Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Feliz Navidad

We got to Skype with Jordanne this morning.  She looks and sounds great!  It was so wonderful to visit with her. She talked non-stop in true Jordanne fashion.  She seems really happy!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Today is Christmas Eve (or Noche Buena, as they say here)!  I am both excited to celebrate the holiday and also sad that the season is ending, since we won´t be able to use Christmas carols (villancicos) as a way to find people to teach anymore....  And because sharing our testimonies of the birth of the Savior has been such a wonderful opportunity this month.  I love Christmas so much because the Savior is almost never more real to me than at Christmastime.  Whenever I sing carols or read the Christmas story in the Bible, I can´t help but remember that these things REALLY HAPPENED.  What a glorious miracle and marvelous gift!

My favorite account of the birth of the Savior is in 3 Nephi 1.  Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied 5 years earlier of the signs and the imminent coming of the birth of the Savior, and the believers were faithfully waiting for these signs to appear.  But the unbelievers had had enough, and they set apart a day in which, if the signs had not yet come, all the believers would be put to death.  The prophet, Nephi, knows that the Savior will come as Samuel has prophesied, but he worries for the sake of his people, and he prays mightily unto the Lord for help.  And the Lord answers his prayer, saying (in verse 13), 

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets."

The Lord, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, knew that these people would be in danger of their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ, and He had planned all along for His coming to be at precisely the right moment.  I can´t help but marvel at the Lord´s love and care for all of His children when I read this scripture.  Not only did the Lord send His Son on that day in order to save the lives of the people of Nephi, but He sent Him so that ALL of us might be saved if we will accept Him and keep His commandments.  I cannot adequately express my awe and gratitude for this marvelous gift.  It is the real reason for Christmas, and it is why I am here in Chile, serving a mission.  I am here seeking to share the gift of eternal life with all who will accept the restored gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and who love Him enough to live according to its precepts.  What a wonderful opportunity I have to be spending my Christmas sharing the best gift any of us will ever be given with all those who will receive it!

One of my favorite Christmas hymns ends with this verse:

How silently, how silently
The wond´rous gift is giv´n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The wonders of His heav´n.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in the world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

I love you all and pray that your Christmas is a wonderful one.  I hope that you will remember our Savior on this special day, and show your gratitude and love for Him by "receiving Him" and living the gospel!

Your commitment this week is to re-read one of your favorite accounts of the Savior from the scriptures.  Share it with your family or a friend, and tell them why it means so much to you, and how the message of the Savior has changed your life.

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!


Hermana Burgess

P.S.  This is our "official" Christmas picture.  We are wearing our rain gear because it has strangely been raining like crazy this week!  So it´s a little bit like winter here, even though it still isn´t really Christmas without any snow!

The other pictures are of me, Hermana Bowns, Hermana England, and Hermana González with our Christmas tree, our Christmas tree, and me and Hermana Bowns at Christmas conference.  More pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

First Cambio

Sounds like she's learning to communicate, if only through music.  Music is the universal language, isn't it?  Keep the letters coming...


This morning was cambios (transfers) and do you want to know something?  I don´t like cambios at all.  We knew nothing was going to happen to our companionship, since I am still in training and Hermana Bowns goes home after this cambio, but I was still sick to my stomach all morning waiting for the phone to ring.  I am not looking forward to that happening every six weeks for the next 15 months.  We didn´t get changed at all, as we thought, but we do have one change in our district.  Hermana England, who lives in the house with us, is getting transferred to a different area in Chillan.  She will be living with Hermana Frandsen and her companion, so I told her to get excited about that.  In Hermana England´s place, we are getting an Hermana Leish, whom I have not yet met but who I am told is from Utah and is really sweet.  So I am looking forward to meeting her.

I don´t really know what to say about this week.  For some reason I can´t seem to remember very much of it....  But a few things of note did take place.

On Wednesday we had a Christmas Conference with half the mission.  We rode a bus a couple of hours north to Talca for the conference and rather than being a full day of training, interviews, etc., we did a half-day with a Christmas devotional and a lunch afterward.  On Sunday we got a call from the Assistants, asking Hermana Bowns and I if we would perform a musical number at the conference.  The only problem was they were already using most of the Christmas hymns!  We had a hard time finding something, and changed our minds several times, but in the end we used an arrangement of Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee with the words for Oh, Pueblecito de Belén (Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem).  It was a little different, but we felt good about it, considering the fact that our resources were very limited and we put it together in just a couple of days.  At the conference, there was one other musical number from people in the mission and musical numbers from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.  We also watched President Monson´s talk from the Christmas Devotional, but it was in Spanish so I didn´t understand it very well.  President and Hermana Humphrey also spoke, and they gave really great talks.  Hermana Humphrey always knows just what to say to get to me.  This is going to be President and Hermana Humphrey´s last Christmas in the mission, since they go home in July.

For lunch at conferences, I am told they always serve the same thing.  They cook up a bunch of whole chickens and then cut them in half and each person is supposed to eat half a chicken, along with rice, bread, a banana, and some kind of dessert (this time it was brownies).  I have gotten pretty good at eating everything on my plate and I ate all the chicken and most of the rice.  Who´s proud?

Two things great happened one morning this week.  We went to find a reference in a part of our sector where neither of us had never been, and on the way there, we stopped to talk to a woman on the street and seriously did the best job of making a contact that we have ever done as a companionship!  I even said some things besides, "somos misioneras por La Iglesia de Jesucristo."  It was a singular event, as of yet.  Usually I don´t know enough of what people are saying when we contact them to be able to say much, but contacting is something we have been trying to work on, so maybe this week we can have two or three that are thay good!

