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