Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hijo Mio (My Son)

November 25, 2014 (week 13 in Argentina)
Hola de Saenz Pena!!!

Transfers happened and I am now in Saenz Pena!  It’s quite the shock because Elder Allen is still in Fontana!  I was thinking that he was going to leave and I would be in charge of Fontana, but well I’m where the Lord wants me to be.  So sadly, I can’t send pictures on this computer for some reason but hopefully next week I can send pictures. 

So my new companion is Elder Swingle from New York!  He’s pretty awesome and has well... 6 weeks in the mission... yup I am finishing his training as his new trainer (No Elder Swingle... I am your father!)  Here in ensanche sur 1!  Ha ha… we are having an awesome time talking to the people of Argentina.  He has taken 7 years of Spanish before getting here so he knows a lot more than me, and he is 18 and finished his high school years in Texas.  He is a very awesome missionary and definitely loves to work hard.  We have been working hard as we walk through the heat of summer contacting and spreading the gospel to these new people.  He is very smart and tall.  He’s been showing me around and we have also been exploring together new places where he hasn’t been.  Our pension (apartment) is much nicer than the one in Fontana, so I am grateful for that, but when I got there it was super dirty, so we fixed all of that today for p-day.  I also found out that there is a zoo close by our zone so be ready for pictures of a lot of animals in this transfer! Over all this transfer so far is going by fast and without much worry. I mean sure, I already am teaching after I just finished my training last week, but I’ve got the hang of things and am doing the Lord’s will.

Since Thanksgiving is this week I have a great amount of things that I am thankful for:

1. I am thankful for my Mom who gave my Dad a Book of Mormon.  If she didn’t give my dad that book I wouldn’t be here in Argentina or exist.  So I am always grateful for her decision to share what seems like a small act of missionary work, but makes a big change in the life and family of another. Love you Mom and Dad.

2. I am grateful for a great extended family, one that is united and there for one another always. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, a brother and a sister that love one another so much and only want to make the best memories together.

3. Estoy agradecido por mis amigos, quien saben cuan importantes son para mi. Cada vez ellos han estado allí para mi y les amo. Cada memoria que tengo con ustedes tráeme felicidad.  (google translation:  I am thankful for my friends, who know how important they are to me. Each time they have been there for me and I love them. Every memory I have with you bring me happiness)

4. I am beyond thankful for every person who is supporting me and sending me their love through email.

5. And finally I am thankful for Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Over this week we have taught many lessons to people who haven’t had hope or think there is a point to life, but through Jesus Christ we can be forgiven for every wrong we’ve done in our lives and leave behind the darkest of pasts.  I am beyond indebted to Him for such a sacrifice He has made for me.  I love Him and for the hope He gives me every day, whenever I wake up with some doubt that I can’t help people.  He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Shepherd, my King, my brother. 

Espero que sepan que les amo, (I hope you know that I love you)

Elder Burke

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Turkey is Done!

November 17, 2014 (week 12 in Argentina)

Sewing at the Garcia home- Love the parrot on his shoulder

So this week is transfers and we now wait to see if we leave or stay!  But, this past week has been so awesome and filled with the spirit and fun!  First off, I want to just say that the president that we have, Presidente Franco, is one awesome man and loves his missionaries. 

So this week on Monday, I once again used my awesome powers of sewing and constructed a beard beanie for Elder Allen!  Sure it’s not cold here right now, but he is happy as a clam to look like rip van winkle!  I took a picture with it on just to show you how wise and awesome missionaries can be, but sadly due to mission regulations... I had to shave it all off.  It was a sad moment.  It reminded me of home and how my brother and I would wear our beard beanies early in the morning hanging out.  LOL.

Made Elder Allen a Beard Beannie
Splits with Elder Pacheco
                                                                                                                                                            So, I went on splits with Elder Pacheco this week for two days!  I was in charge of my whole area and it was definitely a test of my Spanish skills because I didn’t have my gringo companion to clarify what exactly people are saying.  We went to Corientes to get legalized with some of the other people.  We saw the coast early in the morning and there was a huge bridge that we crossed over to get to it.  I saw otters!!! They’re so cute!!!  AAAAHHHH!!! LOL… and we had fun talking with the people as we were waiting to sign papers and get legalized.  Although it took us away from working that morning, we had a blast and also opportunities to tell people who we are. 
Corientes coast
Bridge to Corientes

Elder Allen sewing with Garcia family
Also at the Garcia family, I showed their grandma and mom how to sew with their new sewing machine. I’m learning Guatanie from their grandma right now and it’s so awesome!  Ha ha - three languages now I will have under my belt! 