The other great thing that happened that morning was that when we went to the address for our reference, the house was clearly not occupied, so we started asking around at all the neighbors houses to see if maybe we had the address wrong or if they had moved.  One woman came out and gave us some ideas for where else we could look, and then when we asked if we could share a Christmas song with her (this is one of the ways we have been trying to find people this month, offering to sing Christmas carols), she said she was the caretaker of a sick woman but she´d ask her if we could come in and sing and she said it was okay so we went in.  The sick lady, Maria, loved our song and started crying because she loves music and misses it so much.  We also made plans to stop by again to share a gospel message with her and her caretaker, Angelica.  When we went back, Angelica wasn´t there, but Maria´s daughter, Maria Teresa, was. Apparently we had made an impression on her mother (who suffers from a little dementia, so I know it takes an impression for her to remember things) because Maria Teresa knew who we were and invited us in immediately, where we got to teach her and her mother a lesson. It was a blessing that only came to us because we were willing to share our musical talent.  I am so grateful for that opportunity.  I know that if nothing else comes from meeting them, we made Maria´s day when we sang to her that morning, and I know she felt the love of the Savior, and that is really why we´re here - to help people come closer to Christ.

Our investigator who was in church last week came again yesterday!  And she came to two meetings instead of just one!  Our district leader, Elder Aguirre, has been trying really hard to teach us the importance of verification and daily contact (we worry about bothering people).  Last week we talked to or saw Paulina almost every day, and she came to church again!  I know she didn´t really want to, since it´s so early in the morning, but she came!  So we are learning that our district leader is inspired and we should probably try harder to make all the changes he suggests for us.  Yesterday he challenged us to be more bold (sometimes we beat around the bush because we are afraid of people´s reactions), and we are really nervous about it.  But I know if we learn to do it we will be blessed and so will our investigators.

To top off this week of music, last night we had a stake choir "competition" and Hermana Bowns and I participated in the choir from our ward because they needed her to play the piano.  We sang Regocijad, Jesús Nacio (Joy to the World); Mira Maria (Shepherd´s Carol from the Children´s Songbook); and Jesús en Pesebre (Away in a Manger) as a choir.  I also sang a duet version of He Sent His Son with one of the members of the ward.  It was supposed to be an SAB arrangement, but for some reason no one ever learned the alto part so it was just me and Jorge.  Musical talent isn´t widespread around here, but our ward has a few people in it that manage pretty well, and our performance went better than could have been anticipated, I think.  The Sprirt was very strong especially when we sang Jesús en Pesebre, and that is really the most important thing!

Well, I´ve gotta go now.  I love you all!  Your commitment this week is to share your testimony of the birth of the Savior with someone who needs to feel His love.  You can sing a song, read a scripture, share a story, or just bear testimony, but find a way to let someone know how much this holiday means and how much our Heavenly Father and the Savior love us and that that is why we celebrate Christmas.


Hermana Burgess

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mini-Conference and a Discurso

Hello Again!

Sorry to make you all so depressed last week.  I am still not perfectly obedient and we are not perfect in teaching or in achieving our goals or anything like that.  But we did have TWO investigators at church this week.  So there are some small miracles, and I know it is because of your prayers on our behalf.

Can you believe that I have been in the field for nearly a month now?  CRAZY!  I feel like in a whole month maybe I should have learned more or gotten more done, but at the same time it seems like I really haven´t been here all that long at all and that I shouldn´t worry so much about it.

This cambio (transfer) is only five weeks, because they don´t do cambios the week of Christmas, so there might be some changes in our district or zone after this week.  But I´m pretty sure I won´t have to worry about it because I´m only halfway through training and Hermana Bowns goes home after next cambio.

We had a mini-conference this week, where they trained us on how to teach like the Savior.  I understood about half of what was said because President speaks pretty slowly in Spanish and Hermana Humphrey doesn´t really speak Spanish at all, so she has someone translate for her.  But I couldn´t understand anything the assistants said, they just spoke too quickly for me.  We learned a LOT though and we had a practice that we got to do in English since Hermana Humphrey was in charge of our group.  They put all the newer gringo missionaries together with her so that we could all understand what was going on.  Hermana Humphrey is a really great missionary!  She helped us so much in our practice to recognize the needs of the people we were teaching, learn how to ask inspired questions, and teach the doctrines that will meet their needs and help them to have a spiritual experience.  Of course, in English this is always easier and though I really want to apply it in my everyday lessons, I haven´t yet figured out how to do it in Spanish....

I also got to see Hermana Frandsen!  She is in the other zone in Chillan and we met with both zones together that day, so that was awesome.  We sang our theme song (Loch Lomond) and gave each other normal hugs instead of saluding.  It was so great to see her.

On Sunday, I had to give my very first talk (discurso) in sacrament meeting since my "farewell" talk.  It was very stressful, especially when the bishop told us that the other speaker hadn´t come and so we had to fill the whole meeting (when originally I was told to speak for only seven minutes).  But I think I took up my fair share of the time and Hermana Bowns left a sweet note in my himnario that said that she thought it was a talk someone eight months, not only one, into the mission would have given.  I don´t really believe her, since I really hope I speak better Spanish that I did yesterday seven months from now (I had to keep asking her for translations from the pulpit), but I did feel like it didn´t go too badly.

I had been studying and learning a lot about the connection between faith and obedience (I think I shared some scriptures before about that) and so I decided to talk about that.  I shared three stories from the scriptures about people who had to ACT on what they had a belief in.  

The first was about the Israelites in the wilderness with Moses, and how they had been murmuring against God, and so the Lord sent fiery serpents among them and many of them were bitten and killed.  When they realized that they had been disobedient and asked Moses for help, the Lord told him to make a brass serpent and put it on a rod, and then anyone who had been bitten need only LOOK at the brass serpent and they would be healed.  (Numbers 21:5-9)  It´s so simple!  If you have faith in the Lord and believe that He will heal you, you LOOK.  But many of them did not look (1 Nephi 17:41); they did not have real faith and so they perished.

The next story was that of the woman with the issue of blood who is healed because she reaches out and touches the hem of the Savior´s robe. (Matthew 9:20-22)  I love what it says in verse 21, "For she said within herself, if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole."  And did she sit around waiting for the Savior to come and heal her?  Did she hope that maybe his clothing would brush up against her in the crowded street?  NO!  She REACHED OUT and touched it herself!  She had the faith to ACT!

