Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good Food and Good People!

Wow so much has happened. Both at home and here. I just got bombarded by emails. Thanks though I'm feeling the love. Dad thanks for the love. Mom just keeping hard on the camp stuff and remember D&C 122. :) Oh so mom my trainer Elder Carlisle actually doesn't know them. That would have been crazy though. And thank you Ryan for listening to the spirit and also taking the time to solve my feet problem. Actually I haven't had much problem with it here. It's nice. I love you all. Oh and Jenni make sure you send pics.
So here we go. The first day here I slept in the basement at the mission home and did a bunch of orientation stuff. SUPER BORING. Then the next day we met our trainers and took off to our areas. Funny story. At the transfer meeting where we meet our trainers I met an elder who was headed home that day. He is from Tonga and is just crazy. Anyway he was telling us how for dinner just recently, because he was out of money he lured a goose in near his apartment with cheerios. Then with a golf club he found smacked it and killed. Then he just plucked the thing and boiled it. I was impressed, disgusted, and amused. It was great. Got to love the foreigners. Anyway so then we headed to our apartment then to the store to buy some food and then to our first appointment. We had a lesson with an investigator named Oscar, who is actually getting baptized next Sunday. Pretty sweet right. I get to my first area and have a baptism within the first two weeks. Pretty solid welcome in my opinion. It was a good lesson. I understood most of it and even bore my testimony of the power of the BOM. I love understanding Spanish. :) So the next few days were filled with tons of study because greenies get extra study time. Then we knocked around this apartment complex that is just golden. We get so many contacts there. My companion speaks Spanish fairly well and fast. He is still way better at speaking and understanding though. I have found that Mexicans and Argentines are actually the easiest to understand. Cubans, Dominicans, and Chileans are ridiculously fast. Oh my gosh! This one lady in the branch here speaks like a Spanish auctioneer. It blows my mind. And she's married to this big white guy who can't speak a lick of Spanish and doesn't have a job. In fact he does that couponing thing like that TV show. They are awesome.
So the week so far has been mostly filled with that. Lots of lessons and contacts and referrals and lots of dropped ones too. We get stood up a lot. Hispanics are so nice and love to welcome you in the first time, and then they avoid you after that. The mission rule is that for Spanish speakers we have to teach them twice to count them because our numbers were just so high for first lessons, but then super low for progression. I guess President is just trying to cut down on inflation.
The work here has been very off and on. This Sunday though was so much fun. The members in the Spanish branch just love us gringos. I had to bear my testimony in sacrament mtg and that was fun. Even in my broken Spanish I got my point across and I got them to laugh by telling them I want to learn how to speak like that Chilean sister. It was great. Also everyone in the branch wants to feed us at some point. And mmmmmmmm their cookin' is BOMB! I have had mole which is not pronounce like the animal. Pronounce it like a Hispanic. Its chicken with some kind of rice in this spicy sauce. I don't know the ingredients, but its so good. I have eaten a lot of pollo. They love chicken. I have never eaten so many different flavors and forms of chicken and I have only been here a week. It's awesome being a Spanish elder here. Well so far so good. I'm healthy and not fat....yet. :) My bike works well, except I hate riding on these hills. Ugh! We have a car every other week because we share with the English elders down the road. But it's been fine.
Well I hope you are all doing well. Oh mom I need Russell's address again. I just need his mission home. I lost it.
Um, oh yeah that would be great if you could send those socks and also I think I'm going to need those short sleeve shirts sooner rather than later. It isn't cold at all here. I'm dying on my bike. It has rained once, but then cleared up and it feels so nice here. I hope that won't be too much of a hassle with camp stuff and all. If it is just make Ryan do it. :) Love ya bud! (By the way Ryan, way to go on following the spirit.)
Well guys I love you all. Keep up the good work.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Elder Burnham with his Mission President and his Wife

This is a letter from Sister Cottrell, the Mission Mom:

Dear families of missionaries in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission,

We are thrilled to have welcomed your missionary to our mission! We received 13 new missionaries so it has been a very exciting time!

After they all arrived on Monday we took them to the mission home for dinner, interviews with President Cotterell, a testimony meeting and dessert. After that everyone was ready for bed. They elders all slept in the basement, here at the mission home.

