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

It’s Cooling Down!!!

March 14, 2016

Hey there family and friends! Guess what is happening here in Argentina?!?!


Us with the Relief Society Presidents
Yes that is right we are not having super-hot summer weather right now!  It’s the greatest feeling when you wake up in the morning and you get ready for work and you are walking around at about 11 in the morning and you aren’t sweating a ton!  HALLELUJA!!!!!  Oh and speaking of Hallelujah: go watch the video that is found at the top of the website and feel free to explore all the other information that they have there.  It’s really great! 

On for the week… So we have been having a ton of fun with the branch members as they are being so generous to let us use their bikes to go to faraway places and to be more on time with the meetings.  It’s a lot of walking here in Las Palmas but you just have to deal with it.  Nothing that I am not used to.  Elder Teves, my son, is enjoying all the stresses of missionary life and the change from normal life to missionary life.  It makes me reflect on how hard it was for me and the stresses I had on the mission.  But he’s doing much better.  We are still going hard, looking for new people to teach.  Not gonna lie, it’s like 60% rejection and 40% acceptance and of that 40% about 10% actually want to progress.  But hey, that’s really a big change from the people in Corrientes and other parts of the mission.  I recently read a letter that my sister forwarded to me that had a poem from Elder Connor Showers that he wrote and it was really great.  I loved it and it reminded me that the mission is exactly that. 
Providing service for the Romero Family
(we chopped down a tree)

We have a ton of experiences here in the mission and there are countless times where you just want to throw in the towel and call it quits, or just keep walking without really being excited to do the work.  I’ve noticed that when you are a missionary and you are a consecrated missionary, the mission life becomes your life.  It becomes a part of you and in the mist of dealing with so much bad, you feel completely happy and willing to serve.  It’s something I’ve noticed, it takes time to develop those types of attitudes in the mission, and it’s not so easily won.  When you go out and work and work and work, then come the blessings of the Lord.  Through it all, I love the mission and encourage, no exhort all that are willing and able to serve a mission that they do it.  You find yourself and you will all be surprised at the person you really are and the potential that you have.

We are still talking with Lorena and Omar and its pretty back and forth but we taught about the Law of Chasity with them and they said they are going to be talking about getting married or separating until they are sure if they want to be together.  It’s hard to put people in those types of situations, but it’s like the ripping off of a Band-Aid, do it fast and strong and it won’t hurt as much.  But we will be seeing their progression much later on.  

Love all you guys and hope that you know I pray for you here in Argentina, you can say that you have a friend, cousin, brother, son, etc. who loves you in Argentina. Not a lot of people can say that. ;D

