Monday, November 23, 2015

Do What You Say

November 23, 2015

Buen Dia!
Elder Burke, Celene, Angelica, Elder Montero, Joaquin
So anyways, this last Monday after writing you guys we went to say goodbye to Celene, the 9 year old super member missionary that we had.  She went to Buenos Aires and will be there for the summer until March.  We are gonna miss her because she was always helping us with teaching her friends and family.  She’s a huge role model for us and she will definitely be a great missionary someday when she is older.  I cooked brownies and Angelica, the Aunt of Celene, cooked little pizzas.  We taught the Plan of salvation using little drawings since there were more little kids. It was fun.

Elders Burke, Pace, Mostoller, Gowans
Back together again (MTC district)
We went to Resistencia for our Multi Zone Conference with Pres. Franco, Hermana Franco, and The Assistants to the Pres.  It was really great and as we were talking about faith and setting goals, I shared an experience of how when Elder Nava and I made the goal to add three priesthood holders to the branch, and we had the baptism of Juan Romero and Pedro Pimienta. But he and I left without a third.  But, I returned to find out that one of the members that we were working to reactivate (Jorge Gomez) was reactivated and just the past week he was sealed for time and all eternity to his wife Dalma!  They’re my best friends here and we have so much fun spending time with one another and helping them with whatever they need.  Also they enjoy taking a lot of pictures so I can imagine that if you look on Facebook I’ll probably be there in their posts! ja ja.  But anyways President Franco said that by my return to Corrientes it could be that I will be there for a little bit more time! ja ja  Everyone was laughing and I was pretty content with staying here, there is a lot of work to do.  But I got to see Elder Pace, Elder Mostoller, and Elder Gowans from my MTC district!  It was like a family reunion!  Also I got to see my two favorite Peruanas together before one of them left, Hermana Paima and Lanfranco. Hermana Lanfranco will be leaving.  It’s pretty nuts now that I’m losing even more friends.  I’m one of the oldest Elders now here in the mission.
Elder Burke with Hermanas Lanfranco and Paima

The only problem is finding these people at their house in the area.  It gets hard here in the mission when you and your companion are they only ones who are remembering the appointments we make.  We call them too and confirm with them that we will be passing by, but they are always forgetting.

When you say that you will do something, do it.  Be a man/woman of your word.  God wants us to be on one side and stay there, not be line crossers and oath breakers.  He has us make covenants so that we may be like him.  It’s very true that what it says in D&C 58:30-33
30 Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?
31 Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
33 Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.
God gives us blessings when we obey and He always will bless us, so why doubt?  We constantly think that if we don’t receive blessing its God’s fault and not ours.  But God will always fulfill His part if we will do our part.  So the purpose of a Covenant is that we may be men/women of our word and that we do what is right even if it is hard and stick to it.  It’s not easy, but the blessings are worth it.  So as you can see, when we are talking about making commitments, it gets hard because we were super excited for this Sunday for investigators to come but no one came.  It gets hard sometimes, but you worry about the people as well.

Matias is almost there.  The only thing now is that he can recognize his answer and make the decision to be baptized.  We had a really good lesson where we helped him understand more about Joseph Smith through the Bible and the Great Apostasy that was prophesied and then fulfilled, making the need for the restoration.  He seems so very confused by other church doctrine but by following the spirit and bearing testimony we were able to help him see the light.  Now he has to continue trying.  We keep trying to convince him, but something that I have learned from my dad is that "if you force it, you’ll break it".  So I’m learning to be more patient.

For our ultimate P-day as a zone we had tacos and played volleyball and threw the pig skin around. That was a lot of fun!  Yes!  It was sooo much fun and President Zarur who is our president here in Mendoza bought the meat which was super expensive.  He’s awesome!  And so now we are all sweaty and tired from running with a whole lot of jalapeƱos in our stomachs.

We have been sharing with a ton of people the movie MEET THE MORMONS since it is now on YouTube.  Watch it here:

Love you all and love to hear from those who wrote. Keep writing me and sending lots of pictures!!!

Elder Burke

Dalma and Jorge Gomez Temple Sealing!!!

My Best Friends- Jorge and Dalma Gomez

Making tortillas on P-day

Monday, November 16, 2015

Teaching in a Lottery Booth

November 16, 2015

Hopefully I can help maybe bring to light the miracle of the Plan of Salvation and its wonderful joy that it gives us.  It is pure truth and the power it gives to each man is to know that the effects of death cannot conquer them when they do indeed embrace Christ and his light.  To those who were in the bombings in France I send my condolences.  Just know for certain that we will all soon be able to see one another again, and it is by the grace, the mercy, and love of Christ our Redeemer.

