Monday, October 27, 2014

Keep Walking!

October 27, 2014  (week 9 in Argentina)
Skype with family- lots of laughing and fun!!


I got to use skype for the first time today!  Score one for me!  Ha ha!!
Seriously though, it was awesome to see my family and how they are pushing through their sore trials as I am away (I know, it’s so hard to be the entertainment to everyone).  It was funny because I think they had a hard time of actually talking to me for the first couple of minutes because they haven’t seen me live in probably 3 and a half months! But as always, I got to tell them how much they mean to me and what this gospel has done for my family.  But man how time flies while you are working!

So for this week...
Elder Allen has had problems with his knee in the past and ha sort of dislocated it last Monday!  But he didn’t tell me until about the next day when I was looking at it.  It was super swollen and I broke down the EMT skills of telling him to rest.  He still has problems right now, but it’s much better than the first couple of days.  He will probably be going to the doctor to get it looked at.  We have been in the pension for about three days and then he decided that he wanted to go see people.  This guy is a champ.  He has such a huge desire to help people, and sometimes he sacrifices his own comfort to walk a couple miles on a bad knee.  (His mom will probably kill me or him... one of the two!)  But, we have been able to study more and see the people we needed to see, so that was awesome.

We visited Gabriela, who was my first lesson here in Argentina.  Over the past few months she has slowly been changing and accepting our invitations of reading, praying, and yesterday she came to sacrament meeting!  Finally!  We weren’t expecting her, but there she was!  So we helped her feel comfortable and answered every question she had about the church.  The members helped a ton as well with that!
Elder Burke and Elder Allen Strike a pose!

Also the other elders had a baptism Saturday!  Her name is Lorana and we have been helping her along with the other elders to change from her old life and dark past.  She was the one that told us that she was looking for a new better life.   She was in Monica’s house and we were just walking in to drop off laundry, and felt so happy and warm when she was around us and later the other elders. She’s awesome and I will have to send pictures, because she is really short and funny!  Also we got a family, who are investigating the church, to come and watch the baptism. Every member helped explain what was happening and showed them that we are normal, happy people.  If you can go to a baptism and watch it, I highly recommend it.  It is very spiritual and a huge blessing to watch.

This week has been pretty hot and this week will get even hotter! Ay way!  But oh well, the church is still true and we are dedicated to finding the people who want more in their life and are willing to listen.  Missionaries always go the distance to help people.  If you have the chance to ask them why they have left their homes, families, friends, and basically everything else to talk about a church organization, they will be happy to share with you why.

I am beyond grateful to serve my Heavenly Father and to help his children (my brothers and sisters), to help them realize who they really are.  I am also grateful for the love of my family and all that they have, do, and will do for me.  I hope my entire family and the generations of my family past, present, and future know just how much I love them.  I testify that this is the true church, that this is what has brought me continual joy and happiness to me, my friends, and my family.  I know God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that through the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things. I love you, all who read these words, and only wish the entire blessings of heaven to fall upon you as it has for me.  I say these things in the name of our Savior, Redeemer and brother, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Burke

Feliz dia de madre!

October 20, 2014 (week 8 in Argentina)
Dear people of the world outside my small area of Fontana,

These weeks have been so life changing and humbling for me and I hardly ever want to leave from this work.  We have days that we have great success and other days where we are frustrated by others.  It’s just like life honestly.  We can be trying our best to teach someone and show them how much love and happiness they can have in their lives, and they reject us.  Imagine two people in the world who come to your door solely to give you an invitation to have the greatest feelings you could ever experience in the world.  Would you listen to it and even follow the invitation?  That’s really how simple it is, nothing more than sitting down and talking, reading, praying, and acting on the invitation. 

I invite everyone to do just that, read, pray, go to church just to try it.  And listen for a feeling.  A feeling that is so great, that if you are looking for it you will find it.  It is crazy what you find when you start looking.  Elder Allen and I have worked and had good and bad outcomes.  We have learned about agency, patience and love more. 

Some of the people we have taught don’t wish to talk to us anymore.  And that is there choice.  I love that we always have our free will to choose for ourselves and to choose between what is right and what is wrong.  I thank my Heavenly Father for such a gift.  And I thank my entire genealogy of family members who have chosen certain paths that have brought me to existence.  I am always grateful for my life and the people that choose to be my friends.  I love you all and I am oh so grateful for my mom!

Happy mother’s day mom from Argentina (Argentina has mother’s day in October)!  I love you and I am beyond appreciative for raising me to be the man I am today.  You are above every family member I could ever have in my life and I hope you know how much I love you mom!

Elder Burke

Notes from mom:  Taylor was given permission to skype home for Argentina Mother's Day...however, I was on the road coming back from California.  We tried to get it to work on the Ipad from a McDonald's parking lot, but didn't have much luck.  At one point through all the static I finally made out the words, "I love you mom".  I could barely hear it, but it was Taylor's voice and I loved it.  We tried again a few hours later and we were able to see him and talk to him for about 2 minutes and then lost connection.  He was able to Skype with Matt (Matt was at home) and got permission from his mission president to call the following Sunday since it didn't work well.  Tender Mercies!!!
Skype with Dad!!

What a Two weeks!

October 14, 2014 (week 7 in Argentina)

So the past two weeks have been awesome, especially with Conference the last Sunday!  My favorite talk that touched me the most and reminded me what being a missionary was all about was the talk by Elder Holland. He spoke with so much power and spirit and he said some things that I loved.  He talked about the life of Christ. He, who is our brother and exemplar for us to follow and be better people, He who is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Son of the most high God, and he was homeless.  I felt that for someone so powerful and inspirational for all of us, was born of a humble birth.  He was born in a stable, to parents who barely had anything.  And as He taught and helped people through his whole life, He did it without having a home.  When I thought of Him being so great and powerful, I saw that He gave up a lot for us.  He suffered for all of our sins and died for us so that we may be forgiven and live with our Heavenly Father.  Elder Holland asked the question "Aren’t we all beggars? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness?"  It really helped me realize that Jesus is the Christ, and everything we have that is of this world isn’t as important as our families.  I read in Alma about Aaron teaching the king about the gospel.  The king said "I would abandon all the things I possess to know such joy."  It really helped me feel just how important family and people are and not my phone, Facebook, car, or anything else of little importance.

 We have now changed to the summer schedule because it gets so hot and so many people sleep during the period called the siesta.  It’s literally 12ish to 430 every day and we study during this time.  So that is nice because it gets super, super hot.  So hot that I am drenched in sweat every day.

 Last week was probably the hardest week so far.  We have been seeing so many investigators that we believe are finding what they are looking for in life, which is the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ, and then all of a sudden they all stopped progressing!  We were crushed, but we still worked hard trying to find new people to teach and to hopefully pass by and see how our investigators were doing.  Whenever we would contact and clap (that’s how we knock on doors) houses trying to find new people to teach, we would only find one person who wanted to talk to us  out of the hundreds of people we talked to and clapped to share this gospel.  But, not to worry!  I’ve learned that even if people don’t want to listen to you or treat you with a lot of disrespect, you can still be happy.  Elder Allen and I are so happy when we are walking the streets and when we talk to people and are even happier when we can share and invite people to come to know if our words and message are true. 

Yesterday was a miracle because we were able to have all of our good investigators start progressing again!  They are so much happier and are following the simple things we invite them to do.  Read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to church.  Truly a blessing for us and we are just happy, simply happy.

The Spanish is so much easier now.  I can express myself better and even understand the majority of what they are talking about.  I am studying hard and praying harder so that I can bring happiness into the lives of people.

I love all of you and hope you all take advantage of the website and watch and study the topics on how to only better your life. 

Nos Vemos!

Elder Burke

Elder Allen reading scriptures with the kids

Monday, October 6, 2014

On-line Email Conversation

October 6, 2014 (Week 6 in Argentina)

Cool Elders- Allen, Enright, Correa, Burke
Hey there,

I’m on for an hour right now.  I have decided that it would be more fun to write personal letters on the 6th P-day every transfer to talk to you guys personally.  If you are on and want to ask questions, feel free to shoot them, but do it fast.

I can’t receive any packages because the country is in an economic crisis and so it’s very expensive to get a package out of their possession.
I am sending pictures with some of the people I have been around with.  As you know, I can’t really just carry a camera around every day as we are walking around.  There is a chance it will get stolen and then sold.  So, please be patient when I am sending pictures because I am trying my best.

I haven’t received any “dear elder” letters, so just have everyone send an email on THEIR personal email.  I would like to write Alex and Brianna personally.  I can print the emails off and then I read them after.

The following is our emails back and forth today….it was so much fun.  Brianna is home sick today and so she enjoyed getting to ask some questions too.

Mom:  What has been your favorite thing?

Taylor:  My favorite thing is Alfajores which are small cakes covered in chocolate…so good!  And they have dulce de leche!  They run about 4 pesos too, which is the equivalent of 50 cents wahoo! 

Mom:  What has been your biggest trial?

Taylor:  A trial is just the language, but everyone here says I am progressing faster than any other elder in the field.  So, I think in another 6 weeks I will be better…lol

Brianna:  Hi this is your favorite sister (not Jasmine- the dog), I have a question for you.  What is the strangest thing you have eaten?

Taylor:  Monkey Brains, of course!!  Lol.  But blood sausage as well.  Es tan estreno!

Mom:  Did you get to watch/listen to General Conference yesterday?

Taylor:  Yes- sending a picture

Brianna: Will you have pan dulce on Christmas?

Taylor:  Probably yes, lol…it is so freaking delicious.  Although I’ve lost weight…they eat solid meat, sugar, mayonnaise and cheese with everything.  It’s not the healthiest I’ve been.

Mom:  Tell me more about your companion Elder Allen and how you get along?

Taylor:   Elder Allen and I get along better than anyone.  He does practically everything the same way as I do it. But we both have our strengths and weaknesses and habits that we are working on together.  He’s from Las Vegas and loves to hunt and fish.  He sings every morning and we make some of the funniest jokes.  He has a huge love for the people here and we always teach with the spirit and to the needs of the investigators.

Mom:  Are you keeping a journal? Take us through a normal day and what you are doing?

Taylor:  Ya, keeping a journal and what not.  A normal day here is non-existent as we change it to go see people depending on where they are at.  We contact and clap houses whenever people aren’t home.

Sorry they are closing the cyber- chow!

Watching General Conference

Yes...there is a Walmart in the distance

Great Companions!!  Elder Allen and Elder Burke

Yummy Blackberries!!