Monday, September 30, 2013

No Transfer...6 weeks to go!!!

Surprise!!! No transfer news here. I am staying to be killed off by Elder Merkley. I start probably the craziest 6 weeks of my life today. Last night we had a super awesome missionary fireside, where we watched bits and pieces of the Hastening the Work broadcast with members and discussed how to become better missionaries. It was a very spiritual evening and we heard some great comments and strong testimonies of recent converts that found the gospel through the help of friends. It all comes back to the members, never the missionaries. We are nothing. We simply guide your friends to receiving personal revelation about the most important message on this planet. That's it! The member does the real work. Out of pure love for their friends and family members and newly found strangers they extend inspired invitations and help these children of God enter into the one true fold. At least that's how it should work and that is why we had the fireside. It was a great way to kick off this last transfer of my mission.
This last week was full of miracles because we have a great member, Pedro, who has one mission in mind. He has the strongest desire to bring every Latino in this area into the church. He will probably buy a bus to get them to church once we have enough investigators to fill up his van. He invites everyone to church. And the best part is he isn't afraid of rejection. The worst they can do is say no and then he moves on and invites the next Spanish-speaking stranger he meets. The work is starting to pick up here.
I am super excited for General Conference next week. I have a feeling this will be a huge one for me when it comes to receiving personal revelation. As I have gotten older in the mission I keep getting more questions I need answered. I'm excited to see what the Prophets have to tell me specifically this time around.
Well family time is getting short. I love you all. Hey some more boxes may be coming your way soon. I am going to try to thin out as much as I can over this month so I am not bringing so much junk home with me when the time comes. I guess I'll see what my companions want first and then just decide what to leave behind and all that stuff. Hey should I get my bike shipped home or leave it in the mission? It is still in good shape and is a nice bike, but I don't know what it costs to ship that home. Let me know what you think.
Hasta luego,
Elder Burnham

Monday, September 16, 2013

Never give up, Never Surrender

Staying busy is the way to go. Sounds like this week has been full of lots of experiences all across the board. Ryan seems to be having fun battling his branch, which reminds me of my third area a lot actually. He will get through to them eventually. Never give up, Never surrender. I hope Brianne makes it into the concert so I can go up and see her in it. Also I hope Sara is doing well in school and staying away from those fungus-filled creatures. Life seems to be good over there.
To answer your questions quickly, I hadn't heard about speaking with Russell, but I know we had mentioned it before the mission as a "what if" so I would actually really enjoy that and I'm sure others may love it too. If it's possible that would be a request from my side as well. I know he doesn't get home until about two or three weeks after me, but it would be fun. I haven't heard from Brianne yet about BYU so I'll wait on that, and I also got the itinerary. This is crazy. I don't like that the tunnel is starting to have a very large visible light at the end now. In fact this week we had a zone conference and because I am departing before the next zone conference I was asked to bear my testimony at the end of it. Only one other Raleigh missionary bore his testimony with me. I remember looking up at the older missionaries when they were giving departing testimonies and wishing I could be like that one day. Now I'm here and I guess I have gotten to the point of conversion that they were at, but I don't want to be at this age. The conference was a rude awakening to how fast this has gone by. The "real world" is right around the corner.  I AM NOT TRUNKY THOUGH!!!
We are working hard here and learning a lot. Elder Merkley and I are having a lot of fun and because he is so young and really kind of needs to be retrained on a lot of things I am being kept on my toes. We have been finding getting ready to baptize people every day. My purpose is getting fulfilled every morning with my morning prayers, inviting myself to come closer to Christ and be better. I have a lot more to learn for sure, but as for my purpose I got that down. We did meet a lot more rude people this week and we dropped a lot of people, but the Lord blessed us with new people to teach. This area really isn't the most prime spot for Spanish work, but we are doing our best to work with the few we have. We are getting there though.
Mom we don't have a ton of youth in this ward actually and we also don't even spend a lot of time with the families, because we are the Spanish missionaries and we only have 1 Hispanic family in the ward. When we do eat with the English members we are always trying to find people for the other elders to teach as well, but in order for us to do what we have been assigned to do out here, it doesn't help too often to visit with the "English-speaking white folk". They are a blast to be around though. Well that is where we are at for now. I hope all is going well and if you have more questions let me know. :)
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham
P.S. The picture is from our last week's preparation day. We went and toured the lighthouse on Bodie Island. It was the closest to a beach I have been my whole mission. Talk about trunky... :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pretty Good Week