This week has been filled with a lot of great finds in families!  We normally shoot to have 21 lessons with investigators and here in Corrientes it gets hard to get to 12.  But we got a wooping 18! With many new people to be teaching!  Oh, also Matias came to church and he cut his hair!  So he’s moving forward to recognizing his answer; if the message we share is true.  He is scheduled for the 28th of November so we are pumped for that.

Something that helps me understand to be patient with these people is that one day when we are all there before our Heavenly Father, I would imagine that we will see all the people we taught as missionaries there, already baptized and have made covenants with God to live with him.  We will probably see the small part we played in guiding people to accept the gospel in the way that was convincingly perfect and just for them.  The gospel of Jesus Christ will never change as we have faith, repentance, baptism, receiving of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  But it doesn’t mean that the way people accept this doctrine will always be the same formula as it was for us or others.  We are all unique, but at the same time one.  We constantly strive to do the right thing and be united in the cause, but that does not in any way erase our personal identity.  That’s why I love this gospel.  Never have I seen so many people who are different, be united.   And it’s only through true divine power given to men that is called the priesthood.  It’s made me more appreciative of all I have.

One of the news that we found was a woman named Adrianna.  She’s 23 years old and a psychology major.  She came to the open house way back in August and liked it.  But we could never find her.  Until one night we felt like trying her door again.  We went to where she supposedly lives and we were told that she lives on the other side in a different house on the same block.  What do you know?... we find her there and she is ready to hear more. She told us some things that were really funny to me as an observer from the outside.  She said that in our church she didn’t find crazy and less intelligent type people who cry, weep, and moan and do strange rituals that make you feel awkward.  But found normal, self-reliant and professional type people.  She tells us that our type of punctualization and professionalism in planning appointments is exceptional and she feels like she can be herself and expect to learn from us when we teach.  When we went to teach her again we had to do it where her sister works which is a lottery booth.  It was definitely different to be teaching in a lottery booth but we taught her, her sister, and her coworker who were all interested. Amazing! Maybe we should try teaching in a Bar next week and see what happens! ja ja  Na- Just Kidding.  But she is very lovely and we will see how her curiosity will bring her to know the truth.

Well I have passed the halfway mark in reading the Book of Mormon and it’s only been 16 days! The amount of doctrine I am trying to retain is hard day to day, but miraculously as our Mission President promised, we will have an increase in baptisms if we are focusing on teaching and reading the Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I cannot find any other book that speaks plain truth in the most simplistic manner and that helps me be the person I wish to be. GO READ IT NOW.

Also the amount of sick calls that I am receiving somehow miraculously went up these past few days.  I am literally on the phone day and night talking to people and organizing hospital trips to the facilities that they need.  Obviously I have to have permission from President Franco and we have been talking quite a lot these past weeks. Ja ja.  Also if Hermana Franco is there she always shouts HI ELDER BURKE! ja ja.  They’re the best and if you come to the Resistencia, Argentina Mission you won’t be sorry.

Love all of you guys and love all the photos I can see of you.  You’re all growing up and I will get back home and be in shock probably to see all the changes in my friends, family, and coworkers.

Con afulaso de amor,

Elder Burke

Do not be afraid to act

November 9, 2015

Well seeing as there has been a lot of news from all of you guys out where you are, I felt like first off I would say... GO GRANDMA BURKE!!!!  I asked her to give a big, wet kiss for my little brother Alex and she did more than just that.  She went the whole 9 yards to give him a ton of kisses and give my brother probable PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). ja ja.  I died laughing when my mother told me what happened.  So its heartwarming to know that my family is still its crazy old self.  Also I hope that all my family members know that I love them so much and that I will forever be grateful to our Heavenly Father who gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice, that we may see our loved ones yet again.  May all my love and comfort be to those who have lost dear family and friends.  The Plan of Salvation is a perfect plan, even for the most unseen and brutal and harsh mishaps and passings that this world throws at us.  Stay strong, and hold firm to the rod as have thousands of Disciples of Christ.

If my words don’t help, I hope that the words of Jeffery R Holland can help:

gospel principles class
This week I have never seen such a great success in our contacts as I have had before in our mission. It’s amazing and especially for Corrientes.  We are constantly waiting for the spirit and if we feel like talking to someone then we just do it.  God is good and never will we become tired of doing good unto others.  His spirit guides us to do good, so if the impression is to do good it’s of the spirit and of God.  So don’t question it and just do it.  We have had a lot of new people to talk to and even other people who are people I have met when I was here before . Now I am enjoying the blessings of the good impressions we have left on other people.

Matias didn’t come to church again and it was because he had other things to do but said he could come for an hour.  But as usual we are just being patient and we teach the blessings that people can receive if they do what we invite them to do.  Of course it will be a bit different and maybe uncomfortable at first, but isn’t that how it is with everything different and new?  It’s what we feel.  Basically it’s like working out for the first time.  You go to a new gym and even do things you’ve never done and even after you are sore, but then you are strengthened and then ready for bigger weights, bigger goals and better health.  So we are working hard with him.

We found Rosa Flores again and we couldn’t talk with her again but we said we would pass by next week.  As we were returning to our pension after walking for a long time we were passing by her house.  There is a main road close by and there is an elevated sidewalk on the side.  On this sidewalk were many horses grazing in the front lawns of people.  Usually we hear them so that they can move for us but before doing anything we heard a man yell from the street below.  He stopped on his motorcycle and was pointing to the group of horses there and helped us see that the 1 year old granddaughter of Hermana Rosa Flores had wandered from her house without notice and was literally 6 inches from being kicked by a full 500 lbs. horse or worse trampled to the ground. A calmness over took me as I advanced, walking silently within the group of horses.  All were faced away from me eating, and one startled noise or movement could have frightened the horses to kick me and possibly injure or take my life.  But as I moved quietly and normally, I picked up her granddaughter and took her to safety at her grandma’s house just a couple of yards away, without anything happening to the both of us.  I feel like it’s in moments like these where God tests us, to see what is more important, our lives or the lives of others.  Those who accept Christ and die in Christ will have a better life than those who pass away without him.  I felt an assurance that our loving Heavenly Father would guide and protect us both, even if it seemed crazy to do such.  But having faith in Christ and everything gives us protection and even the power to do good in this world.

We have been going with Joaquin and Sandra a lot, visiting many people and they are awesome as always to help us with our investigators.  Just yesterday we went with Joaquin and Juan Romero to see some people and their skills and talents have helped us come closer to the investigators that we are teaching.  So my testimony is huge in that members do make the difference.  If you are a member I challenge you to do what I wished I would have done when I was back at home; go out one day with the missionaries and just be around them.  Help them in their appointments, and even get to know them.  You will see just how big of an impact you will make with giving one day with visiting people, or even 2 hours.  Go, do it when you have a free day or even a couple hours and see how great the gospel is.

I cooked sloppy joes for Elder Montero and he really liked it.  I loved it and also we have been working out, as hard as you can in a garage with only your own body weight as a weight.  It’s hard but when I get home I’ll be in the gym super-fast. ja ja.

I love you all and hope that you are all well!

Love Elder Burke

teaching a family outside and it started raining

Birthday lunch with Hermana Mara

Monday, November 2, 2015

I need a Gym

November 2, 2015
Elder Burke and Elder Montero
So first of I want to say that I love all of you and thanks for writing me!  It was awesome to see the lives of all of you and reply back.  I used most of my time writing replies so I won’t have a good detailed message today as before.

So we have had super success with Celene, the 9 year old miracle, who is just bringing friends and relatives to hear us teach!  We are talking to her aunt Angelica and she is absolutely the best!  She is happy to find people who want to do good and she couldn’t come to church with Celene this week, but she will be there later.

Matias is progressing still and now we are teaching his entire family of 8!  It was remarkable because we came to the house of Matias and found his aunts and uncles and their kids as well.  We taught the plan of salvation and they were super interested, but wanted to know more before they make a commitment.  So we will be teaching them more.  Matias won’t be baptized this Saturday sadly, because he doesn’t feel prepared but the thing is we are working our butts off down here with teaching new people.

Que capo que es el-  Who's the boss??
Well the funny story of the week is that first off, it was Elder Montero’s Birthday and I bought him a ton of Lays potato chips and gave him traditional birthday spankings, I think he like it! ;P ja ja JK.  And we went to the house of Hermana Mara to eat lunch for his birthday and it was all super good! She did arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and papas fritas (fries)! And well afterwards basically we had an arm wrestle with the brother of Irina Ricardo, who is 15, but very well off in being strong and well... he beat us both. It was embarrassing!  But what can I say.. I haven’t seen a gym nor had the time to be buff.   And being my now slender man figure has got the best of me.  It’s the worst.  So we are now doing more exercises in the morning.  ja ja ja
Arm wrestling with Ricardo!

Other than that the area is great, we are working with the members and we are becoming basically a family even more with the branch!  Love you all!

Elder Burke

Noche de rama with mi familia

Que verguenza que tenemos--What a shame we are
- we both lose to a 15 year old!