Friday, December 30, 2011

What Up!

Hey thanks a bunch for your email Dad that was good. I wish I could read that book. The atonement just blows my mind. I have had quite a few deep conversations with some elders here but they are usually on the same level of understanding as me so its difficult. I just wish I had something that laid it out perfectly. So if that book isn't a huge one you should send it to me when you are done and I can read it really quickly. Anyway it was good hearing from you guys during the week. This week has just flown by. It must be because of the holidays. I am really enjoying that here. I have like big events to look forward to here. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then New Years. They are like big checkpoints in the MTC experience.

So since this week went by fast I can't really recall anything major happening. I think I am still just blown away by Christmas. I never got to tell you like the other half of what he (Elder Bednar) said. I don't really remember what I left off at on my last email, but its all good anyway. So he told us not to be Cookie Monsters and even made the noises that the cookie monster makes. He told us that the spirit of the cookie monster is the natural man in us that wants only for ourselves and wants it now, like the monster with cookies. Using this he talked about how we need to learn to be more selfless. He also taught that it is important to learn the true characteristics of Christ and to follow them. This really stuck out to me because, in my patriarchal blessing it talks about how I should really be striving to learn of Christ in that way so I can strive to emulate the man he was. I've made it a goal to really study Him. Jesus the Christ is a WONDERFUL book. It's long, but I eat that up.
The other part he shared was what is true conversion. I think we could talk for days on that subject. Are we really converted to the gospel of Christ? Go ahead and ask yourself that. I would have to say no. I obviously have faith in him and I want to strive to be like him, but am I completely converted to him? It's really hard to explain, but it definitely gets you thinking. Especially with the fact that I am supposed to go out and convert these people to the gospel. The thing that I have learned or think I have learned is that I may not be COMPLETELY converted, but I am definitely on track to it. It's more like we are all slowly but surely converting, and my job as a missionary is to get the peeps of NC to start their journey to full conversion and that starts with faith, repentance, and baptism. I can't have in my mind that baptism is the ultimate goal. I've noticed that with a lot of missionaries they teach their investigators with just the ultimate goal of baptism and then they are set. But the thing is that if we teach with the ultimate goal being eternal life with our Father in Heaven then I think the step of baptism shouldn't be as scary or crazy to these investigators. I don't know myabe I'm just trying to think too hard. Tell me what you think. :)
Anyway for these deep questions or conversations I have taken a challenge by Elder Bednar. He said that we should take just One question at a time and read the BOM with only that question in mind. Read, ponder, pray, and then write a short summary of what you have learned. He promised us that we will receive personal revelation like no other, and that by the time we are his age we should have like 400 BOM's in our own personal library each with a different subject/question that they are dedicated to. I'm pretty excited. I am really being fed up here and it's not by the nasty food.
Well I love you all very much. Keep the love coming this way. Hey can you send me the address to my mission home, I didn't write it down or bring it with me. Oh and it is really nice hearing about Russell. Well I hope everyone is nice and healthy. You guys are the best and if you have any materials that you think can help me, just send them on over. (Along with some pepsi and maybe some fruit snacks. Food here is really getting boring.) :)
Con todo mi corazone,
Elder Burnham.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pictures from the MTC

Precious memories...

A strong supportive hug to help you through it all...

A long tender hug to make you feel loved the most...

A protective hug from a Big Brother...

The Provo, Utah Temple

Supportive friends at BYU

Christmas Give


MMMMMUUUUUAAAAAHHHHH. There is your virtual kiss. :) Hey tell the Elders thank you for the advice. I don't know Ingold, but thanks anyway. I'm guessing the other elders have been transferred by now. Anyway I think Christmas for both of us were very relaxed and awesome. But I'm certain that my sacrament meeting destroys yours. We all had one big meeting in the gym and there were 4 sacrament tables to pass out to the whole MTC. Then we had Elder Bednar speak and blow our minds. He literally changed my entire life. He spoke on our savior of course, but it was amazing. I wish you guys could have heard it. I'm not joking when I say he literally changed my life. He started off by saying that it is much more important that we don't remember what he says but what we feel as he speaks. Our work is about what we are and what we do, not what we say. He said that Preach My Gospel is not a manual, but something we all should become. Ryan focus on that and you will be a powerhouse missionary. Yo prometo.
Then he really started blowing our minds on the Savior. He quoted Neil Maxwell saying, "There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the character of Christ." What does that really mean? This really hit me because in my patriarchal blessing it talks a lot about how I need to really discover the characteristics of Christ so I can emulate the type of man he was.
So here's the golden question, what is the character of Christ. There are so many answers to that, but what Bednar spoke about hit me so hard and really stuck out to me. He said the Character of Christ is that He turns out compassion when the natural man would turn in. What is the natural man. We are and it is an enemy to God. All the things Christ did and went through and not once did he turn in and become selfish. He went on to give examples of modern day experiences of people that have shown that, but that is a question that we need to be able to ask ourselves. How can we not fall into the state of the natural man.
I have learned that in our lives we make a lot of TURNS, not just IN. We turn away from God when we sin, and we reTURN to him when we repent. As we go through life we all need to learn to look up and around and not just forward because we should want to be like Christ and only turn outward. He went on to talk a lot more about life changing things that maybe I'll write to you soon, but that was so powerful I had to share.
Well family, I love you all very much and I hope Christmas is just wonderful. One more thing, Elder Bednar left us with a blessing and said that if we will continue to feast on these words and strive to know more we will NEVER fall away. Well my time is running out. I love you all. Have a very Merry Christmas!!! Keep the lovin' coming. :)
Elder Burnham

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hey from Elder Burnham

Its been a good and bad week. I have learned a lot and felt a lot. First off thank you again for the package. It was very needed. I'm a little bummed there was no Pepsi. :) But hey I love you so much for it. Um maybe in my next one there will be. ;) Also I hope for Christmas I'm not being sent anything that I'll have to pack. Besides the shirts I need and maybe some more skinny ties. (hint) Hahahaha I love you guys. I'll be sending some pics soon. I'll send you guys some hard copies that I printed out and I'll just send Jenni the SD card. sound good?
Well its definitely starting to get colder here and I hate it. It has snowed a few times, but nothing has stuck. Are you guys freezing over there yet? It's probably still around 65 for you guys, huh? Lucky butts. I'm glad you guys went to the grave. I hope it was absolutely soooo much fun. Sounds like you guys actually had quite the eventful week. I hope you are all starting to feel better now. I'm sure God is answering prayers, in fact I know it because I haven't gotten sick at all. No signs of anything.
Oh, um Russell leaves this Monday. It's so crazy. I asked him yesterday if he is ready to get out there and he feels ready, which is awesome. I was expecting a different answer, but I am super happy that he feels completely prepared to bring others unto Christ. And in Spanish at that. I'm proud of him. He's been a great example for me even here. I'm glad I get to see him as often as I do. Well I hope Ryan is doing well in wrestling, and Sara in dancing. Keep me posted on how those are turning out. Ryan, did I win fantasy football? Also I still need those addresses from Ryan. I got Ben's but I need Wilson's. Thanks.
Oh, I got all those great letters from the Relief Society and from the Remington's thing. I now hold the record for most letters in a day at 16. I don't really have time to write everyone back, so Dad you want to thank everyone for me for there great support next Sunday. Just let everyone know I love them and I am extremely grateful for all that they do for me and my family. Especially in this Christmas season. Spending Christmas here is going to be weird, but I'll be okay. Except the food will probably taste bad again. Esta Bien.
Well on the spiritual side I have discovered how amazingly important 1.The Atonement 2.The Plan of Salvation 3.Reading the Book Of Mormon can be for anyone in any situation. I have never felt the spirit so strong while studying these before. The crazy thing is that even though I have grown up with this stuff, I don't know that I will ever fully understand them. The atonement is absolutely amazing, but it is so complex. I don't know that anyone fully understands what exactly our Savior did for us in that garden. Sure we have a good grasp on it, but we don't fully understand. I really want to unlock all the mysteries of that great gift that our Savior gave to us. One of the biggest things we should understand is that the atonement was absolutely necessary, but it was still a gift in a sense. And we NEED to use it. I think its true that for most people they think of repenting and having to use the atonement as a scary thing. I for sure thought that. But the thing is that we should be so grateful to be able to use it toda dia, cada dia. Talking with our Father in Heaven and asking for forgiveness, and wanting to be perfect should be a good and positive thing. Sure we will feel guilt for screwing up, but we should definitely not be scared to use what our Eternal Father has given us. I never thought to ask for forgiveness for my stupidity so often. Just things like cutting someone off, or making fun of a person, or anything small like that. God understands we aren't perfect, but why aren't we striving to be. Never before in my life has perfection seemed actually reachable until now. I know that I'll never come close, but slowly I can see myself wanting to at least inch my way there. And someday it can happen. We should definitely have that perspective. I don't think we realize what we have been given. At least I didn't completely understand. This MTC is opening my eyes. Let me rephrase that, this MTC is forcing my eyes open with duct tape and pouring light right into them. It is crazy. I may have grown accustom to it here at the MTC but I know that the Holy Ghost is with me at all times, because even though I don't feel a burning sensation 100%of the day, I know that without it, I would not be understanding or feeling or learning what I am now. That is why I am excited to share this with others. I wish everyone could feel this. It's mind blowing.
Well I wish you all a merry Christmas. I love you guys so much. Tell Brianne over the phone that I love her a lot too. Thanks for everything. Keep the letters coming. Oh and if you ever just come across something cool, Dear Elder me. It's free!!! And getting mail is still the best thing ever. Keep up the good work. You guys are great.
Amor con todo mi corazon,
Elder Burnham.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Prayer: Complicated and Mysterious

