Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts

January 25, 2016
So when you’re here in South America, everyone is a futbol fan and as the word GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALL is yelled at the top of your lungs, with all your strength and passion for the team you love when your team pulls a goalie, the missionaries are just as animated and energetic when someone gets baptized and is converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or in another word:


Baptism of Matias
There.... I got it out of my system now.  Anyways, Matias got baptized and it was a pretty hectic day to be honest.  We first went and did service for the Aguirre Gomez family by laying down concrete and then filling up the baptismal font for the afternoon.  When we got to the church everything was good.  Matias came an hour early and we were all prepared, only the members started showing up at 5:50 when the baptism was at 6.  Also the police showed up to fill out a report because our church got robbed of our heavy volleyball net polls that were inside the shed outside of the building.  So, we had to wait for them to fill out the report.  Also the power went out and it was just your average 40 degree Celsius (100+ degree F) type day, so we were dying of heat and the water to the church was gone (luckily we had enough to fill the font).  So being an experienced missionary with 18 months now out in the field, I didn’t even bother to stress.  Yeah, it’s not my first rodeo and it always seems to be like a rodeo when someone wants to get baptized, but after all that, Matias was baptized and the power came back on, and we ate delicious cake and cookies made by the lovely hermanas of our branch.

One of the best highlights of the baptism of Matias was that he told me, after I pulled him out of the water and we were getting out, he said "Me siento un tranquilidad que nunca senti antes" I feel a peace that I’ve never felt before.  It was a tender moment to see how someone truly has become converted to the Lord, Jesus Christ and feel the spirit.  It was really a great day for all of us here in the branch.

This past week on Wednesday we had a special missionary broadcast from the apostles and leaders of the church on the subject of "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts".  It was really great and I love it when they are training us missionaries in helping us become better teachers and be more converted in the missionary work.  I loved all of the talks and Elder Dallin H. Oaks talked about how we must first learn the doctrine of what Christ taught, and then help the investigators take the step of repentance by obeying ALL of the Lords commandments.  Then after we must then forsake our sins and our transgressions and remember them no more, and then be baptized, cleaned by the atoning blood of Jesus the Christ, the only one who could save us all.  It really hit me deep seeing how important repentance is before we are baptized.

This Sunday we were all there in church and someone didn’t show up to give a talk so I once again had to give a talk last minute with no preparation.  But to be honest it’s better that way because it’s a true test of how well can you follow the spirit as it quietly fills your mind and your mouth with what you need to say.  I had to give a talk on baptism and I read from when Nicodemus talked to Jesus in John 3:4-6 on how a man must be born by water and of the spirit to enter into the kingdom of God and then in D&C 76:50-52 it says that on a more detailed level.  It was amazing to hear the things that I could expound on.  How important it is to help people to know these things, because if they do not repent nor be baptized, then shall they be damned.  I talked about the exactness our Heavenly Father asks us in his work, from authority to ordinances, we must do EXACTLY as the Lord commands (3 nephi 11:40-41).  I loved as well that we, as members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, practice this principle of repentance and re-baptism again and again as we go to church.  I said that everyone here who had taken the sacrament this day has been baptized, but did we repent completely as though we were going to be baptized?  This past week after hearing what Dallin H. Oaks said, I prayed probably harder than I ever have in my life so far.  And when it came to taking of the sacrament, I literally felt the power of the Holy Ghost fill me as confirmation that I had truly repented of my weekly sins.  It was only an experience that came after much prayer and much thought as to what my life really meant and what I wanted to do with it.

Overall this week was filled with many great spiritual finds and revelations.  You’d think that being out for a long time as a missionary you wouldn’t have anything more to learn, but it’s quite the opposite, I’m learning more than I ever thought I could learn in such a short time.

Isaac Taylor Bowen
January 20, 2016 2:03 am
4.2 pounds, 17 inches long
I love you all and a great big hug to Aaron and Kaelee Bowen for the birth of their first born son Isaac Taylor Bowen!  Love you guys and miss you every day!

Elder Burke

Celebration after baptism of Matias

Aaron is a Dad
Elder Burke is an Uncle!
Such an honor that Isaac's middle name

is Taylor.

