Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry Christmas

I sure hope I hear from you before my time runs out. I was so happy to hear from you and to read those heartfelt emails. I am really blessed to have such a loving family. I guess I am also glad I was able to bring the spirit into the home with a simple testimony. That helps build my testimony right there in itself. Especially since y'all couldn't really understand what I was saying and Dad had to translate. I am glad he knew what I was saying and if not, the spirit filled in. Well since I just called y'all I guess I kind of know what is going on except for the new baby girl. I hope all is well. If they have a name tell me that as well. 

So I have included some pictures from Christmas that you might be impressed with. The first couple are of Christmas day. The first one  is a gift the members got me and my wonderful cheeser smiling at the camera. The food pictures are what Elder Young and I cooked for dinner since no members invited us over. We didn't complain. We actually had a good time getting to know one another through this experience. :)
 
 The next picture is of a service project we kind of got into. We have an investigator who had to move across the street to another apartment. Well this man only has one leg and is pretty old so he can't really move anything. Well he did have two wheelchairs and two willing missionaries. So as you can see that one picture is of us balancing his dining room table on two chairs. There are many other balancing acts that followed. :) It was pretty impressive what we got done with just two wheelchairs. The last picture is obviously of Elder Young and I. Elder Young is a very smart, dedicated, hard-working missionary. I am very lucky to be able to train such a good Elder. He struggles with Spanish, but his desire to work and do missionary work makes up it. We have had some good times together just within the two weeks. We have seen a lot of miracles this past week. These include new investigators, member help, spiritual lessons, and much more. We are definitely being blessed out here. I love the work and I love y'all. I sure hope life is going well and I hope Jenni is doing well also. I love you very much. Thank you for everything. 


Con Amor, 
Elder Burnham

P.S.  I am now following up with Ryan!!!! I sure hope he was able to read because he already failed at updating me on it. :) I love you Ryan. Keep working hard and I hope you will recommit to updating me on your reading. At least let me know how it goes in your next snail mail letter. Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxooxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holy Cow!!!

What in the world is happening over there? I can't believe Russell is home! Where in the world did this tumor come from? I must say that I am super glad to hear he is okay. When he goes back does he have to stay out a little longer in the mission field or is this going to be as if he never left? I can't believe that boy gets to be home for Christmas. I am a little jealous that he gets to do that and be there for all those boys going through the temple, but I am glad he gets to be there to give tips and really let them know how amazing it is out here.
Well I am also glad y'all are doing really well too. Sounds like it has been a hectic week, but hopefully it turned out wonderfully, which it sounds like it did. I wish I had some advice for that exchange student. It does kind of bug me that he would come to experience such a thing in his life and he doesn't want to get out and do everything he can. I would be having a field day out here in America. i sure hope that he comes to the reality of his situation soon. So if y'all are leaving on the 22nd I will try to send another letter to Ryan by then at the house. So look for it. Well as for me here in Wallace we had a good week. We had a Christmas party/farewell party for a miembra here that is leaving for her mission to Canada. It was a really good activity with lots of good food, and the spirit was definitely present. Some family members of the sister bore their testimony on the work she will be doing and it was amazing how strong the spirit was in there. We were glad to have inactive members show up and nonmembers. It was a good evening. Then yesterday at church we had to speak on Christmas because two speakers didn't show up, so I came up with a talk out of nowhere on Christmas here in America. I guess it went alright. After that we booked it to Mt. Zion for the baptism of Sandra . She is technically out of our area, but since there aren't any missionaries in that area we got permission to teach her. You can see the pictures of her and her husband who baptized her. It was an amazing service and I have never seen such an awesome baptism performed by anyone. Terry is hilarious! (That's her husband.)

 






 Anyway other than that we had a very regular week. We do have quite a few more potentials, but we will see how it goes.
The other picture is the Rivenbark home. They are some members that we basically decorated their house for them this last week. So we did get some Christmas decorating in. It was a good time though.
Alright so some big news! Elder Beecroft will be getting transferred tomorrow and I will be going with him to pick up my greenie. Yes, I am training a new elder. I can't say I am excited about it because I am not the biggest fan of the training schedule, but it should be interesting and I am sure I will learn a lot myself. I pray for the best and that we as a new companionship do well. You will obviously be posted on that. So when I call maybe y'all can say hi.
Speaking of that I am assuming we will probably call later in the evening, but I'm not sure, so be prepared for that. Plus I don't think I'll be able to set anything up next week because I doubt the library will be open. So let's just plan around the evening time here, like 6-9 somewhere. If not I'll just call y'all over and over until I get an answer, or I'll just talk to my companion's family. :)
Well family, I love you very much. I hope all is well, and I will for sure keep everyone in my prayers. Thank you for everything.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, December 10, 2012

Regocijaos, Jesus nacio!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! Alright so I'll start out with a miracle. Thanks to a wonderful little gift I received from my loving parents Elder Beecroft and I have made some progress. This last week we had an appointment in Rose Hill, a 15 minute drive from Wallace, and we decided that we would go up a little early and bike around the area to do some finding. Well we hooked up the bikes to the rack and drove up there, parked by a fire station, and got on pedaling. Well like I said, thanks to a GPS we found an inactive man who hasn't been visited in a long time. His house was kind of odd and thanks to the GPS we were lead straight to it. Anyway this man is from Honduras and was baptized a long time ago back there, so when he came here it was a little rough making adjustments in the church. Well we just knocked on the door and they let us right in and it was kind of awkward because everyone inside just stared at us waiting for us to say something. It just seemed awkward because we had no idea who was who and what the story was behind the family. Well I broke the ice and found out everyone's name and who was and wasn't a member and all that good stuff. Well it turns out that the man is the only member in that family, he has 7 children, but four are from a previous marriage and don't live with him. The other three are with him and his wife that have been married for the past 8 years. Well I made a horrible mistake and forgot my Libro de Mormon in the car. I was stressing out because I knew they needed a message that was strong and my companion was speaking up in Spanish either. Well I noticed a laptop on the couch. I asked if they had internet and began to help them through the church website to watch a wonderful video on the youth site for the church. We then watched the video of the two kids that talk about their role in the dedication of the El Salvadorian temple and how it brought their parents back into the church and eventually to be sealed. He loved it and we were soon talking about eternal families and if that is something he wanted to share with this family that he has never even shared the gospel with. His own wife hadn't ever even heard of the "Mormons" before. Well the spirit was there and even though I was stressed at first, it went really well and now we will be teaching their family tomorrow in fact. Anyway thank you so much for the GPS. It has been a huge help.
 