Hey family we had a pretty good week. Everything didn't happen exactly as we had planned, but we had more success this week than last. Our finding has been a little rough due to the super prideful Hispanics in this area, but we are working hard. This week I had two run-ins with Hispanics that wouldn't budge even if an angel slapped them in the face with the Book of Mormon. I did my best to stay calm and just testify, but they denied that I even had a testimony, so that is when things got a little hairy. I stopped her from going any further and simply, boldly stated what I know to be true and how sad I was to hear that she could be so satisfied with having so little knowledge of the gospel because she isn't willing to even try to learn more. It was a an awkward situation from there because I stopped the lesson from going any further into the pit of anti where she was angry and frustrated by calling her out on how she was frustrated that I was confounding her craziness and then continued by praising her for her testimony of Jesus Christ and how she loves the Bible and that she eve let us in her home. I am glad that I went that direction though because even though she didn't want anything more to do with our beliefs she lightened up and fed us a delicious cat fish meal. Needless to say she isn't being taught anymore, but her son, who is a recent convert, will be getting our visits. Elizabeth City is a crazy place. I feel that 20 years ago this was a rich beautiful community and now it has turned into the hood. It really is quite a sad thing to see, because the remnants of a beautiful outer-banks city are all around the place, but since then it has been "ghetto-fied".
Anyway besides that we did have some good things happen. We set a young couple with a baptismal date for the middle of October. so we are still finding some elect fellows among this craziness. :)
We have been trying to work closer with members, but we only have like 4 Spanish members so it isn't the most productive. I feel like I've opened up this area for the first time. The last elder here didn't leave me with much to work with. My companion is so new he likes to just watch me and learn. Hopefully Ill get him leading a lot more things. Maybe that is why I am here.
Well I'm glad to see the family is doing so well. I am excited to see that new temple video when I get back. Oh speaking of that, did yall get a call from the mission office about what airport I am supposed to be flying into. They called me about it and I wasn't sure what we had decided so I gave them Mom and Dad's cell numbers. I hope that all got situated.
Well other than that I guess I shall answer Sara's questions.
When it comes to types of stereotypes I'm not sure what they want. What first comes to mind is the stereotype that black people like fried chicken and watermelon which can be seen all over the south in any KFC or Bojangles. Another stereotype is sweet tea and the typical southern family. Another stereotypical thing to see is a Mormon family with more than 4 or 5 kids. I guess there are a ton of stereotypes if you just think of every culture and what first comes to mind. The way I would react to all of them is with laughter and pointing a finger saying "well that's stereotypical!" hahahaha I hope that answers your question baby sister. I love you a ton as well. Keep working hard and get good grades  :)
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

So much work, so little time

Well to start I must say I am a little depressed that SLC would shut that opportunity down so quickly. My mission president didn't even get a chance to really look at it. Well it's a bummer, but I guess there is nothing we can do about it. This first week here in Elizabeth City has been kind of rough. The area is so new to spanish work and so is my companion that I have so much to get moving. I guess it keeps my mind busy on better things than being trunky. :) It seems like the hispanic population out here isn't as big as I had hoped which doesn't make it easier, but there is always a ton of less active work to do as well as giving solid english referrals to the two other sets of english missionaries that serve here in the ward with us. As I serve the people here in this small town I often ask myself why would I get sent to the South of all places to be a spanish speaking missionary? What am I needing to learn? To be honest I don't know if I'll ever find out the answer. I do know it is hard work though. I did a study the other day on how to specify my faith. In fact a big part of my study was finding the faith to find and what I received revelation on was that it all connects to the Atonement. Yes, I realize that is a pretty broad response to my question, but as much as I don't like to accept it I know that when Elder Holland said the most important convert on a mission is yourself I understood how much I need to be feeling the atonement daily to know that my faith to find is increasing. My experiences with the atonement + sharing those experiences at every doorstep = increased faith to find. Why? Because I understand more of the atonement in my own life and how it can help others so just like Enos my desire to share it changes, thus I will be that much more willing to get out and find people to teach. Maybe that made sense maybe it didn't, but I guess it did in my mind.
Anyway basically to sum everything up I have a lot of work to do still and not much time to do it. We have found a few people this week and had some success getting recent converts to share the gospel, but the work is no where near where we want it for the spanish work at least. I don't really have much else to update you on. I love you all and hope everything is going well. Keep working hard and I'm dead serious about putting me as WML and I'll get those missionaries going as well as the work in the short time I'll be home. ;) Well if I can do anything for you all let me know. Hasta luego!
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham