Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It’s mildly warm….

February 23, 2015 (week 26 in Argentina)

Hola de Argentina!

And now, for the good parts of the week...

Corrientes, Argentina
Well we have been working hard with our investigators, Hernesto and Elsa (not the princess) who are this lovely sweet old couple. Hernesto has some partial paralysis on his left side and can’t move much.  We got to take him to church this week!  It was awesome, but also a nightmare. As being a healthcare worker I have this tendency to get frustrated when the equipment I use doesn’t seem to agree with me or just falls apart.  Elder Nava and I pushed Hernesto to the church (a good 8 blocks) while the leg rests on his wheelchair kept falling off.  Not to mention it was close to 9 o clock on a lovely summer morning with 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) and 50 percent humidity. None of the sidewalks are in good condition for his wheelchair, so we used the road, dodging motos, cars, and trucks. Did I mention I was drenched in sweat from the heat?  But nonetheless we got Hernesto and Elsa to the church and where there is air condition!  They loved it and are having a wonderful time learning little by little about the gospel.

Before church in the last week, a few awesome events happened.  The first part was that we had splits and I was with Elder Ortega and Elder Nava was with Elder Fiabane.  I was over in Elder Ortega’s area and we got to talk to this lovely active family about what we need to have in our lives to help give us positive thoughts and feelings, and then one of the sisters asked us how we can help ourselves from thinking badly of others or in other words how can we stop judging others.  It’s a very good question and we both shared many ways how we can avoid judging others, but the one thing that hit me was when the father of the home said to judge someone is to condemn them.  That really made me think differently about how we are all progressing with our difficulties and imperfections, and how they can affect those around us.  It helped me realize that I need to have more patience with others and never condemn them.  To condemn someone is to judge them and that that judgment is final, that they cannot change.  This is what Satan wants for us to think of one another, that we may feel that we can’t become better because of the things we’ve done in the past or the habits we have now that are hard to break.  It helped me to be more supportive to others who need help and to also stand my ground with the Lord’s standards.  One shouldn’t judge another, but they should make a judgment on whether being around such will support them or destroy them.

Multi-Zone Conference
Also we had a multi-zone conference!  We had to stay in the pension at 5 because of some protest that was going on before the conference and we had 8 elders in one house.  It was so much fun! Then we woke up to go to the multi-zone conference!  In the conference we focused a lot on baptisms and we all studied and discussed on what needs to be done to help people come unto Christ and be baptized.  It helped us a lot to see that the doctrine of Christ to be baptized.  Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that the doctrine of Christ is to be baptized.  That we should follow the example of Christ by faith in Him, then repent of our sins, be baptized by immersion, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and endure to the end.  We then got to prepare 72 hour kits for every elder so that if there is an emergency there will be enough to survive. Also we watched “Meet the Mormons” and it made me super trunky (homesick) when it talked about the coach.  I missed watching football with my dad and also routing for the good ol’ military of America!  After the meetings I met with President Franco and we talked about how I’m going to be the new nurse for the elders and how I’ll be taking all the calls for the sick elders.  I have a huge packet that I have to study which is all medical info (AWESOME!) and a personal phone.  I’m super excited to start working here in the next couple of weeks as the new nurse for the Resistencia Argentina mission.

Also the fun part of the week... well you guys will laugh.  So it is a habit of Argentina that they sometimes have to cut the power to certain parts of the country, for us they cut the water.... for two days.  Now I want all of you to imagine the one day you went super hard in the gym, it’s humid, and you are wearing a sweater, you exercise, you sweat so much that you are certain you are going to take a bath, but imagine that feeling of waiting to take a bath for over 38 hours... also you have to wear a white shirt and tie with slacks, and there is no air conditioning. Let’s just say I love showers and that not one of my friends or Ally was around to see my gross self.  Bleh.  Never going to forget that memory ever!

I love all of you and hope that you are all enjoying every day of your lives.  Truly every day is a gift from Heavenly Father, help someone today.

Con Amor,  Elder Burke
Elder Burke and Williams

Elder Burke and Lebaron
Elder Burke and Miles
Elder Burke and Ratliff

P-day- Clean day
Shwarma- never had it until Argentina

Playing monopoly at the zone leaders pension

Waiting for the bus

Corrientes Sky- Beautiful

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Little Mexican

February 16, 2015 (week 25 in Argentina)

Hola de Argentina, Mendoza!!!

