down some ibuprofen for me. We almost missed the fireside, thank goodness we had some sisters saving seats for us! But besides that I have been fine. During lunch on Sunday I just grabbed a bit of gluten free bread for Sacrament.
Only one elder in my district isn't a native speaker, so talking in class is a little intimidating sometimes. But my Spanish is getting so much better! The other day we were at the TRC (this place where we go to teach a random volunteer acting as an investigator), and I was teaching with Elders Munoz and Garcia about the Book of Mormon. The man wanted to know about Joseph Smith, and I was able to recite for him the first vision, as well as bare testimony that I know that if Christ could appear to His Apostles three days after His death, then surely He also appeared to Joseph Smith-- He lives, He loves us, and He wants us to come unto Him.  It was so great, and the spirit was so strong.
I have been marking my Spanish scriptures according to topic, and I feel like I am getting to know the scripures all over again. There is just something so neat about reading them in another language. And talk about a tender mercy, I haven't had a hard time reading them in Spanish at all! I think I have studied the scriptures so much more intensely than I ever have. I love it!
Anyways, I've got to run! Time's out.
I love you all-- Hermana Burner

The First Missionary letter

(mailed Nov. 13, 2012)
Mi Familia,

I won't have a p-day until next Friday, so don't stress when you don't hear from me for a while!

MTC was tiring today. They say to just hang on until Sunday though, and then it gets better.

I have two companions, Sisters Bradshaw and Bartschi.  There are five of us in the same room, and everyone seems super nice.  My companions and I are what they call "solo sisters" because we are in different districts, so we meet up at gym, meals, church, etc., but we are in different classes.  So I have elders escort me sometimes.

I am the only girl in my district, and only one other guy in my class isn't a native speaker.

I will be so glad once I am used to all this!

I love you all-- Hermana Burner

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The procedure for entering the MTC changed a few years ago to pretty much a "stop, drop, and roll".  When you turn into the driveway of the MTC, you drive past many missionaries standing next to posts that have numbers on them.  We arrived a little early before Janelle's 12:30 check-in time, and drove most of the way down towards the exit.  We pulled over by 2 Elders who opened our doors, took Janelle's luggage out of the car, asked her a couple of questions, and helped her take her luggage to the MTC. That was it! Because it is so quick, we decided to take pictures at the temple across the street. 


Catherine, Grandma, and Janelle in front of the Provo Temple

We have a tradition in our family that when you go on a mission, you take a little lamb with you.  We got some pictures of Janelle with the original "Lambsi", who has been on missions to France (in the 70s'), Michigan (in 1985-86), France/Switzerland (1987-89), and the Family History Center Mission in Salt Lake City (2002-03). The grandkids take a "Lambsi Jr." on their missions, and they have been all over the world.
Janelle and cousin Catherine spent some time together!

While we were taking pictures in front of the Provo Temple (across the street from the MTC), a group of international missionaries came out--- a bunch of Elders and one Sister. The wife of the couple that was with the missionaries came over to Janelle, with the Sister missionary by her side, and asked Janelle what mission she was going to.  It turns out that the lone sister missionary had arrived from France and came to the MTC on Monday, and will also be serving in the St. George mission! The woman explained that Sister Pajoul had been lonely being with a bunch of elders. It was a "tender mercy" to her and to us to meet there, prior to taking Janelle to the MTC. The Lord timed it just right, as we had rearranged the order of our plans for this to happen.

The day before entering the MTC, Janelle (Hermana Burner) went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. There were many sister missionaries there and she talked to one from the Philipines and one from Brazil. They look forward to seeing each other in 4 weeks when Janelle goes for a day of "tour training" on Temple Square.
Monday was Janelle's day to say good-bye to Dad and her younger brothers', and fly to Utah.

On Sunday, November 4th, Janelle was set-apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the next 18 months she will be known as "Hermana Burner".