Alex and Brianna build "Elder Snowman Burke"

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And I would walk 500 miles….

January 18, 2016
Hey Guys!

So, first things first.  I’ve become the killer of all animals that wish to do me harm or are just really creepy.  I have on record, for the entire mission, killed:
scorpion kill
100+ mosquitos
50+ spider kills by bare hand
20+ cockroaches
3 mice
1 scorpion

You’d think that I would have a medal by now- but I’m still working my way up to bigger game (Yacare y Vivora).  But this morning was the scorpion kill so there you go! ja ja.

With the mission being as hard as ever, you can’t help but to look on the bright side of everything. It’s hot but that means that the drinks that are cool, taste so much sweeter.  There is a lot of rejection, but that makes it the sweeter when you find just one person who wants to get to know the gospel.  There are still a lot of dogs trying to bite you, but you manage to laugh at them when you see them with the cone of shame a week later!  Whatever problem there is in your life, you can look on the bright side of it.  Focusing on the negative never brings positive results.

As for the weekly update:  Matias is gonna be baptized here this coming Saturday!!!! Sweeeeeeeet!!!  He is so awesome and so humble and willing to follow the Lord’s commandments, and the best part is that he prays and asks for guidance as well.  He is the best and I love how he is doing.  We teach one thing and then he asks more questions and has more desires to find out for himself.  He’s even a stud as he told us that he’s working on being more repentant and went to go ask for forgiveness from a girl that he feels like he hurt her feelings.  Saturday after teaching him, we had a couple of minutes to bring him a white shirt and tie that were donated by Elder Montero.  He loved them so much that he basically left walking to the appointment he had with a white shirt and tie.  He wants to be a missionary (He’s in the photo below, that is our investigator not my real companion).  He is super excited for this next week and we are really having awesome plans with the branch to help him and others stay active-
Elder Burke and Matias- future missionary
We managed to have a leadership meeting where all of the quorums in the church get together and we make goals for the year.  Being here for a good amount of time made me super proud of the type of quality and devotion the branch has become to bring more people unto Christ.  Pres. Zarur said that it is the responsibility of the Church members to retain the new baptized members.  I really loved that part because it helps us do our job better.  Being in the branch for a long time sure does make it easy for picking and choosing who can go with you on appointments and also use their special gifts and talents to teach.  I’m loving it and… We are having success.

So Rio Parana is one of the farthest areas on our map, 40 minutes walking fast.  And we are having really good success down there.  It’s hard to get them to come to church because they live poor and don’t have a lot, but they are accepting the gospel!  Also I’ll tell you a story from yesterday.  We went looking for an investigator but she wasn’t there.  I was determined to find someone since you get the feelings as a missionary that someone is calling for help.  So we went deeper into Rio Parana and talked with Agustina and her friend Ruben.  It was super dark at night and we were far away from home, but after teaching them for 20 minutes about Christ, Agustina made the comment "Les puedo decir la verdad, ahora me siento muy bien. Estaba sentiendo mal hoy dia pero me siento muy muy bien ahora." (I can tell the truth, now I feel great.  It was a bad day today, but I feel fine now).  When you walk 500 miles as a missionary, and perhaps 500 more, you are ever so grateful to God and his never ending mercy that you could be the part of helping someone feel the Spirit of God.  When I sacrifice a lot it normally doesn’t give back until later, but I saw that sticking to the confirmations of the spirit and pressing onward brought us to a small shack and two teenagers who needed to feel their Heavenly Father’s love.  I couldn’t ask for it in any other way.

We are working more in Mendoza al Sur II more now and that means getting lost a bit or avoiding a couple of streets.  But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good people amongst the bad.  Being a good missionary is working hard and being obedient.  A consecrated missionary is doing that and confiding in the Lord that he will be your shield against evil.  I love trusting the Lord, never in my life have I had to listen to the still small voice so attentively and I am happy to see the results are always for our safety. As it says in the 3rd verse of the Hymn How Firm a Foundation:

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I will strengthen and guide thee, and help thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
These words truly bring me to have complete peace knowing that I may not have control of all the things going on in the world, but I know for sure that my Heavenly Father is at the Helm, guiding his ship with us in it, safely to harbor.