Alright, well Mom... I am doing very well as you can see, it has actually been pretty warm out here the last couple of days, I can't afford to be anything other than exactly obedient, this mission doesn't allow anything other than exact obedience thanks to President Cotterell, and of course I am preaching with boldness. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too bold. It is an art to be able to find the perfect balance between pure love and boldness. We can't be too loving to where we are pushovers, and we can't be too bold to where we are overbearing. Part of missionary work is definitely finding the happy medium and ultimately learning how to teach like the Savior did. That is why we have Preach My Gospel. :)  

So I am super happy to hear there have been some new convert baptisms. I was trying to think back at my life in the Modesto First Ward and I can't really remember that many convert baptisms. It seems like we struggled in that area. It sounds like things are changing though and I sure plan on helping in any way I can when I get back for those few months. I also wish I could meet these exchange students and be their friends. I hope Ryan has started his mission right there at home with Tony. Oh hey y'all should watch the new Emmanuel music video on mormonchannel.org featuring the Piano Guys. Sara you need to YouTube the Piano Guys and watch some of there stuff and tell me about them. Some members here told us they are super good and are crazy good with the piano and cello. They are why you need to keep practicing. I wish I had musical talent like that. :) Well family I know y'all know I love you, but I'll say it again. Les Amo!!!! Keep up the good work and thank you so much for everything. I sure hope life is treating you well. Feliz Navidad! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Miracles and Blessings


I love my family! I have definitely been blessed this week and I am seeing more and more miracles every week. We didn't even reach all the goals we wanted to, but we saw miracles. Mom, that testimony was wonderful. This week was quite the roller coaster of emotions. We had a lot of appointments fall through, but thanks to good backup plans we were able to see miracles and continue to help new people feel the spirit and hear the gospel. Yes, member missionary work is still ridiculously tough out here, but we were able to receive help where we needed it. I can't really say anything super amazing even happened this week except we got into doors. We added 4 more investigators to the teaching pool which is spectacular out here. Two of them are a young family. S___ is the mothers name and D___ is her 8 year old son. The father is in prison and she really wants to know more about the church. She was telling us how her mom is Jehovah's Witness and she just never agreed with their beliefs and didn't want to get baptized. We talked about the restoration and committed her to be baptized. We have only taught her once so we will see how it goes, but she is really interested so far. She was funny because at first all she wanted to discuss was our beliefs compared to the Jehovah's Witness. She wanted to know what we believed about blood transfusions and celebrating holidays and all that. I think she is searching for somewhere that will bless her family and not seem so crazy to her. Unfortunately I didn't have any doctrine to back up the whole blood transfusion thing, I think I explained it alright. She is a funny lady and we are super excited to see how things go and this week should only be better. 

So we got to watch the Christmas devotional last night which was wonderful. I love Christmas time and it is wonderful out here in this small town setting. The town goes all out and there are activities and parades and flea markets and just busy people during the holidays. It is pretty neat and I always think about that one old town place (Sutter Creek) we would go to after visiting the grave sites of grandma and grandpa. Mom, would love it here and we will definitely have to come back to visit so y'all can see what I'm talking about. 
Well I can't really think of much else to tell you, but I love you. It is so good to hear that the family is doing well. I pray for all of you. How's Aunt Laurie and her man? How's Brianne and college? How's Ryan's preparation going? Keep me posted. Thanks for everything. I love y'all to death. 
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving



So I guess I will start by answering all your questions. Also I am glad to hear that the holidays were so great for everyone. Alright yes, I am in a small branch of mostly English speakers with a few Hispanics that we have to translate for every week.  I am currently trying to change those things. I am trying to bring in more Hispanics and trying to get two other kids to translate so Elder Beecroft and I can sit within the congregation with investigators. The next closest missionaries are either in Clinton or Wilmington i think. Elder Miller is actually in Clinton, but I don't know if he is closer or the zone leaders in Wilmington. I have not yet had to work with sister missionaries or had the privilege to do so, however you want to look at it. :) We haven't even had sisters in any of my districts. There aren't even any Spanish speaking sisters in our mission so I don't know if I will ever serve around many of them. Um, Elder Beecroft is from Taylor, Arizona, but he also lived in St. George for a while. He is the oldest child of 5 where there are 4 boys and one girl right in the middle. Also his two youngest brothers are twins. His dad is a banker or something like that and so far that is all I really know. Like I said he is a pretty quiet elder and likes to keep to himself. I think that's why I am serving with him. He has had three companions that are all pretty close to the same person I am and we are slowly, but surely prying open his shell. :) He is about 6 ft. I think, but you can estimate that from the picture I sent. Yes I am pretty sure that is our house. It is pretty large for missionaries with a ton of space and high ceilings. I love the place we stay in here. Wallace is pretty rural and all the people have always been small town/country folk so they are a lot like Mt. Olive. I am going crazy with the fact that there is literally nothing to do here. We are lucky we have fast food joints. There might only be one park around us and the church doesn't have a basketball court to shoot hoops on. It's all good though. Oh speaking of basketball, yall will never guess who I met. I sat and talked with Michael Jordan's aunt on Thanksgiving day. She is actually a member of the branch and the sweetest old lady. Her older brother is Michael's dad. She is super funny and it was fun talking to her about life. Anyway, I am reading a ton which I guess is good. I have now read Jesus the Christ three times. So this past Sunday we had about thirty five or so people show up to church. It was a rough Sunday and I was a little frustrated with how it went. We had a punk teenager messing around during sacrament meeting and back talking a sister in the ward which everyone could notice due to the size of the building we meet in. One sister gave a talk and she can't even speak English  but she tried anyway and her husband ended up going up there and she kind of argued with him to let her keep trying. She should have just given it in Spanish and let one of us translate for her at the pulpit. It was just an unfortunate sight. the church is so different out here in the East coast and even more in a small branch on the East coast. After church we went home and finished our studies and stuff like that and then we had an appointment and about an hour before the appointment our branch mission leader who was supposed to take us told us he couldn't go and didn't have any excuse. My problem is this man hasn't helped the missionaries out for almost 5 months and he doesn't do anything  I have been a missionary long enough to know when someone is just lazy and doesn't want to help. He is an RM too and has only been home for about 3 years. It is just frustrating to see a Preach My Gospel missionary act like that. Anyway now that i have vented. This branch has a lot more elderly than youngens. That is how small town areas are though. Everyone is kin also so that makes things fun. I can't really think of anything that anyone in the branch needs or what special needs they may have. Everyone here is pretty blessed under the circumstances. What I need though is a GPS for the work here. I have pretty much everything else necessary to really be effective at teaching, but getting around places here isn't the easiest. That is definitely something Ryan should call the mission office about. He should ask about whether or not he will be doing a lot of driving there and if that is the case he should definitely get one too or at least be ready to get one when he gets out there because he may get lucky and all his companions could have one like I did up until now. 

Well family this week has been full of miracles over here. We have definitely been blessed with new investigators and members having non-members in their homes so we can teach them. We did realize that most our help comes from inactive members, but it is better than nothing. These in-actives have a lot of nonmember friends and we are finding them. I wish the active ones would start inviting the people they know. Being out here on a mission has really opened my eyes to missionary work and I understand the doctrine behind it which has change my attitude and behavior about it. I wish everyone could understand this. Exciting members is one of the hardest things to do, besides getting investigators to church. If there was some miracle way to excite every member to do missionary work I would be so happy. Until we find that secret out I guess I am stuck where I am at. For now I send an invitation out to all: Read the Book of Mormon and find one story in there that you can retell to any nonmember friend. Just tell it to someone like you just barely read the greatest novel ever written and you want to share it. Tell how amazing Ammon was at cutting off arms or something and then explain how he did it just because he knew it would help him show the power of God to a people that didn't know God even existed. Find someway to flood the world with the book and run with it. Man, I was a pretty lame member missionary before my mission, but I didn't understand then what I do now. I know this work is the most important work we can be a part of in this day. There is nothing greater then being out working to save souls, to bring the lost sheep home. We have the truth and the blessings that it brings, why are we selfishly keeping it to ourselves? 
Family, I love you all and I am grateful for all you do. This is the best time of the year and I know I am going to be trunky thinking about the holidays back at home, but I am glad i am doing what I am doing. I hope yall have a wonderful week. Talk to you later. 
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ryan's Mission Call

Elder Burnham's younger brother Ryan got his mission call yesterday and will be serving in the Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Mission. He will report to the Missionary Training Center on February 20th 2013!

