Monday, April 29, 2013

The South Will Rise Again...

Wow sounds like a crazy week. I am glad to hear everyone is doing alright though and that the family is healthy and strong. Mom, thank you so much for the package. It was perfect and it actually took care of us for we had a skimpy week in regards to being fed by members. I don't know why, but we had to do a lot of cooking. Unfortunately my Hispanic companion has zero cooking skills in his native food groups. We were stuck to my American cooking and whatever else I could come up with. Nothing crazy. So the name of that man was Roman Castellanos and he is the most relaxed man I know. His whole family is loving the gospel and just eating up all the blessings that come from living it. Smithfield is a great area.
So this week for us was really good in some areas and rough in others. We are doing our best to improve where we can. We have been finding a lot through members, which is the only way to do missionary work, but we have seen lots of miracles this week form it. We are teaching a man's fiancee who is a little slow, but excited to learn. That is wonderful and all, but ever since we have started this the man has been super excited to do missionary work. He calls us up and says, "Elders I have a surprise for you. When you get to church I will give it to you!" Soooo we come to church and he hands my companion a receipt from Food Lion with a persons number and address on it and then he handed me a receipt from Walgreen's with the same. Every where he goes he is talking about what we are teaching and about his love for the Book of Mormon because it talks about Christ coming to the Americas and he then asks the cashiers and others if we can stop by and share it with them. He has done it with half used napkins from Taco Bell as well. Kind of disgusting I know, but I love it when members do missionary work like that. Referrals are the best.
Well other than that miracle the only other awesome experience we had was in Sacrament meeting. To preface this I'll just say that you can do what you want in NC. So some speakers didn't show up to talk today so the first counselor in the bishopric was asked to step in. For 30 minutes straight he bashed all of us on our lack of patriotism and how we are just being silent, sitting on our hands while the government is trying to take God out of everything. He gave some examples in the Book of Mormon of great leaders that tried to save their people, but they couldn't because the majority of the people rejected God. He basically said that as we sit silent and let these things happen we are rejecting God and we need to repent! He got all Jefferey R. Holland on us and even leaned into the microphone. It was a pretty intense talk about this land of promise and our duty to keep the commitments we made at baptism and in the temple to stand up for God in all things. THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!!!!!!!!! Well I was inspired so I decided I would go out and do missionary work! :)
Well my delicious family I am grateful for everything that you do for me. I really have been blessed to have y'all in my life. Keep the love coming. Y'all are in my prayers. I sure hope things are going well over there in the nice California sun. I love you a ton! xooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxo
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham.

Monday, April 22, 2013

19 books

I definitely have been blessed with a wonderful family. I am super grateful for all that you have done for me. It was super good to hear how much the spirit has worked with y'all this past week. Over here we too have seen miracles and felt the spirit. We have had a lot of success and we really made up for what happened last week. Everything went well except for a slight bump in the road. We got in a small accident. I will send pictures so you can see what happened. It wasn't anything too bad, but it definitely slowed us down. We were just turning out of a street having just dropped off our exchange when, boom, a speeding mom came hurrying down the road hoping to pick up her daughter from school on time. It took about an hour to get everything taken care of with the police and all. Lucky for us it happened when it did because we weren't in a hurry for anything. Really the only bad part about all this is the extensive paper work that goes into doing things like this with the church. Anyway that was the only crazy thing that took place. Other than that we have been blessed. We taught a ton of people and all were with members present, we found more people to teach, 6 investigators came to church, and we had a baptism. I also had to speak in church on Sunday which wasn't necessarily a blessing, but it went pretty well. Elder Sosa and I are working hard and seeing blessings everyday.
The new transfer for us starts today and things haven't switched up for us, but our district is going to be totally different. We still haven't gotten any sisters in my district yet though. I am sure they will be coming soon though. Well family other than those things I don't really know what else to say. I guess all I can do is say I love you all very much and I better get to work to place 19 Books, talk to 19 people, get 19 new investigators and hopefully baptize 20.5 people. :) Thank you so much for all that you do. I am blessed and I am glad to see the rest of my family is as well. Hasta el proximo lunes.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham  