The last example I shared was that of Nephi.  He is always heralded as having had incredible faith.  But we wouldn´t say so if he hadn´t ALWAYS done whatever things the Lord had asked him to do.  (1 Nephi 3:7, 2 Nephi 33:15)

Fatih is not just believing.  It is an assurance, an expectation.  If you expect it to rain and you don´t bring your umbrella, you´re going to get wet!  By the same token, if you expect the Savior to heal you, if you expèct the Lord to bless you, if you expect to receive the incredible gift of eternal salvation, you have to DO those things which our Heavenly Father and the Savior have asked you to do.

So that is your commitment (and mine) this week.  DO SOMETHING!  Pray more fervently, study the scriptures more diligently, be more attentive in Church, love and serve those around you, strengthen your family with family prayer or scripture study or family home evening, or make a different personal goal.  But do something to demonstrate your faith, your gratitude, and your love to our Heavenly Father.  I know that if you do, you WILL receive those promised blessings.

I love you all.  Thank you for your support and prayers!


Hermana B

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another letter from Chile!

Here is this week's letter!  I looks like the best way for us to write to her is directly to her mission email account,  She says that dearelder takes a while to get to her because of the distance from the mission home.  She also says that snail mail takes about a month to get there.  Anything we send for Christmas probably won't make it before Christmas, but she'll appreciate it when it arrives!  Keep those letters and prayers coming...

Hi Everyone,

This week I don´t have a lot to report.  That´s because we didn´t have much success this week.  And that´s because I am not really very good at being a missionary.

I really have no trouble with the concept of the mission rules (well, the 6:30 in the morning thing isn´t my favorite, but actually in Chile we wake up at 7:30 in the summer and 7 in the winter, so I didn´t get off too badly), but we don´t seem to be very good at following them.  Don´t get me wrong, we aren´t going swimming and watching movies and going out dancing or anything like that.  But we run late.  A lot.

We seem to always be late leaving the house to work.  We stay too long in lessons and at meals with members because we don´t know how to politely excuse ourselves, and sometimes that makes us late coming home from lunch for afternoon study or at night to plan.  Then we plan FOREVER.  I don´t know why, but it always takes us at LEAST an hour to plan.  (It is supposed to take half an hour.)  So after we´ve planned for an hour or more we are lucky to have time to brush our teeth and get in our pajamas before it´s time (or too late) for bed.  We aren´t trying to be disobedient.  We´re just really struggling.  We get up on time, we exercise, we study, we work all day, and then we plan.  And yet we are oh, so disobedient because we can´t seem to do things in a timely manner.  I´m really frustrated because it´s like, we study for three hours so even if I had everything totally ready to walk out the door before we started studying, we´d both still have to go to the bathroom before we left (because who knows when we´ll get another chance), and that´s like ten minutes gone.  But if we stop studying ten minutes early to go to the bathroom before we leave the house, we aren´t studying when we´re supposed to be.  I don´t know which is the lesser evil.  It´s a vicious cycle and I don´t know how to stop it!

Our numbers have been so low that our district leader has been calling us every day.  That is not supposed to happen.  He´s supposed to call twice a week to get numbers.  But no, we aren´t good missionaries, so Elder Aguirre calls every day and "counsels" Hermana Bowns for ten or twenty minutes.  And sometimes he wants to talk to me and that always makes me stressed out and then I cry because he only speaks Spanish and I can never, ever understand him so I don´t really know what it is he wants me to do.  And then I am so frustrated with him for stressing me out that I don´t even want to do what he asks me to do, so then I am being even more disobedient and that just makes us even less effective.

I have been learning a lot in my studies this week about how faith and obedience are so connected.  There is a scripture in Alma 57:21, which talks about the Stripling Warriors.  It says that they OBEYED with EXACTNESS and they were blessed according to their FAITH.  Ding!  Light bulb came on in my brain.  The Stripling Warriors were blessed according to their FAITH in the Lord and their FAITH in the leaders whom the Lord had sent to be their commanders at war, and because they had FAITH they were OBEDIENT.  They tell you here in the mission that you won´t be successful if you don´t have faith.  They also tell you that you won´t be successful if you aren´t obedient.  Well, they really are one and the same.  You cannot be obedient if you do not have faith that that obedience will bring you some kind of blessing.  You cannot be obedient if you do not have faith in the person who is giving you guidelines to follow.  You cannot be obedient if you do not have faith in yourself that you can accomplish your goals to do so.

So this week, I need to work on having more FAITH.  I need to be more obedient, yes, but the first thing I need to fix is my faith.  I need to love the Lord and trust Him enough to DO WHAT HE ASKS.  He asked me to come on a mission, and I came.  I left my life and my family and my friends behind and I moved to South America for heaven´s sake!  But just coming, it isn´t enough.  When I accepted my call to serve, I was accepting not only the fact that I would have to leave things behind, but also that I would have to accept new rules, a new schedule, and a new way of life.  I already accepted it.  I said I would do it, and now here I am, acting like being here is going to be enough!  IT´S NOT!  The Lord loves me so much.  He has given me everything, and He is really asking so little in return.  I just need to get over myself and show Him my love and gratitude by doing what He asks of me.  Because that is when I will receive blessings.  That is when I will see miracles.  

Whenever we have a bad day and we know it is because we weren´t exactly obedient, Hermana Bowns tells me, "I am going to be more obedient, Hermana Burgess, because you deserve to see miracles!"  There are some wonderful people here who really need those miracles in their lives, and I am just getting in the way because I can´t do a few simple things that Heavenly Father and His chosen servants have asked me to do.

So this is your commitment this week:  Please pray for miracles.  Pray that I can be humble, that I can be obedient, and that I can have faith.  Don´t worry about my health or safety or whether I am happy.  Because if I am being obedient, those things are PROMISED to me as a servant of the Lord.  Just pray that I can learn to overcome my "natural man" (Mosiah 3:19) and be the kind of missionary whose exemplary obedience and hard work prompts the Lord to work miracles in the lives of those who so desperately need His gospel.

One last scripture, that I read earlier this week and totally fell in love with.  And I think it has a lot to do with my obedience as well.  1 John 1:6-7, which reads:

"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

I love you all,

Hermana Burgess

P.S.  Congratulations to the Huffs, Hislops, and Knights, who all had the most BEAUTIFUL babies in the past couple weeks.  My mom sent me pictures and I am SO HAPPY for you all.  Tell them that I love them and I can´t wait to meet them!  :D

P.P.S.  Visit if you do not have access to a Book of Mormon to look up the references in this post.  I´d link it, but I can´t figure it out on this Spanish-speaking computer....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Feet, Food and Finding

Hello, hello, my Wonderful Friends and Family!

So nice to be writing to you again!  This week has been so very interesting.  Good, but also very difficult.

So I am pretty sure the mission is basically some kind of a time warp.  I left Utah in six inches of snow and there were Christmas lights going up at the MTC and now here I am in the beginning of a very HOT summer.  I´m pretty sure there´s no possible way you all had Thanksgiving this week, because it definitely doesn´t feel like November here.  Some people are starting to decorate for Christmas here, but it´s almost laughable to me, tinsel and baubles on fully-blooming rosebushes!  We have a little tree up in our house, but there aren´t any decorations on it yet.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we hosted a Noche de Gratitud on Saturday for the two wards in our building (Hermana Bowns and I and the two sisters who live with us, Hermanas England and González).  We had everyone write down three things they were grateful for in different categories, like "Things in Nature" and "Modern Inventions" and such and then we played a gratitude version of "I Have Never" which was a hit.  We asked people to bring treats made from squash (pumpkin does not exist here and the idea of squash being a dessert was strange to most of the people we talked to) or chocolate.  We bought squash to make cookies but didn´t have time so we´ll be doing that today!  Anyway, we had a great turn-out and lots of our investigators were there and that was how we celebrated Thanksgiving.

I had a few weird food experiences this week.  I told you the food is mostly normal (except that the vegetables are cooked to within an inch of their lives and everything is swimming in margarine and mayonnaise), but that we have to eat ALL of whatever we´re given.  Well I was really put to the test!  On Wednesday, I had to conquer a hard-boiled egg.  I DETEST hard-boiled eggs.  The smell of Easter is enough to make me sick.  But there it was, on my plate, and I had to eat it.  It was rough.  I was trying to inconspicuously gag and choke it down, and at one point I almost lost it, but I ate it and I didn´t throw up.  It was awesome.

So after that I figured that pretty much the worst thing that could happen with food had already ocurred, but I was wrong.  Saturday was a real adventure!  A lot of people here like to give us like breaded chicken patties, and that day the member had cooked them in boiling water or something, but apparently not long enough.  At least not mine.  It was almost completely raw.  I just didn´t know what to do!  The member´s chicken didn´t seem to be very well done and she just kept eating it, and my companion´s appeared to be cooked. So I ate raw chicken for lunch and prayed and prayed and prayed that the Lord would protect me from salmonella.  Do you want to know what raw chicken tasted like?  It pretty much tastes like chicken.  I don´t know why, but that was surprising to me.  And I have not gotten sick from it so far, so fingers crossed.  I gag a little whenever I think about it, but I know the Lord is watching over me and helping me to be able to function because I am trying to be polite and obedient.

My feet hurt a lot.  Mostly because this week we walked and walked and walked and contacted and contacted and didn´t get in very many places.  We know that we must be doing something wrong, so we are re-evaluating the way we are doing things.  I for one have a goal to be more obedient (I´m always running late!) and to try harder to speak the language whenever I can.  I know that the Lord cannot give me the gift of tongues, nor can I teach by the Spirit, if I refuse to open my mouth and SPEAK.  But I am just always so afraid that what I say will come out wrong or won´t be pertinent to the lesson, or something like that.  I need to get over it and do whatever the Spirit tells me to do, but you all know that I can be pretty stubborn and prideful, so I think it might take some time, but I´ll keep working on it.

I don´t have much more time, but I do want to tell you that though we don´t have a lot of success, we are teaching some really awesome people.  We have met with a really awesome couple (not married, but not living together either - hooray!) named Carina and Camilo.  They ask the best questions and our lessons with them always go much longer than we intended because they have so many intelligent wonderful inspired questions to ask.  Like when we taught the Restoration, Carina says, "So, what doctrines were restored?" and "So how do you deal with the fact that the Bible has been corrupted?  Did you prophet re-write the Bible?"  People just don´t say stuff like that!  Most of the time they don´t even get what we´re trying to say, much less understand it well enough to connect those dots for themselves.  We really love them, even though they haven´t come to church yet....

We also met a really special girl named Fransisca.  We contacted at her house because her grandma was an antiguo investigator and I tell you, that little girl is so wonderful.  When we came in to visit, she saw that we had the Book of Mormon and remembered that at one time she had seen one in her house.  So while we were talking to her grandma (who we think is starting to have pretty bad dementia, because she couldn´t keep track of the conversation and asked us several times where we were from) she starts looking all over the house for the Book of Mormon but couldn´t find it.  So I gave her mine and she was so excited.  She sat down and started reading it right there.  I love her so much already and we´ve only met with them once.

The last investigator I want to tell you about is named Angelica.  She is a woman we contacted one day when she was sitting on her front porch.  Our contact with her has been brief, but I am compelled to teach her more.  Whenever we talk to her, she just looks at us with this sad longing look in her eyes.  It´s like she´s looking into my soul, trying to find out what I have there to offer her.  I pray that we will have the opportunity to keep teaching her because I just want so badly for those sad, sad eyes to be filled up with light and joy the way I know they will when she comes to know and accept the gospel.

Here is this week´s commitment:  Find someone to serve EVERY DAY!  Pray for opportunities to do so and take advantage of them!  It doesn´t have to be anything big, but it will make a big difference in your life and in theirs.  :)

Anyway, that´s all I have time for this week.  I love you all and my heart was full of gratitude for you this past Thanksgiving week.  I pray for your health and safety and happiness.


Hermana Burgess

P.S.  Pictures of me singing karaoke at a ward activity (I won some flan), me during planning, me and Hermana Bowns, me with my first "completo" (basically a big hot dog, though it wasn´t very hot and it was covered in tomatoes, guacamole and about an inch of mayonnaise which I wiped off), and me finishing my first completo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hermana Burgess is in Chile!

She made it to Chile!! You can still write to her through or you can send her mail via snail mail.  Her address is included in her last letter.  Keep writing...



These past two weeks have been so crazy!  My last week at the MTC was good, but it felt really, really long.  Class dragged on for what seemed like DAYS, but the time we had to prepare for departure flew by and my suitcases were not getting filled up very quickly!  But eventually I got everything shoved in somehow and I only had to cheat on the weight of my carry-on. (They were only supposed to be 17 pounds for LAN Chile airlines, but I think I would have had to have sent home half my clothes or all of my books in order to be able to do that, and neither of those things seemed like such a good idea.  But they didn´t weigh it in the end anyway, so it was fine.)  Then Monday finally came and even though I was pretty terrified and I didn´t really want to move to South America, somehow I got on the plane.

Our first stop was in LA.  We got off the plane, went through security again into the international terminal, and then we were waiting at our gate when they announced that our flight had been cancelled and would not be leaving until the following morning!  So we called Missionary Travel and they said to just do whatever the airline told us to do.  The airline put us all up in the Hilton LAX and made arrangements for meals.  So then we hung out at the hotel and kind of tried to be missionaries, but we didn´t really know how!  (This is why there are TRAINERS!)  We talked to people but we weren´t really very well equipped to teach, nor did we have many materials with which to do so.  But Hermana Frandsen and I did make friends with a Korean man who was also stuck in the hotel because he was headed to Lima on our same flight.  He couldn´t speak English hardly at all, but we were able to communicate fairly well with him nonetheless.  He told us that he was a teacher at a high school in South Korea and that they were looking for an English teacher - and then he would look at Hna. F. and I as if he expected us to hop on a plane to Korea and work at his school!  We told him we couldn´t, because we are missionaries and we were going to Chile instead.  Then we showed him a picture of Christ, and he got really excited.  He had a little Korean-English dictionary on his phone that he would use whenever he didn´t know how to say something or we said something he didn´t understand, and he typed the name of the Church into it and said, "I don´t think we have that in Korea."  We assured him that they do, and told him to visit  He said he would "hunt for" the Church in Korea once he got home.  He also took a picture of a scripture Hermana Frandsen wanted to share with him (2 Nephi 25:26) so that he could translate it later.  He gave us his email (I think in case we wanted to be teachers at his school) and I passed it along to AnnMarie, because I figured she speaks Korean and she could help him.  Also because she could take that teaching job if she wanted, I guess!  He was really awesome.  I think he is like a principal of some kind or a department head or something at his school, because he kept saying "captain" or "King!" when he talked about his job title.  And then when we would do something well, he would call us "King!" too.  It was so great.  He also kept taking pictures of us with his phone.  We were basically best friends with him in like 30 minutes.  Too bad he doesn´t live in Chile or I´d try to find him and teach him, too.

So we were in the hotel all day Monday, and I just kept saying, "this is the weirdest day of my entire life," and it really kind of was. Some kind of strange mission "limbo," where we were "in the field" but we weren´t and it was just so strange.  But interesting!

Then the flight to Santiago left the next morning.  It was long, long, long and they fed us at really weird times.  We had a couple hours to sleep in the airport, then a connection to Concepción, and then we were here!  President Humphrey and his wife and some office elders and the senior couple in the office came to meet us, we went to the mission office in the city, had interviews, got pictures taken for our visas, and then went to our transfer meeting, where we had lunch and met our trainers!

My trainer is Hermana Bowns, and we are serving in the city Chillan in the Cordillera sector.  She is originally from California, but her family followed her to Utah when she went to BYU.  She is tiny - like 5-foot-nothing.  It doesn´t stick out that much in Chile but it is strange for me to tower over someone for once.  She´s awesome, though.  She has been taking really good care of me!  And when I even taught a little in Spanish in our first lesson together, she was really impressed.  She said she didn´t speak in a lesson for an entire cambio (transfer).  I´m not sure that I believe her though, because her Spanish is really awesome.  Mostly I just stand there and stare at people while a bunch of white noise comes tumbling out of their mouths.  Church was especially weird, because it was like supposed to be so familiar and yet I didn´t understand like a single word of what was happening.  I had to get up and bear my testimony and when I have to do things like that mostly I cry because it´s just overwhelming to try to express thoughts and feelings that are so important and so close to my heart in a language that I have to struggle to use.  Sigh.

The culture shock hasn´t been too bad.  Everybody "saluds" everyone else (I mean EVERYONE) both coming and going, by giving a kiss on the cheek (well, in the air next to your cheek).  If you don´t salud someone when you come or leave they could be offended, so like when we leave Church meetings and stuff we have to run around the whole room kissing everybody (well, we shake hands with the boys and men).  Food is not different here really at all, but meals are.  They eat like bread and juice for breakfast and then have a big lunch and everyone comes home from school and work for it.  Then they eat "once" sometime between 6-10 PM and that is bread and butter with like a hot drink.  We feed ourselves breakfast, and then we are fed by ward members at lunch every day except Saturday and Monday (which is P-day).  Hermana Bowns says I have been lucky and so far no one has fed us too much.  But in almost all the houses, they plate your food and you eat everything on your plate.  But it is against mission rules to eat máriscos (any seafood except fish), so I am safe from that!  And mostly it´s been normal stuff, lasagna, stroganoff, chicken and mashed potatoes.  But I still feel weird at almuerza (lunch) because I don´t really know yet if I am conducting myself properly, and I don´t have anything to say because I can´t understand the conversation, so I just keep eating until my plate is clean and then I get finished way before anyone else.  But Hermana Bowns says I´ll figure it out.

We had a weird teaching week, Saturday and Sunday we didn´t teach any new investigators.  We just knocked doors and did street contacts all day and no one wanted to let us in.  But she says that is unusual, and on Friday we had 6 new investigators, so I am hoping that she is right.

Well, my time is up!  I will tell you more about the people and everything here next week.  I love you and miss you all.  Keep writing to me and know that I love you even if you don´t hear back.

Here is your commitment this week:  Will you commit to pray every night before you get in bed?  If you are already doing so, GREAT!  If not, START NOW!  Heavenly Father loves you and wants to hear from you and He WILL answer your prayers.  :)


Hermana Burgess

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Twist in the Travel Plans

Hi All!  It's Jordanne's mom.

Jordanne and her companions left the MTC early this morning for the airport where they would fly from SLC to Los Angeles, and then from Los Angeles to Santiago.  She sounds like she is doing well.  She is excited, and a little frightened.  She is grateful to have 3 sisters and 7 elders who she knows from the MTC to travel with.

She asked me to email her a copy of the addresses that had been posted on her mission address book.  I wasn't aware that there was a mission address book, so you may not have either!  Before I email it to her, I'm going to post the address to it here so that those who didn't know it existed will have a chance to fill it out.  This information is transmitted to a private document that only Jordanne and I have access to.  Here it is:

So now for the twist.  We got up early this morning to await a phone call from the airport.  Jordanne did call, just before 8:00 AM and several of us had a chance to talk to her.  She mentioned that she may call again during their layover in Los Angeles, but when 3:00 rolled around and I still hadn't heard from her, I figured she couldn't work it out and I would hear from her mission president when she arrived in Chile.  Then, at about 3:30, Jordanne called again.  She said that their flight to Chile today had been cancelled!!  They will stay in a hotel in Los Angeles and catch another flight in the morning.

So Jordanne and her companions will arrive in the mission field a day later than originally planned, but they will probably be a bit more rested than most missionaries are when they first arrive.  That's probably not a bad thing.

Keep the letters coming!  Thank you so much for your support!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Yeah!  Travel plans!  She's finally going to break out of the MTC!  She survived it!  Fun... and a little scary!


This week was a CRAZY one, and there´s no slowing down now!  A few highlights:
So, I have this shower caddy, and instead of taking it dripping wet into my dormitory to rot the carpet after I get out of the shower, I usually hang it on one of the handy-dandy hooks in the bathroom until it's dry (or until my next shower, because I usually forget that I left it there).  Every couple of weeks when they clean the bathrooms they empty off all the hooks into the lost and found, but then I just go get it and everyting is peaches and cream again.  So one day I grab my shower caddy off its hook and hop in the shower and after I'm soaking wet and my hair is lathered up with shampoo, I come to the realization that both my bottles of face wash and my body wash are MISSING from my shower caddy.  This is very strange, because they didn't clean the hooks into the lost and found anytime since I'd last used it, and it's PRETTY obvious (I would think) that those things belong to somebody, seeing as they are neatly packed inside a container that doesn't have a "FREE STUFF" sign taped to it.  So anyway, I had only shampoo with which to wash myself that day, which wasn't too awesome.  So I check the lost and found, the free box, all the empty showers, and my stuff is NOWHERE.  Well, the next day I recovered one bottle of face wash, but mysteriously nothing else.  So I picked up a new bottle of body wash from the bookstore and last P-day I went in to shower and THERE WAS MY STUFF!  But only it was being used by SOMEONE ELSE!  (There are these like shelves on top of the shower heads, so if you are tall enough to keep your shampoo there while you are showering, everyone can see which products you are using.)  I didn't really know what to do.  The MTC doesn't really seem like the place to accuse someone of stealing your stuff, but then again, the MTC doesn't really seem like the place where your stuff should get STOLEN!  I waited a few minutes to see if she would come out.  I thought maybe I could ask her if she'd found it in the free box or the lost and found and explain that mine had gone missing, but it just seemed so awkward.  And she was taking a really long time tp shower.  So eventually I just got in the shower with my new bodywash and never did find out who the mysterious soap thief was.  I was going to leave most of my shower products behind anyway, to minimize the weight in my suitcases, but sometimes I really miss my minty face wash.  Especially after gym.  Sigh....  Moral of the story is - don't leave your soap out or someone will steal it, even at the MTC!
Wednesday, as you all know, was Halloween, and as it is one of my favorite holidays I was sad to be missing it this year.  BUT our elders did a really good job of wearing "costumes" and it really brightened my day.  Elder Kunz wore my Harry Potter tie (thanks for sending it, Mom, it came just in time!) and he carried around a wooden dowel (he said he found it in his closet - it appeared to be the cross-bar from a wooden hanger) and drew a scar on his forehead.  Elder Morgan wore a Slytherin-ish colored tie and also carried a broken hanger rod around and used it as a wand.  Elder Kunz kept slipping his up his jacket sleeve and trying to pull it on people unawares.  He "stupfied" our teacher and he and Elder Morgan would have silent duels from their desks across the room.  Elder Anderson hiked up his pants and parted his hair down the middle and went as a nerd.  Elder Stephens, who everyone thinks looks just like Russell from "UP," tied together two exercise bands (which come in our missionary health guides) and Elder Morgan pinned a little blue ribbon to it and he wore it like a scouting sash and carried around a backpack with a little American flag and stuff sticking out the back, it was so great.  Elder Shumway went alternately as a vampire and as another elder from our zone, Elder Parry, who never buttons his top button and speaks in this really low voice that Elder Shumway is perfect at imitating.  And in the cafeteria at breakfast he was just walking around wearing vampire teeth and carrying a glass of cranberry juice.  It's hard to explain why, but it was quite funny.  Maybe you had to be there, though.  Anyway, I got a picture of them (Elder Archibald is the one in the back sans costume, but he is waving Elder Stephens's pumpkin flashlight), and then one with myself (I went pretty incognito since I couldn't have a tie, but in my heart I was Hermione) and the two "wizard" elders.  My "wand" in the photo is really just a pen, but don't I pull it off?
On Thursday, the MOST EXCITING THING HAPPENED.  (Drumroll please...) We got our TRAVEL PLANS!!!!!!!  We are flying out next Monday, November 12, and we have to leave the MTC at 5 AM!!!!!!  So, this is the last email you will be getting from me in the MTC - isn't that crazy!  We are so excited.  But I am also really quite terrified.  When it comes right down to it, moving to South America doesn't seem like such a good idea after all....  But I know that this is what the Lord wants me to do and I pray that He will help me to not be too scared and to adjust quickly to "real" mission life.  Packing and getting everything ready is going to be INSANE this week!  I can't imagine how we are going to get everything done!  But I know that we will.
Anyway, the time has come again for me to bid you all farewell for another week.  BUT, I am NOT going to sign off without leaving you with a commitment (because this is what missionaries do).  Are you ready?  Here it is:
Will you commit to reading the Book of Mormon DAILY?  I don't care if it is one page, one chapter, one verse, one line, one book, or one minute, but PLEASE DO IT!  (Even if you have never read the Book of Mormon before in your LIFE!)  Here is my promise:  If you do this, you will find that you will do BETTER at work/school, you will find that you have BETTER RELATIONSHIPS with your family and friends, and you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER!  I know these things are true, because this is what happens to my life when I consistenly read in the Book of Mormon.  It is my FAVORITE book (even more favorite than Harry Potter), and I want EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG to find the same HAPPINESS from reading it that I do.  If you need a copy, just visit  You can order one FOR FREE or READ ONLINE.  There are even FREE apps for your smartphones/iPhones so you can take it with you EVERYWHERE YOU GO!
I love you all and hope you are happy and well.  We are praying for those who have been affected by that devastating storm in the East (I know that's a week late, but we are slow to hear about these things around here) and hope that they are able to get back on their feet soon.  Keep your commitment to read the Book of Mormon.  Know that the Lord loves you and that I LOVE YOU!
Lovelovelovelovelove for the LAST TIME from the MTC,
Hermana "Herman" Burgess
P.S.  If you are planning to write or send packages this week (thank you Mom Cannon, by the way, for the card and treats last week!), the LAST TIME I will get mail is Saturday morning, so I'd aim for Friday.  :)  But if you'd rather send them on to Chile, you can reach me here:
Sister Jordanne Niccole Burgess
Chile Concepcion Mission
O´Higgins 940, Oficina 502
Casilla 2210
Pouch mail items are sent weekly on Fridays from Church headquarters in Salt Lake and are held for the following week if the letter misses the deadline.  ONLY postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes) written on one side of the page may be sent through the pouch.  Notebook or other lightweight paper will not process through the USPS machines.  Photographs are not acceptable. Letter folding instructions:  Lay the letter blank side down.  Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease.  Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease.  Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends.  In the top left corner write your name and complete return address.  Affix first class postage in the top right corner.  In the middle write the missionary address as follows:
Sister Jordanne Niccole Burgess
Chile Concepcion Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84310-0150
You can also send POUCH for free through, so if you have been DearElder-ing me, that's a great way to do it!  I am excited to write to you all next from CHILE!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 7