We are so excited for you Ryan and I know that many blessings will come with 2 great Elders serving the Lord!


Transfer to Wallace

Map of Wallace


Wallace, NC


I am no longer in the wonderful town of the pickles, but have moved to an even more country area. Wallace is my new home and just in the day and a half that I have been here I am already in love with the place. It is very much more country, but it is a booming area and I am super excited to be here. The field is white and ready to harvest. My new companion is Elder Beecroft from Arizona. He has just finished his training and I am his follow up trainer. This is his third transfer out and he is still very green. He is very humble and soft spoken and I am going to have a good time with him. On the ride out to Wallace from the transfer meeting the member that brought me out here told me that I have the job of getting Elder Beecroft to open up and be more confident. He speaks pretty quite around people and just isn't the biggest talker at all. When we are alone in the house/apartment thing he reminds me a lot of Ben, but with more worldly knowledge about stuff like music and actors and things. It's going to be a good time. I bet I only get him for one transfer though because it will be a good time. There is no growth without discomfort so I won't get to be too comfortable before something jabs me in the side. 
So yes, I do miss Mt. Olive especially since it was my home for the last 6 months. I really love the people there and I sure hope I can build those same type of relationships with the people here. This is the closest I will get to the beach as a spanish missionary and I still may never see the water. The 4-man in Mt. olive was always really fun and now that I am back to just the two of us it is weird not having the extra people to talk to during down time. I know they miss me over there too.  It will be interesting to see how a lot of these companions of mine turn out.


 When I get home the ward will be so different. I can't believe Ryan is almost going to be receiving his call to China soon. I really do feel that he could go  to Asia somewhere. I am so excited. I wish we could skype so I could watch it or something. This is so crazy. Is there any news on whether or not Olivia has actually decided to go or not. She told me in her last letter to me that she was going to think about it some more. Missions are going to start booming. 
So the holidays are coming up and being here in the country is really helping me see I need some help. I now have a really young companion who doesn't know the area too well and I could be training soon also, soooo I just wanted to put in a wish for a GPS. My area is huge and I am not going to be able to work out here to effectively on the maps we have. There are too many places I can't get to just by these horrible maps we have. I just wanted to put on a wish list for a small Garmin GPS which I have seen do a lot of good out here. Oh also due to crazy hectic mail time of the holidays the mission has asked us to give you our actual street address so that mail just goes straight there and doesn't flood the office full of packages. 
So my address is now 211 S. Orange St. Wallace, NC 28466 
Well my family, I love you all to death and I am glad to see everyone is doing well. I sure hope Ryan got my latest letter. I love it out here and I have a lot of work to do in this new area. I also hope Sara's knees heal up fast. Yall are in my prayers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No Storm Here



 Hello family. This week has flown by for us over here. Everyday seemed to only last a few hours. We are now starting the last week of this transfer which means that I could very well be leaving next Tuesday which I feel is a very big possibility. The storm from up north did not do much of anything over here. I think western Carolina got a little bit of extra snow, but besides a small drop in degrees around here we are safe. I am coming down with a little bit of a sore throat, but it is nothing bad. I guess yall were inspired when you sent me that zicam stuff. Other than that not too many different things took place this week. Elder Goodwin and I did see a lot of miracles though. So now that I have been here in Mt. Olive for 6 months I have done and been just about everywhere when it comes to finding. Well after some planning and seeking revelation I decided that we should look into teaching English as a second language. My companion and I felt that that was a right thing to do, so off we went to making fliers and going to all the tiendas around this area to put up the word. Well that very same evening we got a call for a man who was interested and was looking for details on direction. Well we teach english now every Friday and last Friday was our first lesson. A lot of members said they wanted to come, but none of them could. Well we waited a little while at the church hoping and sure enough a Hispanic couple showed up. I have never seen them before and chances are we would have never found them any other way. Well we had a super good lesson teaching them basic English and how to introduce themselves and then we left them with Gospel of Christ pamphlets to read in both English and Spanish. They were thrilled to be learning and I felt we did a really good job. It definitely feels a little weird treating grown adults as kindergartner's, but it is so nice to teach people something that they actually want to learn. Slowly but surely we will incorporate more gospel principles and hopefully the spirit will help us with that side of the teaching. They also were extremely eager to invite all their friends and family and since that class we have received a few more calls. We are hoping to have a booming class this Friday. We have decided that instead of going to find the Hispanics we are going to bring them to us

.
Well besides that wonderful event we didn't have too much happen. We did go to the ward trunk 'r' treat which was a huge success and we met a lot of non members. In the pics you can see how creative Mt. Olive members are. :) The election buzz out here is huge. It is almost scary to hear how many people talk about the stress that the country is going through over this election. I'm glad I was able to vote in it. I know this week is going to be full of political stuff as the results start rolling in. It is crazy that I am a missionary during probably the most important election in American history.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham
 
Also I can't believe it has been a year. It goes way too fast!!!! Love ya

Monday, October 29, 2012

No Bad Weather Here

This week seemed to fly by today. First of all we have gotten a lot of members telling us that we should be careful and that the storm may keep us inside, but so far all we have gotten is a little wind. It is starting to cool down, but really over here you wouldn't even know there was a hurricane hitting up north. I hear it is supposed to tear through New York. That must be exciting. We are doing great down here. I have heard a couple member say that they couldn't care less if New York got hit bad, those crazy Yankees. Gotta love the south. :) Mom, the suit should show up on the Internet by now. I got it at Belk, it is bigger, it is a dark blue, and it makes me look pretty darn gorgeous. Thanks to birthday mail, and holidays and stuff happening I have been kind of slow at getting snail mail out. I am trying my best though so that is why pictures haven't been sent yet. Thank you so much for the package by the way. It was funny to see those pasta sides in there. Those are pretty much one of the most popular foods that we as poor missionaries eat. Those emails were super good to read also. Thank you for everything.
This week was really good all the way around. We have been doing a lot of work with less actives, which is usually in English since there are only like 6 Spanish members here. It is really rough work, but we are doing our best. We just found two new investigators and set another baptismal date, which we are excited about even though I will probably get transferred before that happens, but that's okay. Another big thing we are starting this week is Elder Goodwin and I have put up fliers everywhere throughout the local tiendas to start up an English class. We will be teaching English to Hispanics every Friday at 7p.m. We aren't exactly sure how well of a turn out we will get, but we have already gotten calls from people that saw them in the tiendas and want to come. I don't know exactly how to teach people a second language, but we are just going to try our best to do what the MTC did with us. Our goal for this is to teach them English by teaching them how to do simple things like talk to God, and other Gospel things which will help them learn how to communicate in every day situations, and also to feel the spirit. We plan on giving out a Book of Mormon in both languages for reading material. We are excited and hope to see some miracles come from this, so we can only pray and have some hope. We have been working hard with less actives which includes Cary Turner. He is my favorite member and is the most interesting man in the south. He used to do reenactments up in Gettysburg and all that jazz and he knows way too much about the civil war and the confederacy. All I know is I probably would have joined the south if I could go back in time to fight in that. He has so many interesting stories and his life is like a national treasure movie. He is currently trying to seek out his cousin's body that got left behind in Cambodia after a battle on the island that the marines were sent to take care of because the U.S.A had a ship with heroin on it to help pay for the war or something like that. Anyway his cousin was sent there with a bunch of other marines to basically be a decoy without knowing it and got killed because he was left behind by a chopper that was supposed to rescue them. Anyway if he gets all the pieces put together and can prove anything then he is convinced that the government is really trying hard to cover things up. All I know is that I could sit down with that man for hours and just listen. He is a wonderful person.  
Well other than that we have been testifying to everyone and just doing what we have been called to do. I don't have any crazy pictures for you today, but they will come. I love you all very much and I'm thankful for all you do for me. Keep up the good work.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham
SOUTH RISE AGAIN!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gracias

