Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Time is a tickin'

So will yall still love me if I return home sick? My companion and one other elder here in the house got me sick and I am praying it lasts no longer than a couple of days. I have been pushing myself to get out and work harder, to exercise more, to be more bold, to do everything at a faster speed and with more power. I remember Wilson use to always tell me that when you get sick just sweat it out and that will make things better. Well Wilson I am taking your council to heart. I am pushing it to the limit. This week we had interviews with the President and it was actually quite an odd experience. I personally didn't come out of my interview feeling loved or uplifted or inspired at all. It was odd especially at this age in the mission. Anyway after reflecting over that 20 minute exchange we had for the rest of the day and week I finally figured it out thanks to the help of some divine guidance I believe. President Baker knew what he was going to do with me. He planned to kick my butt in there and make sure I didn't feel like I could just coast the rest of the few weeks I have because he praised me for doing a good job or anything. It was really rough at first, but whether I'm interpreting this right or not, that is how I'm going to take it. I'm grateful for the one piece of advice he said he could give me. He told me all the council he had for me that day was to stay humble. That is all he left me with on my last interview with the president. I guess all I can do is take it to heart and make things happen. This last transfer has been crazy because of a lack of desire I have seen in a lot of missionaries here in my zone. There seems to be a sense of complacency and unfortunately it has been huge in our zone leaders who need to lead us along. I have struggled long and hard since the mission split trying to help my companions continue to live a higher law and remember that change is always going to happen whether we like it or not, so let's like it and make it happen. Getting distracted isn't on the menu right now, because of all the work that still needs to be done.
Other than that big item we have had a good week. We have more and more potential every day. We are looking into new areas and doing new things to get the ball rolling. The Hispanic group in this ward need a lot of work. Oh I met a guy this last week while on an exchange that had the last name Burnham. Best part was that he was a big black guy! I knew we were related as soon as I met him. ;) Well I hope all is well over there in the west. Let Diane know she is in my prayers and I hope things go well for her. Time is a tickin'.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham
Oh hey the pics are of last preparation day. We went to the Wright Brothers memorial and the sight of the first flight. To be honest it wasn't as spectacular as we all hoped. But at least I can say I have been there and how grateful I am for there desire to do such a big thing that has changed our world.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great Birthday

It really was a great birthday my friends and family. Thank you so much for all the messages and love that were sent my way. I have truly been blessed with a great amount of people in my life that love me. My birthday consisted of a wonderful training that the missionaries headed in our ward council that morning, translating an intense talk about ordinances that we make, teaching the Spanish member's class, and eating some delicious cheesecake that a Sister in the ward made me. The day started out really well. It ended a little odd with seeing one of our investigators stumble around from being super drunk, but all in all we made it a great Sabbath day. To be honest this week was a growing week for the two of us. We were happy as we could be even through the all the hardships that came our way. Elder Merkley is such an optimistic upbeat missionary and we get along super well. We could both get hit by cars and be paralyzed for the rest of our lives and still have a good time being missionaries together. We just work well together.
Anyway I just wanted to let y'all know that I love you and I am extremely grateful for all the love that I have felt from friends and family back at home. I can honestly see the blessing of happiness that the gospel brings to a family even from this far away. It is awesome to know that I can strongly testify of the knowledge that this gives me as I talk with people everyday about the family.
So I have all these goodies to eat now and I have really been trying to work hard at staying skinny, but this is going to kill me. I am glad to have two other elders here living with us so I can share the fatness. We as missionaries certainly rejoice in the fatness.
Sara, I love you to death as well and I am super happy to hear your doing good and trying not to stress out. Your make me laugh every time I read your letters. Make sure to give Ben a great big hug for me and tell him I love him. He seems to have definitely grown a ton. I can't wait to talk with him again when I get back. We have a lot to discuss.
Jenni, I shared with my companion the part of your email where Landon had to dance every time a good song came on because that is exactly how my companion is. Landon gets more and more studly everyday I'm sure. I am excited to see those munchkins again. Thanks for the pretty calabasitas and the drawings y'all sent. I am looking forward to seeing the family again and having some good times.
Well this next week is going to be a better week than this last one because we have more work to get done. Quoting a wise younger brother, "not a second wasted". I love you all and hope the wedding and all the other Utah stuff that you will do is a blast. Tell Eric congrats for me.
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham

Monday, October 7, 2013

Last General Conference on my Mission :(

This week was up and down all over the place. You can't get much better than conference weekend though as a missionary. We had a pretty good week full of teaching and finding and receiving revelation. We met a new neat little family that has the same story as almost every other Hispanic out here. They working all the time, have cute little kids, grew up catholic and aren't active, and love the Bible. But after all that they felt the spirit of the restoration and want to get baptized. They still have a lot to work on which may take them a while and I may not be here to see them through, but they are a good family. That always feels good to talk with families like that.
So conference brought a lot of revelation as well as a ton of soul-searching questions. I decided that instead of going into to detail with it all I would just list them off for you and let you consider the questions and inspiration and to have you figure out which question or goal goes with what talk. :) This is what I walked away with after this weekend:
  • We are here to learn and then go home to apply and obey. (Is that the same principle for the mission or even for this entire life?)
  • Meeknes/Humility and Gentle persuasion is how we overcome difficult people.
  •  Am I determined enough or have the courage to remain faithful through difficult circumstances?
  • Do I have faith in God's specific plan for me?
  • Do I have faith in the covenants I have made?
  • Never feel like I have done enough!
  • Am I living up to my potential as a missionary?
  • Is it a blessing to work with less?
  • Could the blessing be to go without?
  • I need to be more keen on finding the spiritual blessing of obedience rather than the temporal.
  • I love being a member of this church because the ability I have to act and to use my talents to help others. Are we not the happiest when we sincerely help someone else with a problem they couldn't fix themselves? 
  • GOAL: Never miss an opportunity to study scriptures with future family.
  • My future wife has to understand the importance of her role and heed the prophets counsel when geared towards women. :)
  • How can I share the burdens of women. 
  • How can Christ forgive others through us?
  • How does the Atonement's power of forgiveness really work?
  • Be quick, but don't hurry!
  • Do members fear the revelation they will receive by seeking inspiration to do missionary work?
  • GOAL: Conduct family missionary council with future family.
  • GOAL: Share, what I didn't in the past, with friends back from school.
  • What impact did my primary teachers have on me?
  • Have I internalized the testimony found in the 13 articles of faith?
  • Why do we have to make mistakes to become a champion?
  • I want to be the champion NOW, so how do I overcome the fear that that won't happen?
  • GOAL: 100% home teaching every month.
  • How can I become friends with those I home teach?
  • What choices have led me to love the Lord with all my heart?
  • For what purpose have I been sent to each person I meet in my life?
  • What is my ultimate priority?
  • I know challenges I have never experienced before are on their way, will I remain steadfast and of good cheer during those moments?
  • How can I really cast my burdens upon the yoke of Christ?
  • GOAL: Always go to every Sunday meeting.
  • How can I make the sacrament more serious in my life?
There is a lot here and I may already have the answers to most of these questions, but they were all self-reflecting points that came to my mind as I sat and listened. It sure was a great weekend. I am sad this was my last conference as a missionary, but it was perfect.
There is a lot more to be learned. Well family I thought I would just share those things with you to ponder. I love you all and I am grateful for the Happy Birthday wishes. Mom, I too will be needing all new "Holy Underwear" for when I get home. Missionaries kind of trash the ones we wear. I probably will get rid of most of the ones I have out here so I'll need some for when I am home. Also have y'all decided on what I should do with my bike? Time is winding down. We are on crunch time now. Let me know when you can. Oh also I would love to go with Aunt Laurie on that special trip. :)
I love you all!!! xoxoxoxo
Con Amor,
Elder Burnham