Another week down... just two more to go in the MTC.  Keep the prayers and letters coming!  


¡Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
So another crazy week at the MTC!  First of all, I forgot to tell you about something that happened last week that was just oh, so exciting.  Last Sunday morning we were awakened by the fire alarm!  We evacuated very quickly and calmly (only a little groggy because we were blessed to have it wait until 6:15 to go off, instead of it happening in the middle of the night), and only a few of us forgot our nametags....  Then after we sat outside for a few minutes watching the crazy Halloweeny lights flashing inside the building, my companions needed to find a bathroom so we snuck into the building where gym and all the devotionals are held to use their facilities and by the time we were coming out, everyone else was coming in.  Apparently they didn´t know how long it was going to take before we could go back inside, so they were letting us wait inside where it was warm.  My companions and the other hermanas from our room went to the foyer of that building, where there are couches, to wait/nap.  After a while some sister in the main gym started to play the piano and then everyone else started singing along.  Loudly and not necessarily in tune.  You know that it really means something when I do not want to participate in singing (though there is also this "shower choir" that takes place every night in our dorm and I also have no interest in that because I shower after gym, and I can hear it just fine from my room, thank you).  Eventually we found out that the alarm was set off by a dust mite in the system or something like that, and they were just waiting for the technician to come and reset it.  No fire.  We got back to our rooms about an hour after the evacuation, which meant that we only had 15 minutes left of our personal study time after we got ready.  But it was an adventure, and it made that day different from the last.  That´s what Hermana Frandsen is always saying is the key to survining the MTC - making each day at least a little bit distinguishable from those which surround it.
Next adventure, on Thursday we went off-campus again to the dermatologist.  Nothing too scary, they said it is something called "lichen planus."  They don't know exactly why it happens, just that some people have it.  They didn't have a pamphlet for me at the doctor, so Mom, if you want to do a little research on it and let me know if there's anything important I might be missing out on.  The PA said really it wasn't preventable nor could I have caused it, but it is treatable.  So they gave me 25+ shots of steroids - one in each of the "lesions" (I call them "spots," but that's not very clinical) and told me that it should be sufficient to heal them, but I have a follow-up again in two weeks just in case there are any friends wanting to linger.
We discovered the second gym this week, in the basement of the bulding with the post office and bookstore, and my companions are totally sold on it because we can use headphones to watch the Mormon Messages channel or the Joseph Smith movie while we ellyptical.  There are also free weights, which I appreciate because the arm machines in the other gym are definitely built for men and don't adjust well to my shorter height and arm length.  But there is nowhere to run in that gym, which I find disappointing because I usually spend my gym time running around (and around, and around, and around - 10 laps to a mile) the track in the other gym.  So I miss that but we'll probably take turns.
Another really awesome thing that happened is that we got a baptismal commitment from one of our "investigators," Bonni, who had really been dragging her feet.  She didn't want to commit until she "knew more."  Well, we had a really, really great lesson with her the other day where she finally realized (because of the Spirit and some awesome verses in the Book of Mormon) that in order to be able to use the Atonement in her life, she needed to get baptized.  It's so hard to describe, but even though it was just my teacher pretending to be an investigator, it was like she was really coming to know the Savior for the first time.  I hope whenever the mission gets really hard that I am able to think back on the look on her face when she finally came to that realization, because it was just filled with light and joy and I pray to be able to see many others come to know their Savior once I am in Chile.
Our companionship gets to sit on the stand tonight in devotional, Hermana Frandsen is giving the closing prayer, so of course we're hoping the speaker is someone really impressive because then we would get to meet him.  But it really doesn't matter who speaks, we always love devotional and learn a lot.
Well, the time has run short.  Just one more quick thing - we are expecting our travel plans this week and we are walking around in this stupor of sheer terror.  We really need to get out of the MTC (like, so badly - things are getting really ridiculous.  The other day the elders spent 10-15 minutes measuring each other's "wingspans" on the whiteboard and my companions and I thought it was so great.  That would not have happened 8 weeks ago.  We're regressing into middle-schoolers because we just need SOME kind of an outlet!), but we DON'T feel ready to just move to South America.  Not at ALL!  But it's happening.  On November 12 I will be in Chile (got an email from someone in my mission office saying they were expecting to see us in Concepcion that day) and I'm soooooo scared.  Also, I really don't speak Spanish!  AAAAAAAAHHH!
Anyway, I've really got to go.  Love you all.  Keep on writing to me!  Read your Book of Mormon every day, and remember that Heavenly Father loves you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Six weeks down and 3 to go!  Sounds like she and her companions may be getting a little stir crazy as evidenced by the cereal antics you will read about.  Thanks for writing to her and keep the letters coming!