Hey, it's your favorite missionary. ;) Thanks so much for the package. It was really needed. I love you so much. Anyway I wish I had more of things to say, but not too much has happened. I'll see what I can spit out, or at least remember. I'll use my journal to cheat. Also I'm sorry I don't get to call this Christmas. There are just too many elders and too few phones here. Pero, Esta Bien!! Um... the language is coming alright. I wonder if I'll ever master it, but I'm doing okay. Dad, la idioma esta muy dificil pero, yo estoy entendiendo muy rapido. Yo pienso. :) I have gained three pounds, but I feel like it is in my head. But I am starting to work out more during gym time now instead of just messing around playing basketball. I swear I am the only one in my district that doesn't average two packages a week. It's ridiculous. Christmas is going to be crazy here. I have been taking pics and will send some to you guys soon, or I guess i'll send the SD card to Jenni and she can send stuff to you or something. No se ahora. I still would like to see how my pics turned out, Por Favor!
Okay now for the good stuff I guess. Not much is happening here, but I am learning so freaking much. Oh before that, I got a haircut today and it is way short and you know how I am about that, but afterwards I just didn't care. It was strange. I guess being a missionary does that to you. Like I don't really care how I look. I mean I'm not going out looking slobbish because I'm still a missionary, but I don't know. I just don't care anymore. The apostles have said that we have to look this way therefore, if a new rule came out that we had to wear a pink tutu and one earring on the right ear, I would do it. This whole dedicating your life to God thing is pretty crazy, eh? Anyway, back to what I've learned. I've found or others have found for me so many weaknesses of mine. One of them is patience, but I knew about that one. I swear my companion is just like Ryan in so many ways. But I mean that in both the good and the bad ways. It's crazy. And then when I look at the other companerizmos in my district, It just increases my faith in the divine hand that takes part in setting this work up. It's amazing. Second I have been brutally hit with a wave of I suck at teaching new investigators because I want to go deep into doctrine, and give them everything all at once. I am learning slowly, but surely that I need to simplify my teaching. I'm learning so much. Es Loco!!! I never thought about how much better it is just to simplify a lesson. Another problem I had that I didn't realize was that I thought I was pushing my investigator too hard to follow up on our invitations to read or pray or whatever, but it turns out I don't push hard enough. For ejemplo, we had an investigator read with us and we taught about the Book Of Mormon and testified and got him to be interested in it and he started reading and everything was great, but when I tried to get him to pray with us he said maybe later after he reads more. Well I rationalized that and let it go and just thought maybe he'll do it next time. Well I told my teacher about that later on and he said that I should have worked harder and been persistent in getting him to pray. I felt like crap, but when he explained it it made perfect sense. See, I don't think we realize how important it is that we basically force our investigators to talk with there heavenly father. In fact there is zero conversion process without prayer. Prayer is seriously the other cornerstone of our religion. Without prayer nothing is possible in what I am trying to do. I wish I had known more about this before I taught him. But i guess it's better I learn that out here then in the field. Gosh I never thought so hard about the basics of religion. But It just amazes me. Like with prayer, how complicated and mysterious it is, but at the same time how simple and powerful it is. This is crazy. Anyway, that was one of my awesome lessons this week. Oh and I have successfully memorized the first vision in Spanish. I feel so accomplished. :)
Well I wish I could think of more to tell you. I love you guys so much. Keep the dear elders and packages coming. It's all we missionaries look forward to. :) Yo amo ustedes, mucho!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nephi VS Orange Juice

