Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sorry for not writing last time.

June 6, 2016

So as you all may have noticed... I didn’t write last time.  I am terribly sorry for that and hope that I can at least give you all a good update as to what has happened.  So I’ll work from the most recent to the past week and try to do good on writing. 

This week we had four investigators in church!  Yup it was just awesome!  I had to go walking on a fast Sunday, sick with the flu or something, and then walk back from church.  I was so completely weak, but at the same time I knew that if I was just faithful to my fast and just kept putting one leg in front of the other, the Lord would help me get there and back again.  And it happened.  I had to cook some soup and sleep for studies to go back out to see people in the afternoon. Go Siesta! ja ja.

The four people who came were obviously Espifanio and Fransica.  We are just waiting for some papers to get them married, but they keep going to church like champions.  The second is Dora Gonzolaz who is a Jehovah’s Witness who is super awesome.  She literally says to us that all she wants to do it learn from God and be forever humble so that way she can enter his Kingdom!  So when she came to church the members already knew her and when we went to go look for her for in the Doctrine Principles class, the members told us that "Oh no elders, you can’t steal her from us, she’s staying in this class".  We were more than happy to let the members fulfill their responsibilities.  And then there was Lisandro who we walked with.  We had to wake him up and go a walking for a long time to the church but he seemed to like the church. 

Last week we were teaching Dora and she was enjoying the amount of scriptures that we have from the Book of Mormon that help make things so clear.

We read 2 Nephi 29:7-8
 7 Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?

 8 Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.

And we were only planning on reading about 7 but then she reads ahead and then tells us that that makes complete sense for her and she wants to keep reading the Book of Mormon.  It just makes you have a lot of hope.  So when we asked her about being baptized she told us that she had an experience when she was catholic that when she went to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and she felt like her entire life was a lie and she wasted so much time in a church just to find it wrong, and then she said that she is starting to find the same thing and feeling here listening to us.  She wants to wait until she has all the facts right.  The Holy Ghost helped us understand more as to how to explain to her that what she is doing will not make her feel like her life was a waste.  I explained it like this and I hope it makes sense in the time that I have to write:

Our lives are compared to that of a student who is learning the art of pottery.  All who join obviously wish to make a work of art.  Therefore we learn to whomever will have some experience, those who are a little ahead of us, or those who are seeming to have success and are close to ending their project.  We often forget that we have instructions and a teacher and we just solely rely on others or ourselves for help.  So we create different versions of the pot as it spins and tends to change its form until we have to make corrections from the advice given from those that are near.  Then suddenly as we look at the instructions and then follow them, the pile of clay then becomes more of a pot that is sculpted for perfection, and we continually confide in the teacher to help us make corrections.  We are constantly surrounded by thousands of opinions in the world from philosophies to religions, opinions to ideas, but we often forget that when we were sent here to this earth, we were given a plan to follow that will sculpt us into being the perfect person we were designed to be.  We must always confide in the scriptures and Heavenly Father first before anyone else in our lives, for people change but He will never.  If we have to change course it is better than staying in the wrong, because it’s not where we have been that counts, but where we are now that will affect our eternal salvation. So don’t be afraid to change for the better!

With Lorena we are still working with her to quit smoking so that way she can feel the spirit.  It’s a real big problem for her and all we can do is help her to go down in smoking until she doesn’t want one more cigarette. But she’s still progressing. 

It’s getting close to the end but the way I see it, even the last moments of your life really show what you are made of.  If you give up before it’s over than what was all that hard work before for?  It is looking like we won’t get that last baptism before I go, but I’m more focused on preparing those people to be baptized for the next missionaries that will teach them.  What we do in the last moments of a fight, of a game, of a struggle, or a goal really will show you who you are and what you stand for.  Always stay strong till the end and keep the faith! 

Love you all and wish the best for all! 