So, this week was just another week at the MTC.  Not too much to report, actually.  Maybe I will give you all a little glimpse into my life at the MTC, day-by-day.
Tuesdays are our favorite day!  (For you Likin´ Hikin´ Ladies, I have been insired by you to celebrate P-days with an MTC rendition of the "Friday" song!)  We have P-Day, then devotional, then District Meeting where we re-cap the devotional.  Last Tuesday´s devotional was another great one from Shayne M. Bowen of the 70 (spoke in Conference about losing a child).  I always love Tuesday devotionals!  Another thing we love about Tuesday is that, since it´s P-day, if we have extra time between dinner and devotional we get to watch Mormon Messages.  We also change our sheets, take long showers, go to the TEMPLE, visit the bookstore, and write as many letters as we possibly can!  (I am very slow at writing letters, so my companions usually get at least twice as many done as I do each P-day.)  Sometimes we eat at the temple, or take a little nap, or find other diverting activities (which are appropriate and all within MTC rules, of course).  TODAY was a VERY SPECIAL P-Day, because we finally acquired all the ingredients we needed for making Rice Krispies treats, and so this afternoon we were able to make them!  It was a very exciting moment.  I can't even tell you how many miracles have occurred which have allowed for us to pull this off.  Like, Hermana Frandsen's mom sending us a stick of butter in the mail without us even asking for it (she also sent bread, but I mean, she couldn't have known that we were really wondering how we were going to get butter for this project)!  And Anna's package of marshmallows arriving on a day when I really just needed a win.  People may have written US on their lists of "Things That Are Weird About the MTC" (we are even going to write ourselves on the list - we've gotten a little weird, here) when they saw us carrying several paper bowls of Rice Krispies out of the cafeteria, but that didn't matter to us because we had a VISION and we saw it through!  And the final miracle - we found a Gladware in the free box right before we started to make them, so we had something the perfect size for mixing and storing them. (Don't worry, we washed it first!)  Heavenly Father really loves me.
Wednesdays are one of our least favorite days for a couple of reasons:  1. It's the furthest day from P-day, and 2. All the new people come and even though we love new people, watching them getting dropped off at the curb kind of breaks our hearts a little.  We try not to watch, but it's actually "real hard" (an Hermana Frandsen saying) to avoid.  But tomorrow WE are going to be HOSTS, which means we will meet new sisters and take their bags to their room and take them to the Bookstore to get all their supplies and show them their classroom, etc., etc.  It means we will get out of class for a few hours.  I need to be sure I pray really hard to be able to be positive and excited for them, because they are probably scared silly and likely having one of the worst days of their lives.  But being hosts also means we are old, and that we will be leaving soon - AAAAH!
Thursdays we have a morning class and gym in the afternoon.  This Thursday my companions and I are going on a field trip to my follow-up appointment with the Dermatologist.  It's going to be really exciting.  We'll leave morning additional study a little early in order to eat lunch, then catch the shuttle to the doctor, and who knows how long we'll be gone.  It's gonna be great.  Then we'll have class again in the evening,
Fridays are great because they are almost the weekend and that means it's almost Sunday, which is almost P-Day!  We have personal study at 7, then breakfast, then gym.  Then we go to the TALL lab and learn Spanish using the MTC's language learning software.  Then we have more study time, then lunch at 12:30.  Then we have more study, class from 2:30 - 5:30, dinner, and class from 6:30-9:30.  Mondays and Wednesdays follow this schedule as well.
Saturdays are great because we have workshop in the afternoons and there we get to practice teaching in English.  We have morning class and afternoon gym again on Saturdays, and then the week is almost over!
Sundays we love.  We get to watch Music and the Spoken Word, have Relief Society (this week it was Sister Ann M. Dibb - 2nd Counselor in the General Young Women and President Monson's daughter), and then go on a walk to the temple.  Then we have District Meeting (Sunday School), and then Sacrament at 3 PM.  Sacrament is in Spanglish - Spanish hymns and prayers, and two short talks in Spanish from missionaries who are called from the congregation with no warning (though we are expected to write a talk each week on that week's assigned topic).  This week I sang a musical number - Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd, in Spanish - and Hermana Frandsen got called on to give a talk.  She did great!  Then at night we have Fireside (This week it was awesome because this MTC District President and his wife stood at the pulpit and taught together.  They were so sweet and it was a really effective way to teach.), and then we watch Church movies or old devotional talks until it's time to go back to our rooms.  We watched The Testaments again this week.  It's just too good to pass up!
Mondays are also awesome because they are almost P-Days!  Nothing too special about them except for that.
Anyway, that is my week.  This week was another hard and good one.  I cried a lot and prayed a lot and learned a lot.  I need to work harder on speaking Spanish ALL THE TIME (new rule in our district on Mon, Wed, Fri) and on being more humble and teachable.  I am not sick anymore, so no worrying.  I love you all.  Please write to me and know that I love you and that the gospel is true!
Hermana Burgess