Hey there family. I haven't received the package yet, but I am saying thank you now ahead of time. You may have already noticed, but I did already find a suit last week and it looks really good. I am sure you have already seen the purchase. Anyway, it sounds like yall had a good week besides the cold and the knowledge that this was your last primary program. It is kind of weird how fast the gospel seems to be spreading in some parts of the world, but in fun little Modesto it seems to be kind of slow. Once that one elder writes his mom again I am sure things will pick up. Are those elders in the ward leadership at all or just two Spanish elders they sent over there. I am also curious to see how Pres. Gelwix does things compared to my presidents. 
Well this week was kind of a rough one. When it comes to numbers we weren't the most successful, but both Elder Goodwin and I feel like we worked really hard and are satisfied with our efforts. We didn't teach a whole lot of new people, but we were able to contact and spend some time with some long lost inactive members. This week coming up is going to be pretty busy. We have starting implementing something new in our companionship which I feel has been a huge help in our efforts to reach out to these less actives. It is called seeking out the higher law questions. Basically we do our best to be as observant as possible and with the spirit/gift of discernment, we are able to ask these people specific things we can help them with. For example we will be talking to an angry man who hates us "Mormons" and when we take the time to realize that he has a tree that is fallen and instead of asking if there is anything we can do to help him and just jump into specifically trying to set up a time to help him out by serving him we find that it softens hearts a whole lot quicker. It is nothing too amazing, but by living the higher law we are going to get in more doors and help more people come to Christ. 
Well that has pretty much been our week. Oh also since the ward here isn't too fond on singing and since they are starting a choir for the first time in years, all four of us have volunteered to support the ward we serve in and be the only tenors in the choir. Good for me, right? Member trust is what it is all about! :) 
Well family I love you all very much  and am thankful for everything. 
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, October 15, 2012

Great Birthday

That was probably the funniest email I have ever received. I am glad to see that my brother is crazy and loves the gospel and Italian. I wouldn't be surprised if he got called to Massachusetts Italian speaking now. I am way excited for him and I can't wait for his letter. Mom, I don't really think I need anything specific in my package. I did get a ton of treats from Aunt Laurie and Jenni and the kids that will probably make me fat. I can't really think of anything. So the whole suit situation, I haven't figured it out yet, but it is worse than we think. So my black suit is too small and can't get let out and my brown has a rip in the crotch. So I am getting the brown one fixed which should be cheap and right now we are searching for cheap suits that I can buy. I am doing my best to be smart about this and bargain shop. But in reality I don't have too many options. I am using my noggin though, I promise. :) So I did have the best birthday ever and had a baptism. Brenda got baptized and the man standing next to her is Bro. Thigpen who did the baptizing. We didn't get a picture of her in baptismal clothing because her excuse was that she wanted to look good and also she wanted to take it on Sunday after she had time to blow dry her hair because being black meant her hair was going to be destroyed from the water. Whatever it went really well and I was so happy to see her go through with it. She has an incredible amount of faith. Apparently the night before her baptism her sister had a heart attack and died which totally threw her family for a loop. She could have decided not to go through with it, but she came out and said that there is no reason for her to back out now. She has had so many things happen to her since we started visiting her that could definitely be taken as a bad sign, but she understands the plan of salvation well now and recognizes the importance of being tested. She is amazing. On Sunday we got to church early to help set things up, plus we had to translate again because our translators were sick. Anyway, we were so excited and then church started and there was no Brenda. Now we were stressing and praying and everything. Then they started passing the sacrament and still no Brenda. We were so bummed. Well right after the sacrament was over she comes strolling in and sits down. Bishop Wiggins immediately calls her up to the stand and she was confirmed. It was such a relief! I was flipping out. Also after the blessing was over she started shaking hands with those in the circle and she gave them a hug as well. Well Elder Goodwin and I both were hugged by a woman in front of the entire ward. I won't lie it was pretty great. :)

 


  Well after a wonderful service we left church and went over to Bro. Sutton's for dinner. That is where the pig head pics come in. Yes, he fed us a pig head for lunch with sweet potato biscuits. It wasn't too bad, but the brain tastes like liver and I don't like liver. Just another crazy day with Bro. Sutton.  It was definitely a good week though.
We put in a lot of hard work and now we are celebrating......for a few hours. :) Now we are back on the finding boat and searching out the truth seekers. If you know anyone let me know.
I love you all and I am very grateful for everything. A new SD card should be getting sent soon. I hope everything is going well and know that I love yall.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, October 8, 2012

That's what I'm talking about!!!

This conference was absolutely amazing. Yes I did get to see it and in fact I did just about the same thing you did Mom. I leaped up and called it out and all four of us that were at the church building just started talking about how this will probably change Mormon culture forever. So many things crossed my mind as I discussed this change with the elders here with me. I'll go ahead and explain. First of all yes I thought immediately about Ryan and how this would effect him. I am so glad that he is eager to get the paper work in and get going. I thought that he might have decided to get a semester in at BYUI first, and I'm still not sure how the timing would work for him, but I am thrilled. This would also mean that it wouldn't be as long before I see him again. The other thing I thought was how lucky he is to be able to leave earlier. ...
I am super thrilled for a lot of my friends that will probably leave now, like Olivia. We are going to see a ton of missionaries. We are definitely in the last days. I can just imagine the MTC president going "We better make some more room quick!" I can also imagine that more MTC's will be built and training programs will probably be improved to speed up the process. This is definitely an exciting announcement. I am so glad we have a prophet of God on Earth right now to guide us and receive these amazing revelations to further His work. Please keep me updated on how things go with this back at home.
Now for the other talks I must agree with Russell M. Nelson's plea to ask the missionaries. I just really hope we see some miracles from it and see how people begin to trust the elders more. President Cotterell told us that the sessions of General Conference we see on our missions are going to be the most important in our lives. As I thought about that I couldn't help but think that I need to be a better missionary forever, I am going to have troubled kids so I better learn how to teach them correctly, and I better love my wife. :) I don't know what you got out of it, but that's what I kept hearing. Jeffrey R. Holland always knows how to singe our eyebrows or sizzle our socks. He just makes me want to be better. I encourage everyone to give heed to that man's message. General Conference is definitely the fastest weekend on your mission and I sure wish it wasn't so short. 
On the other side of things, we were able to teach a few lessons in between sessions and throughout the work. Our investigator Brenda is going strong and we have been working hard to find others. Today is the beginning of suit season so we have to wear our coats everywhere and my companion isn't the happiest about it, but it is what it is. It has been a busy first week of the transfer, but really good. 
Well I have to say that I love you all to death. Thanks for everything. I am so happy to now that things are going well. I'm excited to hear from Ryan. The world is definitely in for a treat. The armies of heaven are rounding up and nothing is going to stop the work from progressing, nothing until the Great Jehovah says the work is done. I am thankful for a prophet's voice in these days and that I am now serving my Lord and Master during such a historical time for the Kingdom of God here on Earth. I also want Aunt Laurie to know that the gospel is fun and even though her mission president said we don't have fun mine has come out to say that we better be having fun or we probably need to repent. There is nothing more fun than living and doing the things we should. And it definitely brings the JOY! Love yall.
 
