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


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