Friday, February 19, 2016

Look on the Bright Side of Life

February 15, 2016
Well.... let’s just say it gets hard sometimes in the mission. 

We were working pretty hard and doing our best to help with so many families and investigators and sadly we had a couple of them who told us that they aren’t really seeing it or aren’t really showing it.  It’s the biggest of let-downs from what I have seen in my life, is when people don’t want to continue, don’t want to keep going to church, or just give up and say something silly like "I’m really busy right now and can’t do this anymore."  It’s actually more of what you hear in the mission that what you would want to think.  But you have to look at the bigger picture always.  There will always be more black in the sky than the bright light that the stars give, but the darkness doesn’t over power the light.  There always seem to be more people doing bad than good, but those who do good and obey the commandments of God are the ones blessed in this life and for the life hereafter.  I feel like when Christ said "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt7:14) it was a warning to us that those who truly enter in the path of discipleship to follow the Prince of Peace, should understand that we won’t be many. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is for every one of every size, color, gender, and all other distinguishing characteristics of the human race. “For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt 22:14)  Few are chosen because the majority of people do not want to change themselves to follow ALL of the commandments that Heavenly Father gives us.  Everyone has an equal chance to receive the eternal life that our Father in Heaven has for us, but we cannot sit and think that we will be changed instantly when we come to the Father.  WE must change OURSELVES.  For those who are following on the path of discipleship: Don’t focus on what other people are doing.  Focus on what you are doing.  Don’t make excuses to change church standards just because you have seen other members change for that, the Holy Ghost helps us discern between good and bad, follow his promptings so that you can continue on the strait and narrow way. 

We did however manage to find a great new start in a little passage way that is somewhat hidden in a huge group of houses.  We found that all the houses that are next to one another are actually all family that live super close.  We taught of the family and the restoration of the gospel and the light in the eyes of these new investigators was present and you could tell that they felt the love of God touch their spirits.  It was really great and we will be seeing how they progress. 

We are also reactivating a huge family that is now coming to the church.  It gets hard with the amount of drama that passed in the world but after all is said and done, Christ can fix whatever problem that has happened, is happening, or will happen in the near future.  Hold strong and don’t let anyone tell you what God thinks of you, just pray and hear his own voice speak peace to your soul. 

There are some things to announce... We are moving tomorrow to a new pension!  Yup it’s gonna be my first move here in the mission so we will be Argentining it up with a Flete (Moving Truck) and hoping it doesn’t rain.  It’s been raining a lot lately, and we have been caught without umbrellas a lot.  It’s one moment sunny, then the rain drops a ton, then we are having a nice humid, muggy, hot day afterwards.  Meanwhile we are changing wet socks and putting on boots to go back out and work and within 15 minutes of being out, there is nothing but sun, so of course everyone looks at you funny thinking "What’s up with this tipaso huh?  Walking around with boots and an umbrella when there is nothing but blue skies." ja ja- but they can ask us why and we will be happy to talk to them

As for investigators we still have Angela and Alipio but no one came to the church so we are trying new plans to get them to come and keep the Sabbath day holy.

Hope all is well and that you all look on the bright side of life, it may be small in comparison with all the dark in the world but remember:
Good always beats Bad, Light always over powers Darkness, and the Latter Day Saints who keep their covenants with God will overcome the very powers of hell. 

Love Elder Burke

Picture: Elder Sanchez and I eating up that pizza!

The Fruits of the Spirit

February 8, 2016

Well, the more I talk to strangers and they all tell me that in the United States there is a ton of snow... I keep thinking to myself.... I can’t even handle 23 degrees C right now and I will have to be in like -10 C for the next winter.  I will probably die.  But the good thing is that summer will be a nice cool time where I won’t be sweating at all because it doesn’t get that hot where I live like where I’m at now.  I walked around for just 10 minutes outside and I was covered in sweat like if I went on a 7 minute sprint!  Bleh.  But still it’s nice to know that where there is extreme hot in one part of the world, there is another place called Utah where it’s the best snow in the world.  I could go for a snow cone right about now. 

