Monday, July 6, 2015

For Grandpa

July 6, 2015 (week 45 in Argentina)
Hola from Clorinda!

So we are still working with our investigators, Pablo and a couple others. Pablo is doing alright and will be baptized still on the 18th. It’s what we are planning for and he is studying and showing a huge amount of faith and diligence in his decisions.  He has had some hard decisions to make especially as he comes to recognize that he isn’t happy with his friends that don’t really share the same beliefs or values as he does.  He is fighting off a ton of ridicule. And also he is working hard to serve God more than his girlfriend.  Both Elder Goycochea and I have had the same experience that brings both of us to be the best teachers for him. It’s awesome to see how Heavenly Father sends us to the areas with the right companions and the right investigators that we can help.  It’s been pretty trunky talking about girlfriends- Elder Goycochea and I with him, but it reminded me that there are things in this life that are hard for us to let go and put in God’s hands.  For both of us, it was to leave our girlfriends and now we are helping Pablo make the decision that he thinks would be best for him.  It’s understandable to leave someone you love so much and do what God wants, we both have felt that hardship in our lives, but we are doing good and we haven’t died yet! ja ja

A tragic event has come to pass as I have been away from home. I have received news that my beloved Grandfather Burke from my father’s side has passed away.  I received the news as I was leaving from the cyber and I was walking in the street to the bus.  I received a call that my parents wanted to talk to me and my mission president connected me to them.  I feel somewhat sad that I can’t be there for the funeral nor can I help comfort my family more than with words from a computer keyboard.

You will be missed Grandpa Burke- can't wait to see you again!!
I know that my Grandpa Burke is ok.  As those who die in Christ they too shall live as He does.  It makes me sad to think he is gone from this world, but it’s just a passing thing.  In reality it’s a new way to look at life and how short it really is.  Our time here in the world is not at all long enough for what we want, but it doesn’t mean that we will be able live afterwards.  Christ was resurrected for a reason and that reason was to show God’s purpose to everyone- that death is NOT the end.  It is just a phase, a time separated, until we may see one another again.  This is the work of God, our Heavenly Father, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  Christ was resurrected so that we all may have hope of seeing our loved ones again, that we will not be cut off from the rest of our family, if we do our best to follow Christ.  Immortality is free, but eternal life is a reward.  I wish to invite all who read to understand that Christ was resurrected and received glory, because as our example he obeyed all the commandments of his Father.  He is our exemplar to show that to become better and perfect is only through Him, all will live again and those who follow His example will receive exactly what He has.  I love my grandfather and miss him dearly, and I cannot wait to see him again.  All those who are affected by the loss of such a wonderful and influential man, I hope that all is well and that you are all comforted by the Holy Ghost as we all move through this life missing a great part of our family. I love you all.

Elder Burke

June 30, 2015

Dear Grandma,

Grandpa and Grandma Burke
I’m here in Argentina and I received word of what happened yesterday.  I hope that you are ok and that you know that I love you so much.  My dad told me that he was flying over to see you.  I don’t really know much of what has happened since or how you and the rest of the family are doing supporting the loss of Grandpa, but it’s my desire to hopefully uplift you and the rest of the family to have the same hope that I have now.

I don’t know if my lack of an emotional response is due to my experience of seeing death as an EMT or that it just hasn’t hit me yet that Grandpa passed away, but I know he is ok.  I’ve seen differences in families when they react to death with a sure testimony that they will see their loved ones again, and when they don’t have such knowledge.  It’s my firm belief that Grandpa will live again and that we will see him again. The dark veil of separation from those who live and those who have passed away seems thick because we can’t see them, but they are still there.  The scripture says:

Now if we be dead with Christ, we also believe that we shall live with him also.  Romans 6:8.

Christ was resurrected and I know that if we follow Christ, we too will live like him. It hurts to be so far away from you grandma and that I can’t do more for you and the family, but I want you to know that you will see Grandpa again. Your heavenly father knows what you are feeling, and will always be waiting to hear your voice when you pray at night.  He will help you always.
In the name of Jesus Christ amen.