My new area- Mendoza
As you well may know, I am happily living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful time that we have this great gospel in our day and age where we can bring so much happiness into our lives.  I thank my Father in Heaven, who loves me dearly enough to give me the best things for my well-being.  I invite every reader to come closer to God and their families through being actively engaged in the simple truths of this gospel.
Here in Mendoza it’s somewhat different than what I am used to.  It is very dangerous and we have to be careful at night.  We have to make critical choices from avoiding certain areas of the area at night and having to face yet many vicious dogs. I have seen many new things from teaching the poorest of the poor and I find myself humbled yet again.  I look around every day here in the mission thanking my Heavenly Father for the things that I have, that I took for granted before.  From a house that has a/c to a car to take me to a part of town.  Truly I am blessed to know that God has given me so much more than what I should have, which has helped me to become more ready to leave the things of the world and give up everything.

But Mendoza also has its fellow members and happy people too.  We have helped this family to be reactivated (Hermana Marra and her kids), so that they can start progressing again as children of God.  They came to church and we have been having fun with many of the families in our area.  We teach them, feel the spirit, and have good laughs.  I love my area; I don’t ever have worries here in the mission.  Everything will work out in its own time and we are just here to work our hardest to bring people unto Christ.  It’s been different here though, because it’s been carnival down here, but nobody seems to celebrate it.  We have had to be in by 7 every night until Tuesday this week.  We just leave a little earlier around three in the afternoon, and that heat kills me.

Best Friends:  Elder Burke and Nava
So as for the title… Elder Nava is one of my best friends! We have so much fun teaching the gospel and talking about the things of our past lives like Dragon Ball Z, Dancing, Dating, and everything else.  I found that sometimes there is not a big difference between us and we are simply brothers from different parts of the world.  He is incredibly smart and loves to make jokes.  Sadly I’ve been the victim of some.  Ja ja!  But honestly we just have so much fun doing this work.  The sad part is that these weeks are flying about as fast as ludicrous speed!  I can’t believe the week has already passed!!!  It’s so crazy!  Elder Nava and I will have the best next 5 weeks together and we will probably have more (I hope!).

Funny story of the week was not really funny.  We walked through these apartments filled with people and there are of course wild dogs around.  So we were walking and had to pass through this tunnel that was filled with I think 3 to 5 dogs- all ugly too.  But, you get used to when you have to pass by dogs that want to eat you.  But, it made me think of the days when I was scared to do fast offerings as a deacon and I was afraid to leave the car because of being bit by the neighbor’s dog.  I’ll tell you what; God definitely helps us be courageous.  I’ve found much comfort and hope in the chapters of Alma in the book of Mormon (18 to 22) where Ammon and Aaron and the sons of Mosiah taught the blood thirsty Lamanites and brought many people who wanted to kill them, to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But as always, I am happy to be a representative of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I love serving these people, and loving them unconditionally.
Can’t wait to hear from you all next week!!!
Elder Burke

My desk

Theatre in Mendoza

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Doctor, Doctor, give me the news!

February 10, 2015 (week 24 in Argentina)

Once upon a time in Argentina,
Saying good-bye to this group- Elders Burke, Allred, Swingle and Ware

First off, we had seven different people come back to church Sunday!!! Woooohoooooo! Elder Swingle and I were so happy to see the fruits of our labor!!!  We have been working hard with helping the rama (branch) get back into shape to help people’s lives and be there for them when times get hard. Overall, it was really good at the church.

Tracting with Elder Swingle
So, for the past week there were a couple of stories that I noted that would be fun to share.  First off, if you have ever played sonic the hedgehog and know the character tails... we found a dog that looks just like him!  He has three tails... basically his tails looked like dreadlocks hanging off, but when he wagged his tail it was probably one of the grossest things in the world.  But, Elder Swingle and I died laughing!

Also we found this awesome little family that moved to Saenz Peña from Resistencia and were recent converts!  We brought them to church and introduced them to the church.  It was cool to see that they fit right in, because no matter where you are in the world or whatever language you speak, every church is organized the same and teaches the exact same.  Nothing changes in the church doctrine unless the prophet announces it.  They were shocked, that and their daughter who is 5 is the most hypergenic little thing you ever did see.
New companion- Elder Nava

So things are going good... I’ve been transferred again.  I’m with Elder Nava who is from Mexico!!! He is half my height but we are having so much fun!  We have Elder Flick from Utah, Elder Stout, who is new here in the mission, and we are all in the same room.  I’m in Corrientes right now writing.  I’m with Elder Nava here and things are much different.  I’m in Mendoza which is apparently the most dangerous area in our mission.  Honestly I’m not scared, just bummed that I can’t take my nice hat or backpack out anymore.  All I carry now is two books of Mormon and some pamphlets to help teach people.  Also it’s hard not to have a watch on your wrist.  I’ve done it before, but it always would help me stay on track with the time.  Corrientes is much richer that back in Saenz Pena.  There is a mall here!!!  With McDonalds!!!!!!  Absolutely crazy and a different environment.  Because they are so many different areas for shopping, it looks like an American mall!  Not to mention they have a theatre close by and of course, I had to just shake my head when I saw the poster for 50 sombras de gris (50 shades of grey).  Well that’s saddening.  But they advertise movies that have been out for a while so it wasn’t that new.  Ja ja.  Also Corrientes has its poor parts, that where you probably get mugged if you’re not careful or look rich.  But, I’ll be fine.  I will miss Elder Allred, Swingle and Ware though.
My new roommates:  Elders Flick, Nava and Stout

Some more changes for us now!!!  We get to write for two hours on our mission!!  We are beyond happy to write for so much longer because it’s very hard to find fun things to do here.  And everything closes 12 to 4 and we only have 10:30 to 6:30 for our P-day so it’s hard to have fun.  But we can also play Uno!!!  Heck ya!!!  I thought I would never be so happy to play Uno in my life!!!

Now for the grand finale of this letter... I’m going to be the mission nurse!  I talked with Presidente Franco and he wants me to help with Hermana Caribine with taking all the calls for the 230 elders and hermanas in the mission, who have or will have problems with their health.  I am in charge of all the elders and it’s great because now the elders can feel more comfortable to tell a guy their health problems without being embarrassed.  I’m soooo excited because I was worried about losing all of my medical memory on the mission!  Truly an answered prayer.  So you can just call me... Doctor Elder Burke ;)

Overall the mission is going good and I am learning through trials and stress.  That’s how we grow as children of God.  We are stressed and pushed to our limits so that we can grow strong.  Be ready for tough trials and be proud that your Heavenly Father knows that you can take it and when you slay that dragon, you become a better person than you were before.

Also read D&C 14:7
“And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”

 or chapters 10 to 12 of Alma.

Love, Elder Burke

Elders Allred, Burke, Swingle and Ware holding Elder Hidalgo

Elder Burke and Hidalgo

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Holy Ghost

February 2, 2015 (week 23 in Argentina)

Hola de Argentina!!!

So, so many things have been going good here in Argentina!  We have been working hard to bring people unto Christ and how the holy gospel can heal all wounds of the past and protect us in the near future.
Rolling thunder follows the Lord's workers
We have been trying hard to have some of our older investigators get baptized, but they still don’t feel ready, but they are still doing everything…read, pray, go to church.  It’s a trial of patience, I guess, but we are always there for them.  So with that being said, we have set our goals for this last week to find newer families that are ready to be baptized or hear the gospel.  As usual we contact in the street, at the door, or wherever we can talk and share with people.  But, when we prayed to go out and find new people, we never thought of the miracles that would follow immediately!  As we were walking we would be guided by a thought like “go left” instead of right, or to “talk to these people”.  They weren't the type of promptings that you would see a giant green arrow above people’s heads saying “HEY!!! THESE PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR MESSAGE!!!”  It’s just a calm thought or feeling that has guided us to find 4 new families that seem that they will be prosperous!  The majority have accepted baptismal dates and want to come to the church, but sadly they had other appointments first to attend to.  All in one day we found 4 different families that all seem prepared to hear this gospel. Truly the work of a higher help.
Going "bananas" for bananas

Also we have been having fun with the sale of bananas!  We bought 8 lbs of bananas for 20 pesos ($1.50 US). We might say we went “bananas” for bananas? ja ja ja!

"Urmurgursh!!!!! I Lurv Burnarnurs!!!!!"

We painted a house for a less active family and we are trying to help them remember how great it is to have Heavenly Father help us in our lives. Also he let us play with his boxing gear for a bit!
boxing is so much fun....
and stress relieving for

I have been studying a lot about the Holy Ghost and the wonderful things it does for mankind. The reason we need him is for the following reasons:

1. He gives us comfort in our time of need.
2. He guides us to the people we need to see in the right time.
3. He testifies of Christ and Heavenly Father

Some things that I realized, that were new to me, was that if we are to understand the things of God, we need heavenly help.  There is no earthy philosophy or way to come to know of Heavenly Father and all that He stands for.  We need a higher understanding that is from Him that testifies of Him.  This is why it is so important to have the Holy Ghost in our lives.  When we are baptized, right after by the laying on of hands, we receive the Holy Ghost, to guide us in the pathway of Heavenly Father’s great and wonderful plan.  We must live worthy of such a beautiful gift and act swiftly on the promptings of such.  The most miraculous thing though of the spirit, is that it can influence those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We can have the spirit with us, but the Holy Ghost can only affect those who are willing to soften their heart and listen.  If we are prideful or feel that we do not need any sort of heavenly help in our lives, it will affect the connection we can have with it.

Remember to always keep your heart soft and listen to the small promptings of the spirit.

Love, Elder Burke

Natividad, Silvestre, Alma Maria, Julio, Maria, Elder Swingle, Elder Burke

The Elders meet the Beatles

Ivan and his best friend in Saenz!

Can you hear me?  Can you hear me now??

Definitely Bananas for Bananas