Anyways… so with the mission it’s going great.  Only that Dengue is making things somewhat worrisome.  But don’t worry, no one has been bitten yet and I doubt that the missionaries that are obedient and use repellant will be safe and sound.  But there has been a lot of rain everywhere and when there is a lot of rain, there are a lot of mosquitos.  We keep working in Rio Parana in our area where there are a ton of new faces and we can go and see them all in the mud or in the heat of the afternoon.  It’s very far away so we are looking for buses that can take us all the way there.  It’s quite the adventure to figure out a bus route that’s for sure. 

The investigators, well, they have had better days.  When you do your best to just get people to come to church or to do the basic things of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Praying, Reading Scriptures, obeying the commandments, etc) it gets hard to see when people just don’t want to do it or can’t. It’s sad to see people make bad choices but we can’t do more than teach by the spirit and hope that they can feel it and want more.  To feel the Holy Ghost and his influence in your life is no great task, but it’s something that for many is hard to recognize.  As it says in Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"  These are normal everyday feelings, we are accustomed to feeling them, and they are of the spirit and the spirit testifies and gives us the feeling of what God is and what it’s like to obey him.  Moroni 7:13 "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God."  So as a missionary we try to have the spirit with us and we teach that these feelings in fact come from God.  Don’t we want to feel happy, at peace, and calm all the time?  Don’t we want to feel like we accomplished something big, that we helped someone and that we are energetic and full of life?  Then listen to the counsel of God.  His advice and wisdom guide us to feel such.  We feel the spirit when we do good, but it’s only a feeling that comes and passes unless you have received the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Hands, then that feeling stays with you for much, much longer, as in forever if you are continually involved in a good work.  So as we are teaching people to obey Gods commandments, they have a chance to see how they feel and see if they want more.  It’s a great feeling to have the Holy Ghost in our lives and it should be a continual goal of ours to have his companionship.  None of our investigators came except for Alipio and Gustavo Cazais, so we will be seeing how we can help our investigators keep the commandments so that they may feel the great feelings of God through the Holy Ghost. 

The Ibarra Family, who are one of my favorite families that I now have known for a year now, are doing great and their youngest daughter Luna has asked me to baptize her.  It’s a tender moment when you can help bring the work of salvation not just for newly found friends, but for old ones as well.  It makes it that much sweeter to me and it’s a tender mercy.  We have to prepare her by the 20th if that is gonna happen because if I go this next transfer, she won’t get that opportunity.  So we are teaching the whole family to be strong and to support Luna in her decisions.  It’s hard to teach an 8 year old because they have the same attention span as I do sometimes.  But she is coming along very well because we teach her simple and sweet. 

I hope that where ever you are you know that God loves you, because he is your Heavenly Father. Please talk to Him.  Ask for his help.  Do the right thing.  He is always there and wishes to hear your voice, how your day was, what you did, how you feel, what you need. Because  "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." Matthew 6:7
Matthew 7:11 
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
I love you all and hope that your prayers will be better and that you can feel comforted this week. 

Elder Burke 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


February 1, 2016 
Studying the scriptures by flashlight-
we lost power 3 times this week

As always I would have it be known that I love being a missionary.  Never will I ever say to anyone that I hated being a missionary.  If I say it was easy that would be a lie, but I will say it has, it is, and will continue to be one of the greatest decisions that I have made in my life.  It’s something that I treasure and I hope that all that are ready and able can serve a full time mission to bring others unto Christ. 

It’s been a fun week with a lot of success!  We managed to get 3 people to come to church and it was a lot of work but we managed to get them excited and ready to see how it is to be in the church and feel the spirit fill their lives.  I know that they will receive many blessings for this week and their life by listening to the words and testimonies that were shared this Saturday. 