Elder Burke

Go Look in the Mirror

March 17, 2016
Elders Moreira, Teves, Garcia, Burke
Hey there everyone, I am here in Las Palmas today and not in Resistencia Capital for this P day, so we won’t be eating Subway or enjoying the sites or air conditioning unless we are at the church.
Big news!! We had better success this last week than the week before!  It’s not that huge of a change, but it all went up in the numbers and also in the character of the members and investigators.  First of I’ll share this experience.
We have a guy named Fransico who is Catholic and is a great dad as well.  When we were talking to him just this last time (I think it was Tuesday) we talked about the doctrine of Prayer, how important it is, and the way we should pray.  We read where it says in the Book of Mormon- 3 Nephi 18:19-21, a simple scripture that we are commanded of God to pray in our families and individualmente. When we read that it’s really simple and easy to understand, and guided by the Holy Ghost, I asked the question "If God was right in front of you and you could ask him whatever question, what would you ask?"  He really opened up from there.  It’s interesting though because he says that he’s a really rough person who doesn’t want to change religions but later on during the lesson he’s actually changing.  Something I have noticed in the mission that many people do, is that they label themselves.  Have you ever labeled yourself?  Have you ever told someone, "Yeah but I’m more of a (fill in the blank) type person and I can’t do that?"   Or in other moments when we explain ourselves.  Sometimes we look in the mirror and think that the person we see is someone that we refer to as another person, that we can’t change, but the person in the mirror is you!  You can change.  Stop referring to yourself as someone else thinking "well if I talk to myself or ask them to do something, he’s not gonna like it."  If we look at ourselves as someone controllable, we then become the masters of the natural man.  The mirror is a tool to reflect and guide us to change.  How we change our hair for the perfect style, the decisions we have to make to lose or gain weight -so we see ourselves as healthy people, or even to make yourself presentable to that special someone.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is that Mirror, it is the tool that invites the Spirit to really look at ourselves spiritually and then change, and then (this is the best part) our outward appearance changes for the best.
So being with Fransico we showed him the mirror which was the gospel of Jesus Christ (his Doctrine) and the Holy Ghost was present and when he looked at his life and himself, the Holy Ghost showed him the changes he needed to make for his well-being.  Yeah it was a great lesson, even though he said no to going to church or even thinking about changing religions.
We talked to Lorena and Omar again and it’s getting better.  One of the hardest things in being a missionary is being a stranger and having to make strong bonds to people to gain their confidence and also have them really feel that we are their friends.  It takes time for that to happen.  But through members and help from the Holy Ghost, we manage to get them to open up and really see our purpose of our ministry.  To help them be saved in Jesus Christ.  They came to church and it was great because there were many testimonies shared and they are starting to open up, and when they open up, the Holy Ghost can be heard.  We will be talking to Omar this night to help him open up more and tell us what is stopping him to embrace completely the gospel.  He and his wife are in some contention but they are getting better, the steps are:  First, to help one another accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and that He can help us repent of everything that was done to us and by us. Second, to help him see that the commandments of God (Get married, Law of Chastity) are for his benefit and will bless him eternally.  Third, help him and his wife find that page of their book they have written together and that they can start writing of the better future they will have together thanks to the Atonement of Christ.
We also have been borrowing some bicycles and there will probably be pictures on the blog later on.  It’s a lot of fun that the members are letting us use them for one time things ha ha.  The branch is so small here but the members are true heartfelt Disciples of Christ with the desire to help.
I love and miss you and have you in my prayers.  Please pray for my Grandmother Mary Burke, she’s having some health issues and I know that all of you can help her with your prayers and the promptings of the Spirit.
Con muchisimo amor,

Elder Burke

Game Night

Meditation before going to work- ja ja

Friday, March 4, 2016

Las Palmas y Los Nuevos

February 29, 2016

Hey there from Argentina,

I hope we all don’t freak out at the shortness of my letter because I had a lot of other things to do for my P Day on the computer so I will try to get all the details. 

First off Elder Teves and I are here in Resistencia to play some basketball with our zone leaders. Yeah that was fun but it was sooooooo hooooot.  We died basically for the hour we were outside during the siesta.  But, like always when you sweat a ton, you feel so much better afterwards and you are appreciative of air conditioning always. 

Teves and I have been working on trying to find a lot of new people.  Yup it’s that classic “clap doors” type routine for the missionaries and introducing yourself at least 15 times in an hour or something, depends if people want to hear you or have time.  But we are finding a lot of people here and it’s pretty fun.  We will definitely have a good time. 

Teves is from Buenos Aires.  He has a great family who has some missionaries and also he has a great nack for teaching with examples, it’s really fun. He has the classic Buenos Aires accent and it also comes off Italiano, to be honest, so it’s really fun getting to learn how to talk like a true Argentine.  Since he is my step son I am teaching him the rest of what he needs know so that he is ready for the mission.  It’s hard to be a Step-Dad because they are used to one teaching method from their real father and then I come in to basically teach them something else, but still he is very hard working and loves to talk.

