Tuesday, January 22, 2013



Small tidbit about Chile:  I noticed when I first got here that when I would say "hola" to people as we walked down the street, they would often respond by saying "hola" twice.  I eventually came to realize that they do it because there are always two of us, and I guess they don´t want anyone to be left out.  So now I often find myself saying "hola" twice.

Also, we found out something interesting this week from one of our investigators.  Chillan, the city where we are serving, is the EXACT CENTER (the "ombligo," or bellybutton) of Chile!  There is a statue in "centro" which has a man pointing his finger downward at the exact center of the country!  How cool is that?  We HAD to go there and take pictures first thing this P-Day!

And beyond just being an interesting fact, being in the exact center of the country is, they say, also why we have such extreme temperatures here.  They say the heat and the cold "converge" here or something like that.  I don´t know if that´s scientifically correct, but it´s what they tell us!  :)

This week Hermana Bowns and I have been learning about potential.  We had a meeting with our district leader and one of our zone leaders this week, where we set some goals for how to better live up to our potential.  Elder Bracken (zone leader) reminded us that we will probably never in our lifetimes fully live up to our potentials, because we can´t be perfect at everything all the time.  But we can try to be a little better.  And in our missions we have an opportunity to try to live more up to our potential than we ever have before in our lives.  That´s why missions are so hard.  

And you know something else?  As you strive to fulfill your potential, your potential GROWS.  That´s another reason why 100% of your potential is something nobody can achieve!  But why not try to come as close as we possibly can?

There are many reasons why we might be living beneath our potentials.  It could be because the things we know we can or should change seem too difficult.  It could be because we are afraid.  It could be because we have experienced disappointment in the past and we don´t want to experience the same pain again.  And sometimes, it´s because we don´t even realize how great our potential is!

President Uchtdorf gave a talk in the Priesthood session in October 2011 about living up to our potential, and they recently released a Mormon Message which depicts a story he shared in that talk.  It is a current favorite of Hermana Bowns and I.  You can watch it here:  

It´s really awesome and really horrible all at the same time, isn´t it?  The music totally gets me, it´s just so heart-wrenching!  But I love what President Uchtdorf says, that we will be able to do ALL THINGS through Christ, who STRENGTHENS us.  The Savior has given us access to ALL the blessings on earth and in heaven through His great atoning sacrifice.  They are there, just waiting for us to rise to our potential to receive them.

Hermana Bowns shared with me a BYU devotional by Brad Wilcox that teaches the Atonement using a really great analogy - piano lessons.  Mom wants her child to have the gift of music, so she pays for piano lessons.  And what does she ask in return?  That the child PRACTICE.  Does his practicing repay his mother for the cost of the lessons?  No!  Does his mother ask for repayment in full if he misses a day of practice?  No!  But if he doesn´t practice, he cannot receive the gift of being able to play the piano.  The Atonement is like that.  Christ ALREADY PAID the WHOLE price, and all He asks in return is that we FOLLOW HIM.  That we PRACTICE the gospel and try every day to live up to our potentials to receive all the blessings in store for us.  We needn´t try to repay Him - we can´t.  But if we want them, the blessings are there.  We just need to try to live up to our potentials!

So, your commitment this week is to choose ONE small goal that you can work on in order to more fully live up to your potential.  Hermana Bowns and I are doing the same!  President Uchtdorf gives some great ideas for that if you read his full discourse here:

Well, my time for this week is gone again.  Remember that I love you all and I am so grateful for all your support and love.


Hermana Burgess

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