Thanks for all that have been writing me up till now, if you haven’t been doing it, there is still time!  I only have 5 months left until I am back in the US.  Take the advantage so that you can say you are writing someone awesome in a different country ja ja!


Elder Burke

Monday, January 18, 2016

7th time’s a charm

January 12, 2016

some of my favorite people
So, we just had transfers here in the mission of Resistencia Argentina, and well you would figure that having basically 6 transfers here in the same area would mean that maybe you will get moved to another area, well... no!  ja ja  I’m going on number seven baby!  One more transfer and I will have almost one whole year in the same area.  Mendoza Al Sur es básicamente mi rama ahora, vamos a enviar todo de mis datos y información de me aquí. Me voy a conseguir una casa y mudarme acá. jaja! (Basically my branch is now going to send for all of my data and information for me here.  I’ll get a house and moved here.  LOL!)  So, of course, I’m content with the decisions that God puts for us missionaries and also for me specifically!

Matias who is progressing really well and super-fast is just a stud.  Never have I ever seen such great Faith and determination to change his life.  Sunday came and he came to church, but told us that basically he didn’t go to work because he’d rather follow the Lord’s standards and not the world’s. Now I would very much like to emphasize on faith a little bit, because as we are still somewhat integrated into the world by norms and even trends with thoughts, we may look at this situation as complete foolishness on his part. Alma 32:21 Says
"And now as I said concerning faithfaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
Now let us look at the perspective of believing in God.  Never have we seen Him, but we believe, we hope, and we continue to look for signs of his existence.  This is the typical way of explaining faith. However, when we look even deeper into the meaning of faith it is our actions as well. In James 2:26 it says:
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

By our faith we are driven to act, and by our actions, we complete our faith.  So when I see that a man like Matias who doesn’t have much education, choose God’s will over his own job and then lost his job, showed to me his faith.  When we see other people make life decisions based on God’s will, we should rejoice in their choices and not think automatically that they were completely misguided and stupid to make a decision like that with comments like "how will he live?"  "He has thrown away his life" Or one of the most common  "He could have waited till next Sunday and go to church.  Why did he throw away a job to go to church that day?"  As I have said these are thoughts common to our society when we see others make choices based on faith, do we doubt that the Lord will provide for him?  The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward.  Never have I seen a man so centered in Christ that it has caused me again and again to reflect on my own faith.  What have I done to obey the Lord?  Am I ready to sacrifice everything in an instant for Him?  I hope that we can all reflect more on the sacrifices that God asks us to make when we come to choosing to do the right, and may we act instantly without a doubt that when we do what we know to be right, it is pleasing to God.

I have a new companion now, who as well is from Chile.  His name is Elder Santiago and He is really cool.  Our first day together turned out great, as we found some of the people that we have been looking for.  Now we have a mom who tried going to the church before, but got lost and will be going this time.  And also a girl who loves to read the Book of Mormon.  I love the way we can have great success with all and do our part in teaching and bringing people unto Christ.  My companion seems really excited and is working hard to learn the new area that he is now in.

Other than that we will be having a great week of successes and we will be bettering our ways of teaching and finding new people to teach.

Con amor, Tu Elder favorito,

Elder Burke

P.S. enjoy the snow those of you that can.  I am dying from all the heat we have here.  If you want to experience what it’s like to be a missionary in Argentina in the North, put on church clothes (long sleeves if you dare) and just sit in a sauna for 15 minutes- if you actually do it.  Take pictures so I can laugh and you can tell me how uncomfortable you felt! jaja 
Mendoza al sur branch
(ramon garcia, cristina aguiere, hna. lujan. mama de cristina, brigido, dalma, simon, hna rene, hna raquel gomez, leo aguiere, mily aguiere, galo, sandra gomez, joaquin, eli sarur, matias, hna lezcano, fede lezcano.
front row. hno rene, elder montero, jorge, juan, hno lezcano, me and kiara)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Feliz Año Nuevo Chamigos!!!

January 3, 2015

Feliz Año Nuevo Chamigos y espero lo mejor en este año para todo de ustedes. Hoy dia estamos muy agradacido que pudimos encontrar un ciber que funcciona para escribir a todo de ustedes.