Elder Burke


May 23, 2016

A LONG TIME AGO (Oh my gosh it was just a week since you last wrote. dude stop being so trunky!) IN A CRAPY ARGENTINE CYBER FAR FAR AWAY (If you´re not in Argentina)....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ELDER BURKE AND HIS NEWLY TRAINED MISSIONARY ARE FOUND IN THE AREA OF LAS PALMAS WHERE IT SEEMS TO HAVE MANY OPORTUNITIES TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. THEY HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE SUCCESS IN BRINGING OTHERS UNTO CHRIST, WHICH NORMALLY MEANS HAVING THEM MAKE BAPTISIMAL COMMITMENTS.  SO FAR IT SEEMS FOR THE TWO MISSIONARIES THAT FINDING SOMEONE TO BAPTIZE HAS FAILED.  THE AMOUNT OF WAITING FOR ESPIFANIO AND FRANSICA IS WAINING ON THEIR PATIENCE AND MANY HAVE NOT BEEN DEDICATED TO KEEP THE SMALL COMMITMENTS; SUCH AS READING THE BOOK OF MORMON OR COMING TO CHURCH.  HOW FRUSTRATING RIGHT?? 

Yes it is true... I enjoy writing these letters more than my mom does to read them.  But as the super- duper awesome intro states…there is a huge opportunity to see a lot of progression in Lorena.  Hermana Sylvya is helping us with the relief society to help her feel more welcome at church and Lorena stayed for two hours instead of one this time!  Progress is small, but to me in seeing the big picture, this was big for her!  So we are helping her quit smoking.  It’s really awesome to have the spirit with you when people doubt about the things that seem impossible for them to do.  We comforted her with the assurance that if she does her part she will be able to quit smoking and feel the spirit even more. 

After this week we have been struggling to find people who are willing to commit, and what happens, just as we pray for more people who are prepared, we get them.  Heavenly Father is reliable and never fails us.  We are talking to some people who are pretty cool like Dora (Jehovah’s Witness who had a member of her church be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before he died and she is dying to see what he saw), Narcisa (a woman who has talked to the missionaries in Buenos Aires before and wants to be baptized when she can be married to her boyfriend who lives with her, shes waiting for the divorce papers to go through) and more.  It’s a great time to be a teaching! 

Over all I feel like if there is anything that makes us progress it’s the opposition and adversity in our lives.  Think of it this way, the more resistance you have, the more you have to push.  God can’t tempt us outside of our capacity, nor try us beyond our limits.  As it says in:

Mosiah 4:27 "...for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. 

We should be diligent in all times. If we find ourselves in what seems like the impossible, God is waiting for us to realize that we can do all things by him.  If we find ourselves with a really hard trial that seems to go on forever we should rejoice because that means that our Father who is in heaven sees us ready to grow and learn.  The trees are made stronger when the wind constantly tries to blow them down, our muscles become stronger after stressing them to their limits, and the missionary always runs faster when he has a dog chasing him down!

Doctrine and Covenants 136:31
"My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom."

As I look at all the obstacles that our investigators have, I only see it as the things that will make them stronger.  And as a missionary, I am so happy to be there to tell them what they need to hear and more than anything, shine my light so that they may see that God is real and has all the power to save. 

 Keep going, keep pushing, don´t focus on impossible,
you´re qualified, you´re worthy, and above all capable
If you don’t believe in me and don’t think me true,
All I can say is confide in God and He will strengthen you.

Love you all and I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Redeemer and Savior, amen.

Elder Burke

Better Late than Never!

May 16, 2016
Well here we are in another Argentine Cyber writing on a frustrating keyboard that doesn’t press well.  And it’s pretty cold now as we are finally in winter. bleh.  But it’s better than sweating all the time so we are happy.  But sadly the shower broke so we only have cold water, looks like we will be repairing it today to survive.  But don’t worry, we still have been bathing ourselves by heating up a pot of water then mixing it with some cold water to get that nice warm 4 minute pour a cup of water over your body to wash off type of shower.  It’s great to be in that again.... well.... mas o menos.
Sorry for not writing last week, I was busy writing a lot of people and figured that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to write a big news update.  But I’ll fill you in on how Mother’s day went:
Crying, laughing, being in aweshock because the kitchen is so new and different, and it’s getting warm over there and it’s cold here.  It was a great day.
And now for the week updates.
We are finding new people who are progressing but none of them could come to church because it rained and when it rains, all the roads get messed up and then super muddy and if you don’t have a car, you just basically stay inside all day.  It’s the worst day ever for a missionary- when there are rain clouds on Sunday.  IT’S CALLED SUNDAY FOR A REASON, STORM CLOUDS! ¡¡¡QUE LOS NUBES SE VAYAN YA PUES!!! ja ja. Well we always have next Sunday.
We are teaching a smallish family with two daughters and its somewhat hard here to teach everyone at the same time because everyone is doing other things, or is gone.  So we mainly teach Daiana and Ayelen.  They’re really awesome and they like Jessica (young women’s counselor) a lot so we are having success in teaching them.  We are trying to get people to progress and it seems like they are progressing little by little.
We talked to Espifanio about faith.  We told him that if he chooses to obey God first, everything will go good in the end.  So when we invited him to exercise his faith by going to the registro civil and getting papers to be married in the next week he said “yes”.   Looks like he is gonna be married here in the next couple of  days! yay!  But we will be verifying with him here in the next couple of hours. So keep your fingers crossed and a prayer in your heart.  I have been studying a ton about faith, and confiding in the Lord’s promises.  It’s really hard to exercise faith when you are surrounded by doubt at every corner, and the doubts are usually somewhat convincing right?  So as I was reading for this transfer, we have talked about having faith in that the Lord will provide.  And when we asked Heavenly Father for help in our baptismal goal, we were shocked to find just those people that are progressing and have accepted dates to get baptized.  But when we were doing all in our power to get them to church, it seemed that after all of our efforts, it seems like the very jaws of hell are gaping open for us and our investigators with the amount of drama, obstacles, and rain that seemed to be against us, but the Lord has counseled us "that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." D&C122:7.  So we are still going and trying, I can feel it in my bones that we will succeed because we have the almighty God on our side, and nothing is impossible to Him.
I talked about faith last minute (yes they do tend to give missionaries last minute talks) this Sunday and I like what I even learned as the spirit illuminated my understanding of faith:  Faith increases our understanding of what type of person we want to be, not important to the outcome of our work.  There have been plenty of men and women unrecognized to the work yet did so many selfless acts to others.  I know too that when we do all that we can to invite people to know the gospel and be baptized, not all of them and perhaps none shall accept.  But the amount of baptisms you will have on a mission doesn’t show your faith, I believe that your faith is shown when you truly have no results of your labor to show, yet you did your hardest, and you keep going.  We often think that by obeying God we are "entitled" to receive some type of blessing, yes that is true, but we often look at it in a materialistic way, and when we don’t get what we want immediately, we tend to say to ourselves "it isn’t true. Why should I try to keep doing good if it seems that good never comes for me?"  But lo the most important part of faith is that it shows you who you really are, especially when you won’t receive perhaps any glory from the world.  But the type of glory we shall receive is exaltation and salvation with Him who created us.  Don’t give up the fight of your faith just because you are down a couple of points, there is still time left on the clock to have a miracle performed by Him who is mighty to save.  You shall win if you trust in the Savior. Y ou will look back and say just as Paul did of old before being beheaded "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith"  2 Timothy 4:7. SO DONT GIVE UP WHEN THINGS GET HARD!
I love all of you and hope you all know it.  I’m sure there will be a time where we can talk face to face and laugh and cry and enjoy the company of one another.  Write me if you want to talk, send me pictures of your life and fun things that are going on in it, you won’t regret it!

Elder Burke

May Your Burdens be Light

May 2, 2016

Well it’s that time again of the week, read Elder Burke’s letter and hear more about Argentina, maybe read some weird experience that needs more explaining, and some up-lifting words of encouragement.

This week in Argentina:

Elder Burke finds himself going into denial that it’s almost coming to an end here in the mission, but he recovers hope through his awesome newbie companion, who is also his step son!  There is a lot of dogs (again) that try to attack.  Elder Burke is closing in on ending all of Doctrine and Covenants. A new hope found in the talks of the Stake Conference of Resistencia.  There is so little time and so much to do, but how can he do it??  Coming to you this Monday 3:00pm Mountain Standard Time, brought to you by Cyber in Argentina.

So as I would like to start off, on the personal side of being a missionary for so many months now, you realize how small your part is in the progression of the people and how it is important that we must do our part.  God is incredibly talented with placing the right tools for the right job, or in other words, putting his missionaries in the right homes and helping them say what they need to say and do what they need to do.

We have a new guy that is progressing and his name is Walter.  Here in the Branch we had 4 baptisms and he went to watch.  The water was lukewarm, but it was still cold outside.  It was pretty awesome.  When we talked to him he tells us that the more he hears us, the better he feels. When we call him to confirm an appointment to go the next day, he tells me personally what he is going through.  He lost his Mother about 2 weeks ago and when we found him we really helped him feel better that he will see his mother again if he follows the teachings of Christ.  He tells me that when we come and when we call, he feels so happy and good, and he made his comments to one of the members that we brought to the lesson named Ariel Rivero.  He really helped Walter understand the point of view from a member of the church.  When people look at us they feel like we are monks or nuns and that to join the church they have to go and do what they do.  It’s funny to tell them our lives before the mission and how we are normal but just different as missionaries.

Commercial Break!

We are now having a better success with maintaining people to hear the word of God.  Normally it’s easy here to find people to teach, but it’s hard to find people who are willing to learn.  As a "yankee" we are commonly known as the people everyone wants to get to know, but they have zero interest in the gospel that we share, so we have had to basically tell people what we do and why it’s important.  We did divisions and I went to Resistencia and as we were contacting, I had some great practice to really put to test what I wrote two weeks ago- how to be a friend to complete strangers.  We talked to people who immediately opened up to us and told us their problems, and even though they didn’t want to hear more they still felt good after talking to us, and that’s the most important.  What would we say to someone who doesn’t know anything of the great blessing it is to have our Eternal Father send us blessings continually?  It’s just like the commercial break, it’s trying to convince people to put down their umbrella and feel the blessings of the gospel!

When we sit with the poor it’s even harder to teach because it’s basically the people who dropped out of school because they didn’t want to study.  I am very happy that my parents helped me understand the value of a good education and completing that education!  Without that I wouldn’t be able to function in my life.  So as we teach them it’s very, very hard to not lose patience because you are trying to guide them to think of the Savior and understand but they are so easily distracted.

We will return after these following messages!

Going on to the best part of helping people is getting to know them.  How many people have we judged wrongly because we didn’t know their whole story?  We went to a house that Elder Allen wanted to visit and we found a member who hadn’t gone to church for a long time, so we ended up talking to her and her daughter of the basics.  We often tend to judge people who have gone inactive and we sometimes treat them as traitors or something.  I told the Mother that we weren’t there to nag her to go back into the church, we were there to serve her in ways we can as   missionaries of the Lord.  So she confided in us as we taught the restoration and the story of Joseph Smith and how it all comes down to the Book of Mormon.  The spirit was so strong and the warmth of the spirit eliminated the cold.  She had excitement in her eyes and she was starting to think more of her daughter who wasn’t baptized and sadly doesn’t really know who God is.  We helped her with that.

When we sit there and think of home teaching as members we often think that there will be an end in trying to reactivating them.  Once they have accomplished the mission of having them return to the church then it’s over, but it’s not.  It’s until the End.  We mustn’t look at our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters as burdens but as a true devotion of love.  Jesus once said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30. When we reach out to people not thinking that our interaction with them will have an end, we become better people and truly understand that it’s a blessing to serve others, never a chore.
I love you all and hope that in your bright future you too can help those in need without thinking inwardly but outwardly as the savior would.

Love Elder Burke

True Intent

April 25, 2016
Good morning to all! I know that its almost 12 here and probably the afternoon in other places today, but I wanted to write everyone and tell them that the Church of Jesus Christ is the true church that comes from divine guidance and has the authority given to those who are called to be prophets and apostles to guide the decisions of the church.  Because it’s not their church, but Christ’s!  I know it to be true because the more I read the Book of Mormon, the more I follow the laws and ordinances that pertain thereof from the church, it shows me and helps me feel that this church is truly guided and governed by the will of God.  I invite all to obtain a stronger testimony or start building it today though a couple counsels that I will write.  If you follow them I give you my promise that you will receive a great amount of Joy in your life.
The purpose to our life:
We came here to have a body, to grow and learn to do good continually by our OWN freewill and choice.  God gives us the chance to obtain never ending happiness and it is through his son, Jesus Christ that we can obtain it.  Why?  Because he is our exemplar and will help us in our desires to do good.  He is our only way to return to our Heavenly Father.
During the week we have had the chance to talk to many people, new and old, and help them understand that if they truly want to know the truth, if these things are true or not, they are gonna have to dig deep and have a real intent to do these things.  It is like the purpose of having your very own family.  You have plans that it is successful and perfect, you don’t even think about the odds nor think it would be a waste of time, so you strive to do your part to provide for your children and teach them how to be disciplined and good people.  You want the best for them and you fill the majority of your time helping them more than yourself and find yourself in that process.  So as we explain to people that to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is really the true church or not, they will have to put in effort and see what will happen in their life and judge for themselves if they are  guided to live a better life centered in Christ or not.  But the trick to that sadly is doing it.