After breakfast on Tuesday morning, all of the missionaries were taken to the mission office to meet the office staff and to be oriented in some of the things they need to know to be a missionary. From there everyone traveled to the Raleigh Stake Center to meet their trainers. This is a wonderful experience for them to meet the missionary who has been specially picked to train them and to set the course for them to have a successful mission. Everyone had pictures taken with President Cotterell and I, and then with their trainer. They learned about the new 12 week training for new missionaries and then I fed them lunch.

Our transfer meeting was also held at the Stake Center. At this meeting all of the missionaries in the mission who are being transferred (about 1/4 of the mission this time) come to find out where they are going. They then leave for their new areas. Many of our new missionaries asked me what they would be doing when they got to their area on Tuesday night. I assured them that they would get right to work with either teaching appointments or contacting.

It is a pleasure to serve with your missionary. We felt a great strength from each one of them and we look forward to get to know them individually, working and learning with them.

These are the missionaries, their companions and the area they are assigned to:

Elder Adams is serving with Elder Ratto of Hansen, CA in Wallace

Elder Alaguretnam is serving with Elder Wilding of Denver CO in Lumberton

Elder Alleman is serving with Elder Peck of Highland, UT in Greenville

Elder Balaich is serving with Elder Christiansen of Orem UT in Durham

Elder Benson is serving with Elder Schank of Kaysville UT in Fayetteville

Elder Blackwell is serving with Elder Rider of St. George UT in Leland

Elder Burham is serving with Elder Carlisle of Logan UT in Cary (I'm sure they will figure out how to spell his name by 2013)

Elder Eastin is serving with Elder Humble of Monterrey CA in Raleigh

Elder Fogle is serving with Elder Morrison of Las Vegas NV in Hope Mills

Elder Goodrich is serving with Elder Jenkins of Lynnwood WA in Hope Mills

Elder Mayberry is serving with Elder Dalrymple of Centerville UT in Cameron/Sanford

Elder Miller is serving with Elder Cartwright of Kimberly ID in Cary

Elder Perkins is serving with Elder Haws of Lehi UT in Durham

Your missionary will fill in more details in their next email to you. Our preparation days are on Monday. We encourage you to write uplifting and positive letters that will help them to keep focused on the important work they are doing here.

All other mail should come through the US Postal system and be mailed to the mission office using this address:

Missionary’s Full Name (we have several with the same last name)

North Carolina Raleigh Mission

6508 Falls of Neuse

Suite 100

Raleigh, NC 27615

The day the mail is received it is forwarded on to your missionary. This can only be done if the mail is sent by First Class, Priority or Express mail. If you choose to use UPS, Federal Express or parcel post mail it cannot be forwarded. Those items will get to your missionary, but they must wait at the office until someone travels to your missionary, which could be 3-6 weeks.

Once again, it is a pleasure serving the Lord in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission with your missionary.

With love,

Sister Cotterell

North Carolina Raleigh Mission

Here is a map of Elder Burnham's first area.

View Larger Map

Friday, January 20, 2012

Last Friday in the MTC

Hey everyone! Today is my last Friday. And it is full of an all day orientation where we learn valuable things to use out in the field. It's nothing I haven't already heard or experienced though. I am super excited though because I think I can be pretty clever when it comes to talking to strangers. If you have any ideas or funny stories about contacting or finding people let me know. I can't wait to astonish people out in Raleigh. Um well we get another P-day tomorrow since today is taken up by orientation, so I might email tomorrow also.
Hey Dad it was amazing Elder Mills and I had just studied that same story in the BOM when I got your letter about it. That was way cool. I don't think many missionaries understand the importance of the H.G. in this work. Sin el Espiritu Santo en su obra, nadie vendre a Cristo. I can´t explain the amount of spirit I´ve felt here. In just teaching lessons in our class with our teachers we feel the spirit so strong. There really is a difference when you teach people and not lessons. It will definitely be something I take into my life forever. I am so freaking excited to finally leave the MTC and put the things I have learned into action. Even my choppy horrible spanish.
So i get to attend the temple each Pday, so I have been like 6 times because it was closed during Christmas time.
So thanks for ordering the bike. I sure hope it gets there on time. I heard that spanish speakers in Raleigh usually have cars though. That could be good and bad. We´ll have to see how I am fed.

I´ll always miss my family and friends, but nothing will pull me away from this work.
What you feel out in the mission is not something you get in the real world.
We saw an amazing talk given by Elder Holland about this work. He definitely threw down the hammer. He literally said that if you can't give your all to the Lord then just go home now! He is so bold. I love it! He said as a missionary we can't miss any opportunity to be apostolic. We have the same name as the apostles for two years. It might be a lower case apostle because we don't hold the same keys, but we are Elders in His church. He also said Don't Have Any Regrets! This is our chance to change people's forever, their eternity, their earthly life. We need to understand the importance of this calling. With that understanding we will be such successful missionaries. We are tools in God's hands and Man's extremity is God's opportunity. We have to led Him guide us. He also went into being obedient, which once again he was very bold. He said that this is God's work, therefore, you have to do it His way. We have to be obedient to be successful. Our power as missionaries comes off of our obedience to the commandments of the Lord.
The last thing he said that really hit me was that there is a reason this work isn't easy. Even though this is the true church and God wants everyone to have this restored gospel, it is not easy because salvation is not cheap. Salvation is not a cheap experience. Why should it be easy for us as missionaries or for the investigators if it wasn't easy for Him? The road to salvation goes through Gethsemane and it is not easy. We have to help these people realize this. It is necessary. but it takes a lot of work on our part. Luckily God is right there to help us. I love this gospel and I love everything it has brought in my life. Now I have to go out and share it with everyone. I have to go out and astonish people. And I will!

I love you all, don't forget it.

Elder Burnham.


Friday, January 13, 2012

God's Blessings

(picture courtesy of Photography In Light)

So just to let you know I did send you guys snail mail so it will come soon hopefully. Thank you so much for getting Wilson's address for me. That
means a lot to me. So.... How has your week gone? How was the funeral? I'm glad you were able to send me the email from Uncle Jim. It's always good to know that our family has such a great knowledge about this gospel. It is definitely evident that families are super important to our heavenly father. It's funny how often the Elders guy start talking about girls and then families and stuff. Anywhere else the girl talk doesn't go past messing around with them for one night. But here it goes all the to eternity. But we are still guys so girls are a subject nonetheless.

Um I did send Jenni an SD card. I hope she gets it safely. And I will need it back soon or the other one because I am leaving soon and I need one in my camera. :) Also thanks for remembering about the Phone card, that will be necessary since I get to call at the airport. I finally got my travel plans this week. Here is the bad news. I have to get up before 4 in the morning to get to the travel office and check in. Our flight leaves at 7:30 on the 23rd. How horrible is that?! But I am still super stoked to finally get out in the field. Getting letters from Brianne, Ben, and Russ are all making me super anxious. I hope to be as successful as them. Ben is super funny when he writes me. He loves when I write in Spanish and he has to try to translate it. Well this week I sent him a page and a half all in Spanish. Muahahahahaha, good luck on that one Ben! It probably isn't even completely correct Spanish, but we'll see how he does.
I'm super happy that I don't come across as a robotic missionary. That is one of the things that I have promised myself that I would work super hard on not becoming. I guess when you are speaking a foreign language it's kind of hard to do that anyway.

Well not much has happened. Oh my companionship got called to be the new zone leaders last Sunday. We now have double responsibility and have to try to squeeze in personal study time. I'm sure I'll be blessed because of it so I'm just working hard. It's not too bad, except for dealing with disobedient missionaries. We have a pretty good zone though so its usually minor things here and there. Oh except there is one elder in my district who a teacher pulled us out and asked us how we felt about him maybe staying behind in the MTC a little bit longer. I think it would kill him, but in reality I believe its a good decision. He needs to work on some more things before he starts asking others to come unto Christ. That was a pretty crazy experience especially for our first day as Zone Leaders. Well other than that things have ran smoothly.

