Monday, March 16, 2015

The Trip to Resistencia

March 16, 215 (week 29 in Argentina)

Elder Burke, Mudrovich (Chile), Munoz (Colombia), Briceno (Honduras)
Hola mis amigos del otros lados del mundo!!! (Hello my friends from elsewhere in the world)

I am super happy here in Argentina as I’m experiencing the many new ways of how I can become a better person and how I can serve those around me.

Well, as in the title of this email, you can probably guess where I went this last week.  Yes I went back to Resistencia for a little bit.  Elder Stout needed to go to Cortoba and do some papers to become legal, and the process to do it takes a good while, as the trip is a 4 day trip, with the majority of your time spent inside a bus, but don’t worry these buses are really nice.  But Elder Stout went with another elder from an area in Resistencia, so they asked me to come to Resistencia for a couple of days so that they could work in their area.  So I packed my bags and spent four days in Resistencia with my Chileno friend Elder Mudrovich, he is so awesome and we had a ton of fun.
Elder Burke and Mudrovich

Elder Mudrovich is super white and is a descendant from the Ukraine, but his family grew up in Chile. He gets a lot of comments from other people who think that he is a gringo like the rest of us missionaries, yeah he hates it.  But, we worked in his area and I met a ton of people that are awesome; from a professional soccer player and his girlfriend to one of the converts of Elder Nava when he was in the area.  Everyone has their story of how they came to know of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how the missionaries helped them do that.  They absolutely love to tell their stories about how Christ changed their lives.

Cool story that happened while we were in the street was that this guy with his horse and cart were turning a corner and turned very sharply and fell into a sanja (it’s a moat for sewage for the houses here in Argentina.)  Elder Mudrovich and I ran to the rescue and helped him pull out his heavy cart with his horse.  After that he almost fought us because he was pretty drunk, and thought we only helped him so that he would pay us.  We talked to him and told him that as missionaries we go about doing good so that we may help those around us see that it is better to live a life of service than a life of selfishness.  He was pretty drunk and I’m already used to treating patients when they are under the influence, but it was pretty funny when he started talking to me and then just burying his face into my shoulder and then asking for help, but not when he is drunk, when he is sober.  Ha ha… so we got his directions and Elder Mudrovich will be seeing him soon.

Elder Burke, Mudrovich, Munoz, Briceno
With the elders in Resistencia I’ve come to know how good my Spanish has become.  I was with three native Spanish speakers with not one English speaker near me while I was in Resistencia, and I was totally fine.  We had a blast telling stories about our families, loved ones, and our best moments of the mission.  Elder Briceño is from Honduras and Elder Muños is from Colombia.  They cooked really good food for us one night and we had a blast with one another for the time I was in Resistencia.

I’ve come to see the differences in areas and how people as a group grow together in cultures and habits.  Many of the people in Resistencia have experienced the missionaries for a good while and there are more members who help their neighbors with whatever problems there may be, while in Corrientes it still needs work, but nonetheless the power of God can soften the hardest heart and help those who are willing to change for the better.   This gospel changes lives and many people ask me why I’m so happy here in Mendoza and I always tell them that “I’m living the gospel of Jesus Christ, my Savior lives, why shouldn’t I be happy?”

I love all of you and keep you all in my prayers.  If everyone will pray for the family of Hermana Scadlock that would help.  I don’t know all the details of what they posted to Facebook or announced, but please do send support to the Scadlock Family.  Just as Christ lives now, so will she in the future.

(Note: Sister Scadlock, who was serving in the same mission, passed away this last Wednesday from an E. Coli infection in Buenos Aires.  She lived in West Haven, Utah and started her mission in August 2014- she was in the group right behind Taylor.  He did not know her, but the whole mission is praying for her family)
Sister Scadlock

Con amor,  Elder Burke

Elder Burke and Elder Munoz

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Door to Door

March 9, 2015 (week 28 in Argentina)

Escrituras de la semana (scripture of the week)
· James 2:26- For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Hoooooooolaaaaaaaa de Argentina! 
Hugs from Florencia
As you may have guessed, yes door to door means contacting, and a lot. Mendoza al sur is a very different place from the Saenz Pena atmosphere.  Everyone here is not very receiving of missionaries knocking on their door.  Still we move on searching for the people who are willing to follow Christ!  We met a couple of cool new people and they seem promising in their progression. I have learned many things about this line of missionary work and the one thing I’ve concluded is that this gospel relies on faith.