John 10:11 the Savior says:
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Alma 5:41
Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd.
As we teach many people we don’t ask them to do much, just to read the Book of Mormon normally, pray often, ask with a sincere heart if it’s true and obey the commandments.  To obey the commandments, we obey our Father in Heaven and we become strengthened by the wisdom of He who knows all things and sees all things. To do God’s will is good!

Moroni 7:13
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
So if we recognize that God wants us to do good then we will maybe have a desire to do good as well.  We all want to do good, but until which point do we draw the line and not want to do anymore good?  We have Espifanio here in our mission who has to wait a bit to get married, he’s not very educated but he wants to do good continually.  He is always saying hi to strangers and helping people laugh.  I think that  his sincere desire is to do God’s will or just do good, is what has helped him start coming to church and to obey the commandments and he has started praying even more.
Now for the educated it is a never ending process of debates, points of views, and THEIR own way to live life.  We need God’s help now more than ever with the amount of problems that are passing in the world.  So we should look for HIS help, HIS way.  We must ask with a sincere desire to do HIS will.  If we do HIS will, will not good come of it? 
We had a discussion with some of our investigators who kept telling us that they didn’t feel an answer or didn’t really receive a confirmation that what they are doing is true.  I would like to use a very well used scripture:
Moroni 10:4-5
 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;
and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Too many times we ask God if what we should do is correct or if we should make a change, when he doesn’t seem to answer us it’s probably because we aren’t really ready to follow the answer.  It’s more of a vain type of question and we don’t receive because we really weren’t intending on obeying it anyway.

Moroni 7:6
6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

Therefore we must really understand what is "real intent".  It is simply this:  Aline your life to what God wants it to be.  He knows better than all the books and philosophies of man and knows how everything runs in this universe.  Why would we not want to know what he wants us to do.  Now I do not intend in anyway saying that subjecting yourself to God is in some way a type of slavery, brain wash, or ignorance. No.

John 8:32
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

As I accept more of what God wants me to be, I become more intelligent, more free from the world and more happy.  Truly happy.  I choose to obey Him and I know that makes Him happy because He doesn’t force me nor oblige me to do anything.  He only invites me to do good.  If you don’t believe me then try what I have said;  Ask God the Eternal Father if what I am saying is true or not.  But it is. I know it.  I invite all to increase their faith and knowledge in God and do HIS will, not yours, and see what really will happen with your lives.  The book of Mormon is the evidence of that restored truth that makes us free.  Read it and apply its principles into your life.  They come from God.  I promise that as you find out what Heavenly Father wants you to be, you will only thank Him for giving you all the tools and teaching necessary to make you a better person, an unbreakable person.  You have my word and my testimony which I seal in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all and hope that you may all know that it is a true love to bring you to the truth.

Elder Burke

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Learning the Laws

April 18, 2016
Going back on your life and before you go into the mission, you literally had not even a clue in what you would be getting into or what you would be doing as a missionary.  But when you know that it’s not ever going to be about you, you just prepare according to the Lord’s standard and then you go. 
As it says in 3 Nephi 13:

"25...For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

 26 Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?

 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;

 29 And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.

 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.

 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

 32 For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

So as I have now understood first hand, the Lord will protect his missionaries who dedicate their lives to serve Him and do his work.  So the work that I am found in is being somewhat of a lawyer. 

To explain, we are with Espifanio who is progressing, he did a prayer finally on his own!  And we are getting him ready to get married, but there are a lot of rules and laws to doing that.  So I am talking to some lawyers and then going to the Civil registry and then trying to get all the paper works, so it’s been something that I have never even done in my life and now step by step I am trusting in the Lord to guide me and help me do everything perfect.  We even got to a part of his progression were he said that it is very possible that we may have to postpone his wedding for a certain legal problem, and honestly I felt like asking God for help on that one, so we did a prayer and after that I felt the impression to go to the scriptures in 1 Nephi 3:7- "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."  And that really helped me to focus that if I just do my part, the Lord will prepare the way. So if we are faced with problems that overwhelm us, we must trust that the Lord will get us out of it, to accomplish it, or even get it.  Don’t ever doubt the ways of the Lord.  Be ready to work and accept the delays, there are many, but they will always come- 

I gave a talk in church about the need to be a true friend.  It was a great talk and it really touched about the need to be such.  Give your life to others in service because "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John15:13. To lay down your life is not to lose it in death as Christ did, but to give your time and efforts to help others.  We can be the bestest of friends to strangers and we can help all of those, like the Savior did, if we just give our time.  So send that message to your friend telling them that you love them.  Have lunch with that person who is having a hard time at work and needs help.  Give your sincere time in listening to what the other person has to say.  Being a true friend is what the Savior did.  He may not have tried to fit in with all of the other guys with their norms and habits by copying what they were saying, but He stood for what is right and was alone at times defending the truth.  Don’t be afraid to stand alone in your beliefs, even if your friends may seem to change their outlook on you for the worse. 

I love all of you and hope that you will all be uplifted by my stories, and I hope you can send me yours so that I too may be uplifted. 

Elder Burke

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling twenty-two!!!!

April 11, 2016

Happy 22nd Birthday Elder Burke
Birthday hot cocoa and cookies at Hermana Sylvya's home
Well a whole lot of thanks goes out to all that remembered me for my birthday.  It was just what I needed - to feel loved as I am out here in Argentina.  My birthday was great and what we did is as follows:
6:00- get out of bed to go to Resistencia
6:40- run to catch the bus that would leave really soon!
7:00-8:00- watch lighting storms as we travel in bus.
8:30- get off on the street to walk 15 blocks to the church for our meeting.
8:30:15- realize that there is pouring rain
8:30.16- accept that you are already wet and walk to the church continuing to get wet.
9:30- have meeting
11:00- end meeting and then go to bus stop
12:30- leave to Las Palmas and eat what people sell in the street... ew
2:00- make/eat sandwiches bought in a kiosco
4:30- leave to teach. 
8:00- eat hot chocolate and cookies at Hermana Sylvya´s house
9:00- plan for next day
10:30- sleep

And that was basically my birthday. It was just as good as and even better than the last year!  Sadly I didn’t remember the rest of the Taylor Swift song that I was singing with my comp. “I don’t know about you! But I’m feeling twenty-two!!!!”  jajaja but it was great!

Well, throughout the week we have been working for a living!  Literally we were going hard and teaching all that we can.  Status update on Espifanio: He and his wife want to get married and they love the church. They got to the church way before we did and it was like an hour difference!  We were shocked and asked at what time did they leave?  They said "like around 7, walking to the church."  The church is a 20 minute walk and it starts at 9, so that was different!!! Jajaja  But, it was super cool to see how they already know everyone there in the church. It’s like that here a lot in a small town. 

Another note is that we are working hard with the members. I love it when members say "Elder when can I come out and work with you both?" or when they say "Yes elder I would love to go to an appointment with you".  We basically are a family and we go on talking about our lives and sharing with them and then teaching and testifying of Christ. 

Gordon B. Hinckley said that we need 3 things to help a new convert stay strong in the church:
1. A friend
2. A responsibility
3. Nurturing from the good word of God. 

If we have the chance to help new members stay active, why don’t we help them in those moments?  It’s sometimes hard to think of, as some of us (including me) don’t know what it’s like to come into the church and get to know it.  We´ve known the gospel all our lives, for some of us, so how can we help those in need feel like they´ve always been there?  Well we should try to put ourselves in their shoes and think; if I was in some other place and I didn’t know what was going on… how would I want to be treated?  What comes to my mind specifically is that someone comes and just talks to me sincerely and lovingly gets to know me.  Yes, I know there are a lot of people, but shouldn’t we get to know every single one?  If we are going to be the body of Christ, shouldn’t we at least know what everyone’s names are, their hobbies and their gifts and talents?  It’s important to get to know one another because that is one of the greatest blessings to have in the gospel;  a web and connection of good friends that can benefit you and bring you to know how to do things and see different perspectives to help your understanding of the gospel.  But for a new member, they just need to start maybe with a handful, but the more people that want to build a bridge with them will make them stronger and they will never forget how they felt knowing the members of the church of Christ literally and try their best to be like Him. 

So don’t be scared to introduce yourself to somebody new or present somebody that you brought to church, because they are probably more scared to talk than you are.

We were dropped by some people and it’s sad because the main excuse is basically they don’t believe it or don’t want to hear anymore mainly because they just don’t want to put the work into it.  Like read, pray sincerely, get to know the church.  It makes me frustrated and upset that people make decisions based on little or no information at all. :/  But oh well, we can’t force people to believe it, but if you want to know the truth you’re definitely gonna need to put the work into knowing if it’s true or not.  If it’s good or not.  It’s a characteristic that I like about the church, we are taught to know what we believe and have a personal testimony of it, not follow the traditions or religious practices because our parents were members and we are too.  Personal integrity is what I value in my life and in the lives of others, it’s what helps us strive to do what is right and also do the work needed.  You cannot expect to cut a tree down if you don’t first lift the axe and start swinging. So give it your best effort.  That is how you pass the test of faith, give YOUR best effort. 

I invite all of those who read this to strengthen their testimonies, or build them, of Christ and of His true church by giving their best efforts in reading the Book of Mormon and really trying to see if it is true.  When reading the Book of Mormon, bring questions not answered, problems not solved, or decisions to make and see Heavenly Father answer your questions, give you the solutions, and show you the right choices to make in your life.  I testify that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book here in the earth and if you read it, with sincere prayers to know the truth you will receive it. Do not doubt, but be believing.  I give my testimony humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Love you all

Elder Burke

Don’t Forget What You Have Learned

April 6, 2016
Hola Familia! 

Sorry for this like weird, late letter, the time just so happened to not be in my favor (on Monday) and the power went out and then the cyber was closed for a couple of days.  Let me be brief on the past week’s events: 

1. I have a new companion named Elder Allen who is from Portland and is newish.  I am once again ending the training of someone.  So I now have 4 step-sons, looks like I’ll never have my own son but it’s alright because it’s not the blood-relation but the spiritual-relation, right?  It’s too bad that he is not a red head so I could say "Ill beat you like a red-headed step child!!!" jaja  But, it’s alright, he is pretty cool.

2. We are working with the members and we are having the best charlas (talks) ever!  I love working with the members and every time I am leaving with the members, it makes me excited to go home and be an awesome member and go with them to see people and teach alongside them! 

Watching General Conference with Elder Allen
3. Well, conference was great and I will now make my comments on the purpose of Conference and what I learned.  First off, I loved Priesthood session with Elder Nelson when he talked about obtaining priesthood power and then from the same session when President Uchtdorf said that “If you are looking for a perfect woman, do you really think she would be interested in you?”  Oh snap, Uchtdorf said it! Jajaja  And of course, there was one talk about humility and then Elder Oak’s talk on Adversity and the need for an opposition in all things.  Then of course when we get to the end Elder Holland makes the nicest cherry on top for that conference sundae that he referred to in his own talk. 

So my question is.... What are we doing now? 

I mean sure we have had a great conference weekend and have heard many uplifting talks, and now if we don’t see a difference in our week or days or life... what happened?  Wasn’t conference and the words of the prophets supposed to change our lives?  Well they will when we APPLY what they have taught.  I believe that the most important week of our lives should be the week after conference.  We need to apply the Atonement of Christ and go to work to make ourselves better!  Don’t doubt about if you can or can’t possibly do it.   It’s like Elder Holland said, we are blessed according to our desires and we get credit for trying!  So go do it!  DO NOT FORGET WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED!  The best student is he who applies what he learns to see if it is true or not. 

I don’t have any more time but I know that This church is the true church, Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and the power of God resides in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I love you all and hope you enjoy this small message brought to you from the Elder Burke in Argentina, Resistencia Foundation (EBARF) je je Barf.

Love Elder Burke

Setting up for conference in the Branch President's office

Beautiful Argentina sunrise

Exploring a creepy, abandoned house in Las Palmas
with Elder Allen and Elder Moreira

The Humble and the Meek

March 28, 2016
My dear and lovely persons who read my letters, and yet I have no Idea what your response is to what I write, How are you? ja ja  Hope that your week was great and you enjoyed the sweet, sweet time that was Easter and now we can be more involved in following Christ, because He lives!!!!

One of the greatest and probably the most satisfying thing in the world is that when you are a missionary, you get to say "I am a representative of Jesus Christ".  That is one of the most edifying and the greatest things that I could say as a human being here upon the face of the earth!  But it’s not just the missionaries who are representing the Lord in this world; it’s the members as well.  We all show the love and the characteristics of Christ!  If it is from one of us or from Christ, it is the same.  The same message that we share is that HE LIVES.

Brothers and sisters I cannot exhort, cry, or even begin to emphasize how important it was that Christ could overcome death and save all of us when we come to Him.  It’s one of the things that everyone says but truly understands.  It’s like the feeling of being on the winning football team in the championship game that was all or nothing, neck and neck, and of course Christ won!  It is the very moment that when He rose from the tomb at that exact moment, changed everything.  The life mission of Jesus Christ was completed, but His work is still going on today.

Go read in all the last chapters of the 4 gospels and in D&C 18. They are wonderful scriptures of his overcoming of death and what it means for us. 

We have had a better time with a new investigator called Espifanio Gonzolez, he’s a very humble man.  He has never had the wonderful blessings of an education, he doesn’t know much, he is 80 years old and has a hard time learning, but he shows his love and kindness with all.  He came to church with us and loved it, he didn’t understand much of the doctrine but said "everyone that I know comes here!" and "I didn’t know that many friends were getting together here in this church".   He’s known by many and we are helping him to be baptized because he wants to be.  It will be a bit of time since he has to learn some things first, but it’s like how Christ said in Matthew 5:5 -    “blessed are the meek; for they will inherit the earth." The humble and the meek will inherit all things because he follows the voice of Christ and His commandments, because he doesn’t think of himself better than his Master. 

I don’t have a lot of time to write, but next week I will write more.  Be humble in all things and patient in the trials of your life because they are there for a reason, and you can take each and every one of them. 

Love Elder Burke

Monday, March 21, 2016

Know the basics my young Patawon learner

March 21, 2016
Feliz Cumple Maura Karina Sequencia
Well I am almost sure that the entire family (especially my mom and dad) are super excited as of this day… it’s the count down to 3 more months.  Every month passes by faster and faster and I can’t believe it.  It hasn’t even hit me yet.
So this week was a lot more successful than the last as we have managed to find 17 new people to teach.  We have been contacting, searching in the registries and trying our hardest, and praying to find people that will show more signs of progress.  Well, we managed to get what we asked for.  But it wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.  I’ll tell you why:

Elder Micheal Butler, you son of a gun, you got me sick with the flu! ja ja.  As I read the last letter from our dear Elder Butler #1, I felt bad for him for having to be sick on the mission, and what happens?  The biggest heat wave passes over here and weakens my immune system and the contagious flu that Michael probably had transferred through the computer! Ay no!!!  But it’s ok, because when you are the medical advisor for the mission and you get sick, you basically don’t take your own advice and you hoof it through the heat and just work.  Yeah mom, I’m stubborn!

So as Wednesday night came, we did a training segment to help the members share their testimonies and teach the doctrine of the church.  It was great because our 4 missionaries (Including me) got to present a part of the training.  My part was last and I explained the whys of missionary work.  As I drew a scary looking man with nose rings, tattoos, a cigarette bud and Mohawk to add to his complexion, I asked the question of "Would you guys want to be friends with this type of person?"  The little kids looked terrified to even think of that, but after hearing the honest reply from the members, I told them that the Atonement of Christ gives us the option to change.  I slowly began to erase the cigar and put a smile, take away the mohawk and put a nice comb over, and changed the complexion of the drawn biker gang-man and made him look like a normal church-day goer.  I helped them understand that the most important part of knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ is sharing it. WE SHARE SO THAT PEOPLE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE.
 "Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them." 3 Nephi 18:32

I love how it says that we shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.  It’s the greatest and most marvelous work there is today, being a missionary is what makes us truly see what the world is, and we also come to know of the fullness and infinite power of Christ’s Atonement.  It was a very spiritual training and the majority of the members seemed to be more convinced in working on sharing the gospel.
With all the hardships and trials and the frustrations, I still get the opportunity to see how Christ truly gives us many chances to change ourselves, to be someone so much greater.  I hope that all can read and understand more of the Atonement of Christ.  Look in the Book of Mormon and also the Bible and read about how he suffered at Gethsemane and how he was raised from the dead the third day.  I can’t wait to celebrate Easter here and spread the good tidings of great joy that is the truth:  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22
I know that my Redeemer lives and give my testimony that His love is real, there are second chances, and there is hope for the lost, the weary, and gone.  I affirm that He gives us life for He is such, "the light and life of the world" (John 8:12).  I love Him, and I give my humble witness in His name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Burke

Making empanadas