Yesterday our district had one of the most spiritually intense days of my life. I have never witnessed the spirit so strong. We were asked to teach each other during class and to teach to each others needs as real people. We weren't playing any role, just being ourselves. After the lesson our teacher, who was also bawling, asked us all to take the next ten minutes to write down this experience and our feelings so we couldn't forget it. Elder Robinson couldn't stop crying. It was a happy cry though. He had the biggest smile on his face, but man he could not stop feeling the spirit. He went to get up and give everyone hugs and as he tried he fell to the ground and just laid there. It was literally like the King Lamoni story. He wasn't unconscious, but he did have the strength to get up. But we all knew he was fine and happy. Eventually we helped him up and went around and gave us all huge hugs telling us how thankful he was and how much he loved us. He told us he has never been this happy or felt this much love ever in his life. He said he found emotions to be a weakness so he just destroyed any kind he had. Until that day. I know it was all because of his companion. I also know that God knew that only Elder Vincent could reach his heart. This work is amazing. I love it here. Now I know I didn't do this story justice and I wish everyone could have witnessed it, but it was spectacular to literally see a change in the heart of someone else. I hope to be able to do that out in the field.
I know this is the true church. I have a testimony of the gospel. I know Jesus is the Christ and through Him anything is possible.
Life is great, today is great. Why is it great? Because our Savior and Redeemer lives!!!
I love you all. Please don't forget to notice the blessings God has given us. Thank Him everyday for the things he does for us.

I love my family. I will work my butt off.
Well keep the lovin' comin'.

Con Amor
Elder Burnham.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pictures from Elder Burnham

Elder Burnham's Desk

Elder Burnham and Elder Fischer

His Zone Leader, Elder Aliifua from Hayward

Companions: Elder Miller and Elder Burnham

Elder Miller is the son of a friend of Elder Burnham's Mom from Hayward.

District Left to Right: Elder Miller (Sean's comp.), Elder Burnham (Modesto, CA), Elder Vincent (Colorado), Elder Robinson (St. George, UT), Elder Easton (Washington/Vegas), Elder Mills (Livermore, CA), Elder Adams (San Diego, CA), and Elder Poulson (Vegas)

Te Amo Mucho

Alright so not much has happened this week. Sorry to hear about Aunt Carol. She was always fun to be around. It will be nice to see family, but yeah I agree not the funnest time. It's good that we have knowledge of the life after. That is always comforting. Well Its good to hear that everyone is doing so well.

Man I don't really know what to write this week. Not much happened. Maybe I'll write you guys snail mail if something comes to me.
Aunt Laurie sent me a new years package and that was awesome to get. Nothing really happened here for New Years. Oh there was a tie bazaar outside my room. Apparently ties go like money here. It just a giant trading market of ties. Everyone just brought ties and wandered around trading. I didn't really want to trade anything because not very many people have the flacko corbatas (skinny ties) that I like. So when Ryan comes out here just send all his ties with him because he can just trade around the ones he doesn't like. It gets pretty crazy. Kind of like the patches at the jamboree.
Well um....Brianne wrote me about her experience with the atonement and that was interesting. Didn't really answer any of my questions, but it was good to hear that she loves the atonement as much as I do. :)
Um.........I am almost done with the BOM for the second time. I think when I finish this one with that question I had in mind I'll send it home and you guys can start keeping them safe for me so when I get back I'll have the start of my collection going. And maybe you guys can read through them and add whatever you want or feel in regards to the question I have written in the front cover.
Well I'm healthy, still hating the food and just can't wait to get to the field. After this week my district will be the oldest in our zone. We are all ready to head out. My Spanish is alright. I feel like I can understand more then I can speak. Subjunctive sucks!!! Um I don't really have any goals for before I leave besides finishing this BOM. I do really want Wilson's address, so I don't care if Ryan has to go to Singles ward to ask his Sister. I want that address. It's important to me. Have him ask anyone that might know of any way on facebook. Have him do what he can and constantly call his phone.
Well I love you guys. You are the best. If you get this soon and can write back immediately, do it. I still have 15 minutes allowed on the computer so I might have time to get back on write some more to you. Well I love you all. Hasta Luego!
Con todo mi amor,
Elder Burnham

For those of you that can speak Spanish...here ya go:

Hey I need my mission home address. You didn't send it to me. Could you dear elder that to me¿ Muchas gracias!
Pregunta. Como puede missioneros ayuda otras personas sentir la desea tener una cambia de corazone¿ Yo se es impossible hacer a una persona cambiar. Pero, que puedo hacer ayudar la gente de North Carolina, quiere el evangelio en sus vidas¿ Y que puedo decir en mi visitas con la gente¿ Este es mi pregunta. Por favor ayudame con alguna cosa que venir a su mente.
Yo espero ustedes entienden mi pregunta, y mi espaƱol.
Te Amo Mucho.
Hasta Luego,
Elder Burnham otra vez.