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, October 1, 2012

Staying in Mount Olive with the MICE

It seems like so many things just blasted off this last week. I am glad to hear so many stories of people continuing to progress in life no matter what the circumstances. I am also glad to see how great my family is doing. ...
Okay, so transfers are actually tomorrow, but this lucky guy is staying in Mount Olive for another six weeks. I did not want to leave and in fact I wrote the mission president and asked him not to transfer me and I got what I wanted.  So I will be working my tail off for another transfer here. I am super excited because yes, this week was booming. We taught a lot of lessons, met new people, and set a baptismal date for my birthday. So it should be a really good month overall. We have been working hard and trying our best to not let a moment pass by where we aren't finding opportunities to teach. The work is going well.
So I have attached a few pics of things that have happened. One is of a mice problem we had in the home, that we caught with wonderful mice traps. It was funny because we chased one mouse through the house and trapped it in my closet where all my stuff was so instead of taking everything out we just bombarded the closet with 5 mouse traps and waited. Well when we checked up on it we found two dead mice instead of one. I don't know how long they have been here, but we haven't seen any since. Then the other pic is one of our last district meeting this last transfer and I believe the only one leaving is the mexican elder, so not too much movement around our area. Well that is pretty much my update for now.

Oh I just remembered it looks like my muscles are so ridiculously huge now that my black suit is too small in both length and width soooooo I may be thrift store shopping soon or wherever I can go to find another suit because suit season is starting back up after conference weekend, which means that we have to where suits all the time now, so I will be needing a new one. I'm just filling you in on the suit situation, just in case you wanted to chastise me or something or tell me something else.

 
Well family I love yall a bunch and I'm glad to see everyone is doing well. Hey I think something that would be absolutely spectacular is if yall could send pics out to me of the family. I only have like one and I keep getting asked about pictures of yall and of things we have done. So just random pics of whatever with the family would be neat. Thanks a ton. I love you!!!!!
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, September 24, 2012

Study and Keep the Faith

It was really good to hear some names and experiences from the mission, Mom. In fact there is a Villalobos family here in Mt. Olive that is inactive. I am pretty sure they are from Mexico though. Who knows they could be related. I'll have to ask if they have any family in Chile. For some reason when I picture you as a missionary having those experiences you were talking about I just see and remember the things that Brianne did. In fact I can see it right now, young Sister Brianne Burnham going with the young women to tract. I am very blessed to have so many missionaries in my family. I honestly can say that I wish you had shared more of those real action missionary experiences that you had. Sure it is always super amazing to hear what Dad did in Bolivia and how crazy it got, but now that I'm a southerner and I know how real missionary work is, it would have been good to hear those stories you have.
Also I don't know what got you on to the path of my future wife and stuff like that, but I still have time for that remember. Girls have cooties and I am to keep a good distance from those things. it is fun to hear your real thoughts on things though. It is also kind of strange to see how you talk about things to me as I get older. I have a feeling that near the end of my mission you are going to be super trunky. :) We'll see. I love you. 
Okay so this week has been the roughest week on my mission. Literally every single appointment we set up fell through. We had about 10 lessons lined up this week and sure some weren't as solid as others, but even the ones we were certain were progressing canceled. I can't tell you why. It has been the most frustrating week ever. We did gain quite a bit of member trust through dinner appointments because those were the only appointments that didn't fall through, but that was it. All I know is that my studies and work this next week is going to be doubled because I can't stand investigators that don't keep commitments. Also a happy missionary is a missionary that teaches, and because everything fell through I didn't get to teach, therefore I wasn't happy. I am slowly starting to build faith in the principle of dropping. It was hard at the start of my mission, but I have to realize that if I can have the faith to sacrifice something then the Lord will bless me. So in this case if I can have the faith to drop an investigator that doesn't want to progress than the Lord will guide me to someone who is being prepared. Also I had to learn that sometimes dropping an investigator can help them out for the future. I just have to have more faith I guess is the lesson I learned this week. This may be the last week for me in Mt. Olive, but I am going to go out with a bang if it is. 
Well I love you all very much and I wish I had more to tell you, but it was a rough week so not much happened. I was super thrilled when Aunt Laurie sent a package with goodies in it. That definitely made the week a little easier. Also I hear she has a man. What the...!? Things are changing and it is really fun to see. I love being a missionary. I don't know that I have her email address, but I know you send this to her so I hope she knows I love her and I'll do my best to snail mail her when I can.
Hey this Sunday I saw a baptist church sign with this on it, CH_ _ RH, what is missing? U R. Get it? :) These southerners sure are clever.
Well thanks for everything. Keep the love coming.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep Your Head UP

Well miracles sure are happening, but the large ones don't happen enough it seems like. I have been kind of stumped this week. That miracle man from last week didn't come to church this week and in fact we still haven't had any contact with him since then. Also our investigators, Edgar and Bilma, have told us that they feel the spirit stronger in their own church and she doesn't want to get baptized into a church she might end up leaving. It was really stressful. I have really grown to love this couple and now they are saying that even though they believe what we have taught them is true, they still don't feel the spirit as strong. Now, I'm 100% positive it is a smokescreen and I'm also positive the issue is they are Spanish and they don't feel at all welcome in the ward. Fellowshipping is really a problem here. Yes, I can understand the language barrier excuse in other cases, but Edgar and Bilma speak perfect English. I just don't know what to do. Missionaries can only fellowship so far and we get moved around too much anyway. We haven't completely given them up yet, but their progression has begun to slow down so we will see how much longer we hold on to them. We definitely hope and pray that things will spark up again with them and they will realize that if without friends the truth is necessary. 
Well besides that bummer, we have done a lot more finding lately. We have seen a lot of small miracles in just knocking on doors and meeting interested people. Hopefully some of these potenciales (potentials) will turn into strong seekers of truth. The work is going on and fast. This transfer is starting to come closer to the end and there is a possibility I may get transferred out of this area, but I pray that doesn't happen. 
Well I am excited to see how the ward changes for the better. Change can definitely be exciting. It will be kind of weird coming home to a slightly different crowd, but its all good. So yall have normal missionaries again? I have already made a goal to be the best exchange the elders back at home will ever have. They will love taking me out with them. Hopefully they are Spanish too.
Being a missionary there really isn't TOO blunt. You can talk about anything. A mission opens you up to anything and everything. When people are confessing sins to you, or telling you about horrible relationships, or crazy events in other peoples lives, you kind of just get exposed to everything and there really isn't anything like awkward or scary or nerve-racking anymore. Anyway you did not tell me I looked good in that picture I sent, but thanks anyway. The elders names are Elder Prisbrey, who is the skinny one wearing glasses, Elder Shirrod, the shorter one next to me, Superman (AKA Me), and Elder Goodwin, who is my companion. Being in a 4-man is super fun, and I probably won't know what to do when I go back to only living with one other elder. Um, yes I did get Dad's package. Thank you very much. I am always searching for new talks/stories/inspiring experiences that I can use. I have quite the collection now. The mission president is doing well. Not much has been changed except we can't go fishing with members anymore. His name is President Bernhisel and I have had a couple interviews with him and we get along just fine. He is a lot more laid back then President Cotterell, but he is so much more personable and easier to talk to. The mission is doing really well and right now the big thing going around is lift where you stand. President and all the missionaries are doing their best to help members understand this concept and really apply it in their lives. We hope to have much more member work through this idea. We'll see how that goes. 
Well that's about all i have for now. I sure hope everything is going well. Hey I attached another picture for you to see. We went to the temple this week and had a wonderful experience. It's weird going to the temple after having not gone for six months. That is something I have to be good at when I am home. Temple attendance is very important.     
Well I love you all very much. Keep up the good work. Oh hey one more thing mom. I was thinking about this the other day, but I remember as a kid we always heard stories about Dad's mission, but I can't remember anything about yours. I was just wondering if you have any amazing spiritual experiences that you could share from your mission?
Well I am excited to hear from yall next week. Keep up the good work.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick and Humble