We had one of the greatest things ever to happen in my mission this week.  We had the Elder David A. Bednar in Buenos Aires and he was talking to all of South America South missions.  He didn’t give a prepared talk, he just basically asked what the elders and sisters learned in their studies and he helped us understand the important properties of hearing and feeling the Holy Ghost.  He is amazing and it was a huge moment of my life to really feel the spirit even though it was through a television screen.  Many missionaries made questions to him and they were many of the questions that I had or would want to ask an Apostle.  He blessed us with the ability to see the small miracles here in our mission.  The Holy Ghost gave me the biggest comfort when he answered the question: "While I am here, how can I help my family and friends to accept the gospel fully in their life?"  He said that by our absence from our families, we were already doing that.  I give my testimony that I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet and that each of his counselors and apostles are called of God. 

We are doing our best to bring all unto Christ and the hardest part is that we can’t do all the work. We have to only have the spirit with us and share what we know to be true and hope that by our study, our preparation, and our sincere desire to love one another, we can bring people to feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for others and that they can open their hearts to receive that feeling.  We receive revelation and then after we act. 

I love all of you and hope that you are all safe and enjoying the cold because the heat as always... melts ya!  Chou Chou!!!

Elder Burke

Me voy, Adios, Me fui

February 23, 2016

Buen Dia a todos! Ojala que su semana anterior fue buenisima y que la prozima sea mejor!
So as we would all like to know, "Elder Burke, are you still in the Mendoza Al Sur Branch?"  The answer sadly is no, I am now in Chaco, Resistencia in a pueblo called Las Palmas.  Yea, it’s really different because for almost 8 to 9 months, I knew where everything was at and how to find people, now I am back to getting to know everyone and also getting to know the area.  I am a District Leader and also I’m training again!  But I don’t have my own son, but yet another step-son. He’s really cool and is from Buenos Aires, his name is Elder Teves.  It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

This last week was the move right?  It was super awesome and super-fast.  We moved literally everything that we had so fast that we did it all before the end of the day.  It was great and I had like 5 days to enjoy the pension before I left.  I will be missing Mendoza a lot.  But you will get to see the photos.  We had a shower that was really high powered and also we had so much space, a microwave and even air conditioning.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but hey, you have to enjoy the things you are able to get in life.  Now I will be talking about Matias.

Matias was somewhat having a hard time with going to church lately because he got angry at some of his fellow worshippers and it was hard for him to forgive.  We were told of what was happening and one of the members, I won’t say who, was saying that we have to "drop cain" (Be really Frank) with him so he learns.  Honestly I do not like that type of correcting people.  Yes, Christ did teach with authority and disgust at what was sin, but He also taught to help those people (including his very own apostles) recognize that what they were doing was wrong in the sight of God.  When we met with Matias I was thinking of what we would say and how could we say it so that he can once again repent and follow the Savior.  So as we sat down, I followed the impressions of the spirit AFTER listening to what was bothering him.   Almost 85% of the time, the problema was a misunderstanding and people reacted on only what they knew, but not to all that was happening. We guided him to understand all of what had happened and then read scriptures on what God thinks of the miracle of Forgiveness.

It is a miracle and a tender mercy that out Heavenly Father gives us so many times to forgive and be forgiven after repenting and forsaking our sins.  We constantly think that when someone sins or makes a mistake and it seems intentional, we automatically hope that the wrath of God falls on their heads.  If we think that such should be the punishment for others, we too will be the recipients of such punishment when we sin.  If we want to be forgiven, we too must forgive.  Doctrine and Covenants 82:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you. 2 Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all‍ of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain‍ from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads."

Now that I am in Las Palmas, it’s well..... very far away from everything.  So I am here in the church with the other elders and we are enjoying the company of one another and we are also enjoying the small things like talking, sharing stories and eating some delicious sandwiches.  I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the branch, and from the people that I have gotten to know, everyone is super nice.  It’s a big change from Corrientes and their atmosphere.  It’s kind of a relief that I can walk and I don’t feel like I will be robbed or anything,

I’ll be writing all that happens next week and there will be pictures of the area and of everyone.


Elder Burke