We had so much fun and taught Gabriela!  We taught her about eternal families and that God has commanded us that we should be married to one another, man and woman, before she could be baptized. and although she had doubts about the marriage before, she felt the spirit when we testified of eternal families and that even though the marriage paper that she would have says ¨till death do us part, the temple sealing power binds us and our companions throughout every generation of time.  It was one of the best lessons I have had so far.  What is awesome about the spirit is that the more you try to feel it through righteous works, the more you come to recognize when it is with you or not.  For me I tear up out of nowhere when I feel it strong.  Yes, I’m a baby, but honestly that’s what you feel.
Maria and her grandson

I love our Heavenly Father and how much he has given me and for my family, that I know will be together through eternity.  Nothing is better than that: family.  I always think of my family and how happy and loving we all are with living these truths of unity and love. I have no doubt that with all my heart that I will be with my family after this life, and nothing will ever separate us.  I love you all and enjoy your stories and remarks.  Please keep writing me and telling me the things that are important in your life. 

Les Amo.


Otters swimming
Elder Burke
Bridge to Corientes

Elder Pacheco

Giant Lettuce given to us by the Castillo family

On the road to Corientes

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lizard Fun

November 10, 2014 (week 11 in Argentina)

Uno Mas Semana! (One more week)

This transfer has gone by wicked fast!  I can’t believe that we have already almost completed another 6 weeks!  So crazy!  We have been through a ton and are working on helping bring back the people of the ward.

It gets difficult sometimes because a lot of the people feel threatened when they are at church because of some things that were said way in the past.  Everyone should know that the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t include gossip.  People need to realize that of course everyone has their own problems and that is between them and the Lord.  Only encourage those who wish to change their lives for the better, because you won’t help them change by gossiping, talking behind their backs, and making them feel bad for something they have left back in their past. 

Another story is that we were walking trying to contact someone who we could help, someone who was prepared to hear the gospel.  Elder Allen and I were walking and we both looked at a house that we both felt that we should clap (knock on).  It was funny because I went to say “elder let’s do this house” and he was already saying it as well.  We love it when we follow the Spirit to the doors of people.  We talked to this woman who was trying to get married at the time, which is very, very hard to do in this country, and we shared with her the Book of Mormon.  She was just so happy to find that two 20 year old boys came to her door when she needed help in her life.  We will be talking to her more often this week.

We had an awesome lizard in our pension (apartment) one night and it was so funny because the lizard liked me but hated Elder Allen!  He tried to bite Elder Allen so many times and he was just nice to me.  Speaking of animals, we were clapping a house that no one was at but they had a Labrador dog that was super white and it reminded me of my dog Simba.  I basically played with him for like 2 minutes then we had to go.  Que trunky!

We have been working a lot on the law of chastity with the people here that we are teaching.  I just absolutely love the blessings that follow when you follow these commandments.  It’s awesome, because honestly, it only strengthens your relationship with yourself, spouse, and best friend. Always know that these commandments are set to only bring you the happiest feelings and the best confidence and trust in your relationship which will last throughout the eternities.

I love teaching about eternal families and I am happy that Heavenly Father only wants that for us and that truly makes everyone so much happier.

Keep writing me, ask questions, tell me your stories and always pray when things get hard.


Elder Burke
Perfect Companions for each other- both "goofs"

Chaco- Resistencia

Learned how to make Empanadas- Yum!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Adventures and Struggles

November 3, 2014 (week 10 in Argentina)

Hola de fontana,

Let's rescue the keys
So this week has been full of more adventures and struggles. First off, we went to the hospital for Elder Allen’s knee to see how it is doing. The doctor suggested an MRI and he did one.  I looked at it and so did the doctors (gotta make sure they’re doing their job) and basically his whole patella (knee cap) has moved up 15 mm, which is pretty far from where it should be.  So, we are going to see the doctor today and have them look at it more and give him some suggestions on what to do. It’s weird being in a hospital again, that isn’t my hospital (the one I worked at, of course). So I am of course, critiquing their level of health care and what not.

Also so the keys are a funny story.  We were going to have a district meeting with the other elders and two sisters in our Ward and basically the district leader locked his keys inside their room.  We are still not sure how they did it, to be honest.  So we came and rescued them by snatching the keys from the desk with a rusty pole
Keys are rescued

   Here is a picture of my lovely Fontana church- more pictures will be sent.  We had a lot of rain so basically nobody showed up Sunday because it was pouring.  Ugh!!  But oh well!!

Our Church in Fontana
Also what happened is, basically I was stricken with the flu here in Argentina.  I have been sick for the past five days with the flu.  Elder Allen and I were walking and then next thing I knew I had body aches, a fever, stomach ache, and what follows with an upset stomach?... upset poop!!  So that was awesome.  But, we were able to help three people that day because I was determined to stay out and help these people no matter how sick I was. A fever came the first night on Wednesday and basically I wanted to die.  Then I felt better after a good night’s rest and then went and worked for two more days but then after that, bam!!- hit again with another fever.  It really sucked!  Above was all I ate for Thursday and part of Friday.
Flu Recovery Food

Over all what I learned this week is… you get what you pay for.  Quit complaining. If you aren’t getting the results that you want, have you done all that you could for it?  Work hard and play harder.  Love all you!!

Yep...I'm still a goof!!

Elder Burke

Elder Allen is a big goof too!