Well to be honest I don't really have a ton to tell you all this week. We worked hard and we saw some finding miracles in that we were able to run into some people that just allowed us to go in and teach them. In fact one evening we were out trying to find some former investigators and to see how they would feel about us coming back and the first door we knocked on no one was home, but we went across the street where a little Hispanic kid was peeking at us through the curtains and when we knocked on the door the kid opened it for us and told us to come in and talk with his dad. Well we started talking with the dad about our message and the restoration and at first he was very apprehensive about the whole thing, because he was just baptized in another church about three weeks ago. Well we continued and read some chapters out of the Book of Mormon with him about prophets and about how there will be a lot of false doctrine in the last days and all that jazz and as we got deeper into it and actually read with him his interest level completely changed. He began to explain to us how a prophet from his church came to his congregation one day and began to preach about how Christ never did miracles and that miracles don't happen anymore. Well he was confused because he was an avid reader of the Bible and he knew that wasn't right, but he told us that since the guy was a "prophet" there was no way he was going to argue with him in front of everyone. Soooo it hit him in the perfect spot that the Book of Mormon must have something true and that there really is a ton of false doctrine out there and I think he really wants to know whether or not this book has the truth. Well at first he wouldn't accept to take a book and read it because he wanted to search in the Bible first for things we were saying, but we were able to leave him a copy and commit him to read it and come to church. Well the next Sunday we were supposed to see Edgar and Bilma at church, but they weren't able to make it for some odd reason, but unexpectedly this man and his three little kids came about halfway through sacrament meeting. One of the best surprises for sure. They even stayed for all three hours and the kids went to primary. It was a miracle for sure.
Other than that not much has happened. The other English elder that is here that has been out 18 months gave me a timeline i will start to see. 1-8 months you have greeny fire, you don't know very much, you get a lot of mail and you learn a ton really fast. 9-14 months are the toughest months of the mission, you start to mature more and you become more of a leader and gain more responsibility without completely knowing everything and mail kind of goes into a slump. 15-18 months you know a lot more and you get the hang of things, you work hard, and people start remembering you are still on a mission and mail begins to pick up. 19-24 months the mail starts slowing down again because people figure you will be home soon anyway, you have become a good leader and helpful and slowly the trunkiness sets in. No matter who you are it happens. So it looks like I am going to be into the hardest part of the mission and yes, the mail has slowed down. :( But it doesn't bother me. The important people are pretty consistent writers I guess. That is: Wilson, Russell, old companions, and the monthly ward update. I stay focused and the work gets done. So there is the update on me. The companion and I are getting along well. He is very much country boy and loves old western songs, movies, guns, clothes, anything western. So we don't really relate when it comes to music or fashion, but we do great with everything else. It seems like so far all my companions have had rough family lives. Whether it be a divorce or a death in the family, or sinning siblings, they all have families that are struggling with something. I sure hope that the Lord isn't preparing me for something in the future, but allowing me to recognize the blessing I have of a wonderful family that does what it is supposed too. Obviously we aren't perfect and don't have our problems, but I have been incredibly blessed with the family I have been a part of. I don't know exactly why I have the companions I have, but it has been great and I am definitely learning things from each of them, even if it is only patience. ;) I sure hope the family is doing well and I'm glad to hear that Ryan is excited for school and working hard, hopefully. Sara is being a missionary, Primary is slowly growing, and Brianne is working hard and Jenni is rounding out. :) Love ya all.
Well that is all I have for now. I love you all very much. Thanks for the support.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

4 missionaries

This was probably some of the best emails ever. I am so happy to see how everyone is doing and how great the family is. First off Sara I am super excited to see how spanish goes. You should probably check your spelling though. :) Whenever you need help let me know. Just send me things that I can help you with. Oh and I love poptarts too. Especially as a missionary!
Ryan that is soooo exciting that the school countdown is coming quickly. You will have to explain more about what some of those classes mean. Also I want to know what your major is exactly. Do you already have an idea of the direction you want to go? I was talking to some elders out here about their experiences at BYUI and they said that the intramurals are super fun. So if you can't do wrestling get into basketball or football. Apparently they have intramural football with pads, so you can go dominate and relive the highschool glory days. :) With the 4-man we have right now we have been able to play more sports on p-day so I am getting pretty good at baseball. We don't play basketball because I already dominate there. They don't like to play what they aren't good at. :) Man, I'm super excited to see how school goes for you. Please give it 100% and don't slack on your studies. Sure I know the late nights and the freedom will be fun, but don't let anything keep you from doing homework and studying. Promise me that every morning you will read a little out of the BOM. That is the biggest tool to keep you on the right track and I will promise you that it will only help more in your academic studies as well. Love ya Brotha!
Mom, I definitely teared up to hear that Wilson went to church and bore his testimony. I knew he always would have one. He knows where the truth is. I am truly grateful to have a friend like him. And if Ryan can let him know that it would be wonderful. I just wrote him back yesterday, but I don't how the mail works for him and since he is moving soon I sure hope he gets it. Let him know I sent it to his Coronado address and if he doesn't receive it I'll write him again.
Well it sounds like life is going super well for you now that some weight has been lifted. I bet it will be nice to have a larger group in church now. So what is the missionary service looking like now? Did you get two youngsters again or still the elderly? It really is amazing to see how life is changing back at home. I never thought that when I got home that things would be all that different, but it has already changed so much and I am not even a year out yet. It's all exciting stuff though.
This week for us has been alright. The four of us are still working hard to rebuild everything which is a little tough, but the new leadership here is on fire. Did I tell you that Elder Adams from my MTC district is now my District Leader here. We got to go on exchanges this last week and teach like the good old times. It was a fun day for sure. Our investigators are still progressing, but no major movement this week. Since there are only a few active hispanics the work is tough especially when it comes to member support and help, but we are doing our best. Most of our days are full of finding wherever and whoever we can that is prepared by God to accept this message. So about politics: first when do we vote? Are you going to send me my absentee ballot sometime soon or what is the time on that? Um, most people here aren't happy that the DNC is here, but it doesn't get to them too bad because most of them go to Florida for the Republican convention. It's ridiculous how many people are so ready to get Obama out and far away. I have never heard so many death threats on one man. The south is not happy about what has taken place. They call him an enemy to this country. I am almost glad I only absentee vote and don't have to deal with knowing what is being said daily on the news and stuff. This is going to be the biggest election for this country. If yall could I would love to have some of the programs on it recorded for when I get home so I can see what is going to be huge history for my kids.
Well I love you all to death and I am so thankful for all that you do.
The church is true, the book is blue, and I'll see you in two.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham
Elder Prisbrey, Elder Shirrod, Elder Sean Burnham, Elder Goodwin (Sean's Companion)