Ya lavamos Pantalones!

June 29, 2015 (week 44 in Argentina)

Hola mis queridos amigos y familiares!!! Estoy aqui en la linda Clorinda que se queda en la hermosa Formosa! Ojala que todo este bien en cualquier lugar que estan y que sepan que les quiero.

So as for the many things that have happen this week I would first like to make a huge shout out to my friends Jake Dansie and now newly renamed (I figured she would want to take his last name or suffer the consequences of not being even more awesome) Danika Dansie.


Now that I got that out of my system, this last week has been such a blast and the time flies.  I feel like I just wrote you guys yesterday!  There have been a lot of surprises for the both of us as we are trying our best to bring souls unto Christ.

So this last Sunday came a kid named Pablo.  He is 18 years old and is basically the next Jet Li because he is a master at taekwondo and kicks some serious butt!  He came to the church by himself because his Uncle who lives in a different ward gave him a Book of Mormon 2 years ago and for some reason felt that he needed to go to the church.  We set up a date to see him and met with him and I will tell you all the truth, I have never felt such a sincere and spiritual teenager in my entire life.  When we talked with him we taught him after every deep question he had that was a very sincere desire to follow Christ and know more.  He told us that he can’t express himself the way he can with Elder Goycochea and me.  With other people he feels like his questions just bother other people, but when he asked us such questions, we taught him and answered every one of them.  He was at the point of tears when he told us of his desire to be baptized and how he wishes to follow Christ’s example.  Both elder Goycochea and I were shocked by how strong this kid’s spirit is.  We felt the spirit so strong with him and we invited him to be baptized on the 18th of July.  I’m so excited for this guy that he will be a leader and future missionary!  He’s soooo awesome!

Washing Pantalones (pants)
We are still working with Hilary and Giovani and their papers to be married and then after baptized. The thing is that Argentina is somewhat of a hard place to get papers done, it takes a good amount of time and they are super picky on what they want as paperwork.  They need to have more official papers from the country of Columbia to receive an ok to be married.  So we are doing all we can to keep them supported and strong in the church until they can marry.  So we did a service project for them.  We washed Pantalones (pants) for them, only it wasn’t their pants, but their dog named Pantalones!!! ja ja!!!  It’s a pretty good joke we do.  I don’t have my camera with me so I can’t send pictures but this little dog is such a stud and we got to get rid of his dread locks and give him a nice bath.  He didn’t like it at first, but now he’s super happy and clean. One dog down, 2 billion more to go.  There are a ton of dogs here and it’s just sad to see how no one really takes care of them, but one small act at a time, missionaries change the hearts of the people to do good.  Small acts lead to big changes.  If you can focus on the small things you can handle the big things.  Also it’s the birthday of Giovani today so we are buying him a cake and we are gonna sing happy birthday to them. 
Nice, clean, dread lock-free Pantalones!
Also we are still working with Flor on her progression, she couldn’t come to church this week but we are working on her for the next week!

Something I’ve learned is that sin causes guilt which causes insecurity.  When we tend not to admit our faults nor try to change them, we are insecure and when we are told that we are in the wrong we can’t really say anything against it.  Being free from sin brings peace and a calm state of mind that you literally have nothing to hide nor worry about, a scripture that I like that I just read is found in the first chapter of 2 Nephi:

12...I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.
13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.
14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.
15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.
16 And I desire that ye should remember to observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.

Shake off the stress of sin and sadness and reach for the light.  Forgiveness is possible.  I too felt bound by guilt but Jesus Christ made me clean again.  My testimony is that all of those who read my words may understand that all those who need help can look to Christ and be forgiven.  If it’s not my words that convince you to do such, then I hope that my example has helped people see that second chances do indeed exist.  Keep fighting, keep moving, and keep trying, there will be a day when you won’t be weighed down by your own mistakes and past life.  Christ helped me to move forward, and I know that he will with anyone who is willing to follow Him. I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Elder Burke

Happy Birthday Giovani!