Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pre-MTC & MTC Report Day Pics

A few photos (the first two are out of order, sorry):

 Her last picture with the Adams Family, 3/10/13.
 With our wonderful Stake President, President Dudley, after she was set apart as a missionary, 3/10/13.
Her last picture with the Fromm Family [with Jeff and me], minus Coleson [who was in school], 3/13/13.

 With Zack, posted only because I just love the picture!
 With Baby Love
 With Bug
I wondered why Lin took pictures of random elders waving good-bye to us, then I realized the picture is actually of Alivia walking away towards the MTC entrance!

Pictures -- 3/28/13

Hermana Burnham y Hermana Howard, her companion.
(I literally started crying when I saw the tag!)

Hermana Burnham's District

I specifically asked for a picture of her pointing at the World Map!

She's a clown!

The One with the Dry Erase Markers -- 03/28/13

Hola Family and Friends!

Today marks day 15 that I have been in the MTC.  WOW time flies. Actually, now that I write that, two weeks really isn't that long of a time!  But hey, just be impressed, okay? :)  I have an English keyboard today, so sorry mom, no deciphering Russian into English today.

First off, let me say thank you to everyone for the letters. I begged last week for letters and MAN you guys delivered! I applaud and thank you. Nowwwwww, please don't stop! Haha.  DearElder is seriously such a wonderful tool. Utilize it, please!  We are given these amazing things for a reason -- and that reason is to write Hermana Burnham letters!  But seriously, thank you so much for all the love and support this week. I really, really appreciate it.  A special shout out to the YW in the ward for your package! That was great! Thank you so much. Love and miss you guys!

Let me tell you a little bit more about my district:

There are six Sisters and six Elders. I thought calling everyone Sister would be hard for me to get used to, but now it is weird to think about NOT using it. Sister and Elder: The most used word in a missionary's vocabulary. Everyone in my district is going to Chile except for two sisters who are coming to Houston with me! (Hermana Draper y Woodward). I am going to try and send some pictures this week, but it just depends on if I have time. Seriously a half an hour to email is LIMITED for all I feel like I need to say and do; but, obedience brings blessings.

Something I have realized about the MTC . . . everything is funnier -- literally everything. I love it. It is also funny how everything is funny.  For example, here is a story of  "you know you have been in the MTC too long":  I was walking around the halls with my companion while we debriefed a lesson we had just taught. All of the classrooms have peep holes and so you can see inside at what is going on, but they can't see out.   I'm creepy and sometimes I get bored, and so I will look through said peepholes. Well, I decided to stop and look into a random classroom. Two elders were in the front tossing a dry erase marker back and forth and the whole class was dying of laughter; I mean, maybe I didn't get the whole story there, but I am preeeeeeetty sure they were just laughing at the tossing-dry erase-marker elders. That is what I mean by everything is funnier in the MTC.  But, it is so great. Laughter helps everyone relieve the natural stress that comes with learning a language. It is great to be surrounded by laughter.
Not much happened this week. One kid went crazy and tore his clothes off and tried to escape, hahaha, so that was pretty interesting. Other than that, this week has been pretty low key. I am feeling more and more confident with Spanish each day.  I love how much I am learning and all the time we have to study the scriptures.  My teachers are THE BOMB.  Did I say that last week? I am not sure.  They really are the best.  (Bachelorette fans: Hermano Ferguson looks like Kalon from Emily's season, except he is the best guy ever.  Looks similar, personality, not at all.)  It is such a blessing to have such fabulous teachers.

I'm sorry my emails are so disconnected. I am racing the clock here. Seriously, there is a little countdown clock in the corner of the screen counting down my time. I am quite literally racing the clock.

 My last little tidbit. This week at devotional we sang a hymn that really struck me. I don't even remember what the song was called. But there was one line that was really great. It says:  "Teach me Lord to be thy Shepard; help me Lord to feed thy sheep."  It is my prayer that I will be what Heavenly Father needs me to be as I continue in this calling as His servant. I love this work. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  You guys, the Book of Mormon is so good.  My testimony of it grows each and every day. I have fallen in love with its teachings.  Read it daily, I beg.

I love you all.

Amor Siempre,
Hermana Alivia Burnham

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The One That Was a Surprise

Imagine my surprise when I opened the mailbox to find a lengthy letter from my wonderful daughter.  Unfortunately, Hermana Burnham's companion is sick, so Alivia is confined to their room for the duration; hence, she had a little unexpected free time to write.  At the end of her letter, she included a section entitled:  "Things You Only Hear at the MTC".  She was hoping to include it in her last email, but she ran out of time -- so here goes!

Things You Only Hear at the MTC:

1.  (In reference to the upcoming devotional):  "No, it's definitely going to be one of the Twelve."  [Editor's Note:  "One of the Twelve" refers to one of the twelve Apostles]

2.  "Have you seen the new pens in the bookstore?"

3.  "Are you WRITING WRITING him?"

4.  "Make it 'til Sunday."

5.  "Pray that we can have good showers."

6.  "Her family sent her Coke?"

7.  (After checking mail):  "Does my family even love me?"

8.  "I'm wearing a satin shirt and cotton sweater -- YOLO!"

9.  "Same mission as David Archuleta!!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The One That Started It All

Hola Familia y Amigos!

I cannot believe I am actually sitting in el CCM writing you an email. I guess this means I am a missionary! I guess I should begin by saying that Wed. - Sun. = the longest days of my entire life.  A lot of girls had a really difficult time adjusting, but I think I made the transition pretty well . . . so far at least, haha.  The MTC is a crazy place! You have a schedule that you follow every single day to the T.  Mine is as follows:

6:30     Wake Up
7:20     Breakfast
7:50     Personal Study
8:50     Teaching Resources
11        Comp Study
12        Lunch
12:45   Language Study
2          Class
5          Dinner
6          Some other kind of study that we haven’t done that day, haha
7          Gym
8:30     Class
9          Daily Planning
9:30     Return to Residency
10:30   Lights Out 

It fluctuates a little depending on what day it is. For example, on Tuesday we have devotionals and we get some personal time in the morning.  On Sunday, of course, we have church, and Thursday is PDAY [Preparation Day – shopping, laundry, etc.]

Seriously you guys, this is the happiest place I´ve ever been in my life and also one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  The Spirit is STRONG here, always.  It is remarkable. However, learning a language is really hard, especially at the pace we are going. My teacher (Hermana Haws – aka the most wonderful individual I have ever met) says that we have learned more in 6 days than most college language classes learn the entire year. YUPP . . . so that is happening.

The kids in my class who took HS Spanish say they have already learned more than all 4 years of HS Spanish. I am, without a doubt, the slowest learner in my class.  I speak broken Spanish, but I have been here for a week people! And, I have learned SOOO much!  We no longer pray, teach, or testify in English.  I have the baptismal invitation and “Our Missionary Purpose” down pat. My prayers are still kinda Spanglish. For example:  “Por favor bendice mi con al bien dias manana. Estoy agradecidos por mi familia y bendice nos con salud y fuerte. Por favor bendice . . . this district con . . . unity . . .” – haha!  It goes it a little something like that.

Even though my Spanish is broken I have learned that if the Spirit is present in lessons, then the investigator will understand you. He may not understand what I am trying to say, but the Spirit does, and He carries it to his heart.  Our investigator's name is Carlos.  He is the bomb. Our investigators here are usually RM’s [Returned Missionaries] from BYU who volunteer to help out. They take on the story of someone they taught on their mission.  However, I have no idea what this guy’s real name is, but to me he is 100% Carlos.  Man, I love him.

Yesterday my companion and I challenged him to baptism and it was one of the absolute coolest experiences of my life. We had talked about how Christ was baptized and if we are to follow Christ’s example, we also need to be baptized by immersion.  He started to respond saying that he wanted to follow Christ (remember, this is in Spanish so I can only pick up like 15% of what he actually says, and then piece it together, and hope I understand) and as he was about to say that he wanted more time he paused and started to cry and said:  “My heart is ready.”   He was so overcome and so were we.  It was just perfect. So Carlos is getting baptized! YAYYYYY!!!!!!

Speaking of “We”, my companion’s name is Hermana Howard. She is awesome and we get along splendidly. She wasn’t active for most of her life, but her family is very active. She helps me with Spanish; I help her with the gospel.  It is a match made in heaven – literally, hahaha.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me letters this week:  Sister Tryon, the Thompsons, Mom, and Dale.  I think anybody that has not been on a mission may not truly understand how important it is to get letters. Please, please, PLEASE write me. I know to you guys it seems like I have been gone a week, because I have, haha, but to all of us here, we have been gone for an eternity. One week in your life = 3 years in MTC time. Seriously.  I beg of anyone reading this blog to write me a letter. And, HEY, sometimes writing letters takes a lot of time and costs money.  Here is a fancy alternative . . . You have to create a little account, but basically you write me an email, but then they print it and give it to me as a letter.  It is a miracle.  Utilize it [if you feel so inclined].

Dale:  I would love to write you back, but I do not have your address. Write me again and include your address!

Brian:  I had something to tell you . . . but I just can’t remember how to say it in English........ [Editor’s note:  This is a private joke between siblings.]

Taylor: Remember that conversation we had about baptism?  I agree with you now.

OH, QUICKLY,  before my computer logs me out. MY ZONE IS AWESOME. MY DISTRICT IS AWESOME. We have so much fun and our zone leaders are fabulous. In fact, a story . . . Luke, you will like this:  My zone leader, Elder Mellor, one night decided to eat an entire orange . . . like peel and all. There are some weird things that we do here to keep ourselves sane and relieve the stress that comes with the MTC.  Well it was pretty funny and I was teasing him about it one day and he started telling everyone that IIIIII was going to do the orange challenge! AHH . . .  Long story short, I ate an entire orange.

I LOVE THE MTC. The Church is true. This I know.  I love you guys.

Amor Siempre,
Hermana Burnham

The One With the Drop Off -- March 13, 2013

We dropped Alivia off at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on March 13, 2013.  Here are some pictures from that day.  We have others, on Jeff's phone, that I will post as soon as I receive them.  We enjoyed a wonderful Sunday and Monday with Kirstin, Luke and family before heading to Utah where we spent a day with Lindsey, Brian and family. It was a wonderful time for our family.

The Final Farewell

The Sweet missionary who helped her with her bags and took her into the MTC.

 There is no time to say a long "good-bye" at the MTC, so we did most of our hugging and kissing before we arrived to drop her off.
 Sisters -- Alivia and Lindsey
 Alivia and Jeff

Zack and Alivia


That is the MTC is the background.  She is ready to go!!


Very close siblings.  She will probably miss him most of all.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Alivia's Post

Hi Friends!

This is the only blog post that I, Alivia Burnham, will ever actually post on this blog. I leave early Tuesday morning for the Provo, UT MTC, where I will be learning how to be the best missionary I can, until April 24 when I ship out to Houston.

This blog will be a "meeting ground" for all of my friends and family who wish to keep up on my happenings while I am away. In the past, the mother, or whomever the weekly email was mailed to, would mass forward missionary emails to everyone. However, I think a blog is a significantly easier solution. Plus, selfishly, I want one place all of my emails are located with everyone's comments on said emails. PLUS, there is a pretty picture of the Houston Temple and my address right on the side! (HINT: THAT MEANS WRITE ME LETTERS)

Each week I have a day called "P-Day" (Preparation Day) where I am allowed to email my family. I will spend this time comprising an email, which will be sent to my mother, which she will then copy and paste right here for all your lovely eyes to see! So come back here each week if you want to stay caught up on all the not-so-juicy details.

I wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone who attended my farewell today. I really appreciate your support, love and friendship. I am so grateful. THANK YOU.

Well, goodbye for now, hasta que nos encontremos otra vez.

Enviando Mi Amor Seimpre,

Hermana Burnham