So for New Year’s we all managed to have two days off because well... you know... everyone here drinks what they call the blood of Christ, or wine, to celebrate the New Year and also with a ton of cidra and beer.  So being in the most dangerous part of the mission and for the rest of the mission we ended up passing the time in the pension bien tranquilo (very relaxed).

New Year's Eve
31st of December: We went to pull out money for the next month and spent an hour in line to pull money out of the ATM.  And while we were there we could see rain clouds a coming!  So after taking out our money we were walking to the church to eat with our awesome Paraguay member named Simon who cooked us empeñadas and sopa paraguaya, and we thought that in any minute it will rain.  And what happened?... it poured like the flooding in the time of Noah.  We booked it to the chapel and managed to get inside before being completely soaked!  We watched as the water rose and rose.  The street became a river instantly and then after the rain passed it went down in 30 minutes.  But it was a ton of water.  And that’s normal here.  There are a lot of floods happening here in South America.  You can say that we are well hydrated and have enough water to last us a life time.  We called the other Elders: Gonzolaz and Diaz to come to our pension and pass New Year’s with us.  We played monopoly and then made 60 empeñadas for the 4 of us.  Drank nonalcoholic cider and then watched the huge fireworks and lanterns fly in the sky.  We tried to send another floating lantern with our goals for 2016 but basically it didn’t fly.  We took it as a sign that we wouldn’t be really completing our goals! jaja.

1st of January: We woke up, I did some exercises and we had a normal Argentine missionary breakfast which consists of things from last night or cereal.  Me I am now invested in eating only protein shakes so I can get more active and healthy.  After that we watched movies on our tiny little DVD player (Basically church approved movies or in other words “Meet the Mormons” and all of the videos from D&C), ate french fries and then of course we enjoyed the best thing ever... a shoot out! Yes as I was in the bathroom I heard loud screeching brakes from a truck and then cars passing by quick and then gun fire (three bullets from a small rifle) and then more cars passing by then stopping.  I was thinking maybe those were fireworks but maybe it was gun fire too.  So I walked to our ironing room where it’s nothing but windows on the far part of the room that are covered with see- through curtains.  We could see out but no one can see in and what do I find... The police force putting down the assailant right in front of our window and putting him down to the ground.  I was quiet and I moved back to the bedroom and told the other elders what happened.  And well they wanted to see as well so we spent a good 20 minutes being quiet watching the cops survey the scene and arrest the drunk shooter and then take him away to the police department.  HAPPY NEW YEARS!  Don’t worry we are all fine and it’s something that doesn’t surprise us.  But it was sure funny to see!  We are going to be moving anyway so don’t worry mom, we will be fine.

After that we had an awesome time of having a member bring one of the guys that is renting in the house of his grandfather, to church!  His name is Matias!  He is sooooo freaking awesome!  It was fast and testimony meeting so we were all sitting and I felt the impression to share my testimony on service.  It was really good and I feel like what some people needed to hear.  And after the first meeting Matias pulled me aside and said that he really liked my testimony and wanted to join the church and be a missionary.  Let me tell you that that is a miracle.  To find one person who wants to be baptized or consider being baptized is one thing, to find someone who is already saying "Ya I want to be baptized" and "I want to serve a mission" is amazing.  So we are going to be teaching a lot with him to get him ready to be baptized.  Throughout all of Sunday school he was asking questions and even explaining doctrine that was true.  He’s gonna be baptized!

After all of the crazy moments you have in the mission you can just see the miracle of the Lord still going in your life and in the lives around you.  I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that you can make the best of it!  Don’t spend it doing something that won’t give back, put your time and effort into the things that matter most!

Con Cariño,

Elder Burke
Sleep-over with Elders Gonzolas and Diaz

Drinking from the cup Brianna sent me

New Year's resolutions on lantern
and....the lantern doesn't fly

Great Companions!!  Elder Montero and Burke

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Family Picture on Christmas Day!!
December 28, 2015

Well it’s been awhile since we have talked.... where to start...

Before Christmas we made the plan to help our investigators Matias and Agustina progress to be baptized the 26th.  So who did we call? The assistants!  We did divisions with the Assistants with the President and it was super fun.  We only got to do it for an afternoon since they only had that time to drive out to us, but it was great.  We worked hard and taught with the Spirit and found new people as well.  I went with Elder Lee whom I have known since Saenz Peña and Elder Montero went with his trainer Elder Laiz.  We did our best and made sure that our investigators know which the right decision to take is, but sadly you have to respect their agency and their choices, even when they say no.  So right now we haven’t been able to baptize... but it’s ok because we knew that what we taught was understood and true.

Christmas Eve lunch and gifts from the
 familia Aguirre Gomez
During the preparation for la Navidad, we had various lunches with the members and my favorite was with the familia Aguirre Gomez who provided delicious empanadas and also gave us gifts! They’re just the best to us!  Gotta love the members like your own family.  It was funnier because I ran into a Scrooge basically while walking back from that lunch.  some tipaso (Jerk) was wrestling with his friend and then after ending his wrestling match he gets up and right as I’m passing calls me a rubio de $%&/ or in other words a blonde piece of $%&!, Merry Christmas guy!!! Ja ja.

Christmas Feast with Corrientes 1 & 2
We then went to the pension of the ZLs where we were 8.  We ended up playing with a ton of shaving cream and dancing like old wise men.  It was hilarious.  Then we played avengers monopoly, drank nonalcoholic cider and then watched the fireworks go off at 12 on Christmas Eve.  Everyone here opens their presents at midnight and celebrates Christmas right at 12 then sleeps until the 26th- haha.  So we had our multi zone activity where Corrientes 1 and 2 got together and we all pitched in a sum of money so we could have a Christmas feast! I cooked some delicious chicken cordon bleu and mashed potatoes, the other elders made a BBQ and the hermanas did stuffing!!!  It was soooooo goooood!  That was a good stuffing.  Everyone said that the chicken was perfect as they would cut into the chicken to find it loaded with ham and cheese.  We ate like Santa Claus that day!  After that we went to the church to talk to our families!

Christmas Day Skype with Mom, Dad, Alex, Brianna,
 Grandpa and Grandma Butler and
Aaron and Kaelee- 45 minutes went by too fast for all of us!
Apparently I need to be eating more says everyone in my family.  I AM EATING!  Just tell the freaking weather to turn down the humidity and heat and I’ll stop sweating off the pounds.  I never have once starved; it’s just my life right now of never ending days of walking and sweating.  I will never once complain again of what I used to think was hot and uncomfortable.  Try walking around in 98 degree weather with 90% humidity... in a shirt and tie.  It’s absolutely the worst, but it does help me maintain a distance with the ladies, they don’t want any of this thanks to my sweat drenched skin... ooooooohhhhh yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhh. Ja ja.  But it was great to see all of my family and my best friend and his wifey!  My grandparents also came and it was great to see all of them!! Honestly, it was like 6 or 8 minutes to me in what actually was 45 minutes!  It flew by and at the end I was grateful to talk to them but it honestly wasn’t enough.

And so we shall continue with the rest of the day were we had a sleep-over with other Elders Gonzolaz and Diaz and we had brownies and ice cream.  Merry Christmas to me and all!
Now we are getting back into the work grove again after having a good day break. That’s like a week vacation for a normal person.  And now we are getting ready for the New Year’s resolutions.

I would like to hear all the New Year’s resolutions that my friends and family will be doing and next week I will be posting my very own! Please write details and not the same old: lose weight, be nice, clean the bathroom more than once a month, etc.

Love all you guys and can’t wait for your pictures and awesome goals and resolutions!

Chou Chou!

Christmas Eve lunch with familia Aguirre Gomez

And this picture is why my family doesn't think
I am eating enough

Practicing our defense with our weapons of choice

Christmas Missionaries

Missionary Wisemen

yummy lamb leg

Avenger-style monopoly
Chicken cordon bleu for Christmas Dinner

4 Generations of missionaries:
Elder Stock (my step-son) on my right
Elder Peterson (my grandson)- from Elder Swingle
Elder Ross (my great-grandson) on my left - from Elder Peterson

Bailandoooo bailandoooo

December 14, 2015

Que tal queridos amigos! Como andan con la nieve y todo? Disfrutalo porque estoy moriendo de calor!!! ja ja