Spanish Letter

Ah mi familia, como estan. Les amo mucho. Estoy agradecido por todo que hacen. Es un poco diferente a ver esta cambia en el barrio, pero estoy animado para ver como esta con todo alla. Ojala la obra misional puede mejorar alla desde esta cambia.
Tambien estoy orando mucho por Papa para que el peuda tener exito con los nuevos miembros y trabaja tan duro para recibir el mismo amor de ellos como su otro obispo y lideres. Buena suerte Papa!
Pues esta semana pasada era interesante. Me gusta mucho tener cuatro en la casa porque yo puedo relajarme al fin del dia con los otros tres y todo de nosotros somos amigos ya. Mi companero nuevo se llama Elder Goodwin de Moreland Idaho y el solo tiene cinco meses aqui en la mision. Estoy "follow up training" a el. Significa que yo puedo destruir todo que su entrenador ha hecho o yo peudo fortalecerlo. El tiene 21 anos pero esta bien animado y tiene mucho fuego en su corazon. Ahora solamente estamos trabajando con los hispanos entonces hemos perdido mucho de nuestros investigadores pero yo pregunte al presidente para guardar Brenda como investigador y el me permito guardarla. Entonce estoy feliz que yo puedo continuar las lecciones con ella. Y ella esta progresando muy bien. Ojala ella va a bautizarse esta sabado. Vamos a confirmarlo hoy.
Pues, los otros elderes aqui con nosotros son Elder Shirrod de Mesa Arizon y el tiene 17 meses aqui en la mision y el esta el entrenador de Elder Prisbrey de Colorado. Elder Prisbrey es un poco differente pero el tiene muchas ganas por trabajar. La situacion en la casa es dificil ahora pero estamos trabjando con eso para limpiarlo. Yo no cocino mucho porque no me gusta una cocina sucia, y mi companero solamente cocina como hot dogs y otra comida sencilla. El companerizmo esta bien por ahora pero yo no creo que va a fallar. Trabajamos bien juntos y el esta bien humilde. Mas que yo. Vamos a aprender mucho de uno a otro. Yo voy a aprender paciencia y el va a aprender un poco mas espanol. Perdoneme por no poniendo accentos arriba de mis palabras pero no se como hacerlo. Es probable que esta carta va a ser un poco dificil a leer pero es un demostracion de lo que yo he aprendido y un examen por Papa.
No hemos tenido experiencias extraordinarias esta semana pasada pero hay diferencias y estoy animado para trabajar mas duro.
Entonces les quiero mucho. Siempre estoy orando por ustedes. Muchas gracias por todo.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham
 Now here is his letter in English...
Ah my family, as they are. I love you very much. I am grateful for all they do. It's a little different to see this change in the neighborhood, but I am encouraged to see this with everything there. Hopefully missionary work can improve a lot from this change.
I am also praying much for Dad to succeed with new members and working so hard to get the same love for them as their bishop and other leaders. Good luck Dad!
Well this past week was interesting. I love to have four in the house because I can relax at the end of the day with the other three, and all of us are friends already. My new companion Elder Goodwin from Idaho Moreland and only five months here at the mission. I "follow up training" him. It means that I can destroy everything that his coach has done or I can strengthen it. He is 21 years old but is well animated and has a lot of fire in his heart. Now we are working only with Hispanics so we lost a lot of our investigators but I asked the President to save Brenda as a researcher and I would keep it. But I'm happy that I can continue with her lessons. And she is progressing very well. Hopefully she will be baptized this Saturday. We will confirm today.
Well, the other elders are here with us Shirrod Elder Board from Arizon is 17 months here on this mission and Prisbrey Elder Coach of Colorado. Elder Prisbrey is a bit different but is eager to work. The situation at home is difficult now but we work with it for cleaning. I do not cook much because I hate a dirty kitchen. My companion just has hot dogs and other simple meals. The companionship is fine for now. We work well together and he is very humble. More than me. We will learn a lot from each other. I'm going to learn patience and then will try to learn a little Spanish. Forgive me for not putting up accents my words but I don't know how. It is likely that this letter will be a little difficult to read but is a demonstration of what I've learned and examination by Heavenly Father.
We have had extraordinary experiences this past week but there are differences and I am encouraged to work harder.
Then I love you. I'm always praying for you. Thank you very much for everything.
With Love,
Elder Burnham

Monday, August 20, 2012

Service is power



Sorry to hear things have been really rough out there lately. I can attest to the whole missionary connection with the ward thing. It is rough being with members that don't want to do missionary work, but when missionaries aren't doing things they should it really has an effect on everyone. Well I hope that they bring in two more young missionaries to the ward to help yall out.
Well the Spanish is going really well. I am sooooooo glad I get this opportunity to learn this language. I'm always wondering what the Lord has in store for me for having me serve him in another language. What could my future entail with this new conocimiento. Oh and for my council on dating I guess all I can say is ALWAYS leave in big groups, never steady date, and go frequently. I look back at my dumb teenage life and how I could have been so much better. Not that I was absolutely horrible, but now that I see things from a different angle I can really understand why it is important to just do what the prophet says. We as humans make black and white things into gray areas, and there really is no gray areas in the things that come from God. I have seen the new for the strength of youth pamphlets and they are written plainly and perfectly. All I can say is just enjoy life and trust me the more the merrier.  
Anyway, this week has been pretty crazy for us too. Today is my last day with Elder Munoz, he is getting transferred to who knows where. So tomorrow I'll have a new companion and then to mix things up even more they are bringing in two more English missionaries. So the Mount Olive ward will have 4 missionaries and we will all be living in this same house. It is going to be hectic, but I guess in can pretty nice to going back to only focusing on Spanish work. These last two transfers sure have flown by. I sure am loving Mount Olive though. Oh yeah we also just got a new bishopric and the new bishop here is soooooo fired up. I can't believe how great he is doing when it comes to getting missionary work done and everything. Our first ward council with him he had us give the spiritual thought beforehand and then when he got up to get things rolling he started by reading out of Preach My Gospel what the ward council meeting is supposed to be about and its relation to the missionary work. It was the best thing I had ever heard. He had us go over our weekly report like usual, but for every investigator that we thought was coming along well and needed help he asked directly how the ward could help in whatever cause possible. It was just so amazing to me to have a functioning ward council finally that realizes the importance of this work. Anyway we haven't had too much happen this week. One really great experience was we met a man who is very well known in the community and is running for county commissioner. Well we contacted him and he took us up on an offer to do some service for him. We showed up to his house and we figured a man of his position and wealth he would never have us do something for him, especially as a nonmember too. Well he was a little hesitant, but eventually saw we were eager to work and help so he took us in his backyard and we went to work clearing out a shed he had that was disgusting. It was a dirtier job than he expected, but it was way good to be able to serve this wonderful man. Well throughout doing service we were able to talk obviously and even teach him the restoration and the plan of salvation. I ended up asking him why a man in his situation, so content with life, would ask the questions he asked. Well he said that becoming larger in the community he has come to a stage in life where he is more about others and its not me me me all the time. Well he ended up taking us to lunch and accepting a Book of Mormon. It was such a great morning and a very unexpected opportunity. We do so much service out here in this area, but when it is for nonmembers it is the best feeling and the best chance to help these people understand who we are. I am so glad I get to serve here and I am going to hate to leave it. I feel bad for my companion. 
Well other than that the only good experience I had was receiving a wonderful package from the fam. Thank you so much for the funny cards and the inspiring ones too. It is definitely super nice to get some candy every once in a while to munch on. I love you all very much and am super grateful for everything yall do. Keep up the good work and know you are in my prayers. 
Con Amor,
Tu hijo amado,
Elder Burnham