The 19 books and investigators is in reference to Ryan's birthday today.  The 20.5 is how old Sean is this month.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

I am glad to hear y'all had a wonderful conference weekend and an even better fast Sunday. Fast Sunday is definitely the best day of the month for me. I love being able to bring investigators to hear the testimony of real people that could very well be their neighbors. This Sunday we had a lot of visitors that aren't investigators yet, but it was nice to see families inviting others to come to church. This week for us was a trial of our faith. I spent many minutes counting my blessings so I wouldn't get caught up in the trials that were being thrown at us. We had planned for an amazing week, but for one reason or another a lot of things just fell through. Our numbers don't do us very much justice, but I know we worked hard and still got out to find people. We are praying that this new week will be where everything will be made manifest. This last week we did do a lot of service for people. I got sun-burnt, but it was worth it. It felt good to do some hard work out in the yard of some members. We dug up and replanted an entire yard of grass, we helped build a shelter type thing for a member's tools, and we also did a lot of moving of boxes and other junk for an investigator. We got busy and it was nice. Member trust is growing out here which is needed. We also have a baptism scheduled for this next weekend so the work is progressing and the miracles are coming, we just can't get complacent.
So update on our investigators, the one family with crazy questions are still throwing them at us and we had to have a huge testimony throw down and explain to them the importance of the Holy Ghost. The spirit was felt, but we'll see if they want to recognize it or not. We just recently found a new investigator. She is 15 and impresses me every time we meet her. She is super intelligent and has been through a lot of problems with her family, but wants to come closer to God. Her family situation is crazy and I am worried about her mother's boyfriend getting in the way of things, but we'll see how it goes. She is fun to teach though because she reminds me of some friends back at home. I know Elder Sosa is a cute boy, but I think she really has strong desires to learn. ;) Other than that the rest of our teaching pool is growing, but we are still dividing the elect from the non-elect there.
Last night was pretty funny while we were out finding. We were looking for a former investigator and the GPS took us to the address of this small home. We got out of the car and walked up to 7 drunk Mexicans enjoying the last of their weekend. My funny companion decides to just ask them if they knew the guy we were looking for. They all said that he moved out a while ago. Well they then began to poke fun at us and asked us to share something about the gospel with them. My quick companion pulled out a scripture before I could think of something in response. He begins to read to them 2 Nephi 28 which talks about people saying eat, drink and, be merry for tomorrow we die. They all laughed at us and we invited them to repent and come unto Christ. They talked about coming to church and began to feel bad about themselves. We left them at that and figured they probably wouldn't remember it tomorrow, but we fulfilled our purpose, right?
Well my family that is all I have for now. I love you all a ton and I am glad to see things are going well.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, April 8, 2013

I love conference!