The first investigator who came was Alipio.  He’s an old investigator and Elder Flick and Stout were actually teaching him when I was here the first time in Mendoza Al Sur.  He’s quite lonely but the more that he is coming to know the members of the church he is starting to feel more like he is part of our family.  We are working with him to be baptized on the 20th of Feb., but we will have to see how that goes on his preparation.  The second investigator is Sebastian.  He is a hardworking and a very humble family man with his wife and two kids.  He works in construction and is building his house for his family.  He is a work horse and you can see the worry in his eyes for his family.  When we were teaching him throughout the week, he made the determination to go to the church early on and kept with his gut feeling to go and see the church.  It’s hard to teach families who are humble because they sometimes lack good education in reading and writing skills, so having them read is a hard thing to do, but we encourage them to read little by little so that they can grow in the spirit of the Lord.  The third is Angela.  She is just great.  She studies and understands a lot.  She is excited to learn and by her desires she understands more and more every day. 
Elder Sanchez and Elder Burke

When we woke up Sunday morning we went on divisions with members of the ward to go look for our investigators and wake them up or walk with them.  My companion, Elder Sanchez, went with Hermana Rachel and my first convert here in Mendoza, Juan Romero.  They went all the way to Rio Parana by foot to look for Angela and take her to church by bus.   I went with Jorge Gomez and Leo Gomez to go wake up Alipio and Sebastian.  My companion told me that they got lost for a bit but thanks to Juan they found their way.  Hermana Rachel was worried about how Angela was going to get home, so she showed faith by taking what was left of the coins I managed to give her and they both went by bus after church to get her back home.  I was truly amazed by the love and genuine worry she had for Angela who was a complete stranger.  God bless you Rachel Gomez. 
Sebastian and Alipio came by themselves.  It was great because they could obtain more light and more spirituality as they could participate in the sacrament.  Light is what brings us to know what is true, right?  Light helps us see.  So it’s no wonder that the Prince of Peace, the Son of God called himself the "Light of the world".  We had a very interesting appointment with a catholic missionary couple that we could teach.  And as we taught, many things came to my mind that helped me see more and more how Christ is light.  Sadly the couple said to us, that it is impossible to know all the things that are true, we can never know the truth of all things, so why should we ever question if where we are is the right place?  I’m very concerned to find that some people think that God is a God that likes to play hide and seek.  That’s completely foolish to think.  God wants us to know all things; He desires that all of His children inherit His kingdom.  It is there that He will pass over the reins of His kingdom to His children, or in other words we will know all things like He does.

Doctrine and Covenants 50:24
24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a progressing thing, and so we must work hard to obtain more light; more knowledge.  If we feel like God doesn’t want us to learn then what would be the point to our existence? Our Heavenly Father loves us and shows it to us by giving us his words line upon line. 

Isaiah 28:13
13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little;

2 Nephi 28:30
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more;

So study and pray. Do it continually so that as Paul said we may not be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" Ephesians 4:14
 Believe that you will receive the answers to everything.  Be patient.  Just because you haven’t found the answer to your doubts or questions doesn’t mean that the answer doesn’t exist, you just haven’t found it yet. 
After all of the great times that we could have here, we managed to go and eat in a restaurant with our small zone of six and the zone leaders of Armania.  We had a great time.  Also we had to give a class on faith and conversion for the fifth Sunday and that was stressful because we had to teach everyone and the district presidency was all there.  But we did manage to teach everyone by doing a little teaching trick I managed to pick up in the mission.  Everyone pays attention if you just call on them to give an opinion or an answer.  I would call it Russian roulette teaching, no one knows who I will call on, so everyone, even the teenagers were very attentive, and everyone was participating not out of fear, but because they really were reading, understanding, and following what the spirit guided them to say.  It was amazing and the first presidency of the district congratulated us for our class. 

Hope all is well and that you can all be safe where ever you are!

Elder Burke

Double Rainbow- what does it mean?

circle rainbow portal

We lost power 3 times this week- fun to study
by flashlight but not so fun when it's super hot in the afternoon