Monday, August 13, 2012

Trials and Turkeys

Looks like things are really starting to pick up now that summer is coming to an end. I am super excited for Sara to start 8th grade and even more excited for her to be taking Spanish. I hope she dives into it and then when she hits high school she can be on top of things and ace the classes there. Don't take German or French!!! That is way neat that Brianne is already having such good success out in Provo. When does the actual semester start for her? Also what is she planning on studying? I'm excited to hear about the BYU life for her now being an RM and all. I hope the guys are treating Ryan well at the shop. It is definitely good stuff to know, working there with the cars. Are there any updates with college stuff yet?
Well I'm glad you were able to see the pics. It is a whole lot easier to take pics of other things that are really neat rather than trying to take of yourself or asking others to take pics of you and other things. I'm trying though. I have a good one for you that you'll enjoy soon. It has me in it and it is a picture of the service we did this week. Tuesday night at about 8, we were asked if we would help at a members turkey farm because she was shipping her turkeys out the next morning and she needed to do one last run through to make sure all the dead ones had been taken out. Well we got our nasty work clothes on and plastic boots and went on trudging through a mix of nasty smelling turkeys, mud filled with stuff that comes out of turkeys :), and wood chips to try and find any turkeys that had passed on to the next life. It was pretty fun except for the turkeys that felt they were tough guys and would literally gang up on you and jump on your back. I found out quick that if you hit a turkey or yell at it for pecking at you then it comes back with like three more friends. It was crazy to see them try to surround me and back me into a corner. I'll tell you what though, they are ugly! It was good though, being able to help her out so late notice and make her night shorter and easier. She has over 1500 turkeys in the three houses and they smell horrible.
Other than that though we didn't really do any crazy service projects this week. We did teach quite a few wonderful lessons. This Monday we had that lesson in the members home with Brenda and that went sooooooooo well. Then on Thursday we taught her again and things have been crazy for her. Satan is not making her life or conversion easy at all. She is doing well at reading and praying and keeping her commitments, but when we got there she was crying and come to find out someone had broken into her house a second time and stole a TV and a jewelry box. Before, they took off with her AC unit. She has had it so rough and she keeps asking us why her? She can't understand why if she is doing everything she is supposed to that God would allow such things to happen. It was a tough lesson for her, but perfect for us. We were able to show her the purpose of life and that even though bad things happen to good people, it's not because God has forgotten you or doesn't love you. We helped her realize that there is so much we can learn from these hard experiences and that God knows how tough of a woman Brenda is and that he is refining her into something greater by allowing things to happen to her. Sure God could stop it, but he loves us too much to do it. Kind of weird to think about it that way, but it's true. Just like you wouldn't want to keep your kids from all temptation or pain or trials because you know it will help them in the long run. Well after the lesson I had the impression to ask her if she would like a priesthood blessing and she accepted so we finished that night off with that. She really is coming along great and we are so grateful she didn't blame the church or the new things she has been learning for those experiences she has been having. 
Other than that we are teaching a young Hispanic couple that are really interested, at least the wife is, but they are reading and they enjoy having us over. They are a little slower going, but we are doing our best to teach to their needs. 
This is the last week of this transfer and its probable that Elder Munoz will be leaving, but we never know. The Lord may think otherwise, but it's probable. Other than that though life is good, we are working hard and I'm very blessed. 
To answer your questions,  yes I keep a journal everyday. I try to write what went on that day and any odd things that I feel would be good for any future people to read. I haven't kept too many quotes in there, but I also have a separate study journal that I write down any personal revelation or quotes from talks that I like and stuff like that. Also yes, I do pay fast offerings every month. It is actually in the White Handbook that we pay fast offerings. And also I will try to do better at taking pictures of those things.
Les amo muchisimo, y estoy muy agradecido por todo que hacen para mi. Quiero que sepan que ustedes siempre estan en mis oraciones. Si hay algo que puedo hacer o contestar por ustedes, por favor digame! 
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More Picture updates


Some pasta and bread that Elder Burnham made. He said he is the "Boss Cook"





Saying goodbye to the Benitez Family



Elder Burnham's First and Last district meeting in Cary.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Wonderful!

I love my family. Yall are the greatest. Sounds like a vacation was really needed and it has been going well. I'm glad to hear that the family is doing so well. Ryan sure sounds like me when I was getting ready for school and a mission. I just couldn't wait to get out there. I remember when Brianne thought it was because I did love my family or something. She's crazy! But yall know I love you and I am positive Ryan feels the same way.  :)
Well I must say that this week has been absolutely wonderful. Prayers have been answered and the spirit has been strong and working hard. Our numbers this week weren't anything amazing and we didn't find anyone new to teach this week, but our current investigators are progressing wonderfully, and we taught 7 less-active families. Also, Mom, our prayers have been answered
and your fasting helped a ton. We were both fasting for the same cause and I know the Lord was just waiting to bless us. Yesterday at church we had our 3 investigators at church and the testimonies of the members were fantastic. The greatest part of the meeting was Brenda, our investigator, got up there and bore a beautiful testimony on her feelings about the Book of Mormon and how when she reads it she gets just a warm peaceful feeling.
I don't know that she said anything about knowing anything else was true, but I know she felt the spirit and she stated so simply that this book is the word of God. She started by introducing herself as Brenda and as having been taking a few lessons from the missionaries and then said what she felt about the book and then walked off. There was nothing colorful, or extraordinary about it, but the spirit was felt and I can't tell you how many active members got a slap in the face and jumped up immediately to bear their testimony. Elder Munoz and I were thrilled to see that. It was just a good week overall. Oh yeah one more thing. We have the best member missionary EVER! We had a lesson with Brenda and Bro.Thigpen accompanied us. Now he is an older guy and can't hear worth anything. But we taught a simple lesson on the spirit and the BOM and after the lesson he bore a simple testimony and then right after he invited Brenda over for dinner and asked if the next lesson could be held at his home. I almost had a heart attack in front of everyone. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. That is exactly how members are supposed to be. That is exactly how the missionary work inside Christ's perfect church should go. I was beyond tickled to hear that wonderful invitation of a true disciple of Christ. The only unfortunate thing is that there are so many health problems between him and
his wife that he can only help us so often. I would take him to every lesson if I could. Anyway besides a few great lessons we have been working hard physically too. We did a lot of service for members this week. We painted over the graffiti at the girls camp here, moved a dryer into a home, and mowed a huge lawn with a push mower. The thing about lawns out here is that in the country everyone has so much lawn that they HAVE to use a ride mower just to get the grass cut. Well this less active widow in the ward didn't have one of those and her lawn was huge and she can't afford to pay a company to do it. Well we went over there early in the morning and spent 2 hours mowing a lawn with a wimpy push mower that we found out works better when we pulled it backwards. It took a while and we got a lot of weird stares, but it was a good chance to help her out. The work is tough here, but so
satisfying and we love it. Well I love you all to death and I'm grateful for your support. Thanks for everything.
 
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham