May 2, 2016
Well it’s that time again of the week, read Elder Burke’s letter and hear more about Argentina, maybe read some weird experience that needs more explaining, and some up-lifting words of encouragement.
Elder Burke finds himself going into denial that it’s almost coming to an end here in the mission, but he recovers hope through his awesome newbie companion, who is also his step son! There is a lot of dogs (again) that try to attack. Elder Burke is closing in on ending all of Doctrine and Covenants. A new hope found in the talks of the Stake Conference of Resistencia. There is so little time and so much to do, but how can he do it?? Coming to you this Monday 3:00pm Mountain Standard Time, brought to you by Cyber in Argentina.
So as I would like to start off, on the personal side of being a missionary for so many months now, you realize how small your part is in the progression of the people and how it is important that we must do our part. God is incredibly talented with placing the right tools for the right job, or in other words, putting his missionaries in the right homes and helping them say what they need to say and do what they need to do.
We have a new guy that is progressing and his name is Walter. Here in the Branch we had 4 baptisms and he went to watch. The water was lukewarm, but it was still cold outside. It was pretty awesome. When we talked to him he tells us that the more he hears us, the better he feels. When we call him to confirm an appointment to go the next day, he tells me personally what he is going through. He lost his Mother about 2 weeks ago and when we found him we really helped him feel better that he will see his mother again if he follows the teachings of Christ. He tells me that when we come and when we call, he feels so happy and good, and he made his comments to one of the members that we brought to the lesson named Ariel Rivero. He really helped Walter understand the point of view from a member of the church. When people look at us they feel like we are monks or nuns and that to join the church they have to go and do what they do. It’s funny to tell them our lives before the mission and how we are normal but just different as missionaries.
We are now having a better success with maintaining people to hear the word of God. Normally it’s easy here to find people to teach, but it’s hard to find people who are willing to learn. As a "yankee" we are commonly known as the people everyone wants to get to know, but they have zero interest in the gospel that we share, so we have had to basically tell people what we do and why it’s important. We did divisions and I went to Resistencia and as we were contacting, I had some great practice to really put to test what I wrote two weeks ago- how to be a friend to complete strangers. We talked to people who immediately opened up to us and told us their problems, and even though they didn’t want to hear more they still felt good after talking to us, and that’s the most important. What would we say to someone who doesn’t know anything of the great blessing it is to have our Eternal Father send us blessings continually? It’s just like the commercial break, it’s trying to convince people to put down their umbrella and feel the blessings of the gospel!
When we sit with the poor it’s even harder to teach because it’s basically the people who dropped out of school because they didn’t want to study. I am very happy that my parents helped me understand the value of a good education and completing that education! Without that I wouldn’t be able to function in my life. So as we teach them it’s very, very hard to not lose patience because you are trying to guide them to think of the Savior and understand but they are so easily distracted.
We will return after these following messages!
Going on to the best part of helping people is getting to know them. How many people have we judged wrongly because we didn’t know their whole story? We went to a house that Elder Allen wanted to visit and we found a member who hadn’t gone to church for a long time, so we ended up talking to her and her daughter of the basics. We often tend to judge people who have gone inactive and we sometimes treat them as traitors or something. I told the Mother that we weren’t there to nag her to go back into the church, we were there to serve her in ways we can as missionaries of the Lord. So she confided in us as we taught the restoration and the story of Joseph Smith and how it all comes down to the Book of Mormon. The spirit was so strong and the warmth of the spirit eliminated the cold. She had excitement in her eyes and she was starting to think more of her daughter who wasn’t baptized and sadly doesn’t really know who God is. We helped her with that.
When we sit there and think of home teaching as members we often think that there will be an end in trying to reactivating them. Once they have accomplished the mission of having them return to the church then it’s over, but it’s not. It’s until the End. We mustn’t look at our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters as burdens but as a true devotion of love. Jesus once said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30. When we reach out to people not thinking that our interaction with them will have an end, we become better people and truly understand that it’s a blessing to serve others, never a chore.
I love you all and hope that in your bright future you too can help those in need without thinking inwardly but outwardly as the savior would.
Love Elder Burke