Thanks for sending the package. I have yet to get it, but thanks anyway. :) OH about the scripture mastery cards, don't worry about it. They were like 50 cents here so i just got one. Well nothing exciting has really happened here except for some of the amazing lessons I have been in. Mi Maestro es muy intelligente y El tiene mucho Espiritu en nuestros lecciones. Yo quiero Hermano Brown. (thats his name.) Yesterday he had us read together in first nephi verse by verse as a district and we didn't even get past the second chapter because of the amazing conversion (conversations?) we had. We talked for about 45 minutes on the amazing fact that just by reading the BOM we can receive a butt load of personal revelation. If you notice in the first part of it Nephi talks about how his father was praying and then saw a vision and in his vision he was given a book. Then by reading that book he saw so much more. I never realized that even in the first chapter that we read over and over again has so much personal application. Also we can relate the fact that they left all they had for the wilderness to our lives. I believe that this is the wilderness in a sense. I'm giving up everything to follow the lord. The thing is that so many people do it throughout there lives because of some reason or another, but the key is that do they do it and stick with it. I have entered the wilderness by going on a mission, but so did Laman and Lemuel. They were obedient eventually and did all that was asked of them eventually. So are we entering the wilderness like them or Nephi. I guess what I'm saying and what I learned is that its what we do after the wilderness that counts. It's good that we are obedient, but are we going to bring jerusalem with us and try to recreate what we were told to leave or are we going to permanently leave that crap behind. I never thought of it this way, but I guess that's why we learn the things we learn here. All I know is that my Teacher blows my mind every day. I love that guy. Sorry Brianne, he is already married. :) I wish every one could witness his lessons. I swear he will be an apostle some day.
Well I felt like sharing that. So um...Yo tengo bueno salud. Es muy frijo aqui. But I'm staying warm and I drink a lot of cranberry juice. :) There are quite a bit of Christmas lights up here and a small nativity scene in the courtyard, but that's about it. I have only seen like two Christmas packages, and my companion seems to get like two a week from his family and girlfriend. Punk! His family definitely loves him. ;) I just know that my family doesn't need to send me stuff for me to know it, right? Um, Russell leaves just after Christmas I believe. I haven't taken too many pictures, but I'll send you some when I take some more. You know me and pictures aren't the best of friends. If you can send me pictures, I'd like to see...well the ones of me, and then any that Brianne sends and my teacher also said it would be a good idea to have a small pic of your family that you can show people out in the field. Something that can fit in like the cover of my small hymnal. Well its great here!!! Let me tell you, I haven't done so much of 3 things. 1. Read so much. I think I have Alex Walker beat. 2. Felt the spirit so much. 3. Go to the bathroom. The food here does things to every ones bowels, I can't explain it. Ryan, stay away from the OJ when you get here. Well if I think of something else to tell you maybe I'll sneak some more in another email. I love you guys. And I hope all is well. Yo se que la Iglesia es verdadero y nuestro Padre Celestial tiene mucho amor para nosotros. Yo Amor Ustedes.
Finishing Strong,
Elder Burnham