Alright so here is the update here in the beautiful South of the promised land. :) Things are progressing super fast and we have a lot of people to teach. Now are they all elect, well that is something we are working with still. What is good though is that we are finding and teaching and teaching and finding. We had some crazy experiences with investigators this week, but with more study and relying on the spirit we should be able to overcome them. One investigator wants to believe that studying scriptures is as easy as thinking of what you want to learn and just opening to a random page and God will have directed you to the answer that way. He then has shown us that he no longer wants to kneel and pray, but hold hands in a circle for more power. That was an awkward lesson having to stop these false traditions from who knows where and teach true doctrine. Another investigator won't receive an answer about the Book of Mormon because he is caught up on tangible evidence and not the spirit. He also expressed that the one true church has to have the correct restored pronunciation of God's name as found in his Hebrew bible. Well I don't about God's name ever being lost in the first place, but seeing as I am not well versed in the Hebrew language I couldn't help him out much. All I know is that he is letting all these small details that won't be made known to him yet impede his progression and his ability to receive a spiritual confirmation. And last we have an investigator who wants God to give her everything she wants now and is acting like a complete cookie monster about blessings when she is in a rough position and doesn't understand what she needs to do to change things. We have a lot of work to get done, but this is what makes studies in the morning super fun. :)
Well that is basically where we are at. Smithfield is great and I am loving all the people here. Sooooo... y'all are dealing with a perezoso. I am sorry to hear that he has no interest even when his own culture is all around him. Hearing about that makes me feel super bad for all those times that I whined about not wanting to do certain things with the family or not wanting to go somewhere because it was too much walking. Mom, I promise that when I get home I will stop and read every sign along any path with you. :) I would probably enjoy things like that so much more now. In fact I have already made it a goal to go walking with you in the morning if you are still doing that just so we can talk and enjoy that time. You probably can out walk me by now, but it will be worth it. Happy Birthday by the way. Life is speeding by.
Well I sure hope conference was as inspirational for y'all as it was for me. I always want to be a better missionary when I hear conference, but then there are those talks that make me trunky and want to be a better man all together when I get home. I am super thrilled to hear so much about missionary work. I sure hope the members here and there step up their game on finding people to teach. The work is hastening, but it will get a flat tire if we have all these missionaries out there and the members aren't stepping up to the plate just as much. When ward mission leaders were talked about I sent ours a text saying BOOYAH!!. He laughed, but I think he got the other part of that message as well which was basically saying we have to step it up. HE is by far the best ward mission leader I have had on my mission. Well that is all I really have time for for now, but I want to leave with one thing for dad. Here the bishops are like never heavily involved in helping the missionaries actually teach and stuff. I know they are busy, but it makes the elders so happy to know that the bishop is willing to go out with us too and it lets us know there is a trust. I don't know if you go out them much or if you even trust them, but if you do trust them and if you could please go out with them. It will make them feel more comfortable in the ward and it will help them feel they have trust with everyone. The bishop makes a huge impact on the elders in that area they are serving because we as missionaries get in the feelings of bishops being super busy and don't have time to deal with any part of our work except giving callings and making sure other people help us. We often fear even calling for help from the bishops family just because we don't want to make them feel like we are adding to their plate. If doing missionary work is adding to their plate then something is wrong. I just had this thought though and thought I would share it. I love you all a ton and am very grateful for everything you do for me. Hasta luego!
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, April 1, 2013

999,999 people

Y'all have had a great week it sounds like. I love hearing about how great my family is. :) Sounds like the family has definitely felt the spirit this week and that is by far the most important thing we can have in this life. I try so hard to get people to understand the importance of that heavenly gift and yet people still take it for granted. It is the most important gift!!! Anyway from picking apart the emails I tried to figure out how Ryan is doing since I didn't see his email. I want to know if things are improving with him and his trainer. He better start sending pictures out as well.
Anyway, Dad it would be much easier to get the newsletter by snail mail than print especially with some of these libraries that are stingy. I love getting those by the way. I sure hope a lot more ward members see it and share it. 
Well this week has been kind of odd. We have been improving a lot in some areas, but whenever that happens it means that another side needs more doctoring up. Well this week it was finding. We were very much blessed with having investigators accept baptismal invitations and are really progressing towards that step, but we just aren't finding like I want to be. I'm sure every one of my companions has been irritated with me saying that nothing happens in missionary work until we find people to teach. That comes straight from PMG. The funny part is they always ask me if I think we aren't actually doing anything. Yes I know we are working hard, but I would rather have some many in my teaching pool that I can't keep track of them. There are thousands of people in this city and every one we find and share the gospel with may not accept our message, but that means that we have raised our chances for finding the elect because now we only have 999,999 people left to contact instead of 1000000. :) I have had to train myself to love finding as much as teaching because finding the elect is the hardest part of this work. Anyway, the miracles are coming as we show forth our faith, but I am looking for more faith and bigger miracles.
I am super excited for next week. Conference as a missionary is always the best. We just seem to pay attention more as elders. I know that's bad, but at least it is happening. I just hope for some more crazy news like China is opening up or we all need to start preparing for a massive exodus to Zion or something. :) Anything could happen I guess.
Well family I love y'all to death and I am super excited for the work that is going on. Keep up the missionary work and remember you are in my prayers. Good luck on finding a home Jenni!
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham