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

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