So as we are counting down the clock to Christmas. We are doing pretty well in teaching now for the needs of our investigators.  We were so focused on teaching the lesson that we forgot the person!  What is wrong with me?  But its ok, we are doing much better in teaching with the Spirit and acting on the moment and not totally on the preparation.  Teaching by the Spirit is like Improv (Yes Toni Butler I can hear your little Mwah ha ha ha ha right now), you react on what is in the moment and follow the impressions of the Spirit.  It may not be a well preformed script or fancy way of explaining the doctrine of Christ, but when you teach by the Spirit, it sticks and touches the heart AND mind of the person you are teaching.  So don’t be so focused on what you will say next, listen and then you will be able to say what the Spirit guides your mind to say.  That’s what I had to do yesterday, Sunday.

I gave a talk on Sunday last minute literally. What happened was that well, it rained... a lot... as in we walked through a lake up to our mid-shins, to look for investigators, in the morning type deep. Yes, we still leave out in the pouring rain with no cars.  We walk with boots and umbrellas, well half of an umbrella. ja ja.  So with that result of so much rain, there were a lot of people who were blocked in their houses with small floodings or sicknesses, (it was super-hot Saturday just after with sunny blue skies) and the people who had talks couldn’t show up.  We were twenty people in the church but as missionaries you’re basically ready to give a talk.  So after receiving the heads up I was going to study just a little bit in the scriptures to get an idea of what I could share but then I had to direct the hymns and then be the usher for the sacrament.  When I left to go to the pulpit I had nothing planned, it was all the Spirit.  I had to talk about missionary work, so it was simple but I managed to give a good 15 minute talk with related scriptures and even personal experiences.  It was super spiritual for me because I don’t have a hard time talking but when it’s in another language and you couldn’t even prepare a little bit that’s when you are as humble as you can be to be guided by the Spirit.  So yes it was exactly like Improv (Thanks Toni!)

We got food poisoning from a combination of foods and man was that the worst diarrhea I ever had in my life.  Elder Montero and I were taking turns with the bathroom and we were absolutely miserable, what made it better and bearable were the movies my sweet mother and family sent here to the mission.  We obviously had to push pause more than once to go to the bathroom but it helped us to not be crying out for our mothers to cook us soup.  That’s one thing I miss is that when you’re sick, you have to take care of yourself, so I would like to say thank you to all those who ever took care of me or visited me when I was sick!  You’re all the best!

The reason the title is Bailando (Dancing) is because it’s the song that they have been playing nonstop for a while (don’t know why, it’s fairly old) by Enrique Iglesias.  It’s super great and sadly it makes me and my companion want to dance.  You should see Elder Montero’s face when he says "A me, me gustaría bailar." (me, I like to dance) and I say "Che, no sabes." ja ja.  But it’s a good beat to hear when you are walking in 38 C (100.4 F) weather with 95% humidity type days, keeps you going ja ja.  But also talking about dances I did enjoy seeing Brianna and her cute dress for the winter ball! She’s super pretty- it’s ridiculous. All of those boys better be ready when I get back! ja ja.

I share the experiences of teaching Gregorio who is an atheist. He is absolutely a well-respected person.  And he is super nice to us and talks to us mainly to know more about the Mormon religion.  He takes notes and reads here and there, it’s very interesting teaching someone about God who doesn’t believe in God, but he is coming to feel the spirit here and there.  When we invited him to pray he did it and from the first time I invited him back in the spring to now, he has progressed. I call him my snail investigator, he progresses very slowly, but he progresses!  He will be praying on his own in no time, probably while I’m not here, but we hope to get him to the church this next Sunday.

I love you all; I won’t be writing much until after Christmas because we only have 45 minutes to write and 45 minutes to skype on the 25th.  So keep on going hard with serving people and don’t forget about what Christmas is all about!!!

Love you guys!

Elder Burke

A Savior is Born

December 7, 2015

I do hope that you all do excuse me for the future misspells. Basically the keyboard is doing it. notsdrav sdtme ja ja ja.

So as we are now counting down the clock to the 25th of December, we are all really pumped and excited because it’s freaking Christmas!  I feel like I’m running onto the field of the super bowl, just ready to play!  If you know me, then you know that I love Christmas.  Not only am I preparing many people to receive heartfelt gifts, but I am going all out on service for one to another!  Super excited!