I’ve done a lot of reading on faith and it comes to be so much more than a belief of a higher being, it’s also acting on what you believe.  We search endlessly for those who will be willing to show their faith and do the invitations that we ask them to do.  For example, we invite them to read the Book of Mormon and to pray to God to know if it is true.  Many times we ask the people who we invited to do these things and if they did it and they will normally say... no.  It kind of reminds me of the story of when Moses said that all those who look to the serpent will be healed and there were people who didn’t look!  How easy is it to read a little bit of the book and pray to God asking him if it’s true or not?  But sadly people are like that.  So we endlessly search door to door.

torta frita with dulce de leche- yum!!
 We had two awesome noche de hogares (family home evening) here in our area.  One was with Izekiel and Maria and their grandma.  They were baptized awhile back and now we are reading the Book of Mormon with them chapter for chapter.  They are two awesome kids and they are so happy because they tell us that this gospel makes them happy!  We ate torta frita which is flour, water, and fat deep fried in oil.  They’re like a crunch tortilla and we had dulce de leche on it and they were soooooo goooood!  We helped make them too!

Making torta frita

Our second noche de hogar was with the familia Cuba!  They are an awesome family of four and they are awesome.  The mother has been baptized and still reads the Book of Mormon, but her husband is very catholic and told us straight up that he will never change religions even if God said our church was correct.  But he’s awesome and he will come to know that our fruits are good.  He is such a good dad and I know the longer he hears the voice of the Lord, one day he will accept more of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Izekiel and Maria's grandma

And one more thing! Romeo Santos came here.  Yeah I don’t know him but my companion loves him because he is the king of bachata (Latin dance music)!  Our pension is right next to a futbol stadium and so there was a huge concert.  We could hear a lot of music and Elder Nava was going nuts because it would be the equivalent of a Taylor Swift concert for me! Poor guy, lol but we went up on the roof and took fotos as we were waiting for bed time.  He loved it!

On the rooftop 
Hope all is going good at home and that all of you know I love you.
Con Amor,  Elder Burke

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Book of Mormon

March 2, 2015 (week 27 in Argentina)
Hola de Argentina!
Just a little bit of rain....
It’s been going good here and it’s rained quite a bit, as in cars were swimming one day.  See pictures for details! Ja ja!  It was crazy and yes, we still go out and work in such crazy conditions!  My boots where so soaked!

Elder Nava and I have been hitting it hard here in Mendoza al sur.  It’s a very hard area as in dangerous and that many of the people aren’t very nice in general, but we still take in the moments of small successes we have every day.  For example, the missionaries before I was here were teaching this lovely young adult Alejandra.  She’s been coming to church for a good bit now but she has some problems with her health and flies out a lot to Buenos Aires.  But I finally got to meet her this week and we talked with her and how she feels about the church and the Book of Mormon.  She told us that she has so much peace in her life and it started with reading the Book of Mormon and praying.  Simply doing two very small things.  She is just this tiny happy daughter of God and she has accepted a date to be baptized!!!!  We invited her this week and she said yes!  But because she lives so far away out of our area we need special permission from president to see her and we need a member with us every time we see her.  So we went this week with her uncle.  He gave a beautiful testimony and I know it helped Alejandra say yes to being baptized.  Since she lives so far away we haven’t been able to teach her as much as we want to, so her date to be baptized is the 28th of March!  So we will be hoping that we are here after the transfers!!!
Another story is that we have been teaching Elsa and Ernesto still and they are having doubts still.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be for them to change over 60 years of being catholic to work up the courage to go to a different church, but we are helping them and answering their every doubt with the true doctrine of Christ.  One of the best ways to teach how Christ was baptized is to read the Book of Mormon in chapter 11 and then read the end of chapter three of Matthew in the bible and see that really the doctrine of Christ and how we should be baptized hasn’t and won’t change; only men have changed such sacred things.  But not to worry, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the authority and power to baptize and they do it in the correct way that Christ taught.  I recommend that you read these chapters and see how simple it is and how the Book of Mormon only brings light to knowing about Christ.
I bore my testimony yesterday about how the Book of Mormon changes lives, as a missionary it is one of the best things to see the results of such a great and marvelous book.  Every person that reads the Book of Mormon daily has a better day than the usual.  I can see it in our investigators eyes when they have read the Book of Mormon with a true heart and a sincere desire to know about Heavenly Father and Christ, that THEY ARE HAPPY!!  This book has the power of God and I can’t explain how it does it but I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that through Joseph smith the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.  It’s light. It’s truth. It’s pure joy.  I desire that everyone should read this book, The Book of Mormon, and see your life change.  I promise you it will only be a change for the better good.
Love you all and love your letters,

Elder Burke
Sloppy joe p-day with the elders

A cockroach for a snack?
noche de hogar en mendoza al sur