With all that excitement every day, well let’s just say that this week was pretty rough.  But there has to be an opposition in all things right?  Because if not, how could I enjoy Christmas so much?  This week we had a lot of time walking and contacting.  Let’s just say a good portion of our investigators either stopped investigating or just disappeared.  It’s absolutely frustrating when you try to call someone and they pick up and hear you just perfectly, then hang up.  If you don’t want us to come over just say that.  It’s very rude, but it’s kind of the culture.  But we are hoping to find more families together, because now it’s summer break for the schools, so the kids are home.  And also that means more possible robberies.  Maybe.   We will see ja ja.

Matias is trying his best but now it’s gotten to the point that he isn’t putting his best nor is he putting priorities straight.  The best cure for setting out your priorities is saying prayers.  Have you ever had a decision to take that was so hard?  Did you ever feel like maybe you might make the wrong decision, or have doubts that if you do choose the right decision you have doubts how it will all work out?  Everyone will get them throughout this mortal existence.  It’s part of being imperfect. If we knew all the right answers it wouldn’t be called a time of probation, a time to prepare to meet God.  But honestly it’s what makes life fun.  Sure it’s stressful, but nothing is more reassuring when you can see that in your life you’ve made many good turns as you go down the path of righteousness.  Praying to our Heavenly Father and asking for guidance is the ultimate showing of humility.  Ask and ye shall receive.  The purpose to this life is to become so close to God, our Heavenly Father that we don’t just have him on speed dial but we have him right next to us just to ask.  We come to Him and he walks beside us.  When your priorities in life are only to do the right thing in the eyes of God, your path becomes clearer, and when you can’t see any more than a few feet ahead, you will have the courage to continue walking.  I know that the more I pray, the more likely I will make the best decisions for my life and the lives of others.

We had a really cool experience in our zone meeting where we talked about sharing a video called a savior is born. Here is the link: https://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HP_SU_11-29-2015_dMIS_fSPC_xLIDyL1-A_  

It is a good way to help us know that there is a Savior that was born, but what I loved even more was the other video that you can see on the website called a world without a savior.

That one hit me harder.  It really made me think of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  It was absolutely cutting to the core of what I needed to hear.  I recommend that we can all share it on Facebook, twitter or with friends who need more help this Christmas, and for everyone who needs the Savior. We have usb cards that President Franco gave to every missionary and we will be able to share it with so many people who don’t have many things in their house.  It’s hard to find one house that has a computer and internet, so we are very grateful for that gift to help us share Christmas.

"freaking huge" package from home!!!
It’s been raining a lot and it’s been very hot, so if you are suffering from the cold just know that it’s better to shiver than to sweat, because you don’t have to change from wet clothes to dry ones.  So be thankful ja ja.

Sergio Nunez brought a friend to the church who is a freaking stud.  He’s 18 years old with the guns of a 30 year old lumberjack arm wrestler!  His name is Fede and we will be seeing him this week to see his interests.  He is really nice and very participating during his first day in the church.  So we will be hoping that he will progress fast!

I got your package mom!!!!  It was freaking huge… but everyone is enjoying the candies from the states and I’m already getting ready ties to give out!  Also thank you a ton... also the peanut butter makes me even happier!  ja ja

Love you all and can’t wait to hear your awesome Christmas stories!

Serve with all that you can
Thanks Mom!!

Elder Burke

Something to make Alex laugh since he broke
 his collar bone and had to have surgery too!
getting haircut with hermano Simon


Happy Thanksgiving

December 1, 2015
Firstly I would like to make a quick shout out to the entire family of mine; cousin, sister, uncle, Grandma, and whoever else: THANK YOU ALL!!!
Thanksgiving Dinner:  pollo asado, ensalada de paps, y
torta de la parrilla con Pritty Limon gaseosa
As you can imagine it must be somewhat stressful and also relaxing at the same time to have a loved one out of the country for the holidays. But its ok, we missionaries are only gone for a bit, we will have all time and eternity to spend together.  Remember?  I thank everyone for their support in helping me stay out on a mission and for sharing your lovely testimonies and giving your love in the wonderful cards you all write. I know now that our big family lacks 4 people at the dinner table, but I like to think that every one of my family members don’t mind the extra food they get now from the lack of teenage boys.  ELDERS BUTLER, ANDREW and SIMS, COLLIN, keep going forward!  The language is what will always come last, what comes first is your FAITH and your DILIGENCE in working for the Lord.  I love you both and can’t wait to hear more of your experiences in the MTC and the Field.

I’m thankful for a lot of things, and not as usual where I say general things, I would like to be more specific with what I really am thankful for.

I’m thankful for my awesome Grandparents from both sides of the family.  Every time I can hear that grandma and grandpa are coming over, never ever ever EVER have I once thought that that was a bad thing to hear.  From both the Burkes and the Butler I have always found such great love and great treats when I can have your presence near.

I’m thankful for my family especially.  We are an odd bunch that is true, but never have I found a group of people so happy with one another, and also with the amount of teasing we do that’s always great.  I can always trust in them to help me, cheer me up, and watch all the seasons of LOST together on Netflix and freak out when the end has yet another cliff hanger.

I’m thankful for my country where Freedom really does exist. It’s not just said, but it is done.  With all I have had in my life, I do miss having a country where I feel completely safe and sure that we all will fight for our freedom.  Also the amount of fireworks we use to celebrate it is a plus.

I’m thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  No matter how many times I have literally screwed up with so many bad and incredibly stupid things that I have done in my life, I am grateful that I can be forgiven when I truly repent and change my life.  His gospel and His Atonement is what has made me what I am today and what I will ascend to be tomorrow.

Now onto the week.  We have been teaching many people and we have been spreading the word like butter on fresh hot toast.  But the problem is finding people that are prepared.  It is incredibly hard to be patient.  Why oh why do I have to be patient?  Oh well.  I know that it is what will make me better.  We have been teaching a ton about being obedient to the Lords commandments and doing our best to help our investigators understand that principle.  We have Matias and Agustina, who are doing so much to know that the church is true, but just lack that little last part of taking that step into the baptismal font.  I don’t think that ever in my life have I EXHORTed so much with my testimony.  In Moroni 8:16 it says " Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."
And I absolutely love it.  It is not saying whatsoever that we have to be harsh or rude in sharing the gospel, or firm, but it shows the power of love.  What parent seeing that their child is in immediate danger, doesn’t yell to save them, to protect them?  Would they feel bad perhaps because their child cries and whines not understanding exactly what could have happened?  No.  Because they know that what they did was out of love and it was to save them. The same principle is applied to all those who are close to spiritual dangers. Will we stand by and not warn our neighbor of the dangers that can enter into their life?  Is it because we may feel awkward and uncomfortable when they don’t like what is the right thing?  It all comes down to showing your true, unfeigned love that you have for others.  I love my brothers and sisters here in this world, and though I am not perfect, I want to be the best protector and guider for them until they can avoid these problems for themselves.  What would you do to save someone?  To help someone in dire need?  Would you go through ridicules, scoffs and scorns even though you did something right?  Have a fear of God, not of man.  Leviticus 25:17

Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the Lord your God.

It gets hard to do the right thing now days, but hang tight to the word of God and know that everything that you do to obey your Heavenly Father will always bring blessings.  Don’t ever change sides because your friends went there; follow Christ not your friends.  So that is what has helped me to teach and help people come unto Christ and to help my testimony grow.

The rest of the mission is now little because we haven’t really received a lot of news this transfer, but it won’t change the miracles that the gospel will bring to the people who are found in the area.  I will be here in Mendoza Al Sur still for the next 6 weeks and we will spend Christmas here!  I’m super happy for that.  Also I am super pumped to start doing all the things of Christmas!  Go and get started with the Christmas mood of service.  If it is possible, I would like to receive two things from a letter from everyone.

1.       What is something that you hope to find this Christmas personally?

2.        What you will do to help someone find the spirit of Christmas this year?

Write me and then go do what you can to bring people to believe in Christ and see how when you do service first, you then receive what you asked for.  Don’t ever think that God isn’t watching all the good you are all doing. Be the difference in Christmas. Get going on it today!

I love you all and can’t wait to hear from all of you what you will write me.

Con Amor Verdadero,

Elder Burke